Re-Taste of Anacortes

Once again, we (Amanda and I), accompanied by Marg, hit the town for the Taste of Anacortes. Like last time, it was a blast. Good food, a night on the town, and a little class (enough class that I felt out-classed, but we all know how much class that takes...). Sadly, this was the last Taste of the year. Here's hoping that they do it again next year! For all of you who didn't get to experience it all, here's what was served:
  • The Store: A smattering of hors d'oeuvres all made from ingredients available at the Store. They included asparagus with a chardonnay mustard sauce, cherry tomatoes stuffed with blue cheese, prawn with "green" tampanade and caper, snow peas piped with egg salad, and a couple of breads with some sauce.
  • Il Posto: Chicken wrapped with something served over polenta with gravy. Yummy!
  • Randy's Pier 36: Battered and fried calamari strips served with aioli and lemon.
  • El Jinete: Pollo al crema and rice.
  • Cheesecake Cafe: Chocolate truffle cheesecake and shortbread cookies with pink frosting.
Wednesday March 21 2007File under: food, Anacortes

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More Word Games

Speaking of word-nerdiness, working on Another Word Game started me on a slippery slope of word games, both playing them and creating them. The two latest games are offshoots of AWG, but different enough to be fun in their own right.
BUNGLE: Essentially, this combines Boggle game play, Scrabble scoring, and the tile replacement of Another Word Game. Oh, and it's timed. Like AWG, this is written in Java.

WORDOMANIA Based on the popular (and addictive) clickomania game, this is a puzzle word game similar to AWG. The object is to use as many of the initial tiles as possible. When one is used, it disappears and everything above it drops down. Once an entire column is used, everything to the right of it will slide left. This is written in Javascript, so even if Bungle and AWG didn't work, this should (although with a slightly higher chance for browser non-compatibility). Check out the screen shot.

Thanks again to those folks that helped work the kinks out by taking the time to test these. If you have any questions or encounter any bugs, let me know.
Sunday March 18 2007File under: games, coding

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Simpsons plus Word-nerdiness equals Happy Wren

The keen eyes of a friend found this recently and knew I needed to see it. From 1995, Lisa in Wordland is a comic featuring many beloved Simpsons characters and much word-nerdiness. It is even more pertinent, as I have been thinking of word play [almost] non-stop for the past week or so.

Some of the priceless phrases: "If bombastic periphrastic grandiloquence be the music of life, then rattle on, I say. Rattle on!" courtesy of Sideshow Bob. Or maybe you prefer palindromes (from Otto, of course): "Tired nude man in a pajama I am. A japan I named under it."

But since a picture is worth 1000 words check these out.
Thursday March 15 2007File under: misc

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Pi Day!

Whew! That was a close one. One of my favorite holidays of the year almost slipped right by me without me knowing. I guess that is what happens when the calendar industry is involved in a conspiracy against it.

March 14 or 3/14. Get it? 3.14. Like the ratio between the diameter and circumference of a circle. Totally awesome.

What is the best way to celebrate Pi Day? Well, first, you gotta eat some pie. Yes, I know it is spelled differently, but I don't questions the traditions that are passed down through the ages. Secondly, you should add one digit to your personal knowledge of pi. If 3.14 is all you know, annex a 15 to the end. For everyone else, here's a helpful start: 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510 (that was from memory, thank you very much, except for the bold 71 that I missed. I guess I am slipping in my old age.)
Wednesday March 14 2007File under: holidays

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Poopy Duck

"Uncle Wren, can I have a poopy?"

"Not until after you finish your supper."

We all have our holiday traditions. Some are holdovers from when we were kids. Some we start when we start our own families. Some holiday traditions just sort of happen. I'm glad to see that the Poopy Duck tradition has made its way to a third generation of the Studer/Schultz clan.

Of all the holiday traditions I've known, Poopy Duck is far and away my favorite. Poopy is a crocheted duck who poops jelly beans. He makes his appearance about this time every year, a month or so before Easter. Visitors, both child and adult, are a bit apprehensive about the concept of eating candy coming out the back end of a duck, but they quickly overcome it. If you think you can handle it, stop by Chez du Wren and give ole Poopy a try.
Monday March 12 2007File under: holidays

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Another Word Game

What happens when you leave a computer programmer to his own devices? Well, first he watches a lot of movies. Then he recodes his blog. But soon, he feels the call of those sweet sweet algorithms, with their object orientated logic and structured syntax, and he can't handle it. He must write something.

Well, this is my something: Another Word Game. Inspired by boggle, Word Racer, and Wordy, the premise of this game struck me while lying in bed one morning. The object is to use up all the initial letters once while reusing letters as infrequently as possible. Points are awarded on length of word and number of reused squares.

