To start with, I'm in Lotte's room. Which is wonderful, very colorful and cozy. Everyone complains about how small the Kromhout rooms are, but this is still almost twice as big as my room at La Mancha. Her housemates, who were gone yesterday, are back today, but that doesn't bother me. (One of them is Mauritz, whom I know slightly, so that makes it easier.) I can't figure out how to shut the window completely, which means it's pretty cold, but hey, it's good Channel training, right? Anyway, I decided to try to fix the video issues she's having with her dinosaur-age iMac desktop as a thank-you. She was complaining about not being able to play movies. The problem, specifically, I discovered, is with .avi files (the format of almost all downloadable movies). She's running OS 9 and not OS X (which 99% of the Mac population now has), and so it turns out all the possible codecs or programs which could handle .avis are either (a) not compatible with Macs at all, or (b) only compatible with OS X. So I couldn't fix the problem, and bought her a bar of chocolate instead. LOL. But it was worth the experience - I didn't know computers that old were still around. I mean, the thing has a 5 GB hard drive and was manufactured in 1995! Not to mention, it's a Mac. Yuck. I was ver-ry glad to switch back over to my PC laptop, haha! I suggested Lotte think about asking Sinterklaas for a new computer, and suggested Averatec or Acer laptops, since (a) they're apparently pretty cheap, and (b) Nathan has an Averatec and it's the coolest little thing I've ever seen (well, except for the Sonys).
Changing the subject... Ruxandra wants to buy my bike, for 50 euro. This is very good news because she's going to pay by way of a bank transfer, so I'll be able to pay for train tickets and such by pinpas again. That will go into effect tomorrow morning. I could have waited longer, but by then she might find someone else who was offering a bike right away or for less money, and I've only got a month left anyway, so I'm just going to sell it now. I bought a long (45-strip) strippenkaart the first day I got here and have used only half of it, so I can start taking the bus more often (which is nicer anyway, in this weather), and I don't need to bike to the pool or the grocery store anyway; they're very close by. The only time I really need it is to go to the station or to shop in the centrum. (Or to go to Olympos for basketball, but I can ride on the back of someone else's bike for that - it's only once a week.) Anyway, so that makes me happy.
Trung and I got into a miniature food fight at dinner tonight, culminating in my chasing him at full speed across the dining hall while the whole room fell silent to watch. See, someone had asked what Shakira looked like, so Trung started in on me, since I was next to him (and had been teasing him all meal long), "Like Jess... but with longer hair... and taller... and skinnier..." he grinned at me and continued, "... and a better body..." The whole table went "Ooohh!" and Ruxandra shoved her dessert at me and said, "Take my whipped cream!" And off we went. But don't worry, neither of us suffered any permanent stains. :)
In other news, Monique, my new roommate, wants to run the River Run with me in March, yay! She also wants to go skydiving with me on my birthday, double yay! Doing that via the UF skydiving club costs about $150 (hours of classes, photos, a video, etc. all included), which is actually pretty cheap, but it's hard to find people who (a) are not afraid of heights, and (b) have $150 to spare on a jump out of a plane. But I'm hoping to scrape up a couple more before January 30th.
Speaking of athletic friends, I've been e-mailing with Laura again, a Channel swimmer who spends every summer in Dover. Apparently there's a group of women who do relays every year. We've become friends via e-mail - she's a professional translator and is currently learning Arabic, among others, so we have a lot to talk about. Anyway, she's got her 'network' busy looking for training partners around Jacksonville for me, so hopefully that'll turn up something. Otherwise I may just have to stuff a few HLJ swimmers into wetsuits and make them come do cold-water training with me. We'll see.
I finally saw From Hell yesterday, the Jack the Ripper movie that Donald Rumbelow told us about during our walking tour in London. It was indeed, as he said, "about 98 percent fiction," but still not too bad. I'm currently re-watching Titanic, although I should be working on my linguistics presentation, so that'll be next.
Catie and I just agreed over MSN that our official "too-old eye-candy" candidates will be Johnny Depp (me) and Mel Gibson (her). Her "perfect-age eye-candy" will then be Hal, of course, and mine will temporarily be Orlando Bloom (we're freeing him up by pawning Kirsten Dunst, his Elizabethtown co-star, off on our cousin Nathaniel, who loves her) until someone else comes along. We also agreed that it's a good thing we don't have the same taste in men, or we might end up like one of those trashy novels where the sisters are fighting over the hunk. Yes, this is a random paragraph, but whatever.
Does anyone have any book suggestions for 9-year-old boys or 12-year-old girls? I bought small chocolate letter Ms for my cousins Megan and Michael, and I was thinking of giving them each a book along with the chocolate. For Michael I'm pretty sure I want to give him The BFG, by Roald Dahl, but Megan is a bit more difficult. She doesn't like 'typical' books, about characters' everyday lives; she likes historical-type books. I was considering The Devil's Arithmetic, but I want to reread it first, because it might be a bit too young for her. But then again, I think Anne Frank and Me is probably a bit too old for her. Anybody else got any historical-type suggestions?
Things I want to do:
Take a BATH (not a shower),
Drive my car,
Eat REAL macaroni and cheese, and
Get my hair cut. (The 'mullet phase' is now in full swing.)