l33tminion: (Overwork)
Last week was pretty quiet. This past weekend, too. Though we did go out for soup dumplings with Ingress friends on Sunday.

Julie's startup-founding work continues to progress.

It's the turn of the quarter, so a lot of reflection and planning at work. Things ebb and flow. First quarter was pretty great, this quarter was all right. But I'm excited about the next. For some reason, I'm at least briefly in charge of planning the quarterly goals for my group, which is an interesting opportunity (though I wish some of the related deadlines had been a little better communicated).

I want to get back to writing on my essay blog at some point, but my writing is very slow even for lighter stuff like this.

What else? My parents will be in Boston later this week, and we're going up to Sandy Island Camp next week. That should be fun. Haven't picked out which books I'll bring yet, but I certainly have a lot on my queue.
l33tminion: (Default)
I really want to get back into the habit of daily blogging, in large part because I've got better odds of remembering the interesting things that happened the same day, before the amnesia sets in and I forget all the details of what I've been doing for the last several weeks.

This week's been an exciting week because we're on vacation in New York City (scheduled around a conference trip for Julie). Saturday night, we went out for a fancy steak dinner at Gallagher's Steakhouse. Sunday, we had brunch with Aunt Ellen and Uncle Mark and my cousin Ben. Monday, we went out for dim sum and met up with Emmett for dinner at a Moroccan place in the East Village. Tuesday, Julie was at the conference, and I took Erica to the Children's Museum of Manhattan. Wednesday was also a conference day, Erica and I took a long leisurely walk, playing in the playground in Union Square Park and running around University Park. Thursday, we went to the Bronx Zoo in the afternoon and met up with my other cousin Ben and Melissa in the evening. They're expecting their first child in the fall, so we spent a lot of time discussing the logistical complications of city living with baby. Friday, we met up with Julie's friend Massey. Today is rainy, so we had breakfast in bed and a lazy morning in the hotel.

Erica is really having a tremendous time walking around New York. Her toddler obsession is definitely dogs, any time she sees one she becomes too excited to pronounce consonants, responding with excited gestures and shouts of "ah-ee!" (also, "woof!", "bow wow!"). There are lots of doggies for her to see around here. The tall buildings and crowds of people are similarly exciting, though the sheer number of new faces can make her a bit shy. (I love Eris' independent streak, but it's already sometimes alarming, so I'm glad she's not totally ready to bolt off without us.)

Eristic improvements: Counting (the first few natural numbers), walking fast, climbing over obstacles, drinking from a normal glass while holding it (limited), drinking from a straw, animal identification and sounds (limited).
l33tminion: (L33t)
Time continues humming along.

My mom came to visit last weekend, which was really nice. We took the kid to the aquarium again, among other things. Eris arrived at the aquarium mid-nap again, though she did wake up before we had to go. (We were about ready to leave when the fire alarm went off. No idea what was up with that, but it doesn't seem to have gotten any mention in the news, so was probably something minor or a false alarm.)

This week was quite busy at work. Among other things, I'm preparing a presentation on some of my recent work for next week's team meeting. Tuesday was pretty snowy, and I worked from home.

Ames ([livejournal.com profile] tenshikurai9) is back in town this week, so I got the chance to catch up and introduce her to the kid.

My new phone arrived (Google's new Pixel XL). It's not super-different from my previous phone (a Nexus 6P), but it certainly has a lot of polish, the new hardware and software work really well. Eris is also excited about that (in a way) because she's recently discovered the concept of talking to people on the phone.

Eristic improvements: Knee-walking, saying "hello" and "byebye".
l33tminion: (L33t)
The last few weeks have been some mix of busy and quiet, but we did have the time to get dinner with Hannah and Mark and family (our neighbors), met with Cousin Lilah one weekend afternoon, went to The Buttery's annual birthday party. I arranged for a new house-cleaner and (with help from Julie) continued to make progress on the remaining vestiges of post-move storage cleaning.

