I had some interesting exchanges with people about musicals recently, on Facebook even (who said nothing good ever happens there?). It started when I said, after the not-quite-live TV event, that I don't really "get" Rent, and I never have. That's probably extra surprising because when it came out, shortly after I graduated from college, it dealt with some of my pet causes, including HIV/AIDS awareness and inclusion and equality for non-straight people (did we have an acronym in those days?). Back then, it was just that the music didn't grab me. Eventually the movie made me even more indifferent, and finally seeing it on stage last year confirmed that indifference. I find almost all of the characters unlikable, and the interpersonal conflicts feel silly. And don't get me started about the Mark character, who comes off as a hipster douche. Maybe it just hasn't aged well.
My feelings on the show are not universally shared, and in fact are probably the opposite of what most people think. I don't care for Les Miserables either, so that's at least two strikes against my musical street cred. I don't hate either one of them, mind you, I just don't identify with the generally high praise. The truth is that I don't hate very many musicals, and I've seen probably around 40 lifetime (about 20 in just the last four years) at various levels of ability. I mean, even the Gloria Estefan show was entertaining, if not particularly deep. I've only ever truly hated one show. Overall I think musicals are an essential art form that I wish more people could see.
When it comes to art, we like what we like. Not everyone will understand that The Big Lebowski and Lost In Translation are brilliant movies, and it's OK that those people are wrong. (Winky emoji or whatever.) Still others will never appreciate Garbage or The Naked And Famous the way I do. But it's good that art makes us feel stuff, even if it is indifference.
It's probably not surprising that a lot of people working in software have at the very least a side hustle of some kind. Mine came about long before I had "software developer" on my business card (what's a business card?). I have friends that have done after-hours consulting, some have tried to bootstrap startups... lots of situations that involve some kind of entrepreneurial endeavor.
I've been asked so many times why I don't have my own business, to which I respond that I do, it's just not mortgage paying, but mostly it's because I'm a lousy entrepreneur. It's not that I have some shortage of ideas, it's just that the world distracts me with far too many things.
Maybe I had a better shot before I had a child, but now, Simon is both a great consumer of my energy and a reason to try and retain some level of consistency and risk avoidance. With the ASD and ADHD concerns, decent health insurance is also important. I adore my little guy, but the amount of patience it takes in the day to day is extraordinary, and I'm still not very good at reminding myself to be patient. That's a lot of energy.
Having a day job is certainly a challenge, too. I've had a few intervals where I have worked on my own projects between jobs, the last one being in the second quarter of 2013, when I ended a crazy good contract and hung out as we plotted the move to Florida. Each of those, I've really failed to turn an idea into something that was shipped. Well, I take that back. I built a quilting community that I hoped Diana would work with and promote, but the truth is that it was not very well conceived and not mobile friendly, so it had little chance of working out. But during full-time work, it's hard to think about hustling something on the side, and this has become more and more true as the level of work has increased, especially in the last five or six years as jobs have been more management oriented.
I also have concern about the way that entrepreneurs often kill themselves for the work, but I'm not sure if that's really necessary or a symptom of type-A overachievers. Most people who start a business seem to really neglect everything else in their lives, and I wouldn't want to do that. However, as is the case when working for The Man, some people do that as a choice. I've worked with some founders who set no work-life boundaries, and the payoff for not doing so is negligible or non-existent. So this one I guess is an asterisk.
But if there's a real concern, it's around the one that means hiring people comes with enormous responsibility. When you hire people in a small startup situation, your leadership and direction is what ultimately puts food on their table. If you can't make the business generate enough money to pay them, you will disrupt their lives in a serious and potentially harmful way. That makes me incomprehensibly uncomfortable, in part because I've been on the receiving end of that scenario.
I never set out to make my hobby (the coaster web sites) into a business, but in the heyday of web advertising I could pay my mortgage with it and then some. It's unfortunate that I still get the traffic but not the money, because of the way the ad market has changed and gone half-mobile for less money. Again, that was not a business by design, because if I were to start something new, it would be with the intention of asking for money from people. That's a different game than making content and having people accidentally see it and fill your bank account, and it's a game that I fundamentally understand but have so little interest in.
Of course, the biggest obstacle is probably that I mostly don't believe very much in any of my ideas. A lot of my ideas over the years have been more content based ideas, which might be fun to an extent but don't make great businesses.
