For the last few months I had been doing such a piss-poor job at fulfilling my monthly goals that I decided to completely break the mold for my October retrospective. Instead of relying on a concrete structure where I break down each of the previous month's goals, I threw that all to the wind and allowed myself to be completely dynamic. It didn't matter what I wrote about, just so long as I categorized it as a good, a bad or an honourable mention.
It really did allow me to highlight things that I normally wouldn't talk about if I couldn't figure out how to lump them into my previously rigid structure. A couple of readers also reached out and echoed similar sentiments which I was not expecting. It seems this new "format" is a success so I see no reason not to run it back for November.
Without further adieu, here are the good, the bad and the honourable mentions regarding my life from the past 30 days.
Ran 116 kilometers
It is hard to believe I managed to run 100+ kilometers for three straight months. I honestly thought my best running days were behind me but apparently I am still in the thick of it. I also didn't run a single 5K. It was only 10Ks along the Embarcadero or 7.3Ks around Lake Merced. My pace even picked up a small amount and I managed a 10K in under 50 minutes on three separate occasions.
I got back into running as a stopgap because I injured my hand and couldn't continue bouldering. How ironic that three months later I'd rather run then go back to the gym. My hope is that even though December in SF is cold and rainy, I'll be able to go for a fourth straight month of 100+ kilometers. Worst case scenario there is a treadmill in my apartment's gym so there are no excuses!
Eat less than 2000 calories a day
I have been complaining about my diet for years but this month I finally reached the breaking point. On November 14th I ingested two bowls of cereal, a burrito, a bag of tortilla chips, 20 chicken wings, fully loaded french fries and a can of Red Bull. That evening I looked in the mirror and realized what a disgusting sack of shit I had become.
The next day I went cold turkey and aimed to eat less than 2000 calories every day which I maintained for the rest of the month. I stopped eating breakfast, had much smaller portioned lunches, Soylent or salad for dinner and started fasting no later than 7pm. What surprised me the most was how quickly I adapted to the hunger. When I was adamant to myself that I was not going to eat after 7pm, it was shockingly easy to turn off that part of my brain and pick something else to distract me.
Also, having smaller meals in the evening and not even considering the possibility of snacking has resulted in me having a lot more free time.
Lost almost seven pounds
Apparently exercising every day while eating less than 2000 calories results in weight loss. Shocking right? Who would have thought?
On November 14th I weighed 165 pounds and on November 30th I weighed 158. It actually would have been 157 pounds if I didn't have a fatty cheat meal the day before 😅. Regardless, I am super happy with this weight loss and I am going to continue all of these good habits into December.
I know there are some people probably yelling at their screen right now "but Reid you should be eating more to gain muscle" and I understand. But my body fat percentage is so high right now that I want to see if I can get back down to 150 pounds before I attempt to bulk up. I wanna get rid of as much excess fat as I can before I try to increase anything else.
Got back into bouldering
I mentioned exercising every day and I managed that by finally getting back into bouldering. I hadn't climbed since August when I injured my hand and Sweet Jebus does it show. After only 50 minutes on the walls my hands were on fire because my calluses are gone. While I was able to do a single V4 this month it was not easy. I still did enjoy getting back in the swing of things and look forward to regaining my lost glory in December.
Read THREE books!
I went from reading no books to three books. There is no middle ground with me, eh?
I finished off the final third of Permanent Record and was all set to start reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. But I remembered I was only one book type away from finishing my New Year's Resolution of read six different types of books. So I decided to go the horror route and read two short stories by H.P. Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu and The Shadow over Innsmouth. Some may consider this cheating because they are so short but I'm gonna let it slide. I am actually quite surprised at how much I enjoyed them. The detail of the worlds and the franticness of the characters really shined through.
And with those two books I finally managed to read six different types of books in 2019:
- Science fiction
Visit from my brother
I have made a few good friends here in SF but nothing compares to the family and friends I have back in Canada. Seeing my brother this month really hammered that home. Spending time with him just makes me wish I could see all of my family more often. I've been out here 5+ years chasing that paper but I'm not sure it was worth it anymore.
Played Arkham Horror: The Card Game
Ben, a colleague of mine, introduced me to Arkham Horror: The Card Game and I am never one to say no to a cooperative board game. It was a lot of fun and I have since learned there are a number of expansions that can be purchased so if Ben is up for it I'm sure I'll be playing this game for a long time.
