Merry Christmas

I can’t go all year without making a post! That wouldn’t be right.

So Merry Christmas. And if you can, help us find a baby to adopt.

Whoops

I accidentally let the domain expire. Things should be coming back online soon. Like if you can read this, you are good.

More to come soon.

A video for your enjoyment

Kelly and I are leaving for Chicago this afternoon, and I have a bunch of work stuff to finish up, so I can’t write a huge post. But I did want to share the following video with you. It is by some fellow named Macklemore, and is all about thrift shopping.

Pay close attention. At one point you will see people digging through blue bins. I’ve been there and done that, and it isn’t nearly as clean or fun as the video makes it out to be.

Happy New Year

2012 has kinda sucked. There have been good things, but some really serious disappointment. So here is to 2013 being a better year.

Contemplating

I am trying to figure out what to do here now. I don’t know the answer yet. Times are very different than they were 9 years ago when I started blogging, and it doesn’t fit the same way into my life anymore. So I need to come up with some way to use this, and I don’t know what it is yet.

Whoops…

Somehow I ended up forgetting that I have a blog for a few months. I really didn’t mean to do that. Life has just been busy, and overwhelming.

And update on things in a few days. I promise.

Whoops

It is after Christmas. Whoops. I’ve been very busy. So let’s say I’ll get you an “end of the year” letter in the next few days.

Baba Birthday

And today you make it one year closer to 90. Congrats on truckin’ along!

Happy Birthday!

California The Sixth

I just booked my next trip to California to visit Phil. This will be the 6th trip that I have made there. (Seventh, if you want to count a trip that I don’t.) It is also only my second trip this year, which means that I have slipped. Last year I managed 3, but this year I don’t think that is going to happen. I blame several things, including my trip to Europe, and my multiple skating related trips. I mean, really, how many trips can one guy take?

But anyway, since this is the sixth time that I am going out, it means that I’ve done most of the “standard” stuff. I’ve been to the “big” sites and stuff.

Actually, now that I think about it, I haven’t probably done a lot of the big touristy stuff.

Anyway, this time I think I want to do entirely new things. I don’t know what yet. So if anyone has ever been out to the bay area, and has ideas for things to do that I haven’t done, please let me know.

I’m Still Around

But with work, and working on the house, and skating, and preparing for Europe, I haven’t had much time to write. I’ve also been feeling very anxious again, which sort of saps away any of my energy.

That having been said, this blog is in for a mini resurgence, because while I am in Europe, I plan on writing every day to give an update of what I’ve been doing. A sort of travel blog if you will. I might even post pictures, although I’m not really much of a picture taker. But this is sort of a big deal trip, so I should document it in some way.

So be ready for that, and maybe a little bit before I head out.

Bathroom

In the continuing attempt to make my house a pleasant place to live, my lovely parents have offered to pay a large portion of the cost of redoing my main bathroom. For those of you who have been to my house, you know how strange my bathroom is. It doesn’t have a real door, the mirror is to the left of the sink, the toilet is placed such that you bang you knee all the time, there is no real counter space, and to top it off, the shower has a 30 degree slope inwards from about shoulder height up. It was almost enough to make me not consider buying the house in the first place.

But since I have it, and since a certain Kelly is planning on moving in with me, we have decided that it is time to rip out the bathroom and put in a nice one that is actually functional. Which sounds great, and I’m honestly very excited. But there is a small problem with this plan. My house is 101 years old, which means that when you start tearing into things, everything goes crazy, no matter who good a plan you had. In fact, it seems like the more of a plan that you have, the worse things actually go. And in this case, the plan isn’t that great. It is basically rip out the entire bathroom, rip out a large portion of the kitchen that is below the bathroom, and have Nathan be a vagrant for a couple of months. Yeah, I’m a little nervous.

We are planning on starting this Friday with hauling away all of the crap that was in my basement that was moved to the garage so that we can haul all of the crap we rip out of the house into the garage. It is going to be one hell of a project.

