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- Friday, November 06, 2020:
Maia Battle Report: Year 3 Month 4
Maia at age 3 is showing small signs of brilliance, like asking what's going on on the other side of the world when the sun goes down, or making a connection between something brand new and something we learned and forgot months ago. She is into a rhyming phase where she likes to string rhyming sounds together like "hocky, blocky, docky". She has definitely entered the WHY?? stage of life which is more irritating than I thought it would be. All it's doing is training me to hold back the reason for something I say so I'll have a follow-up ready for the inevitable WHY??
We're working on her joke abilities, and she has over a 50% chance to guess the punchline of jokes following a known pattern, like animal sounds...
- Friday, July 17, 2020:
List Day: 5 Fun Songs Written During Quarantine
I'm Good? by Hilltop Hoods
Parmas in June by Illy
Bored by Tessa Violet and Misterwives
All Together Now by OK Go
Wash Ya Hands by KT Tunstall, featuring Grace Savage and the Freelance Hellraiser
- Friday, July 10, 2020:
List Day: 10 Unlikely Perils that Childrens' TV Prepared Me For
Fake roads painted on walls
All of the animals escaping from the farm
Trains approaching while I'm in the middle of a bridge
Trains derailing because the track switch is toggled to the wrong side
Convicts trying to steal my vault of gold
Friends pressuring me into smoking cigarettes
Trapped in a cage with the key just out of reach
- Monday, June 15, 2020:
List Day: COVID-19 Cause and Effect
We used to use paper towels for everything... It became undesirable to shop at Costco for a couple months... Our paper towel supply ran low... We were forced to purchase name-brand paper towels in the grocery store whenever they weren't sold out... We found that these paper towels don't have the option to tear at 1/2 size so they're overkill for double duty as napkins... We bought napkins so we don't waste full-size paper towels... We bought weighted napkin trays so they don't blow away on our screen porch... We are now a napkin family.
I used to get enormous, fresh-baked bagels for breakfast at Safeway twice a week... During the early days of quara...
- Wednesday, June 03, 2020:
List Day: 10 Children's Books You've Never Read
An instructional text for young readers, reminding them that everyone occasionally gets constipated -- it's perfectly natural and nothing to be ashamed of. Light-hearted pictures illustrate the various ways to combat a backed up drainpipe, from bran muffins to enemas.
Gently normalizes the lifestyle of a single mother and her daughter as they flee from state to state, avoiding unsympathetic judges, and the custody rights of a deadbeat father.
A cautionary tale of a puppy's encounter with childhood obesity, from playing too many video games and watching Blue's Clues.
- Monday, June 01, 2020:
List Day: Screen Porch Features and Configurations
Elevated table fronts window to basement, allowing pass-through of food trays and drinks without having to open heavy doors one-handedly.
Plastic, lightweight chairs allow for quick rearranging based on where the sun is during the day (rollup shade for potent sunset sun still in shipping limbo somewhere between here and Georgia).
Minimal permanent furniture allows for easy conversion to summer yoga studio.
Small plastic bin for easy access to paper plates and plastic silverware rather than a permanent garishly wicker cabinet.
Overhead fan has 3 settings and a seasonal switch that goes from suck to blow.
Pleasant view of fores...
- Monday, April 27, 2020:
List Day: 10 Pandemic Business Ideas
Magic Pandemic Balls : Ask the Magic Pandemic Ball a question when you need trustworthy advice on adhering to competing local, state, and federal pandemic guidance.
Peek Costco : Take all of those "watch an eagle raise a family" webcams abandoned since 1999 and point them at Costco entrances. Charge people for online access to the camera at their local store so they know when the lines are shortest.
Flop Ten : Use an algorithm to unearth 10 awful TV shows that your streaming company really needs to recoup losses on, then advertise them on your homepage as "Top Ten in America Right Now!".
NO U REVERSE :...
- Wednesday, April 15, 2020:
List Day: Currently...
Currently listening to... Eyes Wide, Tongue-Tied by The Fratellis.
Currently reading... Network Attacks and Exploitation by Matthew Monte.
Currently playing... Elder Scrolls Online .
Currently considering buying... some delivery for dinner.
Currently creating... a work training session on using Slack.
Currently planning... to digitize my CD collection.
Currently watching... Money Heist, Part Four and Undone, Season One .
- 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 ...