Daniel Pietzsch

Articles

Longer thoughts and ramblings.

Queen & Slim

A first date takes a fateful turn when a racist cop stops the two for a minor traffic violation. The cop ends up dead. They flee, and a days-long chase through the US ensues.

This film is very much fitting regarding the current #blacklivesmatter movement. It showcases on a few occasions how black people feel about the police; and how one might react when the police is rather considered an enemy than a friend.

It’s also a film about loneliness, companionship, trust and love.

Thumbs up!


Recent Movies

Here are a few films I watched recently and a few words about them.

Wrong

An absurd film. And pretty funny. Music and sounds are ace. I liked the visuals, too, because the rendition of the used lens(es) looked pretty “classic” to me – and I like “classic”. Apparently the writer/director Quentin Dupieux has some sort of cult status. I didn’t know him until this.

Trainspotting T2

More nostalgia than anything else. Was ok. Wouldn’t watch again.

Lost highway

Given that Nicole is a huge David Lynch fan, it’s surprising I haven’t watched this in full until recently. And I thoroughly enjoyed it. Great Lynch-y-en atmosphere and strangeness. Would watch again.

Knives Out

Well-written and filmed Cluedo/whodunnit-type movie. With star-cast. Awesome!

Night on Earth

I seem to really enjoy Jim Jarmusch’s movies. This was no exception. It’s an episode film about Taxi drivers in various famous cities in the same night at the same time. Not all episodes were equally good, but overall a very entertaining endeavour. Armin Mueller-Stahl in the New York episode is hilarious!

Blue Ruin

Now-hobo takes revenge for the killing of his parents, after the killer has been released from prison. He’s a complete amateur – yet very bad-ass – and gets into a fight with the killer’s whole family. Suspenseful. Thumbs up!

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Remarkable movie that manages to be very funny while also addressing several very serious topics such as rape, murder, suicide and racism – and still dealing with them in a serious way. Top!

The Invisible Man

Said “man” faked his death and now terrorises his (ex-)wife. Not really bad. But not really good, either. It’s probably a little better than I thought it would be. Still: not really recommended.


Fast Genial – Benedict Wells

Ich fühlte mich zu alt für dieses Buch.

Der fast zwanzigjährige Protagonist begibt sich mit zwei Freunden auf einen teils abenteuerlichen Roadtrip quer durch die USA um seinen leiblichen Vater ausfindig zu machen. Abgesehen vielleicht von der Gefühlswelt eines Spenderkindes und dem Experiment mit moralisch fragwürdiger Motivation, um das es geht, waren bei den Lehren dieses Buches nicht wirklich Neues für mich dabei. Und aufgrund des Alters des Protagonisten (und des Autors zu der Zeit) waren die Themen auch nicht mehr so ganz meins.

Was aber auch nicht weiter schlimm war. Denn ich konnte dem Buch trotzdem was abgewinnen. Denn ich war zu der Zeit in der das Buch spielt und geschrieben wurde ähnlich alt wie der Autor und bin damals selber durch Teile der USA gereist. Und so haben mich diese Parallelen und die unzähligen Popkulturreferenzen ein wenig in diese Zeit zurückversetzt. Zudem war es größtenteils gut, echt und spannend geschrieben. Gutes Ende.


Die Bagage – Monika Helfer

Monika Helfer erzählt die Geschichte ihrer Großmutter – die sie nie persönlich kennengelernt hat – die Anfang des 20. Jahrhunderts mit ihrer Familie abseits eines kleines Dorfes in Österreich lebten und von allen dort nur „Die Bagage“ genannt wurden.

Die damalige Zeit war sowieso schon nicht einfach. Und dann noch abseits zu leben und sein eigenes Ding durchzuziehen um so mehr.

Insgesamt eine bemerkenswerte Geschichte (im doppelten Sinne), kurzweilig erzählt auf 150 Seiten.


