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January 2020 Retrospective

I gots some big fuckin' news so let's just dive right in.

The Good

Decided to leave San Francisco

After five and a half grueling years I have finally decided to flee San Francisco. My boss and co-workers have already been told so there is no turning back. By the end of April I will be living in Toronto once again.

This is my #1 resolution for 2020 so I am really happy that I am actually attacking this early. I honestly thought I was going to just keep pushing this decision off, re-sign my lease and have to spend the rest of 2020 in this shithole, separated from those I love. But after some phone calls with my family I realized that it was time to prioritize happiness above everything else and it is basically impossible to be happy when you're spending 70% of your income on rent in a country that could deport you at the drop of pin.

I do want to continue working for Uber from Toronto but if it doesn't work out I am legitimately looking forward to taking a month or so off. I haven't been able to take the time to look for a job since 2014 when I interviewed at Uber for the first time. I've been doing iOS programming now for over a decade so I know I have the skills to do whatever I want. It is just a question of can I find the right company.

Ran 100 kilometers

I honestly can't believe I managed to run 100+ kilometers for a fifth straight month. Not only that, I somehow managed an average pace of less than 5 minutes per kilometer which is something I don't think I have ever done in my entire life. I would have thought that I was way past my prime in this regard but it looks like that even in my mid 30s I still have room for improvement.

I did go to a podiatrist because I figured running that much couldn't be good for my feet but surprisingly the doctor was quite optimistic. I do have some issues with my ankles and will get some orthotics but the doctor didn't suggest I reduce my running at all. I am going to voluntarily limit myself to 25 kilometers a week to minimize the risk. If I supplement that reduction with weights to help strengthen my legs I should be in a fine position.

Maintained 150 pounds

Alright so it was actually more like maintained an average of 151 pounds for the month but I swear I got that down to 150 for the very last week. My body fat percentage has been swinging a bit more than that, bouncing between 15% and 17% over the last 31 days. I also managed to finally get some bloodwork done which revealed my crash diet has had no ill effects.

I will admit that my diet could be much better. I have still been indulging in far too many carbohydrates. I think the next step if I truly want to get health is to replace my yoga with weight lifting and focus on ingesting more protein. Now that I've hit 150 pounds I really don't care if I jump back up as long as my body fat percentage trends towards 15. So in February I hope to start using the Strong app to track at my sessions in the gym.

Wrote a lot for this blog

I know three articles doesn't sounds like a lot, but the amount of time that went into editing each one of them was ludicrous. I bet I spent a combined 20 hours working on these.

Built a new gaming computer

It has been four years since I built my last gaming computer and with the imminent release of Cyberpunk 2077 I decided it was time for an upgrade. In the last four years AMD has really upped their game, so for the first time in over 15 years I bought an AMD CPU. I went with the Ryzen 3950X and a EVGA 2080 TI for the GPU. You can get a breakdown of the components on PCPartPicker if you're curious.

Needless to say this gaming rig is cutting edge and should have absolutely no problems with Cyberpunk 2077 at 1440p. I cannot wait to dig into this game in April. Wait, what? Cyberpunk has been delayed until September?!?!?!?

Read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

It took me 20 days to read Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire because this is the point in the series where J.K. Rowling decided to go absolutely ham with the length. This was very much to the detriment of Goblet of Fire because a lot of it felt unnecessary. In particular the first 20% of the book was fairly boring and inconsequential. It did pick up though and finished quite strongly such that I have already purchased Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and plan to finish it in February.

Akira film & manga

It may shock some of you to hear that I had never seen the film Akira until this month. The beauty of the animation cannot be understated. I was seeing things that looked futuristic and this is 31 years after it was released. Every single person on the planet should watch Akira at some point in their lives if only the appreciate the majesty of the animation from 1988!

I was so enamored with the film that I immediately bought and read all six volumes of the manga it was based upon. The story is much more complex (and vintage Japan) so I readily admit that this is probably not the path for everyone but I still throughly enjoyed it.

Hatsu Basho

The first honbasho of 2020 came down to the final match on the final day.

