Such cute kids!

Because I’m such an awesome human and dad, I was searching today for videos of my kids crying, hopefully having a tantrum, that I could use as a background during Zoom meetings.

I found these, but I didn’t use them.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, Stuff I remember, 1 comment

March 2020 Part II

Second half of March, starting the Monday after my birthday — WFH continues. I worked from home every day, but went into the office to grab a few things on Friday and hit grocery stores and a brewery on my way home. There were only a few people still regularly going into the office; of those, I strongly encouraged the one that reports to me to take anything home that he needed to work effectively because I had no idea if he’d be able to get back into the office on Monday. He took his desktop and all monitors and probably whatever other hardware was attached to them.

At least the week of the 16th, the governor hadn’t issued the Stay Home Stay Healthy order. But, Kristen was working from home and the kids’ school was canceled, so I wanted to stay home and at least be available to help defray the attention the kids would need during the workday.

We started to worry and stress more about the ~$7,000 we had spent on tickets plus AirBnB for Guam (visiting big brother) and Hawaii (Miss K’s wedding). If flights aren’t canceled, should we go? If we don’t go, how much of that money do we lose? What if part of the flights are cancelled but not all? Etc.

Saint Patrick’s Day we were, of course, stuck at home. First graders in our school are encouraged to devise a leprechaun trap. We did so in lieu of school; Chilkoot made it up by himself. I don’t remember his exact words, but he pretty clearly described the classic “tiger pit” trap, including a ladder with “no climbing” signage (because leprechauns are capricious and can’t resist disobeying directions). I did a lot of the work but he definitely did most of the design. Anyway…apparently his trap caught a leprechaun temporarily, but the leprechaun cut his way out the side.

I wasn’t paying much attention to why or how this happened, but the kids had some kind of markers that were supposed to work OK on glassware, so they decorated a bunch of our beer glasses. Also a growler and a shaker. I really liked the pointillism on the frosted pint glass.

Late last year (Christmas or New Year’s), HB gave us a tray of hot buttered rum mix. I’m not 100% sure, but I think that’s mostly butter. Anyway, we had it in our freezer forever, and we decided to dispose of it the moral way, and just drank a fuck ton of hot buttered whatever the fuck we have lying around: Rum, baijiu, bourbon, Jameson’s. Perhaps this was the early stages of cabin fever, but all of it was good. Let’s ignore the fact that we may have drank two sticks of butter each. Incidentally, this was definitely the best way I found to consume baijiu.

Last year, KrisDi sort of got me a flannel from Great Notion; then I sort of got her a flannel from Three Floyds. Then we got the kids matching flannels with patches from Reuben’s and Fremont. We’re a cute family.

We had talked about but never got serious about using our shitty yard to build a fort for the kids, where they walk straight off the cliffs of insanity and into a fort at about the same level. Stuck at home, with hardware stores open due to their essential nature, we decided to do it. The basic footprint was a 4’x8′ sheet of plywood, with 4″x4″x12′ posts, the front two on one level and the back two on another level as guided by the natural slope of our yard, and just use that same slope for the slope of the roof. We wanted to have a trap door in the floor and a drawbridge in the front.

So we planned, itemized materials we would need to build it, ordered most of it from Home Depot online for pickup (and some from Lowe’s). Home Depot was pretty well organized, they had everything ready to go, they were monitoring customer inflow and outflow to ensure no overcrowding in the social distancing sense of the word, marked spots everywhere a line might show up — no fuss at all. Lowe’s was a shitshow. Customer service took 20 minutes to get to me, eventually sent me to lumber assuring me they had everything ready; they had nothing ready and no one to do it. I had already paid and I was standing around like a dope, so they roped in someone and scrambled around for the things we wanted.

This first weekend, we got the floor and the roof made. Kids started to get excited, but mostly about decorating it, and they came up with a long list of things they wanted to put in it. This ongoing project is called Playfort on here. You may or may not have noticed, but the kids actually asking for things had little or nothing to do with our decision to actually make this thing.

KrisDi’s old steeltoes (she had them from our previous job working on ships) came out of storage for this, and promptly disintegrated. Before this, I had a generally high view of Red Wings quality.

