Day 365: We Did It!

I Blogged Every Day in 2015

I Blogged Every Day in 2015

In the words of Dora the Explorer, “We did it! We did it!”


There were times when I didn’t think I’d finish My Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015.

I thought it would’ve been easier to blog every day. All I had to do was set an alarm to remind me to write and then I’d write. As I found out, though, that isn’t how it works. There are so many things that life throws at you every day that prevent you from writing. I even had to fudge a little on Day 49.

As I wrote yesterday, I wish I would’ve created more substantial posts. When I began this quest, I knew a few of my favorite topics would pop up now and then: fantasy sports, Star Wars, food, movies, golf, my love of the city of Los Angeles, etc. I’m proud, though, that I was able to write about a few more subjects outside of those.

My blog was never meant to be hard-hitting journalism, but it was meant to reflect what was going on in my life and in my head at the time. I’d like to think that I accomplished that.

I’ve never done anything like this before, but I learned two things:

  1. I want to post regularly in 2016, but not every day.
  2. 2015 was the year I rediscovered my love of board games.

The board game thing was a pleasant surprise. I wrote about getting back into the hobby earlier this year which led me to buying more and more board games, digging up games I’d never played yet somehow held on to through the years, and playing games once a week with a local gaming group. My wife and I hosted a few game nights for family and friends and we had a blast talking trash to each other during our occasional one-on-one sessions of Ticket to Ride. And I parlayed my passion into a gig with the fine folks at, where I report board game news and bits.

Mainly through my interactions on Twitter about this blog, I’ve been able to have some great interactions with people I would never have met. I reconnected with some old friends and I even shared my blog with family members as well.

Of course, none of this would’ve been possible without the support of my wife. There were quite a few nights when she would doze off while I was typing away furiously, trying to get my thoughts down coherently before Mr. Sandman paid me a visit. Not only is Michelle my biggest supporter and the love of my life, but she’s my life partner and my favorite person to go on adventures with. I wrote about a few of those adventures here. Not surprisingly, it was one of my favorite posts of the year.

(To Michelle: thank you for your patience and understanding as I completed this silly little quest. I love you more than words can show.)

Finally, thank you, Dear Reader, for joining me for on my quest. I appreciate you taking the time to read my words and I hope you’ve enjoyed at least one of my posts this year. See you next year!

– Ruel

P.S. If you were entertained at all this year by My Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015 please consider doing one of two things:

  1. Donate to Visual Communications, “the first non-profit organization in the nation dedicated to the honest and accurate portrayals of the Asian Pacific American peoples, communities and heritage through the media arts.” I’m not affiliated with VC, but I do believe in their cause and donated to them on Giving Tuesday.
  2. Help me get my board game fix via my Amazon Wish List. I won’t tell anyone.

Day 364: Final Countdown

The Final Countdown

The Final Countdown

Eight more to go.

I’m not counting down the hours until the new year, but I’m counting down how many more Yelp reviews I need to write to meet one of my goals for 2015.

Last week I had less than 80 Yelp reviews written in 2015. I’m now at 92, with a little over 24 hours to go.

So, assuming I finish the reviews and write one more blog post tomorrow, here’s how I fared with my 2015 Goals:

  1. Write 100 reviews on Yelp.
  2. Read 26 books and review them on Goodreads.
  3. Break 100 on the golf course.
  4. Watch all of the AFI 100 Greatest American Films of All Time.
  5. Play 10 new board games.
  6. Blog Every Day in 2015.

Not too shabby. I didn’t break 100 on the golf course and I didn’t watch all of the AFI Greatest American Films of All time.

I hardly golfed at all this year, which was a bummer. But at least I was able to get out a few times with my brothers and my nephew. My last round was during Thanksgiving when the four of us played a little 9-hole par-3 course. These are the games that mean to most to me, as all of us Gaviola guys can bond for a few hours.

With all of the reading, writing, and board gaming I did this year, there wasn’t enough time left to watch all of the AFI films. I still want to watch every film on the list, just not in a single calendar year.

So, four out of my six goals will be finished by tomorrow. I’m going back to writing Yelp reviews now, but I’ll see you here tomorrow as I complete My Quest to Blog Every Day in 2016.



Day 320: Fortunate

Building a Better Dystopia in Euphoria.

Building a Better Dystopia in Euphoria.

I’ve accepted the fact that I’m only going to accomplish 3 of my 5 goals I set for this year (actually, 4 of 6 when you include My Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015). I’ve already read 26 books and played 10 new board games, so I’m assuming that I’ll do two things: write 30 more reviews to bring my Yelp review total to 100 and post 45 more blogs to achieve my daily blogging goal.

I won’t break 100 on the golf course this year or finish the AFI 100 Greatest American films list, but I’m okay with them being lifelong goals for me.

It’s the board games goal that took me by surprise. Back in January I was bit by the board games bug. Hard. It’s like my love of gaming had laid dormant for so long when it was suddenly awakened on the day I received my copy of Pandemic.

From that day on, I’ve been buying games, playing games, talking games, and enjoying the heck out of my new hobby. My wife and I have hosted a few family game nights and whenever our daughter is home from college we’re playing games on at least one of the nights that she’s back.

One of my favorite gaming-related things I’ve done this year, though, was joining a weekly gaming group. Over the past two months I’ve played dozens of games with cool people I never would have met otherwise. It’s been a fun experience and I’ve learned that gaming has come a long way since I bought my first 20-sided die in middle school.

