December 1 The return. The train trip back to San Jose was quite uneventful. But this time, the most scenic portion of the journey was in daylight, and I was loathe to do anything but stare out of the window for the first few hours. L.A. melted into the San Gabriel mountains. The mountains vanished into the coast. It was a view of a blue ocean, with palm trees and beaches, not unlike the postcards of southern France one seas. It was Nice. Past Santa Barbara, the character of the coast changed. Palm trees vanished and rolling hills dominated the view. After lunch in the dining car, we sat in the lounge car, watching green grass-covered hills and their bovine inhabitants pass swiftly by. Eventually though, the train turned inland, and I began my attempt at rereading Omeros. I was so fatigued though, that I actually feel asleep briefly before we reached Salinas. By then, the train was good and late. We finally made it into Cahill well past nine. Then home for the night. Dinner and sleep.
December 2 Alert. This is a Monday. All those who are opposed to Mondays may wish to skip this entry. Anyways, so I get dropped off at the dorm around 9:30AM, go off to my IHUM lecture, and then come back to the dorm to try and come up with an idea for IHUM essay. End up skipping math lecture, but fail to come up with any ideas. Farsi class, to my utter astonishment, is actually quite productive, as we review all we've covered for the second half of the quarter. Still not impressed by the amount I've learned. Practice flute briefly before flute choir. Our dress-rehearsal (concert is tomorrow night) goes all right, but I wonder. Is it worth inviting a lot of a people to come? Make the mistake of getting distracted, and don't get to bed 'til way too late.
December 3 Skipped breakfast. This is on top of skipping lunch and dinner yesterday. No, I'm not anorexic. Merely quite ambivalent about the edibles at the dining hall. IHUM section first thing in the morning. Then run off to review Farsi. Ouch. I have a lot of work to do. Get so busy reviewing Farsi that I miss math section. Oops. My appointed stabbing comes at 4:00PM. Now am officially immunized against Measles, Mumps, Rubella, and suspension from Winter Quarter registration (I hope). Dress up for the concert (T-shirt and blue-jeans not acceptable apparently), and rush off. Rehearse sections of various pieces. Then take a half hour break. Yawn. Finally, concert arrives. We walk out, and discover that there is actually an audience. Surprise. Horror. Another yawn. We start. Low C is coming out at all. Neither is high E-flat. Damn bass flute, never cooperates. Then back to regular flute. Okay, so now the people don't cooperate. Surprise. Tempo varies widely between the sections. Ah well, what can we do? Etc., etc. Actually, the concert went pretty well, if I do say so myself. Me. Very. Sleepy.
December 4 Three hour Farsi review. Final IHUM lecture of the quarter. Pizza available after the lecture, so I stuck around, and wound up talking to the professor. Looks like the history offerings are a bit slim. Then back to work on Farsi. Skip math lecture (again) and keep studying. Farsi class at 4PM. Final is passed out after the usual delays. Aside from forgetting to answer a question, all goes well. Of course it helps that most of the stuff on it we learned in the first 3 weeks. But I digress. Return to dorm following test to work on math homework. Two hours later, math homework is done. Nice. Then try to finish rereading Omeros. Less nice. Takes 'til midnight.
December 5 Last IHUM section of the quarter. Was less than pleased to discover that my idea for an essay topic was also the idea of at least 3 other people. Darn. Did my usual Thursday crash session of flute practice. Admittedly, this week I have an almost-legitemate excuse as to why I didn't practice earlier in the week. I was busy. Really. Flute lesson went pretty well, as did math section. Mission IHUM paper was a lot less successful. Spent nearly 2 hours trying to outline my ideas, and collect relevant quotes. Still not quite sure what I'm trying to prove. Oh well. Better luck tomorrow?