And like I said, I’m a little nervous. But I think that is to be expected when your house is about to be ripped apart and then put back together. But I’m also very excited, because I know that the people involved either do good work or hard work, and the combination of the two will cause me to end up with something very nice. But I might be spending a few nights in my car as I wear out my welcome elsewhere.

Schooling

As some of you may know, I did a good job at getting through school while doing a limited amount of work. Pretty much the bare minimum. And while at the time that was good, it has left me now feeling like perhaps I missed out on some stuff, especially in one or two of my computer science classes. Now that I program for a living, sometimes I feel like I should have paid more attention and done a better job.

So I’ve been thinking, and I’ve decided that there is nothing to keep me from going back and trying to do some of the things that I skimped on, because I’m pretty sure that they would make me a better programmer at a day to day level. (Although lets be honest. It doesn’t really take much ability to program the sorts of websites that they ask us to do here. But again, just doing a passable job at boring things has left me unsatisfied.)

I think my project is going to be writing a compiler. For those of you who don’t know, a compiler is a program that turns computer programs into something that computers can actually use. And I took a class on compilers, and I’ve even technically written a compiler before. But I didn’t do a very good job, and I definitely think I can and want to prove to myself that I am able to do it.

Then again, it might turn into another instance of me deciding I don’t want to bother with it and stopping. Only this time there isn’t even a grade as a punishment, so who knows? But I will give it my best.

Renewed!

I’m sure everyone will be happy to know that I have just renewed this domain name for another year. What does that mean for you? Well it means that at least for another year I’ll be here semi-randomly, writing things of little or no consequence?

And what does this mean for me? Another year of possible copyright infringement on the late, great Mitch Hedberg.

So thanks everyone who has been along for the ride so far. I think we’re around 7 or 8 years of this, and hopefully we’ll have some more together. But now, I have a meeting.

Boeing 787

It is a pretty well known fact that I am sort of an aviation aficionado. If by “aficionado” we mean someone who spends hours reading about aviation, planning trips around aviation, simulating aviation, boring his friends with aviation.

Well yesterday was a pretty big day. It was the first flight of Boeing’s newest airliner, the 787. If you pay any attention to the news you know that the whole project has been somewhat of a boondoggle. The first flight was supposed to be two years ago, and then finally it was supposed to be in June of this year, but several weeks before the flight they discovered a problem with some parts made by a subcontractor that were involved with holding the wings on, so that’s an issue. It had gotten to the point where the snarkier of the online commentators started questioning if the plane would ever fly.

The main issue that has caused these delays is the use of composites (plastics) instead of metal for the main structural bits of the plane, like the fuselage. In the end, Boeing say, this will make the plane lighter which will allow it to fly using less fuel. It also allows other things like a non-circular fuselage. But this is very new technology for this application, and so obviously there have been delays, but way more than we in the aviation fan kingdom would have liked.

Well yesterday we finally got to see the first flight, and it was pretty amazing. Boeing did a live webcast so I was able to watch the first flight, and I definitely got a tad bit emotional. So if you go to the following link, you can watch a video that Boeing has put together of the flight. Although you probably won’t think it is nearly as cool as I did.
http://787firstflight.newairplane.com/ffindex.html

Religion – As Explained By “Community”

The show “Community” did an excellent job last night of describing in general how I feel about religion.

“To me, religion is like Paul Rudd. I see the appeal, and I would never take it away from anyone, but I would also never stand in line for it.”

I-64

For the last two years my life has been completely disrupted because one of the main East-West highways in St. Louis has been shut down to be completely rebuilt. It also happens to be the highway that is 3 blocks north of my house, and a key road for getting to my parents, work, and Kelly’s parents. It is just about the worst highway to have taken away, and I have had to deal with it being gone for the last two years.

But as of yesterday, it is back open, and completely rebuilt. And you know what? It is pretty much just the same as it was before. They didn’t add any lanes to help decrease traffic, and they didn’t really change some key intersections so that traffic is building up in exactly the same places that it was before the highway was rebuilt. And to make things worse, they took away some exits and entrances, including the main one that I used to get home.

