Weeknotes: Twelfth — 29th January 2022

January’s nearly over. That crept up quickly.

  • A lot of my spare time this month went towards ... mid-terms and recovering from mid-terms. Tight deadlines are one thing: Vague rubrics that surprise you with nuance are another.
  • Neither published yet but I also managed to write some software (in Swift) and some words (in plain English). Both activities feel novel and rewarding.
  • At the start of the month I joined a new team at work, which (amongst many other things) has involved learning about different domains, meeting new people and becoming ever-so-slightly overwhelmed at the new number of things going on. It’s pretty great!

In my review of 2021 I wrote about not trying to languages without enrolling in a school (for accountability & realism).

  • Well, life’s full of surprises and something totally unexpected happened: My regular scheduled programme of doom-scrolling through Twitter was interrupted by The Algorithm recommending Tweets in Russian. Like, technologist humor and general slice-of-life content.
  • And I understood enough of it (save for the occasional word and/or grammatical aberration) that I’ve now begun reading some short-form in Russian. Less combining individual letters and more scanning words. Neat.
  • Honestly just wanted to tell someone about this because it feels like a switch has finally been flipped in my brain: Although the real lesson here is that Twitter’s algorithm is becoming increasingly creepy.

On the chess front I’ve been trying to do a bit of a deep-dive in learning The London System.

  • Yes, fine, sure, it’s a meme, whatever you say dude. I like it a lot because it’s a remarkably well documented beginner-friendly opening with logical variations.
  • Learning variations is hard. It requires more concentration than actually playing a game of chess and annoyingly it’s additive: Understanding every step of how you arrive at a position is core to understanding what you do next. If one of those pieces isn’t quite there, things get really difficult really quickly. If there’s a better way I’m all ears!
  • So far my progress is hard to measure. Against bots (humans are scary!) I’m usually interrupted before I can commit to a meaningful variation. Grr.

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© Alex Wilson 2022