North American Wife-Carrying Championships Podium, BlocBrowser and Blocstagram

Hey Everyone,

So, many of you are probably already wondering what in the world the title of this post is all about—explaining that is probably a pretty good place to start.

As this webpage’s title indicates, the subject of this blog is going to include both my “Virtual & Literal Adventures.” In the nature of staying true to that title, this week’s post includes something from both the Virtual Adventure & Literal Adventure sides. First, I’ll talk about non-virtual side of things:

Last week, my girlfriend, Becca, and I flew back to the East coast for a close friend’s wedding. The wedding was at Sunday River Ski Resort in Maine (also my former ski racing stomping grounds while I was racing at Bates.) As it turns out, during the weekend of the wedding, Sunday River was also host to the North American Wife-Carrying Championships. This is a pretty big deal in some places (Finland,) and it—likely due to the high level of obscurity—gets rather high levels of national press coverage. When I found out about the event, a couple of weeks prior to making the trip, I started pondering it and thinking how I might convince Becca to do it. If you look at this picture, you’ll understand why I thought she might be hesitant. We had a couple of brief conversations about it, but when the time came to pack, I still hadn’t been successful in convincing her. Remaining hopeful, I decided (after viewing a couple of YouTube videos) that it would be a very good idea to bring cleats if we were going to try it. I packed the cleats (unbeknownst to Becca) and hoped that, on the day of, I might have some luck in getting her to do it.
When push came to shove, Becca was all in and we tried our luck at this random sport—carrying her up a hill, over several large log hurdles, through a mud pit, over a sand North American Wife-Carrying Championshipspile, etc. etc. We ended up doing quite well (3rd place!) though we were both bummed we didn’t make it into the final (only ~2.5 seconds off the qualifying time) where you won your “wife’s” weight in beer and had a shot at winning 5x her weight in cash. It was—when it’s all said and done—a really fun, bizarre event with a lot of really amazing crowd support. We would/will definitely do it again. Here is a link to a highlight video from the day. (I should also mention that the wedding we were there for was beautiful; congrats to Liz and Leo!)

Now—and I’ll keep this section brief this week—for the virtual adventures. I spent much of last week working on creating some cool functionality in a basic web browser and designing the building Blocks of an Instagram replica, “Blocstagram.” I worked out a huge number of buggy features in the browser, eventually getting something that worked pretty well for what I was trying to achieve. Check out the code here. On the “Blocstagram” side of things, I learned out to customize a TableViewController, integrate features like pull-to-refresh and infinite-scroll and have started working on networking components to pull down data from the Instagram API, parse the JSON correctly, serialize it into objects that iOS understands, and do it all on background queues so the app continues to function seamlessly for the user. I also learned about the potential dangers of using public code repositories, in particular for storing sensitive data like Developer Client IDs, and came up with some good ways to avoid making those mistakes in the future. It was a productive week and extremely fun week!

This week, I have noticed that my fingers are beginning to be seriously sore from using the Apple Aluminum Keyboard for 12 hours on end, and am about to make a trip to highly reviewed WASD keyboards in Fremont, CA to look into a solid mechanical keyboard option. After I have that, I’ll be continuing to work on Blocstagram and will look to have something fully functional by the end of this week/beginning of next.

That’s it for now, thanks for following along!

Dan

PS If there is something you would particularly like hearing/getting more detail about in my journey, please let me know!

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