Last weekend, I played through Read Only Memories, a cyberpunk point-and-click game. While the puzzles will seem pretty simple to fans of the genre, I thought the story and aesthetic was great (the sound design is brilliant). Really captured the colorful side of cyberpunk. Well worthwhile!

Xave's Chuubo's game continues to be fun.

The Steam summer sale is this weekend, so I now have plenty of indie-game distractions to occupy my copious spare time.

This week, my family will be in town. Week after, we'll be away at Sandy Island Camp!

Eristic improvements: Not quite crawling (very soon), eating with a spoon (rice cereal!), discovering gravity (fetch with parents, every baby's favorite game), paying more attention when we read to her.
l33tminion: (L33t)
This weekend included the first few days without visiting family. Saturday was just a quiet day at home. Sunday we went out to play board games at Andrew's house. The early part of this week has been mostly quiet.

I did enjoy getting back to some more solitary leisure activities. I played a bit of Shadowrun: Hong Kong (late-night, while cradling the baby in the baby carrier), and Julie and I have been watching more of The Man in the High Castle.

The baby is doing well, but has been cranky on and off with a bit of a stuffy nose. Nighttime sleep patterns aren't too bad, but are highly variable.

First Week

Jan. 9th, 2016 11:49 pm
l33tminion: (Ph34r)
DJ and Michelle transported us home from the hospital on Wednesday, which was tremendously helpful. As much as we appreciated the extra support of the nursing staff, it was surely time to get home. We got back around 3 in the afternoon, loaded the baby into the stroller, and went to the Indep for a late lunch / early supper. It was wonderful, the first chance Julie and I had to share a sit-down meal since the birth. A taste of a new normality that includes some of the things we've previously enjoyed, with the new addition.

On Thursday, Julie's mom, Heather, showed up to meet her second grandchild and provide some much-needed support. She's been taking some of the late support shifts and helping around the house while spending quality time with Erica. She cooked a big lasagna dinner for us tonight (Julie's absolute favorite). She's been having one heck of a rough week, too. Her dad just got out of surgery, her dog, Electra, was seriously ill and is just now (hopefully) on the mend, and a drunk driver ran into her (thankfully empty) car. Best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery and continued health for great-grandfather and the dog-in-law!

The baby is quite a bit of work, but the primary job is nutrition, and on that front, Julie is Nutrition Team Captain and I'm playing support. Perhaps I'll have a bit more flexibility in my contribution once she can pump some a few weeks in. I'm doing all I can, and trying to make some headway in my to-do list of household tasks, get some extra sleep, and fit in a bit of relaxation (including some ventures out into the neighborhood, the doctors say a bit of walking will be good for Julie's recovery). It's actually going fairly well. The trickiest part may be when we get back to work. Or maybe not, some aspects will be easier by that point.

The kid's been most fussy in the early morning, midnight to 6AM or so. Often the kid sleeps fine alone, often swaddled in a blanket or wrap. But especially pre-dawn, sometimes nothing will calm her effectively other than being close to mom. The advice was adamant that babies should not co-sleep unsupervised, so the last few days I've spent an hour or two standing vigil while Julie and Eris get some much-needed shut-eye. (Sometimes followed by an early breakfast and a late-morning nap.)

Still enjoying cooking. In addition to dinner side-dishes, bulgar wheat makes an excellent breakfast cereal. I made that chermoula sauce again to season some sauteed chicken. Worked well, though next time I may try marinating with that overnight.

We had our first pediatrician appointment on Friday. All seems well. Next is Tuesday. The return to birth-weight is not quite complete, but progress is underway. They are insistent that we record the time/number of the baby's inputs/outputs. Of course, there's an app for that, because we're living in THE FUTURE. The doctor also recommended we feed the baby a daily dose of infant vitamin drops. Those are served up from a little one-mil syringe, and the kid drinks them right down.

