Matt Hackmann


The thoughts and goings-on of some programmer dude.

Per Annum

Some things in life are fairly constant. Sun comes up, goes down, things die, people do dumb things, and this blog will be updated no fewer than once per year. And no greater.

Oh dear me, another year, another letter to myself.

I don't blame you for getting everything about 2020 wrong (except where it counted). Everybody did. I want to be optimistic about this year, but also want to keep that tempered in reality.

Let's get the obvious out of the way: you're gonna marry Kayla. With any luck, the pandemic cooperates enough to have a lovely little wedding and a lovely little getaway to Hawaii. Be sure to get down to 200lbs and have a sweet beach bod before you go, though. Thaaaaanks.

Still no reason to believe that you'll be gone from SurveyMonkey by the time you read this. Staff eng? I dunno... some days it sounds nice, some days it sounds like more pain than its worth. Pricing pages have gotten old and I don't know if I want that to be the feather in my cap or if it'd even be enough of a feather. I can do more good elsewhere.

Other things I'd like for you to achieve this year:

  • Finish the SNES boombox and any/all Hakk's Lab videos that would come with that.
  • Get back into running, at least a little. It fucking sucks, but it also works. If you can half-marathon, awesome. I'll settle for a 10k, though.
  • Complete one piece of woodworked furniture, don't care what it is.
  • Go to Disneyland. Really, that's out of your control, but hey.
  • Figure out the damned random blue screening of this computer...

Okay, so that's my letter to you in the most New Year's Resolution form it's ever taken. Have a good 2021, buddy. I'll be you on the other side.

This letter took an interesting form over previous years. Indeed, it really devolved into a "honey do" list for myself. But, what do you even write after a year like 2020? This, I guess. That list is entirely useless, too; due to how FutureMe's email system works, after that letter is written, it waits in the ether until it arrives in my inbox one year later.

But on to the itemized commentary of said letter's comments.

Kayla and I did indeed get married, and very nearly everybody we invited attended in a lovely little ceremony and get together. So much of our year was laser focused on all the bits and bobs that go into making the wedding machine chooch, that I find myself almost at a loss on what to do with time now. Doubly so since the hooneymoon is now officially over. To that point, we were able to lounge the beaches of Kauai, one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen on planet Earth (sorry, Bend). I've made the joke a few times to people and I'll leave it here for my own posterity: I didn't know nature came in those colors. It's liked the big man opened Photoshop and cranked up with saturation and said "yeah... that'll do nicely". After the Hawaii trip, we spent the week leading into Christmas on a cruise ship, avoiding COVID while enjoying the relaxation of having all your whims tended to. Once back in port, we made our way over to Disneyland to spend the actual holiday. It was cold and rainy and probably the closest thing to "seasonal" that you'll see in southern California. This wasn't too much of an issue as far as attending the parks, though, as I'd set up a surprise stay at the Grand Californian hotel on property, complete with a "secret" entrance right from the hotel into California Adventure. It really made that whole experience a little more special and much more relaxing, a great way to cap the end of the beginning of the end of my life.

If last year was the year I lost the staple of "let's theorize about the future of my love life" that's been part of these letters, then this year I lost the staple that was "maybe this is the year for staff eng". After taking the engineering lead position on a project that lasted pretty much the first half of the year, I apparently proved to the suits above me that my work is deserving of that "Staff Engineer" label. It hasn't necessarily changed the things that I do day-to-day, but I do have a new sense of pressure on myself because people _do_ notice the title and I feel like it has changed the nature of coworker interactions, especially for folks I've not interacted with. Or that's in my head. One thing I'm looking forward to changing is the work from home situation. Again, I'm very thankful that my job is such that I can achieve these things from my own house, but my brain needs that mental separation of "work there, live here" that I'm currently not afforded. Supposedly, the office will be opening back up again in two or three weeks, but with the introduction of COVID-19 v3, we'll see.

Okay, let's hit that list of things to achieve and see how I scored:

  1. Not part of the list list, but I mentioned (again) hitting 200lbs. Didn't achieve that this year, but I managed to fall from my Christmas high of 236lb fairly quickly last year and settled in around 217lb going into this Christmas season. I did put on cookie/booze weight, but ten pounds fewer than last year.
  2. Nope. Hakk's lab made zero progress this year. Still have projects, still have scripts, have even more cool camera equipment and access to the nifty tools in the maker space I belong to. Oh, I guess there was that GBA unboxing video I made for Tiktok, but those GBAs are sitting mostly unfixed and unloved at this point, just waiting for their time on camera. Really, my free time efforts were entirely thrown at the wedding and resting from throwing effort at the wedding. I'll really have to do a post on all the things we made for that as it was quite a lot.
  3. I did do quite a lot of running last year, especially in the latter half of it. Accordingly to Strava, I logged nearly 130 miles ran. While I never did anything longer than 4mi, I was doing 5k up to a couple times a week, even an in person race! And while my speed remains shit, and I have a hard time in distance, I've gotten to a point where I don't hate running. Not sure I'd say I enjoy it... y'know, I might actually enjoy it. That's progress!
  4. I actually did this one! I built myself a shelf to hold my record player and records. It's nothing super spectacular and there are some... off measurements here and there, but it works well and I'm actually fairly proud of it. The first of many things, I hope!
  5. Been to Disneyland lots. Went for their outdoor only food fest in March, went for my birthday after they reopened, and we're card carrying members again as of , with trips lined up for the next three months. We've got a lot of Disney to cram in before wee ones enter the picture and make that a trickier situation.
  6. The blue screening computer was an odd item to add to the list. I built this machine in 2017 for video editing and it had the most random blue screening problems. It often happened while using Adobe products, but sometimes it didn't happen for months at a time. I guess when I wrote that letter, the issue was rearing its head again. Well, I did find the root of the problem and it turns out I had a bad stick of RAM. New RAM, not a single problem since. Yaaayyy...

Okay, so that's my look back at my look forward of 2021. What will 2022 bring? Probably 2022 new versions of COVID from the petri dish of an unvaccinated install base of humans...