I think it's winter -- 12/28/01
I've been cold since I got back from France. Actually, that's not quite correct: in reality I've been cold for the past three weeks, ever since I left here to go to France.

There were a few days when the weather here was warmer than the weather in Nice. Yes, it's the French Riviera, has a Mediterranean climate and all that... but this was December in that Mediterranean climate and although it was warmer there than in the rest of France (where temperatures dipped well below freezing), it was still December. Checking the weather in that area back in late November and early December showed lots of highs in the upper fifties and with lows that were only about ten degrees or so lower. The trouble was that I arrived there to find highs in the forties... which tended to include lows again about ten degrees colder... which meant that on a few days the overnight lows were around freezing... and temperatures at my work location in the mountains behind Nice were a bit brisker... I had not brought a winter jacket (which I would have packed for sure if I had been going to Paris) and was attempting to get by with a sports jacket, a heavy sweater, and a zip-front hooded sweatshirt. And that was not a bad wardrobe... a heavy jacket was not needed to drive from Nice to La Gaude... but at night I often found myself wandering about trying to see the sights and find a restaurant while wearing that sports jacket (typically having brought the heavy sweater along but having left it in the car because it didn't occur to me to put it on... *sigh* just foolishly forgetful). It is just a very strange sensation to feel cold while walking on streets lined with palm trees. However, I also often felt cold at work... not while I was standing and lecturing, but other times, just sitting in the classroom or talking with people or eating in the cafeteria. (Speaking of the company cafeteria... I don't think I had mentioned how strange it seemed to be in a Big Computer Company cafeteria where wine is available by the bottle and beer by the glass... and that mounds of French bread are available after you pay for your meal, available for free along with the salt and pepper and salad dressings, etc., considered as basic to the meal as condiments...but the temperatures were still cold!))

And the weather back in Rhode Island turned colder while I was away, so that I returned to more usual seasonable temperatures rather than the unseasonably mild fall we had been having. Now I see that the long range weather forecast says New England should expect an extended bout of Canadian chill (gee, thanks a lot, Canada) and arctic air masses.

Sean had been having computer problems this week. He hooked up his new computer monitor and CD-burner right away on Christmas Day... no problems... but I had also given him two 128 Mb memory modules (to replace a pair of 64 Mb modules) so that his memory would double from 128 Mb to 256 Mb. (which should result in improved speed because he tends to do a lot of graphics intensive stuff)... In order to install the memory he had to move some cables and (eventually) remove his diskette drive and hard drive in order to have clear access to that area of the motherboard... but then his computer would not reboot.... Naturally (being a 16 yr old male) he had not noted the cable connections, etc. before removing them... he kept insisting that everything was the same... but the system wouldn't boot... I called Nancy in to help (because she does not wear bifocals and has smaller fingers and also has had a lot of experience in doing memory upgrades) but she couldn't see any problems and agreed that a cable must not be hooked up right... Sean spend hours on the problem... and eventually discovered that he had indeed had a cable connected incorrectly and now everything is fine.

The router for our LAN is in our bedroom (along with the cable modem) and we had run a cable to Sean's bedroom so he had Internet access... as part of his move to the basement he had to get the cable down to there... ran the cable into a hallway closet, drilled a hole through the closet floor, leading a first floor closet, ran the cable down through that closet, drilled a hole in its floor, and there he was, cable to the basement. (He was able to connect his television up in the basement because there was alread a cable line there that had used to go to the kitchen.)

I took advantage of this extended time at home to install an ethernet card in Jennifer's PC (as well as install an internal Zip drive she's had laying around uninstalled for months)... so now the home LAN is complete... Jennifer and Sean and Nancy each have Internet access via our router and there is still an available port on the router for me to use whenever I get a new machine for myself. I use my laptop to write these entries, but then I have to use a dial-up phone connection to upload them to Geocities. My laptop also has a token-ring card, because that's what we use at work. There is an old ethernet card in it as well, but I don't have an adapter for a cat5 cable with an RS232 plug nor do I have the drivers for it. I was given a new ethernet card at work but it is the wrong model for my laptop, won't fit.

Nancy and I went to see Harry Potter on Wednesday and both found it to be very enjoyable, a lot of fun, with an excellent cast and marvelous special effects.... and we didn't even have to bring any children with us as an excuse to get in.... At some point we really want to see the first of the Lord of the Rings movies. We had expected to be able to see them in a local theatre -- The Campus Cinema in Wakefield or the Narragansett Cinema in (of course) Narragansett -- each of which has three screens -- however the closest theatre showing it is about twenty miles away (hey, this is Rhode Island, that's equal to halfway across the entire state!) in various shopping mall multiplexes. I wonder if this has anything to do with the fact that the two local theatres I mentioned are both owned and operated by a local guy, not by one of the big chains... there is a new area of development on Route 1, outside of the Wakefield business district, a collection of apartments and shopping that will include a multiplex cinema (this is a very controversial project locally and you will never be able to convince me that payoffs were not made to force this thing through... yeah, this is Rhode Island) and I have feared that once one of those big chains got into the area, the local guy would be forced out of business because the distributers would prefer to deal with the big chains. Perhaps that kind of thing is already beginning to happen even before the big guys get open.

It has been wonderfully peaceful to relax around the house and run into town on errands and come back and read a book and drink coffee and eat Christmas cookies. Oh, I have accomplished a few things around the house, etc. but mostly have been trying to recover from 2001 and rest up so I will be ready for 2002.

We've invited Nancy's mother over for New Year's Eve along with Nancy's sister Janet and her husband and teenaged daughters.... we're thinking lasagna for dinner... and an evening playing games and watching videos. This is similar to what we did two years ago to celebrate the turning of the years from 1999 to 2000.

I've been toying with the idea of a redesign of my home page (the index.html page)... although I tend to be resistant to change, etc.... that page has looked pretty much the same for more than five years now... and maybe it's time to freshen it up a bit... start the new year with a new look.

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