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Lord knows this is about the fifth time I've started a diary entry in the past week and a half. The lab shut early, then the cable wasn't working, then other things happened.

So I'm just going to be brief. My uncles were down for my grandmother's funeral. She was 89, young for this side of the family. The service was on Saturday. This was not a tragic death. There was not much crying at all. My father gave a very witty and 'in character' speech, talking about how his mother tolerated the hundreds of different animals he kept at home (including a monkey, an alligator, a cockatoo, hundreds of siamese fighting fish, and many others), tolerated and encouraged the boys' band practice in the house, and didn't stand in the way of their interest in motorcycles.

That evening we went to the Cycle Show in Dallas. Doug, Ken, and my father all came along (they've all been riding for decades). It was enormous fun. It's something I'll probably remember for a while. It's interesting, because they're all into different kinds of bikes--yet, so many times after we all checked out a bike I'd hear that familiar refrain: "Nice bike". It was an awesome show despite the weather and the fact that no test rides were being granted. I sat on literally every sportbike in the whole building and quite a few other bikes. Talked to some people and got some email addresses.

Ken flew back Sunday afternoon, but Doug and Carmen are here for a while (they're retired and drove over from one of their retirement places in Florida). We've been cleaning out Sammy's (my grandmother's) apartment. It's really been a great few days here. Just what I needed after a tough semester. My uncle is an extremely impressive person.

I've been teaching a girl named Rachel who's staying here how to play her new electric guitar. She's 25, works at the clinic, is between apartments, knows Carla from school, has played acoustic guitar for a couple of years, and is kind of nice.

X Box is here. We have Halo. Halo is really an amazing game. I also don't know where I got the idea the X Box controllers were bad. They are fantastic. Solid and with great analog feel. We also have Munch's Odyssee and we've rented a couple others. Microsoft seems to have a real winner on its hands. The graphics just look so much higher 'quality' than the PS2 graphics.

It is sensory overload here as usual though. There was a concert for Carla's music class on Sunday. A musical teacher who's returning from Europe stayed with us for a few days. Return to Castle Wolfenstein is good. Doug brought his sax and his clarinet. And two little yapdogs. I'm happy to be here with my family for the holidays.