Still, despite all of that, it is back, and I have a direct route to very important places in my day. And I save about 15 minutes each way to work. And I guess better gas mileage since I’m on the highway. I think that is reason enough to celebrate.

My Long Travel Day

As has been discussed on here before, I’m kind of an idiot when it comes to how I travel. I have been known to base my travel arrangements on the most interesting flights, and not on what will make my life the easiest. Well on Tuesday, on my trip back from California, I hit a new low, even for me, and it has me reconsidering my entire travel philosophy.

I mentioned before that I planned my flights back so that I could fly on a propeller driven airplane as opposed to a jet airplane. And that happened. I left San Jose around 9:45 in the morning, and 30 minutes later landed in Sacramento, which is really just up the road. I earned 95 frequent flier miles, so I’m guessing that is a pretty good estimate of the distance covered. In air travel terms, that is nothing.

So there I was, 30 minutes later, in Sacramento, at the entirely wrong terminal. And in Sacramento, if you are at the wrong terminal, you have to leave the building and catch a bus to the correct terminal. And by “leave the building” I mean that I had to exit through security. Which meant that I had to go back through security again. Two times in about two hours. Fun. And then I sat around the Sacramento airport for 2 hours waiting for my next flight.

This flight was all the way to Salt Lake City, which is really not that far away. It only took about an hour and a half, and on this flight something really interesting happened. A woman started having trouble breathing and they had to ask if there were any doctors on the plane. So for the last half of the flight all of the flight attendants were scrambling around trying to make sure this woman didn’t die. And then when we landed we were stuck on the plane for 30 minutes while the paramedics came on and checked on her and then hauled her off. Luckily, I wasn’t in a rush.

My flight from Salt Lake City to St. Louis left 2 hours later, so I got some food and then waited. Eventually we boarded, and this flight was on a little regional jet, which really aren’t that bad, but for a 2.5 hour flight it starts to get a little long. Except my flight wasn’t 2.5 hours. It was more like 4, because as soon as we pushed back from the gate the Captain announced that there was a mechanical problem, and we had to sit around, waiting for them to fix the plane. That took about an hour and a half, all things considered.

Finally we took off, and I did get back to St. Louis around 10:30 at night. I left Phil’s apartment around 10:00 St. Louis time, so it ended up taking me about 12 hours and three flights to make it back home, which is a completely ridiculous amount of time for that journey. But I achieved my goals. Next time, however, I will be flying non-stop.

The Tough Thing About Having A Blog

You have to think of things to write about. And I’m pretty convinced that my life just isn’t that interesting. At least, not in the way that it used to be.

I’ve been writing this blog for going on 7 years, I think. I could be wrong, but it is somewhere close to that. And I’m sure many of you remember a time when I updated 6 or 7 times a day. You probably remember that period of almost a year where I didn’t go a single day without updating. And then it was actually highly difficult for me when I actually took a break. I think I defined myself in a lot of ways by this blog. But more importantly, I was able to think of 6 or 7 things a day to write about. I’m sure that a lot of them were terrible, but still, I could.

Now I just can’t. I feel like the same things just keep going on in my life. I go to work. I go to skating. I mess around with my home computer. Every once in a while I go on a trip somewhere. That is pretty boring. At least, I think it is boring to other people. I’m actually very happy with the amount of stuff going on in my life right now. But I don’t think people are really that interested in hearing about skating every day.

I also think that Facebook and Twitter have gone a long way towards taking away some of the power of my blog. It used to be that if I wanted to say just a little something, I’d post it on here, and it would turn into maybe a couple paragraph post. Now I just make a Facebook status update, and I don’t really elaborate, because that isn’t the place to do it. But the main point gets across, so no blog post is necessary.

So I don’t know what to do. I’m not planning on stopping Smackie. I don’t know that I could ever do that, and I have no desire to do that. It is just hard to think of things to write about. I do plan on an overview soon or my upcoming trip to Europe, and I’ll try to post a summary of my trip to California when I get back. And I’ll do my best to find things to write about that I think might be interesting to other people.