September 30, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing quite a bit of Hades, which is a rogue-lite game where you battle through the same levels over and over again.  It's weird that I'd like a game like that, but it's surprisingly good and rich with dialog and intrigue set in the Greek pantheon.  It's also one of those games that suits my lifestyle where I can pick it up for a little and put it down the next time I have to be responsible.

Plus the dialog resonates with me for some reason.


September 27, 2020 by Adam in Family

We launched rockets this weekend.  Ben, Emma, Joanna, and I stopped by mom's house to visit and pet the bunny.  The dogs got in on the action, but eventually we snuck away and went to the field behind Roosevelt.  It's where I'd been going for nearly four decades, and it worked out wonderful just as it had in the past.  Ben launched his newly constructed rocket, along with last year's rocket.

The first week of school generally went well.  I helped Emma with a bit of homework.  We ate pizza and watched How to Make Everything.  Ben's friend Morgan came over, which was good for both of them.  Humble Bundle had some new video games, which Emma and I joyously dug into.

Rainy Days, Early Nightfall

September 25, 2020 by Adam in Family

It feels more and more like fall is here - kids in school, cloudy days, and nightfall coming early.  I feel a little sad that summer is gone already - I never managed to take Emma camping, and Joanna and I had only the briefest of getaways.  Still, we kept the kids all alive another season, which is how I seem to measure my life these days.

I'm working on the most maddening of work problems at the moment.  A previous developer, who I really like, managed to create this extremely complicated system.  I've spent hours trying to understand it and have resorted to documenting it all out as best I can.  I've asked Jacquie for help, which hopefully comes before I go completely mad.

I think the kids have generally survived their first week in school so far.  I'm excited to see Emma later today.  I spent a fair amount of time reaching out to everyone I haven't talked to in awhile, which was a treat.  Socializing in a pandemic is hard, so it's nice to even say hello to someone outside the household.

First Week of School

September 24, 2020 by Adam in Family

The first week of school continues.  It's gone generally okay.  Joanna looks worn out from kid wrangling, but the three kids seem to mostly be figuring things out.  Ben has great teachers that he really likes and seems to be enjoying getting back into the swing of things.  Duncan is less enthusiastic, but getting things done.  Emma has a funny schedule with a really hard day, followed by a day with a single in-person class.  She also has a fair amount of homework and has called a couple times for help on math.

Joanna and I had a date night last night, which involved getting takeout and sitting on the couch downstairs.  Our puzzle table was taken over by schoolwork, so we just chatted until it was time to go upstairs, eat custard, and watch Enola Holmes with Ben.

First Day of School

September 21, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's the first day of school today.  Joanna spent the weekend getting the basement room ready for Duncan and Ben.  Since high school has in-person classes in the morning and middle school does it in the afternoon, the hope is the kids don't overlap too much.  I think this will be far more like "real" school.  None of the kids seemed especially enthusiastic about getting up and having Zoom meetings this morning.

The weather was greatly improved this weekend, with blue skies and only Moderate air quality issues.  I managed a little pruning and yardwork, but mostly stayed inside with kids.  Ben and Emma worked on a giant cardboard fortress for Data.  Ben's rocket was painted and decals applied - maybe we'll launch next weekend.  Joanna and Ben made delicious coffee cake.  Emma cooked her usual great dinners.  At least we'll be well fed through this pandemic.

Gaming Through the Pandemic

September 18, 2020 by Adam in Adam's Games

I've been playing a wide variety of games over the last few months, ranging from cheerful nothing-can-go-wrong games like Littlewood to endless doom games like Call of Cthulu. 

Littlewood is a town management game where you play as the hero who saved the world, but now have to run errands to build up your little town.  It's all very cheerful and there are endless things to do.  Emma played a ton, and I'd fall back to it as stress relief, but it felt a little grindy at the end.

Emma and I have been playing Spiritfarer, where you're the replacement for Chiron, ferrying souls to the afterlife.  It's a great couch co-op game and occasionally very sweet, though I have a harder time getting attached to the jerk souls.

