Sunday, September 24, 2006

Crazy Eights and the Origins of "moonfever0"

Crazy Eights Playing Cards by Eeboo Crazy Faces BIG Playing Cards by Eeboo

Just recently, Adam has become obsessed with playing cards. Of course, this only proves to delight his mom, who can be quite obsessed herself (Doug would tend to say that is an understatement). His favorite game is Crazy Eights, which of course was my favorite game as a child as well. While perusing for a cool crazy eights cards (left), I saw these cool crazy faces cards from Saxton Freymann (right). Dova would love them, although I am not willing to fork over $7 for something that she will instantly lose. 

So for those of you who don't know the story behind the name, moonfever0, here it is. In the  not so distant past, I was part of a lunchtime card playing group at my last company. We started by playing cribbage, then moved on to hearts, solo whist and spades. It sounds like a friendly civilized affair but in reality it was often not. We were completely engrossed in our role playing: gloating, laughing, taunting, card throwing, name calling, yelling, cutthroat, hysteria, etc. After the games, we had play-by-play coverage and a running spreadsheet with standings and 3-D charts. Here is one that I randomly pulled up on a (rather benign) hearts game:
A thoughtful 11 hands this lunchtime (in an all but deserted kitchen) with Angela, John and The New Claire as the three players.

The first hand saw TNC (for short) amusing herself at our expense by not mooning with the A, K, Q and J of hearts and The Queen. Having forced all the hearts, she played The Queen knowing that one of us would have to take it to save the day. I graciously obliged to the, now expected, waves of laughter and hilarity.

In the third hand, TNC showed another new obnoxious trait, i.e. holding onto The Queen and choosing who to dump it on (in this case me). After throwing junk on several of Angela's tricks, she was forced to concede I was not going to eat it, and reluctantly gave it to Angela (less laughter, but still some).

In the fourth, Angela got The Fever, and aimed for the prize of first-to-moon-this-season. But TNC held onto a high diamond, taking the trick and a heart discard from me for a 25:1 split
(gloating laughter).

In the next hand I got 18 points, which prompted the Quote of the Game "Oh, look! You got 18 points and I've got 18 points." from TNC (who had 18 in total, laugh, laugh, laugh).

In the next hand, TNC got 4 points, "the highest I've got so far!" (laugh, gloat, laugh, laugh and more gloat). Which was true, as she had 3, 0, 1, 1, and 4 so far. The score was a miserable 57, 77, 22.

Things perked up towards the end of the game, though, with TNC picking up 20 and 16 points in quick succession (not so much laughter) to bring her score up to 58. But then Angela ate 23 points twice with appalling hands to put her way out in front.

TNC took 23 points in the last hand (a little laughter) to approach the middle, but still ending negative on average.

The scoreboard shows Angela taking the lead, with TNC falling back into second, and John heading on further down into the negative numbers.

No moons to anyone yet.

A final thank-you is due to Doug who, against great odds and many setbacks, keeps us going with pizza and calzones. Without his support, we would go hungry.
Hey, that's my Doug!! Thanks for the pizza (I probably didn't thank him at the time because I was too engrossed). Notice that he was NOT playing in our group. That's probably why we're still married. So notice in the blue text, I got "the fever", as in the rush to shoot the moon. When you shoot the moon, you can either go back 26 points or take zero and give the rest of the players 26 points, depending on where you are in the game. So my name is simply a conglomeration of moon fever and 0 points. Besides, being a software engineer, everything must be zero-based as well. Here is one of our spreadsheets where I finally made second place in Solo Whist (John basically lorded over us, the bum, plus he was my boss to boot).



The card playing days ended after Adam was born and I would go nurse him at lunch instead of playing. It had been going downhill before that because I suffered from "pregnancy brain" and could not count cards for the life of me. Nowadays, I get a game of cribbage once in a while, but it has been ages since I've had a good game of hearts (did I mention late night games until 5am?). Adam is dying to play cribbage, but he can't quite add well enough, being in kindergarten!

1 comment :

-Quentin said...

Spreadsheets......"play by play commentary"....yikes,this sounds like more than a simple and pleasant lunchtime playing activity....it sounds like real serious business. (and who were the consumers of these "play by play" write-ups....other card players...bookies perhaps?)

I'd have to say that I've played cards a fair number of times myself...starting way back when I worked at the golf course in high school. (golfers like to gamble on anything and everything, and so cards just naturally fits that atmosphere)

I'm terrible at most games, and play mostly for the social connection with other humans.

In fact, I played cribbage for the first time while on jury duty last year....I only played about 5 games, and believe it or not I won every one. But that was more likely my luck showing and not so much my skill or incredible interest in the game. (like I said, I liked the social connection....and it was darn boring in the room between witnesses)

The Moonfever0 name is one I would have NEVER figured out without this explanation....was this self-named, or was there a play by play "color commentator" who labeled you with it perhaps? (who knows....why not a whole production crew behind the scenes too!)

You said Doug wasn't playing in "your group"....but this implies he was playing in another. But how could he be given his Calzone and Pizza supply business....or was that actually the companies main business? (or was that really card playing, with engineering being done as a side?)

Ok...I'm going off the deep end....probably tired. It does sound fun.

A good lesson at any rate.

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