December 6 Life is usually better in the morning. Went to the library and poof, three hours disappeared, and 6 pages appeared. That's the good news. The less good news is I really needed more like 4 pages, at least for that topic. Guess I'm verbose. Who'd have guessed? Accidently missed an appointment with my advisor. Rescheduled. Did not eat lunch. Regular meals are highly overrated. Went to final lecture of Math 51. Sniffle. Okay, so it may not have been the greatest math class, but it definitely had its moments. Most of the afternoon was spent successfully procrastinating, but I did accomplish one important task: the penguin on my bed is sitting up straight. The dirty clothes on the floor have also vanished... Met my dad at 6:30 and went to the concert of the Magic Flutes, the Canada College flute choir, which I was a member of last year. It's neat hearing how much they've improved. Nice to see familiar faces too. Came back to the dorm late. It's often better that way.
December 7 Ah, Saturday... A day that will live on in infame? Morning in the library again. First I couldn't concentrate on my paper. Then I couldn't stop concentrating. Result was I suddenly found I had 1 hour to do a lot. Rushed off to get my flute and music for the concert. Shoot. Last page is missing. Panic, then decide I can panic just as easily back at the dorm. Change into formal clothes again, I now have a pathological hatred of black pants. Black shoes too. No lunch, see a pattern? Off to concert. Whew. Somebody with the same part is also early. Run off and copy music in Math Library. Concert is in Memorial Church and consists of about 7 groups. We're next to last, so waiting is part of the game. After the concert, have dinner with my dad in Tresidder. Not only is fried stuff unhealthy, it tastes disgusting. Back to get more work on the paper done. Harrumph. Slow progress. Give up, and try to work on math instead. Somehow end up watching The Red Violin for over an hour. Then worked on math 'til well past midnight.
December 8 Woke up and ambled over to the dining hall. Sundays always feel so relaxed at the beginning. Started math review in the morning, and spent a good three hours on it. Then spent a good three hours on nothing at all. Time redistributes itself nicely. Entire day became hazy as matrices merged into cross compilers and visions of sushi danced through my head. Studying became serious again in the evening, finally ending around midnight. Nothing like a nice midnight walk to take your mind off math, especially when you are involved in steal^w^w^w^w^w borrowing certain large flat metal objects (sometimes wood too). Sleeeeeeeeep.
December 9 Judgment day is come. First portion of the morning was spent doing a final run over my IHUM essay. Oh well, so it's 11 pages, not 8 pages, too bad. Next, math review. Four hours. Then dinner. Tried not to stuff myself. Finally, ran off to math final. Three hours later, mission complete. Was extremely irritated that a number of the topics were barely touched on in class. Guess one can't expect the professors to actually talk about the stuff we're supposed to know. Went back to the dorm, sans headlight, but avoided any tickets. Talked about the math test for a while, then went back to trying to get Linux on my TiBook upgraded to Rawhide. Succeeded in thoroughly breaking my existing Linux distribution and finally gave up around 2AM.
December 10 Ah, another day... Woke up late enough to thoroughly miss breakfast. Spent the morning experimenting with cross compilers, and made a Darwin/ppc x Linux/ppc compiler. Attempts at making a Linux/x86 x Darwin/ppc were foiled thanks to a Apple's strange buildsystem. Had my last lunch of the quarter in the dining hall, and acquired some indigestion from the sweet and sour chicken. Ah, the memories of dorm food... Had a meeting with my Academic Adivsor (AA in Stanfordspeak) about next quarter. Still not positive what I'm going to take. After that, came back to the dorm to start packing. Completely reorganized the room in the process. Five bags. Took down all my posters (boo) 'cause they fine you if you have tacks in the wall. Enjoyed an early dinner, good conversation, and tried to update the webpage (yeah, it's been a while). Gradually become bored. So me and my roommate experimented with turning up the soundtrack of Requiem to a Dream to maximum volume, on both of our computers. Experience shows we get a form a surround sound, if we start the music at exactly the same time. Succeeded in annoying the guy across the hall who was trying to study chemistry. And the guy next door writing a paper. And probably many others. Changed our music to Mozart's Requiem. Could hear it all the way down the hall. Not that most people can complain, they do the same ('cept at around 2AM, not 8PM). Finally relented. Spent a good two hours just sitting and chatting. Yay. Left for home at 10PM on a good note. As Achille says in Omeros, "The king going home." 1 Quarter down. 11 to go. Let the war continue.
