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Current Month
Feb. 5th, 2016 @ 09:16 pm The Middle Third
Current Mood: awakeawake
Tags: , ,
Time flew by this week. Completed a few important tasks: Arranged daycare for when I return to work (at a home daycare very near to our house), one-month physical for Eris (she's healthy and nearly ten pounds). And did get in some fun things.

I want to do a bit of studying on work-related topics, but have not gotten around to it quite yet.

I did finally got the much-anticipated "quiet day at home" on Friday, in the midst of a snowstorm. Did a bit of cooking; I made mushroom and scallion omelettes in the morning, Julie cooked Sichuan pork with celery adapted from this recipe in Fuchsia Dunlop's Every Grain of Rice.

A few of the nights this week have been a bit rough, and Eris was super-cranky today. Maybe a spot of indigestion.
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Jan. 31st, 2016 @ 10:32 pm Joining the Nutrition Team
Current Mood: exhaustedexhausted
Tags: , , ,
Four weeks have come and gone, which means I'm now a full member of Team Nutrition. Of course, Julie's still providing all the food, but we now can do some time-shifting without worrying too much about ruining the existing routine. Lazy parenting thing I learned this week: You don't have to heat up fridged breastmilk before feeding it to the baby. Eris seemed to find the cool bottle of milk pretty strange, but that didn't prevent her from devouring it.

Julie and I have done a bit of cooking, but mostly it's been simpler things. I want to continue to get some more elaborate cooking into the mix.

Unfortunately, sleep dep has been really dragging on me the last few days. Julie's more resilient on that front, but she's starting to get pretty tired, too. Really need to get in more daytime naps. Though I'm glad we were able to get out of the house today, the weather was beautiful, unexpectedly very mild.
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Jan. 27th, 2016 @ 12:31 am Duo Parenting
Current Mood: calmcalm
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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.
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Jan. 23rd, 2016 @ 09:41 pm Reasons for Insomnia
Current Mood: tiredtired
Still doing these omnibus weekly posts because I'm not actually getting around to posting more often.

Last weekend was the MIT Mystery Hunt. This year's hunt was themed after the movie Inception. The first round, a dog-show themed hunt, turned out to be just a dream. The subsequent rounds had hunters waking a team of famous sleepers to escape a series of nested dreams and extract a secret from the mind of the ultimate dreamer (in this hunt, the Coin was hidden within the Alchemist). Despite some technical difficulties, the hunt was very well put-together. Repeating last year's feat, my team (Death & Mayhem) completed the hunt, placing third. (The coin was found at 6:53PM on Sunday, hunt HQ closed the hunt at 9PM, four teams were able to finish the final runaround.) I put in a bit of effort to help with some of the puzzles remotely, but I don't think I was a significant help with any of them this year. Puzzles and solutions are up here.

A few favorite puzzles from this year:
Off the Leash (figuring out the form of the puzzle takes some cleverness)
Road Trip (a simple, feel-good puzzle)
The Case of the Dangerous Game (another clever puzzle form)
Losers (wordplay puzzle)
identify, SORT, index, solve (the classic Mystery Hunt puzzle form)
Time Suck (a spongmonkeys puzzle!)
The Gibous, Non-Euclidean Program (spooky punchcards)

The rest of the week went well. Though Eris has been having a few wakeful nights, the worst two nights ago when she wanted to feed for half-an-hour every two hours. My mom was in town for the week and was pleasant company and tremendous help.

The baby has acquired a belly-button, in the traditionally passing of belly-buttons on to the next generation.

Julie's family was going to be visiting this weekend, but their plans got waylaid by a Nor'easter and they had to reschedule. We'd all had reservations at East Coast Grill, a historic Inman Square restaurant that soon will be closing forever. Wound up inviting some more Boston friends to take advantage of the reservation. East Coast isn't my favorite Boston restaurant (probably not even in my top ten favorite restaurants in this neighborhood, though to be fair Inman and Union Squares have a lot of really excellent restaurants), but they were a good spot and a very significant part of the neighborhood.

Julie's family will reschedule their trip for March, when (hopefully) the weather will be more accommodating.

I'm continuing to make progress on my todos and random houshold tasks. I got some WD-40 to oil a squeaky hinge, so now my engineer's toolkit is complete.
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Jan. 17th, 2016 @ 12:54 am Nutrition Squad Victory
Current Mood: tiredtired
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 ).
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Jan. 9th, 2016 @ 11:49 pm First Week
Current Mood: satisfiedsatisfied
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!
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Jan. 4th, 2016 @ 10:58 pm Baby Feeding Hours at the Baby Zoo
Current Mood: tiredtired
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.
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Jan. 4th, 2016 @ 01:13 am All Hail
Current Mood: indescribableindescribable
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.
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Dec. 26th, 2015 @ 06:56 pm So I Heard You Like Nesting
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.
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Dec. 26th, 2015 @ 06:38 pm This Week's Recipe: Roasted Chickpeas
This one doesn't meet my goal of cooking from my cookbooks, but I had a bag of dried chickpeas and healthier snack options are always good.

