Ziggy's Monologues

21 Dec, 2020

So, first things first. This is not a blog. A blog is a complicated beast with
tags and categories, titles and neatly positioned images. I cannot be bothered
with this sort of thing right now.

And this is why this... thing, this series of monologues about nothing and about
everything, look the way it look. It's just a folder full of text files shown in
a chronologically descending order. No formatting, except some minimal HTML, no
thinking about how it looks. Just text. On... screen.

Secondly, I wanted something to track my thoughts mostly for the future me. I
didn't want to read comments, engage with readers, follow statistics to see,
which combination of words attracted more viewers. I just want to post and have
it accessible. I will share this link with a couple of people, the people, to
whom I right every now and then anyway. And the link will always be available to
me. So I can read back about my days if I forget or need a reminder about the
past life. Maybe it will happen when I'm old and tired and just want a glimpse
at the glorious past. Maybe it will happen earlier.

I should stop writing and save the file. Funny thing... this will not be
published for sure until I finish the site generating code. So for now this is
just a text file on my laptop that shall become a beautiful butterfly some day

22 Dec, 2020

I was reading some books by Norwegian authors for the last couple of months.

First one was "Growth of the Soil" by Knut Hamsun. I didn't know what to expect.
I knew from the comments that it was a classic, the comments were mixed though,
someone said it was too slow (which usually means a good thing from my

I liked the book a lot. Probably because I could relate a little bit with the
main guy, but also because the people stories spread across the book were
interesting and... real. Reminded me about Steinbeck a little bit, but... no one
can touch Steinbeck in terms of small people stories. No one!

So I wanted to read more Norwegian books. And I've realized (not without the
help of my wife) that I have never read "A Doll's House", which is a play by
Henrik Ibsen. It was a short fast read. Light and fun and to the point.

Those Norwegians can write! I thought. So I grabbed another book. "The Birds"
Tarjei Vesaas. Honestly I don't know how to pronounce that name, but the book is
special. It's like a virtual reality simulation. It allows you to spend time as
this young man with a mental illness. With zero cliches.

Now I wanted to only read Norwegian authors till the day I die, which I hoped
will not come soon. I thought I will try something modern. Really modern. And
fun. Meaning, not a classic, not on a serious topic, not a demanding read. I've
learned about Jo Nesbo, the modern Norwegian author of detective thriller novels
(krimis for ze Germans). He has this cycle of novels about Harry Hole
(pronounced more like "holly" and has nothing to do with Cobain's wife's band).
Anyway, I've grabbed the first book in the series. And I hated it. Ok-ok, not
really hated it, but it wasn't fun to read. I was expecting a page turner, fun
adventures, with the required Scandinavian twists: rape, bodily mutilations,
cutting people in pieces... I'm not joking, when the book reader was showing 50%
that's where they find this one guy detached from all of his extremities. All of

But the book was boring. Bursting with cliches and sayings that you learn about
from soviet English textbooks but then never hear anyone using those in real

Anyway... Not trying to bash on Nesbo, I'm sure he has better books, but I will
not try any for a long time. Thankfully there are more classics and modern
books. And hopefully one day I will learn norsk sufficiently to be able to read
some original works.

24 Dec, 2020

Every now and then there will be a CEO running his or her mouth about... the evolution of a workplace. Usually it means they are trying to see you a co-working space, an open office design (I wish people who invented this particular setup have a very long vacation in hell), a food-catering service or an app or two. Whatever it is a CEO (or a co-founder, investor, investor's boyfriend's grandmother) will come to a conclusion that the latest-greatest-coolest-toppest workplace is a so-called flexible work-space. Confused? Let me translate. It means you don't have a workplace but you still have to come to an office that's usually located not close to where you live.

As my friend Oli says: "let's take a step back".

So, flexible work-space. You come to this CEO's office and commence a game of music chairs. Remember those? Kids? People, who were in kindergarten and primary school before COVID-19? You run around the room while the music is playing (other kids do the same and all of them are your enemies, you have no friends or allies in this game, it's as brutal as life itself). When the music stops you must plant your ass on a chair. The catch? If the number of kids is N you get N-1 chairs.

But this would be an easy level of flexible workplace (work-space? I'm as confused as you are). The easy level is for wimps, the people who can do their work with a tiny macbook air, opening it every once in a while to answer 20 emails, generate 50 more emails, post, like, subscribe, unsubscribe and quickly check on that bitcoin price. This is the level for top management, their friends, their grandmas' boyfriends.

Let's take another step back.

In comes an engineer. And IT guy. A developer, a devops, a computer geek. A lonely ninja wielding his IDEs and Emacses and key-chords and Stackoverflows and coffee mugs and Metallica t-shirts. She has a laptop, three big monitors, a mechanical keyboard a mouse, an usb-hub and maybe an air humidifier (oh and a lava lamp! one cannot produce quality software or tame a Cthulhu-level IT system without a lava lamp! it's against everything that the bible stands for!). And now she needs to run around the office space with a whole cart loaded with hardware and wires (it's 2020, where's my wireless electricity, you fools?!). And she needs to look for an empty desk. And maybe there is one and maybe there isn't. And maybe the available one is on the top floor or in the basement. Maybe it's by a window and maybe it has a nice open view facing the two doors of the office toilet. When she finds (if she finds!) an empty desk, she needs to set everything up. By the time she's done, it's lunch time. Oh, and don't forget to break everything down and clean the desk in the evening after you done. This is a flexible environment. This desk doesn't belong to you. You should brace yourself for tomorrow's desk hunt.

