Better Simple Games

Even on the all time high that board games are riding right now [no source], there’s still room for the lighter classics. Games like Sorry! and Yahtzee don’t seem to die away fast. I’ve played by fair share of riveting new board games, but I won’t protest a couple hours with either.

This weekend I came across a homemade Aggravation board. It’s a straightforward set up, marbles, dice, and a large wooden board. The game plays like Pachisi or Sorry!. You roll a dice and move your marble, if you land on another piece they must go back to start. It has a shortcut path which is clever. Four of us played a game in around 45 minutes. I’ve played games like this before as well as tester games from heavy nerd board game designers — all of them have that homemade aspect.

It has changed my perspective on what a board game can be. Much like a card game there only need be a few simple components on hand and then a game can begin. Many of the longest lasting games are founded on this concept. Even games like Dungeons and Dragons employ this concept.

…there only need be a few simple components on hand and then a game can begin.

I will pursue the simpler games more often now. Components don’t have to be hard or complicated to assemble. They should be generic and replaceable and most importantly allow many more people to be included in the act of playing.

Make your own game!

I went hunting to see what is involved with the process with making your own board for Aggravation. You can make it simple (drill divets into a cutting board) or more fancy. I was going to cleverly summarize a process and borrow a guide, but I didn’t do the work this other person did. See their blog here:

There’s more too! Boardgame Geek forums has a whole post about “print and play” games. Essentially homemade games. They have great links to stores to get the bits and basics for a variety of games.

Here’s a copy of the rules for PDF download,

Or you can follow this link to read them online easily:

unsplash-logo Cover Photo Credit: Josh Appel

Thankful for WeWork’s Demise

I should first clarify — I’m not happy for those who have lost their livelihood — I wish them a speedy hunt. It’s nearly Thanksgiving, and this year I dwell upon some recent events that I am thankful for. Here’s one.

I just need to point out some of the ridiculous-ness of WeWork (The We Company). Firstly let’s talk numbers.

The expected evaluation before their IPO was set at $47 billion. We see companies with numbers like that more frequently then we should nowadays; I’m not commenting on that. When this value was set the company did not have profit. WeWork rents out space it doesn’t own so the backing of its service is the idea that consumers will pay to rent space from them and that realtors won’t simply remodel a building and lease space themselves; something that people do. Look at it like this, there is a value of $47 billion placed on something that if it completely disappeared tomorrow the effect would be basically negligible.

The reason it failed during the IPO planning was because of the shady founder — not business model. Did you catch that? Years of losing money, basically unbacked borrowing, and a rickety foundation didn’t matter, it was that the founder had licensed “We” (I don’t know…that’s a different problem) and then sold that to the WeWork when he decided that it should now be called “We”. There was other stuff, but it doesn’t really matter. The IPO crashed and the valuation was reset, it’s still hilariously inflated for a company that doesn’t actually have anything (like it doesn’t even have user data!)

The losers are the investors. Ideally. There’s a few who got stuck in the madness, but even at the evaluation of $1 billion, there won’t be a payout. That money will never exist — at least not in whole. I just really like the idea of people who are so caught up in the catchphrases that they ignore the business model or any sign of payout and chuck money. In the end WeWork was just a massive race to dump money where someone else said to do it.

Ok, I’m not going to dwell, this is just a word of caution — don’t drink the start up Kool Aid, it isn’t worth it.

More Details:

unsplash-logoCover photo credit: Jilbert Ebrahimi

CVS reciepts

I have always assumed the memes about CVS receipts were a joke. Until, of course, I experienced the endless strip for myself. This assumption that people were exaggerating was naive. I bought a box of Fig Newtons and some Aleve (name brand nonetheless! They were out of generic…). I came home and performed a quick search on Twitter to verify that my experience was universal (it is).

It is time to visit the real-CVS-emulator.

This is some simple JavaScript by a user over on CodePen:
unsplash-logoCover Photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez

Just checking…

Bill Gates posted his yearly introspection, I was more interested in verifying that he uses IIS to host his website than what his life lessons are.

It’s time for a yearly review. I don’t have one for myself. I don’t make goals. My excuse is that 1 year is too long for most effective goalkeeping. You could lose 20 pounds and gain 30 within the course of a year. One time a friend said that this year was going to be “The year of KAREN!”. I suggested that while what she meant about getting in shape (“GETTING HOT!”) and improving her job outlook creating her year of successes, it could also be the case that a little addiction, spiraling into a full-blown meth frenzy, and ending in jail and intense social shame could also create “The year of KAREN!”. She proved me wrong and had a wonderful year of weight-loss, lifestyle adjustment, and has a much more positive outlook than she used to have. I’m glad that’s the path she took — even if it makes me slightly jealous.

Anyway, my excuse (goals don’t work over the course of a year) is bullshit. I’m still not making any explicit goals, but I think I should read more. My wife and I have gotten our Netflix list under control, but I think in hindsight I should have focused on getting my Goodread’s list under control. I think if I should set a goal I would say just this, I could probably spend my time better than doubting if Bill Gates uses a Microsoft product, he saved many many lives this year — I did not.

The fate of the country does not depend on how you vote at the polls — the worst man is as strong as the best at that game; it does not depend on what kind of paper you drop into the ballot-box once a year, but on what kind of man you drop from your chamber into the street every morning.

Henry David Thoreau, Slavery in Massachusetts

Nice quote! Read the rest here.

