December 1 Went back to school in the morning. History class was devoted to radicals on both sides, namely the settlers and the Islamic militants. Then again, it always pays to remember that more Palestinians support Arafat than Hamas, even today. Meanwhile, more Israelis support Ariel Sharon than Peres (or anybody in Labor). What does that say? Spent all afternoon beginning to crunch out code for MazeRunner, the final CS assignment. And they told us this would be a short one :-(
December 2 A little bit about the Oslo Peace process from history class, and a lot of coding all around. I have now finished implementing my Human (who can walk successfully around the board). He has a little problem with gravity though. Sometimes he falls through things. Oh well. Next up: implement all the baddies.
December 3 Today was the last history lecture of the quarter. Sigh. I miss it already. We ended on the eminently optimistic topic of the second Intifada. Went through this week's readings, an interesting exchange in the NY Review of Books. Whose fault was the failure at Camp David? Depends, but there's a good case that Barak deserved a share of the blame too... Finished math homework barely in time to turn in. Class was basically a nice flow chart, demonstrating how we went from the Completeness Axiom, to the Fundamental Theorem of Calculus. Neat. In CS lecture, learned about the wonders of ML, yet another functional programming language. I'll stick to LISP I think. Farsi final, which was not too intimidating. 1 class gone. 4 to go.
December 4 Flute lesson first thing in the morning. Then, (other) math class, followed by final history section (and discussion of the Camp David summit). Afternoon was all working on MazeRunner. Finished all the bad guys. Now just have to make the data threadsafe. Yay for synchronization (or not as case may be).
December 5 Final CS lecture of the quarter which included a little bit of python, even less C#, and a wrap up of everything. Of course, as soon as I leave class its back to the dorm to work on MazeRunner. By about midnight I have a playable game, with some glitches. Like quitting doesn't quite work. Let's just say threads don't excite me all that much any more.
December 6 Spent an exhaustive morning getting levels in the game to terminate properly. Killing threads is harder than it looks! Finally got that working, only to discover a seemingly random deadlock. Took me 2 hours to realize I was misusing the "synchronize" keyword: all the stuff to be synchronized needed to be a member of the same class. Once I fixed that and made it static, it worked. Turned in the assignment. Boy do I hate threads. Started on my history paper in the evening.
December 7 I now have half a history paper. I've also reviewed half of the math material potentially on tomorrow's final. Here's to hoping it's the right half.
December 8 Today might be more appropriately term my day of hell. 8:30-11:30 Math 115 final (which I am positive I missed 3 problems, minimum, out of 11). 12:00-4:00 finishing history paper. 4:00-7:00 study for Math 103 final (which I learn, mercifully, is open-book). 7:00-10:00 Math 103 final. I'm tired.
December 9 I spent half of today in the library. The other half, I spend in the other library. Fitting isn't it? CS 107 final tomorrow night. So half of the day went into studying, the second half into gcc bugzilla stuff. Learned in the evening that Matt Gonzalez lost the S.F. mayor's race. Once again, the party machine triumphs. One more reason to be cynical.
December 10 First quarter of sophomore year is over. I'm a strange combination of irritation and relief right now. Irritation at what happened (namely not much) and relieved that its over. I spent most of the day studying, so by 7PM I was definitely ready to finish off. Took my CS 107 final with Tom Lehrer's bomb song running through my head. Started late (they ran out of exams and had to run off and photocopy more) and finished early. Biked back to the dorm in the rain and narrowly avoided getting ticketed for not having a bike light. In celebration of the end of finals, I went to bed early.
December 11 My first day of freedom. In reality it wasn't all that free. Large chunks of my desk saw the light of day for the first time in 3 weeks, but I'm still missing a lot of things in the mess. I did get to catch up on the week's developements which were few and insignificant. Am feeling increasingly fed up at the guerillas in Iraq. Have they learned nothing from the Viet Cong? In the afternoon, had flute choir, though at an alternate location, in San Carlos. I hadn't played the alto in 2 weeks, and it showed. In the evening, stayed up late and tried to ascertain classes for next quarter.
December 12 Gave up on (choosing) classes for next quarter. Instead, met my dad, and attempted to sell back some of my books. Got rid of the physics books for about 60% of what I paid, which was more than what the bookstore offered. Unfortunately, the bookstore offered me close to zilch for most of my books, so I'm keeping them for now. Hoping to sell them individually to people. Bought books for classes I thought I might take. Plan on returning most (if not all) by the January 20 deadline. It's sort of like a library... In the afternoon, packed up everything I could, which took a while. After dinner, there was the annual Messiah Singalong concert at Memorial Church, so a friend and I went. It was fun (I think my voice is no longer in the alto range). We should have bought the libretto though. At least I knew the final chorus. My dad picked me up afterwards, and home I went.
