Giving Away Free Board Games

Do you like to play games? Me, too.

In my effort to reduce possessions, I’d like to give away these board games to anyone located close to Southwest Michigan. If you want one, just shoot me a Tweet, text, or email.

Risk [Claimed]

Risk Revised Edition 2008

I have two versions of this iconic game to give away: Risk (Revised Edition) and Risk (Vintage Wood Book Edition).

I have spent many a late night with good friends playing Risk. It’s classic and very well known by all levels of gamers. I’ve decided to get rid of these versions because pretty much everyone has a copy, and my group of friends has mostly moved to other games like Settlers of Catan, Dominion, 7 Wonders, and others.

Killer Bunnies [Claimed]

Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrt

This is a ridiculous game. Killer Bunnies and the Quest for the Magic Carrot is a chaotic card-based negotiation game that would be most fun to play with creative people.

I also have an unopened expansion pack called Killer Bunnies Red Booster Deck.

Apples to Apples: Party Box [Claimed]

Apples to Apples Party Box

Good for large groups, you mostly win Apples to Apples by guessing how someone else will perceive the connection between an adjective and noun. (That sounded really boring. I promise that it’s not.)

This version is really big and comes with cards from the core game plus two expansion sets. Kids love this and find it really funny—it’s a great family game!

Clue (Vintage Wood Book Edition) [Claimed]

Clue (Vintage Wood Book Edition)

Clue is a classic whodunnit game is a race to accuse someone of murder with a weapon. If you’re leaning toward the Risk Vintage Wood Book Edition above, then you’ll love this one, too. They go well together on a bookshelf.

Snorta! [Claimed]

Snorta!

I’m not sure this is a good game for a twentysomething adult to play with friends (unless there are some adult beverages involved). Snorta! uses small plastic figures to help children mimic barnyard animal sounds. Would be really great for small kids, for sure.

Interested in any of these board games? Hit me up on Twitter, text, or email—first come, first serve.

Visit Yosemite National Park

This past weekend I decided to extend a business trip and knock off another one of my 30 Before 30 items: visit Yosemite National Park. I’ve been really looking forward to this one for many reasons.

Ford Mustang Rental Car in Yosemite National Park

It all started with some good fortune when I went to pick up my rental car and was handed the keys to a bright red Ford Mustang! Driving from San Francisco, I crossed the bay on a long bridge and turned up the radio.

I should’ve thought ahead. This being the dry season, a huge forest fire had started growing outside the park and was spreading west and south along one of the entrances into the valley. Of course, that wouldn’t stop me.

From a distance, I could see the smoke rising on the horizon and a golden haze settling over Modesto and Merced. A local told me to drive with the windows up and let the car’s air filter take care of the rubbish. But it was sunny and I was driving a Mustang, so that wasn’t going to happen.

Driving from Merced to Yosemite

It smelled like a fire and looked like a fire. Birds seemed skittish. I drove faster toward the mountains and past brown, grassy fields filled with orchards.

Climbing and descending, the road twisted along the route, winding past mountain towns and local eateries.

And finally, I entered Yosemite.

Although a summer weekend and the National Park Service’s birthday—meaning free admission—the crowds weren’t bad.

Hiking the Mist Trail up to Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park

Hiking was my priority, and so I began the trail to Vernal Falls. I guess my many runs paid off because I ascended quickly and passed many out-of-breath tourists with sweat stains and fanny packs. It took about an hour to reach the very top.

What a surreal experience. It was beautiful and peaceful. Everyone was partially clothed and laying on various rocks along the shore of an ice cold lake, spires of ancient rocks overhead. And so I joined—resting on my own rock with my eyes closed and the sounds of the Sierra Nevadas all around. Rocks changed color as the sun descended.

Item #14 is now complete. This one was fun.

I’ve included some more pictures below. Enjoy!

Ryan Ricketts above Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park
Laying out near a lake above Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park
Woman in bikini walking across the top of Vernal Falls in Yosemite National Park
A meadow and some cliffs in Yosemite National Park

Open Roles at Whirlpool Corporation

Whirlpool Corporation is hiring like crazy right now. Check out these three open roles on our team:

Digital Marketing Senior Manager – User Experience
https://whirlpool.taleo.net/careersection/10000/jobdetail.ftl?job=183555

Marketing Senior Manager – Social Media
https://whirlpool.taleo.net/careersection/10000/jobdetail.ftl?job=185955

Senior Project Manager – Digital Marketing
https://whirlpool.taleo.net/careersection/10000/jobdetail.ftl?job=186735

Let me know if you’re interested in learning more, or you can simply apply through the website linked above.

Of Monsters, Limes, and Great New Music

Lately, I’ve been finding some terrific new music through friends, Twitter, radio, and retreats. If you’ve been pining for new workout tunes or road trip jams, then look no further.

  • Mind Games” by Leagues — My good friend, Daniel Deitrich, recently introduced me to Leagues, and I’m sure glad he did! They sound like a mashup up of Kings of Leon, Under the Influence of Giants, and MuteMath. But really, they’re a sound that I just can’t quite pinpoint. Yay for originality!
  • Tessellate” by Alt-J — This band is already getting a lot of attention from music critics, and for good reason. They’re a cross between Radiohead and Massive Attack with just a little bit of British flair thrown in. Filled with bizarre melodies and instrumentals, you should probably just listen to this entire album.
  • Praise Him” by The Royal Royal — For my Christian worship friends, you might check out this band. They’re pretty interesting musically, but I wish the lyrics were a little more advanced. Promising.
  • State Trooper” by Drop the Lime — Kinda reminds me of the Eurythmics crossed with some kind of movie soundtrack. This is a good song for working out. I originally heard it in the October trailer for Jack Reacher starring Tom Cruise.
  • Sloom” by Of Monsters and Men — A friend asked me last weekend whether this was “hipster music,” and I said, “Yes.” He said that hipster music wasn’t all that bad. And he was right.

