Year Note 2021

The days are long but the years are short.

One more year over and these 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, in between daycare closures and being sick.

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 mean the same thing as in Japanese.

I started learning 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 intelligence, 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. 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 grief but in the end all turned out well.

Then at the end of the year we gave notice. 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 places 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 guy midlife hobby. The local Rapha store is more convenient and also cheaper than many of the cycling apparel you can buy dropshipped over Instagram.

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. I am now AZ/Comirnaty/Comirnaty.

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

The San Diego Loyal got a lot of additional fans with this move. A great example too for European clubs in a lot of ways.

The necessity of physical fitness to create peak mental performance has been a well-known fact in esports. Useful to see the documented effects of pushing yourself cognitively within the chess world.

The 1984 World Chess Championship was called off after five months and 48 games because defending champion Anatoly Karpov had lost 22 pounds. “He looked like death,” grandmaster and commentator Maurice Ashley recalls.

https://www.espn.com/espn/story/_/id/27593253/why-grandmasters-magnus-carlsen-fabiano-caruana-lose-weight-playing-chess

Scooters in Berlin

Scooters are not legal in Germany yet but in select locations like here in Berlin you can try them out on private land.

This was my first ride and they are an immense pleasure to use once you get your feet positioned properly. I’m not sure yet what happens if you fall off one but I’m pretty sure it will be bad.

The law allowing these on the road has supposedly been signed but still has to work its way through some German institutions. What will happen when these are legal is obvious:

  • People will adopt them en masse because scooters are amazing.
  • Chaos will ensue everywhere because cities like Berlin have near zero infrastructure to facilitate these vehicles and are unable to adapt at the speed required.
  • There will be some accidents which will be blown up by the media.
  • A huge backlash will ensue as has already happened in many other places.
  • The German attitude towards risk and the ever-present machinations of the car lobby will get scooters banned.

I hope I’m proven wrong but it’s hard to see how it would go any other way.

Fitbit lost and findings

I lost my Fitbit today. This was bound to happen and I’m surprised I managed to hold on to it as long as I did. So one minute I was getting off the tram and the next I didn’t have it anymore.

Cyborgified

Some findings:

The fitbit as a hardware device is very well designed. It works, it’s polite and you don’t have to do anything really. It’s quite easy to get into a habit with it. The website has some glitches and takes a whiles to fully propagate updates here and there, but I have the feeling that’s improving. Everybody I show one wants to get one.

On a negative bent: the entire premise of the devise is offensively US-centric. Everybody here in the Netherlands is somewhat peeved that it does not ‘do’ biking. This is of course understandable when a device has the cultural assumption in it that you take your car to a mall, you plod through said mall and then get back into your car. For genuine global appeal these devices need to be more adaptable still.

Finally: my fitbit was already showing some tears in the plastic and it’s far too easy to lose. I’m too wrapped up in my day to day activities to ‘take care’ of yet another device. It’s all I can do to keep my iPhone in one piece as it is. Also it being so easy to lose or break, needing to get another one at $99 is too convenient a profit strategy. I think I’ll pass.