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April 2018 Retrospective

I did not anticipate the amount of TV and film I was going to consume this month. Elsie and I continued to watch season 5 of Silicon Valley. We saw Ready Player One which was an excellent movie but a horrible adaption of the book. We rewatched season 1 of Westworld in preparation for season 2. The Stanley Cup Playoffs and the NBA playoffs started so I watched my fair share of that including my poor Toronto Maple Leafs game 7 loss to the Boston Bruins.

As if that wasn't enough TV for one month, in an act of absolute insanity, we decided to rewatch every film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in preparation for Avengers: Infinity War. Did you know there are 18 movies in the MCU because I had clearly forgotten. Every day after work for over a week we watched a Marvel movie so that we could finish the day before we saw Infinity War and I gotta say it was totally worth it. Avengers: Infinity War lived up to the hype and I cannot wait for the conclusion next spring.

Season 3 of The Expanse even started and we haven't had a chance to watch it yet!

It may sound like I did absolutely nothing except for sit on my ass all month but I was actually very productive. I either completed or made progress towards every goal that I had set and "wasted" very little time. I'm going to say watching all those Marvel movies was not wasted time because technically I planned that. 😎

While April was a fairly productive month I am definitely going to be slowing down in May because I am taking a much needed vacation. Two weeks of my life will be filled with sightseeing and I am not going to make the same mistake I did with Japan by trying to blog about my vacation in real-time. Relaxation is my main focus on only when I return to San Francisco will I consider reflecting on what I did.

Anyhoo, onto the retrospective.

Health

I am still absolutely loving yoga and 21 out of April's 30 days were filled with either it or bouldering. While I am still having difficulty with a number of poses in yoga I can see my flexibility, stamina and strength increasing which is also helping improve my bouldering. I worked towards my goal of more project routes instead of "warmup routes" and it has been paying dividends. On April 7th I was able to climb three V5s in a single bouldering session and I continued to work on V5 routes all month.

My hopes for May are that I will finally try a C2 glass in yoga and be able to repeat my April goal of three V5s in a single session. This is going to be difficult because I am not going to be able to go to the gym as much but I want to really push myself before I go on vacation.

Speaking of vacation, I assume I am going to overindulge during it so let's see if I can dial back my gluttony before I leave. I'm going to make it a goal to buy no snacks or treats for the entire month of May. My weight has continued to trend upward but, as I don't look any worse, I am going to continue chalking it up muscle gains. All that being said, my eating habits are still very poor and in addition to no snacks let's try to either cook (or at the very least prepare) all of my meals every weekend in May.

Hobby Programming

I did a fair amount of work on my Git Leaderboard in April. So much that I would almost be happy with the effort I put forth except I still didn't manage to ship what I was working on. "Real artists ship" but I fell victim to a programmer's arch-nemesis, feature creep.

After I finished work on the leaderboard script I realized that I wanted to have the ability to generate leaderboards for a group of git repositories and then have some sort of "mega leaderboard" for them all. I ended up referring to this "mega leaderboard" as a banzuke and worked on that for over a dozen hours. It is 100% functional but the documentation has now fallen to absolute shit and I am afraid to publish it in its current state.

My goal is to finish updating the documentation this week and finally publish everything that I have been working on this last month. Come hell or high water I am going to release the Git Banzuke before I go on vacation.

One nice side effect of all this hobby programming was that it spurred me to investigate alternatives to the Electron based applications I use. Their excessive memory usage and poor UI are an insult to the developers who put the the time and effort into creating great native applications. As a native app developer myself I wanted to support their hard work.

I was able to replace Atom with Sublime Text and I could not be happier with the switch. I tried to replace GitHub Desktop with Kaleidoscope but it was missing explicit highlighting of changes which is what I rely on GitHub Desktop for. I tried looking at Tower but it had the same shortcoming. I don't think I will find a replacement for GitHub Desktop unless I make my own because most git clients are focused on replacing the entire command line whereas I only want to replace git diff (and maybe a little part of git log).

Read a book

I don't know what is wrong with me but I am still forcing myself to slog through The Lord of the Rings. I am only 25% of the way through it and haven't picked the book up in over a week. I am hoping that with my upcoming vacation and the over 20 hours of flying I will have to do I can really dig into it then.

I did read Attack on Titan volume 24 and I gotta say I am loving where the manga is heading. I was not expecting this sort of worldbuilding when I first watched the anime but now I am completely hooked.

I also bought The Walking Dead volume 29 and plan to read it sometime in May.

Gaming

I played more Far Cry 5 and regretted every moment. It is an absolutely garbage game that no one should play. Read this article about its shitty ending and then thank me for saving you from this turd of a game. Seriously, do not give Ubisoft any money for Far Cry 5.

I squeezed in a few more hours of Monster Hunter: World. Capcom released two substantial updates that added new monsters, equipment and quests but it seems that Elsie and I are burnt out on Monster Hunter. I'm sure some DLC will be released in July or August that will spark our interest but until then we've managed to kick our drug habit.

