Cats on the bed before and after hearing a can opener sound:

Cats on Bed, perking up

(You too can test your cats for this effect with my first Soundcloud upload, a recording of a can opener titled “Summon Cat.”)

Family Visit

Dad, Mom, brother, and sister-in-law came to visit last weekend. We did a lot of shopping, ate a lot of food, showed off the townhouse to Dad and Mom. Uncle and Aunt who live in NoVA joined us.

Brunch pano with Francis and Ayna
Dinner with family at Wood Ranch

Sister-in-law was nice enough to assemble the IKEA STUVA crib for us, so our child will sleep in a crib built by his aunt, a worthy legacy.


Meanwhile Amelia Cat really liked Mom’s shoes.

Amelia Cat likes Mom's shoes

Fun visit, was glad to see them all again.

And the next time they come over there’ll be an additional kid in this picture! (I mean, he’s already there, just still inside Amy at the moment. Next time he’ll be visible.)

House Stuff

Been in a very “home repairs” kind of mode for the last couple of weeks: having the upstairs primed and repainted and recarpeted to get rid of a lingering cigarette smoke smell left by the townhouse’s previous tenants, brushing multiple layers of sealant into a stinky kitchen island cabinet that was previously used as a garbage receptacle, installing a standing bathroom cabinet for the half-bath (and sawing the corner trim cuts myself since very few of these cheaper bathroom space savers go flush against a wall with trim), installing and caulking bathtub splash guards, replacing an HVAC return vent grille, and getting nursery furniture for Project Wallaby, now due in just 7 weeks.

Sawing trim cuts for bathroom standing shelves #throughglass

The third floor repainting was the most strenuous part, even though we hired painters to take care of it. Furniture had to be disassembled and moved into the future-nursery (already repainted back in December) and the cats were locked downstairs to keep out of the way. We lived out of the guest room (really still mostly a post-moving storage room with a bed) in the meantime. At the end of it the master bedroom looked great, with no more cigarette smell, a new light fixture replacing an old unused ceiling fan, and soft blue walls, definitely an improvement over the old default off-white.

Bedroom before Repainting
Bedroom Repainted and Recarpeted

In the process we had to clear the clothes out of our closets and dump a bunch of them on the couch, which of course became a new cat bed.

Amelia #cat on my clothes stack

Most important is that the nursery is ready for its new resident, coming this summer.

Future Nursery

After all this work on a relatively small 3BR/2.5BA townhouse, I don’t know how anyone handles having anything bigger.


Here’s Martha cat!

Martha #cat
Martha #cat Martha #cat

And here’s Amelia cat!

#cat want food
Amelia #cat yawning Amelia #cat

Light March Snow

Some light March snow
Some light March snow

Got some snow this morning, just a wet inch; enough to make the woods look picturesque but not enough to mess up the roads. By afternoon it had melted away, a far cry from the Jan 2016 blizzard. That’s probably the last snow we get for this winter.

OK Go in Zero G

Alt rock band OK Go — already known for conceptually daring and technically complex music videos involving things like treadmills, self-stabilizing unicycles, optical-illusion installations, stunt driving courses, marching bands, and massive Rube Goldberg machines — has now shot a zero-gravity video aboard a cosmonaut training aircraft in Russia for their song Upside Down and Inside Out.

It’s an impressive feat of logistics and choreography, with the song slowed down and split into zero-G-parabola-timed segments to be sped up, stitched, and synced in editing later; plus a grand finale of piƱatas, paint balloons, and disco balls termed “Thunderdome.” The extensive Behind the Scenes documentation show just how much work went into this production.

(All this of course makes me want to try a zero G flight, though I doubt I’ll have the thousands of dollars necessary to spare for the experience any time soon.)

Power & Pathos Weekend

Some photos from the weekend when Jacquelyn came to visit:

Snowy Fields around Bolger Center, Potomac, MD
Bolger Center, Potomac, MD
Jacquelynn and Amy at Power and Pathos
I Like Cats
Irn Bru Selfie at Eamonn's

It was a singular joy to be able to see the NGA’s Power and Pathos bronzes with her expert perspective as a professional archaeologist on the Getty team that organized the exhibit. We also saw the art deco Bolger Center, and had fish and chips at Eamonn’s where I finally got to try some Irn Bru.

World’s First Crowd Sourced 3D-Printed QR Code Live Streamed Via Go Pro To A Smart Phone Or Tablet Device Drone Delivery Ticket System Project

At various times my job has involved editing motivational videos and interviews. To get a feel for the inspirational cadence of such videos my go-to reference is this satire of innovative cutting-edge gimmickry by Australian ad agency Creative Fuel in 2014:

Even two years later it hits all the right technological buzzword bullet points. Really a game-changer.

Update: On a related note, stock footage site Dissolve’s “Generic Brand Video” also works great:

Blizzard 2016

The January 2016 blizzard dumped 2 feet of blowing snow on us over the weekend, blanketing our world in white, canceling classes and delaying work for days afterward.

Fortunately water, power, gas, internet, and TV all stayed on, and we had lots of food and time to cook, so we lacked for no creature comforts through the storm. With Amy working on Project Wallaby I was on sole shovel duty and got a good workout clearing the stairs, walkway, deck, and local hydrant.

Cat and Storm Door Snow Buildup #snow #blizzard2016

The nearby marsh and forest turned picturesque.

Snowy Marsh #throughglass

Neighborhood snow banks piled up considerably with plowing and shoveling.

Stop Sign in Snowbank #throughglass

Based on an NPR story about eating snow I found a bit of powder to be a good addition to some Laphroaig.

In DC I lent my necktie to a snowman.

Snowman in necktie at US Capitol, Washington, DC #blizzard2016

Snow-related road backups made Metro parking a nightmare, and my video of the line to exit a Metro parking garage made it to WTOP and Washington Post.

The weather’s a lot warmer a week later, so the giant snow banks are melting, and the sunsets have been spectacular. There’s still a lot of winter left, so this may not be the last snowstorm we see before spring, even as warm as it’s been.

National Mall, Snowy Sunset #throughglass
Sunset in Snowy Woods
Amy at sunset by a snowy marsh

More photos from the January 2016 Blizzard in the Flickr photoset.