(aka "random words for titles, please")

$WORK: I've been working on OpenStack lately. It's been fun, despite its frustrations (which I won't list here because I tend to rant a lot, and I'm becoming less convinced its helpful or as funny as I think it is) (which drolly deserves its own bit of expansion...). Why fun? Because a) I've had the luxury of focusing on this for, like, a month now, pretty much to the exclusion of all else, and b) because I'm not on my own. One of my coworkers is doing this with me and he is really, really good. He's careful, his shell scripts make me cry with their beauty, and he's just a lot of fun. And it's amazing what a difference a great bunch of coworkers make (he's just one of a great gang of people).

This has been a real revelation, particularly after visiting my workplace to catch up with people. It was good to see everyone again, but it really reminded me how much all of us needed a change -- me to get the hell out of there, and them to get someone in who is enthusiastic about things again.

It has been quiet over the holidays, which is good; I was on call for NYE and hardly had anything happen at all. And the office was quiet with people being out for so much of it. But I'm looking forward to people being back in, conversations going on, HipChat having more traffic than just me asking Hubot to animate me a Christmas tree.

Holidays: not nearly as long as when I was at UBC, but it was still good. The kids had lots of school vacation, of course, and then there was COUNTDOWN TO XMAS OMGOMGOMG. They nearly lost their little minds with anticipation, but finally Xmas was here and...they loved what they got. Which was a relief; they had been pining for Xboxes and tablets and iPhone 99s and I don't know what all. None of that was going to be happening for so many reasons (money, they're 6 and 8, I have moral qualms about non-free computing) (which is ironic because I have an Apple laptop now for work); they knew that, but I wasn't sure how they'd actually handle it on the day. And it was a non-event: they got sketchbooks and books and toys and were happy as clams.

My wife and I continued our Xmas tradition of Watching Bad Movies on Xmas Eve with "The Christmas Cottage: The Thomas Kinkade" story ($5 in the grocery store bargain bin!). It's no Asylum joint (and what a concept that would be...), but it was still wonderful (by which I mean really odd: Peter O'Toole as Kinkade's mentor, and Chris Elliott as chair of the town's Chamber of Commerce). We didn't get a chance to go out on our own, but we'll fix that one night.

I've been spending time on the Stack Exchange Emacs beta; it's really shaping up. It's been fun to answer some of the questions, and really dig into Emacs; the digging (because it's rarely as straightforward as I think it's going to be) turns up a lot of stuff I never knew.

I sent off my first letters for Amnesty International last month; it's been something I've wanted to do for a while now, and I finally got off my ass and joined their Urgent Appeal network. It's easier to sign up than I thought it would be; I urge you to consider joining yourself.