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    Friday, December 17, 2004

    Mission Accomplished

    Leaving for OH-IO tomorrow. I'm really looking forward to it, especially since it's only been 5 degrees colder there than here the past couple of days.

    I really wanted to finish my music project before I left, and I DID! I whittled over 5,000 mp3's down to a manageable 1,800. They fit on my iPod with 2 GB to spare. I'm almost sad I have a direct flight tomorrow - sitting in the airport with my iPod sounds kind of nice.

    Now if I just get those Bose TriPort headphones for Christmas, I'll be all set.


    Blogger JC said...

    Have a safe trip and a good holiday season!

    8:04 AM  
    Blogger Diva said...

    Have a great trip - I hope you have a white Christmas (after your coat arrives).

    12:35 AM  
    Blogger Soup said...

    iPods are the greatest things ever. Once you have one, you forget how you ever lived without it.

    6:35 AM  

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    Wednesday, December 15, 2004

    This Could Be Embarrassing

    Sometimes I'm so smart, I'm stupid.

    I shipped my sister's Christmas present to Ohio today. I thought I'd save room in my suitcase by shipping all my winter shoes and my ski coat along in the same package.

    The UPS website said if I mailed the package out today, for $10 it would get there Friday, same as me. That sounded good.

    Once I arrived at the store, the guy working their told me I'd have to ship it 2 day air to guarantee a Friday arrival. That was $32. He said that was the only way he could guarantee it would arrive on time. He was reluctant to give me an estimate on when it would arrive via ground, but finally said sometime next week.

    Well, that would give me plenty of time to give Bird her present, so I paid the $11 and sent the package.

    Later, I realized that if the package didn't arrive until just before Christmas, that means I'd spend the better part of a week in Ohio with no winter coat and only one pair of shoes.


    Blogger Worldgineer said...

    Doh! Maybe you'll get lucky. I've had packages come early before. Of course, I've also had them dissapear forever...

    6:02 PM  
    Blogger Soup said...

    Given that it's the Christmas season, I'd assume it'll disappear forever.

    Hope you get lucky on that one.

    6:44 AM  
    Blogger Chris said...

    oh dude i work at one of those stores. the last day for the ground cheapness to get anywhere was the 12th, which was ridiculous. shoulda asked your friendly ups expert.

    10:12 AM  

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    Friday, December 10, 2004

    Get in the Spirit

    The one thing I like about living in Florida is that Christmas really sneaks up on you. Maybe native Floridians would disagree, or maybe it's just because I don't watch TV, listen to the radio (other than NPR), or often go shopping. The tinsel and garland at the library or Publix (the only public places I frequent) seem like a joke when the temperature still gets above seventy. There was a terrific thunderstorm last night - I can't imagine Santa's reindeer dodging lighting.

    So, a week from today, when I head back north, I'm inevitably going to find myself surrounded with undeniable evidence that Christmas is on its way: cold weather (even if it's unseasonably warm in Ohio, it's going to be tough on me), garish lights, and Christmas songs pouring out of every shop and restaurant in Columbus. My parents' house will be lined with lights and garland (tasteful, not Griswoldish), and my mom will have transformed every room into some kind of winter wonderland. She'll have cinnamon candles burning, and pine-scent potpourri. Every day at least five cards addressed to the family will arrive. Then the whirlwind 5-day tour of family members' houses will climax with Christmas morning - just Mom, Dad, Bird (my 21 year old sister), myself, our cats. . .

    And Ryan.

    I never felt 100% sure about having Ryan spend Christmas morning with my fam. Christmas morning is sacred. It's a tradition that has never changed, and no outsider has ever been allowed to participate. I realize that I am almost 25 years old, and a quarter century of unchanging Christmas tradition is a very long time. But for logistical reasons, it was either allow Ryan to be there Christmas morning, or not have him for ANY of my family's celebration. Or I guess a third option would have been to put him in a hotel, to wake up Christmas morning alone.


    So, Ryan will infiltrate our family tradition. We probably will open stockings in the living room instead of on my parents' bed. Mom will get dressed instead of lounging around in her PJ's. Little things that really aren't a big deal, except that they point out that I'm no longer a kid.

    I was worried that Bird would feel left out, since she has been with her significant other longer than I've known Ryan, but he lives in town, so there's no reason for him to spend the night at our house. Also, his family is very serious about their Catholicism, so he'll be expected to go to mass while we're making french toast and watching the extended Return of the King on DVD. But I am three years older than Bird, so it makes sense in some way that I'd bring a S.O. home for the holidays before she got around to it.

