Category not found. - Kalechips

Another trip around the sun means it's time for the final Kalechips newsletter of 2023! I'm publishing it in 2024, but it's the thought that counts. Buckle up, because we've got 2 months' worth of website updates to get through in addition to typical boring year-end rambling, new year resolutions, and updates on my life outside the internet.

New on the website

The most obvious change: there is a new site design! I also reorganized the file structure to be a little more logical (hopefully?). There was also a lot of backend refactoring happening. You can't see it, but I can, and the dramatic reduction in the size of my code (and corresponding increase in efficiency) sparks joy.

Actually, you can see part of that refactor, because the art gallery supports comments now! You will be able to enjoy them more fully once I actually add the rest of the art gallery. (I know this has been an action item for months now. There's a lot of images to get through!)

Moving on, I slapped a license (the GNU GPL) on everything! You can read more about the license and why I did it. It changes very little (basically nothing) about how you can use stuff on this website, but it helps to further my aim of keeping my stuff freely available.

Odonata received a complete design refresh, so it looks nice and clean now (and I got to use Century Gothic again). It also contains 2 new fanlistings, Plume Sans Fin (fountain pens) and Fine Feathered Friends (birding). A Pikmin series fanlisting is also cooking.

Every layout on the free layouts page has been greatly enhanced with better accessibility features, cleaner code, and variables!

I rewrote the documentation and FAQ page. There is now a "uses" section for my software and hardware information, and the FAQ has been condensed to get rid of redundancy.

New in real life

November was pretty dead, but I went to some craft fairs and spent a weekend in Denver! I got some good food at the craft fairs and left Denver with a new TWSBI Eco (because I found a store that actually sells fountain pens).

That being said, I am not sure that November actually happened. I blacked out and it was suddenly December.

December was Nondenominational Winter Holiday month where people pretend we're not continuing the Christmas hegemony by labelling all Christmas stuff as "holiday" stuff. I visited family in a Latin American country somewhere near the equator and had a lovely time. Much food and fun with family was had, and I got to see 3 of my favorite things: cool birds, cool bugs, and the ocean. We even got to tour an apiary and learn about native honey-producing bees (amazing). I also got to see rain, which almost never happens here in the Rocky Mountains.

This is where I would post some cool bird pictures, but the laptop that I use for processing photos is awaiting a new battery because its old one finally started bloating! We'll table that for now.

Anyway, I was on the giving and receiving end of Christmas consumerism. I bought myself a pair of nice leather sneakers and some new stationery supplies. I received a print, a new Sailor Compass 1911 pen with matching ink, and a bug glass! Also, I got a small and cute Bluetooth speaker at my family gift exchange.

New ink, new pen, and new glassware. All green!

Looking back at 2023

It's been quite the year for me and Kalechips! I feel like it's really come into its own, and I've learned a shitload of PHP along the way. (I don't think I ever would have guessed I'd have wasted my time coding my own guestbook and comment engine, but here we are.)

A highlight of my year was the Salad Bar Discord, through which I've made a ton of new friends! It's been very difficult for me to make friends online for the past few years (due to my leaving social media and the internet generally being pretty hostile), so I'm really happy to be part of such a great group of people.

Plans for 2024

I don't like setting ambitious goals because I always get mad if I can't meet them. My hope for next year is to continue having fun with this stupid little website, and hopefully I can make some progress on the following:

  • More blog posts, specifically shitty ones
  • More progress on the art gallery (what will I ever do once this gets taken off the to-do list?)
  • More ridiculous shit with PHP

I'm also gearing up to release the debut issue of Salad Magazine in a few weeks, and then quarterly thereafter. I'm already pretty jazzed about it, so I hope it'll continue to grow!

In my personal life, I want to keep learning how to do cool and pointless DIY projects. And I need to paint more. Also, I should finish Breath of the Wild so I can actually play Tears of the Kingdom. I've been aggressively avoiding spoilers since it came out. I am tired.

Recommendation corner

I finally watched Barbie! Cutest corporate propaganda I've seen in a while.

I bought some dip mixes at a craft fair because I love dip more than most things on this planet. The seller advises that you mix them with equal parts mayonnaise and sour cream, and I am 100% sold on this combination. I like yogurt dip and all, but the sour cream and mayo base is hard to beat. Also, try mixing dip mix with mayo for sandwiches.

Also, 2 recipes that I made over the holidays and were a hit:

Basically a mule but cooler

  • Cranberry juice
  • Lime juice (preferably fresh)
  • Ginger beer (ale works too)
  • Optional: vodka

This is a solid mocktail that works fine on its own, but it's also great with vodka. (Like said: It's basically a mule.) Lime vodka is amazing! You can sweeten it further, but I find that the ginger beer has enough sugar.

Devilled eggs

  • Eggs
  • Mayonnaise
  • Brown mustard
  • Chili powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce to taste
  • Green onions, minced (optional)
  • Paprika (optional)

If you have an Instant Pot, you can boil and peel eggs really easily using the 5-5-5 rule: 5 minutes on high pressure, rest for 5 minutes before releasing pressure, put in cold water bath for 5 minutes, then peel. Cut them in half lengthwise, then scoop out the yolks into a bowl.

There are no measurements because it really depends on the quantity of eggs and your personal tolerance for strong flavors. Mix everything together with an electric beater; you need enough mayo for the result to be creamy enough to put into a piping bag. (Or just use a spoon to scoop the filling back into the eggs.) Garnish with green onions and paprika, then eat all of them in one sitting.

I got sent to Whamhalla within the first week of December, which meant I could enjoy George Michael singing Last Christmas for the entire month. Until next year, Whamhalla.