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 363: A Thousand Words

Best shot I hit all year on the golf course.

Best shot I hit on the golf course in 2015.

I can’t believe I only have two more days until I’ve completed My Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015!

I’ll write more about this on the final post of the year, but for now let me say this: I wish I would’ve written more substantial posts. I didn’t realize how tough this quest would be and I have a greater appreciation for those that publish quality content on a regular basis.

What’s the old saying? A picture’s worth a thousand words? Here are a few photos I took this year. I’m not sure I could write a thousand words for each, but they are a good sample of what I did during the previous 363 days.


Roll for the Galaxy


Premiere of Star Wars: The Force Awakens


Wasabi-flavored Kit Kats from Japan


Incredible kim chi fried rice from Little Meats LA

Frontier sign at the Neon Boneyard Museum

Frontier sign at the Neon Boneyard Museum


A summer night at Dodger Stadium


Celebrating the US Women’s World Cup victory at LA Live


Day 261: Four for Friday

Love Letter

Love Letter

Four random thoughts on this Friday.

  1. It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of the board game Pandemic. I’ve played countless solo and group games and I love teaching it to new players. The newest version, Pandemic Legacy, will be released at next month’s Spiel in Essen, Germany. The Dice Tower crew did a spoiler-free review and their enthusiasm was apparent; they’re predicting it will be in the running for game of the year.
  2. I eeked out a narrow (7-6) Love Letter victory against my wife tonight. I’ve said this many times and so have others, but it’s worth repeating: it’s the best $7 I’ve ever spent on a game. Quick, fun, and easy to learn.
  3. I hate to say this, but the Tiger Woods era looks to be over. I don’t doubt his drive and hunger for winning more majors, but his body won’t let him. Shame, too, because the haters will always say he didn’t break Jack’s record. I always say, did they Jack-proof courses for Nicklaus back in his day? No? Well, they did it to Tiger and he still won. When you can still win when the game is being made more difficult, I say you’re the greatest of all time.
  4. I set up my fantasy basketball league, which always throws me off because it’s done a week after the start of the fantasy football season. The NBA and fantasy season doesn’t start until the end of October, but it usually takes a month for us to set a date and iron out all of the details. Plus, it takes me about that long to digest all of the food from our fantasy football draft day’s foodapalooza.


Day 235: Couch Potato

Fear the Walking Dead

Fear the Walking Dead

With the Galaxy hosting the New York City Football Club, Tiger Woods in contention at the Wyndham Championship, and the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead, my Sunday was booked solid.

Unfortunately, Tiger quickly dropped out of contention, but that allowed me to get out of the house after the Galaxy game. The Galaxy looked like MLS Cup contenders again, thanks to Robbie Keane’s continued MVP form and Giovanni Dos Santos’ all-around excellence. Although I missed out on the game today (I tried to buy tickets after Gio had signed, which meant that it was already sold out), it was still fun watching the Galaxy dominate the game and I expect to go to the StubHub Center later this year for another championship game.

Fear the Walking Dead is on right now as I type this, but my wife and I are both finishing up some work before AMC reruns it. I hope it lives up to the hype, but I still prefer binging on shows 2-4 episodes at a time so we’ll probably watch tonight’s pilot before taking a few weeks off to stockpile episodes.

Nothing says couch potato better than zoning out on a bunch of zombie shows.

Day 228: Sunday Fun-Day


Jason Day was getting close to holding the uncoveted title of Best Player to Never Win a Major. He’d nearly won several times, but couldn’t seal the deal.

I’ll never forget his 2011 Masters run. My brother, a friend, and I had just completed 18 holes when we went to a restaurant that was showing the Masters. Day was in contention throughout, but Charl Schwartzel went on a late birdie binge to snag the green jacket away from Day.

We were crushed.

Fast forward to today. I’m not golfing or even watching golf as much as I’d like, but there was no way I was going to miss the final round of the PGA Championship. Day had the 54-hole lead and was paired up with the two-time major winner, Jordan Spieth. If Day was going to finally break through, it would have to be against the world’s best golfer.

Thankfully, Day didn’t wilt under the pressure and today’s round was the storybook ending he wanted, as he captured his first major championship. He also did it in record-setting form, posting the first -20 ever in a major.

But most importantly for me and many others, Day was the first Filipino to win one of golf’s major championships. He’s a Filipino-Australian and I always take pride when a kababayan becomes the “first” to do so something. It was a long-time coming, but it’s nice crossing off another “Filipino first” from the list.