The thing is, I don't mind working for The Man, and I know that's the reason that a lot of people start their own business. The Man has at times really screwed me (often because of the economy), but he's also provided a lot of opportunity for me that I didn't fundamentally have to create. Maybe there is something in me that I'm super passionate about that will become a business. I don't feel like it's critical to my well being, and I'm happy to let it happen organically when and if it's viable.
My overall social media consumption has dropped off sharply in the last year. As I've mentioned before, I find myself using it as a historical record for myself more than anything else. But what I loathe the most is the ephemeral stuff.
Last night I knew there were some cool things that our local theater put up on Instagram as stories, really great backstage stuff during Hamilton. I'd like to see it again, or show it to Diana, but it's gone. It no longer exists. Even if it did exist, I couldn't easily point someone to it. I rarely look at stories on Instagram, because it's too much of a time investment, and not as efficient as scrolling.
Let's be real: If Snapchat wasn't a thing, Facebook/Instagram would have never added this silly feature. "It's what the kids are doing," cool, but they're still not using Facebook. And Snapchat will circle the drain and die, it's just a question of when. They've had a revolving door of executives, their user growth has slowed to a crawl and they're running nine-figure negative cash flow every quarter (and hey, that's down from $2 billion). And WTF are you really selling teenagers?
The other thing is that frankly I'm suspect of anything you're willing to post in public that you aren't really willing to commit to. What you're saying is, "This moment isn't valuable enough to keep," and that speaks to how superficial social media can be. I'm not saying it's all like that (I've seen plenty of great sharing about everything from eating disorders to woodworking), but how many times do you have to show yourself making a duck face over a plate of sushi.
I'm probably just being a hater, or I really am getting into midlife and not "getting it."
Hamilton's #PhilipTour is coming to Orlando for a three week run, opening Tuesday night. I'm excited out of my mind to see it again. I realized that it's been around for a long time, and it's crazy how the show is still popular after several years. Some of that is naturally the fact that you couldn't easily see it unless you went to New York, then Chicago and London. The touring shows started out with long runs on the west coast. Now there are three tours going at the same time, which is fairly nuts. Lots of people are getting to see it now.
Hamilton had its insane Tony run in 2016, notably the day of the Pulse shootings, and so a lot of people first met Lin-Manuel Miranda when he gave his "love is love" speech. At that point, I had heard a few songs from the show, but assumed that it wasn't more than some hip-hop gimmicks forced into a Broadway musical. (It would be almost two years until I would also see Waitress and understand how robbed it was of recognition in the shadow of Hamilton.) That Tony performance was intriguing though, and over the next few months I would revisit it from a distance. Mostly Diana was listening to it. Then on a road trip in December to Delray, where I got to be a bridesbro, we listened to it straight through and it really grabbed me. A drive down the Florida Turnpike that would otherwise have been forgettable comes to mind from time to time when I hear the music now.
I'm sure I've listened to it more than a hundred times in the two years since. It's the most dense narrative set to music that I'm aware of, and it includes everything essential to good storytelling. There's war, death, romance, affairs, history, triumph, tragedy... it's all there. Alexander Hamilton was literally and figuratively a bastard, his accomplishments eventually limited only by his ego. He was surrounded by all of the people who founded our nation, and compromised on what freedom could really be. The founding of the United States is such a great story of sheer will to create, tempered by the issue of slavery that would nearly destroy the country some decades later.
All of that density means that there are so many things layered into it to discover. There are the structural things, like the way Washington's cadence is slower and more deliberate, while Hamilton's is faster and more clever. There are the homages to classic genres of rap music. There's the historical context of the cabinet battles and how the financial systems came to be that we use today. Sure there's a lot of dramatization, but it's striking how it's still fairly grounded in the history as compiled in Ron Chernow's book.
When we finally got to see it last April, it's like everything came together. The action on stage filled in the blanks, and even having seen clips before, I was blown away at how good it was. When you take a bunch of period inspired costumes and combine them with modern dance and music, performed by a diverse cast that most certainly doesn't match the well-off white people they play, you'd think it would be jarring, but it all works.
