It has been about 10 weeks now since I last wrote here. It was about the great Science Hack Day Weekend Bonanza.
That was back in October. November and December flew past and now it is a whole new year.
This is a quick recap of the past events and a foresight of the near future. Everybody seems to be doing those at the moment, and I just have to go with the flow, which is very unhipster of me. Anyways, the title of hipster king has been snatched away from me recently, so I can finally live free again.
Somewhere in November Doro and I used a much too warm day to head down to the Harz Mountains and have a hike there.
A splendid idea, as it turned out.
Not only was there no one else, we also got one of the clearest days of November and could enjoy the view over storm ridden mountains.
Apart from that little excursion we were mostly busy with house stuff. „House stuff“ encloses all the tiny and big tasks around getting a house renovated and ready to move in. I can’t really tell, what exactly we’ve been doing, but it was one of the following: Buying tiles, transporting tiles, cleaning the house for floor sanding, organizing electric installations, moving in Doro’s mom, putting all the stuff in the basement, moving all the stuff in the basement around, installing cupboards in the basement, sanding of hand rails, …
In the other half of my life, I finally figured out I was running into a metaphorical wall with my project at work, and also figured out a way around, or rather through that wall. All while my incubators kept cooking my algae.
We also had an amazing lab retreat. Lab retreats are social endeavors set up to transform a group of co-workers into some sort of friends, with fun and games and socializing. That’s why our group decided to head all the way South to a castle near Tegernsee to hold a conference. We spent around 12 hours per day inside of a pretty castle’s seminar room, only interrupted by fancy food and coffee breaks.
The mountains were super pretty, though.
I also spent an afternoon with the new hipster king Szymon and my dearly missed office mate Alix in Munich. People in Munich are super rude and inconsiderate, and I say that as a Berliner. Berlin is not exactly known for its heartiness. And I found the poorest attempt ever at cool typographical postcards.
Directly after the great trip down South I explained about a hundred times the benefits of my flat to potential new tenants to take over my contract. About a week was spent cleaning, giving tours, getting documents together, repeat. But we have now a good bunch of candidates and hopefully our landlord will like them as well.
In the much more recent past I spent most of the time, guess what, doing house stuff. More specifically I built a little networking cabinet to hold all the equipment for my gigabit home network.
The cool thing about this thing is, that I built it from scratch, with scrap wood and without any plans apart from my own. And it turned out pretty fine.
Here is the beauty closed and painted.
Inside the cabinet leads a thick bundle of network cables that I then patched onto a patch panel.
The final assembly allows for convenient patching of my network connections to a switch (yet to be installed) and finally into the router for internets. I have more than enough room for more equipment in there and I spent about 20 EUR on a 19“ compatible cabinet that would cost around 200 EUR as a professional solution. I am really happy about the outcome.
So much for the past.
I am usually not the type for new year’s resolutions. An arbitrary date will not make me change my behaviour any more than any other day of the year. But as this year’s end coincides with a rather big change – moving to my own house in a „settling down“ kind of way – I want to keep some thoughts about the future in writing.
Tegan summed it up rather well. She wants to make, think, join and give. I relate to that a lot.
Making will come easy, as it is pretty much required for my upcoming endeavour of moving and more so, settling in. I really enjoyed making that cabinet, and I have a couple of other wood projects in mind, plus some electronics, plus some cooking and baking. This year came a bit short in terms of making anything else but house stuff, and I’m confident that next year will be more fruitful.
Thinking is an equally easy thing to accomplish to a certain extent. My work is half thinking and half filling pipette tips in boxes, so I’m pretty well on that end. But I also want to think a bit, well not outside the box, but outside the box (I had a very funny word of play here with my group leader’s name. I’m keeping it for a special moment). I want to think about the bigger questions, like what am I doing with my life, where do I want to be, is there life after science?
Joining is a tough one. Joining implies interaction with people. But maybe this is exactly what I should head for. I joined a Science Hack Day, and I loved it, not despite but because of the people there. I should explore more niches and find like minded people. Usually my social contacts are only people from my current work. I lose touch very quickly and don’t know anyone outside this close circle. This is something to work on.
Giving. I complain a lot. The weather, the people, the train service, the people, Germans and the people in general. Although I take a lot from society, I don’t give much back apart from the occasional rant all the time on twitter or in person. Recently it came to my mind that I don’t like that anymore. I still enjoy a good rant, pretty much about anything. But I’m tired of having this as my default state of mind. It is utterly boring to first dislike everything. This year I will only nag after I tried it. Or have very solid evidence about the misdemeanors of a thing (this sentence mostly serves as an excuse not to do all the drugs or burn down a refugee home. Some things are shit, even before having tried them). Giving means for me giving back some positivity in general and maybe some other things more specifically. I will elaborate on those.
Next year will be as busy as the last, and I look forward to it. I want it to be more productive in the best sense of the word.
But until then…