December 11 Can I say wow? All of sudden, the weights on the shoulders disappear. So what do I do? Back to the computer of course. It's really kind of stupid. Perhaps I'm addicted? Started working on VirtualPC. Installed Windows 2000. Became sidetracked trying to update/clean up the machine I've been using for LAN parties. AdAware discovered remnants of spyware on it. Ugh. Next installed Kazaa lite, tried it out a bit, got bored, and went back to plan A. Plan A involved Windows 2000 on VirtualPC, and wasn't expedited when I became impatient and canceled the installation. Took a while. Experimented also with a Mac Plus and Mac Quadra emulator. Brings back such memories... Started feeling vaguely lonely by the end of the day. There's always tomorrow though.
December 12 Told myself I wouldn't repeat yesterday, and then nearly did. Not good. Began with the Mac Quadra emulator. Installed MacOS 8.1, then had some issues installing other software. That part of my webpage is due for a serious overhaul. Spent awhile on that, then tried to get MacOS 8.1 on a MacOnLinux emulator. That didn't quite work either. For my crowning effort of the day, I installed RedHat 4.2 on VirtualPC. That did work successfully, thankfully, so I have something to show for today. In the late afternoon a friend came over, and we chatted, before going off to his house and playing a good solid stint of Railroad Tycoon II (on Linux). Fun game, that.
December 13 Today was the day when what should've happened didn't quite. Managed to arrange for a group of folks to go see Star Trek: Nemesis. Then went back to computer junk. Installed BeOS Developer's Edition 1.1 on VirtualPC. My advice: don't bother. After a 3+ hour installation, it didn't even work well enough to merit a screenshot. Phooey. Decided to go on a walk up my road in the rain. Nothing like a walk in the rain to put me in a good mood. But I also realized that I'd missed my plan to go to the high school and visit old teachers. Ah well... My plan to go to the school's band concert was foiled by the fact that I mistakenly thought it was tonight, when in reality it was last night. Argh! Trip to the movie did go according to plan, save for the fact that another person really wanted to come, creating a slightly crowded situation. The movie itself was pretty good, in the sense that it had a plot, characters, development, and a lack of plainly gratuitous special effects. In short, it may not have been Citizen Cane, but it sure wasn't Die Another Day. Came back real late, and real tired, resulting in a slight altercation with a curb. Fortunately, nothing worse.
December 14 Woke up real late on account of last night's movie. Ate breakfast, and set about trying to get ready for the day's errands. This involved separating dirty and clean clothes, flattening boxes, collected hundreds of plastic bottles, and a few other things. Unfortunately we were quite delayed and didn't leave until nearly 2PM. The rain came down in force the entire time we were driving over the hill. Managed to get soaked dropping the bottles off at recycling. Did the laundry at a laundromat (unfortunately our washing machine is pretty much useless, and the dryer has become a fire hazard). At lunch as the clothes dried. Did some other errands. Not too exciting. Came home, and had dinner. Etc. Etc. Etc. /Me wishes life was more exciting. Maybe an alien invasion, or inundation by frogs.
December 15 My dad thought it would be nice to go to the beach this morning. So we did. Only, it started raining. And it kept raining. So we walked along the beach anyway. Unfortunately, whilst doing so, we got successfully drenched by a larger than expected wave. Yay, now both of my pairs of shoes are soaked. Then had lunch at home. Tried being sociable, which involved an awful lot of phone calls. Good to know everybody is still alive and more or less well. Odd thing is, phone calls sometimes leave me feeling lonely. Made a desperate attempt to clean up most of the house, which was marginally successful (cobweb stockpile has been significantly depleted). Late dinner, coupled with later bedtime. Whew. At least most of the living room floor has now been vacuumed.
