We just got back from family home evening, a church activity that is reserved mostly for families to have time to be able to spend together and to learn spiritual things. Since I don't have a family here, and since many of the single people here do not, they have this activity for us as well. I always learn a lot, and seem to have been able to meet more people from this area ay this activity. My church does a reasonably good job of connecting young single people together in it's activities and outreach things. This is true if you actually go to the activities. If you don't go, or if no one has invited you to go, church can be a sadly foreign and inhospitable lace. It only takes one person to invite another, and also to make church be a more friendly landscape, and I think I need to do a better job at being friendly and inviting to new people, or people who haven't been back in a while. It also takes only one person to scare smeone off, and this is not a good thing either.
Continuing onward. I guess I'll talk about events in reverse chronological order. Why? Because I can. Cut for the friendly use of your friends page Lots of reading, but I think worth it, of course I'm biased..
First, presentation number two at the Oak Ridge National Labs is OVER!!! I'm not sure why I worried about getting both of them done, but I think this is the way of a presenter. We presenters are anxious about our presentations even if we've had them prepared for a while because we are unsure of unknowns. We don't know what questions will come, and let's face it, no matter how much experience we've garnered from doing presentations for school or church, we're just dang nervous. We had no problems obtaining my "escort required visitor's badge" (most people don't require an escort). They tell me that I wasn't found in any criminal database, but that they weren't sure what to do because the form had it noted that I had a guide dog, so they just noted that I needed an escort (duh). Whatever. So we went through the gates, and the first thing that I noticed was how huge the place seemed to be. It was about five minutes of driving through the backwoods that were still on government property at 25 to 30 miles per hour before we got from the gate to the visitor center and then three more minutes to the main SNS (Spalation Neutron Source) building, which was where I presented. The presentation itself lasted about an hour and questions lasted about a half an hour or so. There were about ten people there, but many people who were group leaders and various really smart scientists from various ORNL organizations present. One of the guys who is the director of the computer and science part of SNS asked me all kinds of questions about what I do and how I do it, and then I got to ask him about the supercomputer and how it works. Here at ORNL, they have the second largest unclassified supercomputer in the world. Right now, it's got 10000 dual core AMD processors (A lot) and it's got a cooling system that creates it's own misty environment out in the back of the building. There's a reason why the supercomputer is here in Oak Ridge, and most of that is because of the large amounts of electricity that is available thanks to the TVA (a relic from the war time nuclear bomb making and research frenzy of the 1940s). Overall, all of the questions were wellthought out, and I really liked it, partly because of the low key nature of the meeting, and also because these people took time out of their schedules as really important people to listen to me. It was slightly amusing that I was the one yawning as I answered questions. I think I was the only one who yawned. Note to self, not a good thing for a presenter to do.
If you want the short story. No, spending three days together didn't reveal a dark side of either of us. We actually tolerated each other, and tolerated it nicely. Who knows, we might just do this weekend thing again som eay :P. She came over on Friday afternoon, and we decided to watch The Fountain that evening. Before that, we went to this really neat place in Oak Ridge called The Magic Wok Chineese Restaurant. It's basically this really small hole in the wall Chinese shack where this couple works there and owns the place. I'm not sure what the guy's name is, but the person who made our food's name is Betty, and she loves to not only dish out food, but she likes dishing out life advice. She told us that making food that is not fresh is "really scary" but making food fresh in front of us made her "very very happy". I asked her if she had anyone else working for her, and she said that no, her husband was the only one working with her. she told us, and this is classic, "I'm with him 24 7. You two are in love now so you like being with each all time, but when you married for 30 years, you need break from each other. Take it from me, I know." Oh yes, she greets everyone who enters with the phrase "Hello!!! I cook something for you?" at which point you tell her what she can cook for you. She then cooks it right there in front of you. Note to anyone who ever may have the remote chance of visiting Oak Ridge, do not I repeat do not, order two eggrolls One eggroll is the size of a burrito, I'm serious.
was an ok movie, and Holly did a great job of describing it, but I was (a) slightly confused during most of it (it's a somewhat confusing movie) and (b) I had to take a pain pill and was a bit out of it. I would advise all who consider watching movies of the artistic variety to not watch them whilst being under the influence of percocet, you won't "get it".
