35

December 2020 · 3 minute read

I'm 35.

As I do every year, I have been working through my annual questionnaire: 40 questions to ask yourself each year. Have you tried it out?

I feel incredibly lucky to have been mostly spared from the wrath of 2020. My friends and family stayed healthy, Lumi has been more exciting than ever, and the introverted side of me reveled in having more alone time.

During the pandemic I discovered what it's like to be free from FOMO — the fear of missing out on things I "should" do. Being in quarantine relieved me from that anxiety, and helped me focus on the people and things I care most about. I am thankful that I had the luxury to do that.

My time was mostly spent on a big new project that I'm impatient to announce, and a few smaller projects. The pandemic brought into stark focus that our biggest issues must be solved collectively. To that end, I started Slash Packaging on the fiftieth anniversary of Earth Day, bringing together dozens of brands committing to reduce packaging waste. 2020 was also the year of Lumi ID, a new tool to help brands share packaging sustainability and disposal information with their customers.

If anything kept me sane this year it was Obsidian, a new notetaking and personal knowledge base app. I loved using it so much that I moved my decade-long archive of notes to it, and created a several addons for it, notably my Minimal theme. Minimal turned out to be more popular than I expected which led me to experiment with a pay what you want sponsorship on Patreon where I now have five backers. Not much, but as my friend Nadia commented "Hey, you gotta somewhere!"

It was exciting to see Jesse begin her journey into motherhood, which I think makes me some kind of uncle, or business partner once removed.

My biggest splurge and favorite purchase of the year was a 4K projector (the Epson 5050UB). In a year without movie theaters, it was fun to be able to recreate that experience at home. While Christopher Nolan's Tenet didn't make my list of favorite movies, seeing it a few days ago on that huge 4K projector was absolutely stunning. But without a doubt the most impressive visuals were in the Black and Chrome edition of Mad Max Fury Road, which gives that movie a whole new flavor. On that note, my home popcorn technique has gotten quite good — the secret is to use ghee or clarified butter as regular butter contains too much water and makes the popcorn soggy.

I also savored watching some of the best anime films I had not yet seen including Spirited Away, Kiki's Delivery Service, Paprika, and Perfect Blue. I loved Parasite, which I still can't believe won Best Picture. I found that La Haine had not aged one bit in its artful photography and commentary on police brutality. Caught up on Starship Troopers and Speed Racer, which are both pitch perfect in their own ways. And the making-of documentaries for Alien (The Beast Within) and Blade Runner (Dangerous Days) which fall into my guilty pleasure for sci-fi prop-making and visual effects.

The Watchmen mini series was by far my favorite TV experience, but I also enjoyed The Last Dance, The Mandalorian, and tried to stay calm during the incredibly stressful election run up with episodes of Dr. Katz and Adam Savage's One Day Builds on YouTube.

Not as many books read this year, but the standouts were Tools for Conviviality by Ivan Illich and the Nikopol Trilogy by Enki Bilal. The first I would wholeheartedly recommend to anyone, the second is a gem for the real sci-fi nerds, a series I had often heard about growing up in France, but never read. However If you're interested in French sci-fi graphic novels, I would start with The Incal by Mobius which is much more accessible.

On the musical front, I mostly listened to old favorites particularly MF Doom and A Tribe Called Quest, but my favorite new albums of the year were Grime MC by Jme, and the Watchmen soundtrack by Atticus Ross and Trent Reznor. Ludwig Göransson also deserves a special note for his incredible scores on The Mandalorian and Tenet.

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