My goals for 2017 and in no particular order:

- Run a 9-ball rack (pool) and improve my billiards game. I’ve actually broke and ran a 9-ball game before, but haven’t done so since my session of APA League Pool. Stretch goal: Top Gun in 9-ball for my local APA league.
**There were a lot of break and runs this year. No Top Gun, but a strong showing in both 8 and 9 ball.** - Stage 0 Weight Reduction (lose some weight) and be a little healthier. Maybe make some time and pick up Aikido again. First milestone is to lose 20 lbs.
**This didn’t happen. I think that I actually gained a few lbs. This year, I’ve decided to change a few things and am working on making this a reality.** - Be a little more selfish and spend MORE time focusing on myself and the things I am passionate about.
**I think I did this. It’s a work in progress.** - Chair at least one autocross event for the 2017 Championship Series and one event for the 2017 Slush series.
**Done.** - Podium at an autocross event in my class with more than 5 entries.
**Done. This past year has been a huge improvement. After 3 years of owning the car, I finally have a full platform to race on. And this rear wheel drive thing is starting to click.** - Fix the Impreza, and then fix the Porsche.
**Let’s not talk about this. Nothing has changed. Lol.** - Be more supportive of my friends in their interests and passions, even if those things are no interest to me.
**Still trying to do this. I think I’ve gotten better at it, but I still think there is a lot of growth that still needs to take place.** - Be relatively debt-free by the end of 2017.
**I am more debt free, but still a ways to debt-free.** - Play more Magic: the Gathering than I did in 2016.
**I think I played about the same amount of Magic. I am looking to play more in 2018.**

Sweet Yogurt.

- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1.5 cans (use the can from the condensed milk) of hot water
- 2 cans of room temp water
- about 3 spoons full of plain yogurt with active/live cultures

Mix. Mix. Mix.

Instant Pot on Yogurt for 6.5 hrs.

For Sweeter Yogurt Recipe.

- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1.5 cans (use the can from the condensed milk) of hot water
- 1 cans of room temp water
- about 3 spoons full of plain yogurt with active/live cultures

For Sweet and a Thicker Yogurt

- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
- 1.5 cans (use the can from the condensed milk) of hot water
- 1 can of room temp water
- 1 can of 2% milk
- about 3 spoons full of plain yogurt with active/live cultures

**Ingredients:**

- 3-4 lbs pork butt/shoulder roast
- Slow Cooker Pulled Pork Marinade Packet

I used this: http://redforkfoods.com/products/slow-cook-sauce/barbecue-pulled-pork-slow-cook-sauce - 2 cups of water
- BBQ Sauce

**Instructions:**

- Cut up the roast into 1.5″-2″ cubes and put all the pork, water, and marinade packet in the liner of the Instant Pot. I think the pulled pork tastes better if you allow it to marinate overnight.
- Close and lock the lid, making sure the sealing knob is on sealing. I set the Instant Pot to manual for 40 minutes.

- Once the cooking is done, you can release the pressure by the quick or natural pressure release.
- Once the pressure is released, remove the pork chunks and shred. Once shredded, place into a large bowl and add BBQ sauce and mix. Add as much or as little as you want. To help keep the pulled pork moist, I also ladled a little bit of the marinade into the mixing bowl. As I liked my pulled pork with a little sweeter sauce, I added a little brown sugar to the mixture. Feel free to add sriracha if you are looking for a little heat!
- Serve with buns and coleslaw or enjoy however you like!

Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Part 1

*Probability of Incidents During Set-Up*

Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Part 2

*Probability of Incidents During Set-Up and How-To Use the Front 9 Calculator*

Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Part 3

*Strategies to Survive Between Set-Up and First Epidemic*

**Strategies to Survive Between Set-Up and First Epidemic**

*After the infection stage of set-up, what is the best strategy to hold the disease at bay between Set-Up and the first Epidemic?*

Why only manage until the first Epidemic? Once the first Epidemic occurs, the discard is shuffled and put back at the top of the deck. Once this happens, we’ll generally have the same subset of cards that we’ll be drawing from after each Epidemic. Right after set-up, we are still drawing from the larger unknown Infection Deck. All we can really do is cover all the cities. Once the Epidemic happens, we’ll know the composition of the next 20 or so cards which can help us determine how many cubes, or none at all are needed on each city and the likelihood that a specific city may be drawn.

Since we already know the contents (deck size and composition) of the Infection Deck, what we do between Set-Up and the First Epidemic is largely based on what cards are revealed during Set-Up.

We can use adapt the Front 9 Calculator to better demonstrate the probabilities during the Infection step at the end of each player’s turns.

**The Previous Strategy**

The strategy will be similar to that of how we distributed the the supply cubes prior to set-up. We want to minimize incidents by addressing the most vulnerable cities. In the case of distribution of set-up, we distributed the cubes like this:

*1. Place one supply cube in each city that has 3 cards in the infection deck.*

*2. Place one supply cube in each city that has 2 cards in the infection deck.*

*3. Place one supply cube in each city that has 1 card in the infection deck.*

*4. Place a second supply cube in each city that has 3 cards in the infection deck.*

*5. Place a second supply cube in each city that has 2 cards in the infection deck.*

*6. Place a third supply cube in each city that has 3 cards in the infection deck.*

We know that regardless of the deck size, the order (of probabilities) of items #1-6 will always stay true, though as the deck starts to thin, the percentages of an event happening increases.

