Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Intergenerational height comparisons of Shirey men

Today is Reed's 10th birthday, and we started off with a little treasure hunt for him to find his gifts. Here, he discovers the clue on Felicia, the flamingo in our flower garden:

As often as we remember and feel like it, we measure our boys' height on a 4x1 board – the very same board, in fact, that my parents used to track our growth over an 11-year period. So we took measurements, and I decided to track how the boys are doing compared with me and my brothers. I took two photos of the board and did a quick edit in Paint.NET to put the front and back next to each other. Jake wanted to pose in there as well:

Not the birthday boy, but just as awesome.

In the photo, you'll see five superimposed colored lines marking the heights for each of five Shireys at approximately ten years old (some measurements when we grew up weren't on the birthdays). The vertical tranches are, from left to right: Nate, me, Matt, Jake, and Reed. Three points to make:
  1. Jake and Reed are, controlled for time, pretty darn close to each other in height. (Not sure about weight, as we haven't compared.)
  2. Both of them are a good inch taller than Nate was.
  3. I'm the shortest of the whole lot at this age.
I'm suddenly very interested in seeing these data in a single graph to see when each of us really hit our strides. I'm just about the same height now as Nate (maybe just a bit shorter?), so I apparently hit my growth spurt later.

Anyway, Reed's come a long way. Not just in height, though that's a nice, observable metric, isn't it?

Monday, May 13, 2019

Ramping up travel

Every few months, I go through our finances with a magnifying glass. Every transaction posted to our checking account and to our credit card gets categorized. There's some squishiness to the classification -- should the transaction at Target be Groceries or Household? But it gets us pretty reasonable insights into what we're doing.

A few years ago, I discovered that we had been paying $11/month to Amazon for Kindle Unlimited - a service we had never used. Armed with the data, I was able to get them to refund me 12 months of the service; so let it never be said that my penchant for data analysis is for naught.

This most recent trek through our data, Andrea asked me how much money we're putting into travel. Because our money is grouped by month, we can look at this either on the whole or as time series. As expected, our percentage of all expenditures tracked dedicated to travel has risen sharply in the last few years:


 NB, one of the intentional approaches we're taking here with how we're categorizing things is that basically everything we spend our money on when we're traveling (at least abroad) is considered Travel. The meals out aren't Meals Out; gifts, groceries, gas, and everything else is done wholly in service to traveling and as such falls into that category.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

I'm 37, I'm not old

 The latter half of February was pretty slow by our standards, though I did get two batches of beer brewed -- a hefeweizen and a dunkelweizen, which are now fully-recognized members of our family and have climate control rights. Seen here in the office before they moved to the garage.

And my birthday. My boys wanted to snuggle in with me and my delicious milk stout for a birthday selfie.

Reed has also been building some forts in our living room. After his first and most grand œuvre d'art had to be deconstructed, he decided to do another one so we could have a boys night in the fort. He started by making a scale model out of magnetiles. Also, silly face, as per usual.

Then we built in Friday morning together.

He, Jake, and I slept it in Friday. Mostly, they slept and I laid down very uncomfortably for eight hours or so.

The next day, we went to Blue Origin's facility not far from our place to do a tour. No pictures were allowed inside, unfortunately, but it was pretty awesome.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Early Februray pictures: beer, bread, and snow

My oatmeal stout turned out okay after two weeks fermentation then force carbonation.

Our first snow in maybe two years? Four inches or so has more or less shut everything down, and there are predictions for as much as another foot this weekend.

It looks fairly nice - even on the rain chain.

My first attempt at a boule loaf of bread, baked in my dutch oven. It will require more practice, though.

The boys are enjoying sledding over at the community rec center. Fortunately, we still have our sled from when we went out to Leavenworth, WA, last winter.

To avoid cabin fever, Andrea and I have taken a few walks around the neighborhood in the morning. I try to pick up as much garbage as I can, and this morning I got a fairly small bag of stuff.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

First microscope pictures

For Christmas, we bought Reed a new microscope and some goodies to go with it - including blank slides. This morning, after my normal breadmaking, I thought it would be fun to look at the dough and yeast under the microscope. So Reed and I spent a half hour being amateur scientists in our office.

First was a chunk of our bread dough -- flour, salt, water, and yeast, having risen overnight:

Then a bit of dry yeast, which wasn't particularly exciting:

I thought that if we dyed our samples with iodine, they might pop a bit more. The bread dough turned out to be pretty tough to do -- it didn't seem that the iodine really penetrated the mix terribly much. Around the periphery, though, we did get an interesting result -- we all thought it looked very much like a top-down view of a forest:

The yeast, though, was quite interesting:

His microscope isn't setup for taking pictures, so unfortunately the quality isn't great.

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Pictures of beer, bread, and scouting things

Pinewood Derby 2019

...which featured a Battle Bus for the first time

My keg's thermostat stopped working, so I had to rebuild it. This time, it went significantly better than the first one, probably because this time I had soldering flux and because I made such a monstrosity last time that I've learned a little bit about what not to do.

I made a bike rack for in our garage, which should help protect Jake's new bike and my motorcycle.

Reed and I went to Monster Jam with our cub scout pack

And in the evening, I busted out some brewing equipment and started an oatmeal stout.

Reed was super excited for me to come home on Monday. We texted each other as I was on the bus home. When I got home, "Dad, I am ready to jump on you ♥"

My first attempt to use spent beer grains in bread. We'll see how it turns out in the morning.

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Some end- and beginning-of-year pictures from the Shireys

Getting ready for our Christmas party with my French meetup, the boys wanted to get their own button-up shirts and ties. They learned how to tie a Windsor and are now pros.

One of the tables at the Microsoft Garage, which is a neat design I'm going to attempt to replicate at some point.

Speaking of the Garage, one of the guys I run into on a regular basis has this in his office/neighborhood at work.

Christmas Eve hike with the family to Central Peak. (We didn't actually go the whole way, which is okay.)

At the start of the new year, I was so close to having finished my French version of A Brief History of Time. Jake sent "Little Spot" with me to work so I could read with him on the bus. I don't know how much Little Spot understood.

Roasting a pound of coffee (which takes maybe an hour?)

Oh yeah, and buying another 14 pounds of coffee:

We bought Jake a new bike for Christmas, and bright and early the next day, he wanted to go out on a bike ride.