Top 10 Christmas Movies

In the Christmas season we tend to binge watch our favorite Christmas movies.  We love these movies so much their viewing tends to spill over into the rest of the winter.

Here’s our top 10 Christmas movies that we are currently watching:

1. A Christmas Story

My all time favorite Christmas movie.  I remember watching this movie when I was a kid, and one year I actually got a BB Gun for Christmas!

2. Home Alone

This year it seems that this movie is #1 with the family.  The finale scene rocks.

3. The Santa Clause

Another favorite for the kids.  Supposedly #3 is better than #1, but #1 is the staple in our house.

4. Polar Express

We may have almost worn out this movie.  The kids love it.

5. Christmas Vacation

I love the griswalds!

6. Elf

This one is a classic that the whole family enjoys.  Michele’s top Christmas movie, but probably somewhere in my personal top 5.

7. It’s a Wonderful Life

One of my favorites.  The kids aren’t too into this one, but I love it!

8. Miracle on 34th Street

I used to watch this one when I was a kid.  The kids aren’t too into it, but it’s a must watch for me each year.

9. How the Grinch Stole Christmas

The Jim Carrey version is a classic, but we also watch the original animated version.

10. Bad Santa

We actually don’t own this one yet, but I remember watching it a couple years ago and remember it being frekkin hilarious!  Definitely top on my list of movies to purchase.

First Day of Winter!

It’s officially the first day of winter!  There’s something relieving about knowing that each day from now on will have more daylight than the one before.  Winter can get a little depressing when it’s dark in the morning before work and still dark when you get home.  There is just no time to enjoy the daylight.

This is why, being a new englander, you need to take up a winter activity to stay sane.  For the past couple years since we’ve taken up skiing more regularly, we are actually looking forward to the winter!

Last weekend had some of the most unbelieveable ski conditions we’ve experienced in a couple years.  We were skiing in literally 2 feet of powder.  It was up to our knees while going down the trails.  We were in pure heaven.

Ironically, the kids hated it.  They weren’t used to skiing in powder and kept falling.  Once they were on the ground they had a hard time getting back up and were just getting frustrated.  Some day they’ll understand that these are rare days in new england.

So rare in fact the conditions did a complete 180 within 24 hours.  We went from unbelieve powder on Saturday to a complete downpour on Sunday and many of the trails closed.  We decided to have breakfast at Polly’s Pancake Parlor (which I highly recommend) instead.

Just another weekend in the whites!

Tonight’s bedtime story, C programming!

A couple weeks ago I gave Eli (now 8) my first programming book, “C By Example” from Que.  The original edition I had was from 1992.

From the time I first laid my hands on a computer I was hooked.  I devoured giant books like these on MS-DOS, QBasic, C, Pascal, and x86 Assembly language.  By the time I was in 8th grade I had written many large programs and was proficient in all of the above languages.

Eli is definitely cut from the same cloth.  He first got interested in Kindergarten when each kid has to complete an ‘hour of code’ (from code.org, a great site by the way).  He’s extremely curious, much in the same ways I was at his age.

I started showing him a little simple python code, where he could prompt the user a question, check the results, show random text, etc.  He’s really excited about it, but I still think the mental concepts are a little out of his reach.

So, for bedtime reading, we’ve been going through this book starting at page 1.  It’s pretty entertaining given how outdated the book is (25 years old, gulp!)  Computers were so much simpler then.  The book really starts with the fundamentals of how a computer works from a low level.

I’m finding that a lot of Computer Science programs don’t even teach low level languages anymore.  A typical CS program will start with Java or Python as its initial language.  Most schools don’t even teach C unless you are pursuing an EE degree.

While it is great how quickly you can become productive in these languages, something is definitely lost when you don’t learn the fundamentals of how a processor, memory, and disk work.  I’ve noticed that many entry level engineers are impatient and just want to ‘make things work’, rather than understanding how things work.

Ski Weekend #2; more snow, and Tommy gets it!

We had a successful second weekend skiing up at Bretton Woods.  This weekend there were a lot more open trails, with 17 open by Sunday.  Much better than 5 the previous week!

First off, I thought I’d share some pics of the house we are staying at in Whitefield, about a 20 minute drive from Bretton Woods.  Here’s our view of the Lake, which is already frozen!

forest lake, whitefield, nh forest lake, whitefield, nh

The house has 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, and a nice great room for everyone to sprawl out in:

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Overall we’ve been super happy with the place, it feels like we’re going on a vacation every weekend!

Now, back to skiing.  The weather has been good to the mountain so far.  Temps have been low, enabling the crews to keep the guns running nonstop.  Unfortunately we haven’t had any blockbuster snowfall at the lower (3000′) elevation YET, but I’m sure it will come soon enough.

 

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Above is a shot of Eli and Aaron at the top.  In the background you can see a mountain (Waumbeck I think) covered in snow and the distinct elevation line where that snow occurred.  Unfortunately that line is above Bretton Woods.  Mt. Washington, the mountain right next to us, got something like 4 feet of snow this past week!

The boys did great skiing.  They are all really loving it.  I spend most of the day w/ Eli and Aaron, while Michele is teaching Tommy on the bunny slope.  This week Tommy learned pizza and french fries, and was able to ski down the whole run by himself.  We’re sure he’ll be up at the top in a few weeks!

Another great addition to the mountain this year is the waffle cabin!  The boys loved the sugary treat!

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Kicking off the Ski Season

This weekend we kicked off the ski (snowboarding for me) season at Bretton Woods.  This year we rented a house up in Whitefield, NH on Forest Lake from 12/1-4/1.  We split the rental with another family that has 2 kids about the same age as ours.

