About a year ago, I did a holiday post apologizing for the recent lack of substantive posts, and explaining what I’d been doing instead.

This year, I decided to make that sort of post a De Novo holiday tradition, for two reasons. First, it just gets really busy around here during the holidays.

Second, redoing the post lets me reuse this picture of Jack and Caroline with Santa Claus. I love this picture. I plan to keep recycling it at least until Jack is a sophomore in college.

Anyway, here are some of the things I’ve been up this holiday season instead of generating decent content for this blog:

  • Working. Lots and lots of work, including an oral argument in the Fourth Circuit.
  • Drinking. More specifically, organizing a cocktail party for local lawyers who use iPads, so we could get together and share apps and thoughts about using the device. (If you live in a jurisdiction without a nearby Apple store, I highly recommend these meetings; we’ve done a few, and I’ve found them all to be terrifically informative.) Rob Dean, who blogs at Walking Office, was one of the lawyers who joined us. It was a pleasure to meet him. He was very impressive, and if you have any questions about Apple products I would refer you to him. Not me.
  • Talking. I was one of several legal bloggers who did an interview with Deborah Elkins of Virginia Lawyer’s Weekly about the most important opinions of the year. If you want to better understand why it’s a bad idea to speak off the cuff (and on the record) about opinions you haven’t looked at for months, check out my quotes in this piece (subscription required).
  • Talking Some More. I also recorded a radio spot for St. Francis Service Dogs that is currently running on WFIR. St. Francis is an incredible Roanoke-based charity that trains service dogs for people with a variety of disabilities. The dogs are absolutely brilliant, and so are the people who run the operation. I encourage you to check out St. Francis’ website, or their mascot’s blog. (Full disclosure: I’m on the board of this organization.)
  • #losing. I spent more time than I should have playing Supervillain or Newt.

Thankfully–and also consistent with our holiday tradition–you have not been missing out on anything in my absence, because the one story I feel like blogging about is off limits. Last year, the big story that I couldn’t comment on for a variety of reasons was the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Virginia.

This year, the big story that I can’t comment on for a variety of reasons is the vacancy on the Court of Appeals.

Happy New Year. We’ll be back next week with something useful to say.