Articles, thoughts, photos, and video… by Dan Goodspeed


Trump vs Cruz Primary results sorted by states’ IQ

After my post about Democratic primaries by states’ IQ, I was asked to make a similar chart on the Republican side. So here ya go…

Red is where Trump won, and purple is where Cruz won.

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Clinton vs Sanders Primary results sorted by states’ IQ

I was wondering if there was any correlation between a state’s average IQ and how they voted. So I took the results from the McDaniel’s Estimated Average IQ Score and made a chart showing the states in order from smartest to… least smartest, listing the percentage differential in the democratic primary race between Clinton and Sanders.

I entered all the data by hand so let me know if you see any mistakes. You can hover over the results bar to see each candidate’s score.

Dark blue is where Sanders won, and light blue is where Clinton won.

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One new restaurant per week in 2016

Sasha and I decided to check out one new (to us) restaurant per week in the year 2016. Due to time and money constraints, we’re making this “on average”, so we could go to three one week and then be able to skip a few weeks, but each restaurant will be assigned a week even if we didn’t go that particular week.

Week / Restaurant Notes
Apr 24 – Apr 30
The Tailored Tea
We decided to be fancy and get brunch at The Tailored Tea which is settled on the back corner of the Albany Airport. It’s a really old building with pretty cool historical ambiance. My meal was pretty good, though a bit big as we were on our way to frisbee right after brunch. Sasha didn’t eat most of her smoked salmon because it was too salty. The place is divided up into a few small rooms… one of which we had to ourselves which was pretty cool.
Apr 17 – Apr 23
Amsterdam Diner
After Sasha finally got a car… it had a flat tire on the first day. Went to the parents’ to get it fixed and went out to The Amsterdam Diner afterward. We were going to go to the Recovery Room, but it had a long line, so we went across the street. Standard diner fare I suppose. We liked it, though it was weird when Dad pointed out that the waiter never brought him his soup to which the waiter responded “Oh you want me to bring that too?” Well, that is why he ordered it.
Apr 10 – Apr 16
Blue Ribbon Diner
After again looking at a car for Sasha, this time with my parents in Schenectady, we all decided to go to The Blue Ribbon Diner. I had been there before, but Sasha hadn’t… so it counts. Our meals didn’t come all at once, so I apologize for not getting any photos with everyone’s meal uneaten. But hey – I accidentally ordered a full multi-course dinner and kept getting food delivered. Not too bad.
Apr 3 – Apr 9
Jasmine Thai
My meal came in a pineapple. I tried thai iced tea for the first time, it wasn’t bad. My meal came in a pineapple. Sasha thought her meal had too much peanut butter in it. My meal came in a pineapple. We thought my meal was too spicy for our tastes, but it did come in a pineapple.
Mar 27 – Apr 2
After looking at a car for Sasha way out in Poestenkill, we stopped by Muza European Food & Beer Garden in Troy on the way home. They focus on Polish food, and is probably the closest thing the capital district has to a Russian restaurant. The food was decent as expected. I had the borscht as an appetizer which was really good. Before leaving we checked out the back patio and it looked really cool. Seems like a fun spot to hang out on a warm summer night.
Mar 20 – Mar 26
Peaches Cafe
Sasha was just offered an orthodontic assistant job where she spent an afternoon in a working interview, we decided to celebrate the end of the work day with dinner in Stuyvesant Plaza at Peaches Cafe. We got to sit in the front window in an area mostly by ourselves, the food was good and we shared Peanut Butter Explosion petite explosion that was pretty tasty.
Mar 13 – Mar 19
Clinton’s Ditch
It was St Patrick’s Day, and barring any parades, the most American thing I could come up with to do was go out for Corned Beef and Cabbage. After being disappointed with the wait at Pinhead Susan’s, we walked to Clinton’s Ditch… a former firehouse in downtown Schenectady, right on Erie Boulevard (which history buffs know used to be the Erie Canal, aka “Clinton’s Ditch”). There was still a 15-minute wait, but after being seated the food was tasty and plentiful. I especially liked Sasha’s carrots.
Mar 6 – Mar 12
Atelier Florian
The night after the Huck All Night tournament ended, we walked sorely around the streets of downtown New Haven reading menus posted outside restaurants trying to find the right one to feed our bellies before settling on Atelier Florian. I had the seafood pasta and Sash the roasted chicken. Both pretty awesome, though Sasha mentioned the chicken wasn’t quite worth the $20 price tag. They did give us two tiny cups of tasty chocolate mousse at the end of the night for free, though. It won us over for sure.
Feb 28 – Mar 5
On our way to the hotel in New Haven for Huck All Night, we decided to stop by IKEA’s cafeteria for a quick bite. And a selfie to send to Dan and Olivia who would be meeting us at the hotel. The chicken meatballs were delicious. The prepackaged food we took from the displays, not so much.
Feb 21 – 27
Schenectady Restaurant Week coincided with the annual Albany Russian festival. And the Russian performer who was in town for the festival decided to do a free preview show at Schenectady’s Cafe NOLA. We couldn’t pass that up. And the food was great as well.
cafe nola
Feb 21 – 27
The Cheesecake Factory
To celebrate my accepting a new job working at Overit Media, we decided to check out The Cheesecake Factory. It was rather pricy for what we got. Something like $60 total for light meals and a slice of cheesecake, but it was good. We weren’t a fan of our table being crammed in so close to others that you couldn’t stretch out your arm without hitting someone, or being accidentally served their meal and then deal with them being angry about it. But hey.
Feb 14 – 20
Tesoros Cafe
It was a bitterly cold Valentine’s Day, and all of our plans were disrupted when my new CR-V wouldn’t start. Determined not to make our first V-Day together in-person a bust, we bundled up and walked to Tesoros Cafe on Upper Union St. The food was tasty and healthy, and there were fake rose petals scattered around to set the mood.
Tesoros Cafe
Feb 7 – 13
Benevento Pizza
We were in a rush when we came to this little pizzeria in Glenville, just needed a quick bite before Albany Winter league. The wait was long (almost 1/2 hour) for our food to come to the table so we had to eat fast. The salad portion was much bigger than we were expecting, so we definitely got our money’s worth. Good food, just unexpectedly slow.
Benevento Pizza
Jan 31 – Feb 6
Cracker Barrel
Our first chain restaurant. I think we’ll try to keep chains to a minimum. The walls were covered in kitsch memorabilia. The menu was mostly greasy unhealthy stuff, though there was the “Wholesome fixins” page which we ordered from where I got a big tasty chicken caesar salad and Sasha got some trout. Both good.
Cracker Barrel
Jan 24-30
Charlton Tavern
This was for Sasha’s birthday dinner with my family. It’s an awesome rustic place with a pretty good menu and tasty food. Though, we were really just there to see the family.
charlton tavern
Jan 17-23
Hungry Trout
This was for our anniversary and Sasha’s birthday. One of the fanciest restaurants I’ve been to. We got there right as they opened at 5pm so we got the best seats in the house… with a view of Whiteface Mountain, overlooking the lit Ausable River, and right by the fireplace.
Jan 10-16
The Cottage
It was a half-hour freezing-cold walk from our hotel to The Cottage for a late dinner, but worth it. I really enjoyed the mushroom bisque.2016-01-21-1
Jan 3-9
Bittersweet Cafe
We stopped by my friend Laura’s cafe for breakfast on the way to Lake Placid. Really good stuff.2016-01-21-11.55.17


