New vacation posts are still being written (even if they aren't at the top)! Read all about my European vacation!

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I set the alarm to go off at 4 this morning. It sounds insane, to be sure. Tiffany was definitely thinking it was insane, but it was really all her idea anyway. At least that's what I told her. After making myself some coffee and a thermos of hot chocolate for Tiffany, we left the house and went into the cold and rainy weather.

What could get us up so early and out of the house? Shopping! Specifically, a quest for the Wii, of course. We enjoy playing with the Wii, and Tiffany has known that I've wanted one. So it is supposed to be a Christmas/birthday present for me. The problem was, the Wii is a hard thing to find. Despite Nintendo churning out 1.8 million every month, it's nearly impossible to find them in stock. There are a few ways to get one. One, you could pay whatever the asking price is for it on eBay. Two, you could buy it online at regular price... plus about $300 - $400 of games and peripherals that you're required to buy in a bundle package. Three, you can hope to find one in the stores just when a shipment arrives before they're all gone. Or four, the option we went with, get up early and wait in line.

I had gotten an early look at this week's ads for Target, Best Buy, and Circuit City. Target and Circuit City would also have Wiis, but no minimum listed. We decided to check out Best Buy first, since they were supposed to have a minimum of 21 per store. So we drove by Best Buy first, and there was a good long line already waiting. We decided to check out Circuit City and Target. Although we didn't know how many they were going to have in stock, we were hoping they wouldn't be quite as crowded.

Target, unfortunately, was pretty crowded already. Not as bad as Best Buy, but there were a couple of tents right in front of the door, the sort normally used for tailgating, and there were plenty of people huddled under them to get out of the rain.

We drove up to Circuit City next, and there were about fifteen people in line, so we decided to give it a shot. We got in line before 5:00 AM, a good 3 hours before the store opened, and passed the time by talking to some of the other folks waiting in line. Most of the people were trying to buy the Wii as a gift, although a few were picking one up for themselves.

But the question was, how many would the store have? The Wii was pictured in the ad, so they had to have some (otherwise it would be a nasty bait and switch) but they could have as few as five for all we knew. Fortunately for us, one of the folks waiting in line worked at the store. He couldn't buy one himself, so he was with a friend who was going to buy it for him. He said they had fifteen in stock. Counting the people in line, there were more than fifteen, but I had to assume that not everybody was going to get a Wii.

Just before six o'clock, the doors opened, and vouchers were handed out. The fellow who said he worked there was right... there were just fifteen in stock. And we, fortunately, were number 11. Once we had the voucher, there was no need to wait outside in the cold. Breakfast at Cracker Barrel seemed like a good idea, and so we had some breakfast next to the fireplace to warm up.

I was glad we never didn't go to Best Buy. After picking up our Wii, we looked around at the games section in Circuit City. A man started asking me some questions about the Wii. He went to Best Buy and waited in line earlier today. There were 41 Wiis in stock here, and he was stuck at number 42. But Best Buy didn't hand out vouchers until 7:45, so we would have waited outside another two hours. Meanwhile, I recommended some games to a friend of his that was shopping for a 16 and 20 year old nephews. (Raving Rabbids, Resident Evil 4 were both bought.)

Sadly, I now have to wait until Christmas to actually play with mine...


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I made cookies

(I was thinking of using some lolcat picture involving cookies and bad grammar in the title, but I decided against it at the last minute.)

Over the last two nights, I have made lots of cookies. They are my famous orange cranberry oatmeal cookies. I can call them famous because Tiffany's coworkers will ask for them by name. They were pretty popular at the last office party, too. As always, each time I bake it's a little bit of an experiment. This time, I tried for smaller and more even cookie sizes. My cookies tend to be a little on the large side, which means the bigger ones don't cook quite as well as I would like. In addition to that and doubling the recipe, I ended up with a huge amount of cookies... almost nine dozen. Four dozen of them went to a charity auction for teaching scholarships. I had separated them in batches of two dozen each into little Christmas tins. Each tin went for eight dollars, which surprised me and made me feel pretty good.

And Florida, your citrus does not seem like its up to its usual standards. I know it's not your fault, but the oranges I was zesting needed some help. I added a bit of Cointreau to the batter, but I don't think it helped too much.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

A Dilemma of Course

The fall semester has started in full swing. Classes have now begun! I just need to figure out what I'm going to take. I has signed up for a class many months ago, and I was looking forward to taking it. It was a course I was required to take, with a professor I know, and I knew what he was going to cover, and I generally like his teaching style. But when I just happened to be looking over his website last week, I saw he was no longer teaching it. I checked on the course, and there is another professor serving as the instructor. And I really don't like this instructor. I've only had him for one class many years ago... which I ended up dropping. And I've heard from others that have had him that he gives lots and lots of heavy work. One friend has told me stories of working in the computer lab for days... literally, days... coding assignments.

