Mon Jan 14 2013 09:44 For Aaron:
from bs4 import BeautifulSoup
url = 'http://www.poemhunter.com/best-poems/william-stafford/thinking-for-berky/'
soup = BeautifulSoup(urllib2.urlopen(url))
for s in soup.find(attrs="poem").strings:
Fri Jan 18 2013 08:06 429 Too Many Requests:
I don't like repeating what everyone else is saying on this weblog,
and I don't have much to add to the general outpouring following the
death of my friend Aaron, but I have to say something, because you can't say goodbye if you don't say anything. His death was awful, our loss great, his crimes (assuming any crime was committed at all) minor, and their prosecution farcical. I feel like a lot of what
we're going through is our frustrated desire to see Aaron's case
properly litigated, to see our friend vindicated, and I have no experience with that stuff, but I do
have two personal stories to share. Two points where my life intersected with Aaron's in ways I haven't talked about publicly.
- Beautiful Soup was partly inspired by xmltramp, an XML
parser Aaron wrote because he was frustrated with other XML parsers. I've been thinking a lot about this, and
this is why my initial mourning of Aaron took the form it did, because
screen-scraping—the use of an automated agent to replace
a human-driven web browser—seems to have been at the core of the
prosecutor's belief that this was a blockbuster case, more akin to a bank
heist than a defaced storefront.
- In 2005 Aaron wanted me to join his startup, Infogami. He showed
me a prototype, a NewsBruiser-like blogging site. I was looking to
quit my job at CollabNet, but I didn't take Aaron's offer because I
was comfortable in San Francisco and really didn't want to move across the country. (In a
Twilight Zone-level twist, in early 2006 I'd end up moving to
New York, which I now like a lot better than San Francisco.) Aaron tells
the next part of the story here. He
couldn't find a partner and eventually ended up merging Infogami with
Reddit, which was then sold to Conde Nast in 2006.
Back in 2005 there was enough of the college-era me left that I
would have seen this outcome as a big missed opportunity. I still had
some desire, left over from the dot-com era, to win the startup
lottery. But of course the Reddit merger happened because Aaron
couldn't get a partner for Infogami. And my life over the next couple
years, including my secondhand reading of Aaron's experience at Reddit (he was fired soon after the Conde Nast acquisition) made it clear to me
that I would not enjoy winning the startup lottery any more than Aaron
did. I count this among the most important things Aaron taught me.
I've cut a lot of what I wrote here because I don't want this entry to be a bunch of stuff about me and my opinions and what I think. But I'm the one who's still here. Aaron is gone, and all that's left of him is the parts we can share.
 I can't let go of these little technical inconsistencies between what I'm seeing now and what I remember. It looks like during the merger, Infogami stopped being a blogging
site, and its framework (which became the first Python version of
Reddit) was renamed "Infogami". Or maybe "Infogami" was the framework
all along, and the blogging site was only one application of the
product; I don't know.
Sat Jan 19 2013 22:05 Crazy the Scorpion Semi-Online:
Kirk and I collaborated on an in-browser version of Crazy the Scorpion for Klik of the Month Klub. It's "online" in the sense that you download an HTML file containing the game and play the game in your browser. But everyone who plays must be gathered around the same computer.
I scraped a bunch of Wikipedia page titles to make fake Trivial Pursuit cards. It's not great, but the whole thing's not bad for two hours of work. I mainly hope this version inspires you to play Crazy the Scorpion using physical components.
Sat Jan 26 2013 10:10 The Crummy.com Review Of Things 2012:
I've been battered from all sides, and working all the time on RESTful Web APIs but I really feel like I need to get this out before the end of January, so I took some weekend time and finished it. First let's briefly review The Year in NYCB!
- Probably the NYCB champion of 2012 is Dada Da Dada Da Dum, aka Dada Limericks. Endlessly amusing.
- Runner up: A Time Machine And Other Poems. Age cannot wither "Was it a whale with its spout?", nor custom stale its infinite variety.
- Frances Daily. Don't worry, it's still running. My mom skipped January 1988, possibly for the same reason I'm posting my year-end review at the end of January 2013. Though now that I think of it, it's more likely that page was simply lost in the intervening 25 years.
- My explanation of what I wanted to do with Findings. This was later rendered moot when Amazon nerfed Findings by changing its Terms of Service. My puny revenge: ASINs That Spell Words.
- My experiments with IMDB data, especially Worst Best Picture.
- Software and tech stuff: Beautiful Soup 4, the new robotfindskitten, and "How to Follow Instructions", for which I need to set up a dedicated page, but I'm busy turning it into a book, give me a break.
- Fiction stuff: "Four Kinds of Cargo" and Lisa Imas's illustrated "Let Us Now Praise Awesome Dinosaurs". The majority of 2012's NYCB work went into the Constellation Games author commentary, and that probably deserves some special recognition, but in terms of individual CG posts I just want to highlight the results of the CDBOEGOACC game design contest.
- The 2012 Loaded Dice update didn't get very much attention at the time, but I think it quantified something interesting about the way board gamers think about games.
- Crazy the Scorpion, the card game that rocked a living room.
And now, our feature presentation. Of all the artifacts I experienced last year, these were my favorites.
According to my LibraryThing stats I only read fifteen books in 2012! I think it missed a couple books I read on the Kindle, but that's really low. What was I doing instead? You'll find out below.
The new novel, currently on hold until RESTful Web APIs is finished, features lots of lesbian sex, so I asked a friend (who can speak up in comments if she wants to be identified) to recommend the best lesbian porn novel. Her recommendation, Sara Waters's Tipping the Velvet, is the Crummy.com Book of the Year. Great historical fiction plus dirty sex.
