Posted: 2009-05-21 08:03:18
I like games. I have a very logical mind, and puzzles, riddles, and boardgames are some of my favorite things to do. This month's issue of WIRED Magazine was their puzzle issue, and it has some really cool stuff in it.
Anyway, last issue of WIRED had an article about this board game, Settlers of Catan. I had heard of this game before as it was released as a game on Xbox Live Arcade. It came out at the same time as Carcassone, and I looked at both of them and chose Carcassone. This article, however, piqued my interest in Catan, so I made an Amazon purchase.
Well, now I have played two games of Catan so far and it is amazing! It is easily the best board game I've ever played, and apparently I've been missing out for a while. Settlers of Catan is known as a German-style board game. The Germans seem to know what they are doing. These games are the antithesis of Monopoly. Let me explain.
See, in Monopoly, you have a set board, spaces with a set value, properties that will always be worth more money than others, and the object is more or less to just buy, buy, buy. In Settlers of Catan, the board is random every time you play (really, you create the board from pieces each time). Resources in Catan work on more of a free-market supply and demand scale. Sometimes you have all the lumber and you're king. Other times no one wants your 17 sheep. It's one of those things that keeps the game fresh.
In Monopoly, some trading happens... but usually, people hate to trade. In Catan, trading is much more lucrative, and you don't even need another player to trade with you! Even when it's not your turn, you're still involved in play. It makes a 3 hour game go by in minutes, and it's a blast.
I'm not sure I can speak more highly of this game, and I really am looking forward to playing with more friends and trying out some other German-style games. Hit me up if you ever want to play, and let me know in the comments if you have any favorite board games!
1 2 3 Cat won, because Un deux trois cat sank
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Posted: 2009-05-15 21:37:37
Recently I took on a freelance project for a friend of mine, building a website for her father's new business. The site was designed by none other than the amazing Amber Zumstein, and I built the rest of the site.
Turns out (and I should be ashamed of this) that I did a horrible job of cross browser testing. I made the site look perfect in Firefox 3, but in IE7 and IE6 (and even the Safari 4 beta, which is odd) it looks like balls.
Now, my personal computer that I developed the site on has Firefox 3, Internet Explorer 8, Google Chrome, and Safari 4 all installed on it for testing purposes. Guess what! It looks just like ass in Chrome and Safari, but just fine in Firefox and IE8 (the main two I test in). AND! In IE7 and IE6, it's fucked.
Now, as a web developer, what do I do? Granted, I was a little lax in my testing for this site. After all, I was getting paid a fraction of what a site should cost, and it still functions... but I really should have done a better job (and am going back to fix that now). But here's the thing: why should I code for out dated technology?
Sure, it should work in Chrome and Safari (both based on webkit, so works in one, works in the other). But should I really need to code for old browsers?
A common analogy is made in this scenario. People don't use their old 1999 Nokia and expect to be able to access the internet, multimedia messaging, and video. So why do people think that using IE6 (which hasn't had a non-security related update in over 5 years) will get them an up-to-date internet experience.
More or less, this is just a web developer's rant. But it's also a plea, for the non-informed to listen to their Windows Updates and just install the new version of IE. Your browsing habits will thank you.
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Posted: 2009-05-13 12:04:33
Ok, Twitter is down for maintenance. Where am I supposed to post random thoughts to for this hour!!! This hurts!!!!!
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Posted: 2009-05-12 07:20:54
This past weekend was Mother's Day, and I got to spend it with some of my favorite mothers of all time! Amber, Ethan, and I went to my Uncle Jim's for a big family gathering. My whole mom's side of the family was there, and it was a gorgeous day. Ethan got to run around with Kendall all day, and he even got to ride a horse! I think it may have been the greatest day of his life.
I have some good news and some bad news. Which do you want first? The good news? Ok. Tonight (and I want you to hold me to this) I'm going to start working on coding up the redesign of this site. OMG!!!! I know, it's hard to believe, but I'm really doing it. The design looks great (thank Amber), and I've got some fun new stuff I'll be adding too (like actually putting some stuff in the media section!).
