11/2017

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Catch-up Day

It's already November and 2017 is almost over! Catch me up on what you've been doing so you don't have to send me a Christmas Letter. Where are you? What are you doing? How old are your kids? What big things are about to change in your life? What big memories do you have from November 2007 (like the Wedding of Doobie) that are now TEN YEARS OLD?

tagged as you speak | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, November 03, 2017

Maia Week #17 Battle Report

Maia turned 17 weeks old yesterday, which is in that limbo spot between 3 and 4 months of age that's not quite either one. She cannot roll over yet, but is able to roll on her side and contort her neck back so her head can look at things "above" her -- her body resembles the boot of Italy in this position. She also believes in quality over quantity, saving up her poops for one massive release party per day, usually in the early evening.

Maia also giggles, which is very cute, and has learned to make noisy shrieks, which is not so cute. She often sounds like that old Internet animation of the hamster riding a motorcycle, but with more piercing timbres.

Naps are still 30-minute affairs, almost to the point where you can set a watch to them. While some longer naps would be appreciated, at least she will nap in bed occasionally now. I do find that it's pointless to plan to get anything non-baby-related done when I'm on duty while Rebecca's at work -- it's better to get everything done that I wanted to beforehand, rather than hope that Maia will nap or play long enough that I can be independent.

We have been lucky enough to keep the Claude Moore hikes going every day (rain or shine), which allows me to get 2 - 4 miles of walking in and uses up a precious hour of the day where Maia is content to identify coniferous trees and then nap. As it gets colder, we'll probably have to switch to an indoor activity like mall walking. The last time I went to the Dulles Mall on a regular basis was 11 years ago when Sears wasn't a total disaster and I needed some PUFFIN BAY GREY paint for my house. Hopefully the mall will be awesome and space-age upon my triumphant return.

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Monday, November 06, 2017

Data Day: Overwatch Level Over Time

One's account level in the game of Overwatch has no bearing on skill, but it does show the world how much time you've wastedinvested playing video games. By charting my Overwatch level over the months since the game was released, I can see how my different jobs and offspring have affected my play time.

Conclusion: Children have a more detrimental effect on video game play time than any job.

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Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 34 years ago, in the summer of 1983 on the sky cars at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg.

I always had an affinity for the sky cars, and not just because I was too short to ride any real rides until I was old enough to drink. Sky cars were like the real-world implementation of the secret passages from the game, Clue, taking you from one corner of the park to the other effortlessly. This is especially useful when you have a four inch stride and would probably give a Fitbit an integer overflow error if you were to wear one at this age.

I was also fascinated by the machinery in the sky car stations that used gears and belts to slow the cars down just enough for people to get on before launching them back into the sky -- this is probably why I enjoyed playing the game, The Incredible Machine so much.

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Friday, November 10, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Acoustic Songs in a Church by The Hoosiers:
This is a collection of Hoosiers songs recorded purely with acoustic instruments, apparently in a church venue. I'm not totally sure who the intended audience is supposed to be other than long-time fans, but the songs are fun from a nostalgia perspective. I definitely like the fully orchestrated versions much better, but this is a $6.99 plate of MP3 tapas that's pleasant enough for what it is.

Final Grade: B-

Pinewood Smile by The Darkness:
Last of Our Kind was a great album, and this fifth album is a pretty weak follow-up. There are a few good songs in the mix, but overall, it seems like a retread of much that has come before without much character to stand on its own.

Final Grade: B-

Master Of None, Season Two:
It took us forever to get through this season (5 whole months) because of its slow pace and uneven delivery. The episodes that progress a main plot forward are fun, but there are many pit stops for random experimental ideas that are interesting but not particularly compelling. Whenever the plot momentum drags to a halt, Aziz's acting style starts to get very grating -- he's fine as a Tom Haverford, but not nearly as polished in a starring role. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C+

Riverdale, Season One:
This show is a modern reimagining of the old Archie comics with more edge and a murder mystery baked in. It starts out with potential, but ends up relying on one-dimensional uneven characterizations that change solely to further the plot. The murder mystery is not very solvable in advance, and does a lot more "tell" than "show". Additionally, there's some laughably awful developments in the final episode that make it feel like the writers ran out of ideas. Overall, it plays out like a D-list version of Veronica Mars. Looking back, I'm a little amazed that I finished the season, but it was easy to have on in the background while Maia complained about various hot-button issues or drank milk. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: D+

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Monday, November 13, 2017

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

7:21 AM: Running on the treadmill and finally starting the 3rd season of Narcos, which has too much subtitled Spanish to watch while trying to bottle-feed Maia.
8:11 AM: Spackling the ceiling around the leaky pipe fixed by the elder Uri.
8:45 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
8:56 AM: Good morning!
9:26 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
10:13 AM: Playtime with Dad.
2:00 PM: Hiking in Algonkian Park.
2:52 PM: These deer just don't care.
5:22 PM: Weekly bath time.
6:30 PM: Finishing the third season of Silicon Valley while Maia eats.
6:48 PM: Pasta-making time!
7:19 PM: Dinner and tempranillo with the family.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Comments Fix Day

I just fixed the "An invalid character [32] was present in the Cookie value" error that was preventing people with a space in their name from posting comments. The side effect of this fix is that you'll have to re-enter your name for your next comment, but it will then get remembered for 30 days as usual. Let me know if you run into other issues!