**The Adapted Formula**

*Deck size = N (Remaining number of cards in the Infection Deck)*

*Total number of cards drawn = R = 2 (Infection Rate prior to Epidemic 1)*

*Number of New York cards = n = 3*

*Number of New York Cards drawn = r = [0, 1, or 2]; r can not be 3 as the most cards that can be drawn is 2.
*

P(X = r) =

C(n, r) * C(N-n, R-r)

——————

C(N, R)

In layman’s terms,

C(n, r) is the number of ways to draw *r* New York card from *n* New York cards.

C(N, R) is the number of ways to draw *R* (R=2) cards, from *N* (N = # of cards remaining in the Infection Deck)*.*

C(N-n, R-r) refers to the number of ways to draw *R-r* (Non-New York) from *N-n* (Non-New York)

The formula is exactly the same as the Front 9. The biggest difference is the N and R values. Here is the adapted calculator.

A simple substitution of a larger or smaller number in to the Backside Calculator will confirm that the order/priority of the guidelines are still true.

After the 9 infection cards are revealed during set-up, we can use this information to work backwards to determine what cards are remaining in the Infection Deck. The Infection Deck discard is known information. You may look at its content at any time.

Since the order of probabilities is the same, you won’t need to use the calculator. You only need to base your decision from the remaining Infection Deck subset.

**Example 1**: If two New York cards are revealed during set-up, then there is one New York card remaining in the Infection Deck. Looking at the N=18 chart, the probability that a New York card will be drawn in the next Infection step is 0.1111. This can be found by looking at Row 8 for 1 remaining card in the Infection Deck, and column D, E, and F. The key cell we are looking at is D8 as E8 and F8 are impossible outcomes. (You can’t draw 2 or more cards when there is a fewer number left in the deck.

**Example 2: **If no New York cards were revealed during set-up. How many New York cards are left in the Infection Deck at the beginning of the game? What’s the probability of this card coming up during the next Infect step (given there is no Epidemic)?

There are three New York cards left in the Infection Deck. Looking at Row 10, and column D, E, F. (Cells D10, E10, and F10.) F10 isn’t a possible outcome and is 0. The sum of D10 and E10 is the probability. Probability = 0.3137.

**Revised Guidelines for Game-play Between Set-Up and Epidemic 1**

Here’s the revised guidelines. These guidelines are based on the strategy of keeping the most venerable cities stocked with at least one supply cubes. When all cities have at least one supply cube, then does the city receiving a second supply cube is feasible. According to the table provided by the Backside Calculator, it will be very rare to see back-to-back city cards to come out during the Infection step between set-up and the first Epidemic.

*1. If a city has 3 Infection cards remaining in the Infection Deck, and there are no cubes on that city, place 1 supply cube on that city.*

*2. If a city has 2 Infection cards remaining in the Infection Deck, and there are no cubes on that city, place 1 supply cube on that city.*

*3. If a city has 1 Infection cards remaining in the Infection Deck, and there are no cubes on that city, place 1 supply cube on that city.*

*4. If a city has 3 Infection cards remaining in the Infection Deck, and there is 1 cubes on that city, place 1 supply cube on that city.*

*5. If a city has 2 Infection cards remaining in the Infection Deck, and there is 1 cubes on that city, place 1 supply cube on that city.*

*6. If a city has 3 Infection cards remaining in the Infection Deck, and there is 2 cubes on that city, place 1 supply cube on that city.
*

Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Part 1

*Probability of Incidents During Set-Up*

Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Part 2

*Probability of Incidents During Set-Up and How-To Use the Front 9 Calculator*

Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Part 3

*Strategies to Survive Between Set-Up and First Epidemic*

**Using the Front 9 Calculator**

Use this calculator to help determine the best way to distribute supply cubes onto your game board prior to the Infection step of Set-Up.

In Part 1, we calculated the probabilities of drawing 0, 1, 2, or 3 cards of a city (Ex. New York) during the Infection step of Set-Up. In Google Sheets, using the built-in combination function [*=combin(n, r)*], we are easily able to fill out a table comparing the probabilities of Cities with # of Infection Cards vs. Number of Times a City Infected During Set-Up.

The calculator is provided here. It is write-protected so it won’t provide any spoilers of the game outside of the prologue. You will need to copy it to your own Google Drive to be able to edit it and use it.

The only cell you need to populate is B5 (cell filled green). As your Infection Deck grows or shrinks, update this cell to see the updated probabilities of an event happening.

**Understanding the Values in the Front 9 Calculator**

The vertical axis (the area shaded in red) represents the cities with 1, 2, or 3 city cards in the infection deck.

The horizontal axis (the shaded in blue) represents the number of times a city is infected during set-up (0, 1, 2, or 3).

