When I sat down to write this retrospective I struggled to come up with what I actually did this month because nothing really stood out to me. If I thought really hard little things would come to mind such as writing articles for the blog, playing a video game or watching the Raptors. But there was no overarching activity that really defined the month which feels a bit unusual. It was more like death by a thousand cuts.
So let's review my goals for June and see if we can figure out what the heck I actually did.
Review June's Goals
✅ Exercise every day of the month.
27 out of 30 days this month were filled with either bouldering, yoga or running. The other three were the using the elliptical or doing stairs. I managed to get a lot cardio but not enough to lose any fat unfortunately. It seems that my diet combined with a lack of muscle is not doing me any favors around the waist.
✅ Run 40 kilometers in total.
I was aiming to do eight 5Ks but I missed a day and had to double up once and do a 10K.
✅ Complete 8 yoga classes.
I somehow managed to do Sunday and Wednesday mornings every week.
✅ Minimize breakfasts.
I am going to give myself a pass here because I only have memories of actively deciding not to have breakfast. There were a couple avocado toast days but they happened after those strenuous early morning yoga sessions so I think I am totally justified.
✅ If I am home for dinner have a Soylent drink before consuming anything else.
I was going to give myself a 🤷🏻♂ at first because I did eat a lot after my Soylent but that was not the goal. For July I definitely need to do something to be more explicit about what I eat after work. I am thinking only Soylent for dinner but force myself to eat a piece of fruit or some vegetables at the same time. Or maybe limit myself to salads.
🙅🏻♂️ No snacks unless some fruit or vegetables are eaten alongside.
Did you know that Trader Joe's has chocolate sea salt caramel popcorn? Well I did and I definitely don't remember eating fruit alongside it.
🤷🏻♂️ No TV after 8 pm with the exception of the NHL and NBA finals because they only happen once a year!
I definitely broke this goal a half dozen times or so. Typically we'd get really into a TV show were we watching and low and behold it would suddenly be 9 pm.
✅ Finish reading The Cuckoo Egg.
I finished on June 3rd and it is an absolutely phenomenal book. I would recommend it to anyone.
🤷🏻♂️ Read a pen-and-paper roleplaying rulebook and create some original content from it.
I finally got off my ass and read most of the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook but I was not prepared for how dry and boring it would be. The world is still super interesting but the character creation and game mechanics were so mind-numbing that I never actually want to play this game. I was planning on creating a character to fulfill this goal but by the time I got done reading I had absolutely no interest.
🙅🏻♂ Play four scenarios in Gloomhaven.
We only played one scenario. 😔
✅ Complete my placement matches in Dota 2.
I played 14 matches with six wins and eight losses. Apparently I am absolutely garbage with Crystal Maiden and Shadow Shaman but unbeatable with Witch Doctor.
I love the idea of playing Dota, I truly do. There is something about the game that is very enticing to me. But unfortunately the reality of playing it is something else entirely. Valve's matchmaking seems to be completely broken and at least 80% of the games I end up playing are uncompetitive and not fun. During the 14 matches I played I went on two losing streaks of three games each. During these streaks I was matched against opponents that were one, if not two, ranks above myself. It was impossible for me to learn how to improve during these games because I would simply get trampled for 50+ minutes.
What I still don't understand is why do I want to continue playing this game? What about those good games that occur 20% of the time draws me back? For what reason do I play this hellish roulette wheel for a slim chance to experience greatness?
✅ Work towards shipping an app.
WWDC 2019 was the first week of June and with it came the reveal of the SwiftUI framework. I was immediately taken by it and spent a good portion of June watching every WWDC video I could find about SwiftUI. I even wrote an article about what resources I ended up using and how beneficial they were.
For July I am going to go through all of the SwiftUI tutorials on Apple's website and then switch over to mocking out all of the screens of a simple app I want to build. I am going to try to let myself stop focusing on building a mobile app "the right way" and just prototype something quick and dirty in SwiftUI. If I feel I am on the right path I'll then go back and try to build out all of the foundational frameworks I think you need to release to production.
🙅🏻♂️ Learn to paint miniatures / buy painting kit from Game Post.
We bought the paint and miniatures but just couldn't find the time to try them out. This is a goal that I will carry forward into July.
✅ Take the Tesla out every weekend.
