Matthew's Big Blog of Adventure!

Sunday, June 20

Leaving for California tomorrow morning!

Well, I'm finally all packed and ready to go! Really got to go to sleep now as we must wake up @ 4:00 and leave by 5:00 to be at the airport at 7:00 for my flight at 9:00. If everything goes according to schedule, I should arrive at LAX around 11:00 PST. This is so cool! 8D

Neat Links:
Radio Frequency-Blocking Wallpaper
New Subatomic Particle
First Private Space Rocket Launced
Indonesia Orders Pirates, Sea Terrorists Shot on Sight

After Eight Years, Man Takes Elevator to Freedom
Fri Jun 18, 1:45 PM ET
PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad (Reuters) - A frail 89-year-old Trinidadian man left his apartment for the first time in eight years this week after broken elevators in the government-owned building were finally replaced.
Local newspapers reported Thursday that Randolph Hall had been forced to stay in his eighth-floor apartment for years because he did not have the strength to go up and down so many flights of stairs.
After taking his first ride down the new elevator on Wednesday, accompanied by Trinidadian Housing Minister Keith Rowley, Hall said he was thankful.

German 'Samurai' on the Loose in Woods Near Berlin
Fri Jun 18, 1:48 PM ET
BERLIN (Reuters) - A camouflage-clad German man wielding a samurai sword attacked at least seven hikers in forests west of Berlin, performing sword tricks before ordering them to leave the woods, police said Friday.
They suspect a 46-year-old local man who trained in martial arts and survival skills in camps in Papua New Guinea and Vietnam to be the attacker.
"He's dangerous and has been hard to find because he wears camouflage," said Catrin Feistauer, spokeswoman for the Nauen police department. Police have used infrared cameras mounted on helicopters to try and track him down.
The man pushed two elderly people off their bikes and, flashing his sword, shouted at them to leave the forest. He later tried to drive a young couple out of the woods. No one was seriously hurt.
"It's frightening because the violence level has increased each time," Feistauer said.

Saturday, June 19

Brain transplant and ... retraining! }:)

Hey, ya'll!

I've transferred a good portion of the contents of my hard drives (about 15 gigabytes as of right now) across the network to Mom's new computer! I had been backing up all of my data on CD-Rs, but I realized it would be too expensive to complete the process. I had burned 15 CDs before coming to this realization. 8O Windows has just given me too much guff this school year. There was a time when it wouldn't boot up right, and it STILL won't let me use my CD-ROM drives! Thank goodness I have Linux on this PC too! I'm going to wipe the sucker clean and install Mandrake Linux 10.0 exclusively -- none of this dual-boot nonsense anymore!

Speaking of brains, I've been looking at neural networks in the past few days. Neural networks are based on observations of the interactions in real human or animal brains. Each nerve cell is essentially a little processor, and has a lot of fault tolerance when it comes to processing signals. While I really don't like statistical modelling when it comes to language, I can't help but think that some of the techniques I've been reading about could be useful in at least PART of my diagramming program. It's neat how so many new, but related ideas start popping into your head when you read this stuff! Kinda fascinating the idea that the computer itself can find patterns in your data without you specifically telling it what to find!

Crista, Charlotte, and I went grocery shopping tonight for a grand Fathers' Day feast we are going to prepare for him. We poked and prodded a whole buch of meat! Looking over past the cow and pig, I saw the price tag on lamb. So expensive! Why do all the really good-tasting things have to be that way!? It would be so cool to raise sheep! Too bad the neighborhood covenants -- and county zoning -- expressly forbid keeping livestock.

I found my camera! Someone had put it on top of Mom's book by the front door. Here are a couple pictures: straight out of the box from Newegg, and one of it in *deep echoing voice* OPERATION.

Right out of the boxIt's ALIIIIVE!!!

That's all for today! I had had a vain wish of getting to bed before 12:00 tonight, but I guess I watched too much Stargate among other things. ;D


Friday, June 18

Computer fixed!

As of this evening, I have finished reading 68.6% of my Java 2: A Beginner's Guide book! It's been a lot of fun, and I can't wait until I get to Module 11 on Multithreading! (I just finished Module (chapter) 8 tonight.) Crista's house and dogsitting for some friends. :) She just donated 10 inches of hair to Locks of Love, so now everyone here has shoulder length hair or less (not counting the pets, of course.)

