The 2021 to 2022 transition post

Welcome to 2022 everyone, and to this, the traditional yearly year transition post!

Figure 1: Sunset rock in St Francis on December 28, 2021, close to the end of the main event.

Figure 1: Sunset rock in St Francis on December 28, 2021, close to the end of the main event.

I thought it was the latest ever, but it turns out that that honour goes to 2014 (which had a really good excuse to appear only in March) and 2015 (no real excuse).

Much later, on Sunday January 23: It could very well still win the Most Fragmented Ever, but at least now it’s done.


Emacs and M-x count-words (on a temporary buffer copied over from the 2021 blog post archive) tells me that I published 28 posts on this blog, and 8 technical posts over on

Just like with the running below, but for different reasons, I lost a lot of steam during the last few months of the year.

In a truly surprise twist, in 2022 I will again attempt to write regularly, and to write more, and to keep it up until the end.

Stats addendum

Applying the goaccess log analyzer to this blog’s log files with the following invocation:

(for i in {2..13..1}; do echo$i.gz; done) | xargs zcat -f -- | goaccess --ignore-crawlers --log-format=COMBINED -

… tells me that in 2021 welcomed over 115000 unique visitor IPs.

The same tool reports that clocked in at just under 165000 unique visitor IPs.

Even if the real number of actual human visits is a quarter of what the tool is reporting, I am ecstatic!

The three most popular posts based on hits during 2021 were:


Thanks to Strava’s handy training calendar shown below, we can see that I spent 125 hours last year (mostly, about 4 hours was spent on hiking just over 20km) running a bit over 1300km.

You can also see quite clearly that I lost steam in November and especially in December.

This was initially due to work getting quite busy, and then later in December a bout with Omicron (highly probably) and also less than run-friendly weather in St. Francis.

I am always happy when I manage to average 100km or more per month, and I’ll probably try to do that again in 2022.

Possibly TMI, read on at your own risk

Those of you who know me, will also know about my giant bunion, or hallux valgus as it prefers to be called.

Figure 2: Valgus, Hallux Valgus. License to limp. Relationship status: It’s complicated.

Figure 2: Valgus, Hallux Valgus. License to limp. Relationship status: It’s complicated.

Anyways, Mr Valgus is unfortunately playing an increasingly frequent role in my attempts at running, often starting to complain at N kilometres where N is fortunately still higher than most of my attempts, but still affecting a worrying number of them.

I’m planning to push on, until Mr Valgus overstays its welcome, at which point it will be time to explore invasive corrective procedures.


Probably my most redeeming habit of them all, is reading books every night in bed until I fall asleep.

Even if the day has been less than satisfactory, ending it with an entirely deliberate and focused reading session tends to make up for quite a lot.

Although I was planning to do more book summaries in 2021, I managed to complete only one. At least it was a good one, namely Notes on the book “Seven and a Half Lessons About the Brain” by Lisa Feldman Barrett, which I can strongly recommend if you have not checked it out yet.

Thanks to strong contenders like the one above, the competition was fierce, but in the end the WHV non-fiction book of 2021 Award could go to nothing other than Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals.

Burkeman, he of the importance of being able to put down your work and of more appearances on this blog, has created a beautifully written ode to our terribly limited lifespans (4000 weeks if you’re lucky, you can almost hear them ticking away…), and to our terribly limited capacity to make the most of the time that we do get, and to really just giving up the fight to get everything done, because we will never ever win the battle against the law of perpetually filling inboxes of various kinds, and because it’s so much better to simply disconnect from the firehose (which we can’t get rid of completely) in order to spend time on no-excuses leisure, and especially on our loved ones.

My favourite fiction book by far was The Anomaly by Hervé le Tellier, as translated by Adriana Hunter.

After having just grudgingly finished Elizabeth Bear’s Ancestral Night (first novel in the White Space series; some interesting ideas, but just too pulpy, clumsy and exposition-rich for my taste, in spite of space opera being a guilty pleasure…), the light literariness and French cynicism of The Anomaly was a delightful and refreshing breeze that I was unable to put down until it was done.

In 2022, I’m planning to read more than in 2021, and publish more of those summaries.


The daily meditation streak that started in 2020 continued for most of 2021, until the end-of-year school vacation started. I am not yet sure how I’ll be able to fit this into my new 2022 work-routine.

Worst habit of 2021

The WHV Award for Worst Habit of 2021 By Far goes, without a doubt, to my old friend TwiFRaF-Yo, although this time around the main culprits were Twitter, Reddit and YouTube.

I don’t know exactly when I fell out of the previous social media fast, but I fell out with a vengeance.

Although I subscribe almost entirely to technical communities on reddit (Emacs, Orgmode, Org-roam, keyboards, etc.), there are enough of them to keep a person busy.

