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February 2023 Notes


Inspired yet again by Paul, I've decided to try and do recaps of the month that went from the perspective of the yearly goals I set, so here's February.


  • Rest days are important (I've always stood by this but broke the rule when I got a bit mad and had to use up the energy)
  • I might need to go out of my way and go to another gym if I'm serious about my deadlifting goals
  • I'm not going to progress in chess with passive ""training""
  • Writing about anything is a good way to keep the habit and getting motivated to write about something

Above all

I said that above all I was seeking "tranquility" and looking to "be more myself", and February was a good month on this front!

The one comment I have on this front is that I've sorted out the final bigger things for the new apartment and am feeling more stable now, which feeds into everything else.

"Join" the 1000lb club

I suspected by bench press PR was 120kg but I've made sure to actually hit it now. It went up pretty easily. Failed the subsequent 125kg but I was being wary of my spotter's time and feel like I could have rested more.

Haven't tried a squat PR but I feel I'm closer to 140kg than the 130kg mentioned in the goals post.

Deadlifts have taken a bit of a step back unfortunately as the new gym I'm going to has these hexagon-shaped plates that make the bar go completely wild once I put it down, so it's never aligned for the second rep. Tried a bunch of stuff to make it work but couldn't. Feel like I'll have to walk to the gym (from chain I'm subscribed to) that's further away on deadlift days to make this work.

Overall had 3 great weeks at the gym and was feeling pretty good. But then came carnival and I got sick, so a bit of the progress has been lost :(

Get to a 1500 rating in rapid chess on chess.com

Oof, it was a terrible month for chess.

I bought a book on chess openings but didn't get too far and tried to fit in playing chess games in between everything else so I ended up never playing with full focus and my rating actually took a dive. I was sneaking in games at lunch and odd breaks and for my focus that simply doesn't work.

Need to actually set aside time to study and play proper games if I'm actually serious about this.

Read one book per month

A few days to go and I've read ~30% of a chess openings book and ~60% of Exhalation by Ted Chiang. Not great, but somewhat amounts to a book's worth of reading.

Still more room to substitute phone usage for reading.

Write a post per month on this blog

Did great on this one. I wrote a "paragraph" titled Retirement, which sounds ridiculous given how short it is but was a nice way to incentivize me to just write. I think writing that was what pushed me to then write Pepper spray your officers, which went on HN's front page (before getting flagged), and sparked some good discussions amongst my friends.

I'm also writing these notes now, which I think shouldn't count, but just saying.

Also got pretty far with a post titled Suck it up that isn't ready yet and that I need to think a bit about before publishing but at least I spent some time on it. It's about an important topic for me too.

Deadlift 5 plates

Spoke about deadlifts before. Not much progress here.

Hold a back lever for 5 seconds

I'm leaving the calisthenics goals for after the strength goals (i.e. later in the year). I may have made consequential progress due to the other work but haven't been practicing back levers explicitly.

Do 11 good muscle ups

I had a bit of extra energy one day and went to check up on where I'm at with this. Got 2 sets of 7 nice muscle ups in a session, having not done them in a while. Happy with that, although for some reason I've been getting a bit anxious before trying to do a lot of muscle ups which is clearly harming performance.

Do a week-long hike

No progress here. Haven't been hiking much but we're coming out of the rainy season so hoping to do more of it.

Become very comfortable with databases

A good month for this! Been going deeper into new areas of ClickHouse at work and enjoying it. Getting better at writing queries.

Build out a multi-week project


Dabble with machine learning


Rewrite Teeny in Rust


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