Posts from 07/2024

Monday, July 01, 2024

Mid-Year Check-In

We're already halfway through 2024! This year has been the most productive for me since before I had kids -- those halcyon years where I could just decide to code an open-source library on an esoteric subject for no good reason and then abandon the effort months later.

Here's what I've been up to:

  • Health: Still exercising daily and only eating steaks at restaurants. Doing, at a minimum, 20 minutes of Beat Saber or 1.5 miles jogging on the treadmill every day. Sometimes as much as 45 minutes of Beat Saber or 3 miles of jogging. Unfortunately, my blood pressure remains consistent.
  • Language: Still maintaining my Spanish on DuoLingo although I've gotten to the lessons that are less useful for just conversing with neighbours. Tried some other languages with non-Latin alphabets but it's often very hard to identify the differences in pronunciation. DuoLingo as a whole feels like it has declined slightly for learning since they fired the linguists to rely on AI.
  • House: Doing minor projects to make the house more livable or efficient. Planning to paint my driveway grey this summer so it's less of a car oven.

Here are the projects I committed to back in January:

"Ongoing Projects"

  • Caring for this family: We're down 1 cat so it's just a family of 4 right now. I'm greatly enjoying not starting every day cleaning up cat messes but we may look into adopting kittens later in the summer.
  • Working 30 hours per week: Made it to 20 (non-consecutive) years at my company without getting fired for gross negligence, failing to adhere to the dress code, or backtalk.
  • Being the webmaster for Janny Wurts and Don Maitz: Just got the whole infrastructure through a global book launch and a Denial of Service attack.
  • Keeping the URI! Zone alive: It's still breathing, barely, like a dying phoenix.
  • Being on the HOA: I still pick up trash a couple times per week and trim back the ravaging invasive plants along the sidewalk. Missed 2 meetings, one for being sick and one for our Lake Anna vacation.

"Projects that will probably happen"

  • Tune my 8 year old cloud empire: Solved this in January 2024.
  • Earn another Amazon Web Services cloud certification: Got this in January 2024.
  • Buy a new couch: Failed so far, but may get to it later in the year.
  • Overhaul and upgrade the Maitz and Wurts Studio Shop: Finished this in March 2024.
  • Add the final book from the Wars of Light and Shadow to the Paravia Wiki: Started this in May and am about 13% done. Will probably finish by the end of the year.
  • Do Advent of Code 2024: Still planned for December even though I'm getting too old to be up so late.

"Projects that will probably slip to 2025"

  • Give the URI! Zone a much needed makeover: I actually moved this up to June 2024 and started learning all of the technologies, but then a Diablo 4 patch came out that made the game better and I deemed it time for a nice break. I plan to resume this work in August.
  • Rip all of my old CDs onto a house-accessible NAS: I would still love to do this some day. I finally broke down in May and purchased Pandora, not because I ever heard ads on my computer, but because I heard them all the time playing through the Echo and the ads are atrocious and repetitive.
  • Play the trumpet occasionally / Compose new music: I have been feeling more musical urges this year and still want to dip my toes back in next year. Maybe try switching from score-based composition to sequencer-based composition the way all of the cool kids in the 2020s do.

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

Wednesday, July 03, 2024

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 15 years ago today, on July 3, 2009.

We were at a Nags Head beach house called the "Shore Thing" and participated in what may have been the dumbest form of cooking conceived by man, the Low Country Boil. This involved boiling random junk in a pot and then dumping it on top of a trash bag for consumption.

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Friday, July 05, 2024

Wildlife Cam Day

In the spring, we moved our wildlife camera so it would cover a major woodland thoroughfare. The trail is regularly used by squirrels, cats, a skunk, a fox, a raccoon, chipmunks, and our resident herd of deer. While downloading the pictures from June to my computer, I came across this chilling entry:

This spot is a good 50 yards from any public road. After cartoonishly proclaiming, "What in the Blair Witch Project is going on back there?!" I applied NCIS ENHANCE! techniques to the images and sent them to my next-door neighbour, whose back fence can be seen in the images. The mystery man returned again a few weeks later, having quickly evolved legs and the ability to walk in bipedal fashion.

While discussing whether it warranted reporting to the Sheriff's Office, my neighbour passed the pictures on to the next neighbour in our row of homes, and the mystery was solved in short order.

