J. Martin

May 26, 2024

Too Much on My Plate

Two weeks ago, my CanoScan 9000F Mark II’s power-supply unit died. As the device was a mere five years old, I wasn’t exactly amused. I was even less amused when I found out that this scanner model is no longer commercially available; when Canon told me they no longer support or repair it; and when repair shops told me they too can’t re...
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May 12, 2024

Now Sports

Ever since I quit my gym membership during the Corona pandemic, bought myself some shiny equipment, and took up doing workouts at home like in the days of yore, people kept asking me what I’m actually doing. So for my own convenience—because next time, I can just point them to this—here’s my schedule! The basic program is simple: 20 mi...
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May 5, 2024

Now, Where Was I

Skipped a beat last week because I was super busy with a looming deadline for a grant submission on the one hand, and an event at our university that drew over four thousand visitors within six hours on the other. Fun times! I also had a lot of other stuff to do, as usual, and then there was this fantastic weather last Wednesday so I w...
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April 21, 2024

Nice Night for a Walk

This week’s gonna be brutal. There’s lectures; research project meetings; preparations for my university’s participation in Düsseldorf’s Nacht der Museen where, among other things, our game design students present their work; and the event itself on Saturday 7pm–1am CEST. Then there’s a Fantasy Writers’ Week online workshop Monday thro...
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April 14, 2024

Nice Day for a Run

Even though April’s been way too warm so far, it might average out toward the end and thus not be an immediate cause for alarm—at least, that’s what I keep telling myself to enjoy the sun. On the other hand, not enjoying the sun wouldn’t make anything better or worse. Also, there are enough conflicts going on, some of them escalating, ...
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April 7, 2024

No More Meta, Again

During the last month, I’ve freed up a lot of time to intensify my writing projects. Now, lo and behold, Meta is helping me with this! Isn’t that nice! Last year, I wasn’t on Instagram for two or three months while Meta tried to blackmail me into either officially acquiescing to their (in the EU) unlawful use of my data or paying an ou...
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March 31, 2024

Spring Break’s Over, Exams Are Done

After an intense March replete with bachelor and master degree exams, the summer term starts this week with a term project kick-off on Tuesday and my first lecture on Wednesday. And I’m all set, right on time! I did make myself familiar with all the shiny stuff that had arrived over the last weeks for my new training regime, and it’s g...
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March 24, 2024

Yes, Again, It Matters Where You Buy Your Books!

When I link to books, mine as well as others, the first link I give out is usually the publisher page, and a recommendation to buy at independent bookstores. I link to Amazon for my books too, of course, because I want to be able to pay my rent. But I’d very much prefer if people bought them elsewhere! Why? A few examples. When I self-...
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March 17, 2024

Life Reboot: First Anniversary

One year ago, along a Kunstpalast exhibition in March 2023, I started going out again (after, as mentioned, three years of pandemic (semi-)lockdowns, burnout, two sports/wear-&-tear-related surgeries, a common cold from hell, and a Corona infection) to exhibitions and art events, theater performances and movies, concerts and operas, yo...
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March 10, 2024

Fitness Upgrade Considerations

Several factors chipped in to buy me that colorful bouquet of burnout symptoms in late 2022 and my way-too-slow recuperation in 2023: severe overwork; being grounded (in Germany) for years during the pandemic; a common cold from hell and a successive Corona infection; and two lengthy disruptions of my training regime courtesy of arm/sh...
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March 3, 2024

Great Expectations (Not)

Let’s pretend for a moment there’ll still be history books a hundred years from now, and they look back at the first half of the twenty-first century. From our perspective right here, there’s a rise of authoritarianism, ethno-nationalism, evangelical white supremacy, racism, and straight-up fascism, and we can see how these elements ha...
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February 25, 2024

Everything Takes Ages (As Usual)

Yesterday, finally, I uploaded my very last pre-Corona photos to Flickr, mostly Singapore 2019 and Beijing 2016, and I’m looking forward to opening that bottomless pit with new photos I took during December/January in Singapore and Malaysia. What I’m not looking forward to, in contrast, is trying to have my scanner repaired or buying a...
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January 28, 2024

Hello Immune System? Did You Check Your Spam Folder?

One thing that kept me from enjoying the new year right away was that I’d tested positive for Covid-19 in early January—but only for five days, of which I spent merely two in bed. Lost my sense of smell for two or three days until it slowly came back, which was a weird experience. Anyway, no big deal—five shots between 2021 and 2023 an...
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January 21, 2024

Yeah No It’s Been a While

Too many things kept me from regular writing while I was away in Singapore, which also included a fantastic trip to Malaysia from Penang Island via Ipoh and Melaka to KL—where we arrived just in time for the Countdown and New Year celebrations at the Petronas Twin Towers. Everything was awesome, I tell you! Only thing that didn’t work ...
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November 26, 2023

Physical Books Are Coming Back Into Style!

