04/2017

Monday, April 03, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

On Saturday morning, we descended upon the Just Between Friends consignment sale, featuring two hockey rinks full of used baby gear. We managed to spend less than a typical trip to Costco, yet still walked away with tons of items at greatly reduced prices. Afterwards, we went hiking with Sara on the Bull Run trail.

Although the bluebells were just starting to come out in force, the trail west from 28 was a treacherous bog filled with wet sock hazards because of Friday's monsoon. Still we made it over a mile in before arriving at a point where the entire path was washed out by a new tributary, Oregan Trail style. Instead of fording, we went back to 28 and hiked a bit in the opposite direction, racking up about 4.5 miles total.

Sunday was a day to get stuff done around the house. In the afternoon, Rebecca and I played a new VR game, Keep Talking and No One Explodes, in which one person has to disarm a bomb while the other person (people) talk the disarmer through it, Mission Impossible style, via a complicated bomb disarming manual -- neither party can see what the other sees, resulting in miscommunication hijinks. Afterwards, we had a meal of comfort food at Cheng's, followed by ice cream at Coldstone, and then retired early to prepare for the week.

How was your weekend?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, April 05, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken in the Spring of 1992.

I had just received my first pair of glasses and realized that you were supposed to see the individual leaves in the trees outside without walking right up to one. These are probably the largest frames ever created -- in my poorly developed middle school engineer brain, I figured that if the lenses were bigger, I could see more without moving my head as much. While technically true, larger glasses had the unfortunate side effect of making me look like some sort of half-evolved salmon.

tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, April 07, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Modern Family, Season Six:
We burned through this season pretty quickly after the fifth season's long stall -- it recaptures some of the lighter, wholesome fun of the earlier seasons without letting any one character overshadow the show.

Final Grade: B

The Climb:
This retail game for the Oculus Rift and Oculus Touch controllers allows you to go climbing and bouldering in exotic locales like the Alps, the Grand Canyon, a fjord, and a tropical cliffside. It really sells the depth of vision and illusion of 3D, especially when you're dangling by one arm and happen to look down into a raging river. My arms are actually tired after playing a round. The controls can sometimes get fidgety if you turn a bit too far from your sensors, but this is just a minor annoyance.

Final Grade: B+

Expanse, Season One:
This is one of those sci-fi shows I regret watching after it's all done. Billed as a strong follow-up to Battlestar Galactica (which I also got bored of during the first season and never proceeded to the second), it has impeccable visual effects but is marred by forgettable characters that don't really compel you to care about anything. It feels like every other sci-fi show ever made, which may be exactly what you want if you're into sci-fi shows. However, the slow pace will make watching it a drag -- the content of a single strong episode is generally spread over two. Watch only if you're starved for sci-fi. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C-

Rarities and B Sides by Delerium:
I know absolutely nothing about Delerium, but really liked their collaboration with the lead singer from Metric, Stopwatch Hearts. I purchased this on the strength of that song but ended up only liking about four total songs on the album (two of which featured the same Metric singer). The rest of the album is forgettable electronica from the era where you could play a muted dance beat for six minutes and call it music.

Final Grade: C+

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday evening, we went to a dinner party at Michelle's (one of the last before she flees to the West Coast with Stu) and had different chicken and fish stir fry dishes full of ingredients you have to go to weird grocery stores to get. Like many parties involving yoga people, it ended in a giant game of Twister, but we left before it got too rowdy because Rebecca enjoys sleeping more than Twister these days.

On Saturday afternoon, I had people over to try out the Oculus Rift in the basement, where there was more room for Evil Mike to cower in the corner when attacked by robot spiders from every direction. We also played a few games Keep Talking and Nobody Explodes and ate ice cream cones.

In the evening, we went to Enatye in Herndon for Ethiopian food. The meal was delicious, even though the presentation of Ethiopian food always resembles the palette of Bob Ross if he worked with foods instead of oils.

I did nothing at all on Sunday other than to finish the second season of Better Call Saul.

Happy Birthday to my Mom!

