l33tminion: (Default)
Last weekend, we went to Nashville for a family gathering and for a chance to be in the path of the total eclipse. Well, we flew in to Nashville. Julie's folks got a vacation rental in Byrdstown, Tennessee, a large house on a hill overlooking the lake. Between Julie and Erica and me, Julie's parents, Kristin and Jimmy and Emilia, and the Weeks family with their five kids, it was quite a crowd. Was a long drive for me, but good to get a bit of practice.

On Saturday, Julie's dad took Julie and Erica and me on an afternoon trip to Mammoth Cave. Very cool to see. The kid had a great time, and walked about half of the tour herself.

We all watched the eclipse in Gordonsville on our way back towards Nashville. And then we made it back to the airport in good time for our flight home, with not too much delay due to traffic.

The total eclipse was definitely very cool, especially viewing the solar corona. I was also a little surprised just how close to totality you have to get for there to be any visible drop in the ambient light level; it was about an hour and a half from contact to totality where we were standing, and it only got noticeably darker in the last ten minutes or so. This was my first time seeing a total eclipse, though I'm pretty sure I've had the chance to observe a partial solar eclipse at least once previously.

It looks like Cleveland will be right in the path of the next total eclipse to cross the continental US, in 2024.

Eristic improvements: Starting to combine words into phrases (even a few simple sentences).
l33tminion: (Default)
The Google Cambridge summer party was last Thursday, this time at Six Flags New England. Unfortunately, Julie had an important business meeting the same day and couldn't go. The weather was a bit more rainy than ideal, but at least that meant short lines. Was just dry enough to allow for a fun visit, though, and I did get to ride some steel roller-coasters for the first time. Turns out I don't find the inversions as scary as I'd thought when I was younger, long drops get to me way more than the twisty, loopy elements. Mind Eraser was a blast. Plus I managed to get in an entire book's worth of reading on the bus from the office. Will have to return some time with the whole family.

Yesterday, Scott and Diane (Julie's cousins) were in from out of town for a wedding, and they had some time to drop by for a visit. Erica was a bit shy, but was more outgoing after a long-delayed nap, and we had a wonderful dinner at Loyal Nine. Was great to catch up!

Aside from that, work has been busy, and I've been trying to get a little work in on Mystery Hunt writing. I swore I'd help my team somehow, and January is sooner than you'd think.

Eristic improvements: Climbing up and down from chest-height obstacles, putting together shape-matching puzzles by herself, walking a lot faster, staying up inadvisably late.
l33tminion: (Bookhead (Nagi))
I meant to get around to write a post on the reading I did at Sandy last week. But last week was exhausting, and the weekend was pretty busy. I didn't have nearly as much interrupted reading time as some years, but I did get in a good thousand pages:

The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea: This conspiracy-weird-humor cult-classic novel has definitely left its mark on pop culture, and it's certainly one of the things I was making reference to way before I actually read it. A sensible read given how fond I am of RAW's humor re the Principia Discordia and the like, but to be honest I think the Principia is quite a lot funnier. Still, if you read that and decide you'd like more of the same but want something that's heavier on the narrative, a lot less G-rated, and about a kajillion times longer, Illuminatus! is pretty good.

Class by Paul Fussell: Fussell's musings on the American status system are most interesting when he's relating other people's take on the subject (e.g. the idea that class politics might be divided among factions of "The Guilty" and "The Cross" certainly seems to have some present-day relevance). Most of the book is Fussell's extensive cataloging of differences between social classes in America. To put it another way, Fussell defines the middle class as being motivated largely by anxiety about their (in)ability to rise in the class hierarchy, and the bulk of the book by that view is mostly middle-class-baiting. Many of Fussell's observations seem to have stood the test of time pretty well. Some seem bizarre. (Is "vodka with water" really an upper-class drink, and was it ever? A little on that topic turns up this interview with "The Gronk", who is certainly rich and (semi?)famous, but would a pro-athelete be upper-class in Fussell's taxonomy? Fussell says that it's a middle-class mistake to focus too much on profession, but he also might have something to say about that nickname.) The book concludes with a chapter on the role of college in the status system, which is one of the more interesting bits given how the higher-education bubble has developed since. In Fussell's view, the problem is that college is advertised based on average increases in earning potential, but this conflates selective universities (which help) and non-selective colleges (which don't). That problem seems to have been "fixed".

