Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 In Review: Love

Summary: Progress in social skills does not yet show up as progress in love.

I've said "Hi!" to girls in the kitchen of the new employer when warming microway lunch, and I have naturally come into contact with new girls in the capoeira and language course, but haven't made any effort to seduce them.

At work, I had one longer 20-minute chat with a new girl at the nearby food court where we went for lunch. She seemed somewhat enthusiastic about the chat, but we haven't met after that.

I still haven't visited a prostitute as planned in 2012.

This year I had my first drunken hugging experience at a bar. I went there with 4 acquintances after an event. When the others had left, I started conversation with 2 women slightly older than me in the table 50cm away. One of them spontaneously hugged me and I reciprocated, which made it repeat after some minutes. Being too drunk to think straight and having gotten fired under a week ago, instead of trying to exploit the opportunity to get laid I asked "why are you hugging me when you have a ring in your hand?"

That experience (and others) convinced that my social skills have markedly improved and I could find love if I went to bars with the same frequency as in my twenties, but have little motivation to do that. Overall, lack of focus and motivation are the main things holding me back. I wouldn't know what to do with a girlfriend even if I got one, and imagining long-term dealings with bar drunks is downright scary.

2013 In Review: Hobbies


In the spring I went actively to gym. In autumn I joined a capoeira course based on recommendation from an acquintance. During this year I've lost weight from ~64kg to ~58kg. The New Year's goal for 2011 of 55kg is still out of reach.

Clearly my subconsciousness is telling me that pole dancing is not for me (I don't even have a pole installed, based on ridiculous excuse that I had to take it away temporarily for a renovation) but I don't have other sports goals either. It would be nice to have some goal to daydream about, but it would have to be a honest goal that gives self-discipline to take action beacuse the goal is worth reaching for one reason or another, not just any "you optimize what you measure, that's why it's important to have a goal" goal.

Capoeira classes are a nice form of bodyweight exercise. Capoeira is a kind of bodyweight exercise game, where the movement sequences start like go josekis with standard moves, but the better player can twist them in his favor. The martial art background is visible in narrative justifications ("You can't do that since it gives the other player too easy opportunity to punch or kick") but they have little or no bearing to actually protecting yourself. Frankly I still don't understand what the capoeira game played in roda circle is all about. The downside of capoeira is that musical playing resembles musical pre-school, making it downright embarrassing, and with the same effort, I could be learning an actual martial art. The upside is that it trains the kinds of handstand tricks, bodyweight fitness and quick agility which would be useful in pole dancing floorwork (if that wasn't a thing of the past.)

I'll continue it in the spring because I don't have honest exercise goals and because it gives me motivation to actually exercise instead of finding excuses why not to.

And I want to learn those advanced handstand positions.

Russian Language

Ten years ago I self-studied some Russian and went to 3rd year Russian course horribly underskilled, only to drop from it. So I had not completed a single Russian course before.

This autumn I went to a 2nd-year course, again badly underskilled, did plenty of effort to learn and ended up mid-skilled. It was nice to see progress - having trouble with basic discussions in the beginning, and in the end doing them as well as anyone. Loking at the first chapters and thinking "Was THIS really difficult for me just 4 months ago?" Going to wrong class worked as intended.

The background for this is a doldrum in Chinese self-study - I haven't made progress for a year and wondered if taking distance and seeing effective study would change it. When I return to Chinese study some day, I'll put much more effort to writing, which is important for long-term memory.

World of Warcraft offers Russian language pack for European customers. I made a character, тосивахва pandaren mage ("tosi vahva karhu"), and immersed myself into Russian-language world. It has been very effective in putting in the hours and learning new words, but the vocabulary is somewhat silly.

2013 In Review: Work

A lot happened to me at work in 2013. The company I worked for (6 employees) was sold to a bigger one (~150 employees) and I got fired.

I jumped from joy thanks to getting fired, since it made me eligible for unemployment benefit, and since I didn't get on with a strong personality running the 6-person company and his unprofessional behaviour, which included among other things alcohol use during working hours, until I complained about it, after which I got very cold treatment.

I had already sent applications for new jobs, and went to a job interview in January. However, I didn't go 'all in' with job search since many jobs look like they could be just as silly (job ads that look for a 'coder' to work for a never-heard-of company, rife with grammar errors, asking for 10 years of experience in technologies which have existed only 5 years are unfortunately quite common. When reading these job ads, my first idea is "if you can't write a grammatical job ad, why should I trust that you pay salaries in time and treat employees professionally?") and frankly the time on unemployment benefit after getting kicked out from Nokia's subcontracting chain was the best time of my life for 5 years.

After getting fired, my masterplan was to spend 6 months implementing an economically unpromising piece of software, hoping to earn a living from it in daydream, unicorns-and-rose-petals scenario. However, the mid-sized company firing me hired me back after 2 weeks. Maybe I made a mistake accepting this "boring and safe" options but I have a mortgage to pay - after I have a net debt free house (which is not ten years away if I refrain from foreign travel and car) I have much more margin to make financial risks.

Now I have accidentally ended up in the best job I've ever had. The purpose of the job is still frivolous ("the best minds of our generation are figuring out how to make users click on ads") but I have more freedom and responsibility than ever before, my salary is paid in time and people around me behave professionally. Many of my coworkers are quite sharp and unlike five years ago in the mid-sized subcontractor, are able to talk about topics more abstract than cars or sports.