Sunday, 27 June 2010

How to play Scrabble and Lexulous

For First Berlin, a great place to work with plenty of time to play Lexulous, read The Guardian and watch YouTube.

Playing Scrabble or its unofficial online version Lexulous is highly addictive and fun. But the fun should be in the drive to win at all costs. Here are a few pointers:

Try to always make at least two words per move, i.e. sticking your letters on the end or parallel to an existing word.

Avoid placing a vowel next to a big bonus tile, this guy can explain why:

Regarding Scrabble, you should only place obscure two-letter words if you know their meaning, otherwise you will just fustrate other opponents by insisting it is a word without being able to define it. This is irrelevant for Lexulous as the two-letter word list is provided. Remember "pi" is the number used to calculate the ratio of a circle and "do, re, mi, fa, so, la, and ti" are the notes of the major scale in Western music.

Think about tile management, you do not want to end up with vowelitis (all vowels) or only consonants. If you have three 'I's and one 'A' and you have the option to play dib or dab; play dib you flid.

Playing Lexulous you should never cheat by using an anagram finder or word generator and, while there may be opponents who will use them, there is no point getting paranoid. Just believe in the decency of others that when you host a table and specifically state that you do not want to play someone who uses a word generator they will comply.

This is what happens when people get too paranoid:

Linda S: since when is zo a word?????
Kaesetorte: its been in the two letter list for as long as i can remember, za and zo
Linda S: only on your board, not on any others that I have played, you sure know how to manipulate the board, if that's the only way you can win, then go for it
Kaesetorte: have you only ever played US list, this is UK english. I don't know how to manipulate the board

Later, after she apologises and rematches me with the US dictonary, I twist the knife a little further, just to ensure she realises what a fucked-up jessie she has been:

Kaesetorte: sorry but i don't play US list, not used to it, much like you with UK. Two nations divided by a common language maybe. You seem to be a fiery woman so don't get too angry at me for deleting, feel free to rematch me anytime on UK list.
Linda S: Thank you for your comments. You are correct I am not familiar with the UK list as I am new to the game. I will be sure that when I join a table to be more aware of what game they are playing. I am not angry at all and hope you accept my apology. Would like to try the UK version soon.
Kaesetorte: anytime linda. stay safe and have fun with the tiles :)

Finally, look at this:

Paula and Louise are R-tards. Not because they have incredibly suck-arse low ratings and are clearly plain stupid, but because they actually think someone with a similarly arse-suck rating would use a word generator. It is nigh on impossible to have such a low rating and cheat.

Notice that Brent and Lee are looking to chat, flirt, etc. No explaination for that, sorry.

Friday, 25 June 2010

England v Germany: on first thoughts

For my father, who preferred rugby to football, leaving me, at the age of eight, to decide whether to support West Germany or England during Italia '90.

Much has been said by the English media about the disappointing displays of England throughout the World Cup. But the biggest con is the English media for constantly elevating England's chances and then kicking them all the way back down to earth when they fail to meet the high expectations set for them.

The general consensus among the English media - both newspapers and TV - is that despite Lampard's disallowed goal Germany played far superior football and would have won anyway. Confidence in such an assertion by so many people seems a bit chips and fishy to me. At two goals apiece it is impossible to say what the final result would be.

If England were to again win the World Cup, many English people would almost certainly buy one or more newspapers the following day to keep as a memento. But the English football press would have less to write about than if England lost as usual - where did it go wrong? Should Capello stay? Who will play in Euro 2012? Who will play at the World Cup in 2014? How can England change to win in future? The list goes on and on like a Duracell Bunny at Fusion Festival.

The media write at great length about the mistakes Capello and the England players made, yet throughout qualification and in the run up to the World Cup the press were shoving piles of nutritious praise on England and Capello. I still read much of it with great interest but that is because I am half-German and so can distance myself from the pathetic nature of it all.

Nevertheless, some key points:

German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer's assist was the first by a goalkeeper in a world cup since 1966. That means Terry and Upson cocked up that one.

In Raphael Honigstein's excellent book Englischer Fussball - A German's view of our beautiful game, when discussing the British footballing press, he points out that "it is all about movement, a constantly evolving narrative. Newspapers deliberately write off teams, coaches or players so that their eventual rise can be even more dramatic; or suffocate a team under a blanket of superlatives until they can dance on its grave."

The Premier League, being a separate organisation from the English FA, has next to no interest in developing English talent. It wants to continue to stage the best league in the world.

June shout-outs: stuff proposed by friends

One from brother blaze C-Mac and one from Quarkus Feucht.

Extremely Berlin-specific this one, but park-loving C-Mac came up with a useful way to tell people where exactly you are in Görlitzer Park's crater. If you imagine the crater to be a clock face. You tell people the metal sculpture is 12 o'clock and then simply tell them the time at which you are sat.

Below is a satellite image of said crater. Ignore the Hühnerhaus and Café Marx pointers, they are wrong. The 12 o'clock marker is casting a thin shadow on the left. Best to avoid 8-10 o'clock, for it is there where the alcoholics hide in the shade to conserve on essential perspiration liquids. 4-6 o'clock gives the longest amount of sun and is the most lively, if that is what you are after.

Quarkus has this to say on the small v big packet of American Spirit debate: people who buy the small packet are like people who drink small beers - they like to think that they can stop drinking at any time should they want to, and will thus-saidly waste less beer than if they were to drink a large beer.

As far as we are both aware there is no difference in the price-to-grammage ratio, but the question of the price-to-crumbage/dryishness ratio is an interesting one. My guess is about the same, but I would love to know if anyone thinks otherwise. Buying the small packet means you can also buy a pack of filters or skins for just under €5. This is, of course, only a short-term saving.