A few observations from a day earlier this week.

I went to LA Fitness for a basketball game. They have some kind of stair climbing machines they place right in front of the window. It’s sometimes distracting when attractive women are using them, and you try to throw the ball to some idiot on your team that is just watching them climb.

One woman looked like she was struggling hard on the machine, and it got me thinking. I paid $99 to join, and $30 a month. I assume she paid a similar price, but why? Can’t she just go find stairs somewhere for free? If you’re going to do a fitness place, use the machines you don’t have at home, or can’t just find at any mall.

Another woman, in her late 30s, climbed onto the machine. She was wearing sweatpants that said “Juicy” on the butt, and a shirt that said something sexually suggestive. I felt like telling her she looked moronic.

I then did something moronic. I went to meet a friend at Wings N Things for lunch (so much for those calories I just burned off on the courts).

As I waited in line, I noticed the gumball machines. They all required quarters. I wondered why they didn’t have at least one that took other change. Sure, I remember a time when I was a little kid, that they had machines that took pennies. I understand that wouldn’t be profitable. And I don’t want to turn into my grandmother, who thought this $2.75 mud pie I got at a restaurant, was “an outrageous price to pay for ice cream!”

But, you’d think they’d have a machine that takes dimes. The one that has five stale Skittles, perhaps. To me, it just makes good business sense (cents). Parents wouldn’t mind throwing a dime at their kids to put in those machines; which probably have more germs where the kids put their hands, than any of those hotels they use the black lights on in undercover shows.

There was a huge four foot gumball machine. Now, talk about value for your quarter. You get a gumball the size of a softball, and you get to watch it thru the glass as it rolls down.

There were SpongeBob Squarepants stickers for $.50. Next to that, there were these toys called “Homies”. I’m not making this up. They were little characters, that all looked like gangstas. A guy with chains around his neck, throwing his arms in the air. I have no clue what parents would let their kids buy these.

Later that evening, I took my dog to a park on Adams Avenue. A “pro life” group was setting up to do some kind of protest. Police drove up and were checking things out. A truck with Port-a-Potties drove up onto the grass.

The weirdest thing was this huge poster they pinned up. It had a hangar on it, with a circle around it, and a line crossing it out.

Really? This is the logo they came up with? C’mon! Is it 1938? This seems like a poster that would’ve been more appropriate hanging in Joan Crawfords closet.

Later in the evening, it was game night with some friends. We all went with Scattegories, one of the best games around.

Everyone has the same card, giving you a list of things: name an author, a movie title, breakfast food…and a letter is rolled. Everyone uses the same letter, to come up with an item in each category. If you picked one that someone else had, neither of you get a point. So you go for the obscure, but not so obscure that nobody knows it. If they don’t, you don’t get a point.

Well, my group of friends always has some interesting debates during this. It stems from the two different camps interpreting the rules. The rules state that if you’re being “clever” that counts. So, if the category is “a type of sandwich” and the letter is “k” – you could write “knuckle”.

We had a woman once that had some answers that we didn’t want to let fly. For a weapon, the letter was “g”. She put “glock gun” (this would give her two points, for using the letter twice; Marilyn Monroe, Mickey Mantle, and names like that are valuable in this game, but Hugh Hefner cost me, when someone else used that). Anyway, I claimed that “glock” is a type of gun, and saying “glock gun” is like saying you drive a “Mustang car.” I was voted down. It seems, people want to be nice and let others slide with their answers. But it didn’t fly when the same woman wanted to use “box” for “things found in the desert.” She claimed that you could drive out to any desert, and you’d probably see a few boxes there. We all argued that, using that logic, you could name anything, and claim that at one time or another, it’s been out in the desert.

We had a debate when one woman wrote “racing” for a sport. I had “roller derby”. Someone had racquetball, two had rugby. But one guy didn’t want to let “racing” be accepted. He said “You’d have to name a specific kind of race.” I told him that it didn’t matter. He said “Racing is an event, not a sport.” I said “Is it a ‘sporting event’?” He smiled, but said the answer shouldn’t be allowed. But we did as we always do, went with the majority. And “racing” stayed. When I wrote “rice” for an “ethnic food” that was voted down. When I wrote “Rattlesnake!” for things you shout – that was also voted down. I’m not sure why. I was going to write “rape!” or “Run!” But, I figured nobody else would write “rattlesnake”. The group said you don’t yell that, and I argued “If one is at your hiking partners foot, I’m guessing you would.”

