Hiking & board games @Yosemite

Last weekend we visited Yosemite National Park. What a great place to hike. Of course we brought some board games. I just wanted to share some advice and impressions.

  • If you drive to Yosemite from San Francisco International Airport, a great place to stay is Yosemite Gold Country Lodge in Coulterville. This place is run by Ken, a really nice guy who invited us to his farm. The rooms are spacious, feature a fireplace (gas) and a fridge. Outside there is a grill. So you can get some meat from the store and have a BBQ at night.
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  • From there it only takes about one hour to get to the entrance of Yosemite and about two hours to get to the trails. Probably longer due to taking pictures along the road.
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  • Hotels inside the park are expensive. But you can get a heated tent at a reasonable price at Camp Curry. But be prepared: It can be quite cold in November! But you wake up to an amazing view.
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  • Just right outside the park, at El Portal, there are a few Hotels where one can get a deal through Expedia. We stayed at the Cedar Lodge. But: No free Wifi, , no coffee, etc. But the rooms are ok. However, the food at this place is supposed to be pretty bad if you believe TripAdvisor ratings. It was supposed to be better at next to the hotel Yosemite View Lodge: The River Restaurant & Lounge. So this is where we went. The salad bar was great. Lynns Burger was burned (really totally black) at their first try, but she sent it back and got a good one quickly.
  • Getting food (some cheese, bread, juice and milk) for the hike at a local grocery store is probably the best option.
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  • Some of the hiking trails are paved with asphalt to be accessible for everybody. Some are a bit more difficult and go into the wilderness. The best way to select one that suits your skills is the Chimani Yosemite App. It is available for Android and iOS. They also have an app that features all National Parks in the USA. I really recommend getting it! The links point to the Android version in the Google Play Store since I do not have any iOS devices.DSC_0251-001 DSC_0270-002
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  • Wildlife in Yosemite Valley is not so wild anymore.
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  • Bringing some games along is a must for every board game fanatic! It is just a lot of fun playing in such a great environment. This time we brought Tash Kalar: Arena of Legends by Vlaada Chvátil (Czech Games Edition), Tiny Epic Galaxies by Scott Almes (Gamelyn Games) and Star Realms by Robert Dougherty and Darwin Kastle (White Wizard Games). All of theses games are very portable. For Tash Kalar I just carry the game board, cards and chips. Tiny Epic is tiny anyway and Star Realms is just a deck of cards.
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  • On the way back to San Francisco we stayed at Ken’s Motel again. Tiny Epic in the hotel room…
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  • Enjoy!
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The DFT Song

Years ago I attended a summer school in Denmark on Density Functional Theory (DFT) and the use of the Atomic Simulation Environment (ASE) and the GPAW code. Kieron Burke (for those of you who don’t have a clue: he’s the “B” in PBE) was one of the invited speakers. He’s a great scientist but also a fantastic entertainer.
Towards the end of the poster session, he announced another lecture taking place immediately. And he said it was mandatory to attend! So everybody went back to the lecture hall and sat down. While stating that you have to “sing along if you want any more beer” he started a presentation with the lyrics of the DFT song (which he had written together with Volker Blum) and everybody sang along to the tunes of “Let it be” by The Beatles.
I pulled out my smartphone and took pictures of the slides. So here are the lyrics… get a karaoke version of the song and sing along!
Feel free to add new verses in the comments!

The DFT Song

Written by Volker Blum and Kieron Burke

To the tune of “Let It Be” (with apologies to John and Paul)

When I find my model’s unpredictive,
Walter Kohn just comes to me,
speaking words of wisdom,
And in my hour of code-debugging,
he stands right in front of meee,
saying “you just gotta learn
your chemistree”.
B3LYP, hee-hee-hee.
Which approximation should I use,
in my DFT?
And when I find my state’s degenerate,
I turn next to Mel Levy
Constrained searches work the best
for formality.
In LDA I have some faith,
if my system’s running free
But LDA can never give
A dis-Cont-inuit-eee.
DFT, convexity,
Not Thomas-Fermi, nor Hartree-ee
Exact conditions tell the truth,
no fitting need there be.
And in my hour of darkness,
with van-der-Waals in front of meee,
my graphene comes out bad,
with stupid PBEee.
But now there’s Langreth-Lundqvist,
doing even ATPee,
let’s all go to medical conferences,
running DFTee.
I can always find a functional,
to make it all agree.
But when my band gap’s tiny,
far to small to see,
I don’t like your answer,
For though it may be parted
with hybrid E-X-Cee,
Can I trust my answer,
in realitee?
I thought you were first principles,
And when the broken-hearted gap,
opens up to full degree,
How’ll I get the answer,
tell me DFTee?
For though the band gap may be parted,
there’s a chance that you will see:
GW is the answer,
thank you Rex Godbee!
Many bod-eee, not DFT,
Many bod-eee, no densitee,
this must be the answer,
on which we’ll all agree!
And when I’ve found the structure,
there’s still a light that shines on me,
So Walter wont let me use,
ground-state DFTee.
To find the optical spectrum,
while staying p’rameter-free,
We must ask a little Gross,
the one called Hardeee.
DFT, 123,
now TD-, DFT
Let’s get excitations,
with more skulduggeree.
It’s the weirdest physics,
but makes great chemistreee!