There is, I suppose, a political angle to Hamilton, though what others find political I find largely matter-of-fact. The show reinforces that the nation was founded by immigrants and that this fact is a strength. It calls out the contradictions of our Constitution and the necessary process to reinforce it. As Hamilton's writings often pointed out, there is a fragile balance between democracy and chaos, and the people we choose to lead matter. I don't know if I would lean Federalist in those days, but Hamilton seemed to lean socially liberal (when it suited him) and fiscally conservative, a position I can definitely identify with.
Regardless, the thing that really makes Hamilton enduring is the music. It's really great, start to finish. In an era where music is disposable, hit driven and about the big singles, it's fantastic to encounter a coherent body of music that lasts over two hours. The story of the bastard orphan from Nevis is sad, but there's little question about his legacy. It's the most unlikely of pop culture forces. It gets kids into American history, and imagine what it will do when it can be licensed for amateur performance.
My friends back in Northeast Ohio are preparing for a big snow event. If you can avoid having to go out, these are typically not a big deal. I can only remember one time where I ever lost power in extreme snow, in 30-something years, and it was only a few hours. Basically you just need to hang out until it melts a little and/or the road crews catch up.
But winter is still an enormous pain in the ass and being outside sucks unless you happen to be a winter sports enthusiast. Let's be clear: When it's hot, you're uncomfortable and that's the worst of it provided you stay hydrated. Cold is far more likely to kill you. You can't just drink some water to deal with it. Leaving the house is not just uncomfortable, because it involves slush and wetness and wind that cuts through your clothes. I get it, some people think it's worth rolling with, but I did it enough times to know I'm totally over it.
Living in America's subtropical dingaling is not without its challenges though, because hurricanes. It's less of a big deal away from the coasts though (there's a reason Uncle Walt built his castle here), and new construction is about 95% immune to the effects unless we get something truly extraordinary. Orlando's record sustained wind speed appears to be 79 mph, which must be pretty scary because sustained wind in the mid-50's was "exciting" during Irma. I can't imagine what it's like to be on the coasts.
But extremes aside, the normal routine no matter where you live tends to be a topic of discussion and influence, even when it changes just a little at a time. I mean, we're seeing temperatures in the 50's in the morning right now, and work is like an icebox when I get there. So I'm breaking out sweaters and long-sleeve shirts, which are not even on my radar 10 months out of the year. I know, poor me, right? The daily high of 90 with afternoon thunderstorm seems like a distant memory already.
I tend to think more about it though because I'm very conscious of energy consumption. It's not an issue of expense as much as I really care about it. We have the technology today to not burn anything, but we need the will to use it. The cost profile requires an economy of scale and some changes in how we approach distribution, but a world run on renewables is doable, and I want to be part of that.
Our cruise history is fairly repetitive. We did Alaska once, and it was borderline life-changing, but otherwise we've got a long series of round-trips to the Bahamas and do mostly the same things in different combinations of days at sea and stops in Nassau and Castaway Cay, ranging three to five nights. It's harder to take Simon out of school now at this stage, so vacations often have to be tied to his time off. Against my better judgment, in terms of cost, we decided to finally do something cool for a New Year celebration, and booked seven nights to the Virgin Islands aboard the Fantasy, the only of the four Disney ships we had not been on.
Let me get that pricing thing out of the way. I fully understand there being a premium on those fares, because of the holiday, but it was annoying that at no time did they disclose that there was a blackout against the usual 10% off that you get for booking a placeholder reservation while aboard a prior cruise. We've enjoyed that discount on every cruise other than the first two. Fortunately, they did at least honor the onboard credit, which is $200 for a 7-night cruise. Still, I can only imagine the margins that they enjoyed on this cruise, which was more than twice what we paid for seven nights in Alaska in 2016. I can say that while we had a good time, felt very taken care of and can now say we did a New Year's cruise, we will never do it again. It's not worth it.
The Disney Fantasy is the newest of the four ships, and debuted about a year after the Dream, which is the ship we've spent the most time on. It's strange because most of the ship is exactly the same, to the point where if you were kidnapped and dropped on the ship, you'd never know the difference in many areas. The style of the Dream is art deco, while the Fantasy is art nouveau. I have trouble telling the difference, but the latter feels "softer" in terms of lines, and in this case the color palette feels more gentle. The lobby atrium is beautiful and invokes peacock colors. It's far more attractive than the Dream to me. Beyond that, the night clubs are very different, but it's a mixed bag as to whether they're better themes or not.
