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- Monday, March 16, 2020:
List Day: 8 COVID-19 Impacts in our Life
The line to get into Costco wrapped around the building last Friday (with an orderly queue enforced by two Loudoun County Sheriffs), preventing me from stocking up on corned beef and Guinness.
We ordered meals from our favourite local pizza place (Joe's Pizzaria) on two days in a row.
Rebecca did a 90 minute yoga class through her studio from the basement, streamed online over Facebook Live.
I did a 7 AM grocery run at Safeway on Sunday to find shortages in fresh greens, eggs, milk, and cleaning supplies. It was quiet, other than the ruckus over the stocker who had just run over his foot with a giant pallet of water and was awaiting an ambulance.  ...
- Wednesday, January 22, 2020:
List Day: My 6 Worst Bulk Purchases
12 Fresh Bagels : A dozen soft, fresh bagels may seem like a wonderful deal, but you're guaranteed to lose half to mold before you have a chance to eat them at a regular pace.
6-Pack of Aluminum Foil : I use tin foil for everything, from lining pans to reheating leftovers in the toaster oven, so this seemed like a worthwhile purchase. Six years later, I still had four rolls left.
300 Butterfly Clips : Unless you're a professor making hard-copy packets for a bunch of college students, these will sit in your drawer for years until you throw them out yourself.
200 Styrofoam Bowls : These are great for easy-cleanup of all t...
- Wednesday, January 08, 2020:
List Day: 10 Things to Appreciate in the Next Decade
Being able to describe the era briefly as "the twenties" in casual conversation and never having to say "the aughts" or "the teens" again.
Our new screen porch. No bugs allowed!
A new satellite work location just down the road in Herndon, eliminating the need to drive in Tysons.
The full payoff of our mortgage (between 1.5 - 4.5 years away, depending on how much money we throw at it).
Between 1 and 3 new Presidents.
Upbeat party themes based on 100-year anniversaries, such as Prohibition, the Russian Famine, the Rise of Mussolini, and the Great Depression.
Maia reaching the age where she can p...
- Wednesday, January 01, 2020:
The Tens: Decade Highlights
2010 : Conceived and released my first open-source library, DDMSence . Saw Muse in concert. Rebecca bought her current car. Visited Puerto Rico, Spokane, San Francisco, Emerald Isle, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Rebecca stopped selling custom T-Shirts. I played Minecraft.
2011 : We visited Arkansas and the Outer Banks. Rebecca went to Peru and started Physical Therapy school. We overhauled our entire kitchen. I played Skyrim.
2012 : I worked on government data standards and bought a treadmill. I bought my current car. We visited Quebec and Montreal. I played Diablo 3.
2013 : Rebecca graduated from PT school and ...
- Friday, November 15, 2019:
List Day: 8 Minor Things I'm Thankful For
I have never had a food allergy so intrusive that it forces me to question the meals put before me.
I live in a neighborhood with an HOA that can't be bothered to interfere in anything.
I have never worked in a job with fixed start and end times.
I have a backlog of new shows to get through.
I have never needed to be in a hospital, except to visit other people.
The most negative thing that happens to me on a regular basis is when I open a yogurt and the pressure from the lid spatters yogurt on my dress shirt at work.
I have never lived in a place where I had to move my car in order to have guests park.  ...
- Monday, November 11, 2019:
List Day: Currently...
Currently listening to... My Name is Michael Holbrook by Mika.
Currently (re)reading... Ash and Silver by Carol Berg.
Currently playing... no games in progress.
Currently considering buying... this year's batch of Christmas presents for the family.
Currently coding... updates to Sparkour .
Currently planning... to plant a tree in the front yard and launch our screen porch effort in earnest.
Currently learning... more about machine learning.
- Monday, November 04, 2019:
Vote BU 2019
In need of a write-in candidate for tomorrow's election? Look no further! Here are a few of the benefits you are GUARANTEED to claim if I am elected to any office anywhere in Loudoun County for any amount of time.
