Rabbit Holes

When people ask what I do, I tend to say I work too hard and don’t write enough. In fact, there are a large number of things that keep me from writing what I want to write, or even keep me from writing.

Programming

I’ve been programming in Python for over 10 years, and I try out too many projects.

A Submission Manager Database
I’ve been on this project since 2004, and recently had to do some work on a Google Sheets document with scripting that mirrors what I want to do for tracking submissions, so I’ve given up on this and am transitioning to Sheets. Along the way I learned XML, SAX, DOM, and Elementtree interfaces. I also got really good with wxPython widgets and validators.
Role Playing Games
I loved Tunnels and Trolls as a kid. I ran my friends through an 18-month T&T campaign about 20 years ago. Part of the T&T game I loved was solitaire adventures. I had dabbled in Text Adveture games using Inform and TADS and recently tried to recreate this, using my custom combat automator code I’d written, hopefully to use the stack-based language I recreated from my experience with RoboWar. What I’ve wanted to do for ages is create a solo adventure program that can load solo adventures, so you don’t need to wait for the game to update, you just need to download a file.
I learned how to program a stack, and a very rudimentary compiler and runner, and Open Document Format.
nand2tetris
Build a virtual computer using a few emulators. The class is awesome and takes you from basic logic gates to a working emulated computer on which you can run programs. I am halfway through the course, and am working on my compiler. Building the stacklanguage all those years ago really helped.

Guitar

I have played guitar, poorly, for most of my life. I thought I was going to be a rock star, or at least part of a Beatles cover band, but I’m simply not good enough, nor do I spend the hours necessary to get good enough. Shortly after I got married, I decided to start playing guitar again, but I wanted to play classical guitar, and after going through Scott Tennant’s Pumping Nylon, I fell in love with the work of Matteo Carcassi, found his method book, and I’ve been studying that on and off ever since.

For variation, I’ve played around with ragtime, too. It sounds even worse.

Papercraft

Instead of sitting hunched over a computer writing or coding and staring at a screen, I also spend entire weekends building papercraft models and automata. The engineering aspect appeals to me. My dream project is to model angels to have the kids decorate and then plug into a giant engine so we can turn a crank and flap the wings of the angels.

Video Games

I play way too many video games, and in the age of You Tube, I can now watch other people play. Minecraft is my main distraction, and Kurt J Mac and Brian Lorgon’s series through Wayward Wonders is taking up a lot of my time, but boy are they fun.