Christmas 2008

Another great unwrapping is done, and as usual, Reese made out like a bandit. Lots of cool Hot Wheels stuff, some alien things, plus some paper airplane and flying stuff from dad. Looks like we’re all going to be busy helping him put stuff together!

I got a great UIS hoodie, a Beeropoly game, and some Serenity books. All nice and very appreciated.

Back Home

Had a good ride back, the train was running about 20 minutes late coming in to Bloomington, but overnight we made up time and were pulling in early to just about every stop. It was another good ride, though I had a little more trouble sleeping than I did on the way out. I’m going to do this again next year, but I’ll be booking a sleeper instead of coach.

My First Long Distance Train Ride

I’m in Peoria now, and it’s cold! But I had a blast riding the train. It was a whole lot slower than flying, but also a lot cheaper and a lot more fun. I met and talked with some really interesting people, and had plenty of time to relax. We left Fort Worth at 2:20 PM Saturday and by the time I dropped off to sleep, we were in Arkansas. Dinner, in the dining car, was brisket, mashed potatoes, and steamed veggies. I woke up as we were pulling in to St. Louis, went back over to the dining car and enjoyed some really good french toast. As we made our way in to Illinois the weather got colder and colder, slowing us down as well due to malfunctioning signaling systems on the host railroad. No worries as far as I was concerned because it meant I wasn’t out the the cold for a few more minutes. We got in to Bloomington-Normal where I braved the cold to pick up my checked bag and meet my ride to Peoria.

Riding the train was a lot of fun and I’ll definitely be doing it again, maybe in a sleeper instead of coach, but either way, rail travel was a lot better than I thought it would be.


While on the train I had plenty of time to read, as was intended, and the first was Jack McDevitt’s Odyssey. It’s another one of the Priscilla Hutchins series, and as usual, I’m reading them all out of order. It definitely fits in with the rest of the series and kept me engaged, eagerly turning pages until the end. There was one heck of a twist to finish it off. Too much fun, but please read them in order, they’re better that way!

The Day The Earth Stood Still

A bunch of us got together today to do birthday type stuff for the December birthdays. Part of it was going to see The Day the Earth Stood Still. The movie was OK, but I really do think it beat us over the head a little too much with its message.

Took The GRE Today

Today was the big day, after a few weeks of studying and cramming I went down to the testing center and took the GRE. I needed to report scores to UIS as a condition of my admission. It looks like they’ll have the scores in about 2 weeks, at which point it’ll just be the accounting and operations management classes keeping me from full admission.

The test itself was interesting, and I definitely benefited from using the software that ETS sent to me. It helped me to be comfortable with the way the test was administered. I did well on the verbal side and definitely could have done better on the math if I’d applied myself a little more. But no worries, the scores should be good enough to satisfy admissions. If not, I’ll do some heavy math cram and re-take…