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Weeknotes: 2023.12.31-2024.01.07

I started the LIFTOFF: Couch to Barbell program this week. I skipped forward to phase 3 (past bodyweights and dumb bells), since I’m already comfortable with a 45 pound barbell. It feels good so far. I’ve found an excellent gym just down the street from my daughter’s daycare, so it’s easy to just extend my morning drop-off routine to zip over and do a workout. So far, the most difficult thing has been trying to hit the recommended one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight.

I’m still getting used to my new role at work (went from technical lead to architect). While I’ve been a software architect before, the situations feels a little different from the last company where I had the role. I definitely have to get used to the political exposure that comes with the role, on top of the imposter syndrome I was already feeling.

I am over my aversion to large-language models and getting interested in learning more about their inner workings. I still think ChatGPT and its ilk are going to have massive destructive effects as they get exploited by SEO grifters, etc. Unfortunately, abstaining from an arms race won’t make it go away. These are the resources I’ve worked through so far:

I’m not being very systematic about what I’m studying it, but I’m mostly just jumping around to different things to see what I do and don’t understand. On a meta-note, I’m keeping myself accountable for spending time on this with a Beeminder goal to keep a learning journal — a recommended technique for tracking nebulous goals.

For fun free-time activities, I’m continuing to play guitar regularly. I rebuilt my pedal board this week 3M DualLock instead of Velcro for holding the pedals in place. It really is much better. The pedals are held on securely, but not so tightly that re-arranging them is difficult.

Recent Reading

Per my usual, I’m bouncing between several different books depending on my mood and currently level of attention.

  • Far from the Tree, by Andrew Solomon (audiobook, mostly listening to this on dog walks and while playing No Man’s Sky).
  • No Bad Parts, by Richard Schwartz.
  • The Two Towers, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Werner Herzog: A Guide for the Perplexed, by Paul Cronin. Herzog is unhinged. Favorite quote: “Chickens in some forms — roasted, for example — are perfectly acceptable to me, but look into their eyes while they are alive and bear witness to genuine, bottomless stupidity. They are the most horrifying and nightmarish creatures in this world.”
  • Patterns of Distributed Systems, by Unmesh Joshi.
  • A Philosophy of Walking, by Frédéric Gros.
  • Bomb Power, Gary Wills.
  • Legends & Lattes, Travis Baldtree. Started and finished yesterday. Dumb, sweet fun and perfect reading for a Saturday afternoon where I had to keep partial attention on my daughter.