Writer’s strike got me! Decorating trees, Board gaming comments



The writer’s strike, strikes again! On Tuesday we found out that an entire crew was sent off into the limbo that is hiatus. That is to say, they got laid off that day. Director Bob Anderson didn’t have any more work to give them and they had finished all they could. So the studio didn’t have any other choice but to put them on temporary hiatus until the strike is over.


Funny thing is, I found this out in a crew meeting that was called to tell us that our crew was going on hiatus next Tuesday when we finish our animatic. That right, you read right, after Tuesday of next week, I no longer have a job until the writer’s strike is over. I feel very helpless. I don’t know how long the strike is going to last. I was hoping this wouldn’t happen. I was sort of anticipating this but now that it’s happened, it’s really messed up. We were told we would be able to come back a week after the strike was over but when will that be? How will I be able to pay the bills? There is a lot of things going through my head about what I might be able to do about this. I’ll keep you posted. By next week, depending on what happens with Bongo comics, I may or may not make a few additions to this site. I’m definitely going to add a Pay Pal donations button as soon as I can. One thing that would help is, if you buy a board game or book or something that you see at this site, please do so through this site. Amazon will give me four percent of the purchase for being the “middle man” . In fact, one of the things I was thinking of doing is adding an Amazon store to the site. There, you would be able to buy some of the comics I’ve worked on as well as other things. What do you think? Do you have any ideas?


Please pray for us and pray the strike ends soon. Thanks and Pax Christi.




My wife and I decided to put up an Advent/Christmas tree up this weekend (I called it “Advent/Christmas” since it’s the Advent season right now, not the Christmas season. Technically, Christmas season doesn’t start until the twenty fifth of December and ends on the Feast of the Epiphany, January sixth) I wasn’t really going to put up a tree. I haven’t put up a tree since I moved out of my parents place, but now that I have a one year old daughter (The Munchkin), I thought it would be nice to do something big and visual for her for the Holidays. That way, she could see that there was something different going on this time of year. Then, maybe next year she will recognize that it’s happening again (my Nativity scene, besides being tiny, is packed up somewhere and I can’t seem to find it). I told my wife my idea and she agreed. We then thought it would be nice to invite people over to help do it so the baby saw it as an event. Problem was that it was a bit last minute so everyone had prior engagements. We didn’t even bother asking my brother and his wife because we knew they had their own thing going on since it was their wedding anniversary weekend. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY GUYS!


Another problem came up when The Munchkin came down with a crazy fever early in the week because of her teething. She was miserable. I don’t know why but she’s getting the biggest teeth I’ve ever seen on a baby. They’re huge! They’re bigger than her FACE!

Baby with big teeth

Once they start coming out, she’s in crazy pain and her body reacts with a heavy fever. I mean she gets so hot you could fry an egg on her forehead.

Baby’s head so hot that you can fry an egg on it

To make matters worse, she also caught a cold. So she was coughing and sneezing and she had boogers all over her face.

Baby with boogers all over her face


It was awful. She didn’t want to eat or anything. We took care of her all week and I adjusted my work schedule to make sure I was able to do so. She had some really bad moments, poor baby.


By the time the tree decorating day came, the worst of the sickness had passed and she was almost her old happy self again. She still had a cold but the fever was gone and she began eating again. My parents were able to show up and some other friends told us they would be coming over also. Since they would not be able to arrive until later, we began the decorating. I put on some Christmas music (since I didn’t have any Advent music) and we began to decorate the tree. We had a fantastic time. There was only the five of us. It was a very intimate family moment. The Munchkin helped put up tree ornaments along with everyone else (And by helping “put up tree ornaments” I mean, The Munchkin would get a ornament and shove it into the tree as deep as she could so you couldn’t even see it anymore. She did this with quite a few and all of them in the same spot. They are now officially “lost” deep inside the tree.)

Tree ornaments lost inside a Christmas tree

We had a great time. Later, it turned out that everyone we invited was actually able to come. We had a good little party for The Munchkin and she had a good time, the way I wanted her too. I consider the night a great successes.


By the way, my parents, also celebrated an Anniversary this week. HAPPY ANNIVERSARY MOM ON POP!



Wow, I got quite a few long comments last post. I like it.Keep them coming.


Mike wrote:


Thanks Luis. No wonders involved, just hard work. I am sure you will say the same about your excellent work. Coincidentally, just yesterday I heard on the news that board games sales went up again here in Holland.


Hi Mike , that’s interesting that you heard on the news that board game sales went up over there in Holland. The fact that you heard anything at all about board games on any news channel or radio station is amazing to me. Here in the U.S., we have a very limited selection of board games to choose from at our large chain stores. The old classics (Monopoly, Risk, Scrabble, etc…) that have been around for the last 30 to 40 years (usually themed around the latest hot movie of the month) are pretty much the only things we can get unless you count the handful of new party games here and there. We actually have to go out to specialty board game stores (which I only know of three in all of Los Angeles) in order to get something different. The only other way is to order online. How is it in Holland?


Maria wrote:


I have to respond to the person who thinks board games are for kids. There’s really nothing to be done about that. There are just people who get it, and people who don’t, and the ones who don’t get board games probably never will.

I grew up playing all the classics, and I am glad to say that my kids love board games, too, and that’s really fun now that they are in college and finishing high school. Every once in a while I’ll hear one of them say they have a really cool friend, but they don’t like board games (like it’s a character flaw, LOL–well, it is!)

