Wow, it was warm today so I decided to get some more of the shack rebuild done. So, I went about stringing 200 feet of wire around the house and connecting up the AH-4 tuner. This is the first antenna that I’ve actually gotten completely hooked up. Too bad the radios aren’t ready yet or I’d be able to get back on the air.
And in the evening I met my godfather and a friend of his at an indoor pistol range for an evening of shooting. I’m a touch on the rusty side, but I’m really enjoying the Ruger Mk. 1 that he gave me. That is one sweet pistol! I shot about 60 rounds with it and then switched to the .357 and shot about 100 more. I’ve really got to start practicing more!
Well, I turned 31 today and spent the morning fighting with ALSA quirks in order to get the line-in jack on my sound card to work. It’s the next step in the hamshack rebuild, since I’m going to be moving away from Windows.
After that I headed out to Bicycles Inc. to pick up shoes and other stuff for the new bike. I ended up with shoes, gloves, a pair of bike socks, and a helmet.
After that I had to go to PetSmart to pick up some more food for the girls, which I really should have done at some other time because the mall traffic mall traffic was really crappy.
Then I tracked down a friend and we went over to Boi Na Braza, a Brazilian churrascaria, to satisfy the carnivore in me.
Finally, I kicked back and watched Hero, the Chinese film that Quentin Tarantino was promoting in the US this past year. It was absolutely wonderful. It and Crouching Tiger have really made me want to find some more films in the same genre.
Tonight was the LSJC christmas party, and it was a blast. I watched some pretty cool wheeling videos of a trip to Moab, UT. The gift exchange was fun, and I ended up with three rolls of duct tape and a Chili’s gift certificate. Unfortunately, I didn’t win the winch the club was raffling off, but there’s always next time… I also picked up the trailer hitch bike rack, so the days of stuffing the bike in the back of the Jeep are coming to an end!
I went out to see American Treasure today, and really enjoyed it. Sure, they played pretty fast and loose with history, but this is entertainment, not a documentary. There’s a few good one-liners that I’m sure will be getting some quote time soon. All in all a good flick.
I just picked up a 2004 Specialized Rockhopper Pro from a friend. I’ve been itching to get back into mountain biking, and this is the perfect excuse. But it really is like starting over because so much has changed. This thing’s got disc brakes, indexed shifting, and a boatload more gears than my old bike. It’s also got clip-ons instead of platforms, so I’m going to have to pick up a set of shoes and learn how to use them. I had toe clips on my last bike, but these are completely different animals. It’s going to be fun!
It’s above 70 today, so I spent my Saturday doing some work on my vehicles. The Harley needed a brake job, and badly. So that was the first order of business, what with the toy run next weekend. After getting some good advice and helpful hints from the good folks over at the XL list, I got the pads changed on both the front and rear brakes. The rear were down to about 10%, while the front were at about 50%, so it was worth time time. After that I washed the Jeep. Now I’m sitting out in the back yard, drinking Woodchuck’s Granny Smith cider and posting this. This is the way winter should be spent!
I just finished my last assignment for this, the final week of Java Programming I. It was a pretty good class and I learned a lot about Java, a language that I really didn’t care for before this class. I’m taking the rest of the year off and will be starting my next class, Java Programming II some time in January. That one will get into GUI programming where the one I just finished was console based only. It’s going to be fun, because other than some PalmOS coding, I haven’t done any GUI development in a couple years.
Last day! We got up early, ate some breakfast, then headed out to take some pictures of the city. Unfortunately the weather didn’t really cooperate with us, so I’m not sure how they’re going to turn out between the rain, fog, and lack of daylight. I haven’t done much photography where your exposure times are close to a second, so it’ll be interesting to see how they turn out.
After that we finished packing, checked out of the hotel, and headed to the airport for the flight home. I did a little shopping at the duty free where I picked up some chocolate and a couple liters of Finnish vodka.
The flight from Helsinki to New york didn’t go that well at first. Because the airport was really fogged in, we were a little worried that we’d be grounded. That turned out not to be a problem, but we had a stuck de-icing valve on the center rear engine that almost grounded us. Fortunately the pilot got it working and we took off about 15 minutes late. Other than that, no other issues cropped up and I finally got into the house at about 10:00 in the evening.
And here’s Saturday’s update, actually posted on-time! I got up at about 8:00 Saturday morning, feeling completely hung over. Mental note, don’t get into drinking contests with Finns. They’re just plain better at it. We took a later train back to Helsinki and got settled into the hotel rooms by a little after noon. We then headed out to get some lunch. After that I skipped back to the hotel to do some school work. After a few games of cribbage we went out to tour the city. Helsinki is a very pretty town and the next time I go I’m going to bring a tripod and some black and white film. I saw so many shots that would have looked great in black and white.
Later on we found a souveneir store and went nuts buying shirts and other gifts, then got some directions to a Lapp restaurant named Ravintola Lappi and had some wonderful reindeer and a fantastic cheese plate for dessert. I can’t recommend it enough, the service was great, the food was outstanding.
After that it was back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep before all of the fun of flying home.
This one’s really late because yesterday was a crazy day. It was our last day of work, so we spent the morning wrapping up loose ends before the mandatory meetings after noon. After that we went out for dinner and drinks and had a really good time with our Finnish counterparts. So good in fact that I didn’t get back in until about 3:00 in the morning on Saturday.