01/2021

Friday, January 01, 2021

Happy New Year!

Here's something we're looking forward to in 2021:

Maia: "I will give him this little bowl so I can share my bacon with him."
BU: "That's such a nice thing to do for your baby brother!"
Maia: "Then I can have the big bowl."

Also, 3D ultrasounds are still weird.

tagged as offspring | permalink | 4 comments

Monday, January 04, 2021

List Day: 2021 Resolutions

  1. Go into a restaurant and have a pint.

  2. Put gas in my car.

  3. Finish the last 2 puzzles in Puzzle Boat 7.

  4. Visit my new office in Herndon which opened in April 2020.

  5. Restart Monthly Poker Night.

  6. Drop Maia off at the grandparents' for a week, month, or year.

  7. Smell the BO of someone outside of my family.

  8. Enter a Costco without feeling like I'm an extra in the prologue of an outbreak movie.

  9. Have at least 1 barbeque.

  10. Go down a grocery store aisle any damn way I please.

tagged as lists | permalink | 3 comments

Wednesday, January 06, 2021

Maia Battle Report: Year 3.5

Maia turned 3.5 years old today. At this point, her life is a laundry list of individual quirks that I want to remember in 30 years rather than a coherent narrative. MAIA FRAGMENTS!

♠ 2020 was the first year that Maia had true holiday awareness, and she was super excited about Christmas starting around November 1. (Thanksgiving was an interim necessity without value, like Reading Day before college exams). On Christmas Day, the goal was to open as many presents as possible in succession rather than seeing what was inside.

♠ Maia remembers everything. One night, we ordered new candles on Amazon and three days later, she woke up telling us that the candles were arriving today. Three weeks after abandoning Paper Mario: Origami King, I mentioned that it was a dumb game because of all the wave battles and she remembered exactly where we had last stopped and saved the game.

♠ We spend 20 - 40 minutes per day playing video games now, mostly Zelda with a little Animal Crossing. Afterwards, she'll play pretend games based on the concepts she saw. Over Christmas break, I showed her a massive hardcover Zelda game guide I had bought and she spent her whole quiet time studying the book, especially all of the ingredients you can harvest in the game. Now she traces paths on the game maps (the way I used to do with Rand McNally atlases) to find new towers that will download maps onto her Sheikah Slate (a rectangular Christmas ornament that also doubles as her smartphone).

♠ Maia spends about 30% of the day either standing on her head or jumping/falling off of things.

♠ She learned how to make a squishy tick-tock sound with her mouth and does it constantly now.

♠ Her first snow in aware memory happened on Dec 16. She loved every minute of it, making snow angels, snow men, shoveling, and falling over for no good reason.

♠ She has memorized roughly 75% of the nursery rhymes in a giant book of Richard Scarry Mother Goose rhymes. We'll watch her on the baby-cam at night skipping the pages she doesn't remember and reciting the other poems exactly.

♠ She still loves mazes. In a book of mazes the grandparents got, there is an owl swooping down to eat the mouse and the tagline is, "Help the mouse get to safety in his burrow." I explained that the owl was trying to eat the mouse, and then she finished the maze the long way, making a stop near a picture of some food. "Maybe the mouse will take the food up to the owl's nest so the owl can feed her babies." This is called empathy.

♠ She can consistently count the numbers on two dice, and can count in order up to 20. She skips 17 about 50% of the time.

♠ She's big on the solar system and we often repeat the number of moons each planet has while sitting at the dining room table.

♠ I gave her the original Where's Waldo? book and she found Waldo in the first puzzle immediately.

♠ She has had a few doozies of tantrums (once, I put the laundry in the washing machine without her), but is otherwise good-natured and very outward-focused.

