05/2020

Friday, May 01, 2020

Data Day: A Representative Day in Self-Quarantine

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

Monday, May 04, 2020

Recipe Day: Worcestershire Steaks

A new steak marinade from the quarantine files:

Ingredients

  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1/8 cup Balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/8 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ribeye steak, 1" - 1 1/4" thick
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. Create 1 batch of marinade for each steak. Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Marinate each steak in a separate freezer bag for 2 hours. Don't marinate for longer -- you want the steaks to be thoroughly coated but not completely infiltrated.
  3. Remove from marinade and pat dry. Add salt and pepper on each side. Allow steaks to warm up to room temperature for 30 minutes before grilling.
  4. Grill steak on high heat, 2 minutes per side.
  5. Reduce grill to medium heat and continue grilling: 5 minutes per side for rare steaks and 8 minutes per side for medium.
  6. Let sit for 5 minutes after grilling. Serve with mushrooms or whatever is left in your pantry.

tagged as recipes | permalink | 4 comments

Wednesday, May 06, 2020

Maia Battle Report: Year 2 Month 10

Maia is just 2 months away from turning 3. Quarantine life has been challenging -- Maia understands that something is different in our routines and misses her friends, but doesn't really have the context to express this properly. She's tired of hanging out with just the two of us all the time, but we still have a lot of fun with few tantrums. It would probably be much harder if she were a little older and had more memory of what going to school every day was like.

Maia still loves bunnies and requires Original Bunny around to "dry my tears" whenever she has cried. Most games involve bunnies in some way, from building houses / dance studios / coffee shops for bunnies to dressing up the bunnies in her clothes.

She retains vast quantities of information, and will point out the difference between cedar conifers and pine trees on nature hikes, or successfully answer every single Berenstain Bears trivia question ("In which book did X happen?") we ask her. She recently started memorizing Mother Goose rhymes and also woke up frantically one morning to tell us that she heard a catbird outside.

Last month, we finally let her watch Frozen in four 25-minute chunks. For the next two days, all of her bunnies changed their names to Frozen characters and we played games involving our bed as "North Mountain" ("Elsa bunny has to climb it!"). This also happened:

Since then, she's learned all of the words to the song. She will recite them during nursery quiet time and then ask Alexa to play the song as if she were checking her work.

Other Maia Fragments:

  • She has discovered bacon and once cried when she ate it all and there was none left.
  • She's aware that we have two Original Bunnies now and will ask for the "magic cousin bunny" when her first bunny is dirty and requires a trip in the washing machine. She understands that only one lives in the world at a time.
  • She no longer wants to watch anything but Superwings on TV. Mister Roger's and Sesame Street are ancient history. Even so, we'll only go through about an hour of TV per week.

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

Friday, May 08, 2020

Shoe Day

You know it's time to get new shoes when your old treads wouldn't even pass a Virginia state tire inspection.

Rest in peace, my 11-year-old Rockports!

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

Monday, May 11, 2020

Day 60

It's Day 60 of my self-quarantine. We're still doing this.

Since I have nothing new to report, I went back through all of my old blog posts to see what we did in other Mays throughout history. Here is a representative image from each one.

May, 2002: I used to use Yahoo TV as a TV Guide.

May, 2004: We all played Footmen Frenzy.

May, 2005: I reached level 60 in World of Warcraft for the first time.

May, 2006: I organized my CD collection.

May, 2007: I had a caption contest (#3 won).

May, 2008: I proposed an alternative to the Silver Line.

May, 2009: We went to the Smith's for Cinco de Mayo.

May, 2010: We drove the Smiths to the airport so they could go to Oregon.

May, 2011: We remodeled the kitchen.

May, 2012: I got a new car. It remains consistently okay throughout its life.

May, 2013: Rebecca graduated from PT school.

May, 2014: Why are we always with the Smiths in May?

May, 2015: We had 3 cats.

May, 2016: My mom asks about the relationship between me, chickens, and politics.

May, 2017: Our regularly scheduled friends dinner was gnocchi and shrimp with a garlic parmesan sauce.

May, 2018: Maia is almost 1.

May, 2019: Maia knows more about types of beer by now than most college freshmen.

tagged as green (recycled) content | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:06 AM: Showered and ready for Day 61 of Self-Quarantine.
6:14 AM: Eggos for breakfast.
6:36 AM: Arriving at work.
9:03 AM: Good morning!
10:16 AM: Putting candles in the birthday cake in front of the Berenstain Bear's treehouse which is mysteriously filled with eggs right now.
11:27 AM: Working lunch.
1:18 PM: Exercising on the treadmill and watching Expanse, Season Two.
2:57 PM: Playing Elder Scrolls Online while Maia reads nursery rhymes during her quiet time.
5:30 PM: Hey, let's draw more bunnies.
5:45 PM: Games requiring us to lie on the bed are the best kinds of games.
6:17 PM: Broiled shrimp, tater tots, and broccoli for dinner.
7:17 PM: Post-bath, excited for her new book.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, May 15, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Expanse, Season Two:
I gave the first season of this sci-fi show a C-, labelling it a slog with forgettable characters. The second season is a major improvement (one that I only watched because there was nothing else in my queue at that moment). The plot moves steadily and weaves disparate storylines and characters together to a nice finale, in spite of the fact that the main protagonist has a punchable face. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

The Click by AJR:
This is a fun pop album, full of catchy hooks and interesting samples. Burn The House Down is a good representative track.

