December Dilemma

From a CNN article, For Many, December’s a Dilemma by Joe Sterling (mentioned by Phillipe Copeland):

Navigating the Christmas season can be a challenge for the millions of people who don’t celebrate the holiday. Many acknowledge and sometime embrace the season’s customs, such as gift-giving and sending out greeting cards, while at the same time they are conscious of maintaining their own religious identities.

I will admit, when I was Catholic, Christmas was significantly easier. There was no conflict as I was wholly within the mainstream of others I knew. Choosing to become a member of the Bahá’í Faith didn’t significantly reduce the importance of Christmas for me. Bahá’í don’t celebrate Christmas with each other. Nor would we alienate those around us who choose to celebrate. Similarly, I would hope people don’t feel alienated when I fast in the

We still eat with family on Christmas Day. True, I no longer to to midnight or Christmas Day mass. My mother, who is also a Bahá’í stopped giving Christmas presents and only gave Ayyám-i-Há presents, a Bahá’í celebration in February just prior to our Fast and New Year. She does give presents to my brother and his wife who give and receive presents with their other family. I no longer expect Christmas presents or put up a tree, but that is okay.

Keep in mind Christmas as we celebrate it now, merges several holidays, making it convoluted. The primary one, the birth of Jesus, resonates with the Baha’i Faith. We recognize the station of Jesus and all his accomplishments. The Wiccan / Druidic winter solstice, Germanic Yuletide, the Roman Saturnia all are comingled into Christmas. As other faiths like Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto, Islam, Judaism, and even Kwanzaa deal with the surrounding peoples celebrating Christmas, their traditions could trade in and out with Christmas. In the end, the sentiment of giving gifts is a good one, assuming one doesn’t go to excess.

The real dilemma ought to be what is the impact of gift giving. Joel Waldfogel, an economist, thinks receivers value gifts less than the giver, causing a loss in value to the economy, so he recommends gift cards. Several Bahá’ís and Christians I know donate to charities instead of gifts.

Awesome Coworkers

The state gives employees 15 holidays in addition to the generous accrual of sick and vacation. Where I work only schedules 12 of the holidays. So we get 3 to take whenever we wish. I poorly planned and ended up having to take two this month or lose them. Today ended up being one of the better days to take.

Friday I worked on the last test upgrade. One part of that was a script to capture the settings prior to the upgrade. (That’ll be Wednesday’s post, I guess.) Turns out the loss was greater than expected. Instead of just the settings table losing data, we found another half dozen with the similar loss. So I added them to the script and created a new script to restore the lost settings.

This morning was the first production upgrade. My coworkers took over what I was doing Friday just like it was me doing it and kept me apprised of the changes.

Back when it was just me at another job, my taking holidays or vacation meant working really hard just to leave and upon coming back having to work harder to deal with the unforeseen in my absence. It caused me more stress to take a vacation than to just stay at work. I had to go into the hospital just to take a decent vacation.

It also helps that I can follow their work and pick up where they left off when they take vacations.

Cheesy Gift of the Year

What is the cheesiest gift someone could possibly give you this year for Christmas? I’ve been reading quite a bit about what people want for Christmas. I’m curious about those gifts you would hate to get but others would think you would like.

Guess I’ll start.

People surely know I shop on ThinkGeek. They might think I would love to have this item below. However, this item seems dumb.

Snowbot OverlordThinkGeek :: The ThinkGeek USB Snowbot:

We welcome our Snowbot Overlords…

Color changing scan, eerie Snowbot sound, articulating arms…a ThinkGeek exclusive…

Last December, as we were settling down for a long winter’s nap, we were visited by two robots from the future! They spoke to us and now it is time to share their message. There’s good news and bad news. The good news is there are tons of really cool robots in the future. The bad news is they are divided into two factions, are waging war against each other, and have “downgraded” humans to pretty much servants and food. We quickly smashed the robots with hammers, and swore to devise a way to save humanity.

Before we destroyed the robots, however, we were able to learn two things. 1. Each army of robots uses a different color scanning light (red or blue); 2. We have no idea which side is in humanity’s best interest to win. So we built the Snowbot – a small, winter-themed beacon…and perhaps our only hope. Powered by a simple USB port, the Snowbot has a scanning light just like the robots from the future. You can change the speed of the scan, turn on/off the scanning noise, and (for future protection) change the scan color (red or blue). So no matter which robot army storms your home or office, a quick flick of a switch and you are rooting for the invader’s color. Hopefully then the robots will just make you a servant and not an appetizer. Good luck and happy holidays.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

This is someting my friends have been into for years.

International Talk Like A Pirate Day:

International Talk Like a Pirate Day isn’t one o’ those governmentally sanctioned holidays that shifts around to create a convenient three-day weekend. No, the date is ALWAYS Sept. 19 (Cap’n Slappy’s ex-wife’s birthday.)

Though apparently the inventors were on Wife Swap (Chumbucket and Sally bio).