December 16 Woke up fairly late, later than the first phone call of the day. Arranged to visit the high school. Originally was just going up with one friend, but another person wanted to come along. Then while getting donuts for my favorite teacher, met another person. So we were 4 going to school. Had a pretty good time, despite most of the teachers being busy. It was really nice to see the old haunts though, and the old teachers (though too many have moved on, sadly enough). Me and friend had good lunch at San Benito House. Sandwich may not be life, but it sure is important to it. On a whim, went over the hill to Fry's Electronics. Then dropped by Border's Books to get a copy of The Fellowship of the Ring: extended edition. Came home briefly, attempted to organize the house. Then off to the airport with my dad to meet my cousin from France who's coming to visit. Managed to find him without trouble. Alas the same wasn't true of his baggage. Came home for dinner, and was treated to an interesting mixture of Farsi, French and English. After dinner, was picked up by another friend and went bowling. First round was really good: got 125, the next 3 weren't so good.
December 17 Bowling late takes its toll. Namely, I can't get up and be operational. Ate breakfast with my cousin, and drove him around town to show him a bit of the area. Realized there really isn't much to say about Half Moon Bay, anyway. The luggage was finally delivered, just before we left for the city. One friend offered to act as tour guide, so our first stop was the coffee shop and the second was Twin Peaks. Or would have been if we'd had better luck in finding parking. Oh well. Still saw a lot of the city while driving. Then went far downtown and parked at a partly broken meter. Fed the meter anyway, and headed off in the general direction of Chinatown. Very complicated. Got lost, and even had to resort to asking directions. Succeeded, and had a very greasy lunch. Then wandered in search of certain items. Failed to find them. Finally, very much exhausted from wandering, drove home. Great Highway was closed, but otherwise drive was uneventful. Rested, before eating dinner. Or would have, had not an exceedingly unusual phone call taken place. /Me is entirely confused. Why life no is simple? Every time I think I've sorted out certain people, they have to confound my expectations completely. Had a fun experience installing Heretic II on Linux, before going to bed quite late.
December 18 Shopping? Apparently so. My cousin wishes to see this fabled American activity (and participate). So off we go. I manage to dragoon someone to come along since I know next to nothing about shopping. Drive up to a mall in the city. Then up to Union Square. All told, spent 4 hours near or around stores. Yeah. Returned around 5PM. /Me is very tired. Try to begin coordinating tomorrow's movie run. Then dinner, webpage, and bed.
December 19 Rain is back with avengeance. Go up to the high school with a friend in the morning. Unlike Monday everything's planned out, so we see all the teachers I planned to. First, saw my English teacher. When I mentioned my attempted change of course I got a "told you so." Still, she's got a point. Saw also my biology, band, and U.S. History teachers. Ah, the good old days. When I left, the rain was coming down by the bucketful. Our road is officially submerged in at least half a dozen places. Went out to lunch with my cousin, hoping that the road will last the day without my supervision. Next we went over to a friend's house to watch the first Lord of The Rings. Despite continuous interruptions, we made it quite a ways, before adjourning to dinner. After dinner, we all (by now 7 of us) went over to see The Two Towers. The line wasn't too bad, but we still weren't early enough to get the prime seats. Oh well, we did pretty good. The movie proved, while disappointing compared with the first, to be quite fun, although some of the humor seemed slightly misplaced in an otherwise extremely dark tale. My advice: go watch it, but if you're a diehard like me, be prepared for plot changes (and not merely omissions). If you haven't read the book, then you really should do so, to appreciate not only the movie, but the modifications. No, Faramir isn't as bad as he's made out to be.
