Sharing ideas, in any form, is what the web empowers us to do. This is my online journal and commonplace book.

Elsewhere, I write and draw In Abeyance, a bi-monthly newsletter for people actively curious about the built environment. Subscribe.


We needed something light and uplifting, so we decided to watch The Durrells. Still making our way through season one. Love Spiros (because he reminds me of many Greeks) and the youngest boy reminds us of Zane, because of his obsession with animals.

☕️ I know Christmas is over but I have a few cups left of my Christmas tea blend left - you know the one, cinnamon, almonds, nutmeg, white tea, black tea, cranberry blend. Works just as well on a nice crisp winters day.

Maybe it’s the free access to Spotify again (even though I used to pay for Apple Music) and the way the music is presented (not just albums but playlists), but music has reclaimed an important part of my life again, that was practically on hold for the last decade. I missed it.

The research period of an article is always a series of rabbit holes and dead ends. Every once in a while you stumbled on a topic or idea that screams to be expanded or elaborated on. Most times you meander in the digital wilderness letting the topic wash over you.

Two

Back in 2014, feeling that Facebook was not making me happy and after the initial euphoria of ‘connecting’ with old friends and family wore off, I decided to leave the platform. Knowing all too well that Instagram was part of Facebook, I reluctantly stayed on the platform because I liked my grid of photos. I knew that it wasn’t going to be a sustainable solution for me.

Thankfully I didn’t need to wait an exceedingly long time for a better solution to come along. That solution was Micro.blog, which today marks two years since I first started using the service.

As the platform and it’s tools, have developed the way I use it has also changed, from mainly on the desktop to mainly on mobile. This year I would like to contribute something more to this service (I have a couple of ideas). Needless to say that I heartily recommend you consider it as your place on the web.

Love these ‘chilled out’ lamps.

Fresh smoothie in the morning by the wife? Win. Nearly 40% off the commuter pass when compared to the card price? Win. See some awesome Spider-Man graffiti on the side of a train (I mean seriously awesome)? Win. Little wins. They all add up.

For a long while now the length of day mattered very little to me. Day Length puts a small smile on my face as I see the number slowly creep up. Can’t wait till the 20th of March when we smoke everyone south of us.

When we first moved to Denmark, we ended up buying a few books on the iPad as it was easily accessible. The clear standout stories were the Rabbit & Bear series. Like music that reminds you of a person, this book will always remind us of our 1st weeks in Copenhagen. Perfect.

Finally getting to read the masterpiece that is Berlin. 20 years in the making.

Issue 018 of my In Abeyance newsletter is out. For Volume 2, I’ve gone for purple.

Completely childish I know but the current POTUS (President of the United States) is totally one. Or what goes in one?

As I put the finishing touches (still need to draw the cover) for issue 018 for In Abeyance, I was reminded that I announced the newsletter a year ago today. It’s easily been one of the most satisfying projects I’ve ever worked on. Still in its infancy and only starting to learn how to walk.

It’s funny how you can quickly and effortlessly get used to something. Case in point is the use of a much larger daily phone. I just picked up my work phone (an ailing 6S) and was shocked at how quaintly svelte it was. This was a phone that 4½ years ago I named ‘Galactus’.

For all of the criticism laid on Twitter, yesterday I was reminded of its reach and network effect. A single tweet from a reader added the number of subscribers for In Abeyance by around 50%. One single tweet. Amazing really.

I’ve been meaning to do some Asian cooking at home. These videos by Adam Liaw are the perfect introduction. Excellent production values. Easy to understand steps. My only concern is trying to find all the necessary ingredient out here in Denmark might be a bit of a struggle - only because I don’t know where to find them.

You know when it snows a little and then this happens.

The single biggest change anyone can make to their site is sorting out the typography. There are plenty of freely available typefaces out there. My favourites are IBM Plex (Sans Serif, Serif and Mono), Inter (Sans Serif), Merriweather (Sans Serif and Serif) and Source Sans and Source Serif, Charter (Serif) & Clear Sans (Sans Serif).

The issue is that because they are freely available, they offer little distinction as they can be used by everyone. Sometimes that’s what you want. Sometimes it’s not. If I was running an up and coming blogging platform (ahem @manton), I’d try and hook up with indie typographers. People like Matthew Butterick, Mika Melvas or even a foundary like TipoType. See if I can strike some kind of deal to allow everyone to use their fonts across my platform.

“Explain this to me Martin. Why is the cheese in Denmark so soft? Every time I go to slice it with a knife, it just sticks to the knife or worse crumples up.”
“You’re using the wrong tool. We solved this in the 60s.”
He then introduced me to the OSTI cheese slicer. Brilliant.

