Jun. 20th, 2017 04:23 pm
l33tminion: (Evil Laugh)
What's new, DW? (And all the rest of you out there on the intertubes / blag-a-ma-phone / real world but specifically the part of the real world that is on the internet.)

As always, last week was busy and this week is busy.

Last week was partially busy because we had to take Wednesday off to take the kid to the doctor for an eye infection. Diagnosis was "it's probably viral but here's some antibiotics because obviously not going to take any chances with the ocular orbs". So little Eris gets to suffer the indignity of ointment-to-the-eyes three times a day for a week. Kid is of course not a fan of this development, but at least it doesn't sting, so she gets over the indignity of having her eyelids pried open pretty quickly after. She wasn't too bothered by the infection, and it's cleared up. Plus Julie and I so far seem uninfected.

Last weekend, we went to Jupiter, Florida to visit Kristin and Jimmy and Emilia for a dinosaur-themed birthday party for Emilia and her bestie, Jacob. Kristen threw a really fun and quite elaborate party. The kids had a blast, the parents got to hang out and relax and take a lot of cute photos. Which is really what one hopes for in a kid's birthday party. Erica definitely enjoyed the time with extended family, especially her cousin. Happy birthday, Emilia, may age four be a good year for you!

Eristic improvements: Repeating words, remembering some words by sight (?), remembering the names of some letters, better at matching shapes, better reasoning about rotation of 3D objects.
l33tminion: (Default)
In "not just me talking abut my blog" news, the last few weeks have been eventful. In particular, Eris is walking for real!

We went to Cleveland to visit my folks last weekend for Passover (first Seder at the Singers' house and the second at my parents'). Was a nice visit, despite me, Julie, and the kid being sick with bad colds. (To add to the pain, I got a stomach bug the day before traveling and Erica has some back teeth coming in.)

The weather in Cleveland was mostly mild, but when we arrived there was snow on the ground! Still, things seem to be finally warming up, which means it's an ideal time to take Erica to the park. She's far more enthusiastic about wearing shoes now that she can walk around outdoors.

Work continues to be busy, but I'm excited about the stuff I'm working on.

Despite being busy, I've managed to get in some fun. I'm still playing some Magic: the Gathering with colleagues, I've been watching Steven Universe with Xavid, and I've gotten back to watching more anime because it's really easy to catch the odd episode now that I'm mostly watching in an app on my phone. I started watching Konosuba (funny, but the sort of genre pastiche that works well only if you're already a fan of the genres it's satirizing), watched Interviews with Monster Girls (a supernatural slice-of-life show with a lot of charming visual humor), and started One Punch Man (superhero satire, the animation is great).

Eristic improvements: Walking unsupported, walking outdoors, playing on swing and roundabout and slide on playground (assisted), more active about asking us to read, pays more attention to reading, pretends to read, has become very interested in taking to people on the phone (and, alarmingly, has figured out how to call people on her own), more skill/interest in eating with fork and spoon.
l33tminion: (Microbes)
We went to visit Julie's family for vacation, and it was pretty relaxing. Very nice to see everyone. Except we will still recovering from this stomach bug and, despite our best effort, managed to get both of Julie's parents and her sister sick as well. Hopefully our niece will avoid getting sick.

My cousin Amy also got sick after watching Erica for only a few hours.

The weather was clear and mild this trip, so it looks like it will be a smooth trip home.

Eristic improvements: Ascending and descending stairs, falling asleep on her own in the crib (though so far only during the day and only when the stars align just so).
l33tminion: (Microbes)
It hasn't been the most productive last week of work for the year.

Monday I was out at Olin Expo on behalf of campus recruiting, which was great. Tuesday was okay. But Wednesday, I stayed home to look after a sick Erica who had a bit of a chest cold (and maybe also a stomach bug?). Today, I had a terrible stomach bug. And now Julie is sick as well.

On the plus side, Erica seems to be feeling better, though still a little tired. Amy and Josh are very helpfully looking after Erica for a few hours so that Julie can get a bit more rest (and hopefully get through the worst of the stomach symptoms). I'm lying down a bit more as well.
l33tminion: (Overwork)
Work has been busy, everything has been busy. I've been bogged down with chores. I've not been sleeping so well, though not for any particular reason.

