In the modern age of watching old television programs on Hulu and killing people all over the world via Xbox 360, the idea of sitting around a table playing board games seems downright antiquated. I was surprised, then, when some of my friends suggested meeting for a game of the classic strategy game Risk. To clarify: They weren’t talking about an online version or an iPhone app, but the actual, physical game.
After months of planning the fateful Risk day arrived, but lo and behold, several people cancelled at the last minute, and the game was aborted. Perhaps the idea of sitting around a table without wires or controllers was too ‘Amish’ for them. The survivors, Dan Dominguez, Karl Hess and I decided to play Scrabble instead.
What surprised me most wasn’t that Dan won handily and Karl lost (although it was surprising), but that it was actually a great time. I figured we would play a quick game and then decide to go watch football at a bar, but the game stretched on, and we talked about a variety of subjects, primarily dude-related. We learned that Dan hates James Bond, and Karl hates Dan for it, and we learned that both Dan and Karl think (not thought) Gambit was a cool X-Men character.
The three of us have agreed to a rematch soon, so Karl can avenge his brain’s honor, and we can continue discussing the finer aspects of Robocop, Kurt Vonnegut books, and everything we hate about stand-up comedy.
Got an idea for Mr. Old Fashioned to try out? Email it to me at lachomps at gmail dot com. Thanks!
Mr. Old Fashioned.
As an avid bike rider I have long held the belief that riding a bike is truly the way to travel through a large city, but I didn’t expect that this experiment would be my first on Mr. Old Fashioned. As luck would have it, the experiment set itself up perfectly. I made plans to meet my friend Dan Dominguez across town (‘town’ being the bustling megalopolis of L.A. at rush hour) for dinner. The only problem was that I was on my bike and he was driving.
Dan had no idea he was part of the experiment, because I didn’t want him to drive particularly fast in an effort to win. The locations were just right for the experiment: The Hollywood Improv in West Hollywood to Mako restaurant in Los Feliz. 5.5 miles, and taking a highway isn’t even an option headed that way. It would be car vs. bike in street traffic, starting at 5:15 in the evening.
So, obviously we can all agree that cars are faster than bikes. You have to really, really push to hit 30 MPH on a bike, and you aren’t going to sustain that for 5.5 miles. So where is the advantage for the bicycle? Well, the first advantage is perhaps the most unfair: I can run stop signs and lights. “But wait, no fair,” you cry out! To me it is fair. Think of the HOV lane on the highway, which allows ‘clean air’ vehicles to drive in it, since they’re doing their part for the environment. Where’s my special lane in L.A? So the trade-off for me putting my ass in harm’s way for air quality is taking the option of sneaking through lights when it’s safe.
The second advantage is that when traffic is stacked up at a light or stop sign, I can roll up past all the waiting cars to reach the intersection. Another advantage is that when a road is closed, I can ride up on the sidewalk to get through (also illegal).
The result? I honestly expected Dan to win. It usually takes me about 30-40 minutes to complete that distance, but when I peeked into the restaurant- no Dan. Perhaps 30 seconds later he ran up, and confessed that he had just arrived! He also admitted to trying to get there as quickly as possibly (including running from where he parked to the restaurant). So, there you have it: in rush hour, a bike can beat a car across L.A. Ergo, since L.A. is in a continual state of rush hour, a bike is better. Hey, I already knew that!