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March 2017 Retrospective

This March was undoubtedly one of the most trying months of my life. On March 5th we chose to put our dear cat Duke to sleep. After his umpteenth stay in the hospital we realized that it was unlikely he was going to get better and decided that it would be cruel to force him to continue to suffer just so we could have him around. Holding him when he passed was unlike anything I had experienced before. Seeing a creature die before my eyes was incredibly trying. I am sorry Duke. I wish I could have done more. You will never be forgotten.

Health

While I managed to get another perfect month on my Apple Watch it was only by going for an extra walk in the afternoon during work. I used Duke's death as an excuse to be lazy and stopped exercising altogether. No running, no yoga, no weightlifting. I managed to not gain any weight by starting to use My Fitness Pal to ensure I ate less calories than before but I still did not see any drop in my body fat percentage.

I hope to turn things around in April by getting back into running and tracking what weights I lift using the Strong app.

Read a book

I managed to finish reading Cibola Burn which continued the solid storytelling of The Expanse series. It is impressive that even after four books the story has not yet begun to feel stale. The characters are all the same but the situations they have been put in are different enough that I have yet to feel any fatigue. I considered reading the fifth book in the series but decided to take a little break and picked up The Sparrow instead. I had heard a lot of good things about it but thought that a book where the main character is a Jesuit priest would not resonate with me but I was wrong. I am a little over 50% through the book and am very much looking forward to finishing it in the first week of April so I can start and finish another book that month. I could move onto The Sparrow's sequel Children of God, start The Dresden Files series or even just continue on with The Expanse series.

Play a video game

Breath of the Wild was my game of March and while it is a solid game I am not sure why it is getting all the accolades that it is. It feels like Nintendo took elements of games they enjoyed and mashed them together with a Legend of Zelda paint job. Dark Souls meets Assassin's Creed meets Far Cry 3 meets Metal Gear Solid 5. Not that this necessarily is a bad thing but I do not see Breath of the Wild as a revolutionary game. It would have been possible to have released this game without the Zelda veneer and it would have played almost identically. It feels that Zelda was used as a backdrop as an easy way to sell more copies.

Weapon durability combined with limited item slots, stamina, poor frame rate, a sometimes bland and empty open world, limited enemy types, simplistic puzzles, poor camera and combat controls, an economy based around heavy grinding for rupees, all of these things keep breaking my immersion and create frustration which prevents me from really enjoying the game. I hear people say "Oh I've spent 100 hours in Breath of the Wild and it is great" and I want to ask them how much of that was running from point A to B or grinding for rupees or weapons? It is all too easy for open world games to be padded with so much time wasting activities that gamers aren't aware they are participating in and I think Breath of the Wild is a quintessential example of it.

All of the negativity aside I definitely had some fun playing Breath of the Wild. It is a game I could see myself recommending certain people play but it is by no means a perfect game that should be help up as an example of what a video game can be.

I hope to beat Breath of the Wild this weekend and finally move onto Persona 5 when it is released on Tuesday.

Become conversational in another language

This will be the last month I mention this resolution. It is DOA.

Release an app

I did not do any work on any of the apps that I wanted to release. I also did not write any blog posts about the mobile app foundations that these apps would be based on. I can use Duke's death as another excuse but it is obvious that I have serious difficulty in motivating myself to work on this. I am at a bit of a loss as to what the core issue is and how I could fix it.

Work has not been motivating and does make it hard to want to continue to write code after churning it out for 9+ hours a day. I was hoping that the ability to code what I want how I want after work would be motivating but it really seems to be exactly the opposite. The "green field" combined with a lack of energy makes it incredibly paralyzing.

Do not indulge in time killing activities

I did again indulge in many time killing activities such as Reddit and watching Modern Family reruns. It is still too easy to just turn my brain off and kill time instead of focusing on something constructive but mentally taxing.

I think I need to make better use of my Hobonichi Techo and set realistic, very specific goals that I can achieve on a daily basis so when I get home I don't spend time thinking about "what can I do?" and instead focus on "which goal should I achieve first?". Hopefully this will make it less likely for me to just throw my hands up in the air and turn something on the Apple TV.

Conclusions

Fuck this month. Really. It is the worst month in recent memory. Hopefully in April I can rebound and refocus myself and start improving.

#MonthlyRetrospective

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