After departing Canaveral on Saturday, we enjoyed two days at sea, really hauling ass at 18 to 20 knots. The motion was really pleasant, especially when sleeping. At-sea time is some of my favorite times, because of the glorious disconnection and a wonderfully slow pace with no urgency around much of anything. I saw three movies total (Mary Poppins Returns, Ralph Breaks The Internet and Ant Man and The Wasp). Simon autonomously enjoyed the Midship Detective Agency game (a scavenger hunt around the ship using QR cards and "paintings" around the ship).
We had two alcohol tastings. The first was a rum tasting session, because hey, we were in the Caribbean. I now know what 12-year-old rum tastes like, and it's pretty damn good. Sipping drinks is not something I've ever taken a particular interest in, but I do appreciate the craft and the aging process. Rum is probably my favorite kind of liquor because it's really versatile. I used to hate on Malibu in particular, but it's such a great, easy-drinking rum to mix with a hundred different awesome things. The second tasting was actually a mixology class. I wasn't as fond of this bartender's lineup as much as the one we did last summer, but I did learn some things.
The shows on the Fantasy were mostly new to us, though Believe is familiar territory. The other two shows were solid and at the very least entertaining, with Aladdin being the signature show for this ship. It was more of a "spectacular," and their genie was right out of Believe. This was a very strong cast overall though, one of the best that we've seen. However, among the big shows, Tangled on the Magic is easily the best, with a close second to Frozen on the Wonder. I continue to be annoyed that Disney does not in any way recognize their actors or stage managers at people, not just on the ships but also the bigger shows in the theme parks. I think that's lame. Even the Cedar Fair parks put their names up outside the venues. I don't know if they're worried about spoiling some kind of "magic" or some other bullshit, but it's lame.
The second night at sea was New Year's Eve, and I have to hand it to Disney, they throw a pretty good party. The dining staff roamed the decks with trays of fancy finger foods in the hours leading up to midnight, and despite hard selling champagne packages the prior two days, they made very sure that everyone had a drink in their hand, including kids with sparkling apple juice, in the last hour of the countdown. It was relatively inexpensive prosecco, but I know I'm not that picky. For about 2,000 people hanging out drinking, it was a surprisingly family friendly environment, without feeling lame. Of course you could have stayed in the adult areas if you wanted to, but they had a pair of pretty solid DJ's. Simon was right up front, in the pit. They had "fireworks," but of course, the bar is impossibly high living next door to Magic Kingdom. People were into it.
The first stop was in Tortola, in the British Virgin Islands. We did not book any shore excursions in advance, figuring we would just wing it. Unfortunately, I see why after the hurricanes last year Disney stopped sailing there entirely. It's in pretty bad shape. There's really nothing to do in town, and buildings are in dire need of repair, there are literally dumpsters sitting on the waterfront. I didn't feel unsafe, but was happy to return to the ship. There's a desperate hustle just off the pier to get people on to sketchy transportation to go see stuff around the island. I initially considered ferrying over to the adjacent island to see "the baths," a bunch of interesting rock formations off shore that you could walk through, but when I saw the ferries, I was glad we didn't.
The next stop was at St. Thomas, which was in much better shape and frankly like any coastal Florida town, only with people driving on the wrong side of the road. The list of things to do there is huge and overwhelming, and I think if it was just Diana and I we would have been more ambitious. Instead, all we really did is a tram ride up the side of the mountain, knowing this would make Simon's day. Fortunately, and not surprising given that it's a US territory, there was a Payless a block from the pier, where I was able to replace my broken flip-flops for $4.
From St. Thomas, we actually got close enough to Puerto Rico to hit their cell phone towers, and I would very much like to visit that island someday. We spent another day at sea, which included a number of opportunities to hear Suzy and Alex, a lovely British duo that was performing a range of music, but specifically some alt rock tunes that probably no one else in the bar knew. That was very cool.
The last day was at our beloved Castaway Cay, home of the best beach day ever. This one did not disappoint. The ship arrived about an hour later than the usual Bahama itineraries, so we weren't ashore until about 9:45. We parked at our usual spot, opened some drinks and enjoyed ourselves. The last time we did a winter cruise I couldn't even get in the water, because it was too cold, but this time I sucked it up and just ran into it. Problem solved! It was definitely cold though. Before lunch we walked as a family out to the observation tower, which wasn't a great idea because chafing when we were all wet. There were still a few walkers left on the 5K as we went out. It wasn't very sunny that day, so it was mercifully not too hot. One of these days I want to rent bikes. After lunch, Simon checked into Scuttle's Cove, while we plopped down at Conched Out, the bar near Cookies One and our usual beach chairs. Such a beautiful place with fantastic service all around.