I'm making a serious effort to adjust my diet this week. I've been less inclined to eat healthily this year, and the effect is starting to get a bit alarming.

And some of my the most fun bits of the last few weeks have been related to food. Last Friday night, went out for an amazing evening of dessert and drinks at Loyal Nine after a quiet dinner at home. Saturday night, I took Julie out for a steak dinner at Juliet, and it lived up to the best steakhouse dinners I've had. (Julie liked it too, and she has high standards for steak.) All the more reason to keep my day-to-day eating on the healthy side, I suppose. Plus that gives me more motivation to cook again.

Politics is weighing on me. Sunday I went to canvas in New Hampshire for the Clinton campaign. ~40 volunteers left that day for NH canvassing from Porter Square Books, and more than that many from the campaign office in Central Square. And that's just Cambridge. The Clinton campaign is tremendously organized.

I made it out to Olin Monday evening with a few of my colleagues to give a tech talk on interviewing at Google.

The kid is more reluctant than ever to go to sleep in the evenings. And keeping her toys out of the way has become yet another chore.

Eristic improvements: Standing (supported but unassisted). Pulling herself to a standing position (an ability that she's working really hard on improving). Walking is sooner than you think.
l33tminion: (Overwork)
I feel pretty wrecked this week. I've gotten into a vicious cycle of being too tired to get things done efficiently / staying up late to get things done. So this last week has been rougher than when I first got back to work. Summer has also arrived to help prod me onto an early schedule with warmer nights and brighter mornings. So my internal clock has me waking up at ten-to-seven whether or not I managed to get to bed at ten (my ideal) or midnight (perhaps closer to this week's usual).

I end up of two minds whenever I have free time: Desperate to get in some unstructured relaxation, but also not wanting to be stuck in the house.

At least work has been very productive. I'm on the verge of getting the initial phase of a significant project completed.

I also got in a little cooking this weekend. The Saturday farmer's market in Union Square has started up again, and I got some fiddleheads and radishes and fancy smoked fish.

We're going to NYC next weekend, attending the Ingress live event in Brooklyn. This weekend is quiet.

Eristic improvements: Kid is making more dramatic tongue gestures, is generally more vocal (especially when hungry or tired, which is another thing that's grinding me down), fights sleep a bit harder. Not quite ready for those crawling preliminaries, but it's clear that she's working at it, with some frustration.
l33tminion: (Ubuntu)
It's been two weeks!

I was going to post more, but I (continue to) keep not getting around to it. The sleep dep hasn't been too bad (though there have been some rough nights). Well, it could be terrible-er. But it has been enough to make me very absent-minded.

Julie's mom headed home on Friday. She'll be returning with the rest of the family-in-law next weekend for some belated holiday celebrations. Meanwhile, my mom is in town to spend some time with the grandbaby and lend a pair of hands.

I've been working my way through my to-do list slowly. Still plenty of household stuff deferred to post-baby.

The second pediatrician appointment was last Tuesday. Eris has regained her birth-weight and is due back for the next at the age of one month.

Julie got her computer repaired. I got my new computer set up. My previous computer was still working fairly well, despite being over six-and-a-half years old, but for the past few months I've been really wanting something a bit faster and lighter. The new one is also from System76, with Ubuntu pre-installed.

MIT Mystery Hunt is this weekend. I've been trying to work on some puzzles remotely, but I've really contributed to solving none of them. Still fun to look at, hunt has a lot of interesting puzzles this year (and seems a bit more challenging ).

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: (Microbes)
No sooner than I wrote that last post, I came down with a ferocious stomach bug. There's that phrase about a "24-hour bug", this was a double dose. I was out sick Monday and Tuesday.

Since I didn't have any coffee or tea while I was sick, I decided this would be a good time to completely cut my caffeine intake until after the kid arrives. At that point, I'll want to be able to sleep at odd hours of the day. Or at the very least, I want to get off of caffeine long enough to get the full effect when I do go back to the morning coffee.

