About week 1643: A new year starts in London

Happy new year everyone. My 2018 was pretty good all in all. It wasn’t always smooth sailing, but I’ve done so many things this year that I hadn’t done before. Or at least I’ve done things differently. Being in a relationship all year might have helped, but other things proved to be a catalyst for adventure as well: a wedding in the United States, housesitting in Utrecht for colleagues and many other things. I kind of feel good about a new year starting. Although the news cycle proves to be the same negative rollercoaster as it was in 2018, I feel kind of good of starting things fresh in these dark days of Winter. Starting with these new week notes.

London travel

  • Last Sunday I travelled to London with the lady and it proved to be a lot of fun. We ended up with a vegan Airbnb host that filtered her water and then added new minerals to it with stones from a mine in Russia. Surrounded by chakras, mirrors and herbal smells (and an amazing conservatory full of plants), we touristed the hell out of London, at least when I recovered slightly from my fever / cold / virus thing. I’m still coughing and sneezing throughout most of the night and day, but I feel at least a bit better.
  • We celebrated New Year’s Eve on Primrose Hill watching the fireworks and London skyline. We also visited Waterstones where I bought a book because that’s what you do there. We had dinner at a great vegan place in Covent Garden (Redemption, recommended!) and did some touristy highlights (Buckingham Palace, Westminster etc).
  • I already wanna go back. Now it happens there is a Turin Brakes gig happening in February, hmm…

Read

  • While I did make some progress in 19Q4, I did buy a new book in London and started reading it this weekend. In Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book, a young toddler gets adopted by the not quite living inhabitants of a – yes – graveyard. Only two chapters in, I love the mood Gaiman is setting in this novel. It’s a breath of fresh air compared to the Murakami epic I’m still kind of working through. I still plan to finish that though. But I might read this first….
  • For Christmas, I gave my girlfriend a book about the design of the excellent animated movie The Secret of Kells. It’s one of her favourites and the book does not disappoint, showing everything from sketches to unused ideas and alternative designs. I don’t wanna boast too much, but this was a gift I very much enjoyed giving.

Watch

  • Yes, a new (and the final) season of A Series of Unfortunate Events has arrived on Netflix. I might be a minority here, but I loved the movie with Jim Carrey a lot, but the Netflix series turned out very good as well. My main gripe with it, is that it’s a bit too episodic for adults sometimes (with a lot of frustrating (similar) plot developments happening over and over again). The first two episodes of season 3 turned out to be a breath of fresh (mountain) air. I look forward to finally finding out how this story ends. Having never actually read the books, I remain unspoiled and thus excited (if a little frightened) about the ending of this series of tragedies.

Listen

  • I mostly listen to podcasts on the way to work and back, so there hasn’t been a lot of listening for me lately. But Adam & Joe Christmas podcast has been a reliable source of laughter this holiday.
  • My girlfriend’s current jams come courtesy of Cass McCombs: Laughter Is The Best Medicine is the favourite. And that means it has been stuck in my head too.

Apps & Tech

  • I’ve been composing these Week Notes, and the previous ones, in Drafts on the iPad Pro. I must say I’m always trying out new apps for writing, with both a nice design and nice functionality. I didn’t like it that much at first, but Drafts proves to be pretty reliable. I even used it as a HTML-editor yesterday when editing some website files and I didn’t have a computer nearby. So far I’m on the free version, but if this sticks I might see what the pro version holds in store. I like how the app starts as a blank slate for writing, and then has many “Actions” ways of using/converting/sharing your text in any way you want.
  • Apple just gave a warning about their current financial quarter. They will make 5 billion dollars less, apparently. Mind you, that still has them making over 80 billion dollars, so they far from in trouble. And I know the picture is probably more complicated than selling overpriced phones these days, but still… I know Apple is too arrogant to downright lower pricing, but they might find other ways to flog their current generation of iPhones. And hopefully, they’ll adjust their strategy accordingly for the future. Probably not though.

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