Mr. Sensitive

May 23, 2011

Risk Is Off

Filed under: Girls — lbej @ 14:09
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Beginning of Day 2:

Me – 18 territories, control of Africa, South America, Australia

Reagan – 14 territories, control of Asia

Jenny – 10 territories, strongest position in Europe

  • We open with my turn.  I drive up through Alaska and into Kamchatka, breaking Reagan’s hold on Asia.  “What happened to Rasia?” she laments.  Daddy happened is what.
  • Jenny attacks in North America, despite having no strategic reason to do so.  She is stretched thinly there by the end of her turn.
  • Reagan attacks in Kamchatka and is repelled.
  • On my turn, I roll up Jenny’s overextended armies in North America, reducing her to a lone holding in Eastern U.S.  I attack her there three times at the cost of six armies.  I wonder aloud if this is my Stalingrad.  It isn’t.
  • Jenny continues to ignore the obvious strategic imperative to consolidate Europe and tries to revenge herself against me in North America.  She fails.
  • Reagan slogs away in Kamchatka.
  • I complete the destruction of Jenny in North America and become master of the Western and Southern Hemispheres.  My empire is like a giant Pac-man preparing to chop down on Europe and Asia.  Let’s say Ms. Pac-man, because she’s more bad-ass.
  • Too late, Jenny discovers prudence and does not hurl her newly recruited armies against unassailable positions.  She has only six territories remaining.
  • Before Reagan’s turn, I gamely suggest Jenny agree to indissoluble political union with her sister, creating a Eurasian Empire to rival my own Ms. Pac-Land.  Much like the Reynaud government in 1940, she refuses.  Reagan invades Africa from the Middle East.  She is repulsed, but my losses are considerable.  Reagan is proving that she is a capable general.
  • On my turn, I gobble up Scandinavia and then send wave after wave of human fodder into Ural, to no avail.  It’s the gold armies that fail me.  My black armies are consistently better performers; it’s like the black troops are my German regulars and the golds are the Italians.  “I’m never sending any gold guys into Earl again!” I shout.  “What about black guys?” Reagan asks.  “Oh, Earl’s going to be full of black guys; just you wait.”  A turn later, Earl goes black.
  • Jenny takes a shot at North Africa for no reason whatsoever.  She loses four armies and now we are all tired.  We extend the game to a third day.

Beginning of Day 3:

Me – 28 territories, control of Africa, South America, Australia, North America

Reagan – 10 territories, all in Asia

Jenny – 4 territories, all in Europe

  • Jenny declares that she goes first on the third day, which I point out is a load of crap since she went last on Day Two.  She presses this indefensible position with the same misdirected courage she has shown throughout our game.  She grumpily hands the dice to Reagan.
  • Reagan attacks Earl once again.  Amazingly, she clears out 10 armies over the course of six rolls.  Jenny, impressed but also bored, turns over her European holdings and command of her remaining forces to Reagan.  She goes upstairs to re-watch Smallville.
  • Reagan’s new empire now stretches across most of Asia and a large portion of Europe.  She holds 15 territories, up from 10 at the beginning of the day.  But all she cares about is that she gets Jenny’s armies, and so she gets to play with four colors instead of two.
  • I load up on goldies in Australia and land troops in Siam.  I clear it and wipe out Reagan’s armies in China as well.  I take Iceland and fortify.
  • Reagan annihilates an eight-army garrison in China.  She is better than I am, especially when she’s fighting goldies, but the numbers are beginning to tell.  I’m adding more than 20 armies every turn and they’re all massing in southern Asia and along the perimeter of Europe.  Reagan has also declared that she’s no longer going to fortify at the end of her turn because “fortifying’s stupid.”
  • Now I am focused on my ancestral homeland, Europe.  My attempts to break German resistance with repeated assaults across the Rhine from France end in failure.  Reagan is able to replenish the armies she loses, but only just.  Eventually, I make like Gustavus Adolphus and invade Germany from the north.  It takes three more turns, but Europe falls.
  • Reagan continues to fight bravely, sometimes attacking one against twenty.  I am pressing her from the west and from the south.  I retake China and Reagan is unable to recapture any further losses.  She refuses to yield, but soon I have driven her back to her last redoubt on the islands of Japan.  She holds out there for two turns, and then it is over.

What does it all mean?  I draw two conclusions about the girls: first, they are both devotees of l’offensive à outrance, and Maréchal Foch would have been as proud as I am; and second, while they cannot be united by need or opportunity, they will come together if one or the other of them is bored enough.

