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December 2019 Retrospective

Alrighty, we're not just at the end of another year, but the end of another decade. My last two December retrospectives have been downers so let's see if we can go into the new decade on a high note.

The Good

Ran a half-marathon

It took 347 days but I finally ran a half-marathon and completed one of my resolutions.

I wasn't surprised that I completed a half-marathon. I'm pretty confident in my ability to cover 21.1 kilometers at the drop of my hat. What blew my mind was that I managed match my record of 1 hour 41 minutes which I set back in 2013 at the Toronto half-marathon. Six years later and not regressing is a wonderful feeling.

Ran 142 kilometers

Not only did I run 100+ kilometers for a fourth straight month, but I also improved upon everything. 142 total kilometers at a pace of 5'02" per KM for my best month of the entire year! San Francisco was also cold and rainy for all of December so it was a real pain to get my ass outside but I did it.

I don't think I'm going to be able to set new records in January but I am going to go for a fifth straight 100+ kilometer month.

Eat less than 2000 calories a day, fast for 16+ hours

Last month I finally hit rock bottom and made drastic changes to my diet. I started to eat less than 2000 calories a day as well as fast for 16 hours. I continued this all through December with very little effort. It is amazing to see what you can do when you fully commit to something. I was finally dedicated to getting healthy and that was all my brain needed to get on board and suppress those hunger pains.

I have a physical in January to double check that I'm not doing any longterm harm to my body so barring any bad news there I hope to continue this practice well into 2020.

Lost almost five pounds, down to 17% body fat

Running 100+ kilometers, eating less than 2000 calories a day and fasting for 16+ hours continues to yield some pretty incredible weight loss. While I am ending the month at 154 pounds and 17% body fat, I actually managed to crack 150 pounds and 15% body fat in December. There is no part of me that doesn't think that can't be the norm in January.

Drove the Tesla down to San Diego with Elsie

Elsie came to visit me this Christmas and we finally crossed off another resolution. After getting my driver's license in February and buying a Model 3 in May, we went on a road trip and ended up in San Diego to visit some friends.

We drove over 1100 miles in 18 hours and Nessie (the name of my car) was an absolute beast. I cannot imagine driving on highways without Tesla Autopilot anymore. I've tweeted about how much it lessens the cognitive load while you are driving but when you cover 500+ miles in 12 hours it really makes a big difference. I honestly believe I could cover over 800 miles in a single day with Autopilot and come out sane on the other end.

Also, being stuck in stop-and-go traffic is a walk in the park with Autopilot. I probably could have fallen asleep at the wheel and it would have gotten me through safely.

Pro-tip though, if you are driving through Los Angeles not even Autopilot can prevent the I-5 from being a highway of pain. Just drive across the north or south of LA, don't try to cut through it. Also don't listen to Waze which thinks getting off the I-5 and driving through random LA back-streets is worth saving 30 seconds of drive time.

As far as San Diego goes it was a lot of fun in the short time we were there but holy shit was it cold. I was always told that San Diego is permanently 16 degrees Celsius but it got down into single digits both days we were there.

Read first three Harry Potter books

I finally read the first three Harry Potter books (The Philosopher's Stone, The Chamber of Secrets, The Prisoner of Azkaban) and holy cow I didn't realize what I was missing. I knew it was a good book series but I didn't realize how good. I thought it was going to be mostly young adult nonsense that got old fast but every book is so well paced. A chapter is never drawn out too long and always leaves you wanting more. I cannot wait to finish the final four books in 2020.

Oh also the books are 10X better than the films! 😋

Watched The Witcher on Netflix

The Witcher 3 is my favourite RPG of this decade so I was 100% on board with Netflix adapting The Witcher for TV. I was not prepared for how much I would enjoy it.

It is a really dense show and I don't think it is going to be everyone's cup of tea, but as someone who only played the video games I was completely enthralled. All of the actors did an amazing job, the visuals were stunning and the world was engrossing. Hell the show actually made me want to go back and play the Blood and Wine DLC for The Witcher 3.

Wrote a lot for this blog

I don't know what it is but every year I always seem to be the most prolific around December/January. I guess being in that retrospective mood just gets the creative juices flowing.

Basically if you like ranking video games or reading about how Silicon Valley sucks I got you covered this month.

One-Punch Man manga

I watched season one of the One-Punch Man anime at the beginning of this year and was very impressed. I somehow stumbled upon a bundle of the first ten volumes of the manga on Amazon and figured what the heck. If the writing of an anime where the hero can literally beat anything with a single punch was solid, the manga should be even better. Color me surprised when the writing of the anime and the manga appeared to be nearly identical. I have read the first seven volumes which cover the first season of the anime and the adaption looks to be perfect.

I plan to buy the rest of the manga volumes in January and plow through them.

The Grand Tour: Seamen

"Season 4" of The Grand Tour started this month and it took a little detour by having all of the presenters pilot boats instead of cars. I still found it incredibly entertaining and think if you've enjoyed the shenanigans of Clarkson, Hammond, and May so far you'll get a kick out of this.

The Bad

All of the bad stuff was the same as last month.

Wasting time on Reddit

Another month of wasting time on Reddit. My goal "to cold turkey it in December" obviously went sideways so I'm at a loss of what to do now. Do I need to hit some sort of rock bottom like with my diet before I take action?

Too much YouTube/Netflix

Again this is another month where I did the same bad stuff as the previous month but have no real idea of how to curtail it.

Perhaps I'm attacking these things the wrong way. Reddit/YouTube/Netflix are, for the most part, a way to kill time. Instead of trying to figure out ways that prevent me from using the services I should maybe focus on other activities that make me want to use them less? Easier said than done I know but if I was obsessed with building an app for example and spent hours after work on it instead of YouTube then that is two birds with one stone no?

Spent too much money

On December 1st I bought an artist case to hold all my Arkham Horror cards.

On December 7th I bought a leather cover for my Hobinichi Techo journal.

On December 16th I bought the first 10 volumes of the One-Punch Man manga.

I am a consumer whore.

Did not work on any side-projects

Docker, Golang, Kotlin, SwiftUI. I could have worked with any of these technologies but I didn't even attempt to install their tooling!

I wish I could put down on paper what exactly is stopping me from starting work on any of these projects. Time is not the issue. I have plenty of that. I've even written copious notes on the various things I want to build. I just can't bring myself to create that new git repo and project in an IDE.

Honourable Mentions

Phoenix Point

I already wrote a lot about Phoenix Point in my Games of the Year Honourable Mentions article so I'm not going to regurgitate it all here.

The Coles Notes are that Phoenix Point had so much potential but seems like an indie studio just didn't have the necessary skill/time to be able to realize it.

Leafs are in a playoff spot!

9 wins, 4 losses in December! They keep that winning pace up and we'll be losing to Boston in the first round no problem!

Review December Goals

Just like November let's give this a quick look over without an additional commentary.

January Goals

December was honestly a pretty solid month other than the normal bullshit of wasting time on Reddit, watching too much YouTube and not working on any side projects. I exercised a lot, got healthy, was productive at work, read a lot, played video games and wrote blog posts. There is a lot to be proud of there.

So what do I need to do in January? Honestly this list is probably gonna change quite a bit over the month because I still have to write my 2020 Resolutions article but let's try to seed it with some good things here.