Friday, January 11, 2008

What's New, 2008!

Well, since I last wrote, it became 2008! I went to Denver, where I did some sightseeing, and a whole lot of snow shoveling. It was great to finally get out to Colorado. My mom, myself, my Aunt Mary, Uncle Al, cousin Stacey, and her husband Tony spent a lovely White (10 in) Christmas together. Sadly, it was too cold and windy to get any skiing in, but we still had a good time and it was good for my Mom to be around family. Before we left, Jena and I had Christmas with my mom in Arlington. We got a lot of great gifts (not least of which was a bunch of stuff to get us ready for our Italian honeymoon), and had a great dinner. Once I returned, it was finally time to have our Christmas. We exchanged gifts, figured out we both went WAY over our predetermined spending limits for each other, and had a great night.

I have always loved Christmas. It's a great time to think about how you can really make the people around you smile. My dad always loved Christmas, and I think it really rubbed off on me. Watching him every year as he started the shopping ritual, and kept on buying little stuff here and there, right up until the stores closed on Dec. 24th. Then coming down in the morning, seeing all those presents, some of them from Santa, some from the Elves, and some from Rudolph himself (my dad took great license signing the to/from cards). The stockings filled to the brim with gimmick gifts, bizarre stuff, odd foods, and the like. The smell of breakfast and coffee. I hope to be the kind of dad and husband who makes Christmas great for his family like it was for me every year.

We got an awesome Christmas tree this year. It rivaled the awesomeness of the tree from last year. We are lucky because the guy who sells trees at Eastern Market has reasonably priced, fresh trees, and he's a really nice, friendly and helpful fellow. I will continue to buy trees from him as long as we're here and he keeps coming to the Market. The tree was still completely alive when I finally took it out last Saturday.

What else is going on. Geez, I have read a lot of books...I finished Manhunt - great book, I really enjoyed it, and it's no often I read a history book where I don't know the ending - definitely an added bonus. I also knocked out a couple of Pelecanos books, and DC Noir, a collection of Noir short stories that take place throughout DC, edited by Mr. Pelecanos himself. I also finished Michael Crichton's Andromeda Strain on the airplane on the way back. I am now reading a book by an old fave of mine, Dick Francis, who writes mysteries that center around racehorses, and a book by David Baldacci, The Winner, which I must say hasn't been the page turner that the others I have read were. Can't win em all. I am also most of the way through the programmer management book Herding Cats, which is reasonably educational.

Jena and I settled on a band for the wedding, which is exciting. Radiant is their name, and they survived the grueling selection process that included four booking agencies, a few trips to some odd places to watch bands play weddings and holiday parties, and quite a few hilarious sample DVDs. I am excited, as I think they will keep things fun, and they seem to be good singers and musicians. In a perfect world, I would have just packed my Nano full of old favorites from my music collection, but I have to admit that having a band just adds some cool factor to a wedding.
Geez, what else - the primary season is in full swing, and Hillary has already been beaten out of the race and won New Hampshire in the same 24 hours. The press is really something to behold during the election year. I for one can't wait til the contenders emerge and we can get the election done. I am not sure who I am for, but I do know who I am against, and that's a good start (please no Hucklebee theocracy for this guy). My resolutions this year include learning enough Italian not to be a complete buffoon when we travel there, and to keep learning guitar, and to get married without screwing it up!

In my nerd life, I have been doing a bunch of scripting language exploration, diving into Scala, Groovy, and Ruby. I must say that Scala doesn't seem to quite be 'there', but it is really nice. Ruby and RoR are fantastic, but I have to admit a predisposition to Groovy, as it runs in a JVM and can be mixed and matched with Java code.

So that pretty well sums up what's been happening from this guy for the past month. I turn (gulp) 30 in one week, so next weekend promises a bunch of fun and festivities (and annoying jokes). Enough rambling for now...


Johnnie Francis Xavier MacIntyre said...

I have to say, this is by far the most I have learned about you. You seem to enjoy writing... I suggest you keep it up.

lapsed cannibal said...

There's actually a JVM variant of Ruby, called JRuby, that can integrate in with Java code. It's pretty hot.

Kirk Gray said...

After my initial foray into the whole scripting world, I must say that I am still undecided about whether I like Ruby. I LOVE rails, just from a quick bootstrap point of view, but groovy has grails, which is very close to being production ready, and provides the same productivity gains. I am hesitant about grails' reliance on Spring, only because I don't know much about Spring. Basically I am reluctant about everything.