May 21, 2011

I’m Going To Stop Asking

Filed under: Girls — lbej @ 12:12

Reagan is supposed to go to a birthday party today and she’s being picked up by the birthday girl’s Mom.  I have been trying to move Reagan along the path toward preparation for the last hour, with mixed results.  But like everyone else, I am useful for some things and not for others.  Thinking independently about what little girls need to do to prepare for little girl parties is not one of my functional features.  I have the little girl basics covered: clothes, shoes, appropriate clothes and shoes.  Beyond that I have a go-to tactic that I call accelerated forgetting.  I say to Reagan, alright, you’re going out the door on the way to the party–what did you forget?  I try to get her in the proper state of mind to go ahead and forget what she’s going to forget.  But it didn’t work today.  We had about two minutes to pickup time and I tried once more.

Me:  You’re ready to walk out the door right now? 

Reagan:  Yep.

Me:  You haven’t forgotten anything?

Reagan:  Nope.

Me:  [disconcerted pause]  Were you supposed to bring a birthday present to the birthday party?

Reagan:  Yep.

Me:  So you just decided not to?

Reagan:  I should get the birthday present.

Me:  You really should.

Reagan:  [runs into the kitchen to grab the present]  I didn’t wrap it.

Me:  Too late now.

Just then the lady rang the door bell to collect Reagan.  Reagan grabbed the present and stuffed the unwrapped gift tissue paper in the gift bag along with the present like it was, itself, a present.  She ran out the door, past the lady, who then said to me, “Isn’t she going to have a sleepover?  Does she need a bag?”  Reagan overheard her.

Reagan:  I should get my bag.

Lady:  We can just swing by and pick it up later.

Me:  Reagan, just go before we remember something else you forgot.

They’re gone now.  I was clearing off the kitchen table and I found the birthday card that was supposed to go in with the birthday present.  I’m pretty sure Reagan was wearing shoes, but now I think I should have triple-checked.

August 31, 2010


Filed under: Girls — lbej @ 16:50
Tags: , ,

Doesn’t matter to some people.

August 26, 2010

Wall Graffiti By Reagan

Filed under: Girls — lbej @ 16:23
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This means something:

It means that I was too late with the current rule limiting the use of pens, pencils and markers to paper.  But I also think it might be a prophecy of some kind and I’m hesitant to paint over it.  So I’m going to paint over it hesitantly.

August 9, 2010

Stalin Vs. Peach

Filed under: Girls — lbej @ 20:00
Tags: , ,

Reagan told me I’m the greatest man in the world.  Most likely part of a long-term ingratiation strategy, but I decided to just go with it for now.

Me:  Well, I wanted to try out some Stalin titles, and it seems like a good time.  What do you think, Katie?

Katie:  (not listening)

Me:  Reagan, what do you say?  What about “Brilliant Genius of Humanity?”  Or “Gardener of Human Happiness?”  You want to call me that?

Reagan:  Sure, Dada. (Pause.)  Um, Dada, I’m gonna call you Peach as short for that, what you said.

Me:  Yeah, okay.

Reagan 1, Stalin 0.  Also the score in the Cold War now that I think about it.

July 30, 2010


Filed under: Girls,House,Six Day War — lbej @ 13:40
Tags: ,

I have herded everything that was on the floor, in the couches, and under the couches into the center of the living room.  Here it is:

This is about 10 days worth of Reagan.  It’s just Reagan now, because Jenny never comes out of her room.  Just Reagan.  I work hard at this, I really do.  But she’s just better at bad.  My forebears know this feeling.  It’s like I’m sitting behind the Maginot Line and not only did the Germans outflank me, but they’re in Paris, and they’re dancing with the pretty French ladies, and I didn’t even know the war had started.

Six Day War – Day Five

Filed under: Operation Mortal Coil,Six Day War — lbej @ 09:18
Tags: , ,

The dining room has been liberated following yesterday’s action.  In addition to general organizing, tidying and cleaning, I moved comics, trading cards, and related supplies to the office, cleared the far left corner of boxes and plastic bins, and reboxed and removed the last of the papers, photos, books, and other mementos of my immediate and extended families that had besieged me during Operation Mortal Coil.  All such material that I saw fit to preserve and retain has now been sorted and boxed, and 70 percent of it has been stored in the attic here.  Charlotte has taken possession of a full 20 percent, with my blessing, presumably for use in her own version of Operation Immortal Coil.  The remainder represents material that I stored in closets or other obscure but accessible locations for reasons of my own.  Today I intend to clean and reorder the family room so far as I am able; Reagan destroyed it to commemorate herself before she left last weekend.  My effectiveness has been greatly reduced by a course of colchicine I was forced to take yesterday to stop a developing gout attack.  Perhaps I will actually undertake the OMC review I’ve been meaning to do if I’m too nauseous to do anything else.

