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December 2018 Retrospective

It seems that December is not my most productive month. Last year I wrote about how an illness, fatigue and work conspired together and resulted in me not really doing anything beneficial. Cut to 2018 and an illness (I believe it was sinusitis), not getting enough sleep and quitting my job resulted in me not really doing anything again. Truly "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

Also, last December's retrospective rambled on about how I missed my family back in Canada. That I wasn't really sure what I was doing with my career and just wanted to escape San Francisco as soon as possible and find some purpose in life. I wrote "It has been a sobering experience being re-exposed to my previous life and seeing how far I have come in the last three years. Maybe this isn't the sort of thing that I should be rambling on about on this blog or maybe it is the only way I'll be able to truly figure out what I want to get out of life." I shit you not I had those exact same thoughts this December before I started working on the draft for this retrospective. 12 months removed and my mind is in exactly the same place.

It is a really wake-up call to see how little has actually changed in 12 months. But I will take consolation in one major thing that has changed and that is I am finally resolved to leaving San Francisco by August of 2020. After everything that has happened the last six months I have never been more certain that it is time to leave. Missing Christmas with my family, not being able to see my niece grow up, working jobs where I am essentially a code monkey, watching YouTube instead of engaging in hobbies. These are things that I don't want to repeat in 2019 and beyond. Maybe this is some weird midlife crisis where I think nothing can change but deep down I know that is bullshit. I can think back to all the things I've done in 30+ years on this planet and if I truly wanted to I could drastically change my life and engaged in 30 more years of something completely different. Money or career or anything else is not actually blocking me. I am the only one to blame.

I have already taken steps to break myself out of this self made prison. I got a new job that I am incredibly excited about. I am going to finally get my god damn driver's license and purchase a car so I can escape this concrete jungle. And I am going heavily into my investments so I can feel safe in whatever it is I want to try.

But before I do any of that I need to look back on what I did in December and try to understand how the hell I barely attempted so many things. A quick look back at my Hobonichi Techo journal gives some pretty good indicators of where my time went. Between the Overlord anime, season 3 of F is for Family and the first half of The Rookie TV show I spent a fair amount of time in front of the boob tube. Tack on the films Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Aquaman, Going Clear, LA 92 and way too much YouTube (I highly recommend the channels Noclip, Node and Jeremy Jahns). This definitely seems like an inordinate amount of media to consume but it is funny that I actually don't regret any of it. Everything I just listed I would recommend to anyone so I guess maybe I just gotta focus on moderation instead?

I also spent a lot of time taking care of Lacey the terror. It seems no matter how much you play with her just before bed she still needs to get her 4-7am zoomies on to keep in shape. Hopefully I'll find some solution in 2019 so I can finally get back to getting a decent night's sleep. Speaking of which let's get into the health portion of the retrospective.

Health

I really tried to boulder this month I swear but the tendinitis in my right wrist flamed up again and I was very afraid to push it. Soon after that happened I got really sick and stopped exercising altogether. The illness combined with not getting enough sleep (because of Lacey's shenanigans) resulted in a lot of waking up at 9am and thinking "I'll exercise later" which never came. These are pretty poor excuses and I definitely could have pushed myself harder but December just became a very lazy month. It wasn't until December 31st when I finally got off my ass and went to the bouldering gym again and that was mostly because of Jan pushing me.

I finally feel near 100% and I am not going to let January be a repeat of December. The goal is to exercise at least 30 minutes every single day and it doesn't matter what activity. Just be active for the entire month and then once I am back in the groove again I can look into specializing in February.

While I didn't exercise in the traditional sense I did put a lot of time into my Onewheel. I am starting to get more confident on the board and am legitimately planning on using it to commute to work in the new year. A 40 minute walk should be reduced to a fun 15 minute ride.

This probably doesn't surprise many people but when you are sick and lazy you eat a lot of garbage food and I am no exception. I showed absolutely no self restraint but amazingly I only ended the month up about half a pound. Probably because I lost so much muscle from not bouldering. I also went out to eat with friends much more than usual (Deli Board twice in one week) which didn't help. What did help is that after Christmas a market opened in the first floor of our building again so there is absolutely no reason to order food from UberEats or TryCaviar ever again (except for when we inevitably want Hot Sauce and Panko wings).

So yeah not only do I gotta get back on the workout bandwagon but I also gotta get back to eating not garbage. Main goals are to cut out purchasing sugary or carb heavy foods. I'm not gonna be in denial and say I won't partake in some free stuff at work but I am not allowed to buy myself any that junk and have it lying around the house. Soylent drinks combined with the market downstairs should be all I need to get me through January and off my ridiculous sugar high.

Hobby Programming

I said that in December I wanted to cut down on YouTube and video games and instead try to spend that time programming or drawing or reading. While I didn't manage to cut down on YouTube and video games I was able to find time to draw and read. Unfortunately programming found itself outside in the cold once again.

I am at a loss as to what I should do about this section. I believe that I have been in denial all year and that hobby programing has been an obligation rather than a side interest. Every month I make it sound like I want to do this sort of thing for fun but there are almost no examples of that over the last 12 months.

This week I am going to be writing my 2018 resolutions retrospective and my 2019 resolutions. I am going to make sure I take a long hard look at my interest in hobby programming and what place it has in my future.

