Life

This page collects images and trivial stuff that might be of interest to friends and relatives. ;-)

2017-02-17 Leisure

+David McGrogan writes on his blog about creativity requiring time off to be creative because you need to balance both free roaming thoughts induced by boredom with focus and attention induced by discipline. If you’re constantly distracted at work by meetings, or at home by social media, it’s hard to get anything done.

Luckily, I only work 60% so I get to have Fridays off and a four month break every year. People sometimes ask me whether this isn’t boring to the extreme. To which I say that most people simply adapt to their current way of life and that’s great. It allows us to be happy under a wide range of circumstances. It also means that we’re never bored, as in spending idle hours contemplating life, the kind of leisure the rich Greek philosophers must have felt without the need to work, when all you had to do was hang out, drink, talk, and some calisthenics to defend your city’s interests on the battlefield every now and then. Anyway, leisure and occasional bouts of boredom are essential, I think. As we’re busy at work and stressed out by family, squeezing in a few hours of playing games with friends, I think it’s easy to forget that something atrophies at the same time. That very source of novelty.

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2017-02-05 Running

The temperature rises above 0°C and I feel like running again. So I went running yesterday and the day before. And now my calves hurt as if somebody had kicked them. Yay for forefoot running in my running sandals. :)

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2016-12-31 Looking Back

Looking back at 2016… I wanted to write this and that and didn’t do it, wanted to use my iPad for digital painting and didn’t do it, and then suddenly it all came together when I made a list of monsters in Labyrinth Lord which I actually like and use and then I started illustrating them. I discovered regular drawing as a new hobby in 2016.

My wife finally decided to bring her recorders (two altos and a soprano) into service and I started practicing. She had not played in thirty years but she still knows how to do it and it’s mostly her watching me practice and occasionally we play a little duet. I discovered playing the flute as a new hobby in 2016.

I also wanted to run the 310km Jura Hoehenweg in summer but failed. I did the first segment and then I stopped. Oh well. I didn’t stop running so there’s still hope.

Today, the last day of the year, my wife took the last Endoxan (Cyclophosphamide) and Methotrexate pills of her follow-up chemo so in theory, this should be the end of it. One never knows, of course, and I suspect the fear of a relapse will never truly disappear. Currently we’re also seeing a hypervitaminosis D and increases in calcium in the blood, so who knows whether there are still some surprises lurking in the coming months, but given that the year started with a recovery from bilateral mastectomy, I’m still extremely relieved.

As for gaming, I’m still running the same two campaigns, so no news is good news.

We keep wishing for good health, good luck, being in love, and being together with the one(s) we love – so here’s to you, strangers on the Internet. :)

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Oh, and two weeks later her mom is diagnosed with breast cancer. Again, after eighteen years.

Recently, I wrote the following to a friend on the OSR Discord Server, #general:

It’s hard to know what to say without knowing the details, except well wishes and what feels like platitudes about light at the end of the tunnel. All I can say is that recently I also keep feeling like the abyss keeps coming closer. Friends divorcing, mental crisis tearing relationships apart, my wife’s cancer and now that chemo is over her mom with a relapse (or a new cancer of the same kind). So at times it feels like fate is unfair and death and cancer will get us all in the end, grinding us down until we’ll finally willing to let it all go because we’re just so endlessly tired of it all. But then there are also days when flowers are in bloom and the sun is out and people are beautiful and radiant and the music is fantastic, the food is delicious and I feel young and good and life seems endless. So… I don’t know. Life.

– Alex Schroeder 2017-02-23 12:38 UTC

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2016-12-23 Locarno to Ascona

In early December we spent a long weekend in Locarno and went for a little walk to Ascona and back. We had the most wonderful weather that day and we took some pictures.

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2016-12-23 Bellinzona

On the way back from Locarno we went and visited one of the three castles of Bellinzona and it’s famous wall—and took some pictures. As Wikipedia says: “During the second half of the 14th century a long wall, the Murata, was built across the Tessin valley, allowing Milan to protect and tax the trade route over the St. Gotthard Pass.” [1] The wall is hollow.

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2016-12-22 Altstetten

I uploaded some pictures of the small rural area between Altstetten, where we live, and Urdorf, reachable on foot within half an hour. Perfect for an evening walk before sunset. These pictures are from October 27 and 29.

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2016-12-03 Donations

Time to start another of these pages. I start these about once a year and keep updating it.

2015 was not a very generously year…

I think simply paying for journalism these days should also count as a donation. After all, I could have read it for free, online.

Today I followed yet another Guardian link and saw a “support us” plea. Ok, I thought. I had already once seen such a link and registered and saw that I needed to enter an annual obligation, which I did not do. But today I saw a one-off PayPal link. That works for me.

Talking about newspapers: for years, I’ve been paying double the subscription fee in order to support the local leftist weekly newspaper [1] and the German translation of Le Monde Diplomatique [2].

  • ProWOZ (CHF 530, half of which is a “real donation”)

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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2016-10-07 Portugal

Wir waren für zehn Tage in Portugal. Das Guest House, welches wir gebucht hatten, war ein Altbau und man hat jeden Schritt im Stiegenhaus, jedes Schliessen der Türe, jedes Spülen und das Geschirrwaschen und die Gespräche der Mitbewohner mitgehört. Am nächsten Tag haben wir storniert, die booking.com Gebühren und eine weitere Nacht bezahlt und sind dann umgezogen, wieder über booking.com. So fanden wir ein grosses Apartment keine 500m vom ersten Guest House entfernt. Nicht ganz so nah am Strand aber dafür mit ein paar Restaurants und Cafés in der Nähe. Einzige Idiotie: Das musste man im voraus und in bar zahlen! Wie bescheuert ist das denn. So durften wir einige Male am Bankomat jeweils 200€ abheben, bis der Betrag zusammengekommen ist. Damit man so etwas aushält, muss man sich einfach vorstellen, dass die Gebühren der Banken zu den Mietkosten gehören. Aber eben, voll daneben. Das werden wir dann auch in die Bewertung rein schreiben.

Aber jetzt: Fotos!

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2016-09-12 Goms

We spent a few days in the upper Vallais region and I kept comparing the landscape to my Alpine hex map generator.

And for my own records, here’s how I invoke fgallery and sync with my web server:

perlbrew exec --with perl-5.22.0-thread-multi ~/src/fgallery/fgallery -c txt -f Goms/Album/ 2016-goms
rsync --progress --recursive 2016-goms alexschroeder.ch:alexschroeder.ch/gallery/

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2016-08-28 Pictures

We spent a few days in Saint-Ursanne, in the Doubs region, for some light hiking. → Pictures

And we spent a few days near Crans-Montana, in the Valais. → Pictures

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