We are currently conducting a family experiment to see who can make the best “team” when playing games requiring some kind of intuitve communication (we really enjoy Cranium-type games). We’re actually trying to collect empirical data about our skills and how they complement each other. Maybe that’s going a bit too far, but hey, we’re having fun.


Maria, thank you for the response. Your family experiment sounds fascinating and fun. If anything, if just sounds like a darn good excuse to play games with the family. You’ve made gaming a “Meta game”.


I agree that it’s a character flaw when someone doesn’t like board games. It’s almost like their saying, “I’m too grown up for that kind of silly thing” Where’s your sense of good, clean, light hearted fun?!


Of course it’s possible that when someone brings up the topic of board games, they immediately think of Monopoly or Scrabble or some other classic. To be honest, if I was to be asked to play any of these games, I wouldn’t want to play them either. I’m not much on words and spelling, so I wouldn’t want to play Scrabble, even though it’s a fun game (I’d play Qwirkle though. Similar mechanics but with shapes and colors instead of letters), and Monopoly feels like work and it goes on forever. In fact any “Roll and Move ” game that doesn’t provide some sort of tricky decision making (Careers did this pretty well) is just plain dull. It’s like the game plays itself and your just there to roll the dice. Where is the fun in that? Monopoly is only fun when you actually start wheeling and dealing and if I want that kind of game, The Settlers of Catan pretty much provides that kind of interaction and fun from turn one. In the same way as the Cranium games have taken Parlor games , Party Games and board games and evolved them to a more wacky, crazy, fun experience. The other modern board games have taken board games and made them into something completely new.


I think that some people might be able to “get” board games, if only they were presented with the right one for them. Of course there are always the other kind of people who just refuse period but that’s their problem. I don’t know what kind of game your kids have presented to their cool friends but I know that the games that tend to really work well for me are The Settlers of Catan , Ticket to Ride , and Carcassonne . I don’t know if you own any of these. If you don’t, I highly recommend them, if you do, have your kids tried them on their friends? Did they still not like them? If they didn’t, maybe they are wargamers.


In any case I’m going to provide some links that might help anyone learn and familiarize themselves with some of these games:


How to play Settlers of Catan– this link goes to an interactive tutorial that explains how to play The Settlers of Catan .


Other Catan games– This link take you to the main page where you can click on other interactive tutorial of other Catan games.


How to play Ticket to Ride– This link take you to a six minute video at the Days of Wonder site that shows you how to play Ticket to Ride .


Carcassonne: The Discovery review and explanation– This link takes you to a video from “Board games with Scott” (It’s a really geeky video cast that explains some of the modern board games out there). This video explains Carcassonne: The Discovery , which is a Carcassonne variant. It will give you an idea of what the Carcassonne games are like.


By the way, if you don’t own these already, I highly recommend, Lord of the Rings by Reiner Knizia and Shadows over Camelot by Serge Laget and Bruno Cathala . They are both cooperative games (like Cranium Hoopla ). The Lord of the Rings game plays 2-5 players (6 with the Sauron expansion) and Shadows over Camelot plays 3-7 players. They are great games to play if everyone wants to be in one team a fight a common enemy, (namely the game). Maybe I’ll write more about these games some other time. For now I recommend you look them up on Board Game Geek . (By the way, love your blog).


Tao wrote:


Hi Luis,

Amusingly enough, Starlit Citadel is one of the few board game store sponsors to his site. I completely agree with you about his blog, I find it really interesting though sadly don’t have a huge amount of time to read it.

As for board games being for kids, I think in North America, there’s been a trend for board games to become more main stream. Certainly it seems that way especially when you compare it to 10 years ago or even 5.

I’ve never tried Civ the board game myself, though I hear a good translation of computer to video game is Age of Empire III. Definitely one I have to play soon.


Tao , Yehuda’s blog can be addicting once you start reading it. I’m glad you’re one of his sponsors.


As to the board games sales increasing, well, that sounds pretty cool. I wonder if word of mouth is getting around.


Age of Empires III: The Age of Discovery board game ROCKS! A while ago, my wife gave me most of the money to go get the game because the first Age of Empire games were some of her favorites and I sure wasn’t going to argue. I loved the game. This is strange of me to say because our first game wasn’t all that great. The game has a really steep learning curve, it’s rather long, and we got rules wrong. I didn’t necessarily have a fantastic time, yet thirty minutes after we finished I became completely obsessed with it. All I could do was think about it and what I would try doing next time I played. In fact, I wanted to play it again that night but it was way to late to play. I still want to play it again. I can’t wait to do so. I will put one disclaimer though. It doesn’t play like a real time strategy game at all. I haven’t played the Age of Empires III video game but I doubt it plays like the board game. Also I wouldn’t recommend it for the newbie board gamer since it’s a bit complicated for people not used to some of these game play mechanics. It throws a lot of them at you at once. It’s similar in complexity to Pillars of the Earth. Still, Age of Empires board game rocks!


Bill wrote:


Funny, I never thought the board game called “chess” was just for kids.


Hey Bill , Yehuda’s blog post took that into account. He wrote:



Board and card games used to be for adults; today, mainstream board games require no more brain than the average 3-6 year old can wield. Games like Sorry. Trouble. Monopoly. Most “games” are not even games but “activities”, such as Trivial Pursuit, Pictionary, etc… meant for breaking the ice at parties.

Mystifyingly enough, ask the same person if Chess or Bridge or Go are for children, and he will admit that they are for adults, but that he never thought to group them under the term “board game”. But Bridge and Chess require so much time to learn to play well, and who has that much time?


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