Aunt Milly came over to help us make a late-evening Target run Friday night, and commented that Julie and I seemed awfully calm for being away from the baby for the first time (hospital nursery aside). The baby was never any more than a few minutes away, and was asleep under the watchful eye of grammie (Heather's preferred grand-motherial tile), so couldn't have been in better hands. The trip was late-evening because Milly's afternoon was spent dealing with a medial emergency. Evidently, my cousin Sarah, currently working on music education and study in the Dominican Republic, came down with a bout of dengue fever! Wishing her a swift and straightforward recovery as well!
l33tminion: (L33t)
Two days in, things are going well, but we're predictably tired.

The photographer who makes the rounds of the maternity ward came by, but at an inopportune moment. Will try again when they come around tomorrow, maybe.

Julie's dad is here and is being helpful. I'll take him up on his offer of supporting while I go home for a few hours of uninterrupted sleep tomorrow, I think. Today, I got in some napping but wanted to stay close to Julie and the baby.

Eris is now in the continually-hungry stage (baby past being-born-related exhaustion, but milk supply just coming in), plus she only wants to sleep close to Julie this evening. If we try to put her in the bassinet for a post-feeding nap, she's up again (and often back to being hungry). We're currently passing the time between feedings by watching childcare education videos on the in-room screen.

We had more visitors (Aunt Milly and Cousin Amy, Julie's student Cameron). The baby did have enough of an afternoon nap to give Julie a chance to sync up with her student. Seems they got some good work done in terms of coordinating next steps on their project.

I haven't yet had any coffee. I'm kind of scared to see what that will do to me after a few days off, and I want to be able to drop off to sleep when the moment is right. Plus the coffee snob in me doesn't want my first cup back to be a cup of hospital drip. (I'll keep that contingency in reserve.) I have enjoyed a cup or two of tea.

All Hail

Jan. 4th, 2016 01:13 am
l33tminion: (Ph34r)
I was going to write something about how New Year's was quite but that I expected 2016 to be more eventful, but didn't get around to it before things got very eventful indeed.

The New Year's party at The Buttery (friends' household; that house's New Year's party is a long-running tradition) was cancelled due to an outbreak of bedbugs. Sensible that they didn't want to risk hosting a bunch of guests before that was contained, but still really unfortunate. Instead spent the evening having New Year's dinner at Bergamot with Julie and watching Man in the High Castle with Tim.

New Year's day was mostly quiet. Went out for brunch, watched more TV. Got to bed somewhat late, at around 2AM.

Saturday we woke up at 3:40AM with the first signs that the baby would be making an entrance. By the time we were catching a ride at around 5AM, labor was starting for real (the Uber driver was pretty calm about the hospital run). By 6:20AM when we arrived in the room, Julie was already in active labor, and the final stages were in progress by 8AM. The whole thing was probably on course to be over well before noon. But the fetal heart-rate was worryingly low. Not so low that the doctors felt a need to intervene immediately, but worrying enough that they didn't want to wait too long before hastening the baby's entrance. At 8:50AM, they decided they couldn't wait longer to intervene, and with no other options yet available, C-section it was. At 9:05AM, the baby was out in the world, healthy and ready to fulfill ironic prophecies. (The surgical team at Brigham and Women's works fast.) Julie was a trooper for the whole thing, which she had to endure without so much as a soak in the tub (which had been prepared, and then could not be used when continuous monitoring of the fetal heart rate was required).

So here's the new entrant: Erica "Eris"1,2 Norville Freilich, 9 lbs. 2 oz., 21.5 inches. Cute kid, big for a newborn. I remember thinking when I first held her in the OR that this is definitely a baby, but couldn't quite wrap my head around it being my baby. Still can't quite wrap my head around it, but expect it will all make sense soon enough.

Due to the surgery, we're taking a few extra days in the hospital so Julie can recover while we start to get into the new routine. A few friends have managed to visit us in the hospital so far (Tim, DJ and Michelle), and Julie's dad arrived in town today, with various other family visits scheduled for later in the month. Very tired already, though it's not too bad.

