Sunday, December 31, 2006

The trip back

The drive back started off relatively uneventful. I passed the border with no problems, and I am still not sure what my alcohol limit is. They didn't ask so I didn't mention it. The cat wasn't a problem either, he eventually calmed down then tracked litter all over the car. Next time he isn't getting a litter box since he didn't use it. When I hit Harrisburg I started to have problems. Somehow I was spit off I81 onto I83 without any warning, so I had to pickup 581 in order to get back on track. Then as I was getting off at I270 onto I495, I somehow missed my exit. Imagine my surprise at seeing a Welcome to Virginia sign. So I tried to take the Rosslyn bridge back but that was poorly marked, I ended up going out of my way over the Roosevelt bridge then backtracking, at least I have gone that way before and knew the route. After 11 hours of driving I was not in good shape. My head wouldn't stop moving for the rest of the night, good thing I was finished with the driving. The car definitely needs to be taken in for repairs. The muffler isn't muffling anymore, I suspect a hole in the pipe. Plus the car needs new rotors, which I may or may not do on my own. Muffler will have to be dealt with first as it is annoyingly loud.

The cat wasn't too impressed with the drive nor with the apartment complex. He took off running down the hallway until he ran out of leash. After spinning around he took off in the other direction only to run out of leash again. I wasn't really up to carrying him. I eventually put him on the scale and he is up to 22.5 lbs. I really need to have both arms free in order to carry him now. He hid under the bed for most of teh night before finally coming out for some food and to explore all the closets. He opened all the doors and checked out the insides.

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Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!!

I must have been a good girl this year, Santa was very nice to me. I received a very nice microwave, and knife set as well as a cordless drill and screw driver. Those last two would have come in handy when I was setting up my dining room table and kitchen counter but I will still find uses for them. I have a curtain rod to put up, the top to the kitchen counter needs to be screwed down and the hole for the handles still need to be drilled.

I feel a little bad that I didn't manage to finish the sweater for my father for Christmas. Other than that, I did get most of the things on my list. My mom was very happy to finally receive her very own iPod. I think we were all happy to see her get it too, especially since I had bought it in September. It was the best kept secret, everyone knew but her. That meant that she also got a nice speaker dock to go with it.

We had a slightly smaller family dinner this year, only my grandparents came over this year. Normally we go to my grandparents house and my fathers brother and his family are also there. With that many people, it makes for a big supper and my grandparents were just not up to it. So we invited them over and it was a big production. Everything was really good. It is no wonder that people gain weight over the holidays, with so much good food around, I just wanted to eat everything. And the desserts are really hard to give up too. I need to get back out and hit the trails.


Friday, December 22, 2006

The long haul

I decided that going around NYC was going to be worth the extra hour in driving. It also meant that I would be avoiding most of the tolls and the New Jersy Turnpike. It took about 11 hours to make the drive home to Montreal. I am not looking forward to the repeat performance on the 31st with the cat. He hates the car so much and puts up a big stink about it too. I will have to play some music really loud to drown him out. I did plow through a few podcasts and cleaned out another podiobook. I wasn't too impressed with 'Voices'. It was an anthology of fiction that had been podcast. Some were very good, two I had heard before and at least two others just made no sense. I am hoping that any future anthologies will be better. I am not sure what I will be listening to on the way back but I will likely clear out more podcasts. I have about 700 to listen to. Not sure how I have so many of them.

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Sunday, December 17, 2006


The movie of the week was Eragon. Based on the book Eragon (Inheritance, Book 1) that I haven't read yet but I decided to go watch the movie anyways. I figured I can always do what I did with LOTR which was read the books after the fact. The moviedoes seem to be geared for a younger audience. The story starts a little slow as they establish background about the Dragon Riders and the king. We really don't learn much about Eragon. He does seem to have been thrust into the story a little. I did find that there were a few scenes where the cgi artists seemed to be trying to have more fun then trying to make things blend in. I really don't think that dragons would sit up and beg with their wings outstretched, but apparently they do in this world. I also found the final battle to be a somewhat on teh fake and grandious side. I did find overall that the movie was entertaining and mostly absorbing. At least absorbing enough that I didn't really notice the people talking behind me or the baby crying.


TGIF and the weekend

There is a TGIF here at 5:00 that I have been trying to go to on a regular basis so I can get to know people in the building. There is only one person on this floor who talks to me when he passes by. I actually found out about the TGIF in two ways, the first way was when I saw a cart ladden with beer in ice buckets go by, so I just had to ask where the party was. Shortly after that, the guy in the lab next door told me about the TGIF. As so I now have something to do on Friday. I had a couple of beers at the TGIF and apparently that is about what it takes to get me a little drunk. But I did have an empty stomach. TGIF wrapped up around 7:00 and I stay until the end. I was then invited to hang out with the guy in the next lab and a few of his friends to go see Fighting Gravity play at a local bar. It was great. I like the music and the venue was nice too. Too bad I didn't think to brinig ear plugs. My ears hurt after that. We went for food afterwards. I didn't get back until about 2:30 in the morning and as usual I was awake at about 5:00 the morning. Oh well.

