Having gone back to LA for a week over Thanksgiving just a month ago, I didn't really feel the need to take a vacation, and decided to stay here in Seattle over the holidays.
Seattle gets really quiet this time of year. It doesn't seem like very many people are actually from the city of Seattle. Most have moved here from other suburbs, cities, and states, and go back home over Christmas. Those of us that decided to stay banded together and hit local bars for a few drinks, and went out for Chinese dinner in the city's International District on Christmas.
Most of my coworkers took the two weeks around Christmas/New Years off. I didn't really feel like I needed time off, and am engaged in what I've been working on lately, and kept going in to work. My friends thought it was weird I went to work on Christmas day, but seeing as I don't celebrate Christmas, it was just another day to be productive for me, albeit a very quiet one at the office.
For Hanukkah, I got a Canon sd700 is digital camera to replace the sd400 I broke in a minor mountain biking accident. I also got Gears of War (an amazing game) and an external Maxtor disk drive for my new home media server.
I've been playing a lot of Xbox 360 lately. From 2001-2006, I more or less stopped playing video games altogether (the last game I was seriously hooked on prior to that was Warcraft 3). In fact, the Xbox 360 is the first game console I've personally owned since Super Nintendo. I'm seriously hooked on everything about it.
I've caught up on all my blogs, and all the mailing lists I follow at work (which amounts to skimming tens of thousands of emails). I've read a whole bunch of magazines, and am left only with the latest issues of Details, Wired, GQ, Business Week, and MSDN Magazine on my coffee table (the latter is a recent edition - I'm now officially a total nerd).
I've spent a whole lot of time playing with a whole bunch of new software and toys that won't be announced and/or released for another year. Some people appreciate the health plan, it's the toys that do it for me. This is one aspect of my employment with Microsoft that I will miss most when I move on in the future (this, and the ability to dig up internal code/specs or IM the developer who built something when I wanna understand the internals of how it works).
My relatively new job as a software design engineer is still enjoyable, educational, and challenging. I'm learning a lot more and feel a lot more intellectually stimulated than I did during much of the time I spent in my former role as a program manager. I've been spending a lot of time collaborating with a few young bright developers in India, which has certainly been an interesting experience with its own set of challenges and learning opportunities.
While I once again feel challenge and am again learning new things, I still feel a bit jaded about the whole work life balance culture I've written about before. Yesterday, my buddy and I worked all day in our empty building then went to grab dinner. After dinner, he asked "are you gonna go back?" I was like, "hmm, are you?" Then we both decided to head back to the office, where we stayed working across the hall from each other with our doors open listening to music past midnight. That's the sort of culture I love. The problem is, he's one of the very very few dudes I work with that operates the same way I do (also one of the few dudes I work with my age, no kids, etc). Most of the time, it's just me alone in the empty offices - and that's not good for someone whose job motivation is "to have fun" as opposed to "to feed my kids" or "to climb the corporate ladder".
But alas, I digress..
I'm again trying to convince my Dad to use technology to reach out to members of his temple and community. I recently helped him post a video of his High Holy Days sermon, which I'd highly recommend checking out.
I've been thinking quite often about the purpose and future of this blog. As I write this, I just realized I've been blogging for over 2 years now. I went back and re-read one of my first posts from the very beginning called Why Blog?. I suppose it still holds true, though since then I think I have become okay with using the blog to update people who care about what's going on in my life from time to time. I find myself interested in reading such updates in other peoples' blogs.
Well, that's about it for this semi-stream-of-conciousness post. It's rather quiet around here over the holidays, so if you're a friend and ar ereading this, drop me a comment/email/IM sometime and say hi. :)