Weeknotes #51

in weeknotes

  • It’s 2021!

  • Unlike last week, we didn’t do very much of anything to mark the occasion which is a bit of a shame. Japan celebrates the new year in a way that’s similar to how many Westerners celebrate Christmas (i.e. as a time to meet with family, pray a little and eat too much) but we’re almost always in Australia when it occurs so we miss all of that. While we didn’t go back to Sydney this year, with the pandemic situation continuing to deteriorate in Tokyo (1,337 cases on Thursday!), we didn’t want to take any chances.

  • Eugenia asked if Japan celebrates the Lunar New Year and while it is something that I think people are aware of, my impression has always been that Japan simply moved all of the celebrations to the start of the Western new year (we began the Year of the Ox on Friday, for example). I’ve always thought this was something that happened as part of the modernisation of Japan during the Meiji Restoration but I’ve never actually looked that up so am not sure.

  • I was ashamed to discover last month that I hadn’t read a single book in all of 2020. I managed to remedy that with a quick read through of All You Need is Kill, the Japanese ‘light novel’ (i.e. novella) upon which the movie Edge of Tomorrow is based. The movie makes a number of changes and they’re all for the better; the book is plodding and lacks the emotional depth of the film.

  • I also found time to watch a handful of movies: Tenet, On the Rocks and 21 Jump Street. None were especially noteworthy, although I was especially disappointed by Tenet. I didn’t find Dunkirk as enjoyable an experience as much of the critical community and was excited for Nolan to return to science fiction. I’ll probably end up watching the movie a few more times (during which my opinion might change as it often does with Nolan’s films) but at the moment Thomas Flight’s video essay on Nolan’s exposition problem gets at my issues best (YouTube).

  • And on top of all of that, I finished the first season of the Mandalorian (so, yes, still a season behind). It was fine, better than I was expecting but nothing particularly special. The exception is episode 6, the ‘Prisoner’. It’s excellent and can really be enjoyed without watching any of the rest of the show. I hear that season 2 is better than season 1 so I’ll keep watching.

  • I did surprisingly little programming over the break. Maybe I was burnt out from Advent of Code? I didn’t mention it last week but I managed to complete up to the first half of Day 20. That’s an improvement on the last two years so I was happy. Not sure if I’ll do it again next year; we’ll have to see.

  • I did begin an exercise regimen, in part because my weight is back up over 73kg and in part because I have access to the new Apple Fitness+ service as part of my Apple One Premier subscription. So far it’s fine and while I was afraid I’d hate the relentless positivity of the trainers, I have to admit I grew to like them disturbingly quickly. I’m still just doing the simple beginner workouts but hope to move on to something more demanding over the next week.

  • One of the nice things about Fitness+, is it has excellent integration with Apple Music. Each workout has an associated playlist you can easily listen to or take songs from. It’s due to that that I spent an awful lot of time listening to Flo Rida’s ‘GDFR’ this week (Apple Music).

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont