A Look Back at 2014
2014 was a good year for me personally (and a pretty terrible year for the world at large). Here’s my personal breakdown, with charts!
I taught two sessions (6 months) of Metis’ Ruby on Rails bootcamp.
|Lives Changed, January||Lives Changed, December|
Teaching was a fantastic opportunity. I love that I can switch from consulting
to teaching while staying at thoughtbot. I made some friends and learned a lot -
teaching the basics of Rails development is a great way to hammer home the stuff
about Rails that you “already know”. Helping the students and answering their
questions also taught me a lot (and confirmed that
accepts_nested_attributes_for should be removed from Rails). I recommend
mentoring - you’ll learn a lot answering random questions, and you’ll feel great
I feel like I should have read a few more books…but I read 62 this year, so it can’t have been that bad a year! A few are repeats (like “I, Robot” and “To Kill a Mockingbird”), but I definitely got more out of them this time around, so I’m counting them.
Here they are (WARNING GIANT TABLE AHEAD):
|The Devil You Know||Mike Carey||January 4, 2014|
|Tuf Voyaging||George R. R. Martin||January 5, 2014|
|The Ear, the Eye and the Arm||Nancy Farmer||January 20, 2014|
|Good Omens||Neil Gaiman||January 26, 2014|
|5/3/1||Jim Wendler||March 2, 2014|
|Vicious Circle||Mike Carey||March 2, 2014|
|Finch||Jeff VanderMeer||March 5, 2014|
|The Greyskull LP||John Sheaffer||March 7, 2014|
|Fevre Dream||George R.R. Martin||April 10, 2014|
|Johannes Cabal: The Fear Institute||Jonathan L. Howard||April 19, 2014|
|Dreamsongs: Volume I||George R.R. Martin||April 25, 2014|
|Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes||Jonathan Auxier||May 5, 2014|
|Year Zero||Rob Reid||May 11, 2014|
|The Lies of Locke Lamora||Scott Lynch||May 14, 2014|
|Red Seas Under Red Skies||Scott Lynch||May 20, 2014|
|The Republic of Thieves||Scott Lynch||May 20, 2014|
|I Am Number Four||Pittacus Lore||June 1, 2014|
|How To Win Friends and Influence People||Dale Carnegie||June 3, 2014|
|Sacre Bleu||Christopher Moore||June 4, 2014|
|The Keeper of Lost Causes||Jussi Adler-Olsen||June 10, 2014|
|The Disappearing Spoon||Sam Kean||June 12, 2014|
|Soulless||Gail Carriger||June 12, 2014|
|The Name of the Wind||Patrick Rothfuss||June 13, 2014|
|Guards! Guards!||Terry Pratchett||June 18, 2014|
|The Cuckoo’s Calling||Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)||June 21, 2014|
|The Wise Man’s Fear||Patrick Rothfuss||June 22, 2014|
|The Absent One||Jussi Adler-Olsen||June 23, 2014|
|The Drunken Botanist||Amy Stewart||June 28, 2014|
|Changeless||Gail Carriger||June 28, 2014|
|Flush||Carl Hiaasen||July 2, 2014|
|The Magicians||Lev Grossman||July 6, 2014|
|Rogues||George R.R. Martin||July 10, 2014|
|The Westing Game||Ellen Raskin||July 18, 2014|
|Blameless||Gail Carriger||July 18, 2014|
|Sandman Slim||Richard Kadrey||July 18, 2014|
|Both Flesh and Not||David Foster Wallace||July 26, 2014|
|The Disaster Artist: My Life Inside The Room||Greg Sestero||July 27, 2014|
|To Kill a Mockingbird||Harper Lee||July 27, 2014|
|Dead Beat||Jim Butcher||August 6, 2014|
|The Diviners||Libba Bray||August 12, 2014|
|Johannes Cabal and the Blustery Day||Jonathan L. Howard||August 18, 2014|
|Fooling Houdini||Alex Stone||August 20, 2014|
|Mistborn: The Final Empire||Brandon Sanderson||August 21, 2014|
|I, Robot||Isaac Asimov||August 27, 2014|
|Into the Storm||Larry Correia||September 2, 2014|
|The Road||Cormac McCarthy||September 16, 2014|
|The Windup Girl||Paolo Bacigalupi||September 24, 2014|
|The Well of Ascension||Brandon Sanderson||September 24, 2014|
|The Hero of Ages||Brandon Sanderson||October 5, 2014|
