Compartment3 - December 2003

Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone has a safe and happy New Year's Eve. The Missus and I are out to have a nice romantic dinner at one of our favorite restaurants.

See you next year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!.

I apologize to my Faithful Readers (Faithful Reader?) for my lack of blogging this month.  I'm sure your December was as busy as mine, so you might understand why.

Linda and I had a very nice Christmas.  We spent Christmas Eve in Leesburg with Linda's sister and her family and got to watch our niece and nephew enjoy opening their gifts.  On Christmas Day, we loaded up the Subaru and headed out to Bowie for more gift opening and eating.  

I've made about twelve batches of cookies (so far), most of them have been given away as gifts, but, hey, a cook must taste his creations, right?  I'll probably weigh about a zillion pounds by the end of my vacation.

Hope you are having a nice vacation too!

The World At War.

I have gotten the opportunity to watch a bunch of movies over the past weeks.  I'll write up a short review of the movies that I've seen—promise!

I can highly recommend The World At War, a five-DVD set containing a documentary of World War II.  It was made in the early '70's, and I remember watching it as a kid.  Look for it at your library; I borrowed it from the Loudoun County Public Library.

Rewatching it now, I am amazed at how good it is.  I am also amazed that how many people they were able to interview.  For example, they show Admiral Doenitz, the head of the German Navy in the war.  He must have been near 90 when they interviewed him.  Even then, veterans of the war were dying off quickly.

I find myself comparing the series to The Civil War, the Ken Burns documentary first shown on PBS.  The entire 26-show series is narrated by Laurence Olivier, who in my mind becomes the "definitive voice" of World War II, just as David McCullough was the voice of the Civil War in the Burns masterpiece.  Similarly, the melancholy theme composed for the title sequence of The World At War by Carl Davis fits its subject as well as Jay Ungar's Ashokan Farewell did for the Civil War.

The whole title sequence of The World At War is a classic, with photographs of faces, of Hitler, of soldiers, of innocent children, burning away.  It makes me think of the terrible cost of war, lives destroyed in youth, the incredible wastefulness.  The last image, a skeletal ghostlike face, wreathed in flame, portends the horrors beyond war: the Holocaust and nuclear fire.  I haven't been able to forget that image since I was nine.

The New Dulles Air and Space Museum—Almost.

The Missus and I almost made it to the new Air and Space Museum out here in Dulles today.  (Officially it's the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, named after the super-rich guy who donated a lot of money to get it built—and good for him!)  As we were driving there, we heard on the radio that there were lines of two hours just to get through the traffic to get into the place.  We decided to have lunch instead.

We'll try again when the kids are back in school.  I will be taking my camera!

Saturday, December 13, 2003

A Long Line.

Here's a video of the line that formed when an Apple store opened up in Tokyo.  It'll take a while to watch!

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Cool Web Site.

This is a neat website that contains a bunch of panoramas.  Check it out!

Tuesday, December 9, 2003


Had a bad weekend.  I was in bed with a cold, except when I was out shoveling snow.  We got about seven inches on Friday, and another two or three on Saturday.  My senses must still be numb, since I missed an earthquake today!  I'm bummed because I didn't feel a thing.  I guess it was a very small one (4.5 on Richter's scale) and far away (the epicenter was about 100 miles south of us.)

One guy at work said he felt something.  But he may have been dreaming.

Model Home.

Linda and I visited a model home in North Riding recently.  It's the same model as our future home, except the upstairs is different, and we will probably decorate a little differently, which is to say, not at all.  Take a look at some pictures here.  Click on the picture to go to the next one.

Tuesday, December 2, 2003

Low Patience.  High Blood Pressure.

I really have a small amount of patience.  An example: one night this weekend, tired of turkey, we ordered a pizza.  With the ten minutes I had before it was ready for pickup, I was going to pick up a few things at the nearby grocery store.  I hustled though the aisle, picked up my five items and headed for the express lane with time to spare.  This woman reached the line in front of me.  It could be that she sped up to get in front of me, but I'll grant that it might have been my imagination.  She only had four items, so I thought, okay this isn't going to take long...

Hah!  She wanted to return an item!  First, I don't think I've ever returned something at a grocery store in my life.  Second, if she knew she was going to return something, why did she speed up to get in front of me?  The youngster at the cash register—and since when did they start hiring fourth graders to run cash registers?—had no idea what to do.  A supervisor was summoned and a yellow-pages-sized stack of paperwork was filled out.  So finally ol' Mrs. Butt-In-Front is ready to pay—and she pulls out her checkbook!  Arrrrrgh!

At that moment, if it was somehow possible to have lasers, powered by my blood pressure, shoot out of my eyeballs, I would have incinerated her where she stood.  All that'd be left was one little piece of leatherette checkbook cover, still smoking.

The pizza was good.

Great movie.

Enjoyed my weekend off!  Watched a bunch of movies, including a real classic, Akira Kurosawa's Seven Samurai.  This is an incredible movie. I want to take my time and write a review.  Stay tuned.