Factfulness – Hans Rosling

Das Buch hat mir gefallen. Roslings Hauptpunkt ist, dass die Lebensumstände sich stetig verbessern und auch bereits viel Fortschritt passiert ist in den letzten Jahrzehnten. Hier konzentriert er sich hauptsächlich auf die grundlegenden Bedürfnisse des Menschen wie Unterkunft, Essen und Trinken, medizinische Versorgung, Bildung, usw. Anhand vieler Zahlen aber auch persönlicher Erfahrungen belegt er dies.

Insgesamt war mir das Ganze allerdings etwas zu positiv. Ich habe mich manchmal gefragt, ob das Buch differenzierter ausgefallen wäre, wäre er selbst nicht so privilegiert gewesen. Er ist sich dessen auch selber bewusst und erwähnt an mehreren Stellen, dass längst nicht alles auf der Welt super ist. Aber auf diese Themen geht er nie wirklich ein.

Aber insgesamt hat er ja Recht bei den Themen auf die er sich konzentriert. Und trotz der angesprochenen Verbesserungen auf der Welt, hat das Buch mir einmal mehr bewusst gemacht, in welchem Luxus wir hier leben.

Auch erschreckend aktuell, in dem er ein Pandemie als eine der großen Gefahren für die Menschheit identifiziert. Well: here we are!


August update

In June and July we took a three week long camping holiday break. It was great: being outside lots, hiking and biking, seeing Zoe explore new places and things, reading, relaxing, swimming, meeting my dad.

Our camper in dramatic light in front of a mountain range.

Camping is probably the best way to spend a holiday at these strange times. You drive in your own vehicle and you spent most of your time outside. You’re still around other people, but keeping safe distance is easy (for the most part).

Zoe and Nicole on a swing bridge.
Selfie of the three of us in front of mountains with a castle on one of them.

However, with our parents it’s sometimes more difficult to keep distance, or even be outside all the time. And we decided that’s ok for everyone involved.

Also, we started going to playgrounds again with Zoe. But to make children keep a safe distance is pretty much impossible. Again, something we “risk”. But Zoe – and we, too – need to get outside. We can’t be inside all the time without going crazy eventually.

She will also be starting Kindergarten in September. Generally, we’re looking forward to this, but fear there will be regular complications with closures, testing and infections – Covid-19 or otherwise. But mainly we hope everyone involved will stay free of that virus.

Schools and Kindergartens will open for “regular” business in a week’s time. And so far, Covid-19 infection-numbers in Germany haven’t been too bad, I suppose. But I fear that once autumn comes around, this will worsen. If people keep meeting inside the way they currently do outside, a rise in cases will be unavoidable, I think. The Altstadt here in Düsseldorf is often very crowded at the moment, and sections had to occasionally be cleared by police.

Generally, you don’t see people wearing masks when outside here. Maybe 1% do. We don’t, either. We keep our distance and that’s it. Only when closer to people – for example in a queue somewhere – and when inside (for shopping), do we put on our masks.

Anyhow, we’re alright at the moment and hope it’ll stay this way.


Pedal Board Update

My pedal board has a new layout.

I replaced the Big Muff with my new EHX Cock Fight Pedal. Because the Cock Fight is a fuzz, too, I do not need the Big Muff1.

Ideally, I would’ve liked to switch the positions of the Cock Fight and the Blood Moon Phaser, because the Phaser after the fuzz is way too crazy sounding. But since I need to access the Cock Fight’s jack for the expression pedal, this wasn’t feasible.

And now I think I’m done pedal-shopping. Very happy with the sounds coming from this thing!

  1. A little known fact about the Electro Harmonix Cock Fight pedal is, that you can also use the fuzz circuit without the Wah filters. On the inside, the pedal features a tiny switch, that reconfigures how the pedal works. If you put this internal switch to “Fuzz on”, the fuzz circuit will always be on and the middle position of the three-way fuzz switch on the top will disable the Wah circuit(s) – as opposed to disabling the fuzz and only engaging the Wah-circuits (as is the case in the standard configuration). I currently run mine in “Fuzz on” mode. 


New Macbook Keyboard

Recently, I had my Mac’s keyboard replaced. Because, unsurprisingly, I started having regular double-types, which got increasingly annoying. Luckily, Apple acknowledges the problem and offers a free repair program.

