30 Dec 2008 The Swirling Brain   » (Master)

We went to Disneyland over the Christmas holidays. We had a great time. Everyone told us that Disneyland was smaller than DisneyWorld. It is, but it wasn't as dire as people made it out to be. We went to California Adventure and Disneyland and there was certainly plenty to do and enjoy for the 3 days we were at disney (and 6 days total in California). It was cold and rainy and that kept the crowds at bay so we were able to ride many rides twice and three times and only have wait times of 5, 10 and 20 minutes; unheard of for the busiest time of the year for them. We also went to Universal Studios Hollywood which we hated. We also saw Hollywood (Chinese Grumman Theater & the walk of fame stars and the Kodak Theater), Santa Monica beach (which has a nice carnival type pier and beach), and Long Beach (which has the Queen Mary and a Ferris Wheel). We stayed at Castle Inn and Suites which looks sort of like a castle and was only two blocks from the Disneyland Entrance so we walked to Disney every day. The Hotel looked cool from the outside but was basically a cheap motel on the inside. It was good enough to sleep in, though, and they kept it clean, and it was close, so we were happy. Disneyland, I thought, was as big as The Magic Kingdom in Florida or bigger and was just as good if not better. California Adventure was as good as MGM Studios in Florida if not better. So overall I thought it was at least 2/3rds as good as the 4 parks in Florida. Of course DisneyWorld is much more than the parks so it doesn't really compare in that respect (probably 40 times bigger) but I think as far as the major parks it ranks nearly as good. I was really surprised at that given so many people told me how bad Disneyland was (or perhaps I just perceived they were telling me it was so bad). I'll still probably go to Florida from here on out but I was pleasantly surprised with how good Disneyland was.

Of course Disneyland gave me lots of robotic, graphics, mechanical and video inspiration. Hopefully it won't all go to waste.

My rolling ball sculptures have been doing well. Before I left I sold a sculpture for $275 so that about made our vacation paid for before we left. I also listed a sulpture before we left on vacation and it sold the day we were coming back so that was another $75. However, we went way overboard on food cost at the parks so I guess we really didn't break even. It really is amazing how much they gouge for food at the parks. It was easy for the four of us to spend over $40 a meal and that was just burgers, fries and a drink. My hopes is that I'll sell some more RBSs and I'll be able to pay off that small debt rather quickly and begin saving for our next vacation.

I've been doing a little coding at work and at home I've really be craving doing some PIC code slinging. I lost just about all of the PIC code I had in the past since my last hard drive crash. I thought I had some backups but I can't find any backup DVDs that work yet so all is lost on that. It may be fun to recode the RTOS I made for the 16f877 and perhaps do it better this time. I had pretty much polished it. I also had a nice LED text display pretty much polished and it's lost too. I had some nice I2C bit bang code polished and it's all gone too. I could cry as it will take a while to recreate all that stuff from scratch. There's a lot to be said for doing backups and using a system that actually is able to restore the backup. grr.

One of the things I'd like to mess with is getting a wireless network connection going on a pic board. I think it would be nice to talk to a pic controlled RBS where I could tell a sculpture to do some commands like drop a ball or give status from my wifi connection to it. Then from the pc I could do stuff like a cron job to drop a ball every hour or something or do a internet webcam rbs with internet control or something like that. I'll probably settle with having a USB pic dongle that does wireless codes to a PIC board on the sculpture but I'd rather have the sculpture be self contained with a wifi connection then any old computer could talk to it. Hmmm, security. Well, I guess it would be nice to be WEP or WAP enabled too. Oh well, it's getting complicated. I guess it's just a dream anyway, I don't know if I will give that much time to it anyway.

My mom took care of our hedgehogs while we were on vacation. I think they secretly love the hedgehogs too. They apparently took them out a lot. They bought the girl hedgehog a new wheel to run on. They bought them different food and cleaned their cage a few times (wasn't needed) and talked about them a lot when we got back. I guess if they ever have babies I'll offer one to them and see if they take it. We'll try to breed them again in January.

At work, they're letting me code a little more and there's less customer service to do. I'm liking that and hoping it will go more that way as time goes on. They're starting to hire a few more people so that hopefully means there's a little more job security where I work. I've worked there for about a year and a half but there's no mention of reviews or raises to anyone. I guess in this economy, just having a job is good enough so I'm not complaining.

We left Golden Meadows Baptist Church and have started going to First Baptist Church in Garland. We really like it there. I'm sort of worried for GMBC. I'm hoping it can turn around but I'm really doubtful. :-( It's quite a contrast going from a really small church to a really big church. I'm really enjoying the change so far. We'll probably join this Sunday.

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