09/2019

Monday, September 02, 2019

Review Day: First Impressions

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Mosquito Joe's:
After years of ravenous tiger mosquitoes and occasional attempts to self-spray the backyard that resulted in my fingertips smelling like chemicals for lingering days, we decided to try out a commercial spraying service. We paid for 3 applications (every 3 weeks) but were not suitably impressed. Any hard data in reduction in bites was confused by rain storms (one started 15 minutes after they sprayed) and the fact that it was too hot to be outside much this summer anyhow. The first two applications were very thorough, but on the 3rd visit, only one of the pair of sprayers showed up, and I'm pretty sure he skipped an entire side of the house.

At the end of the day, Maia still got multiple bites every time we briefly went out to water the plants, so the benefit was not worth the price.

First Impression: We cancelled after 3 visits, even though additional spraying sessions might have continued to improve the situation.

Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance:
This 10-episode prequel to the 80s movie, The Dark Crystal is visually and aurally impressive, yet I only made it about 40 minutes into the first episode. While I really want to like it, it feels expositionally clumsy (and I'm also not 8 years old anymore).

First Impression: Stalled, but I will definitely watch more to see if it improves.

Fire Emblem: Three Houses:
I've enjoyed this turn-based combat video game series since I discovered the GameCube edition. It's always a mixed bag in execution, but the core combat game is addictive and challenging. I bought the latest iteration for the Switch as soon as it stopped being out of stock everywhere (no, Dulles Gamestop, I will not place an order with you and "have it delivered sometime in the next month").

I'm about 3 hours into it right now and I'm pretty sure I've only fought about 2 battles. The rest of the time has been spent running around a castle full of one dimensional NPCs and essentially playing Harry Potter Relationship Simulator. "Oh you like eating fish too? Let's be friends!"

First Impression: A turn-based combat game without much turn-based combat -- I may not have the patience to see if it improves.

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Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Maia Battle Report: Year 2 Month 2

Maia is still alive, hovering near 23 pounds and 33". We've started a height wall in our hallway where we can mark her height at different intervals, protected by a thin layer of clear gloss for the day when she inevitably starts drawing all over it like I did in my childhood.

She speaks in surprisingly complete sentences, except when she gets too exciting about desiring something and babbles "IwantIwantIwantIwant!" without ever telling us what she wants. I have been keeping track of her sentence lengths, and 5-6 words is about average. She's never said a 7 word sentence, but her first 8 word sentence was the appropriate and truthful, "I got a big poop in my pants!". It was the size of a small peach.

On August 25, she pulled the magnetic M off of our fridge and said, "M for Maia!". She has also shown hints of "singing", namely the first words to Happy Birthday and the Welcome Song. In the car, she knows that red means stop, green means go, you go on a circle to get on the highway, and the highway is for driving fast.

Yesterday was her first day of "Just for 2s" class, a 1.5 hour session at the Sterling Community Center. She enjoyed the class without qualms, only crying briefly when she had to come inside from the playground. She was very proud of her school attendance when we picked her up, proclaiming "I went to school!" and that her friend had "cried a little".

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

Friday, September 06, 2019

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Season Four:
The final season is uniformly mediocre. It takes about 7 episodes (of 17) before they finally recapture the spirit of the show, then immediately kill any good will by recasting a major role with a completely new actor. The original actor left in Season Two, and the story would have been just as strong without the callback. The show muddles towards something of a non-ending in the finale, although the live concert of several songs tacked on the end was pretty fun. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C-

Carnival by Bryce Vine:
This is a modestly catchy album that's a little more mellow and a little less fun than his debut, and as equally mellow as his second album.

Final Grade: B-

The Good Place, Season Three:
This season was the weakest of the three so far. It felt a little like the plot was treading water a bit (the complete opposite of Season Two). That said, the jokes are still funny and it's over very quickly.

Final Grade: B-

The 100, Season Six:
The sixth season of this sci-fi show tries to be a clean slate, but the new stories often feel like obvious permutations of stories told previously. The clean slate idea is also held back a bit by all of the backstabbing and ill will amongst the main characters -- there are far too many scenes of characters apologizing for previous seasons' actions or accusing someone of betrayal. The weakest aspect of this season is how much of it takes place in what is essentially an extended dream sequence -- every show that tries to be deep with a dream sequence is wasting my time. Also, the finale was dull and mostly there to set up the next season. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C

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Monday, September 09, 2019

Bad Book Day

We regularly get hand-me-downs through the ad hoc donation pipelines that magically spring up when you have a child. While this works wonderfully for clothes (I'm pretty sure we've never bought Maia a new outfit ever), it's less effective for books. The books that get donated by our friends tend to be the worst of the worst, like Rebecca's favourite about a pig that practices surfing on a surfboard on the beach and then magically surfs in the ocean and goes home satisfied.

One of the worst offenders in my opinion is the "first reader" series for Pete the Cat. There are more of these books than there are Family Circus paperbacks and they possess comparable literary qualities. Take, for example, Pete the Cat and the Surprise Teacher.

There are major spoilers ahead.

Pete's mom subs his class and spends the entire day taking them to the wrong classrooms. At the end of the day, they thank her with a giant sign covered in construction paper cat heads. So essentially, an awesome day in Pete's mind is the day he discovers that his mom is a literal moron.

Why would the school system hire someone who can't tell the difference between the playground and the cafeteria? Perhaps the titular "suprise" is that Pete's mom was able to get her teaching license in the first place without knowing how to read. Or maybe receiving the thank you sign is supposed to be more of a Godfather callback and the students are subtly telling her to get a new vocation using decapitated cat heads in a threatening way.

The worst of the worst (so far) is Pete the Cat Play Ball!, a book that can't even get the grammar in its title correct.

This book consists of over 30 pages of Pete playing a baseball game and doing absolutely everything possible except successfully hitting the ball. His team wins in the end, thanks to teammates that aren't content with mediocrity. There are two takeaway life lessons in this book: (1) associate with more successful coworkers to share in their glory without lifting a finger and (2) baseball is boring.

tagged as mock mock | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 20 years ago today, on September 11, 1999.

The Marching Virginians had been relegated to the end zone to make more room for paid seats as Michael Vick performed various somersaults to get the Hokies to the National Championships. This particular game was on Band Parents' Day, where part of the halftime show involves spelling out "MOM" or (if we wanted to mix it up a little) "WOW" on the field. My parents attended annually, resulting in endless packets of real photographs with negatives developed at their local Costco.

The team beat University of Alabama at Birmingham 31 - 10 after which I returned to my room in East Ambler Johnston to eat a Hokie Express chicken sandwich and play Starcraft.

tagged as memories | permalink | 5 comments

Friday, September 13, 2019

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:32 AM: Showered and ready for work.
6:49 AM: Breakfast.
7:11 AM: At work in the main home office (versus the satellite home office in the basement).
8:43 AM: Good morning!
11:51 AM: Sub for lunch.
12:57 PM: Home from "school" and ready for lunch.
1:12 PM: Staging supplies for an away game Poker Weekend.
1:48 PM: Running on the treadmill and finally getting around to watching the third season of Stranger Things.
4:28 PM: Post-nap strawberries.
5:26 PM: Heat relief at the mall.
5:45 PM: She ate my entire biscuit.
6:29 PM: "Maia wash!"

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 0 comments

 

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