Thursday Things

Julie playing Russian Railroads at Guardian Games

What I’m Contemplating

More on Teaching Process Improvement

What I’m Reading

  • Julie and I listened to Last Christmas in Paris: A Novel of World War I and adored it. The book might be good to read, but I would recommend the audio book as it has narrators for each part and the voice acting is spectacular.
  • I also listened to Finish: Give Yourself the Gift of Done and it was much better than expected. The lessons here even carried over into some of my lectures, namely the idea of how a desire for perfection can be an inhibitor to taking risks on speculative projects.
  • I continued the Broken Earth trilogy with book 2, The Obelisk Gate. I have some ideas about how this trilogy might end, but the journey remains worth the ride.
  • I listened to Fascism: A Warning and it was worth my time, if only to hear a more modern definition of fascism along with current examples of fascist traits in world leaders.

What I’m Watching

  • They Shall Not Grow Old – Peter Jackson’s documentary where he applies his wizardry to WWI footage to create a narrative about infantry serving on the Western front. The technical attributes were jaw dropping. They adjusted frame rates and added audio where it made sense. Felt like I was getting a better sense for how the soldiers related. Made them seem much fresher and younger, almost modern. Sadly the story itself wasn’t compelling. Didn’t get to know any soldiers or feel real attachment to them. Ken Burns should partner with Peter Jackson next time.
  • Five Came Back – About five directors who “signed up” to make movies during WWII, sometimes putting themselves in harm’s way. Often restaging pitched battles to get the shots they wanted. The narration is what makes this film, particularly Spielberg’s, Kasdan’s, and Guillermo del Toro. It also created a new list of movies to watch for me, fortunately many of them available at my local library.
  • BlackkKlansman – Julie and I were both “meh” on this. Maybe our expectations were too high? It felt uneven; like it started off trying to be somewhat serious and straight-line with the protagonist, but then tried to become a bit of a satire and farce. The characters around the police station made no sense to me. They were either too socially progressive or too over-the-top racist. I suspect this was Spike Lee’s intent, but it just didn’t work for us.

What I’m Playing

  • I played Combat Commander: Europe with Peter and we are doing a rematch of the same scenario today, switching sides.
  • Julie and I played Codenames Duet four times and finally got a win. Turns out we were playing the time tokens slightly wrong which made the game a bit harder. Still a great challenge and I suspect it scales well to up to 4 players.
  • Of course I played some Advanced Squad Leader including continuing my Hatten in Flames campaign with Allen.
  • Ken taught Spence and I how to play A Feast for Odin and I liked it so much I bought it at Guardian Games last weekend. Playing again this Sunday.
  • Julie and I played King of Tokyo with Spence and Suzanne (twice!). Fun light game. We also played PitchCar (actually the older Carabande, but same game.)
  • The game Russian Railroads has been on my “want to play” list for over 5 years and Julie and I finally played last Sunday at Guardian. Glad I played it but there are enough similar games that I think I like more (Viticulture, A Feast for Odin)
  • I taught Julie the light 2 player game Patchwork and it was fun. Maybe need to get this one.
  • Julie and I played Viticulture twice over the past two nights. Attempt 1 was frustrating for Julie – had been 3 years since she played and she was a bit tired and lost. She bounced back like a true champion last night and won the game.