Family Motto

In Game of Thrones each family has a motto. The two most well known are House Stark with: “Winter is coming” and House Lannister “A Lannister always pays his debts*”

There are more that are less known:

House Baratheon: “Ours is the Fury”
House Tyrell: “Growing Strong”
House Greyjoy: “We do not sow”
House Targaryen: “Fire and Blood”
House Bolton: “Our Blades are Sharp”

I decided to come up with a family motto for us DiDonatos. The verdict:

A DiDonato reads the instructions.

Since the motto’s inception I’ve taken it to heart and made sure to read the instructions prior to getting started on new purchases, assemblies, etc. And I have to admit, it’s been a very rewarding experience. I have learned a bunch of new things and all those toy assemblies for J.Atlas have gone exceedingly smoothly. I’m really proud of the motto. I stand by it.

If you’re feeling motivated, come up with one of your own! Feel free to post in the comments. Though due to my poor posting history in recent months I’m not sure anyone reads this website much anymore, so there’s that. Anyway, if you happen to see this post, I welcome your participation!

*Apparently the official House Lannister phrase is “Hear me Roar!” though the unofficial debt one is certainly used more often in the show. I haven’t read the books, so I don’t know if they make a stronger appearance there.

HEY!

Hi!

It’s been awhile. I took the month of February off from technology as I try to do yearly. This year was different than years past because my use of technology has fundamentally changed. It’s hard to see how integrated we are with tech and screens until we try to stop using them. The general rules of previous years have been:

  1. No technology
  2. Unless it aids in socialization (FaceTime for example)
  3. Unless it’s needed for work – obviously
  4. Unless it dramatically increases efficiency (using my recipe index on my phone instead of trying to hunt down the originals in cookbooks)

This year I had to change the rules because my life is more wired. Examples:

  1. I’m reading a book on my kindle paper right now. I could go get the book from the library but occasionally I suffer from swells of insomnia and if I can read at night instead of using my phone – that’s aligned with the goals of the experiment.
  2. All GlowForge designs are implemented via a cloud service. Using the GlowForge is an exploration of craftiness, and the original goal of no-technology-February was to prevent wasted time, not to limit crafts.
  3. We have Alexa. That’s technology, but it doesn’t require a screen. Hmm. We’ll let it slide.
  4. Podcasts: this one I decided to go without. I have access to some educational CDs so I used those instead. It’s less information because I can’t listen to them at 1.5x or 2x speed, but that’s kind of to the point of the whole exercise? Chill with technology overflow? So maybe it’s good.

The biggest changes for the month were no reddit and no words with friends. I’m going to try to continue with limiting my reddit exposure. That’s probably the greatest sinkhole in my life of productivity. Better to limit that one as much as we can.

February was a success! I finished 1.75 books, and printed more GlowForge crafts than I had cumulatively in the previous months of ownership.

I hope everyone else has been doing well! Let me know if anything crazy is going on in your lives!

 

Breville’s Cafe Roma Espresso Machine

Ten years ago, Darcy convinced me to buy a Breville Cafe Roma Espresso Machine on a one day Woot.com sale for $94.

That little machine has been a work horse and stands as my single highest use appliance to date. It has made two cups of coffee almost every single day for ten years. Add in the occasional morning of 4-6 cups when guests are in town and we’re talking 7,500 shots of espresso.

Keep it up little buddy. I appreciate you.

GLOWFORGE

I was just notified that the Glowforge shipping process has begun for me! T minus three to six weeks everybody! Let’s hope for a Christmas miracle!

Pandora’s Pizza Box

My folks got me a book for my Birthday: The Pizza Bible, by Tony Gemignani.

Particular is an adjective that does not do this book justice. The book is exhaustive in its detail and calls upon you, the reader and self-proclaimed Pizza aficionado, to practice painstaking attention to detail.

It starts simple:
Weigh your ingredients.

Okay, sure that’s good practice.