And so it’s all good now again. Even better probably. Because I think I received their latest keyboard-iteration. This new one seems more pleasant to type on with a little more key travel and less noise.

And with the repair, I also ordered stickers to be able to work with an English layout again. And the muscle memory for that is now slowly coming back, too.

A close-up of my MacBook's keyboard, showing the right side of the keyboard, including the English key stickers on it.

Last Week's Purchases

Last week was unusually purchase-rich for me, buying three new items.

Basketball

Holding a basketball in my hand.

Haven’t played basketball in a long time. I’m keen to get back into it, throwing a few baskets at the nearby court every now and then.

Cock Fight Pedal

Holding the EHX Cock Fight guitar pedal in my hand.

Seems like I’m currently buying new pedals every other week.

This one got its name from being able to generate so called “cocked wah sounds”. But it also has a built-in fuzz, has both Cry-Baby- and Talking-Wah sounds, and features an expression pedal input to “un-cock” the wah and control its frequency sweep in the more regular way using your foot. It also has a “Bias”-knob to reduce the voltage for the fuzz, resulting in some awesomely broken output. It’s almost a multi-effect pedal. I have tested it only briefly so far, but it’s been great fun already!

New iPhone

Holding an iPhone 8 in my hand.

I actually wasn’t planning on replacing my ageing iPhone 6 Plus just yet. It still mostly works, so why replace it?

But we noticed Zoe should soon have her own something to listen to music and stories on. And we decided an old iPhone – mine – would be the best option.

And so I bought a new one last week. And since I like to live in the past and don’t care much for the phone form-factor in a computer, I bought a used one via reBuy. It’s terrific, though! It’s an iPhone 8 with 64GB of storage.


On the horrifying situation in the US

The current situation in the US is absolutely insane! In a lot of cities and areas police forces are violently attacking protestors and press. And their racist, evil, idiot president only keeps adding fuel to fire, insulting protestors and anyone else not getting in line with him. His recent speech was unbelievable: disrespectful and dangerous.

To me, it feels like there’s either going to be a revolution or something really terrible is going to happen in front of our eyes. Let’s hope it’s the former. But I fear that for the police brutality to end, it needs internal disobedience. People in power – police officers, officials etc. – need to actively turn against their colleagues and the system as a whole. And that’s tough. Because I’m sure that stupid fool won’t back down by himself.

I feel for all the police officers and other officials that are doing great work and behave the right way. But all the riot gear police are basically domestic terrorists.

I felt for the people in the US before this. Living through a pandemic in a country without universal health care (and probably no good social security system, either) and an ignorant and incompetent president is brutal enough. And now this. It’s completely awful!

I rarely comment on current political issues. But here I feel I have to. It’s horrifying. It’s scary. But to be honest, it’s not an actual political issue. It’s simply about basic human rights. “Political issue” seems to imply there’s something to discuss or consider different points of view. But it’s not. Racism, murder and police assaulting citizens is not worthy of discussion. It’s wrong!

Black Lives Matter!


Black lives fuckin' matter

How can one not sympathise with the #BlackLivesMatter movement? Generally, and especially right now. George Floyd was – unnecessarily, intentionally, almost casually – killed by a white police officer. And he was only the most recent case of many many many others in the past.

And I am only aware of a fraction of these incidents. But it still feels like there’s an incident like this in the US at least every 3 months. And that’s only what I read about. And that’s only the deaths. Imagine how many more cases of police brutality there must be that don’t end deadly. But we don’t hear about them. But which doesn’t mean they are less unjust.

And if all of this already makes me angry, how must one feel when you’re directly subjected to this shit every day? And have been for all your live. And your parent’s and grandparent’s lives?

And what if non-violent protests don’t work? Which they rarely – if ever – have in the case of “white people killing black people in the US with no real repercussions for the perpetrators”. Then I don’t know!

Maybe try something else?


How I publish to this website using iOS

This post was entirely written and published using iOS.

The reason I think this is noteworthy, is because this is a static website, generated by a static site generator — SSG for short. In my case, this SSG is Jekyll.