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

5:32 AM: Showered and ready for work.
5:49 AM: First day in our permanent office space.
6:34 AM: Setting up shop in the corner with the fewest distractions.
9:21 AM: Arriving home in Rebecca's car so she can use it for the rest of the day.
9:22 AM: The reason for the loaner car.
11:36 AM: Lunchtime for kitties.
12:25 PM: Leftover Mellow Mushroom for lunch.
12:29 PM: Dialing in for a conference call.
1:58 PM: Writing code.
3:41 PM: Off the clock.
5:02 PM: Running on the treadmill and watching The Night Manager.
6:51 PM: Making the dinner of champions.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 5 comments

Friday, April 14, 2017

Questions Day

It's time for another Questions Day! Want to get a second opinion on something? Ask anything you want, be it about myself, deeply philosophical music theory, politics, or something you don't understand. Need some recommendations? I'll answer all of your questions next week!

tagged as you speak | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, April 17, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday night, we enjoyed the non-fluctuating warmth of April with back porch burgers and then watched the OJ Simpson crime show until Rebecca fell asleep.

On Saturday, we met again with our doula to talk baby stuff and then went Ben and Andrea's baby shower in Arlington to baby baby with baby baby baby because baby. We then stopped by my parents' to wish my mom a Happy Birthday and picked up some Potbelly's on the way home.

On Sunday, I worked in the morning, walked 2 miles on the treadmill, cleaned 2 years of accumulated grease out of the grill to prepare for for summer grilling, did a nature walk through Claude Moore, did a propane exchange, bought two shades of paint for the ex-office nursery, spackled a bunch of willy-nilly holes, and then did nothing for the rest of the day.

How was your weekend?

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Answers Day

The sequel to Questions Day

"Will you let us babysit your little one every so often? Remember, we've been through basic grandparent training with your nephews, so we're qualified." - Mom

Of course! We already have you down for August - October 2017 so we can go to Burning Man and then backpack across Australia.

"Feeling prepped for the arrival of little Uri? Anything least/most looking forward to?" - Evil Mike

We're in the process of painting the nursery and have acquired the minimum mandatory baby needs (like the car seat and the Oculus Rift). Beyond that, we're not going to stress it too much. We lead a pretty low-maintenance lifestyle, and the presence or absence of knick-knacks shaped like owls or ergonomic pieces of plastic with names like a Silicon Valley startup will not be what permanently messes up our child.

"Do you have any idea how to play sniper heroes? I see videos and try to replicate, but I can't snipe." - Evil Mike

I don't play any sniper heroes but I understand the mechanics:

  • Stay mobile, and don't stick around in the same perch after a couple kills.
  • Move your mouse with your whole arm instead of your wrist for better aim.
  • Instead of steady tracking as your target moves across the screen, practice anticipating their location and not moving your mouse until you're ready to shoot (flick-shotting). This reduces the amount of unsteadiness you introduce into your aim.
  • Bind "I need healing!" to your forward motion key.

"Looking forward to any upcoming movies?" - Evil Mike

I don't even know what movies are coming out any time soon, so I had to perform in-depth research. Apparently there's another Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming out next month, which is good because it's been awhile since I last napped through a movie.

"Politics...what's up with that? I just..." - Evil Mike

I've found that since I cancelled my Washington Post print subscription, I consume much less news in general. The online version, while timely, tends to show the same 3 article for days at a time, leading me to visit less often during the week. In this scenario, I only hear about the latest political fiascos on Sunday mornings unless they're particularly egregious, and I can't say that this has had any sort of negative effect on my life at all -- this must be what hippies feel like when they boast about intentional disconnection.

"Do you have a plan in place for the role of technology in Mike Jr.'s early life?" - Mike and Ghost Chompy

My personal desire would be a pragmatic balance between exposure and overstimulation. Technology is not inherently evil. There won't be any sort of zero tolerance policy on technology because it will be important to be able to pick up those skills. On the other hand, giving kids smartphones at the age of 9 is dumb and letting them play video games on a hike in the Shenandoah Valley is even dumber.

