Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Month: February 2012

Smell of Fresh Kubb

I got my package from Old Time Games today with my 2nd Kubb set. The kitchen smells like wood tonight.

I’ve got special plans for this set! I’ll post pictures when I’m done customizing them.

Kubb Practice

My buddy Garrick came over yesterday and we enjoyed some practice rounds of Kubb across the street at Minnehaha Creek West Park. We played three games. The first one quickly went to him and the last quickly went to me. The one in the middle was an hour long ebb and flow of knights shifting from side to side.

Spontaneous Game of Tag

We joined the Tangen family for a trip to the Minneapolis Institute of Arts today to see the opening of the Sports exhibit. The weather was so gorgeous that a spontaneous game of tag broke out in the MIA courtyard afterward.

Versioned Backup of Typerighter Account

My friend Garrick has been working on a really cool project called Typerighter. Typerighter is a notepad for your browser. It has almost no interface and just lets you focus on writing. He’s done some really cool things with it, like making it easy to keep notes for each day and make a document public and share it with the world (by default everything is private).

I suggested to Garrick that I really wanted a way to backup my account. I trust he’s got my data backed up well, but it’s even better if I don’t have to trust at all because I have my data. He added a private RSS feed that dumps all of your documents out and I quickly put a script together so I now have nightly, versioned backups of all my information in Typerighter.

Here is the script:

# This script is run by cron and downloads all of my material from
# It uses Git to keep track of changes in the archive
# Get my documents
$CURL --silent --output typerighter.rss "$URL"
# Detect if there is an existing repo, if not, make one
if [ ! -d .git ]; then
	echo "Creating the git repo..."
	$GIT init
	$GIT add *
$GIT commit --quiet --all --message='Automatic commit of archive.' > /dev/null

This script does want to be in the right directory when you run it. I put this in my crontab for it.

0 2 * * * (cd /home/thingles/autobackups/typerighter; ./

Using Git is the part that I really like. Not only do I have a current backup, but I can use standard Git tools to get old versions of documents at any time.

Tyler Turns Two

Tyler turned two today! We had a festive birthday party with family over last weekend so that Hector and Michelle could join in the fun from New York. Today was his actual birthday and we had a nice day together to celebrate the big day!

Tyler got a fun mobile from Mazie for his room, and a cool race car toy from Tammy and I. Tyler and I made a trip to A Baker’s Wife’s donuts in the morning, Tyler is a big fan of their sprinkled donuts. They gave him an extra one for free for his birthday! We had a fun morning playing, jumping, sliding and wrestling on the floor.

Tyler Jumping on Trampoline

Tyler jumping with joy at being two!

For lunch Tyler got one of his favorites, the Mac and Cheese at Yum! Mazie had a friend birthday party today that worked perfectly with Tyler’s nap and afterwards we went to Edinborough Park in Edina for more playing.

Tyler at two is constantly moving, playful, funny, opinionated, kinetic. Not much of a talker, but I think the words are coming very soon. He’s a complete monkey and will climb anything you put in front of him. Tyler gives me an awesome gift every day when I come home from work. He runs to the door screaming “DAD!” and hugs my legs to pick him up.

Girlyman at 7th Street Entry

Last night we had the pleasure of seeing Girlyman play at the 7th Street Entry, part of historic First Avenue! My friend Jim noticed they were coming into town and Jim, Tammy and I got tickets right away. We all know about Girlyman from our dear friend Hadar in New York. In November of last year, Hadar and Lois saw Girlyman for the 21st time. Hadar and Lois are huge fans and sent us a two of their albums, Joyful Sign and Everything’s Easy,  to listen to a couple of years ago. We all headed to “the Entry” for the Girlyman experience in person!

The Opener

Edie Carey opened for Girlyman, but I wouldn’t really describe it as an opener since Girlyman backed her the entire set. There was a bit of confusion on the start time of the show. We thought it was 7pm doors with the opener coming on sometime after that. Then Jim got an email saying that the show was starting at 6:30pm sharp. A final check of the 7th Street Entry Web site gave a 6pm start. After getting the babysitter set and driving we didn’t get there until a bit after 6:30pm and Edie’s set was half over. She has a great voice and I enjoyed her music. She did a stellar cover of “Falling Slowly” from the Once soundtrack.

Here is Edie on stage with Girlyman backing her.

I’m not exactly sure why she had her setlist duplicated.

Time for a quick set change and then Girlyman to take the stage.


Before Girlyman came on stage I took a moment to admire the variety of plucked string instruments at the ready.

Girlyman started the set with “See To See” and it was clear that a lot of people in the Entry were in love with their music and them and were so happy they were in town. One odd thing for me was a group of about 12 or so people that sat on the floor for the whole show. After years of seeing hardcore bands at the Entry and imagining the gallons of spilled beer over time it was a little out of place, but it seemed to fit the Girlyman vibe just fine. Hadar said it well in his most recent write-up of one of their shows:

The show last night was magical, as most Girlyman shows are. Everything flowed, musically and comically.


We’ve never seen the band but even reading a sampling of Hadar’s blog posts about Girlyman made me kind of feel like we knew them. They were fun to see and it was nice to hear them live. Their music does resonate better live, even though the recordings are impeccable. Tammy nabbed the set list and we even got it autographed!

