2022 navel-gazing


Many times in the past few months I've found myself thinking:

I'm so excited to be alive.

...and not in response to anything dramatic. The feeling comes while I'm wandering around my neighborhood or sitting at a coffee shop. There have been very difficult days too, but still, these bursts of enthusiasm are something new. Where did they come from?

I don't know. A few things might have contributed, though.


The job I took at Logikcull at the end of 2021 has been working out very well despite deviations from plan. Three people who played a crucial role in enticing me to join left the company shortly after I started, but I’m quite happy with my teammates and manager regardless. I’m not working on what I originally expected to but the Elasticsearch-focused work I’ve been doing probably suits me better anyway.

I only traveled a little. I went to Denver and Asheville on work trips, which were fun and led to some awesome non-work conversations. At the beginning of the year I was stranded in Kansas City for a week with COVID, but I had the luxury of a quiet place to stay for free (and a manager who was very gracious about me disappearing for so long when I'd barely been with the company a month). I went back to KC again in December for a lovely family Christmas and also got to meet up with some book club friends there who I hadn't seen since I moved. And I had a great time visiting a friend in San Diego for a few days.

I'm still living in Queen Anne and I still marvel at what an idyllic neighborhood it is. Looking south you get a striking view of the city skyline with Rainier looming in the distance and ferries coming and going across the Sound; looking west, homes are quaintly nestled among trees rolling down and up the hills against the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains. The houses "have gardens" in the same sense that peacocks "have feathers": I've been to botanical gardens less impressive than some of the streets here. Grocery stores, restaurants, and a selection of coffee shops are within an easy walk from my apartment; most weeks I don't drive anywhere. Public transit could be better—I'm jealous of people who live along the light rail line—but it could be a lot worse too.

I am pretty sick of my cramped living quarters, though. I don't even have room for a small dining table. Moving would be a hassle, so I want to look for ways to be more space-efficient first. The only idea I currently have that might make a big enough difference would be to get a loft bed... we'll see.



intentions for 2023

  1. Machine learning deals with all sorts of approaches to creating software that is able to learn to accomplish a task without needing detailed step-by-step instructions from a human. Things like your phone’s ability to interpret voice commands, automatic recognition of faces in photos, and AI-generated art all depend on this. Reinforcement learning is a subfield focused on software that learns interactively - analogous to a rat being trained to solve mazes by being placed in them and given a piece of cheese every time it succeeds. ↩︎
  2. Unless you count the hills in the city, which are a workout but don't score high on the sublime-natural-beauty scale. ↩︎
  3. Actually more like 88, but the ones I didn't finish writing reviews for will go into next year's count instead. ↩︎
  4. Mostly by being more disciplined and staying focused for longer intervals—not actually reading faster. I do not read quickly.↩︎

what I don't know how to write about

To my grandfather: I love you and I miss you. Thank you for everything.

To my cousin: More people care than you might realize. I don't know if I could have helped you but I wish I'd known to try.