|1.||Marina & the Diamonds|
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Well, I’ve intended to write a new blog since October, but have found myself rather busy and until now, didn’t quite get around to doing so. I’m now sitting on a flight back to Minneapolis after my trip to Tahoe, listening to air traffic control on Channel 9. (First United flight I’ve been on in ages which has had Channel 9 enabled!) So it seems like a good time to write this. No doubt you’re all wondering what’s been going on in my life recently, so here goes!
As you probably know, I’m now living in Minneapolis, Minnesota, having moved here in early October. I’ve been settling in pretty well, and am enjoying it so far. Living in a large house in a nice part of the city, quite close to everything, which is handy. Plus the famous Minnesota winter has so far been reasonably tolerable for me. Lots of snow recently, and I think the lowest temperature I’ve experienced is about -25°C. It’s funny how quickly you get used to it though – -5°C now seems pretty warm to me! Of course, the downside it seems is that the Minnesotan winter drags on until about April, but luckily for me I’ll be skipping most of it – more on that later!
Anyway, yes, so far I have been enjoying Minneapolis, and work – it’s good being in the office with everyone else, and not just for the free doughnuts on company meeting day. 😉 My first few months have seen various interesting things happen, some of which I shall try to recount here, if I can remember them all! I experienced Halloween American-style, becoming the character of Shaun from Shaun of the Dead (made more convincing by the fact I’m British, of course). There are some photos lurking around somewhere, so I’ll probably upload them eventually. A week or two later, most of the developers at CodeWeavers, myself included, were off to WineConf, which this year was in the Netherlands. It was pretty fun, although I was literally just there from Friday to Monday, so it was a very brief and jetlaggy weekend!
Other things that happened after that… hmm… well, there was my first Thanksgiving, which involved eating far too much food and attempting to understand an American football game. I think I preferred the Rock Band which later took place. I also attended my first ice hockey game, which was a college game between Duluth and Minnesota. Confusingly, of course, Duluth is in Minnesota, but the “Minnesota” team is basically the main Twin Cities team. Anyway, Duluth won, and we lost. 🙁 A fun game though, something I may well see some more of at some point. That same day we’d taken a tour of the Summit brewery, which is based in St Paul. One thing that did surprise me somewhat was the variety of nice beers available here – lots of microbreweries and the like. I guess I’d got too used to the cinematic version of American bars, which naturally only includes big names like Budweiser or Miller that pay for the product placement!
Speaking of beer, every week now my housemates and I have been partaking in a local pub quiz at the Leaning Tower of Pizza. Our team, which begun as “The Flying Scotsman” and went through a variety of names (typically with the word “flying” replaced with something that vaguely rhymes), has generally done reasonably well – some relatively bad weeks, and some pretty good weeks, with us coming 2nd or 3rd on a number of occasions. We alas haven’t yet come first at LT, but we did also try another quiz at a place called King’s, at which we have a 100% success ratio – we played there twice, and came first twice! We may have to return there again soon, clearly, to make it a hat trick!
Anyway, where was I? Ah, yes, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving finally brought what was more or less the start of winter (this November was one of the mildest Novembers since records began, apparently!), with a load of snow falling in the first week of December, which generally stuck around. And December of course brought Christmas, and then New Year. Christmas was a relatively quiet affair for me, but I was quite content with a nice steak and the Doctor Who specials. Then, after New Year, I was off to Lake Tahoe for skiing, and to see Rachel again of course. The trip was pretty fun, with me getting a bit better at skiing (I can somewhat do parallel turns, it would seem). I also rented a car for a couple of days and took some trips into California, visiting Sacramento and the Apple Hill area, which is full of, as the name might suggest, apple-growers! Rachel and I also ended up going out to a town called Hawthorne, located in the middle of nowhere (relatively speaking) in Nevada. This actually provided a quite enjoyable trip, with an interesting drive there along some scenery which was partially quite spectacular, and partially rather dull. Speaking of spectacular scenery, my flight from Reno – Denver was one of the first flights I’ve been on in the continental US where I’ve been in a window seat (most of my long-distance flights I prefer aisle seats), and I noticed just how massive and, well, spectacular the Rocky Mountains are. Alas, I didn’t get any photos, but it certainly made for an interesting view. All in all, a fun week. I shall be uploading photos from the trip as a whole probably in the next week or two, as and when I have some time.
Speaking of next week (well, tomorrow), we have a big CodeWeavers company meeting here in St Paul. I’m not quite sure how we’re going to cram everybody into the office, but thankfully we do have a conference room hired for most of our meetings and the like, I believe!
Anyway, the week after next, I’m heading back to the UK! As I’m sure you all remember from my previous blog post, I’m going to become a father in about 5 weeks, so I’m heading back a week on Thursday, and shall be heading up to Scotland soon after that. One of the benefits of my job is that I can work remotely during the few months I’ll be staying in the UK, so that is at least handy. I will return to the US in April, but for how long I’m not currently sure. Either way, it’s all very exciting – really not long at all to go now!
Right, well, there are probably other things I’ve forgotten about that I should have mentioned, but we’re approaching MSP, so I should turn off the ol’ computer. Hopefully I’ll be able to post another blog a bit more quickly than I did this one!
(Of course, I wasn’t able to post this blog on the plane, so for “now” read “last night”.)
Just a quick message to wish all visitors to my site a very happy new year. 🙂