• PAX EAST 2016

    April 29, 2016

    Dave at PAX EAST Last Friday I went to PAX EAST at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). This is a GIANT gaming show, covering both video games and tabletop games, that pulls in something like 15,000+ gamers every day the show is on, and it’s the smaller of the two shows in North America. My friends Sid and Sara were going, so I ordered a $50 Friday-only pass months in advance to reserve my spot in this two hour line to get inside the convention center:

    long lines We had eaten a nice breakfast, plenty of eggs and sausage, at the hotel nearby to power us through the day; this is an old trick I learned from attending previous multi-day conventions like SXSW, allowing you to skip lunch entirely and avoid the crowds. Doors opened, officially, at 10AM, and the line was already snaking around the BCEC. We were able to get in around 1145AM; the reason for the delay (which I hadn’t remembered from previous years) was due to the bag and body scanning being performed by the Boston police at every entrance. It was horrible, but necessary.

    Gears of War boothStreet Fighter V competitionRainbow Six Seige Pro Gaming Area

    Once inside, we were able to head into the main exhibition hall, where there were a number of games being demoed in a celebratory gamer manner. There were also more long lines to try the games out; my goal was just to “charge up” on the shared gamer energy that permeated the space. I watched a few people play the new Gears of War 4 (I don’t have current gen console, so I had not seen it), checked out the Street Fighter V competition going on, and then got sucked into watching the Rainbow Six Seige pro-gaming event nearby. I’ve been playing Rainbow Six a lot recently, thanks to my cousin Jason who got me into it a few weeks ago. It’s a violent game on the surface, pitting terrorists against counter-terrorists in challenging fight-to-the-death scenarios, but it also fascinates me. Unlike an arcade action game, playing Rainbow Six is like being John McClane in DIE HARD, carefully sweeping through various environments to save the day against the terrorists. Playing cooperatively with my cousins requires a lot of communication and mindfulness as we move to engage the hostiles, and it tickles my brain. It was an unexpected treat to see how TOP GAMERS on the professional game circuit played the game; I could immediately see just how much we had to learn.

    PC LAN Gaming Area There were many other group PC gaming areas, like this huge array of Cybertron PCs, Microsoft Surface tablets, and even a bunch of high-end VR rigs. It was cool to see, but I wanted to keep moving and see what else was going on in the exhibition space.

    Double Fine BoothOpen Air PC CaseSteel Series Keyboards There were a lot of indie developers in the main exhibition area, for example Double Fine had their presence; this is the company that had the first really huge Kickstarter campaign for their throwback graphic adventure Broken Age. It was great to see so many small gaming companies really making a push to make games of all styles and genres…it was really inspiring! It also made me realize just how small and insignificant my own video game making efforts are by comparison with all the talent and time that is going into the industry now. Good thing I’m not part of it anymore, otherwise I’d be stressed-out! :D

    I also saw some neat PC hardware, such as a cool open-air PC case and several awesome-looking keyboards. I almost bought a mouse from Steel Series, the Danish gaming peripheral company, but the lines again were long, and we had to hit the road back to New Hampshire.

    Tabletop Gaming Area  One of the last areas I checked out was the tabletop gaming area, which covered a lot of space and had a lot of people just playing board games together. I think the real PAX experience must be in staying overnight for the entire 3-day convention and making friends playing these games; just going in for the day doesn’t let you have those formative encounters. If I can swing a 3-day pass next year, I might book the hotel and just think of it as a mini-vacation. I’m really not a gamer these days, and I’m pretty old for the demographic, but I love energy and creativity. I’m sure there’s a few elder nerds that attend PAX that I could find. Maybe in the retrogaming lounge!

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  • Kitten, Teach me the Way of Life

    April 28, 2016

    I saw this great O’Reilly book cover parody on Twitter from @thepracticaldev:

    Kitten Knows Best How to learn any new programming concept: Essential Changing Stuff and Seeing What Happens You tell it, kitten! This works for a lot of things!

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  • Recovering from Goals Crashing (GHD076-084)

    April 26, 2016

    Attitude Poster for Mindfulness I haven’t posted about my Groundhog Day Resolutions Goals in a while. Today, I am trying to reclaim my sense of clarity and purpose. I’m live-streaming the thought process behind this to get “unstuck” as I work through the issues that are clouding my mind. (more…)

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  • Pre-made Pizza Dough Experiment

    April 19, 2016

    Pizza Dough I was at the supermarket the other day and saw all the bags of premade pizza dough in the refrigerated section. I normally don’t like supermarket pizza, but the raw dough itself was really intriguing. I’ve never used pizza dough before, and though it would be a cheap and easy introduction to “working with dough”. So I bought a bag of the stuff.

    Pizza Dough in a BagPizza Dough in a BowlPizza Dough in a Ball

    The instructions called for preheating the oven to 450 degrees, and then rolling the dough in a bowl of flour to keep it from sticking. It was surprisingly elastic, and had a neat texture that resisted my attempts to shape into into a disc. Should I force the shape? Did I need to use a rolling pin for the best result? Was I flattening all the gassy powers that the dough contained, limiting its rising potential? Should I let it sit?

    Being too lazy to look any of this up, I just forced it into a flat shape by stretching it, tossed it onto the preheated pizza stone in my oven with the timer set to 20 minutes, and hoped for the best.

    Pizza Dough on a oil splatter coverPizza Bread!Pizza Bread and Olive Oil

    Not having one of those wooden pizza peels to shove the pizza into the oven, I used a large silicone anti-oil spattering disc to transport the dough. The flattened disk, despite my best efforts, rose to form a dome-like carapace of bread with large airy and elastic pockets. The flavor was quite neutral and actually pleasant because it was warm. I dipped it in some Chetouille unfiltered olive oil with some salt and pepper, and it was pretty good. Not amazing, but pretty enjoyable!

    Not wanting to eat the whole thing, I saved half of the loaf in the freezer to see how it will taste tomorrow as a Part II of this experiment.

    Verdict: DOUGH IS COOL! I will have to try making it from scratch.

    BONUS: I was able to use one of the 4 project tables as an impromptu bread kneading station with an overhead strobe. This makes it much easier to take pictures of the food prep in-progress.

    Camera Setup

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  • Correcting a Week of No Goal Progress or Caring (GHD070-075)

    April 18, 2016

    From Monday April 11 through Sunday April 17, I have not been doing any Groundhog Day Resolution goal work. Partly it was because of the stress of work deadlines and my upcoming month-long trip overseas, and partly it is due to irritation at judgmental commentary I have been receiving. But after spending a weekend processing how I felt about Goals and Progress, I’ve come to some clarity about what’s not working about my approach, and am resetting my goal criteria! I outline the faults, and the changes I am making, after the jump. (more…)

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