    The best gift that Ryan could get would be a six inches of snow on Christmas Day.


    Blogger Nerina said...

    living in cali all my life means that i have never EVER had a white christmas.

    and as awesome as that would be, it would proably mean that i couldn't spend christmas at the beach and then i'd be really disappointed! ;-)

    1:07 AM  
    Blogger Diva said...

    I'm so jealous - warm season in Florida and the probability of a white Christmas at home surrounded by those you love... Have a great trip and wonderful Christmas.

    12:16 PM  
    Blogger Wheelson said...

    I don't know who you people living in places with no seasons do it. Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without wool jackets, dark evenings and snow in them thar hills. Dudes in they're wearing Coppertone to their Christmas parties. That would totally freak me out.

    11:03 PM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    Xmas lunch in Australia is a barbie on the beach. I could never cope with that.

    Saying that, now I'm working I find it harder and harder to get into the Xmas spirit early since I work right up to the 24th. Especially when I look out the window and it could be any month between October and March.

    I only really notice Xmas when I get home and am with the family again - that pretty much defines Xmas to me. I do wonder what will happen when either me or my bro spent Xmas with a S.O.'s family. My whole mental image of Xmas would have to change.

    8:35 AM  
    Blogger Worldgineer said...

    I grew up on the California coast where the difference between winter and summer was 10 degrees. Now that I live somewhere with a small but significant chance of holiday snow (Seattle), I really appreciate it. Snow is nice. Wish it wasn't so cold, but nothing's perfect.

    12:59 PM  

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    Friday, December 03, 2004

    The Arrogance of _blank and Chess

    When you include a link on your blog, do you make sure that it opens in a new window? I do. I always have. But I think it's another sign of my arrogance. It's saying "although you might want to check this other page out, of course you'll want to return to my page, so I'll just leave it open for you."

    I've decided it's time to learn to play chess. Ryan came in last night, and I was playing on his computer. I was getting all upset and yelling at the machine. He asked me if it was even possible to beat the computer, and I told him I didn't know, but maybe at the end it would tell me I'd put up a good fight. Of course it didn't.

    Ryan knows how to play, but he doesn't take it very seriously or worry about strategy. He offered to play me last night, but I told him I didn't think I'd learn much from playing him. I think I might have hurt his feelings.

    I want a Lord of the Rings chess set. Or at least I thought I did, until I realized that I don't completely understand the rules of chess and perhaps I'd be better off playing at the computer for now - at least then I know when I'm trying to make an illegal move.


    Blogger Dean said...

    I'm thinking of giving the sxKitten a Lord Of the Rings Risk game for Christmas, and then playing Strip Risk with her.

    In my twisted mind, I kick her ass at the game, and when she's nekkid, I leap to my feet and bellow "Avast, ye scurvy wench, prepare to be boarded!".

    Then I board her, and it's only afterward that I realize that nobody in LOTR talks like a pirate.

    1:08 AM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    i "_blank" as well (if i remember) - but mainly cos the link will be a reference to sthg and not necessary for post to make sense. To be honest, I prefer it when reading other people's pages. Plus I read other people's blogs by clicking on my webpage as it's easier than bookmarking - and leaves a link for the counter.

    i used to play a lot of chess before i was a teenager but i lost interest soon after. i used to be pretty good too, but am crap now. but i still know how to win in 3 moves!!

    8:28 AM  
    Blogger Jamie said...

    You should find a local park and get old people to play chess with you... I always liked that idea.

    2:02 PM  
    Blogger Katz Nip said...

    do parks really exist where old or even young people hang out & play chess? The only kind of social activity Ive ever seen in parks apart from ball games is buying & selling drugs.
    I definitely prefer it & am appreciative when the host has bothered to make their links open in new windows.
    I got one of those little stand alone chess computer gizmos about 25 years ago & after the 3rd game I could beat it everytime & felt very clever until I realised it just played exactly the same game each time. I lost interest after that.

    5:44 AM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    i've never seen any in the UK but...

    in Vancouver on the steps of the modern art museum, people gather for games of speed chess, they have to bring their own board though.

    i've played using a HUGE life size set in a park in Austria

    and there was a park in Korea where you couldn't move for old men playing Chinese versions of chess and checkers.

    8:25 AM  
    Blogger Jamie said...

    old men play checkers in the local parks near me. i assume there have to be similar games of chess in parks elsewhere.

    4:49 AM  
    Blogger Wheelson said...

    To link into a new window or age old question.