A basic “Hello, world” Twig templating install

I’m a big fan of templating for building websites. I also have a long history of building websites from scratch with no frameworks (comes with being a web developer for more than two decades).

Twig is an amazing templating system (which you can read about here) that I wanted to learn to start using on my sites, but I didn’t know where to start. Most developers use Composer to install Twig. I agree that it’s a good idea and a time-saver, but I like to be more hands-on when I’m teaching myself. Composer lets you skip some of these learning steps.

So I downloaded a Twig Install manually, intending to use it with my install of MAMP Pro. But it came with over 600 files and nowhere on the web (I searched for hours with no luck) does it say what to do with these files. So here it is, step-by-step instructions for a basic “Hello world” Twig install:

  1. Make a folder where you intend to save your project, naming it whatever you want.
  2. Download the latest Twig Install.
  3. Copy the “lib” folder from Twig Install into your project folder.
  4. Make two new folders in the project folder for the templates and the web home directory in the project folder. I called them “templates” and “web”. It works.
  5. Make a new template file in the templates folder, let’s call it “home.html” and make the contents just:

    Hello, {{ name }}!

    I’ve seen a variety of extensions used for the template files. “.tpl” and “.twig” are also common. I like “.html” because it’s mostly an HTML file and it’s easier for my text editor. You can use whatever, just be consistent.

  6. Make a new controller file in the “web” directory. A controller is pretty much a script that “controls” all other scripts. There’s plenty about them online so that’s all I’ll say about that. You can name this one “index.php” just so you don’t have to type the file name in the URL. Make this the contents of the file:

    require_once("../lib/Twig/Autoloader.php" );
    $loader = new Twig_Loader_Filesystem('../templates/');
    $twig = new Twig_Environment($loader);
    echo $twig->render('home.html', array('name' => 'World'));

  7. In MAMP, make the “web” directory the root directory of a new virtual server.
  8. Go to the MAMP URL and you should see “Hello, World!”. And that’s your Twig install, ready to be built upon! I believe the resources to learn from there are pretty well documented online.



All the time I learn interesting differences between Russia and America. I wish I started keeping track years ago, I would have hundreds. But no time better than the present to start.

One persistent difference are the good/bad luck superstitions that are everywhere in Russian culture.

I was just listening to “до свидания” by Земфира (Zemfira). The first line translates to “The moon is waning – it happens, I’m going to get a haircut”.

Turns out, to some Russians, it’s good luck to get your hair cut when the moon is waxing. So she was making a joke that she was getting her hair cut when it was waning.

It’s probably one of those “you have to be a Russian” to get the joke lines.


Going live

Well, it’s been almost two years since I first created this blog. But as of today, my new website just went live, and it actually admits this blog exists by linking to it. We’ll see if that encourages me to actually update it with posts. I promise to try.

I am proud of my new site, though. The new I’ve been working on it in my spare time for about six months. Probably the biggest thing is the new shared section. It uses a CMS I wrote myself just for that. It’s responsive; it handles pictures, videos, and galleries; I can upload all the files through the web instead of FTP; I can tag files with taxonomy, as well as geolocation; Facebook and Reddit integration; it really does a lot. And it’s all just part of the new site which I think is a better representation of where I am as a developer.

Well, now it’s time to update that shared section with some new media!


An introduction

‘ello.  I have a few reasons for creating a blog amidst my already too-busy schedule.

  1. To become a better web developer and learn the WordPress CMS platform.
  2. I’m leaning toward stopping the Rkstar email newsletter once the eventual Rkstar 2.0 goes live, and while I’d appreciate breaking from the strict weekly schedule, I would still like to have an outlet to write.  With perhaps a greater variety of topics that interest me.
  3. I often read articles, usually web development-related, that teach me things I’d like to use later.  Finding them to read again later is usually a pain, so I’d like someplace where I can write notes in my own words what I learned, and look back on.  And if my notes help others- great!

What’s to come… only time can tell.