Minimalist Parenting by Christine K. Koh and Asha Dornfest: The book this most reminds me of is Bryan Caplan's Selfish Reasons to Have More Kids. It certainly has a similar philosophical bent. But Caplan's book had a pretty clear thrust of argument (people underestimate the benefits of parenting and overestimate the returns on certain kinds of parenting effort, therefore they underestimate the number of children they should have; instead of stressing out about the prospect of parenting, maybe consider having (more) children and just being lazier about it) and it backs up that argument in the sort of way you might expect an economist like Caplan to do. Minimalist Parenting, likewise, is what you'd expect from two bloggers, basically an organized collection of "lifehacks"; less in the way of numbers, more in the way of "try it and see".
l33tminion: (Chaos)
Sandy Island was a good vacation for everyone, but a fantastic vacation for Eris, who was phenomenally excited about both the activities and the food. The weather was beautiful (almost no rain, mild days and cool nights), and she got to spend a lot of time outdoors, mostly with me and Julie and my parents, but also a bit with the Sandy Island staff. While Erica is still too young for the morning children's programs at camp, they added a few hours of "toddler time" for the age bracket starting at 18 months, which Erica just reached this week, featuring playtime on the smaller-scale playground and painting with dot markers at the Little Red Schoolhouse (the building for the little kids' program at camp).

She also enjoyed a few boat rides, a lot of time on the swing and slides, dancing, playing catch (toddler version, sans catching), running all over the main area of camp, all of the food, and a brief dip in the lake with her grandma (briefly, before the chilly water got to be a bit much for her).

I really enjoyed the quality time with family, and was very grateful that we were able to travel with my parents to and from camp as well.

Eristic improvements: Climbing a playground ladder with static support (handrails), sliding down the slide by herself (or with minimal support). Walking up steps with minimal support, walking down steps with minimal static support (as little as a hand flat against a doorframe for balance). Climbing into and down from chairs. Vocabulary continues to expand as well, especially regarding colors (she seems to be more adept with toys that involve color-matching).
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.


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)
I was doing well on posting, then suddenly I was once again super-behind.

I don't even need to know where to begin with political news. The Comey stuff wasn't very unexpected: Trump leaned on Comey to shut down the Flynn investigation, then when Comey demurred, Trump fired him. But of course Trump's core supporters are going to come out thinking this is totally fine, it's Trump being Trump.

Rumors that Trump didn't know there was a US military base in Quatar before being persuaded by the Saudis to side with them in a diplomatic crisis based on a fake news report are pretty alarming, though. Ditto for him leaving out a line about article 5 (the mutual defense pact bit) during his speech at NATO. But perhaps that's another thing that would please his supporters.

Then the UK elections happened this weekend, in a total back-fire for the Conservatives where liberal gains in parliament might ironically result in an even more right-wing UK government, as the Conservatives now are beholden to a far-right coalition partner for a majority. Or just a completely destabilized government, who knows?

In other news, the greatest climber in the world climbed El Capitan in Yosemite without ropes. Insanity, but it's amazing that a human can even accomplish such a feat.

Work's been busy, I've been shifting my focus a bit in terms of which goals I'll aim to accomplish before the end of the quarter. That's going well.

I've been watching a bit of Steven Universe with Xave over lunch break (it's a fun show, though the longer plot arcs seem to be slow to build; I love the style of visual humor, the animation is brilliant).

It's Pride week, and the parade yesterday was big and colorful as always. The weather has been hot. It's not even summer yet.

Today I was mostly out and about with the kid doing errands.

There's nothing like a cool shower in the dark after a hot day.

My parents are off on a European holiday. Enjoying the photos. Happy anniversary!

Eristic improvements: Fetching objects by name, better memory of numbers and letters, recognition of specific letters (maybe), matching shapes to outlines (including letters), some new words (including "apple" and "[ba]nana").
l33tminion: (Music Metroid)
Almost as long as I've been carrying an audio-player everywhere, I've been equipping myself with a pair of Sony MDR-J10 earbuds. I first bought those because they were some of the cheapest earbuds I could pick up at (soon-to-be the late) Radio Shack. But I've kept buying them because they're some of the most comfortable earbuds I've tried.

Most of the earbuds I've encountered have an earplug-like cylindrical or hemispherical design which places the speaker on a circular face covering the opening of the ear canal. The MDR-J10s, on the other hand, has a "half-moon" speaker design: The hemispherical earbud sits with its flat face perpendicular to the opening of the ear, and the speaker is on the half of that face that sits within the ear canal. While this is obviously worse in terms of sound isolation, I like earbuds that interfere less with my ability to hear ambient audio, in particular because this allows me to better pursue my favorite hobby: Not getting run over.

The over-ear clips are also great. They conveniently hook to a shirt collar or pocket when not in use, and I find the curved, flexible design more comfortable than alternate designs that feature elastics or hinged joints.