My leave from work is commencing immediately and I'll be out all of first quarter.

1. I'd be lying if I said I didn't like this name in part due to this potential nickname. I also like that "Erica" is related to "Heather" (Julie's mother's name).
2. Alternately, Erica "Lobster" etc. Julie points out that Erica "Lobster" Freilich makes for good initials given the kid's somewhat pointy ears.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Stories from The Nest:

I installed a fancy new thermostat in my new home.

I realized the front door key we received doesn't open some of the locks in the house. Ability to open the back door from outside doesn't really matter, but it would be handy to be able to unlock the garage directly without having to go in through the front door first. So I guess I'll need to have a date with the locksmith.

In other news of things that are broken that I should have noticed right away, the dishwasher latch is broken, doesn't close securely, never closed securely, and has no failsafes that prevent it from operating while not securely closed. At least the latch can be replaced, so with luck we will not need an entire new dishwasher.

Furniture-related chores are on the verge of being finished. The long tail is long.

Yesterday was the first Christmas for a while spent at home. Julie and I unwrapped presents, then went out for dim sum with a distant cousin and her friends (who were, it turned out, mostly Mensans), followed by the new Star Wars (spoiler free: I though it was a good movie, and a very good Star Wars movie).

Today was quiet. Met up with DJ and Michelle for lunch, which was nice.
l33tminion: (L33t)
This December has been surprisingly mild. We met some of our neighbors this weekend because they were outside with friends enjoying the weather and grilling some steaks on their corner patio.

The back streets of our new corner of Somerville (though not far from where we were previously) are much less subdued in terms of yard decorations. There are quite a few elaborate nativity scenes and light displays on the walk between our house and Inman Square.

I hired someone to clean the place, so now everything is nice and shiny. I bought spices and cooked some of my first home-cooked meals here. Progress is being made on the long tail of new-house chores. Thank-you notes have been started, hopefully can finish the batch before the recipient of most of those gifts actually arrives.

The training sessions I was organizing for work are now done. Things generally went well. Still have much to do.
l33tminion: (Wings)
Unpacking progresses: Books are unpacked, paintings are underway, kitchen stuff needs more work. There are a few more items that need to be acquired, plus actually having food in the fridge and so on. The internet has been activated. And I already had my first call to the plumber. :-/ Perhaps the seller installed some new fixtures, poorly.

The new place has been named The Nest. Perhaps an obvious name.

Tuesday evening, Tim invited me to a concert at The Sinclair (Doe Paoro and Givers). Both acts were impressive, as was the venue and the food. The woman next to us at dinner was buying shots of Fireball for the bar. It turned out she worked for the company. Sounded like an interesting job, they've sure made that into a very successful brand.

I need to get my sleep schedule back on track. I've been sleeping well in the new place, but it's a bit louder in the mornings, given its proximity to the train.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Three weekends ago, took a trip to visit Julie's folks. And for Julie to attend a baby shower hosted by some family friends.

Two weekends ago, took a last-minute trip to IKEA. Oh, IKEA. Enter the store so full of hope, reach the end willing to hand over any amount of cash just to make the pain end. Still, we got what we needed.

Last weekend, went to Cleveland to visit my folks and siblings and siblings and friends. Got to catch up with Markos and Michelle, Zak (who I hadn't seen in a long time, I hadn't realized he'd returned to Cleveland after his sojourn in Russia), and Dan and Anne (and baby Isaac).

That trip was the first time I'd flown to Cleveland in a long while. Went on Spirit Air, which is flying direct from Boston to Cleveland now. Very cheap price (less so if you have bags), aggressively no-frills, redesigned seats that pack passengers in tight. Was pretty good for a very short trip.

