The work holiday party was better than working, and I did my best to get social. I even talked a little hex and counter wargaming (more to follow), one of the guys in our organization is into it. The drinks were pricey, though, $5.50 for a Bloody Mary (it was 11:00 am). It was offsite, so no drunken scanning of asses into PDF's stored on the network.
I took yesterday off because the kids were getting out of school early for conferences, and I made the most of it. We had a flickering flourescent light in the kitchen, not this one, the other. I replaced the bulbs, no luck, so I got a ballast from Lowes (which made me miss the Goat, as I also picked up some furring strips for our attic, I can barely fit an 8 foot length of wood in the Tercel). An hour later, and it was indeed the ballast, the lights are as bright as ever. I'm not fond of flourescent lights for the kitchen, but a light redo would take a lot more time and money than I have.
In addition to surfing and a conference call, I finished insulating one of our three dormers in the attic, and even cleaned it up for better storage. The joists and studs are irregularly spaced and shallow, so I'm using two layers of styrofoam, with a two inch airspace between the foam and wall/roof. It's messy and time consuming, but it should work. I'm glad I can use wide fiberglass rolls for the attic joists.
Throw in some coffee bean roasting and lots of shoveling, and it was a tiring day. Mrs. Ha had a long day, too, it's her busy season. Later we had a conference with six year old's teachers, and we also talked about eleven year old since one teacher used to teach sixth grade, and knew all about applying and what schools were good (her husband teaches at the impressive magnet school).
So we picked our schools and concentration. For the art school, considered one of the two really good schools in the city, you have to pick a concentration to get in under. Mrs. Ha thought dance would be good, but the teacher informed us it was very competitive, and eleven year old only had a few years of lessons. So we're going with Theatre Tech (stage crew), which is not as competitive, and plays well to eleven year old's strengths in math and science. For the other schools, we put the impressive magnet school as our first choice. The die is cast, though I need to work with eleven year old on carpentry and other projects for her art school audition.
And now, media review
Dingoes at Dinnertime is a Magic Treehouse book that six year old picked out, Jack and Annie travel to Australia and see all sorts of native marsupials, including kangaroos, koalas and dingoes. No platypus'es though. They get the last item they need to save Teddy, the arfing dog.
In Earthquake in the Early Morning, Jack and Annie travel to San Francisco right before the big earthquake.
In grown up reading, Mort is a Discworld book where DEATH takes an apprentice, who falls in love with his adopted daughter. It's good even though it's not a Watch book. Shame about that alzheimer's thing.
In other books news, I bought a stash of Bulge and Hurtgen Forest books a few weeks back. Seeing the Battle of Bulge started 63 years ago Sunday, reading about it appropriate. The first book I finished is Decision at St. Vith, mostly the story of the newbie 106th division that got wiped out by the Nazi's. Whiting also blames Eisenhower for neglecting intelligence reports that the Huns were going to attack through the Ardennes. It was pretty good, but not as good as the Bitter Woods.
Holy Smoke was a pleasant surprise, and I'm not just talking about the full frontal nudity of Kate Winslett (she looks very nice and curvy). It's set near Sydney, and is the story of a young woman (Winslett) who gets sucked into an Indian (dot not feather) cult. Her desperate family hires an expensive deprogrammer (Harvey Keitel) to get her back. It's a good story about the struggle of wills between the two, ending with Harvey Keitel wandering the outback in a red dress. It's also an interesting look at Australia. The scenery is gorgeous, and the the family is odd. Many of the characters dress like flamboyantly gay cowboys, a ten gallon hat is not enough, it has to be oversized and bright white, to match the tight white mesh shirt. The Rudolph car ( it has a red nose and wire antlers with lights on top) wouldn't have been out of place in a Mad Max Christmas special. Maybe that's normal for the area around Sydney. Recommended for anyone interested in cults, Australia, or Kate Winslett.
I've been playing a lot of Target Arnhem, Across 6 Bridges. It's a light, free after paying shipping ($5.75 in the US) hex and counter wargame about Market Garden, Monty's attempt to shorten WWII by seizing bridges and canals over into Germany through the Netherlands. In 3 pages of rules, one countersheet and a small map it squeezes a lot into it and you can finish in an hour or two. I'm getting ready to play again, though I may take it to the local boardgaming society meet Saturday, if I go.
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