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2020 May - When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Shopping

May starts well. A new Roland drum kit arrives! I decided to complete my music instrument setup with all the instruments I like. With the motto "who needs talent with all this gear," I go on a spending spree. While things are in transit, I discover a fantastic set of videos explaining epidemiology in terms of control theory. What the guy said made so much sense - highly recommended. It made me feel sane. Of course, I broke my Microsoft Surface too, and their repair service was amazing! Well done, Microsoft - nice to see you back on the game. A Google TPU that looks cool, and I never really used. Impulsive buying? Tell me about it.

10th of May - big day - that's my most quoted article about covid. It was the first I read that talks about dosages. Till that point, the concept was that if you touch something with the invisible covid juice, you will die. Many people still believe this now. For me, as a Physicist, it was quite clear that dosage is important as well as the strength of your immune system. I was near certain - out of my Subway experience all those months that I was exposed—a lot. I think every New Yorker was. So dosage mattered. As you would expect with any virus up to a certain level, you develop some immunity. Beyond a certain level, you get sick. I decided to confirm it, so I got tested for antibodies. And I didn't have them. A few months later, research proved that antibodies (in contrast to immunity) are short-lived. We will never know, but having no antibodies was a bit of disappointment for me back then. After this point, in May, I didn't learn anything new about Covid. Except for the announcement of the vaccine.

Work from home conditions were getting a bit funny. I ended up taking calls in a hallway when the flat was busy. But here's a cool thing. Let's say you add a stepper under a standing desk. Then you can burn 2500 calories during the 8 hours of work! Can you imagine that? Well - it never happened to me. But I think I managed to stepping for a whole hour, during a long meeting.

Some shops started reopening after two months of lockdown. My favorite coffee shop, for example. I've promised myself that I will drink flat white from there - non-stop - for a week when it opens. After two days I think I got bored and I wanted some variety.

A few days later, I got my first AWS certification. More on that later, but I was super excited about this. A test made me feel like a student again and gave me a sense of control. You study - you pass! At last, some certainty - let's do more of it.

As musical instruments kept arriving, you can see my little studio here. It's ready, and that's how it looks like now, half a year later. So happy! I celebrated it with a jamming session with someone who actually could play some music. And that wasn't me!

One more certification. And then upstate New York. We could at last travel a bit and enjoy some of the sun. The whole area was deserted, and it all was super-awkward. Being unable to find a restaurant open, but still. We had a super good time and played lots of Ticket-to-Ride. I also saw a drone for the first time. It was impressive. Very impressive. It seemed so powerful, but it made me wonder why people care so much about just shooting videos with something so powerful. That was indicative of how clueless I was about what was about to happen to me.

Here you can see an ad somehow connecting a prophecy of Mohammed with the virus. That was interesting for me and weird. It was also a very expensive ad. But just for a second, look below it. It's a bank. Hold this for a second. Some protests, meeting some friends on East Village. StuyTown - young people properly socially distancing - well done! And here we are, same day, the same bank with the displays broken. Same for shops down the street. That's why stores were boarding up about a month ago. The protests related to black lives matter just started.

Baron Rothschild, an 18th-century British nobleman and member of the Rothschild banking family, is credited with saying that "the time to buy is when there's blood in the streets.". Well, at that point, there was all sorts of blood on the streets. Already since March, as the number of hospitalizations and the worry went up, there was a stock market collapse. I had to buy it. You had to buy.

I feel sorry for the people who saved money this year. People say, "Save for a rainy day." This wasn't a rainy day. It was an entire rainy year! Buy, buy, buy. I bought instruments, screens, gadgets. I bought stocks, cryptos, and many more things I'm going to reveal later.

Was I clear-minded? No! It would worry me in a typical year. But this wasn't a typical year. Whatever it takes to stay sane! If you need to buy, buy, and I mean both investing and spending. Buying makes you feel good. It makes you feel you control a little bit of a world that is totally out of control. You click a button, and something that promises to make your life better arrives a few days later. Just be kind to yourself and buy when you need it. It works!

Don't get me wrong. I didn't buy "because I can afford it" I spent by far below my means. But I have to admit that all the things I buy need a significant investment of time to do something with them. And I don't have that time, yet. I could buy them later. But I buy and hold them as bookmarks in my physical space—a statement of commitment to a vision of myself. And somehow, a month or a year later, they all manifest.

That was May. Upstate Drones and When the Going Gets Tough, the Tough Go Shopping

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