The purple area represents probabilities of possible outcomes.

The gray area represents impossible outcomes (0% probability).

The sum of the outcomes of Row 1, Row 2, and Row 3 are 1 (or 100%). This is important as we will used this piece of information to work backwards and to derive context.

**Examples**

**Example 1:** *What does Cell C11 represent? Infection Deck = 27. The city we are trying to calculate the probability for has only 2 cards in the Infection Deck. What is the probability that we will not draw any infection cards in this city during the Set-Up Infection?*

= P(X = 0) or 1 – P(X > 0) or 1 – P(X = 1, 2, or 3)

= C11 = 1 – (D11 + E11 + F11) = 1 – (D11 + E11 + F11)

= 43.59%

In the context of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2: If no supply cubes where placed in this city, what’s the likelihood that this city will have an incident (Infection when no supply cues are present)?

Since there are no supply cubes, both outcomes of P(X = 1) and P(X =2) will cause an incident. Therefore the probability of an incident happening is:

P(X = incident when no supply cubes are present) = P(X = 1) + P(X = 2)

= 0.4615 + 0.1026 = 0.5641

**Example 2:** *What do Cells C12 to F12 represent? Infection Deck = 27. The city we are trying to calculate the probability for has only 3 cards in the Infection Deck. If we place a single supply cube on this city, what is the probability that we will not have any incidents during the Set-Up Infection?*

Since there is a single supply cube in the city, the only way for the city to have an incident is if two or more infection cards are revealed during set-up. There are no incident outcomes if 0 or 1 infection card for this city comes up as the single supply cube negates the effect of the 1 infection card scenario.

= P(X = incident when a city with 3 cards in the infection deck has 1 supply cube on it)

Since we know that X = 0 and X = 1 will not cause an incident; and X > 1 (X = 2 and X = 3) will cause incident, the probability of an incident happening is:

= P(X = 2) + P(X = 3) = E12 + F12

= 0.2215 + 0.0287 = 0.2502

**Theory Behind the Distribution Guidelines**

**Guidelines**

*1. Place one supply cube in each city that has 3 cards in the infection deck.*

*2. Place one supply cube in each city that has 2 cards in the infection deck.*

*3. Place one supply cube in each city that has 1 card in the infection deck.*

*4. Place a second supply cube in each city that has 3 cards in the infection deck.*

*5. Place a second supply cube in each city that has 2 cards in the infection deck.*

*6. Place a third supply cube in each city that has 3 cards in the infection deck.*

**Understanding the Numbers Behind the Guidelines**

We already know this fact: The chance of getting an infection card from a city with 3 cards in the Infection Deck is higher than that of cities with only 2 cards in the Infection Deck. We also know that the probability that a city will be infected is higher for cities with two cards than it is for 1 cards.

**Example 3: ***There are no available cubes to distribute during set-up. List in order the type of cities (1 card, 2 cards, or 3 cards) that are most-likely to get at least one incident.*

This information can be drawn from column C in the Front 9 Calculator. If we put context to these three cells, we would get this:

The probability that a city with 1 card in the infection doesn’t get an incident is 66.67%.

The probability that a city with 2 cards in the infection doesn’t get an incident is 43.59%.

The probability that a city with 3 cards in the infection doesn’t get an incident is 27.90%.

Most Probable to Have at least One Incident

*Cities with 3 Infection Cards in the Infection Deck*

*Cities with 2 Infection Cards in the Infection Deck*

*Cities with 1 Infection Card in the Infection Deck*

Least Probable

This order of most to least probable will stay true as long the three types of cities have the same number of supply cubes on it. (Except when the number of supply cubes is greater or equal than the number of card cards in the Infection Deck. In that case, the outcomes has zero probability.)

**Example 5: ***Place a supply cube in each of the cities that have 3 cities card in the Infection Deck. List in order the type of cities (1 card, 2 cards, or 3 cards) that are most-likely to get at least one incident.*

We’ve already determine the probability of this scenario in Example 2 and know the probability is the sum of the outcomes where X > 1 (or cells E12 and F12).

Most Probable to Have at least One Incident

*Cities with 2 cards and has 0 supply cubes. (Cells D11 + E11) = 0.5641
*

Least Probable

Knowing these things, we are now able to order all the scenarios from most to least probable.

**Most to Least Probable of All Scenarios**

Most Probable to Have at least One Incident

*Cities with 3 cards and 0 supply cubes. (Cells D12/E12/F12) = 0.7210
*

Cities with 3 cards in the Infection Deck and has 3 supply cubes. = 0

**Distributing the Supply Cubes**

Using the information above, we can now determine how to best minimize the chance of incidents. In ideal situations where you have unlimited supply cubes, you would just distribute 3 supply cubes to each 3 card city, 2 supply cubes to each 2 card city, and a single supply cube to each 1 card city for a 0% percent chance of incidents.

However, the real-game scenario limits the number of supply cubes that are available during Set-Up. In-game, you would want to prioritize the cities with the highest probability first. As you add cubes one by one to a city, the probability of incidents occurring will decrease.

