12/2020

Wednesday, December 02, 2020

Advent of Code Day

Advent of Code, the annual midnight coding competition has started! You can follow my daily progress on my company's Fastest Solve Times page. It's kind of nice that, ever since I moved my office down to the basement, I have a guest bed to crash in before and after. I no longer have to worry about waking up the light sleepers of the household.

tagged as programming | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, December 04, 2020

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Schitt's Creek, Season Four:
A pleasant enough season, although I'm sick of the Moira character who I feel should have gained way more self-awareness after three seasons. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

The Much Much How How and I by Cosmo Sheldrake:
Come Along came up on one of my Amazon stations and took me down the rabbit hole of this aurally unique album. It's a mix of whimsical lyrics, wind orchestrations, and soundscapes like the ones I might have tried to write with MIDI as an undergrad.

Final Grade: B+

Pieces of April (PG-13):
This was our "Thanksgiving Movie" fare, starring Katie Holmes as someone struggling to prepare Thanksgiving dinner for a reunion with a judgemental mother. It feels a lot like a road trip movie for most of its running time, and the wrap-up requires a very abrupt "change of heart" scene. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B-

Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox:
Not a review of the pictured album specifically, but more of their entire body of work which might take years to wade through. The Postmodern Jukebox project creates vintage arrangements of vapid pop songs using a revolving selection of talented musicians. Great examples include Gnarls Barkley's Crazy, Tears for Fears' Mad World and George Michael's Careless Whisper. The music videos add an extra layer to the production with their simplicity and humorous touches.

Final Grade: A

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Monday, December 07, 2020

Interview Day: Maia Edition

wisdom at age 3 and 5 months

What is your favourite color?

"Pink!"

What is your favourite movie?

"Frozen. 1. Not Frozen 2."

What is your favourite food?

"Oranges." (actually chocolate but she was eating oranges during this interview)

What is your favourite drink?

"Freckled lemonade."

Who is your favourite bunny?

"Original Bunny!"

What is your favourite activity?

"Going to the farmer's market. For the apples."

What do you like to play?

"Mazes."

What is your favourite planet in the solar system?

"Which one is the tiniest?" (Pluto). "That's the one. It's the tiniest planet in the solar system!"

What is your favourite holiday?

"Christmas 'cause I like to open the presents."

What is your favourite book?

"Little Bunny's Bedtime."

What is your favourite outside activity?

"I like to play ball."

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

"I like to share the turkey and the ham."

tagged as offspring | permalink | 5 comments

Wednesday, December 09, 2020

List Day: Labelled Years

As an update to my last attempt, here are the years of my life with summary labels.

  • 1979: The Year I Was Born
  • 1980: The Year I Came to America
  • 1981: The Year I Lived Next Door to the Fishers
  • 1982: The Year I Was Naturalized
  • 1983: The Year Rosa Started Babysitting Us
  • 1984: The Year I Started Kindergarten
  • 1985: The Year I Started First Grade
  • 1986: The Year I Started Second Grade / Skipped a Grade
  • 1987: The Year I Started Fourth Grade
  • 1988: The Year I Started Fifth Grade / Was a Lunchtime Dungeon Master / Played the Cornet
  • 1989: The Year I Started Sixth Grade / Joined the Boy Scouts
  • 1990: The Year I Went to Nevada / Started Seventh Grade / Was the Only Trumpeter in Band
  • 1991: The Year I Started Eighth Grade
  • 1992: The Year I Got Glasses / Started Crew / Started Ninth Grade / Went to My First Dance
  • 1993: The Year I Got Eagle Scout / Started Tenth Grade / Started Indoor Track
  • 1994: The Year I Started Eleventh Grade / Got into Jazz
  • 1995: The Year I Started Twelfth Grade / Programmed Games on my TI-85 / Was Drum Major
  • 1996: The Year I Went to Tech and Moved in with Andy / Joined the Marching Band
  • 1997: The Year I Had Many Online Friends / Moved in with Beavis
  • 1998: The Year I Moved in with Nathan / Wrote Olio
  • 1999: The Year I Moved in with Kelley / Got Contacts and a New Hair Style / Went to the Sugar Bowl
  • 2000: The Year I Started Using Photoshop / Got an internship at FGM / Moved in with Rosie and Anna
  • 2001: The Year I Had a 5th Year Recital / Graduated from Tech / Moved to Florida
  • 2002: The Year I Was a Grad Student / Taught Music Classes
  • 2003: The Year I Defend My Masters Thesis / Lived in Centreville / Started full-time at FGM
  • 2004: The Year I Bought a House / Lived with Anna and sometimes Eric, Ben, or Kathy / Started playing World of Warcraft
  • 2005: The Year We Built a Sidewalk around the House / Anna Got Married
  • 2006: The Year I Went to the Bachelder Retirement Concert / Kathy Got Married
  • 2007: The Year I Met Rebecca / Dressed Up as Dick-in-a-Box for Halloween
  • 2008: The Year We Went to Europe the First Time / Got Engaged
  • 2009: The Year We Got Married / Went to Hawaii
  • 2010: The Year There Was a Massive Blizzard / We Went to the Puerto Rico, Spokane, Santa Cruz, and Emerald Isle / I Released DDMSence 1.0
  • 2011: The Year We Renovated the Kitchen / Went to Arkansas and Charlotte / I Started Playing Skyrim
  • 2012: The Year I Tried to Be a Semantic Ontologist / We Went to Quebec & Montreal / Rebecca Was in PT School
  • 2013: The Year Rebecca Became a PTA / We Started Hiking at Harpers Ferry
  • 2014: The Year We Went to the Greenbier / Vacationed in Seattle / Played D&D
  • 2015: The Year We Built a Shed / Went Back to Europe / Housed Sydney
  • 2016: The Year We Went to Colorado and Hiked a 14er / I Left Novetta
  • 2017: The Year Maia Was Born / Kitty and Booty Died / I Returned to Novetta
  • 2018: The Year We Went to LA for a Wedding / I Started Advent of Code
  • 2019: The Year I Turned 40 with Poker / We Did A Lot of Puzzles
  • 2020: The Year We Stayed Home for COVID

