24. December 2023

I’d like to wish all family, friends, regular readers, commenters and all other visitors Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, A Happy New Year or any other Holiday Greetings you prefer! As usual, I prefer Happy Newtonmas because Isaac Newton was born on December 25th, but I’m very democratic in that respect and let everyone celebrate the the holiday they like.

2023 will be remembered in our family as a terrible year because in early September, we lost my Aunt Mary Elizabeth after a brief illness. To say we are all still in shock and recovering from this unexpected turn of events is probably an understatement, but overall we are doing okay considering the circumstances – but we still miss her a lot. I actually made a “secret” week-long trip to Berlin in October for a goodbye party and the funeral which I haven’t mentioned online at all yet – but I made the best out of it, meeting some extended family members for the first time and doing some photography. The rest of the year still felt surreal even before August and September, with Corona still looming – but thankfully staying away from me – and the whole world situation making everything uncertain. Just having a roof over your head and not being broke or hungry is maybe something we all can be thankful for.

For me personally, 2023 consisted again of doing lots of selfcare to stay physically and mentally healthy. That meant concentrating on the things I love to do – I’m still actively doing my usual photography thing posting every day over on the Photography Blog. There are still tons of unposted photos from this year,  I also started to dive deeper into analog photography this year again and started to develop my own film and even got a “new” analog camera – something I’ll post about soon in the photo blog. Writing something here on the main blog was mostly derailed by general busyness even though my drafts folder is full with articles which I never managed to complete. An effort to fully revitalize and rename DVDLog was also interrupted by the sad events of late summer, but I have occasionally started to write reviews again because there are some new Blu-Rays in my collection and some new film releases worth writing about.

2023 is also the year I didn’t put a Christmas tree on the balcony anymore, that is why there are only photos of a “bokeh tree” this year. Sadly our usual Christmas tree sellers have disappeared this year and it was a good reason to give up this tradition. Nobody’s home over the holidays anyway and the spring cleanup will be much easier. It was basically just there for the photos and making a tree out of lights looks nice as well.

The Camera Store is still doing well, especially right before Christmas, which has also been the cause of the relative silence here – there was just too much work and I needed to get away from computer screens at home as much as possible. Thankfully we decided to take a holiday break so we can rest a little, but the eBay shop is still open and we will ship everything out in early January. I’ve never asked for donations here or anything, but if anyone wants to support me – if you’re interested go buy something nice from our store to continue my job security!

On the musical front I didn’t manage to do much this year, certainly no recording, but instead just noodling around. I only bought one new thing, a wonderful Precision/Jazz Bass Guitar hybrid that I couldn’t resist and now is not even produced anymore. Together with the Zoom guitar effects pedal I got last year I’ve had a lot of fun playing guitar properly and the little M-Audio Oxygen Pro Mini keyboard has also been a lot of fun for just trying out a lot of VST instruments. Maybe I can get around to actually record something when I have found out how to set everything up without a complete cable spaghettification! And I hope I can write some instrument reviews here on this blog too.

CosmoQuest has been back this year with a new weekly space and science news show called Escape Velocity Space News that is broadcast on Youtube, as a podcast and even on NowMedia television. It has been a great success and while it’s a produced show it’s not all being recorded live like the Weekly Space Hangout that unexpectedly ended in January. Astronomy Cast is still going, though, reaching the 700th episode mark earlier this year and the last episode just broadcast live a couple of days ago. There were also two different fundraisers in 2023 on Twitch and Youtube, both were a great success and I was even able to participate a little bit too.

This year also concluded with the complete demolition of the social media landscape by Elon Musk blowing up Twitter and renaming the remaining rubble to X, turning it from a useful tool of communicating and networking into a right wing echo chamber. Last year I said I would continue posting to Twitter so far, but this August it just got worse and worse over there and I just decided to stop posting there. Instead I’ve been busy on the very friendly Mastodon Fediverse which is a very nice and relaxing way to do social media. I’m of course still on Facebook and Instagram too and I’ve also joined Threads recently after it was finally opened in Europe, but it seems hard to build a follower base over there. I’m also trying out BlueSky at the moment – I really like the features which remind me a lot of the good old Google+ – maybe next year, five years after the demise of what I still consider to be the best social media network ever, something new will happen over there.

Like every year, I’m back in Berlin right now again over the holidays after a horrible seven hour train ride caused by a big storm! But now I’m here and while so much is different without Mary, it’s very nice to be here. Things are a bit better this year with nobody being hit by Covid and there will be some peace and quiet, good company and good food.

I’m probably not going to post anything here until at least early January, but of course there will be the usual round of daily photos over on my Photography Blog. You can also also follow me over on all the social media outlets – MastodonInstagram and Facebook are getting the photo crossposts from the blog and I’m trying out Threads and BlueSky too soon.

Have a nice end-of-year holiday, everyone – and thank you especially to everyone again who helped me to get through this difficult year! You know who you are and it would have been much more difficult without all of you!


Kategorie: Blog
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