Monday, December 27, 2004

Christmas Delayed

Lidia and I drove to my parents on Christmas Eve without incident. A few icy patches where the roads hadn't been cleared well were the only excitement since it seemed like almost everyone else had already driven to their Christmas destination and left the road deserted. My siblings were spending Christmas Eve/Day with their in-laws so Lidia and I got to catch up with Mom and Pops. Christmas Day we had two aunts and uncles over for lunch and dominoes (which I lost badly).

We also heard my brother-in-law got a ticket to the Cowboys game on Sunday, so our family Christmas was postponed from Sunday to Monday. That gave Lidia and I the chance to go to my great-aunt's Christmas and introduce Lidia to cousins from my dad's side of the family she hadn't seen yet. We had a good time, spent some quality time talking with grandma and got to see my dad. One of the cousins has a two-week old baby girl so Lidia and I also got in some practice holding the baby. She is a precious doll. I can hardly wait until our bundle arrives.

So tonight is finally the family Christmas. My brother and his wife made it in last night. My sister was supposed to make it back from Dallas very early this morning. Let the good times begin.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family, be it on schedule or a little delayed.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

I'm a member of a country club

Since it opened in 1995 the Student Recreation Center has been one of the premiere Rec facilities in the nation. Included with the large weight room, basketball, racquetball, and squash courts are Olympic swimming and diving facilities that have hosted the NCAA championships multiple times and a 30 foot tall indor rock climbing facitlity. It is truly a great facility. The number of students using it have necessitated several increases in the fee students pay for access so the fee is now $78 instead of the $50 when the facility opened, but it is a steal even at that price. However, most students don't see it that way. Most of them go to the weight room and try to workout on the cardio and weight machines and wind up standing in lines waiting on the machines. They get frustrated with the crowds, which are especially bad at the start of the spring with all of the resolution keepers and shocked freshmen that put on their 15 in the first semester, and some leave for the private gyms in town.

The facility really has something of a country club air for me though. Since I mainly use the swimming facilities (including the outdoor pool in the summer) and the track from time to time I really don't see much of the crowd. During peak times in the morning or while the swim team is still practicing in the evening I may have to share a lane, but for the most part a trip to the pool makes you feel like you are one of very few people in the building. I'm able to swim undisturbed in amazing facilities.

When you combine that experience with the fact that the public isn't allowed through the doors unless they pay $7/day so all you see are mostly white college age kids you start to get the elitist feeling that a country club membership must give you. This bothers me. Maybe I'll go stand in line for a treadmill at the start of next semester.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

The summer reading list begins with Harry Potter

Many of you know that my collection of books and movies appears to belong to a sixth grader instead of a graduate student. While I do at least own a few "grown-up" titles such as The Usual Suspects on DVD and The Da Vinci Code, I really enjoy animated movies and the book series most of us read for the first time in middle school. CNN is reporting that J. K. Rowling has annouced that the sixth book in her Harry Potter series will go on sale in the UK and US on July 16. I'm sure that 12 year olds everywhere and I will all be happy bookworms this summer with what will likely be a near-1000 page installation in the series. Thankfully I still have a few months to rearrange The Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit, and the other Harry Potter books on my bookcase to make room.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Swimming in Boredom

Lidia and I made it back from Thanksgiving in the Panhandle without any problems despite the DPS being thick as flies on Highway 6. It has now been 18 months since my last speeding ticket. Whoop! The break was very good.

After hearing rave reviews by friends Mike and Wes I went and picked up a copy of The Da Vinci Code on my way out of town. I managed to finish it in 3 days with considerable break for stuffing myself and hanging out with my family. A good book, though a little predictable in some places.

When I wasn't holed up in my parent's office reading I was usually eating too much. I managed to gain 4 pounds over the break. I'm trying to drop that weight quickly by swimming every day since it has gotten too cold to bike to school. Yes, I am a wimp and know 45 degrees is considered warm by some of you. I can live with that.

My work at school right now is writing some mind-numbingly boring documentation. When I was writing a description of my work for the past two years it was ok because it was work I had done and a good explanation is important for others wanting to use the code. Now I am writing a specification for the tests I am about to write that will verify that the other code is correct. There is nothing more mundane in software engineering than writing test case descriptions. By lunch I usually do feel like I am swimming in boredom.

Finally, Mike made a comment on his blog about the rise in the number of blogs being kept by his friends. He suspects that communication between friends will devolve to a series of blog posts that the entire group will read. Gone will be the day of a phone call or an email not CC'ed to at least 5 people. I know that even as little as I update this blog it is still more frequent than I emailed or called most people reading this before I started blogging. I see this blog as a place for me to post additional rambling and rants that I probably wouldn't pass along in an email or phone call. My calls and emails are infrequent enough as is that their volume will not be affected by this blog. That sounds terrible, and it is. I don't keep in touch with any of my family and friends half as well as I should. I promise I'll work on that in between trips to the pool.