Attended Swift Language User Group (SLUG) meetup
This month's SLUG meetup was one of the best in a while. A lot of practical knowledge that was presented in clear and concise manners. If you are not really sure what Swift Property Wrappers are I highly recommend you watch the talk that Tim Roesner gave.
Watched Ford v Ferrari
Ford v Ferrari is easily one of my favorite films of 2019. Racing isn't even the main point of the story. It is simply the vehicle (bad pun) to tell a tale about the relationship between two friends. Highly recommended.
Wasting time on Reddit
There really isn't much to say here other than I spend too much time on Reddit. I use it as a time killing mechanism rather than a source of information. My goal is to cold turkey it in December but as we know from previous goals I've set, that is easier said than done.
Poor diet / too much caffeine to start the month
Even though I wrote about how I changed my diet and lost a lot of weight the first two weeks of November were absolute trash. When I looked back over my Hobonichi Techo there were multiple entries about eating at fast food places like McDonald's and Chick-fil-A. I can't gloss over something like that and want to make sure I hold myself accountable.
Too much YouTube/Netflix
Last month I wrote that I should use Screen Time to limit my YouTube and Netflix usage and in hindsight I really should have. I easily watched upwards of three hours of content every day, even more on the weekends. What drives me up the wall is that I am behaving exactly like YouTube's stupid algorithm is expecting me to and watching the random (yet interesting) stuff they recommend me. Why am I learning about mathematicians hording chalk or watching an otter eat sushi on their birthday? Because the YouTube algorithm thinks I may enjoy those videos and you know what? They are right!
I really need to get off my ass and make my "Reider" app that lets me explicitly subscribe to the YouTube channels I want. The reason why I can't do this with YouTube's built-in subscriptions is because their UX is so bad. If you subscribe to one channel that publishes too often that entire subscriptions screen becomes useless. You'll miss dozens of videos you really wanted to watch because one channel, that you only kinda wanna watch, went overboard for a couple weeks. But we all know that YouTube doesn't really care because they just want you to never stop watching so their A/B tests aren't going to let any feature like this ever exist.
Regarding Netflix, West Wing thankfully has decided to go off the rails in the sixth season so I'm losing interest in it. I kid you not within two episodes they managed to broker peace between Israel and Palestine. When they were setting up for it in the first episode I was thinking "there is no way the writers are that stupid" but nope they are fucking morons. Every single character seems to have fallen out of the idiot tree and hit every branch on the way down.
I'm actually at the point where I'm considering cancelling my Netflix subscription and giving Disney+ a shot. Really the only thing keeping me on Netflix at this point in time is The Witcher which comes out on December 20th so shortly after that I may be gone. We seem to be entering the age of subscribing to a streaming service for a single month, binging their good stuff and then cancelling because there really is no reason to have a standing subscription anymore.
Spent too much money
This was death by a thousand cuts kind of month. Eating out a lot. Buy a board game here and there. A handle for my Onewheel. A new pair of running shoes. A replacement raincoat. Nothing outrageous like a Valve Index (which I was considering) but enough random things that it adds up and to be honest I didn't really need all of that.
This is definitely an area that I need to work on in December.
Did not work on any side-projects
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare (2019)
It's been over a decade since I started playing Call of Duty multiplayer and I still have a love/hate relationship with it. That dopamine hit when you get a sweet kill is still there but so is that frustration when your team is completely outclassed. There have been numerous times where I went to bed angry because that one last game I shouldn't have played just didn't go my way. This is hopefully a reminder to myself to just not take games like this so seriously. Or maybe just give up playing competitive multiplayer altogether. 😋
Jack Ryan: Season Two
This is more of a public service announcement. Don't watch season two of Amazon's Jack Ryan. The writing is absolutely atrocious. Imagine a show about spies where no one actually tries to hide who they are, never uses even basic logic when making a decision and you'll have season two of Jack Ryan. The story is so implausible that by halfway through I was simply laughing at what was going on.
I actually like how I look with a moustache and think I'm gonna keep it going for a few months. Even if I decide to grow a beard again I'm first going to leave the moustache the same length and see how it looks with a close cropped beard. Maybe get that Captain Price look going.
