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February 2020 Retrospective

This month I learned about the copious amounts of paperwork necessary to move your personal property from the United States into Canada, especially when it comes to passenger vehicles. I was pleasantly surprised however to discover that a lot of it can be started online and then printed out to be physically presented when you cross the border. If you had asked me at the beginning of the month I would have said I was terrified about this whole process but now I am cautiously optimistic. I think I have all my ducks in a row such that the next steps are to head to a border with my 🤞🏻.

But what else happened throughout the month?

The Good

Plotted my escape from San Francisco

The route that I will be taking back to Toronto has been decided upon. It is scheduled to take six full days and I have chosen the five cities we will be staying overnight in. I used Google's awesome My Maps feature to not only plot the directions between the hotels but also other important things such as Superchargers or alternate hotels.

This is going to be 12+ hours of driving/charging every day for five straight days. It will be interesting to see how both the Model 3 and I hold up under this pressure. I hope to be in full self-driving mode 95% of the time which should alleviate most of the physical and mental strain on my body. But only time will tell. 😬

Maintained 150 pounds

While I did not manage to hit 15% body fat, I did maintain 150 pounds which is nothing to scoff at. It seems that with my current diet and cardio focused exercise I am not going to be able to improve much more than this. I have been saying this for months, but the next step to losing more body fast has to be gaining more muscle. I am going to make a conscious effort in March to lift weights at least twice a week.

Read the final three books in the Harry Potter series

I started reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix on February 1st and did not finish until the 15th. I cannot overemphasize how much of slog it was to get through this book. The writing was not bad by any stretch. It was the story and pacing that was so frustrating. Everyone seemed to be turning a blind eye to all of the insane bad things that were happening. There were no repercussions for straight up torturing children because it was sanctioned by the "government" for some reason. I swear that Hogwarts must have had some sort of gas leak or something because nobody's decisions ever made sense.

I immediately moved onto Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince because I was told it was an amazing book and that is an understatement. It is easily the best book in the entire series. The pacing was basically perfect and it had a nice mix of wins and losses for all of the main characters. I ended up blowing through this book in only eight days.

At this point I was on a role so I moved onto Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows which I finished in three days. It was a fitting conclusion to the series but it did feel insanely rushed. I wonder if J.K. Rowling was getting bored or under pressure to end the series? The writing was still very good but the plot didn't really have much tension. The main trio always seemed to know exactly what to do or a deus ex machina would occur and point them the correct direction. It felt like we were on a roller coaster to the end of the series which the author was forcing to happen.

Having finally read them all, I can say unequivocally that the Harry Potter books are a masterpiece and should be enjoyed by everyone. I cannot wait to introduce them to my nieces and nephews when they are old enough, or perhaps even my own children. But let's not kid anyone here. These books are just a stepping stone to the true GOAT, Lord of the Rings!

Formula 1: Drive to Survive

Netflix's Formula 1: Drive to Survive documentary series is an absolutely fantastic peek behind the curtain of the Formula One World Championship. The unprecedented access to the drivers and their teams result in amazing narratives that sometimes have very little to do with the actual race day itself. Interpersonal conflicts are brought to center stage and you really get an appreciation for how brutal this sport can be. Even if you aren't interested in Formula 1 racing I still highly recommend you check out this series.

I watched all 10 episodes of season one in a matter of days and even though season two was released on February 28th I have already watched all 10 episodes of it. Now I just need to wait two weeks for the 2020 Formula 1 season to begin.

The Good Place

I don't know why it took me so long to find The Good Place. It was created by Michael Shur who co-created one of my favorite sitcoms of all time, Parks and Recreation. The Good Place has that exact same style of lovable characters, each with their own defining quirk which evolves as the series progresses. I watched all three seasons that were available on Netflix and can't wait until they get the fourth and final season. I heard it was nearly perfect.

Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet

Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet is both great and terrible in the same way that Silicon Valley was. It is just too realistic. It can be hysterical because it hits the gaming zeitgeist right on the nose. But at the same time it can be brutally cringeworthy because it holds up a mirror and showcases the absolute worst of video game culture.