Spicy Roast Chickpeas

This week's recipe is Spicy Oven-Roasted Chickpeas.

Choices and substitutions: I doubled the recipe for the seasoning, and used about two-thirds of two lbs. dried chickpeas instead of 15 oz. canned. I soaked the entire two pounds overnight (adding two tablespoons baking soda and water to about twice the height of the chickpeas). I then rinsed and boiled them until just a little firm (about 40 minutes). I used as much as could reasonably fit on a large baking tray, and froze the excess. Cook time was 75 minutes instead of 30-40. I checked on it every 10 minutes and moved the chickpeas around (after 70 minutes it was on the verge of being done, and I switched to every 5).

Chickpeas are cheap, but dried chickpeas are significantly cheaper than canned. They have a reputation for being a bit harder to digest, though. I asked Melissa (my sister), for advice, since I knew she'd made similar recipes before. Pretty much everywhere suggests soaking overnight. Melissa suggested going a step further and sprouting the chickpeas (good advice, but I didn't want to add several days to my prep time, especially now). The fallback suggestion was to boil after soaking. Other sources are mixed on whether to boil after soaking or go straight to baking, and whether to soak plain or with baking soda.

How it turned out: Tasty! The spices were cooked a bit more than needed, but the texture was just right. Sources vary on whether chickpeas should be coated in oil and spices before roasting or just after, while sill warm. After this one attempt, I suspect that getting some oil on right away is very good. An optimum for flavor probably involves a light coat of salt and oil initially, followed by more oil and spices when there's ~30 minutes left to cook. But that sounds complicated, so I think seasoning before cooking is still a good idea.
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Dec. 19th, 2015 @ 11:06 pm This Week's Recipe: Chermoula Eggplant
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
I was planning to get into the habit of cooking something non-trivial on a regular basis, but haven't gotten around to that since June. Now that I'm moved into the new place, I'm trying to get back to it.

Chermoula Eggplant

This week's recipe (from last Wednesday), was Chermoula Eggplant with Bulgur and Yogurt from Yotam Ottolenghi's Jerusalem. (Chermoula is a sauce flavored with savory spices and preserved lemon.)

Choices and substitutions: I used Chinese eggplant because that seemed to be more the right size than alternatives (worked well, though it seemed to be a little thinner than the ones depicted in the cookbook). I didn't toast the sliced almonds (didn't think it was worth the extra step, that was fine). I used Kalamata olives instead of green olives partly on preference, but mainly because that was what I was able to find pitted and halved (that substitution worked well). I wasn't able to find the jars of little preserved lemons I've used in the past, but Whole Foods turned out to sell preserved lemons in their bulk specialty foods (larger lemons, but flavored similarly, worked just as well). I failed to mix in olive oil with the bulgar while adding the olives, raisins, and herbs (an oversight, but I think that worked out all right in the end; while it's a bit more dry that way, that makes for a nice contrast).

How it turned out: Really well! This recipe has a fair number of steps, but the hardest part was finely chopping preserved lemon for the sauce, and the end product looks like the result of way more effort than was actually involved. The trick of plumping the raisins in warm water is a good one, and I'll be looking for other occasions to use that sauce.
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Dec. 15th, 2015 @ 11:17 pm Winter Prelude
Current Mood: optimisticoptimistic
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.
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Dec. 4th, 2015 @ 11:50 pm Marred by Sickness and Stress
Current Mood: stressedstressed
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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.
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Nov. 29th, 2015 @ 11:02 pm New Home Thanksgiving
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
I really enjoyed spending the long weekend with Julie. We had Thanksgiving dinner with my Boston family, worked on more of the long tail of new-house chores, saw a movie (the second part of Mockingjay, which was pretty good), ate a fancy dinner at Clio Restaurant (which is closing at the end of the month).

We also went to some parenting classes and a tour at Brigham and Women's. The imminence of parenthood is becoming manifest.

Work is busy for both of us. Julie is wrapping up a paper in the coming weeks, I'm organizing training sessions (and teaching a session) for my project at work.