December 13 The significant hours of the day were spent at a service for a friend who passed away. About 1/5 of the HMBHS class of '02 were in attendance. In the afternoon, saw my uncle who'd come up for his monthly Aristotle group meeting. Rediscovered Super Mario World in the evening. Hopefully not too much time will be spent.
December 14 Went to the beach this morning for a walk. Came back quite wet. The tide was high, possibly because of the storm that just finished, and we had a few mishaps with waves. The camera (fortunately) survived but the shoes will need a few days to dry out. Had a brief lunch before heading off to meet friends in San Mateo. They'd been Christmas shopping. Sounded horrid to me. We went to dinner at Fresh Choice which is basically a buffet restaurant. Shades of Wilbur Dining. Fortunately, the salad selection was better, and the soup didn't separate after sitting for 20 minutes. Afterwards, we bought tickets to a movie, and seeing as how the movie wouldn't start for 2 hours, went to a pool hall. Learned, convincingly, that I'm an awful pool player. Coordination and me have a few differences. Finally, went to the theater and watched "The Last Samurai." Was pleasantly surprised that while the plot was predictable, it wasn't 100% so. Spent the car-ride home arguing about how intelligently the battle scenes were staged. Got home late. Yawn.
December 15 Late to bed, late to rise. Yep, that's my motto. Spent the day (basically) playing Super Mario World, with a few stops for this and that. Addictive game. I think my brain will be out on vacation this week.
December 16 Today was not wholly unproductive. I got T.E.G. (the GNOME Risk clone) working for the first time in 3 months. I also built a linux x darwin cross compiler which interoperates with distcc and fink. Finally I can compile gtk+ in under two hours. Also took a bit of a look at the state of GCC bugs. Made a few proposals, and even sent in a patch.
December 17 My darwin cross compiler mini-howto came online this morning. Worked on various GCC things for most of the morning. In the afternoon, went with friends to fly RC gliders. Unfortunately, we lacked an essential ingredient: wind. Had a good time nonetheless. One method for launching the gliders involved a peg in the ground, with a giant rubber band attached to it, with the other end hooked to the glider. Basically a giant slingshot. It worked surprisingly well. That is to say, until somebody mistrimmed the plane too far down. Then instead of the slingshot launching it up, it launched it down, into the ground, quite hard. That particular glider is in 2 pieces now! Went out to dinner in Palo Alto, followed by an obligatory visit to Fry's. Sadly, Fry's is beginning to bore me. Not enough new, cool, stuff to play with.
December 18 Busy day. Got up late, and went to town for lunch with a friend. Then visited the high school to see our old teacher's. Spent a surprisingly long time discussing all manner of things. Then came home to practice for the night's concert. While leaving for said concert, was informed that tickets to Return of the King had been bought, and would I like to come. Accepted offer. Then went to San Mateo's Catholic Church of St. Matthews, where the flute choir spent an hour rehearsing, an hour waiting, and nearly 2 hours performing (not all of played, and not for the whole time). Whew. Appeared at the movie theater to meet friends for Return of The King with 15 minutes to spare. Watched movie and was pleasantly not dissappointed. Yes, the last bit didn't really fit, but if you read the books, it does make sense. Returned home past 2AM. Yawn.
December 19 Blech. A kink in the neck to make the morning exciting. Visited the high school to see the teachers I hadn't yesterday. Usually I do a pretty good job giving Christmas the slip, but this year I've not been so successful. So spent the afternoon shopping. Blech again.
December 20 A lot of this and that today. Managed to almost clear my desk, visited friends for lunch, played yet more Super Mario World, attended to half a dozen nearly forgotten errands (including visiting the bank and receiving something of a shock with my Visa bill, forgot about the $130 of textbooks I bought from Amazon). Plans for the evening didn't materialize, which was just as well, since I've not done any packing. Haven't updated this thing in a while either.
December 21 Finished up packing not too early. The cab for the airport was late, and charged $20 more than the usual fare. We made it through airport security without event (which is always nice) and spent a good hour waiting to board. I realize one disadvantage of the plane we were on: the seats barely go back. As if to make up, the seat next to me was vacant. We would have arrived early, had we not circled JFK/NY for nearly an hour before landing. Picking up luggage, as I should have remembered, also took some waiting. Nonetheless, we met my grandparents, and made it to the house by around 10PM. Ate a late dinner, discussed the wonderful world, and eventually, went to bed.
December 22 For our first day in New York, we didn't do too much. We had a lengthy walk down to the postoffice, via the elementary school. It was, of course, crowded with people sending off Christmas gifts. For the afternoon, we had lunch whilst solving Monday's crossword. I'm losing my knack for them... I also finished my book, "Peasants and Workers in the Modern Middle East." Just out of curiosity, has anything the IMF and World Bank done, ever led to long term improvements in a country? Didn't think so.
