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Greetings From Eugene

Tonight I am in Eugene with the family at my sister’s place hanging out with her and my nephew. On the ride down we stopped for lunch with family friends in Lacey. I gave my nephew some Calvin and Hobbes books and my old digital camera, a Canon PowerShot S45. The LCD screen is broken, but everything else works so hopefully he’ll find it enjoyable and educational to use. After arriving and exchanging gifts, we headed out to eat at PF Changs for some sustenance. Now we are sitting watching A Thief in Time. Life is good.

More Snow!

It is still snowing at my parent’s house. We’re already drowning in more than two feet — that’s current depth, not simply snowfall, mind you. This is crazy! And awesome! I have pictures, not available yet though.

Snow Days

Wow, what incredible weather we have had here in the Seattle area over the last week. Power was knocked out at my parents’ place today, but it was restored around 11, so Frankenputen, the computer behind most of silverfir.net, is happy again. Until today, I was mostly slipping and sliding around Seattle either on foot or in car. Long ago, my dad advised me to learn how to drive in snow by spending time in a  snowy parking lot. I took his advice and it has paid dividends in times like this. So far, I have felt reasonably in control of the vehicles I have been driving and never feared for my safety. The most interesting experience was me driving into a curb on NE 50th street to stop before the bottom of a hill where another car was stopped. Other than that, my driving has been completely uneventful, if fun and exciting.

After waking up today I wrapped gifts, delivered my roommates to the Eastside, picked up a package from FedEx in Issaquah, ate an incredible Italian meal at my cousin’s place, munched on more good food in Kirkland while visiting with friends, and enjoyed myself throughly.

Merry Christmas!

Snow in Seattle

There is snow in Seattle — there has been for several days now. I’m very thankful for a warm house in which to stay sheltered from the elements. Driving around is an adventure — I used a curb to stop myself from plowing into a car (albeit very slowly) today, and I had to have my dad and next-door neighbor help me out of my parent’s driveway after visiting. Nevertheless, my day wasn’t nearly as exciting as those who ended up overhanging I-5. I comitted the cardinal sin of failing to bring my camera with me this morning, so I don’t have any good pictures of my own to share — enjoy this shot by Flickr user sea turtle, though!

Two Weekends of FIRSTs

Last Saturday, I refereed for the Edmonds, WA regional of the FIRST Lego League competition. The competition went smoothly and the regional sent six teams to the state championship, which took place at Bellevue High School yesterday. Once again, I refereed and once again the competition went smoothly. The overall level of play was higher, as all teams at the state championship had already been vetted at the regionals the previous week.

Today, I was once again a referee, but this time at the FIRST Tech Challenge, a new competition that evolved out of the Vex Robotics competition, which I refereed for last year. Unfortunately, this time the competition did not go smoothly. There were numerous technical glitches for hours, and in the end the tournament turned into a “scrimmage” and the real competition got rescheduled for February. After leaving the competition, I went to check out the new robot control system that will be used for the 2009 FIRST Robotics competition. It is an interesting conglameration of commodity and proprietary hardware — 802.11N wireless gear, Cat 5 cables, National Instruments processor and breakout boxes, new “Jaguar” and old “Victor” motor controllers, and misundry connectors and accessories. All told, it’s a major update of the robot controller package, and should make for an interesting start to next year’s competition.

Finals Week

This quarter, it is more like “finals day” — both of my final exams were today (Databases, AI). I’m very glad to be done with Databases, while I’m a little sad to have to leave AI behind. How much difference a good teacher makes! Tonight while I watch monday night football, I’m working on finalizing the Google Maps project Vince and I worked on for our distributed computing class.

Most Fortuitous Failure

My failure to convince Google to extend me an offer may have been the most fortuitous occurence that could have happened to me. Not getting a job offer from Google convinced me to cast my net further, and I have now decided to accept an offer from Facebook. The long and short of it is that starting in a little less than a year, I will be living in the San Francisco Bay area, eating warm lunches in the company cafe, and having a wonderful time learning and programming at one of the more interesting up-and-coming companies in the world.