Near the end of this month, I spent about a week and a half at my in-law’s, deep in the country, nestled in a valley of a mountain range. I always like these times where we can get out of the city; visiting them is particularly nice, because they live on an academic campus that’s often nearly completely empty when we visit, so I can take advantage of an unused gym within walking distance of their house.
I spent a lot of time this month thinking about process and the future. I think a lot of that will be reflected below!
I honestly didn’t listen to a lot of music this month!
I also put together a playlist of my 100 favorite songs from 2022 as of December 31, 2022.
One of the things that M asked for for Christmas was “chunky silver rings that are cool and not lame.” To try to achieve this goal, I purchased a pack of bulk “spacer” rings with various designs, sorted through the ones that I thought were cool and not lame, then designed and printed a container for them to go in. I think it turned out pretty well, and I think M liked the gift!
I think that some of the coolest gifts are ones that turn into new hobbies. I got a Baofeng UV-5R radio for Christmas, which has led to me spending a ton of time reading about amateur radio. While I’m not sure whether or not I’ll become a “ham,” I think that I already know the answer to most of the questions on the exam, and that I already have the tools in hand to pick up the rest.
Plus, after this most recent holiday season, my “case of miscellaneous tools” is now super cool:
This month, I finished Advent of Code for the first time ever. After a handful of years starting, getting frustrated, and giving up, I feel like I’m finally at the level where I can just bash out the solutions to each day in a fairly short amount of time. Though, admittedly, I did go and read someone else’s code for some of the days, I was really pleased with quite a few of my solutions. Here’s the code!
I’ve been quite frustrated lately by the limitations of off-the-shelf task management systems that are out there. I’d come up with a pen-and-paper system that worked for me, but it really ended up being a bit inconvenient to set up the templates each day; I also had to just remember to have the notebook around when I’d need it. To try to address this, I’ve started working on a chatbot to help automate my life, Zadok. Right now, Zadok manages a variety of tasks for me, from simple things to do, to habits, and even articles to write; he also does things like listing nearby restaurants. I’ve been trying to make the implementation as modular as possible, so that future changes are obvious; but I’ve also been trying to take abstract ideas and make them as easy to implement and small in scope as possible. It’s a fun tightrope to be walking.
Last month, I wrote:
I also bounced around a bunch of non-fiction books, reading about topics in programming languages, email, calculus, and soccer. Maybe I'll even finish one next month!
I definitely did not do that. 😄
I half-read a few books, but I did end up reading City of Dragons by Robin Hobb. This one was okay: I think it’s clearly setting up for a massive finale in the next book.
I think my reading habits changed a lot this year — I ended up spending a lot more time reading reference materials; or maybe some or all of a non-fiction book that didn’t end up on my “I finished this book” list. As someone who defaults to measurable metrics, this means that I look at my having “only” read 12 books with a twinge of disappointment — my average number of books read for the five years before this one is 16.6. But there’s two issues here: first, I read a lot of long books; and second, this is a kind of silly metric in the first place!
This month, failbetter published:
- “Grown Men Don’t Cry” by Mary Taugher
- “Headache” by Jessica Hwang
- “Outer Banks: A Note” by Jason Gray
- I typed 690,000 keys and clicked 96,516 times.
- I listened to 830 songs.