Cities with 3 cards and 0 supply cubes has the highest probability of incidents. Once a supply cube is added to the city, the probability of an incident decreases to 0.2502.

The strategy is to address the highest probability incident scenarios, not cities, first. Once that scenario is completely addressed, the next step is address the next highest probable scenario, cities with 2 cards and 0 supply cubes (0.5641). And so on.

When the allotted supply cubes are distributed with the above priority, the board state will have the least probable set-up for incidents. Of course, this is just by the numbers. Higher probability will happen more often. Lower probability will happen less often.

If this method doesn’t work for you, my is disclaimer is this: This method doesn’t take into account luck, misfortune, poor shuffling, and/or Acts of God.

]]>Before I begin, I just wanted everyone to know that I am going to try my best to not spoil any of the game other than what you might have seen in the Prologue month.

*Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2* is a multi-part series. Links to the other parts can be found here:

Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Part 1

*Probability of Incidents During Set-Up*

Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Part 2

*Probability of Incidents During Set-Up and How-To Use the Front 9 Calculator*

Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Part 3

*Strategies to Survive Between Set-Up and First Epidemic*

**Understanding Probability in Pandemic Legacy: Season 2**

Game play of the Prologue month can easily be found on YouTube and the month is often used to introduce the game play, mechanics, and work flow to new players. The prologue has no permanent effects on the game and can be played an unlimited number of times before starting the January month.

For those of you who are in a current game of Pandemic Legacy: Season 2, you might have noticed that the game is quite a bit harder than Season 1. You aren’t alone. It seems like everyone is struggling to meet their monthly objectives. Here are some tips.

**Optimize Your Chances of Winning**

**Review the contents of the Infection Deck.**Count the number of cards and see how the city infection cards are distributed. At the beginning of the game, there are 27 cards in the infection deck. 9 cities with 3 card each. This will change as the game progresses. As you are playing the game, keep track of which cards came up. This will help you determine the likelihood of future cards.After each epidemic, before shuffling the infection deck discard and putting it on top of the infection deck, review the played cards and take notes. Again, this will help you prepare for the upcoming infections.**Review the contents of the player deck.**Most importantly, get an idea of how often an Epidemic will come up. If the player deck has 60 cards, and there are only 5 Epidemics in the game, you should expect an Epidemic in each 12 card cycle.**Take Notes.**Tally the number of players cards that you have gone through. Tally the number of cities that have come up. Tally how many turns/player cards since the last epidemic, or which epidemic cycle you are currently on.

**Solving for the Probability of Event (blank)**

Now onto the probability. Why is probability so important? A core mechanic of Season 2 is keeping enough supply (gray) cubes in each city on the board to adequately protect the city from incidents, or infection of a city when there are no stockpile cubes left. When a city gets infected, a supply cube is removed. When a city is infected and has no supply cubes left, a disease cube is placed in the city and the incident marker is moved forward. When the game reaches the 8th incident for the game, Pandemic has won and that attempt for that month is over.

How do we determine how many stockpile cubes are adequate? How do we distribute stockpile cubes in such a way that we minimize the number of incidents occurring during the initial infection?

That’s really a great question. To best answer that, we need to make some assumptions as well as simplify the scenario a little bit.

**Rules/Context**

During the set-up of the game, the players have a limited number of supply cubes to distribute among the cities connected to the grid. For the prologue month, there’s 9 cities and 36 stockpile cubes that need to be distributed. The infection deck has 27 cards. 3 cards for each city connected to the grid. After the cubes are distributed, set-up does an initial infection by drawing 9 cards from the infection deck and infecting the 9 revealed cities.

**Solution (Kind of.)
**

To answer the initial question, let’s simplify even more. Let’s only concentrate on a single city, New York. Of the 27 cards in the infection deck, 3 cards are New York. During the set-up infection (9 infection cards), what’s the likelihood that 0, 1, 2, or 3 New York cards show up? Does it make sense to place 0, 1, 2, or 3 cubes on New York to prevent incidents?

Defining some variables:

*Deck size = N = 27*

*Total number of cards drawn = R = 9*

*Number of New York cards = n = 3*

*Number of New York Cards drawn = r = [0, 1, 2, or 3]*

If we were only drawing one card, probability would be really easy to determine. P(X = Draw New York) = 3/27.

However, since we are drawing 9 infection cards, we have to factor in that New York cards can fall into any slots. We could draw a New York with the first card, or the last card, or any card in between. In order to account for this, we will use combinations as don’t care about order.

Some other assumptions: Though the remaining 24 cards in the Infection Deck are not all the same, for this problem, we’ll just lump them together and consider them “Non-New York.”

**Reference:**

More information on Combinations can be found here under “Combinations, Ho!”

https://betterexplained.com/articles/easy-permutations-and-combinations/

**For reference:**

Combinations = nCr = C(n, r)

Solve in Google Sheets using this function: =combin(n, r)

P(X = r) =

C(n, r) * C(N-n, R-r)

——————

C(N, R)

In layman’s terms,

C(n, r) is the number of ways to draw *r* New York card from *n* New York cards.