We made breakfast together on Saturday morning, and I must say that my french toast was FREAKIN AMAZING. We always enjoy making breakfast together, and seem to enjoy working together in the kitchen rather than fighting about whose going to do what job. I'm always concerned that I'm not doing enough for Holly, she's always trying to do things like doing the dishes, laundry, etc., for me, but she seems to enjoy it, and sayd that she's sure to find something for me to do for her at times. I'm still getting used to the girlfriend thing. Don't get me wrong, I love it, but it's still hard for me to let someone do something for me.
She lives near Morristown, TN, which is east of here about a bit over an hour away. The goal for the visit was to meet both of her parents (I'd met her Dad before), and to watch a play that some of her family members were going to be in. So the official meeting of the parents happened at a really good barbecue restaurant. he food was good, and the company was fantabulous. I hope I said the right things, wiped my face enough, and had good enough manners. I know for sure that I did not burp in front of her mother, and I hope that this hardship (for me) gained me at least a point or two. The play, called Shenandoah, was good but depressing. It was about this family in the Civil War, who first resisted the war, but then then was ultimately forced into the action. It's got hilarious parts and tragic ones, but overall was good. I stayed at the Andersons. I didn't know the Andersons before Holly set them up to take me in that night, so I was a bit nervous at first but they turned out to be the nicest strangers that I've probably ever met, especially since I didn't know them before, and we were all sitting down at the table drinking hot chocolate and having a great time an hour after I met them. This was all with Holly not present, as she had to leave for home. Sister Anderson (her name's Holly as well and she told me to call her Mom so it wouldn't be confusing) and Brother Anderson (Randy, he didn't tell me to call him Dad) were there as well as Grandma (Mom's Mom) were all there as well as Becky (Mom's daughter). When I go to visit Holly, this is where I'll most likely stay, so it's good, I think, to be at a place where you can stay awake until late hours talking with people who aren't even remotely related to you, but you still call them Mom and Grandma. Grandma gets crazier as it gets late, especially if you can get her on a topic that she's passionate about, which is basically everything. I think we got to bed at about 2 or so, and that was 2 after the time change.
So needless to say, when I got up for church, I was pretty tired. Church was good, and everyone was very friendly to me. I had an odd questions, but I was expecting them. I think that most of the people who met me liked me, and that's good, especially since Holly's' a protected species in that particular ward. If I ever did anything mean or bad to her, I probably could just write life off entirely because she's got some passionate friends who want the best for her.
We went back to the Andersons and hung out for a while, went to a pretty good fireside (this is basically a group activity for young single people in my church), and they took me back. I hope I get to see her soon as the more I hang out with her, the more I miss her as time goes by. Sorry, I try not to introduce much sap into this journal, but one must do it on occasions, especially as she becomes more a part of my life. In this thing, I write about my life, and I'm not oing to abridge or edit the really good things out just because. I won't write everything here in the public view, but I'll say one thing now and get it out in the open. She's a reaking awesome girl, and I think I might just be in love. There! I said it! Time, good decisions, and lots of praying will tell what happens next.
And so ends the really really long journal entry that I totally didn't think would be so long. I should have done the national novel writing contest. Goodness knows, I write enough in this journal, but I don't think I could keep on topic for 50000 words. Not much planned tomorrow, but I do have to get at least something done on my curent project that's going to become due soon. Oh yes, when my advisor was down, he told me that I should plan to defend my thesis in December so I can become a masters graduate then. I may even be able to defend over the phone which would be ultracool. Well, I guess I should look over this and see how many hundred million typos I made and then send it off. I'll be working on my next LJ Idol entry soon. I know what it will be about. It should be good, though the story comes from a dark part of my childhood so it might be a bit sad. I hope that I will be able to reflect on how much this particular event helped me, and I hope I can put all of this into words. Thought about writing about a childhood experience that wasn't really one that I could remember well, but this particular one was a life defining one, and it will be one that I must write about. More when it comes around. Ribs are much better by the way, there back to urting from time to time and grating against each other only half of the time. More annoying than painful. Holly wrapped my ribs up, and it seemed to pop them back together more quickly than usual. She's a gem. Again, more soon.