Sunday, September 25, 2005

Father John's homily

"I desire mercy, not sacrifice."

Outline for teaching the GIPF rules (Basic game)

Based on The Finer Points of Teaching Rules by Mario T. Lanza

1. Set up the pieces

2. One-liner:

3. Overview
  • Put a piece on a dot and slide it onto the board, pushing any pieces in the way.
  • 4 of your pieces touch in a line => remove all pieces that touch in that line. Yours return to supply; opponents' are captured.

  • Can't push pieces off the board.
  • Game ends when one player runs out of pieces. The other player wins.
4. Details
  • If you make two lines of your colour, you choose which line to take:
  • If you make a line in your opponent's colour, they take the line at the start of their turn (does not count as a turn):

5. Basic strategies and fair warning (from
  • You can only win by capturing your opponent's pieces, not by returning your pieces to your reserve.
  • It is better to have your pieces on the board than in your reserve
  • So it is good to make a line in your opponent's colour, so they come off the board

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Outline for teaching San Juan rules

Based on The Finer Points of Teaching Rules by Mario T. Lanza

1. Set up the pieces

2. One-liner: "We will be taking turns governing the city of San Juan, deciding when to harvest goods, when to sell them, and when to construct buildings. Each building earns you victory points, and the bigger the better."

3. Overview 4. Details

(Demonstrate everything with examples)

3a. Mechanics
  • Choose role. Do action + privilege. Others do action. Optional.
  • Builder
    • Read action and privilege
    • No duplicate violet buildings
  • Producer
    • Read action and privilege
    • Unlike Puerto Rico buildings: 1 good max
  • Trader
    • Read action and privilege
    • Advantage of a good memory
  • Councillor
    • Read action and privilege
  • Prospector
    • Read action and privilege
3b. Scoring
  • Buildings (bottom of card), number of cards under chapel, triumphal arch, guild hall, city hall, palace
  • Chapel: put 1 card under (governor phase)
  • Triumphal Arch: for 1, 2, 3 monuments: 4, 6, 8 VP
  • Guild Hall: 2 VP for each production building
  • Palace: 1 VP for every 4 VP
  • Tiebreaker: most cards in hand + goods
3c. Chronology
  • Player 1 (governor) chooses role. All do action.
  • Player 2 chooses role. All do action.
  • Player 1 chooses role. All do action.
  • Put roles back. Player 2 becomes governor.
  • Governor's duties. More than 7 cards OK during the round.
3d. Game end
  • 12 buildings.
  • Specifically, end of builder phase.
  • Typically 11-14 rounds.
5. Exceptions (i.e. the buildings)
  • Library: Double your privilege (once per round).
  • Smithy: $1 discount on production buildings (not violet buildings).
  • Gold mine: In prospector phase, place top 4 cards face up. If different costs, take one.
  • Prefecture: In councillor phase, take 2 cards instead of 1.
  • Archive: In councillor phase, can discard from hand. (Combine with Library to refresh 7 cards).
  • Quarry: $1 discount on violet buildings.
  • Carpenter: After building a violet building, draw a card.
  • Poor house: After building a building, if you only have 1 card or no cards, draw a card.
  • Black market: Use up to 2 goods to help pay for a building.
  • Aqueduct: Produce 1 additional good.
  • Trading post: Sell 1 additional good.
  • Well: If produce 2 or more goods, draw a card.
  • Market hall: If sell 1 or more goods, draw a card.
  • Market stand: If sell 2 or more goods, draw a card.
  • Crane: Build on top of a building, using the old building for a discount. The old building is destroyed (not part of discount if you use crane again). Any goods are destroyed. Chapel cards preserved.
  • Tower: Hand limit 12 instead of 7.
  • Chapel: put 1 card under (governor phase)
  • Monuments: Used with Triumphal Arch.
  • Triumphal Arch: for 1, 2, 3 monuments: 4, 6, 8 VP
  • Guild Hall: 2 VP for each production building
  • Palace: 1 VP for every 4 VP
  • Tiebreaker: most cards in hand + goods

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

"The time will come when all toil and trouble will cease: everything temporal is short lived and of little consequence." [Imitation, ch. 47]

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Standing on the dock at Swan Lake

Standing on the dock at Swan Lake
The journey here I have forgotten
Consumed as I was by thoughts,
Thoughts, too much thinking.
And as I have lived, the lake too has grown,
Aged, dignified, quiet.
On this dock, fresh wood has replaced the rotten
But let us not forget
How well the old had served us.