I’m not going to explain SSGs here. But the one thing to know is that mobile operating systems like Android or iOS lack the necessary capabilities to publish to such a site directly. Because a static site needs to be generated first. And that is a separate step that needs software that does not run on a mobile OS. There is no web interface, either. And so everyone’s workflow to get around this limitation is different. Here’s mine.

The workflow

This is the gist of it in list form:

  1. Create new content via an iOS git client.
  2. Push the new content to the remote repository stored on GitLab.
  3. GitLab CI builds the site and publishes it using GitLab Pages.

Creating new content

The main thing I need for creating new content is a Git client. This allows me to clone the repository and commit new files. I use Working Copy for this.

A screenshot of the Working Copy app, showing the Markdown source code for this very article.
Drafting this blog post in the Working Copy iOS app.

For most of the actual writing, I’m using a separate Markdown editor app called Pretext. Because Working Copy’s editor does not support spell-checking or autocorrect, and is generally not tailored for creating prose in Markdown files.

A screenshot of the Pretext app, showing the Markdown source of this article.
Editing a draft of this blog post in the Pretext iOS app.

And I’m using iOS’ built-in “Text Replacement” feature to easily insert Jekyll front matter.

Images

To get images into a blog post, I use a workflow I created using iOS’ Shortcuts app. It resizes images to 2400px in width and saves them directly to Working Copy.

Then I can reference those images per normal markdown syntax. The jekyll_responsive_images-plugin then generates all the assets I need to serve the image responsively.

Publishing

To then publish a post is as easy as pushing the new content to the remote repository on GitLab. Then my GitLab-CI configuration builds the site using Jekyll and publishes it to GitLab Pages.

And there you have it: a blog post entirely created via an iOS-only workflow.


First VP-6000 Darkroom Prints

I made my first set of black and white prints with my new Kaiser VP-6000 enlarger. It’s been a bit of an experimental session figuring out all the settings and my personal preferences. But so far I have been very happy with the results.

A collection of black and white prints on paper in varying sizes.
Trying out various paper sizes, paddings and negative formats.

Before I started printing I finally looked up how to properly use a darkroom easel (which one uses to align the image on the paper, keep it flat, crop or create a black frame around the image itself). Turns out my easel is not the most versatile. But at least now I know how to work with it and its limitations. And it’s been a great help making decently aligned prints.

And I think I have worked out most settings for a variety of paper sizes. So I think I know now how to make prints that either look good simply on their own, or that fit common frame and passepartout sizes – or both.

A large framed print of a live concert.
One of my largest prints yet: a 21x30cm image on 24x30.5cm paper, framed in a 30x40cm frame.

I also noticed a few things I like better about the Kaiser enlarger compared to the Dunco DC 66, which I used previously. Firstly – of course – it can print 6x6 medium format images. It’s absolutely amazing seeing those photos as darkroom prints.

I also love that the enlarger column has a scale on it, making it much easier to reproduce the exact same image sizes every time. Plus, a stable, locked-in-place negative carrier and filter holder make it less fiddly to work with, too.

Another large black and white print of a live concert.
Another large print in a 30x40cm frame.

This almost turned into a VP-6000 review, when I only wanted to show some first results. So, coming back to results, I made my largest prints so far: the 6x6 medium format photos were printed at 21x21cm and the framed photos shown above are a whopping 21x30cm – both on 24x30.5cm sized paper.

Printing in the darkroom is so much more time consuming than simply ordering prints from somewhere else. But also so much more fun and rewarding. Plus, the results make for great gifts. And that’s only a few reasons why I’m going to keep printing this way.


My first pedalboard

Version 1.0 of my pedalboard is done. Here it is:

My pedalboard's top. From right to left in order of signal chain: EHX Pitch Fork, EHX Little Big Muff, TC Electronic Blood Moon Phaser, TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion, Mooer Trelicopter, and a Fame Mini Looper.
From right to left in order of signal chain: EHX Pitch Fork, EHX Little Big Muff, TC Electronic Blood Moon Phaser, TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion, Mooer Trelicopter, and a Fame Mini Looper.
My pedalboard's underside featuring the newly added power supply.
My pedalboard's underside featuring the newly added power supply.