I played through Call of Cthulu, which wasn't exactly great - I saved the world but went mad in the process.  I tried out Vampyr, which had a nice early 19th Century London look, but the story and gameplay were fairly lousy.

I picked up Hades last night, which is a rogue-lite action game, playing as the son of Hades, trying to get to the surface world.  Your dad is Hades, who is particularly funny, and all the Greek gods seem to make an appearance.  I only played a little, but I'm loving it.

Big games like Cyberpunk 2077 are on the horizon, and there's a new VR Star Wars game coming out next month.  As always, I feel like I'm deluged with games.  I guess the weird scifi future we're living in isn't all bad.

Blue Sky

September 18, 2020 by Adam in Family

The rains came last night, along with lightning and thunder.  Ben and I went outside to experience the heavy drops of water after so many dry, smoky weeks.  This morning I'm back out in my shed, appreciating the clean smelling air.  The air quality index is down to a 71 Moderate - I think it was nearly ten times worse at one point.  More than that, everything feels alive and fresh again.

School feels like it's right around the corner.  Joanna's setting up technology and places for them to attend classes.  This feels closer to real school than in the spring, with half the day being in-person Zoom meetings.  I think everyone is a little nervous, but I hope we'll settle in after a few weeks.

Ben's excited for Emma to come over.  He was building a massive cardboard structure for Data to play in.  I look forward to games and shows and our usual time together.  Tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day, which excites me greatly.

Still Smoky

September 16, 2020 by Adam in Family

The air quality index is 312, which is off-the-charts in the Hazardous zone.  It means I'm still working down in the basement instead of in the garden shed.  Whenever we go outside, we wear masks, usually even in the car.  The pandemic has so far been during relatively nice weather, allowing for long, outdoor walks.  I fear this is a glimpse of winter with everyone inside and going slightly stir crazy.  Mom's idea of a self sufficient bunker at the farm seems less of a crazy idea with each passing day.

Since school was delayed, the kids are in a holding pattern a little longer.  Emma went back to her mom's house.  Ben had his friend Morgan over for anime and dinner.  Duncan continues to Minecraft his way through the apocalypse.  Joanna made us delicious bread and soup last night.  The kitties keep us entertained.

We're all hoping that the promised rains come tomorrow and wash away the ash.  I'd love to go outside again.

The Mist

September 14, 2020 by Adam in Family

Our little town looks like something out of a horror movie, the smoky skies replaced by a mist that blocks sight more than a block or two.  The air quality index is off the charts and we wear masks constantly whenever we leave the house, which is rarely.  Joanna had Ben clean the air purifiers and she taped up the windows, both of which has made the inside of the house relatively livable.  The only real change is that I'm working off my laptop instead of the nice dual monitors inside the shed.

I roped in Emma and Ben to do some science over the weekend.  We tested the soil using a testing kit that had been sitting on our shelf for a few years.  I threw in some ash to make the tests a little more interesting.  Sure enough, the ash was extremely alkaline when compared to the normal soil.  I also lent a hand to Ben to work on the rocket some more.  I think we're at the painting stage, though any launch will have to wait until the fire danger passes.

Otherwise, it's been a weekend of the usual chores to keep the house running, playing games, and doing art projects.   Ben and Joanna made some tasty desserts for us, perhaps inspired by the Great British Baking Show.  I played around more with making a new game, though I'm not sure I'll ever make it past the playing around with things stage.

Hope everyone is well and breathing easy.

Nine Eleven

September 11, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's seems somehow appropriate that today is 9/11.  I still remember going out to pizza with baby Sam and Isabell to get together as a family.

We're attending a virtual memorial service for Joanna's dad in a few minutes.  I've got a mocha ready and Duncan has been asked to attend in his pajamas.  What a strange future we live in.

Dad made it to Eugene to work as a dentist for a day, heading back to Lincoln City last night.  Fortunately he got power back in time to charge his Tesla, also managing to avoid the long lines at gas stations as everyone fled Lincoln City due to the fires.

The smoke here in Eugene continues to be bad.  I've been working inside as the garden shed is too smokey.  Yesterday I drove Emma over to help her water her mom's garden, wearing two masks to keep out the ash.  The skies are still orange and the sun barely visible through the sky.  We're all hoping for a little rain next Tuesday.  At least the winds have died down.

