Looking Ahead to 2021

January 3, 2021

This year will hopefully be much better for humanity than 2020 was. Multiple vaccines are now in play, with general rollout coming within the next few months. A new American president with a better grasp on reality will be taking office in less than three weeks. What follows are my own plans for the new year.

Iron Arachne will see continued development this year. The frenzied rewrite in November and December was just an effort to get most of the old functionality implemented as quickly as possible. Now that it's fully launched, the new site can begin to receive new features. I'm kicking around several ideas right now. A planet generator is one of these. The most difficult part of the planet generator is that it will require proper texture generation instead of cheating with SVG filters like the star system generator does. We'll see how well it goes.

Preparations for moving to Estonia will ramp up. As the Covid situation improves, we can begin planning our exodus in earnest. My Estonian language learning has been on the back burner, but that changes now. I may begin trying to write portions of this site in Estonian as my command of the language improves. In the last quarter of last year I began digging into more of the details of life in Estonia, like the cost of cat litter and the quality of housing in various areas of Tallinn. I've been reading the only English-language history of the country over the past few months. Sarah has been continuously learning Estonian, and she's starting to get a firm grasp of the fundamentals. That should help me learn, too. Making connections in the Estonian tech community is a vital next step, as it's becoming increasingly likely that we'll need to find Estonian employers rather than American employers willing to let us work from a foreign country.

My study of cooking continues to advance. For Christmas my family gave me several books on cooking technique. I plan on making good use of them and learning more about the building blocks of cooking. One of the books is called "The New Professional Chef," and it contains detailed instructions on a wide variety of basic skills a chef should have. I'm greatly looking forward to practicing.

Since switching to the Mediterranean diet in early December due to high cholesterol, my eating habits have completely changed. Previously, I would have breakfast burrito bowls every morning and a ton of protein at each meal. Now I'm working on being 90-95% vegetarian. The meals I've been eating so far have leaned heavily on pita bread, hummus, olives, and other elements of a "Naf Naf" concept, since I don't yet have a good grasp on how to be vegetarian. But it's getting easier to explore new recipes as I learn more about different vegetables and their preparation. It's fun and I enjoy the process. Both Sarah and I are enjoying the result, too, as properly cooked vegetarian meals are just as flavorful.

Another change I'm looking forward to making this year is becoming more active. It won't be warm for another four months at the very earliest, and a recent blog post I read about embracing winter in Estonia really clicked for me. Rather than hiding out inside and avoiding the cold weather, we should be enjoying what the cold weather brings. What this actually means is that I can't use cold weather as an excuse to stay sedentary. I plan on taking walks when the temperature's above zero and looking into winter activities that don't require close proximity to other people.

The rest of 2021 hinges on what happens with Covid-19. It's a given that the first half of the year will be the same or worse than 2020. Summer onward, though, is an open question. So much depends on whether we as a species can put new measures in place to protect ourselves from the virus and its siblings. I suppose time will tell.