Yearly review: 202227 Jan 2023
At the beginning of every new year, I take a look back at what happened in the year before.
I don’t write this article for other people (although nearly 80 people read my review last year), but for myself. It’s writing-therapy.
These yearly reviews are a way to reflect and learn, but also a ‘congratulations’ to myself. I often get the feeling that I didn’t accomplish anything, and with my yearly review I realize that my years are actually quite action packed. Sophia Prater said it best in her December newsletter: it’s a brag list. I take some time to brag about my activities.
Last year I could distinguish a couple of themes: research, machine learning, writing and note-taking. My interests didn’t shift that much, but I think there was more focus on consciousness and ‘selfness’, and a bit less hard-machine-learning.
The big theme of 2021 was the crossing of thresholds: trying out new stuff, switching jobs. The theme of this year is more ‘everything, everywhere and all at once’: my activities, thoughts and emotions were all over the place. I started many more projects than I finished: will 2023 will be a year of wrapping up this undirected energy?
I wrote 4 articles on my Medium account:
- An article about solar panels packed with analyses, graphs, difficult texts – it’s as close to a scientific paper as I’ve written the past years. It takes at least 20 minutes to read, and was read by only 20 people
- A quick article about my yearly Easter-puzzle. Read by 27 people (more about the puzzle itself later)
- An in-depth article about reusable research for companies. I was very proud of this one. It took a long time to write, and it’s very practical. It was viewed by 4700 people, and read by 1200 people. Really great stats!
- I pushed out a quick article about remote usability testing as an experiment. I was hoping such a small (only 4 minute read) and practical ‘listicle’ would be really helpful for people, but only 111 people viewed the article 😬
On this blog I further published two more articles:
- Writeup of my experience of participating in the Rijswijk Talent Award with a simulation about transition
- My yearly review of 2021
I also updated my article with tips for saving gas. There are now 21 tips. Sadly, this listicle also didn’t perform that well: just 333 people viewed it. A big comfort is that I know some people that read it used it to save gas and money.
I created three ‘weird ideas’ for my 1001ideas blog:
- Alternative captchas
- Tea with cake (a Wordpress blog)
- The Lego Platformer.
I published 11.423 words this year, which is down from nearly 20K words last year. I wrote a lot more, but it’s still in draft.
Easter puzzle 2022
I created another Easter puzzle. Last years theme was weird bird names. I think I can officially call it a tradition now that we’ve had three editions. This was the first year I made it in English, which was a great challenge. I’m happy with the way the puzzles turned out, they look a lot better than the year before (I couldn’t get my ‘neon style’ the way I wanted). It was also the first year I had a collaborator: Jesper helped me with testing every puzzle.
737 people played the game.
I’m working at PostNL as a senior UX designer. I designed a new B2B-app, and implemented several large features for the online portal. I organized several workshops: sharing knowledge about target audience and platform, working on long term vision, expert reviews, process improvements.
Also started coaching juniors, this is fun and makes me learn new things also.
We went to museums a lot more now that my wife and oldest daughter both have a museum-card. I like it.
I (finally!) fixed the office on the third floor of our house. Painting all the walls, laying the floor, adding the decorations… It took a while, but it’s really nice that we now have a good home-office space! We also had solar panels installed.
I started writing a book about ‘patterns’ for workshops. It was fun to start this project, but I got stuck in the details. I blame this on not having enough time to concentrate, but more likely I just lose interest 😆
I also published the book my father wrote. This was a Big Project: I photographed all his illustrations and proofread all the text of the book. I then used Apple Pages to put everything together, and published it on Amazon. I’m incredibly proud of the result: it’s amazing to hold an actual book in your hands (even if you didn’t write it, but ‘just’ published it).
I got my diploma “EHBO voor kinderen” (first aid for kids). I’m afraid I forgot 80% of it already…
My youngest kid started sleeping properly after getting a sleep coach: easily the best investment of the year (better even than the solar panels).
I grew a mustache: I got fed up with my facial hair and tried something new. It is still difficult to get the mustache to stay ‘kind of’ in the way I want 👨
Lots of fun with the kids, organizing stuff for birthdays and a huge summer party at school. Every day I write a new word on a board in my daughter’s room: she’s learning how to read.
I’m working on a new note-taking app. This year it went through at least three iterations: a Laravel version, a Django+Vue version and a Django+React version. In the beginning of the year the app development got a big increase because a friend started helping. A second friend started helping in August, dropped off when his interests shifted.