Overall I’m very happy with its functionality and layout. It looks quite neat I think.

And it was relatively cheap. Because none of these pedals is very expensive to begin with, and I also bought all of them used (turns out, there’s a great used market out there!).

I’ll walk you through the individual components:

Power Supply

Compared to the previous version, I now added a simple power supply – attached to the underside with velcro. Now – in theory – I only need to have a single power cable for the board.

In practice it’s not quite true, unfortunately. Because it turns out the Pitchfork often wants its own power supply in order to not introduce some hiss. So, for that single pedal, I’m still using the power supply that came with it. That’s a little annoying, but not too bad. I might simply go back to using a battery for this one.

EHX Pitch Fork

Most expensive pedal comes first. It’s my Whammy and POG in one pedal. Using an additional expression pedal, I can do Whammy-like stuff – which I currently mainly use to play the “Like a Stone” solo.

And its ability to simultaneously add an octave above and below the played note makes for a super fat sound – especially with fuzz or distortion added. Much fun this one!

EHX Little Big Muff

Been listening to too much doom metal. And Jack White. So I wanted some fuzz.

TC Electronic Blood Moon Phaser

I wanted to try out a modulation pedal. And a phaser was a nice candidate. This is a very cheap rendition, but certainly good enough as a start. Makes my sloppy shredding sound actually fairly nice.

TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion

Mainly bought to be used for bass playing. But also very handy for being able to footswitch between clean and dirt sounds with the little Katana Mini.

Mooer Trelicopter Tremolo

I blame this one on That Pedal Show. They use this regularly on their boards. And it’s a cheap pedal. And I have been listening to Portishead’s “Roads” too much recently.

Fame Mini Looper

Had this since Christmas. Pretty nice to play around with, but I haven’t used it to its potential yet.

Maybe I’ll record a little demo of the board some day (if I dare to appear on video).


Corona update 3

It’s been a while since I wrote about “the situation”. In summary: we’re mostly at home, but not really quarantining ourselves.

Mask-wearing is now mandatory when going shopping here in Germany.

We still try to keep the number of grocery shopping-trips low, but we go once – sometimes twice – per week. And in addition to that, 2-3 trips to the bakery.


For the most part I feel people are pretty considerate. But every now and then someone comes uncomfortably close. Without being prompted and without warning really. And then I’m a bit startled. Next time I should say something.


Last weekend we had somewhat socially-distant meets with both our mothers (independently), mostly outside. Maybe that was risky. But it was good to meet up!

While at my mother in law, I left my old iPad Mini with her and set it up for video calls. For the first time in her life she now has an internet-enabled device and can video-call her children and grandchildren. So far it’s been working great!


And of course, I went out and “risked” buying that new enlarger. But this was all done pretty socially distant. It certainly was less risky than a visit to the supermarket.


Shit, we recently also went to the garden centre and bought plants and accessories for our balcony.

We should tune down these outings a little bit.


For me, work is a little less at the moment. But this is good. More time to spend with Zoe and give Nicole some breaks.


Düsseldorf Webcams

The city of Düsseldorf offers some surprisingly high-quality webcams. Embedded here for my own convenience, so I can watch them all at once1:

Burgplatz
Marktplatz
Rheinufer

FYI, the cams are all on the same house block, pointing in different directions. So, you might recognise someone walking or driving from one frame to the other.


My fluid website layout

With the start of this site, I implemented a viewport-based layout without a max-width declaration. That means, the width of my main page’s container is always variable and always based on the size of the screen it’s viewed on.

In my case, I’m using a vmin CSS value – which is the smaller value out of viewport-width and -height – to set both the font size and the width of the main container:

body {
  font-size: calc(1em + 0.9vmin);
  line-height: 1.65;
}
main {
  margin: 1.5em auto;
  width: 96vmin;
}

This makes the site always proportionate to the viewport, no matter how big or small.

Using the vmin unit – as opposed to pure width-based CSS units like vw or %is crucial, so that the container won’t grow uncomfortably wide. Because that would make the page very hard to read on wide screens.

