A Dyed In the Wool Mistake by Claire O’Brien
I knit. I know, I know: this is no great shock to our viewing audience. Every social group these days seems to have the resident crafty person and every one of those crafty folks seems to travel with two giant steel needles stuck in their pocket or handbag.
But I have to get the knitting thing out there so that the next bit makes sense. As a knitter and a frequenter of knitting blogs, I recently discovered that you could use Kool-Aid to dye animal fiber yarn. Of course, the number one animal fiber yarn is wool.
You can dye wool with Kool-Aid.
I am covered, literally, in wool.
And I’ve always wanted a sporty little Jetta the same deep red as cherry Kool-Aid.
Well, I will never have that Jetta on an intern’s salary. But now I could at least have fleece that color!
Basically all you need for this is yarn, Kool-Aid drink mix, and nearly boiling water. Thing is, I live in a tiny apartment. I only have a shower and a kitchenette. That means no built-in tub and no place to put a temporary one. But then I remembered the studio kitchen. More than enough tiled space for a tub and a stove to heat the water on. I was in the wool dying business.
- A 100-gallon rubber tub. (One large enough to hold me and enough water to submerge me.)
- Huge metal soup pots to boil water.
- 183 packets of Cherry Flavor Kool-Aid. (That’s all the store had so it would have to do.)
- 1 packet of Lemonade Flavor Kool-Aid. (For me to drink while sitting in nearly boiling Cherry, obviously.)
One night after taping, I moved all the furniture out of the kitchen and the tub into it. Then I boiled water. And boiled water. And boiled water. One hundred gallons of water is a lot, even in massive catering-style soup pots! (Don’t ask. It’ll be its own Arts & Gaffes someday.) Finally, after hours of boiling water and a blanket of steam covering the kitchen, I had about eighty gallons of nearly boiling, cherry red water.
I scrambled over the side of the tub, careful not to splash. I still had to clean this mess up tonight and, hopefully, leave no one the wiser that my dye job happened with company resources. I leaned backwards and luxuriated in the water. It was like being in a hot tub while surrounded by a few hundred cherry air fresheners. It relaxed me like no other and, sadly, I fell asleep.
I woke several hours later to discover my fleece had leached all the color from the water! Just as the instructions had said, the water stood nearly clear while my own wool shone a brilliant crimson! I stood up and felt the heavy drag of almost all that water on my wool. I’d soaked it all up like a beautiful, vermillion sponge!
Then I realized my horrifying miscalculation. I had only brought the one towel! Looking around for other options, I realized that even if I used every single tea towel and roll of paper towels in the kitchen, I would still be soaked in dark red water, still drenched to the point that I would leave a sodden, ruby trail through the several yards of hallway.
Hallway just last week re-carpeted in lush, wall-to-wall carpet. Ivory carpet.
Do you know how long it takes an entire sheep to drip dry? I do. To the minute. And it was not fast enough to avoid explanations to Bob and Angus the next morning.
Boy, was my face red.
Today, friends, we are gathered to mourn the demise of a staple – nay, a veritable pillar – of the Bob & Angus Show. I speak, of course, of Friday Game Night.
Truth be told, Friday Game Night has been a bit problematic from the start. As the original ramrod in favor of a game night, I chose Friday because Laura liked the idea of spending an evening in social activity with friends and I enjoyed the opportunity to constantly dominate my friends and co-workers at games. But from the word go, the more footloose and fancy-free single lifestyles of Claire and Bob worked against our ability get 100% participation in Friday Game Night much more than 15% of the time.
It’s ridiculous and shows a clear and unreasonable lack of commitment to the entire concept of game night. Nevertheless, those two gadabouts couldn’t be bothered to put aside their precious social lives. Clearly something had to be done.
“But Angus,” you’re likely saying, “just move it to another night of the week.” And that is exactly what I planned to do. But what night, I ask you? Let’s take a look at some of the competition even our beloved Mayfair Games stood up against.
Weekends – Forget about it. Seriously, it’s not even worth discussing. This is when everyone does their shopping, relaxing, television binge watching, movie going, book reading, and generally everything else they’re too busy for during the week.
Friday – Issues already annoyingly noted.
Thursday – Laura and Claire are in knitting circles. Shockingly, they are not the same knitting circle. I cannot believe I live in a town that supports more than one knitting circle. But I digress.
