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On Holidelay, Part II

As I said earlier, the holidays were a lot of fun for me. Not long after finishing up with my school duties, my brother and sister-in-law flew into town from Michigan, bringing the winter weather with them. The Seattle area had one of its largest snows that I can remember, and my parent’s place got more snow than I have ever seen there before. The evening after the arrival of my brother and his wife, the family, my parents’ neighbor John, and my friend Dennis, headed to Benaroya Hall for a presentation of Handel’s Messiah. This is one of my mom’s favorite pieces of music, and every year she listens to it as she decorates the Christmas tree. Growing up around her, I could not help but become familiar with the music myself. Hearing the music live was great. The acoustics of Benaroya hall really are spectacular — the clarity of the sound particularly impressed me. It was a good time.

With no pressing deadlines and lots of snow, the roommates and I got to hang out a lot. Among other things, we headed to Gasworks park with Theo around midnight one night for some sledding action. While we brought along some cardboard (which, it turns out, is pretty ineffective as a sled), we found a large sheet of plastic along the way. After pulling each other around a bit, we made it to gasworks and managed to all pile onto the sheet of plastic at the same time to sled down the hill. It was great fun.

A couple days later was my family’s Christmas party. My sister’s husband couldn’t make it, so I invited along one of my roommates. Every year my mom buys tickets to a local show, and this year was no different as we ended up watching Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at Issaquah’s Village Theater. The show was excellent, and afterward we returned to my parent’s house for food. However, it was beginning to snow hard at this point, so most of the other guests (my sister’s family and other close family friends) took off. The original plan was to hit up Snowflake Lane at Bellevue Square and see the Bellevue Botanical Garden D’Lights, but the snow canceled these plans so we just ended up eating some delicious cheese fondue and hanging out a bit.

I spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Christmas Night at my parent’s place. We lost power for about 10 hours, but fortunately we were able to spend most of that time out and about the town. First, we ate a traditional Italian Christmas Eve dinner at my cousin’s place, then we headed to Mira’s place where we had our traditional get-together with the Konzens. When we recieved word that power had returned to the house, we returned home and went to sleep. I woke up remarkably early on Christmas day despite a late bedtime; mostly I got breakfast and checked out my stocking while waiting for others to wake up. We then commenced the family tradition of chosing presents for each other. My family was very generous with me — among other things, I recieved a new digital camera (a Canon Digital Elph SD 990 IS), a safe, a pull-up bar, a photo book, and a California shopping spree with my mom. What more could a guy ask for?

On boxing day, I hung out with Scott, Theo, and Courtney because on Sunday (the 28th) the family was heading down to Eugene (from whence I sent greetings earlier) and Scott was leaving before I would return. We ended up eating at Scott’s place and then playing in the snow with a boogie board that worked remarkably well. That night, I headed back to my place in Seattle and had a wonderful night with roommates. Saturday, after a lovely morning, I got together with Scott, Theo, and Maneesh and we hung out until hitting up Kat’s holiday party, and then hanging out with Jon. Sunday, we were driving to Eugene, eating luch with the Woods along the way.

After hanging out with my sister in Eugene, we headed back on the 30th, my brother and sister-in-law took off on the 31st, and then came New Year’s Eve. Maneesh, Jon, Theo, Spencer, Bobby, and others, watched the Fireworks at the Space Needle from the Seattle Center, then headed to Eric’s place to play some Great Dalmuti. I finally got to bed around six AM. It was pretty awesome.

On new year’s day, I enjoyed a Sushi party with the Konzens, and on Saturday, I headed to the FIRST Robotics Competition Remote Kickoff Event at Interlake High School in Bellevue, where the 2009 FRC game was introduced. It is an interesting competition that changes the one of the more fundamental parts of the competition: the entire floor, which has traditionally been carpet, has been replaced by a slippery plastic, and traction can only be provided by teflon-infused wheels. Its pretty crazy, but should be fun to watch. After tossing some ideas around and prototyping them Saturday night, Sunday consisted of playing Diplomacy (my first game, in which I made numerous mistakes) at Ananths before heading to my parents’ place for a dinner party. Of course, it started snowing agian, and thus I managed to get my car stuck up in the mountains, opting instead for a ride back home with friends.

Then school started, and my car is still stuck at my parents’ because, even though the snow is gone, the ground is too wet to drive my poor little car on. Fortunately, I don’t really need a car very often, so my life is mostly not impacted. Tomorrow (or, later today, rather) is the first lab for the robotics capstone that I am TAing. It should be good!

Happy New Year!

I’ve been up to much. All I need now is time.

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, 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!

Happy Thanksgiving 2008

I have much to be thankful for. A beautiful world, a luxurious life, a world-class education, a loving family, fun friends, and a bright future. What more could a guy ask for?

Decision Time

I have a big decision coming up. It will likely be between choosing to start my work career at Facebook, where I’ve heard good things are coming down the pipe in my direction, and Amazon, where I have had an offer on the table since mid-October. The Amazon offer expires December 1, so that is more or less the timeframe in which I am working.

I feel pretty good about this decision because, even if I make the worse of the two decisions without knowing it, it will still end up being a pretty good decision. Both companies are well-respected places to start a career and both offer interesting engineering challenges that need to be addressed. Each job would also have its pluses and minuses, which I will have to consider carefully once i actually have the Facebook offer in front of me and I can make the most informed decision possible.