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Reid Main

iOS developer

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November 2018 Retrospective

I have been living in San Francisco for over four years and in that time I have seen my fair share of dumb shit. From druggies shooting up on the sidewalks to homeless defecting in the street. I even witnessed someone smash a car window at 9 am to steal a backpack which I managed to snag back from them as they ran by me. But this month I finally experienced the peak of the bullshit that is San Francisco.

I was walking home from work, a route I had walked over 700 times, at 6:30 pm on a Friday. I was using my iPhone like I always do when someone on a Scoot motor scooter came up from behind me and snatched my phone right out of my hand. They then proceed to drive away on the sidewalk and despite my yelling for help not a single pedestrian intervened. That doesn't surprise me because I don't fault people for prioritizing their personal safety. What pushed this over the line into stereotypical San Francisco bullshit was that a group of four grown men who could have stopped the thief just laughed and told me to chase after him.

I don't know if this is indicative of America in general or if it just thrives in a place like San Francisco but people here are incredibly egocentric. It doesn't matter if you are a vagrant on the street or a douchebag tech bro in a penthouse. But I guess I shouldn't be surprised from a culture where GoFundMe is a primary source for paying medical bills.

After I filed a police report and restored an iCloud backup to an old phone, I went through the tedious process of reseting all of my passwords and securing any accounts that my phone had access to. This is where 1Password fucking saved my ass. Seriously if I could only pick one app to install on my iPhone it would be 1Password hands down. It may have taken me a couple days to properly reset everything, but 1Password's Watchtower feature helped me to better secure dozens of my accounts. Everybody and their mums should be using 1Password.

One good thing about this ordeal is that it made me realize how much I want to get out of San Francisco so I finally started looking into setting up investments. Rather than essentially stuffing all of my money in a sock under my bed I am finally putting it to work for me and if you are reading this you should too. You're never too young to start and even the smallest amount of money is better than nothing.

This intro is getting a bit long in the tooth so I'm gonna quickly whip off some other things that happened this month. We had "Friendsgiving" and made an absolutely delicious turkey. Watched Banking on Bitcoin which was pretty funny since it happened before the spike and crash of 2017-2018. House of Cards season six was absolute garbage. I watched the first episode and then immediately read about the ending which saved seven hours of my life. We cleaned our palette by watching Goodfellas which is a fantastic gangster film. Then we decided we were feeling too good and watched Blackfish to ensure we felt guilty about every stepping foot in a marine park. Finally, if you are looking for some great ramen in SF I would recommend Ippudo.

Oh I totally forgot. We adopted another cat. Her name is Lacey and she is super cute while also being incredibly skiddish. It is going to take her much longer to warm up to us than Duke did.

Health

So two things conspired against my health this month. One that I was in complete control of and another that was an act of God (or whatever deity you choose to believe in). First, I was an idiot and overexerted myself on a particular bouldering route at the gym and got a minor case of tendinopathy in my right wrist. It is nothing serious but it required me to stop climbing over three weeks. Second, the Camp Fire created incredibly unhealthy air in San Francisco for two weeks which prevented everyone (well at least the smart ones) from going outside. Seriously, check out this map to get an idea of just how insane it was.

Seeing as how the majority of my exercising comes from bouldering and running you can understand the predicament I was in. I tried to supplement with the elliptical and yoga but it just wasn't the same and I got lazy. Not only did I not exercise as hard but some days I didn't exercise at all.

That being said my diet was still quite decent such that my body fat percentage was steady. My weight also trended downwards but that was mostly because of lost muscle from not exercising.

December is going to be a recovery month. I am going to ease back into bouldering and hopefully run at least 15 kilometers every week (10 on Wednesday and 5 on Friday) now that I can actually breathe outdoors again. Combine that with cutting out sugary treats and carb heavy side dishes and I hope to exit the year at the same weight I entered it.

