Joseph Hallenbeck

Anno Domini 2015

July 01, 2015

A Social Media Fast

Filed under: Journal

I’m taking a quarter off from Social Media – namely Facebook, Reddit, Slashdot, Twitter, Hacker News. I would unplug entirely from the Internet, but considering the Internet is my job, I don’t think my employer would be too hot on the idea on me attending sprint planning via post.

My reason for this is simple: my information channels are becoming rather siloed. Facebook curates my news feed such that it is just an RSS feed of

same two people over and over again. I don’t know why Facebook has decided that I want to hear every one of their posts and it isn’t that I don’t enjoy them, or share in your cultural opinions but I have a rather diverse and eclectic collection of Facebook friends and yet I do not hear a diverse collection of views. The hive mind of Reddit and Hacker News also curates it’s own content to follow a very narrow line of acceptable opinions.

I find myself concerned with how much of the pot of ideas that surround me are my own – come upon by reason and experience and how much is just the echo chamber of my silo. A self-selected confirmation bias just regurgitating and re-enforcing the same normality time and again.

So my idea is to spend the next three months avoiding any form of social media or curated feeds. Get away from the content pushers and get back to being a content puller. Go back to hunting down my own news, essays, and articles through relaxing dives into Google. Find some high quality bloggers to follow who aren’t just trying to push some product or spin up a lazy article on the controversy de jouer for some easy ad views. Get through my backlog of technology articles in my pocket waiting for me to peruse.

For those where this is the only way they know how to get a hold of me: I will still be available via Facebook messenger thanks to Pidgin and via GooglePlus since there really isn’t anything on GooglePlus anyways.

See you all in October.

April 13, 2015

Cookbook: Turkey Chili

Filed under: Cooking

Turkey Chili

My slow-cooking turkey chili recipe. Takes all day to make, but it’s worth it!


  • 1/4 Cup Butter
  • 1 Large White Onion (Diced)
  • 1-2 Strips of Bacon (Diced)
  • 2.5 lbs. Ground Turkey
  • 1-2 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
  • 1 28oz. Can of Diced Tomatoes
  • 1 28oz. Can of Diced Jalapenos
  • 1 16oz. Bottle of Amber Ale
  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 1/4 Cup Apple Cide Vinegar
  • 2 Cups Dried Beans

Spice Mix

  • 1 Tbsp. Garlic
  • 1/2 Cup Chili Powder
  • 1/4 Cup Cumin
  • 2 Tsp. Ceyenne Pepper
  • 1 Tbsp. Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano
  • 2 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
  • Salt/Pepper to Taste


Soak beans overnight then drain.

Melt butter in a large soup pot along with diced bacon over medium-high heat. Add diced onion and saute for five minutes. Add Ground turkey and cook, turning frequently, until browned. Add tomato paste, dice tomatoes, dice jalapenos, amber ale, chicken broth and vinegar. Turn to high. Add spice mixture, adjusting to taste. When pot begins to boil, add dried beans and turn down to low. Simmer four hours.

Serve over baked potatoes with a generous helping of cheddar cheese and sour cream or just eat plain.

Macro photos of the flowers Jess got me for Valentine’s day last month. A good chance for practicing macro stacking as well.

The Fire Giant

Model: Nikon D80 /w Nikon 200mm f/4.0 AF-S FX

Shutter: 1/25 sec

F-Stop: f/4.2

ISO: 320

Focal Length: 200mm

Lighting: None

Stack: 5

The Fire

Model: Nikon D80 /w Nikon 200mm f/4.0 AF-S FX

Shutter: 1/13 sec

F-Stop: f/4.5

ISO: 320

Focal Length: 200mm

Lighting: None

Stack: 6

Fire Giant with

Model: Nikon D80 /w Nikon 200mm f/4.0 AF-S FX

Shutter: 1/25 sec

F-Stop: f/4.2

ISO: 320

Focal Length: 200mm

Lighting: None

Stack: 3

March 23, 2015

Trails: Wolf Creek

Filed under: Wanderlust


  • Location: Alpine, WY
  • Length: 1 mi (Winter)
  • Water Access: Yes (Winter)
  • Usage: Light (Winter)
  • Highlights: Limestone escarpments, pine forest cover
  • Safety Concerns: Winter avalanches, embankments too steep for safe winter hiking. River crossings.

Trail Map for Wolf Creek

In February, we found much of the nearby trails around Jackson, WY either packed or simply closed off from excursions. This has become a recurring theme in Jackson and one that is getting rather tiresome. We turned to looking westward and in turn into the Snake River Range between Hoback and Alpine, WY.