Saturday was another long day. I went to watch Eragon with the movei meetup and I had invited the guy to come along. Not that many people showed up for the movie but we did get a few people join up later for the food and drinks at a microbrewery in the same mall. They had a really nice red and I liked the brown too. I am thinking about what type of beer I would like to try making next. I want to get some beer going now that I have found most of my equipment. I am missing a few pieces but I am leaning towards doing the honey white and maybe the three pistols clone. Those were good beers. I am thinking of just making small one gallon batches. That way I only have about 9 bottles to deal with. Plus I figure if I don't like them or can't drink a large batch I can always bring them in for the TGIF. Grad students are a great way of pawning off food or drinks.

So today brings me into work so I can drop off all my plants. Although the light here is not full, at least they get watered. Other than that I have a gear report to write on the snowshoes and I thought I would try to write more on the novel. I am basically procrastinating on the Christmas shopping as the stores are so far away. And I don't know if there is parking lots or not. I have discovered that it isn't a good idea to move right before Christmas mostly because I really don't know where things are or how to easily get around. It would be nice to go to a New Years party but no invites or meetups have any posted. I might be to tired if I drive back that day then go to a party. Google maps claims it is a 10 hour trip and I will have the cat with me.

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Thursday, December 14, 2006

Novel progress

I am actually up to 14 chapters. I am not sure the last few chapters are any good but at least I am progressing. I have been working on the last two chapters back and forth trying to finish them but with all the typing I have been doing at work I am all typed out when I get home. Then by the time I cook something and eat I feel like it is almost time for bed. I have been doing some knitting as it it relatively easy to pick up and drop. I am knitting a swatch to determine the best needles to use on a pair of mittens for myself. I found a nice pattern on knitty and I have some nice wool that would work well with the pattern I think. At last check I was at 55,000 words. I have actually moved from using Word to using Writely. Word was slowing my laptop down so much it wasn't funny. I had trouble moving back and forth between programs. I didn't even have the entire novel open, I have decided to keep each chapter separate to help with moving chapters around if I need, or to add if that comes up. I really want to get this done as Lulu's has a special offer for NanoWriMo participants that they will print one free copy of a winners novel and send it too them. I think that is great and want to participate in that. If for nothing else than to see my name in print on a novel but I want it to be finished with an ending of some sort. That is much better than just bragging about having written a novel. I have been thinking about releasing a few chapters on the web on another blog. Not sure if I want to inflict this on anyone. Send me a comment if you want to sway my decision or read what I wrote.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Snowshoes and yarn

I only had about three hours of sleep the night before, so I left work a little early and crashed. As I was leaving this morning I noticed two boxes vrom UPS waiting for me. Either they had arrived in the morning or I had missed them last night. So the snowshoes I am going to be testing have arrived. They are quite nice. I can't wait to take them out for a spin. They weigh in at just under 3 lbs. I also received the yarn and needles I ordered. Now I can finish a project I have had on the needles for a while now. I ran out of yarn. I hope the colour matches well as I don't really want to rip it back any more to blend the colours. I think I have enough loose yarn from the last ball to blend a few rows but only if it isn't too noticeable.

Not sure why but I had a really nasty case of insomnia. I woke up at midnight and couldn't get back to sleep. At least last night I was able to catch up a little. I felt like a walking zombie near the end of the day. Everytime I sat down in front of the computer to work on the mounting paperwork, I found myself drifting off. I am still feeling a little tired from staynig out late on Friday night after the holiday party then again on Saturday night after the movie meetup. I ended up skipping supper last night in favour of going to bed early. At least I am not snacking on junk. I did lose the 5 lbs from NanoWriMo. I ate a little too much junk while I was writing. My wrists are still a little sore as I find I am not typing protocols at work then trying to finish the novel at home at my non-ergonomic workstation. I really should pull the keyboard off the computer and hook it up to the laptop. It would help with the posture and I wouldn't be resting my wrists so much on the laptop surface.

I rearranged the boxes in the apartment. I put all the book boxes in the closet to hide them away until I get bookshelves. I unpacked a few of the smaller boxes of things I have space for right now. I think the aquariums are going. I posted them on Craigslist, I will see what happens. If there are no takers before I leave I will have to invite someone over to help rearrange furniture to make the apartment more livable. I think I will keep the little one gallon aquarium, I might get a couple of nice fish and bring it into work.

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

The Holiday

I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this movie. I had seen the previews but in the end I don't think previews can really be trusted to give a good impression of a movie. The movie group I went with had this film dubbed a 'chick flick'. I was actually very impressed with the movie and the story. I liked the movie a lot and there was an unexpected twist that made the movie a much better watch then it might have been without the twist. Also, hearing people talking with british accents is always nice. Jack Black at one point in the film starts singing which for me ended with a strange meetup in my head. Jack Black also sings for Tenacious D and at that one moment he sounded exactly like Tenacious D which didn't really fit in with the movie for me.

