I spent most of this week learning a programming language called Javascript. It's heavily used in web browsers, so I've had plenty of exposure to it all along. But this week was the week to take the deep dive in.

I signed up for an actual online course in the language and have been burning through it at a furious pace. Of the 7 course sections, I've completed nearly 5½. The last sections are a lot harder though, so it will probably take me another week to get through the rest.

Programming languages are a lot like everyday languages in that once you know the grammar of one, you can apply what you know to the next one more rapidly. It's a matter of putting the new syntax and vocabulary together to communicate the same ideas you've already been exposed to from the previous language.

Between Javascript lessons, I managed to get some Christmas cards addressed, write a few blog posts, do a little client work, and shop for a new vacuum cleaner.

It seems like for the past few years, we've been going through vacuum cleaners about 1 per year. Some of them have lasted 2. Last week, I was emptying the dust collector bin on the vacuum when the sucker-pillar thing in the middle fell out. That and the bearings in the brush were starting to go, so it was loud -- loud, even for a vacuum cleaner.

This is not the same as the vacuum cleaners I remember growing up. I think I can remember 2 vacuum cleaners that lasted from the time I could identify a vacuum cleaner and the time I left for college. When I asked Brooke about it, she could only remember her mother ever having had 1.

Either we're harder on ours than the typical American family, or the ones you get at WalMart are apparently from an inferior line coming down from the vacuum ancestral history. (Very inferior, since we only actually use the vacuum cleaner, on average, every other week!)

My first inclination was to head back out to Wally World to get another one. But then I thought better of it. This hasn't been working. So I started shopping online for a new one. I figured I'd try Better Housekeeping. Who's going to know vacuums better than them? They had 7 models on their recommended list. Among them a hand-held, a couple variations on cordless vacs, and that left 2 "serious" machines. One was a big, heavy, industrial version. The other looked like it was probably closer to our speed.

Thanks to Amazon, it arrived two days later and is waiting in the box in the front hall for me to unpack and initiate this weekend.

The Better Housekeeping recommendation said "These machines really suck!" I'm hoping they're right.