09/2021

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Maia's Art Day

Mama Bunny and Baby Bunny

I created instructions for drawing butterflies to increase her butterfly independence. Not only did she deliver a solid example, she also put it on a flag.

Maia drew this picture of Toad's garden after reading several "Frog and Toad" short stories. She spelled TOAD on her own, and the right-to-left orientation shows that she's ready for her Hebrew lessons.

Maia won a smiling sloth stencil during a Farmer's Market scavenger hunt. She says that each of these two pictures shows "Two bunnies dreaming about a sloth. It's a dream because there are thought bubbles". Apparently the bunnies, themselves, are offscreen.

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Friday, September 03, 2021

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

I Think You Should Leave, Season Two:
We loved the first season of this oddball comedy show but were less impressed by Season Two. The skits have morphed from "weird yet hilarious" to "weird for weird's sake". There are a couple great sketches, like Tables, but the rest are forgettable. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: B-

Otherlands: One by Casey Driessen:
This album is essentially a road trip of jam sessions from Casey Driessen, playing in many different styles. Great background music, but not as good for active listening. (The album is 80 minutes long and features a few 10 minute tracks).

Final Grade: B-

No Time For Enemies by Gangstagrass:
I always like the sound of Gangstagrass, which mixes rap, country, and bluegrass together. (They wrote the theme song for the show, Justified). The rapping itself is usually the weakest link. All of the raps on this album are rhythmically struggling, like Kanye West trying to do musical theater. The overall effect is just bad, and not "so bad it's good" like the classic "bears comin' outta nowhere" song.

Final Grade: C-

Psycho Jukebox by Jon Fratelli:
This album is a decade old now, and comes from the short solo career of the Fratellis' lead singer. While it sometimes sounds like a Fratellis spin-off band instead of a unique solo sound, I enjoyed it. There are lots of catchy melodic hooks throughout. Magic and Mayhem is a good representative track that easily gets stuck in my head.

Final Grade: B+

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Monday, September 06, 2021

Easy Photos Day

Ian eats squash.

Ian grows.

We visit Grandma in Alexandria.

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Wednesday, September 08, 2021

Stuff in My Drawers Day

I drew these pictures 28 years ago today, on September 8, 1993. They were in-class assignments in my 6th period art class, back when I still had naive half-formed ideas of becoming a colour-blind artist.

After drawing the box that art pencils came in, I reinforced the disposability of this assignment by flipping the page over and drawing my hand on the back. I still don't know why my index finger looks like it has its own enlarged goiter.

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Friday, September 10, 2021

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

Super Cool Tree House by Seth Sentry:
This is a pretty mellow, lo-fi pandemic album, where Seth Sentry solicited beats and wrote each song in a week. The lack of hooks means that no one song is particularly memorable, but they're all fun. I'm Not Sad is a good representative track.

Final Grade: B-

Bright Night Flowers by Jon Fratelli:
Another solo album that is about as far as you can get from the raucous Fratellis sound as possible. Evangeline is one that gets stuck in my head a lot.

Final Grade: A-

Greatful by Classified:
There's a few good singles on this album from Canadian rapper, Classified, like No Pressure featuring Snoop Dogg and Having Kids Is Easy but the rest was pretty forgettable.

Final Grade: B-

May Island:
We ordered food from this Japanese restaurant while visiting my mom last week. A little on the pricey side, but a good mix of flavors and presentations. The tempura stuff was delicious although the teriyakis were a little overcooked. The sushi was excellent.

Final Grade: B+

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Monday, September 13, 2021

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:20 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
6:38 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
7:35 AM: Arriving at the testing center for my AWS Machine Learning exam.
9:46 AM: Returning home after passing the test and getting groceries at Safeway.
11:11 AM: Running on the treadmill and refreshing my memory on Money Heist with the rest of the family at the farmer's market.
12:27 PM: Week 20!
12:39 PM: Italian sub for lunch.
1:26 PM: A rousing game of Hey, That's My Fish!
2:02 PM: Vigorous photobomb.
3:07 PM: Attempt at co-napping (failed).
5:58 PM: Avocado for dinner.
5:59 PM: Salmon for dinner.

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Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Birth Day

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Friday, September 17, 2021

Maia's 12 of 12

Maia's perspective on life (culled down from 188 pictures taken over several days)

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

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Monday, September 20, 2021

Ian Week #21 Battle Report

Ian is 21 weeks old (almost 5 months) and weighed 16.6 pounds at his last weigh-in.

He is currently in the phase where he enjoys bored banshee shrieking to the point where it sounds like our upstairs level is infested with pterodactyls. He's always kicking and can press his legs against walls to lift up his entire body and rotate 90 degrees. He holds toys, flips out when he accidentally throws them away, and has started contorting his neck backwards when he knows that a TV is on behind him.

Ian's sleep training went just fine and he currently sleeps through the night (or at least for an uninterrupted 7 hour stretch). Nap training is less successful -- he'll commit to 20 minute snoozes throughout the day but has only deigned to go down in the crib for a formal nap one time.

