Every year I review my habits, exercise, and projects for the previous twelve months.
- Read (part of) a book. Finished forty-one of them in total. Wrote up my top picks for the year.
- Anki cards. I kept up geography and the periodic table, but added nothing new.
- Gratitude journal. I was specifically grateful for ice-cream on nine occasions.
- Starting showers cold. New habit this year and surprisingly it stuck all through winter.
Exercise habits fell off this year due to injury, which includes the yoga habit I was hoping to build.
I was excited about getting into climbing this year, but it only lasted a month. Between climbing, yoga, lifting and running I overdid it and injured my back at the start of February. I was off and on with running through March until I got a proper diagnosis (it was presenting as glute trouble), after which things continued to get worse. By April I couldn’t sit and had trouble walking. The first two weeks of May I took as “pretend” recovery from surgery, taking some time off from work and lying down all day. This didn’t help, and I scheduled a cortisone injection for the 13th May. This helped significantly. I was able to sit for short periods, and commence physical therapy which enabled me to start steadily improving. By the end of May I had my first basically pain free day.
I started walking with very short jogs in mid-June, and did my first workout at the start of August. I’ve been able to run consistently since, with the only exception being two weeks off due to a stomach bug in late August.
I got COVID in the middle of January but luckily it only took me out for a few days and I was back at full strength within a week.
As a result of injury, this was my lowest yearly mileage in a while, only just topping 2000K. I continued to be coached by Tim from The Distance Collective who was great at helping me bounce back.
Pre-injury I was in good shape but just running for fun. Highlight was probably a solo trail marathon up Mt Buller.
Post-injury I managed to salvage the year by working back up to the Great Southern Stage Race: a 3-day, 200K stage race in Western Australia. This was my longest ever race, and the most volume I’ve ever done in a week (let alone three days!) I wrote it up separately. I also got around the Two Bays 28K course as a solo effort and paced some friends to PRs in the Melbourne Marathon.
When I was able, I really enjoyed getting around Olympic Park Tuesday mornings with Hunter Athletics, and the Yarra trails Thursday evening with Studley Park Run Club.
Supporting Dad at the Alpine Challenge 60K and Surf Coast 100K, his first races at the distances, was also a highlight.
Not being able to sit down due to my injury, I wasn’t able to practice piano for much of the year. So I learned a new instrument! Since April I’ve been taking trombone lessons. I’m finding it quite difficult. Progress is slow but steady.
In August I joined the Moreland community band. It’s been fun to play in a group again. I also attended a few rehearsals with a classical low brass ensemble which was a different experience I enjoyed, but it was too much of an overcommitment and I wasn’t good enough to fake it without practising.
As of November I’m practising piano again as well, which is definitely my first love.
- Published a Cargo Rocket tutorial for the Factorio Space Exploration mod.
- Learned how to make GLSL shaders, made a neon triangle tunnel thing.
- Implemented a decent chunk of The Algorithmic Beauty of Plants in Haskell.
- Learned QGIS and made a map of the first leg of Via Valais route in the Swiss Alps.
- Wrote code to analyse dot-matrix displays on Williams’ pinball machines, with extraction algorithms for Demolition Man. Never got it working on a live machine because I couldn’t get a reliable feed out of PIN2DMD.
- Published a lightning talk Solving Factorio with Math giving an overview of some work I did in previous years.
- Migrated this blog from Jekyll to a homebrew static site generator.
- Migrated my book reviews from Goodreads to this site.
We moved office at work, and I’d promised the team a new pinball machine to celebrate. That turned into a Project: trying various machines, scouring Facebook groups, going along to competitions, and even trying my hand at basic maintenance on our existing Demolition Man. I installed a new colour DMD and dialled in the shot alignment. (Did need some professional maintenance to fix the claw and rebuild the flippers however…)
Decided on Godzilla, the #1 rated machine on Pinside. I was able to try it at Karting Madness in Bayswater on my way back from a run at Mt Dandenong and it is a lot of fun. Scheduled to arrive late January 🤞
Achieved highest lifetime score on Demolition Man (14.6B), probably won’t be matched now that we’ve disabled extra balls and sped the game up.
My sister had a baby! The first on my side of the family.
I fasted for 24h on two occasions, and a number of 18h ones, just to see what it was like. Not something that makes sense when I’m training so was good to experiment while I was in a recovery phase.
Installed a spa and outdoor shower in our atrium. Significant life upgrade.
I don’t cook very often at all, but I added a few new recipes to the repertoire: Palak Paneer with Tofu, Chili Garlic Noodles, and a Red Lentil Bolognese. The Palak Paneer in particular has been repeated a number of times.
Upgraded my bike with some fatter pedals. Much nicer to ride on.
With COVID restrictions a thing of yesteryear, I was able to see some shows:
- MSO plays John Williams in a free concert at Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
- MSO plays Brahms and Korngold.
- The Australian Ballet’s Anna Karenina.
- Shen Yun.
- The Picture of Dorian Gray. Incredible.
- Hamilton. With a much better lead than the original…
- MSO plays Vine, Mendelssohn, and Brahms.
Got out social dancing with Jodie a couple of times.
- Civilization VI. My most played game, with 39% of play time. I wrote up my analysis and review separately.
- XCOM 2. Did a single heavily modded run that accounted for 24% of play time. Made a video recap.
- Phoenix Point. A distant 3rd with 6% of play time. From the creator of the original XCOM. This has a lot of neat stuff in it but ultimately I didn’t finish my run. Think I got a bit overwhelmed. Would likely be better on a second play through now I understand more of the mechanics.
- Inscryption. This might look like just another rogue-like deck builder, but it’s so much more. Play it blind, you won’t regret it.
- Marvel SNAP. An exquisitely designed mobile game from the creator of Hearthstone. Very quick games, shared randomness in location selection keeps it interesting. Have been playing this in small but pretty consistent doses since November.
Honorable mentions to Aiko’s Choice, Against the Storm, and Banners of Ruin. None of these consumed significant play time, but I appreciated them nevertheless.
I don’t really include work reflections in this review, but for the record: moved into a fancy new CBD office, team is 110 people strong, home loan product in market, got my mug on the news for the launch of Maybuy.
Make a dent in the stack of 20th century piano music I just impulse bought. Make a trombone noise that doesn’t sound terrible. No more injuries please 🙏 Maybe a 100-miler!? Travel internationally for the first time since arriving back from the US four years ago.