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2016-05-27 Krank

Vorgestern hatte ich Halsweh. Gestern bin ich zuhause geblieben, Schnupfen mit verstopfter Nase und jede Menge Kopfweh. Heute ist der Schnupfen nicht ganz so schlimm, aber die Nase tropft pausenlos und aus den Augen quellen Tränen ohne Zahl. Habe ich Schnupfen und Heuschnupfen gleichzeitig?

Dabei hatte ich doch jetzt gerade etwa einen Monat Ruhe…


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2015-12-24 Looking Back

In terms of role-playing games I continued playing my Astral Sea campaign in German, I started running a megadungeon campaign in English, and I’m still running a monthly game for kids. We practically stopped our biweekly indie one shots.

In terms of software for role-playing games I write the Face Generator which I still love and I wrote Gridmapper which I loved but then I discovered that I wasn’t actually creating any dungeons for my own games. I loved Gridmapper for the technical aspect: it’s a single SVG file with embedded XHTML and Javascript. It comes with a demo and it saves dungeons to a wiki for everybody to share, and you can save it locally as well.

So far, so good.

Claudia and I pushed our running goals. She had been training for 10km runs and decided that in 2015 she was going to do a half marathon. At the end of July we ran 21km as part of our training. In August, a mere week later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and started chemo. Later we learned of two heterozygot mutations of the ATM gene, meaning that she has two mutated copies, one from each parent. The mutations are not clinical significant, meaning that not enough is known to say whether these mutations are related to her cancer. It is known, however, that mutations in this gene can be related to certain leukemia (and she had one of them as a teenager) and certain breast cancer types (and she has one of them right now). The ATM gene encodes a protein that is involved in DNA repair. Cancers due to failures in DNA repair usually react well to Carboplatin-Taxol chemotherapy, and hers did. Since her leukemia was treated using Anthracyclines and these antibiotics have a cardiotoxic effect, we must avoid them even if they are considered to be a very effective treatment. For all these reasons, we opted for a bilateral Mastectomy with a simultaneous reconstruction of the breast using transplanted fat tissue from her belly. This happened at the beginning of December. The navel was transplanted, skin from the belly was used to cover the holes left after excision of the nipples. The body needs time to heal. Still, the breast tissue was sent in for analysis and some active tumor cells were found. Thus, the chemotherapy had not been the complete success we had been led to believe. Apparently, new research shows two year disease free survival can be increased slightly by an add-on Capecitabine chemotherapy (abstract). We started on that, yesterday.

So, in short: the second half of 2015 can pretty much fuck itself and I’m hoping for significant improvements in 2016.


Comments on 2015-12-24 Looking Back

I wish you all the best for 2016!

– Stefan 2015-12-24 21:48 UTC

Thanks. :)

– Alex Schroeder 2015-12-24 21:50 UTC

I hope everything goes well for Claudia! Best wishes for both of you and happy 2016.

– Enzo 2016-01-02 10:30 UTC

Thank you, Enzo.

– Alex Schroeder 2016-01-02 10:49 UTC

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2015-12-15 Tired

Benjamin B. recently wrote on Google+ about apathy and the paralysis of choice in the modern world. He said, “it’s easier and more enjoyable to not see a movie than to struggle to decide on what movie to see.”

I think part of this is also due to our world changing. We grew up in a world of comparative scarcity: there were not too many cinemas playing movies, VHS tapes were hard to get, when I grew up, the state offered two TV programs and the second one of them was only broadcasting from 18:00 to 21:00. So we grew up with a mindset of collecting things. Keeping stuff. So much stuff to see! We’ll be watching it later. All of it! This is awesome! Such richness! So many books! I don’t even have to go to the library. Or the bookshop! This is awesome! Oh, and the whole Internet, too. For free! This is awesome! And now we’re drinking from the fire hose and drowning in information. What was scarce is now abundant. We didn’t have to make many choices because there was little to choose from. We valued choice and called it freedom. Now we’re constantly struggling to weigh the minutia of benefits, pondering the trade-offs of time spent, of opportunity costs, of alternatives missed. And it just drains us.

The question is: What better mindset would benefit us? Or if not us, then our kids? Throw away the books we don’t read. Kick the TV from the living room. Unsubscribe from newspapers. And people are already doing that. There just is no time. The things have no value because they’re abundant. Mute most of your friends and family on social media. Don’t read the movie reviews, the book reviews, the announcements and blogs of publishers and writers. They’ll just make you want to buy things which you will then have to choose to buy, and read or watch, and it’s a big investment of time and energy, comparatively. Often the dollars are no longer the limiting factor. But it all makes us so tired. Anyway. That’s how I often feel.