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment

March 2020 Part I

Click here or on the photo above for more pictures

I’m continuing my project of clearing out some of the accumulated liquor from my liquor cabinet, which has required some creative cocktail innovation. I made a lot of progress in March on my baijiu. I still don’t know where it came from. I tried amping up my baijiu white russian with vanilla and cardamom to some success, and I also tried a pan-asian bloody mary: soy sauce instead of worcestershire sauce, spicy garlic paste instead of other hot sauce, wasabi instead of horseradish…

Chilkat joined a small local play with two other kids. I think they got to pick which play they did. Chilkat was cast as Eeyore. Chilkat had been going to rehearsals at the house of the lady running the show, and practicing a little bit at home.

My birthday has come and gone. My wife (and most assuredly also my children) got me a bottle of Gouden Carolus single malt whisky (fascinating to me because normally whisky is made with less care in the fermentation process), Oakley sunglasses (now that the kids are old enough they’re less likely to topple my sunglasses off of my head, I wanted some that were higher quality than the $5/2-pair jobbies I’ve been grumbling about), an 8″ Mitutoyo Coolant Proof caliper, and a small, collapsible drill press.

When we went to the mall (yes, I actually went to the mall) to pick sunglasses, we talked the kids into going to a ramen place for lunch. The ramen was OK, but the amazing thing was getting the kids to try crispy pot stickers and pork belly, and renewing their interest in edamame.

Coronavirus activities ramped up. My workplace is just a little over a mile from where the initial outbreak was in Kirkland, and also just a little over a mile where most of those deaths occurred. School closed down on Friday the 13th. Social distancing recommendations were up at that point, but the state hadn’t shut down yet.

On that first Friday, the kids chose to keep to their school routines. As of this writing (holy shit, more than a month after the fact), Chilkat’s schedule on the whiteboard is mostly wiped off, but it went roughly:

  • 9:15 AM: School starts with math
  • 10:30 AM: Snack time
  • 11:00 AM: Reading (usually they started during snack time)
  • 11:20 AM: Recess (usually iPad time)
  • 11:40 AM: Lunch (usually iPad time)
  • 12:00 PM: Writing time (in Chilkat’s room)
  • 12:30 PM: Specialist time (gym, library, music depending on the day)
  • 1:00 PM: Science or Social Studies
  • 1:30 PM: Second recess
  • 2:00 PM: Silent reading
  • Sometime after that, art or something to finish off the day

Of course, when this first started, the schools were totally unprepared and had no plan. The kids initially did a really good job — they did flash cards together for math time, read side-by-side, worked side-by-side or together to write during writing time.

KrisDi’s work from home started on Thursday, March 5th (Jesus that’s a long time ago). I worked from home a few days between those times, but I went to work on that first day of school cancellation. My office had started encouraging it, but it hadn’t become policy yet.

We (unwisely) slipped in a birthday outing that weekend. The spawn went to Nana and Papa’s house, and we got an AirBnB in Ballard. Visited several breweries (Fair Isle [very pretentious but pretty tasty] was the last one of Friday, and I swear I was not as wasted as I looked), went to several restaurants, went up to Deception Pass Saturday morning and took lots of pictures (here’s the first I included in this album).

Random stuff:

Posted by snaotheus in Family, Photo updates, 1 comment

More Readings

Currently reading:

  • At home paper book: Earthman, Come Home by James Blish.
  • Work assignment reading: What the CEO Wants You To Know by Ram Charan.
  • Commute audio book: Upland Outlaws by Dave Duncan
  • With my daughter: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis.
  • Chore book: Still plowing through the complete works of Edgar Allan Poe. Next up is the Poetic Principle, after I finish my work assignment book.

Since the last time I wrote about books I was reading:

None of the Poe stories really stand out to me. I didn’t feel like including any of the work related books I read.

Just yesterday, I finished the Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. It was interesting, very strange, and I’m confident I missed a lot of the points the author was trying to make in ridiculing Russian society at the time. I’ll be reading the Wikipedia article on the book and on Pontius Pilate and a few other related topics as a result. I suffered from my standard Russian literature complaint: Each character has like four completely unrelated names and I can’t tell who we’re talking about more than half the time.

I’m listening to Dave Duncan‘s second quartet of books set in Pandemia. I like it. He has a really unique magic system, a unique universe, and genuinely interesting stories. I found it in some list of something like “unknown but excellent fantasy fiction.” I suspect I’ll eventually read more of his books.