It took me the better part of this year to read Figure It Out. It’s a great book, although the real meat is in wedged in-between two theoretical parts. Didn’t read other books, but devoured hundreds of articles. I rediscovered RSS, and there’s a wealth of great stuff for free online!
- Death on the nile (visually stunning)
- WandaVision (idea was better than execution)
- Loki (weird fun)
- A dangerous method (bit slow and talky, but interesting look at ‘old school’ hand wavy psychology)
- JoJo Rabbit (blown away, could be the best movie of the year) ⭐️
- Assassination Nation (is divided in two parts: first an interesting and scary look into social media usage by girls and reflection on sexuality, second part is weird and bad)
- Porco Rosso (great visuals, not my favorite Miyazaki movie)
- Morning Show (season 2 was okay, not as great as season 1)
- Foundation (disappointment)
- Welcome to Marwen (fun)
- Phantom Thread (slow, some interesting bits, on the whole a bit of disappointment)
- Jack Reacher 2 (okay)
- Slow Horses (fun)
- Lawrence of Arabia (wow, still an amazing film. Slow but worth your time, what a great story and cinematography) ⭐️
- Meet Joe Black (interesting to watch, but ending too sweet and looooong)
- Yes God yes (strangely boring for such a topic)
- Youth (good movie about two old men)
- Lupin (fun, but takes itself too serious)
- DS9 (guilty pleasure, was a blast, fun and humor and a serious plot, with multifaceted bad-guys. After watching the last episode I felt like having left a comfortable place behind)
- The father (an acting tour-de-force, the confusion about what exactly is going on was great) ⭐️
- RRR (a bromance movie from India, it’s way over the top, but once you realize it portrays scenes emotionally instead of realistically it makes sense) ⭐️
- Primal fear (fun watch, court-room drama with Richard Gere and Edward Norton)
- Russian doll (season 2, great leading actress, story was great too except for the weird subplot of the guy – that lead nowhere)
- Fantastic Fungi (a weird mix between science, new-age, business and cult-worship)
- My octopus teacher (guy who should’ve gotten therapy went diving for an octopus instead, beautiful imagery)
- Enola Holmes (should have been fun, was plain and boring. Don’t know why, the actors are good and the story was good too. Is it the editing?)
- Holiday into the wild (okay, bit boring, but great elephants)
- Punch-Drunk-Love (don’t get why it’s so special)
- Space Force (season 2, it’s fun and when it gets the humor just right I laugh out loud, sadly doesn’t happen that often)
- No time to die (longest Bond movie ever and I felt it, the action felt too ‘convenient’: here’s another can of henchmen to kill. No espionage, everything just happens to Bond. The whole bad-guy-plan didn’t make any sense. And I don’t like the fatherly Bond, I like my Bond detached-and-sexy thankyouverymuch. AnaDeArmas was great, though, would love to see a whole movie of her character)
- Everything, everywhere and all at once (amazing experience, the best movie I watched in 2022) ⭐️
- OSS 117 - Alerte rouge en Africa noir (not as funny as first two movies, but still fun)
- La Mome (Edith Piaff’s life: filled with sadness, so crazy to see what one person can go through)
- Glass Onion (funnier than the first movie, but the mystery was dumb)
- The unbearable weight of massive talent (Nicholas Cage does JCVD, but funnier and more action, still JCVD is a better movie as it’s more reflective and personal)
- Gosford Park (amusing mystery movie, mainly for the culture-aspect not the mystery which was very simple)
- Closer (four people who cheat on each other, so much cheating is unrealistic for me)
- Top Gun (more fun than I imagined! I like that the rivalry between Tom Cruise and Val Kilmer remained realistic)
- The Expanse (first episode was amazing, everything after that played catch-up, got tedious in season 2 and I stopped watching)
- Darkest Hour (impressive movie, changed my perspective on Winston Churchill: a right wing populist, but maybe the right person for the job?)
- Anima (short movie about a dancer, cool visual effects)
- Licorice Pizza (amazing movie about two young people falling in and out of love, and enjoying life. The adventures they go through feel grand, even though they are a bit pedestrian). I watched multiple Paul Thomas Anderson movies this year, and it was a mixed bag. But I really recommend Licorice Pizza! ⭐️
- Memoires of a Geisha (interesting look into a different culture (although dramatized), but the love-story with huge age difference made the movie a bit yucky)