C(N, R) is the number of ways to draw *R* (R=9) cards, from *N* (N=27)*.*

C(N-n, R-r) refers to the number of ways to draw *R-r* (Non-New York) from *N-n* (Non-New York)

**P(X = Draw 1 New York)**

P(X = Draw 1 New York) =

[Combination(of drawing 1 New York from 3 New York cards) x Combination(of drawing 8 Non New York cards from 24 Non-New York Cards)] / [Combination(of drawing 9 cards from 27)]

It should look something like this:

C(3,1) * C(24, 8)

——————

C(27, 9)

P(X = Draw 1 New York) = 0.4708

**P(X = Draw 2 New York)**

Let’s try for P(X = Draw 2 New York).

C(3,2) * C(24, 7)

——————

C(27, 9)

As you can see, only the numerator changes. C(3,2) refers to drawing 2 New York’s from a total of 3. While C(24,7) refers to the number of ways to draw the 7 remaining cards from the Non New York subset.

P(X = Draw 2 New York) = 0.2215

**P(X = Draw 3 New York)**

C(3,3) * C(24, 6)

——————

C(27, 9)

P(X = Draw 3 New York) = 0.0287

**P(X = Draw 0 New York)**

Just for due diligence, let’s also do P(does not draw New York).

C(3,0) * C(24, 9)

——————

C(27, 9)

P(X = 0 New York) = 0.2790

**Results**

P(X = 0) = 0.2790

P(X = 1) = 0.4708

P(X = 2) = 0.2215

P(X = 3) = 0.0287

Let’s interpret the results.

P(X = 0) = 0.2790 – Probability that New York gets exactly 0 infections

P(X = 1) = 0.4708 – Probability that New York gets exactly 1 infection

P(X = 2) = 0.2215 – Probability that New York gets exactly 2 infections

P(X = 3) = 0.0287 – Probability that New York gets exactly 3 infections

**Scenario:**

**Ex.** I put only supply cubes on New York. What’s the risk or likelihood that New York will have an incident during the initial infection set-up? (What’s the probability that New York will be infected 3 times during Set-Up?)

P(X > 2) = 1 – P(X > 2) = P(X = 3) = *0.0287*

**Ex.** I put one supply cube in New York. What’s the risk or likelihood that New York will have an incident during the initial infection set-up? (What’s the probability that New York will be infected 2 or more times?)

P(X > 1) = P(X = 2, 3) = P(X = 2) + P(X = 3) = 0.2215 + 0.0287 = *0.2502*

**Other Scenarios**

**Ex. **There are only two New York Infection cards in the deck. (2 New York cards and 25 Non-New York cards) What are the probabilities of P(X = 0), P(X = 1), and P(X = 2)?

*Deck size = N = 27*

*Total number of cards drawn = R = 9*

*Number of New York cards = n = 2*

*Number of New York Cards drawn = r = [0, 1, or 2]*

The set-up of the formula is the same except that we’ll be using the new numbers above to substitute them into the combinations formula.

For P(X = 0), the formula will look like this:

C(2,0) * C(25, 9)

——————

C(27, 9)

P(X = 0) = 0.4359

Furthermore: P(X = 1) = 0.4615 and P(X = 2) = 0.1026.

**Set-Up Infection Calculator in Google Docs**

I’ve set up this cool little table/calculator to determine the probability that cities will become infected with 0, 1, 2, or 3 infection cubes during set-up. Just update your Infection Deck size in the green box.

Pandemic Legacy: Season 2 – Front 9 Calculator

**Conclusion**

What’s the best way to distribute supply cubes during set-up? Using the Set-Up Infection Calculator and the combination theories above, the best guidelines are to distribute supply cubes in this order. Continue to the next point if you still have stockpile cubes still available. Proof of this strategy can be found in Part 2.

1. Place one supply cube in each city that has 3 cards in the infection deck.

2. Place one supply cube in each city that has 2 cards in the infection deck.

3. Place one supply cube in each city that has 1 card in the infection deck.

4. Place a supply stockpile cube in each city that has 3 cards in the infection deck.

5. Place a supply stockpile cube in each city that has 2 cards in the infection deck.

]]>**Notes:**

My first attempt at beef pho. If you haven’t made pho before, I would recommend trying Pho Ga first. Neither recipe is difficult, but the Pho Ga is a little easier and a little more straight forward. And less messy. I would also check out Cuong Can Cook’s video down below (See Source.)