Hobby Programming

I put a bit of work into my keychain wrapper but my interest has waned heavily from when I started it last month. I reached a point where I wanted to ensure it was 100% unit tested and that killed a lot of my motivation. I am still really happy with what I have done but when you aren't doing something like this for work it is really easy to default to "I'll play video games tonight instead of writing more tests" which is what I did the majority of the time unfortunately.

Since I didn't finish my keychain wrapper it shouldn't come as a surprise that I didn't work on any else for my Roadrunner framework. I also completely ignored brainstorming a presentation that I could give at the next Swift Language User Group meetup.

For December I am hoping for a do-over. I'm gonna cut down on my YouTube and video games and instead try to spend that time programming or drawing or reading. My goals will once again be to finish my keychain wrapper, publish something else to Roadrunner and at the very least make an outline for a presentation to give at SLUG.

Read a book

I am a about 60% of the way through Woken Furies and it just isn't grabbing me like the first book in the series did. While I enjoy the Takeshi Kovacs character he was not the main drawing point. It was the futuristic Earth world that the author created. Books two and three just go to random planets with made up cultures that I just really don't care about. I'm not saying they are particularly bad, I just am not finding them as engaging as other books I have read.

What these books have done for me is made me realize how much I want to read a good cyberpunk book so I think once I am done with Woken Furies I am going to move onto the second book in the Spawl Trilogy, Count Zero. Oh I also want to finally read the rulebook for Cyberpunk 2020.

Gaming

I finally beat Dragon Quest XI: Echoes of an Elusive Age. It took almost 73 hours and, I gotta say, I enjoyed nearly every bit of it. I don't want to spoil the ending but just as I thought I had beaten the game it threw another curveball at me and it took 20+ more hours before I saw the "true ending". If you are in the mood for a JRPG I highly recommend Dragon Quest XI.

I also manged to put about eight hours into Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!. The developers basically took the original Red and Blue games, converted them to 3D and swapped the standard Pokémon catching gameplay for the Pokémon GO style where you see the Pokémon in the overworld. This is incredibly reductive and may make the game sound like a soulless cash grab from Nintendo but honestly this is a near perfect Pokémon game. So much bullshit has been grafted onto the series over the years that it is super refreshing to go back to the originals and just clean them up a bit for the current generation. I think this is a game that nearly everyone should play. Doesn't matter if you are young or old, a veteran or a newcomer to the series, it is just pure clean fun in my opinion.

The HTC Wireless adapter was finally released in November and I used it for a couple of hours while playing Just In Time Incorporated. I was genuinely shocked by how much I actually used the cables to make me comfortable moving around in the real world. Something about that little resistance when you leaned too far meant much more than I realized. With the wireless setup I was constantly terrified that I had strayed from the center of the play area when in reality I was barely moving. In terms of latency I definitely noticed it a couple of times but it was very sporadic. Thinking back to it now I just remember that it did happen but I don't remember it affecting the gameplay on the whole.

I finished off my month of video games by playing the Artifact beta. I only played it for a single night for about three hours but the game definitely has potential. I can see the depth and the fun in constructing decks. But what really frightens me is their monetization plans. It is straight up pay-to-win. You pay $2 for a pack of 10 cards that are completely random. You can buy individual cards if you want but it is through the Steam marketplace so the price is whatever the community decides which means the good (maybe even necessary) stuff ain't gonna be cheap. I wish it were a "living card game" where you can just buy all of a certain set of cards so the total price to own everything is constant. Then do the typical Valve thing where you can infinitely monetize cosmetic stuff.

I played both July and August in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1 and somehow managed to win both times. I believe that it is impossible to end the game before December so it sounds like I have four more months left which means it is highly unlikely I will beat it next month. Hopefully I can play through September and October and then finally beat this game in the new year. I really want to give Gloomhaven a shot or even go back to Kingdom Death: Monster.