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Wednesday, November 15, 2017

List Day: 10 Snapshots of a Decade

The sequel to this post about 1997

In November of 2007...

  1. I looked pretty much the same as I do now, perhaps with about 4 fewer grey hairs.

  2. I had been dating Rebecca for only about 8 months.

  3. We went to DC an obscene amount, mostly to see shows like The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Avenue Q.

  4. The price of gas locally had just cracked $3 a gallon for the first time.

  5. I was doing Museday Tuesday, a composing exercise where I wrote 30 seconds of music in 30 minutes a few times per month. That month, I wrote Chichi.

  6. McDonald's was rebranding all of its restaurants to look more hipster with less evil-clown red in the colour palette.

  7. I hosted 3 separate Thanksgivings in the Thanksgiving basement, one of which was graced by Paige, who happened to be in town for a few days and stayed in the guest room (which is now the standing desk office). It was also the first Thanksgiving dinner to include a baby (Ella, at the age of 7 months).

  8. I was working at FGM on the Metadata Registry v7.0, specifically on features that improved the storage of OWL taxonomies.

  9. The Writers Guild of America went on strike, destroying many good TV shows (remember in season two of Heroes when Peter went into an alternate timeline and left his love interest there, never to be mentioned again?)

  10. We were all still regularly playing poker in a year-long championship, and the Wii was still a pretty big deal.

tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

Friday, November 17, 2017

Maia Week #19 Battle Report

Maia is now 19 weeks old and quite a different baby from last week. In the baby biz, there is a concept called a "wonder week" which is where the baby is precociously fussy and you "wonder" why you had it. This is supposed to last a few days at every developmental milestone, followed by the opening up of a broad array of new skills. Maia's week 17 wonder week lasted about 3 weeks, starting around week 16, confusing the straight line of time more than an episode of LOST. The Daylight Savings Time change had minimal effect on her, but her round of 4 month vaccines exacerbated the grumpiness like wet sand in your swim trunks.

Since last weekend, however, it has all changed. Maia now goes to bed around 10 - 11 PM and then sleeps straight through until 7 - 8 AM. We did a few practice runs of letting her cry to sleep and it only took 3 failed attempts before she understood the concepts and mastered them with a gold star. When she's up during the day, she's calmer and more prone to taking it all in like a monk (on Wednesday, she spent a leisurely dinner at Cafesano with us without any fuss).

On Tuesday, we gave her the first taste of solid food: a pureed bit of avocado. She had roughly the same reaction to avocado that I do -- "There's something weird on my tongue and I hope I'm not allergic to it". She'll probably have a better reaction to rare steak, which is probably the next edible milestone.

We're still guiding her through calisthenics to improve her muscle tone for future autonomy. With support, she can SIT and STAND and other simple verbs from 1980s text adventure games. She is aware of Amber, and Amber is aware of her -- the cat will sit with Rebecca during feeding time but won't get too near Maia at any other point. It won't be long before they have their own Calvin and Hobbes situation though. I'm sure of it!

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

Monday, November 20, 2017

Weekend Wrap-up

On Friday, Maia caught her first cold which made her a little hoarse, so we called her Pony for the rest of the weekend. We took her on a dusk stroll through Claude Moore Park and then stopped off at Crooked Run South for tacos and a flight of beer. The brewery was more crowded than usual because of a live bluegrass band taking up space where extra seats would normally be.

On Saturday, I worked on a proposal in the morning and then we made a sweet potato casserole with smoked mozzarella cheese for a Yoga Potluck party in our basement. The casserole turned out great and paired well with the growlers full of Rushlight and Seek Truth from Crooked Run. Plus, I got to use my chafing dish for the 6th time, making it an extremely cost-effective purchase.

On Sunday, my parents came out to visit the baby and drop off an extra DVD player to replace the 5-disc changer that I've had for 14 years now. I don't understand why disc changers aren't made anymore (not counting the 500 disc monstrosities you put your entire library into) -- we must be the only family that keeps multiple shows on deck and rotates between them regularly. Alternately, we must be the only family not consuming all of our media over the Internet.

How was your weekend?

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

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Silicon Valley, Season Three:
This was a pretty successful season with minimal retread of earlier story lines but all of the original characters finding some way to remain relevant in the story. I felt like the character of Erlich Bachman was slightly overused, and the weirdness of Jared was used just enough.

Final Grade: B+

Patton Oswalt: Annihilation:
This stand-up special gets all of the Trump jokes out of the way at the beginning and gets better from there. A large portion dives into the recent death of his wife, but the special never drags or gets too somber. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Mindhunter, Season One:
This show is based on the book about serial killers by John Douglas, but even David Fincher can't keep the pilot from being slow and overly dialogue-y. That is really the theme of the venture, as the characters and plot are really just flat ciphers for the hugely interesting behaviorial crime knowledge originating from the book. The show is pretty uneven (I did finish it) and most people will probably get bored pretty quickly -- better to just read the original book. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C+

The Insistence of Memory by Susan Quilty:
This sci-fi thriller about the concept of memory is written by one of Rebecca's yoga teachers. Though the back cover blurb is reminiscent of an episode of Black Mirror, the book immediately and effectively carves its own space out of the subject matter. It's a fast-paced read with a good blend of mystery plot and open-ended questions about where technology will lead us.

Final Grade: B+

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Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving Day

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