**Source:**

Based on the recipe by Cuong Can Cook:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AB3DPGFVm3Y

**Ingredients:**

- ~2-2.5 lbs of beef bones (I used ~2 lbs of beef bones and ~1 lb of oxtail

- 1 yellow onion

- 1 palm sized piece of ginger

- green onion

- cilantro

- 1/2 cup of fish sauce

- 1 tablespoon of sugar
- 1 teaspoon of salt

- pho noodles

- lime wedges

- packet of pho spices

This was one of the items available at my local Asian Market. $3.00 for 5 spice packets.https://www.amazon.com/Pho-Hoa-Beef-Noodle-Spices/dp/B003GRMUCUThe filter bag becomes really fragile after the cooking process. Use a ladle to remove the packet as to not break the spice bag during removal. - Proteins: Sliced beef from the shabu shabu section, bo vien (beef/tendon meatballs), brisket, tendon, tripe (whatever you desire)

**Cooking Directions:
**

- In the Instant Pot (on saute) or a stock pot on the stove, bring the beef bones/oxtail and water to a boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes. You want to boil the beef bones until it releases the fat/gunk. Once boiled, set aside the beef bones/oxtail and dump the remaining water. With the remaining bones, rinse and gently clean with clean water.
- Over direct heat gas flame, char the whole onion and ginger. If a gas burner is not available, you can use cut the onion and ginger in half and broil in the oven.

- Place beef bones, fish sauce, sugar, charred onion and ginger, salt
**,**and spice packet into Instant Pot and fill with water to a little under the max line in the Instant Pot. Close the lid, set vent knob to Sealing, and use Manual (High Pressure) for 60 minutes.

- While the broth is cooking, slice green onion and cilantro into small pieces; and prepare any other items. Do this step at a later time if you are pre-making beef pho for a later time.

- After the 60 minute cooking time elapses, allow a NPR (Natural Pressure Release). If you do a Quick Release, the Instant Pot will make a mess with this recipe. Once the pressure is released, remove the lid and carefully fish out the spice packet, onion, and ginger. The spice packet is very delicate and can break easily if you aren’t careful. If there is any fat or gunk at the top of the broth, now is the time to remove it. Taste and season broth as needed with fish sauce and/or salt.For the best results, allow the broth to cool, then place the Instant Pot inner pot in the refrigerator overnight. As the broth cools, the fat will form at the top and will be easier to remove.

- In a separate pot, boil some water, Using a noodle strainer if available, boil the dry pho noodles about 5 to 20 seconds until it is loose and pliable. Place into soup bowl.

- Add your proteins on top of the rice noodles.

- Garnish with additional green onion and cilantro. Pour the boiling soup broth into bowl. If the noodles are cold prior to adding the broth, consider microwaving the bowl for 30-45 secs prior to adding the broth.

- Garnish with your favorite pho condiments (green onions, cilantro, lime, Sriracha, etc.)

**Tip #1: Pack light and know what is and isn’t allowed onto the airplane.**

Let’s face it, people pack too much shit. Pack light and only bring what you need. You don’t need a large suitcase full of stuff for a weekend trip. The lighter you pack and the fewer bags you travel with, the easier your airport experience will be.

For my most recent trip to Dallas, where I was expecting stay for two weeks, I packed:

7 or 8 tshirts

7 pairs of underwear

3 pairs of shorts

1 pair of khaki pants

1 light jacket

toiletries (toothbrush, small toothpaste, contact fluid, body wash, shampoo, etc.)

I was easily able to stuff all of these items into one of those half height rolling suitcases (underseat carry-on luggage). Instead of carrying two weeks worth of clothes, I decided to carry a weeks worth and use the local washer and dryer to wash my clothes for the second week. The short of it is that you need to be smart about what and how you pack. Don’t bring more stuff than you need and don’t bring anything you don’t need. No point in bringing a heavy jacket to Dallas in July.

If you are terrible at Tetris, consider checking out these packing cubes. These definitely help in keeping things organized.

Last note: Know what you can and can’t bring onto the airplane. TSA’s website outlines what is and isn’t allowed and what must be packed in checked bags. And don’t forget about liquids and gels and the 3-1-1 rule.

**Tip #2: Print Out Your Boarding Pass and Carry Your Government Issued Identification**

You’ll need a government issued ID to get through the security check-point. A photocopy or a picture on your smart phone WILL NOT work. When I travel, I carry my drivers license and passport.

As convenient as smart phones are, it takes too much fumbling to pull up the boarding pass for the TSA officer. I opt to just print out my boarding pass. As I get to the front of the line, I have my boarding pass and ID ready for easy passage through the first security station. You wouldn’t believe how many people are searching through their phones for their boarding pass or how many people are fighting with the scanners to read the barcode.

**Tip #3: Check-In Your Bags**

If you are flying Southwest, check in your bags! First two are FREE! F-R-E-E! Why bother lugging them through the airport, through security, and on/off the plane, when you can check them in and meet them at your destination? Afraid of losing your bags?? That’s why you put an owner information tag onto it. Bags do get misplaced time to time, but they can’t grow legs and walk away.

Your airline charges you money to check-in your bags?? I get it… I wouldn’t want to fork over money either. Check with your frequent flyer program or credit card to see if you get your first bag checked in for free. If not, consider checking your bags in at the gate. Most airlines are more than happy to check your bags in at the gate at no charge!

If you are one of those people who like to travel with oversized luggage, don’t be that a-hole that thinks that they are special and the rules don’t apply to them. If your luggage doesn’t fit in the carry-on baggage template, it shouldn’t be carried on.

