Christmas and the beginning of a new year!

2009 was mostly a blur to me. While there was a ton of crappy things that happened, we actually had a decent year, it just went by so fast. I plan on doing a 2009 recap (similar to my 2008 recap) soon.

Christmas was great for us. This year, we tried to get much nicer gifts for friends and family, and it really paid off. Everyone was very happy, and we got to put some serious thought into what we gave everyone. We also got some very nice stuff, including new bedroom furniture and money towards a remodel coming this spring.

For ourselves, we picked up a Mac Mini that is hooked up to our main TV. Its mainly acting as a media center, hosting videos, music, tv shows, and various apps for streaming media (like Hulu, College Humor, etc). We are also using it as a VM Server, and a general use server. I will be writing more about this in the future.

Our new years was amazing too. We got to hang out with a great friend we don’t get to see so much anymore (since she lives out of town). It was great to catch up, talk about old times, and about life in general. We didn’t even watch the ball drop – we just watched everyone cheering and celebrating outside of Penny Lane Pub (where we went to ring in the new year).

We have spent most of this long weekend cleaning and clearing out. I listed a few things on ebay, and hope to list more as this week goes along. I also listed a few things on Craigslist as well. I worked on much more in my office – and will post pictures and info soon about this as well (since its about 90% done).

That’s about it on whats been going on durring this crazy busy holiday season – but expect me to post more soon. Im starting to get a little more interest in posting here again – which always helps!

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A somewhat disconnected and very enjoyable Christmas!

I didn’t get online much over the Christmas break, and for good reason. I was enjoying (as well as cursing at) the joys of home ownership (as well as celebrating the holidays).

Earlier last week, I started taping off most of the office. After we finished our Christmas shopping, we stocked up on supplies we needed for projects over the long weekend. The office is a light blue, and the living room / dining room/ halls will be an off-white color. After everything was prepped, it was time to ‘sign off’ and get to work.

After working half-day on Wednesday, we started moving a few items that were no longer needed from the office to other parts of the house. I was able to put up a coat of primer, mainly to give me a standard surface to paint on rather than the mix of thin lime-green paint over what used to be a pink room (note: this is the one room we did not touch when moving in). That night we went to go visit my dad’s side of the family for Christmas dinner and a gift exchange. We didn’t stay long, but it was nice to catch up with parts of the family, as well as to learn more about my cousins baby (who was born that morning!)

Deborah is still a little kid at heart on Christmas, so we usually get up rather early (that, and we are just so used to getting up at 7AM or earlier now, its hard to sleep in). After relaxing until 8, we exchanged our gifts. My wife (being the awesome one she is) gave me some cool new things:

  • Left4Dead (for the 360) and LittleBigPlannet (for the PS3)
  • Cocoa programing for Mac OS X – what I hear to be one of the best resources for learning Cocoa
  • Strut Tower Brace for my car – helps reduce body-roll in unibody cars. The SE-R’s have them, and her Stratus had one from the factory as well.
  • A Massage gift card – since im an old man (or at least feel like one), I get to relax for an hour and try to feel better!

Afterwords, there was a whirlwind of visits throughout the day, with the hopes of at least getting one coat of paint up. After going to her moms for breakfast, and then visiting my parents, we came home to cut-in and do the first coat of paint. This was able to dry while we went to my moms large Christmas dinner, and see quite a few faces we only see a few times a year. Friday we drove to Suffolk, VA to visit a close friend and her family, as well as do some shopping in Norfolk to just get out of town.

Since part of Saturday was pretty nice, we decided to get outside and start cleaning up the yard. But after the ‘perfect storm of events’ – tall grass, to much wind, and surprisingly little amounts of leaves to actually pick up, I just cut the front yard and called it quits. I usually love yardwork, but leaves are the one thing that really kills me. The weekend was already coming to an end, and I had yet to really get a chance to relax (or to finish the room).

Sunday was that day. I started painting the rest of the office, but ignored the ceiling and touch-ups (they will come when we move everything back out in 3 or so weeks). After playing some video games for a while, we put things back together in the office, and I also setup a new wireless router and redid part of our network.

During this entire time, I really never sat on the computer to check my feeds, respond to many emails, or see whats up on Facebook. The only time I actually really used the computer was to stream music while working. Though, I wasn’t fully disconnected, I obviously had my phone on me the entire time. I was able to respond to emails, check prices, chat with friends, and keep in touch like normal. This really attests to the iPhone’s versatility, and how useful a product like it can actually be. In some ways, the simplistic phone interface actually made tasks much easier than it would have been using a computer.

All in all it was  a great holiday. I have the office back to normal (somewhat) and ready to start on the next task (which is, in short, repaiting a large portion of the house, moving everything we own into 2 rooms, and tearing up carpet!).