The Gentlemen

It has been over a decade since we've had a proper crime comedy film from Guy Ritchie, but he has returned to form with The Gentlemen. It is definitely not better than Snatch or Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels but it does a great job of carrying on their spirit in a modern setting. If you are a fan of Guy Ritchie's early films I highly recommend you see The Gentlemen.

The Mandalorian

The Mandalorian is the best piece of Star Wars media created in the last decade. Fight me.

The Bad

Wasting time on Reddit

There is nothing left to write at this point. I have mentioned wasting time on Reddit for the last four months. I honestly can't tell if I am continuing to mention it in an attempt shame me into taking action or if at this point I consider it some strange badge of honor.

Spent too much money

So things in Canada are 30-50% more expensive when compared to the United States. I am planning on leaving the United States. Ergo, if there are any products I think I will "need" in the next year maybe I should just buy them all before I move right? An Away Travel carry-on luggage for example. I hope you can see now how this insane thought process could lead a irrational person to spend more than they probably should. I suspect this mentality will carry into February as I finish packing up the apartment but hopefully I will be able to rein it in for March.

Gears of War 4 & Gears 5

I am absolutely flabbergasted that these games exist. Both Gears of War 4 and Gears 5 seem like they were built by people who hate the Gears of War franchise and want to make anything else. Also the writing was at the level you would expect from some teenager's fanfic. Probably 80% of the dialogue are from man children making sarcastic quips to one another.

Microsoft is in this weird situation where they have all these major franchises, such as Halo and Gears of War, that the original developers don't want to work on anymore. So Microsoft spins up internal teams to carry on but they don't understand what made the originals special. It is kinda like Disney just trying to ram Star Wars down our throats every year. None of these big media companies want to let any of these franchises breathe.

Outer Wilds

Outer Wilds got so much Game of the Year talk that I just to give it a shot. But after about four and half hours I can say I was supremely underwhelmed. The exploration aspect of the game was hyped up so much but I seemed to never find anything that interesting. Sure there were neat little tidbits here and there but nothing that really motivated me to move forwards. I may have been one of the unlucky ones who simply missed all of the "good stuff" but if that is possible in your game then the designers should shoulder part of the blame.

At least it did generate one particularly hilarious moment:

Did not work on any side-projects

I am going to quickly mention this because while it was a bad thing, I didn't replace this with even worse hobbies. I simply watched too much TV and played too many video games this month but I am not really that upset. I enjoyed all that I consumed and I was still productive in other ways. I shouldn't let this carry on another month however since one of my resolutions is directly related to finishing a side-project.

Honourable Mentions

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

I was actually hoping to write my first proper game review on Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot but there was barely anything to write about. You're only going to like this game if you are a MASSIVE fan of the anime. The combat is simple in the best of times and frustrating in the worst. The open world is pointless and exists only to pad the playtime. The graphics are literally the anime brought to life and the game just retells the story of Dragon Ball Z. If that last sentence didn't get you hyped then you will probably hate this game.

I constantly flop back and forth between "this is amazing" and "why am I playing this?" because it is that bad of a video game. The fan service is just so damn high that I keep coming back for more against my better judgment.

Grindstone

If you subscribe to Apple Arcade, the very first game you should download is Grindstone. It is basically a perfect puzzle game for mobile. The gameplay is simple, yet surprisingly deep and devoid entirely of microtransactions. I have beaten 25 levels in probably 3 hours of playtime and hope to beat a bunch more in February.

Season four of The Expanse

Thanks to Papa Bezos we finally got season four of The Expanse and, Sweet Jebus, you can see the bump in budget. The sets and CGI are streets ahead of any of the previous seasons. The writing took a big leap forward as well. Each episode was really well crafted and never felt too drawn out. Also, my hat off to Burn Gorman who absolutely killed it as Adolphus Murtry, the sociopathic chief security officer. Whenever he and Wes Chatham were on screen together I got chills.

Review January Goals

February Goals

February is going to be another transition month as I prepare to move home. The goal is to be in a position where I could pickup and leave within 48 hours in March because honestly that could happen. If I am living out of boxes for March and April then I know I'll have succeeded.

#MonthlyRetrospective

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