The Case for Fischer Random Chess (Chess960) and Chicken Games

“Please put aside your barbaric talk about Fischer Random 960. It obliterates the ability of the viewer to make sense of the board, so why bother?” — Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution Top-level classical chess has become so clean that draws are the norm when both play a memorization game of

Why Wildcat (2022) is this year’s most surprising founder story

With Melis balking at both Avatar & Babylon’s 3-hour plus run times, we walked an off-beaten path for our traditional Christmas theater movie to Wildcat, which at its surface is a “save the wild animals” documentary with cats. Easy feel-good cute fluff for cat parents! Light spoilers ahead. The R-rating

A Summer Through Italy

Shot on: Digital and 120mm medium format film. Grazie Melis for the inspo!

How I Cashed in My First WSOP Main Event

“Remember this. The house doesn’t beat the player. It just gives him the opportunity to beat himself.” — Nicholas “The Greek” Dandolos BACKSTORY Back in December, I decided to play the $10,000 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event Championship. My last tournament experience was a $1,000 NLHE WSOP…in 2012.

The 2022 Guide of West LA’s Top 5 Burgers

I’m only one stomach in the sea of many. But having built my palette resume over San Francisco and New York, I’m excited to share with you my Los Angeles faves. For my sanity, I’ve focused mainly on the West Side LA, and will expand slowly from there. No. 1

The Odyssey of Watching STALKER (1979) and Dreams

Director Andrei Tarkovsky’s sci-fi epic had been sitting on my to-watch for some time. By sheer chance, I read the Strugatsky brothers’ Roadside Picnic, which Stalker is based on. There are SPOILERS ahead for both Stalker and Picnic. Both works share the “stalker” concept, with subtle nuances. In Stalker, they’re

The Best Chess Moments In Queen’s Gambit

“My tranquility needs to be refurbished.” Alma Wheatley When you play a lot of chess, you start recognizing what “Hollywood” dresses up in films to increase drama or exaggerate details to cue the audience what is happening in a game. So when Queen’s Gambit arrived on Netflix, it went to

Once Upon a Time Dream

Writer’s note: Something I wrote up during a 45-minute free-writing session. The prompt was “grasping.” Mechanical watches are useless in this dream because time moves faster for only you when you’re aware of the time. Emotions play a big part in time movement, too. Anger accelerates time in most cases,

“The Herd is On the Move”

Maybe because I’m going back on the warpath that I’m noticing an interesting trend among my Valley peers that have been “in the game” since the 2010s: we’re building again. This part is choked with anecdotes, but hear me out. COVID has “reset” our social and cultural patterns, which in


Last updated: Oct 2020 Sure, I could be other blogs where they throw 1,000+ titles to show breadth. Instead, I’d rather lightly pitch why each piece is time well spent, and share my core reading culture. These are all worth a physical paperback/hardcover copy. Nonfiction Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

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