And tired.


Comments on 2015-12-15 Tired

It’s fucking screens, man. I bet you don’t feel that way when you’re hiking. Exercising, cooking, going for a stroll, drawing or playing a boardgame all are useful to me.

Anyway, cheer up Alex!

– Enzo 2015-12-16 10:10 UTC

Haha, good point. Damn monitors! :-D

– Alex Schroeder 2015-12-16 13:35 UTC

Since years I try to limit my in front of a screen time - but there are to many interesting things which need a screen this days. Good thing is that I still can avoid the tablet on the RPG table - mostly…

– Sam 2015-12-18 08:56 UTC

Must. stop. reading.!!

– Alex Schroeder 2015-12-18 10:55 UTC

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2015-12-02 Donations

Time to start another of these pages. I start these about once a year and keep updating it. Right now, it’s the Wikipedia fundraising campaign. OK, why not. I might not like their politics, and the deletionism, but in general, I must say: I use Wikipedia every single day of my life. It’s the most awesome thing on the net. It’s hard to imagine a time without it.

And I regularly donate about $10/month to the EFF and the FSF, and €120/year to the FSFE.


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2015-11-21 Fountain Pen

These days, I’m taking notes with a fountain pen. I asked for one for my birthday in April and got a LAMY studio imperialblue with an F nib. I used this pen to draw the faces for my Face Generator using T10 blue ink. And I’m still using it. When I looked at the notes I scanned, yesterday, I was reminded of all the note taking I’m doing on those notebooks with my fountain pen. There is an anachronistic pleasure in it. :)


Comments on 2015-11-21 Fountain Pen

I thought about getting a good fountain pen for note-taking at work. Still haven’t decided. What’s the advantage over a rollerball or ballpoint? Does it justify the price difference?

– Stefan 2015-11-23 05:01 UTC

Naja, es gibt Leute, die behaupten, Kugelschreiber haben unsere Handschrift verändert. Aber bei der Frage, ob das wirklich einen signifikanten Einflüss hat, scheiden sich die Geister.

Deswegen: Füllfeder ist definitiv etwas für den Hipster in dir!

– Alex Schroeder 2015-11-23 09:32 UTC

Ist denn eine Veränderung gleich eine Verschlechterung?

– Stefan 2015-11-23 15:52 UTC

Natürlich nicht. Wenn du eine Veränderung spannend findest und nur noch mit Kugelschreiber und harten Bleistiften schreibst, dann ist es spannend, zurück zu einer Füllfeder zu wechseln. Das scheint mir der einzige Vorteil zu sein. Abwechslung ist doch das Schönste im Leben. :)

Ich selber war auch neugierig. Beim Schreiben längerer Briefe hatte ich oft einen kleinen Krampf in der Hand. Fehlende Übung oder die vermaledeiten Kugelschreiber? Nicht dass ich viele, lange Briefe schreiben würde…

– Alex Schroeder 2015-11-23 15:58 UTC

Ich schreibe deutlich schneller auf einer Tastatur als mit der Hand. Trotzdem muss ich oft Notizen in einen Block schreiben. Bisher habe ich das meisten mit dem Bleistift gemacht, möchte mir aber jetzt angewöhnen, erst zu denken, dann zu schreiben. Deswegen verwende ich in letzter Zeit immer öfter einen Kugelschreiber :-)

Und jetzt bin ich auf den Geschmack gekommen und überlege mir, meinen Plastik Caran D’Ache Kugelschreiber durch etwas Hochwertigeres zu ersetzen (Wer hat das gesagt? Hipster, bist du das?)

– Anonymous 2015-11-23 20:56 UTC

Im Geschäftsleben ist es leider so, dass es an Sitzungen einerseits sozial nicht akzeptabel ist, auf den Bildschirm zu schauen und zu tippen, wenn jemand redet, und zudem sind wir uns gewohnt, an Texten während dem Tippen zu feilen. Kopieren, Einsetzen, Rumschieben, Fehlerkorrektur, man wird verleitet, langsamer zu sein. So habe ich mir angewöhnt, Notizen von anhand zu machen, und beim Übertragen die Dinge nochmals zu überarbeiten.

