Monday, March 30, 2009

The New 30-Something Teens

They say that 30 is the new 20 and 40 is the new 30; but how do you explain 35 year old+ women interested in things that were orginally designed for teenagers?

Yesterday, I sat on the couch almost the entire day engrossed in the vampire novel by Stephenie Meyer called "Twilight". No doubt mothers with preteen and teenage daugthers are familiar with the series (and the subsequent movie), but I am 39 with very young children who know nothing of this series. I know about these books because all of my 30-something year old friends keep talking about how they stayed up all night to read a 500 page book. I have friends exchanging "flair" on Facebook (another teen phenomena taken over by the old people) that reads "Edward Cullen is my vampire boyfriend" or "Bella Swan wannabe!" What's going on?

I was a bit skeptical of the book since it dealt with a subject I tend to shy away from, but the story is very engaging, easy to read, and deals with the dual nature of everyone's personality. Nothing bloody, gory or sexually graphics happens in the story making it acceptable for teenagers (and their 60 year old grandmothers) to read. Heck, my mother has a copy waiting in the wings to read!

So, I am patiently waiting for Wednesday when a friend will be loaning me her copy of the sequel. I can't wait to find out what happens in the next story! It's totally tubular!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Mad About Scrabble Beta

“God grant me the serenity to accept the words I cannot change, the courage to play the tiles I can, and the wisdom to use the triple word score.”

This quote is known as the Scrabble Serenity Prayer and sums up my latest obsession – Facebook’s Scrabble Beta. I love being able to play Scrabble with total strangers or good friends at my leisure. Sometimes a game lasts an entire week. I have convinced myself that at age 39 I need to keep my mind agile – that’s why I play 3 or 4 games at a time. Yeah right! I play for the competition and the friendly banter and complaining that goes along with Scrabble.

Nothing beats playing the Z on a triple word score or discovering that a word you were just playing around with is really a word!! Which brings me to an interesting phenomena – I haven’t heard of half the words I play. Scrabble Beta has a wonderful built in dictionary that allows you to “test” a word before playing the word. For instance, do you know what QANAT means? I sure don’t, but it’s a great word to play when you don’t have a U for your Q. How about the word KEITLOA? Someone played this one in a game against me – I am convinced this person is either an English professor or has found a really good word generator. Did you know PLOTZ is a word? According to it means to collapse or faint, as from surprise, excitement, or exhaustion. That’s what happened to my friend, Chris, when she played this word in a recent game on a double word score.

In addition to the excitement of the game there are also those irritants that come with Scrabble. There are no two-letter C or two-letter V words which makes it hard to build a word underneath another word ( a great way to score big with 1 point letters). I am thinking about petitioning Webster’s about making VA a word just so I’ll have some options. Then there are the times when you play a few letters and you pick them right back up again from the “bag”. Or when your letters start singing “Old MacDonald” – EIEIO!

The coup de grace in Scrabble is when you are down by 75 and you swap all of your letters and end up spelling a great word like GIGANTIC which uses all of your letters (a 50 point bonus). Wasn’t that a great move, Dad? Of course, he beat me anyway.

By the way a QANAT is a gently sloping underground tunnel for irrigation purposes
and KEITLOA are a variety of the black rhinoceros having the posterior horn equal to or longer than the anterior horn. Who knew? Who cares – they pay off big in Scrabble!

Criss Cross