How to Win at Words with Friends–UPDATE

The other day, Words with Friends ate two of my games. At the time I didn’t realize the problem was almost certainly a bug introduced when the addicting mobile Scrabble-esque app became available as a facebook game, so I tried to fix the problem on my own. I deleted Words with Friends and reinstalled it, but what I found on my app store search disturbed me.

There are literally several apps dedicated to helping people cheat at Words with Friends. Friends? Really? Look, if you want to win at Words with Friends, I’ll tell you how. If you want to lose friends, there are more entertaining ways to do that than buying an app and screwing them over in a word game.

So here are some surefire ways to win at Words with Friends without losing at life.

A. Stop caring if you win. Seriously. No one else cares if you win. Maybe your opponent does, but that’s it. Vegas isn’t taking bets on your performance. No one is drafting you to their fantasy Words with Friends league. It’s nice to win, sure, but the point of wasting all your time playing games is to have fun. If you really care about accomplishing something, it really shouldn’t involve virtual letter tiles. If you have fun, you’re already a winner.

B. Don’t cheat. Set aside any talk about integrity and treating your friends with kindness. You should avoid cheating because it’s just too much work. If you are trying so hard that you actually need a program to tell you what words you can play, you’re no longer playing a game. You’re doing a job you aren’t even getting paid for. Shit, if you’re going to work, you might as well do your actual job. Does it really need to come to that? There are probably some apps that do all the work for you, in which case you’ve become too lazy even to play a game. That’s way too lazy.

Okay, let’s get to the actual game strategies, shall we?

C. Avoid playing one word at a time. There are times when bonus squares will change your strategy, but most of the time you can increase your scoring power by playing new words both horizontally and vertically. In some cases you may be able to play four, five, or even more words in one turn by playing your new word parallel to existing tiles. This is a great way to rack up points even when you don’t have high-scoring letters of your own.

Three tiles worth five combined points on their own create 4 words and 29 points.
Three tiles worth five combined points on their own create 4 words and 29 points.

Continue reading “How to Win at Words with Friends–UPDATE”

Morning Minute – 8-18-2011

Pretty much every morning is misty around here.

There are things about the morning that I like, even if I’m not a morning person.

Coffee. Breakfast.

Uniqueness. Every day has it’s own vibe, and morning has a very distinct mood that sets it apart from the rest of the day. Sometimes that mood is cranky to the utmost, but morning owns it.

The quiet. It’s not like the quiet of the night. Night’s quiet is like the silence of settled dust after an explosion. Morning’s quiet is those first few seconds of a song before the instruments start . . . maybe someone in the band will say something (“Seven A”), but it’s anticipation instead of relief.

Also coffee.

Also breakfast.


hello, my name is inigo montoya.

It’s just too hilarious not to post.

h/t to Phil

UPDATE: I showed this picture to Addison. He stared at it. I told him about the line from the movie. He looked puzzled. I pointed out the “Hello My Name Is” stickers. Nothing. Then I said, in my best Inigo Montoya voice, “HELLO!” He literally rolled on the floor laughing. Struggling to breathe.

But it got really fun (and dangerous; seriously, the laughter sounded painful) when we started adding alternate endings.

“Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You stole my Pop-Tart. Prepare to die.”

“Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. You smell like onions. Prepare to die.”

“Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya. . . . I think you dropped this. Prepare to die.”

It was a lot of fun. I highly recommend Replace “You killed my father,” any time you need a laugh.





Pooh on Potter

Okay, I love Harry Potter. The books more than the movies, but I really do love the whole enterprise. Mostly. I’ve seen and enjoyed all the movies, but the hype of their release doesn’t consume me the way the books did as they apparated into my life. I am excited to see how the final chapter looks on the big (2-D) screen, but . . . wait, hold on just one second . . .

This new WordPress update is hot!

Okay, where was I? Yes, I like the movies. Love the books. But with that in mind, I’m more excited about another British import: Winnie the Pooh.

