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In Review: 2018

How Far We’ve Come by Matchbox Twenty


This is the review one - only looking in the past here. Forward thoughts come next time. If you’re just here for the fun stats rollup and then moving on, well, here ya go:

  • traveled 85,422 miles*
    • recorded with Google Timeline
  • wrote 31,722 words
    • thanks bash: find . -maxdepth 1 -mtime -365 -exec cat {} \; | wc -w
  • read 14,091 pages
    • recorded with Goodreads
  • worked 2,611 hours*
    • recorded with Toggl time tracking app
  • took 1,894 photos
    • Shift+Click on Google Photos
  • went to 23 concerts
    • manually recorded
  • visited 5 states
    • recorded with Google Timeline, but is very wrong?

* extrapolated. I had data for at least 6 months but not all of it.

Resolutions

I want to start this off by looking back at my previous habits and seeing how I did on each of them. I’m not going to hold myself to any bar besidse curiosity here, so let’s just see what we get.

Dailies

Play Guitar

Yeah no, this one didn’t happen. It went pretty solid for the first few months, but then some work stuff happened for a month, and it just fell off right there. Goal is to get back into this, but it’s a stretch goal. Luckily, I’m not that concerned! While I did lose the guitar, I picked up an electric kit, a cajon drum, and a pair of congas. They alternate between the office and home, but I love them. We’ve had quite a few band practices and I’ve started really getting into a few songwriting moods.

Reading

Big check mark here. My Kindle is a lifesaver, such a good buy. The San Francisco Public Library (SFPL) uses two great apps: Overdrive and Libby. I have no idea if they’re the same thing or not (I think they are), but they work great at getting whatever looks good in front of my face. I went through 21 books this year for a total of 14,091 pages. The large majority of that was The Wheel of Time - a series which I still can’t decide to recommend or run away from.

2018 in Books

X per Week

Writing

Writing continues to be a far more ambitious task than I had expected. My goals were high, too high again. I maintained them through… about May or so. I just constantly found myself in one of two states:

  • Not having anything to write about
  • Not having the time to write about the things I wanted to write about

Not easy! That said, according to wc I wrote 31,772 words this year for the blog. That is… only 60% of NaNoWriMo? What? That’s insane. Still proud of the work I did, if not the content I put out. Hey, with no editor, something is going to end up as filler. I do think the quality of my writing (both personally and professional) has improved, and that’s a great point for “content is the only way to practice”.

Exercise

Ah-ha, an interesting one! This one failed due to external factors - my gym closed! How rude of them. With that ended my weightlighting routine (much to the sadness of D.A., likely) so we ended up taking a break. I didn’t want to $upgrade my gym, but there was no real obvious second choice. I asked around the office, and it seems climbing was the go-to. Huh.

Well, it turns out climbing is kind of fun. I haven’t been nearly as good about keeping up the frequency, but it’s still pretty consistent. I think I need to add some other kind of exercise in the between. Most of my workouts end up with me being unable to hold on to anything, but probably still able to do some more work. We’ll see what I spin in.

Big shoutout to my ~coworkers~ friends for getting me into this, I really do owe them.

Weekly’s

No, I don’t know why I spelled it weeklies before, that is so dumb.

Support Independent Creators

Ooooooof. This one took the biggest hit. Maybe got through… February. I basically got to the point where there wasn’t something immediately obvious to buy, so I didn’t know what to do. Additionally, if you’re massively in debt (hi, me) then maybe having a “spend money” goal isn’t the best idea. I’m very happy with all the donations I made, and would encourage everyone to be conscious of where they give money to.

No promises on this one coming back/staying around. It might just convert into a “support local bands or record labels”, which I can justify waaaay easier. Stay tuned.

Explore More

Weekly was hard, but I saw so, so many new things in 2018 that this one was still easily met. It’s one of those back-of-your-mind things. When you are out walking around, what do you do? Who knows, but something new! It’s so easy to justify going just one more block and seeing what’s around the corner once you’re already out there. Definitely helped by public transit and my bike, but also my other goals.

The majority of my going out was just reading and writing. It’s simple and easy to just go find a spot and doing little more than existing, but I get bored of that pretty quickly. Also, not really a foodie, so I don’t have some crazy restaurant list. As a result, we’re mostly looking at parks and coffee shops. Pretty common milennial stuff (heh, finally succumbed), but you know what? It’s just pleasant.


Top Lists

Alright, now the real fun. Let’s make a bunch of arbitary lists of arbitrary length and just talk about 2018.