Words cannot describe how much I love my Model 3. We drove north all the way to Petaluma and south all the way to Mountain View so far. Don't judge us but both times we ended up at Chick-fil-A because god damn their chicken sandwiches are out of this world.
By the end of this year I hope we'll take road trips to Los Angeles, Yosemite, Portland and Las Vegas at the bare minimum.
✅ Meticulously track every hour after work until bed in my Hobonichi Techo journal. I want to be able to calculate exactly how much time I spend on each activity.
There were 20 weekdays in June and I had 88.5 hours free after work which averages out to 4.425 hours a night. I spent those hours on the following:
- YouTube, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video - 28 hours
- Playing Dota 2, Dota Underlords, Rage 2 - 19.5 hours
- Writing articles for the blog - 11.5 hours
- Watching NHL or NBA playoffs - 9 hours
- Watching WWDC videos - 6 hours
- Reddit - 4.5 hours
- Reading Locke & Key - 3.5 hours
- Playing Judgement - 3.5 hours
- Reading Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook - 3 hours
Let's omit watching NHL or NBA playoffs since they are over and aren't indicative of how I would typical spend my time. That means I spent a total of 79.5 hours doing stuff after work. Of these activities I would categorize TV, Reddit and playing Dota 2, Dota Underlords and Rage 2 as "wasted" time. If you add those up they would equal 52 hours which means I "wasted" about 65% of my evening. That means 35% of my evening was spent doing something productive or "good".
At first glance those numbers don't look great when they indicate I waste the majority of my weekday evenings but I have nothing to compare this to. Sometimes you really are just burnt out after work and you want to spend your time in front of the TV or computer. I'll do this again for July to have a comparison and then maybe expand it to include my weekends as well.
Thoughts on Last Month's Goals
I am actually really happy with the goals I set. I only failed 1/3 of them and if I had better allocated a few hours after work I easily could have completed all of them. It has taken a long time but I seem to finally be dialing in to the goals I am setting. Fingers crossed I finally get a month this year where I complete them all.
Writing for this blog
I made absolutely no plans to write for this blog in June. I assumed it would be just like last month where I did nothing until I wrote the monthly retrospective. But both WWDC and E3 2019 stirred something in me and I ended up writing five articles!
- WWDC 2019: Thoughts on the Keynote
- WWDC 2019 - The Things You May Have Missed
- Tweets from WWDC 2019
- E3 2019: Best in Show
- SwiftUI Resources
For one of those articles I even added a new feature to my blogging engine (embedding tweets) because I was so inspired and had to get that type of article out. I'm not even really sure why I am writing about this in my retrospective. I just want to be sure to call out that one of my most prolific months was when I didn't plan anything. Maybe having too many goals is actually stifling and I should focus on less concrete ones that allow me take more risks about stuff that interest me?
Judgement is an action-adventure game from Sega that is a spin-off of their wildly successful Yakuza series. I've heard great things about this series over the years but just could never take the leap because I figured it would be far too Japanese for me to truly get immersed. I am an avid listener of the 8-4 Play podcast and one of their regulars, John Ricciardi, would not stop raving about how much he enjoyed Judgement (called Judge Eyes in Japan). These constant praises made me finally decide to dive in headfirst and I am incredibly thankful I did. Judgement is an exceptional game.
The moment I started running around Kamurocho (a fictionalized version of Kabukichō) I was instantly transported back to when I visited Tokyo myself. Every little detail of the streets and the shops leap out at me. Walking into the Poppo convenience stores gives me visceral flashbacks of all the 7-Elevens or Lawson Family Marts we visited. Hell even the Club Sega articles are near identical. The attention to detail throughout the world truly is stunning.
All of the graphics and worldbuilding doesn't really mean much if there isn't a solid story to back it and so far, about five hours in, Judgement has me hooked. You play Takayuki Yagami, an ex-lawyer who becomes a private detective after he manages to get a murder acquitted who then murders again. Disillusioned with his work, Yagami is simply looking to get by but cannot help but become embroiled in the affairs of the Yakuza families who run Kamurocho.
I am not under the illusion that Judgement is a game for everyone. It can be a bit tedious in places but if you are looking for a really well told story set against the backdrop of a seedy district in Tokyo I highly recommend you check out Judgement.