    A good programmer tries not to annoy the people who will notice while still making it nice to user for those who won't notice the difference. People who will notice the difference can open a link in a new window if they want. Hell, with Firefox, they can open it in a new tab OR a new window if they want. Opening a new window breaks the coolest feature in one of the coolest browsers...tabbed windows. People who care won't like that little annoyance.

    People who care also don't like it when the whole idea of hyper linking is broken. Opening a link in a new window breaks the back button, a very cool feature on every browser ever made. Even the most novice surfer knows how to use the back button. So opening a new link in the same browser session won't annoy those in the know, nor will it totally confuse those who don't know any better.

    But that's what a good programmer does and people who blog aren't all programmers...right? Well, like it or not, if you fool with HTML then you're a programmer.

    11:01 PM  
    Blogger Soup said...

    Well, I personally base the way I open everything in a new window on one thing: how I would prefer a site to link to things. I would rather have a site open stuff in a new window, because the reason I'm at the site in the first place is not merely to follow their links, but to read their content without having to interrupt it by going back and forth between sites.

    As for the point that Wheelson brought up, of it breaking tabbed browsing, it really doesn't. Hell, I just hit the middle button and I've got a new tab open with the link I clicked, and I think that's the way it's setup by default. Besides, wheel-less mice are pretty much obsolete by now, and programmers don't really have to design with horribly obsolete technology in mind anyway.

    6:42 AM  

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    Wednesday, December 01, 2004

    The Motorcycle

    So, Ryan finally got his motorcycle. I was happy because he bought it from a shop in town instead of eBay. It's a Ninja 250, one of the smallest sport bikes you can get, but it's still a bike.

    I haven't ridden since I passed the test in early September. Ryan and I scored the exact same on both the written and the riding portions, but he acted a little superior because he was the only person in the class who never dropped the bike (I only did once). For awhile, it looked like I was going to finance the bike for him, or at least co-sign on the loan, but then I decided to quit my job and I wasn't in the position to help anymore. His parents stepped in, which we never thought would happen, so now the bike is his, not ours like it would have been if I'd been involved.

    And I haven't been on it. First, he was on it. Then it had to go back into the shop. Then I had a paper to write. Then it rained. Then I had surgery and just didn't feel very active. Then more rain. Then it needed oil drained out of it or something and he left for Thanksgiving. I just hasn't happened yet.

    We went out once to the stadium parking lot, so I could get a feel for it again. Unfortunately a thick fog settled in and the lot became too slick. I think I also kind of wussed out - it was after midnight, it was cold, the drive over to the lot in the fog had been nervewrecking . . . I'm a big baby.

    The thing is, Ryan keeps telling me how people in cars nearly kill him every time he goes riding, and I'm starting to get really psyched out. I understand that I need to get on the bike soon, because if he becomes comfortable enough to put me on the back before I get on the thing alone, I'll never learn. I'll just sit back and let him drive me around. Pride is my fatal flaw, and if I don't catch up with him soon, I'll never want to try.

    And I'm not worried that I won't be able to handle the bike. If anything, I probably consider myself more capable than I actually am. It's other drivers I'm worried about. And stalling out at a stoplight, that would be embarrassing. But I do get a little nervous every time he goes out to ride. I try not to let it show - I don't want to dampen his spirits. And he wears his gear when he rides - full helmet with visor, leather jacket with body armor, riding gloves, and boots. But hearing him talk about these close calls he's had with other drivers has me wondering if I NEED to be on a motorcycle. It's not a burning desire in me like it is in him.

    But I don't like to be afraid either. Maybe I'll take it out tomorrow, if it doesn't rain.


    Blogger Diva said...

    Welcome back!

    8:17 PM  
    Blogger Worldgineer said...

    Take it out tomorrow. Take it out the day after. Then find a nice, long, unpopulated, well-paved, curvy road out in the middle of nowhere and go for a long ride. Once you feel comfortable on the thing you'll always feel comfortable on it. Then you can decide if you want to keep riding or not.

    11:02 AM  
    Blogger Paul said...

    glad to have you back.

    i think it's one of those times where you just need to suck it up and get the first time over with, after which you can relax and start to enjoy it.

    just wear a helmet - IMO it's just a death wish not to

    3:58 AM  
    Blogger Gabe said...

    That 250 is a good bike. I started on something real similar. I’ve rode since I was 16, and I worked on them too. I have had good experiences personally. Never been in a wreck or had a bike down on the street. Don’t be afraid to use the horn or ride up on the sidewalk or anyplace you can fit as need be. That plus good fortune have kept me out of trouble so far.

    7:16 AM  

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