Posts from 02/2022

Wednesday, February 02, 2022

Time-lapsed Blogography Day

BU at multiple data points

  • 28 years ago today, on February 2, 1994, I finished preliminary sketches on my Art class project, "Bear Drinking From Waterfall". (JJ Abrams would later steal this idea for his show, LOST). After school, I went to the Burke branch library to get sources for my English paper on Jack London, "London's House Is Falling Down". I was excited that I already had 13 sources to cite.
  • 27 years ago today, on February 2, 1995, we had a half day at school and received our report cards for the 2nd quarter. I received all As and a B+ in physics ("There is no A. You must all work harder!" Dr. Patel exclaimed with his finger shaking at us emphatically). In the evening, I went to Hayfield High School for the sightreading portion of All-District Band. (The concert for this band would ultimately be cancelled for snow).

  • 26 years ago today, on February 2, 1996, All-District Band rehearsals (and the eventual concert) were cancelled for snow -- hopefully someone has learned to not schedule this in the middle of winter in the ensuing quarter century. I stayed home creating multiplayer DOOM II maps and playing LucasArts' underwhelming new game, The Dig.

  • 24 years ago today, on February 2, 1998, I went to my History and Analysis of Musical Styles class (HAMS) and then spent the day beta-testing text adventure games as a way to inspire myself to write my own.

  • 21 years ago today, on February 2, 2001, I attended my opaque math class (Numerical Methods) and a brass master class, then spent the rest of the day editing and printing parts to my latest brass ensemble piece, Vanishing Point. In the evening I watched a long forgotten movie with Anna and Rosie in the Foxridge apartment.

  • 20 years ago today, on February 2, 2002, I hung out at Mike's apartment in Tallahassee and then went to a bar with Mike and Kathy to play pool (this was 6 days before Mike bought his own pool table and crammed it into his tiny apartment). Mike told me that he and Mark had poked around the music department head's office one night and found a sheet with a list of new masters students in order of preference and that I was number one on the list -- on one hand, nice to hear, and on the other hand, just the type of thing Mike might invent to mess with you.

  • 9 years ago today, on February 2, 2013, I went to the Sterling Costco to buy bacon-wrapped tenderloins then did some careful ductwork in the house. Rebecca and I went to a new restaurant, Euro Bistro, for dinner. It was underwhelming, accordion player notwithstanding, and we never returned.

  • 8 years ago today, on February 2, 2014, Booty was sick. We attended a Super Bowl party at David & Sabrina's but only lasted until the 3rd quarter.

  • 4 years ago today, on February 2, 2018, I wrote about convolutional neural networks for work and went to the dentist. Maia was 30 weeks old and rolling places.
  • 2 years ago today, on February 2, 2020, we threw a half-hearted Super Bowl party with the family of Maia's friend, Nolan. We made it until halftime before the kids got tired.

tagged as memories | permalink | 5 comments
day in history

Friday, February 04, 2022

Mouse Update Day

We discovered evidence of a mouse in the house last November and it remains uncaptured to this day.

Over the past three months, part of my daily mental load has been mouse management. I clean up mouse poop in certain parts of the house in an effort to induce migration towards areas more amenable to traps. I've filled in tiny gaps under the stairs that might somehow lead outside. I've tried traditional traps, humane traps, sticky traps, gravity-based DIY traps that would be more at home in a game of Mousetrap, and most recently, electric traps. I've use cat food, peanut butter, cookies, and granola as bait. I always make sure to handle the traps with a plastic bag on my hand to avoid any human scents.

Throughout the mouse war, this little asshole rolls up to each trap, checks it out, then bails:

Since I've only seen the one mouse on camera at any given time, I'm presuming that Little Asshole is a loner. I'm not conceding the war, but I have switched from Googling "mouse traps" to Googling "mouse lifespan".

tagged as day-to-day | permalink | 3 comments
day in history

Monday, February 07, 2022

Ian Week #41 Battle Report

Ian is now 41 weeks old, just 11 weeks away from a full year (also, the longest year of my life).

Ian is the loudest child ever birthed. He sometimes wakes up crying. He cries when we put him on the changing table to change his diaper. He cries when we don't get him out of his carseat fast enough.

He started truly crawling at 39 weeks, which is great for being able to better entertain himself, but worse for keeping things like electrical cords out of his reach. He loves to pull himself on the coffee table, only to let go and bash himself in the face on the way, resulting in crying.

He likes playing with anything that has wheels most, followed by toys that make noise or motion. He also likes opening the glass doors of my 2000s era TV cabinet and slamming them shut.

Ian's language skills are improving. He will clap when we say "Yay!" and his most common utterance is either "DA!" or "a-DA!". His mouth is always open, so everything we own is covered in drool.