July 29, 2010

Permanent Rank

Filed under: Girls,Imperial Army — lbej @ 10:45
Tags: , ,

It has often been the case in the military history of the U.S. that an officer would hold a rank within the regular/peacetime/standing army different from his rank within a force created to wage a war then ongoing.  For example, a West Point cadet and prospective career officer would be given a commission in the Regular Army upon his graduation and could advance irrespective of whether or not the United States was at war.  In that sense, hierarchy within the Regular Army functioned like that within any other profession, with promotion based primarily on length of service and secondarily on performance.  When the United States went to war, however, the government would create an Army for the purpose of waging the war.  Thus we have the Continental Army during the American Revolution, the volunteer forces during the Civil War, the National Army during WWI, and the Army of the United States during WWII.  An officer serving in, say, World War II, would have a rank within the Army of the United States separate from and in addition to his rank within the Regular Army, with the former based on his current role and the latter based, as previously mentioned, on past service.  Like brevet/battlefield promotions, promotions within the Army of the U.S. were temporary because the Army of the U.S. itself was temporary.  Once the war was over, the Army of the U.S. was dissolved and its officers reverted to their Regular Army ranks, or were decommissioned altogether if they were not Regular Army officers.  My grandfather (Mom’s father) was just such an officer during WWII, albeit in the Navy rather than the Army.  He was given a commission and eventually commanded a ship despite having been been a civilian prior to 1941, and when the war was over, he returned to civilian life.

The point of all this is to explain how and why Jenny and Reagan are promoted repeatedly and, it would seem, redundantly.  When I, in my role as généralissime of Imperial forces, undertake a new operation, I typically create an army specifically for that purpose.  Thus the Army of the Upstairs, the Army of the Party, the Army of Thirty-Nine Boxes, and so forth.  These armies are separate from the Regular Army of the Empire, and officers in the temporary armies can be drawn from the Regular Army, or not.  So I might create a temporary army in which Regular Army personnel (Jenny and Reagan) are commanded by, say, an uncle or aunt by virtue of the latter’s rank within the temporary army and irrespective of the fact that he or she is not commissioned in the Regular Army at all.

As of this writing, the officer corps for the Regular Army of the Empire includes the following:

  • Jenny, holding the Regular Army rank of Colonel (NATO code O-6).  She has held a temporary rank of général de brigade (brigadier general), which is one step above her permanent rank.
  • Reagan, holding the Regular Army rank of Major (NATO code O-4).  She recently earned a brevet promotion to colonel, but after I dissolved the Army of Thirty-Nine Boxes she reverted to her permanent rank.

My own rank is whatever I decide it is. The title maréchal général, conferred upon me by the Empress, is an honor and an office rather than a rank.  I am subordinate to no one, which is all that really matters.  I would summarize it like this: while you’re here, whatever yours is, mine’s one more than that.

July 21, 2010

Comic Agglomeration – Day Two

Filed under: Comic Books,Girls — lbej @ 13:51
Tags: ,

We are into the Xs and the agglomeration will be completed by mid-afternoon.  Reagan has not, however, returned to the stellar form of yesterday.  I allowed the newly-minted colonel to sleep until 9 a.m. this morning; instead of rejuvenation I seem to have gotten lethargy as a result.  It also seems that she was expecting her mother to awaken her early this morning to fix her hair.  No doubt she was wanting some sort of fearsome martial arrangement, perhaps something with red dye and spikes.  At any rate, we let her sleep and when I woke her at nine it was immediately clear that a mistake had been made.  Thus Reagan has made herself available for alternating letters today, if that.  This week’s struggle against Fairly Oddparents for Reagan’s attention has turned against me.

Comic Agglomeration – Day One Progress

Filed under: Comic Books,Girls — lbej @ 09:17
Tags: ,

By force of will Reagan propelled us through P yesterday evening.   She had exhausted her powers of concentration well before the end; furtive playing with dolls seemed to be occurring whenever I did not require that a specific task be performed.  And yet the progress of the Army of Thirty-Nine Boxes yesterday was far greater than I had expected.  I estimate that we have approximately 2000 comics remaining, a number that ought to be manageable given that we cleared nearly twice that yesterday.  Reagan is inexplicably anxious to finish this business so that we can turn our attention to the resolution of the office nasty.  I can’t say that I understand how she has become so strongly possessed of offensive elan, but that is not to say I will not exploit it.

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