The only downside is the low durability. And given relative ease of breaking (or losing) even more-durable earbuds, I'd rather have a bunch of cheap earbuds than fewer more-durable ones.

The problem is, these were evidently never a commercial success. Sony no longer makes them or anything with that form-factor. The very length of time I was able to purchase these earbuds deadstock (still packed in tiny ziplocks, never made it to retail packaging) after they were no longer available at retail attests to that. But the last time I went to purchase more, my previous supplier was out, and I had to resort to buying a bunch from some eBay-er shipping from China. Eventually, I just won't be able to find these at a reasonable price.

So I guess I'm keeping an ear out for alternative headphone suggestions. If there's in fact a clone of that design I've missed, that's ideal, but I'm on the lookout for anything that's comfortable to wear basically all the time, has reasonable sound quality, and keeps exterior audio unobstructed enough that I can hear an oncoming bus.
l33tminion: (Default)
Eris becoming a toddler has entailed quite a few transitions. For one thing, she's much more often vehemently opposed to getting in the stroller. She's also started to prefer a real seat to a high chair.

The stroller bit is a real problem, though. I'm looking forward to being able to reason with Erica, to offer choices ("you can hold my hand or ride in the stroller", "you can get in the stroller now or in ten minutes"). That doesn't work now, if she's opposed she'll always take the third option of "I'll fight you". It's unpleasant.

She's become more picky, too. Or at least more particular. I don't think the overall breadth of the sorts of food she's willing to eat has decreased, but it's hard to predict which of the things before her she'll want to eat at any particular moment; she knows what she wants and won't have us tell her otherwise. She doesn't seem to have lost her taste for spicy food, though. She's a real chili-head. Tonight, we had Thai food, and the kid was eating chicken larb with a happy expression on her face and tears streaming down her cheek.

Despite the drama, it does seem to be a fun phase in a lot of ways. It's great to see the kid's sense of adventure. She loves walking outdoors; she covered a bit over a mile today on foot. It's great to hear her enjoy her use of language, both the few words she knows and her own quirky babbling. Easy to get caught up in it. We said hi to the neighbors and were excited to see the dogs (and one person out walking with their pet parrot).
l33tminion: (Overwork)
Yesterday, we wrapped up our NYC trip with a brief stop at the Met Museum, said hi to some Ingress acquaintances (also down from Boston), and took a beautiful train-ride home.

And then I realized that I'd failed to clear out the closet in the hotel room. Argh. (They have my misplaced garments, at least, it's just a matter of arranging shipping.)

Julie is trying to plan some startup-related business travel. Seems like it might be fun, but the logistics are stressful.

There was a big office reorganization at work while I was away (packed up my office just before I left), so today involved a fair amount of unpacking. New space seems good. Same building, different floor, shared office with a window (though the view is not as good as my previous office).

I'm up late now dealing with the backlog of laundry. Bed soon.
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: (Default)
It's been a busy week!

Sunday I took Eris to the aquarium and did some touristy things downtown.

Monday was Patriot's Day and the Boston Marathon, so it was a daycare holiday and I took the day off work.

Spring performance reviews wrapped up this week at work, and I'm pleased with how the last six months have gone. I've been productive, and my coworkers had nice things to say about what I've accomplished.

Played some Magic, too. Friday, I drafted Conspiracy after work. Didn't win, but the game was as interesting as you'd expect from that format (got into a ridiculous deadlock, I guess I shouldn't have passed up that Traveler's Cloak). Today, I played in the Amonkhet prerelease and that set also seems great. Probably was the closest set of games I've played in a prerelease. The first match I didn't quite turn a game-three loss into a draw, the second match my opponent was able to grind game three into a draw though they seemed to be in the losing position, the third match my opponent no-showed (I found the player with an actual bye to get in some games while waiting, managed to win one and ran out the round time before I could finish the second), and I won the last match to just barely qualify for a prize. GB -1/-1 counters sure was a fun archetype to play, with a lot of interesting decisions. I didn't end up with the most powerful cards in my card pool, but I did have a lot of synergy (though I didn't get so lucky as actually to draw the ultimate first three turns of Festering Mummy, Hapatra, Plague Belcher).

Eristic improvements: Playing fetch, throwing a ball, imitating the sound of words more closely, imitating snippets of song (the first line of the alphabet song specifically).
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)
Last week was busy, and by the end of it I was wrecked. On Friday afternoon I picked up the kid from daycare and went to a local cafe in the hopes that a cup of coffee would revive me. No luck, I just wound up being dragged around the place by a super-energetic baby. I was hoping to enjoy a night out, but Julie wound up taking the kid and going out without me while I just crashed.

