Monday, November 19, 2018

A Day in the Life (of Maia)

  • 9:00 AM (+/- 1 hour): Maia wakes up in her low-budget-Pottery-Barn nursery and makes alien noises until one of us comes in. We draw back the blackout curtains, raise the blinds, change a diaper, and put on the day's outfit, drawn from way too many friend donations.

  • 9:15 AM: Rebecca gives Maia breakfast, usually a little boob followed by some oatmeal, bananas, and other fruit. After breakfast, Maia roams around between the nursery and the living room, reading books or playing with toys.

  • 11:00 AM: Rebecca and Maia go to Storytime at the library.

  • 12:30 PM: Maia eats a lunch of hummus, boiled carrots, and other sundry goods that Rebecca has cooked on a whim.

  • 1:30 PM: Maia goes down for her 1 nap of the day.

  • 3:30 PM (+/- 30 minutes): Maia wakes up and gets a quick snack of a banana or a yogurt. Rebecca goes off to work.

  • 4:00 PM: Maia and Brian head to the mall sharing a medium Chick-fila Waffle Fries and looking for deals.

  • 5:30 PM: Maia gets a dinner of pureed beef, leftovers from lunch, and any random things off Brian's plate.

  • 6:00 PM: By this point, Maia is usually bored with the upstairs, so we head to the basement for the discovery of "brand new" toys.

  • 8:00 PM: Rebecca gets home from work and Maia teeters on the edge of tiredness.

  • 9:00 PM: After a brief bit of milk, Maia gets a bedtime story and goes down for the night.

  • Rinse and repeat.

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Bodyguard, Season One:
This show is like a British version of Homeland, Season One (before that show spun out into tedium). In just 6 hour-long episodes, it maintains a strong intensity and uneasiness that resolves in a satisfying, logical conclusion. Its success rests on the ability to depict realistic characters that don't just exposition-monologue their feelings for the audience -- everyone seems like a threat at various points in the show, but the resolution is weighted towards character motivations rather than cheap plot obfuscation devices (unlike Westworld, Season One's vague timeline approach to storytelling). Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A

Wax by KT Tunstall:
The follow-up to the similarly designed KIN album, this is a pleasant collection of rock charts. None have gotten stuck in my head yet, but I'm not disappointed by the album.

Final Grade: B

ASUS RT-AC68U:
I haven't had much luck with routers this year. After using the rock-solid Linksys EA7500 for several years, it died in May's lightning storm. I bought the exact same router as a replacement and it somehow managed to slow all of Internet speeds to 1 MB down / 5 MB up. It wasn't until last month that I finally got around to finding the root cause. This time, I replaced it with the ASUS router which kicked speeds back up to 70 MB down / 5 MB up with minimal configuration. The router's UI is really nice and offers good visualizations of all devices on the network and options for bandwidth prioritization. Still going strong a month later!

Final Grade: B+

Killing Eve, Season One:
This BBC show offers a fresh spin on the tired spy genre (it felt more like less muted version of Amazon's The Patriot, whose second season was just released and sits in my queue). The cat-and-mouse between assassin and intelligence service takes a backseat to quirky characters. This is one of those shows that can quickly switch from dark violence to absurd humour while still retaining its watchability. I didn't care for the conclusion much, but it sets up the next season passably.

Final Grade: B+

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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken almost ten years ago today, on November 15, 2008.

This was the first of 3 hosted Thanksgiving Dinners (two for friends and one for family), back in the days when I was still expending way too much effort making fresh cheese soup, eating Totino's pizzas for dinner, and playing Mario Kart with FSU people on a weekly-ish basis.

In order of when I last saw these people, from most recent to least: BU, Rebecca, Michael, Jessika, Marc, Sam, Annie, Mike. Surprisingly though, I have seen them all in 2018.

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Monday, November 12, 2018

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

12 pictures of your day on the 12th of every month

6:08 AM: Showered and ready for work.
6:24 AM: Setting up in the satellite home office to mitigate the risk of hungry, loud cats waking up sleeping babies.
8:13 AM: Encroaching wildlife and sad pinwheel.
9:00 AM: Breakfast and the news.
9:58 AM: Back to work in the regular upstairs office.
10:08 AM: Our mime has learned to help clean up by throwing trash away. She has also learned that you can make more trash by tearing up tissues. She is still working on understanding that you cannot make trash by tearing up lift-the-tab books.
12:24 PM: Working lunch (Mexican). There may be more queso than strictly necessary.
3:13 PM: 12 minutes of Zelda between the end of my conference call and the awakening of Maia from her nap.
4:05 PM: Reflections in a mall decoration.
5:36 PM: Self-driven story time on the big rocky chair.
6:48 PM: Baked salmon and broccoli for dinner.
7:24 PM: Giddy and tired.

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Friday, November 09, 2018

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

American Vandal, Season Two:
I figured it would be hard to follow up the "Who Drew the Dicks?" mystery of Season One, but Season Two opens with an unfortunate laxative incident at a preppy private school and seeks to determine who the "Turd Burglar" is in the style of a crime documentary. This season is actually better than the first, and has a satisfying ending that actually raises relevant questions about society. It's more than just turds all the way down.

Final Grade: A

Unguilded by Jane Glatt:
Magic of Thieves made me hesitant to continue reading the Secrets and Spells anthology, but I'm glad I did. Unguilded shares a few of the broad story strokes of the previous story but weaves them together much more effectively. The protagonist is one worth rooting for and the magic system is just different enough from the norm to be intriguing. A few of the villains are rather moustache-twirly, but I enjoyed the world-building and resolution. I added the sequels to my reading list based on the strength of this story.

Final Grade: B

Shake the Spirit by Elle King:
Elle King's second album is good, though a little more swear-y. Her voice is also super-over-sampled throughout as if she sang too close to an awful microphone or just required 800 filters to correct something about her voice. I still prefer the 1st album but this one isn't bad.

Final Grade: B-

Mage's Tale (Oculus Rift):
This is an innovative dungeon-crawler by the team that rebooted The Bard's Tale. It has an initial wow/fun factor as you hurl fireballs and maneuver through a dungeon with a sarcastic imp helping you, but this wears off somewhat quickly. The interface is totally motion-based (for example, the Save / Load / Options menu is navigated by grabbing the "Save" potion and drinking it) which is "neat" for about 5 minutes and then just gets in the way of years of established UX design principles. I ran out of steam about 4 hours in, not helped by the very long load times.

Final Grade: C

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