As always, feel free to suggest more by tweeting me @RyanRicketts.

30 Before 30 Bucket List

Inspired by Danny Dover and with some prodding by my own restlessness, I’ve been toying with a list of 30 things I want to accomplish before I turn 30 years old which I’m calling my 30 Before 30 bucket list. There is something to say about publicly posting these—maybe it will hold me more accountable?

I would call this my first draft since I’d like to get feedback before it’s final. But I’ve had a few of these on my list for over a year, so I don’t feel like I’m cheating by marking them as complete.

I have until August 6, 2014, to finish this list.

  1. ✓ Hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail
  2. ✓ Give a best man’s speech
  3. ✓ Drink a Guinness in Dublin
  4. ✓ Go whitewater rafting
  5. ✓ Visit the 9/11 Memorial in New York City
  6. ✓ Eat lobster in Boston
  7. ✓ Go to a house concert
  8. ✓ Learn how to make sushi
  9. ✓ Go stand-up paddleboarding
  10. Eat at Alinea in Chicago
  11. Go to an NFL game
  12. Live in another state
  13. ✓ Speak at a conference
  14. Visit Yosemite National Park
  15. ✓ Grow a plant from a seed to full maturity
  16. See the Badlands
  17. ✓ Visit the Hoover Dam
  18. Learn how to tie a bow tie
  19. ✓ Get a straight razor shave
  20. ✓ Take a bartending class
  21. ✓ Visit the Grand Canyon
  22. Go to a rodeo
  23. ✓ Become debt free
  24. ✓ Go to a hookah bar
  25. ✓ Get a professional massage
  26. Visit Yellowstone National Park
  27. Build a six pack
  28. Buy a same-day plane ticket
  29. ✓ Bake a cake from scratch
  30. Go to an MMA fight

Let me know what you think via Twitter or Facebook.

Songs for Summer Driving

Over the past few years I’ve developed a taste for summer driving during sunset with the windows down. Sometimes I’ll just take off into the countryside without a destination. Rolling hills, fireflies, and nebulous clouds receive bonus points.

The best nights are those where my music accents my mood. I’ve found these recently-released songs bring me the greatest amount of sunset-summer-driving joy.

If I Can’t See Your Content, Then I’m Not Coming Back

At this point, there is simply no excuse for large blank swaths of prominent websites. What am I talking about?

Let’s start with the audience. There are increasingly more devices accessing the Internet with no plug-ins like Adobe Flash. Most people forget that all Apple devices (iPhone, iPads, iPod touches, and yes, all Macs) are shipping without the Flash plug-in by default. This is not a personal vendetta against Adobe (or Macromedia) but is based on a carefully-reasoned argument as outlined by the late Steve Jobs.

And if you’re skeptical of Apple’s marketshare, check out their last quarter in raw numbers.

The mob of devices without Flash is already here.

J.Crew website without the Adobe Flash plug-in
Using a MacBook Air and the Safari browser with default settings, this is what the J.Crew website looks like.

But look around the Web and you’ll invariably see a number of major websites without a Flash fallback solution. This is even true for some of my favorite brands like J.Crew, Old Spice, and REI, all of which lack a solution for those customers who want to digest interactive and video content but cannot.

Just think of the potential decrease to customer satisfaction or the lost opportunity to present rich media to eager customers. We are on the site to learn more about the brand but are implicitly told, “No.”

And I get it. In many companies there are plenty of political or organizational hurdles to overcome to make website changes of this magnitude. I’m there with you.

But at this point, if I cannot see your content, then I am not coming back.

SEO as a Matter of Life and Death

This past week I gave a free search engine optimization (SEO) consultation to a non-profit that is working to address teen struggles with suicide, addiction, and self-mutiliation. It’s a dark topic but one that I know can be remedied with counseling, prayer, determination, and the right people to tend a listening ear. That is, I know it can be remedied if teens can actually find help quickly.

Normally I work on optimizing e-commerce sites in order to increase search engine rankings, visibility, and ultimately, sales. As noble as this is, my freelance work for RemedyLIVE will be much more important.

Because now it’s about real problems.

I had a panic moment while working on this project because I realized my work was a matter of life and death. To these teens struggling with suicide, typing a keyword or phrase into Google, Yahoo!, or Bing is a cry for help. Instead of “washers” and “dryers,” my task was to optimize for “cutting, help me, I’m struggling.”

More than ever before, it’ll be so important that the best sites rise to the top. These teens need to find relevant answers to their questions. Fast.

To those involved in the search engine business, be it an optimizer, marketer, developer, or admirer, think for a minute about our work. This is a new industry with many extremely talented people, great tools, and access to reams of data. Much like the design industry did, I propose a similar awakening.

No pressure, but what if we decided—as a community—to donate some services to non-profit companies that really need help. Are there examples of folks already doing this?

And to everyone else, let me know if there’s an especially good cause that is in dire need of some help.

Because what we need now is to realize our gifts and find ways to use them for good.

You can follow me on Twitter here: @RyanRicketts.