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Archived news items from August 2003
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Saturday, 30 August 2003 [18:36 CDT]

Some of you know that my sister-in-law is pregnant again. She is due in December. Last time, they knew they wanted to call the baby Logan even before they knew it was a boy, but this time, they're drawing a blank (and they don't know the gender yet, either).

So to help him out, I've put together a page where you, my faithful readers, can suggest names for the new baby. You can suggest one name or several, a first name only or a first name with a middle name, and suggest boy names, girl names, or a name that'd work for either.

Not only that, you can vote for any of the names that others have submitted! You can submit as many names as you like, but you only get one vote per session, so vote first, and then submit new names.

Check it out here:

In other news, the start of school has been hectic, but things are starting to settle into a rhythm now. The first couple of weeks have gone well. My stacked class is still stacked, but scheduling changes are possible and, in fact, pending for those poor, misplaced CS-2 kids. That is supposed to happen early next week.

My lab is now working, and my server finally went live as of about mid-day on Friday. Now it's about time to get a new ghost image ready that has updated versions of the software we're going to use this year (particularly JCreator for CS-2).

So far the CS-2 kids are liking Java, which bodes well for the year. If they were already disliking it at this point, then we'd be in bad shape.

I'm trying to update my jukebox, and so I spent all morning getting cover art and album release dates for everything on there. My little CSV "database" now has 155 entries in it, which covers just about all of my albums. It was a lot of monkey work, though, and makes me wish I'd written some code to automatically do that over the summer like I'd hoped.

I should also point out that according to the Geek Test, I am 39.25049% geek, qualifying me as a "Major Geek". A good example of this is that I wanted a little calendar to carry in my wallet so I can mark the days I get paid for tutoring for tax purposes. So I whipped together a PHP script to generate a calendar for me in HTML form and then printed the web page it produced.

Monday, 18 August 2003 [22:07 CDT]

How quickly the summer passes away! Well, the construction at the school finally finished to a point where they let us in the building. On Saturday, a scant three days before the students are back.

My room isn't done, but it's ready for students, at least. I wasn't planning on using the computers for the first couple of days, anyway.

And today while looking at my roster for the first time I found out that I've got a CS-2 class stacked in with my CS-3 IB class, which is no good at all. We'll see if I can get them scattered and get that CS-3 class by itself. Otherwise, neither group will even remotely learn what they need to. Bleh.

My plan for the evening is to look over my first day stuff and then get a good night's sleep.

Saturday, 2 August 2003 [01:37 CDT]

Actually late Friday night....

Well, I'm back from my relaxing vacation in East Texas and fully back into the swing of my relaxing, soon-to-be-over summer!

I spent Thursday evening, Friday, Saturday and half of Sunday in Palestine with my parents, and we mostly bummed around the house and watched TV. Got to a couple of movies, including Courage Under Fire, which was unexpectedly good, and Cube2: Hypercube, which was quite bad and probably had the cheapest set I've ever seen in a Hollywood movie (a single 15'x15'x15' white room, anyone?). I also went to church with my parents, which I rarely get to do, and even sang in the choir. Plus we went by the house they're trying to buy, and should be moving into within the next month. It's much larger than where they are now, and even has this cool "servants' quarters" full bathroom accessible from outside the house. (It's an older home, from back when they used to want such things.)

The rest of Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and part of Wednesday was spent in Longview with my brother, his wife and my little nephew, who's now about eight-and-a-half months. We played a bunch of video games and watched movies, including Tears of the Sun, Shanghai Knights, the cool documentary Standing in the Shadows of Motown, and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, which I liked despite the bad reviews and despite the fact that "The Vampire" would have totally destroyed "The Immortal" in like ten seconds.

Also, I should report that Logan is now crawling after a fashion (he's not great at it, but he's definitely starting to be mobile) and can sit up on his own. He's still the cutest baby ever, and I'm not just saying that.

As far as video games, I played a little Metroid Prime, which I liked but which was a bit too complicated for me. Consider that the last video game system I was proficient at was the Super NES, whose controller has a single D-pad, four main buttons, a start and select, and left and right "shoulder" buttons. The GameCube controller still has four main buttons and left and right shoulder buttons, and only a start (no "select"), but has two sticks and a D-pad. And that's a little too much for me to keep track of.

Mostly I played The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker, which, being targeted for children, was much easier to control. I played hours and hours of this game, which is very good. I didn't get very far, plot-wise, but I did play through the first two "levels". Lots of fun.

Got back to Austin just before dark on Wednesday night.

Today I went on a CD-purchasing spree. Here's what I got.

I also picked up two DVDs -- one an impulse buy because I happened to be in Best Buy and saw it for only $15: Good Will Hunting. I only had a bootleg copy of this movie, recorded off some movie channel onto a VHS tape, and my VCR recently died, anyway. This is one of my "inspiring teacher" movies that I like to watch just before school starts back up again to get me in the mood (the others being Dead Poets Society, Mr. Holland's Opus, and Stand and Deliver). But holy cow, does a DVD really need an effing "SECURITY DEVICE ENCLOSED" sticker covering all three sides of the case, and a security device enclosed and shrink wrap? Goodness.

The second DVD is Rage Against the Machine, with concert footage from 1996 and 1997 (back when they only had two albums, and for that matter, hadn't broken up) and six music videos. One nice thing about buying content produced by a band that's no longer together is that you can get all of it.

I ground my own coffee today from organic beans grown by peasant farmers in Guatemala. It was on sale at Whole Foods. Living in Austin suits my lifestyle.

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July 2003
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