Holiday wrap-up, plus some looking ahead

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Wow, that was a great trip to Florida.  We took tons of pictures, shot some video, collected sea shells, walked along the beach, swam, went down near-vertical slides, and overall had a great time.  The hotel was very nice, and even though the Internet wasn’t great, I still managed to do all the usual things.  We bought a little more in terms of groceries than we needed to, but we do that every time we have a kitchen on vacation.  It was great to relax after a long first half of the school year, and to forget about most of my responsibilities from back home.

As last Monday was the first night of Hanukkah, it was then that the gifting began.  I received my most-wanted gift this holiday season: Canon’s SD790IS 10-megapixel digital camera.  I even got a 4GB SD card to go with it.  Needless to say, I broke it out immediately and began snapping shots.  After we returned home, we continued the gift-giving and receiving.  I also received a check from my grandmother, a Borders gift card from my parents, and some cash.  I put all of the money in the bank immediately and plan on saving it and spending it wisely.  Today I went and bought a new Star Wars book using the gift card.  Overall, it was a great holiday.

New Year’s Eve is fast approaching!  I’ll be watching CNN, with Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin, tomorrow night.  My sister is throwing a party for her friends, complete with games and snacks.  If you don’t want to watch any particular network tomorrow night, check out Hulu’s livestream from Time Square.

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Flight Attendants, Please Prepare for a Blog Post

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It seems that drafting blog entries from thousands of feet above the ground is becoming a habit for me.  As I write this, I’m on a plane to Fort Myers, Florida, on the first part of a vacation to Captiva Island.  I would, under normal circumstances, have been able to publish this post immediately – I started writing at about 5:10 PM – instead of drafting it on a plane and saving it for later.  But unfortunately, our flight was delayed several (four) hours because of icy conditions in the plane’s originating city of New York.  Instead of a 11:15 AM takeoff and a 2:00 PM landing, it was a 3:30 PM takeoff and a landing time that, as of press time, is not yet known.  But we’re looking at about 5:40 PM.

Florida doesn’t mean relatives or a particularly exhilarating excursion for me.  It means relaxation and a well-deserved break from classes.  We finally have an Airport Express for a travel router, which means getting online in the hotel room is going to be a whole lot easier.  And going to the beach and/or pool every day is certainly more enjoyable than sitting in a double block of Physics.

I’m only on break for about two weeks, and Florida will occupy the first of the two weeks.  The second week will encompass New Year’s Eve and a little bit of homework that I need to finish for Monday, January 5, the first day of classes in 2009.  I’ll also be drafting some letters to major news networks with bureaus in the area, asking if they have volunteer internship opportunities for Summer 2009.  Last summer I took a journalism class at American University and worked a paying job as a tech assistant at my school.  This summer I will again work at my school, but instead of learning about journalism, I want to watch journalism as it happens.  With this in mind, I will be begging asking CNN, NBC, etc. for the opportunity to work at their studios.

(Aside: the flight attendants just announced preparations for descent.  I will probably be shutting down soon.)

I finally got my PSAT scores back.  I was very surprised and pleased to learn that I had scored in the 99th percentile nationwide.  My math score, as expected, was the lowest out of all three sections, but – if I can toot my own horn here – there were lots of flying colors involved in my overall success.  For some reason, I did not qualify for National Merit – as a small asterisk next to my Score Index irritatingly informed me.  But I’m content with simply bringing up my math score and achieving similar success on the actual SAT in the Spring.

While on the subject of things I didn’t relish that turned out well, I should mention my History class book report.  Among the books to choose from was Barack Obama’s Dreams from My Father.  I always felt that I should have read his books, especially as a true Obama supporter who saw his policies as evident of a necessary change for U.S. politics.  But I had not picked one up yet.  So I chose this book.  I started it today when the plane was delayed and am on page 120-something right now.  I am really enjoying it.  I plan on picking up his other book when I finish this one.  Obama should write a book while in the Oval Office; maybe something of a journal.  I’d read it.

