Had a very good vacation at the end of December in North Carolina with my family. I took a ridiculous number of pictures (1786 pictures (3.5GB)) which I'm still in the process of sorting/filtering/labeling/fixing. I also got to see an old friend who I hadn't seen in around a decade (kind of a trend lately). Our parents were sharing a duplex when we were born and I went to his mother's day care for a while. We were good friends for a long time but drifted apart during high school and especially college. He's a river guide in the summer months and winters in North Carolina now.
I finally gave up on the beard a little while ago. I missed my cheeks. I keep thinking of just shaving the rest of it off, I haven't seen my chin in a few years.
I'm doing pretty well on the resolutions. I've been making it to the gym very regularly (although travel tends to cause problems) and I've been eating better than I was last year. I think avoiding snacking is one of the more important parts of the whole eating better thing. I was up about one pound after vacation (possibly due to the double meat white castles of new year's eve) but now I'm down about seven and a half pounds from the beginning of the year.
I accomplished one of my Resolutions this weekend when monstersocks and I went to see Cannibal! The Musical on stage in Saint Paul. It was a very fun production, Frenchy and Swan were done very well. It deviates from the movie in a number of ways but they all work pretty well. One song that I didn't recognize was apparently a semi-deleted scene from the movie that you can download on the official site. The play is only around for one more weekend so go and see it! (Also, the show we saw was sold out so you may want to order tickets ahead of time.)
I'm doing okay on the "waste less money" front. It's a hard resolution to gauge. I have managed to watch all of the Netflix movies I currently have. Watching more Netflix movies will definitely reduce the amount of money I waste.
I've done a little new car shopping the past two weekends. monstersocks and I went to a Toyota dealership last weekend and I looked at a Camry LE and test drove a Prius. I came away liking the Camry more than I expected to but still being conflicted. I played around with the voice recognition in the Prius and was able to make it do a few things but some took multiple tries. (It raised the temperature to 85 degrees when I initially requested 75 but when I tried again it worked correctly. Attempting to guess navigation commands just ended up turning the radio off.) This past weekend we went to a Honda dealership and a different Toyota dealership. I looked at an Accord LX at the Honda dealership and wasn't too impressed. My brother has an LX-V6 and likes it a lot. I think that for me the biggest problem with the Accord is that they don't have a reasonable set of features I want in a single model. They throw lots of features I don't want (leather seats, sunroof) between the LX and the features I'm more interested in (nav, adjustable seats, heated mirrors, etc.) At the Toyota dealership we once again looked at a Camry and I took the Prius out for a test drive. (While waiting for the Prius to be available monstersocks found the Scion Xb.) I came away from that day still undecided but leaning enough towards the Prius that I went back to the previous weekend's dealership and put down a refundable deposit on a Prius. So I'm now on the waiting list and might get a Prius in about eight months unless I find something I want more between now and then or decide it isn't worth the price premium. There's also the question of the Hybrid Tax Credit which is fairly complicated. (It's a great deal and makes the Prius much more affordable, but it's only good for a limited time based on Prius sales. If Toyota sells 60,000 within the first quarter of this year, I'll probably be out of luck and get half of the original tax credit. If they sell 60,000 within the second quarter of the year I should be okay.) monstersocks isn't really in favor of the Camry or the Accord (she doesn't want me to get an "old people" car although I think she does want me to get one that's less cramped and low to the ground than my current one).
TiVo showed off their cool new series 3 boxes at CES. Very tempting (HD support, dual tuners and cable card support) but we'll see what sort of pricing they have in mind.