Quixx

Quixx is another dice game, the aim of which is mark off as many numbers as you can on a score sheet. One of the nice things about this game is that everyone participates no matter whose turn it is.

The score sheet has four coloured rows, two of which are numbered from 2 to 12 and two of which are numbered from 12 to 2. You win by marking off as many numbers as possible, but you can only mark off numbers to the right of all the marked off numbers in the same row.

On their turn, the active player rolls six dice — two white ones and four coloured ones, the colours of which correspond to the rows. Any player may choose to mark off the sum of the two white dice on one of their four rows. The active player can also choose to mark off the sum of one coloured die and one white die in the row corresponding to the coloured dice.

If the active player fails to mark off any number, he takes a penalty.

As the rows fill up, it becomes possible to lock them which removes that colour (die and row) from the game. Once two rows are locked, or someone manages four penalties, the game ends and everyone calculates their scores based on the number of digits they have managed to mark off.

As with other dice games in our collection Quixx is an easy to understand game that takes no time to set up and can be played anywhere (as long as you have enough pencils to go around). There’s not much depth to the game and it’s not one that stands up to repeated play, but if you do find yourself with three kids and fifteen minutes to spare, it’s ideal.

Detroit 442

According to Last.fm, Sin Alley were formed in Lier, Antwerp in 1992. They released one album and two EPs before falling apart in 1996.

Detroit 442 was their second, and final, EP and the title track is (obvously) a cover, and a cover that really grows on you. Well, it certainly grew on my.

So, here’s the Belgian Rockabilly version of Blondie’s Detroit 442.

Five Things #46

In 1976, a researcher concluded “The era of applying the label ‘dyslexic’ is rapidly drawing to a close. The label has served its function in drawing attention to children who have great difficulty in mastering the arts of reading, writing and spelling but its continued use invokes emotions which often prevent rational discussion and scientific investigation.” And so it continues. Sirin Kale on the battle over dyslexia.

“In short, there’s no reason to think that the EU is minded to punish the UK in this way, even if it was it couldn’t, even if it could the UK has no need to break international law to respond to it, and even if it did need to the IMB doesn’t provide the means.” Chris Grey on blockades, mythical and metaphorical.

I remember seeing, and enjoying, Reign of Fire in the cinema when it was released. This, apparently, puts me in something of a minority. Maria Lews talks to the makers of the film as they reflect on the film 18 years after the bizarre blockbuster bomb became a cult film.

“Covid-19 sent the worldwide comic industry into free-fall in March when its monopoly distributor, Diamond, shut down all operations.” Jez Walters looks at how legendary weekly British comic, 2000 AD, survived Covid-19 and thrived.

Jules Johnston goes on an urban safari in the ugliest city in the world.

Anna

You have to give Luc Besson his due, he certainly knows his way around an action scene.

Starring in this collection of action scenes we have Anna, a struggling young woman who finds herself coerced into becoming an assassin; looking for a way out while coldly executing a series of targets. There’s nothing new in here, but it’s all competently handled and, if a stylish action film is what you are looking for, Anna certainly won’t disappoint.

The film starts in 1985 and then jumps forward to 1990 where we meet our heroine, working in a Moscow market. It’s here that a scout for a Paris modeling agency discovers her and convinces her that fashion modelling is the career for her. Things go swimmingly until she executes an arms dealer, at which point the film jumps back to explain why.

This happens a lot. Things happen, after which we jump back for an explanation of the events, all of which makes for a nicely twisty plot in which each twist reveals a further plot thread.

This is certainly well handled, with Besson keeping the narrative clear throughout while also managing to insert minor details, the relevance of which is later revealed.

If you’ve seen Besson’s previous films — most notably La Femme Nikita — then you’ve already seen most of this story. That said, Besson’s take on the femme fatale offers a few twists that you don’t necessarily see coming.

It’s certainly not a bad film, but it’s not a great one either. You you fancy a blood-spattered, cold-war spy thriller then you could do a lot worse than seeing this one. If you don’t, you haven’t really missed anything either.

The joy of upgrades

I upgraded my PC at the weekend.

Being a Manjaro user, operating system upgrades are frequent, simple and speedy. Most of the time.

Because I never learn, I keep on buying HP computers.

In general, I like HP devices. They tend to be solidly constructed and nicely reliable. But the company does have a habit of using components — like network cards — that are not as well supported as they could be.

There was quite a lot to upgrade on Sunday, including a new Linux kernel. Upgrades tend to be simple and speedy these days, so I launched the upgrade, twiddled my thumbs for a couple of minutes and rebooted the PC.

No Wi-Fi Adapter Found

Yep. I managed to break my internet connection, much to the amusement of the rest of the family.

This hasn’t happened after an upgrade before but I did remember, from when I first set the thing up, that the problem is the Realtek wireless card. I just need, therefore, to identify the card, hop onto the Arch Wiki to determine which package and I need to install, and install it and the problem will be fixed.

Identifying the card is easy enough, but I will note it here for future reference: $ lspci -k | grep 'Wireless Network'

Getting to the wiki, and installing the package, is more problematic because I need an internet connection for this.

No Wi-Fi Adapter Found

Did I ever mention that the PC I have is a mini-tower with a massive monitor? It’s also in a different room to the modem and, as I discovered, I no longer have (or could find) a cable capable of reaching from one device to the other.

This is why I ended up spending a sizable chunk of my Sunday disassembling the PC, lugging it from one room to the other, and then putting it all back together again. This would have been annoying enough but, since we use Wi-Fi everywhere, the modem is neatly tucked away behind the TV. So I had disconnect all the devices attached to it in order to pull it out of it’s alcove and put it on the floor while not tripping over the cat.

Reinstalling the driver took less than five minutes and, after a quick reboot to confirm that all was okay, it was time to put everything back together.

This is the point at which the real crisis began. My partner realised that I’d managed to unplug (and lose the cable to) the set-top box.

We found it in the end and, for my next task, I need to relocate the stupidly long Ethernet cable that I used to keep around for situations such as this one.

Workers discover WWII murals during school demolition

The primary school to which the twins go is undergoing renovations. These started in August and, when they are finished, the school will have two new two-story wings. While the school will retain its 110 year old facade, some of the buildings — and parts of buildings — are being demolished. During this demolition, workers discovered parts of murals painted during the second world war.

The murals are currently being documented — photos are being taken and students are being sent to the consulate to try and find the soldiers who painted them. A search for the original photos has also been started.

Councillors are now trying to decide what to do with the murals, but the aim is to find a place for them in the renovated school.

Quote of the day: Blue anarchists

If the Iron Lady were still with us, she would be melting in horror that a government that calls itself Conservative is fighting to the brink for the right to use market-distorting subsidies. And imagine her bewilderment at discovering that a French politician is leading the other side of the argument.

Andrew Rawnsley asks what kind of Tory government jeopardises the union and tears up the rule of law?