And as a final note, let me just say to Southwest and United: I don’t care how friendly your skies are, I just want some in-flight Internet!

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Yes We Did!

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Mission accomplished.  And we mean it this time.  On November 4, we elected Barack Obama to be the next President of the United States.  I am disappointed, however, that Inaugural tickets seem to be gone already.  Although really, what did I expect?  This is an historic election, and attendees of the January Inaugural will be able to tell their grandchildren years from now that they witnessed history.  Segueing to our Election Night party for a moment, I can safely say that it was the best (and really, the only) Election Night party I can remember.  We had a great turnout of guests, good food (though towards the end of the party, nothing was eaten due to a hyper-tense excitement in the air), and about ten TVs all going at once.  CNN’s hologram technology was great, too, even if people downplayed its significance and value.  But most of all, I’ll always remember where I was at 11:00PM on November 4, 2008.  Where was I?  Taking the above picture, of course.

The weekend after the election was over, we went to the Newseum.  We did not go specifically because of the election, but we did find several election items present.  There was a Barack Obama standee with which I have photos.  The gigantic screen in the entrance gallery of the Newseum also displayed election night recaps and Obama’s victory speech.  And there was a special front page gallery in the entrance area that displayed all fifty states’ front pages from November 5.  We didn’t get to see nearly all the Newseum exhibits in our short four-hour visit, but we did see some great ones.  We stopped by the Internet, TV, and Radio gallery (probably the most interesting for me); we checked out the 9/11 Gallery and watched a ten-minute mini-doc about the news coverage of the tragedy; we toured one of the Newseum’s broadcast studios and I learned about how TV equipment works on air; and we visited the Interactive Newsroom, where we played the Ethics Center game and stepped in front of the cameras for some fake newscasts (videos might be on the way).  All in all, I can safely say it is the best museum I’ve ever visited.

And now for some sad news.  The Thursday before last, my laptop’s LCD screen broke.  There was no crack, but turning on the machine produced some strange imagery.  I suspected, after conferring with a friend at school, that there was a cable loose in the laptop’s hinge.  So I did a quick search for good places to take it for repair.  I had initially planned to leave it with Best Buy’s Geek Squad, but my friend spoke so unfavorably of the service that I decided to forgo that option.  After a little research, I decided I would take it to Staples’s EasyTech service.  They said they would have it for me by this coming Monday or Tuesday.  That’s good news, as HP’s direct repair service would have taken 2-3 weeks.  Here’s hoping they managed to fix the problem.  Since the problem arose, I’ve been using (and am currently using) my video-editing desktop computer for primary computing purposes, but I long for the portability and familiarity of my laptop.

Thanksgiving is coming up, and I am excited.  We aren’t going anywhere for the holiday, but I’m always a sucker for turkey, gravy, and pumpkin pie.  In fact, food-wise I would say Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.  We’ll be having a few family members over for dinner, but otherwise nothing special.

On an unrelated note, I have been surprised at the lack of snow in the past few days.  I know the season has barely just begun, but as a student I’m always looking forward to opportunities to stay home—and, of course, to catch up on work…yeah…

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Which is scarier, Halloween or Election Night?

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This past month has been a whirlwind of events.  A lot has happened, and now I’ll try to catch you all up on what’s been going down.

In early October, I drove with my family to New York City, to attend a 100th birthday for my paternal aunt’s mother.  She’s the first person I know to hit the triple digits.  I ended up sitting at the “kids” table with my sister and seven other people (all older teenagers or college students).  It was not the social highlight of the evening.  But I was asked beforehand to be the official photographer and videographer for the birthday party, so I arrived with camera and camcorder in hand.  The most interesting part of the event was hearing the birthday girl give her speech.  “It’s always great to hear the eulogies about you with your eyes open,” she remarked.

