I found a workout app that claims to address all fitness levels and all goals (weight loss, strength, fitness). It also uses body-weight exercises so they can be done just about anywhere. I started! I took the fitness test. Two things came of it.

First, it thinks I am in the top 27% of athletes! Second, I almost died. Metaphorically, but still. I was feeling it for a day afterwards. Small steps. Very small steps. Particularly because I am having real troubles with one of the prerequisites…


I realised some time ago that my primary focus needs to be on sleep — getting enough of it. (There are studies.) A long time ago I addressed the obvious flaws, like turning the light out at 11:30pm when I get up at 6am on work days. The light is now almost always out by 10pm. More recently, I addressed some issues of excess light in the bedroom. That helped a lot. I also spoke to my doctor and she prescribed “a hot milky drink” about two hours before bedtime. It’s magic!

That last step has essentially solved one of my problems which is having trouble getting to sleep in the first place. However, the next problem is a little harder to address. Here is the list of things that have recently caused me to awake in the middle of the night to the extent I have trouble getting back to sleep again.

  • Cat fight outside
  • Cat fight inside
  • Cat that thinks it is lost… in the house
  • Earthquake
  • Thunderstorm
  • Illness (mine)
  • Illness (spouse)
  • Leg cramp
  • Falling object
  • Loud vehicle
  • Stupid dream (mine)
  • Stupid dream (spouse)
  • Smoke alarm battery alert

That doesn’t count the one week in six when I am on call for work and get an average of about three calls after midnight. I could do something about the smoke alarms by following the recommended guidelines of changing the batteries twice a year (at the time of daylight saving switches) but… why bother? The batteries last way longer than 6 months and it looks like I’ll get woken up by something anyway.


It’s the last day of the calendar year 2019. People keep saying it is also “the end of the decade.” Now, I’m a programmer so I am more than happy for numeric sequences to start at zero. It’s kind of expected in the programming world. Wait… you thought array indexes started at 1? Noob! (Or, you know, user of BASIC.) But in the Real World™ that’s crazy. You start counting at 1, right? I mean… start counting your fingers. What number do you start with?

When it comes to the Gregorian calendar and those that preceded it, the common wisdom is that 1 C.E. (A.D.) directly followed 1 B.C.E. (B.C.) So that would make the first decade of the common era run from 1 C.E. to 10 C.E. Some way down the track of contiguous decades, we’d arrive at 2001-2010 and 2011-2020. So the end of the 202nd decade of the common era falls about a year from now.

Of course, when defining “the decade” you could opt for the basis to be in “the numbers look the same on the left” but that is hardly distinguishable from “ooh, shiny!” in the grand scheme of things. I could decide that I like the number 7 (I always have), so my decades are going to start in 2007, 2017, 2027, etc. Actually, I was born very close to the start of a year that ended in a 9, so maybe my “the decade” has actually already run nearly a year.

The word “the” in front of “decade” implies a definitive agreement on the concept. I, and many others, think that 1-10 is the obvious (and most human) way to define it. If we can’t agree, and if you want some excuse to celebrate/commiserate/reflect tonight, why not mark “the end of the 2010s?”

That concludes this edition of Echoes. The comments are open, but will be moderated for civility. Alternatively you can hit me up on Twitter, where I go by @zkarj.

Categories: Echoes


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