I then asked him why, when the category was “toys” he put “Risk”. I said “Using your logic…I’ll ask…isn’t Risk a board game? That’s not a toy. Sure, you can play with board games, the way kids play with toys. But it’s not a specific toy. It would be in a game category, not a toy one.”

He argued. And this is exactly why I hate debating. Don’t get me wrong, I love nothing more than a healthy argument; even if I end up being wrong. The only problem is…I’ll admit when I’m wrong, or if someone brings a good point to the table. Others don’t seem to do that.

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KarenBP Dec. 3, 2009 @ 10:02 p.m.

i prefer one-on-one games with friends... then you only have to "debate" each other... know what i mean?

My shorts say "JEWCY"

i belong to the YMCA and it comes in handy to use the treadmill there when the weather is inclement as it sometimes (though rarely) is here in San Diego...


redsoxfan Dec. 4, 2009 @ 12:56 a.m.

It's kinda funny, but I joined a gym here in Brussels and I have yet to see a stair climbing machine? And this is a BIG gym....especially for Europeans...but I agree with you about paying for something you can do for free, like climbing stairs. Now, as you may know, I run a lot. But 6 months of the year here, its dreary, wet, and cold. Therefore, in order to run during the winter, I run indoors on a treadmill. Which, anything more than 10km (6.2 miles) is quite monotonous....so that's my limit, 10km. The other time of the year, I am outdoors running in the city.

I've never played 'Scattergories', but agree with some of your logic. Your group should try 'Balderdash'. Similar concept where you get a category, like an odd word, then you or your team has to make up a definition for that word, write it down, then put it in a bowl. The reader of the question, which rotates in turn, is ineligible for points as they read. That person then reads aloud each answer to the group, and then each person/team must decide which answer is correct. The reader also submits the real answer with the fake ones. You earn points if other people vote your answer as being correct, and you can even vote for yourself in an attempt to prompt others to vote for yours....Try it...there is no debating, but the answers people make up are usually quite hilarious.... :-)


Josh Board Dec. 4, 2009 @ 1:05 a.m.

Jewcy. That's funny.

And Redsox, I understand that doing that stuff in the gym is a lot more motivating, too. Anyone can go out and jog. For free. But doing it in a gym (with the TVs), and other people watching and doing it, inspires you to probably go all out. Or at least put more effort than if you ran in your own neighborhood. Obviously, weather in SD is not a problem.

I guess I only object to the stair machines. They look brutal.


redsoxfan Dec. 4, 2009 @ 2:53 a.m.

Sorry KarenBP, "Jewcy" IS funny!! :-)

I think the hardest part about going to the gym is getting motivated to go! With me, I go home from work, then I have to immediately change into workout clothes or I lose motivation to go.

On the contrary, the gym is situated on one of the largest university campuses in Brussels...which means the eye candy is usually pretty good...


rickeysays Dec. 5, 2009 @ 2:35 p.m.

I can't believe they didn't think rice was an ethnic food. Does that mean a burrito isn't either?


David Dodd Dec. 5, 2009 @ 5:19 p.m.

I dunno, Ricky. The burrito is Mexican in origin, so it's ethnic. Rice is eaten all over the world, it's sort of part of most ethnicities. "Rice pilaf", on the other hand, is ethnic, from Italy.

On the other hand, I would have voted down racing as well. There are too many distinctly different types of racing to make racing a sport. Horse racing is different from auto racing. A word like "rowing", on the other hand, I would vote in favor of because even though there are divisions within the sport, the sport is basically not different within the divisions.


Josh Board Dec. 6, 2009 @ 11:02 a.m.

I think voting down "racing" under a sport category, is just way too hardcore an interpretation of the rules.

And sure, rice can be eaten with American dishes and it's eaten all over the world. But I think it certainly fits in an "ethnic food" category.

But the strange thing about people playing these games is this. I sometimes give someone a hard time about an answer they put, but then later if I did something similar, I might say "No, my answer shouldn't work. It's no different than when you used..."

Other people, though, their instinct is to just argue and try for their answer to be accepted, even if it doesn't fit the rules of the game. And if they'd argue the exact opposite if it was their opponent trying to use a similar answer.


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