In mid-October, on a Saturday morning, I had to wake up at the usual “get ready for school” hour.  Because in a sense, I was doing exactly that.  On that day, I took the PSATs.  I think I did very well in all areas, mostly because I had extra time to check my answers.  I am hoping that the scoring report I’ll receive in the next month or two will look good in my college resume.  I also hope that the PSATs prepared me for the actual SATs.  After all, what does the “P” stand for if not “Preliminary”? (trick question: I know it stands for “preliminary”)

And speaking of tricks, and, for that matter, treats…it’s Halloween time again!  After the lackluster letdown that was last year’s Halloween, I am hoping for renewed turnout this year.  If for no other reason than that kids can dress up as characters from The Clone Wars. (more on that in a minute)  I’ll be staying at home for the night yet again; trick-or-treating isn’t my thing anymore.  Plus, I don’t know what costume I’d pick anyway.  But regardless of the number of trick-or-treaters we get at home, I know one thing: you’re never too old to eat the remaining candy.

Lucasfilm’s brand-new animated television series Star Wars: The Clone Wars is off to a great start.  The two-episode series premiere on Friday, October 3, at 9 p.m., was spectacular.  One of the episodes dealt with Yoda and his typical mix of wise words and battle prowess.  The other episode was about the Jedi discovering a “malevolent” Separatist plot.  Overall, I give the series so far an “A”.  There is really nothing about the five episodes I’ve seen so far that does not appeal to me on some level, whether it’s the darker, heavier moments when clones are going down, or the lighter, funnier moments of battle droid humor.

A few weeks ago, I took my last behind-the-wheel driving lesson.  It was the third of three that I needed to complete along with long-since-past classroom hours.  Now I need to focus a lot on practicing; it’s the one tip I’ve received from all three of my in-car instructors.  I feel comfortable on the road, but I haven’t had enough practice yet to instinctively make the decisions necessary to drive successfully.

In a few days, our nation will elect the next President of the United States.  And while my political leaning is clear, it should be noted that I only recently got into politics.  I realized that, for our country to hold together and solve the troubling issues before us, we needed to understand the politics, issues, and stances, no matter how old we are.  Obviously there’s a limit to how much a four-year-old can understand about abortion, but my opinion is that the younger they start, the more time they have to develop opinions.  I personally feel like I’ve gotten into politics fairly late in the game, considering my age.  So I started devouring CNN, NYTimes.com, and the Daily Show.  Then I expanded to the Washington Post and the Colbert Report.  Soon after, I was doing my homework while listening to NPR.  I was, in short, obsessed with politics.  And in a few days, my parents will be hosting an Election Night Party.  This will be the first event in many years where our house is full of strangers and I’m not sitting in hermitage in my room.  I’ll certainly be spending most of my time there, because I’ll have a TV signal and live Twitter coverage at my fingertips.  But during the off-hours of the party, I’ll be mingling with my parents’ friends and gaining a better understanding of politics.  My dad works in his office with one of Joe Biden’s closest advisors.  He would have been a star at the party, for sure, but I think he’ll be with the Biden family watching the results as anxiously as us.  My attempts to get Biden on a live link for a few minutes during the night’s proceedings likewise fell short.  Doesn’t he care about Eric the Student?

The past month was an interesting one, and the next few days will be even more interesting still.  But the fact remains that no matter who wins this election, I’ll still be blogging, Twittering, and forum-posting for years to come.

Unless tax hikes force my parents to stop paying for Internet.

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School, New York, and The Force – Oh My!

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It’s been a while, and for that, I’m sorry.  I’ve been busy with several activities and events and I kept putting off a blog post.

My last post on here was from the airplane on the way to Hawaii.  That was a great trip.  We stayed at a large hotel with a series of five or six pools connected by water slides.  We went to the pool and the nearby beach every day, eating lunch at the poolside bar with food delivered to our pool chairs by some of the nicest waiters I’ve met.  For dinner, we drove to various restaurants around the towns of Wailea and Kahului.  One night we ate at a pizza restaurant where there were barely any other customers.  Because of – or perhaps, despite – this, our waitress was always coming over to our table, telling stories and cracking jokes.  It made the night uniquely interesting and enjoyable, and it gave us the feeling that we were really in Hawaii.