The canyon is rather steep walled, but a number of drainages into the canyon have trailheads – Red Creek, Wolf Creek, and East Table Creek. The turn offs in the winter are plowed allowing for year-round access and most importantly they are outside of the winter range closures.


In our first venture we tried the Wolf Creek Trail which is located some 16 miles west of Hoback and before the Wolf Creek campground.

February Conditions

Steep embankments on Wolf Creek

We were unable to complete the trail in February. We got roughly one mile up the drainage with snow shoes before turning back. This was, in large part, due to the burn on the west side of the drainage. This leaves the landscape open for avalanches, of which there were many. A hiker with a more aggressive “mountaineering” shoe may make the trip, but our wide flat-lands snow shoes were insufficient.

The avalanches left large piles of breakdown crossing the trail. This required a great deal of scrambling over five-foot wide bricks of snow not unlike scrambling over cave breakdown. In other areas the snow bank was simply a steep, smooth layer of ice that slide down the hill into the river. In these instances it was difficult to get a sound perch as our snow shoes’s claws were not enough to keep us from sliding down hill.

The draw is rather pretty, featuring limestone escapements, pine forest, and a ready supply of water via Wolf Creek. The maps show that it is possible to ascend Wolf or Red mountain via this route. We shall try it again come spring or summer once the snow recedes enough to walk upon a flat trail.

March 16, 2015

Trails: Sweeney Ridge

Filed under: Wanderlust


  • Location: Pinedale, WY
  • Length: 6 mi
  • Water Access: None
  • Usage: Moderate
  • Highlights: Spectacular view of the wind river range, Half Moon Lake and Pinedale
  • Safety Concerns: Steep embankments in areas

Sweeney Ridge Map

After venturing to Half Moon lake several times throughout February we decided to check out the cross country ski trails on top of the nearby ridge. We found these trails to be in much heavier use during the day time than aforementioned Half Moon, but for what they gave up in solitude we gained in views. Sweeney Road, an ungroomed cross country tail, is perhaps the most isolating and best for snow shoeing undisturbed with dogs.


View from Sweeney Ridge in February

Like Half Moon, Sweeney Road is accessed via the Fremont Lake road leaving Pinedale, WY. Proceed some ten miles up the road and passed the turn-off for Half Moon. The road is plowed up the resort and there are many pull offs for various groomed cross country skiing trails. The first pull off, however, is for Sweeney Road which is an ungroomed trail following a Forest Service road.

February Conditions

View from Sweeney Ridge in February

The groomed cross country ski trails appear to be under heavy use, however being ungroomed, Sweeney Road sees much more moderate usage. Furthermore, we found that many snow shoers appear to take the route for only some time before diverging upon their own paths. In our case we took a branch that looped out much closer to the ridge edge giving us a wonderful view of Half Moon lake, the wind river range, and the plains that spread out far below us to Pinedale.

If kept to the main trail the conditions are moderate and fairly easy going upon snow shoes. The diverging routes however can in places be rather steep and I imagine unsound if the snow top is icy and hardened. For ourselves the snow was ideal having a good layer of snow that we easily sunk into giving us a good grip upon the hillside.

March 09, 2015

Trails: Half Moon Lake

Filed under: Wanderlust


  • Location: Pinedale, WY
  • Length: 3 mi (Winter)
  • Water Access: None (Winter)
  • Usage: Light (Winter)
  • Highlights: View of Half Moon Lake, Windriver Range
  • Safety Concerns: Care should be taken with ice depth. I have found no official ice-depth reports

Half Moon Trail Map

The Wind River Range in Pinedale, WY has a number of trails open for snow shoes or cross country skis year round. In our ventures south of Jackson, we have found the range rather open although range closures do exist in areas and many a Forest Service road turns into snowmobile track.

The paved road to Fremont lake, however, remains plowed and open year round giving easy access for a wintertime hiker.


Rowdy and Vicky are ready for the trail

Half Moon Lake lies south of Fremont Lake. Both can be accessed via Fremont Lake Road, paved route leaving Pinedale and heading north-east. This route is plowed year-round. Proceed some seven miles along the route until it diverges. A sign for the Half Moon resort is posted upon this fork. Turn right upon it and proceed down a gravel road. The fork is plowed, although poorly and I suspect only by chance of the private residences on the western lake shore. Signage indicts these private drives and are rather aggressive reading “Trespassers will be shot.”

Past the private drives is the campground, boat docks, and eventually parking for the resort. The latter being the furthest one can get in the winter to the trailhead itself.