That night unfortunately was the start of Diana's stomach flu, making for a very uncomfortable night and worse morning. It was a crappy way to end the cruise (no pun intended), and Simon and I suffered the same issues the next week.
As I said, we had a great time, but I'll never spend that much to cruise to the tropics again. It's not worth it. I could quite literally lap Alaska twice on the Wonder next summer, or do two weeks around the British Isles and into Scandinavia on the Magic. I think the fact that Tortola was so shitty was the biggest factor, and I wonder if replacing it with San Juan or something would be better. I know we were largely paying for the holiday, and I accept that, but it's not going to be a repeat trip.
In the last two weeks, I've started and deleted three different blog posts about various things that I'm having a difficult time with. They're some combination of being sick, struggling to be a parent and work wearing on me a bit relative to the rest of life. The delete button came as soon as I started to proofread a paragraph or two. I said to myself, "Dude, this is not suffering. There are 800k people not getting a paycheck right now. What right do I have to complain about anything?"
There are really two things at play here. The first is that we filter ourselves online. I try not to do this, because I'm so not interested in using the Internet as a platform to establish a persona. I write in part to create a record of life, the good and the bad. But I realize to an extent that there's an analog precedent for this as well. In broader social circles, you don't typically complain about life or express discontent because no one wants to be around that. That's not to say that you don't confide with close friends, but you don't sit down for lunch and explain the depths of your challenges with six people.
The second thing we do is invalidate our feelings because of the idea that we can't feel something because, relative to some standard or other people, it's "not that bad." For me I conflate the standards with the things I have. I have the unreasonable feeling that since I have an amazing wife and a lovely house, I can't feel stress or or pressure. But the presence of positives does not cancel out the hard things. Life is still hard even if it's harder for others or there are things that might mitigate the pain.
So I've had a tough couple of weeks. It's not my problem if you think I'm not entitled to that. (Smile emoji or whatever.)
We had a scare today with Emma, our oldest cat ("Princess Bitchy Pants"), when she was suddenly howling in pain and not able to walk easily. It turns out she had some huge abscess near/in her butt that burst while at the vet, so she's on pain meds and has to wear the cone of shame when we're not watching her so it can heal. They'll reevaluate it in a week, and it could end up just being a random infection or something more serious that caused it. Either way, she's 16, and we know she won't live forever. We kind of make jokes about her time coming, because we're realistic, but it will certainly be sad. We lost Gideon last spring, and that was hard because he was a big lover, and a lot younger.
We told Simon that Gideon was very sick at the time, and that he would live with the vet until he died. Technically this was not a lie, it's just that he only lived there for an hour at most. We encouraged him to say goodbye to him, and frankly there wasn't a ton of attachment there because Gideon was scared of Simon pretty much from the day he started moving around on his own. The grabbing hands were not fun for the big fella. A few days later, Gideon's photo came up on a screensaver and Simon asked how he was, and I guess we never explicitly followed up, so we told Simon that the cat had passed. There were some tears, but he seemed to get over it pretty quickly.
Here's the thing, I don't think I can explain euthanasia and its moral and ethical implications to Simon. He struggles with a lot of basic social contracts as it is (because ASD), so I don't see any universe where I can successfully explain killing your pet intentionally to him. I can barely rationalize it myself, and I've been through it three times in the last decade. We talk about it in humane terms but don't apply the same standards to humans. It's completely irrational to me that we play God to our pets, even though I know it's the right thing when they're suffering.
I guess where we are now is that we'll tell Simon that when it's time to take her to the vet for the last time, she won't be coming home, but I don't think he's ready for the intentionality of it. I really look forward to the easier conversations like sex and drugs.
I've had a strange combination of conversations across different parts of life recently about what happiness is, and my resolution that happiness is a choice is surprisingly controversial to some, and even perceived as outright wrong by others. Let me explain myself a bit.
People encounter bad and negative things. There is no doubt that people can not control a great many things, whether it be depression, a death in the family, divorce, financial hardship... there's no limit to the list. You can't simply choose to not feel negative emotions over these kinds of things, and I'm not suggesting that you can, or that you should. We as human beings need to process yucky things.