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

Friday, January 08, 2021

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Schitt's Creek, Season Five:
Another quickly-watched season with a good balance of awkward and heartfelt humor. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm (R):
The majority of this movie is a retread of the first with less reason for existence -- while there are a few laugh out loud one-liners here and there, most of the humor feels obligatory and the targets seem too easy. It's also no longer clear who's in on the shtick which reduces the shock value. The wrap-up and final reveal is good though, just barely making the rest of the movie worth watching. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: C+

Outside the Jukebox:
This autobiography of the Postmodern Jukebox creator reads easily, blending musical nerd trivia, motivational one-liners, and a minimum of self-aggrandizement. I finished it in a couple days and enjoyed it, but you'd have to be already be a fan of Postmodern Jukebox to consider it

Final Grade: B

The 100, Season Seven:
I'm pretty sure Netflix finally got around to implementing "Watch at 1.5x" speed for this show. The extended 16-episode final season consists of a ton of one-off origin stories that all end up exactly where you expect them to, and a revolving array of beautiful people covered in mud and wounds so they all look the same. The 100 has always been a show where interesting worldbuilding ideas smother any sense of character development, and this season tries so hard to answer every question (even those I didn't really care about) that it forgets to elicit any investment in its characters. Like previous seasons, people suddenly have changes of heart and betrayals and lamentations to keep the plot moving, but thankfully we don't spend endless episodes with the main characters hating each other. The season is an unfocused whiplash of factions, new worlds, and lore until, suddenly, the writers realize there's only a few episodes left and they have to wrap everything up. The ending was fine. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: C-

tagged as reviews | permalink | 0 comments

Monday, January 11, 2021

Stuff in My Drawers Day: Bunnies, Part IV

Even more pandemic bunny drawing requests from Maia

"Daddy, you need to draw a bunny going to the chalk store."

Other posts in this series: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV

tagged as media | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:10 AM: Showered and ready for work.
6:21 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
8:36 AM: Checking in with Amber.
9:06 AM: Monkey breakfast.
11:51 AM: Working lunch.
12:53 PM: Running on the treadmill while watching the 5th season of The Expanse.
2:45 PM: Making more maps for Maia to download onto her Sheikah Slate (the Christmas ornament in her right hand) before quiet time.
5:04 PM: Recreating Bunny Peak in real life.
5:18 PM: Marinated pork chops and cheesy brussel sprouts for dinner.
5:46 PM: Family dinner.
6:32 PM: Excited to watch me play Zelda before bedtime.
8:56 PM: Ending the night with a game of Azul.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments

Friday, January 15, 2021

List Day: 10 Vetoed Baby Names

  1. Russel Sprouts Uri

  2. Nate Uri

  3. Mormon Tabernacle Uri

  4. Brown N' Serve Uri

  5. Thick Sliced Uri

  6. Mellow Yellow Uri

  7. Hurricane Uri

  8. With The Fringe On Top Uri

  9. Hup Uri

  10. Brother Bear Uri

tagged as lists, offspring | permalink | 2 comments

Monday, January 18, 2021

Paint Day

The reason I relocated my office to the basement last September was to make room for another Uri. This weekend, we finally got around to repainting the shade of "eggshell blue" that first went on 15 years ago, on October 22, 2005.

After painting Interim Bunny, I painted some binoculars over its eyes and then gently concealed it behind a bush using the final paint color. Now Maia thinks it will be hiding in the wall forever, guarding over the room.

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

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Saved Post Day

A post I want to preserve from Facebook:

January 19, 2021

Taking the mic away from influential spreaders of misinformation is not a complete solution. It increases the isolation of ardent followers and drives them to search for similar meaning along the fringes of reality. Consider how Twitter evictions, inaugural security practices, and mass arrests are perceived by people who truly believe election falsehoods. They will remain susceptible to the next grifter that comes along without a dedicated, compassionate effort to educate them -- an effort that, itself, can be spun into something dystopian by the loudest voices! Short-sightedly abandoning these people as a lost cause does nothing to nullify future threats.

"Out of sight, out of mind" doesn't work when dealing with asbestos, high explosives, or misinformation.

tagged as deep thoughts | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Stuff in My Drawers Day: Old Newspapers

One day in 7th grade, my dad gave me the front page of the Washington Post and told me to save it. His paraphrased explanation was, "We went to war today. You're going to want to remember this day sometime in the future."