Pack up apartment
Last month I managed to get most of my stuff into boxes and this month I labeled everything which took way longer than I thought. But regardless I'm now in a position where I can easily pickup and move in less than a week which is exactly where I want to be as my lease is expiring soon. One last thing to weigh on my mind while I try to decide where I'll end up in 2020.
Beat Pokémon Sword
Took me almost 35 hours to beat Pokémon Sword and I ended up catching 179 Pokémon while seeing 307.
Pokémon Sword and Shield is another solid entry in the franchise but it does not feel like the major step forward we were hoping to see on a console. Everything about this game pretty much feels at home on a Nintendo 3DS. Sure the resolution would have to be lower but nothing about the game mechanics seems limited by the hardware. When you see games like Breath of the Wild, Witcher 3, Doom, Fortnite, Super Smash Bros Ultimate and Super Mario Odyssey on the Switch, you can't help but look at Pokémon Sword and Shield and think that Game Freak could have done better.
Apple Watch Series 5
I upgraded from the Apple Watch Series 3 to the Series 5 so most of my praise is about stuff that Series 4 users already know about. The bigger screen is amazing, it is faster and the battery is better. Everything I wanted in a watch and I know it's gonna be great for the next two years. Oh, but the always-on display is utter trash because it absolutely tanks the battery. All Apple had to do was make it turn off when do-not-disturb mode turned on but since it doesn't I have turned the always-on display to be always off.
After an amazing losing streak the Leafs brass finally fired Mike Babcock and his replacement has gone 4-1 to start. It's almost like the coach was the team's biggest problem...
Unfortunately the daily and weekly retrospectives still feel like an obligation. However they were useful in remembering or having context about a couple of things I actually ended up writing about. So I'm going to try to continue to do them but not force myself. I'm going to try to be cognizant of big things that happen and write about those rather than feel obligated to write about particularly boring days.
The one thing that I do wish I had from my Hobonichi Techo is the breakdown of every hour but that seems impossible unless I switch to doing everything digitally. The amount of time it takes to collate all of that information isn't worth it but there is something about tracking it with a physical medium that makes me want to do it. I'm not confident that I would still track what I am doing if I didn't have my journal.
Review November Goals
I said I wasn't going to do this but let's just take a quick glance at how I did at my goals.
- ✅ Participate in Movember.
- 🤷🏻♂️ Minimize caffeine intake.
- 🤷🏻♂️ Minimize carb intake. Eat more vegetables and fruits instead.
- 🤷🏻♂️ Soylent for dinner instead of unhealthy premade meals.
- ✅ Run three times a week.
- ✅ Do yoga at least once a week.
- ✅ Get back into bouldering.
- 🤷🏻♂️ Write daily and weekly retrospectives in my Hobonichi Techo journal.
- 🙅🏻♂️ Watch less than 90 minutes of YouTube/Netflix a day.
- 🙅🏻♂️ No spending money on things you don't need.
- 🙅🏻♂️ Start work on a side project.
- ✅ Finish reading Permanent Record.
- ✅ Start and finish a new book.
- 🙅🏻♂️ Stream a single-player game.
- ✅ Play a co-op board game.
- 🙅🏻♂️ Paint a miniature.
Honestly I am pretty happy with how November went. I wrote about a lot of good stuff and the bad stuff isn't surprising or particularly daunting. If I really put my mind to it, like I did with eating, then I should be able to fix these bad habits.
The other interesting thing is that December is going to be a very weird month because I actually have the majority of it off work. I didn't vacation a lot this year (thanks Lacey!) so I'm gonna do the stereotypical Silicon Valley staycation. This means I am going to have a lot of extra time so I gotta make sure I have enough goals to direct me.
- Don't visit Reddit.
- Exercise seven days a week.
- Ingest less than 2000 calories a day.
- Make lunch the biggest meal of the day.
- Eat only between noon and 7pm.
- Run a half-marathon.
- Watch less than two hours of YouTube/Netflix a day.
- No unnecessary purchases.
- Build anything in Golang.
- Build anything in SwiftUI.
- Build anything in Kotlin.
- Publish Games of the Year 2019 articles.
- Read the first Harry Potter book.
- Take a day-trip in the Tesla.
- Stream Phoenix Point.
- Play another game of Arkham Horror: The Card Game.
- Paint a miniature.
- Work on 2019 resolutions retrospective.
- Work on 2020 resolutions article.
- Publish three other articles to the blog.