Another year in the books! Time to reflect back and see what I did with myself...
In February we took a trip to Maui, which we hadn’t visited since back in 2003, and had a good time. Of course, this was the year that the Lahaina wildfire struck, so we watched in horror as that unfolded, having only visited just a couple of months back.
Unfortunately, our trip ended on a sour note as our layover in Las Vegas went from 2 hours to 3 days(!) due to weather. I’ve never been interested in gambling, and found the gaudiness of Las Vegas to be completely unappealing, so this was not a fortutitous turn of events. At least we did manage to get in a Penn & Teller show (a bucket list item for me), plus a cool day trip to see the Hoover dam.
In the summer we took a trip to Boston, with the intention of meeting my mother-in-law and visiting. Things went well until tragedy struck and both Vera and I came down with COVID. This meant we spent the final five days of our trip trapped in a hotel room watching anime with the kid (who never caught it but was too young to allow out on his own). We did manage to squeeze in a brief masked visit with some old college friends and their family before we left at least.
Here’s hoping our 2024 travel is more uneventful!
In other random news, this was the year our son officially topped both of us, height-wise. We knew it was going to happen eventually, but never anticipated that it would be early in the 7th grade!
This year my programming efforts continued to focus on my DREAMM emulator.
I finally released DREAMM 2.0 in March, with a rewritten UI and MacOS support. This was also the first release that expanded significantly beyond the original SCUMM games and into other LucasArts titles. Partly this was to help differentiate DREAMM from other projects like ScummVM, but partly it was in response to my own interest in seeing more different types of games supported.
After 2.0 was released, I decided to see if I couldn’t get more early Windows games up and running. While DOS games are well-covered by the DOSBox emulator, games that were designed to run on Windows 95 or 3.1 are increasingly difficult to get running on modern systems. I spent several months beefing up the minimal Windows support I had in 2.0 to be something that could run 16-bit Windows games like Indiana Jones and His Desktop Adventures as well as some later more advanced 3D games like Indiana Jones and the Infernal Machine.
DREAMM 2.1 was released in September, with support for 10 new Windows-based LucasArts games, bringing the total supported catalog of games up from 20 to 31 games. In addition to the new games, this release was also the first with native Linux support, for both x86 and ARM-based Linuxes.
The rest of the year was spent focusing on improving DREAMM internals and flipping back to adding the rest of the DOS-based LucasArts games. I also spent a few days reworking the video rendering code to support CRT simulation shaders to give a more retro-looking option for these early games.
I should probably also mention the two interviews with Daniel Albu talking about the development of DREAMM and showing off several of its key features. The most recent versions of DREAMM have been run on over 1,000 systems each, which I consider a pretty solid success for a program with a fairly narrow niche.
Musically this year was pretty similar to 2022, with a couple of extra little hilights.
I finished up my first season with the Sine Nomine Renaissance Choir and decided to continue on with a second year. This year there are fewer tenors and the previous section leader defected to bass, so I was enlisted to become the new section leader. Mostly this means I have to take better notes so I can share them with those who weren’t present, but it also confers some small benefits like getting an early peek at upcoming music.
Our Summer Fling Singers 2023 concert, Truth From Above, went well. This program focused on the early works of Ralph Vaughan Williams—at least those that were out of copyright, since we put all our performance up on YouTube. I decided to bring back Gary Cannon, a local RVW expert, for his second round with us, marking the first repeat conductor we’ve had since our inception.
In December, I had the exciting opportunity to witness the premiere performance of one of my choral compositions, an arrangement of Masters In This Hall, by the Vashon Island Chorale. The director of the group put out a call for local northwest composers to submit their Christmas works, so I decided to throw mine onto the pile, and was thrilled that it was selected for the program.
I’m currently wrapping up my 8th and final year on the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium board. It’s been a great experience but I’m definitely kind of burned out and looking forward to working with them exclusively as a freelance web developer. Speaking of which....
This year I got the go-ahead to perform a pretty substantial refresh of the Greater Seattle Choral Consortium website. I created a new home page and freshened up the color scheme and other small behaviors.
I also finally got to implement my idea for a choral concert Passport Program. The idea is that you are encouraged to check in to choral concerts you attend using your phone, and are entered in a drawing for prizes at the end of the season. The cool thing about this is that thanks to the extensive database we use to hold concert events, I was able to do smart geolocation in the browser to verify your location when checking in.
Outside of GSCC work, I didn’t really do much with postcardware.net this year, apart from disabling the Twitter bot because the new rules meant it no longer made sense. I still need to finish tagging the other half of the postcards, so hopefully I can make some progress on that in 2024.
I continued to add new works to the rehearsaltracks.net site, and now have a few regular paying clients who hire me to prep their music and make it available to their choir members for rehearsal.
Meh, another not-so-great year for my weight this year, up about 10lbs from the end of last year. I also crossed a threshold I really didn’t want to cross, so January resolution is definitely to at least get back under the dotted line in the middle.
I continued my comfort watching of (mostly) sci-fi/fantasy/horror series this year, generally taking in an hour show each night before bed. This year, I managed to watch or complete:
Didn’t manage to read quite as much this year, only finishing 28 books. A few of the books were long and sloggy but I decided to trudge my way through them anyway. Here’s this year’s GoodReads page. And my own summary (asterisks indicate a re-read):