I was back to work Wednesday, just in time for the start of the training sessions for my project, which I'm helping to organize this year. That kept me pretty busy for the rest of the week.

Wednesday and Thursday went well, but Thursday night I had a hard time sleeping, that terrible stress insomnia where there's this vicious cycle of being unable to sleep from stress and being stressed about how tired you're going to be the next day. Tonight I still feel stressed out and tense for basically no reason, but I hope I'll be able to get myself into a better state of mind for sleeping.

To the extent that my stress makes any sense, a lot of it seems work-related. There are just a lot of things I'd like to start or finish by the end of the quarter, but there's more I'd like to do than I will actually be able to do.

TGIF, I suppose. Aunt Millie and Aunt Marsha are throwing Julie and me a baby shower this weekend. Julie's mom is in town for the event. Our first house-guest here at The Nest. Unpacking is done, other moving-in chores are underway. So that's all good. Hopefully I'll be able to shake off the stress and have a good weekend.
l33tminion: (L33t)
The MIT Mystery Hunt was last weekend, this time themed after 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. It was an unusually good year for my team, we came in second (only 50 minutes after the winning team), so I finally got to go on the runaround at the end of hunt (which this year involved a sequence of challenges that took us from half-past-midnight Sunday until nearly 6AM, including a puzzle involving a giant word-search of previous puzzle answers and an awesome game of human pictionary in Lobby 7). I also helped solve some very clever meta-puzzles, a text adventure time travel puzzle, and a puzzle consisting entirely of anagrams of the word "random".

Spent the rest of the weekend severely hunt-lagged.

Still playing a lot of Ingress. Just reached level 8 (the end of the base level progression in the game). I never got into playing World of Warcraft because I figured any MMO would become a terrible time-sink, so should have seen that coming. At least a game that involves wandering around outside won't be as bad for my health.

I've recovered from last week's winter cold, but Julie still has a persistent cough.
l33tminion: (L33t)
I was able to avoid getting as sick as Julie, but I still got pretty sick. Took a sick day Monday, still pretty brain fogged. Getting a fair amount done, but making very slow progress on the tedious process of wrapping up my current main project.

The temperature is dropping to extreme lows tonight. Tomorrow morning will be very windy and cold.
l33tminion: (L33t)
I've been having a relaxing time in Lubbock with family and family friends. Julie's parents are wonderful hosts, as always. All her siblings made it into town, and Julie's uncle even drove down from Canada (!) to visit. Christmas dinner was delicious, and people got me and Julie really nice and thoughtful gifts.

I finished reading The Feminine Mystique. That was an influential book for a reason, and it's a very interesting look into late 1950s feminism. That plus The Two Income Trap (which I also read recently) make a very interesting pair of book-ends for the latter half of the 20th century.

Also read How Children Learn. Wonderful book, really interesting and optimistic stuff. I really wish John Holt had succeeded in more of his education reform goals, but I really need to read more by him and his cohort.

Julie and I saw two movies on the trip, Mockingjay - Part 1 (very well put-together, though I still think they could have made the book into a single movie) and The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (I enjoyed it; while I don't think this trilogy is as good as Jackson's Lord of the Rings trilogy, it certainly stands up as an entertaining big-budget cinema spectacle). Saw the latter film at Alamo Drafthouse, which really deserves its reputation as the best big theater chain. Wish there was one in the Boston area.

On Sunday, I got a terrible stomach bug (the only bad bit of my trip) and spent the day drinking tea and watching Psycho-Pass (a cyberpunk dystopian police procedural, in a somewhat similar vein to Ghost in the Shell; worth watching if you like the genre, the first season is up on Netflix).

We were going to return to Boston today, but our flight was canceled on account of some ice. We're now scheduled to get in tomorrow, will see how that turns out.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Thirst Boston was last weekend. I didn't hear about it last year until it was happening, but from all the buzz among involved acquaintances on social media, it seemed like a cool event. This year I couldn't decide whether or not to go, but then Julie got us Saturday tickets last minute. It was a lot of fun, very interesting seminars/tastings, cool souvenirs, and really awesome after-party at Drink and Tavern Row. (I'm sure the rest of the weekend was fun, too, but the one day was a lot. But if I was to do it again I'd consider going for the whole thing and clearing my schedule.)