Next weekend is final prep for move, moving weekend after that.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Last week went by in a blur of work and/or housing stress. But did get a bit of a mini-vacation last weekend, taking the Downeaster to Portland to visit David and Kelcy (friends since my college days who we hadn't seen for a while, not since DJ and Michelle's wedding, I think). Was great to see them again, they showed us around town, and we had a very nice, low-key vacation.

Portland has some very good food and some very pretty scenery. Had some lobster roll and fancy soda, rode on the narrow-gauge rail, visited the museum at the Portland Head Light, took a boat ride around Casco Bay. A good slice of tourism.

This week is back to the grind, though. Things are coming along nicely, but I have a lot to get done and need to get more sleep.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Vacation accomplished!

At Sandy Island Camp, I spent most of the time relaxing and reading and catching up with my parents (neither of my siblings made it this time). I didn't get out on the lake at all. It was beautiful, though, and I enjoyed reading on the beach.

Late in the week, I came down with the worst cold, like an Everlasting Gobstopper of disease, a different flavor every day! (Including some of the worst congestion I've ever had, plus bizarre symptoms like persistent hiccups.) And then Julie also caught it just in time for international travel. Got through it somehow, with a lot of cough drops and mint tea.

(My mom thinks I'm sick all the time now... it's just that when I'm under the weather I tend to take the time to write something in my blog.)

Despite being under the weather, the London trip was certainly fun. Julie's folks put us up in a really nice hotel, and it was good to spend time with family and friends. I enjoyed seeing the niece again, she's going through a shy phase but seems as cheerful as ever. (Hopefully we avoided this cold jumping to her or anyone else.) All the adults in the family seem to be spectacularly busy with work, though in a good way. We got in some London tourism that I had little time for on my first conference trip (Tower of London tour, viewed the city from the London Eye, climbed the Monument to the Great Fire, went on a pub crawl, window shopping at Harrods). We even got the chance to catch up with Xave and Sarah on their London sabbatical (in the moments before they headed off for a holiday in France).
l33tminion: (L33t)
I spent much of the weekend playing World of Geographycraft. Sunday, took a completely impractical trip to Mt. Greylock with Julie and Tim. The mountain is notable for being the highest natural point in Massachusetts and one of the landmarks on the Appalachian Trail, it would be an enjoyable place to hike if I'm ever there earlier in the day. On Monday, I was off work for Memorial Day, and spent many hours randomly wandering around Arlington.

There are lots of things I want to do more of. I want to get to some of the games on my queue, but I probably have a greater desire to do more writing (to get back to posting here more, plus I haven't written for ComplexMeme in months), reading, and cooking. (Not counting work and other important things. Those are going well, but the going well is very time-consuming.)

It's starting to get hot. A mockingbird has once again moved in near to my house, with the usual combination of talented repertoire and being obnoxiously loud at all hours of the night.

I got a (very short) haircut today. That avoids the scruffy uneven look and should be nice for summer, but I'm well into the hair-loss territory where I'll need to remember a hat or risk terrible scalp sunburn.
l33tminion: (L33t)
London was pretty cool.

I really liked the Google office there (at Belgrave House, accross from Victoria Station). Seemed like a really cool place to work, and the food was fantastic (including a juice bar with one of these nifty machines).

Was good to see Xave again. We spent some time wandering the city, visited the museum at Bletchley Park and the Royal Observatory in Greenwich. We saw Tom Stoppard's The Hard Problem (broadcast in cinema by National Theater Live), doesn't hold a candle to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead but it was reasonably good. And we also saw a production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theater, that was a really good show and the staging was brilliant.

The European Lisp Symposium was a very interesting conference. I particularly liked the talk on Clasp, an LLVM-based Lisp implementation featuring tight C++ interoperability. (It's not quite there yet performance-wise, but some of the features excite me: Being able to write Lisp macros in place of C++ template libraries, being able to introspect C++ code in Lisp, being able to compile C++ modules into Lisp code and then use LLVM-based debugging and profiling tools that work across that boundary in a seamless way. Good stuff.) Also, the talk about the Woo HTTP server (a pure-Lisp implementation that beats Node.js on performance benchmarks) was impressive and full of interesting ideas. And I enjoyed my colleague's talk about debugging SBCL garbage collection.