Wednesday – Every Hump Day, Bob spends his evening swimming through a miasma of clove-scented cigarette smoke, steamed milk, and mediocre alliterative verse. Yes, Bob and his bongo drums simply can’t miss open mic night at his favorite trendy little coffeehouse, Caffiendishly Clever. Truly, my sighs and eye rolls know no bounds.
Not to mention the fact that Claire does something for the homeless every Wednesday. What it is, I can’t imagine, but I assume it involves bedazzling things for them. This might explain the sheer amount of bling I’ve noticed on the shopping carts parked under the overpasses.
Laura has a book club. I am no longer invited since the time they read Fight Club and I kept referring to the characters as Ed Norton and Brad Pitt.
Tuesday – What’s this? Blessedly free of things? This looks promising!
Monday – I toss cabers (and scotches) every Monday at the local chapter of Scotsmen United for Cultural and Kingly Sports. Yes, we’re aware of the potential acronym hilarity, thank you and shut it. At any rate, this is the only night I have something going on. And I will be blinkered before giving up my cultural heritage for silly trifles like dating, literature, knitting, poetry, or <blech> charity.
So there we have it. Tuesday is now Game Night. I actually think this will work out great. You know how the week and then, to an even greater extent, the weekend just fly by and suddenly it’s Monday again. Well, this way, the front half of the week gives us all something to look forward to.
Game night is dead! Long live game night!
Bob takes the ram-cam around to get some sentimental answers from characters around the Mayfair Games collection. Most of all, we are thankful to have you watching our show. Happy Thanksgiving!
The rams banter with Mike Selinker and James Ernest during Gen Con Indy, 2013.
As our loyal viewers are aware, Angus and I were finally allowed to attend Gen Con Indy. It was a blast and probably the best gaming experience of my life. You know, until we got thrown out on our ears and forced to wander the country like Kwai Chang Caine. Minus the cool fighting moves or solving any problems.
But I still made it to the Big Show! And along with all the usual awesomeness that came along with Gen Con, I finally experienced the first major hurdle: Packing. Packing for a con is tricky business. But I’m a thoughtful and insightful ram, so I thought I’d pass on a few of the best suggestions on the subject that I’ve run into.
Why suggestions instead of my personal experiences? First, because I’ve only been to the one con. Just the way my only con experience ended is enough for me to guarantee it wasn’t typical. Second, I have a lot of unfair advantages. For instance, I don’t wear clothes and, therefore, I don’t have to pack them. Also, I traveled in the wake of Mayfair Games which really helped widen my options when it came to how much I could pack. So rather than make a bunch of stuff up, I’ll just do excellent research and pass other people’s good ideas along. You know, like real journalism.
- Take one bag’s worth of stuff in two or three bags. You’re going to score a LOT of swag at a convention. Some of it is free promotional stuff. Some of it is games and rulebooks and toys you just couldn’t live without. Some of it is going to be personal gifts and mementos from people you haven’t seen in a year or only know from online. Regardless of the source, you are coming home with more than when you left. You’ll need someplace to pack it that isn’t already full of stuff.
- Beware the baggage check. Pack everything crucial, including at least two thirds of your clothing, in the carry-on bags. Depending on the airline, this could be a small, roller suitcase and a travel or messenger bag. It could be less, though. So do your homework before you pack.
- Folding is for suckers. I borrowed this suggestion from science fiction author John Scalzi. As he says in this post, rolling is magic. There’s a lot of other useful information in there, but it’s definitely geared for a longer haul than the usual convention. Good stuff if you’re a gaming professional or semi-pro, though.
- If it can’t be packed while following the above rules, ship it. So you’re a wargamer and 40,000 isn’t just part of your preferred game’s name, it’s also the number of figs you like to travel with. Or you’re a board gamer who likes to bring a few esoteric games to evangelize with. Or you’re the aforementioned semi-pro who is bringing something promotional to sell or give away. Whatever the reason, if you can’t get it into your luggage and still jive with the first three suggestions, just bite the cost bullet and let FedEx do the heavy lifting.
- Cords, cords, and more cords. And probably a spare battery as well. A fact of our modern life is the large volume of electronic devices we must carry at all times. And the even bigger number we choose to carry. I’m also a fan of carrying an outboard battery to recharge the phone and tablet-of-choice (another idea I owe to Mr. Scalzi).
- Pack extra deodorant and minty gum. Maybe the gamer funk stereotype is unfair. More likely, it’s a stereotype with roots in an awful lot of reality. Also, sometimes it isn’t our fault. I heard a very reputable tale about a Very Big Show whose convention center only ran the air conditioning one hour out of every three. Anybody is going to wind up a little ripe in a situation like that. But with a little forethought in your packing, you can do your part to avoid adding to the miasma.
