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August 2020 Retrospective

Did I ever tell you what the definition of insanity is? Insanity is doing the exact same fucking thing over and over again expecting shit to change. That is crazy.

In last month's retrospective I called myself out for being too complacent during the pandemic. I was using it as an excuse to engage in time wasting behaviour. I wrote that unless I called out this bad behaviour and detailed how it could be improved, history would be doomed to repeat itself. Well, have I ever told you what the definition of insanity is? Because in August I certainly embodied it by repeating the same bad behaviours and expected shit to change.

The Bad

Too much TV / Reddit / YouTube / Twitter

I honestly didn't realize how much media I consumed this month until I sat down and started writing this retrospective. I looked over each entry in my Hobonichi Techo and was shocked by the number of references to TV shows and films. I thought by banning myself from rewatching things I would actually curb my intake but instead I appear to have widened my palette. However, I don't regret a single moment. I will go into greater detail about what I liked in "The Good" section below, but by forcing myself to branch out I discovered a lot of really great new shows. I am starting to sense that making watching TV uninteresting is a sisyphean task. Until I make other hobbies more engaging I don't see why I would watch less TV.

My plan to have a book in progress every day of the month does seem to have had the intended effect of reducing my time on Reddit. I will admit that some nights I would get into bed and just mindless browse but more often than not I would open up the Kindle app on my iPhone instead. I definitely could have done better but this is a big step in the right direction. I am thinking about expanding this to include audiobooks and I may start trying to fall asleep to them instead.

YouTube's recommended videos algorithm is just too fucking perfect and I fell down that rabbit hole consistently. It really makes me want to create my own app for consuming this type of media so I can stay away from the channels that I don't explicitly follow. I wish there was some way I could turn off the recommended videos but YouTube's growth hackers can't let that happen. They need more eyeballs!

Unfortunately Screen Time didn't stop me from doomscrolling. I would always ask for more time whenever it told me my limit was up. I just needed to see if someone had liked my tweet or if that idiot I was arguing with finally realized that I was right and Epic games are stoopidheads. Jesus Christ I really should just delete Twitter shouldn't I?

The Toronto Maple Leafs suck!

Another year, another disappointing exit from the NHL Playoffs for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Coming back from being down 3-0 in the third period of game 4, just to be shutout in game 5 is one of the most normal things that has happened in 2020. It gave me a faint shred of hope that we'd finally gotten past the worst of it.

Formula 1 is boring

Lewis Hamilton started pole for two of the three races this month and lead from start to finish for both. I literally fell asleep halfway during Spa because it was so boring. The only race he didn't win was because Mercedes tires magically started to fall apart. We are literally down to praying for the racing gods to break Mercedes cars because no other team can compete.

In September we have two races in Italy before we move to Russia and I don't see any reason why Hamilton isn't going to win them all. There is a good chance that both Hamilton and Mercedes will essentially have the drivers and constructors championships sewn up by the end of the month.

The Good

Ran over 140 km


I'm not really sure what pushed me but I just started running longer distances this month and probably halfway through I realized I could possible break my previous record of 142 km. I am super happy that I am still able to do this at my age. People are always saying your thirties are when you start to degrade but I'm gonna do my best to keep pushing so that even when I'm 50 this is still the norm.

Wired up my desks

Every desk I've ever owned has always had a mass of cabling cluttering up the back. I've always wanted to find a way to hide them underneath my desk and this month I finally came up with a solution. I mounted two IKEA SIGNUM cable management trays beneath each desk so all of my power adapters could rest out of view. I then mounted three and four foot power strips under each desk so that anything in the SIGNUM trays would have easy access to power. Combine this will the Fully monitor arms I installed last months and my desktops are nearly cable free! My hobby desk is fully operational and after the Grovemade Desk Shelf arrives this week my work/gaming desk should be done as well.

Persona 5 Royal

After 100+ hours I beat Persona 5 Royal and loved nearly every minute of it. The new final semester at school was really good and all of the quality of life improvements definitely make it better than the original. It is easily my game of the year for 2020 at the moment. I think only Cyberpunk 2077 has the potential to dethrone it. The pandemic has caused so many delays that there really isn't much left to be released this year. It would not shock me if Cyberpunk got delayed until 2021, at which point maybe only Yakuza: Like a Dragon or Watch Dogs: Legion could possibly give Personal 5 Royal a run for its money.

Read Moneyball

I am a huge fan of the Moneyball film. I recommend it to everyone because it is not just a movie about baseball. The acting and character development are far beyond what anyone would expect from a film about baseball statistics. It does a perfect job of teaching the viewer about sabermetrics while also getting them invested in the lives of the players affected by it.

I've had the Moneyball book on my to-read shelf for almost a decade now but I could just never bring myself to start it. I always assumed it was going to be a rather dry book that delved deep into the ideas of sabermetrics. I couldn't have been more incorrect. Don't get me wrong, this book does go deep into sabermetrics but just like the film it does so by explaining it through the players and managers who leverage it. I thought Brad Pitt's Billy Beane character was probably over-the-top for Hollywood's sake but after reading this book you truly get an idea as to how frenetic he was in real-life too.


