Monday, November 23, 2020

Thanksgiving Week

I'll be taking the week off from updating this site so we can celebrate all of the holidays at the same time. Updates will resume next Monday, the 30th.

I hope you all have fun, safe plans for the holiday!

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Friday, November 20, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Rising Tied by Fort Minor:
I purchased this album on the strength of the single, High Road. There are a few good hooks throughout but as is often the case with these impulse buys, none of the songs were as strong as the one I already liked. Most of the other songs fall into the "white rapper complaining about how hard life is" category, which gets old very quickly unless you're The Lab Rats.

Final Grade: B-

Paper Mario: The Origami King:
I need to accept the fact that the Paper Mario series will never again be as good as The Thousand Year Door. I bought this as a game that Maia could watch and enjoy (and she does, sometimes), but it's held back by stale story, slow-scrolling text, and helpful sprites that overexplain the simplest puzzles. The worst part is the awful combat system that has no effect on the game other than to slow down your progress. Every time the game starts to get fun, a random battle pops up with a boring timed puzzle and kills my will to keep going. I'm now hoping that Maia forgets that this game exists so we never have to play it again.

Final Grade: C-

Asgard's Wrath:
The first AAA game for the Oculus Rift is pretty impressive initially but soon slows into a grind. Every Rift game has a built-in cost of me moving the computer into the VR room, and eventually I stopped wanting to do that. I would probably enjoy it a lot more with less setup -- however the direction that Facebook is taking the Oculus Rift (requiring Facebook accounts, abandoning PCs, and charging $200 to fix inherent issues in the first hardware iteration) has mostly turned me off to VR.

Final Grade: B-

Superstore, Season Four:
There are a number of great episodes in this season which makes the inclusion of 2-3 really awful episodes more glaring. It feels like the writers had a great flow going but had to let the son of the executive producer write a few episodes because "he majored in screenplays at community college". We still finished it very quickly and enjoyed it for the most part.

Final Grade: B

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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Time-lapsed Blogography Day: Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

Twenty-five years ago today, on November 18, 1995, I was a 16-year-old senior.

I spent the morning polishing up the score for Sonorous Sonata, a sonata form assignment in my Music Theory I class. I had written the entire thing in 3 hours on the previous Wednesday, and it shows in how banal the whole thing is. (This is the only movement ever written because we had not yet learned that sonatas had other movements yet).

I also watched Outbreak with my mom, a movie about a virus loose in the US and the near-decision to just nuke it all and start over. It was part of our weekly batch of Blockbuster VHS videos that we always picked up on Friday (we'd watch the best one on Friday night with Pizza Hut pizza for dinner then watch the rest throughout the weekend.

Stonekeep and DOOM II multiplayer were the games of the time. In the evening, I picked up my friend, Chris, and brought him back to my house (as a 10th grader, he couldn't drive yet) so we could play against Jack over the 28.8k modem.

The next morning, I started on my college applications (all in-state). The forms themselves took a trip through our old-fashioned typewriter, while the personal essay was dutifully tailored to each school and printed on our LaserJet 5 printer. One only needs to read the pithy closing argument to see why I got into college:

The path I have taken through school has given me many options to choose from. I plan to attend college where I will earn a double major in Computer Science and Music Theory/Composition. I chose these two fields because they were interesting, meaningful in my life, and also because they were at completely opposite ends of the career spectrum. Today, when someone asks me what I want to be when I grow up, I simply smile and reply, "Taller." I leave myself open to new ideas and possibilities. Hopefully, I will be prepared for any road I travel upon after I have entered the rest of my life.

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Monday, November 16, 2020

Quarantine Data Day

Today is Day 249 of our quarantine. We get groceries from Giant pickup and the outdoor farmer's market in Sterling, supplemented with early morning runs to Safeway for fresh bagels and hard-to-find Coke Zero. We don't eat out quite as much as the early days of quarantine, maybe once or twice a week now.

Maia spends two hours per week in her community center class with 2-3 other masked students. Depending on whether Virginia implodes in the coming weeks, we're thinking about expanding that up to six hours in December so Rebecca can be "off" for a little more each week.

Rebecca has started working again sporadically. The past few weeks have been a couple evenings a week seeing a few patients in an empty gym, but her upcoming schedule looks to be filling up more thoroughly.

I'm still doing 30 hours per week from home and have only gassed up my car about 4 times since the beginning. Other than grocery runs, trips to the park with Maia, and last week's doctor odyssey, I'm essentially a permanent fixture in our house.

Our work team for Puzzle Boat 7 is winding down now -- we're at 126 puzzles solved out of 145 today and should be fully wrapped up just in time for Advent of Code next month. Nothing interesting has come out on TV in a while, which is affecting my exercise durations, although I did just discover Cosmo Sheldrake to listen to. His music really gives me an undergraduate composition major vibe that I'm liking.

How is your year proceeding?

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Friday, November 13, 2020

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

5:50 AM: Showered and ready for work.
6:15 AM: Bagel for breakfast (already eaten).
9:04 AM: On my biweekly conference call.
9:42 AM: Building a trampoline for bunnies.
10:25 AM: Writing about human curation of data while listening to Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox.
10:48 AM: Behind bars.
11:17 AM: Shells and cheese for lunch.
2:50 PM: Nap for cats.
3:16 PM: Puzzle Boating while Maia "naps". The leaves on our avocado tree are nearly 8 inches long.
5:14 PM: Helping to spackle. Also, it's an all-day pajamas kind of day.
6:03 PM: The grilled cheese from Joe's is 80% butter and 15% cheese.
7:15 PM: Post-bath and finally in new pajamas.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments

 

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