Runner-up: Charles E. MacKenzie's Coded Character Sets: History and Development. (q.v.)
- Audio: Man, this is starting off kind of pathetic. The only known good album I added to my collection in 2012 was the Bit.Trip Runner soundtrack, and playing the game (which I'll mention below) generates a soundtrack that's better than the prepackaged one. I say "known good" because although I did buy a fair amount of music in 2012, listening to new music requires my attention, and if I'm sitting at the computer just listening to music, I start thinking I should get some writing done. I will say that The World Record's "Freeway Special" seems pretty good. What is my problem? I'm seeing a Ben Folds album and a TMBG album in here that I haven't listened to. Anyway, my problem, not yours.
I did a lot better with podcasts. New-to-me educational podcasts include
The Human Bible
and The History of Rome, which dramatizes ancient history in a way that has gotten it to stay in my head. (It also has an unauthorized sequel, The History of Byzantium, which I haven't gotten to yet.) Prominent among non-educational podcasts are No More Whoppers, in which two friends press each other's buttons by pressing buttons, and Flip the Table, in which the terrible design of old media tie-in board games collides with the fact that it's hard to have a really bad time playing a game with your friends. Somewhere in between is the edutational Roguelike Radio, which I've been listening to since it started in late 2011, but which has been consistently good, and which got better in 2012, to the point where I feel it deserves a mention.
Finally, music and podcasts collide with Music for Programming, a great idea which only succeeds in making me feel guilty for not listening to the albums I've bought.
- Video: This was the big one, thanks to our Museum of the Moving Image membership. I posted a pretty comprehensive review post for the second half of the year, and also this earlier post that's kinda sickly in comparison. According to my metrics I saw thirty feature films in 2012. That's probably not all of them, but it's the most I've ever seen in a year, by a wide margin, and twice the number of books I read. Damn, me!
It's really tough to pick a Crummy.com Film of the Year, but that's the whole conceit here, so I'm gonna give it to Celine and Julie Go Boating, the Bechdel-riffic surreal fantasy buddy comedy. Runners-up: more conventional comedies A New Leaf and The Whole Town's Talking. All three were big surprises.
Not a lot of non-film video going on. Sumana and I really enjoyed Breaking Bad and the House of Cards trilogy, though. In Internet video news, Joe Hills is hilarious.
- Games: First, a rundown of the games I didn't play.
You'll recall that 2011 was the year I decided I was done with non-tactical RPGs. 2012 was the year I didn't play any non-tactical RPGs, and I have no regrets. The good thing about writing off an entire genre is you can crown an all-time champion. The best non-tactical RPG ever made was Mother 3. (My in-depth coverage: 1 2)
2011 was also the year I was playing some Zelda game or other and I thought to myself, "you know what, I've played this game enough times." In 2012 I played some old Zelda with Beth on her Virtual Console, but I didn't buy Skyward Sword and I won't be buying future games in the series unless they hammer out a Majora's Mask level of weirdness. The best Zelda game ever made was Link's Awakening for the Game Boy.
So what did I play? Not a whole lot, actually. I think my revived interest in video games may have been an artifact of my desire to write Constellation Games, not a permanent feature of my personality. I checked the contents of my DS card slot to see what was the last game I played on that system, and it was... the RPG that convinced me to give up on RPGs back in 2011.
But on the Wii there was Bit.Trip Runner, a fun twitch-reflexes game that creates a soothing Phillip Glass type soundtrack as you play it, which Sumana really likes to hear. On the PC there was more Minecraft, thanks to the insane modpack collections, especially Feed the Beast, which skyrocket the complexity of the base game and fulfill all my "Programmable Minecraft" dreams.
I bought every Humble Indie Bundle in 2012, and this time I tried all the games, but the only game that came out of it that I really liked was Bastion, which I mainly liked for its clever way of narrating your actions. But I loved FTL, a game I got as a Kickstarter reward. FTL combines solid theme, real-time tactics, and roguelike procedural generation+permadeath to recreate the experience of running your very own smuggling ship, just like in "Four Kinds of Cargo"! Or Firefly, if that's what you're into. It's great fun, and I'm giving it Crummy.com Game of the Year just so it doesn't go to Minecraft two years in a row.
Board games are still going strong. The Kickstarter reward games that have really paid off are Sunrise City and Glory to Rome. I started playing Dominion online with Dan. Pat and I played three games of 1989: Dawn of Freedom, and I enjoyed them all. Pat introduced us all to the auction action of For Sale, and I can't believe I didn't mention the fatalist chaos of Galaxy Trucker last year, but it's possible we only started playing it in 2012. It's great!
As embarrassing as it seems, I think the Crummy.com Board Game of the Year is Lords of Waterdeep, a game that was actually released in 2012. I give it this coveted honor for the two times we've been thinking about learning some other, heavier Eurogame, and decided to just play some Lords of Waterdeep instead. The theme is so terrible! (And you can't role-play as your character because your character must stay hidden until the end of the game!) But it's fun. Honorable mention: Galaxy Trucker.
- Food: Not a lot new here, but it was a big year for cheese in my neighborhood. We discovered the grilled-cheese-heavy vegetarian restaurant The Queens Kickshaw, and celebrated the opening of a store that sells cheese, Astoria Bier and Cheese.
Looking forward to 2013: man, we're already 1/12 of the way through 2013! This should have gone up a month ago! If I can finish RESTful Web APIs and Situation Normal I'll call it a good year.