Saturday, December 29, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Well, we're a good way through the holidays, and I've been in Minnesota the whole time. On Christmas Eve we had a family dinner and then went to midnight mass. On Christmas, we had Uncle David, Aunt Natalie, and Drew and MacKenzie for brunch. This is probably my biggest meal of the year - I love those cheesy hashbrowns... We opened presents and played games, which is the yearly tradition. It was really fun to see all of them - we don't get together that often, but when we do it's always very nice.In the evening, my family went to my Grandma John's house to visit my dad's side of the family. We had tons of food, again, and then hung out and opened gifts. By the time we left, we were ready for bed, even if it was only 10pm.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Craigslist Crazy

I'm still at home, enjoying my break and relaxing in Minnesota. The temperature was actually up in the 30's today, though we're due for a blizzard, so that should take care of that. One of my major activities today has been posting things on craigslist, already today I've gotten rid of two desks, a recliner, a TV, and two desk chairs. Pretty awesome.

Also, all of my grades are up on my school website, so I know my current GPA. I have a 3.79, which is not bad, though grad school grades are super-inflated, so it's not like undergrad. Well, that's all the news for today!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Back to High School

I went back to good old North High the other day to see the Choir Christmas Concert. Paul, Katie and I went together - we'd all been in Choir. It was pretty crazy. They have the same conductor that we had, and sang almost all songs that we'd sung while in choir. Every year at the choir concert they invite the alumni up on the stage to sing the Hallelujah Chorus along with the choir. Katie and I were both sopranos, so we stood next to each other - it's a fun song to sing, though the soprano part is higher than I remember... Katie actually ran into her best friend while she was on stage - Katie just got into town that yesterday and she didn't know her friend would be at the concert.

After the concert Paul and I wandered around the school a bit. Everyone who gets All-Conference in a sport gets their picture on the wall, and they don't take them down for many years. Paul, Katie and I are all still up on the wall. This is what they look like:

My First LAN party

Big advance in my nerdiness score, as I participated in my first LAN party the other day. I played "Age of Mythology" with Paul, Kevin and Clint. And of course, now I'm addicted. Gonna have to play another round sometime soon. "Age of Mythology" is a real-time strategy game. Woot.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

The Golden Compass

Well, after my trip to Charleston, I made the leap from 80 degrees and palm trees, to a high of 12 degrees and snow. Yay, Minnesota! :) Anyway, reading the book "The Golden Compass" fit well with this, since most of the story takes place in the frozen north. I've just finished the book and I thought it was pretty good - lots of imagination.

There are a ton of new words and concepts - in the beginning its almost overwhelming, because there is never direct explanation of what things are - you just have to pick up on it from context. Also, the characters are not always likeable, especially in the beginning. However, as it went on and I started to get a better feel for what was going on and how things fit together in Pullman's alternate world, it was pretty interesting. The ending leaves you hanging for the most part - so I suppose next I'll be moving onto "The Subtle Knife" - the second book in this trilogy.

I'm interested in seeing the movie now, too - I hope they do a decent job compared the book. There is a lot of information to get in, so we'll see.


I just spent a few days visiting Charleston, SC. It was a really great trip. I was there for meetings for work, so most of my tourist experience had to be after 5pm, but it worked out well anyway. I saw a lot of market street and visited a lot of different restaurants and pubs along that street.

I had coffee at a cute place near my hotel, though unfortunately, I don't remember exactly where - I was staying on Meeting Street a few blocks north of Market, so somewhere around there.

I also had a really good time the day we went for lunch in North Charleston. We ate at Aunt Mae's (I think that was the name). I had fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, and green beans - and sweet tea to drink. The mayor was there while we were there, which was pretty cool.

One of the evenings we drove along the water front by Battery Park, which was very cool. The houses in Charleston are unbelievable - I'd love to go back someday and see more of the town, but for a short trip I thought I got a good feel for the city.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

It's Snowing!

It's hard to write a lot, because I'm in the final count-down to the end of the first semester. I had four 10-page papers due within one week. I turned in one yesterday, and another is due tomorrow. The last two are due this coming Monday. So, in summary, I'm busy.

I'm also attending talks by three of the candidates for the director position at the Space Policy Institute where I study. Today I saw Joan Johnson-Freese, which is cool, because the paper that's due tomorrow is all about a book that she wrote. Tomorrow is Molly McCauley and Friday Scott Pace is speaking.

It snowed today, and I got some beautiful pics of DC!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

New York City... again!

I ended up spending most of my weekend in New York City this weekend - I took a bus there on Friday evening and spent the night with my sister at her dorm. It's so fun that she lives right downtown in the middle of Manhattan! On Friday night we hung out and watched the E! channel for way too long (it plays almost continuously in her room). Our Grandma John, Aunt Kathy, and Aunt Marilyn were in New York for the weekend, so when we woke up we called them and met up in Chinatown. We decided to walk over to Little Italy and had a really nice lunch.
I meant to get a bus home on Saturday afternoon, but just barely missed it. The next bus wasn't until two hours later. That gave me a chance to visit "gift on fifth" - a project that my friend, Ray, had helped to set up. It's sponsored by Bank of America, and includes free coffee and cocoa, free gift wrapping, and a bunch of couches to hang out and relax. It was fun visiting him, and we all went out for food afterwards.
I ended up not trying to make the 9pm bus and just going back to Katie's instead. She and I were up until after 3am working on homework - we both have finals coming up. I left this morning on the 6:30am bus and was back to DC by 11:00am.