08/2017

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

New Edition Day

Now with 100% more babies!

Happy Birthday to The URI! Zone, which turns 21 years old this month! As a special promotion for turning 21, anyone who visits my house during the month of August will get a free craft beer (as long as I have one in the fridge at the time of the visit).

This month marks the first full year of my "three updates per week" rhythm which I found much more pleasant and doable than five per week, and prevented me from running with retarded post ideas like "List Day: 5 Other People Named Brian". Looking ahead, I plan to keep posting three times per week, mainly about things I'm up to day-to-day and things I enjoy that you might enjoy too.

There will also be an obligatory quota of posts about babies for people who like babies, but I want to make sure that it's not babies all of the way down. There are enough pure "parenting blogs" out there already, and I have no urge to attract the sometimes toxic communities that tend to spring up around those types of blogs. We're going to raise our kid in a judgement-free bubble with the space to make mistakes and learn along the way.

So, welcome back to all of my old readers, and welcome anew to all of the lurkers I've accrued since my popular demo tape, MAIA, dropped on July 6. Introduce yourself in the comments section and maybe I'll write about something you're interested in!

tagged as website | permalink | 6 comments

Friday, August 04, 2017

Maia Week #4 Battle Report

We have successfully kept Maia alive (Maialive) for four straight weeks, although in truth, it's mostly Rebecca's accomplishment. Since I cannot generate free food from my body, my contribution is generally feeding cookies to Rebecca while she feeds the baby (This is also the foundation of trickle-down economics).

Maia has not learned any new trade skills this week other than the ability to roll on her side. She enjoys looking at a picture of Montreux, Switzerland that hangs over our changing table, is indifferent to stuffed animals, and she doesn't mind the endless stream of friends stopping by for hugs.

Yesterday, we went to the pediatrician for a weigh-in and found that Maia had gained 1 lb 6 oz in just two weeks. She's accruing some visible chub that will prepare her for the inevitable day when someone drops her off the couch and she needs to bounce and then land on her feet like a cat. She also had her first growth spurt a couple days ago, which involved her eating every hour on the hour and not sleeping at all. To stop her from fussing, I had to throw her in the baby carrier like an Asian kangaroo and do laps around the basement while writing work emails and watching Netflix (I'm down here now as I type this, at 3:17 AM on Friday!)

Here is a picture of her working on her referee skills for the next time Virginia Tech meets Florida State at the Sugar Bowl:

tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 1 comment

Monday, August 07, 2017

List Day: Best and Worst Kitchen Appliances

The Best

  • Toaster Oven (2011): I became a huge toaster oven snob after burning through a string of cheap, quickly-broken toaster ovens in the early aughts. This oven makes bagels and toasts perfectly consistently every time and I've graduated to making exotic dishes like pizzas, Cornish game hens, and bacon-wrapped scallops in it. It also reheats pizzas and fries with just enough crispiness to make leftovers almost as good as they were in the restaurant. My life would be far dimmer without this magical Breville oven.

  • Makin Bacon (2005): One of the few AS SEEN ON TV devices that actually works as advertised, this makes restaurant-quality bacon in minutes in the microwave without any mess. The pieces that actually touch the bacon are easy to clean and the grease tray consolidates the mess in a single easy-to-dump location.

  • Rice Cooker (2001): This was a going away present from my parents when I moved to Florida for grad school and it's still going strong today. One of my go-to meals in Tallahassee (besides Banquet fried chicken and Totino's Pizzas) was a cooker full of white rice doused in soy sauce. Today, I have graduated to jasmine rice, although I occasionally deign to let Rebecca make quinoa in it (even though it makes the house smell like an armpit).

The Worst

  • Fridge (2011): The main thing wrong with this fridge is probably the last thing you'd think to research -- it's super loud and often sounds like a mainframe from the 80s. There's no point in having our amazingly silent dishwasher when its big brother, LOUD FRIDGE, is having a clan rally for white noise. Also, the ice maker sometimes makes skunky ice and offers no easy way to clean the water tubes.

  • Stove (2011): Every other month or so, one of the stovetop elements flickers out just long enough to keep my pot of soft-boiled eggs teetering below the boiling point, forcing me to eat hard-boiled eggs instead (-50 DKP). Also, the electrical connection to the oven light fails above 400 degrees, which is exactly when you need it to see if the cheese on your pizza is melted properly.

