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2020 in Review

Rooftops are covered in patches of white this morning. All the billboards have lost their typical splendor to the gloomy sky. Even the street lamps' orange glow failed to add any warmth to the car-free roads. Spots of light from a handful of building windows, however, do appear extra dazzling.

What a year. It feels like space-time has a higher viscosity than usual—dense enough to reduce sunlight to just an ivory ambiance—given how eventful the past 300-or-so days have been.

I'm actually glad that the first day of 2021 still feels like any day in 2020. Not very much should physically change simply because of a number flip, not to mention a rather arbitrary one, but perhaps it's exactly for the lack of change that we need to forge something new, something that gives an adrenaline kick, no matter how small.

Ugh, fine. I see no harm in giving in to this cheap psychological trick every once in a while.

Happy New Year, we made it.

2020: Apocalypse

I'm not cutting myself any more slacks this time around.

Because of COVID-19, I have stopped running outdoors since early March. After a few months of hiatus, I got a bike and a trainer in June and started cycling indoors instead. The 2.5x scaling factor is based on the speed differences between cycling and running. Working out in a more controlled environment is very enjoyable. Aside from easy access to fueling and shielding from the weather, being able to watch anime/listen to seiyuu radio while riding is a game changer. Behold, technology!

Blogging about the blog itself still takes up a sizable portion of my posts (and is a frustratingly self-defeating practice), but I did at least accumulated quite the amount of hoots: these fleeting thoughts aren't organized enough to be its own post, but still interesting enough that I want to write it down. I also use hoots to house my replies to other blogs and the rather cumbersome process of which makes me realize how little I really have to say most of the time. Not to color my still largely manual approach superior, but I do think there is some merit in eliminating low-effort-high-noise contents, both for myself and others.

Ah, donuts, the honey glazed shackles of guilt, the deep-fried cuffs of indulgence. While I would like to attribute this to my will of steel, it is COVID-19 that got the better of such temptations. My laziness and excitement for bunker life eliminated any chances of late night Dunkin' visits. Guess it's time to turn up the dial.

Writing Go was quite the mindless fun exercise. Finding an effective way to learn the C++20 features proved to be harder. <format> is the straightforward one and pretty much works as you'd expect (no compiler supports the standard version yet, so checkout the original). <ranges> is similar to Rust's iterator methods and allows chaining, too. Maybe I should update my enumerate() with C++ post. <concepts> seems like the logical solution to the problems SFINAE tried to solve, but I don't have a good context to test out its prowess yet. On a related note, Zig's compile-time function approach to generics is also intriguing.

3 copies, check. 2 different media, check. 1 offsite backup, not yet. I'm also counting Syncthing copies here, and whether they can be relied upon as full fledged backups is debatable. Still some way to go here.

Technically, I did read non-technical books; I didn't finish any (not counting manga at least). The truth is, aside from those I read purely for entertainment, I am not so sure about what to read. Most non-fiction books look like success stories marinated in flattery and survivor-ship bias. Fictions, on the other hand, just don't attract me that much: knowing another story to tell isn't as exciting as learning a new algorithm for me. Gee that sounded harsh. Do I really think my blog posts fare any better? Anyways, before admitting defeat, I will give this a more serious attempt this year.

2021: Days of Future Past

The ongoing pandemic sparkled nostalgia like never before. People look back at the "normal days" with fondness that I find repulsive. Not that I'm completely immune to the atmosphere though, just that it rubs me in the opposite way: I find myself grew more assertive than before. After all, doesn't everyone secretly think they are above average and thus know better, especially after reading the news? At the same time, the voice of reason tells me to suppress this urge before it turns into arrogance, or even worse, ignorance. Perhaps I should learn to let these out in the form of blog posts, like EWDs, except non-technical.

On a positive note, my transition to wake-up-at-5-sleep-before-10 schedule is a resounding success. The lockdown WFH actually helped in that I have more leeway to adjust my sleep schedule. Now I have plenty of time for exercise every morning or even the option of another two—or three if I'm really pushing it—hours of sleep. Given how I was able to clock in the last 100 miles of rides within the winter holidays, I'll bump the target mileage up a bit this year.

The schedule change also made me realize how unproductive the few hours before bed really is for me: after a day of work and much needed dinner, I don't feel motivated enough to exercise or focus on anything for an extended period of time. Since I started beancount-ing in 2020, I'm now looking to apply a similar methodology to my time. I've been testing out Toggl Track to log how I spend the larger chunks of my day and how many minutes in between slipped away with me blanking out watching YouTube. In particular, I figured having a crude "Strava for reading" system would also make my reading goals easier to achieve. As for which books to read, I'm thinking classic fictions.

After donuts, my challenge this year is to abstain from cookies, which can frequently be found in my work place lunch bags. It's strange how exponentially more attractive cookies are to their ingredients, i.e. sticks of butter and bags of sugar, the latter of which would have been sickening to consume directly.

I wonder if this is an age thing: at some point, human's auditory perception would just click with the sound of electric guitars, making it impossible to resist. I'm looking to sink more time into learning the instrument and be good enough to play a song or two by end of 2021.

The generation after Z is named Alpha, which makes no sense at all. To hell with inconsistent naming. To hell with COVID-19 (for other reasons, of course).

Un de ces matins disparaissent
Le soleil brillera toujours.

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