There seems to be something for all kinds of gamers these days. Whether it’s killing zombies or ruling a dystopian world, using cards or dice, or playing a 10-minute “filler” game or an hours-long session, there’s almost no reason not to game. Even if you’re gaming on a budget or have tons of disposable income, the many price points offer plenty of opportunities to experience something new.

As I’m reminded each week with my gaming buddies, I’ve been fortunate this year to have embraced such a fulfilling hobby.

Day 301: Goal Update

The Galaxy's Dos Santos and Gerrard.

The Galaxy’s Dos Santos and Gerrard.

Unfortunately, there will be no more goals scored by the LA Galaxy this season. The #RaceForSeis is over. Tonight’s knockout playoff game was a sloppy mess against the Seattle Sounders. The Galaxy battled back early twice, but couldn’t generate much offense after the Sounders scored the go-ahead goal in the second half.

We had tickets to the Western Conference Finals, hoping the Galaxy would shake off its late-season funk. They looked shaky and the hoopla surrounding Gerrard and Dos Santos was all for nothing.

One good bit of news today, though: I reached my reading goal!

Here’s my updated list of goals for the year, including my Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015:

  1. Write 100 reviews on Yelp.
  2. Read 26 books and review them on Goodreads.
  3. Break 100 on the golf course.
  4. Watch all of the AFI 100 Greatest American Films of All Time.
  5. Play 10 new board games.


Day 277: A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings

A Clash of Kings

I’m one book away from reaching my goal of reading 26 books in 2015. This will mark my second consecutive year of doing this, after three years of missing the mark. You can see the books I’ve read on Goodreads, where I also review everything I’ve read for the year.

The book I’m reading to reach my goal is A Clash of Kings, the second of George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. Most know it as the second season of Game of Thrones.

I checked out the book from my library at the start of the summer and got through 442 pages before returning it. Last week I borrowed it again so I could finish it.

I stopped watching Game of Thrones after the second season so I could get caught up with the written version, but it’s been slow going. As much as I’ve enjoyed the series so far, there’s part of me that wishes the books were shorter. Much shorter.

I know there’s a good Tyrion Lannister joke here, but I can’t think of anything clever.

Day 240: Gaming Goal


Sushi Go!, one of the 10 new games I've played in 2015.

Sushi Go!, one of the 10 new games I’ve played in 2015.

I just realized I hit one of my yearly goals. It was my fifth goal, added on Day 100 of My Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015: Play 10 new board games.

As a reborn gamer, I’ve had a lot of fun becoming reacquainted with the board game hobby. The best part is that my wife and stepdaughter enjoy a few of the games and my nieces and nephew always ask to play Sushi Go or Love Letter whenever they visit.

Gaming is so much better when it’s with family.

For years, game night meant an hours-long session of poker with my buddies. Typically no-limit hold ’em, but if there were enough hardcore players in our group we would have a long mixed-game session. I loved playing Omaha Hi/Lo, Badugi, and other variations of poker.

Today, though, I find myself opting for hours of board gaming over gambling. One of the best decisions I made this year was buying Pandemic. It was my gateway game and I couldn’t get enough of it. It was nice that it was solo-friendly since I could log in a few solitaire games after my wife had gone to bed.

My stepdaughter immediately took a liking to it as well, so that was a terrific surprise. I treasure the time we spend together and what better way than trying to save the world from being laid to waste by a super virus?

Here’s my list of 10 games I played for the first time this year. I’ve listed them in order of preference, so my #1 game is Pandemic, etc. I’d recommend any of these games for anyone’s collection.

  1. Pandemic
  2.  7 Wonders
  3. Ticket to Ride
  4. Love Letter
  5. Sushi Go!
  6. Zombie Dice
  7. Tsuro
  8. Castle Panic
  9. Mille Bornes
  10. Moose on the Loose

Day 111: Sunset Boulevard

Sunset Boulevard movie poster

Sunset Boulevard movie poster

(This is part of my ongoing series on my quest to watch all 100 of AFI’s Greatest American Films of All Time)

16. Sunset Boulevard

Widely considered a classic and ranked high up on AFI’s list of 100 Greatest American Films of All Time, I was looking forward to finally seeing Sunset Boulevard.

Confession: this was the third time I started Sunset Boulevard this year; the first two times I fell asleep before the half-hour mark and this third time I dozed off near the end, which required a rewind to finish the movie.

I now understand why people hold this film in such high regard: it’s a Hollywood film about Hollywood and all of its narcissist glory. For my generation, the film-about-Hollywood that best captured the spirit of Sunset Boulevard is The Player. Sunset Boulevard was the original The Player. The O.G. Player, if you will.

William Holden is solid as Joe Gillis, the screenwriter who stumbles into a former movie star Norma Desmond’s life. Gloria Swanson plays Desmond and I wasn’t a fan. She seems to be overacting in so many scenes. Perhaps this was in keeping with her character, but I didn’t like her performance as much as Holden’s. Truth be told, it’s Erich von Stroheim as the servant Max who is consistently good throughout the film.

One thing I did not like at all: Holden’s narration. Maybe this device was used more in the films of the era, but it has not aged well. At all. It’s unnecessary and it feels like director Billy Wilder didn’t trust his audience to figure things out by themselves. Whenever I heard the narration, I kept thinking, “This is the movies. There’s no reason to tell us something at the same time you’re showing it!”

Still, I liked the ending, as the Norma Desmond character utters her famous last line. It’s not a film I’d watch again, but I get why it’s on the AFI list and it seems like any serious cinephile should see it at least once.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars.