Game over

After much heart-wrenching deliberation, I think it’s time to close Board Games Weekly down. It pains me to do so, as I love it so very much, but I don’t have the time anymore. At least, not at the scope I had imagined for it.

My goal was to produce the twice-weekly podcasts, a weekly live news show, the game play videos with my friends and a Twitch channel, as well as daily blog posts. That would have been a lot of work before I lost my job, but now it would be irresponsible for me to spend that much time on something other than billable hours as it were. Plus, my partner, Matt, has gone on to bigger and better things in the meantime (I don’t blame him), that will include many of the goals I’ve just described.

One of the things I learned while working on this project is that a podcast that features people talking about tabletop games isn’t very exciting. This topic demands video, and I don’t have the bandwidth to pull that off. So, put the dice away. It’s time to go home.

A simple, audio-only podcast supported by a Tumblr or something (or nothing, really) would be possible. Unfortunately, the fun, social hobby of tabletop gaming is not served well by that format.

Shuffling cards to think

Many writers and creative types have little habits they engage in when they need to think. Some shoot hoops, others go for a walk and so on. I shuffle cards. I keep five decks of cards at my desk for this sole purpose. Whenever I’m thinking through an article or a tricky passage, or I simply need to come up with something to write about, I’ll shuffle my cards.

Just tonight I sat down to do some writing practice, started shuffling my cards and thought, “Well there you go. I’ll write about my cards.” Without further ado, here are the “thinking cards” I keep at my desk.

Moekana Basic Japanese Learning Cards from Culture Japan (1st edition)

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I have a lifelong and undying fascination with Japanese culture. It’s my life’s dream to visit Japan. Recently I found the website Culture Japan, which focuses on Japanese pop culture. Its founder, Danny Choo, is an amazing guy who has developed, among other things, these cool cards. They use super cute illustrations to teach the basic Japanese syllabary: hiragana. They’re super kawaii, if you’re into that sort of thing (I am).

Moekana Basic Japanese Learing Cards from Culture Japan (2nd edition)

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While the first set teaches hiragana, this deck adds katakana, some new illustrations and a new design. Oh, how I love them so. The re-desigin of the second edition (right) is lovely.

The Ultimate Deck by Dave and Dave

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These are simply gorgeous. Each card has a different illustration, style, mood and feel. The cards themselves are especially slick so they’re fun to slide around in my hands. Note that I don’t riffle shuffle this deck, as I want to keep it in nice condition.

The Captains Deck by Brain Vessel Cargo

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This deck was a Kickstarter project that I backed about a year ago. When they arrived I was quite thrilled. The original artwork is just beautiful and the overall theming is great. As with The Ultimate Deck, the Captains Deck feels great in the hand.

Draplin Design Co. Playing Card Set Think Lines Edition

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I received these as a Christmas gift last year and they’re so beautiful it makes my brain hurt. That joker card especially. Oh man I just love it so much. This deck is sold out for now, so bug Aaron to make more.

 

Apple World Today and Patreon

Today’s the day that Steve Sande, Kelly Hodgkins and I have been working towards. Now the real work begins, and you can help, via Patreon.

Hello, Apple World Today.

Last week, The Unofficial Apple Weblog was shuttered by its parent company for reasons beyond our control. The move was upsetting for a few reasons, but mostly because we weren’t done. We aren’t done writing, reporting, sharing, informing and entertaining you, the people who love Apple’s products and services as much as we do. So we made something of our own, where we could keep doing those things, but without a corporate owner. It’s bold, exciting and full of potential. And you can help.

We want to avoid traditional banner advertising (which you’d probably block anyway). Instead, we’re having sponsorships and a Patreon page. Patreon lets you pay us for the content we produce. You can choose any amount you want, and any amount is appreciated. We’ve got some nice benefits for patrons, and you’ll help to support our efforts.

We have a vision for Apple World Today, and to pull it off, it must be our full-time job. You can help us get there. Please consider it. Thank you.

“I felt like I’d murdered something beautiful”

Helena Price unfollowed everyone she was following online, and I’m very jealous. At first it was hard:

“I was really attached to the feeds I’d curated on Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. With Twitter in particular — over the years I had slowly crafted a collection of creatives, techies, journalists and more, constantly pumping my feed with great content. I loved the community I had there. I felt like I stomped it all into the ground, and that sucked.”

But then…

“Within a week, the noise of a million links and avatars in my brain was gone, and I didn’t miss it. I felt like I could focus on one thing at a time and think complete thoughts. I could think clearly about my priorities and no longer felt like I was drowning in tasks and distractions.”

I’ve noticed that my ability to focus is worse than it has ever been, and I blame, in part, my addiction to information. Scanning hundreds of updates per day from several sources has made it hard to focus. Even reading a book is now labor-intensive.

I wish I had Helena’s bravery.

[Via Shawn Blanc]

All right, so what now?

41954d7def7899e613a74791a6a11563Welp, as of 5:00 PM Eastern today I’m officially unemployed. It’s going to be weird to wake up tomorrow and not assume my regular duties. Though, I must admit, I won’t miss digging myself out of a couple hundred PR emails. What am I going to do now?

Lots of things, and that’s exciting. I’m launching AppleWord.today with two other former TUAW editors: Steve Sande and Kelly Hodgkins. Expect lots of great content with a focus on how-to’s, reviews and informative/entertaining videos out the ying-yang.

I’ve got Board Games Weekly up and running (though it’s been neglected a bit). I want to start doing play-through videos there with my gaming group, but that will take time and money. I’m thinking of putting the show on Patreon.

Home Work is still up and running of course, and I’m having a good time with it. I’m still writing at Unclutterer, too.

As of this writing, two of those four projects are bringing in $0.00 (I’ll let you guess). That will change probably, but I won’t be earning the equivalent of my old salary for a while. As a result, I’ll be doing all sorts of stuff to keep my head above water and food on my family’s table. Several people have offered the opportunity for me to write freelance articles, and I’m going to take them up on that. I have a friend who’s a fisherman, and he’ll let me help sort mussels (I did it last summer, too. It’s hard work but strangely satisfying).

Things are kind of wide open right now and that’s exciting. I have the time and inclination to say “yes” to projects. It’s also scary, as I need to start earning money fast. But I’m choosing to be excited. If you’ve enjoyed my work so far, come along for the ride. 2015 should be interesting to say the least.

In honor of old friends

tuawtalking

First you freak the fuck out and then you realize it’s OK.

Then you freak out.

You’re sitting at your desk with your ergonomic keyboard and your Futurama action figures and that green tea you paid too much for because it had Japanese characters on the package and that means it’s VALID green tea, and then the bottom drops out. It’s like when you’re at dinner with your parents, your spouse and your kids, and your more-than-middle-aged dad announces, in between bites of Chicken Kiev, that the hemorrhoid cream he bought is JUST NOT WORKING.

In my case, “hemorrhoid cream” is my job and “JUST NOT WORKING” is I don’t have it anymore.

Remember when I stopped writing for 52T so I could concentrate on TUAW? LOL!

After a decade with TUAW, the fun has come to an end. Our parent company is shuttering the site as part of an internal reorganization. I’ll miss lots of things about my job — like it being a job that provides a paycheck — including the people.

My team at TUAW, present and past, consisted of true pros. I’m talking about people who are crazy smart, dedicated and fun. I’ll miss the frenzy of covering live Apple press events (we were a freaking MACHINE on those days), big events like Macworld Expo, riding the “the 1337 cab” around San Francisco (Doc, Brett and Kelly G. will remember that one), as well as the day-to-day posting, editing and shooting the shit in IRC. OLD SCHOOL BABY. A huge thank-you to all of you.

Thanks especially to Steve Sande (even though he never let me wear the Indiana Jones hat), Mike Rose (who put up with my horrific grammar and spelling for YEARS, and taught me how to write) and Vic Agreda, who made me a full-time employee. I’ve been with you three the longest. You poor bastards. Thanks to C.K. Sample III who hired me in the first place, and Scott McNulty whose editorial red pen has made me a better writer. Never start sentence with “so”!

This is the second time in six years that I’ve lost a job due to the decision of a parent company. That’s like winning the lottery in hell. The FREAKING OUT will continue, mostly because my bank refuses to accept tears and/or groveling as payment on my mortgage. But I’ll figure it out.

Oh, and I’ll be writing here again. Only now I drink the cheap-ass tea.

Boundless

Why am I working like a dog at 10:00 PM? Because the love I feel for these two humans is boundless. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do.

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Listen all y’all it’s a sabotage

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I don’t know what’s up with this but I have a tendency to sabotage myself. Not in the little things, either. I’ll let stuff go that I know will cause huge problems. I wonder if other people do this or if it means I have a serious psychological problem. Maybe it’s why so many of my projects fail?

Study Hall

studyhall

Could you describe the ruckus, sir?

Yes, I know they’re in detention above, not study hall, but stay with me.

I’m working on a few projects outside of my job. I’ve got Home Work, Board Games Weekly and ideas for other stuff that’s still in the spitball stage. I’ve got goals and hurdles for each, some bigger than others. The cool part of creating side projects is that you’ve got full control over the thing. The trouble is that there’s no one to bounce ideas off of when you get stuck. So, let’s to go Study Hall.

My idea for Study Hall is a way to gather people with outstanding projects that need a little attention. A real-time sounding board comprised of like-minded self-starters who want to discuss their project(s) out loud. If you’re not “stuck” but want to join a conversation with people who are, you’d be welcome to do so.

Interested? Then let’s do it. Leave a comment on this post and I’ll schedule a Google Hangout. Bring your ideas and your experience. Or I’ll tape all your buns together.

Happy 2015

A new year has begun. I’m 28 days late in writing about it, I haven’t left my house in over 48 hours and HOLY SHIT HOW AM I 44?

A few happenings.

I made a podcast and website about tabletop games because that’s a great way to get rich and it’s costing me $60 per month. It’s a labor of love but so is actual labor and some of you know how that feels (ladies).

Recently had an existential crisis when I realized that I’m 11 months from 45 and I don’t yet have the smashing career OR the convertible BMW that compensates for the lack of a smashing career. So I’ve started a gratitude journal to help me focus on the positive. It’ll be public, and you’re free to read it.

This happened.

face

I’ve also created a paper journal based on Shawn Blanc’s ill-named “Core Curriculum” idea (oh, the politically-charged hotheads that’ll find me now). I’m using a Hobonichi Techo for the project, which is Japanese for “I spent $34 to have a paper journal shipped literally across the planet even though I could drive to Staples and get one for twelve bucks.” It’s a very efficient language.

I found this in the bathroom:

doll

My daughter got pointe shoes and I cried because I don’t remember ever seeing her that happy/confident/proud. Those are the moments I wish I could capture, dehydrate, crush into a power and snort on those days when I feel like the Worst Parent Ever.

Finally, I’m writing here again. Not about Apple, because the Internet does not need another middle-aged white guy spouting off about tech.

Welcome, 2015.