Ah, back in the Hat after a lovely Christmas jaunt. Some of my favourite presents were three-dollar cupcakes, Atkins-friendly chili, vegetable omelettes, and the spiced chai equivalent of an all-syrup squishee -- in other words, the time I got spend with so many of my friends. Thanks for being there, everyone.
The award for most incongruous present, though, goes to my parents, for getting me a black T-shirt with a skull made out guitars front and center. You'd think they would have noticed a distinct lack of metal in my wardrobe over the last thirty years... ah, well. Now I've got something to wear to Guitar Hero parties.
And what did I get them? That's always the question that haunts me each year, as I stumble through the fog of blanket approval. This year, I took a risk and got them a board game: Carcassonne. The impression I got was that it was in the same vein as my beloved Settlers of Catan, but geared for a faster, simpler game between two people. That wasn't quite accurate, but the parents kept on talking about its different strategies and gambits long after the game has ended. That's enough for me to qualify it as a smashing success.
There's just one problem with it, though -- the scoring at the end can get slightly overwhelming, as you have to re-analyse the entire board to figure out who actually won. Mom and Dad were still a bit unsure about such matters, but I was so happy to see them actually using one of my Christmas presents, I told them that they could just take a digital picture of the board and e-mail it to me if they ever had trouble.
It now occurs to me that if they do, it might just be the first time in history that a turn-based board game has been decided by a photo finish.
Here's to hoping that all of your holidays have a finish worthy of a photo as well.