Day 195: Tiger


I miss the days of Tiger Woods winning nearly every tournament he entered. He’s my favorite golfer of all time and he’s a big part of the reason why I started playing golf.

While he won’t win this year’s British Open, I hope he plays well. With all of the injuries, coach changes, swing rebuilds and off-course drama, Tiger’s days of domination are long gone. But I’m rooting for him to turn back the clock.

I know the TV execs and advertisers are salivating at the possibility.

Day 150: Google Photos


I like the new Google Photos. A lot. The search feature is fantastic; it’s great how my photos are now grouped by topic as well as date.

Tonight I found the above photo under the “Golf” heading. I did not create this heading; thanks to the magic of Google Photos, my photos were scanned and put into the appropriate group. This was one of the better golf shots I hit this year; I love this tee shot at Roosevelt because you’re firing right at the Griffith Observatory. Thankfully, Google Photos has no proof of my next shot, a shanked approach that ruined any chance of birdie.

Day 100: Review and Update

Ticket to Ride board game and app

Ticket to Ride board game and app

I hit the century mark! One hundred days ago I started my Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015 and today I am over a quarter of the way there (27% to be exact). Now let’s review how I’m doing with my other goals and add another one, shall we?

My Goals for 2015:

  1. Write 100 reviews on Yelp. (25 written; on pace, but I’m behind my unofficial 10-reviews-per-month pace that I established last year.)
  2. Read 26 books and review them on Goodreads. (12 read; according to Goodreads, I’m 5 books ahead of schedule.)
  3. Break 100 on the golf course. (I’ve only played a few executive and par-3 courses, so haven’t given it a shot yet; this is most likely the one thing I won’t accomplish this year.)
  4. Watch all of the AFI 100 Greatest American Films of All Time. (read below for more)

I thought that watching all of the AFI 100 Greatest American Films of All Time would be a breeze. I love movies and I especially love great movies. Unfortunately, as of today, I’ve watched an unimpressive total of four. Yikes.

I’ve spent my movie-watching time doing other things: reading books, writing Yelp reviews, binge-watching The Walking Dead, posting on this blog, and playing board games. Now I have less than 8 months to watch the final 96 movies on the AFI list. I could count the ones I’ve seen in the past, but my goal was to watch each film this year. It’s all or nothing. Like my attempts to break 100 on the golf course, I may fall short of my goal, but at least I’ll enjoy my cinematic journey.

If I hadn’t rediscovered my love of board games, I might have put a bigger dent in that AFI 100 list. I have no regrets, though; it’s been a wonderful experience reconnecting with my love of games and the best part is that my wife shares my new passion. We’ve played dozens of games of Ticket to Ride and recently bought the Android app to play on our tablets. I still prefer the real-life version, but the digital option is a fine port of the original.

So, it looks like I’ll reach two of my four goals (write 100 Yelp reviews and read and review 26 books on Goodreads). My third goal (break 100 on the golf course) seems unattainable unless I start playing more, and possibly take lessons. The fourth goal (watching all AFI 100 movies) will take a Herculean effort to finish.

I tell myself it’s all about the experience, but I still like to accomplish my goals, no matter how silly they may seem. In that spirit, I’ve decided to add a fifth goal based on my last two months: play 10 new board games. I’m nearly halfway there, after buying Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Tsuro, and Castle Panic. I’m staying with the most popular and the least time-consuming games as my gaming rebirth continues. Right now, the thought of going deep into hours-long campaigns has no appeal to me. But I’m someone that never likes to say never, so perhaps I’ll get into them. For now, I’ll enjoy playing new games until I reach my 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 90: Chances

Birdie chances for me and nephew.

Birdie chances for me and nephew.

As noted here, one of my goals for this year is to break 100 on the golf course. Unfortunately, I have not been able to play as much as I’ve wanted to in 2015. It’s the end of March and I haven’t gotten out to a regulation course yet. I’ve played a few executive and par-3 courses, but need to stretch my legs and play a par-72 soon. The summers in the Inland Empire can be brutal for golfers and it isn’t easy playing in the stifling heat.

The photo above is from my last trip to a par-3 course. I had not swung a club in awhile and had my ups and downs during the nine holes, but managed to stick the last green with my pitching wedge. My nephew nearly matched my shot and we both had a chance for a birdie. We both missed, but tapped in for par.

I realized that it might not be realistic to break 100 this year, but as long as I don’t miss any chances to golf with my nephew, I’m okay with it.