This approach contrasts the (I think) more common max-width-based layouts, which I used to use in the past (for my old blog for example):

body {
  font-size: calc(1em + 0.7vw); /* see, I'm using vw here */
}

@media (min-width: 701px) {
  body {
    font-size: 1.306em; /* make font-size match the max-width of main */
  }
}

main {
  max-width: 700px;  
}

Advantages

This approach I think has two main advantages over limiting the container’s width:

  1. The content width always adopts to the screen size. For screens small and big.
  2. The font size can always be proportional to its container’s size.

And this overall makes for easier maintainability and adaptability.

Let’s explore those in more detail:

1. Container width always adopts to screen size

Making the main content’s container based on a vmin value, it will keep growing organically, no matter how big the screen gets.

Instead of utilising a fixed width – using max-width for example – a vmin-based layout will keep growing without the need for additional media query break points. It will simply grow or shrink automatically based on the viewport’s aspect ratio. No matter how small or big the screen its viewed on is1.

2. Font size is always proportional

When the content’s container grows organically, we need to make sure our font size remains proportionate to that container width.

I complained before, that when using a max-width on the main content’s container, the font size needs a maximum, too. I could use the clamp property for this but it’s currently still not very widely supported. Although this will change for the better, simply factoring in vmin for the font size, means I neither need to wait nor worry: text will always look right.

The exact calculation I’m using – font-size: calc(1em + 0.9vmin); – is not so important. Important is only that vmin is factored in, so that the font size remains proportionate to its – also vmin-based – container width.

So this basically gives me a container-based font-size.

Two disadvantages

I can think of two general disadvantages:

  1. In landscape orientation on screens with a more extreme aspect ratio2, the container width looks unnecessarily narrow.
  2. Images need to be large enough to look ok no matter the container width.

Number 1., I personally simply accept. And to deal with number 2., I use responsive images: I generate multiple sizes of the same picture and let the browser select which one is appropriate for the given screen and container size.

Summary

Overall, I’m very pleased with this approach so far. Makes for a simple, easy–to-maintain fluid layout.

  1. While I find lots of “responsive” sites cater well for small screens, often large ones are overlooked. A common issue with using a max-width indeed is, that it won’t grow past a certain point. And this will probably look a bit odd and wasteful on big monitors. 

  2. On screens with an aspect ratio bigger than 1.5, I think it starts to look odd in landscape orientation. A 3:2 aspect ratio will still look fine in my opinion – but 16:9 will look a bit unnecessarily narrow. 


Thoughts on lazy loading images

“Lazy loading” images means a web page is being lazy about loading image files: it delays loading them until they are actually required – which means, only when they are viewed or about to be viewed by the visitor.

The benefits of this pattern are to make the page load fully faster and to save data by not sending unnecessary bytes when they are actually never required.

It’s a quite popular feature – especially on photo blogs. In the past, this required Javascript to make it work. But recently, the loading attribute on the img element started to get implemented in browsers – first in Chrome, and now in Firefox – which adds native support via a simple HTML attribute.

This made me try out this pattern for my personal sites.

I didn’t use it in the past, because I do not like to require Javascript for my personal websites. And even though this could have been added with progressive enhancement in mind (making use of the <noscript> element), it never felt worth the hassle. Especially considering that this could not only be seen as a feature, but also as a bug:

Because I think there’s a strong use case where a visitor might want to open a page (in the background) and wait for it to fully load before actually consuming it. For example, when you’re on a slow(er) connection: because you know you very likely need to wait for it to load. Or you might want preload it for a location where you’re going to be offline (think flights, or travel to an area without reception). In these cases, you would do the users a disservice using lazy loading, because this “preloading” would not work.

While I don’t think my sites are so important or widely read that they qualify for these scenarios, I still like to consider them.

However – and nevertheless – what I do like about lazy loading images, are its previously stated features: that pages load quicker and only the required data is being sent. Especially for my photo journal site, where each post can have a large number of images. And when you open a page, but then end up not going through it completely, a large amount of data could be saved.

