2021: time to move into a higher gear

Just before the New Year, Steve Smith, a.k.a. Ardalis, tweeted to ask everyone what their most popular post had been in 2020.

I quickly checked this blog and came up with “Solving Sudoku with backtracking”. 3722 visits at the time, and now standing at 3914. Woot.

However, this is not particularly about that tweet plus response, it’s about the fact it really hit home about how much I have neglected this blog and my public persona throughout 2020. For example: I did only 16 posts in 2020, or one every three weeks-ish on average, but with six of those being in January before the pandemic really hit me and my life, that meant less than one a month. The Sudoku post I mentioned? At the end of it I dropped the hint that “Next time I’ll talk about generating new puzzles.”, intending to talk about the Dancing Links algorithm, but … never did.

The other excuse in a way is that my wife has been prosecuting a homicide trial (she’s a Senior Deputy District Attorney in our judicial district) since … wait for it … September. If you think going to the store to shop is a dangerous thing to do, just wait until you’re in trial where everyone has to wear a mask, has to be socially distant, physical evidence is handled with nitrile gloves, and surfaces are wiped down regularly. Despite all these precautions, there were still two instances of two-week-long isolations/quarantines because of someone getting the virus, and a couple of weeks lost because one of the jurors didn’t feel well and had a test and they all had to wait for the (negative) result. All that weighs heavy on the families involved, and it did on me to make sure she had everything she needed and to make sure that she didn’t have chores to do at home.

And of course that raises the whole effect that this pandemic has had on me. I suppose that I’m in the dodgy zone age-wise, but then again I don’t mix in crowds or go to an office. So I’m safe in that sense, although I don’t feel it inside. No, the big thing about the pandemic is that, in a sense, I’m homesick for England and various places I’ve lived or visited in Europe. I want to see some of those places I have in my memory again, but have no idea when that’ll happen. It depresses me.

Having said that, the past three/four months or so with the US political scene has depressed me even more. To which, the whole debacle of Brexit has lathered even more depression on me. I’ve been doing my work and then I can’t get any enthusiasm to do anything else. Doomscrolling is the new occupation.

Well, it’s now 2021, and it’s time for me to slap myself awake and set some resolutions. First goal is to write a post at least once a week, on the Friday or Saturday. Count this one as the New Year’s one. I’ve got a couple more almost ready so I will have caught up by the end of this weekend, pretty much. I’m not guaranteeing that these weekly posts will be extensive every time, just that they will be regular. Of course, there may be others in between: I’ve been well aware that it was 20 years ago in June this year that my book came out and it’s time something was done to update it.

OK. <rubs hands together> Let’s kick this dozing blog awake.

Life on a phone

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