I live a stone's throw from the lake
The lake I hardly visit
And today when I come it is unrecognizable, beautiful
Morning mists and lush, verdant greens;
Still green flecks make a matrix in the waters,
Noisy ripples advance their centres toward me.
There is life beneath.

Suddenly I have the urge to throw this palm pilot into the lake
To fling it far and high, making an arc
Til it meet its end with a ceremonious splash.

Today I received a letter from the future

Today I received a letter from the future,
On a Sunday, a letter about Monday,
My shoulders drooped, my stomach tightened,
A reaction to the reminder of the whirlwind.
"Let the day's evil suffice for the day."

I tried to lose myself in games and amusements
Tried to forget the future.
My gut hardened.
"Let the day's evil suffice for the day."

And so I was forcibly reminded
Of the knife edge between pleasure and pain
The thin slice of air
Between the diversion and that from which we divert ourselves.
That the promise of security is a lie.
"Let the day's evil suffice for the day.".

Walking down Nelthorpe Street

Walking down Nelthorpe Street
The wind blows into my ears
And I can hear the ocean's tide in the trees
The ripple of the currents in the skies.
In the distance the tall oaks
Stand proud as they always have,
I wait for the silence to teach me what busy-ness will not.
It teaches me nothing, so I doze.

Homily at St. Andrew's Cathedral

* "my thoughts are not your thoughts"
* "to live is Christ, and to die is gain"
* "the last shall be first, and the first shall be last"

God's standard of forgiveness,
Not human standard of forgiveness.
This is how to prepare forthe reign of God.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Yee-haw! GTD Weekly Review complete

Clocking in at an hour and a half, I have completed my (painful) GTD Weekly Review!

I really dreaded the review when I was working through my own custom checklist. But I have found it a lot easier for some reason going through the Weekly Review checklist that David gives in his book, followed by whatever's left from my checklist. Something to do with the order of the checklist. Anyway, it works for me!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Tiredness creeps around the eyelids

Tiredness creeps around the eyelids
The body quietly revolts against industry
The horror, the despair of having nothing to do.
A voice calls, as from a distance
Accusing, pleading,
Praying that I would live this day worthily
And how would I begin?
I have been here many times before
Each time forgetting how beset to set out.
I lived today without consciousness
And now, to my dismay, it is already evening,
The cold regret of living without fixed purpose
Of allowing life to buffet me in its waves
Of offering it no resistance.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

On the web, there's only passion, words, and the presence of others [Small Pieces 171]

Sunday afternoon

Sunday afternoon
A vague, uncomfortable sense
That I have not lived the day well
Somehow squandered the sacred time
On newspapers
Now with the sun at an angle in the west
I hope to redeem the evening
With what?
Not with culinary delights
Nor making anything
No drawings or inventions, not tonight
But being still
Observing the breath

Father John's homily

* forgiveness from God is conditional on our forgiveness of others
* reflect on scripture and be grateful
* key is prayer + obedience


* Living for God
* Making things that make life wonderful
* Cherishing my family
* Random acts of kindness

Saturday morning 8:41

Saturday morning 8:41
The ferry sharply turns into Active Pass
The black, wrinkled waters look alien
To my computer-accustomed eyes.
Looking at the grassy brown banks
I reminisce of old camping days
Of campfires and music-making

At an early hour
The brain is unsure whether to wake or sleep
The mind confused as to how to spend this hour profitably
The heart tired and forlorn
The body startled by a sound

I read today
That only the one who cares neither to please nor displease
Is at peace
This teaching is too hard
Who can bear it?

The day questions me
How will you spend the morning
What plans have you for the afternoon
Will you spend the evening profitably?

The black seas crinkle like crumpled paper
The sky spits
The air swirls about me with cold
And so I move indoors

Saturday is supposed to be for leisure
For pleasure, for Saturday morning cartoons
Reading the front page with a cappucino in hand
Then why do I feel dread?