On September 3, I started my junior year in high school.  I’m taking, among other classes, Calculus and Physics.  I mention these because they’re arguably the two hardest subjects for me this year.  I never did particularly well in either math or science during my first two years of high school.  This year, I am a section editor for my school’s newspaper; my section covers international, political, technology, and business issues.  It is a good stepping stone to what I hope will be the position of co-Editor-in-Chief.  Either way, I’m excited to be building up a resume for college.  In addition to the newspaper, I’m also helping out in my school’s tech department, in a role I like to call “Senior Student Techie”.  There are other students helping out as well, but to my knowledge I’m the one who’s been doing it the longest.  This too will look good on my resume.  I also plan on contributing to this year’s film festival at my school, using the newly acquired production and post-production resources I’ve acquired.

The biggest school-related event so far this year has been our grade trip to New York City.  As part of an ongoing series of bonding trips that my school has put on for grades 6-11, the junior class on September 11 took a 5-hour bus trip to stay in the Upper West Side of Manhattan.  We stayed at the local YMCA, which was not as bad as I thought it would be.  Since there was an odd number of boys in our grade, I ended up getting a room to myself.  The room itself was tiny, but at least I got a TV on which to follow the news.  On Thursday (9/11, mind you), groups split off to go on student-led excursions.  My group went to take a tour of the NYU School of Drama.  We even saw a celebrity outside the building: James Franco, of Spiderman III fame.  Thursday night, we ate at a great diner where the feature attraction was the singing waiters and waitresses.  After dinner, we went to see a Broadway show called In the Heights. I must say it was one of the best musicals I’ve seen.  On Friday, after a quick breakfast at the Y’s “restaurant”, I went to check out the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I took lots of photos (albeit with a cell phone, having stupidly left my digital camera behind) and saw some cool statues, sculptures, suits of armor, and much more.  It was a good trip overall.

In other news, we finally made a Skype call with my extended family in Switzerland.  The call quality was great and we had lots to talk about and catch up on.  I also updated my website to include a page describing the various electronics we have at home.  Whenever I want a reminder of how grossly over-wired my family is, I revisit that page.  In family news, Maddie celebrated her third birthday on September 12.  She received a few presents and some great birthday food: a doggie cookie and some interestingly-colored ice cream.  More recently, I received my pre-order copy of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, LucasArts’s revolutionary new video game that was released cross-platform (except the PC) on September 16.  I’m on the third or fourth level now, and the game is truly superb.  Beyond the ability to play as nearly any conceivable major Star Wars character in Versus Mode, The Force Unleashed has a jewel of a storyline.  But the game itself is not the only component of the The Force Unleashed multimedia experience.  I also bought the hardcover novel and Making Of book, both of which are on par with the game so far.

The past month has been extremely exciting for me.  I look forward to updating this blog as much more happens in the coming weeks and months.

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Playing Catch-up

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Fun fact: as I write this, I'm thousands of feet above the ground in a 777 headed towards Hawaii.

Since I wrote that blog post begging you to vote for The Force-Cast's Atom video, a lot has happened.  For one thing, that same video won two trophies at the 2008 awards ceremony: Best Animation and Audience Choice.  Though the ceremony occurred a few weeks back, Jason and Pete (hosts of The Force-Cast) are still talking about it.  And as they mentioned on last Friday's show, their trophies will arrive soon; that means more self-administered back-patting.  But as a big fan of the show, I agree that they deserve every last back-pat.  They worked hard on the video, and it shows.

I finished my job at my school last Friday.  I mostly worked five-hour days, although I did pull a few longer shifts (mostly due to transportation issues).  I plan on putting most of the money into my bank account.