Got hit by a terrible cold and was down for the count Tuesday, but totally fine again by Thursday. At least it was brief.

On Wednesday, went to see Big Hero 6 at the new Assembly Row theater. Was my first visit to Assembly Row. While it does have that uncanny-valley "mixed-use development" feel, it at least has some good shops and restaurants, a more-luxurious-than-usual cinema, and a shiny new T stop on the Orange Line. (About the movie: It's awesome and you should see it.)

Work is very busy. I'll be in a new office next week (moving up two floors). Lots of people in the Cambridge office are shuffling to keep teams in proximity as the office continues to grow. It's a bit chaotic.

Tomorrow, I have some complimentary tickets (courtesy of Yelp Boston) to the Drink Craft Beer Fall Fall To Winter Fest.

In a week, I'll be going home for Thanksgiving break.
l33tminion: (L33t)
Fun things from this week:

Saw Snowpiercer at the Brattle. "Hunger Games"-on-a-train by way of the cinematographic conventions of Korean action movies. Good stuff if you're willing to take your sci-fi more than a bit absurdist.

Julie took me to Giulia for my birthday, an amazing meal.

I went to the Union Square Farmers Market this weekend and did a bit of cooking. Steamed carrots, long red Florence onions, and baby kohlrabi with fresh sage. Sauteed rainbow chard and various other exotic greens with lemon. Made a salad with cucumber and red sorrel. Bought a loaf of pain d'epi (a pretty baguette variation I hadn't seen before) and served it with Fiore de Nonno burrata. All very good.

I got in a bit of biking yesterday, and today I took Hubway everywhere and biked about 14 miles.

At work a big project is being slow to warm up, but I've been putting in a lot of effort to make documentation improvements that I didn't have enough time to get to this past quarter. Feels good to finally get to that.
l33tminion: (Ph34r)
Man oh man, I can't believe it's been a year already since my niece was born. It was great to see so much of that part of my extended family. Glad that all of Julie's siblings and all of the niece's grandparents could be in attendance. I enjoyed spending time with Jimmy's folks, too. (My sister-in-law's husband's parents are my what, aunt-and-uncle-in-law-squared? I'm glad to have them in my family.)

And of course most of all enjoyed spending time with my niece, Emilia, who is now walking and vocalizing (talking not quite yet) and pushing chairs around and eating a bit of grown-up food (though surely that will be easier once she has more than 1.5 teeth). Very strong and outgoing kid.

The party was fun, definitely the most elaborate birthday celebration I've been to for a one-year-old.

Are all Florida babies that cheerful? Admittedly my sample size is small, but I have yet to see a counter-example. Maybe it's the weather.

The trip went smoothly. JetBlue continues to be a winner.

The only downside was I got smacked with a bad cold. Out sick from work Tuesday (though I managed to conference-call in for book group) and still pretty brain-fogged today (the best part of today was biking home). Better than yesterday, though, so I'm hoping I'll be back to health in a day or two.
l33tminion: (Microbes)
The good news is that today, I finally have some time to relax! Bad news, however, is "because I'm home with a terrible stomach bug".

Last weekend, went to my cousin Ben's wedding. Was great seeing so much of my family, and Rhinebeck, NY was really pretty.

The first part of that book discussion of Oryx and Crake that I participated in appeared in this week's episode of the C-Realm Podcast.

At work, I'm trying to get a project I've been working on a while completed, but it's accumulated so much stuff along the way that it's confusing to test and review. So trying to untangle that and get it tested and checked in piece by piece. There's so much to do.
l33tminion: (L33t)
I haven't been as exhausted this week as when I made that last post, but still haven't found the wherewithal to write more frequently. Still tired, work is still busy. But enjoying various social activities, and cooking continues to be fun. Winter vegetables from our vegetable box plus scrambled eggs has made for some great breakfasts.