A stimulus will be provided to local Safeway grocery stores to make them look less like Greyhound bus stations on the inside.
All the new "me too!" streaming services must license their exclusive TV shows to Netflix after 6 months.
New data centers must be built completely underground, with walkable commercial areas at ground level, and hipsters living one floor up (the cool suburban hipsters with scruffy beards that microbrew, not the whiny urban hip...
- Wednesday, October 23, 2019:
List Day: 10 Questions to Ask When Doing Local Election Research
Is the total count of their Twitter tweets greatly out of proportion with the sum
of their Followers plus their Following count ( -1 )?
Do they own a real domain name ( www.candidate.com , +3 ), or are they camping on a subdomain ( candidate.blogspot.com , +2 )? Or, even worse, a social media group ( www.facebook.com/candidate , +1 )? Do they even have a web presence ( -3 )?
Did he include a picture of himself in the Sheriff Department coloring book passed out at SterlingFest ( -3 )?
Is their platform purely aspirational ( "I want to bring...
- Friday, September 20, 2019:
List Day: 10 Pieces of Sound Advice from a 40-Year-Old
Work just enough for financial security and a little side pot. Do a little overtime early in your career to understand what it's like and "prove yourself", but don't fall into the trap of thinking that working more is ever necessary. With that in mind...
Base your career around something that you enjoy enough, are reasonably good at, and pays a decent amount. The triangle is critical. By reducing the time and increasing the money involved in your job, you can do what you love on the side. Doing something you love for a living will make you hate it.
If you enter a craft brewery that brews more than 2 sours or 3 IPAs, leave and find a better one.
Do things (like ...
- Friday, August 16, 2019:
List Day: 9 Recent Accomplishments
Finally realized that I could mute the microwave, only 2 years after it would have been useful to avoid baby sleeping disturbances.
Hit 225 hours of play time in Grim Dawn , with only one character higher than level 30.
Perfected a recipe for broiled shrimp that takes less than ten minutes from freezer to devouring.
Finally crossed over the 48,000 miles mark in my 2012 Accord.
Got Rebecca and several of our friends hooked on watching Dark , using my spoiler-free reference sheets .
Destroyed an entire colony of invasive fruit flies (no doubt originating from Rebecca's farmer's markets and other unneces...
- Friday, August 09, 2019:
List Day: Top Five Pet Peeves of the Moment
It's been over 9 years since I last talked about the things that annoy me !
Recipe Stories : Every recipe on the Internet now opens with a 6 page testimonial to the efficacy of the ingredients and the reasons why the cook likes smoothies. I understand that this has to be done because Google penalizes bare-bones recipe pages as "lacking original content" but it doesn't make it any less obnoxious. At the very least, give me a link at the top that says "click here to skip the BBC miniseries about how I invented this recipe in my meditation room".
Subreddit Devolution : I've lurked on Reddit for over 4 years now, mainly to read other peoples' responses to t...
- Monday, July 01, 2019:
List Day: 5 Things I Want to Do (But Will Probably Never Get Around to Doing)
Record an original composition : It would be neat to someday get a professional recording of one of my undergraduate or graduate compositions (especially my Master's Thesis ). At the end of the day, though, I can hear them all perfectly well in my head, and there are much less self-indulgent things to spend thousands of dollars on.
Write a new composition : I haven't written any new music in over 7 years . I'd kind of like to see what interesting ideas have accumulated like untreated bedbugs, but this would also mean remembering the ranges of unnecessary woodwind instruments and pulling the electronic keyboard out of the closet.
Make a ...
- Monday, June 17, 2019:
List Day: Cycles of My Life
It takes me 5 months to empty out a propane tank by grilling. Before Maia, it was a 3 month cycle.
I cut my own hair every 21 - 25 days .
I replace my razor blade every 3 - 4 months , when it's finally dull enough to noticeably destroy both skin and whisker.