Purrrrrr!Grandma and I took Princess Fluffy to a new vet today. It was extremely close and convenient, and they fixed her up so quickly! We were all shocked at how much larger she was after our Massachusetts trip. One night while we were gone, she decided to play around and knocked over her food bag. She spent most the night chowing down until Grandma discovered her the next morning... :D In the end, we decided to buy her some Purina ONE instead of her normal cat chow to take care of an irritating dry skin problem. The vet says "one cup a day MAXIMUM!" much to kitty's chagrin. ;D

Can't seem to find my digital camera, and it's a shame, because I had a couple nifty photos of my new PC case running. Hrmph. Oh well! I'll just have to wait until tomorrow. I should really start packing for Wyoming soon... I'm leaving on Monday morning at 5:00! The flight actually leaves at 9:00, but of course one must be there hours ahead of time, and Atlanta is 2 1/2 hours away from here. Dad is letting me take his Canon camera with me, so I get to play around with the macro and telephoto lenses! Maybe I'll get to shoot an elk out in Wyoming after all!

Thursday, June 17

Fixed my computer

Well, my computer case arrived today via FedEx. If you're not a computer geek, you can safely skip these first two paragraphs. ;) I'm really pleased with's quick shipping and low price. I got a fairly nice case for a total of $46 including shipping. It didn't take very long to get here either! I ordered the case online Sunday night, and it got here Wednesday afternoon with neither special shipping options nor extra money for Newegg to "expedite" my order.

The case has a clear side panel so you can see all your computer's innards (and soon, probably the dust that will collect as I neglect it at school.) In the center of the window, it has a neon fan which glows red/blue/purple serving both to keep me up at night (not that I need it's help ;D) and to prevent my system from overheating again. In my old case, the CPU was running easily over 100 degrees Fahrenheit! I took some photos, so I'll put them up tomorrow sometime. :)

I sat in with the teens again at the assembly. Mark went over angelology from the Bible Doctrines For Today book published by (surprise!) A Beka Book. I think Crista is the one that suggested it. I'm slated to take it next semester as a night class, and am really looking forward to it now that I've had an opportunity to take a look at some of the material.

Speaking of Bible doctrines, Dad talked to Uncle David in Wyoming yesterday (Tuesday,) and it sounds like Uncle David has been going to the same church that some of my other relatives (Dad's Dad's brother's daughter and family whom I've never met) are attending. He says that they're "Southern Baptist, but a sorta like Mormons." :O

Uncle David says it would be okay for me to practice on their grand piano while I'm out there. :) I've been enjoying playing the piano so far this summer and am fairly pleased with the progress of my Schubert piece.

Rounding this post off with more geekiness, it looks like there have been a couple more experiments on entanglement. In tandem with the German quantum computer simulator[translation from German], perhaps quantum computer development will progress faster than anticipated! I just finished downloading the three CD set of Mandrake Linux 10.0! I'm so excited! I'm going to finish backing up all of my data off of my computer Tilde, and then I'm going to wipe both hard drives and run exclusively Linux! I already have all of the applications I'll need (like StarOffice and WINE.) I'm planning on running Windows inside a virtual machine and dedicating one hard drive to just Windows files to be accessed from outside the virtual machine. This way, if Windows crashes, I'll only need to reinstall it inside the virtual machine, and all of my application files won't even need to be restored from a backup!

Ahh, technology! :*) AAAHH!! Look at the time! I've got to take Grandma's cat to the vet tomorrow! Good night!

Tuesday, June 15


I ran across an interesting piece in the BBC today... Invisibility cloaks! They're still in the developing stages, of course. Mostly, the creator is looking for applications such as letting crowded cube-dwellers enjoy the outdoors without having an actual window. While this seems a hideously expensive alternative to me, I guess the Japanese go for this kind of solution. After all, in all of the Godzilla movies I've ever seen, instead of building a giant wall around Tokyo, or perhaps creating some other giant monster deterrant, they simply rebuild the city instantaneously the next day.