The animation looks simple. The drawing looks exquisite. All of it looks pretty true to the original . . . well, the original Disney stuff. The thing I’m most excited about? The music. Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward (aka She and Him) are all over the soundtrack. And they are delightful. I downloaded the album as soon as I could. It’s cool. I’d love for my kids to see the movie. And I’d love for you to hear this song.

Now, if you can’t listen to that link, try watching this little preview:

The film trailer is pretty huggable too:

Not a Fan.

Dyson has a new line of fans that scares the crap out of me. The fans have no blades. They’re just circles. Holes. Sorcerous loops of evil.

That’s not right. I’m sure there’s some scientific explanation on their site about how this works. But are we really supposed to believe that this isn’t an evil magic spell designed to blow demon breath straight into our souls? Are we? Because I don’t.

Wouldn’t it be nice if this were the kind of technology that we dreamed could bring us flying cars and personal space travel, not to mention airflow that doesn’t get buffeted (the foremost benefit put forward by the we-don’t-lose-suction folks at Dyson)? Yes, it would be great. If it weren’t the work of Satan.

Maybe this is where I should make a transitional point, a reversal of thought about how I should be open to new things. But no. I won’t. Bladelessness is next to soullessness. I refuse to let my guard down for unbuffeted air. Sure, there are no blades, so no one loses any fingers. All we stand to lose . . . is our souls.

That circle of mystery? It’s not a fan. Neither am I.

A Little Rain

The view out every window. Every day. All day long.

Who was the poet who wrote, “Into every life a little rain must fall,” was it Coleridge?* No matter. He was guilty of understatement. Sometimes every life gets deluged.

I’m not writing about my own life, at least not now. But there is a depressingly long list of friends of mine who wouldn’t be considered remotely vain for thinking this song post was about them. And that sucks.

The 10,000 Maniacs song “Like the Weather” comes to mind, and not in the random way tunes usually worm their way into my consciousness. Here in Chicagoland, the rain just won’t stop. On our Cubs blog, Tim suggested tricking Kosuke “April is my only good month” Fukudome into thinking April lasted for 180 days. Somehow the weather deemed that a fantastic idea.

This rain just won’t stop falling, and I don’t really understand why.

And I get a shiver in my bones just thinking about what some people I love have been going through lately. Some of it’s annoying like a rained out picnic. Some of it’s depressing like three days without sunshine. And then there are lives I’ve seen ravaged by events as unforgiving and savage as tornados.

It’s not a contest. I don’t care to compare, say, the loss of a child to the loss of a friend or to the loss of a job, an opportunity, or just hope in general. All I know is that far too many people are getting drenched by the far too many storms.

I don’t want to complain. Well, yeah, I do. But I know everybody has a lot to be thankful for. (Like sentences that begin with conjunctions and end with prepositions. And fragments.) Still, I wouldn’t say no to a little sunshine. A June day that doesn’t feel like April 85. A break for my friends. Maybe that is too much to ask.

But right now I’m on my knees. Asking. For just a few sunshiny days.

*These are the things I ask when I’m posting from my phone and don’t feel like rifling through the interplumbing for answers.

Today’s video playlist:

The Muppets Official Trailer

Electric Mayhem Tour Bus
Electric Mayhem Tour Bus
They're getting the band back together.

The Great Muppet Caper was, I believe, the first movie I ever saw in the theater without parental guidance. So I’m pretty excited about the new Muppet movie hitting theaters whenever this is supposed to be hitting theaters but I’m too lazy to look up even though it’s probably stated in the very trailer I am posting and yes I am quite proud of this run-on sentence wouldn’t you be?

Who knows?

There might be a point to this post, who knows?

There might be an answer coming to the last trivia question. Who knows?

The Cubs might win one against the Yankees. Who knows?

Someone may have heard that tree fall in the forest.

The light at the end of the tunnel just might be you.

It might be. It could be. Who knows?

Cannonballs may have already been forever banned.

We may have already found the rainbow connection.

Green Lantern might not be as bad as the critics say it is.

There’s probably a reason. Who knows?

Why did I forget to press ‘publish’?

Is this long enough?

Does it make any sense?

Does anything make any sense?

Who knows?