Ingress is celebrating it's third year. As a result, I wanted to reach level 13 before Tuesday, which for me required capturing about 130 portals I hadn't captured before. So I was running around downtown after dark in the cold today, while Julie toiled in lab. (I did it, though. Victory!)
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Silly Dance
Nov. 19th, 2015 @ 05:08 pm Elevation and Procreation
Current Mood: tiredtired
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.
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Nov. 15th, 2015 @ 12:50 am Nesting
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Tags: ,
I was going to write about how hosed I was with moving prep, but I was too hosed to post.

Strangely, the new place seems a lot bigger now that our stuff is moved in. There's still a lot to unpack, but the essentials are done (e.g. I can make a cup of tea and I have somewhere to sleep).

Cable setup didn't just work, so internet access will be just cell phone until RCN can send someone to troubleshoot in a few days.
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Nov. 3rd, 2015 @ 10:26 pm A Few Final Trips
Current Mood: busybusy
Tags: , , ,
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.
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Oct. 14th, 2015 @ 03:27 pm Winning in Boston
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
Tags: , , , , , , ,
Very tired lately.

Olin Career Fair last week was great. I enjoyed the panel discussion. Career Fair is very lively, my voice was really tired by the end of the day.

There was an Ingress event in Boston last Saturday, a lightning-round version of the global game of keep-away that was part of the last round of events. Each team fought over 36 in-game objects, jumping them from landmark to landmark to one of their team's goals. The field was set at 20 minutes past noon, with jumps every 15 minutes from 1PM to 5. My team (the green Enlightened) fought our way to victory, 18-15. Was a good game, strategy was dynamic and interesting, and both teams brought a good crowd of players and high-level gameplay.

My mom was in town last weekend, so we got in some lunches at Google and dinner with extended family. On Sunday, we wandered into Honk! and the annual Octoberfest in Harvard Square. Very nice to have an opportunity to catch up.

Next weekend, Julie and I will be visiting her family in Lubbock.
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Oct. 3rd, 2015 @ 02:55 pm Paperwork Finish Line
Current Mood: cheerfulcheerful
Housing acquired! Picking up keys tomorrow, move scheduled for mid-November.

It took an extra week due to circumstances beyond our control (some finicky details about an international deed transfer not done correctly the first time by the seller). But now it's done for real.

Stress is still wearing on me. Still, there are quite a few things I'm really looking forward to: Spending time with cousins this weekend, my mom is visiting town next weekend, there's an Ingress event in Boston next Saturday, and the weekends after that include some last-minute trips home.

I led a tech talk on interviewing at Google at Olin last week, and I'll be at Olin again for the career fair and a tech interviews panel discussion this week. I really enjoy helping out with that aspect of recruiting!

I saw The Martian on a work movie outing on Friday. The book is great, and the movie is a great adaptation. For the most part, it sticks closely to the book's plot with some judicious trimming for time. Though it does manage to make the book's over-the-top ending even more implausible, and there are a few moments where the cuts cause some of the funny bits to make less sense, or where the movie goes a little bit too far with putting viewer-friendly interfaces on everything. If you at all think you might like a story about an astronaut trying to survive being stranded on Mars, I recommend you see the movie and watch the book, in either order.
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Sep. 20th, 2015 @ 11:10 pm Onsite Offsite
Current Mood: awakeawake
Tags: , , , ,
This week at work: All Flights Summit, a team event for everyone on the broader Flights team. Unfortunately, this lacked one key element of an offsite for those of us in Cambridge, but it was cool to see more of our Mountain View and Zurich colleagues in person, and maybe we'll get a farther-away offsite next time. Still had a lot of interesting talks and fun team social events.

This Saturday evening, went to BAHFest, a science comedy event organized by Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal comic artist Zachary Weinersmith. Contestants compete to put forward the best (and funniest) ad hoc evolutionary bio theories, supporting their hypotheses with a quantity of SCIENCE and quality presentations. The winner receives a trophy of a skeptical-looking Darwin saying "I guess so?", among other prizes. The winning hypothesis this time was that brain development in humans originated as a way to mitigate the negative effects of alcohol, setting off a virtuous cycle as more intelligence made it possible to obtain more alcohol. Others included the theory that the evolutionary benefit of prominent nipples is to act as eye-spots that intimidate predators, that fish whose larvae grow up far from the parents improve their fitness via this adaptation mainly because fish are terrifying (and cannibalistic!) parents, and that sleepwalking evolved as way of providing prehistoric endurance hunters (and stressed-out modern humans) with some additional nocturnal exercise.

Also managed to get in a brunch under the grapevines at Neighborhood before things get cold and their patio is closed for the winter.

Paperwork marathon continues. If all goes well (and we're really getting to the point where all had better go well), I will officially have a new place to live come Friday. Have started in on the earliest stages of pre-moving chores.
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Mad Scientist