There are also a lot of things that we simply don't want to do that add up, in all aspects of our lives, including work, home life and everything in between. They include things like grocery shopping, paying bills, commuting and writing TPS reports. There's a whole category of things that just come with being an adult that we would probably not do if we could get away with it.
So there is no universe where we can be happy at all times by way of external factors. Like everyone else, I'm going to encounter my share of shit and have to do stuff I would rather not do. But life in aggregate is of course a journey, and it is one that ends in death for every single one of us. This reality forces us to make some decisions about how we choose to view life, while it lasts.
I don't know if my strategy will work for everyone, and I would preface this by saying that it is not infallible, and like everyone, some days will be harder than others. While it's hard to choose a feeling, it is possible to choose to think about the things that contribute to making happy feelings. I try to shift from thoughts of my parental struggles to the love that my child can exhibit toward me. At work I try not to linger in struggle when I can celebrate wins and progress. In all cases, I don't rely on external factors to make my happiness. It's not up to my family or my job to make me happy.
There are certainly situations that you have to change when external factors weigh too heavily on your life. Steve Jobs was famous for saying, "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today? And whenever the answer has been 'no' for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something." I've made changes to relationships, jobs and other scenarios in those cases, and eventually come out in better shape.
None of us are entitled to happiness. Heck, even the Declaration of Independence refers to the pursuit of happiness as a right, not the happiness itself. (Mind you, the founding fathers didn't think it applied to everyone, but that's a topic for another day.) There's something freeing about accepting the accountability of your own happiness. You must focus on the things that you can control, and yes, they may be hard to change. Life can be hard, but it doesn't mean it has to be unhappy.
I've spent a fair amount of time lately thinking about work and how it relates to fun, happiness, enjoyment and other endeavors as they relate to puppies and rainbows. This is not a post about that. But I will take you back to the years immediately following college, when I thought life was all about being a big radio star.
I was fortunate enough to start working in commercial radio a little more than a year before I graduated, and with that headstart I was able to go full-time shortly after graduation, and in the market where I already lived, no less. By this time it was already obvious that the thing I enjoyed so much in college, and even part-time for money, was not very fun when I had to make a living at it. I went to government TV after that, which was fun for awhile, but I saw no clear future until I shifted into software. The lesson here is that sometimes, doing what's fun when it's your job can be less fun. To bring it full circle, I have a friend that is an attorney by day, and has a syndicated public radio show by day, and he loves it.
When I first started writing code as an adult, it was largely because I wanted to do interesting stuff with the Internet, and you had to do a little programming to make that work. It turns out that I really enjoyed it, and I was able to build a career out of it. All of that hobbyist effort trailed off over time, however. I recall by the time I was at Insurance.com in 2006, coding at a senior level and at a fairly high volume, I spent less time doing it for fun, on the side. After that job, it was up and down based on the position. The more "lead" and "manager" gigs I had, the less I would code in the job, but the more I would in my spare time. The last six years has been a season of coding between zero and 50% of the time, meaning my energy for the fun stuff has been higher. I've been at a consistent 0% now for eight months, and so the interest has increased.
Let me be clear that coding for fun and for money are not binary opposites. You can do both at the same time, but as with anything in life, it's not all fun, all of the time. I mean, even on vacation, you have to do stuff you would rather not (like buy sunscreen, wait in airports and deal with cab drivers), but it doesn't mean you can't enjoy the good parts. I do think that coding in a thoughtful and always-learning way has limitations, for everyone. I've seen the best get burned out and junior and mid-level people turn out crap in volume. My own experience is that I've only got so much bandwidth to give the craft.
Now that I've got more of that bandwidth, back in the all-manager realm again, probably to stay, this time, I want to devote more time to my open source project and modernize it. I think I'd even like to give hosted forums a try (because cloud), if only to make a few hundred bucks a month. Heck, I have a bunch of domain names that I could build into useful things, I just have to make some choices and stick to them.
Last year's contribution tracking on GitHub wasn't bad. You could see where I was between jobs, and then in December I made a ton of commits just around the effort of updating the forum app to the newer Bootstrap version. Lots of busy work, but if I get some of that out of the way I can do more interesting things. When I'm active, I actually see some pull requests happen. I'd like to make next year's graph greener.