Monday, November 23, 2009

Virtual Chumby

I'm hoping to get a Chumby for my Birthday/Christmas, so I have created a virtual one here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hand Drawn Colossal Cave Adventure Map - 1979

While I was studying at Northern Illinois University in 1979, I had an account that allowed me to dial into Southern Illinois University's computer, ostensibly to write programs on their system. I found their games pretty quickly and fell in love with the text game "Colossal Cave Adventure" (which was simply labelled "Adventure" while I was playing it.)

I soon discovered that I was going to need to draw a map in order to find my way around the adventure. On a spare piece of computer paper, I started sketching my way through the cave.

(click on the image to see it full size)

For some reason I drew the start building in the upper right and I never indicated the 3 "south" moves to get to the grate room to enter the cave. On the map the grate room is at the bottom right. Later I constantly used "xyzzy" to get to the cave.

The map has all sorts of notations on it as to where various objects are.
I cannot remember why I have "z'zzz" circled at the top. I think it was a magic word in the version I was playing, similar to "xyzzy". This map does not correspond exactly with instructions and maps I found on the Colossal Cave Adventure page. I'm not sure if I was dealing with an earlier version or a student rewrite or if my own mapping found different passageways.

There are much better maps online nowadays, but I was sketching mine in 1979 as I was playing.

(click on the image to see it full size)

The "all alike" maze was entered from the stalactite room (up from "bedquilt" on the main map and marked "stalag"). You can see "maze" in pencil just below the "stalag". The maze was mapped by dropping items various places. The key to the maze map is on the image below.

(click on the image to see it full size)

I don't remember how I figured out the vending machine maze. Once I figured out the mazes, I wrote down the directions to navigate to the various treasures.

The original map is ready to fall to pieces. I've been telling myself I needed to scan it and post it for years now. Finally got around to doing it, 30 years after first playing the game.
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Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Ah Spring!

Working from home. I took a few minutes to walk around the house to admire Spring!

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Tellus Museum Observatory

Mary (the youngest Geek) and I attended a lecture by Hal McAlister, director of the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy and then visited the newly opened Observatory to look at the Moon at twilight. Took a quick look at the unlabeled large vehicle collection as well. (pictures vary in quality because of the light levels)

More information on that unusual mine locomotive is available at

The pictures in the slideshow can be seen at

(the other geeks were jealous when I got home, as they thought an astronomy lecture would be boring. I tried to tell them that the observatory was possibly going to be open, but Nooooooo!)

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Tree Removal - Six Months Later

Finally finished the tree removal after having started it 6 months ago. (after a Soap Opera worthy tale of rip-offs to both us and to the owner of the original tree service that prompted us to finally hire a new tree service. Ah! Home Ownership!)

Guy in a tree in the back yard preparing it for cutting.

Ground crew with rope helping with the same tree.

We had the chips blown into an area next to the compost bins (you can see the bins just past the place the chips are falling).

They also removed the limbless trunks of the trees in the front yard that had been left by the original service (affectionately referred to as the "flagpoles" of the neighborhood)
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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Michael Broggie / World's Greatest Hobby

Let's Talk About Disney podcast's Jana let me know that Michael Broggie, son of Disney Legend Roger Broggie, was going to be in Nashville for a Model Railroad show on Feb 14 and 15 2009. Youngest geek Mary and I drove up to meet Jana and a couple of other Disney fans to hear Michael Broggie speak about Disney and trains.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Tellus Museum - Dinosaur Lecture

Visited the Tellus Museum Thursday evening with Julia and Mary to hear Paleontologist David Schwimmer (not the actor)

David Schwimmer's Columbus State University page

He was one of 3 scientists to describe the Appalachiosaurus

Julia was fascinated by the lecture. Mary was bored.

We visited the fossil gallery after the lecture.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Atlanta Chinese Culture Center - Year of the Ox Celebration

Our visit to the Atlanta Chinese Culture Center for the Year of the Ox Celebration.

The Fortune God opens the celebration.

Walking through the crowd is always a challenge. (we pass by 2 of my girls plus their friends early in the video)

The Dragon Dance

The Lion Dance. Our girls and their friends are just to my left and give their red envelopes away to the first lion that comes around. The lion ignores my envelope! I hand it down to the girls and Louisa is able to give my envelope away a little later.