Woke up this morning to the news of the death of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. I fear that shit just got very real. We will not feel the ramifications of this action until much later. The truth is, all my fear about putting the 🍊 one in the White House are starting to materialise.

I think it’s important to remember that this current wave of escalation all began with America pulling out of the Iran Nuclear deal that used diplomacy rather than drones to control the situation. That was the action of someone who doesn’t understand international diplomacy and still lives in the 1950s. None of this was necessary. None of what is likely going to happen was necessary. If you think that this is the end of it and that Iran won’t do something in retaliation, then clearly you’ve not been paying much attention.

2020 Theme

Following the Cortex podcast idea of yearly themes, 2019 was my year of Release. I think overall the theme served me well as I tried to keep releasing ideas, projects large and small throughout the year, regardless of what was happening around me, which admittedly was a lot.

Did I release everything that I wanted? In some cases I actually released more. In other respects I didn’t achieve everything that I was hoping, but that is the point of the yearly theme. It’s not a resolution, it’s an idea to guide me through the year.

2020 is the year of Consolidation and will not have major new releases. Rather it will be building upon the blocks that I have established already - namely all things Stet.Build and everything on kaa.bz. I’m excited for the coming year.

🧨 Happy New Year everyone.

P.S To all the Danes that have gone absolutely batshit crazy with the fireworks tonight I want to salute you and slap you at the same time. Easily the craziest display of fireworks I have ever experienced (continue to experience). It’s fucking 🥜.

The journal on the left is for 2018 & 2019. The journal on the right is for 2020 & 2021.

I noticed that my wife was spending time on WhatsApp sharing thoughts, ideas and links. So for Christmas this year I set her up with a Micro.blog site in the hopes she would see the value in owning her stuff.

Ah FFS. A few days before Christmas the internet turned off (hopefully getting fixed tomorrow). Christmas Eve and day we had fun plumbing issues (shower then toilet). Now the stove just went flash, pop and stopped working. That’s it, right house?

Bringing in 2020 with a new Incredible Hulk inspired colour scheme.

2019

2020

Locking season is definitely over and we have finally entered Winter in Denmark. Today was insane cold - don’t judge I’ve been out in the desert for 10 years. My Patagonia jacket came out and now I understand what all the fuss has been about. This thing is insanely well built.

I cannot get over that blue sky. We’ve not seen it very often in recent weeks but it really is beautiful.

Issue 017 and the last issue of the year (and volume one) of my newsletter In Abeyance is now out. The title of this issue is ‘Green Concrete’.

Just stumbled onto Yale E360. Possibly the best looking website I’ve seen in a long time. Fitting as the content seems absolutely rock solid. A real internet gem.

Sketch of Zane ‘showing off’.

🎄 Merry Christmas everyone.

I used to have a Spotify account 10 years ago. I’m giving it a go again instead of music. The random Scandinavian ads are surprisingly not annoying - likely because I don’t understand what they are saying so it might as well be a radio station I don’t understand.

Off I went to the different hardware stores in Copenhagen, in search of drills, drill bits, fixings and nails. Totally worth it for the smile on my own dad’s face when I told him. I think he considers it a rite of passage. That and owning a Volvo — which is never going to happen.

The Winter Solstice hasn’t really meant very much to me for the past decade. It certainly does now and more importantly, it’s today. Today is the shortest day and the start of gaining more light every single day.

If you’re into coffee and want something that can really bring some more flavour to your brew, you have 8 hours left to back the Coffeejack on Kickstarter.

I’ve left the digital garden go completely unattended while I try to sort out my real life. Thankfully the holidays are upon us, so can get some time to regroup & recharge.

As Sean said, ‘Closest we’ll get to eating at Noma.’

S-train

TENET trailer, you had me at Syncopy. This looks like a mix between The Matrix and Memento. Can’t wait.

Ok pretty annoyed I didn’t get a pic of the dude roller-skiing on the bridge in front of me. Never seen that before.

My first authentic Danish meal. All the ingredients are known and familiar to me, however certainly not the way they were combined. Not a fan of how the herring is presented. Big fan of the oat, almond, cherry desert.

11

No idea why I keep doing this to myself. I’ve finally upgraded my phone from a 6S, which served me very faithfully for 4 years. This last month has been exceptionally rough as the battery on iOS 13 has made the phone practically unusable.

I went for the iPhone 11, as I am likely going to have to drop some more cash in the new year for a MacBook to replace my 6 year old brick with a broken logic board.

The size of this screen will take a little getting used to, but I’m sure I’ll get through that hardship 🤣.

So many great little features to appreciate, but to be honest it’s all about these cameras. It kinda reminds me of my beloved Kodak camera from over a decade ago. That camera was way ahead of its time. Hopefully this means I’ll start taking photos again.