Favorite things I read this year:

  1. The Dark Forest by Cixin Liu. What an amazing scifi novel! Genius ideas that take forever to pay off - but wait, that’s also the theme of the book too! So many new and unique ideas in here, with twists going all to the last page.
  2. Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. This screenplay is a bizarre ghost story about the things we try to leave behind. It’s brillantly told with a fascinating style. Saunders constantly interleaves real historical citations with his scripts, telling a story that teeters between fact and fiction with every line.
  3. A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson. Yeah, you really thought you could get through this list without seeing some Wheel of Time? No chance. The Last Battle is exactly what I wanted - something in between fan service and the ending that was originally planned. I’m not saying this book or ending was perfect, but I found it immensely satisfying. To me, it was worth smoothing a skirt or two or three thousand.

I’m not a big TV or movies person, so here’s a double category. Favorite things I watched this year:

  1. Spider-Man: Homecoming (Film). This year I watched nearly every Marvel film in order to get ready for Infinity War. In case you don’t notice, they get really formulaic. I’m not sure if Spider-Man was the absolute best movie I watched this year, but it definitely felt like it. It was just the best version of Spider-Man I’ve ever seen: no slow boring intro, localized problems, perfect balance of humour, I could go on forever. Even if you’re not a superhero person, give this one a chance.
  2. The Good Place (TV Show). Michael Schur is really, really great at making TV shows. I think this is one of his boldest attempts yet - a philosophy TV show? It sometimes has to veer a little too hard into the pure “we’re setting up the joke, so here’s a little exposition about philosophy so you’ll get the punchline” camp, but the jokes are often worth it. Trolley Problem is one of the best episodes you can watch!
  3. Dunkey, TheNeedleDrop, Red Letter Media (YouTube). Looking back, most of my TV time was spent on YouTube this year. These three channels keep you pretty well sustained across entertainment, with video games, music, and film respectively. They all balance the spectrum from sincere to troll (but with different distributions of course). It’s great, original, consistent content. I think my top pick goes to RLM: start with the The Last Jedi Review if you need one.

This list was hard to make. I played a lot of games that were OK, but not really list worthy. But here are the games I played and recommend this year:

  1. Horizon: Zero Dawn. Awesome world, awesome story, awesome gameplay. I thought the story was a little bit of a slow burn to start, and it was, but they speed it up exactly when they need to. They perfectly balance the sci-fi future with the regretful past and have them meet up in the exact right spot. The animals were SO COOL. Everytime I saw one, I was convinced to go and learn everything I could about it.
  2. Red Dead Redemption 2. Yeah, didn’t quite take number one. One of the best stories I’ve ever seen in a video game, with moments that make your jaw drop. This game has so many scenes that sometimes it does feel like it forgets to be a game. Only a slight knock =)

I already made a post on my top music (see previous post) so I’m going to go ahead and go list my favorite concerts I went to this year of the 23 I got to see. Support your favorite bands people! List:

  1. The Naked And Famous at the Swedish American Music Hall. This is the gig that taught you always buy tickets - sold out two months in advance what! I ended up refreshing StubHub every minute for three hours - there were some tickets that were going for $150/per, min 2. I got them down to only slightly over original price ($45/per) at the exact second doors opened for this show. I am insanely grateful I did - this band means so, so much to me through high school and college. From the soundtrack to every high school commute to Bonnaroo and a lot of stops in between, TNAF has been there for me with their addicting electro-rock. This tour ended up being their “last one” and was an incredibly stripped back, emotional thank you tour. This is probably one of the most painful, lovely covers I’ve ever experienced: I Wanna With Somebody by The Naked And Famous
  2. Gogol Bordello at the Fillmore. The concert was excellent, but really this was a group event for me. This was the first time I went to a concert with my coworkers. Also the last time I went to a concert with them, because ~they’ve learned their lesson~ we’re friends after that. Mosh first, questions later.
  3. The Go! Team at the Independent. They are way, way more pop and dance-based than the bands I normally post. They are a sonically and visualling overwhelming band with a huge cast who can also play every instrument on Earth, somehow. My jaw kept dropping in pure joy at what I got to listen to, but then the corners of my smile would snap it closed again.

This year I took way more pictures than I normally do… way more, actually. I hate photo dumps, so I did my best to curate these to the best photos I think I took this year of the 1,894 I tookl. But also, they’re my favorite ones too. No order (preference or chronological), just ten pictures that make me smile. This is the last thing, so you can ditch whenever you want:

jeff doggo hawaii cloudburst gogol kite mtn pizzatime snek waterman