Inspired by “Fogus’ yearly list of great things and people that I discovered, learned, read, met, etc.” - this is my version of what were the best things I discovered in 2021.
- Daily Steps (Avg.): 10413 (+13%)
- Aikido (Hrs.) 178 (-29%)
- Shodo (hrs) 25 (+31%)
2021 was still plagued by COVID countermeasures, so yet again I have to explain the numbers a bit.
- Aikido first: the full lockdown started in November 2020 and went on and on. On top of that, as soon as it was actually possible to travel abroad I tried to visit some other places again, and albeit the trips were short and not really frequent, these were always reducing my days in the dojo... so -29% is pretty bad, especially because 2020 was already 10% below my normal average.
- Shodo is "increasing", but this is not very meaningful: I do not track Shodo when I do it on my own at home, so the number here is about "deliberate practice together with others". And the uptick is just because I managed to go to a seminar, this time.
- Walking: is a bit better, I am back to 10K+ steps a day (mostly thanks to more opportunities to travel, when I am at home I most often spend any free time locked up somewhere taking care of my other passions).
An Ornament to His Profession I finally bought (and read) this book after letting it wait in my Amazon Kindle wish list for years. Harness is not exactly renowned (or wasn't for me, at least), but I found him compared to Matheson and Bester so I decided to check out this collection of short stories. I am duly impressed, even if it did not turn me into a fan.
Cyberabad Days. I read River of Gods - by the same author - years ago, and I still remember it as a vivid, original, and extremely well-written work. This anthology (set against the same India Cyberpunk background) is equally delightful.
Technical and Non-Fiction Books/Papers
- N/A (alas)
Miscellaneous Web Articles
- How 12th-century Genoese merchants invented the idea of risk
- In 1973, I invented a ‘girly drink’ called Baileys funny and interesting story of how Bailey's Cream was born.
- Technological Prudence: What the Amish Can Teach Us - the author discussess how Amish groups have been extremely selective in deciding which parts of technology to adopt and what to stay out of, and argues that the actual reasoning behind these choices could be useful to the general population, too.
- AI and Communism: narratives of AI behind the Iron Curtain presentation of the Central and East Europe workshop held in May, 2021 with a focus on the histories of artificial intelligence, cognitive science, and cybernetics in the Communist Bloc, with an emphasis on Czechoslovakia and Poland.
- A Lifetime of System Thinking](https://thesystemsthinker.com/a-lifetime-of-systems-thinking/) - Russell Ackoff provides his insights from decades of experience in the field of System Analysis.
- James Bond unmasked where Mordecai Richler takes on James Bond.
- Advanced Situational Awareness as a Force Multiplier "The United States Military is operating at a conceptual level beyond every other school of thought except perhaps academic philosophy, because it has a much larger budget." Source
- On The Experience of Being Poor-ish, For People Who Aren't - what does it mean to be poor, or on the verge of poverty?
- Gene Wolfe Turned Science Fiction Into High Art "He turns 80. His literary career enters its sixth decade. He finds that a number of younger writers revere him, and they revere him for all the things that have kept him from becoming more popular: his uniqueness, his ambition, the wildness of his ideas and his willingness to follow them where they go."
Favorite non-book media and entertainment
Once again, little to report here: I saw only two movies, and in both cases, it was to spend some time with my mother, so I list these there just for completeness...
I kept GM'ing a Fantasy campaign using Mini-Six. There were also some sporadic and brief experiments with other systems/genres/types of games, so I am quite happy with 2021, at least in terms of gaming.
Content (produced by me)
Almost nothing. I was marginally more active on MeWe, again mostly about RPG.
- PENTEL SESF30C-AX this year, obviously, I kept buying a trying out lots of drawing and art products. I will just limit myself to this pen from pentel, available in a bunch of colors and amazingly versatile for calligraphy, Shodo, Sumi-e, or ... well, more or less anything you may want to try with a fude-pen.
- Microsoft Surface GO 2 Tablet, 10.5'' I am always on the lookout for the tiniest/most functional thing I can take with me on short trips. I was also interested in having at least one Windows computer around (everything else is either Mac or Linux). I am not disappointed, but I have used it very little, all in all. It works fine for reading comics, though.
- ASUS ZenScreen MB16AHP(https://www.rtings.com/monitor/reviews/asus/zenscreen-go-mb16ahp) - this one, again, was sort of a fancy, but it is marginally more useful than the Surface: it works fine as a second screen when I am working from home. And the rest of the time it provides some extra screen "estate" for my iMac. I bought the simpler version (screen is not touch sensitive) and I am fairly satisfied with it.
- Anker PowerPort+ Atom III Compact 60W both the Surface and my MacBook can/must be charged using USB-C, so I thought that having a single charger that could serve both would be more practical in the long run. Good product overall (as expected with Anker).
- PRODEF ® Belt Pendant for Key I prefer to keep my keys (along with a torch and some other small EDC gizmos at my belt. This is so far the most practical solution I could find.
- I got very little use from it, but I really like Boardgame Arena - perfect for casual playing over the Internet.
- I took part (again - last year it was canceled due to COVID) in the annual International Calligraphy Exhibit in Tokyo.
- Overcome Your Fear - Shodo Seminar in Berlin.
I keep training and keep attending seminars, both here and back in Italy - but there was no special highlight this year. Also as you can see from the statistics, 2021 was probably the worst year in terms of actual hours of practice.
Food & Dining
- Cerveteria Giralda this is probably the most famous tapas bar in Seville - located a few hundred steps from the Cathedral, it was built inside the remains of an Arabic bath. You would suspect that due to all these factors, the place would just be a tourist trap. I was happy to discover that they are very fair and go out of their ways to actually cater to their customer's best interests.
- Uhm... nothing? .
- Arhus. Another short trip to try to see a bit of the world after the latest lockdown. I choose Aarhhus because it is farily close... and because I had visited it already, exactly 25 years ago - it is also the second largest city in Denmark, so I was pretty sure I could find plenty of things to see over my short stay there..
- Amsterdam. Amsterdan is another place where I haven't returned for more than 20 years (ig we do not count brief stays in Schipol to change plane...)
- Seville. This one, instead, was my very first visit there. Really charming, and I am already thinking to go there again.
One thing that did not falter in 2021 was my almost daily production of artistic works. Here are the most outstanding results for me:
Best as in "Most voted"
This was my most voted work since… forever. Almost one order of magnitude more links than my average.
I am not super-impressed with the quality, though, so I suppose this was a fluke (and the fact that I used a photo from a very popular shibari artist).
Best as in "This is what I like more"
For "The one I like best" I opt for this one, instead.
Two reasons: I am really fond of the model, but also… it was done while I was spending some days in an Air B&B in Berlin. I.e. without much in terms of equipment.
I am very proud of the results because it was like a Zoom session: i.e. little margin for error.