The value of labels is twofold:

  1. They provide a temporal anchor for organizing my memories, especially in the recent years where the skeleton of school grades is unavailable and everything blurs together.
  2. They act as episode titles when my life is picked up as a Netflix Original (1 year per 22 minute episode). Who would you like to portray you in my show?

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

Friday, December 11, 2020

Stuff in My Drawers Day: A Snow Day Story

an exciting story from first grade

I had fun in the snow. I and my sister made 2 snowmen. What fun it was! And I through a snowball at my sister's face. And made a little hollow fort. And throuh snow in the air. I went out two times. Ellen went two times too.

It snowed hard yester day. I did not know where the animals were hibernating. I went inside then I had hot dogs and Potato rounds inside. I walked on ice with out slipping there.

- Brian Uri, Febuary 12, 1986

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Monday, December 14, 2020

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

12:38 AM: Wrapping up Day 12 of Advent of Code (6th place).
8:40 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
8:55 AM: Bagel for breakfast, in the shade of the avocado tree.
9:44 AM: Second breakfast with the rest of the family.
10:21 AM: Taking a break from the crossword puzzle.
11:07 AM: Inventing a hex-based board game in which Aladdin goes fishing with Stitch.
12:50 PM: Leftovers from Joe's Pizzaria for lunch, on a porch visit with Rebecca's parents.
3:21 PM: Quick nap.
5:00 PM: Gingerbread cookie time!
5:59 PM: Dinner's gettin' weird.
7:27 PM: Tonight's bedtime story selection.
11:51 PM: Back up for Advent of Code, Day 13.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Twelve 12 of 12s

a recap of 12 of 12 posts from 2020

January: We're on a playground!
February: We're in a restaurant!
March: The last day at work before the world went sideways. Also, I am a natural social distancer.
April: Happy Easter!
May: This game is called "Lie on the Bed".
June: We have to make our own fun.
July: Overhauling the official Janny Wurts website.
August: Quarantine leads to exotic dinners.
September: Turning 41 in a mountain cabin. Maia is just excited for "Hey, That's My Fish!"
October: Enjoying a week alone at home!
November: Which will come first, a finished Puzzle Boat or an edible avocado?
December: An unseasonably warm porch date.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, December 18, 2020

Top Reviews of 2020

Here are the experiences I gave the highest ratings to in 2020. Go discover something new!

Television Shows

  • John Mulaney and the Sack Lunch Bunch (A) (Netflix)
  • Money Heist, Part Three and Four (B+, A-) (Netflix)
  • Parks and Recreation, Quarantine Episode (A) (YouTube)
  • Dead to Me, Season Two (A) (Netflix)
  • Dark, Season Three (B+) (Netflix)
  • Middleditch and Schwartz, Season One (B+) (Netflix)
  • The Good Place, Season Three (A) (Netflix)

Movies

  • Parasite (B+)
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople (B+) (Netflix)
  • Knives Out (B+) (Amazon Video)
  • Hamilton (A) (Disney+)
  • Get Duked! (A) (Amazon Video)

Music

  • Easter is Cancelled by The Darkness (B+)
  • Costello Music by The Fratellis (B+)
  • Matinee by Jack Penate (B+)
  • Eyes Wide, Tongue-Tied by The Fratellis (A)
  • The Click by AJR (A)
  • Neotheater by AJR (B+)
  • In Your Own Sweet Time by The Fratellis (B+)
  • Who Killed the Zutons by The Zutons (B+)
  • Live at Brooklyn Steel by Mika (B+)
  • Scott Bradlee's Postmodern Jukebox (A)

