What I Was Up To Then

Since my last update in July…

Fall arrived.

Road sign for Stockholm surrounded by trees with leaves changing colors

Pandemic blah blah blah

Arthur & I have managed to avoid COVID-19 so far. We work from home and rarely go out except for walks around Nacka island.

Daily new cases of COVID-19 in Sverige

Many Swedes seem to be as reckless as Trump-supporting Americans. The daily new infection rate in Sverige is the highest it has ever been: over 4,000 new cases a days. 80% of the country’s regions now have "stricter restrictions" that are not enforced. Sverige’s Public Health Agency still has not recommend wearing masks despite the country’s top universities recommending them because the research shows their effectiveness. At this point, I genuinely wonder if Anders Tegnell would have recommended condoms during the 1980s AIDS crisis.

I now have first degree connections of people in their 30s concerned if they will ever fully recover, long after their fevers faded. In one study of 60 people, 55% of COVID-19 patients had brain damage regardless of the severity of their symptoms. This and the other potential long-term effects make it so much worse than "just the flu". No one knows where their symptoms will fall on the severity spectrum. I don't want to find out where I would land. It's hard to see Stockholm friends partying on Instagram like everything is normal because they have antibodies, but my fear of illness is greater than my fear of missing out.

I wrote my way out

I intended to return to conference speaking this year. I had taken 2019 off to create new thoughts worthy of a stage. When most conferences were canceled when the pandemic started, I decided to try presenting the content in a webzine format. The transcripts of my API talks have always had far more reach—they just don't allow me to travel to fun places on someone else's budget. The unexpected twist was that my articles got me invited to speak at virtual conferences, private company "offsite" events, and a classroom (Hyper Island Stockholm).

I joined a community of professional and enthusiast writers called Compound Writing in October. I hope to improve my writing and to publish one long form article a month with editorial design. There are too many drafts of ideas I keep wishing I had already published saved on my hard drive. Follow along.

Good times

  • Just before the second wave of new infections started, my friend Vivien invited me and Arthur to join her on short vacation to Visby. The town is on the Swedish island of Gotland. We took a ferry and wore our masks everywhere. Gotland is a popular tourist destination, but we never encountered a crowd. Visby felt like a Mediterranean Medieval city. The island has been inhabited since the Stone Age and been claimed by nearly all the surrounding countries at some point. Lots of history to explore and great restaurants, notably Bakficken and Bad Wolf BBQ.
  • Arthur and I celebrated our 12 year wedding anniversary with dinners at Ekstedt and Nisch. Arthur surprised me with a limo ride from our friend Nico, who surprised us both with champagne. We used to go out to eat once or twice a week. Our anniversary dinner was only the second time we had eaten indoors at a Stockholm restaurant since the pandemic started. (The first time was at a bbq restaurant in Nacka where the closest table was 20 meters away. We went with our quarantine couple, Chris and Terry.) Arthur and I have spent a lot of time together this year. Honestly, it has not been a bad way to spend a year. He is still the best fieldtrip buddy, even when we are not traveling anywhere.
  • Arthur and I voted by faxing a signed PDF generated by an online form. It was our first time voting from Sverige. Americans abroad must vote from the state where they last resided and California forbids Americans abroad from voting in any election except the presidency. I wish we had moved to Texas or another swing state for a few months before leaving the US. When Biden's win was certain on the Saturday after the election, we celebrated by toasting champagne with our American/Swedish neighbors from our doorsteps. They lit a sparkler. We chanted, “USA!” a few times.


  • I handwrote and mailed 100 handwritten letters to registered but unlikely voters in Florida, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Iowa, and Georgia with the Vote Forward campaign.
  • I mostly gave up on making sourdough bread, but I am keeping the starter alive because I enjoy scallion pancakes made from the discard.
  • I have been buying/planting a houseplant a month. No one wants to be an oxygen freeloader.
  • Arthur and I stopped drinking alcohol during the week. We have been experimenting with alcohol-free mixology. Don’t call it a mocktail. It’s a cocktease. Lyre’s products are great if you want to try it yourself.
  • I am no longer a $FIT shareholder. When the Google acquisition of Fitbit cleared EU regulators, the stock price rose to its acquisition price. Most of the funds went into mutual funds, but I also invested in two startups: Wifi Dabba and Aptera.
  • I now operate 2 Helium LongFi routers in Stockholm. LoRa is a wireless technology I first learned about years ago while at Fitbit. It is now seeing more widespread adoption with a novel network operator incentive.
  • I ran my first virtual 5K race and have completed 119 Peloton strength classes.
  • Arthur set up an ofrenda for Día de los Muertos and we watched “Coco”
  • I made a brief how-to video of how to eat Swedish candy
  • Work is going well. My team has been busy building InVision’s next iteration of Kubernetes infrastructure.
  • I deleted my Facebook account and you should too. Mark Zuckerberg is a far-right sympathizer.


We have enjoyed these shows:

  • Black Mirror (Netflix)
  • Below Deck (Bravo)
  • Vox Explained (Netflix)
  • Love, Victor (Hulu)
  • Star Trek: Discovery
Tree leaves changing color. Swedish flag flying in background. Red clay tile rooftops of buildings in Visby. House plant in front of window Screenshot of 5 km run in Fitbit