Mission Accomplished

Takenoko

Takenoko

Well, Dear Reader, here we are: the final post of my Blog Every Day in August Challenge.

Just like when I finished my Blog Every Day in 2015 Challenge, I may not have written the greatest blog posts known to mankind, but I set out to write every day in August and I did it. It was a lot of fun because it was a topic that is near and dear to my heart: board games.

I find it fitting that the final post of August is on Wednesday, which is one of my regular gaming nights. I’ve been in this group for nearly a year and have played all kinds of amazing games. I’ve added many of these to my own library and have been able to share these with my family and non-gamer friends.

And in that sharing spirit, I’d like to give away some games!

To enter this giveaway, just share this post on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram and tag me in your post so I know it’s been shared. I’ll choose one winner at random this Friday.

The winner will be surprised by a game or two of my choosing. This contest is open to residents in the continental United States only (sorry, but shipping is expensive!).

Thanks again to all of you who’ve connected with me during this last month. I appreciate you taking the time to read my blog.

Now go play some games!

Award Winner

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I’m now an award-winning writer!

My wife and I recently attended a Yelp Elite Event at The Vermont in Los Angeles. One of the vendors was Tabanero Hot Sauce. Although I’m not the hot sauce junkie I was as a younger man, I still enjoy spicing up my food. Back when I could stomach it, the hotter the better. Nowadays I don’t need to be sweating through my clothes in order to appreciate a tasty hot sauce.

We tried Tabanero with deconstructed chicken tacos (basically chicken nachos) and I liked the flavor. It’s not a vinegar-based sauce and it has a little kick to it, thanks to the habanero pepper recipe. I also enjoyed the Tabanero bloody mary mix.

A few days after the event I learned that the company was sponsoring a contest; anybody who attended the event was eligible. All that was required was an “ode to Tabanero” and a lucky few would win a three-pack of Tabanero Hot Sauce.

Summoning my ode-to-hot-sauce writing skills, I came up with this haiku and as they say in the casinos, Winner winner, chicken dinner! My food will be extra spicy for months to come.

Next up: The Pulitzer.

 

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!”

Whew.

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 iSlaytheDragon.com, 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 343: Catching Up

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I committed to writing 100 Yelp reviews this year and I’m lagging. I’ve been focusing on board gaming as well as posting a bunch of stuff on my Star Wars blog, so my Yelping has fallen behind schedule.

I’ve got a bunch of half-finished Yelp reviews, so I’ll try to finish my 100th by the end of the year. Actually, I’ll do that by the end of the year. Do or do not … well, you know.

Day 218: Bill Simmons

Now I Can Die in Peace by Bill Simmons

Now I Can Die in Peace by Bill Simmons

I scored a copy of Bill Simmons’ Now I Can Die in Peace at my local used bookstore tonight. I’ve read it before, but didn’t own a copy, so one dollar made me the proud owner of a hardcover in excellent condition.

I read the first two chapters again and it was like seeing Jordan in his prime. You know how great Simmons was back then? Even a diehard Angeleno like myself would actually read and buy a book about a fan’s love for the Red Sox (and Celtics and Bruins). Simmons’ writing was brilliant, funny, and witty. Within those first two chapters are pop culture and political references that only he could pull off.

He was at the top of his game, back before his writing went downhill, thanks to his forays into television, podcasting, and documentary films. His television work was terrible; for as great a writer as he was, he was extremely bland on air. I liked some of his podcasts, but listening to him figure out NFL lines wasn’t nearly as enjoyable as reading his weekly NFL picks column.

Without a doubt, his 30 for 30 documentary series for ESPN was the best non-writing work he did. I’ve loved so many of those films, from Michael Jodan’s minor league baseball career to  Vlade Divac making amends with Drazen Petrovic’s parents.

It was quality television, which is why HBO snatched him up. I have my doubts about a weekly talk show featuring Simmons, but if he can contribute behind the camera like he did on 30 for 30, then he’ll continue to have a successful career.

It’s just too bad that one of my favorite writers is no longer known for his writing.