I’ve always enjoyed yearly roundups like Fogus' “The best things and stuff of 2021” as sources of both inspiration and vicarious pleasure. After all, there’s no way any one person could keep up with all of the content 1 in the world, new or old. I figure it’s time to try my hand at a retro piece that lives on my own site, and thereby take back a little power 2 from our corporate overlords who lock us into their platforms and monetize our eyeballs. Also, in case you hadn’t noticed, I’m experimenting with footnotes.
Without further ado, here are my 2021 highlights.
There can be no doubt. In first place is Zuko, this orange catto who came to me at the end of March. He has been the highlight of most days, and the shared album we set up for his pictures has a whopping 1030 photos and videos. Yes, the internet exists solely for us to worship our feline friends, but still…
I changed companies; VMware -> Google. While I’m still in security, I get to spend more of my time writing code. My mental state has been 10x better since the switch.
This was a decent year on the reading front. I hit my challenge goal of reading 35 books. I finally got to the Broken Earth trilogy, which was alright but not worth the hype in my opinion. Last Chance to See was fantastic, as was A Walk in the Woods. Murderbot #5 and #6 were good ways to kill some time. I also enjoyed The New One, and I honestly think Mike Birbiglia is a fantastic fellow, and everyone should listen to his podcast Working It Out. Bullshit Jobs was good auditory food for thought while I was debating a job change.
Full list for the year is on Goodreads.
Movies and Shows
I watched a ton of Indian movies this year. The Malayalam ones took the cake, with hits like Joji, The Great Indian Kitchen, #Home, Malik, and Irul. Fahadh Faasil is a superlative actor. The two modern Kannada movies I watched (Mundina Nildana and Rathnan Prapancha) were positively terrible, not just comparatively but objectively.
I obviously didn’t go an entire year without watching English movies, but nothing really stands out in my mind. Marvel new releases, some old content, but no bright stars.
On the TV frontier I’ve been watching Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm in parallel, and it makes for a trippy experience! I love Larry David’s writing, although I have to say that Seinfeld is showing its age and barely makes me laugh. I’m also rewatching Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood as I introduce it to my friends. Earlier in the year I mowed through Kim’s Convenience; that was good fun too.
The album I listened to most was Hamsa. Otherwise, lots of prog metal, lots of Carnatic classical/fusion, and lots of Indian prog. Not much more to say here!
Good year for gaming! Dead Cells and Fire Emblem: Three Houses were the go-to on the Switch, and wow is Overcooked! 2 stressful.
On PC I really enjoyed Monster Train and spent a gajillion (read: 54) hours on Horizon Zero Dawn.
In descending order of frequency, I biked, hiked, bouldered, and kayaked this year. I also ate way too much food, but c’est la vie.
Biking was all local. Lots of little ones - my longest one this year was a little over 32 miles. A bunch of commuting too, now that we can go into the office again!
Hiking led me to lovely Bay Area spots like Uvas Canyon, Mt Tam, San Pedro Valley Park, Sequoia NP, Rancho San Antonio, Stanford Dish, Joshua Tree NP, Yosemite NP, Land’s End, Bear Creek Redwoods, St Joseph’s Hill, El Corte Madera, Purisima Creek Redwoods, Mission Peak, and Reinhardt Redwoods. I also got to see Silver Falls SP (OR), Chugach SP (AK), and Ohiopyle SP (PA).
I started bouldering at an indoor gym, and love the combo mental and physical exercise the activity presents. Still on the fence about committing to a membership though…
Finally, I kayaked a handful of times, and I’d like to do that more next year. Need the upper body work!
Who knows?! I’ve stopped archiving and favoriting things I read on the internet, so I couldn’t really say. Huge shoutout to Hacker Newsletter though for giving me a way to tame the firehose while still staying on top of tech news. :)
I’m happy to be vaccinated and boosted. I’m grateful to have gotten to travel more this year. I’m grateful for more friends in the Bay and more conversations with family. I’m grateful for M, and Z, and a non-stressful roommate situation. Sofas and beds are great inventions. Read Pearls Before Swine, and Goomics, and don’t sweat the small stuff.
(‘next?’ in Kannada)
What do I want from the year of the lord 0x7E6? More outdoors, more tech depth (warning: do not confuse with tech debt hahaha I’m so funny), more blog posts. Moar catto time. Fingers crossed for smooth sailing on that personal thing. To learn, grow, laugh and cause laughs (for I was born in the Year of the പന്നി (‘panni’, pig in Malayalam), and I shall be Punny!). I’m toying with the notion that I’m spreading myself a bit thin with the number of books I’m reading on very different topics, so maybe I’ll aim for some more focus. Maybe.
Have a very happy new year, and I’ll see you on the other side.