If you add to that my twitter feed, where I’ve also taken care to remove the noise, subscribing largerly to high-signal science-, technology- , and engineering-related feeds, there’s a great deal of valuable-seeming information that one feels compelled to get through every day…

(It feels like I’ve told this story before…)

Anyways, every time I manage to disconnect (it’s been a few weeks now, I think Monday January 3 was the official start date of the current fast), only then am I able to recognise (where by “recognise”, I mean that friends say this to me, and this is when I’m able to admit that they’re right) that the net value for me is highly probably negative.

While there is certainly valuable information that enters via those streams, it costs so much attention and emotional energy that it’s not really worth it.


I’m back on the no-social-media cart until next time.

Just like the previous time, I’m limiting myself to the brilliant Inoreader RSS subscription service (which I pay for) to keep up to date with 99% long-form blogs, and two Twitter accounts that are worth too much to me to disconnect from (Eric Topol and Alper Çuğun-Gscheidel).

Although I sometimes think this makes me slower, because I don’t have all of the current happenings at my fingertips all the time, I’m hoping this gives me more space and time for reading, thinking and writing.

Systems and tools for running this human (PKM baby)

In the 2018 to 2019 transition post I mentioned the “The System”:

The System is Emacs, and orgmode, and multi-scalar note-taking everywhere, and sketching, and daily habits, and a whole bag of tricks to try and keep this creaky old frame moving in the right direction.

This time, for this section, I would like to limit it to tools for knowledge management and task management (this is not my favourite term, but I’m erring on the side of familiarity here) .

All of Emacs and Orgmode and Org-roam is still going strong, although I waver quite a bit sometimes when I see some of the shiny new things, like Obsidian, which I would probably be using if it wasn’t for Emacs.

However, when I sometimes dive into my notes, I can see the difference it makes when you stick to a single tool for longer than a few years. The amount of knowledge keeps on growing, and I am slowly getting better at linking it all together and… sometimes even using it.

The picture below shows the graph created, by the org-roam-ui package, of a sub-section of my notes network:

Before I got side-tracked by the pretty picture, I was planning to dedicate this section to a new WHV award, namely the Award for the Most Unexpectedly Useful Software Tool of the Year 2021.

This year the award goes to… Dropbox Paper!

Back in WHV #233 I listed many of the reasons why. In the few months since then it has become only more useful to me as the go-to mobile tool for checklists (especially useful when we go on trips), lists of books, movies and music recommended by people in person, and so on.

In addition to the qualifier features, such as its markdown DNA and its usability on mobile for idea capturing, the fact that Paper documents show up in Dropbox searches, which is how I usually search when I really need to find a specific file (versus ripgrep searches in Orgmode), is the deal maker.

(My strange scheme for continuously converting all org files to docx for searching and reading on the iPhone is also still going strong.)


I had a piece written here with more details about what exactly was happening at work, but I decided to nuke that and instead keep it more personal by mentioning that thanks to great big dollops of serendipity and people, I find myself, with a number of levers at my disposal, right in the middle of an organization which, after a few months of reconfiguration and preparation, has embarked on a genuinely exciting, and importantly more unified, course.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the discomfort and stress I was experiencing at the start of the current personal phase, most probably due to trying to adapt quickly to my new circumstances and responsibilities.

In the time since then, my stress levels have returned to more acceptable levels, but expectations remain high.

Friends and family

One of the most positive changes I made in the past year, was to put more effort into making regular and active (virtual) contact with friends whom I don’t see in person regularly enough.


This year, I want to try harder to do more of that.

More generally, I made a note (yes, again, one has to keep doing this until the end) to celebrate any of my peeps and our relationships whenever there’s a chance.

Secret message for my innner INNER circle: You are my energy and my joy, I am here to be yours.

Whatever else happens, these precious relationships are all we have.

Even more plans for 2022: Continue trying

First off, I would really like to get this blog post here done and published. (it wants to be too much, or rather I want it to be too much, and so we sit here staring at each other instead of just getting on with it so I can try again to write a good post for once)

Second, EAZ is back on, since Monday January 10. EAZ means no alcohol until at least February 10. As has been the case previously, my sleep quality is subjectively better, and it seems like my energy levels are more consistent throughout the week.

I just looked back at last year’s transition post, and especially at the final sections, including the neatly documented Life Systems 2021. That guy (apparently we share only about 2% of our atoms) really seemed to have his stuff together, on paper at the very least.

As I write this (22:38 on Saturday, January 22), I have just realised that this “I” definitely needs to spend some more time thinking about “WALUE” (The WHV approach to life, the universe and everything, the one with the pillars (love and science, that’s the easy and reliable bit) and the rules) and specifically if and how to revise the daily life direction clusters.

I’ll have it on your desk by Monday.

Until then, the one thing I’m sure about, is that I wish you and your loved ones the best 2022 possible.

Figure 3: Our cottage for the night of December 20 at Storms River Mouth.

Figure 3: Our cottage for the night of December 20 at Storms River Mouth.