I’ve written and rewritten this five times and decided to go with a brief, brutal, bulleted list of a December I don’t want to experience again.
- Stacking viruses ran through our kids over the course of three weeks. My immune system was shaky but held on. It culminated in ear infections in both kids and I learned the city of Austin has a shortage on antibiotics. New, incredible ways the American healthcare system can fail that I never anticipated.
- This month ended in some sadder news that after a series of tests and treatments we’ve learned that our 13 year old dog Rudy has Transitional Cell Carcinoma, a form of bladder cancer that is inoperable and non-responsive to radiation and chemo. The outlook is not good, a matter of weeks or months, and we’re already at weeks. Holding out hope the kids will see their dog one more time before we have to make a difficult decision.
- Our holiday plans were in shambles when our kennel cancelled on us (due to a “no bleeding” clause) the day before our flight to Phoenix to see grandparents and cousins. We rescheduled my flight to buy us time to find dog-sitting (our Ukrainian friends who love dogs were available to help us) and I sent my family ahead of me.
- I spent five hours in the airport on Christmas Eve and became one of the thousands of Southwest passengers who had their Christmas plans ruined. The reason: no pilots. Southwest sold me a plane ticket for a plane with no pilots. Unbelievable. We were able to book a flight on Christmas for 3⨉ the cost.
- Because of the cancelled flight, I missed Christmas morning with my kids. I know others had it much worse, but it’s hard to quantify how disappointing this is because as a parent. You spend a month or two building up to that one moment, the payoff to see those smiling faces, the hugs, the atmosphere. None of that.
Anyways. Hug your loved ones. Fuck dog cancer.
Consumptions and Contributions
As busted as my month was, I feel like I surrounded myself with some good content.
I read some good books. Mysterious graphic novels. But the highlight was Celeste Headlee’s book on conversations called “We Need to Talk”. Since reading I’ve tried to be more conscious about listening after that, avoid the natural tendency to counter what someone said with talking about yourself. I also liked the idea that even a short simple conversation can be life-giving, so I’ve been trying to have more of those random conversations with strangers.
- The Unpleasant Profession of Jonathan Hoag - A retro sci-fi mystery about what one man does all day.
- We Need to Talk - So nice I read it twice.
- Gideon Falls (Vol 2, Vol 3, Vol 4, Vol 5, Vol 6) - A spooky barn haunts people through time.
- Friday: Book One - Teenage local mystery solvers resume after one partner goes to college.
- Tales from the Loop - A Scandinavian sci-fi art project.
- It’s Even Worse Than It Looks - A book on the insurgent radicalization of the Republican party. Ironically, this book is from the pre-Trump days of 2012. Looks like there was an update in 2016.
- Coming of Age - A collection of interviews by Studs Terkel, reflections on growing up in the 20th century by senior citizens.
- Build - A book by Nest founder Tony Fadell, covers his days inventing the iPod and iPhone as well as his time at General Magic. Probably the best book on product development I’ve ever read.
Short blogging month (see above) but I probably have ten or so drafts on deck for the new year.
- They were supposed to replace the creative jobs last
- Megan Smith explaining the General Magic prototyping process
I sunk into some good series this last month which has me hungry for more.
- Jordan Klepper Fingers the Conspiracy (YouTube) - This series! It does a great job pulling the threads on all the (often antisemitic) conspiracy theories floating around in right wing Q-Anon politics. Most notably how Hunter Biden’s laptop is a blank surface to pin any conspiracy you want and how the #PizzaGate conspiracy about harvesting adrenochrome from the blood of children actually goes back to the 1200s. Sound unbelievable!? Yup.
- She-Hulk: Attorney at Law (Disney+) - Good show. The fourth wall breaking was a bit much, but a show based on a comic about a Hulk being a lawyer probably has some leeway.
- Welcome to Wrexham (Hulu) - Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenny buy one a football franchise in the North Wales. It’s a good show because of them, but also because of the people of Wrexham, their stories, and it’s great to see some excitement and opportunity injected into an old town.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: The Witch from Mercury (Crunchyroll) - The latest in the Gundam franchise, it’s good. It’s basically a mech robot anime + school drama anime mashup formula that is kitchy but works well. The (romantic?) relationship between the two main characters is fun to watch unfold.
Short month, but ShopTalk wrapped up its 11th year. Wow.
A successful month of model building with three distincly different builds.
- MG RGM-79 GM (Ver. 2.0) - I love the mass production look of the “Jim”. While the exterior is boring compared to other flashier winged Gundam, building the Master Grade version of the GM is not boring. Small, secret details live under the blocky exterior and makes for one of my favorite models yet.
- MSM-03 ‘Gogg’ - A chonky bad boi. I wanted to build something unconventional. It has a low-quality feel to it but this is the model that my kids were most interested in. I think the non-humanoid nature piqued their imaginations a bit.
- RX-75 ‘Guntank’ - It’s half-Gundam and half-tank. I will never understand how they come up with these names. Again, an interesting build and I went the extra mile and panel lined it too. I love the results and you can see in the picture above how the model looks a little less “flat” than its neighbors.
⌨️ Open source
Nothing to report, but I’m going to be open sourcing a new resource here at the beginning of the new year.
👾 Video games
Skin farming in Overwatch 2 and Warzone 2. I’m a little exhausted by the Battle Pass treadmill.