The “REQUEST” slot was filled by Jim who hollered out for “St. Peter’s Bones“.


I don’t know that Girlyman has a “frontman” (or “front woman”). After seeing them I would say no but before seeing them I always figured that Ty was that. Ty, Dorris and Nate all sing and have great voices but Ty’s voice hits me the best. She’s got a range that I love and I could listen to her sing about anything and enjoy it. She also strikes me as kind of a goofy chick.


Dorris shared the very scary story of her recent diagnosis of leukemia. She didn’t mention the specific diagnosis she received but just 10 years ago it was not very treatable, and now it’s much more manageable. After chemo and a blood transfusion the leukemia is in full remission. The song “Supernova” was written by Nate and Dorris said this song really took her through the procedure and meant zoo much too her. She also went through a very difficult bout with depression that she has just come through.


Nate was really cool and Tammy got to talk with Nate after the show when they were signing autographs. We shared that we knew Hadar and Lois and we instantly had a connection! Nate seemed like someone that you would have over for dinner and just keep the wine going and the belly laughs would be nonstop. Super fun guy with a great sense of humor. He lead a “battery song” while Ty was swapping out batteries in something and it was a riot. Dorris interjected “harpoon” halfway through the “battery” song and it just got better. One of those things you have to be there for I expect.


I dont’ have much of any pictures of JJ and she didn’t say anything in the show, so not much to share. :-)

The show was finished off with an encore performance of “Stayin’ Alive” (related video) by the Bee Gees that was, well, kick ass.


Girlyman was selling their newest album, Supernova at the show. I tend to by nearly all my music in digital format with a notable exception for buying music direct from bands at their shows. It’s an important way to support artists and that’s one of the few venues where the artists get a good chunk of the proceeds. Plus, as a huge bonus they all signed the album.

Here they are signing the albums. Girlyman’s Wikipedia page was behind so I added this album to their Discography there.

We even got a photo with the group to send with Love back to Hadar and Lois!

Thank you Hadar & Lois for introducing us all to Girlyman!

The Shining

Friday night I had my friends Jim, Tom and Tim over for the first “movie night” in our new family room. I’ve been wanting to watch The Shining for a while, but Tammy wasn’t interested 1. I’m not much for watching any movie by myself, much less one of the most disturbing horror movies of all time.

The Shining has kept a firm place in my psyche for over two decades. I don’t remember when I first saw it, but I do know that I was most likely far too young to see it. When I was a kid I had a ridiculously good imagination and if a room was dark, like when you go to sleep at night, I could see clearly whatever was in my head. The Grady twins were often in my head after seeing it.

It’s still a fantastically freaky movie but now I can appreciate the cinematography and the delightful cadence of the dialogue. I don’t know if there is any movie that has so many pauses in dialogue that just leave you hanging there. If your curious to learn more, the Shining Wikipedia page is a good starter and then the essay Hidden Meanings in the Shining by Bill Blakemore as well as Mazes, Mirrors, Deception and Denial by Rob Ager. Both of these leave you with a much deeper appreciation of everything going on in the movie.

If you haven’t watched the Shining, or if it’s been a while, read some of those essays and give it another watch. Details will pop out from everywhere, but you’ll still be terrified. :-)

  1. To be clear, Tammy has seen the Shining many times. She just didn’t feel like watching again.

Shutting Down Some Websites

I recently decided to prune some websites that I was hosting, mostly ideas that I set up and then never took anywhere. Tammy had also decided to take her blog, Smaller Than a Redwood, down. I could have just deleted them but I wanted to be a good “net.citizen” and not give people “404 Page not found” errors but instead the more appropriate “410 Gone” message. Here is a simple way to do this with nginx.

First, I catch the websites main configuration which I keep in a file for each site in /opt/etc/nginx/sites-available. I try to keep these configurations really simple, just handling the URLs, ports and then doing the application configuration in an include.

# Redirect to non-www hostname
server {
  listen 80;
  listen [::]:80;
  rewrite ^$request_uri? permanent;

server {
  listen   80;
  listen   [::]:80;
  include /opt/etc/nginx/site-gone;

The include line then pulls in this configuration. I pointed this at a new directory in /srv/www so that any files that the site used to have could be left wherever they are. I also turn on an access log so I can easily see how many people are still going to the website. I still do a try_files because I have a robots.txt to help search engines know to go away. The important part is returning a 410 status and not a 404. The 410 is then handled by the @site-gone rule.

# this config is loaded into sites that are dead
root /srv/www/site-gone/public_html;
access_log /srv/www/site-gone/logs/$host-access.log;
error_log /srv/www/site-gone/logs/error.log ;

location / {
  try_files $uri =410;

error_page 410 @site-gone;
location @site-gone {
  rewrite ^(.*)$ /site-gone.html break;

Voila! Site is now “gone”. I whipped up a simple HTML page to serve so people would know that the site was no longer available. And with that I wish Smaller Than a Redwood, Road Sign Wordplay, Road Sign Bingo, MediaWiki Cookbook, Sandbox Wiki and thinglesBot farewell!

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