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Mom, new laptop, pizza, and more

My mom is approaching her third surgery in as many months, and though she's generally in good health and is recovering very well, still she needs some help during the recovery period, and my dad and sister have both done more than their fair share. So when we hear that her next surgery is scheduled I'll get on a train or plane and head for DC for a week or two to help out. They have a good internet connection there and lots of space, so the idea is that I may be able to continue working for at least some of that time. Though it's an unfortunate event, I'm looking forward to visiting for a while.

My new thinkpad is set up now, running Fedora Core 6 with a few problems--wireless requires binary drivers that I haven't tried installing, and suspend-to-RAM is a little flaky. This is the first distribution/hardware combination I've used with working Compiz support, which means it optionally does all sorts of silly animations--the desktops appear to be on sides of a spinning cube, windows wobble when they're moved, menus fade in and out, etc. When I'm feeling a little down I just wiggle some windows around a little and it perks me up. No doubt the novelty will wear off in another week. Anyway, the extra pixels (1400x1050 vs 1024x768, on the same 12" screen) and the extra processing power (the previous thinkpad was three years old) are a big help.

Today was a big pizza week. Wednesday and Friday we ordered from Silvio's--unusual but very tasty pizza. Saturday we had some pizza with Paul and Ajit and watched "Ninja Thunderbolt" (abysmal, but with some funny moments) and "Zazie Dans Le Metro" (very strange, great fun, surprisingly faithful to the book, to the extent that's possible--worth another look). And today Sara made some yummy pizza with Brie, walnuts, eggplant, tomatoes, onions, and zuchini.

Most of the ingredients (including the pre-made pizza dough--we've both been very busy, Sara especially, so we're more eager than usual to accept any conveniences) were the result of a Trader Joe's expedition on my bike Saturday morning, which went pretty well. It didn't take much longer than an hour, and was reasonably comfortable despite the weather. It can be a challenge keeping warm on the downhills without overheating on the uphills, but I did pretty well this time, thanks in part to the recent gift of a nice thin but warm balaklava from my dad.

One of the fun things about my current work is the contact with people all over the world. There's a group of friendly people in France that we work with a little. I've only met two of them, just one time, so we mostly communicate by email. I mentioned to one recently that it had been an idle fantasy of mine to maybe find short-term work in France some day, and he's been forwarding me lots of helpful links. So I need to take some time to sift through the confusing array of projects and institutions and see if I can find anything of interest to me that looks practical....