This past Saturday, I saw the new Star Wars film, The Clone Wars.  While most of the reviews I've read paint a decidedly negative picture of the movie, I for one enjoyed it.  It accomplished its two primary goals, at least in my mind: build anticipation for the animated TV series premiering in the Fall; and bring Star Wars back into the public consciousness.  The only disappointing factor: small crowds for the early Saturday evening showing I attended.  The majority were parents with their children.

As I mentioned above, I'm on vacation in Hawaii right now.  This morning we had to wake up at 4:00 AM for a 7:00 AM flight.  Luckily, due to my father's frequent travels and his status with United, we were able to wait for our flight to board in United's Red Carpet Club lounge.  And when I say flight, I mean flight number one.  Once we landed in Chicago, we had a two-hour layover until our second flight boarded.  There was much leg-stretching in preparation for this, because the Chicago-Maui flight took approximately eight hours.  Technically, as I write this, it's still in progress, but you get the idea.

And finally, what's a blog post without some geek talk?  We're looking at HDTVs again; this time for our living room.  We only have room for a TV of approximately 30 inches in size.  But since TVs jump form 26 to 32 inches, we've basically settled on several options from Sony's 26-inch lines.  But even more exciting than the TV purchase is the promise of integrating Skype into our lives for the next year.  My uncle and his family are living in Switzerland for the next year, and with phone calls being too expensive -- and too communicatively limiting -- we've turned to Skype.  I set up my aunt's parents with Skype on both their Windows and Mac computers, and I even brought my grandma into the fold.  It took some explaining and some webcam setup, but we made it work.  None of these people profess to be computer geniuses, but they've all used Skype successfully to talk to my uncle's family across the ocean.  And they all loved it.  My grandma in particular is impressed with the average call quality.  Of course, the irony is that the originator of the plan -- myself -- has yet to make use of it.  Because of time differences, my family has yet to call my uncle's family on Skype.   But what better place from which to do so than our beautiful Hawaii hotel room?

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Support the Force-Cast!

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My favorite podcast, The Weekly Force-Cast, has entered a video into the 2008 Atom Films Star Wars Fan Film Challenge.  We're trying to get the Fan Choice Award, but I can't do it alone (though believe me, I've been trying).  So click on the banner above (or just click here) and scroll down to the George Lucas Hip Hop Awards video.  Click on the "vote" button under the image of Rapper George Lucas, and you're set!  You will need to have an Atom Films account, but creating one is quick, easy, and free.  And after you've voted, you can view lots of other great videos on the Atom Films site.  Thanks for your help!

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So Long, Rehoboth!

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Today we head home after almost a week in Rehoboth.  We saw some really great houses and some not-so-great houses.  There was one house that we didn't get to see, but from the Internet it looked pretty good.  And it didn't hurt that Tony Kornheiser, a famous sportswriter, lived on the same street.

My sister and I are really set on one particular house (pictured above), but my parents find it too modern, too expensive, and full of too many staircases.  They're worried about our dog and how she'll navigate the house.  I'm not worried; Maddie's a smart and resourceful dog.  The house is sold furnished, and that was part of what sealed the deal for me.  The furnishings include an HDTV in nearly every bedroom (of which there are six!); a Blu-Ray player hooked up to a ridiculously large home theater system; a wall panel in almost every room with controls for iPod and radio playback; a gigantic shower with an outside entrance; and a heated pool with miniature fountains.

Some of the other houses we saw were very beach-y but too small.  My mom liked the look of several that almost made me gag.  They were simply too cramped!  And some of the furnishings made them look like camping cabins: old wood floors, ugly rugs and carpets, old TVs, faded paintings, need I say more?

My mom is worried that buying the modern house would put an end to her dream of getting beach-y signs like "This way to the beach" or "The Gellers' beach house".  I still think we could make it work.  Then there's the fact that it's the only modern house on its street.  But from the conversation they had with Rehoboth residents, my parents didn't get the impression that people really disliked the house.  The construction process, according to the residents, was unbearably long, but there isn't any real disapproval of the house's modernity.