The kids got their schedule.  Emma only has one class in the spring - AP Chem.  School has also been delayed another week due to the fires.

Strange days.

Labor Day Weekend

September 08, 2020 by Adam in Family

The sky glows orange and the air is full of smoke.  We've apparently moved to our next catastrophe, which is extreme fire danger across the state.  The smoke was preceeded by strong wind gusts which threw around welcome mats, plastic planters, and other odds and ends.  The lights flickered a little last night.  Ash covers the ground like a light snow.  Our neighbor sent a picture of our house with a tiny red sun in the sky.  So goes 2020.

We generally had a good, long weekend full of science, games, and shows.  We had one outing to Jenny's house to hang out in her backyard in masks to visit with everyone.  It was the first time many people had seen each other in years.  With fall coming and the lousy weather, I'm not sure how often we'll be able to do outdoor events, so it felt like a rare treat all around.

Ben, Emma, and I did quite a bit of science.  Saturday morning we made various things out of clay which we then made silicone molds from.  Sunday after they'd dried, we melted pewter ingots and poured them in.  All the memories of my time working for Deb and Jim in my teens came back to me.  We tried out various acids to darken the pewter, showing off the subtle differences between HCl, citric acid, and the oxalic acid in Bartender's Helper.  This week we'll probably drill and polish and get them ready to go.

Ben and Emma did a great job with cooking over the weekend, perhaps inspired by watching The Great British Baking Show.  They made a tasty cherry pie for Monday night, which was delicious.  Joanna and I aren't cooking as much as we used to, which is a trend we both enjoy.

As for games, we lost our weekly Pandemic Legacy game.  South Africa kept triggering outbreaks that we couldn't stop.  Sometimes things cascade faster than you can control.  Hopefully next month goes better.  We've also still been playing Littlewood and Spiritfarer, which are great low-key pandemic games.  I started Call of Cthulu, which is the opposite.  I had low expectations, but it seems to be checking all the boxes and I'm enjoying the detective aspects.  

Now it's back to work.  I'm a little curious what we'll be working on after the most recent release.  It's always nice to have a few weeks to work on more disruptive things.  Usually we can work out the bugs before the next release.

Mocha Friday

September 04, 2020 by Adam in Family

I've finished my mocha and am feeling quite chipper this Friday morning.  The week of meetings and conferences is over.  I got my care package at the end of the last day, complete with meeting agendas, melted chocolate bar, and conference-branded socks.  Fortunately I'm back to writing code again as listening to people talk for days starts getting to me after awhile.

Looking forward to the three day weekend, hanging out with family, and taking it a little easier for a few days.

Mad Science

September 03, 2020 by Adam in Ben

Ben's really been into science lately. He had a great time mixing oil and lye to make soap. Today he's working on making a model rocket. Fortunately he picked up a lab coat work his own money, which he's been earning doing chores around the house.

Busy, Busy

September 03, 2020 by Adam in Family

It's been a busy week.

We had release at work, so there was the usual last-minute sramble to fix the last of the bugs.  I've also been attending a big healthcare conference that our work puts on.  It's been interesting, with some good keynote speakers.  Virtually everyone was talking about COVID-19 and racial equality.  

Home has felt very full of late, with lots of dishes and laundry and general cleanup.  Yesterday I got of work, visited mom, went grocery shopping, picked up takeout, did the dishes, ate and puzzled with Joanna for our in-home date, watered the yard, and collapsed on the couch to watch a show.  Fortunately that was a bit of an exception, but I was out as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Our soap project is coming along nicely, with everything hardening properly.  Now it all needs to be wrapped up and made pretty.  I ordered some mold making stuff, along with more pewter, in hopes of doing more science and art projects with Ben and Emma this weekend.  I saw a model rocket kit on the dining room table yesterday, so I think Ben's hoping to start making and launching rockets soon.

I look forward to the three day weekend looming on the horizon.  I suspect I can sneak in a fair amount of downtime.

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