His favourite animal is Amber, who tolerates babies much more now that she is deaf. If given the chance, he will roll all over her (or her sleeping pillow), and Amber won't run away until Ian has grabbed her fur for the fifth time.

Ian eats a lot at every meal, preferring veggies over dairy-enhanced products like mac and cheese. He eats a whole banana (the big size) every day for breakfast, with other meals a mix of carrots, wheat, and ground meats. He loves puffs.

He naps twice a day, for about 1.5 hours each, which is a huge improvement over Maia, who only slept about 4 minutes during each day. However, when he's up, he's UP, demanding your undivided attention and chastising you for focusing elsewhere like a teacher from the 50s with a ruler for your knuckles.

Ian is unperturbed by TV, watching for a few seconds then moving on to find anything else in the room to move, shift, or slobber on.

Rebecca adds that he has a really nice laugh, which we elicit by disappearing and reappearing around a corner or with tickles. He's seen some of his contemporaries at daily exercise classes ("Stroller Strides") so he is not totally alone in these pandemic-affected days.

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

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken almost exactly 10 years ago, on February 11, 2012.

Rebecca was in her 2nd semester of Physical Therapy school and studying almost constantly. In this picture, she's simultaneously studying on her ancient laptop which she held onto longer than necessary for nostalgia's sake while looking up recipes in her Betty Crocker cookbook. Also on the table is a first generation Kindle.

You can date this photo by the PT Cruiser parked across the street (which puts this at 2 neighbors ago) and Booty (who interrupts studying much more when alive).

tagged as memories | permalink | 2 comments
day in history

Friday, February 11, 2022

First Impressions: Fallout 76

Fallout 76 is a pared-back multiplayer version of Fallout 4, offering you fun, shallow way to explore the world after nuclear war, this time in West Virginia instead of Boston. Released three years ago to uniformly awful reviews, the game has continued to improve with major content updates. I picked it up in a $10 Steam sale and find that it scratches the "explore, shoot, loot" Fallout itch quite well so far.

The game engine is the same as Fallout 4's, so many of the previous game's bugs and annoyances linger, like a cumbersome menu system where keys like Esc and Tab are overloaded poorly. There are major graphical improvements, though, and the choice of West Virginia as a setting offers much more impressive verticality. It's fun just wandering around admiring the scenery even without a clear goal in mind. Building layouts feel much more natural for exploration rather than just shuttling you from beginning to end.

Although the game is billed as an MMO, I play it as a single-player game. Each server is sharded to a couple dozen players (a real post-apocalyptic world probably wouldn't have 1000 players sitting around an auction house) which is just fine for me -- gaming is not a social activity for me so it's nice seeing other players only rarely. There some light survival systems (spoiling food, radiation, needing to eat and drink occasionally) which I find unobtrusive and enjoyable.

The questing system is okay, but made confusing by the regular content updates (Elder Scrolls Online had a similar problem). The original game had no NPCs and all questing was handled through recorded messages. A major 2020 update to the game added NPCs and many new quests organized around the conceit that a year has passed in-game. Having the original quests and the "year later" quests side by side (and sometimes auto-starting based on where you wander) results in some very weird story beats.

So far, at level 20, I'm having lots of fun just discovering new locations, killing mutants, and wandering through the wasteland with Appalachia Radio on in the background. There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of depth right now, but for the amount of time I have for games these days, that's just fine!

tagged as reviews, games | permalink | 0 comments
day in history

Monday, February 14, 2022

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

6:43 AM: Exercising and watching the second season of The Witcher.
7:32 AM: Showered and ready for the day.
7:46 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
8:16 AM: Maia wakes up and shows us the plane she built last night when she was supposed to be sleeping.
8:56 AM: Making pancakes and bacon for the family.
11:42 AM: Playing Contraption Maker with Maia.
1:50 PM: Collecting gumballs in Claude Moore Park.
4:21 PM: Relocating my cabin in Fallout 76.
5:02 PM: Watching figure skating in the Winter Olympics.
6:02 PM: A perfect triple axel.
6:13 PM: Liking pizza crust.
6:57 PM: Post-bath handwriting lessons.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments
day in history

Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Housiversary Day

As of February 13, I've now lived in this house for 18 years. Happy Housiversary to me!

Here's how it started:

Here's how things looked in 2012:

And here's how things look now, in 2022:

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

Friday, February 18, 2022

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

The Expanse, Season Six:
The final season of The Expanse waffles on how final it wants to be. While there is a great conclusion for the main characters of the show, there are many other scenes that see no resolution and are completely wasted (such as every scene on the planet of Laconia). I also got really tired of the character of Filip Inaros, who constantly looked like he was trying to boil a kettle of water with his stare. I enjoyed the show for the most part and would probably give the series as a whole a B-. It's worth struggling past the super-slow first season to get to some of the later good stuff. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: B

Silicon Valley, Season Six:
The formula for this show hasn't changed a bit (crass, over-the-top skewerings of Big Tech and West Coasters), but this is a really fun wrap-up for the series. The way the writers tied everything together was wonderful, and the "flash-foward mockumentary" style used in the series finale worked really well. This is a series I might watch again on the treadmill some day.

