Wow, my posts are rather behind on the times. Let's clear the backlog:
December 28th: Sarah arrived! While DFW's arrival-status screen was mildly defunct (see below), we managed to meet up successfully, and went home and had tasty chili for dinner. After dinner - long conversation on my blue couch until late-o-clock.
December 29th: Sarah and I went on a two-mile run in the morning. She's training for a half-marathon, and I'm trying to get in a habit of exercising. I ran in my Vibrams, which was fun, but resulted in hotspots on my feet and extremely sore calves the following three days. She also led me through a decently long session of yoga afterward to stretch out. I can't imagine how much worse it would have been if we hadn't stretched.
We started on a 500-piece glow-in-the-dark puzzle of a (rather creepy-looking) fairy or goddess or something standing with a long flowing cloth on a wave. We also watched an episode or two of the Dr. Oz show with my mom. It's quite simplified from what I'm sure Sarah studies in Nutrition, but the intent is to reach a broad audience with factual, actionable information, which it does. We stayed up late again, working on the puzzle and talking.
I've quite missed having my close friends in physical proximity. I can't expect to have the same level intimacy with my new friends in California yet, but I find it much harder to build such relationships without living in the same building as them. This will require further effort on my part.
December 30th: Last day with Sarah. Joni and Juliet (two of my mom's friends) came over and shot the breeze for a bit. They're entertaining folks.
That afternoon/evening, Sarah and I drove down to Mexia, where we joined four other dear friends from A&M for dinner and an evening together. It was a really special treat to see everyone. I played the Speights' piano, joined in a round of 42 (which my team won), played a match of pool (which my team lost), and caught up on the lives of my friends after our diaspora. We've had varying levels of struggle with our new lives, but we're all coping and making progress. It's a beautiful thing to have friends that you know will understand a joke you make, or that think of the same memory as you from some conversation. That's another thing I'll have to build in Berkeley.
As the evening progressed, more friends parted ways, and eventually I left Sarah with Lara and her family and drove back to Dallas.
December 31st: After spending a week seeing people, I needed a day off from socialization. I spent most of the day relaxing at home (and moaning about my poor aching calves). I beat my dad at a game of chess - I managed to win a material somewhat early on, then exchanged down until I was a bishop and three passed pawns up, at which point my dad resigned. I've no real gauge of my skill level, but I like to think that I'd beat most people who don't play chess regularly, and would lose to most people that do. Whatever ranking that is.
I finally managed to get a copy of the Console Hacking 2010 presentation slides and video from 27c3, which was absolutely fantastic. Even Penny-Arcade wrote about how awesome it was. Basically: the PS3 is completely, utterly, permanently hacked. Sony screwed up their cryptography implementation in such a major way that their secret signing key could be reconstructed from the signatures themselves, distributed with all software they've signed so far. Oops. Perhaps the best part is that Sony can't reasonably change the signing key, or all software released for the PS3 will stop working, so the hack is reasonably permanent.
In the wise words of Hector Martin: "OtherOS was Sony's single best security feature." It kept the (good) hackers sufficiently entertained to not bother trying to break into the system.
January 1: I went to lunch at Hong Kong Royal Restaurant (dim sum!) with Matt and Katy. It's quite good - 4 star rating on Yelp, and our experience was also positive.
After lunch, we went to Fry's Electronics and wandered around for a bit. I found nothing particularly enthralling this trip. I definitely wouldn't mind having a nice Weller soldering iron, but I don't fancy trying to pack one in a carry-on suitcase. I was surprised to see the Pragmatic Bookshelf books at Fry's, but I guess that makes sense after all.
After Fry's, we stopped by Target seeking a season of NCIS on sale for Katy's mom. We didn't find it, but I did buy the Tron: Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk, which is pretty great.
My family met Nicole and her sister and mom at Osaka, a sushi buffet, for a dinner of epic proportions. I ate my fill and then was SUPER SLEEPY (yay, food comas!). So much delicious food.
Following dinner, we all returned to our house to open xmas (new year's?) gifts. I got a slick black hoodie that read "Powered by Open Source" from Ariana (it's so me!), a neck pillow for plane flights from Elaine (got a couple of long trips coming up), and a copy of Cooking for Geeks from Nicole (so I can really know what I'm doing in a kitchen!). I had a good time, and it was nice to relax with their family again.
January 2: My friend Thomas from TAMS and I were supposed to meet at the movies to see Tangled, but it turns out that he was hit by the iPhone alarm bug (yes, the second one - there was also one around daylight savings time. Why Apple hasn't fully audited that code yet, I have NO idea.) so I saw the movie with my family, and we met up afterward for cards, chat, and video games. He's just finished a semester abroad and his undergrad studies; so he'll be applying to both jobs and grad schools over the next few months.
Tangled was cute. I can't help but analyze the CGI of every movie I see, now that I've taken computer graphics. Yay, subdivision surfaces!