I guess it's good for the economy! ;D

The good news is PCC will have email and limited Internet access this fall. I'm hoping to maintain contact with all you folks once I get to school! I should still be accessible via, though.

I'm really beginning to itch for Wyoming. I cannot WAIT until I can get to work! Keep in touch!

Monday, June 14

Back! And fully charged!

Hey Gang!

We just arrived this evening from our two-day trip from Massachusetts. It was mostly uneventful. I finished a Babylon 5 novel and read up to page 307-ish in my Java 2 book. I tell you! That Java book is so GOOD! After having Dr. Howell for C++ this past semester, this book is pure sugar puff! :D I greatly appreciate Dr. Howell's thoroughness covering the material. He is almost the only teacher I rarely have questions for after the lecture. Herbert Schildt, the author of Java 2: A Beginner's Guide (click the link! the book was only $4.50 last I saw!) is the same guy who wrote our textbook, C++ The Complete Reference. I'm keeping both books, needless to say. ;D Tonight, I also purchased a new computer case and power supply so perhaps I can repair my computer even before I leave for Wyoming ... though I seriously doubt it.

CloudsOn the road again!

Computery-stuff aside, Addie's wedding this coming Saturday will unquestionably be the best thing since sliced cheese! I can't really believe it's happening! It seems like just yesterday when we were all singing Christmas carols house to house and in the road late at night. :*) Congratulations, you guys!

Well, sleep becons to me, and while I think I can hold out against it for a couple more hours, it's time to end this blog. ;D 'Till next time!

Saturday, June 12

Leaving for home!

We're leaving for home tomorrow morning! I'm busily packing here, both my luggage and all of the files I've been working on here on my uncle's computer.