Privat ist es eher so, dass ich Freude am schön schreiben habe und mir wünschte, schöner schreiben zu können.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-11-23 21:11 UTC

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2015-11-20 Chur

Uns hat Chur sehr gefallen. Der Brambrüesch war auch nicht schlecht. Claudia war halt mitten in der Chemotherapie und konnte keine längere Wanderung unternehmen.


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2015-08-27 Luna Sandals Review by Benjamin Baugh

About two months ago, I read Born to Run, bought Luna Sandals and switched to running with these sandals almost exclusively. I kept wanting to write about my impressions, but then I discovered that Benjamin Baugh had bought the same sandals at about the same time, had written all the words I wanted to say, and when I asked him, he said I could just repost them.

The sandal we’re talking about is the Luna Mono.

First run mini-review of Luno Mono running sandals

Benjamin Baugh writes on Google+:

In my little vaguebook post yesterday about my new sandals, I said I’d talk about how they handled after my run today.

The conditions were about as good as you’d hope for a test – the most technical trail I had easy access to (lots of roots and rocks, gravel, mud, ups and downs), in first the sweaty Georgia heat, and then in a proper thunderstorm. Plus, about a quarter mile on pavement.

Generally, these sandals performed brilliantly. In fact, the only real issue was getting them adjusted just right. I’ve not worn this style of sandal before, so I wasn’t sure exactly how to dial in the fit. I got left perfect, and the sandal hugged my foot, didn’t slip at all, and by the end I didn’t even notice I had it on anymore. Right was trickier, and while I got it satisfactorily snug, it isn’t sitting as well as the left. I think it’s something to do with the heel strap adjustment.

Righty likes to roll a little, and I step off with a twisting motion on the ball of my foot. This eats into shoes on pavement, and on these sandals tended to rotate my foot out of alignment with the shot, so my heel came over the edge on the inside, and my pinkie toe on the outside. I played around with tightness and cinching the tech strap very snug, but that only made it worse. I got the best results by taking the tech strap off entirely.

At some point, I just decided good enough and got to the running. I only did three miles, between time crunch and fiddling with the sandal adjustment, but they were a very good three miles. No blistering, hot spots, or chafing anywhere, despite expecting a few where my feet were rubbed in unaccustomed places. They’re also incredibly light. Even lighter than the Lems I wear casually (and run in more than I should), about the same weight as my old homemade all-leather guillies.

The grip was excellent, and I didn’t get any slips even on a muddy bank with pine straw. I also didn’t hook the shoe on anything, which is something I do pretty often.

Running with open-top sandals was wonderful though. At one point, to test how they felt when soaking wet I stepped into the lake, and then set off running again. It made my feet delightfully cool, but didn’t affect the fit of the sandals or how they wore at all. I could see wading and fishing in these sandals, and then hiking back afterwards no problem.

These are thicker than what I’m used to running in, but that’s actually looking like it’ll be a boon. I’m still too fat, though I’ve started to lean up really well with the daily runs and no crap diet, and my feet would ache pretty badly after runs in really thin shoes, especially as I’ve started to up the intensity recently. With these, the extra padding was just enough, while not dulling my sense of the ground under me. Gravel was no problem, but I could still feel the surface, and how it shifted. On pavement, they provided just enough spring to make it feel more like I was running on packed dirt instead of asphalt, which is just want I wanted.

In terms of keeping rocks and crap out, I had no problem. I actually have a worse time keeping things out of my lace up shoes, A shake of my foot dislodged the one little piece of gravel and the acorn that got under them.

My earlier assessment that these are well made holds up, I think. No signs of distress at any of the potential failure points in the design. I’ll post an update when I have fifty miles or so on them.

So to sum, fantastic sandals, worked as-advertised on many different surfaces very well, comfortable, fun to run in, but with some unexpected complexity in getting them to fit right.

Updated review of Luna Sandals Mono

Benjamin Baugh writes on Google+:

I bought a pair of these a couple of months ago, and did a basic comments/thoughts post on them after running in them a couple of times, and said I’d post more when I had some miles on them. I’m waiting for a system here at work to rebuild, so I thought I’d go ahead and do that now.

My overall impression with 100+ miles on them is positive.

