This page collects images and trivial stuff that might be of interest to friends and relatives.
We spent a week in Roscoff, Bretagne. It was the week of Bastille day, of the arrival of the Tour de France à la voile, with the main season just about to start. The weather was beautiful, the water was cold, the food was delicious and Claudia’s insomnia was gone. That surprised both of us. The very first day we were back in Switzerland, it raised it’s ugly head again: one and a half hours of waiting for sleep from Saturday to Sunday, then no sleep until five in the morning from Sunday to Monday. We’re about ready to call for dowsing rods and dowsing pendulums. Grrr!
Here are some pictures of our trip:
A few days ago we were in the Wallis. We visited Saas Fee:
In the local museum, I saw this old map: Vallesia superior, ac inferior, Wallis, le Valais, by Gabriel Walser from 1768. You can download a 6208×5151 pixel image.
A while ago we visited the Rhine Falls.
I created a new gallery with pictures of flowers I see on the way to work. Who ever decided to let wild flowers grow along the tram between Bahnhof Altstetten and Toni Areal: Thank you!
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.