I’m somewhere around halfway done reading James Blish‘s Cities in Flight quartet — interesting kind of out-there sci fi about a future where city-encompassing anti-gravity allows entire cities (like New York) to become space-faring, and “anti-agathic” drugs indefinitely prolong human life spans. Cities go from planet to planet looking for work (like hobos as described by a more old-fashioned terminology where that doesn’t necessarily mean a deadbeat street person), finding planets at various stages of development both technologically and culturally.

I listened to Neil Gaiman‘s Norse Mythology, which of course was good. No idea how true it is to the original stories or how completely, but definitely the most approachable rendition of the mythology I’ve ever attempted.

I listened to James SA Corey‘s Expanse series up to the last book. I really enjoy that series, and I think the last book is supposed to come out this year. Eventually I probably want to watch the series, too. I think I was hooked in the scene in the first book where one of the main characters realizes he’s not respected by any of his peers, when he thought he was really good at his job.

I read (or listened to, can’t remember) The Girl from the North by Cat Bruno, and I’m not sure why I found it so terribly tedious. I kind of forced myself to finish the book. I didn’t start the next book in the series.

Interworld by Neil Gaiman, a book about a kid who suddenly discovers he can travel transdimensionally and finds himself in the midst of war between evil technology people, evil magic people, and other transdimensional-traveller versions of himself. It was OK, but I didn’t feel the need to continue the series.

Chilkat and I read Half Magic by Edward Eager. It was fun to read it with her.

A Gift From Earth by Larry Niven was pretty strange and interesting. A colony on a planet with a relatively tiny habitable area, where the “crew” of the colony ship becomes the hereditary lords of the planet and the “passengers” become the hereditary serfs, where minor crimes are punished by distributing the criminal’s organs among the “crew” to prolong their lives. This twisted society is disrupted by deliveries of new technology from other colonies (or the home planet) and of course a local with special powers.

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky was pretty good — Human society self destructs just as it reached a level of technology where it was trying to set up a world as a turbo-charged evolution experiment; the experiment goes wrong and ends up with highly evolved giant spiders, who are encountered thousands of years later by Earth’s last survivors escaping their poisoned planet — complicated by the decayed and corrupted remnants of the previous human interplanetary empire. I think this is the start of a series…not sure how well it would extend, but I might get to it some day.

I picked The Alien Way by Gordon Dickson years ago and finally got around to reading it last year. Through convoluted means, a human establishes a one-way telepathic link (the human is a receiver) with an alien from an aggressive interplanetary empire with fundamentally different societal norms.

Island, by Aldous Huxley, was a little boring, but an interesting mixture of idealist optimism (the utopian society on the island) and caricaturistic pessimism (its relationship to the surrounding world).

I finally finished the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan (mostly). Brandon Sanderson kind of scrambled to pull together all of the threads at the end, but managed to do it and wrap it up in a reasonably satisfying way. I don’t think the series was bad (although large chunks of it are), but I think it did not live up to its potential.

Posted by snaotheus in Reviews, 2 comments

Covid-19 (Chilkoot interview)

  • What do you miss most right now?
    • All my friends.
  • What is Covid-19?
    • A virus. It can kill people.
  • How would you describe the way it’s impacting the world?
    • They have to be home schooled.
  • What’s the hardest thing about the way life is right now? Staying home, school by yourselves, mom and dad working from home, no restaurants…
    • I don’t know.
  • What’s your favorite thing about the way life is right now?
    • I can watch my iPad a lot. And I can choose what I want for lunch.
  • What are the three things you’re excited to do when this is over?
    • Start second grade. Three things? Ummm….hang out with my friends I guess. You’re writing everything I said! I don’t know any more. Stop writing everything I say!
  • What have you learned from this experience?
    • Fractions, I guess.
  • If you had to explain this to yourself at the beginning of this current school year, what would you say?
    • I don’t know.
  • Do you miss school? Why, or why not?
    • Yes. I miss the teachers.
  • Why are we staying at home right now?
    • Because you can die.
  • Do you have any questions about what’s going on right now?
    • No.
Posted by snaotheus in Family, 1 comment