You can also download the PDF:

card-games ♠️♣️♦️♥️

I a good card game, here’s one we started, but going off some old rules from a bygone era left us confused. After some searching around I found our slip of paper title “Russian Rummy”, might also be called 12-Step Rummy.

The arduous game looks fun, but really needs some rules to make it playable (who knew?! 🤷‍♂️). Here’s an online guide. Or download the PDF:

serving repositories

I like my logs, like all of them all the time. Elasticsearch cluster, Kibana dashboards, billions and billions of logs, stored and stashed. It’s a happy world for me. Don’t assume I do anything especially useful with those logs, I just like collecting and storing them.

I use nxlog to collect them from Windows machines as well as a much lighter/simpler (?) processor instead of Filebeat. I’m not sure that I can stand by that, but I do know that once you have configured NXLog you can forget about it like forever. With that in mind I thought, well time to add this handy tool to my local repository provider. Simple right? WRONG! In 2018 the poor community of NXLog doesn’t have a repo set up for their software

I will fix this!

(stay tuned for updates…)

Manpower for your projects

I have something to consider next time I take a look at the aging phone system with the ire of a frustrated millennial — looking for the next Silicon Valley “heroes” to come in and save me with some easy, yet functional technology. I rarely acknowledge the lead up to these technologies, but of course using my B.A. in History as I do sometimes, when I do consider it, I take it too far. Much of our technological advancements we utilize on our day to day livelihoods is the result of wartime government spending on research for weapons technology and improving the usage of said weapons.

With my rosy cynicism (“WHAT IS AN OXYMORON, ALEX?”) sorted out, I move beyond the industrial military complex and focus on the numbers problem. Demographic statistics is far from my specialty, but I will say through my anecdotal experience, most of us have some sort of ancestral elder who served/was involved in some rather direct way to the war effort of WWII. This is true around the world, just take a look at the numbers of casualties in Russia or China. Dan Carlin, from the Hardcore History podcast described this numbers thing in the context of China casualties during some attacks as something that you assume was a rounding error.

Everything surrounding the military feels this way to me some days — and here’s another example, the number of people involved in the Manhattan Project:

Read the comments — this isn’t the whole story, over the lifetime of the project up to 500,000 people were involved in some capacity.

Here’s the picture that was provided in a tweet:

The top line focuses on the total number of those involved at a peak it reaches 130,000. Other categories vary, but the scale on the y-axis is in 10's of thousands.
Find more on Wikipedia.

That bomb was going to happen. The government was willing to go to lengths that haven’t been seen in most people’s lifetimes to ensure it. There were similar efforts when going to the moon — an estimation of 400,000 people puts it in the same realm, but of course the much more wholesome goal of going to space might add more collateral to that total. I could keep clicking and linking Wikipedia articles that talk about the amazing numbers of people who were involved in some of the projects of research and development the nation has undertaken, but I pity the reader.

One more political note: let these facts stand as evidence against the “it’s too complicated/expensive/impractical!” exclamations for any social services that the government is asked to provide. Those constrictions aren’t something that the federal government is usually contained to — unless they choose it.

The reason I bring up these historic feats is because of the numbers advantage they have. If only 1% of the people involved in these projects were effective contributors to their success they would still outsize many large enterprises. Just like Carlin suggested about the Chinese casualties — this feels like a rounding error. What modern mass involvement is there to create such a breeding ground for new technologies that can catapult some young talent to rebuild my telecom infrastructure? Am I asking too much of the number of people who have a vested interest in this area?

Yes. I am.

Just add more lines

I’m learning python — and I just did this:


# Clean up the generated lists, as well as the exclusions:
# LIST1, LIST2 should not contain any extra crap now.
def listcleaner():
    for i in TOREMOVE:"removing " + str(i))
    for i in EXCLUSIONLIST:"removing " + str(i))

So I know there’s a better way to do it, but not sure how to search it. I’ll update this when I’ve golfed with it a couple times. Don’t lecture me about try and pass. I get the badliness, it’s just in the case of where and why I’m running this, I truly don’t need the error message (famous last words).


LIST1 = [ 5,10,15,20,25 ]
LIST2 = [ 3,7,11,13,19 ]

TOREMOVE = [ 3,15,19,20 ]
EXLUSIONS = [ 5,7 ]

for i in EXLUSIONS:

for x in TOREMOVE:
    if x in LIST1:
    if x in LIST2:

I wish I could say right after I posted I went and cleaned this up to what you see here, but that is not the case. I’m not sure where my head was with the TRY statements, they were very unnecessary. Either way they are gone now! Much cleaner, and this has the advantage of combining the TOREMOVE and EXCLUSIONS lists so if I want to dump a report/log I can do so more easily. 

I’m sure there is a way to get this down even further, but this is the point at which my curiosity is satisfied.


Seeding content

what better way to get started then with some listings?!

Oh, but Wes I already know about all of these, blah blah blah no new content. Too bad.

Sites I like

  • – Here to help with your next escapade.
  • – for when man just doesn’t cut it.
  • – for looking prettier.



Stuff I use

This might get out of date, but rest assured, it won’t matter too much. I’m not a high maintenance user. I don’t have a homelab, I don’t usually maintain a cloud server, I leave all that at work (see, where this site is hosted! 🤷‍♂️).

  • MacBook Air, 2018
  • iPhone 8 Plus
  • Raspberry Pi, 2

History is study of everything, just not right now.

Some guy at work.