We made two trips this summer. One to Montreal with my family and one to Wyoming to see the eclipse. Photo galleries: MontrealEclipse
We went to Montreal in mid-August and stayed near Mont Royal in an apartment through airBnB. Montreal is a nice city, but the main point of the trip was to spend time with my family and see my niece and nephew. The apartment worked well for having time with the kids and for take-out meals and breakfasts. One morning my sister-in-law brought back pasteries (Kouing Aman I think?) that were incredible. My favorite site was the cathedral. It was built in the 1820s in the Gothic style. It has a blue color scheme and some nice wooden sculptures.
A few days after getting back from Montreal, we went to Wyoming to see the total eclipse. We didn’t plan far enough ahead to have a hotel room so we left at 3am from Denver and arrived at Glendo state park (without too much traffic) at 7am. The park was nice and we spent quite a bit of time walking around. The eclipse itself was spectacular and something that I still think about two months later. I’m definitely planning to see the next one in America in 2024. Unfortunately, the drive back from the eclipse was awful. Traffic in the park didn’t move at all for a couple hours. We actually waited till 6pm to leave and the 3 hour drive took 6 hours. Next time I am going to plan much further ahead and get a hotel.
I’ve completed my touch table conversion of the game Broom Service. We were introduced to Broom Service at Essen. One of the many good games that we learned about on that trip.
In Broom Service, the players compete to gather resources, move around the map and deliver potions. The interesting mechanic is that in each round, players select four of ten cards to play. When you play a card you can play it bravely, betting that other players haven’t selected that same card, and get a bonus. Or you can play it cowardly.
I started learning violin in May 2009 and took lessons from September 2009 through July 2015. My violin instructor had me work on the material in the Suzuki books (while not really using the full Suzuki method). In June 2012 I had my first recital. At this point I was in Suzuki book 7 and had practiced for 1900 hours. I made a blog post about the recital and my progress and you can watch a video:
After stopping lessons two years ago, I’ve been going back through the Suzuki books trying to play the pieces with more polish and at the correct speed. I’ve gotten back to the piece I played at my first recital. I’ve practiced violin for 4400 hours now and I’ve worked on this piece for three months and have not yet been able to play it at full speed. I’m planning to keep working on it and might update this post if I do get it up to full speed.
Here is a video of a practice run. This doesn’t have the piano accompaniment, is out of focus and has a few errors, but it shows the difference between now and five years ago.
It is a bit strange listening to the difference. From my perspective while playing, it doesn’t feel like I am playing any faster than I was five years ago. That sounds crazy, and of course there are some things that do feel very different, but the feeling of doing something just as fast as I can without losing control is the same now playing at 100 bpm as it was five years ago playing at 65 bpm.
For reference, here is a professional recording of the piece:
This is about 10% faster than I can play it, and I also need to clean up a few of the fast runs before I am satisfied.
I recently needed to pull data from a database and add it to a google spreadsheet. Google provides an API for working with Sheets, but like many of their APIs, the documentation isn’t great. I’ve got my program working and figured I’d document my steps for future me and anyone else who needs it. Continue reading “Moving data from MySQL to Google Sheets with PHP”
I’ve completed a touch-table version of the board game Village.
Village has an interesting mechanic where you manage the life and death of your workers. All your workers start as farmers and can be trained as specialists. Actions take “time” to perform, and when enough “time” has passed, a worker dies. A limited number of each type of worker is rewarded with fame and victory points upon death while the rest get an anonymous grave. The key is making the best use of your workers and their time while trying to arrange a good death.
Overall 2016 was a good year for us. We remain healthy and are enjoying making touch table games. We did less traveling than we did in 2015, but we made more games. We went to New York to visit my brother and his two kids. We also took a trip to San Carlos with our friend Doug. Between the two of us, we made 13 games for the touch table bringing our total to 62. I am still playing violin and got a new five string electric violin this year.