The weekend was a mixed bag. There were some good parts, including brunch with Ingress friends and a fancy steak dinner Saturday night. But I continued to be very tired, and lots of things unexpectedly went wrong (including a broken stroller, though at least it was repairable).

This week is off to a busy start. There's a meeting of my wider team in town this week, so I'm looking forward to the opportunity to see some of my colleagues from Mountain View and Zurich.
l33tminion: (L33t)
The last few weeks have been pretty busy, but fairly uneventful. Or I'm just suffering from sleep-dep induced amnesia again.

The last few days I've been really enjoying some unseasonably good weather. Thursday night, I dropped the jackets at home and went out again on a walk with the kid. Friday night. Starlite Lounge (my favorite local hipster bar) had flung open the windows and was serving piƱa coladas as the drink of the day. The high temp in Boston on Friday peaked at 72 degrees, the warmest February day in Boston on record (records go back to 1872). Beautiful weather continued today, with a bit of summer rain. It will be getting cold again towards the close of the weekend, though.

Eris is getting better at standing, and walking is probably not too far away.

Eristic improvements: Early unsupported stepping (in place or with minimal forward motion), some use of words, more mimicry of words.
l33tminion: (L33t)
It would be easier to title these posts if it didn't take me several days to get around to it.

Melissa came to visit this weekend (arrived Saturday and left early Tuesday morning). She was visiting Boston University since she's planning to apply for their MFA program. Was a lovely visit, especially since she provided a great deal of help with the kid (seriously, she changed diapers and everything). Saturday evening we went out for dinner with extended family (Amy and Josh and Milly and Marty), Sunday evening we went out to celebrate Melissa's birthday, and Monday I cooked dinner at home. Actually got a fair amount of cooking done: Mushroom and pea shoot omelette on Saturday morning, roast chicken and vegetables, pea shoot salad, and baked sweet potato with dukkah (which Julie made earlier) for Monday night.

Sunday morning, Melissa took the kid and went to visit friends, and (in addition to chores) I managed to watch all of Madoka Magica. If you enjoy anime, I'd recommend it: It's short (12 ~20 min. episodes) and has the sort of quality you'd expect form an Akiyuki Shinbo / Gen Urobuchi collab (i.e. a lot).

(I hear the kid enjoyed her museum visit. A good staircase is still a world of adventure.)

The Super Bowl Sunday seems like it was quite the game. (Sorry, Atalanta fans.)

Work is going all right this week, but it's a bit hectic.

Today, I'm out at Olin helping with campus recruiting and doing an interview-prep workshop. It feels only a short time since I was here with the kid a year ago.

This morning, the ground was covered with a thin layer of ice, which made the walk to daycare a bit too exciting. It was all melted an hour later, though. But tomorrow we're getting a snowstorm.

Julie's postdoc ends on Friday. But her entrepreneurial work continues.

This weekend, we're going to Intercon, which I missed last year and is still probably foolishness to go to this year, what with looking after the kid. I'm only signed up for a few games, though.

Eristic improvements: Still working on standing up unsupported (despite some early successes, she seems to be having difficulty with this still, though maybe she's trying when more tired), using specific sounds to communicate specific things (though I'm not sure I can quite say that she's learned words yet), more complex causal modeling (i.e. she knows the remote control works somehow and is determined to figure it out).
l33tminion: (AMERICA!)
So it's been a week since inauguration, which seems to be how I'm counting the time these days, watching Gish Gallop: The President do his thing. The only silver lining to the scenario is that Trump's ego does seem to be a genuine Achilles heel. I mean, having his press secretary go out and tell easily-verifiable lies about the inauguration crowd size, instead of just shrugging it off (he didn't run on being popular in DC, he's not the first black President, and "the forgotten American" might not easily be able to buy a plane ticket and take off work on a Friday). Or claiming that there were 3-5M illegitimate votes in an election where fewer than 130M votes were cast, which he won based on margins of under 100k votes total, just a weird thing to do regarding a victory you feel secure about. (Also, hilariously, suggesting that part of this voter fraud was people registered to vote in two states, only to find that describes half of his administration and family.) To say nothing of Trump's nutty ABC interview.

Since the inauguration, Trump's been trying to crack down on federal agencies publishing the samizdat (he wants their social media presence to only publish stuff that's politically correct). The state department has been purged, the border patrol chief has resigned, the trend of Republicans cutting costs by first firing anyone who knows anything (which seems maybe not the most effective way to achieve cost-cutting goals in the long run) seemingly has been turned up to 11. Trump does seem to be running the government like a badly-managed business.

