Playing scenario 44 — The Gauntlet — with Larry today. Norwegians vs Germans.
We are out at the Oregon Coast doing some work to get our house sold (finally… we hope). There are been some king tides this winter and it is having a devastating effect. Several coastal homes have had serious damage, like logs and water coming up over their decks. We can’t even walk down to the beach anymore from our property.
What I’m Contemplating
- An Explorer Confronts His Last Canyon – Julie and I are deep into planning for our next southwest USA adventure, and another backpacking trip in Cedar Mesa is booked.
- The Great NFL Heist: How Fox Paid for and Changed Football Forever – Jacob sent this over to me. Great read.
- The OptionSellers.com debacle: How to blow up your portfolio in five easy steps – Friendly reminder that there are no shortcuts to investment success.
- The Yoda of Silicon Valley – I wonder if I should own these epic volumes. The idea of having them around is probably better than the reality.
- Petits Soldats, Grandes Victoires – Hex-based wargaming is older than we thought.
- How ‘Baldur’s Gate’ Saved the Computer RPG – Reading this inspired me to get back into Pillars of Eternity to finally finish that CRPG.
- One Giant Step for a Chess-Playing Machine – I’m a sucker for AlphaZero stories.
- The Moral Horror of America’s Prisons – How do we fix this?
- The inside story of Bandersnatch, the weirdest Black Mirror tale yet – The show was an interesting idea that to me just didn’t work as a story. Way below the Black Mirror standard set by prior seasons.
- Maybe Just Don’t Drink Coffee – I’m unlikely to stop drinking coffee but I am looking at a range of other harmful consumption habits, particularly alcohol.
- What Romance Really Means After 10 Years of Marriage – Julie and I both smiled at this article.
- How Mark Burnett Resurrected Donald Trump as an Icon of American Success – What a sham.
What I’m Reading
- I read Siddhartha and even submitted some typo corrections that I found. Good read but not life altering.
- How Hermann Hesse became a hero of the Sixties counterculture – Learn more about the impact Hesse had in the 60s.
- Read some of The Meaning of It All: Thoughts of a Citizen-Scientist but bailed about halfway through. I love his “real” books but this transcription of a talk he gave was boring and bland.
- Read one of the best sci-fi books I’ve encountered over the last five years, The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth, #1).
- Read Uprooted for some solid standalone fantasy.
- Jacob gifted me Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock for my birthday and it was a fun read. A bit disjointed at times as it is a collection of essays that don’t always hang together.
- I mostly read the new edition of Refactoring: Improving the Design of Existing Code, primarily the front matter and a few of the revised refactorings. I’m planning to apply some of these to a side project I’ve been working on to see how it hangs.
- I read most of WTF?: What’s the Future and Why It’s Up to Us but could have done without it. Too much like a Wired article, and destined to be the opposite of evergreen in my opinion.
- Scanned through Wicked Cool Shell Scripts: 101 Scripts for Linux, OS X, and Unix Systems. Like the Refactoring book, no point in going through page by page but was helpful to scan it for ideas and mental notes for future use. Includes a nice library of utility scripts worth using.
What I’m Playing
Lots of games played over the winter holiday.
- Played Dead of Winter several times and while it was fun it won’t stay in my collection. I’m not a big fan of cooperative games with hidden agendas.
- Played 18Lilliput and probably messed up the rules, violating the certificate limit. Will try again soon.
- The party game hit was Just One and we played it close to 10 times over the holday. Great cooperative party game.
- I played Band of Brothers: Screaming Eagles on 2018–12–18 once and then taught / mentored two other games over the holiday. My favorite easy entry into the tactical wargaming world.
- Played 7 Wonders for the first time in a while. Julie and Dave stomped us.
- Did a quick stand-up game of Can’t Stop. Always a hoot.
- Tiny Epic Galaxies was in the game collection at the house we stayed in over the break so Jacob, David and I gave it a try. Solid game, maybe the best I’ve seen in the “Tiny” series.
- We had a big game of The Great Dalmuti. Always goes over well.
- I played the evil alien in Not Alone. Solid game.
- We broke out Charterstone and got most of the original players back together to play episodes 9 and 10 (so two left I think). Enjoying it but won’t be my favorite worker placement game.
- Nephew Geoff got Azul for Christmas so I taught him how to play.
- Dave really enjoys Codenames so we played that several times.
- Geoff gave me Captain Sonar for my birthday and we played several times. I’m awful at it, but it is an engaging if stressful real-time team vs. team game.
- Matthew loves Pax Renaissance so we played several times. So much game inside this tiny box. Finally played the expansion.
- During college bowl games Matthew and I played Innovation. I prefer the base game, low player count.
- Julie and I played our last unopened Timeline game, Timeline: Events. I like this series.
We did a 6 mile roundtrip hike in Palo Duro canyon, about 20 miles southeast of Amarillo. I first (and last) visited this canyon when I was in college, about 1986. I remembered how striking the contrast is as you leave the panhandle plains for the dramatic stratified canyon with hoodoos. It is less than 1000 feet deep but very long, also wide in places. This trail had a great payoff as we climbed up by the signature lighthouse hoodoos at the turnaround point.