Hi all, and Happy New Year!
Wow, we made it to year-in-review number five! While I avoided publicly setting any concrete goals for the year, I feel that I experienced and accomplished a lot. This past year was a fun one.
But first, a massive shoutout to my wife, who achieved a monumental goal. Little did I know when I wrote my inaugural year-in-review post in 2019, that we would soon be relocating to Ohio for my wife to attend med school. Fast forward four years of relentless effort, she's now a doctor! I couldn't be prouder.
Turning to personal endeavors, I've continued to pursue several interests from previous years - writing, reading, watching movies, and working on side projects.
I wrote a half dozen blog posts in 2023, half of which were reacting to the sudden surge of LLMs. My drafts folder is bursting with ideas for more posts that I plan to publish in 2024. Stay tuned for those!
- KEATON × SSR
- Microsoft Is Using GPT-4 Wrong
- Writing Code Is Writing
- Thoughts on Nick Cave’s Response to ChatGPT
- It’s Not AI, and It Wasn’t Built to Be Accurate
- The Life Electronic
Despite the towering stacks of unread books in my house, I ventured into a new reading experience this year—consuming books on my phone through Apple Books. The experiment was a wild success; I read 28 books in total (granted, a significant portion comprised early Sherlock Holmes short stories). Favorites included Camera Man, Leonardo da Vinci, Killers of the Flower Moon, and The Wager. I also delved deeper into sci-fi with Dark Matter, The Murderbot Diaries, Kaiju Preservation Society, and Mickey 7.
Last year's movie count was 303. This year, aiming for 365, I surpassed my goal by watching 438 films. Highlights included catching RRR in theaters with my wife and friends, viewing Killers of the Flower Moon after reading the fantastic book, Barbenheimer, Godzilla Minus One, and completing Buster Keaton's filmography. I plan on writing more about this topic in a separate post.
Killers of the Flower Moon →
Godzilla Minus One →
Our Hospitality →
Go West →
Battling Butler →
I hadn’t played an AAA game in a while, but being gifted a PlayStation 5 this year changed that. I played through Spider-Man: Miles Morales and picked up quite a few more games I’m excited to check out.
I also spent quality time with my Switch, playing Super Mario Bros. Wonder with my son and venturing into Paldea in Pokémon Scarlet.
Still hooked on Wordle and Framed, I added another small game from The New York Times to the list: Connections.
Lastly, I couldn't resist picking up Root—a beautifully designed game where teams with unique abilities vie for control of the board.
Tardy Critic is one of my oldest and most neglected projects. This project was born from the idea that most film reviews are published upon the release of a movie at the point when it’s impossible to separate it from the hype cycle and marketing surrounding it. Tardy Critic would be a site that only publishes reviews of movies on their 10th anniversary, assuming that that’s long enough for public opinion to settle.
This year, I decided to migrate all of the reviews from WordPress to Letterboxd and create a new website that links to their new home there. I’ve generally been moving the other way with my writing, from apps to self-hosted, but I’m a fan of Letterboxd and like the idea of these reviews showing up in people’s feeds there.
The website has neat features in its own right, such as the automatically generated anniversary list at the top of the page.
The Activity Feed
The activity feed on this website has been an ongoing, fun project. Its dual purpose is to create a single feed incorporating all my internet activity and make my personal website more dynamic.
A neat thing happened when I put this together. Stories began to form, connecting instances where a random movie thought on Mastodon preceded my Letterboxd review for the same movie. This connectivity would have remained invisible without the feed.
For reasons we don’t need to get into here, all of my bots were imperiled in early 2023 and I had to migrate them to ensure their survival. Having previously moved them from Heroku to AWS, I now had to shift from Twitter to Mastodon. The transition was successful, turning my once Heroku-hosted Twitter bots into AWS-hosted Mastodon bots. I even created a new one specifically for Mastodon, PokemonFacts. 🦣
Personal Film Preservation Project
I went all in on Letterboxd a few years ago. My film reviews before that were scattered across the internet, many hidden in an old Twitter archive ZIP file. I decided to take up backfilling my Letterboxd profile with reviews from the before, tracking down tweets, email receipts, and even physical ticket stubs.
I was able to reach all the way back to 2008 when I watched The Dark Knight in theaters for the first time. I even had instances where I’d found a tweet with my thoughts about a movie that aligned with a ticket stub I had saved from over a decade ago.
At this point, it’s becoming clear to me that most of my interests are converging on one mega-interest: movies. I’m either watching them or reading about them or listening to podcasts about them or building websites for them or just straight up making them. I have ideas and tentative plans to do more with this in 2024. I want to slow down on the consumption and start creating more. Let’s go.