Month: <span>December 2004</span>

I watched this evening on the Discover channel (via TiVo), a great documentary about Stephen Hawking, his life, his work on cosmology, black holes, the fate of the universe, and the nature of time: A Brief History of Time — also the name of his book on the subject.

It’s been on before, I think on PBS, but I’m not sure. If you get a chance, do check it out.

It probably contains nothing too revelatory for a working physical scientist, but certainly there may be some juicy nuggets for the novice physics buff like myself. He’s led a fascinating life.

After all: How many people do you know who are essentially quadriplegic, can’t speak without the help of a computer, and despite their debilities, have had a world-class career in … well, in anything really?


It’s really cold here. As the pilot on the airplane said the other day, it’s a “balmy 6 degrees”. Cold enough that it’s uncomfortable to be outside for more than a minute or two at a time. At least it’s not wet, or we’d be completely trapped indoors.

We did some last-minute shopping today. Gifts include books, movies, and jewelry. All objects of indulgence in most other cultures. We’re thankful that we have the time and the money to indulge, and more thankful to share indulgences with afmily and loved ones.

Last night we had a wonderful Indian dinner, hosted by mom’s Indian friends, and then we decorated our last-minute tree. Tomorrow we’ll open gifts, but they won’t be under the tree or else the dog will eat them, or the kittens will tear up the wrapping paper.

Sunday maybe a trip to Chicago, or maybe out to a movie. Monday a nice dinner, and Tuesday it’s back home. With only a tiny amount of luck, the airport will have enough de-icer on hand, and we won’t be delayed again.


Here we are in Milwaukee. It was a bit of an ordeal getting here, but we made it anyway.

In Dallas, we were getting a little snow — not too much, but enough for the avaiation people to (quite rightly) decide that they should use de-icer on the planes before allowing them to take off.

Just one problem: The folks at the Airport in Dallas (not sure exactly which folks), think quite a bit like the drivers in Dallas: “There’s no way it’ll freeze, I’ll be able to make it home — no problem…”

Well folks, News Flash: It did freeze. What’s worse? You idiots ran out of de-icer.

No kidding — the pilot came on the P.A. about 30 minutes after we were to take off, and told us that they would have to send trucks out to get more de-icer, and it would take 60 to 90 minutes. I’d never heard of such a thing, but Dallas drivers were new to me as well, so I shouldn’t have been surprised…

So, we arrived here 3+ hours late, and it took almost as long to get here from Dallas as it did for me to get to Dallas from Amsterdam last week. But we arrived intact, and none the worse for wear.

Tomorrow we get a tree, wrap gifts, and start to get ready for Christmas. There’s a little snow still on the ground from a few days ago. Maybe there will be fresh snow for Christmas. The odds are pretty good…