Ok, now for the bad news... I got some new deodorant, and despite it doing a seemingly good job so far, it's assaulting my nostrils. I'm not sure if I can go every day smelling like this. But maybe I'll get used to it.
Have a nice Tuesday, blog readers.
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Posted: 2009-05-06 08:43:44
I was reading an article in Men's Health the other night, and it was talking about what to do when you come to a plateau in your lifting. It may be the case that when you're having trouble increasing your bicep curl, the culprit is not weak biceps but rather a weak upper back.
Your body works best when things are balanced, and if your biceps are getting too strong, your body will slow or halt the growth of them so you don't become too imbalanced. The solution then, obviously, is to strengthen your upper back.
Yesterday I was doing dead lifts, and was having a bit of trouble. I knew my legs and lower back should be able to handle the amount of weight I had on there, but none the less, I was struggling. Today, my shoulders are killing me. Why? Well because my legs and lower back were strong enough, but my shoulders were obviously too weak for what I was doing. Something tells me that if I strengthen my shoulders, my dead lifts will get easier.
So all this meat head talk aside, it got me thinking: This concept can be pretty easily applied to other aspects of my life. If I have a goal that I am struggling to reach, perhaps it isn't that my direct path to this goal is obstructed, but rather there is an obstacle off to the side, running parallel, that I have neglected focus.
For instance, I've been trying to find a band to play in, and I've tried several and seem to get discouraged quickly and just can't find one that's a good match. But if I look a little closer (and Amber may have hinted that this was part of the problem), I see that I have a tendency to not even give the bands a chance. I decide I'm out before even the second practice. Instead of searching Craigslist ruthlessly every day for a good band, maybe what I need to do is just give these bands a few more practices.
I know it isn't exactly like the building of shoulder muscles to improve your bicep curls, but I hope you can see the parallels I'm drawing.
What about you? Do you see this in your life, where it isn't always the obvious that is holding you back, but maybe the bystander that needs to be dealt with? Let me know in the comments.
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Posted: 2009-05-04 19:32:17
This past weekend was absolutely beautiful. Sunny skies, warm weather, spring smells, and the sounds of 2-stroke engines abuzz. I went on my first ride with the Chicago Scooter Club, and it was fantastic. For the hell of it, I mapped out the route we took and added little notes if you're interested.
It's quite a site, 9 scooters going through the loop. And it's no easy task either. I'd be lying if I said every lane change I did was legal, but hey, in Chicago, what isn't legal?!
It was really fun to get out there and meet 7 random people with whom I'd never had any contact with, but shared a common interest. Dave came along (hence only 7 random people), and it's definitely something I'll be doing again. The leader of the club seems to be pretty immersed in the scooter culture and is a part of a lot of the events and rides held in Chicago. Should be a good summer to be a scooter rider!
Unfortunately, I've also been following more of the scooter scene news, and our brethren two wheeled compatriots had some tragedies this past weekend.
First, a young man smashed his bike into the median on Lake Shore Drive and was killed. I haven't found any news sources that indicated a cause, whether or not he was wearing a helmet, or if any third party or alcohol was involved. In any case, it's a sad story.
A second accident (if you can call it that) happened out in the suburbs. A woman riding a motorcycle stopped at a red light and was hit behind by a car because the driver was painting her nails. This story is tragic, but it also makes me mad; furious actually. Because of the car driver's negligence and irresponsibility, an innocent woman is dead. In this instance, the motorcyclist was wearing a helmet and obeying all traffic laws. I only hope the driver of the car is put away for a long time.
Accidents like these are awful, and most if not all of them could be prevented if people were more aware that driving a car or motorcycle or scooter requires your full attention. Texting, painting your nails, eating, and even talking on the phone with your hands free, all take away from your perception of the traffic and pedestrians around you.
I'm not going to be too afraid to scoot around this city, but I am going to take every precaution when I do so. Even more importantly, was a scooterist who drives a car sometimes, I know I'll be sure to take driving as the large responsibility that it is.
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