Fri, 30th Jan '09, 1:05 am::

This week has been extremely stressful. It's pretty much study, work, traffic, chores, study, work, traffic, chores, study, work, traffic, and chores non-stop all day with barely any rest. From now till the end of this year, I won't have a single week to relax. Hopefully all of this effort will be worth it in the end. Other than stress and lack of sleep, everything is going well.

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Sat, 24th Jan '09, 11:45 pm::

If Giga had a diary, today's entry would say "Dear diary, today for the first time I explored our backyard and climbed a tree on my own. My new friend Cookie and the puppy Jack were running around and I had a great time chewing on some fresh grass while my daddy and mommy relaxed in the hammock all afternoon." Good thing Giga doesn't have a diary because most of the entries for past two weeks would say "I hate my daddy and mommy because twice a day, right before my meals, they hold me down by the scruff of my neck and force feed me some yucky banana-tasting medicine!" Giga has been a little sick lately and so the vet put him on antibiotics. It was good to see him up and about today in the yard.

The weather was finally warm enough today to sit outside and relax. We've been quite busy now that school has started. I have two classes on Monday and Tuesday till March and then two classes on Tuesday and Wednesday till May. I don't know about my summer classes yet. I doubt I will be able to blog as freely and passionately as I did last year. There's always next year :)

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Sat, 17th Jan '09, 11:30 am::

Our hammock and stand arrived this week and Juliet and I got to relax in it first time for a few hours this morning. It's pretty cold outside so we were bundled up in multiple blankets with our pets jumping all over us. I can't wait till it gets warmer when we can lay out looking up at the sky all evening. Our backyard is quite isolated and there are no bright sources of light nearby so hopefully we can stargaze for hours.

I had a busy week and don't really feel like working on the computer today. My boss gave us two tickets (yay free! Go Eric!) to a hockey game in Tampa tonight and I'm excited to go. I'm not really a sports fan and don't follow any team in any sport but I love going to games and being part of the crowd, cheering for the local teams. Other than that, I just have a ton of chores on my list for today. School starts on Tuesday so I won't have much free time after this weekend.

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Mon, 12th Jan '09, 12:05 am::

I was reading the Serendipity page on Wikipedia and by mistake I clicked on the 'Pileated Woodpecker' link under the main image on the right. Suddenly I realized that this is exactly the type of bird that I took a photo of yesterday when I went to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve with Juliet. I was not able to identify the bird till just now. Serendipitous indeed.

This weekend we watched three light-hearted comedic films. Friday night we saw Yes Man, Saturday night we caught Bedtime Stories with Sandra and her daughter Madison, and tonight we rented Forgetting Sarah Marshall from a local Redbox kiosk for $1/night. I love the concept of Redbox - a vending machine that rents out DVDs and you can reserve them online in advance. I just wish there was one within walking distance of my house.

It's about two months from SXSW 2009 and I can't wait. I'm taking Juliet with me this time even though we'll only be there for 3-4 days. I hope we get to see lots of unreleased and unknown films like I did last year. The amazing movie-going experience was definitely one of my favorite things about SXSW. Hope there's a repeat this year.

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Sat, 10th Jan '09, 6:40 pm::

Juliet and I went to Boyd Hill Nature Preserve in south St. Petersburg today. It was a gorgeous Florida winter day and here are some photos of our hike. Earlier in the day, we both donated blood. Both of our blood type is A+ and it's usually in high demand. After our nature hike, we went to Home Depot and got some stuff to build a covered enclosure for our tortoise Herbert in the backyard. It took under an hour to build it all and I'll post pictures of that tomorrow. We're going out with Sandra tonight to an art show downtown in a few minutes.

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Sat, 3rd Jan '09, 1:50 pm::

It's been about a week since we returned from our 2,900 mile-long road-trip from Florida to New York via Atlanta, Virginia, Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New Jersey. I don't have all the pictures of the trip yet but here are some of the photos from my camera. Everyone we spent time with took photos with their own cams so it will take some time for me to collect them all.

After hitting New Jersey, we went to New York to see the family of my maternal uncle Kaushik Mama. I hadn't seen them for over four years and it was wonderful talking to Priyanka and Jenesha about our pets and my kayaking trips. We stopped by Arthur's house for the night on the way back from New York and saw my friends Tim and Michele the next morning. Right after that we left for Florida and I drove non-stop for twenty-seven hours with only three hours of stops in between. Surprisingly, I was not much tired after the drive and wouldn't mind doing long road-trips like this again.

We listened to a bunch of audio books during the long drives and I think that is what really kept me awake. Listening to music, no matter how loud and upbeat, makes me lose focus after a while even if I try to sing-along. Listening to interesting stories on audio books kept me awake and eager to hear the next sentence, paragraph, and chapter. Before I knew it, I had driven 400 miles across three states. Overall, this was a wonderful trip and I hope to have tons more all across the US with Juliet in the future.

Our classes will resume in a week or two. We have a few more days to relax before things get chaotic and stressful. Neither of us has a spring or summer break so that means we'll pretty much be studying non-stop from January to December with at most a 2-3 day break in between. The only rest we'll have is one evening here and another Saturday morning there when we can spend some time away from studies and with each other. Hopefully sxsw 2009 will be a fun get away for us. We're going out tonight to hang out with a few people and then I'm working on some of my projects tomorrow. And so begins 2009.

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Thu, 1st Jan '09, 1:05 am::

Happy New Year!!!

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