To play, you need to have java installed. If you don't have it installed already, it is kind of a pain. Sorry about that. Also, it might not work on some Macs (I don't have a Mac to test it on.) Thanks to Andrew, gretch, marg, Saxtor, rus, Sara, Amanda, and Deanna for help with the testing. If you come up with any bugs, let me know. Enjoy!
Saturday March 10 2007File under: games, coding

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Post Number 100!

Huzzah! Huzzah! Blog du Wren has reached a milestone. This is the 100th post. It warms my heart to see how far it has come since it's humble beginnings. Together, we've shared announcements, travels, food, and double comments out the wazoo. In honor of this momentous occasion, I thought it might be fun to have a look at some of the statistics behind BdW.
Number of posts100
Days of BdW existence201
Average days per post2 (!)
Number of comments (including double comments)585
Average comments per post, excluding double comments and test comments5.6
Most prolific commmenter, excluding anonymous or otherwise misattributed commentsSaxtor
Number of comments by said commenter73
Other major commenters with number of commentsJule, 56; Mom, 45; Trista, 42; Andrew, 40; Horge 31
Approximate number of images posted (excluding externally hosted images)190

Thanks to everyone (readers, comments, beta-testers) who has helped make this the success that it is.
Thursday March 8 2007File under: blog, stats

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Scoot scoot scoot!

I bought a scooter. I've been toying with the idea ever since I got back from Asia (and well before (*cough* Honda Spree (twice))). After spending a lot of time looking through craigslist and the classified, I wasn't finding what I wanted. Through persistence, however, I found a place in Bellingham that had what I wanted: low(ish) size and power, non-automatic transmission but no clutch, decent gas mileage, and decent top speed. All of these came together in the Yumbo C110.

As the dealer tells it, this an replica of the old Honda Cub now made by some Chinese company. The speedometer and odometer are both in kilometers and the owner's manual is obvious translated, but both are no hill for a stepper. Now all that's left is for me to get a motorcycle endorsement on my license and I'll be good to go.

(Oh, and don't worry. I got a good helmet too.) For those gearheads out there, here are the specs:
Tuesday March 6 2007File under: transportation

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What a Weekend

As a non-member of the working world, the concept of a weekend is almost lost on me. Tuesday is Friday is Sunday. About the only differences between a Wednesday and a Saturday are the hours the stores are open and who is around to hang out with (oh, and Jeopardy is alway a rerun on Saturdays.) This weekend, however, felt different. Activities abounded. I'm aware of the fact that tomorrow in Monday. I almost even have a schedule to fall back into. But I digress.

Saturday was the Great Rubber Ducky Escapade, a geocaching event with an elaborate premise, treasure hunt, and pot luck. While the event required more driving and less hiking than I like in my geocaching adventures, it was neat to see so many other geocachers. Oh, and the free cookies didn't hurt either.

Sunday morning presented the opportunity to visit the Summit Park Grange for a fund raising pancake breakfast. The food was pretty alright, but the experience was top notch. Nothing makes you feel more appreciative of being young than spending a couple hours surrounded by people 40 years your elder.

To wind up the weekend, I ended up at a place I've driven by a hundred times and always wanted to visit, but never have; the Old Edison Inn. Talk of the epic table shuffle boards have almost made me pull off the road on many passes. Tonight, those shuffle board tables were conquered! Along with shuffling, there was live music, great friends, and good pub food.

I think I could really get used to this weekend thing.
Sunday March 4 2007File under: geocaching

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Guest Post du Mom

Since I have just returned to BdW headquarters from a month in New Zealand I have been invited to do a guest post to share my travels. See, I leave my children for a month and they suddenly get interested in me. I could wax poetic (if I could wax or be poetic) about the breathtaking beauty of New Zealand and the kindness of her people but I'll save the sappiness for the uncut version and try to hit some highlights. Flying into NZ gave me a sense of its awesome geology, eons of continental bumps and shakes are condensed into this small country-spiny-ridged mountain ranges; vast, lush, glacial valleys; lunarscape volcanic craters and plateaus with picture-perfect farms nestled in here and there. I hooked up with Kiwi native and good buddy Judith and we became far more intimate with this terrain on our 4-day tramp in the Marlborough Sound region of the South Island. We tramped the Cape Campbell Walkway following a goat track through grassy hills and sheep farms out to the eastern most point of the South Island. Lunch huts along the track were setup for proper tea and a chilled bottle of the local Sauvignon Blanc awaited us at each day-end farmstead. It was a challenging hike but fun and rewarding too.
Read more...
Thursday March 1 2007File under: travel, New Zealand

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*My Crossword in the Orange County Register
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*My TV Extra Debut
*Financial Recap of Costa Rica-Nicaragua Trip

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New pictures!
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13. Toke, yo (aka really mature humor)
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