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Sunday Reboot — December 24, 2023

Merry Christmas, all!

I spent some time this last week thinking about whether or not I was going to publish a Reboot today.

For one, it's Christmas Eve, and I wasn't sure if I'd have time to get any writing over the line while spending the day doing Christmas-y stuff with my family. But I've also already started to see how restrictive my Reboot categories are going to become.

After all, while I sometimes change up what I'm listening to every week, I've been known to listen to the same thing for a month or more at a time. The same goes for what I'm reading, or what I'm creating.

Some things just don't change week-over-week.

As I'm sure you've figured out by now, I have been able to find some solid writing time. The kids are playing with some new toys, and instead of doing what I would normally do and fill the free time with getting chores done, I decided to honor myself and do some writing instead.

As for things changing, I decided to take a page out of Tim Ferriss's book and just change up the structure to fit each week, rather than trying to form each week into a fixed structure.

Hopefully it works out!

Pondering...

I'm pondering something a little different this week. Instead of drawing from the inordinate amount of reading I do, this one comes from my daughter who—at 6 years old—wrote this note on the back of her letter to Santa:

"Christmas isn't about the candy or the decorations, it's about the joy and the kindness."

It's easy to say that collectively, as a society, we are all too caught up in the commercialization of the Christmas season. Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday are three perfect examples of "pre-holidays" we have created that force us to spend money.

The more you spend, the better you are celebrating the season, but ever since 2020, though, the concept of "spend until you drop" has become increasingly nauseating to me.

Don't get me wrong, I love giving, but it's important that we don't conflate "giving" with "buying," and this note from my daughter is a nice reminder that Christmas isn't about the things, but the feelings.

I remember what that was like as a kid—the magic of it all—and I know just about every other adult does as well. Hell, nearly every Christmas movie has some underlying theme involving adults losing their belief in the magic of Christmas as they get older.

What a depressing story to tell our children.

So, for this Christmas, my family and I are doing our best to hold onto "the reason for the season" better than we have in the past. Their Girl Scouts troops have each adopted families to bring Christmas joy to, and we tried to make more gifts than we bought this year.

In addition to the presents and toys the kids are getting from Santa and their many aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents, we are also encouraging them to give back. Each child has filled a large trash bag with toys that they will be leaving under the tree for Santa to take and give to the less fortunate.

All of this barely scratches the surface, but that's okay. It's far too easy to let perfection be the enemy of good, and end up doing nothing rather than a bunch of little somethings, and we want to teach our kids that it's not about getting it right, but doing right.

Playing...

For some inexplicable reason, The Denver Post has started delivering me the Sunday paper.

I'm not mad about it, but I am confused. That said, I'm not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so while we receive a weekly bundle of paper filled with information I really don't want to read, I've been enjoying doing the New York Times Sunday Crossword in it.

Crosswords are fucking hard.

They're like a physical representation of every conversation we had before the proliferation of smart phones, where things you don't really need to know are constantly at the tip of your tongue.

Who was the actor that played James Gordon in Batman Returns again? What is the year 1432 in Roman Numerals? Is "awl" spelled with a "w" or a "u?"

It's a constant headache, but the payoff when you actually complete it is so worth it.

Exploring...

My favorite metaphysical bookstore just announced that they are going out of business, so I stopped by last week and picked up a few things. A few small gifts, priced to liquidate, to round out our gift list and fill some stockings; things that hold personal and spiritual meaning to the people in our lives.

While I would have normally picked up a book or twelve, I've been forcing myself to be more mindful with the book buying that I do, so instead I bought a set of yellow quartz runestones and a little hand-printed guidebook on how to read them.

I should note that, while I'm fascinated by magick and the occult, I'm a pretty set-in-stone skeptic. I have a hard time believing that runestones and pendulums and crystals have anything that could be classified as "real magick," but I am a believer in the power of thought.

Something doesn't have to have special powers in order to help you understand yourself or influence your thinking. Divination as a concept is interesting as a potential window into the subconscious.

Watching...

My TV viewing habits tend to go in waves.

While I used to burn through TV shows and movies while I worked—it's surprisingly easy for me to write code while binge-watching Stargate SG-1—I haven't been able to sustain that habit since my job replaced coding with peopling; so instead most of my free time goes to reading, because it's a quiet form of entertainment that really helps me start my day off in the right headspace.

But lately I've been feeling a bit mentally rundown, so the easy-escape of streaming television has been a helpful way to shut my brain down for a bit.

Aside from family Christmas movie time—which doesn't really count as an unwinding activity, since I inherently don't do it alone—I've started watching Season 2 of Reacher, a great "dude show" with an intelligent and nigh-infallible protagonist with a high moral code and a bottomless set of skills that make the show an endlessly entertaining watch.

Season 4 of For All Mankind is also out, and it's still one of my favorite shows of all time. I'm generally a fan of the alternate history genre, both in literature and film, and For All Mankind doesn't disappoint. If you aren't familiar, the entire series is built on the question, "what if the USSR beat the USA to the moon in the space race?"

What follows is an accelerated innovation of invention and innovation, as the space race heats up beyond what it ever became in our current reality. They've got bases on The Moon and Mars, space hotels, smartphones, and video conferencing, all by the 1990s; and I've been a fan of actor Joel Kinnaman ever since Season 1—the only season, as far as I'm concerned—of Altered Carbon.

A definite must watch.

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This is post 011 of #100DaysToOffload