not yet finished, work in progress! I’ll update this file gradually and update the date accordingly

Every January I try to review the year in terms of character upgrades and achievements, items and other things of interest. I track a lot of data - and making sense of it is part of all the fun.

“Know Thyself” was inscribed at the temple of Apollo at Delphi, held up as an ideal in Latin and Christian philosophy, and recycled by generations of advice mongers. Self-knowledge was obtained through introspection and reflection; that is, through words. ― (Gary Wolf in a famous 2009 wired article https://www.wired.com/2009/06/lbnp-knowthyself/) ―

Quick Overview of 2020

  • still battling Crohn’s disease, with a lot of ups and downs. the “ups” are on the positive side of this otherwise nerve wrecking disease.
  • because my ‘special needs’ on #biohacking and #lifelogging I got into programming again. Haven’t touch a line of code since the 2000’s, and I have to say: python is nice and fun! At least a bit of fun like Perl in those days.
  • and yeah, um.. all things Covid-19, you know

Biohacking and Lifelogging

Over the years I’ve hacked myself with n=1 experiments, self-tracking and personal data analysis to change my life. And I firmly believe that technology and personal data can help others, too.

I divide #biohacking into six main categories1:

  1. Nutrition
  2. Movement
  3. Recovery
  4. Balance
  5. Focus
  6. Environment

1. Nutrition

There are only three general nutritional rules for Crohn’s disease:

  1. no processed food
  2. (mostly) plant based low carb, high fat (LCHF)
  3. need for many pre/probiotics and micro nutrients (some of them as supplements)

All the rest is highly depended on whether being in flare up or in remission.

1.1 Body weight and composition

Bodyweight is a great proxy for various variables. For example I can correlate CDAI with my weight, and I can see how I felt, how active Crohn’s was just by looking at my weight. Weight over the years

1.2 Supplements

The only Supplements I took on a regular daily basis in 2020 is VitaminD and Omega-3-rich fish oil. Crohn’s Disease destroys the “Terminal Ileum”, which is exaclty the place where most of Vitamin D is absorbed.

Vitamin D over the years (just 2 measurements in 2020, outliers are very likely)

1.3 Output

Monitoring my “output” is a simple way of reflecting on the status of Crohns Disease. I use the Hindsight App and its compagnion App on the Apple Watch to count and keep track of various things.

Average 'Output' per day

2. Movement

In 2020 and Covid-19 my shape and fitness was not great. I became aware of being “on the move” is heavily dependend on 4. Balance, 5. Focus and 6. Environment. See on that factors later on.

I regularly track my steps, sports and fitness via my AppleWatch. For serious endeavors I switch to either my Garmin-Watch, a GPS-Brick or even SPOT-Tracker, depending on expected battery-use.

For 2020, I did no serious sports, no long hikes, and only some brisk walks in the park. On the one hand because of still battling Crohn’s, which sucks a lot of energy, on the other hand because of Covid-19 and general pandemic times which was quite confusing and depressing sometimes.

Movement-Data is a bit sparse for 2020, but this is what I got: Average steps

  • 1,241,754 steps
  • 3,383 daily average
  • 931 km distance covered
  • 1572 flights climbed
  • Most active on Saturdays
  • Most active times were between 13-15:00
  • Most active month was February

Workout Minutes

3. Recovery

My long term goals in recovery. You could call it a plan.

  • sleep more consistently (watch bedtime!) and at least 8.5 hours
  • take it slow and easy, take many breaks and some copious naps
  • not only to rest the body, but the brain, emotions, mental, too!

3.1 Sleep

Daily Sleep Average: 8.17 hours

Sleep Hours Sleeping hours distribution

3.2 Heart

Heart variables are excellent predictors and measures of general health. Goals are keeping the average heart rate low and HRV (Heart Rate Variability) high. Resting Heart rate from Apple Watch Resting Heart rate from Oura Ring

In 2015 I learned about the preditive value of the heartrate. A week prior to a complete system breakdown my heartrate bumped up by 20 counts. Soon after first the observing of a constant high heartrate, I got feaver up to 40° Celcius, soon after that it rocketed up to nearly 42° and I went into the emergency and got hospitalized with severe sepsis. The medication I took at that time flattened out my immune system down to zero (which was the plan at that time) - but I catched a nasty bug and hardly survived that encounter with Streptococcus. A few month later I got a surgery to get rid of a Basal-cell carcinoma. Thanks for that, Azathioprine.

4. Balance

To improve balance and recovery, my long-term goal is to meditate at least 10 minutes a day and to really take care of recovery times, to spend more time outdoors, and just have somewhat more general fun (type 1 fun, in that case)!

4.1 Meditation

Meditation

4.2 Outdoor Time

Spending time outdoors was a huge thing in the past, but with ongoing Crohn’s and Pandemics I felt like glued to the Couch. Nothing interesting there, though, except for a few strolls here and there. Most of the time it looked like that:

Outdoor Time

2021 will be more active, hopefully, as I’m newly recruited as “Runner 5”.