The Mono is Luna’s all-purpose all-terrain sandal – not optimized for road or trail, but providing crossover utility. I hate having lots of different special-purpose shoes, so this was the obvious pick for me. As to how it performed, I have to rate it excellent. The footbed is extremely grippy both on top and underneath. When I got the fit figured out (more on that later), there’s no slipping when they are wet, and they grab the ground better than any shoe I’ve worn. There’s modest wear on the forefoot where I habitually wear down my shoes fastest, but nothing too bad. I have not been gentle on them, and they show no signs of coming apart – the workmanship is great on these. They’re just as sturdy as promised. There are a few thread-ends poking out of areas that have reinforcement sewn on, but nothing coming undone.

As my running is primarily on trails, with a mix of root, dirt, rock, sand, mud, pine straw and leaves, and similar surfaces I’ve found them excellent on everything I’ve tried them on. I have not run on serious sharp rock, but have run on granite gravel without any issue. Only once or twice have I stepped on something that caused me actual pain through the footbed, despite it being dense but fairly soft material. I’ve run in them exclusively since getting them, and use them as my only footwear outside of work, including a recent roadtrip and vacation to Houston.

When I get the fit dialed in properly, they perform brilliantly, but there lies my issue with these sandals. They’re hard to get fitted, and they’re hard to keep fitted.

There are four points of adjustment, and being unfamiliar with how a huaraches type sandal was supposed to fit, I had to mess with it for a month before I got the basics figured out. The side-strap that connects to the one running from the toes can slide up and down the toe strap, as well as tighten. It needs to be a finger’s width from the end of the reinforced slider patch to fit snugly on me. The straps that feed through the footbed need to be adjusted to tighten the heel strap considerably, or it slides off my heel all the time, which is irritating in the grocery store, and intensely aggravating on a run. All well and good… except these adjustments don’t stay put. I have to tweak the adjustments every time I put them on, else they tend to fall off. This is actually more of an issue with walking around daily stuff than running though. I notice much worse slipping when I’m walking casually than when I’m running.

The heel strap is elasticized in this model sandal, and I think that’s where the issue with maintaining a good fit arises. It introduces flex and give in the straps, and that becomes slack that works it way into the system where only tension keeps things in place. The sliding strap always slips forward, the heel strap always gets looser. The Monos come standard with an item that used to be sold separately – a removable ‘tech strap’ which you can see in the pic – the second strap close to my ankle that holds up the heel strap like sandal suspenders. With all the other fits dialed in, and this attached, it solves the heel strap slip issue perfectly, but I think it’s inclusion as a standard item indicates that Luna is aware of the slipping fit issue. I’m not sure if the elastic heel strap adds anything to the comfort or fit of these sandals. I think in future, I’d not buy a sandal with that.

While not perfect, the Monos have proven quite good – they’re certainly a pleasure to run in. I don’t think Luna has the design for an all-terrain all-day sandal nailed down quite yet, but they’re really close with this one. The footbed is certainly there, as is the look. Getting the fit and adjustment system working better and not slipping so much, and providing a bit more guidance on how to go about getting them dialed in would certainly push these from good to excellent .

So, even with their flaws, would I recommend these?

Yes I would, even as they currently are. If you are looking for a minimal light-weight running sandal that can wear everyday as casual footwear, that can handle paved surfaces and technical trails, then these are a winner despite the learning curve and slipping adjustment.

Thank you, Benjamin Baugh, for letting me copy your words so I didn’t have to write anything. I’ll just add that my sandals didn’t come with the tech strap you mentioned, and I do tweak them on every run after maybe half an hour. Oh well. They’re still my favorite way to run because in the last few years my feet have started to complain about my shoes. Small toe feels crushed, big toe feels bent sideways… The sandals are much better than any of my other shoes, running (Asics) or not (Scarpa).


Comments on 2015-08-27 Luna Sandals Review by Benjamin Baugh

I have a pair of Lunas as well and they’re wonderful even if you’re not running. I tend to fiddle with the straps, but I also notice how my feet are different on different days and the Lunas allow complete adjustment. The main reason I am not wearing them more often is that I strive for better toe protection while on the bicycle (and I don’t do any running – maybe I should take up my long morning walks again).

Harald 2015-08-28 11:02 UTC

How are your toes in danger when riding a bike?

– AlexSchroeder 2015-08-28 13:04 UTC

I use bike as my primary transportation, and I don’t think that I will feel comfortable in these things too.

There is a common belief that you can’t go fast on a bike, but speeds up to 100 km/h are not rare at all, especially downhill.

Think about falling on 40 km/h, for example. It’s not fast, but it is enough to keep you rolling for quite some distance… In this situation you don’t want some part of your body to break, rub away or fall off accidentally. Toes and fingers are the first candidates for that adventure.

