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June 2018 Retrospective

In my May retrospective I wrote that I had hit a plateau. I was content with how much I exercised, how many games I played and how I planned and wrote about every day. I was concerned about my weight and diet as well as how little writing and hobby programming I did. I created goals that I thought would help me address these concerns but they did not have the intended effect.

When I sat down to write this article I thought June was another middling month. But as I drafted an outline I realized that it was actually a significant regression. I will go into more detail below but the Coles Notes are everything I was content with regressed and almost everything I wanted to work on I ignored.

But before I get to my self-deprecation let's get my hot take on all the TV I watched this month. Westworld season 2 was convoluted garbage. It is the new Lost. The Expanse season 3 was really solid and loyal to the books. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an amazing sitcom that everyone should watch. Oh also how the fuck did Germany lose 2-0 to South Korea and get bounced from the World Cup in the group stage?

Health

It seems that my contentment with bouldering and yoga lead to apathy. I participated in less yoga sessions compared to May and was barely able to climb V4 routes while I was bouldering let alone V5s. Also, on most of my off days I would usually run on the elliptical but I decided to replace that with sleeping in until 8:30 am.

Now I would be fine with all of this if I was losing weight but to absolutely no one's surprise I did not lose a single pound and my body fat percentage did not change. I honestly felt like I was eating more balanced meals and I barely touched any snacks but it is obvious that there is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to my diet.

So for July I'm going to take the Dr. Cox approach and realize that "I hate my body".

I need to exercise everyday. There is no excuse for this anymore. If I am so tired that I can't wake up at 7 am then I obviously need to go to bed earlier. Let's set a rule that I need to be in bed by 10 pm and the only thing I can do is read my Kindle until I fall asleep.

With respect to food let's start setting some ground rules for every meal. Breakfast is either Soylent, cereal or yogurt. Lunch can be the largest meal of the day with no real restrictions other than trying to cut down on carbs. This means getting side salads instead of fries or rice. During the week dinner will be Soylent and on the weekends one night I will cook my own dinner and on the other we can order something in. If I want to eat anything outside of this it can only be fresh fruit, vegetables or nuts. No more of that processed garbage.

My goal for July is to get back down to 160 pounds. According to the Health app I weighed that much back in January and there is no reason I can't get back there again.

Hobby Programming

I did not do any hobby programming at all in June and I have absolutely no good excuse for that. My shitty excuse is that I watched TV, played Dota 2 or wasted time on Reddit instead. That is the truth and it hurts to admit it. Every month I have been creating goals to play certain games and I now realize that I have been using these as excuses to ignore other goals.

So for July I am not going to set a single goal about gaming and instead set multiple ones for hobby programming. I aim to finally begin work on my Observables framework as well as publish some articles pulling from my software experience. I hope the first will be about how to setup a Mac Mini as a Jenkins CI node and maybe a second where I discuss my feelings on the foundations of mobile app architecture.

Read a book

I didn't even pick up a book in June. I did buy a Kindle Paperwhite with the idea of making it the only device I am allowed to use in bed but I immediately broke that rule. Since I have made that an explicit goal this month I expect to see a large uptick in my Kindle usage and, who knows, maybe I will even finally finish The Lord of the Rings.

Gaming

I absolutely devoured Detroit: Become Human. It only took me until June 3rd to beat it after putting in over 11 hours that weekend. I would rate it my favourite Quantic Dream game after Heavy Rain. The story was very relatable, had lots of gut wrenching choices and I really became attached to all the characters. I truly wanted what was best for all of them. Don't get me wrong, it definitely had some tropey moments and is not going to win a Pulitzer but Quantic Dream continues to push forward what an "interactive story" is. I cannot wait to see what their next take at this genre will be.

I actually played way more Dota 2 than I thought I would. I set a goal of 10 matches and hit that threshold on June 19th. I proceeded to then play over 15 more matches because I am really getting into this game. I've definitely had my down moments where I considered quitting but I've found that picking another character and trying to learn how to play them unlocks the enjoyment of discovering the game again. So far I've been having a lot of fun with Shadow Shaman, Witch Doctor, and Lion. I also watched a lot of the The International 2018 qualifier matches which just made me want to play the game more.

