2014 Year in Review

2014 was a good year! It feels odd saying it. It felt like an uphill battle a lot of the time. I think that battle was mostly in my head though, as some really great stuff happened. So I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge all the good stuff.

The good stuff in brief: I started a new job. I started (and finished!) a bunch of projects in python, woodworking and writing. I was generally quite healthy. I started biking to work. Over all I’m feeling like I’m finishing the year on an upswing.

The details:

I built a bench
A child’s seat
A stool

I also built a bat house, a gate and some shelves, none of which I have decent pictures of though.

I wrote somewhere around 12 short stories. Most of them were as part of a class I took, but I also wrote some after the class. I’m really happy about that.
Here’s one of the stories: Olivia’s Good Morning

I spent a lot of time this year trying to improve my coding skills – most of that time was spent on Python. This lead to some cool projects:

I participated in NaNoGenMo this year. NaNoGenMo is like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) only the goal is instead of writing a novel during the month of November, one attempts to write a program to generate a novel. My entry was a python script that generated a book titled “A Full and Complete Reckoning of Uncommon Mythical and Monstrous Creatures.
You can see the code here: creatures.py
You can see the full-book output here: creatures.txt.
The full list of NaNoGenMo entries is here, if you’re curious: https://github.com/dariusk/NaNoGenMo-2014/issues

I made some Twitter Bots:
https://twitter.com/creativitybot – A new brainstorming/creativity idea every three hours.
https://twitter.com/storyrobot – A brief plot/story is tweeted every three hours.
https://twitter.com/creaturelist – A new imaginary animal is created every three hours.
https://twitter.com/truthbombsbro – A horrible bit of tech/venture startup-speek “advice” is generated every three hours.

I made a python script that calculates the distances between frets on a stringed instrument (hopefully I’ll actually build a stringed instrument sometime so I can use this calculator)

I also made a little script that pokes me every day to do something productive/creative – it auto tweets to my twitter account https://twitter.com/samteebee every morning at 7am.

Man, this was a good year for me and reading. I read 40 books this year (some were quite short, indeed). That’s more than twice as many as last year. Goodreads claims I read 10,858 pages this year (4600 last year). Here are this year’s books, in the order in which I read them:
The Summer is Ended and We Are Not Yet Saved – by Joey Comeau
Lockpick Pornography – by Joey Comeau
Life After Life – by Kate Atkinson
Creative Thinkering: Putting Your Imagination to Work – by Michael Michalko
Sand Omnibus (Sand, #1-5) – by Hugh Howey
The Fault in Our Stars – by John Green
Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead – by Sara Gran
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth – by Isabel Greenberg
The Night Circus – by Erin Morgenstern
Show Your Work! – by Austin Kleon
Ashfall (Ashfall, #1) – by Mike Mullin
Divergent – by Veronica Roth
The Cat Who Walked a Thousand Miles – by Kij Johnson
A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain – by Adrianne Harun
Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls – by Alissa Nutting
The King of Limbo: Stories – by Adrianne Harun
Forty Stories – by Donald Barthelme
Ashen Winter (Ashfall, #2) – by Mike Mullin
Moonwalking with Einstein – by Joshua Foer
The Devil in the White City – by Erik Larson
The Martian – by Andy Weir
ZZT (Boss Fight Books, #3) – by Anna Anthropy
By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain – by Joe Hill
Candyfreak – by Steve Almond
Boy Proof – By Cecil Castellucci
Uglies – by Scott Westerfeld
Blue is the Warmest Color – by Julie Maroh
Rogues – Various authors
The Magicians (re-read) – by Lev Grossman
The Magician King (re-read) – by Lev Grossman
The Magician’s Land – by Lev Grossman
The Slow Regard of Silent Things – by Patrick Rothfuss
The End of Everything – by Megan Abbott
Sunrise (Ashfall, #3) – by Mike Mullin
The Lies of Locke Lamora – by Scott Lynch
Right Body, Wrong Junk – by Avery Edison
The Enchanted – by Rene Denfeld
The Shell Collector – by Hugh Howey
Clipping Through – by Leigh Alexander
We Were Ugly So We Made Beautiful Things – by David Barringer
This list, with ratings and short reviews I wrote for each book is here, if you’re interested:

I got better at running this year, too. It wasn’t exactly a conscious effort to improve, but I think it was simply a result of my efforts to run more/consistently throughout the year. I did have one goal: to run a sub-20-minute 5k. I got very close (20:21, I believe), and I’m blown away by that.

This seems like it would be a good time to make some resolutions or plans for next year, but I’m not going to do that. I’ve gotten into the habit of keeping a rolling list of projects I want to do and/or skills I want to gain or improve on. I’m going to keep that up. Maybe I’ll do another review like this next December. We’ll see how next year goes. You can keep up with me on twitter if you’re at all curious.

Startup truth-bombs twitter bot

I’ve been playing around with Python and Twitter lately. Today I created my first twitter bots:

A creature-creating bot:

and a “truthbomb” sharing smarmy startup bot:

Plot and Game Idea Generators

I created a couple of fun random text scripts the other day:

Random Plot Generator

Game Idea Generator

Before making the plot generator I had been spending time jotting down “bad plots” as a writing exercise in my notebook, hoping they might get the creative juices flowing and lead to actual good ideas. It got me thinking about Emma Coats’ advice on story structure. So I cobbled together some Python and made a funny command-line script that popped out insane plots. I enjoyed it so much that I ported it over to JavaScript and put it online. I tweeted about it and at some point Emma Coats caught wind. That was fun:

As for the game idea generator, I was talking to a friend about our addiction to funding Kickstarters for video games and board games. I said that I think the likelihood of my funding a Kickstarter game is directly proportional to the absurdity of the theme. Later that afternoon the Game Idea Generator was born


PITH: Extremely Short Stories by Sam Brelsfoard


My first book of fiction has been released! It’s available from Amazon in e-book or paperback form. It’s also available here as a free PDF download.

Bees from A to Z

I launched a new project over on my Tumblr blog: Bees from A to Z. I’ll be posting a picture a day.

Rushmore, staring Kyle Ryan Urquhart

Here’s an edit I made of Wes Anderson’s Rushmore that I think best highlights the film’s true star, Kyle Ryan Urquhart.



Soplerfo – The Air Out There

The Air Out There is an album of new music I’m offering as a digital download or as a 12-inch vinyl record. It took me a long time to put this together. I work slow. I’m very proud of it.

Tangle 2

Tangled Hair


Tangled Hair