Books

  • How to Destroy a Tech Startup in Three Easy Steps by Lawrence Krubner and Natalie Sidner (B+)
  • Draigon Weather by Paige L. Christie (B+)

Games

  • Elder Scrolls Online (B+) (PC)

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Monday, December 21, 2020

BD Cartoon Day, Part I

a selection of original cartoons from the business development Slack channel I maintain at work

Other posts in this series: Part I | Part II

tagged as media | permalink | 1 comment

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

2020 Timeline

A smattering of events from 2020

January: B
  • Just enough snow for a 3-foot snowman.
  • Tried to restart a monthly Poker Night (lasted two months).
  • Crazy company party at the MGM.
February: B-
  • Maia got a spot in the Starfish preschool program (then dropped out for COVID).
  • Sealed in the mouse-infested crawlspace.
  • Got a new screen porch, just in time for quarantine.
March: B-
  • Finished the Paravia Wiki.
  • Last times outside before quarantine on 3/12.
  • Lots of virtual games until everyone got Zoomed out.
  • Got away to Sperryville for a weekend.
April: C
  • Released a 20th anniversary edition of Augmented Fourth.
  • Did a virtual painting date.
May: B-
  • Lots of distance visits with the family.
June: B
  • Got away to Lovettsville for a weekend.
July: B-
  • 4th of July with the Smiths.
  • Segmented birthday parties for Maia's 3rd birthday.
  • Outer Banks with the Smiths.
August: B
  • Released the Official Janny Wurts website.
  • Got into grocery pick-up.
September: B
  • Turned 41 in a mountain cabin with the Smiths.
  • Move the office down to the basement.
October: B+
  • 11th Anniversary at home.
  • Rebecca and Maia went back to OBX with the Edwardses.
  • Puzzle Boating with my work team.
November: C
  • Annoying health concerns that still linger.
  • Maia went to the National Zoo.
  • Thanksgiving at home.
December: B-
  • Participated in Advent of Code 2020.
  • Stayed home in the cold.

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Friday, December 25, 2020

Christmas Day

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Monday, December 28, 2020

Advent of Code Day

Another 2nd place finish ($200) for me this year! I was actually in 3rd place on the night before the final puzzle and only inched into 2nd through luck and competitor exhaustion.

The competition for Advent of Code this year was ridiculous, partially due to COVID-19 keeping everyone at home with nothing better to do. In fact while Novetta usually gets a huge number of people in the Global Top 100 throughout the month, I had the only global record this year, and it was only because I was persistent with hitting F5 during the first day's server outage (due to the competition's unexpected popularity). Here is a reenactment of the insane technical skill I needed to get this record.

tagged as programming | permalink | 2 comments

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

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

  • Events
    • Windows-open basement visit with Car on S 12/5.

    • Porch visit with Rebecca's parents on S 12/12.

    • Porch visit with the Smiths on S 12/13.

    • Light snow on W 12/16.

    • Went on a Christmas Lights walk in the neighborhood on W 12/23.

    • Quarantine Christmas with the immediate family (Maia and Rebecca) on F 12/25.

    • Farm visit with the Smiths on M 12/28.

    • New Year's Eve Celebration with the 3 of us at home at 6 PM on H 12/31.

  • Projects
    • Did Advent of Code for the 3rd straight year.

    • Presented "How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Business Development" to our Technical Leadership Development Program at work.

  • Consumerism
    • No new music or games of note this month.

    • Just started watching Fargo, Season Four, and the first episode is promising.

December's Final Grade: B-, we made it through 2020!

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Thursday, December 31, 2020

Last Deep Thoughts Day

One last post I want to preserve from 2020:

December 29, 2020

As this rancid mayonnaise jar of a year ends, you might feel aghast at the behaviors or beliefs of other American citizens or hopeless about your ability to make things better. Please remember that none of what we're seeing came out of thin air. The siege lines between political factions, the man wearing his mask under his nose, and the innate fear of "the other side" -- all of these are just symptoms of deeper issues.

One reason we've gotten here is our smartphone-induced need to boil everything down to a sound bite without nuance. This has lowered the prestige of education, science, and journalism, resulting in a chaotic, fragmented news environment where disinformation is amplified. When every story is framed with exactly two sides, one "side" has to lose for the other to win and it becomes easier to dehumanize others while safe inside an echo chamber.

We need to fix causes, not symptoms. We cannot repair the divisions in this country without first repairing or reinventing the influential sources that shape peoples' beliefs and understanding of the world.

I don't have a sound bite solution that will fix everything, but here are some simple things I'll be doing in 2021.

  1. I'll continue to support traditional journalism and make it a point to read past the headlines of newspapers with differing viewpoints (allsides.com makes this easier).
  2. I'll try to look past peoples' behavior or bumper stickers and remember that it's dangerously easy to reduce someone to a false caricature when I don't know anything else about them.
  3. I'll try to be the best example of the type of person I'd want around me in my local community and professional network.

Thanks for indulging my final TED Talk of 2020.

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