  • Wok (2011): This gift from my parents was novel and great for the first year. After that, we got weighed down by the preparation tax -- every meal requires at least ten ingredients cut, diced, or julienned in precisely measured portions. Since the wok cooks things so quickly, there's no time during the cooking process to measure things out so you must have an assembly line of ingredients ready to go in advance. This made me a fan of recipes that require no more than 6-8 ingredients in a go. As we got lazier and lazier, the various crazy oils we needed to cook also went bad and we never got around to replacing them.

tagged as lists | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Imitation Day

tagged as offspring | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, August 11, 2017

Maia Week #5 Battle Report

Maia just had another growth spurt, during which we were up at all hours walking with her or trying to get her to sleep without employing any wrestling moves. I use the enforced up-time to work on the Paravia Wiki, reread books by Philip Pullman (the good ones, not His Dark Materials), watch the first season of Rake, and resurrect the 3DS that has been in a dusty box for over 3 years.

I've been trying to get back onto a regular sleep schedule so I can return to work next week and am doing pretty impressively, with an average of 8 hours in any given day. I also get fewer "sleep deprivation dreams" which are like macabre stress dreams that go on and on in the same venue and with the same characters for the entire sleep cycle.

When Maia does end up sleeping, she sometimes falls asleep to me humming the Bluebells of Scotland on repeat, although eventually I tire of it and end up humming miscellaneous interval etudes in all of the major scales instead. She has not yet spoken any words, but will be fluent in Australian accents based on all of the Australian hip-hop I listen to in the background (currently listening to Nosebleed Section by the Hilltop Hoods).

In terms of marketable skills, she can now reach for, grab, and pull a wooden ring if we position her directly below it, which means she will have career possibilities as the conductor on an old-timey train. She also stretches like a traditional cartoon character with arms over her head in an impressive gymnast's bridge pose. To counterbalance these elite skills, she excels at spitting up while lying on her back, forcing us to spelunk the many folds of her neck (the zone known as Neck Folds Five) with a warm washcloth so we don't end up with "the smelly kid".

Here is a picture of Maia looking up at her favourite dad on the couch. It looks like she's in a very uncomfortable position, because those are the only positions she enjoys contorting her body into.

tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, August 14, 2017

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

7:27 AM: Showered and awake.
7:53 AM: Jonesing for some breakfast.
8:13 AM: Sesame bagel for breakfast.
9:01 AM: First in line at Costco, as usual.
10:31 AM: Returning home to the voracious eaters.
10:49 AM: Enrichment time.
11:58 AM: Guess what's for lunch.
12:48 PM: This place has bottle service.
3:30 PM: Learning some new Overwatch heroes.
4:48 PM: Family photo before the next feeding.
5:12 PM: Couch time with iZombie and popcorn.
9:02 PM: Not quite ready to go back down.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

New Job Day

Now that I've been back to work for two whole days, it's probably safe to announce that I've accepted a new job that starts on September 1. Meet my new boss:

That's right, I'll be joining the hallowed ranks of stay-at-home dads. I'm looking forward to helping Maia grow up without turning into a neo-Nazi, as well as trips to the park in the middle of the day where I get accused of being a pedophile for being the only dad there.

Rebecca and I have been planning to do this since before Maia was born. I gave my notice at work in early June after we seriously discussed it and realized it was feasible. It's not a choice without risk, but just seemed like the right choice for us right now. Rebecca will continue enjoying herself part-time in her physical therapy career and we won't have to deal with exorbitant day care fees or logistics. We also get more time to visit with the grandparents and friends, or take little trips on regular three-day weekends to East Coast Civil War battlefields (this is the only family activity I know how to do, based on my childhood).

Part of the decision stemmed from our safety net: the fact that we have healthy savings accrued from my years of working on secret alien autopsies and never buying anything unless it's in bulk (thanks, economist dad!). My 30-year mortgage will be paid off in 4 - 8 years (HUMBLEBRAG HASHTAG THANKFUL HASHTAG BLESSED) depending on how quickly I choose to throw money at it and destroy it like a financial ninja, and we could theoretically survive for up to twelve years jobless near our current quality of life as long as we stop buying beers in restaurants and Oculus Rift headsets.

I expect that there will be some job skill atrophy in my brain, but I'm the type of person that's always tinkering on side projects anyhow, and I think I have a strong enough social network and proven good will to counterbalance any rusty skills when I decide to go back. And I'll definitely go back someday -- maybe much sooner or maybe much later -- but at the moment I'm looking forward to an entirely different kind of challenge that doesn't involve software development. Don't get me wrong, software engineering is a wonderful challenge that has kept my brain satiated, but I've been doing it well for nearly twenty years now, and I can't imagine it being as fulfilling as turning a small organism into a thoughtful, empathetic large organism.