Other than Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! and Pandemic Legacy: Season 1, my December is most likely going to consist of a lot of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. I bought a GameCube controller and adapter for the Switch for fucks sake. My body is ready. If I can find any spare time I will try to get my Persona dancing on!

Plan out my day

I am not really sure what I want to get out of this section anymore.

In October I said I wanted to continue to set five goals before noon, break my day down into 1 or 2 or 3 hour chunks and keep my journal visible at all times to encourage writing in it. I did all three of those things and continue to believe that they are productive and helpful. I routinely forget that I did something until I start writing these retrospectives and look back at the entries in my Hobonichi Techo.

I also wrote that I wanted to be more retrospective throughout the month. I set a goal to sit down every Sunday and look back at the previous week and write a summary so I could use these set of summaries to help write this retrospective. I only managed to do that for the first three Sundays and the quality of each successive entry only got worse and worse. I wrote most of them late on Sunday when I barely remembered that I had to do them and my mind just wasn't in the mood.

Which brings me back to I am not sure what I want to get out of this section anymore. I have got into a solid routine for tracking the most basic aspects of my day but I have not really gone beyond that. There is no higher level goal that is supposed to help guide me to be a better person like the other sections I write about do. Even something as childish as beating a video game is a very concrete goal that drives me throughout the month.

I honestly have no idea what I want to do in December for this. I have been working on the draft of this retrospective for over five days and absolutely nothing has come to mind. I know that there is something I can do better regarding planning out my time or analyzing my performance. I just don't know what it is at the moment.

Review

🤷🏻‍♂️ Climb four different V5 problems over the entire month.
I got three done before I blew out my wrist and then had to take the rest of the month off.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Run 10 km or do a C2 yoga class every Wednesday morning.
The poisonous air kept me indoors and laziness kept me from going to yoga.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Run 5 km every Friday morning.
Same as above.

✅ Stay below 160 pounds and get below 19 body fat percentage.
I did it but only by sacrificing muscle so I'm not really sure if this is a victory.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Put 20 km on my Onewheel.
I only managed to put 10 km on a single ride. While I can use the poisonous air excuse again there was still a week before and a week after where I could have ridden my Onewheel a lot more.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Finish keychain wrapper.
Got bogged down by unit testing and documentation to the point where I stopped working on it for the later half of the month.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Start work on some other part of Roadrunner and push it to GitHub.
Nope

🙅🏻‍♂️ Prepare talk for Swift Language User Group.
Jeez I am really bad at this 😔

✅ Read Woken Furies.
Alright finally a success. I am about 60% of the way through.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Read Cyberpunk 2020 book.
Didn't even move the book from the shelf.

✅ Beat Dragon Quest XI.
Fucking finally beat that god damn game. Not that it was bad but sweet Jebus it was really long.

✅ Start Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!
Played almost eight hours and have already won three gym badges!

✅ Play July and August in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.
Beat both months! 🙌🏻

✅ Hotlink four things.

  1. YouTube Recommendation: World War Two
  2. YouTube Recommendation: Watch EVERYONE pick the iPhone XR over a 1080p Screen
  3. I Found the Best Burger Place in America. And Then I Killed It.
  4. Server-side Swift: Making Canopy (Part Two)

🙅🏻‍♂️ Use iPad as a note-taking device.
While I did use my iPad more than usual I didn't take as many notes as I was hoping. It was still mostly a reference device. I need to get in the habit of grabbing it whenever a meeting occurs no matter how impromptu.

✅ Draw something using my Apple Pencil so Elsie will finally get off my back.
No one said they had to be good drawings. Art is very subjective right?

🙅🏻‍♂️ Write some sort of life goal in my Hobonichi Techo every day.
I fell off this wagon almost immediately. It was incredibly stupid to think I could/would do something like this every day.

Conclusions

This month could have gone off the rails much worse than it did so I'm gonna look on the bright side of life and try to carry that into December. A lot of my goals are going to be similar to November so let's make use of this mulligan and kill them the second time around.

#MonthlyRetrospective

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