Final Grade: B+

Bosch, Season Six:
Six seasons in, Bosch has perfected the art of juggling five or six storylines without collapsing in chaos. This season is much better than Season Five because the main characters are more often in the same scenes together. I appreciate the slow and steady cinematography much more than I used to -- although that may just be quarantine talking. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

Parks and Recreation, Quarantine Episode:
The Parks and Rec cast gathered to create a Reunion Special and it was exactly what it needed to be. The use of a Gryzzl Video Chat to connect actors all stuck at home during quarantine was a clever way to put together a show without much of an overarching plot, but this is really just a way to get some favourite characters back together again and remind us how good the show was.

Final Grade: A

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, May 18, 2020

Weekend Wrap-up

On Saturday morning, we had a physically-distanced visit with Rebecca's parents.

In the afternoon, Maia attended the virtual birthday party for her classmate, Morgan, whose parents dropped off a party favor bag in advance. Afterwards, we had artisanal sandwiches with fried eggs on top.

On Sunday, we took a walk in Claude Moore Park.

How was your weekend?

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

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken two years ago today, on May 20, 2018.

The AT from Route 7 to Bear's Den is normally an easy, no-drama affair. We made the mistake of trying it after a solid week's worth of rain which raised humidity levels up to 120% and converted most of the trail into interminable mudslides. Hiking in damp shoes is my least favourite activity.

Maia was 10 months old and enjoyed her first trip in the kid backpack, as well as the view (and milk break) at the top.

tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, May 22, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Neotheater by AJR:
AJR and The Fratellis have been my quarantine jams for the past month or so. This album isn't as catchy as The Click, but it has more interesting orchestrations and use of samples. 100 Bad Days is a pretty representative track off the album.

Final Grade: B+

Upload, Season One:
This show about a world where you can upload your consciousness after death to live forever is impossible to categorize -- it's like The Good Place meets Black Mirror meets that awful Matt Damon movie, Downsized. It's more of a drama with comedy elements, with very little in common with the creator's previous shows (The Office and Parks and Recreation). Once you get used to the uneven tone and accept what it is, you'll be rewarded with decent character development and a few surprises. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

Terminator: Dark Fate:
The sixth movie in the franchise (yet only the third blessed by James Cameron) is an unnecessary, uneven sequel. It's fun enough, but mixes over-CGI'd action scenes with obligatory, overlong character development scenes. It doesn't bring enough new story to the table, and the new villain is no more threatening or interesting than any previous villain.

Final Grade: B-

Undone, Season One:
This animated show features an unlikable protagonist who begins experiencing time differently after a car crash, exploring regrets, trauma, and mental illness. We got through 4 of 8 half-hour episodes before stopping -- in spite of the presence of Bob Odenkirk essentially playing a ghost version of Bob Odenkirk, there wasn't enough reason to keep watching. The rotoscoped animation style was pretty neat, but also very distracting. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: Not Graded

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, May 25, 2020

Review Day: Quarantine Shopping Experiences

Safeway on Sterling Boulevard:
Constantly out of stock on staples like milk, eggs, and meats. No interesting beers anymore. Great fresh bagels. Produce may have been scooped out of a Medieval midden. Most employees wearing a mask, half of patrons.

Final Grade: D

Giant on Dranesville Road:
Great fruit and vegetables. Sporadic availability of nice-to-haves like disinfectant wipes, yeast, and ribeye. Everyone in masks.

Final Grade: A

Costco on Route 7:
More people than expected, not as many as there could have been. Everyone in a mask but most patrons still oblivious to surroundings. Everything in stock but toilet paper. Worth it for a once-a-month trip.

Final Grade: B

Chuy's at Cascades:
Online ordering and well-oiled curbside operation. Food tastes great at home.

Final Grade: A

Sweetwater Tavern on Route 7:
Excellent ordering and curbside operation. $2 to-go pints. Delicious food that stays good after travel (other than fries, which get a little soggy). Slightly pricey.

Final Grade: A

Joe's Pizzaria on Sterling Boulevard:
Delicious comfort food and the best pizzas overall. Super fast, safe delivery.

Final Grade: B

Fireworks Pizza at Cascades:
We love this place in-person and really want to support them, but the pizza was small, cold, and disappointing by the time we got home.

Final Grade: D

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 13 years ago, on May 26, 2007.

I was hosting a Memorial Day barbeque with the usual folks that also enjoyed a good poker game: Chris, Kathy, her brother, Jeff, Ben, Anna, Rosie, Jason, James, and Jack. Not pictured is Diana, who is off-camera holding a 7-week old Ella while Anna plays.

This party evidently took place before craft beer was a thing, as all there was to drink was Yuengling and Corona. Also, I came in first place for the first time ever!

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, May 29, 2020

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2020 album.

  • Events
    • Video chat with the Uri grandparents on T 5/5.

    • Video chat with Mike, Annie, Sam, and Kristen on W 5/6.

    • Got Maia a blue scooter on H 5/7.

    • Safe-distance Mother's Day visit from the Uri grandparents on S 5/10.

    • Safe-distance visit from Rebecca's parents on S 5/16.

    • First Costco run since February on W 5/20. Maia reunited with Nolan for a short outdoor scooter ride. Smashed my middle toe moving furniture in the evening.

    • Safe-distance visit from the Uri grandparents on S 5/24.

    • Safe-distance visit from Rebecca's parents on F 5/29.
    • Safe-distance visit with Tammy and Zoe on S 5/31.

  • Projects
    • No interesting side projects this month.

  • Consumerism
    • Still playing Elder Scrolls Online.

    • Enjoying new music by AJR and the Fratellis this month.

    • Enjoyed watching Dead to Me, Season Two.

May's Final Grade: B-, at least it's getting warmer!

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

 

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