I think for both the use case where you simply browse a page and/or you are on a metered connection, this will benefit the user by limiting the amount of unnecessarily-sent data. And that’s why I recently enabled it here and on the photo journal. So far, I like it (more Chrome’s than Firefox’s implementation, though).

But I feel native lazy loading would almost warrant its own browser preference, which could give users the option to disable it, because of the aforementioned disadvantages.

And maybe the safest and best usability option would be to use it in conjunction with a service worker and offer a piece of UI on each page to enable the user to “save this page for offline use”. Then I think you could have considered all use cases, have eliminated the drawbacks, and could simply benefit from its upsides.


Photo Journal Design Update

In the last week, I updated my photo journal’s design. There are no more borders around the images, the photos are more aligned to a grid and have varying sizes. It’s all more well-aligned and therefor looks cleaner.

Each post still shows most images fairly large, and so one can still simply scroll through and consume images comfortably that way. No clicking or tapping to make them “full size”. But there are some images larger and some smaller now (while still being large enough). And I think this makes for a nice visual break every once in a while and will give the eye different points to focus on.

In case you were looking at the pages on a phone-sized screen, there’s not much difference to the old layout. But the bigger the screen gets, the more different it looks now. Depending on your screen size, there will be two, three or even four and more images shown side by side. I think this is a much better use of wide screens.

I didn’t want to layout my posts this way by hand, though. And so I used the CSS flexbox feature to do it for me. Getting the flexbox parameters just right took quite a bit of trial and error. And then this had to work in conjunction with responsive images, too. But this is a post for another day.

Have a browse through the new design, if you like!


Corona update

In the last two days, we heard that a parent of a friend died because of Covid-19 and one parent of another friend is in intensive care.

And all of a sudden, this whole thing feels a lot more real and threatening.

I’m quite shocked to be honest and feel so sorry for them. 😞


Apart from those terrible news, our own immediate life feels somehow weirdly quite normal. This probably has to do with the fact, that – as mentioned previously – we’re used to working from home, and that we live in a relatively quiet part of town, where you don’t really notice things like traffic being less or all the shops are closed (because there are no shops).

We (still?) go outside regularly – which is generally allowed. And we stick to the rules: just our family/household, and don’t stand/sit/walk close to others. A lot of others do, too. Both the “going outside” bit, as well as the “rule-following”.

We hope this will remain possible, because spending all day inside would be pretty challenging (mainly mentally) – even shorter-term. Zoe needs to go and play outside. And so do we. The weather’s lovely at the moment, and we’re now extra glad we moved to a part of town that is close to the Rhine, and offers a bit of nature. Beaches are close-by, grassy areas, a little piece of forest, and even a couple of rope-swings on trees. That’s all we need to keep everyone happy (as of course, playgrounds and any play-opportunities inside remain closed). And those areas are big enough to easily avoid immediate contact with others.

You do notice a difference for sure, and it’s not like anything got easier – far from it. But we feel we’ve been lucky so far. The main limitations have been that we can’t do all the things we normally enjoy, like meeting friends & family, going to the cinema, visiting playgrounds, going out, having band rehearsal, etc. But that are really very mild limitations.


But yes, “the thing” is constantly on our minds and we worry a bit about our parents.


So far we are healthy – both physically and mentally. 🤞


Yesterday I went grocery-shopping with a mask for the first time. It was simply a piece of black cloth I wrapped around my neck and lower part of my face (I read that any mask is better than no mask, so I simply took a fitting piece I found in the closet). We wondered whether people would think I might rob the supermarket. But since roughly 50% of shoppers wore some type of mask, it quickly felt (almost) normal.

There’s now almost always a queue in front, since they limit the number of people that can enter at once.

I did take a camera but didn’t photograph anyone or anything. I didn’t have the courage and also felt it was inappropriate – at least for now. I’d like to eventually get some pictures of what daily life looked like during these times, though.


I watched this video of the maiLab channel assessing the situation and laying out how and when we might get back to some relatively “normal” life. If you understand German, I recommend it.


That’s it. Stay safe!