I brush my teeth twice daily , and floss once.
It takes the family 3 - 4 days to fill up a laundry basket with dirty clothes. It takes the washing machine 90 minutes to do its estimated 50 minute cycle.
On average, it takes me 3 weeks to drain my car's gas tank.
I wash my car o...
- Monday, June 10, 2019:
List Day: 10 Imminent Events
Within the next 90 days:
Our little family (sans Amber who will stay home sleeping on the big bump in the bed) will fly up to Rhode Island to visit my sister's family.
We will spend a weekend a (brief) distance away in Lovettsville at a farm rental house with sheep for Maia to baa at.
Rebecca will turn 36.
We will book October plane tickets for a 10th Anniversary Weekend in Montreal.
I will earn another Amazon Web Services certification (#7).
Maia will turn 2 years old and have a party with all of her little friends.
We will spend a weekend in Richmond with the Edwardses and Catanias.
- Monday, June 03, 2019:
List Day: 4 Major Adjustments Since Having A Kid
Massive uptick in having to drive while other people are on the road : After years of traveling everywhere at 5 AM to avoid society, Maia's naps now take me into the thick of congestion. I now embrace what I once referred to as a " Tax on the Entitled Class and People Too Lazy to Wake Up Early Like the Rest of Us " when driving Maia to her grandparents' house. $20 to skip 20 minutes in a 2-mile traffic jam with a toddler in the back? Yes, please.
Greatly reduced tolerance for movies and TV shows that are a "slow burn" : Every minute of my time where I'm not actively parenting is precious. I'm much more likely to turn off a plot going nowhere fast, a show with 20 ...
- Wednesday, May 22, 2019:
List Day: Influences Maia Gets From Her Parents
Excellent clean-up skills
Love of mac and cheese
Constant reallocation of stuffed animals (one per gap in the crib slats) during naptime
Need to sort different types of toys into different containers
Obsession with Berenstain Bears books
Ability to count to 5 while only occasionally skipping 3
Strong preference for being outside
Tendency to break out into yoga in every situation
- Wednesday, May 15, 2019:
15th Work Anniversary Swag Day
I reached 15 years at my company last month (adjusted slightly for the 11 months I spent in the zany world of software startups) and was awarded with several thousand "points" to spend on an online Awards website. The website was clearly from the Web 2.0 years since its primary interface was Flash-based and the "mobile" version consisted of HTML tables showing 6 pieces of swag at a time. This was actually a huge limitation since there were multiple categories of prizes and way too many pieces of diamond jewelry to wade through.
Several thousand points was actually very generous of my company -- even after signing up for the big ticket items, I still had over half of my points left over. It got to the point where I was j...
- Wednesday, May 08, 2019:
List Day: 10 Things I Appreciated On My Solo Staycation
I took four days off of work and only used 24 hours of leave.
I put everything away and it was still tidy 24, 48, and even 96 hours later.
I didn't use the dishwasher all weekend and the drying rack only contained 1 plate (for bagels / sandwiches), 1 knife (for cream cheese / mayo), and 1 goblet (for Magic Hat #9 / Old Bust Head English Pale Ale / Water).
I kept the A/C up at 78 F all day and night long and my feet were finally warm.
I watched TV at 9 PM with the volume up and subtitles off.
I turned off a video game because I felt like I had played enough and it was time to do something else.
I went out to a resta...
- Wednesday, April 24, 2019:
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 Sta...
- Monday, April 01, 2019:
List Day: Currently...
Currently listening to... Two Degrees by Illy.
Currently reading... Complex Enterprise Architecture by John D. McDowall.
Currently playing... no games in progress.
Currently composing... nothing in over 7 years aside from baby jingles .
Currently considering buying... a screened porch in the coming years to replace our aging deck.
Currently coding... minor script updates to support the next 3 years of AWS hosting for the URI! Zone.
Currently planning... to get the roof replaced in the...