The Geek Tree finally has an angel.
For years, the topper of the geek tree -- my personal ode to speculative fiction in Christmas tree form -- had a Santa Yoda at the tree topper. Yoda was great, and I'm sure he'll return to his place of honor eventually, but this year I had a true angel ... a Weeping Angel from ThinkGeek.
I bought an Apple Watch. It's pretty cool.
I'm not one for buying expensive new gadgets. Like most geeks, I buy my share of technology, but my upgrade cycles tend to be long, and if I do get something bright and shiny, it's because it satisfies a specific need. My original iPod, for example, let me stop renting audio books from BooksOnTape.com, replacing a $45 monthly fee and snail mailed boxes of audio tapes with one small device and an $15 Audible subscription.
Back in July I wrote about my "One Awesome Summer" list -- the big list of all the stuff I wanted to do this summer in spite of being in the middle of an all-consuming project at work. That project had me regularly working 12-14 hour days in late June and July, and it threatened to overwhelm my summer. Feeling like my summer would be over before it began, I decided to make a list to make sure that summer felt like summer. It couldn't take away the long work day, but it could help mitigate them.
I'll admit it: I was feeling sorry for myself. I'm the lead for a major project at work, and that project doesn't launch until the last week of July. Until then my summer's going to consist of a never-ending series of meetings, reports, and general cat-herding aimed at making sure everything goes perfectly in high summer.
My family's big Christmas present this year was an Xbox One. The kids and I are loving it -- I'm battling my way through the Halo: Master Chief edition, and the kids are questing for the Lonely Mountain in LEGO: The Hobbit.
Unfortunately while Halo looks great and the voice controls are very 21st century, the damn thing unexpectedly turns itself off for no apparent reason. No overheating warnings, no next generation Red Ring of Death, no debug on restart telling me something bad happened.
In December 2014 I decided to post every day for a month. I had two goals: get back into the habit of daily writing and establish a baseline "active month" for Nuketown in Google Analytics. My secondary goal was to increase traffic to the website (both year over year and month over month) but I wasn't sure what percentage was reasonable, but I wanted to see increases in unique sessions, unique users, and unique page views.
About a year ago I became a Markdown convert. It's a simple markup language that's meant to make web documents readable and scannable. It's plaintext with a few niceties added in, and I've been using it to write most of my work notes and Nuketown articles since Fall 2014.
Santa's come and gone, leaving behind a small armada of games for us to try out: Zombie Dice (and Zombie Dice 2) and the Mars Attacks Dice Game, both by Steve Jackson Games, and Star Fluxx by Loony Labs.
Christmas Vacation is finally here. After long days and longer nights of working to make sure everything got done before I left the office, it's Christmas Eve, the college is closed, and I think I can relax. I'm off from December 24 through January 4, and we've got all manner of family fun planned, including watching Guardians of the Galaxy with my parents (something the kids are eager to do) and some family skiing (which I'm eager to do).