2019 New Year’s Goals: Slowing Down

Although I’m posting my 2019 goals announcement after my 2018 goals review, I actually ended up doing them out of order. By the beginning of December, I was already thinking ahead to my 2019 goals without having looked back on 2018. Of course, I ended up refining the goals and tweaking the presentation, but I’m sticking with the big ideas that I already had.

And so my goal setting process perfectly illustrates why I have a theme for 2019 to slow down. My parents could tell you that I have always been hasty about doing things. I’m the most impulsive amongst my siblings, and I rush from one thing to another as quickly as possible. It makes me sloppy and careless.

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2018 New Year’s Goals Review

Welcome to 2019! Like the last two years, I did a complete life review of how 2018 went and what I want for 2019. During that process, I evaluated progress on my 2018 goals and set new goals for 2019.

In past years, I combined the previous year’s goals review with the new year’s goals announcement. However, these posts have gotten quite long, so this year, I have split the review and announcement into two separate blog posts.

So let’s see how last year’s goals went.

Continue reading “2018 New Year’s Goals Review”

My 2018 Recommendations

Many bloggers write a “Books I Read Last Year” or “Recommended Movies” post at the end of the year. Frankly, I think most people do it because other people do it and because they’re really easy to write. It’s a total cop-out for generating content.

In fact, it’s such a good cop-out that I’m going to do it, too. It’s still a nice way to review the past year and share what I did. Here are the some things that I loved from 2018.

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Switching Up My Gaming

I play all of my video games on my 2012 MacBook Pro, but recently, it has been showing its age. The 100GB Windows partition is too small, so I actually didn’t have enough space to install new games. Over the past year, I saw a few games that my computer no longer met the minimum requirements for. Also, the rubber feet on the bottom of it are falling off, which makes me wonder how long it will be before something important fails.

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Meeting My Neighbors

For the past three years, I have hosted a holiday cookie exchange for my building. Our building has 12 units (mostly 2 bedrooms), so I had hoped that we could get at least half of them to participate. However, in the last three years, we have had three, four, and three units participate, including ourselves. It hasn’t been increasing, and I have been wondering why.

Peanut Butter Cookies, Macaroons, German Chocolate Cake Cookies, and Very Fancy Christmas Cookies of unknown variety because they’re too beautiful to eat.
Continue reading “Meeting My Neighbors”

My Understanding of the 5-star Rating System

Julie and I have very different understandings of the 5 star rating system. Here’s what usually happens at a restaurant:

(Kevin nosily scrapes the last bits of food from his plate using his finger as a backstop instead of his knife)

Kevin: So how would you rate this restaurant?

Julie: I liked it! Maybe four or five stars?

(Kevin gives Julie a look of horror and confusion)

Julie: Oh, maybe more like three and a half stars

Kevin: Yeah, I was thinking three or four stars

We then (mis)remember how we rated other restaurants and try to slot this meal against those ratings. This process is haphazard at best.

And it’s not just restaurants: I’m consistently more critical than Julie on movies, books, and recipes. However, rather than accept that I am just a negative person, I instead embarked on an empirical study to prove that rating systems, not I, are the flawed party. Continue reading “My Understanding of the 5-star Rating System”

GM Tip: How to create suspense in resolving actions

Short Version of the Tip

When a player takes an action that requires a roll:

  1. Ask the player to describe exactly how they are doing it
  2. Complete their description right up to the moment that decides success or failure
  3. Ask the player to roll
  4. Narrate the resolution (or have the player do it)

It may sound simple, but it’s not actually how most GMs resolve actions. Continue reading “GM Tip: How to create suspense in resolving actions”

Working from an iPad

Julie and I just got back from vacation in China. Amongst many other things, we saw baby pandas.

This was the only place where they had a line and kept us moving

On the trip, I wasn’t carrying my MacBook Air, but I did have my iPad and iPhone, and I learned a few things about trying to do work on my mobile devices. Continue reading “Working from an iPad”

Thoughts on OpenAI Figuring Out Dota 2

In 1996, Deep Blue played competitive Chess against world champion Garry Kasparov. In 2011, Watson beat Ken Jennings at Jeopardy. In 2016, AlphaGo played and beat Lee Sedol in Go. And in 2018, OpenAI Five played 2 games against professional Data 2 players, and the humans survived 2 very fun games. But in another year, I think that OpenAI Five will handily beat the best human Dota 2 teams.

(Disclaimer: I am neither a Dota 2 nor a Machine Learning expert, and I didn’t do much research for this blog post before diving into writing) Continue reading “Thoughts on OpenAI Figuring Out Dota 2”

Try out “College Contagion”, my one-page RPG!

After my last stint writing and publishing a tabletop adventure, I was inspired to take a shot at writing a rule system. With a few playtests and a PDF from an online Word template, I now also call myself a game designer by sharing “College Contagion.”

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