February 25, 2005: My 29th Birthday

I am twenty-nine today. How did I ever get to be so old?

This morning was spent getting computers ready to take down to Castile. I wasn’t ready to leave until just after 11:00 but I managed to get four more computers ready to go. Boy did that clear up some space on my desk. My rear desk was covered in computers this week and now it is clear again. We hit the road and arrived right at noon at the school.

From noon until 1:20, Min and I worked as quickly as we could to get six computers set up at the school. We had a lot of problems and didn’t think that we would have more than a single computer working. But, just in time for the class to start, we got all of the computers working. We had to steal parts from every computer in the school to get them all set up, though. We were terribly short on power cables – about fifteen short. So we had to shut down every computer in the school and take its power cables to be able to hook up “the lab.” We were even taking monitors from other rooms to get everthing that we needed. But in the end, it worked out.

Min’s first class (she has taught before but never not as a substitute teacher) consisted of six eighth grade girls and went from 1:20 to 2:20. It really was a perfect size – other than just because we only had six computers in the lab – but because it worked out that Min could walk around and see what everyone was doing. We learned that the kids are quite a bit more advanced on the computers than we had anticipated them being. Everyone at the school was very excited that the computers were working and that Min was teaching the class. The girls in the class seemed to really enjoy getting a chance to be on the computers. It was fun. I am looking forward to working with more of the kids next week.

We got out of the school around 3:20 which is almost exactly when we were planning to and then we headed up to dad’s place to pick him up so that we could go out for my birthday dinner. Andy decided that he wanted to go too so we swung past the house and picked him up as well.

We went up to Cracker Barrel for the Friday night fish fry. We rushed to try to get there before the dinner rush started. We didn’t really make it. We arrived at 4:45 and there was already a waiting line. But it wasn’t too long. CB was packed (in case Miranda is reading this – um, CB does NOT mean Cracker Barrel.) The fish fry at CB is really amazing. It is battered but I don’t think that it is beer battered. Instead it is a light and crispy batter which is absolutely perfect. More like tempura.

After dinner we made a pit stop over at Borders. Min wanted to do some shopping. She bought me a new compact NIV Bible for my birthday. It is really nice. It has an almost rubberish cover that will, hopefully, be very wear resistant. It is a really tiny Bible for me to keep in the car. I have been wanting one but I wanted something that wasn’t paper bound so that it would last. I also picked up a book on Cisco routers that looked interesting. My dad and my grandmother each gave me money for my birthday. I don’t know where I want to spend it, though. I am really tempted to buy a nice MP3 players (one that can play Ogg Vorbis files as well) but since I have access to Andy’s for now, it doesn’t sound like the best purchase. Those are coming down in price so quickly and getting more and more storage and more features quite quickly, I should probably wait on getting one. I really enjoy having one to use, though. It is a really convenient way to listen to stuff. Funny that I find such a “cool, hip” device so nice for listening to seminars and interviews. Boy am I getting old.

We headed home after Borders. It seemed strange to be going home so early in the evening. It was barely after 7:00 when we headed back. Min and I dropped off Andy and then took dad back home (his car is still in the shop.) We called over to my cousin’s to see what was going on. They were both home so we had them come over to watch some Studio Ghibli films. We knew that they were both into Anime so we thought that they would enjoy that. First we watched Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind which is an older film, about 1983, that deals with pollution and the damage that we are doing to the earth. As are all of the Studio Ghibli films, this one rocked. I am always happy with their work. They really manage to portray a magical world that is able to really deliver a seriously emotionally moving message. Nausicaa is a famous film that I have studied in my book on Anime and have been looking forward to seeing.

Next we watched the 2002 film The Cat Returns which is a really weird, short movie about a girl who saves the life of a cat and gets sucked into the cat world as they try to force her to marry the prince of the cats. It is almost a “What?!?” movie. It was completely bizarre. I wouldn’t call it a great movie but it was enjoyable.

Bob called this evening. He and Lisa are coming up next weekend and will be hanging out for most of the weekend. They are coming up on Friday so there is no game on Friday night. Yes, I know, that two whole weeks without a game. Whatever will we do.

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