Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Happy New Year!

I know it's still 2010, but who am I kidding if I think I'll post anything else between now and 2011. I'm generally pretty busy lately, between the hours at work (Sunday I worked 15 hours, 19 minutes) and the two growing boys. If it weren't for a case of redbull induced insomnia (brought on by a single redbull this morning, and a coke tonight, I'm a lightweight sometimes), I wouldn't have time for this.

There's a lot that has gone on this past year which I haven't posted about, and most of it's been good. We've moved out on our own for the first time in our married lives. Finances take on a different tone whenever you're providing your whole livelihood, but "awesome" is not a big enough word to describe what it's like to have your own space for your family, so the added stress is worth it. Adding to the stress, my mother in law has to return to her former position at work, which means that she will not be working from home anymore. She has been good enough to watch our kids for us while we've been at work, and as she will no longer be able to do that, we've had ample opportunity to reconsider our current career choices, to see if MJ can get more flexibility in her schedule so we can do with less babysitting. It's likely that she'll be switching to part-time at the airport, and resuming her career as a massage therapist. That should give her greater flexibility, more pay for fewer hours, and get her back to doing something she's loved. We're still looking into it, seeing if it's as feasible as we hope, but it looks good so far.

I've had my first interview for medical school. It's the one I really want to get into, too. Acceptance would mean I can stay around here for the next four years, and from everything I hear or read, they've got a really good program, amazing equipment and facilities, good partnerships with a number of local hospitals, and a reputation for having a good, cooperative, uplifting student body. I felt pretty good about the interview day, and I loved the campus, but I know that for any applicant the statistics are against you. For the 2012 graduating class, 1132 applicants were invited to interview, and of those, 270 were offered acceptance. Many of them must have had more than one acceptance because only 156 took the offer. I'm more interested in the 270, since I just need to get as far as the offer, but that's still only about the top quarter of applicants who looked good enough to interview, that are accepted. I have never had any difficulty keeping in the top quarter academically, but this isn't the usual competition. I've heard that some people find out that they are accepted within a matter of weeks, but I believe the normal thing is to hear in mid to late March which of three categories you fall in. One is most likely accepted, the second you may have good chances especially if you rank towards the top, and the other, you just hope you have some eggs in another basket somewhere, because this one's not going to work for you. I have a few other eggs, but although I know I'll love wherever I go, I've got my sights set here.

In lighter news, the trip to DisneyWorld went very well. Much of that is already on my wife's blog, but there are a couple of things that she left for me. First, in Florida, they call a speed bump a hump. We had a few giggles on that one. That's right. We're mature like that. The other, is that Taco Bell officially has the worst toys in their kid's meals. First, here's the top view of the box it came in.

The text on the bottom of the box read, "Careful when opening, the box is part of the toy." I like to picture some executive in CrapToys, sitting at a desk and thinking to himself about how you can get a kid a toy, and he'll just play with the box. And then he thinks, "Eureka, I've got the perfect toy!" That's right, when you've got to save the box to play with, you know the toy inside's going to be good. And here it is.

We call it BoxHead, and it served the purposes of entertaining him in the car, for all of a minute or so. We're not sure what you're really supposed to do with it. The head, being a cardboard box, is a little fragile, and the desk is practically broken as soon as you put it together. It also came with a sticker sheet, although stickers don't really adhere to the box, or the desk thing, or the plastic body. Maybe it's the stickers that sucked, but if you really have to draw that line, try to figure out which part of the toy sucks more, the whole toy is crap.

Good trip though. We got to swim in the ocean and watch the sun rise while swimming in the ocean. We got to take the kids to Disney while they're still young enough to be free, and we got pictures to prove it to them later. Good times.

So that's 2010 thus far for me. looking forward for a couple more things before the year's up, the first Christmas on our own, and for anyone who's not up on current astronomical events (which included me until Sunday), today is Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest night, and about midnight, the full moon will be blotted out by the Earth's shadow. Sort of poetic and all. The last time a lunar eclipse coincided with winter solstice was 1638, so that's fun. I've been a little bit of an astronomy nut since taking a physics lab where the instructor gave a couple points of extra credit for anyone who went to this after school event by the astronomy club, and signed a sheet to show that we were there. The sheet actually signed us up for the astronomy club, so I got a few emails from them for future events, and I have since seen Jupiter and a couple of its moons, seen mercury cross in front of the sun (using a hydrogen alpha filter on the telescope of course), and sort of saw the eclipse in February 2008, but it was a bit cloudy. I'll likely be up at the in-laws, where there are no city lights, to see this one, so hope for clear skies.

Update: Scratch that eclipse thing. Apparently that was last night. Things I read said it was on the 21st, but I think they're just stretching to make the solstice thing fit. I go on today, and notice things are saying, "depending on where you live the eclipse will be either late on the 20th, or early morning on the 21st." Awesome. There's always the one on June 15th next year, if you're in eastern Africa, the Middle East, or India, and the one on December 10th, which should be going on here just before sunrise.