The fifth episode, entitled "A Dark Quiet Death", is a perfect representation of video game development. Even if the rest of the series doesn't float you boat, I demand you watch this episode. If it does not win an Emmy or some other sort of award for its writing I will be livid.

Built a Raspberry Pi security camera

I finally got off my butt and built a HomeKit camera using a Raspberry Pi Zero W and Matthias Hochgatterer's HKCam software. It was actually surprisingly easy and worked right out of the box. The main issue is that the camera quality really isn't acceptable for a true security camera. It cannot hold a candle to the $150 commercial ones which is unsurprising since it only cost $40.

I am on the fence about trying to build my own version of the HKCam software using a Raspberry Pi 4 and an aftermarket camera module. I should be able to get comparable image quality to the commercial ones so the only question is it worth spending all of that time?

Uber hit $41!!! and then plummeted to $31...

The Bad

Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot

Last month I wrote that I was constantly flopping back and forth between "this is amazing" and "why am I playing this?" regarding Dragon Ball Z: Kakarot. Well after I finally beat the game this month I can say that my opinion has stopped flopping and has landed squarely in the corner of "this game is absolute dogshit".

Seriously, no one on this planet should ever play this game. It should die a horrible death and be studied by future generations to learn how not to make video games. Without exaggerating, there is nothing from a gameplay perspective that is enjoyable. Nothing! The only saving grace was that it was retelling the Dragon Ball Z anime but once you get past the Frieza saga the quality of that absolutely tanks.

I lost 30 hours of my life to this game and I will never be able to forgive myself for doing that.

Wasting time on Reddit

I mostly browse Reddit when I am in bed "trying to fall asleep" but I still consider it a waste of time. I am going to make a concerted effort this month where if I am in bed I'm either actually trying to fall asleep or reading a book. Those are the only things I can be doing.

Walked by a bar that had been shot up after the 49ers Super Bowl loss

You can read more about it here but honestly very little surprises me about this city anymore. On the walk home, before I saw this, I witnessed some idiot doing burnouts in an intersection and he nearly lost control when he tried to peel away down Folsom Street. It is going to be very interesting to watch this city implode in the next 5-10 years.

Didn't get Go app working in Docker

What annoys me the most about this is that I actually did try getting Docker running again. But I became obsessed with "is this the right way to use Docker?" and was so paralyzed that I never got Go working. I have a bad habit of not being able to create dirty prototypes anymore because the big company in SF mentality has made me think I need to do stuff "right" the first time.

Honourable Mentions

Getting better at ice skating

I have finally graduated to wearing a full set of hockey gear for my lessons and holy smokes does that stuff get hot. I had sweat pouring down my face at one point.

We have moved onto skating backwards but like most of the things I have been taught so far I am able to do it, but only at low speeds. I can tell I am at that point where I just need to practice more and it is becoming obvious that skating only once a week is not enough. I'd love to try practicing after work but unfortunately there is no public skating then. When I move back to Canada I am going to try to find a rink that lets me practice three times a week and hopefully that gets me to actually playing in a scrimmage at some point.

The Outer Worlds

The Outer Worlds is a very weird game. At first glance you would swear you're playing a game made by the same developers that made Fallout 4. But you quickly realize the scope of the world is much smaller and the story is much more important. I've played for about five hours and only just got off the planet you start on. I don't dislike the game per say but there is not really anything about it that I particularly enjoy.

If I wasn't streaming this game I probably would have already swapped to something else. But I am going to try to power through to the end in March. Supposedly it should only take me another five to ten hours and I'm sure if I just keep murdering indiscriminately the end will come even sooner than that.

Ran 100 kilometers

Sixth straight month running 100+ kilometers! My pace even improved to 4 minutes 43 seconds per kilometer.

Review February Goals

March Goals

March will be my penultimate month in San Francisco and probably the last one where I can actually do anything that doesn't directly affect the move. I suspect April will be me mostly living out of boxes planning how the heck I am going to escape SF so March is my last chance to loose up and try something new.

Being healthy, reading a lot and playing video games are obviously the defaults for me. But what else can I do that I may have difficulty doing in Toronto?

#MonthlyRetrospective

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