Elsie and I finally managed to play a couple of hours of Swords of Ditto. It is a Zelda-lite co-op action game that is pretty fun. I don't think I would want to play it on my own but with a friend it can be a lot of fun solving puzzles or hacking and slashing through monsters. I think it probably only has another hour or two before that sort of gameplay gets stale but not every game has to entertain me for a dozen hours or more.

June is also the month of E3 2018 and I wrote an article grading all of the press conferences. On the whole I would say this was a pretty weak year because there weren't really any amazing surprises and most of the games talked about are coming out in 2019 or later. I am very pumped to play Spider-Man, Fallout 76 and Super Smash Bros. Ultimate later this year. What I came out of this E3 most excited about would undoubtedly be Cyberpunk 2077 even though that game is probably not coming out until 2020.

My gaming plans for July are to continue playing Dota 2 and I have already pre-ordered Octopath Traveler from Amazon which is released on July 13th. I am super in the mood for a JRPG right now and I think Square-Enix is going to scratch that itch. The only other game I could see myself playing in July would be BattleTech or possibly Final Fantasy VI on my Super NES Classic.

Plan out my day

I have been saying for two months now that that are three things I want to write about in my Hobonichi Techo journal: set daily goals, write in-depth about why I chose one of those goals, write about what happened throughout the day.

Similar to May, I managed to do this for the majority of the month but I did fall off near the end. I thought I stopped doing it because I was bored and didn't believe the stuff I was writing was useful. However, when I go back and read those first few weeks I am immediately reminded of events and emotions that I had completely forgotten about.

I need to continue this practice but I am going to make some tiny tweaks. I will continue to set daily goals because I believe it does help ground me and give insight as to how I prioritize things. But it has become obvious that writing about these goals is what I dislike and seems to not be that useful. So I want to re-prioritize on writing about the minutiae that happens throughout the day. I believe that will do a much better job at helping me getting into my own head. Also I will add a third thing (which I will make one for my goals for the month) which is to write some summary of the day before I go to bed. Just a few minutes of writing to give my impression as to what kind of day it was. Productive? Depressing? Mundane? I'm interesting in looking back at these summaries to see which days were good and which were bad and perhaps why?

Oh also I need to do a better job of taking my Hobonichi Techo out of my bag the second I get to work. Having easy access to that thing will probably greatly improve my chances of writing in it.

Review

Alright I've been pretty negative up until this point. Let's try to shake that off until the conclusion and look on the bright side of all the goals I set!

Lose some fat/weight.
OK this isn't the greatest start. I didn't lose a single pound or any body fat.

No unhealthy snacks or treats. Full stop!
Hey here we go finally some good news. Other than a couple of blips like ice cream day at work or a cupcake at a baby shower I didn't snack at all but I guess technically I did break the "full stop!"

Eat properly portioned dinners.
I still maintain that I did eat properly portioned dinners but since I don't have any weight loss to show for it I must have this calibrated incorrectly.

Start work on Observables framework.
SMOKEBOMB! 💣💨

Write a minimum of four articles encompassing trip to Edinburgh or WWDC or E3.
Awwwww yeah son finally a goal I crushed. I wrote five articles!
Edinburgh 2018: The Food
Edinburgh 2018: The Sights
WWDC 2018 Wish List
WWDC 2018: Thoughts on the Keynote
E3 2018: Press Conference Scorecards

Publish Games of the Year 2014 article.
Finally did it! 2014 was actually a pretty sweet year for games.

Build Gundam model.
"I CHOOSE THE FORM OF GUNDAM!"

Play the month of March in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.
I did and managed to win again! The stakes are really getting raised and I'm only winning with less than a handful of turns to go so I'm prepared for this to take a nose dive at any moment.

Beat Detroit: Become Human.
I beat it on June 3rd. I could not put that game down.

Play 10 games of Dota 2.
I managed to play all 10 of my calibration games and was placed at Guardian 3. Not exactly something I should brag about but I am happy I finally calibrated.

Play Swords of Ditto with Elsie.
Played almost two hours of it.

Conclusions

So at the beginning of this article I said June was a regression and I think the main reason was that I picked too many goals and then used some to ignore others. This month all of my goals are going to revolve around my health, hobby programming or writing. I don't need to force myself to play games or build some sweet model anymore.

So what are the absolutely must achieve things for July?

#MonthlyRetrospective

🎮