**Tip #4: Follow the Instructions at the TSA Screening**

Pay attention at the security screening. Expect to remove your laptop and your toiletries from your luggage for screening. And prepare to take off your jacket and shoes. Don’t be that guy or gal that gets to the front of the line thinking that he/she doesn’t have to do any of this. You are holding up everyone behind you.

Sub-tip: Pack your bags so that it is easy to remove your laptop and toiletries. While in line for the security screening, empty your pockets and throw everything (keys, wallet, phone, etc.) into your carry-on bag. This will save you time from fumbling with x-ray bowls. Once you get through the metal detectors, grab your bag and make your way through the rest of screening avoiding the clusterf***.

**Tip #5: Prepare at home and not at the airport**

Do all your preparations at home. If you adequately prepared, you’ll have an easier time at the airport. Print out all the necessary documents (boarding pass, rental car confirmation, hotel info, etc.) prior to heading to the airport. As convenient as smartphone and email are, they are not the quickest way of keeping and providing travel information. I like to use a small coupon folder/envelope to store all my travel documents, not to mention a great place to store my receipts.

]]>Just got back from Las Vegas from the 2017 Poolplayers Championship. Overall, I tied for 33rd place. Not too bad consider it was my first trip and first tournament at the national level.

Anyways, I wanted to use this space to highlight what goes on during the Poolplayers Championship. I don’t think there are many resources out there and I hope this piece will allow others to adequately prepare for future trips.

So… let’s just jump into it.

**What is the APA Poolplayers Championship?**

The Poolplayers Championships tournament is actually several main events over the course of a week. It consists of the 8-Ball Classic, 9-Ball Shootout, and open 8-Ball and 9-Ball Doubles. Unlike the 8-Ball and 9-Ball team events offered at August’s World Pool Championships, the 8-Ball Classic and 9-Ball Shootout are singles events.

To qualify for the 8-Ball Classic and 9-Ball Shootout, one would first need to sign-up and win a local singles board. Singles Board are mini-tournaments usually with 4 or 8 players in them. There’s no limit on how many attempts you may have to enter and win them. Winners of singles board would feed into the regional qualifiers held both in October and in March. Winners of the regional qualifiers will qualify to their respective 8-Ball Classic or 9-Ball Shootout tournament in Las Vegas. As part of the qualification package, qualifiers will also receive hotel accommodations and money for travel assistance.

**My Road to Las Vegas**

*Singles Board*

My road to Las Vegas began Summer 2016. I can’t remember the exact month, but I remember it to be during LTCs or MVPs or something along that line. The first step to qualifying for the Poolplayers Championships was to win a Singles Board. Being new to the APA, I didn’t really have any idea what I was doing. I actually signed up so that the singles board would meet the minimum number of participants; and I wanted to play some 9-ball. I would eventually win that singles board and in turn qualify for the regional qualifier that was held October 2016 at my local pool room, California Billiards.

*Northern California Regional Qualifier*

In October, the Northern California Regional Qualifier was held. As a 9-Ball Skill Level 5, I was placed in the White Tier Bracket (SL 4-5). Those who were skill level 1-3 were placed in the Green Tier bracket. Skill level 6-9 were in the Black Tier. The format was modified single elimination guaranteeing everyone at least 2 chances to play. I ended up winning 5 straight matches over two days to win my bracket and qualify for the 9-Ball Shootout in Las Vegas! After winning the tournament, I was also notified that my skill level was raised to a 6 and that I would be competing in the Black Tier (SL 6-9) at Las Vegas.

**9-Ball Shootout – Las Vegas, NV**

*Arrival in Las Vegas (Tuesday)*

Let it be known that I am not a morning person. It’s not uncommon for me to sleep through alarms and phone calls. Ask my autocross friends. They know that all too well. Getting out of bed is a real battle. As the 9-Ball Shootout started on Wednesday afternoon, I opted to fly in the night before to avoid the morning hassle. The early arrival would also allow me to get settled and get plenty of rest before the next day’s competition.

*Day 1 (Wednesday)*

Day 1 was mostly formalities for the 9-Ball Shootout tournament. Registration and check-in opened at 3 PM. I had all morning free and I decided to use it to practice and warm up. I ended up meeting up with my league mate, Angel, first thing in the morning and spending an hour to 90 minutes practicing and warming up. As the tournament hadn’t started yet, there were plenty of practice tables available to play on. After practice, we met up with another league mate, Raoul, and made our way to brunch at The Peppermill Restaurant.

Come 3:00, the 9-Ball Shootout registration/check-in opened. This is where you go to pick up your tournament package (Action 2×2 pool cue case, APA blanket, personal coin dispenser, travel assistance/prize money, and tournament paper work). Just for qualifying and showing up, all competitors received $100 cash and a commemorative cue case. In addition, if your skill level has gone up prior to the tournament, you would also need to re-certify yourself at the new skill level. If your skill level changed to a different tier, you would be moved to the new tier as well.