I am an absolute sucker for British crime dramas so when Jarques introduced Elsie and I to Shetland it hooked us. We watched all 20 episodes and are clamoring for Netflix to release the fifth season. I'd still probably put Broadchurch above Shetland but not by much. It is hard for anything to top my love of David Tennant.

Season 1 of The Umbrella Academy

Netflix really is a treasure trove of great content. The Umbrella Academy came out back in 2018 and I had never heard a peep about it. When Netflix released season two at the end of July they appeared to ramp up the marketing and got it on my radar. It is a fairly slow burn and does have a decent bit of violence and gore but if you like media where the superheros are mentally broken and not stereotypical paragons of virtue then I think you'll enjoy The Umbrella Academy.

Oh also, shout-out to Aidan Gallagher as Number Five whose acting is absolutely out of this world. His ability to play a 58 year old psycho-murder trapped in the body of a 16 year old boy is amazing. I cannot wait to see him in more things.

HBO's McMillions Documentary

McMillions easily could have been one of those hour long specials on A&E and it probably still would have been incredibly interesting. To hear that the McDonald's Monopoly game was the victim of massive fraud and that there was no legitimate big prize winners from 1989 to 2001 is a hook that almost no one can resist. To see about how they did it and and how it fell apart would be intriguing to almost anyone on this planet. But what McMillions has going for it, and why it is worth being a six episode miniseries, is that it leans heavily on the absolutely batshit cast of characters involved. From the criminal kingpin to the Italian crime families that distributed stolen game pieces all the way up to the kooky FBI agents. Every single person on camera feels like they are a charicature of a real person. But when you hear that most of this takes place in Florida suddenly everything makes much more sense.

Remember, Epstein didn't kill himself

I feel dirty putting this in "The Good" section because I definitely didn't feel that way after I finished watching Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich. But if you are like me and really had no idea about the details leading up to Jeffery Epstein's arrest you should definitely give this a watch. The sheer audacity that this sociopath and his associates had is infuriating. His ability to manipulate the police through his money and political power is even more apropos in this day and age. I always thought this level of collusion would be near impossible when so many people know but the blind eyes being turned was flabbergasting. Going into this knowing he died and that Ghislaine Maxwell is in prison allows you to feel a bit better but hearing from all of the women he abused is gut-wrenching.

Honorable Mentions

First volume of the Overlord novel series

Ever since I was introduced to .hack//Sign almost two decades ago I've been a sucker for media about being trapped in online video games. This lead me to watch the first two seasons of the Overlord anime and this month I read the light novel which it was based on. There really isn't much to say other than the anime looks to have done a nearly 1:1 recreation of the first volume. Obviously a novel is able to go into greater detail about a number of things but it is basically the first four episodes of the anime. I enjoyed the writing style quite a lot and am debating between continuing this series in September or maybe pivoting over to The Witcher and giving it a shot.

Apple dunking on Epic Games

Epic Games flaunted the rules of the App Store this month by enabling a way to collect payment outside of Apple's IAP mechanisms. Unsurprisingly Epic's App Store account was banned and Fortnite was removed. But to twist the knife deeper Apple then promoted PUBG Mobile, the most direct competitor to Fortnite, on the front page of the App Store.


There has been a lot said about Epic being the good guys in this battle between multi-billion dollar companies but I don't buy it. I like Dave Verwer's take on iOSDevWeekly best. Epic doesn't want to do this so other "indie" app developers can get a bigger piece of the pie. They want to circumvent the entire App Store so they can squeeze every dollar out of the dances they sell to teenagers.

It disappoints me how many developers forget how painful things were before the App Store. Buying and selling Mac apps sucked! Dealing with payment processors and weird tax laws, handling refunds, hosting files to download, discoverability. The App Store has simplified so many things for developers and made a much more enjoyable experience for the end user, especially those who aren't technically savvy. I don't understand this sentiment that iOS has to become more like macOS. This is a brand new piece of consumer technology that has become more ubiquitous than probably anything that has come before it. Why are we trying to force it to be like stuff from the past?

Pocket City

I heard about Pocket City last year after some people I followed on Twitter raved about it. As someone who loved Sim City 2000, I didn't believe a game like that could truly work on a mobile device. However, after I discovered a blog post described how Pocket City was made using JavaScript and Cordova I had to give it a try. After putting three hours into it I can say that is has exactly the level of complexity I was expecting. It is nowhere near as involved as Sim City 2000 and the "optimal" layouts of your city become obvious quite quickly. It is still a very decent game but it just does not have the depth that I was looking for.

Nier: Automata

I don't really know what to write about Nier: Automata. It is such a bizarre game that seems to defy classification. I'm only four hours in and from what I've heard it gets more bonkers the deeper you go so I'm going to try to reserve judgement for next month's retrospective.

Noclip Hades doc

Noclip's series on the development of Hades has been stellar and their latest addition is no exception. It was really interesting getting a peek into how a small video game company was handling the pandemic.

Also, I was not surprised that Supergiant's office was broken into during the pandemic. San Francisco is a family pile of rubbage. The thieves probably wouldn't have even been charged if they were caught because obviously the harsh SF life drove them to it. /sarcasm

Review August Goals

September Goals