Also, if you are deft enough, your contact with ground will probably start with one of your feet. It is a bit rough, so having a shoe that sits steadily on your foot is what you want.

– AlexDaniel 2015-08-29 00:22 UTC

“Don’t fall” is a good alternative to normal shoes, some might say. However, I’ve been using a bike almost every day when I went outside for more than 3 years, including winter (-20°C felt a little bit too much though). I’d say that the most important thing is to be prepared for everything.

– AlexDaniel 2015-08-29 00:32 UTC

The times I was injured riding a bike are few – and I always wore shoes, so who knows. I had a brake lever jammed into my breast, I’ve had scrapes on my shins and hips. When riding the bike with sandals I’ve had the short but uncomfortable feeling of touching the ground while making a tight turn and it would pull the sole down and around. Luckily my reflexes protected my toes. I guess I never really considered my toes to be in a particularly dangerous position. I must add that I only ride the bike for entertainment, almost never for my commute. That might also color my experience. I don’t like riding the bike in town, for example.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-08-29 07:59 UTC

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2015-08-09 Carpe Diem

Last Friday, Claudia and I ran 21km and were very proud of ourselves. A week later, she’s been diagnosed with breast cancer. Next meeting is on Monday, where we’ll learn more. Ugh. Fuck Cancer, indeed!

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Comments on 2015-08-09 Carpe Diem

Shit. Sorry to hear that. All the best to you two.

Andreas Gohr 2015-08-09 18:59 UTC

Fuck Cancer.

– Harald 2015-08-09 21:39 UTC


Samstag 1. August hat Claudia einen Knoten entdeckt. Am Montag 3. August ins Brust-Zentrum. Mammographie, Ultraschall, Bestätigung des Verdachtes und Biopsie. Am Donnerstag 6. August der Bericht: aggressiv, triple negativ. Am Montag 10. August trifft sich das Tumor Board und heute Dienstag 11. August treffen mit dem Onkologen, dann überraschend sofort erste Sitzung. Kühlkappe für die Haare, Carboplatin plus Taxol, der Wirkstoff der Eibe. Sechs Wochen, dann Ultraschall und Überprüfung, nach total zwölf Wochen vielleicht Operation und Entfernung des Tumors. Und in der nächsten Zeit noch Installation des Ports, Gespräch mit Genetikern, Markierung des Tumors, und so weiter. Ein wahrer Bürokratiesturm. Und Australienferien stornieren, Reiseversicherung bemühen, und so weiter.

– AlexSchroeder 2015-08-11 18:04 UTC

Shit man, I hope everything goes well! Best wishes.

– Enzo 2015-08-12 11:33 UTC

Current status: MRI and PET-CT from yesterday indicate no metastases. The lymph nodes are not affected. This is excellent news. The tumor was marked today. And finally, the week-end. We’re feeling much better than last week!

– Alex Schroeder 2015-08-14 21:14 UTC

Indeed, excellent news.

– AlexDaniel 2015-08-16 00:19 UTC

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2015-07-12 Schwyz

Wir waren wandern! Am Freitag von Art-Goldau über den Gnipen zum Wildspitz und dann wieder runter nach Sattel, und am Abend dann noch mit der Gondel hoch auf Mostelberg. Im dortigen Restaurant haben wir ausgezeichnet gegessen und dann übernachtet. Am Samstag sind wir um den Engelstock gewandert und dann weiter über Mosteleg, Haggenegg und Zwyschet Mythen nach Holzegg, am Fuss des Grossen Mythen, wo wir übernachtet haben. Das Essen war gut aber kein Vergleich zum Vorabend. Am Sonntag sind wir dann weiter über Stäglerenegg, mit Abstecher zum Rotenflue, weiter über Müsliegg, Ibergeregg, zwischen Gross- und Chlishijen durch nach Laucherenchappelen, und dann über Seebli runter zur Bergstation vom Laucheren Sessellift. Mit dem sind wir runter nach Oberiberg gefahren und heim. Sehr schön! Unsere armen Füsse. Wer hat die Wanderschuhe kleiner gemacht?

Bilder gibt’s bei Flickr.
Laucherenchappele Panorama



Comments on 2015-07-12 Schwyz

What vistas! Makes me miss hiking in Switzerland.

– Adrian 2015-07-16 16:53 UTC

Good times! I was looking at the Hohtürli and thinking of you, recently.

– Alex Schroeder 2015-07-16 19:25 UTC

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