The movie starts off a little slow as we get to know the characters and the lives they are trying to run away from. I have noticed that when I see how bad someone else's life is, mine tends to look a little better. After each character realizes how bad their life is and how much they need to get away, they find each other on a housing exchange site then agree to switch homes for two weeks to get away and experience something new. It was quite entertaining to see a workaholic presented with idyllic country life and how bored she rapidly became. I noticed that they seemed to protray the American as slightly less able to handle driving while the British woman seemed to have no problems. I highly recommend this movie and really didn't find that it was just a chick flick. There were a few guys who showed up wth the group who claimed they enjoyed the film.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

No snow but a party anyways

I'm really heartbroken over this, okay not really. I don't have the snowshoes I will be testing yet so getting snow or not doesn't matter too much. There was all of about 5 minutes of snow the other day. Just enough to see under the street lamp and get everything wet. It basically melted on contact with the warm ground. Washington DC is starting to remind me of Vancouver although it doesn't seem to rain as much here as I seem to remember out in BC.

Yesterday was the department holiday party which for some reason I keep wanting to call the halloween party. Same first letter, wrong month. Since the lab was going to be introduced and it was a good place to meet people, we all walked over to the party together then sat off by ourselves until we were introduced. After that a little mingling happened. The other lab people starting leaving until I noticed I was the only one from my group left. Then I saw one person I knew so I walked over and started chatting with him. Turns out he makes beer too, so we talked beer half the night. We stayed until the end and helped clean up then walked back to the labs then left. We ended up chatting until about 3 in the morning before we finally parted ways. I think I've make a friend. So I basically got about 5 hours of sleep since I woke up early as usual.

I'm off to a movie later this afternoon. I will post an impression later. The movie will be The Holiday.


Thursday, December 07, 2006

A working oven finally and possibly snow!

I finally have a working oven. Actually they gave me a brand new stove. It is just as small as the one that was here before as it had to fit in the existing space but at least it is new and shiny. I haven't actually tried using it as I had already eaten. I ended up getting lunch down at the health and safety office so I ate my lunch at work for supper. At least I can reheat at work. I think I will be getting a microwave so I can thaw stuff and reheat leftovers. So by the time I go home I was full and not about to cook. There is a pot luck party tomorrow but I just don't feel like cooking anything right now. I have been finding that I am lethargic. I think part of it is that I still haven't finished with the unpacking. The apartment is still a disaster. I need to get replacement bookshelves as one didn't really survive the move. I also still have to decide if I want to keep the aquariums or not. I really want to keep the 55 gallon aquarium but I am wondering if I really feel like setting it up then taking care of it. It would look really nice once it is set up but do I really want the extra burden or do I want to try to simplify my life. Having the aquarium up and running, plus the cat and all the plants means that if I go away for more than three days, I will have to have someone stop by to feed and water things. I've noticed that it is so dry in the apartment that I have to water the plants everyday to keep them hydrated. And I find I haven't been drinking enough myself. I keep forgetting to fill the humidifier and having the windows open hasn't been helping. I only just closed most of the windows yesterday and just closed the livingroom window today. They are calling for snow tonight and tomorrow. I can't wait. Likely I will be disappointed. It just doesn't feel like the holidays until there is snow on the ground. I need to start planning my time off.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Carderock Hike

The day hiking group was getting out today so I decided to go. I didn't realize that the hike was only along the C&O canal. This meant is was a nice flat hike. I was completely prepared for real hiking and thus over prepared. Apparently there are toilets spaced at nice intervals all along this part of the canal. The weather was nice and brisk, perfect for hiking as the cool wind prevented over heating. I was wearing my hiking sandals netting me a few strange looks. No my feet were not cold! The one think I noticed was that after not wearing my sandals for almost two months, my feet were nice and tender and I ended up with a few raw points. It was a shame because there is another hike next weekend and I don't think I will be able to go if my feet are still raw. Also, I really dislike my leather hiking boots due to their stiffness so hiking in boots are out too. I will ahve to go out and get some trail runners so I can have spring and fall footwear. Otherwise, I will have to toughen up my feet and find a way to keep them tough.

I found out I will be testing snowshoes this winter. They have asked me to trade with another tester as the company was unwilling to ship overseas so I am testing a very small light pair. they look like fun and I can't wait to get ehm and try them out. I hope I can get them before I leave for Christmas break as I want to play with them over the break. Snow is easier to come by in Canada then down here. I will have to travel out to the mountains. I have also heard that a little snow here will shut the city down. I am glad I live walking distance to work. If there is any large accumulation, I can run in deal with the few emergency things then come back home. Everyone else lives a fair distance away. I keep trying to tell myself that I am made of tougher stuff but I find the cold is affecting me more then it used to.

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