Thursday Things

More baked goodness

Welcome to spring 2019! In this update I’m going to skip my gaming activity and put that into a separate post. In two days Julie and I take off on our annual April adventure, returning to the southwest USA for camping, hiking, and backpacking. So over the next month you’ll see a lot of single photos with short narratives posted here (using the handy Sunlit app on my iPhone).

What I’m Contemplating

  • My Restaurant Was the Greatest Show of Excess You’d Ever Seen, and It Almost Killed Me – Great story about a man who had a necessary wake-up call that led to him realizing that you can socialize and have fun without alcohol and inebriation. I’m still working on this.
  • How former ref Tim Donaghy conspired to fix NBA games – So the NBA still contends that a single referee can’t change the outcome of a game without anyone noticing, huh?
  • Evidence for the Continental Axis Hypothesis – I read Guns, Germs, and Steel recently and understand that not everyone agrees with with Diamond’s assertions about how technology traveled more easily along latitudinal axis (vs. longitudinal).
  • I Tested the Saving Technique That Promises Retirement at 40 – What a hatchet job of a story. Even the sub headline: “The FIRE—’financial independence, retire early’—movement is all about hoarding enough cash before investing it and living off the dividends.” is laughably silly: he simply described what retirement is about, not early retirement. And you don’t hoard all the cash, then invest it. You simply spend significantly less than you earn while continuously investing the surplus. His situation, “28 with no mortgage, nowhere near enough savings for a deposit, and student debt larger than the money I make in a year” puts him squarely outside the target audience for FIRE. Instead he should focus on Dave Ramsey’s baby steps and deal with his debt and lifestyle issues before contemplating FIRE.

What I’m Watching

What I’m Reading

What I’m Listening To

What I’m Learning

  • I travel with a much smaller photography kit these days, namely my iPhone 7+ and Julie’s new iPhone Xr. I want to get better landscapes on this coming trip, plus experiment more with long exposure. The built in tools for this are very nifty in iOS, but I plan to try out the Spectre app to see if I can up my game even further.
  • I’m still baking more bread.

High Frontier 3rd Edition

I’m at our annual RipCityCon gaming retreat on the Oregon coast. First big game of the week is Phil Eklund’s High Frontier. We are playing with colonisation and every other option. I’ll be boosting my microgravity pantrophists up to my bernal any month now.

Thursday Things

What I’m Reading

What I’m Contemplating

What I’m Watching

  • A Separation – Outstanding movie by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi. I now want to explore the rest of his titles.
  • Sholay – This was recommended to me a long time ago as a classic Bollywood film to experience. It didn’t disappoint, but like many Bollywood films this is loooong.
  • Tokyo Story – The classic Ozu film about a pair of elderly grandparents visiting their children on a trip from the fishing village to post-war Tokyo. Subtle, heartbreaking at times, and especially poignant as a relatively new empty nester.
  • The Great Escape – Amazon Prime has some great classic films available right now (hard to find!) and this was one of them. It seems like my viewings of this movie are always far enough apart that I forget the details of the endings of the various escapees.
  • All The President’s Men – The second classic film on Amazon Prime that I watched this week during my cold-recovery movie binge. Wonder if there will be a similar move made in the coming years about the Mueller Report?

What I’m Playing

  • Ken, Spence and I played A Feast for Odin again, this time using my own copy that has an awesome custom foam core insert built in.
  • We had more time left on Superbowl Sunday so we then played Railways of the World. I made some stupid choices early on but still had fun playing. We used the wrong income track, which lowered and compressed the income scale. At least we were all playing with the same constraints. Fun game but also a reminder of how poorly done the human factors are in most of these Eagle games.
  • Jacob and I teamed up against Rob and KC at Game On! last weekend in a 2 v 2 game of Holland ’44: Operation Market-Garden. We played from about 10am to midnight and go through turn 12 I think. This is clearly a 2 day game to get the entire experience.
  • Jacob and I also played in the ASL tournament, so the rest of the weekend was all ASL, all the time. Mini game, Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4.

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.