What I did for Christmas vacation

posted by Jeff | Sunday, January 3, 2021, 10:16 PM | comments: 0

I took off starting Christmas Eve for 11 straight days of not working. It's the most continuous time I've taken off of work in more than four years. Ordinarily I wouldn't take off that much time unless I was traveling somewhere cool, but I had to use some days or lose them, and that wouldn't be OK. This year I took off a week in July, but only a few long weekends since that time. It seems a little easier to go that long when you like your job, but you need to get away from it from time to time. I can quite honestly say that I go back to work tomorrow feeling refreshed.

What did I do? I guess the biggest thing is that I finally got SillyNonsense on the air. I'm not sure if what we put together is any good, and I'm even less sure that I care, because it just feels good to make things. And the YouTube channel only needs 995 more subscribers before I can start making tens of dollars! I've got video to edit for another 11 episodes, and some ideas for others. I think I want to commit to making 26 for the year, and see where that leads.

The first thing I did on vacation was pick up Diana from a car accident, and that wasn't a fun start to things. Still haven't heard back about whether or not the car is totaled, but it took a few nights before I could sleep continuously, not thinking about what would have happened if it was more serious. Diana is what keeps shit together around here, and Simon and I love her very much, as one would expect.

I did a ton of reading. I bought a Javascript reference book, actually on paper and to replace the edition I had from 15 years ago, so I could catch up on all of the stuff I fake my way through. I've got a new hire starting this week who is fantastic and a front-end expert, and I don't want to be a total ignoramus around him. I read a few papers on Keynesian economics, believe it or not, because I'm fascinated by the theories around the government's role in stabilizing economic systems. I also started plowing through Obama's most recent book. Unlike the memoirs published by his predecessors (Clinton's rambles aimlessly, Bush's is a bit of an indulgent sorry-not-sorry interpreted by a ghost writer), Obama is a surprisingly good storyteller. He's very self-aware and confident at the same time.

I wrote very little code, just enough to keep up my weekly contribution streak. I have some ideas for my next big project, but it probably won't be another open source thing. We'll see.

I finally built the Lego Star Wars Mos Eisley Cantina. It's very cool, and has a ton of mini-figures. Of course I time-lapsed it, so I'll post that eventually on the new channel. Maybe I'll try to bang that out this week.

We had a strange Christmas, where we put up a Zoom link and kept it open all day, inviting anyone who wanted to drop in to do so. Our Seattle counterparts were on with us pretty much for five straight hours, and my friend from DC dropped in for a long bit as well. On a different day, we opened Zoom while playing a four-way Halo slayer session, with me and Simon here in the OC and my BIL and nephew in Seattle. Microsoft had a sale on Xbox Game Pass for $1 for three months, so I actually spent some time playing a few different games. Forza Horizon is a lot of fun, in fact.

Maybe most importantly, I took some naps, and several times, put on the noise-cancelling headphones and just closed by eyes and got lost in music. Those are such great ways to relax and recharge.

Last night, we went out to Give Kids The World Village to check out their holiday lighting, the weirdest fundraiser in the weirdest times. They had to close the village earlier in the year because with the theme parks closed and not having any idea how to safely host families, many of whom have immunocompromised kids, they really couldn't operate. So Disney donated lights and their furloughed employees donated time to dress up the central buildings and villas with 3 million lights, and they invited people to buy tickets and see the place. Think about it, the public generally can't just stream into the place when families are staying there, so it was a unique situation. They're going to resume partial operations, with tons of consultation from our local children's hospital and the safety advice of the parks, in a few weeks.

It was a solid week and a half, if you don't count the accident. We're going to do a "working" vacation at a beach house soon, meaning Simon will remote school and I'll still work, but with an ocean view. In the April time frame, I hope we can do something similar. In the summer, if the vaccine rollout makes significant progress, maybe we can finally do something resembling normal travel. Wouldn't that be nice?


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