December 20 Two pieces of good news. Grades are in, and they're pretty good, and I got the class assignment I wanted for humanities. After breakfast, asked my cousin what he wanted to do. Wanted to see the Stanford campus, so that's where we went. Rain was on and off throughout the tour, and indeed the whole day. Had a nice political discussion along the way (my proposal to move 90% of Israelis into refugess camps for 25 years, just for fairness, was not well received). Afterwards, went to Jack in the Box for lunch. I'd sooner have gone to hell, even though I spared my stomach the indignity of their food. Next, dropped by Fry's Electronics, before coming home. Discovered two messages on the answering machine, and so immediately left. Discovered I was part of a large Two Towers viewing (19). Saw a lot of people who'd graduated the year before me. The trip was quite fun (hey when I'm not driving, going most places tends to be fun). The absence of music from 94.9 was also nice. Waited in line for a good bit, but got reacquainted with quite a number of "characters." Good to see some people don't change. Movie was at the AMC 1000 in San Fran, which was quite a bit nicer than Century 12, except for the parking. Actually enjoyed the movie more the second time. Plans to pick up donuts on the way back were scuttled by delays, but pretty much everything else worked great.
December 21 Woke up with considerable difficulty. Umph. I've fallen in love with my 8 hours... On the way up to the city, we stopped at the beach in Montara. The sky was blue, the sun warm, and the waves loud. So we had a good game of wave-tag and a nice walk up and down the beach. Then drove up to the city (4th time in 5 days). Stopped at the head of the Golden Gate to have lunch and walk on the bridge. Were unable to beat the tanker that passed under the bridge. Guess they ain't so slow after all. Decided to take the scenic route to Richmond, which involved Marina Boulevard and Lombard Street (steep section). Dropped my cousin off with friends in Richmond, and headed back toward home. On the way, stopped at The Good Guys looking for something, and discovered a fascinating collection of posters: everything from Che Guevara to The Simpsons. Arrived home late, had dinner and went to sleep.
December 22 Today looked like a nice day for a walk. So we went off to Purisima open space. Walk began following along Purisima Creek, then up the Soda Gulch trail, and then up Harkins Ridge, ending us at Skyline a bit past 2PM. Then came down Whittemore Gulch. Mission accomplished. 10 miles: 4 hours. Not bad, though my legs are a little sore. Had a relaxed afternoon, then dinner, and then tried to go to a movie with a friend. Slight difficulty in finding the theater, plus a line insured we were late for Frida. So, we went to Two Week's Notice. Certainly not a great movie, but it was entertaining. Return trip was uneventful (no missed exits, accidents or dragon-infestation).
December 23 Had a brilliant idea this morning. Why not get a little exercise in the morning by taking a 2 hour walk? 1 hour up the road, and 1 hour back. Tried. When after an hour, we seemed nearly at Skyline, decided that going all the way might not be a bad idea after all. Took only 1 hour 25 minutes from home to Skyline. Admittedly we were going fast. Oddly enough, returning took a lot longer thanks to attempted shortcuts and photo-stops. From one particular hill, the view included both the ocean and the bay. Nice. Immediately took a shower once we got back, in the (probably false) hope of avoiding poison oak. No need for more complications. Then headed over the hill. Stopped at two books stores, one for books, the other for free MacWorld tickets. Ate dinner at Applewood Inn, which still qualifies as the best pizza place around. Yum.
December 24 Woke up late and with difficulty. Spent the morning doing odd chores. In the afternoon, went out with a friend to help deliver and exchange Christmas gifts. Strange, because we don't really celebrate Christmas at home. One of the deliveries was even to my 8th grade English teacher! Returned home to discover that I needed to go relieve another friend of some cookies. How many Christmas cookies does one need? After dinner, decided to go to the Stanford Theater which was showing Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life. En route listened to an extremely entertaining radio interview with Studs Terkel. Arrived to the theater and saw it had a sign saying sold out. Went in anyway. Was pleasantly surprised to discover that there was space. Entrance and popcorn was free! Movie was a great booster, given the generally blue feeling I get come Christmastime. Next, visited Stanford's Memorial Church, and sat through almost an hour of a Catholic service, before sleep forced us to leave and head home. Sadly enough I can't even sing hymns, but still, Merry Christmas...