I'll just talk about a few bits of media I've enjoyed recently:

Robocop: Saw this one with Film Club. I enjoyed it. I'm glad the film wasn't just the original with better graphics, this one was about as different as it could be while having basically the same plot (the new one is played straight, the original is more satirical).

The Lego Movie: It's (appropriately enough) awesome, the music is catchy, the animation is brilliant, the story is fun, and it really captures the zeitgeist of Lego (that is to say, the crazy intersection between the kind of somewhat-incoherent narrative play kids do with Lego-the-toys and the kind of somewhat-incoherent toy-centered multimedia world-building done by Lego-the-company). If you like animated films or Lego you should definitely see it, and it's worth catching on the big screen. (Some of the trailers don't do it justice, disregard those and just see the movie.)

The Last of Us: Finally finished playing through the main story of this game, and it deserves the critical acclaim it received. Recommended if you like stealth-action video games or post-apocalyptic fiction. The score and art direction are excellent, the game mechanics are interesting and work well with the story. When Melissa visited, she commented on the particularly effective fight direction in the game. It really is one of the more remarkable elements. A lot of action games have very swashbuckling action-movie-y violence, but the combat in The Last of Us seems brutal, creepy, and unsettling, which really underlines the horrific elements of the setting and the moral ambiguity (to say the least) of the protagonist.


Feb. 13th, 2014 10:49 pm
l33tminion: (L33t zombie)
The last two weeks I've been exhausted every evening. I've been fighting a mild cold, not too bad during the day, but it's been leaving me a bit sore and extremely tired. Last week I was at least good at getting to bed early, this week less so. Need to get back to that. The more tired I am, the harder it is to go to bed early. Someone told me that it's a truism for medical students in residency that "the later you stay, the later you stay", and I sure understand the truth of that. Being tired makes it hard to get to bed early or leave a late night at work, which makes it hard to get extra sleep.

Have Presidents' Day off, really looking forward to a long weekend.
l33tminion: (L33t zombie)
This weekend I have an aggravating cold and have generally been sticking close to home, with a few exceptions. Yesterday, I managed to catch up on some chores, and Julie and I went out to dinner with friends at Stella. Today, ate delicious leftover pasta, played Dominion against my phone, and managed to get out to catch the end of the big game (this prediction from Friday is an excellent analysis of the game even before it happened). I also got started on taxes and was preoccupied with work. It feels like the weekend has barely started, and it's already at its end. I suppose I should get ready for tomorrow and get a good night's sleep.
l33tminion: (Overwork)
The federal government is back on as of last Thursday. A proposed Senate compromise was approved by large majorities in both houses. In the end, the only thing that surprised me was how many Republican representatives backed the compromise, once the were given the chance to vote (the count was 285-144 in the House, 81-18 in the Senate, all nay votes were Republicans). Hopefully Obama holding his ground this time will discourage the hugely irresponsible tactic of threatening default (probably not on treasury bond payments, but loans are not the only kind of financial obligation that matters, defaulting on bills or wages is just as irresponsible) as part of legislative negotiations. And those that are concerned about the national debt would be wise to avoid tactics that cause plenty of misery without actually saving any money.

In related (?) news, it seems Ohio is taking the medicaid expansion after all. A strange story, since the Republican governor and the Republican-controlled legislature don't see eye-to-eye on this issue. Wonder if more governors will follow. "I've stopped the federal government from paying for your health insurance" might not be so great a point to campaign on.

Bitcoin is over $200 per on increased demand from China. Chinese internet search giant Baidu has started accepting it for payment.

In my life, this week has been quite busy. I made some significant progress catching up on chores, and managed to find time to get this year's flu shot.

At work, my current bug is annoyingly hydra-like. Migration to Google infrastructure has wonderful aspects and annoying bumps.

Oh, I haven't mentioned tabletop gaming here for a while. Xave ran a brief Nobilis game, which was interesting, and now Andrew's running a game of "Dragons in the Vineyard" (Dogs in the Vineyard mechanics, Exalted setting). Very interesting so far. Dogs has a set of rules that make for fascinating storytelling, and places the players in a very different sort of role than many such games.
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