Final Grade: B+

Happy Endings, Season Two:
The second season of this show was uniformly awful, feeling like every other shallow sitcom out there. We only made it about 8 episodes in before promptly forgetting about it, and it's now collecting dust on top of the DVD player. Free on Netflix.

Final Grade: Not Graded

As We See It, S1:
This is a new show about three roommates on the autism spectrum navigating life. It balances the funny stuff and the heartwarming stuff very well. I told Rebecca that it was kind of like an anti This Is Us, a show that exists only to melodramatically tug at your heart strings -- here, the emotion feels real and well-earned. Free on Amazon Prime.

Final Grade: A-

tagged as reviews | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Monday, February 21, 2022

Easy Photos Day

Puzzling together.

Ian in the woods.

Soccer time.

Classic game time.

Ian ages.

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

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

What's Maia Up To Day

Maia is solidly in the four-and-a-half year age range. She has been going to Kids Under Construction preschool since last September and loves it. (She sometimes tells us when one of her classmates acts out, but she likes to note that SHE has never had a time-out there). She's learning a lot of things I didn't learn until kindergarten, although she's also started incorporating the dreaded "like" as a pause word when she's talking.

Her latest passion is to make signs and books by copying the words out of existing books. She wanted to have a bunny yard sale in her room, so she recalled the specific Berenstain Bears book with a Yard Sale sign in it and copied it down. Her letters are legible, which is more than I can say for my own handwriting up through high school.

She still regularly tries to come up with jokes, mostly focused around rhyming words, and took a list of Jokes to school in the class' Alphabet Bag for the letter J. One of her more successful jokes:

Q: What do you call broccoli touching an electric cord?
A: A shockolli!

One of her less successful jokes:

Q: Why did the hook run away from the fish?
(Why?)
A: Because the hook was scared of the fish!
(Why?)
That's the question!

She also likes saying the word "my" with an exaggerated Southern accent, like "I'm just doing mah thing!" or "Watch out for mah butt!"

Maia remembers everything, and will recall random topics from long ago when triggered by other things we're discussing. Answering every single question she's ever asked has paid off and her skills of deduction are greatly improved. At 4, for example, if we arrived somewhere and I said, "No one's here yet!", she might reason, "Maybe they haven't gotten here yet." Now, she might say, "Maybe there was traffic and they are late."

TV time remains low. She liked The Floor is Lava on Netflix briefly although the show got old pretty quickly. She liked figure skating in the Winter Olympics for short bursts of time. Otherwise she just watches both Frozen movies cyclically, trying to learn more lyrics each time. She'll play Khan Academy Kids on the iPad or Mario Kart 8 on the Switch a couple times a month, but is usually more interested in a physical activity like games or crafts.

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

Friday, February 25, 2022

Maia's Art Day

A fancy bunny going to a ball.

This bunny lives in a burrow with a chimney. He is lighting the campfire with his carrot.

Here's Maia's reinterpretation of one of Rebecca's paintings from one of many trips to Pinot's Palette.

This rainbow-y pencil extravaganza is inspired by a jigsaw puzzle we have featuring a range of coloured pencils in a row. Notice that her rainbows are always coloured in the right order.

tagged as offspring, media | permalink | 0 comments
day in history

Monday, February 28, 2022

End-of-the-Month Highlights Day

New photos have been added to the Life, 2022 album.

  • Events
    • Maia stayed home from school after a positive COVID test, M 1/31 - F 2/4.

    • I caught something which two rapid tests insisted was NOT COVID on H 2/3. Ian was also a little sick.

    • The COVID finally made it to Rebecca on T 2/8.

    • Last day of quarantine on F 2/18.

    • Mid-day carrot cake for my dad's birthday on M 2/21.

    • Went to my work's Tysons office for the end of the Technical Leadership Development program on T 2/22.

    • Ian and I got sick again on F 2/25. Ian picked up stair climbing in a single day.

    • Maia went to her friend, Ashleigh's, birthday at an indoor playground called Hyper Kidz on S 2/27.

  • Projects
    • Rebecca switched her work schedule from T/H to M/F this month.

  • Consumerism
    • Enjoying Fallout 76 in my slim spare time.

    • Finally subscribed to Disney+ and enjoyed Onwards (and Encanto to a lesser extent).

    • No new shows, books, or music this month.

February's Final Grade: C-, Too much sickness and stretched thin.

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

 

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