Monday, August 19, 2019

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday morning we drove to Fredericksburg to visit the Ahlbins and exceeded all previous records for the trip, taking 3.5 hours from driveway-to-driveway.

Maia ate lollipops with Felicity.

She also resolved to get better at Guitar Hero than Vegas Mike.

Maia had her first experience climbing up a bunk bed and announced that "Sister Bear sleeps in the top bunk, Brother Bear sleeps on the bottom, and Brother Bear eats honey in bed".

On Saturday afternoon, I spun up an impromptu Dungeons and Dragons game for the kids, where they had to invade the castle of Neightwang to get his treasure.

On Saturday evening, we visited the Hickses for dinner and Maia got to hang out with their granddaughter, Autumn.

On Sunday, Rebecca played Castles of Burgundy with the older kids and Anna, easily one of the most tediously-paced games of all time.

How was your weekend?

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Friday, August 16, 2019

List Day: 9 Recent Accomplishments

  1. Finally realized that I could mute the microwave, only 2 years after it would have been useful to avoid baby sleeping disturbances.

  2. Hit 225 hours of play time in Grim Dawn, with only one character higher than level 30.

  3. Perfected a recipe for broiled shrimp that takes less than ten minutes from freezer to devouring.

  4. Finally crossed over the 48,000 miles mark in my 2012 Accord.

  5. Got Rebecca and several of our friends hooked on watching Dark, using my spoiler-free reference sheets.

  6. Destroyed an entire colony of invasive fruit flies (no doubt originating from Rebecca's farmer's markets and other unnecessarily healthy produce) with homemade red wine vinegar traps.

  7. Booked our 10th Anniversary Weekend trip to Montreal (Maia at home with the grandparents).

  8. Got approval at work to pilot a series of newsletters where I write about tech in a way that people can understand.

  9. Finished adding all six short stories to the Wars of Light and Shadow Wiki.

What have you been up to?

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Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 24 years ago, in August 1995.

As drum major of the elite T.C. Williams Marching Titans, I was selflessly leading the band on a Chinquapin practice field that required a 20 minute round trip march to get to. We actually had lines on the field this particular day, a rarity.

I'm standing with Josh, alto sax, and Mike, trumpet. Though band members are not necessarily paragons of style, you can tell that primary colors and khakis were the word of the day in 1995. I also continued my streak of wearing clothes and glasses that were too big for me because finding the right size while straddling the line between Boys and Mens clothing took up time that could be better spent playing video games.

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Monday, August 12, 2019

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:30 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
6:47 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
7:04 AM: Arriving in the home office.
9:23 AM: Good morning!
9:24 AM: Maia wanted to take a picture of us.
10:28 AM: Home from Costco with the needs of the household.
11:47 AM: Playdate with Aunt Sena and Nolan.
3:19 PM: Running on the treadmill and watching the poorly named Money Heist.
6:12 PM: Family dinner at The V.
6:45 PM: Watering the plants.
6:58 PM: Ice cream dance! Also, she is wearing Minnie Pants because "Minnie Pants match Watermelon".
7:03 PM: Rewarded with chocolate ice cream.

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Friday, August 09, 2019

List Day: Top Five Pet Peeves of the Moment

It's been over 9 years since I last talked about the things that annoy me!

  1. Recipe Stories: Every recipe on the Internet now opens with a 6 page testimonial to the efficacy of the ingredients and the reasons why the cook likes smoothies. I understand that this has to be done because Google penalizes bare-bones recipe pages as "lacking original content" but it doesn't make it any less obnoxious. At the very least, give me a link at the top that says "click here to skip the BBC miniseries about how I invented this recipe in my meditation room".

  2. Subreddit Devolution: I've lurked on Reddit for over 4 years now, mainly to read other peoples' responses to threads full of creepy stories or unique experiences. It annoys me when areas of this site (called subreddits) pertain to something I'm actually interested in reading about but have devolved into a bunch of teenagers posting low effort memes only tangentially related to the topic. I visit /r/GrimDawn to discover interesting strategies for playing Grim Dawn, not wade through 800 animated GIFs showing "my reaction when" something inane happens in the game. The only thing worse than a poorly moderated subreddit full of memes is one full of fan art. NO ONE CARES THAT YOU DREW HARRY POTTER ON A NAPKIN.

  3. Safeway Sales: Our local Safeway is effectively demonstrating the laws of entropy by rapidly out-Bottom-Dollaring Bottom Dollar. The salmon is always expired, the produce may have been stolen from last month's farmer's market, and the sale tags are consistently outdated. There is only a 26% chance that that "Buy One Get One Free" tag will actually register correctly at checkout, so trying to save money there is the most dangerous game. As you skim your incorrect receipt on the way to the door, you have to weigh the value of the $3 you lost to the 15 minutes it will take for anyone to actually come to the customer service desk to help you.

  4. Early Morning Commuting: I commute down the 2-lane portion of Route 7 to Tysons, a route made bearable by the fact that I leave at 5 AM and only do it a couple times per week. For the most part, it's actually somewhat pleasant because every single person on the road is committed to getting to DC as quickly as possible. You can feel the teamwork and solidarity as a massive caravan of paper pushers accelerates off the red light to a steady 70 in unison. Of course, this rolling wave of efficient travel usually bottlenecks behind the only 2 people on the road without somewhere important to be driving 50 miles per hour. Although my methodology is not scientific, I can state with 100% confidence that one of the people will be driving a rusted pickup truck with West Virginia tags, and the other will be a hypermiling Prius (silver or white only).

  5. Gas Station Kiosks: Pumping gas has a 10 second overhead from all of the questions you have to answer about unwanted car washes and rewards card memberships. Although the endless loops of Jimmy Kimmel clips and Progressive ads no longer bother me (pro tip: hit all of the buttons on the right side of the screen and you will find one that mutes the kiosk), gassing up is still not a pleasant experience. I never have a chance to clean the bird crap off my windows because there's never a working squeegee and the squeegee water always smells like a bird died in it.

What's annoying you today?

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