*sits on suitcase*


*struggles with handles*


*suitcase EXPLODES open!*


~~~Argh~~~ ()^_^

Thursday, June 10

Cleaned and saw Uncle Bill

Today we cleaned up the house a little bit -- especially the breezeway where the kitties have been staying. Charlotte did an excellent job mopping the floor and dusting, while I lent moral support to Dad who was mounting the 10 CD changer in the Explorer. ;)

Later, we drove out to Freetown and visited a while with Uncle Bill. He's building a concrete house with those styrofoam molds. It's turning out quite nicely, actually. Concrete is a good insulator, so winters should be nice and cheap. It was really hot yesterday (almost 90 degrees,) but today was beautifully cool around 70, I think. He said that the basement of his house has been 40 degrees ever since winter! 8O

Other than that, the cats are getting bigger again. Two of them got into a hissy-fit over the food dish tonight. That's all the excitement up here. I'm going to bed now so I can watch Reagan's funeral tomorrow morning. (I think it's at 10:30am, but you can never be too prepared.)

Old news, but good news

MeowHey gang! I forgot to post a message yesterday despite the thrilling updated photos of the kittens. (Yes, how COULD I!) I don't think it's my imagination -- Charlotte was remarking on it too -- they seem bigger than they were yesterday! The gray ones are now almost exactly the same size, but the black one is just slightly larger than before.

They are really growing on me! Tonight, two of them decided just to walk on top of me and fall asleep while we were watching President Reagan's wake. The kittens really love to climb! I was out in the yard yesterday with everyone and the gray one climbed up my leg and arm to sit on top of my head. Maybe I could sneak one of them back with me to school!

Kitten headKittens on the swingCat in the tree

In other news, the trap caught another possum. I really have no clue whether we'll ever get a racoon. Those pesky critters keep breaking into the greenhouse, smashing pots and vases, and shredding or eating valuable plants.

I bought a puzzle at Building #19, and we've been working on it off and on. I got the one that looked the most difficult (an old city scene) and got more than I bargained for. The easiest part of this puzzle was the sky. }:/ I never knew that muddy streets could be so tricky to piece together!

Possum II: Return of the VarmintsCharlotte and Aunt Betty working on the puzzle

Uncle Eddie came up from New Jersey and visited with us today. It was really good to see him again. He completed the horse painting he was working on when we last saw him, and has started all sorts of new, ambitious projects.

I finished a book today: The Dilbert Principle, by Scott Adams. On a scale from 1 to 10, I rate it "ok." I enjoyed the comic strips that spruced its pages, but it seemed a bit whiny to me after the first couple chapters. He made some interesting points though. At the end of the book, he proposed a new management plan in which the company that doesn't bug its employees with "motivation" or special awards and programs intended to boost creativity, and lets them go home at 5:00. *yawn*

Time to get back to my Java 2 book! So many neat ideas keep popping into my head while reading that book. Got to find a notebook...

Monday, June 7


Aunt Betty feeds the shy one...Hey all! Aunt Charlotte and my sister Charlotte went out for ice cream earlier today, and came back with a three kittens! Someone was giving them away just down the road. They're really cute, but Uncle Kyle doesn't seem very happy about having them here. ;) Aunt Charlotte promises she'll come Thursday to choose her kitten, and I guess Aunt Betty is planning on keeping the other two. Midge (their current cat of 17 years) doesn't like them at all -- every time they get near she hisses.

...while the other two chow down!Too bad there's no way we could talk Dad into getting another cat (even though there are still four more back where they got these... and they're FREE!)

yaaaaaaaawn ^o^

These past few days have been nice and sleepy. Haven't done much except eat, sleep, and listen to Brahms.

Charlotte and I have been playing chess and checkers a bit, but my reading seems to have gone on hold. I think I'll pick my Java 2 book up again. Our last checkers game, Charlotte and I reached a stalemate without hopping any pieces with the have-to-jump rule. It was really weird. I'll post a picture later.

Have a swell day!

Friday, June 4

Waxed the boat, forgot camera

Hey, All!

Today, Charlotte and I got up semi-early to help my Aunt Charlotte with her new 30-foot sailboat. First we gave it a good scrub down, then after it dried we applied a restorative coating that's supposed to fix all the little dings and scratches the previous owners of the boat left her with and buffed all that mess off. And finally, we got the actual wax on and off.

We got Dunkin Doughnuts coolatas and a nice lunch out of the deal... and some quality time with our aunt, of course! :)

Mom and Dad went to Providence, RI for Waterfire, a big annual festival with large braziers in the water, and all sorts of good food and entertainment. It sounded like fun!

Thursday, June 3

An afternoon around Cambridge

We got a slightly later start off this morning than I expected, but we arrived in plenty of time to meet Aunt Charlotte in Medford. We took the city bus (90 cent fare now!) in to Harvard Square and spent some time shopping around, seeing the sites, and eating good food. It's really unbelievable how many Thai restaurants have sprung up in the area!

Bus stop in HarvardA statue in BostonTea store

We visited our favorite foreign-language bookstore, Schoenhof's, and I picked up a set of 448 Kanji flashcards in order to help me practice my Japanese. Mom bought a rather large stack of German books -- including some kids books, I think -- for the German class she's teaching at Evans Christian Academy this fall. A couple of elementary Japanese storybooks fell into our bag too, though I'm not certain whether Mom or Charlotte was responsible. ;)

