I finally made it to Tom's for one of the gatherings with the gang. He usually tries to make his home available once a month so all us reprobates can get together and refresh our acquaintances. Two months ago, Lisa hosted at her home in Washington, which is just too far for me to go. Last month, I had a nasty throat infection. So since the last gathering I made was three months ago, I was quite looking forward to this one.
Alan was showing off his new coffee rig, which consisted of a precision filtered coffee 'plunger' to force hot water through fine ground coffee at a rate sufficient to prevent leaching nasty acids and bitter volatiles into his cup, and a burr grinder to get that fine grind necessary to such a setup. It turns out that he consumes around one cup of coffee a day, so this is just another example of young single engineers with disposable income.
He also has a handheld mobile PC which is his new 'cellphone', though I didn't get to see him make a call with it. It seems as if it would be awkward. Great as a portable mini-computer, but a cellphone? Dunno.
He showed off his 80GB Zune, which looked pretty cool, and his new laptop, one of the newer Thinkpads. Life must be good to him.
Tricia's daughter Heather was showing off the family's new camera, a Nikon D40. While that's a sort of entry level DSLR, if you put a 50mm lens on it, it would be a great walking around camera. Pretty neat.
Bo was showing off a bunch of videos on his PSP, including some fun goofy Japanese commercials with American celebrities like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Nicholas Cage.
Chris and Valeska gave me a nice Japanese model. I'll try to find a link to a catalog image, as I think that'll give a better idea than any snapshot I take.
A handful of us did gift exchange as well. I gave away a DVD of Bender's Big Score, which probably was more appreciated than last year's gift, but which I think Tricia was only so-so toward. I ended up with some Kinokuniya gift certificates, which I plan on passing on to Renee.
I'd asked Tom recently which of a handful of They Might Be Giants albums available on eMusic he thought were decent, since he's the closest thing to a TMBG expert I know. So at the gathering he gave me a stack of CDs to listen to. I'll be working through them for at least the next month. Thanks, Tom! Oh, and he also gave me a cute little lucky cat souvenir from his recent travels abroad. Thanks again!
The Saturday gathering was just not enough for me, so when Tom mentioned that he wanted to see Sweeney Todd, I suggested that we get together to see it. So he and Alan and I met at Bridgeport Village and watched it. I liked it a lot, though I agreed with Alan that the bloodiness was more than necessary. Alan seemed to feel that the music was too repetitive as well. I enjoy Sondheim, so it was fine for me.
Anyway, just wanted to dash this off while I still remembered it. Merry Christmas, all.