5. Focus

I’m still on reconvalescence, so “Focus” is a bit different than in times working. So my goal was simple: don’t waste mind power and brain time; cut down social networking and idle more willful.

5.1 Where my (computer) time went

I track my time spent on computer with Rescuetime. I started to evaluate ActivityWatch mostly because of my arm64 based PinebookPro. Heatmap of most active times Monthly distribution of productiveness Distribution of productiveness by hour

5.2 What I’ve been reading

I’ve had a hard time reading, so this year was not even average in terms of ‘books read’. All physical, ebooks and audiobooks where tracked with Goodreads and/or Kindle, articles from the web where read and tracked via Instapaper. The script provided by Marks qs_ledger feeded the highlighted parts into my Zettelkasten.

Book Reading Summary

  • 14 total books read
  • 1873 total number of pages read
  • 312 average number of pages per book Books read by Month

Kindle Highlights Summary:

  • 663 total book highlights
  • 20 total Books highlighted
  • 33.2 average number of highlights per book
  • 82.9 monthly average
  • 309 most in a month
  • 11 least in a month

Wordcloud of what I highlighted on the Web

Highlights wordcloud of read articles

5.3 GTD

No GTD done in 2020

5.4 Inbox Zero

No Inbox Zero done in 2020

5.5 Social Media usage

I closed my Facebook account in 2019. In 2020 I switched from twitter to ActivityPub. I spend quite some time on Mastodon, evaluated a selfhosted Hubzilla instance. But for me the hype of beeing connected via social networks was coming to an (good) end. I met some nice people on ActivityPub with which I’ll stay connected via good old telephone and Threema or Signal for some quick chats or photo sharing.

6. Environment

Goals:

  • declutter: my living room is my office, my fridge is usually overloaded which results in waste of energy, food and money
  • fine-tune smarthome appliances: I was able to cut down energy consumption regardless of 2 new devices (a small eBass Amp and a used PS4)
  • make progress turning into a more ecological lifestyle and resources consumption: I was able to cut down on plastics use by switching toiletry stuff to less packaging, for example I’m using soap bars for body and hair.

6.1 Handwashing

Apple introduced “Handwashing” on the Apple Watch in 2020 because of Covid-19, so here’s my data.

6.2 Smarthome

I added a door & window sensor to cut down resources (heating) to my setup. A second HomePod (mini) now lives in the kitchen & sleeping room area and keeps me happy with music, podcasts and audiobooks. I plan to (maybe) integrate a weather station and room monitor to further cut down resources use and I want to set up an small solar panel on my balcony to power all those gadgets. For this I can refer to my neighbor who’s quite a nerd in all things electrical. He owns two of those small panels.

6.3 Music, Listening and Playing

Started to play the Bass again. After something around 20 years I wonder how I lived for so long without it! After the pandemics I’ll hopefully ramped up my finger-fitness again an I’m eager to play in a band. Those rare moments in life when completely tuned-in with other people…!

Working and Writing

Work-wise it was a very calm year, thankfully, because with Crohn’s flaring up and down I never could have worked a full 8h day, every day. Instead I focused on healing, on mind and body. I spent a good time on playing the bass again. I even got a nudge to keep up with developments in #FreeBSD again, which I completely abadoned about 2003 when I got my first MacBook. Before that, I worked almost exclusivly on *BSDs and Solaris, both professionally and at home. With the beginning of my studies in sociology and politics, I stepped away from being an UNIX BOFH and Consultant to just using computers as tools for research, some scholastic number crunching, as teaching and presentation devices and a bit of distration devices.

In the beginning of the pandemics (starting around mid-April 2020) I wrote a lot in a quite autoethnographic style and focus. I just sensed very early in the year that this thing will get huge. Huge not only knowledge-wise but also as an societal, sociologically and personally incisive time. I read and wrote to simply get a grip on the everchanging things that happened - while nothing much happend around me personally. All that went into my #Zettelkasten, along with other evidences like some photos of the signs the shopkeepers hang up because of the #Lockdown. This is a huge pool of yet mostly unstructured information that I can query and ask questions to everytime I want.

Those examples of Lockdown signs are a good (re)source for an ethnographicaly inspired interpretation and are quite telling, not only about the subjective meanings that went into the signs and pouring out of it. They are, as different as they are, quite telling me (us) something about the particular time and the society in which they are meant to tell the bypassers something.

I also kept a close eye on the local rightwing anti-corona protests, too. Evidences and observations on these scumbags are understandably not blogged here, but in other more anonymous places.

I think the best and vivid expression on all this quite introspective work is the following wordcloud from the titles of articles I read in 2020-03:

Titles of articles from 2020-03

Personal and Misc.

I really place my bets on some new medication and that it will get me started again in 2021.

  1. inspired by Max Gotzler