Thursday, December 22, 2011

2011 Christmas Gifts, Part II

Yesterday I posted about the etched Babbage Technologies tumbler glasses I made for Ryan and Jenn. This post is about two gifts for our friends Aaron and Elissa Ballman.

The first and more straightforward gift for them is something I originally received from my boss Becki: apple pie schnapps. The recipe is very straightforward and requires no exotic ingredients:
  • 1 gal. apple cider
  • 1/2 gal. apple juice
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 7 cinnamon sticks
  • Cook until almost boiling.  Let cool slightly.  Add 1 liter bottle of Everclear.
We used 190 proof Everclear from Wisconsin -- only the best for our friends! I expect the bottle will be gone in a matter of days.

The second gift took a good deal more time. Nearly every Saturday, the Ballmans and we play Dominion. For some time, I have been half-jokingly suggesting we create our own cards for the game. I finally decided to go for it and create a few cards that we could throw into the mix every so often.

I did some searching and found a few existing homemade variants, but none that I particularly liked. I wanted something more personal. I found some Dominion blanks online and started to create cards, but then I decided that -- being a software engineer -- I should leave it to software to build my cards, and instead, I would build said software.

Several hours of coding here and there later, and I had the Dominion CardBuilder application ready to go. In very short order, I churned out 11 (probably mediocre) cards:

 
 

(For what it's worth, I'm assuming my work with these images falls under the fair use clause of US copyright law.)

A few things should probably be clarified with respect to these cards:
  •  I originally started off thinking I would do a set of Calvin and Hobbes cards, but I realized that I wasn't sure how much the Ballmans like that strip. I then thought I would make some cards relating to teamwork, but we don't play Dominion that way terribly often. Then I figured making it into a drinking game would be interesting, but we don't really drink that much when playing (usually a drink or two over the course of the night). By this point, I created enough cards that seemed random that I just went ahead and created whatever I thought seemed interesting.
  • White Wizard, Balrog and Hex are the only cards that are dependent upon any other cards in this "expansion."
  • "Team Suck" is the name we gave to our never-materialized summer volleyball team. It never materialized for good reason.
  • Aaron and I are rather big fans of Bruce Campbell (mostly from Army of Darkness and Bubba Ho-Tep). Quoting Ash is a favorite past-time of mine.
  • "The Gambler" is an ode to Andrea, as she loves that Kenny Rogers song. Except when she loses:
November 24, 2006: Andrea's first bitter taste of defeat at the hands of Kenny Rogers.
Even though my application isn't world class, Aaron urged me to put it up online for others to use. I am cleaning up the interface a bit and will put it up on dingostick.com soon.

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