A (supposed) preliminary list of Trump administration infrastructure projects was released, which actually seemed pretty good from both a prioritization and PR standpoint. It's mostly straightforward stuff, much of it is already underway (opportunity to do a bit of facilitation and take all the credit), and much of it has a mix of government and private funding. But it's not sure how it jibes with other proclamations of the administration, like the attempt to cut all federal funding of sanctuary cites (e.g. the list includes Boston's Green Line Extension, which extends a light-rail line serving a sanctuary city from another sanctuary city through a third sanctuary city to another city that doesn't call itself a "sanctuary city" but by policy might as well be). The Trump White House subsequently disavowed the document saying that it's "not a White House policy document". My conjecture: It's just an internal report and who knows how it will relate to actual policy proposals. The infrastructure-project focus for now remains on a border wall that will cost a kajillion dollars while providing very little in the way of increased border security for the money (it's a boondoggle, but at least it's something in terms of job creation).

Speaking of that wall, Trump did manage to set off at least one diplomatic crisis during his first week in office. I'd expect that this will cause Trump to double-down on his goal of getting Mexico to pay (though he may have to take a flexible definition of what counts as paying to do it, and he may frame "they'll pay" less in terms of finance and more in terms of revenge). In any case, that might run at cross-purposes with the goal of creating manufacturing jobs, since Mexico is America's second-largest market for exports.

Finally, the administration announced plans to publish a weekly list of crimes committed by immigrants and blanket restriction on immigration from the countries in the Middle East Trump isn't personally doing business with. Plus there are rumblings of work on that Muslim registry.

(Even putting politics aside, it's been a tiring week. Ended with me getting super-sick with a bad cold or flu. Julie and the kid are also sick, and so are many of my friends and colleagues.)
l33tminion: (Junpei)
The MIT Mystery Hunt was this past weekend. Unusually, the Hunt was won a little past four on Saturday morning (usually it goes into the wee hours of Sunday). More unusually, it was my team (Death & Mayhem) that won it! (Which means we won the indubitable honor and dubious prize of writing the Hunt for next year. Exciting!)

Despite the misestimated length, this year's Dungeons-and-Dragons-themed Hunt was really excellent—fun, entertaining, and full of lots of really well-constructed puzzles.

Puzzles and solutions are up, so here are some of my favorites (link goes to puzzle, spoilers are behind the "solution" link there):
The Sacred and the Mundane (we backsolved this one from a meta-puzzle, then went back and solved it the right way for fun)
Pic of the Litter (note that the text not in italics is instructions)
Epic Raft Battles of History (great title)
Hexed Adventure (great puzzle form)
How I Spent My Pre/Postapocalyptic Vacation (I really enjoyed working this one out)
Above Your Pay Grade (I helped mostly with the extraction)
Boston Burgers (I helped solve this by pushing for a more straightforward approach to extracting an answer)
Listicle (Julie was the one on our team who figured out the form of this puzzle)

On Saturday we had a lazy day, wandering around town, and then going to a celebratory dinner with the Hunt team. Sunday, we went to dim sum with Ingress-playing friends, then took the kid to the aquarium (Julie's brother and sister-in-law got us an aquarium membership as a Christmas gift). Monday, we went to wrapup for Hunt, then Julie went to lab while I took the long route home with Eris.

The kid has been much more interested in upright mobility lately, traversing the room while holding onto a hand. She's not taking unsupported steps yet, but it won't be long. She seems to be working on some teeth again, judging from the degree of chewing on everything and how uncomfortable she's been getting in the evenings.

Eristic improvements: Walking (unsteadily) with dynamic support, walking (reasonably well) with static support, standing unsupported (including standing up with no support at hand; moderate duration, with effort to balance).
l33tminion: (Smile)
We went to the New Year's party at The Buttery which resumed again this year. It was good to see old friends, and Eris had a great time exploring (it's a big house, with some nice big staircases). But per parental tradition, we're home early. I may yet be up to see midnight, though it would probably be wise to turn in even earlier.

I don't want to overstate the significance of 2016, but it certainly was a year that turned things upside-down in a lot of ways. Not all bad, of course. The year started with Erica's birth, and I was pleased to see many friends highlight new family members and deepened relationships in their New Year's reflections.

For those alarmed by the political side of 2016, it's worth noting that while uncertainty has been heightened in some ways, the long-term global trends of reduced disease, poverty, and violence have not been overturned (as Pinker points out, terrorism is the clickbait of violence). Still, I expect that 2017 will be even more dramatic than 2016, and that's saying a lot.

I wish you all the best of health and happiness in the new year.

Eristic improvements (just to get in one last milestone before the turn of the year): Standing unsupported (briefly)
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: (Default)Sam

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