February Conditions

Half Moon Lake from the shoreline

We returned to Half Moon lake several times in February. The lake is frozen, and although there are snowmobile tracks across it, the many weeks of above freezing weather gave us ill ease at walking out far from shore. Likewise, the warm weather left sections of the trail devoid of snow requiring us to remove snow shoes and embark upon foot only to find the snow returning in depths of four to five feet a hundred yards further.

The view is rather beautiful. The frozen lake a smooth expanse rising into a pine covered hill on the far side. The eastern shore and trail are devoid of trees giving it a highlands desert feel. The rocky soil covered in sage of

various types and much sign of elk and deer.

February 07, 2015

2014 In Review

Filed under: Journal part of Annual Reviews

It is that time of year again, time for my retrospective. A look back on last year’s goals and a reflection on what I would like out of this year. It may be a month late for New Year’s resolutions, but I do get to them eventually.

One thing that I started up last year was a much more rigorous interpretation of David Allen’s Getting Things Done. I used a similar process towards breaking down and getting to tasks in the past, but this last year was one where I focused much more on continuously revising my goals, recording what I got done, and asking myself what I needed to do next. Some time, I will get a series of essays put together to discuss my process.

Professional Achievements

2014 closed out with my last day at 44 Interactive, and I hope a permanent move away from the marketing side of web development and into the more fulfilling realm of application development as a Software Engineer with my new employer, Research Square out of Durham, NC. I am still remote, having moved from Ashton, ID up to Jackson, WY – a town much more my style and now working out of Spark, a nice co-working spot that has encouraged me to once more shed my outer humbug.

While working at 44 Interactive, I developed a bespoke shopping cart that saw itself launched on Dakota Golf and Warriors Never Giveup. This project implemented the entire workflow that user’s expect of a shopping cart: adding products, customizing product details, checkout, payment collection and processing through Authorize.Net or PayPal, and shipping.

A few fun features I developed was a reworking of the underlying models of our CMS to use the Eloquent ORM, integration with Composer and Bower for pulling in libraries, building out a re-occurring events module for calculating things like “occurs on every last Thursday of the month” or “repeat every Monday.” One showcase item is the HTML5 Canvas powered course tour on Dakota Golf whose administrative tools allow for drawing arbitrary polygons and detecting when a mouse enters a polygon.

In the brochure realm, I launched McDoctors, SDN Communications, Dakotastour, Wings of Thunder, Howeinc, and All-About-U Adoptions.

With my change of employers, I am hanging up my System Admin hat, which was a fun one to wear for a time. No more debugging package conflicts, no more reading PCI reports, or writing new rules for mod_sec. I do delight in the fact that I consolidated servers costs by 50% during my tenure and brought up time to 99.9%.

Continuous Development

I am committed to continuous professional development in my field. I do this via reading and writing blogs, reading technical manuals, as well as investigating topics in computer science that might only be orthogonal to my day-to-day life.

In the last year, I read Miracle Man Month and Code Complete. After a short affair in learning LateX last spring, I turned to devour every article and online book I could find on the Rust language and began following the language mailing list as well as subscribing to frameworks like Piston. I wanted to really make some open source contributions, but never quite found a niche where I could step in and help out.

After some consideration, I released the DropFramework and my TimeKeeper application onto Github. The first, I do not take seriously as anything more than a learning project and the latter is a really helpful tool that I use every day.

Oh, and those projects I promised last year? I started on a lot of them, then lost interest. Instead, I started Rusty Centipede – a Centipede clone using Rust.

Rainbow over Island Park, Viewed from Bishop

Personal Projects

What about outside of work?

I had some great outings this last year. Helped out at the Ashton Dog Derby, snowshoed to Warm River Cabin in Caribou-Targhee National Forest, visited Gallatin National Forest, backpacked the Escalante area of Utah, hiked the St. Anthony Sand Dunes, backpacked the tallest of them: Juniper Hill, attended a field class on native plants, stayed at Bishop Mt. Cabin, canoed Big Springs, caved the Civil Defense Caves, camped at Granite Hot Springs and Grassy Lake. Not to mention all the day hikes up Crystal Butte, Cache Creek, Teton Pass, and the Gros Vertre since we got out into the Teton National Forest area.

Oh and all these links to my blog posts. Last year, I set a goal of 12 articles and right now, I count 15!

Tried my hands at roleplaying via Skype. Just never got the hang of it, and fell out of doing it after a couple of months. Never did get up the courage to show up at Friday Night Magic and Jackson, unfortunately does not seem to have much of a gaming culture going on.