Still, this is better than his infant sleep routine. In the earliest days, I'd wear him from 8 to midnight while Rebecca slept, since his constant piggy grunts kept waking her up. This evolved into me being able to sing him to sleep while wearing him then depositing him on a bed from 10 until midnight when I gently transferred him upstairs to his crib. Now that he sleeps through the night, we finally moved him into his own room in Maia's hand-me-down crib.

The other new thing is solid foods -- Ian loves eating at the table with us and has tried avocado, squash, lentils, and applesauce. When finished, he wads his bib up and sucks all the nutrients out of it. Waste not, want not.

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

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What's Maia Up To Day

At age 4 1/3, Maia has become the coolest little girl I know. She has tons of empathy, and will often save parts of her dessert to share with Rebecca. She also likes making cards for people's birthdays.

She has gotten totally used to having a little brother now and will help out with small tasks like bringing a stuffed animal to calm him down or picking out his wardrobe for the day. She recognizes when he needs our attention and will play or read quietly until our attention can be redirected back to her again.

Her favorite foods are chocolate, bacon, and mac and cheese, with runner-ups being grilled cheese sandwiches, pesto, and whatever I'm eating for breakfast. Her favorite physical activity is jumping on the couch and she spends at least 40% of each day in a headstand on the couch.

A game we commonly play after dinner is "Stop and Go". She runs around the table on the screen porch and we give her commands, interspersed with trivia questions like "What is your favorite Berenstain Bear book?" and "What's 2 + 2?" When we run out of questions for her (about 15 minutes in), she'll take over and command herself like an autonomous robot.

On the video game front, we have finished both Zelda: Breath of the Wild and Ori and the Will of the Wisps. I am now teaching her how to play Mario Kart 8, which has a toggled feature that keeps the cars on the track so she can play all by herself. She is holding her own in the 50cc races, usually ending up in 4th place overall, and just learned how to shoot her items at other racers. I am disappointed that she will grow up in an era where blue shells (the most poorly-designed item) have always existed -- someday I will dust off the Super Nintendo and play Mario Kart the way it was originally intended.

Maia has also learned how to blame farts on Ian.

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Friday, September 24, 2021

Review Day: Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Switch)

There are no major spoilers in this review.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps is a platformer in the "Metroidvania" genre, where further exploration nets you new tools that can unlock previously inaccessible areas. It combines a reasonably tight control scheme with visuals and music on par with anything in the Rayman series.

As the titular character, who isn't quite a bunny, you explore various environments in search of your owl friend and ultimately get swept up into a grander adventure. The game world is split up into several zones you can explore at your leisure and tightly choreographed chase scenes with very little room for error.

There are three difficulty modes, but they only seem to affect the health of enemies -- the acrobatics needed to get through the levels remains tricky even on Easy. The different movement abilities are fun to chain together, although the "Bash" ability is awkward to aim with the Switch's joystick. There are also time trials sprinkled throughout the world that require you to move as quickly as possible between two points, but they don't have a worthwhile reward for the time and practice required.

The orchestral score is nice and complements the unique color schemes of the different zones well. The story is pretty simple but expresses vibrant emotions that even a four-year-old can pick up on.

I would have enjoyed playing this game on my own, but also appreciated that it was a perfect game for playing with a youngster watching. In spite of a few scary bosses, Maia got really into the storyline and renamed two of her stuffed animals Ori and Ku (to go along with Revali from Zelda).

Final Grade: A-

tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 3 comments

Monday, September 27, 2021

Weekend Wrap-up

Maia helps raise the flag at Capon Springs and Farms over the weekend.

Everyone enjoys the all-you-can-eat buffet for breakfast, shortly before Maia got stung by a yellow jacket.

Maia revives her interest in badminton.

Maia learns all kinds of new sports.

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

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

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

  • Events
    • Visited Maia's preschool, Kids Under Construction, on H 9/2.

    • Rebecca and Maia went to Lake Barcroft with Rebecca's parents on F 9/3.

    • Visited my mom and had Japanese food for dinner from May Island on S 9/4.

    • The Wilmers came over for lunch on S 9/5.

    • Maia started preschool with Ms. Krissy at Kids Under Construction on T 9/7.

    • Turned 42 on W 9/15.

    • Played Walkabout Mini Golf with the Ahlbins in VR on F 9/17, S 9/18.

    • Had the Smiths over for lunch on S 9/19.

    • Maia went to the ophthalmologist on T 9/21.

    • We went with Rebecca's parents to Capon Spring Resort in West Virginia for the weekend on F 9/24 - S 9/26.

    • Marc came over to visit on W 9/29.

  • Projects
    • Passed the AWS Machine Learning - Specialty exam on S 9/12.

    • Fixed the eternally broken couch spring on M 9/20.

    • Tried out two afternoon babysitters for the kids, Darby on H 9/23 and Laura on T 9/28.

  • Consumerism
    • Enjoyed watching Money Heist, Season Five Part One this month.

    • No new music this month.

    • Got an Oculus Quest 2 for my birthday and am currently exercising with Beat Saber and winding down with Walkabout Minigolf.

September's Final Grade: A-, Ian's sleeping through the night and it's getting cooler!

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