This is the level that most people will have to deal with. The people that do the actual work. You know, build those apps, keep those services up, quality check those API layers and databases and keep the patches up-to-date and read "the angry orange website" 10 times a day. These people cannot do their work with a macbook air. They need their work-space once and for all.

So please, when you hear this flexible open space disruption, just walk away. Let them enjoy their own bullshit as much as they want to. We have stuff to do, lives to live, travel the informational highway. Forever. Into the 8-bit sunset.

25 Dec, 2020

My friend Oli has a very-very-very nice personal website
The highlights are the: the articles and the Reading.

The articles are a good source of no-bullshit information about... anything really. And in the reading section he writes short summaries on the books he's read.

For people who don't know him that well or at all, there are also links to his talks and other nonsense but I usually check only the main "thread" and the reading list. I was even mentioned in one of the reading list's entries (not as an author though!).

27 Dec, 2020

I was itching to write some code today. Like really. Felt an itch somewhere under my teeth. That sort of itch that you usually can't scratch. But this time I could.

I finished watching the Norwegian cartoon of the day (used for practice Norsk comprehension and fun and family building exercise) and opened my emacs, which is spacemacs with customization and nonsense. And started to code on that small project I was doing a couple of days ago for myself.

The project is called "Sparrow Says..." and its current purpose to generate kettlebell assignments for me based on Pavel's book "The Quick and the Dead". It involves a lot of dice rolling and coins flipping and my actual dice rolls kept giving me the same exercise (randomness is an illusion it seems). So the app is using a bunch of Clojure's random functions (only one actually, rand-int).

I haven't actually coded much, but ended up messing with TailwindCSS a whole bunch, updating the deployment script (babashka) and looking at the wonderful results in the browser.

Confession: the images I've used are not mine, but it will do as a placeholder. I should draw my own pixel art images for kettlebell snatches and swings.

Current result can be seen here

28 Dec, 2020

My wife says it's too difficult for people think good happy thoughts. I tend to
agree. It's quite easy to prove this to myself as well. Just try to sit down and
simply think happy thoughts. Difficult, right? Sometimes even impossible. You
sit there for 5-10-20 minutes trying to come up with one good thought and you
cannot. It's especially difficult if I say: memories are not allowed. Plus,
memories are sooo different for different people. Some of us have full lives of
happy moments, others... better stay away from that memory pool.

But I wonder. What if I make this a practice: 5 minutes a day make myself think
happy/good/positive thoughts. And leave the happy memories for extra occasions.
Meaning, I could try sitting there thinking about what's good happening in my
life right now, or in the world, or just daydreaming of something really nice.
And what if I do that every day. Will it make my brain more accustomed to think
good and not bad. Will it make me less critical of everything and more
understanding? Will I start to see more opportunities and less obstacles?

Let's try and see what happens.

31 Dec, 2020

The last day of 2020. I cannot not write anything about it today while it's
happening. Well, for me it's just beginning to happen, but I have already seen
my NZ friends are chilling at a beach basking in the summer sun (those upside
down kiwi life is confusing).

Anyway, out Christmas tree AKA new year's tree AKA yolka has been standing
beautifully for the last two weeks. Planted temporarily in a red bucket full or
reach fertilized by our worms soil. The tree has actually started to smell of
pine a couple of days ago. I think it's decided to grow roots in the bucket.

The chocolate cake is ready and the infamous Russian salad with a french name
Olivier is in works. But that's not the main thing. (I know, how can a chocolate
homemade cake not be the main thing). The main thing is that another year of the
Rat is over, done, finished. So next year is a transitioning year for me (a Rat)
and my wife (also a Rat but a more cute one than I am). I will probably write
some thoughts down when it actually happens, but for now I'm just grabbing the
edge of my seat to make sure I don't lose the control (of which I have almost
none at this point).

So, what did I do in the morning oh the last day of 2020? Read about Information
Theory. Sounds smart and it's probably is, but when I say I was reading about
it, I mean I was looking at this simple logarithm for 30 minutes to try and
understand it. (I have a file of notes on it though, and I don't think that's
the amount of notes a person needs to understand a logarithm formula, but... I'm
not that person).

Anyway, just got a request from my wife: "Make some coffee!" So gotta run. Drink
coffee, eat food, meat the 2021 and dive into it to get all the gifts and

P.S. OK, I'm back (the coffee is cooking, ah the technology!). If you, future
me/my avid readers are wondering where are all the smart philosophical thoughts
about the corona virus and the US election and the global heating and the new M1
chip... These are all available everywhere else in the Internet. This is my
website. My thought for today is: Russian cottage cheese pancakes (сырники) are
a wonderful breakfast!