Your scale must have 0.1 gram precision

Uh, okay. Seems overcautious, but fine.

The dough must be made two days in advance.

Whew, I guess I can manage that.

But really, it should be made four days in advance with a Poolish starter. Anything less and you’re a disappointment to your Italian heritage.

Yowsa.

There are TONS of recipes, and they are written with a fastidiousness that I have come to greatly respect. Jen and I have been making a pizza about every other week since June. This doesn’t seem like much, but each recipe feels like a spiritual pilgrimage. Over Labor day weekend we explored one particular recipe which was dressed to impress: a Fully Stuffed Chicago style behemoth.

Enjoy this pictorial exploration into the pizza’s creation. In order of appearance it’s: Lower crust, Mozzarella, Meatballs, Pepperoni, Hot & Sweet Sausage, Onions & Mushrooms,  Red Peppers, Pecorino Romano, Shredded Mozzarella, Provolone, Top crust.

You can practically taste it through the screen.

Top it with some tomato sauce, ricotta, and garlic oil? Scrumptious.

Busy

I have a lot to share. It’s like a lake of words has collected behind a dam of time deficiency. Between high demands on the work front, chores circling J.Atlas and his daycare debut, and my unquenchable pursuit for self improvement, each day turns into a game of optimization. Most days I lose this game. As this blog admittedly lies low on the scale of criticality, it’s been often abandoned resulting in waves of guilt surrounding the neglect.

Things I’m happy about:

J.Atlas is the best. This week he learned how to say “water.” Although with his undefined ‘t’ it’s more like waawaa.

I got two new board games this week: Magic Maze, and Love Letter. Both are uniquely fun. Try ’em out.

I am podcasting like a champion: 2x speed to and from work. It’s exposing me to so much INFORMATION. I love it.

Meditation. Yeah, I’m trying it. So far it’s going poorly.

Reading: Is there a book that fundamentally changed the way you look at the world?
Give me your recommendations! I need to formalize my list.

 

 

Little Man Update

J.Atlas continues to be pretty awesome. He’s mostly sleeping through the night now (two thumbs up!), is able to manage a fork for the most part, and seems to enjoy just about everything.

I’M ON A BOAT!

This summer is infinitely easier than last and I would venture to say that the later half of the summer was easier than the first. I’m defining ease mostly by his ability to sleep and the amount of parental intervention required on a moment-to-moment basis. I mostly expect the difficulty levels to increase as he develops a greater ability to voice his preferences.

We were able to get some real vacation time in this summer. We went to a snazzy family resort called the Tyler Place in Vermont, hit up Cape Cod for a week, and have been pretty aggressively using our weekends for local beach visits, bicycle rides, and adventures like the aquarium.

FISH!

J.Atlas can confidently say three words: “Hat”, “Mama”, and “Dada.” Though in the case of Dada, I’m still curious if he’s referring to me, the avante-garde art movement of the 1920’s, or something else entirely because he uses the word indiscriminately when pointing at any number of random things.

JAtlas on a Pony

Being a Dad is different than I had expected. It’s a very busy time.  Though in a way, I suppose I revel in being forced to be more productive. You know that good feeling you have after you get a lot done? It’s kinda like that all the time with an extra bonus of being surrounded by a tiny person that loves/is loved unconditionally – it’s pretty spectacular. Sure, I wish I had more time to practice guitar, exercise, and be crafty. And right after he goes to bed there’s a big sigh of relief in knowing that you finally have some time to breathe. But it’s unquestionably worth it for the fun of exploring the world through a tiny person’s eyes.

A trip down MSPaint Memory Lane p.2

The MSPainting that Patrick was referring to in his comment on the previous post was this one:

Legit, Patrick. Totally Legit. This was also one of my favorites. The only thing that I think could have made it better yet would be if the chess board showed white with Checkmate.

Another of my favorites? Mike D made entirely out of eyeballs drawn by Sander for a Halloween contest:

This must have taken an obscene amount of time.