It's rare for life to give you the gift of more time and I have the luxury of being able to take advantage of this gift at this moment. Years down the line, when I'm sitting in my virtual reality rocking chair at the virtual old folks' home, I think I would always regret not embracing it, risk and all. Wish us luck!

tagged as offspring, deep thoughts, day-to-day | permalink | 9 comments

Friday, August 18, 2017

Maia Week #6 Battle Report

At 6 weeks old, Maia is nearing 9 pounds in weight. Her favorite place to be is on the changing table next to the bright silver YAY balloon that makes interesting noises when slapped. She spends a lot of time on this changing table now that we've learned to wait a few extra minutes with fresh air on the giblets before putting a new diaper on, because there's probably another round in the chamber just ready to fire. This knowledge reduced our diaper consumption from 18 down to about 12 per day.

This has been the first week with one of us parents back in the real world working, and we've worked out a schedule where I get a full, continuous night's sleep, go to work at 6, and get home around 2 PM. This gives me a little extra energy to face people, but puts Rebecca on the lonely night shift. Thankfully, Maia has been getting more consistent about sleeping even though she rarely ever wants to go down.

I think we've worked out a pretty good rhythm, generally speaking, although it's mentally hard to have nearly diametrically opposed schedules -- while it definitely reduces the strain on any single person and eases the burden of baby care, it also means that we have much less time to spend on the preexisting condition called our marriage. However, we're winning at the moment, with a clean, growing baby, a clean house, a mowed lawn, and a well-stocked refrigerator.

The biggest change so far has been the need to timebox life into nap-based intervals of 2 - 4 hours at a time instead of a standard day. I selfishly miss the breezy flexibility and unthinkably vast quantities of free time I used to have, especially as I'm finally sitting down for my first video game of the day only to hear her waking up after an 18 minute nap. However, I'm also realistically aware that I would have squandered all of that free time on useless ventures anyhow (do I really need to rewatch The Wire a third time?), and I wouldn't think of wanting to go back.

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

Monday, August 21, 2017

Booty Day

Booty the cat was born on October 25, 2002 and adopted by me at a Tallahassee adoption fair in March 2003. As a half-Siamese mutt, she had giant ears and a night-splitting wail, and loved to do tricks like climbing up window screens or playing fetch with a piece of string.

After I graduated from grad school and moved back to Virginia, she joined forces with Kitty, who taught her important life lessons like how to be fat.

In 2004, she became the Master of the House at Hanford Court, tolerating her housemate, Amber, while hating an endless train of temporary cats, including Leia, Oliver, Kitty, Sydney, Lake, Titan, and Sydney again. She also didn't much care for babies unless they were old enough to feed her.

She took to Rebecca pretty quickly, which is good because I ended up marrying her. Rebecca enjoyed falling asleep on the couch, as did Booty, and the two of them bonded over this shared hobby.

Besides eating, looking forward to eating, or digesting after having eaten, Booty's favourite activity was to join someone in a nap on the couch, getting up close and personal, forcing air out of their lungs like a feral paperweight, and purring loudly in their face.

This past spring, Booty started having a sporadic pain in her jaw that would cause her to suddenly jump up from a pose of repose and run around smacking her lips. By the time we had gotten back from the hospital with Maia, it had blossomed into a large bony mass giving her the appearance of Jay Leno. $800 worth of tests later, we learned that (a) it was a tumor, (b) it had not yet spread to any organs, and (c) we could pay thousands of dollars to surgically remove the tumor... along with her jaw... which would then require the installation of a stomach feeding tube... all without any guarantee of survival or maintaining quality of life.

We opted instead to just keep her comfortable and happy for however much longer we could. And, in fact, she lasted another month before the tumor reached the point where she couldn't close her mouth completely and couldn't stick her tongue out far enough to eat without lots of help.

On Sunday, we had her euthanized at home through Wholistic Paws (who were absolutely wonderful). We buried her in the backyard behind the shed and had a brief millisecond of silence before fleeing the devouring woodland mosquitos.

Thanks for being my dependable constant for 14 great years, Booty. We will all miss you!

tagged as memories, cats | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (PG-13):
This one-off Star Wars movie (which fits plotwise in between Episode 3 and 4) takes a little while to get rolling (the first hour or so is character introduction), but it's otherwise reasonably watchable. The final battle scenes drag on a bit long, but the main characters are fun to watch and none of them are Jar-Jar levels of irritating. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Ozark, Season One:
This show starring Jason Bateman as a financial advisor in trouble with a Mexican drug cartel is never bad, but overall, it just feels unnecessary. It maintains a nice, brooding tone that rarely lightens up, but it also stands in the massive culture shadow of Breaking Bad, a show which it actually has very little in common with, but which people can't help but to compare it to. A late season episode functions as a useful flashback episode, but does all sorts of weird chronology jumps for no other reason besides "style points", like J.J. Abrams with a brain tumor flashing back 48 hours while skipping through time on a mysterious island. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

iZombie, Season Three:
As in season two, there's about 10% too many parallel plots going on in this season, but the net effect is very enjoyable. There were plenty of callbacks to old characters and plotlines, but I just let myself go along for the ride and found all of the threads nicely organized and resolved by the end. This was a very good season with a nice 4400-esque plot twist to set up the next season. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: A-

