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.

Day 57: High Noon

High Noon

High Noon

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

27. High Noon

This was one of the movies that I watched as part of a Film Studies class a lifetime ago and still enjoy after several viewings. My exposure to black-and-white Westerns to that point had been the reruns on TV; nothing ever grabbed my attention enough to make me fall in love with the genre. High Noon was different, though, and it’s all because of Gary Cooper. He’s brilliant as Will Kane, the weary and soon-to-be retired marshall of a small town of weak-minded folk. Shot in near real-time, it’s an atypical Western, with Cooper as a vulnerable and very human hero of the film.

If there’s a weakness in this film, it’s the lack of action, but again it’s not your standard cowboy movie (the closing gunfight is great, though). Cooper is dressed in black, which was normally the bad guys’ color. Instead of rallying the town behind him, he finds himself alone, practically begging people to become deputies and make a stand against an incoming gang of bad guys looking for revenge. I love how Cooper maintains a stoic yet approachable presence throughout the film.

There’s a scene near the end when he seems overwhelmed by everything and he sets his head down to take a breather. It lasts only a few seconds, but it tells so much of the story: he knows he’s facing insurmountable odds and most likely a certain death and nobody has his back. I’m not sure most heroes of ’50s-era movies were shown in such a weak, powerless position.

Cooper’s vulnerability and his stand amongst the cowards of his town is what has always appealed to me. He’s not doing the popular thing, but he’s doing the right thing.

Other well-known actors in High Noon: Grace Kelly, Lloyd Bridges, and Harry Morgan (billed as Henry Morgan). All are good, but not as great as Cooper, who won the Oscar for Best Actor. And every time I see Lloyd Bridges in any old film, I blame Zucker-Abrahams-Zucker for making me think, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop …

My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Day 40: 40 Days, 40 Blogs


Star Wars: The Last Command by Timothy Zahn


So far, so good. I’ve stayed true to my Quest to Blog Every Day in 2015, this being my 40th post in the first 40 days of the year. I’m currently on pace to meet my goal.

Quick updates on my other goals this year:

  • 100 reviews written on Yelp: 11 reviews finished. On pace.
  • 26 books read on Goodreads: 2 books finished. Reading two books now (one of them pictured above). On pace.
  • 100 movies seen on the AFI 100 Greatest American Film list. Only 3 movies finished, when I was hoping to have knocked off 10 already. Off pace.
  • Break 100 on the golf course. Unfortunately, I’ve only had time to play a par-3 and an executive course. Breaking 100 on those doesn’t count, so let’s say I’m off pace.

It’s been a good 40-day stretch of blogging. As they say, I’m still finding my voice, but I have a few surprises planned for future entries. Here’s to the next 40 days of blogging. Cheers!