Here’s a current trailmap of Bretton Woods:

bretton-woods-trail-map

Overall there were only 4 trails open on Saturday and 3 on Sunday.  The mountain crew was blowing snow on lots of trails so we’re hoping more will be open next weekend.

Here are some pics of the kids having fun:

The house is pretty awesome (pics soon), with lots of frontage on the lake.  We’re hoping to be able to do some ice skating on the pond once it freezes up.  Also, they have a nice big fireplace near the dock that should be fun.  The only downside to the house is that it uses lake water and there is no filtration.  The water really tastes like a fish tank.

Eli and Aaron are doing excellent skiing.  Tommy is still on the bunny slopes using the harness.  He gets exhausted after a couple hours and super cranky, so we’re going to have to figure out how to make that work.

In addition to the season passes, we rented a locker in the lodge this year.  It was pretty expensive but we’re hoping it will be a huge logistics saver.  No need to pack/unpack all of our gear each week.

Overall we’ve found the skiing life to be perfect for our family.  We all enjoy it and get super excited about it during the week.  We get to spend a solid 8 hours a day with the kids enjoying the outdoors.  This is sure to create memories for all of us.

My Reading List

I try to read as many books as possible.  I have the bad habit of reading too many books in parallel and then quickly losing interest and not finishing the majority of the books I read.  I’m working on it.

Currently I’m reading:

“The Art of the Start” by: Guy Kawasaki

This one is a classic business book and a must read.  I actually just completed this one, and will probably do a detailed review.  Overall I highly recommend it.


The Nomadic Developer: Surviving and Thriving in the World of Technology Consulting

This book is about the life of a software consultant.  So far I’m about 80% of the way through it.  It’s more geared towards a junior developer who is thinking about joining a consulting company.  Not really targeted towards me but so far I’ve found it interested to get a glimpse into the lifestyle of a consultant developer.


The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich

Another absolute classic.  I first read this one many years back.  I actually lost it for many years and just found it, so I thought I’d give it another read through.  This book is chock full of tips on managing your work life and improving your productivity.


Buying a Second Home: Income, Getaway or Retirement

Michele and I are thinking about getting a place up in the whites as a home base for skiing, hiking, and potentially water sports.  I’m about 25% through this one and so far the content is pretty obvious.


So, four books in progress is fairly light for me.  I’ll try to post some detailed book reviews.  I figure the blog would be a good way for me to reinforce any lessons from these books.

I Hate Mice

I Hate Mice.  I’ve been battling them all summer long.  We never had an issue in previous years, but for some reason this year they are everywhere.

It’s so bad that one night I opened my hockey bag in the locker room and a mouse jumped out and ran all around (I store my bag in the garage)!  Another time I was walking in the backyard and stepped on one with my bare feet!  Yuck!

I’ve caught several in the garage and a bunch more in the shed.  I now have traps everywhere.  I feel bad killing them but I don’t really see another option.  Where are all the hawks?

Anyways, I store the Christmas decorations in our shed.  Most of the things are in plastic tubs, but we bought these nice vinyl bags to store our garland.  So, turns out mice have been nesting in there for a while, since the bags were all torn and they were wet with pee and feces.  Mouse turds are a pain in the ass to clean and they are everywhere!

Does anyone know a good way to deter mice from entering a building, rather than just trapping the ones that are already there?

My Intellivision Collection

Geek Alert!

Ok, so I know it’s a totally geeky hobby, but I’ve started collecting Intellivision games a few months ago.  For those that don’t know, Intellivision is a gaming console from Mattel that was released in 1979.  It was very popular in the early eighties and then lost steam when more powerful systems game out like the NES.

We had an intellivision growing up and I get nostalgic when I think about playing these games as a kid.  It turns out that the system isn’t super collectible, so you can get a console and games for relatively cheap on ebay.

Here’s a pic of the console I recently picked up:

intellivision system

My current game collection:

intellivision game collection

I’ve been trying to only buy games in boxes.  The artwork back then was pretty awesome.

Here’s my current list of games:

  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Nova Blast
  • Microsurgeon
  • Atlantis
  • Dragonfire
  • Swords & Serpents
  • Bump n’ Jump
  • World Cup Soccer
  • Blockade Runner
  • The Power of He-Man
  • Mission-X
  • Burgertime
  • Frogger
  • Tron Deadly Discs
  • Tron Maze-a-Tron
  • Pinball
  • Space Armada
  • Space Spartans
  • B-17 Bomber
  • Bomb Squad
  • Space Battle
  • Star Strike
  • Astrosmash
  • Sub Hunt
  • Advanced Dungeons & Dragons
  • Lock N’ Chase
  • Night Stalker
  • Pac-Man
  • Major League Baseball
  • Poker & Blackjack
  • Sea Battle

Most of the games only have a few screens in them.  I’ve tried to get the kids into it, but they lose interest in less than a minute.

In addition to collecting, I’ve started listening to a podcast dedicated exclusively to the console, called Intellivisionaries.  They have some great interviews with original programmers of the games.  Also, it turns out there is quite the homebrew game community and indie games sprouting up for the console.

Who starts a blog in 2016?

I’m starting a personal blog, yup.  It’s a couple decades overdue.  Actually I had a livejournal in college, my wife and I had a baby blog for the first 2 kids, and I have an anonymous blog on work related things (maybe I’ll reveal it in the future!), so I’m not too new to these things.

I’ve had the daveweatherwax.com domain registered for 5-10 years now and put no more effort into it than a ‘coming soon’ landing page.

I thought I’d give this a try and see if I can stick to it.

Is anyone reading this thing?