- If you have to take a drenching gun, hope you get a TSA guard with an agricultural background. Look, I’m not proud of putting this on here, okay? But the fact of the matter is, I have struggled with worms in the past. You know the worst place to come down with a set of worms? Anywhere that isn’t your home. And that’s why I packed a drenching gun. It’s basically the only portable way for me to handle any and all intestinal parasites with the least amount of embarrassment; or so I thought. Trying to get that thing through the airport security checkpoint thoroughly shamed me. At first, nobody knew what it was, and explaining with the word “gun” didn’t do me any favors. Once they convinced themselves it wasn’t dangerous, they saw the purple color (What? It’s the color of royalty!) and decided it was…let’s go with amorous. After that conversation, suddenly intestinal parasites were the least awkward thing in the world for me to talk about with strangers in uniforms.
Those are some pretty broad guidelines, but they’re a great place to start the conversation! Speak up, professional con-goers! Share the hard won packing wisdom of a Convention Buddha! Tell me where I’m full of it or where I don’t go far enough! That’s what the comments are for, people!
Welcome back to another installment of the Gamer’s Cookbook. This one goes out to a pretty specific niche within the gaming community, but it’s one with a very special place in my heart: sheep gamers.
Everyone settled down! Even if we’re a community of three, we’re still a community! And this post will also work well for the OTHER major group of gamers I belong to: the ones who like their liquor.
Oh, THAT got your attention? Good. Settle in, kids, because class is in session.
The Warm Woolly Sheep
I admit, this one is kind of different. But if you like creamy drinks with a kick, then this is a good choice for you. It’s also not bad on a cool, autumn night.
1 shot Scotch whisky
1 1/2 shots Drambuie® Scotch liqueur
fill with warm milk
Mix scotch and drambuie, then top with warm milk.
Lick Out a Sheep
Listen, I’m not going to even address the name of this drink. But if you’re a cute ewe and you’d like to explain it to me, my email address can be found below.
1 oz chocolate liqueur
1 oz Bailey’s® Irish cream
1 1/2 oz advocaat liqueur
Stir ingredients together in a mixing glass. Pour over finely shaven or crushed ice in a champagne flute or equivalent. Garnish with a slice of orange, and serve.
The Black Sheep
I’m a fan of this drink for two main reasons. First, it’s classy as hell. Just look at it. Even with the fruit salad, it looks boss. Second, the Black Sheep were my favorite rap group of the 90s that we never heard from again. You can get with this or you can get with that, but I think you’ll get with this because this is kinda phat. (Note: Here’s a helpful instructional video for your viewing pleasure.)
1 1/2 ounces vodka
dash St Germain
3 oz Tonic Water
In empty shaker, combine vodka, anisette, and St. Germain. Add Ice, shake twenty times and add 3 ounces of High Quality Tonic Water (Fever-Tree or Q). Gently strain into an ice-filled Collins Glass. With a bar spoon, embed 3 fresh blackberries into drink. Garnish with a lemon wedge.
The Sheep Dip
Okay, let’s close it out with a weird one. It’s mean, it’s green, and it’s got a name that suggests it’ll kill parasites. I call every bit of that a win.
1 part Gin
2 parts Vodka
1 part White rum
1 part Malibu
1 part Peach schnapps
2 parts 7-up
1 part Cider
1 part Lemon slice
1 part Orange slice
Put the gin, vodka, peach schnapps, Malibu, and white rum into a jug with plenty of ice. Add a 1/2 pint of cider and 2 12 fl. Oz of 7-up. Slowly add Bols Blue a drop at a time while stirring. Keep this going until the contents turn green. Pour into cocktail glasses with either a lemon or orange slice as garnish.
That wraps it up for this edition of the Gamer’s Cookbook. If you love a cocktail for its weird theme or weirder name, please feel free to share it in the comments. If I get enough of them, I’ll do a follow-up post with the best of the best. Enjoy and drink responsibly!
Thanks to www.drinksmixer.com for The Warm Woolly Sheep and Lick Out A Sheep. Thanks to Eben Klemm (author of The Cocktail Primer: All You Need to Know to Make the Perfect Drink) for the Black Sheep. Thanks to www.cocktailuk.com for the Sheep Dip.
Your favorite news ewe visits with Adrian Swartout during Gen Con 2013.