I wish to remain awake
To be conscious of the feel of the ground
Senses not dulled by the pleasure of a chocolate bar
But the consequence of mental acuity
Is the lucid sameness of it all
We realize that experience is not as stimulating as we had hoped

Slowly the faraway banks bob up and down
I am to meet someone not seen in years
A mixture of anticipation and dread.

"Our most important constructions are not the pages we put up or the stories we tell or the poems we record or the videos we post. Far more important is the way we reinvent what it means to be together as human beings." [Small Pieces 195]

"The Web's movement is toward human authenticity." [Small Pieces 191]

Trying jEdit instead of XEmacs for a while

After using XEmacs as my text editor for a couple of years, I'm going to try jEdit for a little while. I've heard so many good things about it.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Victor Frankl

Reading Victor Frankl's gripping account of suffering in the concentration camps, and how some people somehow managed to rise abo their suffering. Good lessons to be learned. The book is called "Man's Search For Meaning", and there are some copies in the library.

Aww yeeeah, GTD review complete, baby

Hoo boy, two hours of mental pain: just finished my GTD weekly review. w00t!

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Father John's homily, St. Andrew's Cathedral

* doing things out of love vs out of duty

Today I took a tour of my hometown

Today I took a tour of my hometown
What struck me most
Were the buildings -- how their use had changed
Far from the intent of those who built them
The fashionable Bank of Montreal
Now an Irish pub
Carnegie's magnificent public library
Now government offices, and space for rent.
Stately St. Ann's Academy
Government offices.
Proud, imposing Metropolitan Methodist
Now a theatre.

And the house where you live
In a century others will inhabit
Two centuries, demolished and rebuilt
Three centuries, a lawyer's office or public market.

From my afternoon nap I awake

From my afternoon nap I awake
Outside the chattering leaves flicker as the
Sun darts in and out of clouds
The brain fog gradually lifts
Clarity returns
Daylight intensifies and the
Question of what to do next
That terrible, powerful question
Which must be asked when you have a free hour.
I could walk
Or write letters
Or sillily fret about what to choose
Call distant friends
Write verse.

Let the girls at the cashiers chat

Let the girls at the cashiers chat
And do not interrupt them
It is Sunday, let them stop and rest
From their work
Return in a few minutes to see if they have
Resumed from their leisure
Stop a while yourself
And remember the reason for this day

If you sit quietly

If you sit quietly
And lose yourself in the sights before you
You will hear the breath of the refrigerator
The eternal inhale and hum
And if you are looking outside, you will see
Trees you had long forgotten
You will notice the pleasing forms of new trees
And the birds making pleasant patterns
In the sky

Saturday, September 03, 2005


In the silence
In the stillness, only the clock ticks, unwelcome
Love the emptiness
Love the nothingness
Where nothing separates you and reality
Reality not padded with noises or pictures
Reality in all its frightening majesty
In this humble stillness, quietly eat.

Bored bored bored

Bored bored bored
Understimulated, needing
Constant stimulation, but I'll
Not turn the TV on
Nor read a novel tonight, I shall
Sit in
Silence and

Yay! GTD Weekly Review Complete!

Clocking in at 3 hours (7PM-9:59PM), my GTD weekly review is now complete. Phew! A weight has definitely been lifted from my chest. But the weekly review was painful, as it always is, consuming a great deal of mental energy.

Sunny and warm

Sunny and warm
The smells of childhood schooltime
The smells of carefree and play
Longing for those days
It's September school weather
The sunlight triggers nostalgia
The light, which I so rarely see
Being indoors most of the time.
Crackly tan leaves
The leaves that remind you of school-days
The smell of leaves and sunlight
The smell of algebra and equations
The heat beating on your forehead
In your hometown.

And it gets a little hot
The dull thud of reality sounds in the distance
And in the heart

Labour Day weekend, and what shall I do?
Three blessed days off, and how shall I spend them?
How to rest, without dissipation,
Exploration without idleness
Stimulation without shallowness
And yet, I enjoy this pleasant idleness
Though conscience warns against wasting time.