Innovation Session: The Kroleski Family Adventure Mobile

I’ve started a new project – I am turning my 2002 Nissan Frontier into a full fledged adventure mobile. This is one of those projects that has a clear starting point but won’t likely have an end. Perfect for more than a few innovation sessions.

Though my truck isn’t yet an official adventure mobile, it’s life has hardly lacked adventure. I got it when I was 16. I’ve driven it across the country a few times so it’s been everywhere from San Diego to New Hampshire and to more national parks than most Boy Scouts. It has hauled dirt bikes, surfboards, camping gear, furniture and everything in between. It’s had a good life as far as trucks are concerned, but we’re just getting started.


The goal of having an adventure mobile is simple – it should make it easy for our family & gear to get to places where we can have adventures. This involves a few sub-goals like keeping things organized, maximizing space and being versatile when things don’t go according to plan. We’ll further define & address them later on.

The Shell

The first thing I needed was an enclosed space to work with. Open truck beds are great for a number of things, but in the 10 years I’ve driven this truck, the number of times I really used the open bed is relatively low. Nonetheless, open beds are sometimes useful, so I decided to hold the shell down with clamps instead of bolts so that I can take it off if needed.

The great part about a camper shell is that it offers secure, water-tight storage. It isn’t often a good idea to leave things in the back of an open truck bed. A camper shell solves a lot of this problem. Yes, a broken window still lets in a burglar, but that takes more effort than the casual opportunity theft of a surfboard left unattended in a truck bed.

I bought this shell used off of an amateur gold prospector in San Diego. It even has a sticker from some gold prospecting association on the rear window that I intend to keep there. The shell had been sitting in his yard for a while so it needs a good cleaning and the rubber gasket will need to be replaced. It is in great shape though and made to fit my model.

You might have noticed that my camper shell is white and my truck is black. This was by design. One of my main requirements was a cool place to keep things. Whether it be a cooler or a surfboard, I need to be able to store things in an environment where wax won’t melt and food will stay fresh. The shell roof is 5′ x 6′ and 30 square feet of black retains a lot of heat. White does a much better job keeping it cool.

Building Storage

The next step was to make some space to store everything. Putting a plywood sheet in the back of a truck is pretty standard. I’ve read a lot about pros and cons of various ways to do it and I was inspired by a lot of cool designs. Particularly the Baja Taco.  My needs are a bit different though so I’m going to design something original. In fact, after reading a lot about the pros and cons of a few different setups I think I’ve come up with a model that will give me the best of all worlds. I love it when those unicorn solutions are possible.



To get started tonight I took a trip to the Home Depot. I love going to Home Depot. Well, I love any store that sells tools and supplies really. I always spend way to long in Home Depot though. Partly because I am usually tweaking my design in my head based on what I find in the store and partly because there are very few employees to help find things. Sometimes I consider shopping elsewhere but then I remember why I don’t.

The list for tonight included some 3/4″ plywood sheets a few two-bys and some outdoor carpet. It took me a while to nail down the exact design, but I’m really happy with how it looks it my head right now. Unfortunately I spent too much time in Home Depot and ran out of time, so that is as far as we’re getting tonight.

You can read the second post & see how I built the platform here.

Surf Mavericks: Update 4

Stoked! I cracked the four minute mark this week.



Most of my improvement has come from better oxygen conservation. I have been focusing on relaxing to minimize the oxygen I use per minute – thus letting me last longer on one breath. To do this I’ve been working on lowering my resting heart rate and slowing everything down. I think relaxing my brain is the hardest part, so I’ve been counting in my head really slow. I think that helps pace my body a bit as well.

I haven’t been able to push any further on the discomfort scale – once my vision starts to go blurry I stop. I think that is probably safer for training, but I’d like to try blacking out a few times so I’m familiar with it in case I ever get to that point under water.

Finally, this week I heard of a new sport that a few big wave surfers play in order to train their lungs, underwater hockey. I can’t believe I haven’t heard of this before. I have most of the equipment I would need to play, so I’m going to try and find a pick up game. Apparently the sport is small enough that teams are stoked to have someone new that wants to play come and join them.

Shoulder: Done with PT, continuing strength training, three times a week to strengthen shoulder

Breath Holding: 4:06

Days to Go: 227

Times surfed on Hail Mary: 1

Resting Heart Rate: 58

Boardgames & Math – Liar’s Dice


For tonight’s Innovation Session I’m going to make a Liar’s dice cheat sheet. This will hopefully be a simple and beautiful way to remember what the odds of a certain bet are at any point in the game – even if it’s been a long night.

Liar’s dice is a simple game. Each player starts with five dice, everyone rolls and you take turns guessing the combined dice of everyone, even though you can only see your five. The bidding has to increase so eventually someone gets called a liar and everyone shows. Either the liar or the person that called them one loses and must discard a die. The game then repeats, now with one less die. See the full rules here.

Most of the game revolves around bluffing, second guessing and such. But, at the end of the round, someone has to be right and that is always determined by pure probability.

I play the version where ones are wild. Actually, in my version skulls are wild because I use the branded Pirates of the Caribbean version called Pirate’s Dice.


The math to Liar’s dice is simple. The probability of any die being a certain number is 1/6. With ones wild that increases to 1/3. You of course can see your dice so you can subtract those from the numerator and denominator then see if the rest of the math works out.

Making a Cheat Sheet

The first step will be to create a basic grid of the possible scenarios. The game starts with 20 dice and one is removed each turn until there is only one player remaining. That is mapped on the Y axis. Any player starts with 5 dice but could lose them throughout the game. That is mapped on the X axis.

So we have a basic grid.


But if there is only one die remaining and you have one die in your hand you’ve won – so we don’t really need that square or a few others like it. So we update the grid to look like this.


The next thing I was planning on doing was putting a grid within each of these grid boxes that showed all of the quantities someone could call and showed you the probability of there being at least that many of said numbed. It would of course have to break it down by how many of that number you had in your hand. So each cell in the above table would have to be filled with something that looked like this.


Then on each turn you could look up how man dice were in play, how many you had, what the call was and how many of those you had to figure out the exact probability that the call would occur.

It is comprehensive, but it is basically a nightmare in terms of usability.

Cleaning Things Up

Now that we’ve built a template, we can begin to remove items to clean it up.

The first thing I don’t think we’ll need is the exact % value of every possible outcome. We don’t really care if there is a 33% vs 42% chance of that amount of die being on the board. We only care once the number flips over 50% because that is when we will betting on the improbable. Though that is sometimes ok, we want to know when we flip.

So we can tweak the example above by removing the numbers and just putting in a red or green square if the number is above or below 50%.


At this point we really don’t need that much of the shown information – we only need to see the point where the odds flip. So we can simplify this grid by showing only the limit – the largest quantity that there is a >50% chance of occurrence based on the current state.


Now we have an amount of information that we might actually be able to fit into a single cell on the original table.

We can actually reduce it once more by eliminating the header row and label. We know the only value will the limit, so we don’t need to keep seeing that. The header is also unnecessary because we will always be incrementing by one, starting at zero. So each cell really only needs to contain this.


And in fact, many will contain less, because when you only have one dice in your hand, you will only needs the limits for if you have zero or one of the value in question.

So our complete table looks like this.


Well, that is the format at least. With numbers it would look like.


You’ll notice a few of the bottom rows disappeared. I actually hadn’t thought about that until I was doing the math to fill in the cells. There can’t be a case where the pool has 20 die but you have only one because your loss takes away from the pool as well.

I’m at my time limit for tonight, so there we have it – a usable Liar’s dice cheat sheet.