I really enjoyed London, I got the sense that I'd enjoy living there as much as I enjoyed visiting. Wonderful food, beautiful architecture, friendly people, really pleasant to travel around.

My trip back was uneventful, after some annoying flight delays (a few passengers missed the flight and their luggage had to be removed, then another passenger had to disembark for medical reasons, forcing them to search the luggage again).

Work's been interesting. Lots to do.
l33tminion: (Enlightened)
Pasadena trip last weekend (a side-trip for Julie, on her way to Synberc) was really good. Got to play in one of the Ingress live events (a win for our team in Pasadena, though still an overall loss for this series). Enjoyed spending some time with Sean and Morgan (my sibs-in-law), catching up with some of Julie's old friends, visiting Caltech, drinking strawberry lemonade at the Caltech Athenaeum, and seeing some of the more touristy spots in LA. Was quite a shock to go from 20 degrees to 90 in the span of a week.

Got back to work in time to wrap up some end of quarter things before heading off to PyCon in Montreal next Tuesday. And I've made further conference plans to go to the European Lisp Symposium in London the following week.

Friday, I was struck down by a horrible stomach bug (or flu or something). The worst. At least it wasn't while I was travelling.

Today, I finally got around to seeing The Golden Compass, which I'd had out from Netflix on DVD for the last far-too-many months. I'll warn those who have read the book to not expect much depth in the adaptation and those who have not to not expect a lot of hand-holding on the exposition. Honestly, I think the movie is probably about as good as a movie that adapts that book into an under-two-hours pulp-fantasy PG-13 pic could be. The pacing is very tight, they have a very talented cast, and the visual style is spectacular. I enjoyed it.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Ingress has really taken over our social life this week. On Friday night, a group of players from our team organized to paint the town green, and Julie and I took a five-hour stroll through downtown (from 11 PM until well after 4 in the morning), with a stop for 3AM coffee and cannoli at Bova's Bakery.

This weekend, we're going to Pasadena for more Ingress and to catch up with some of Julie's Caltech friends. Then Julie's going on to Synberc and we're meeting back in Boston just in time to leave for PyCon in Monreal.

I should come up with some London travel plans, too, while Xave is there.

Busy busy.
l33tminion: (Enlightened)
Today, got my first chance to play the artifact game in Ingress!

Generally, the game of Ingress is a territory-capturing game. Players ("agents") capture locations ("portals"; real-world art objects, places of significance, and other landmarks) by showing up at the actual location in real life and interacting with it in the game. They link those locations together into triangles ("fields") to capture territory for their teams. Fields add to a team's score at periodic checkpoints.

But a few events have added a side-game of "shards" or "artifacts" that travel down links between portals in the network. The shards start at various locations all over the world, each team tries to navigate them to a different target, keep-away at geographic scale.

A lengthy Ingress story... )

Long story short, that's how Julie and I ended up making a last-minute day-trip to Nantucket this weekend. Was fun, and definitely a change of pace from my busy work-week!
l33tminion: (L33t)
So how about them local sports teams?

Boston got a significant snowstorm last week and a follow up early this week. Friday is bringing just enough snow to tide us over before another snowstorm Sunday-Monday, with not much melting in between, and some very cold weather, too. (Mild today, though.)

I'm trying to figure out logistics for conferences and other travel in the spring.

The last few weeks included lots of birthday parties, and one going-away party (for Gui, who's off to San Francisco to build giant robots).

Also games: Enjoyed the tech-tree building card game Progress: Evolution of Technology and the industry-building board game Brass. On the digital side, enjoyed the impossible-architecture platforming puzzle-game Monument Valley (it's not long or super-difficult, but it is beautiful and clever, well worth the few dollars it costs).

Work is stressful, but productive.
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