Recently in Games Peter played Category

The Tale of the Howling Wolf

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Thanks for sharing this Tale, Linda!

Late one evening, our neighbor's dog began to bark. The dog, named "Jack", who was not prone to barking without reason, continued to do so, then subsided, when another dog began to bark, with the sound coming from the opposite side of our house.Then Jack gave an answering bark, and the two dogs began to communicate, growing ever louder and more adamant. Now one of the dogs began to howl at the full moon, followed by the other, and increasing steadily in volume. My husband, Steve, stepped out the back door to see what on earth was going on out there! Jack would howl, and then the unknown dog would howl even louder. Steve was able to pinpoint the second dog's location as Peter Hartman's back yard.......but he knew that Peter did not have a dog, and thought it unlikely that a stray would be in Peter's fenced yard. He took a look over the fence which separated our two houses, and was astounded to discover that the howling wolf was none other than a buck naked Peter, totally into the moment, on all fours, with head thrown back, howling wildly at the moon! When Peter became aware that he was not alone, he was rendered speechless, stood up, shrugged, and went in his back door, thus concluding the calls of the wild for the night.

(Peter lived next door to Linda and Steve for several years. -Dobe)

Teaching me Go

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Dobe asked about Peter and games. I have a couple of things to say in that area, but I'll start with this one.

Peter taught me to play Go when I was a kid. The way he taught me went kind of like this:

He would play a stone.

I would look at the board and not know what to do.

He would tell me where the best place to play was.

I would play there.

He would then make a better play of his own that cancelled or countered the play I had just made.

After several repetitions of this, it began to feel to me like (a) he was really just playing himself, while I watched (I wasn't really participating); and (b) the moves he was telling me to make were only leading me into trouble.

I'm sure none of that was intentional on Peter's part; he was trying to share this wonderful game with me. Not his fault that his approach to teaching it to me pushed some of my buttons.

But I never really got into Go. Even though several of my friends have gotten into it over the years.

I was pleased recently to pick up a Go book belonging to someone or other (Kevin, maybe?) and to be able to follow it; it was a detailed introduction to liberties and how to tell whether a group is alive or dead, and it made a lot more sense to me than it did when I was a kid. (My feeling as a kid was that Peter would point to a group of stones and tell me "Those are dead," and I could never understand how he knew that; it always seemed kind of mystical and vague to me.)

Still, the traditional boardgames (chess, Go, Othello, checkers, etc) were never my strong suit, and knowing that I could study my whole life and still never be all that good made me more or less uninterested in playing Go.

But I know it was always one of Peter's great loves.

What ended up happening to Peter's big solid wooden Go board? Do I have it in the garage? Dobe, did you end up with it? I hope it's somewhere where it'll be used.

...At some future point I'll write about pinochle and/or poker. But not tonight.

The Games Peter Played

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The first time I realized that Peter liked to play games was in Port Townsend, where he had moved back from Mexico to live with the family, was when he first showed me a Mahjhong game with fancy tablets and a board, and I think he actually introduced me to the game of Go there, although I don't remember playing, so if he had a board there, I think he did not know how to play yet.

Where he learned the game of Go, I'm not sure, although he taught a lot of people the rules over the years, as have I. Also, I am hazy about when we first started to play. I know it prior to 1967, because I still have the original stones I bought that year in Seattle, but it was probably after 1964, since we did not play nor have a board in New York City, 1964.

When we did take our beginning steps, neither of us knew as much we did in later years, having only an inkling about strategies and concentrating solely on tactics. However, Peter always managed to win.

Nevertheless, we learned, we got better, and when either of us learned, we would attempt to share the knowledge, knowing it would only make for a much better game. Peter during this period was MUCH better at Go than I was, but given handicap stones, we would have even games and played by the hour when we could, through the years.

In the mid-1980's, I was newly divorced and living in Seattle and had the opportunity to live at the Seattle Go Dojo, then just off I-5 and 47th in the U District. Peter had lived and frequented this area many years before and even I had lived not that far away, so it seemed like old home week after being away for years. For example, the Peter's old hangout in the U District was "The Blue Moon" on 45th, which was a block away.

During and after the year that I lived at the Dojo, I learned so much about Go that Peter was amazed whenever we played. We had reversed roles, wherein I could repay him in some small measure for the tremendous gift he had given me in opening me up to the world of Go. Life was good.

Years later -- Peter had moved into my rental house in Snohomish for a few months, prior to making the decision on where to return to get his teaching certificate in Bellingham. I had a couple PCs, (old by today's standards), a 386 and a 486 (Blazing fast!). One was set up for Peter's use downstairs, and one morning he didn't get up until really late, and I asked him why.

He told me that he had started playing "Poker" in Windows and didn't stop all night. That used to come with Windows or some specialty pack and I used to play it, too. It's very easy to start losing and wind up "owing" the system thousands of dollars... I don't remember what he said he owed (or won), but I was surprised at this electronic game keeping Peter's attention for that many hours.

I will say one more thing. Toward the end of his life, he REALLY liked to play one and only one game on the PC, which is "Minesweeper". If you've played this, and you're really good, you can win during the countdown "clock", which starts at 000 and counts to 999. Your score is then the seconds remaining when you get the puzzle clicked in correctly. It comes with Windows, so try it sometime (on Expert setting), and if you win, note the score.

Most people who have played this game and get pretty good at it, know they might get a score of 500 to 900, thus beating the clock, but certainly no records. Now I don't know what the record is on the default setting of expert, but I think Peter must have come close. He was very excited and proud, really, in a way, that he had achieved a score of (about) 350, I don't remember the exact score. My personal best, BTW, is in the mid-400's, but normally win, when I win, with more like 500-600.

There's a lot more about Peter and games, would you please share your favorite story with us about Peter playing a game?