I honestly surprised myself and actually started playing Dota 2. I am not going to lie, it was very hard at the start. My first 10 matches were pretty brutal and I was getting yelled at and insulted by both the opponents and my teammates. But then something started to click and I felt confident in trying to guide my team. I started using my microphone and, lo and behold, it seems good things happen when you communicate with your teammates. I have played 18 matches so far and am really starting to enjoy it. I hope to keep playing all the way up until The International and gain a greater understanding of the heroes.

One thing that I was not expecting when I started playing Dota 2 was how long it would take to find a match. I thought as a new player Valve would be able to throw me into a game every 30 seconds but I found myself queuing for at least five minutes. Combine that with the time it takes to pick the heroes and go through the strategy phase, I was spending on average of an hour for a single match.

And finally, like the good little consumer whore that I am, I purchased an HTC Vive Pro. The increased resolution definitely makes a difference and as someone with glasses it did lessen the eye strain but it is still not the radical jump I was hoping for. I suspect we will be waiting until at least 2020 before we get headsets with such high resolution that text will no longer be an issue. That being said I'm still enjoying VR games and the updated build quality of the headset is much appreciated. I am also looking forward to the wireless accessory being released this summer which I will immediately buy.

Plan out my day

My goal for April was to every day write in-depth about one important thing that I should get done. I was able to do this for a little over three weeks before we entered our Marvel movie watching death march and the purpose of every day was only to consume MCU films. Jokes aside, I looked back at what I wrote and it is a pretty mixed bag. Half of it is an almost pointless restating of what I did that day while the other half gives a more detailed look into what I was thinking.

I believe the main problem with this was that I only wrote in my journal once a day. In the morning I would try to write about a goal I wanted to accomplish that day but I would never write about how that goal changed as the day progressed. Or I would forget to write in the morning and just end up jotting something down quickly after dinner. I did continue to set goals every day which was good because even when I didn't write about them I could still tell what I was prioritizing on a given day.

For May I want to try doing three things:

  1. Continue setting goals every day. These should be very terse and don't have to be written down all at once. I want to use them as a high level gage as to what I thought was important that day.
  2. Write in-depth about why I wanted to complete one of those goals. Similar to my goal in April I want to continue to force myself to be verbose about at least one thing.
  3. Write in my journal throughout the day. I know there are things that happen at work or emails or phone calls or messages that trigger certain emotions in me and I want to get into the habit of writing them down. I am sure these things are having an effect on my life and I want to try to gain a greater understanding as to what they are.

It has been almost a year in since I started writing in a Hobonichi Techo journal and I definitely haven't taken full advantage of it. I am going to try to take a step towards that in May.

Review

Despite the ungodly amount of media I consumed in April I still did quite well on my goals.

Bouldering three times a week and yoga twice a week.
Killed it 💪🏻

Three V5s in a single bouldering session.
I managed this feat on April 7th.

Try a C2 class in yoga.
Elsie and I weren't confident enough to try a C2 class. But at the end of April we asked an instructor if we were ready and she said yes so we are planning on finally upping our game in May.

Publish Games of the Year 2013 article.
It took a lot longer than previous months but I did get it done.

Hotlink at least three things.
Jun's Kitchen: Homemade Ramen
Twenty Sided Tale: Wolfenstein 2 Retrospective
Care and Feeding of Xcode Configurations

Make a hot sauce from scratch using habaneros and mangos.
Made a delicious grilled mango habanero hot sauce.

Every day write about one important thing that I would like to get done.
I wrote about this in depth in the "Plan out my day" section. The gist is that I didn't do it every day and even when I did it was a crapshoot as to if it was actually insightful or not.

Complete at least five small programming problems.
Technically I did work on the Git Leaderboard on at least five separate days but I didn't really have concrete problems I was trying to solve. It was mostly "ship the Git Leaderboard" and then I would figure out the problems on the fly.

So while I did technically do this it didn't have the effect I was hoping for.

Play 30 competitive games of Dota 2.
I only managed 18. I did not realize that every match would take about an hour and trying to fit in an hour of Dota a day proved completely untenable. If you look at my match history you'll see I mostly binged on the weekends which is not healthy.

Try several VR games on the new HTC Vive Pro.
GORN and Water Bears VR were some of the new games I tried. I bought a bunch more but haven't gotten around to them yet.

Play a board game.
Played the month of January in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.

Read at least half of The Lord of the Rings.
I only got about 25% of the way through.

Draw something on my iPad.
OK fine I lied earlier when I said I completed or made progress on every one of my goals.

Conclusions

In my March retrospective conclusion I said let's try to keep this momentum going and continue to improve moving into April and I think I accomplished that. There is still room for improvement but I am still moving in the right direction and am very happy with the progress that is being made.

Even though May could be a little slower month because of my vacation I still want to keep trying to improve at the same pace. Just because I won't be at work or in front of my computer for two weeks does not mean there aren't other ways to grow.

That being said, here are my goals for May:

#MonthlyRetrospective

🎮