But there's really no sense in worrying about beach houses right now.  Even though my mom said we'll probably have a house by this time next year, nothing is final, and nothing is guaranteed.  Besides, we're thinking about getting a pool in our backyard at home.  That seems to be higher priority for my parents -- rightfully so -- which means our potential beach house must take a temporary back seat.

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Next Stop: Rehoboth

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I'm pretty sure that volunteer work with OCP was my first real job.  And what a job it was.  I met some really nice people; helped fix errors, streamline documents, and generate new content; and learned valuable workplace skills.  Now that I've had a semi-cube-farm-esque job, I'll be ready to take on another one when the time comes.  I also got enough community service hours to satisfy my recently-concluded school year, as well as next year.  Considering how hard it was to find a good community service job this year, I consider that payment enough.

Happy Father's Day to all fathers, by the way.  This morning I tried to get our dog to wear a messenger bag stuffed with newspapers as we brought my dad breakfast in bed.  Not only was it too big for Maddie, but it also scared her half to death.  After several failed attempts to get her to bring my dad her own card, we gave up.  I don't mean to harp on Maddie, it's just ... oh, for god's sake, she can't even roll over!

Next up on my summer agenda is a family vacation to Rehoboth from June 19th to June 24th.  I'll be bringing my laptop with us, because I recently figured out how to use my dad's Blackberry as a modem on the road.  The connection will be painfully slow compared to our cable Internet at home, but at least I'll be able to read the news, check forums, and post to Twitter.

Our hotel in Rehoboth is right next to the beach and the boardwalk.  It's two blocks from the bustling town proper.  It has a small swimming pool, but we'll be at the beach frequently.  There's supposed to be lots of good food as well.  I wouldn't know.  Every time we've been to Rehoboth looking at houses, we usually just stop at a burger or pizza joint for a quick bite in between or afterwards.

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Oh, Hello Again!

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Wow, I completely forgot about this blog. I've been busy recently and I haven't had much time to write a lengthy post. Here's what I've done in the past few months:

  • Finished school and taken two exams, one in math and one in science.
  • Fully revamped my homepage, ericjgeller.com.
  • Purchased and organized lots of equipment for my video studio.
  • Turned 17.

Not a very busy life, I know. But it's the little things that kept me from blogging.

Anyway, I have a jam-packed summer ahead of me. This morning I started my community service job at my county's Office of Consumer Protection. I worked from 10 AM to 3 PM. I'm doing that for the rest of the week. This Thursday, I have my first in-car driving lesson. From June 19th through June 24th, my family and I will be in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware. We're looking to buy a beach house there. On June 27th I have my next in-car driving lesson.

During the week of June 30th, I'll be doing tech work at my school from 10 AM to 3 PM. This job is paid; eight dollars an hour. During the weeks of July 7th and July 14th, I will be taking a Journalism class at American University in D.C. This class will better prepare me for a possible future career as a journalist. During the weeks of July 21st, July 28th, August 4th, and August 11th, I'll be back at my school doing tech work. Same hours, same pay. My family and I will be going to Hawaii on August 18th; we'll return on August 25th.

And that's pretty much my summer. But there's one thing I forgot to mention.

August 15th is a very important day. I don't think I've discussed this on the blog, but that's the day when the next Star Wars film comes out. Yes, you heard right, another Star Wars movie. But it's not Episode VII. It's called The Clone Wars, and it's designed to lead up to the premiere of an animated TV show of the same name. From all the footage I've seen, both the movie and the TV show will be spectacular!

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Learner's Permit Acquisition: Finally!