So thankfully, there's no sign of creepy rituals or psychedelic drug use in the woods behind our house, and the wife is aware of the skulking. There doesn't seem to be any sign of immediate threat to people or property (although the Mystery Guy's knees and relationship status are both in a questionable state at this point).

Bonus: Here is a picture of the fawn that sleeps in our lawn mower clippings and eats all of our hostas.

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day in history

Monday, July 08, 2024

Easy Photos Day

A little loopy after dancing with sparklers all night long.


7th Birthday Party!


Chocolate cupcakes with chocolate frosting, handmade.

Meow's Corner.

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day in history

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken 7 years ago today, on July 10, 2017.

Maia was 4 days old, having just come home from the hospital one day earlier. She had eating troubles that necessitated this "syringe taped to my index finger" approach until she could regain her birth weight (6 pounds exactly).

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day in history

Friday, July 12, 2024

Chad Darnell's 12 of 12

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

5:36 AM: Starting the day with a Beat Saber workout.
6:21 AM: Showered and ready for work.
7:51 AM: Good morning from our vibrantly-coloured home!
7:52 AM: Straight to the Hot Wheels after wake-up.
8:01 AM: Bagel for breakfast.
9:42 AM: Working from home.
12:45 PM: Running on the treadmill and watching the not-yet-good Warcraft movie.
3:48 PM: Working on the Paravia Wiki.
4:46 PM: Excited for his new gift, a Hot Wheels book (while wearing a Hot Wheels shirt).
5:28 PM: Chipotle for dinner.
6:46 PM: Deserts and books.
8:05 PM: Reading time with guest cat, Abby.

tagged as 12 of 12 | permalink | 2 comments
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Monday, July 15, 2024

Battle Reports Day: Maia's First Weeks

I have created a compilation PDF of all the Maia-themed posts I wrote during her first year of life. Nothing earth-shattering -- just the mundane details of what we were doing at the time, what was going on around us, the songs we sang, and how Maia evolved into her next level of Pokemon.

This is kind of a practice run for a longer-term project I've been incubating in my brain for the past few years -- what happens to the URI! Zone when its patriarch has been smashed? Do I hope the domain name and web hosting just coast along online forever? Does it just devolve into a splintered collection of broken pages in the Internet Archive?

I would like to write some code that automatically exports my news posts into PDF files for printing and preservation, then maybe get them professionally printed and bound for my kids to enjoy 50 years from now. I'm doing some trial runs now to see the sorts of technical issues I might run into with an automated process.

tagged as green (recycled) content, offspring, website | permalink | 1 comment
day in history

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Memory Day: Snapshots

This picture was taken in the summer of 1983 in our backyard, when I was 3 years old (maybe 6 months older than Ian is now).

Clearly, finishing my Slurpee was more important than looking at the camera.

The wagon eventually rusted away, but it was often used to drag both kids down the Holmes Run bike trail to the nearest supermarket on Duke Street, called Magruder's. We'd tie it to a bike rack out front and do some quick grocery shopping. One time, we came out in the nick of time to find another family wandering away with the wagon, claiming it had been abandoned!

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day in history

Friday, July 19, 2024

Review Day

There are no major spoilers in these reviews.

In the Heights:
The movie adaptation of this musical is pleasant, harmless fun. The music is Lin-Manuel Miranda's signature style of "safe" hip-hop that sounds a little too similar to what he's written elsewhere. The inclusion of a main character, Benny, who seems identical to the Benny in RENT seems like an odd creative choice.

Final Grade: B-

Death to 2021:
The sequel to Death to 2020 is just as enjoyable as the first, and is a great way to reminisce about this crazy year now that we aren't living it anymore. On Netflix.

Final Grade: B+

Hitman:
This was a fun one-off movie about a philosophy professor mistaken for a hit man, after which "hilarity ensues". It's better than the title card suggests, and thankfully doesn't fall into the trap of making things too serious in the climax. On Netflix.

Final Grade: B

Beverly Hills Cop Axel F:
The new Beverly Hills Cop sequel feels really obligatory. Eddie Murphy phones in his entire performance (his work in Dolemite is My Name was way better). There are a lot of talky scenes which make it seem like the director was hoping for some great ad-libbed banter but none of the actors have enough chemistry to say anything memorable. I laughed maybe twice during the whole movie. On Netflix.

Final Grade: C-

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