Next up was the players meeting at 8:30 PM. The players meeting is a short meeting highlighting the agenda of tournament and the rules associated with higher level play. Decorum and sportsmanship was emphasized, and frequently asked questions were discussed and answered. Immediately after the player’s meeting, the first round matches began.

I was paired up against TBA (To Be Announced). In the bracket pairings, TBA spots were set aside for players were re-certifying themselves from the White tier to the Black tier. Come match time, no opponent was announced and my TBA opponent became a bye.

After all of our matches ended, the gang and I decided to wash up reconvene for dinner. The plan was to pick another league mate, Brian, from the airport then make our way over to Hash House-a-Go-Go for some a late night meal.

After dinner, we decided to call it a night as we all had an 8am match the next morning.

*Day 2*

Day 2 was the first real day of competition for me. My first match was 8 AM against Josh Bushley from Massachusetts. I ended up waking up early so that I would have enough time to practice and warm up for my match. Out of bed at 5:30 AM. Showered and out of the room by 5:55 AM. At the tournament room by 6:00 AM. Only problem… the room wasn’t open until 7:00 AM. -_-

I end up hanging out at the SuperBook until the practice room finally opened at 7.

My first match went really well. Josh and I were running neck and neck until he hit a rough patch. For whatever reason, he just couldn’t seem to pocket the 9-ball. I eventually was able to pull away and won the match 46 to 28-29.

My second match was at 10 AM against Harshit Kedia from Maryland. I was able to jump ahead pretty early. At one point, I was ahead 30-something to 12 or 14. Harshit, being behind, gathered himself and charged back with a run-out on a table where I broke, pocketed 3 balls, and scratched, only to follow that up with a break and run! The rally was a bit late as I won 46 to 35ish. During this run, I also received my first 9-Ball Break and Run in several years, as well as a 9-On-the-Snap. Too bad there weren’t any Mini-Slam patches available!

As I won my 10AM match, my next match was at 4PM. The reason why my next match started at 4 was because my next opponent would be someone who won on the loser side of the bracket and re-entered the winner side. My opponent would eventually be Jake Johnson.

The game started out with me a little behind. I ended up breaking well and sinking two or three balls only to pocket the cue ball as well. Jake being a very skilled shooter was able to run out on the remaining 6 or 7 balls. I was behind quite a bit early on. Something along the lines of 20 to 5. Toward the end of the match, I got as close as 34-32, but a little too late. Jake eventually won the match 46-35.

All and all, a pretty good tournament. Out of a field of 180 or something, I tied for 33rd. Not too bad at all. I was kind of bummed that I couldn’t see more into the tournament, but that’s okay. All and all, a great experience.

But wait! That’s not all. Even though I was knocked out of the main event, the trip wasn’t over. The guys

*Day 3*

Reserved for future update.

]]>**Details:**

Difficulty: Easy

Prep: 60 minutes (most of this time is waiting)

Cooking Time: Most of the time is the eggs soaking.

**Ingredients:**

- 3 tea bags of black tea
- 3 star anise
- 2 cinnamon sticks (~3 inches each)
- 1 tablespoon of whole peppercorns
- 1-2 tablespoon of brown sugar
- 2 cups of soy sauce
- 5 cups of water
- eggs (easily can do a dozen, if not more)

**Instructions:**

- Soft boil eggs.Prior to cooking, leave the eggs out at room temperature for 15 minutes.
Place the trivet in the Instant Pot and place the eggs on it. Fill water to just under the trivet. Set the Instant Pot to Manual for 4 minutes on High Pressure. Once done, quick release and immediately put the eggs into an ice bath. The ice bath immediately stops them from cooking.

- To prepare the eggs, take a spoon and gently evenly crack the shells of the eggs. Emphasis on gently. The Instant Pot has a way of preparing the eggs in such a way that eggs are easily de-shelled. I actually had a whole egg de-shell itself while it was being boiled in the marinade.
- Dump out the old water, and lightly clean the Instant Pot liner.
- Add 5 cups of water and bring to boil (Saute on High). Cover with a lid to boil water quicker. Add the tea bags and brew for 5 minutes.
- Next. add the peppercorn, brown sugar, star anise, and cinnamon and brew for another 5 minutes.
- Add soy sauce and bring to boil.
- Once at a boil, add the cracked eggs back in and continue to boil for 5 minutes.
- Lower the Instant Pot to a simmer. To do this, press the Keep Warm/Cancel button, and then set for Saute on Low (Saute, Pressure [Set to Low by hitting the minus (-) button], wait 10 seconds). Cover 2/3 of the Instant Pot with a lid to keep the marinade at a nice simmer. Simmer for 20 or 30 minutes.
- Once done, turn-off and set aside. For best results, leave the eggs in the marinade for 36 hours. This time measurement isn’t exact. Please play with it to get the desired flavor. At a minimum, let it soak over night (9 hours). This provides a more mild taste. A soak of 2-3 days will provide a more prominent flavor.I ended up placing the eggs in Tupperware and covering them with marinade, then storing them in my refrigerator. The remaining marinade, I stored in separate Tupperware and froze it.
- Save the marinade for future 1 or 2 tea egg batches!