December 28, 2002

Christmas was wonderful. I won't bore you with the details -- I'll just tell you that my kids had a magical time, the family had a very memorable spiritual evening Christmas Eve, and the robot vacuum cleaner has completely sold me on anthropomorphizable household automation.

You may recall my Roomba experience. Well, we fired the thing up this week, and it did an admirable job of cleaning the floors. Additionally, it did a fine job of entertaining the children. They run from it, shrieking. They call to it. My two-year-old now knows that when it is plugged in to the wall and the green "charging" light is on, it is "sleeping" and cannot be used. In these circumstances she whispers around it, and blows it kisses so as not to wake it up.

As I told my brother, the best part about it is I HAVE A ROBOT VACUUM CLEANER! HOW COOL IS THAT?. It's not very smart, but it's got good responses for series of bumps that tell it "here's a wall I can run along" or "here's a chair leg I can run around" or "I think I'm in the middle of the room. Time to run an expanding spiral and cover some ground." The biggest problem is that it can only do three medium-sized rooms every 12 hours, which pretty much means that unless I'm going to plan my day around vacuuming (and the whole point of having a robot do it is that I'm NOT going to plan my day around vacuuming), only three rooms per day get cleaned.

That's okay. Before the robot showed up, we might have gotten three rooms vacuumed each week. And we NEVER got the vacuum under the beds. The first time I cleaned out the bin on the Roomba after it slurped around under my bed I found pre-Cambrian dust-bunny fossils, and what looks like an ancient carpet trilobite.

At any rate, Christmas was nice. I took some time off from Novell and from cartooning, but I still have 28 days in the buffer as of this writing, as well as a whole 'nother week off of work. I'm going to draw a lot, and listen to the robot chase the children.

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