December 23 A friend from the dorm dropped by this morning, and another came up from New Jersey by train. Miraculously, we managed to coordinate both these events. We had a nice morning of chatting, followed by a visit to New Rochelle to see LoTR: ROTK (for my second time) on what was described as a "large screen". That it was, and probably larger than the IMAX where I saw "Matrix Devolutions." After the movie I met relatives back at the grandparents' house, and we spent a suitably relaxed evening. After they left, we watched "The Spy Who Came in From the Cold" which proved to be a surprisingly sophisticated movie lacking anything resembling a Hollywood ending. Seems one of only a handful of movies that captures that banality of the Cold War.
December 24 It just wouldn't be a trip to New York without an actual visit to the city and the museums. So we went to the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art). My grandmother was a bit discomfited by the extensive renovation and rearrangement of the museum's exhibits. We took a look at their Stanford Gifford (of the Hudson Valley school) paintings, and their special exhibit of El Greco (or, as he was born, Domenico Theodokopoulos) works. Both were good, though of course quite different. The crowds at the museum were surprisingly light (though lunch was something of a chore). We returned for dinner, after which we saw "On the Waterfront", where Marlon Brando debuted. Also Eva Marie Saint (last seen in by me in "Exodus") which wasn't necessarily a plus. Good movie though. My grandmother thinks old movies are often silly and simple-minded. That's as may be, but at least they're not just silly and mindless, like most of today's cinema.
December 25 Merry Christmas to those celebrating. I spent most of the morning reading, eating breakfast, and torturing neighbors by trying to get Rivier's Sonata up to speed. In the early afternoon, we went over to a chunk of the former Rockefeller estate for a walk. The day was good and cold, but we had a nice walk through woods, around a lake, and past cow pastures. Driving home, we tried to find a route with a view of the Hudson. I'm still not certain if one exists. At dinner, we had relatives visiting, which made for a very lively discussion. Politics figured prominently, so I was at home. Guess I'm not a free-trade capitalist any more. After dinner, we looked at a goodly collection of old photos, and watched "His Girl Friday". I'm positive I've seen it before (at the Stanford Theater. I just can't remember when, or who with...
December 26 Seems like however much I try, getting up before 10 just isn't happening. Not a big loss, I confess. We had breakfast, I did some reading, and, at length, we drove down to Manhattan. We wandered around SoHo and NYU's spread out campus for a while ending up in Washington Square. A pity Mr. Washington is hidden from view by scaffolding. Lunch was genuine New York pizza, and was good. In the evening, we went to Lincoln Center's "Great Composers" concert of the night. The featured composers were Peter Schickele and PDQ Bach. As expected, Prof. Schickele was not only composer, but also introducer and performer, and so the night's entertainment included "The Safe Sextet", "The Unbegun Symphony", and "Variations on an Unusually Simple-minded Theme." Mr. Schickele received a speeding ticket during the encore.
December 27 So ends vacation in NY. After breakfast, had a haircut. Left feeling significantly colder. Maybe the extra hair was more useful than I thought? Packed up stuff, and left with grandparents around 2 for the airport. The hardest part indeed was starting the car, for as we discovered, Acura and Honda car keys are nearly interchangable. Going through the airport was a breeze, though the plane was full and left a bit late. I finished two books on the plane, and developed a cough and running nose. 'Tis the season indeed! Arrived at SF around 8PM and took a cab home. Hot soup for dinner cleared up the sinuses, but I suspect tomorrow won't be fun.
December 28 Today met expectations. That is to say, I spent it in my room, with the heater on high, in several layers (and ski hat, stupid haircut gives me a cold head) with a box of kleenex nearby, which my nose is doing its darnedest to empty. I'd almost forgotten how much fun being sick is. I did finish "Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency" by Douglas Adams. Good stuff. Now I can finally return it to the friend who lent it many moons ago.
December 29 Still sick. Was wrapped around the heater most of the day. In the afternoon, I felt a bit better, and saw some friends for lunch, fun and games. After dinner, we got together again, for bowling. A little practice would do wonders for my game...
December 30 Guess last night's adventure has its disadvantages. I feel positively awful. I did manage to start organizing photographs from the last trip to Switzerland. Looking back, that was really the highlight of the year.
December 31 Didn't do too much for the first part of the day. In the evening, went over to a friend's house for a New Year's LAN party. Turns out one of the laptops is the fastest machine in the house (especially in terms of video card) so I borrowed it. Aside from the fact that Windows XP hard-crashed while playing Jedi Knight II, it worked pretty well. We played games, watched movies, and cheered as 2004 came in. Went home finally at about 5AM.