Goliath, Season One:
This Amazon Original started strong with interesting characters and a nice style, but gradually peters out like a guy named Peter running a mile with weights around his ankles. The courtroom drama portions of the story are disappointing, and the final decision in the case doesn't feel earned, based on the work and evidence presented in earlier episodes. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C-

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, August 25, 2017

Maia Week #7 Battle Report

Maia is now 7 weeks old and somewhere around the 10 pound mark (9.6 lbs at the last Lightweight 8 weigh-in). I have not been as present and engaged as I would like to be this week, dealing with the red-giant-star-sized void left by Booty and a full week's work, but I also recognize that there will always be times where we aren't as good as we want to be. No one bats 1000 every day (or, "no one bowls a 300 every day" if you prefer your cliches to avoid stupid sports).

Luckily, we took on an indentured servant named Annie from LA to help us through this week, and she's done great work feeding us, doing tiny loads of tiny baby clothes, and keeping Rebecca entertained while I'm at work. As soon as she makes us one more bacon-based dinner, we'll return her driver's license and release her from service.

In terms of new skills this week, Maia is now very alert and wants to spend much of the day (and half of the night) awake and in a staring contest. She still doesn't quite understand limbs yet, so her tiny arms and legs will involuntarily dance The Burro while lying on the floor. She can "social smile", which means she can bow to society's norms by smiling in order to evoke a positive reaction from the people watching her, and she sometimes sounds like Yoshi eating some fruit when making noises after feeding.

Here is a picture of Maia with her mom and her aunts, Sara and Annie.

tagged as offspring, day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, August 28, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

This weekend, we drove out to Front Royal to celebrate the wedding of Ghazaley and Michael. The wedding was pretty swank, complete with a drone photographer, and Rebecca got to wear normal grown-up clothing and dance with all of her coworkers from Inova.

This was our first overnight trip with Maia and to mitigate any chance of disaster, we recruited Grandma to come along for the trip and go on babysitting duty in the hotel, just down the road.

All went according to plan, and Grandma put in a solid 5 hours of expert-level babysitting in spite of the fact that Maia drank her entire bottle supply in mere hours like she was at a freshmen mixer.

How was your weekend?

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2017 album, but it's a metric ton of baby pictures so keep on moving if you're not into that sort of thing. Also, Google Photos still sucks.

  • Events
    • Continued the Friend Dinner tradition with Sara on F 8/4, M 8/7, F 8/18.

    • Went on our first nature walk with Maia on S 8/5.

    • Maia got to meet more of our friends, including Marc on T 8/8, Elaine on H 8/10, our old neighbours, Casey and Amy, on S 8/13, and Emily on M 8/14.

    • Went back to work for 14 more days on M 8/14.

    • My dad installed a new kitchen faucet for us on F 8/18.

    • Rebecca went to Sara's "Moving to Minneapolis" party on S 8/19.

    • Booty left us on S 8/20.

    • Annie arrived and eclipsed the sun on M 8/21, then stayed all week making us cookies.

    • We helped Sara load her car on H 8/24 so she could drive off to grad school on F 8/25 (with a temporary stop at Elisa's in Columbus enroute). It's been 16 years since I drove off to grad school!

    • We went to Ghazaley and Michael's posh wedding on S 8/26 while Grandma babysat.

    • We ordered Thai food with Car on M 8/28.

    • My sister came over for a Maia visit with our 3 nephews on T 8/29.

    • Wrapped up at work on H 8/31.

  • Projects

  • Consumerism
    • Got to level 815 in Overwatch.

    • Enjoyed watching season three of iZombie and just started watching Justified again.

    • No new music this month.

August's Final Grade: C+, Maia is still cute but I had to say goodbye to Booty. Booooo(ty).

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

 

You are currently viewing a monthly archive, so the posts are in chronological order with the oldest at the top. On the front page, the newest post is at the top. The entire URI! Zone is © 1996 - 2017 by Brian Uri!. Please see the About page for further information.

Jump to Top
Jump to the Front Page


August 2017
SMTWHFS
12345
6789101112
13141516171819
20212223242526
2728293031
BIRTHDAYS
BLOGLOG
10/14
10/12
09/08

OLD POSTS
Old News Years J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
J F M A M J
J A S O N D
visitors since November 2003