|The Silkworm||Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling)||October 27, 2014|
|A Most Wanted Man||John le Carre||November 1, 2014|
|No Country for Old Men||Cormac McCarthy||November 1, 2014|
|The Spy Who Came in from the Cold||John le Carre||November 9, 2014|
|Meditations||Marcus Aurelius||November 9, 2014|
|The Moth||Catherine Burns||November 23, 2014|
|White Night||Jim Butcher||December 1, 2014|
|The Brothers Cabal||Jonathan L. Howard||December 4, 2014|
|Proven Guilty||Jim Butcher||December 5, 2014|
|The House Behind the Cedars||Charles W. Chesnutt||December 17, 2014|
|The Daughter of Time||Josephine Tey||December 22, 2014|
|The Demonologist||Andrew Pyper||December 30, 2014|
Books read per month
The monthly breakdown is a little skewed since the dates are the dates I purchased the book, not the date I finished it:
|Month||Number of books read|
Here are my favorite books of 2014:
- “The Lies of Locke Lamora” is so good I re-read it twice. Elitist Book Reviews did a better writeup than I can.
- “The Moth” is a collection of stories from The Moth, a storytelling night that’s held in many cities, including Boston. The stories are funny, sad, and true. A cracking good read. Thanks Jesse!
- “Tuf Voyaging” and “Fevre Dream” are excellent novels by George R. R. Martin that don’t have any high fantasy at all. “Tuf Voyaging” is a collection of stories about Haviland Tuf, a loquacious cat-lover who finds an incredibly powerful weapon. If you enjoy dry wit and science fiction, I recommend it.
- The entire Johannes Cabal series is worth reading. He’s a sarcastic necromancer who hates people and sometimes makes bets with the Devil. Come on.
Here’s my lifting progression; the rep ranges vary so they’re not directly comparable.
I fucked around on lifting during the first half of the year, then really buckled down on the second half. I finally stopped running Starting Strength because I keep hitting plateaus and switched to Madcow. Using the Madcow spreadsheet gave me actionable goals to look forward to and really helped.
My squat has improved a lot - I have a note next to the “200x3x5” in January that says “HARD”. I have a note next to 195x2x5 in December that says “Easy. Good form.” Plus I added 65 pounds to it! It’s not great, but it’s going up and feels like it’s on a good track.
My OHP is progressing well. It’s hard to compare 85x3x5 and 120x5, but I’m confident I’ll hit 1 plate soonish and that’s a great milestone.
My bench is also going well - I could probably do 190x3 or even 200x3, but I’m staying on the program.
My deadlift feels totally stuck, especially since my squat is getting close to it, and I don’t know why. My legs are probably fine, since I can squat 265, so I suspect it’s my core and back. Madcow added some back work (rows, back extension), but I’m not sure it’s enough. My form might be totally fucked up. I’ll find out soon.
I was the #1 blogger at thoughtbot this year, with the most blog posts (11) and the most-viewed blog post (50k views). I also copy-edited, oh, let’s say, ALL of the other blog posts on the thoughtbot blog. Here’s hoping I can continue the streak next year.
I started getting into Haskell this year. I really like it. Hopefully next year I’ll have some more projects to show, but here are the ones I like from this year:
- UPenn’s CIS194 class is posted online, so I decided to follow their curriculum.
- We published our Haskell trail on Upcase, and I did every exercise. It’s the single biggest factor in my Haskell development this year.
This was an excellent year for me. I got stronger, I changed some lives, I read and I wrote. Here’s to a kickass 2015!