"Think it'll be weird to grow up as the first generation under full surveillance or will it be quiet adaptation in the way we were the first to grow up with Lunchables™?" - Mike and Ghost Chompy

The potential negative effect of so much monitoring is mitigated by the fact that the watchers cannot possibly hope to keep up with the data. There is so much new data being captured about the world and people in it through our devices every second that it is almost useless at a micro scale where it would impact a single person.

tagged as you speak | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, April 21, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Better Call Saul, Season Two:
I may be in the minority with my opinion, but this show is at its best when it's not focused on building the world of Breaking Bad. The little moments and wry asides stand alone very well, and it's almost a distraction when the main plots start to fall into the areas already established by Breaking Bad. It's held back a little by its very deliberate pacing -- it's easy to get impatient when I just want to know how it all comes together in the end, which reduces my appreciation for the development of the characters in the moment. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Dave Chappelle:
I never watched Dave Chappelle back when he was originally popular, although I was oversaturated by my college roommate, Kelley, spamming "I'm Rick James, bitch!" at every opportunity. Chappelle's new Netflix special is 2 separate stand-up routines in a story-telling style focused mostly on race jokes. The first is quite strong, but he seems to get tired and run out of steam during the second one, which was mostly forgettable. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Lazy Fair by Bryce Vine:
This album is full of vapid summer pop songs with clearly calculated attributes for maximum radio appeal, but I still can't help but enjoy it. The EP is very short, but each song is an infectious up-tempo market-researched morsel, heavy on pentatonics and nostalgia like Sour Patch Kids. As a bonus, if you create a "Bryce Vine" Pandora station, you end up with a neverending stream of music about 20-somethings living irresponsibly, which you can use as a teaching moment for your college-age child. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

The Night Manager:
This miniseries (based on a book I'd never read) tells the tale of a hotel manager who goes undercover to bring down a wealthy arms dealer. Well-paced with good intensity, the show features Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie in escalating cat-and-mouse affairs in a very British way. The arc of the story feels complete, and the 6 epsiode duration is just right. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B+

tagged as reviews | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, April 24, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

It's been raining nonstop around here, assuaging any guilt for not going outside or doing lawn-related chores. We overloaded our weekend with 3 separate social gatherings, starting with a going away for Rebecca's yoga friend, Michelle, on Saturday night, for which I made my signature bean chili.

On Sunday, we had lunch with Rebecca's parents and the Wrights, and met Patrick & Erica's 5 1/2 month-old, Will. From there, we went straight to the Edwardses to catch up with their 1 year old and celebrate the newly engaged Mike and Annie. In the picture below, you can see everyone showing off their monochrome fashions of the early 2000s (I went a different direction with a daring shade of blue).

In the evening, we returned home to Sterling to eat leftover bean chili, make lunch sandwiches for the week, and do laundry. We also ordered a crib so we can get a head start on populating the Nursery Formerly Known as Office with real furniture.

How was your weekend?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 40 years ago in 1977.

My dad and my sister are sitting on the front stoop of the childhood home on Pickett Street, back when it was still festooned in overgrown shrubbery helpful only for concealing burglars. I will have to recreate this picture in 2018 if I can find some identical pants.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, April 28, 2017

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

A few photos have been added to the Life, 2017 album. Google Photos sucks.

  • Events
    • Went to a crazy baby consignment sale then hiked the muddy banks of the Occuquan River with Sara on S 4/1.

    • Got a flat tire in Herndon on H 4/6.

    • Had a Dinner With Friends at Michelle's house on F 4/7.

    • Hosted a VR Party with Evil Mike, Tom, Annie, and Sara on S 4/8 then had Ethiopian food at Enatye that gave me smelly fingers for the next two days.

    • Updated our TDAP shots then had dinner at Mellow Mushroom on T 4/11.

    • Met with our doula, went to a baby shower, then stopped by my parents' for my Mom's birthday on S 4/15.

    • Went to Michelle's Moving To Berkeley party on S 4/22.

    • Met up with Rebecca's parents, the Wrights, the Edwardses and the Mueller-Catanias on S 4/23.

    • Had a sonogram on W 4/26 that confirmed the ongoing presence of girl parts on our child.

    • Saw Michelle one last time on F 4/28 before her cross country drive in order to optimize the packing of her Prius.

    • Went to a picnic with Rebecca's work buddies to send off PT Arturo on S 4/30.

  • Projects
    • Painted the Nursery Formerly Known As Office in Easter colours.

    • Did baby preparation stuff like picking a pediatrician and assembling a crib.

  • Consumerism
    • Got to level 635 in Overwatch, with 652 hours played and a 51.7% winrate. Also enjoyed the VR game, Keep Talking and No One Explodes.

    • Enjoyed watching The Night Manager and listening to newly discovered music by Bryce Vine.

April's Final Grade: B+

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments

 

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