Saturday, November 26, 2005

Thanksgiving

We had a whirlwind of a Thanksgiving. L.'s brother decided to get married the day after Thanksgiving so that more people could make it to their wedding. L.'s cousin drove down from Portland and the three of us made the 15 hour drive to California. We left Wednesday at 5PM and drove through the night. L.'s brother asked me to be the photographer for their wedding so I spent Thursday morning taking pictures of the rehearsal and scoping out the right places for their pictures.
We had Thanksgiving at her family's house, which was interesting since it was 80 people we didn't know and us 6 people. The next morning we found out all the things that still needed to be done and I spent the morning with the mother of the bride going shopping for the odds and ends. When we got back L. and I finished up the bouquets and I took pictures of everyone getting prepared. I was taking pictures of everyone as they all walked down the aisle and my camera started saying error just as the bride was walking down the aisle. The external flash had slipped and shorted something out at the worst possible time. I ran back up to the hotel room and grabbed my backup camera and got back just in time for the important kiss. I used all eight rolls of film that I just happened to have luckily, but it was film so I couldn't see how any of the shots turned out. Everything else went off without a hitch except for L.'s youngest brother getting to drunk and being an idiot with his friend. He is either going to clean up his act or someone will die, him or whoever he crashes into. It is pretty bad to have to say that about someone that is only 17.
Saturday morning we packed everything back up. In the afternoon we "decorated" their cars since they didn't drive to the hotel then headed home. We were in such a hurry that we forgot the stuff we were going to take back with us.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Getting a Job

I got a job! Normally this would be something to celebrate about, however considering the timing it really added to my current headache.
Being a grad student they recommend only taking 2 classes and filling up the rest of the credits with lecture classes. Well I was used to handling a heavy load by working and going to school full time and since I hadn't heard back from the few resumes that I had put out I expected to go this term without a job so I could handle 3 classes right? Well even with no job I spent every hour I had working on projects for the classes. My teacher for my GUI class gave us about 40 hours of work (not over-estimating either) a week. Then right at week 7 of 10 out of the term when things get crazy with trying to finish up final projects I get a job offer working for the school. I accepted it since it seemed so interesting.
A Psychology professor wants to study how the brain leans how to use a new prosthetic for an amputee. To create an artificial prosthetic he got a glove with a lot of sensors in it and a robot arm. I wrote the program that takes in the sensor info and allows that information to be assigned to any of the motors. I also ended up building the robot from a kit. Luckily there was a shipping problem that stalled the arm from getting in right when I got the job so I didn't have as much to do until school was out. Here is a picture of them
Now I would think that working for the school would entitle me to some perks, any perks. Nope, no tuition reduction, crappy pay, and no benefits. The good things are since we live close to campus, being close to work. They understand when I needed time off for finals, and there is no way I could handle a full time job right now.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Living in a school town

I have never lived in a college town before. All the places that I have lived if there was school there there was a big enough town that it was just another thing there. Here on game day everyone wears green and yellow. I mean everyone. There is a green or yellow "O" on everyone's car. We just had the "civil war" - the football game between University of Oregon and Oregon State University. The line for students to get their free tickets wrapped across the campus, and the town was deserted the day of the game. The problem was that it was right during when all the final projects were due so neither L. or I could go.
There is a dollar theater at one of the malls. Actually a $1.50 but I'm not complaining. The movies they show are a few months old but it allowed for us to watch all the movies that were playing while we were in Europe.
When I got the phone book one of the other things that I got to help me find my way around town was the "student survival guide". The entire thing was coupons for pizza. In a town of 100,000 there are at least 13 pizza restaurants that I know of.
There are 10 Thrift stores in town. Since there are so many I can only think that they trade with the other stores for the same name. Certain Thrift stores specialize in certain things. There is a store for: Electronics, Furniture, Books,pots pans and dishes, and shoes, or at least that what it seems like to me. It has made it nice to buy a laser printer for L. to print out so much stuff.

Laptop mistake

The entire time getting my bachelors degree I used a mac laptop. It seemed like every teacher I had was only interested in the Microsoft tools. It made it a lot harder to for those classes using .NET using virtual PC or constantly looking for an equivalent tool to use instead of the windows tool that the teacher knew about. I didn't want to go through that again so in an effort to think ahead I bought a windows laptop. The thing is here is that all the teachers seem to be acting much closer to the computer science thinking. They concentrate on the problem instead of just teaching the tools. They make sure that all the tools are usable on any platform. I think that this is also because the majority of the teachers here use mac laptops for their computers. (It is the exact opposite of my old school- there, there was only one of the computer science teachers with a mac laptop, here there is one with a windows laptop.) This means that I am still in the minority. Only now I am stuck with a laptop that I have to devote time to updates, anti-spyware, and anti-viruses every week. I have installed Linux on a partition but don't have time to configure it correctly so only about half the stuff is working... ugh, I just can't win.
oh well this laptop was just a temporary until Apple releases an Intel Powerbook that I can dual boot into Mac OS or Windows.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

finding our way around

When we moved here, neither of us had ever been here before so we had no idea where anything was. Since we signed up for phone service through VOIP, we didn't get a phone book in the mail. When I moved for the first time when I was 18 there were still the remnants of Ma bell stores that you could get phone books at but now they are all cell phone stores in the mall. Every other move I've had we either got one from the phone company a few days after getting service or there was always a stack at the local Target, not here. I looked up what the local phone company is and went to their booth at the mall if for no reason to just have someone to ask where another idea is for getting a phone book. They referred me to the chamber of commerce. So that is what that place is for. Every city has one I guess and I guess they need to do something, so I visited a city chamber of commerce for the first time in my life. Sure enough they were like a little store that carried all the advertising for the local stores, including a phone book. I also got "the students guide" to Eugene which is really a guide to the pizza places of Eugene.
When my wife got here she treated it like any other city we visited in Europe. She went to AAA and got a map.
To learn more of what the local stores are I have just gone for trips just riding my bike around town. The problem is there are a lot of bike paths that cars can't go on and vice vera so there are some problems getting those maps in my head to go together.
My wife and I have not done that much exploring together. This has led to us each having our own paths to get different places. We both know where we got to go but the person driving will head off the way that they know how to get there with the other person asking where they are going, they should have turned back there.
The main problem is that for such a small town there are a lot of one way roads here. I think it was done to make room for all the bike paths. So a lot of roads are 2-way for bikes with a one way road down the middle. The river and hill in the middle of town also mess up what seems like a half attempt at a grid pattern.