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Playing The Quiet Year in One (1) Hour

You should play The Quiet Year! If, at all possible though, you should not play The Quiet Year in only 1 hour.

I was running this as part of an event and only had one hour so the constraints forced my hand somewhat.

Here’s how I approached it:

  • Each turn encompassed 3 weeks instead of 1. This is where the game suffers the most because projects start less frequently and end more quickly.
  • Cut down each season drastically. 3 cards for Spring, 4 for Summer (make sure to remove the King of Diamonds), 4 for Autumn, and 4 plus the King of Spades for Winter. Put the King of Spades at the bottom of the deck. Draw all but the King of Spades randomly.
  • Keep an eye on the time. If it’s looking like you’ll go long you should remove one of the cards from winter.
  • Your goal is actually to hit around 55 minutes for the game so you have 5 minutes to decompress and make up an epilogue. This is extremely important because everyone will have questions.

A few other items of note. I started the setup for the game by telling folks that the following:

I do not know if this game is fun. It is fascinating though. Keep in mind that we are collectively role playing a community and as such you will sometimes be frustrated with the direction things are taking. There is no win or lose state either, we see what happens and then the Frost Shepherds come.

Saying that the game might not be fun has a weird effect of making the game quite a bit more fun since everyone can just relax and see what happens.

Thanks to Sam and Brendan for helping out with a playtest of this compressed version of the game!

From Hugo to WordPress

There are a million and one blog posts for “move from WordPress to Hugo!” out there. This is the opposite of that.

Hugo is good

I like Hugo a lot. If you need a static site generator I’d recommend it without reservation! Once I had it going it worked very well. I loved how fast Hugo could build the entire site and it required almost no server resources. Turns out, you don’t need that much raw computing power to serving static files to a handful of folks every day.

Posting though

But…posting was far more complex than I wanted it to be. In the end I was syncing a folder via dropbox, committing my code to a repo, pushing it to a repo on the server. From there a git hook would run to build the site and then move the files to a folder. Extremely cool and extremely obtuse. If I had just one computer it wouldn’t have been that big of a deal to continue on; however, because I’m a glutton for complication, I bounce between 5 different devices (3 macs, 2 iOS devices) within the course of a week.

Having a web interface to log into matches my mental model of “I am writing and publishing” much better. I also dearly appreciate having drag and drop image support as well as WYSIWYG formatting options. Hugo’s support for non-text media is lacking. That’s totally okay! But, I was finding that I was avoiding publishing certain kinds of posts because I was lacking easy tools to do so.

WordPress and Gutenberg

What finally pushed me to make this change was a recent experience building a new website for Workantile. During that redesign we relied on the Gutenberg editor for formatting our pages. I was impressed! You can create fairly complex pages quickly with blocks in a way that just wasn’t easily doable a few years ago without diving deep into theme files. We’re in a bit of a rough transition point going from the classic editor to Gutenberg (and more importantly the concept of Blocks). It’s getting better all the time though!

Problems

The move went pretty well for the most part. Some technical issues I ran into:

RSS Importer

The RSS importer that is built into wordpress needs some serious attention. The biggest issue is that it fails because it’s calling a deprecated PHP function. The fix for this for me was to comment out the offending line. This StackOverflow post was helpful:

php – Call to undefined function set_magic_quotes_runtime() – Stack Overflow

I just found line 72 in the importer and commented it out. I wouldn’t rely on this edit for an import where you didn’t control all of the content, or as an importer you run more than once. It’s a brittle fix to say the least. Here’s the error and stack trace:

An error of type E_ERROR was caused in line 72 of the file /var/www/beta.chrissalzman.com/wp-content/plugins/rss-importer/rss-importer.php. Error message: Uncaught Error: Call to undefined function set_magic_quotes_runtime() in /var/www/beta.chrissalzman.com/wp-content/plugins/rss-importer/rss-importer.php:72
Stack trace:
#0 /var/www/beta.chrissalzman.com/wp-content/plugins/rss-importer/rss-importer.php(178): RSS_Import->get_posts()
#1 /var/www/beta.chrissalzman.com/wp-content/plugins/rss-importer/rss-importer.php(204): RSS_Import->import()
#2 /var/www/beta.chrissalzman.com/wp-admin/admin.php(344): RSS_Import->dispatch()
#3 {main}
  thrown

Hugo’s RSS Implementation

And on the Hugo end of things: Hugo’s built-in RSS generator doesn’t include the full text of the posts. It also doesn’t include categories. I happen to be the sort of person who likes adding categories, so this was a problem! Here’s a gist of my RSS theme file that has the full text and categories:

Hugo RSS Implementation with Categories · GitHub

This looks for the categories set in the frontmatter of your markdown files. If there are none it skips it and nothing is added to the feed for that post.

RSS Redirect

I wanted to make sure anyone who subscribed to my old RSS feed continues to get the new one. To do so I set up a 301 redirect using this plugin:

Simple 301 Redirect

Keeping it around since it’s always nice to have this in a readily accessible place.

Images

Moving images over to the new site involved making sure they were uploaded appropriately to WordPress’ Media library. I toyed with the idea of doing one big import and going through and fixing individual images. Then I found this plugin that just did it for me. Installed it and then Edited all of my posts and resaved them. It ran through and copied everything over and updated the src tags for me:

Auto Upload Images – WordPress plugin | WordPress.org

Inserting images in Hugo was one of the reasons I wanted to get away from it so this was nice to have it just work. After I ran this I turned it off.

Conclusion

So far, so good. I’m happy with this and this post was fully written and edited in the WordPress editor. It’s nice to have “my website” compartmentalized to something I go to on the internet to edit, although I will miss how much posting a blog post made me look like I was attempting to hack the planet.

Kitchen Shelves

Our kitchen peninsula was in dire need of some organization. We also had a blank wall directly above it so…shelves!

All of the wood for this project came from Workantile’s storage room: pine slats from someone’s old ikea bed and shelves made from the Baltic birch plywood from an old phone booth project. The screws and edge banding from Home Depot.

I made the shelf supports out of pine based on a google image search for DIY shelf supports. The hardest part was figuring out the order in which to attach everything together to have room to screw things in. For the supports I had to attach the bottom of the angled support to the “L” and rotate it out of the way. Then mount the “L”, then rotate the angled support into place and screw it in that way. There are better ways to do this, but it went pretty quickly.

Finished with shellac and wax. I really like this finishing technique because it looks good and requires minimal drying time.

Installed with much mumbling and annoyance.

Remote Caddy

Made a little caddy for our remotes. The hope is this cuts down on the number of times we have to ask where the Roku remote went.

Mitered the edges and reinforced with splines for rigidity and class.

Pine reclaimed from the Workantile storage room and walnut from Urbanwood. Finished with shellac.