Tying up loose ends

Still feeling a bit under the weather, and somehow managed to get a stiff neck overnight as well. On the bright side; I’m keeping up my Duolingo German practice and today, I went through and reviewed the necessary amount of capstone projects for the Coursera Data Science specialisation needed in order to complete the course, and thus the full ten-course specialisation.

Doing this was one of my main goals for 2017 that I set out for this spring, and it feels great to check that of the list together with moving to another city.

On the literary front, I’ve not kept up with the ambition, though I am almost through To Kill a Mockingbird, and Hillbilly Elegies. The latter wasn’t on the list I created, but if I finish up both of those before the end of the year, I will still consider it a part success.

What ended up happening is that I bought the complete Wheel of Time saga, since I only got halfway through it in my teens and never finished it as it was still being written I felt it was a good time to go through it from start to finish once and for all as leisure reading.

I already have some lists compiled for my still ongoing projects, and what is planned next. I’m planning on summing it up more concretely in a blog post before new years in order to push myself into working on finishing at least some of the top priority projects.

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It’s easy to quit smoking

… I’ve done it so many times I’ve stopped counting.

The quote mostly highlights the fact that my ambition to write regularly in this blog clearly has not been successful this far. Still, I’m not beating myself up over it, because I feel that I have poured my energy into many other endeavours that have been successful this year so far.

  • I am currently halfway through course 7 out of 10 in the Data Science specialisation given by Johns Hopkins University on Coursera, which my goal is to complete before the end of the year.
  • A month from now I’m moving from Stockholm to Berlin to take up a new job. I’ve talked for years about working abroad and that I finally put my mind to it and made it happen feels like a great accomplishment no matter how it all will turn out in the end. If nothing else, I will be staying in Berlin in my favourite part of the city and pursue my career and personal goals.

The second part of why I chose the quote to open the blog post with is because it is a reminder that failing at something is ok, because you can always try again. The real failure would be to give up on trying. Thus, in the words of Samuel Becket; Try again. Fail again. Fail better.

Atlas Shrugged

Finally completed Atlas Shrugged and it was above and beyond expectations. The philosophical underpinnings of the book resonated for some parts with my beliefs, while other parts was quite diametrically opposite to my own ideology. Still, you can take it or leave it – it doesn’t take away from the artistic achievement of the book and my idea going in that Ayn Rand would be a poor author turned out to be completely misguided.

What most lazy criticism of the book completely miss is that it is obviously an allegory and though deadly serious in its message, it’s not meant to be realistic (you’d think inventing a perpetuum mobile would be a giveaway…) but to convey the underlying world view and philosophy as clear as day.

Further, seeing Ayn Rands upbringing in Russia – witnessing the Soviet Communist revolution and it’s impact on society, that her Magnum Opus turns out to be a dystopia in the vein of Animal Farm, contrasting the individual freedom of capitalist society with the collectivistic nightmare of Communism, should come as no surprise.

My main takeaways from the book is the idea of romantic love not as a blind irrational force but rather as an expression of the admiration in others of the virtues one values in the world, and the mindset that love is something to be earned, not something to expect for nothing.

Further, the reminder that it is scientific discovery, technological break throughs and entrepreneurial drive that has transformed the world from where we were before the Age or Reason – and there is no natural progression of history that determines that we will continue to move in that direction if we give up on those values.

I am not by principle against redistribution of wealth, and thus clearly not an Objectivist, but society needs to remember which values it is that produces wealth in order for there to be something to redistribute, and seeing how Venezuela is falling apart in our present day I’d say this reminder is as relevant as ever before.

 

Hornstulliana

One late resolution I made was to begin take more photos again, and since I still haven’t really gotten over my writers block here, tying the two things together works fine as it means I have to transfer and go through the photos I take and select a few to upload in a blog post, and in return I get away with having my words fail me.

Anyhow, the most notable thing to write about this week would have been Trumps inauguration, but that would just have been too damn depressing.

Books for H1-2017

Books for first half, not included non-literary or fantasy books, as I read enough of that without needing any prompting.

Ended up being just six books, but that is definitely good enough as that leaves more room for fresh ideas later in the year.

Atlas Shrugged – Ayn Rand

Mainly to know what all the fuss is about, especially since I have some friends I really respect who are objectivists so I want to avoid the lazy dismissal of Ayn Rand without having actually read her that is so common.

To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee

Because it’s such a famous book that I feel it’s a hole in my general education.

The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

Jazz era, plus I’ve gotten this impression that the book contains a lot of layers that the movie obviously did not.

The Road – Cormac McCarthy

Since I loved the movie (and the soundtrack) and am way too pretentious to admit to not having read the actual novel when it comes up in discussions.

Story of the Eye – Georges Bataille

Over the years, many people with good taste have talked about George Bataille, so it’s time I read something of his.

The Left Hand of Darkness – Ursula K. Le Guin

Another case of filling a hole in my general (nerd) education.

The King Is Dead

Let’s try this blogging things once more. By now it’s so extremely unhip that it’s bound to make a comeback sooner or later and then I will be well positioned to be the, whatever.

As a way to break out of my day to day job in the tech industry and rediscover my old passion for writing I’m starting this blog, for completely selfish reasons and with no plan to actually promote it in any way.

Why English and not Swedish? I am not entirely sure and will definitely come back to try to unpackage the underlying reasoning sooner or later. For now, I’ll start this thing of with some ambitions for the new years, and choosing to believe that speaking it will make it happen.

My ambition for 2017 consists of;

  • Writing blog posts at least weekly. I don’t care for the quality or topic, just that I do it
  • Keep building upon my closest friendships and actively make sure to meet people
  • Reading at least one paperback book a month that is not Fantasy or Technical
    literature, compiling a list of twelve books will be the topic for next post
  • Move to a new city, I need to change things up in order not to go stale
  • Complete the Coursera Classes I’ve set out to complete
  • Get at least one hobby programming project up online