A periodic blog about Games, Books, Movies, Pop culture, Technology and whatever else I happen to feel like writing about...

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Lake Catchacoma - The Island Adventure

The extra long weekend is over, and it was an excellent opportunity to take it easy with some fine friends. Karen's family cottage is very rustic, on an island on Lake Catchacoma that has 7 cottages. We had all the amenities that we needed, but mostly we had each other to laugh and relax with. The 7 castaways on this island journey were: Larry, Nadine, Claire, Nell, Susan, Karen and Mark.

Since the weather was a bit cool, it was apparent that we would be playing some games, which was fine by me!

We arrived at the cottage much later on Thursday evening than we anticipated, so it was time for a quick drink then off to the assigned beds. People were tired after the drive and then lugging the two loads of people and food and luggage across the lake.

We awoke to a crisp morning, with a cloudy sky. It was to be cool for the first few days, and we were glad that the cottage had a new wood stove, which we did use in the evenings to provide that warm glow. The girls are all marvellous cooks, and Larry and I did what we could with our assigned BBqing, so I am happy to say that we ate well, even extravagantly for four days. It was pointed out that we should all go on a clear liquid cleansing fast upon our return to civilization. Luckily, Vodka and Gin are clear liquids! 8-)

It should also be pointed out that Larry jumped into the water at an insanely early hour that morning, and started fishing early. Larry and I would have some success fishing, but we never caught anything even close to being big enough to keep.

We fell into an easy rhythm of lounging, reading, chatting, cooking, eating and cleaning. Everyone pitched in, and it seemed that everyone did what they could to make the time pass well.

During one of the mostly group reading activities, Karen, Larry, Nadine and I played Modern Art, and we all had a good time. I explained the rules quickly, and we started on the auctions. By the time the first round had finished, everyone understood the rules, and then we were well and truly off to the races.

For much of the game, Larry and Nadine seemed to be trading vast sums of money back and forth, prompting Karen to muse that they were in fact running some kind of art scam. In the end, Karen (the accidental capitalist) had the most money, due in large part to some very lucrative sales in the last round. Nadine was second, followed closely by me and Larry.

After Modern Art, we all decided to play In Pursuit, which we dubbed Trivial Pursuit meets Survivor. We used the Millennium Edition questions, but found that they were fairly Amerocentric. The game was fun, though there was not a lot of team switching and leader deposing.

By the luck of the draw, I was the leader of the red team, and Nell the leader of the blue. The red team pulled into the lead, which prompted Karen to switch teams successfully to red. We got closer and closer to the end, and Claire was able to take over the leadership when I was unable to answer a question on her turn. Her plotting and careful attention led her to the eventual win when I did not have an opportunity to win back the leadership.

In Pursuit is a fine trivia game, but the next time that we play we might use the three minute Boggle timer to reduce the amount of time teams have to confer about the answers.

We capped off the evening with a spirited game of Balderdash. Some highlights of note were the word "smatchet", which is a bad child, and the made up definition which involved 18th century Welsh pirates. Karen did guess that boanthropy involved a condition where the affected person believed that they were a bull or ox. If I hadn't convinced her that it couldn't mean that, we would have been tied with Larry and Nadine when the game came to an end, and not in second place.

The next day there was some swimming, but the weather was still cool and cloudy. Larry and Nadine packed up and had to go, and the 5 hard core islanders settled down for some serious relaxation. After another excellent dinner, Karen, Susan Nell and I decided to play Clue, the Great Museum Caper. Karen was the thief, and even though she almost left her thief exposed next to Susan's pawn just as she was about to move, she managed to escape with three paintings after she was seen by Nell. Karen almost looked relieved to have been seen, she was getting so nervous skulking her pawn around the museum.. 8-)

The weather improved the next day, and there was some tubing, some swimming and some fishing. Reading and lounging were also popular, and that evening, it was decided by Nell that Intrige must be played. And so, colours were chosen and the rules explained. Nell, Karen, Susan and I played, and there was much cajoling, bribery, threat and banishment to the island. Feckless relatives were relegated to lowly 1,000 ducat jobs, and the unshakable Nell-Karen alliance was strong. Susan had some of the most entertaining admonishments, and was the most accomplished at bribery (perhaps something she learned at work?), but in the end, Karen the accidental capitalist triumphed again, with Nell in second place, me in third and Susan in fourth.

Of note was when Susan compared the game to Kremlin, and when Karen evinced her astonishment that Susan played Kremlin, Susan said "Well, we have geeks in Toronto too, you know." One of Susan's friends was to be playing that weekend at the WBC, and is a former Kremlin champion.

Karen and I then played a quick game of cottage staple Othello before bed. I remember having played a lot of Othello with my younger sister Shelley while we were growing up, but I don't remember ever having a system. I was able to capture victory from the jaws of defeat by changing a good portion of the board black in the final few moves where Karen had to pass.

The next day, the day we were to leave, the weather started out the nicest, and so more swimming, tubing and a surprise water skiing demonstration by Claire had to be undertaken. Claire had not been able to get up on the skis the last year that she tried, but this time she made it up first time like a pro! My apologies to Nell, I really wasn't trying to kill you with your tube ride!

After all that boating, we realized that the boat's gas tank was almost empty, and we prayed to the gods of gasoline that we would make it back to the marina with the fuel that we had left. Luckily, our shameless island rituals must have pleased the gods, and we made it on the final fumes.

It was a great extra long weekend, one that I was very happy to share with Karen before her September posting to Brazil.



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