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Yesterday my mom took me to the DMV to get my learner's permit.  We waited for almost two hours before it was our turn.  And that was just for the vision test and personal info verification!  Luckily, there was no line to take the knowledge test, so I went right in.  The employee who "verified" my name, address, etc. accidentally wrote my dad's name instead of mine on my testing sheet.  So I had to go back to her and ask her to fix it.  After resolving that, I started the computer-based knowledge test.  Twenty nerve-wracking questions later, I had a passing grade.  I was allowed two wrong answers (a third would automatically fail me), and I did end up getting two wrong.  But I still passed, and that's the important part.  I got a plastic card very similar to a full driver's license, except oriented vertically instead of horizontally.  I decided to become an organ donor, too.

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Spring Break Preview

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We're taking a Caribbean cruise over Spring Break!  On Saturday, we're flying to Fort Lauderdale, where we'll stay at a local hotel overnight.  The cruise starts at 5:00 PM on Sunday.  I was surprised to hear that the boat actually has Wi-Fi service onboard.  $80 for six days isn't cheap, but it's not bad either.

I promised myself that I'd take lots of pictures on this trip, enough for relatives to live the experience vicariously through us.  At least I can take comfort in knowing that, if I don't take enough, my mother and sister will make up for it.

I know I won't run out of stuff to do.  The boat features a slew of activities for just about everyone--rock climbing, arcade games, gambling, etc.--and the onshore excursions look like fun as well.  One that I know I won't be doing is the snorkeling trip.  I tried that once and didn't really enjoy it.  Maybe it was the fact that you have to consciously remember to breath.

The only thing we can't really research is the onboard food.  On our last cruise, we had a private butler who would bring hors d'oeuvre to our stateroom every day.  They were good, but the macaroni and cheese I'd order daily was even better.

That's one of the great things about cruises: total freedom.  I can do, buy, and eat anything I want onboard--within reason.  Or at least, I could on our last cruise.  Back then, we each had a room key which acted like a boat-wide credit card.  I hope it's the same on this ship.  Having to find my parents in the maze of decks--and amid the sea of people--just to get a few bucks would be really annoying.

I'll post with any interesting cruise updates as the trip progresses.

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Of Learner's Permits and Days Off

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Wow, it's been a while since I posted to this blog.  Don't worry, I haven't forgotten about it.  It's just that there hasn't been anything eventful to discuss here.  So here's my stab at another life update.

As you all know, I've been having problems acquiring a learner's permit.  I just haven't had the time to either study for the test or go out to take it.  But now I am ready.  My dad is taking me to the DMV tomorrow so I can take the test.  After that, we wait for who knows how long until they mail us the certificate.  Then I have to complete sixty hours of in-car practice with my parents, including ten nighttime hours, before I can even take the provisional license test.  After that, it's smooth sailing until I'm 17 and 9 months; at that point, I can apply for my full, unrestricted license.

In other news, I have a four-day weekend starting today.  My school principal is basically the coolest educational administrator I've ever met.  So here's what happened.  We have a certain number of days on which the state mandates that we attend school.  However, we are also allotted a certain number of days for weather-related incidents, like snow days.  The problem is, what with global warming and all, we haven't had a single snow day this year.  So my principal decided to bring back an old tradition that a former student devised.  It's called an Andy Day, named after the student who came up with it, and it basically gives us a full day off from school.  And, since Monday is President's Day, my principal made today an Andy Day so we could have a four-day weekend.

 

(Image courtesy of Flickr user k_vo_921)

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Happy New Year!

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Another year bites the dust.  I would say this year had its ups and its downs, but mostly its ups.  In 2008, I see bright promise for America and the world.  George Bush's successor will be determined, Canada will get the iPhone, and Bill Gates will step down from daily work over at Microsoft.  Wow.  That's a lot of ground covered.  My hope is that our world continues to progress, innovate, and design, but that we never lose sight of who we are in the galaxy: a tiny spec of green and blue.  Maybe we'll discover alien life in 2008.  Maybe the hovercar will be patented.  Or maybe it'll be just another typical year.  Honestly, I hope we don't just destroy ourselves and our planet in 2008.  And there's no greater wish than that, right?

Happy New Year everyone!

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