It’s almost 8 AM on New Year’s Day, so it’s time for my annual New Year’s self-review post. This has become a tradition for me; here’s a link to last year’s post, which includes links to a few previous years. This year is also the start of a new decade. I had a few thoughts on the past decade that I posted on Christmas, so I won’t rehash all of that here.
Health, Weight, and Sleep
I’ve got a bit of a headache this morning, and I’ve been fighting a cold (or something) since Thanksgiving. So I don’t feel very healthy. I have an appointment with my doctor on Friday, so hopefully he can let me know if I’ve got a big problem or just a stubborn cold. Looking back at last year’s post, I see that very little has changed. My average weight may have gone up by a pound or two. I’m usually coming in at 136 or 137 now, rather than 135, but that’s fine. My doctor would actually like to see me put on a few more pounds.
I’m continuing to track my weight and diet with Lose It every day. And I’m continuing to use my Apple Watch to track my exercise. I manage to fill my exercise ring on most days, and I generally fill my move ring about five days per week, on average. My move goal is currently at 500.
I’m still using Sleep Cycle to track my sleep. I guess I’m doing OK with sleep, but I do have some rough nights. I bought a bottle of melatonin gummies on Amazon a year ago, and I take two before bed occasionally. I think it helps. I don’t use it too often. Taking melatonin is probably safe, in moderation. I thought about getting a new mattress last year, but I’ve held off. I might go ahead with that this year.
I mentioned last year that I’d gotten a prescription for progressive lenses from my eye doctor. I did get that filled and I’ve been wearing those new glasses all year. Honestly, they haven’t helped much. I had my yearly checkup a few weeks back, and he suggested maybe trying computer bifocals, but I didn’t want to have to pay for another pair of glasses so soon, so we decided to wait and maybe try that next year.
I also mentioned last year that I should go get my hearing checked, and I never did that, so that should probably be near the top of my to-do list for this year.
Work and Professional Development
There’s not much to report on this. I’m doing fine at work. I got a very good performance review for 2019. I did a fair bit of work in Azure over the last year, so that was interesting.
Here’s a list of tech books that I read last year, from my Goodreads history:
- ASP.NET Web API Security Essentials
- Beginning Azure Functions: Building Scalable and Serverless Apps
- C# and XML Primer
- Instant Nancy Web Development
- Learn Azure in a Month of Lunches
- Take Control of Catalina
- Take Control of Photos
- Take Control of Upgrading to Catalina
- Take Control of iOS 13 and iPadOS 13
- The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
That’s a pretty random list, but there were a few good ones in there. I think that I read all of those via my O’Reilly subscription that I get through my ACM membership, so I’m getting some value out of that.
I’m also still paying for a Pluralsight subscription. Checking my history there, it looks like I’m getting some value out of that too. Here’s the list of courses I watched in 2019:
- IIS Administration Fundamentals
- Microsoft Azure Developer: Create Serverless Functions
- Getting Started with OAuth 2.0
- Implementing and Managing Microsoft Azure Multi-factor Authentication
- Microsoft Azure Developer: Securing Data
- Microsoft Azure Developer: Implementing Application Logging with Diagnostic Logs
- Instrument Application with Azure Monitor Application Insights
- Microsoft Azure Developer: Monitoring Performance
- Play by Play: Care and Maintenance of Development VMs
- Beginning PowerShell Scripting for Developers
- Managing Azure AD
- Play by Play: Azure Beyond Websites
- Play By Play: Azure Deployment with Scott Hanselman
Again, kind of a random list, but I learned some stuff.
For 2020, I’d like to learn a new programming language, but I’m not sure about which one. I’ve considered trying to learn Rust, but I’m not too enthusiastic about it. Maybe I should try to learn Swift? I don’t know. I’ll have to think about it.
I did a year-end financial review last weekend, and I’m in pretty good shape. I still kind of want to do a one-time sanity check with a good financial advisor, but I didn’t get around to that in 2019, so I should really try again in 2020. I also see in last year’s post that I wanted to read this book last year, and didn’t get around to it. So I should probably do that.
I wrote up a post just a few days ago on my reading plans for 2020, so I won’t rehash that. But I’ll go ahead and post a few book lists that I culled from my Goodreads year in books. I read 115 books this year, according to that. Most of them were comics / graphic novels.
Here’s a list of the stuff I read from The Great American Read list last year:
- Looking for Alaska
- Pride and Prejudice
- The Help
- The Intuitionist
- To Kill A Mockingbird
- War and Peace
War and Peace took a lot of time to get through, so that was really my main reading accomplishment for 2019. I only read a few fiction books that weren’t related to my TGAR group:
- Angels and Visitations
- Pump Six and Other Stories
- Zoo City
Of those, only Zoo City is actually a novel. So War and Peace, and the other TGAR books, really swallowed up a lot of my reading time. For non-fiction, I did get around to reading 10% Happier and Search Inside Yourself, both of which I’d mentioned in last year’s post as wanting to read. (I can’t say that I really stuck with my meditation practice in 2019 though. That’s something I may want to try again in 2020.)
I got an iPhone XR about a year ago, along with a new Apple Watch. And my MacBook Air is only about a year and a half old. I bought a pair of AirPods in November, and they’re working fine. So I’m pretty well set for Apple gear. I’m not planning on giving Apple any more money in 2020, at least for hardware.
And I talked myself into buying an Xbox One back in May. At this point, I’m mostly just using it as a DVD and Blu-ray player. When I bought it, I kind of knew that I was going to be playing games on it for a couple of months, then lose interest, and that’s pretty much what happened. But it’s a decent Blu-ray player, so it’s not like it’s just gathering dust; it’s getting some use.
A friend bought me a new TV for Christmas, so I now have a new 43″ LG TV. That spurred a couple of related purchases, including a stand and a DAC so that I can route the digital audio output to my old analog receiver. It might spur one more purchase: a 4K Apple TV box. My current Apple TV box is the older one, that only outputs 1080p. (It looks like they still sell that one, as the Apple TV HD.) So maybe my earlier statement about not giving Apple any more money for hardware this year isn’t quite correct.
I have a bunch more stuff I’m thinking about, and that I could include here, but it’s now almost 10 AM. So I should wrap this up and maybe go out for a walk and get a cappuccino and a croissant from Starbucks or something like that.