Read a book

2018 was really a bad year for books. I was only able to read six of them and I would say only half of them did I truly enjoy. The other half a read out of some weird sense of obligation and Woken Furies is a prime example of that. It completely lost me probably 40% of the way through and I continued to power through it for several more hours even though every page was a slog. Everything that made the first book in the Takeshi Kovacs series great is gone. The whole idea behind transhumanism and what happens if humans could not truly die barely matters anymore. It is just window dressing, the backdrop for incredibly tropey sci-fi bullshit that I have no interest in reading.

After I finally finished Woken Furies I moved onto Count Zero, the second book in the Sprawl trilogy. I started it on December 29th so I hope to finish it in January with plenty of time to spare and see if I want to move onto the third book, Mona Lisa Overdrive.

Gaming

I beat Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee! and I want to roll back the hyperbole I said last month about it being a perfect Pokémon game. In retrospect I was just in awe of the new hotness and didn't look at it deep enough. After about the fifth gym the new mechanics really started to wear thin and I was not interested in catching Pokémon. By the time I was trying to get to Sabrina's gym I just wanted the game to end. I did as little side content as possible and steamrolled for the ending because it just wasn't holding my attention anymore.

I think it is a decent game for those new to the Pokémon franchise but playing it makes me want the eighth-generation game on the Switch even more. I loved the the 3D visuals and the simplified mechanics (to a certain extent) so I think Game Freak needs to build on top of Pokémon: Let's Go rather than Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon.

Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was released on December 7th and I put over 20 hours into it. It is a Smash game through and through so there really isn't much to say. If you liked the previous ones there is no reason you won't like Ultimate and if you hated the previous ones there is nothing to change your mind here. Masahiro Sakurai has continued to polish this franchise to near perfection.

I also threw a couple hours into Persona 5: Dancing in Starlight. It is a fun rhythm game and the soundtrack for Persona 5 really is outstanding. I had hoped to play more of it but Super Smash Bros. Ultimate got released and it stole all of my attention.

I somehow managed to beat both September and October in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1. After September I thought I had poisoned the game map and it would be impossible to complete my objectives in October. I did the math and of the 13 black cards in the deck I would need to have the majority of them dealt to certain characters early in the game to have any chance of succeeding. Low and behold guess what happened? Using the "Heart of the Cards" I basically got perfect draws and completed the impossible objective first. It was bizzare.

I am now in the home stretch and aim to finally beat Pandemic Legacy in January. After that I want to move right onto Gloomhaven and see what all the fuss is about.

I am actually not sure what January is going to hold for me with respect to video games. I am sure I'll continue to play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate but there aren't any January releases that pique my interest at the moment. I'm confident Resident Evil 2 will be a solid game but I am not really a survival horror gamer. Maybe I'll use this month to catch up some some of the games from 2018 that I missed.

Plan out my day

Of the 31 days in December I only set serious goals for about 15 of them.

Similar to hobby programming I am not sure what the future of this section is. When I do my 2018 resolutions retrospective and set my 2019 resolutions I will also take a long hard look at planning out my day and exactly what I hoped to gain from doing so.

Review

🙅🏻‍♂️ Boulder three times a week.
Combination of being sick and various vet and doctor appointments blocked this. Also I was lazy I won't lie.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Run at least 15 kilometers a week.
I didn't even run a single time...

✅ Ride my Onewheel at least once a week.
I love riding this thing!

🙅🏻‍♂️ On average for the month get below either 159 pounds or 19% body fat.
I gained about half a pound.

✅ Only order from UberEats once a week and it must be on the weekend.
I ordered once during the week when I was sick but then didn't order that weekend!

🙅🏻‍♂️ No sugary treats. Only fruits and vegetables.
"No, sugary treats!" would have been a more representative goal for this month.

🤷🏻‍♂️ No french fries or other fatty sides. Eat some greens!
I did try to minimize the amount of fatty sides I had but some french fries did sneak in.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Finish keychain wrapper. I mean completely finished. Documentation and all.
Didn't write a single line of code.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Create outline for SLUG presentation.
Didn't write a single word.

✅ Finish reading Woken Furies.
Thank whatever deity you want that I finally finished this book.

🙅🏻‍♂️ Read Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook.
Made several attempts but just never got started.

✅ Beat Pokémon: Let's Go, Eevee!
Beat it on December 21st.

✅ Play September and October in Pandemic Legacy: Season 1.
Not only did I play both months but I miraculously beat both of them.

🙅🏻‍♂️Take my iPad into every meeting.
Didn't even do this once.

Draw more cute things on my iPad. Elsie bought me two books to teach me and I want to get through both of them.
Yes, I drew a lot of things.

✅ Hotlink four things again.

  1. Bill Burr on Hot Ones
  2. Point-Free's SnapshotTesting Library
  3. We Broke Into A Bunch Of Android Phones With A 3D-Printed Head
  4. Timothy B. Lee: How computers got shockingly good at recognizing images

Conclusions

There is no pussyfooting around this. 2018 was not a great year and December was not a great month. But that is all in the past now. I have a habit of dwelling too much on things I can't change and 2019 needs to be forward thinking. I have a roof over my head, my health and a well paying career. I can do whatever the fuck I want and this is the year to showcase that. No more sitting around just collecting the cash and hoping something is magically going to drop into my lap. I am going to finally figure of what the fuck I want and go at it full bore.

And to start I need to set some goals for January 2019:

#MonthlyRetrospective

🎮