I don't think I'm up for that. Maybe I'm some sort of academic chicken, but seeing as I'm already working a new job, I don't think I want the added stress of a class, too. But I still want to take a class. I just don't know what.

There's a few other computer science classes that seem interesting, but none of them are courses I need to take. There's also a number of history classes that I wouldn't mind taking as well. I hadn't been in the history building in a while, and that would be kind of nice... although a bit counter-productive to a future Masters in Computer Science, perhaps. And there's always the Leisure Skills courses. Kenjitsu, or Japanese fencing, meets once a week in the evening.

I'm still debating on what to do. In the meantime, I've signed up for a course involving sensor enabled game development. If nothing else, it sounds interesting! And it's with a professor I know. We'll see what I think after the first class meeting.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Rushing Around

Geez, it's been almost a month since I posted anything here. And I'm horribly behind on my vacation posts, too. I'll try to make up for it all and resume my tales of our European vacation, but the Fall semester over here is about to go into full swing, so I'm going to be busy for a little while.

But in the meantime, I was actually able to get out of the house on Saturday night, and we went to go see Rush Hour 3. It's hard to follow up two successful movies with a third. In a nutshell, it was more of the same. The plot was very transparent and felt a bit rushed, like there was supposed to some extra footage somewhere that made the movie's story better. Jackie Chan keeps look older, and I don't know if Chris Tucker can fit in a dress anymore. But despite that, we watched it, liked it, and we laughed long and heartily. The comedic parts of the movie were spot on. I wouldn't say it's a movie you should rush out and see right now, but if you liked the first two Rush Hour movies, then the third one is at least a renter. Consider it a little guilty pleasure.


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Kicking Peanut Allergies in the Nuts

I admit that I blatantly stole my headline from an ArsTechnica article that Lucky Bob pointed out to me.

I am one of three million Americans that suffer from peanut allergies. But it seems that researcher Dr. Mohamed Ahmedna has found a way to remove the allergens from peanuts, so that people allergic to peanuts could eat the allergen-free peanuts without any worries. It has been tested on human serum from people with the peanut allergy, but not on any actual people yet.

Tiffany will be so happy to be able to eat peanuts in the house again. She won't have to hide a jar of peanut butter at work any more.

But as for me, I don't think I would really change that much. As a life long sufferer of lethal peanut allergies, I don't think I could change. Just because some peanuts would be safe to eat, I don't think I could bring myself to eat them. I would perhaps try dishes, like Thai, where the peanut served as an accent to the dish. And this would also prevent me from making a yummy dinner of stir fry vegetables and rice noodles and toasted sesame seeds, only to find out, as I just finished cooking, that the included sauce contains peanuts. (Yes, I did that once. And then promptly gave all the food to the neighbors and took some Benadryl.) But the idea of purposefully making myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich is just revolting. This may be hard to believe, but even the idea of eating plain M&Ms is horribly unappealing. I would still have to be careful and read all the labels. How would I know that the peanut product is allergen free?

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Time to get off the internet

If you've been living under a rock recently, you probably haven't heard this. But the seventh and final book of the famous Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, will be released Saturday. If you don't mind staying up a little late, you can even pick it up at midnight on Friday from your local store. And if you're feeling unscrupulous, there's probably an illegal version floating out there in the Internet.

We actually have two copies of the book ordered. One of them was free, because we're using some credit card reward points. The other, as you can see to the right, is the British children's edition, ordered from Amazon UK. So once we get our books in, we'll probably go straight to reading them.

And that's why I have to get off the Internet. It's not so I can make more time to read. That's not really an issue... I read quickly enough, especially when I'm enjoying the book, that I'll probably have the book finished soon enough. Now, it's the spoiler-laden Internet I'm worried about. It's just good manners not to give away parts of a book or movie that would spoil it for others, and yet people seem to get a juvenile pleasure out of doing that anyway. And sometimes, it's just an inadvertent slip of the tongue (or of the fingers if one is typing, I suppose). And there's already reports of them out there. So definitely no more forums for me. No more blogs. No more browsing web pages to see what's new. Not until I'm done with the new Harry Potter.