December 25 Christmas day. Ate breakfast, and decided what to do with the day. Spent about 2 hours digging the ditch. The work was much more satisfying than one might have thought. Anyway(s), the ditch is now clear, and hopefully the next rain will not destroy the road utterly. Next project was clearing brush around the garage, and around the quasi-bridge across the creek. Project was mostly successful. Ate a large and late lunch, and went back to futzing around on the computer. Yay. Then dinner. Then bed. Merry Christmas!
December 26 Merry un-Christmas! Took a number of things off to the dump, and then headed off to pick up my cousin from Richmond. We went to UC Berkeley for the afternoon, and had a nice time wandering around the campus, at least until it started raining earnestly. Next, drove into San Francisco. Wanted to stop at the Embarcadero, but couldn't find parking. My cousin wanted to visit Ralph Lauren again, so we stopped there, and took a nice walk down to the Embarcadero. Returned home... Called a friend, and suddenly an impromptu movie trip materialized. Had a little trouble fitting 5 people in the car, but managed. Dinner was at Chilis, and the movie, about 2 hours later, was Catch me if you can. Definitely one of the better movies I've seen this year.
December 27 Not much in the morning, save breakfast. Spent the early afternoon helping a friend with errands. Talked a lot of old times. Seems like I'm turning into a hopeless nostalgic! Yikes! In the evening, I rediscovered my interest in emulators. SNES9x was my emulator of choice for a long while, due to a slight obsession with Super Mario World. Tried the game again. Seems I'm a lot better than I was last time I played. So I played all afternoon. Did quite well. Who says I have no hobbies?
December 28 Guess I'm addicted to Super Nintendo. Or rather to the emulator. More Super Mario World. With some hints, managed to beat the game around 2PM. Immediately felt bored. Discovered another friend was also bored. So we went to his house, and had an evening of board games. First game was Monopoly, the rules of which I'd forgotten in the 4 years since I last played. Fun game though. Guess any game's fun when you win ;-) Then played Risk. Another fun game. My sudden unexpected victory didn't hurt either. Didn't realize how much fun or time such games can take. About 6 hours in this case, for 2 games.
December 29 Today was relaxed. Or boring. Or both. Up fairly early. Spent the morning dealing with odds and ends. Wanted to go on a hike up Montara mountain, so we did. Fast. Made it from parking lot to summit in an hour flat. No heart attack yet! Felt pretty good, so took out time going down. Very muddy. In the course of the hike, the sky change from blue with white splotches to white with blue splotches. Hmm... Came home and had a late lunch. Tried to organize files and music in the evening. Yes I do have better things to do. Really. I just don't seem to do them... An unexpected visit by a friend helped make things a bit more interesting too.
December 30 Began the morning by traveling to Fry's with my cousin. Then dropped him off at my dad's office and returned to attend the birthday celebration of my friend's sister (confused?). Celebration was fun and lunch was excellent. Returned home in the evening, in time for a dinner I had no appetite for. Then it was off to bowling with friends. Discovered that while I've lost my touch, someone else seems to have more than made up. He got three strikes in a row in the first game! Returned after game five.
December 31 'Tis the day before the new year. Woke up fairly early, and managed breakfast, and flute practice. Planned to go up to the city for a last time with my cousin. We made a brief stop near Ralph Lauren to return merchandise, then headed toward Fisherman's Wharf. An impromptu rainstorm interrupted this plan, so we ended up eating lunch in the car and driving to the Palace of the Legion of Honor. They had a very nice exhibit of Winslow Homer watercolors which we admired, as well as a wide variety of other art. Returned home, and promptly left again. Went to see the movie Chicago with a friend. Seems like I've seen a lot of movies lately. Was pleasantly surprised by the movie, and aside from odd distractions and an inability to take the right exit, made it home safely. The nuts who were supposed to be on the roads seem to be avoiding me (as have the cops)...