We walked a couple blocks back to Medford, stopping in at some of the neat little shops. My favorite was the Greek bakery! They had all sorts of good pastries, breads, and jams. Sorry, Crista, we couldn't resist picking up a box of baklava! The Weather Channel had said yesterday that it was supposed to rain all day today, but it was really sunny and pleasant until the very end. It started raining two blocks from the truck, but we made it in just in time before the downpour! Later, Uncle Kyle and I let a possum trapped by the racoon trap go over on the other side of the river(?).

Greek pastry shopWe JUUUST managed to make it back to the Explorer before it started to pour!We caught a possum in the trap set for the racoons that live under the brown shed.

Pretty cool all in all. :) I wish all of you guys could have come with us! It was grand! Mom and Charlotte visited their gourmet chocolate shops, and found a new destination in one of the train depot turned shopping centers: Tokyo Kid. I'm just glad we got out of there alive and solvent. ;D

That's all folks!

Wednesday, June 2

Books, jeans, and a crayola sunset

Grandma's garden blooms fully.Spring is in full bloom now in Massachusetts. I was telling Sarah in an email how the light up here in the north (both Virginia and now especially Massachusetts) seems so much more brilliant and colorful than back home in Georgia. It's probably just me de-stressing; I think I'm really starting to enjoy myself. :)

Charlotte and I went shopping today with Mom and Dad at Building #19 (our favorite discount store,) and I got some new heavy-duty jeans for Wyoming. Later, Dad, Charlotte, and I headed off to Bargain Books and got several bags' worth of new reading material. Charlotte is a faster reader than I, but I managed to finish one of her new books this evening. It was a very enjoyable read.

Went on a a great walk with my parents today too. We strolled down to the cove and got to see all the plants and flowers -- they're so rich and green and colorful! The tide was the highest I've ever seen it. The weatherman was saying the full moon is a "strawberry moon": one best for harvesting. I saw some guys out in a field today removing the plastic they'd set on the ground to warm their corn... perhaps it's good for other things too.

Well, I need to try to sleep now. We're getting up eightish tomorrow morning to leave for Boston again. We'll get to spend the entire morning, and most of the afternoon with our aunt again, and I think Mom and Charlotte are hoping to visit our favorite foreign-language bookstore, Schoenhof's. They're having a 21% off sale on German and French-related materials ending tomorrow! What fortuitous timing! Mom will be so excited!


Tuesday, June 1

Today was a sleepy day

I woke up at 8:45 and sprang out of bed, but I was really woozy, so I got a glass of water and went back to sleep until 11:30! A near-first for me, to be sure! It was 54 F today all day and cloud soup, but we got a little bit accomplished inside anyway.

I still haven't figured out how to download Mom's camera photos through the printer yet. Uncle Kyle has a nifty everything-in-one scanner/printer/coffee maker/cardreader/this-button-nukes-Canada do-jobby.

It's neat! :)

Well, I should probably go and do something productive now. Bye!

Fun in Boston

Wow! Today was fun! My uncle Kyle and we drove up to Boston today to see the Medford City Parade! My Aunt Charlotte lives in Medford, a city in/near Boston, and teaches music there to some kids at two of the Catholic schools. Unfortunately, Aunt Betty and Grandpa weren't able to come because Grandpa wasn't feeling well this morning. Before we left, Charlotte got to ride on Uncle Kyle's Harley to the convenience store to pick up ice for the watermelon and drinks we were bringing for the shindig at my aunt's house after the parade. I guess Dad and I are the only ones now not to ride it. :)

 Lil sis rides Uncle Kyle's Harley  Boston from the highway  A neat bridge on which we drove

We camped out under some nice shady oaks -- a little too shady we soon discovered as the wind was very cold and strong! The parade officially started at 1:00pm, but we were toward the end of the route, so it started for us at almost 2:00 on the nosey. Those kids must have been so tired! It took the parade another hour to pass us! It was a lot of fun! I haven't seen a big parade since we moved from Maryland in 1996. Here, there were fire engines, live bands, polticians seeking reelection, and a mind-boggling number of bagpipers and drum and bugle corps. Dad was in heaven!

 Bagpipes: Early Celtic Psyops  Aunt Charlotte walking with her bands  One of dozens of firetrucks in the parade  A couple colonial piper and reenactment groups were there too  No parade is complete without horses!  This cycling family were playing pipes, riding hands free.  BANG!

After the parade, we scurried back over to my Aunt's house for some supper out in the backyard with some friends. The food was great! I cooked the burgers and hotdogs, but Aunt Charlotte's friend Seta's mom, Anoush, made some delicious stuffed mushrooms, and Aunt Charlotte had prepared a whole bunch of other good stuff too! I can't begin to tell you how good it is just to hang around and do nothing.

 The first time I was up to visit my Aunt at this house, we did a lot of planting and earth moving back here. Aunt Charlotte transformed a mound of dirt into this. :)  Charlotte enjoys the weather  Aunt Charlotte and her friend Seta play with my aunt's psycho poodle, Bunny

Well, we finally had to leave late in the afternoon... a fine day  Goodbye, Boston well-spent. Among the two-day drive up to Massachusetts, and the 1-hour trips both way to Boston, I've managed to get through about 55% of the Programming Java 2 book I brought with me. :D

Ah... pure relaxation!

I can't wait for tomorrow! I'll take try to take some picture of the cove, but it looks like cold, cold, rain for most of the day.

Keep in touch!