What we love chooses us

San Diego clubs: Star Wars, Mensa, mahjongg, go, chess, crosswords, cars, guns, bingo, gardening, stamp-collecting, dungeons and dragons

Mind Game Everett Boyer, a twenty-four-year-old computer programmer, controls a character of some renown in San Diego, the powerful Elrond. (The character appears originally in Tolkien’s The Hobbit.) This blond and sturdy elf has acquired ...

Rack 'Em, Dan-O

Blacks bank it, Asians one-pocket it

Morse and I sit down with Manaole and Netter, who are discussing one-pocket pool. "It's the chess of pool," Manaole says, "because you have to put your opponent in trouble to gain an advantage."

Drunks and Geeks

The womenizer story

“Once you’ve joined a club like this, you don’t want to play kitchen Scrabble with your family. I’m one of the weaker players here. At home, my daughter says she doesn’t like playing with me.”

“Mah” means flax plant, "jongg" means sparrow

Not an old ladies' game

“I knew that playing mahj would be a great way to meet new people… They’re catching on and getting faster,” she says of her students. “But it’s not easy: one gal used to come with a bottle of aspirin.”

Out Goes the TV, In Comes the Train

Dad railroads his TV-addicts

Some of the fondest memories I have of time spent with my father were around a Lionel three-rail train he bought used and brought home in a big cardboard box. The track was hard to fit together.

Hard-core chess fiends love Saturdays

For people who like to solve problems

The club boasts “virtually all the strongest players in San Diego County,” says Saponara, “including one of the best players in the United States” — 41-year-old Cyrus Lakdawala. “But we have players at every other level..”

San Diego's suspicious and cautious stamp-collecting subculture

David Lehman writes poem on Coronado beach for local collector

The artist responsible for these philatelic collages, Teri Hoefer, is a 25-year-old SDSU student who also plays electric violin for a rock-and-roll band called Go Go Go Airheart, or sometimes Go Go Go Versus Airheart.

Quilts of Silence: Hands All Around, Courthouse Steps, Tumbling Blocks, Joseph's Coat

Feathered world without end

The names of quilts are like children’s games that are played with a loop of string: Feathered World without End, Hands All Around, Courthouse Steps, Tumbling Blocks, Joseph’s Coat. Some quilters, including Reggie, know the names at a glance.

Secret Gardens in East San Diego, East County, University Heights, Rancho Santa Fe

What we love chooses us

"My granddaughter and I made a 6-foot-by-6-foot sunflower house and then put morning glories across the top. My other grandchild has a tepee of red scarlet runner beans, those little pumpkins, and gourds."

Drag-racing from Vons at Balboa and Genesee

Saturday night Is for sleepers

From the freeway a half-mile across on the other side of Rose Canyon, it must look like a muscle car convention in the glare of the floodlit parking lot. Someone says that the security cops have blinders on.

We drove into the In-ko-pah Mountains to shoot

The great irony of guns as a way of life

I was in back with Wil and Rudy and Rudy’s two boys. Wil and I had just graduated from UCSD some months ago. Rudy has never been to college, but he had been in the army.

The elderly gents at El Cajon Boulevard's Ace'e Duce'e

"The retired rich don’t like us”

"We thought it was the bingo parlors out on the Indian reservations cutting into our business. For a while they were getting 1500 people a night out there. Now I’ve heard their business is way ofF.”

Sycuan Indians invite you for bingo to Harbison Canyon

Unemployment has been erased

There’s a tension in the bus as it draws nearer to California Gold. Linda takes the bus microphone and further stimulates the crowd. “Is everyone feelin’ lucky tonight?” she yells. “Yes!” they yell back.

Judith Moore: you never need to apologize for crossword puzzles

Lost in spaces

I have been given three letters for “small dog” and entered “pup” instead of “pug,” or when given four letters for “walk heavily,” I have disastrously chosen “plod” rather than “slog.” And then “Pindar” rather than “Sappho” for a six-letter Greek poet.

San Diego Mensa used to have a reputation as a bunch of eggheads

If I only had a brain

“I’ve just received notice this morning that we’re now the sixth largest chapter in the country; we just overtook Philadelphia. Some people say it’s easy to overtake Philadelphia, but it took us a long time.”

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