Wednesday, November 21, 2007


My friends Stephanie and Jason invited me over for an early Thanksgiving dinner, which was a feast. Chicken, sweet potatoes, corn, stuffing... all the good stuff. :)

Afterwards we watched Babel, which was a weird movie I can't really recommend. The plot followed different groups that were somehow connected to a couple on vacation in Morocco (Brad Pitt and Cate Blanchett).

The movie starts off with two boys getting a rifle. They are shepherds and use the weapon to scare off predators, except in shooting wildly off a hill, they hit a tour bus and one passenger - Cate Blanchett. That delays their return, so their nanny takes their kids into Mexico to attend her son's wedding. Finally, the story also follows a Japanese girl whose father was the original owner of the rifle. He went on a hunting trip in the previous year and gave the rifle to his guide, who then sold it to the father of the shepherds.

None of us really liked the movie, we all thought it was a little weird. On the other hand, it looked really good. My friends have quite the home theater: 60" HDTV, and we watched the HD-DVD version of the movie, in 1080p!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Pressure Washer

A few months ago I bought a small pressure washer, 1300 PSI, and have used it for odd jobs around the exterior of my house. Today I decided to tackle a bigger job: washing away algae from my walkway, driveway, and sidewalk, that tint the concrete dark.

It was... very very slow. I think a 1300 PSI unit isn't quite up to that task, because I spent nearly two hours washing half of the driveway. Ugh! It was a very slow process because to wash anything off I had to use a pinpoint stream, and that meant a huge amount of repetitive back-and-forth. But what little I did clearly shows improvement.

The pressure washer is great for other things. My next project, to be tackled over a weekend or two, is to wash the patio and pool area. I've been lazy and haven't done anything in the two years I've been in my house. As a result, the deck and screen support beams have some algae and dirt accumulation. It isn't too bad but I know it'll look better when it is gleaming white and clean again.

I think I'll just punt the front area and hire a company to do it. One estimated the fee would be around $65, and for that I'll definitely just have someone else do it!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Running Club and Trivia Night

I met with some others in the Orlando Running Club, for the Winter Park short loop. Turnout was huge, by club standards: 15 people!

After the run we had dinner at O-Boys, a local barbecue place, that also runs a Trivia night. We had enough for several teams, so my end of the table formed up a team. We did pretty well, but finished in 4th place and out of the prizes (top prizes were basically $25, $15, or $10 towards drinks). Out of 80 points, my team scored 68, and third place came in at 71. So close!

The trivia contest was three rounds: 10 questions each, worth 1 point in round one, 2 points in round two, and 5 points in round 5. We missed 2 round 1 questions and 2 round 3 questions... due to the scoring differential, had we gotten either one of the 2 round 3 questions we missed, we would have placed.

The two we missed were:

1) Who played Doc Ock in Spiderman 2?
2) What is the common word for the term "sternutation"?

We thought for a while but just came up empty for #1. The answer is... Alfred Molina. Same thing with #2... we guessed hiccup but the correct answer is sneeze.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Japanese Class

A found out my coworker Matt took Japanese classes, by accident. We were having lunch and he made a remark in Japanese, which I answered, to his surprise. It turns out that Seminole Community College has a weekly course, and it is held at the Heathrow campus which is across the street from work! Now that's convenient. Matt and his wife are visiting Japan next April, so they are in the class doing a little preparation. Meanwhile I am traveling even sooner, so I figured what the heck, I'll take it as well.

I missed the first quarter, six weeks long, but he was sure I wouldn't have any problem starting out in the second quarter. The class is one of those adult education style classes, not a real language class for a degree program, so it doesn't cover as much material. I found out they were using the same textbook I had from classes back in Houston, Japanese for Busy People, so I looked around online and bought the latest version, the 3rd edition.

The second quarter started tonight, and lasts until mid December. Class meets once a week, on Thursdays, for 2.5 hours. Overall, it is a lot of review for me - I've already covered the entire textbook... but years ago so I am a little rusty! The class did the first 6 chapters in the first quarter, which means I am set because I do remember that pretty well. Class is also small, about 8 students total, and the teacher is a native speaker, so it looks like it will be a good one.