Year Note 2021

The days are long but the years are short.

One more year over and in these plague times, they are starting to look like a blur, so here’s what changed.

Work

I gave notice between Christmas and New Year 2020 and spent the first three months of the year in a weird in-between state mostly done with the old job, waiting for the new one to start. This all took place in between daycare closures and being out sick myself for a fair bit of the new year.

Then the new job started and I fell into a blur of work that has continued for most of the rest of the year. It’s been a nice change but also very intense. Details are on LinkedIn.

Travel

I haven’t been anywhere in 2021 except to an island in Croatia last September with work which definitely was a highlight.

Will I travel again and why? I have no idea.

Learning

I finished Turkish. I now prefer it over German again especially for writing.

I gave up on Chinese and couldn’t motivate myself or figure out how to book the HSK2. I did learn a couple hundred characters which seem to be mostly the same in meaning in Japanese, so that’s a plus.

I started Japanese which is a lot more enjoyable and for basic conversation seems a lot easier. There also has been some strengthening on the claim for a relationship between Turkish and Japanese so let’s see how it goes.

I should have started this way earlier and not listened to anybody who ever said something is difficult. What they mean is that something was difficult for them. Depending on their cognitive abilities, many things may in fact be difficult for them. It shouldn’t matter to me or anybody else.

Kids

The daycare was closed at the start of the year until March or Easter, not sure anymore exactly how this went down. Most of the rest of the year things were up and running.

We had a nasty burn wound on one kid that cut the summer break short and gave us several weeks of misery but in the end it all turned out well.

Then at the end of the year we gave notice at our daycare. We are leaving one very esteemed Kindergarten for another which I didn’t think would be possible with two kids in the middle of the year, but it is. We even had several more offers willing to take our kids.

The kids are doing really well. After a brief bout of gymnastics which they enjoyed a lot, COVID made us switch to outdoor ice skating for now.

Sports

I finally killed my old fixie or to be more correct it nearly killed me. With it gone, I could finally shop for a real road bike.

Thanks to a ship blocking the Suez Canal and all the other supply chain difficulties in the world, there was a tremendous bike shortage most of the summer (who knows, maybe it’s still going on?) and I got any random bike I could get my hands on in the €1000 price range.

I also got most of the tools and kit that you would need for cycling. It’s the clichéed man midlife hobby.

I seem to have ridden 1231km on it and looking forward to doing many times that in the coming year. The details are on Strava.

I picked up bouldering again which when in a rhythm (every 4-5 days) I’m finding pretty enjoyable.

Health

I got boosted randomly on November 17th which was a lot earlier than I expected and before almost everybody I know.

We survived another year. That’s it. That’s the year note.

I noticed [concrete observation]. Is everything ok?

I noticed [concrete observation] happened a few times now. What’s the pattern here?

[non-personal topic] has been on my mind. Could we have a quick chat to figure it out?

May we spend a bit of time going through your progress on [initiative]?

Do you have a few minutes to dive into [initiative] with me?

Holding people accountable and being held accountable do not seem like fun until you consider the alternatives (which are really bad). Do yourself and others a favor and learn how to do this.

https://medium.dave-bailey.com/a-manager-guide-to-holding-your-team-accountable-a05aac67294c

“I see operationally-minded engineers working cross-functionally with software development teams to help them grow in a few key areas: making outsourcing successful, speeding up time to value, and up-leveling their production chops.”

This is great and true. The more of our operations and infra we outsource, the more time we have to do interesting work and help our product teams create business value.

Learn You a Haskell is Problematic

A couple of years ago I learned Haskell and to do that I read a book that is universally recommended for beginners and used to be available free online called “Learn you a Haskell for Great Good”.

The website seems to be gone at the moment: https://www.learnyouahaskell.com/

I didn’t think too much about it when I read it but after some other people were asking what they should use to learn Haskell I remembered these weird ‘jokes’ that are in the book to make the code a bit livelier.

Judging from the reviews online not that many people (in this case almost only men) have picked up on this. To be clear, it’s in extremely poor judgement to have picked these slurs in the first place and maybe you could get away with this stuff 5-10 years ago, that’s no longer the case.

I’ve screenshotted the examples below. There must be better books to learn Haskell with by now. I quickly switched to Clojure quickly for a bunch of reasons and you might do well not to take the detour that I did.

A really badly chosen and phrased BMI calculator
Not even clear what the point of this slur is
Is this a joke? Does the author have a girlfriend?

There could be more but I think you get the point.

Update on the construction site

The construction site next to our house is still spewing forth noise and fumes at all hours. The city is unable to do anything here it seems and calling the people at the construction site we are met with nothing but deflection and lies.

They have built a housing around the heater which has maybe reduced the noise by 5dB and we are still left with a value that is far above what is allowed here.

Picture of the housing forthcoming.