Took way too long of a break from playing any kinds of games. According to Steam I didn’t play a single game from December of 2013 until November of 2014, almost an entire year. My burst of gaming lately is an attempt to make up for that with games like Bastion, Trine 2 and fun times on Terraria with friends.

Had good times with some friends. Keegan dropped by almost unannounced from Death Valley. Clint came out and stayed with us for a month in June. I got out to the Black Hills and Sioux Falls to hang out with friends on multiple occasions and even made a trip out to San Diego, Portland and Rhinelander to hit all the major family holidays.

At home, Jess finally talked me into a gym membership and I’m starting to shed all the stress pounds that I’ve put on since the cave days. And, I’m making a good dent in my student loans while feeling much more financially stable. No more big rental houses that eat up each week’s paycheck.

My to-read bookshelf is considerably emptier. I caught up on my backlog of National Geographic, read Mishima’s Death in Midsummer, Kawabata’s Snow Country and Thousand cranes, Mobile Suit Gundam Origin volumes 1 through 6, A Dance with Dragons, Dungeons and Dragons fifth edition, Westward, Traveler and Exalted. I started a larger stack of books that I never finished though. In film and television, I watched Kill-la-Kill, Galaxy Express 999, Battleship Potemkin, Dexter, Monogatari, Mushi-shi, Ping Pong, Her, Under the Skin, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Guardians of the Galaxy, The Hobbit, Mardy, and Terror in Requiem.

I started to study French and have, at this point, some what of a grasp of the written language. I never got around to working on the Weird Tale, NaNoWriMo, or Architectural Drawing. I am quite far behind on processing my photographs.

2015 In Resolution

If there were any regrets that I have this last this last year it would be that the later half of the year was entirely eaten up by progressing my career – job hunting, working on side projects to develop my skill set, and reading, reading, reading up on sound development practices. I started 2014 on a good role with healthy exercise, outdoor activities, calm reading at the lake shore. I am looking forward to spending this year easing into my new job and finding time to delight in my non-programing hobbies.

More Reading, More Anime, More Games

I had a good list of shows and books that I read last year but it’s nowhere near when I was in college and could put away a novel a fortnight, an Anime a month, and get four or five good games in each season. So above all else this year, I want to spend some time clearing out my “to read” pile, getting more books off my Amazon wish list, and more Anime’s off my “Plan to Watch” list on MyAnimeList.

More Hiking, More Caving, More Camping

Camping died out in August for me. Just too much going on, but this year I want to see a return to the South West, I want to spend weeks out at camp and come in to the coworking office. I have a laundry list of hikes, camping trips, canoing trips, and a handful of local caves that I must out to this Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall.

Keep Studying French

Last year, I took up French out of frustration that the Manga for Galaxy Express 999 has languished in Viz’s control. This year: Keep working on it.


Catch up on my backlog of photos from 2013 and 2014. Really get out into the back country of Tetons with a D80 or a new DSLR and tripod. Get a gallery showing somewhere calm, like Ashton.


Aim for another 12 solid articles.


I used to Journal a lot. An hour a day. I cut back on it as my career progressed. Ran out of time. This last year, I started a 5-year journal. Six lines a day every day. It’s a great way to get back into journaling.

NaNoWriMo & The Weird Tale

November is in the clear this year, nothing to get in the way for churning out a quick novel. Also, there is little excuse for my draft of “The Weird Tale” to still be sitting on my desk. Time to get it done.

Campaign Setting & Roleplaying

There has been several requests for me to update “The Rinn,” my Celtic, otherwordly campaign setting and then to run a new game using either the D6 or new D&D rulesets.

Figure Drawing

Jess got me a membership with the Art Association of Jackson. Now, I can get back to working on my figure drawing and dreaming of that graphic novel I will never get around to writing.

The Renaissance Man Project

This is an odd project that I came up with – to research what modern to contemporary writers and philosophers have written about the concept of the “Competent Man”, the “Renaissance Man,” or the “Polymath” and then compose (1) a series of essays considering these thoughts, (2) whether it is possible to be a modern Renaissance man and what criteria would encompass this feat, and (3) what is laking in my own self development to be a well-rounded, competent individual.

Ghostify My Blog

Okay, I can’t help it, I do have some technical projects to work on – get this blog off WordPress and on to Ghost. Export all my articles, build in discourse, and finally get this theme to be 100% responsive bootstrap.

Rusty Centipede

I started making a Centipede clone last year using Rust. My goals right now are to keep on top of PHP, Rust, Javascript, and Python as my four languages of choice. PHP and Python for work. And Javascript and Rust for making fun little arcade games in my spare time.