The days grow longer yet again. The cycle starts anew.
Cari and I celebrated the equinox at Cheers, listening to some live music. The first band playing while we were there was quite good. After their set they handed out free CDs. I grabbed one. I continue to be impressed by the quality of the CD, not only in terms of music, but also in terms of production value. Definitive Elements is their name. I've been unable to find any information about them online. The CD came with an email address, though. I should send them email. Without a doubt, though, this is the best free CD (other than gifts, maybe, but those aren't free in the same sense) I've ever received.
Saturday morning I woke up ridiculously early. I Finished packing (i.e. I threw a bunch of dirty clothes into my car) and then had breakfast with Cari. After breakfast we had a few adventures. We went by a liquor store so I could buy some good Belgian beer for my Dad for Christmas. We also went by the fencing place in the JACC, which was interesting. By 10:00 or so I hit the road.
I stopped at a gas station in Farmersville, IL. After purchasing gas and some munchies, the attendant told me "See you next time" as I was leaving. I was amused.
I arrived in Columbia, MO at about 16:30 local time. To my surprise, as I was driving along in Columbia, Perk jumped out at me from behind a tree! Granted, it wasn't extraordinarily surprising, seeing how I'd given Perk fair warning of my imminent arrival and he in turn had given me directions to the tree he would hide behind.
As is rapidly becoming our tradition, Perk and I managed to show yet another Missouri town who's boss. I met Perk's friend Sara, whom I immediately judged to be cool based on the simple fact that she drove a stick. As it turned out, my quick judgement proved true. I had a great time with Perk and Sara.
We started out with dinner at a Thai place, followed by a visit to Flat Branch, a Columbia microbrewery. This place had free samples of their beer, which was cool. I sampled several. I had full glasses of their IPA (which I would deem to be the best IPA I've ever had) and their Honey Wheat (which sucked). I also bought a half gallon of their green chile beer for consumption at home.
After the brewpub we ended up at Sara's apartment. The evening was enlightened by Malibu rum. It started out with talk of determinism and free will, mockery of middle class hippies, and so on. But by the end of the night I had several unexplained wounds and the name "Andrew Hall" stamped all over my left arm and my stomach. Certainly we can be said to have kept ourselves entertained. Beyond that, I can say little more. According to Perk, "we were all in rare form and Sara's apartment was now a seething den of filth and iniquity."
The next morning I departed at about 10:30 Columbia time. I then drove a bunch. I kept myself entertained for a good portion of the trip by listening to Christian radio. Some of it made me sad. I was also amused by Kansas. K2 hit the 20000 mile mark just as I crossed from Missouri into Kansas. I found myself very amused by all the small Kansas towns along I-70 that had signs announcing which famous people had been born there. One common trait of all the famous names I saw was that I doubt any of them are still in Kansas.
Since I'd managed long enough without looking at a map, I took my leave of I-70 and headed South somewhat earlier than originally planned. My map of Colorado as a guide, I haphazardly chose highways, alternately going South and West, until I hit US 50. From there I knew my way again. My chosen route was not optimal, though. I hit US 50 too early, dropping me farther South than I wanted to be. Alas, a lesson for next time. After 930 miles I finally arrived in Crested Butte at 1:30 local time. Since the moon had set just before my arrival and seeing how my eyes were already adjusted to the dark, I spent some minutes gazing at the clear Colorado sky after getting out of my car. I cannot describe the beauty, but I certainly enjoyed it.
I know not how I spent my first full day at home. I think I did some last minute Christmas shopping (less than usual, however, because I'd actually started feeling the Christmas spirit early this year and had bought many presents while still in the midwest). Beyond that, who knows.
Christmas day I awoke early to join my family at mass. After that a brunch, followed by a trip to GUC to pick up Annie, who was flying in from Dallas. At the airport we ran into Father Jim. I was wearing the anarchy shirt Perk had given me, and Father Jim asked me if I was wearing satanic symbols. Hmmm. We returned home, the family complete again at last, and opened presents. I got some fun stuff, the most memorable of which is a Mickey Mouse waffle maker given to me by Annie. I'll have to try it out soon. After that we had some food, some of the beer I'd brought home (Delirium Noel, a special Belgian Christmas beer, is really good), and played cards.
The following day (known to some as Boxing Day, but I'll call it yesterday instead) was rather unfocused. I'd left my glasses in South Bend and saw no reason to wear contacts (until the evening, when I had to drive my sisters around). It was quite nice to wander around with things a little blurry, knowing that that day would not demand the full capability of my vision. Instead I sat around reading a bunch. Arun lent me Carl Sagan's Demon Haunted World, and I finished that up quickly. I rather enjoyed it. It definitely had no profound effect on me, mainly because it was "preaching to the choir" in my case, but I really enjoyed it, it had a lot of great content. The day ended with a trip to the movies. I had my second viewing of Fellowship of the Ring. I still liked it a bunch, though not as much as the first time, simply because the screen was much smaller. I intend to watch it again when I return to South Bend.
Today I read a bunch more, this time Dune. I figure I'll have it done in another day. Plenty more reading remains scheduled for break. I also visited the Gibney's briefly, mainly to help them with a computer problem.
As I write, I've been sipping on a Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve. It's a good beer. Dad found it somewhere. I'll have to look for it in the future.
I know not what the rest of break has in store. Mayhap I will ski soon. Beyond that, sleep and reading are my pleasure. To everyone in Pete's Log land, I hope you had a good Christmas and I hope you can enter into the new year with hope and joy. Until next time, this is crazy euro-pete-o saying "so long, drive safe, and keep the glass cleaner out of reach of the kids!"