The Toronto Raptors are the 2019 NBA Champions
I can't believe I just wrote that. I move away from Toronto and a team finally wins one of the Big Four North American sports leagues. Absolutely mind-blasting!
I am a sucker for David Tennant, so when I heard he was playing a devil who is best friends with an angel played by Michael Sheen I was in like Flynn. Good Omens is a miniseries by Amazon Studios where the demon Crowley and the angel Aziraphale attempt to prevent the Antichrist from starting Armageddon because they have become too accustomed to life on Earth. It is an absolute must watch and if I haven't sold you on that yet how about the entire show is set to the backdrop of Queen songs? Seriously just go watch it and thank me later.
Locke & Key
I've seen djWHEAT rant about the graphic novel Locke & Key on my Twitter timeline for years. I honestly can't remember what triggered me to buy it this month but I went all in and bought all three master editions and it was well worth the money. This definitely isn't for everyone because the story is pretty brutal and horrifying but it is well written and the art is outstanding. You owe it to yourself to at least investigate Locke & Key to see if it is in your wheelhouse.
Review New Year's Resolutions
1. Get my driver's license and go on a road trip
Nothing has changed since last month. Road trip to LA looks like it will happen in August.
2. Lose body fat
Still maintaining around 21%. If I actually want to see any change here I am going to have to modify my diet and focus on building some muscle. All this cardio doesn't seem to be working.
3. Do 50 push-ups and 20 pull-ups
I am not going to beat around the bush anymore. I think this resolution is doomed. I did essentially nothing towards it for all of June. Until I get off my ass and actually engage in proper strength training this will always be a pipe dream.
4. Find a side project or hobby
I read the Cyberpunk 2020 rulebook and came to the realization that it isn't for me. In July I am actually going to try painting some miniatures and see how much it gels with me.
5. Read six different types of books
I finished reading The Cuckoo's Egg but since it is best described as a non-fiction / history book that would mean I've still only read four types: science fiction, non-fiction, history and fantasy. But I did read Cyberpunk 2020 and that is a roleplaying book which I should probably count. So we're finally up to five. I hope to make the sixth type a thriller or whodunit but that is going to have to wait until August at the minimum. I got Churchill: Walking with Destiny for free so I'm going to try to read it in July and since it is a history book it isn't going to count as something new.
6. Complete unique 24 scenarios in Gloomhaven
We only managed to beat one scenario in May which puts us at eight for the year. Now that we are four behind the pace I think it is time to admit the odds of completing this resolution are slim. I still am going to continue playing the game but I just want to be realistic about being able to pick up the slack.
7. Be proactive at work and take on tasks that increase my visibility
I have taken steps towards becoming an educator for new hires but that is not enough for this resolution. I need to start being proactive about work that can be done.
8. Grade my mood multiple times a day
I improved from the horrible month that was May but I am still down from the high of April. The problem seems to be that across the board I am down about a level. Work was considered boring more often and evenings were neutral rather than exciting.
9. Run a half-marathon
I ran 40 kilometers and still managed to maintain my target pace of 5 minutes per kilometer. I may not be able to do in it July but before the end of August I will run a 15K.
I am finally going to take a week long vacation this month and head back to Canada to see my family. With that in mind I am going to be a bit more realistic about what sort of physical activity I'll be able to achieve as well as improving my diet. But I am going to be certain to set some goals that ensure I will at least be both physically and mentally active while I am in Canada.
- Exercise every day I am in America. Be physically active every day I am in Canada.
- Complete 6 yoga classes.
- Run two 10Ks.
- Have greens with lunch everyday during the week.
- No sugary snacks at work.
- Only have Soylent for dinner during the week and eat fruit alongside it. Salads are A-OK!👌🏻
- Cook dinner once every weekend.
- No more than 1.5 hours of TV a night.
- No unnecessary purchases. Save your god damn money!
- Play two scenarios in Gloomhaven.
- Setup Pi-hole.
- Complete Apple's SwiftUI tutorials.
- Mock out the main flow of the iOS app I want to build.
- Read Churchill: Walking with Destiny.
- Beat Judgement.
- Paint a miniature.
- Meticulously track every hour after work until bed in my Hobonichi Techo journal. Now that I have a baseline I want to see what I can improve in July.