He didn't give me another newspaper until 17 years later, the day that Barack Obama was elected the first time. By then, I already had my own subscription, but it was still a nice gesture at a historical moment.

The corollary to this story is that, apparently, nothing between 1991 and 2008 impressed my dad in the least bit.

tagged as memories | permalink | 1 comment

Friday, January 22, 2021

Patio Day

the sequel to last year's screen porch

Next up on our list of 2021 improvements is a larger patio in the backyard. Having been deckless for the past year, there hasn't been a good place to put the grill where it won't sink in the mud, and I always forget to roll it away from the house (resulting in melted siding).

The new patio will connect to the sidewalk that runs around our house already, and will also feature a cut out behind where the grill would be to prevent toddlers from running near the hot parts. The fancy grill graphic is just a placeholder -- we aren't actually putting a ritzy stone wall around it. The mock patio furniture is also highly unlikely unless we want to go for a Sims-themed layout.

Once this is constructed, we'll have twice as many things to show off to people who we haven't seen since pre-March 2020!

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

Monday, January 25, 2021

Game Day

On Saturday night, Maia played and completed an entire game of Tokaido (Ages 8+) with Rebecca and me.

This is one of the games that she watches Rebecca play online on Board Game Arena and apparently all of those lessons stuck. Not only did she make logical strategic choices in the game, she also explained why she made different moves as she played.

Not bad for three and a half!

tagged as offspring | permalink | 0 comments

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Time-lapsed Blogography Day: Twenty-Five Years Ago Today

Twenty five years ago today, on January 27, 1996, I was at Virginia Tech for my music major audition.

My parents and I arrived on campus around 11:30 and walked around for a little while. I then got a private tour of the Squires music building by a music volunteer, likely a Delta Omnicron member although I wouldn't have known what that was at the time.

For my trumpet audition, I performed Alexander Goedicke's Concert Etude and Carl Hohne's Slavische Fantasie for 9 music faculty that (at a minimum) included Drs. Bachelder, Easter, Widder, and Dave McKee. I played on my cornet and did pretty well without a pianist. Afterwards, the panel interviewed me about my entire composition portfolio which consisted of 8 whole pieces diligently printed on my state-of-the-art HP LaserJet printer and put into a three-ring binder. They closed with the standard question, "Do you have any questions for us?" I pulled out a single sheet of typed questions to which Dave McKee chuckled and said, "Watch out for this guy! He's got questions for US!"

Because motels were "a waste of money for such a short trip", my dad drove us home to Alexandria in the same day, making it a 12-hour trip from end to end. I then wrote the following in my journal:

I like the music program and I think the faculty was impressed with me but I don't think I'll end up going there.

At the time, I had my eye more on William and Mary (which turned out to be awful for both halves of my double major) and felt like Tech was too far away (it was).

tagged as memories | permalink | 0 comments

Friday, January 29, 2021

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2021 album.

  • Events
    • Rebecca got her first COVID vaccine shot on S 1/10 and her second on W 1/27.

    • My mom got her first COVID vaccine shot on T 1/12.

    • My dad got his first COVID vaccine shot on T 1/19.

    • Rebecca and Maia visited Uncle Dave and Aunt Carol on S 1/16.

    • The Smiths came over for a vented basement visit on S 1/23. Maia played her first game of Tokaido.

    • Rebecca and Maia went hiking with the Smiths at Cub Run on M 1/25.

    • First snow "storm" of 2021 on S 1/31.

  • Projects
    • Restarted an exercise regimen -- jogging 2 miles per day, 5 days per week.

    • Painted the new nursery on F 1/15 - S 1/16.

    • Met with our patio builder for Phase II on T 1/19.

    • Finally finished Puzzle Boat 7 on T 1/19.

    • Finally finished the migration of an ancient Janny Wurts forum on W 1/20.

  • Consumerism
    • No amazing shows, music, or games this month.

January's Final Grade: B, This is fine, and it went by fast.

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

 

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