We went down to Atlanta for the break and had a much needed good time. I spent time with old friends and family. Old haunts were visited. Much fun was had.
Every time I revisit Atlanta, which I still think of as home, it makes me a nostalgic and melancholy. Compared to Vancouver it is dirty, unsafe, badly planned, poorly educated, politically conservative, and in the middle of a serious drought. But it has a very unique character (outside of downtown). And barbecue. Cheap(er) real estate. Sunlight in the Winter. My family and best friends live there or near there. It is older and larger than Vancouver and it has a more extensive rail system that is planning on getting better. I miss it.
When we returned to our current home with its clouds and cold rain, I realized that I’ll probably end up feeling similarly about Vancouver.
Considerable loot was had this Christmas. I received a Nintendo DS, which I was secretly desiring for well over a year. I love classic video games, but it’s makes me feel old seeing all the kids on the bus using styluses to play games and I’ve been wanting to jump in. Among other things I got a serious rain-coat. Walking around Vancouver without a umbrella for the first time was liberating. I may look like, as one friend put it, a yuppie hiker, but screw you guys, I am warm, comfortable and dry!
We also received some very good DVDs, two Miyazaki movies (kiki’s and howl’s) and Bambi. It is interesting how Eleanor immediately gravitates toward these films. She will go through periods of liking Disney or Pixar movies, but her interest is never held as it is with Miyazaki’s films. The exception so far is Bambi. Eleanor really responds to the young Bambi and the way he learns to walk and talk by listening to Thumper. I haven’t watched Bambi since I was a toddler, and seeing it with new eyes was actually moving. I can’t believe how good the character animation is. On technical achievement alone, the film holds up as a masterpiece. Quite a contrast to the gutless, schlock sequels that Disney is putting out these days.
Eleanor is different from when we left Vancouver. Her exposure to her cousins always flips some internal switch in her personal development. The baby Eleanor is truly gone. She is a kid now. She loves painting, books and movies and really likes just horsing around. I knew every parent thinks and says this, but Kelsey and I got lucky with Eleanor. She is wonderful.
I’ve kept up with the audio Japanese, but my kanji study has very seriously faultered. My repertoire is currently exhibiting sub-logarithmic growth. My goal for 2008 is to finish Heisig and so I need to get crackin on the remaining 1200 characters. Another goal of mine is to watch something in Japanese w/o subtitles at best once a day, but at worst once a week. I’m also interested in an SRS system for the Nintendo DS. I think the best option is Khatzumemo, which can be accessed using the DS browser, however this isn’t too useful on the bus.
This semester is shaping up to be a lot of fun. I return to research, after a diversion into thesis writing, which is always lots of fun and interesting. I’m taking a class on dominant eigenvalue problems such as Google’s PageRank algorithm and expanders. I’m also a teaching assistant for Computer Graphics for the third time. Computer graphics is cool for so many reasons that I’m happy to have anything to do with it and I hope that doesn’t change.
I have a lot of reading lined up. I’m currently reading Peloponnesian War by Donald Kagan. I was always into Greek civilization as a child and I never really understood what specifically happened to them. Reading this book is like going back and explaining to the thirteen year old still inside me what really went down. Next on the list are Power Up and The Rest Is Just Noise.
Life is good. Zero complaints.