Some of the nice things about my office are that it has a window, and it's near a door. Today, that makes things awfully chilly here, so I shall ramble herein to get circulation moving in my fingers.
Thanksgiving was good. Back when I was a kid, the extended family (dozens of people) would congregate at Gramma and Grampa's house. There'd be sweet potatoes with marshmallows, green beans with bacon, turkey, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, and probably any number of other dishes I can't recall. A lot of the cement of that tradition was in my grandparents' generation, and as they passed away, my parents' generation didn't renew the tradition.
So now Thanksgiving for me is an order of magnitude smaller. It's still good, but I miss the one time a year that the clan got together. Perhaps, one day, I'll see if I can reach out to my generation and collect people together.
I left work around 4:30 on Wednesday and took 3 hours to drive to my folks' house, which normally ought to have taken me around 1 1/2. Holiday rush hour traffic, though. Oh, and it was also windy and rainy. People don't like driving over suspension bridges when it's windy and rainy.
One small tradition that I'm establishing (or habit that I'm entrenching) is peri-holiday Chinese food. I was going to buy a bunch of takeout on the way to my folks', but instead, I took them out to the restaurant. Tasty and good. Nothing like stuffing yourself BEFORE the big meal.
After the celebration, I went home with high hopes of being productive. Ha.
Movies begged to be seen. The big Oscar contenders are coming out now, I guess. Instead, I saw "National Treasure". Completely adequate action adventure. If you liked The Da Vinci Code, this movie is made for you. Nick Cage does an almost believable job as an intellectual. A lot of formula-mandated content, but overall a fun matinee.
I also purged a bunch of stuff off my TiVo. I have to say that Mary-Louise Parker, as much as I enjoy watching her, has got to stop appearing in every Hallmark Movie of the Week.
Also served up by TiVo was "Stuck On You". I'm not really a fan of the Farelly Brothers' movies. I expected to watch 15 minutes of this and delete the remainder unwatched. (As I did with "The French Connection" this weekend - perhaps I'll give it a go again later, but I wasn't in the mood for Gene Hackman roughing up black people.) Anyway, I ended up enjoying the movie. There was far less lowbrow humor than I expected.
MP3 ripping occupied much of my time. I mostly turned off my brain and fed my CDs into my super zippy new computer. Turns out, the math necessary to compress CD audio into MP3 format is a perfectly good application of a pair of high speed, 64 bit liquid cooled processors. My car MP3 player used to have a playlist of around 2500 songs. The current playlist is down to around 750, but I believe that'll be a more satisfying collection, as I've filtered out a bunch of the stuff that I'd normally skip over. And if I need to adjust things, presumably it'll be easy to maintain. I've got two more CDs to rip, so case in point.
The mailmain showed up in the middle of this process, and I was delighted to be able to drop in two brand new CDs into the ripping machinery and put the handful of good tracks off those CDs into the rotation.
I'm using iTunes as my current player. I've browsed around the music shop a tiny bit, and even bought one song. ("I Beg Your Pardon" - show of hands, how many people remember this song? Ok, now if the Canadians lower their hands? Anybody?) I find it's more satisfying to use the store to find the album I'm interested in, and then go to Amazon to purchase the CD.
Shelves were put up. I've had a pair of shelving units that I've meant to put up in the spare bedroom for a while. I finally got around to putting them up and I moved some clutter off the floor onto shelves. There's quite a lot of stuff in boxes that's been in boxes for a few moves. Seems like if I haven't used it in the past ten years (or in some cases, twenty) I can probably get rid of it. Maybe that's a project for the next long weekend.
But now I can walk around in that room without climbing over islands of stuff. That's a nice feeling.
Switch 2000 took up almost none of my weekend. I wanted to work on it a bit, and I was even in front of a computer much of the weekend. Perhaps the MP3 ripping was going so fast that I wouldn't have been able to focus on architectural redesigns. That's an excuse that works for me just now. I did, however, fix a few small things. And I came up with an idea for a sweeping change that I'm going to have to run past my user interface art consultant.
Nielsen contacted me recently. Well, I've got a DirecTV/TiVo box, and there was a menu option on there a bit ago asking if I wanted to volunteer to be monitored as a Nielsen Household. I clicked on "yes", and then they called me with a quick survey of demographic questions (multiple choice in most cases, and I was supposed to figure out what those choices were on my own - in one case, the woman on the phone asked me my race, and my first answer was "European?" and she angrily repeated the question, so I guessed "white"). Long story short (too late), I've sent in my paperwork, and my TiVo will commence monitoring my viewing habits to bring you better TV. You're welcome.
Work is back in gear today, and I should probably wrap this up and talk to other folks around the office. We had 3 really strong employees send out their goodbye emails last Wednesday. This is bound to shake some stuff up.