Now: December 2022

Instead of social media updates, I keep a now page inspired by Derek Sivers.

I keep putting off writing about what I’m doing now in the hope that things will be better. Alas.

The war goes on in the background, and a lot of my mental energy goes to worrying about friends and family in Ukraine.

I’m just now starting to feel a bit better after a week of covid. I had thought the latest variants were supposed to be a “mild cold”. Most of my officemates also came down with it and had the same experience of nearly a week of not getting out of bed.

It’s been nearly five months since I’ve stopped drinking alcohol, cut my caffeine way back and stabilized my oscillating Buddhist practice. These have all been huge benefits and sources of calm over the past few months.

Learning

I’ve been geeking out with information architecture, in particular Abby Covert’s Stuck? Diagrams Help and the conference Abby organized about diagrams. I also started her course on How to Make Sense of Any Mess, so far so good.

Finding meaningful avenues for professional development is tricky in content design. There are only so many ways you can right an error message, but information architecture and the longer role of content has been rewarding.

I’m finding Dutch harder than I expected. Outside of the classroom, I simply never use the language. Nearly everyone in Amsterdam is fluent in English, so it’s just not that rewarding to force my way through Dutch. Yet.

Books

Lately I’ve read or am almost finished with:

Wayfinding: The Science and Mystery of How Humans Navigate the World by M.R. O’Connor. Really interesting and well written, I highly recommend this for a look at memory, oral cultures, navigation and some odds and ends.

Seven Games: A Human History by Oliver Roeder. Great read, lots to think about in terms of games, what makes us human and the growing role of artificial intelligence. This books stifled what little interest I ever had in poker, but made me want to play more chess and backgammon.

How the World Really Works by Vaclav Smil. I expected more from this. While the topic is fascinating, this would have worked better as an extended essay rather than being drawn out to book length and packed to the gills with statistics.

Dune Messiah. This is the second Dune book. It’s rather different than the first, but I’m still finding it an interesting read. If only the Dune universe were as fleshed out as the Star Wars universe.

The Way of Kings. I keep trying to get into it. I’m 75% of the way through and still find it pretty meh. I wanted to like it, but it’s just not my thing.

Life

Otherwise life goes on. The cold, dark days of the European winter are here.

I’ve been saying this for what feels like too many years in a row, but I really hope next year will be better, which is a strange feeling. On the one hand everything really is good. My family is largely healthy, happy and safe. We both have good jobs and live in a great city.

But, the war gnawing on the background of consciousness takes its toll.

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