It took me two years, January 2011 to November 2013, to downsize my home library to under 1,000 books—giving away 1,200 (all fine) and throwing away another 300 (damaged books, outdated textbooks, and similar). Since then, I’ve only stocked up on ebooks, and I bought perhaps ten physical books, not counting role-playing stuff, in ten y...
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October 15, 2023

Stretching the Meaning of “Weekly”

Lots of things have kept me busy—while I was (and still am) occupied with my Ludotronics book release, another comp copy arrived: my book contribution “Shared Realities, Solitary Actions: Media Languages as Agents of Formation, Reinforcement, and Change” in the anthology Narratives Crossing Boundaries: Storytelling in a Transmedia and ...
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September 10, 2023

A Good Week

Yesterday, I wrote over at Mastodon: “Sitting on the balcony after a good run, enjoying a home-made turkey & egg double cheeseburger and an espresso-tonic, looking forward to watching The Equalizer 3 in a late-night screening. That’s how summer should be like!” And yes, it felt like that the whole week, more so than during my entire Au...
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September 3, 2023

Resume & Revise

Today, for the first time since I received knee surgery back in January, I tackled one of my formerly regular 10km dirttrack/hill runs. Not at my usual speed, mostly—I’m still too scared, and I’m also not exactly in top shape. But it sure felt great! What also resumed as of last Friday is work; my watching-the-balcony-being-flooded-by-...
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August 20, 2023

Academia’s Gravity Field

Weather’s been mixed; temperatures rose again last week but it rained about every other day. I did and do a lot of running, writing, playing, editing photos, and watching movies, and I enjoy the latest advances in refreshment engineering. However, academia’s gravity field caught up with me again. I attended my university’s term project...
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August 13, 2023

Rain World

Not much has changed, weather-wise, except for one beautiful summer day the day before yesterday that felt just like the vacation weather I feel acutely entitled to! And while so far it hasn’t been raining today, it looks like it’s fixing to all the time, and temperatures snapped back into the low 70s. You can do better, summer! On my ...
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August 6, 2023

Skipped a Beat, Again (Also: Vacation!)

The week before last, when I was critically preoccupied with wrapping up loose ends before summer vacation, the newsletter completely slipped my mind. It’s been a staycation so far, only without the balcony I redecorated around this time last year because it’s raining all the time. No floodwaters yet or anything, thank goodness. But it...
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July 23, 2023

2023 Mid-Term Grade!

Now that we’re about halfway through the year, which happens to coincide with the first moon landing’s anniversary and also my birthday, it’s a good time to take stock. 2023 didn’t start out promising here, with that common cold from hell in January, Covid in February, and the lengthy break I had to take from running thanks to meniscus...
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July 16, 2023

Belated Spring Cleaning

My memory of the past week primarily revolves around cleaning my desk, drawers, devices, and various keyboards in particular, the latter at length reflected upon in four overlong Instagram posts. But I also attended the CGL’s annual Open Lab event Wednesday night—to chat with graduates, students, and friends, check out the graduation p...
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July 9, 2023

93 °F and I Feel Fine

Someone recently wrote, I can’t remember where, that the internet itself is the “town square” everybody’s been going on about, not any one social media network. And that people usually want to go and sit in bars and restaurants or go shopping, not hang around in the “town square” the entire day. Well, you had the shopping malls and the...
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July 2, 2023

Genius Cosplay

Fediverse admins are not amused. They don’t mind if Lord Elno intermittently sprinkles some extra pixie dust over his daily dose of birdie powder and fucks up Twitter in new and exciting ways, so that fresh waves of exiles hit the shores of the most prominent instances, including mastodon.social. What they do mind, however, is that thi...
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June 25, 2023

Missed a Beat

It was already Tuesday when I realized I’d skipped last Sunday’s newsletter. Not that I was stressed-out or anything—I was just terribly busy! All weekend last week, I consolidated various backups to a new and fast hard disk I’d bought earlier, which was complicated. The Mac I’m temporarily working with (courtesy of my university’s IT ...
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June 12, 2023

June is the new August

Not that I’d ever complain personally about a good hot summer arriving early—from 85 °F onward and climbing, I begin to feel like myself. I get a lot more things done, get better at making decisions, and enjoy life in general. This weekend, for example, I attended four concerts, three classical at Tonhalle Düsseldorf and one rock conce...
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June 4, 2023

Gradual Return to Regular Turmoil

As the last sixteen or so days were pretty insane, I had to skip last week’s newsletter and social media activities in general. What I’d originally thought I’d be terribly busy with were my upcoming book’s page proofs. But CRC-Press did a terrific job, so that turned out to be a cinch. Only one major issue needed fixing, involving thre...
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May 21, 2023


My book’s page proofs arrived last week, and I will be exceptionally busy for the next ten days. Every mistake not caught by me during this time will find its way into the finished product, and I can already say—after speed-scrolling through the document—that not all illustrations have been placed where they should have been placed. As...
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May 14, 2023

“Thank You for Screaming into the Void”

Yesterday, after a busy Saturday that included spending a lot of time at the local Japan Day and preparing and enjoying dinner, I finally sat down with a glass of 1776 57.3% Barrel Proof Straight Rye on the rocks and thought, hey, why not have a look at Facebook, which I hadn’t opened for ages! Well, turns out its enshittification has ...
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