Year in Review 2023

Alright, it's time for another year-in-review post!

This year, we moved from Fort Collins to a beautiful neighborhood in Denver, Colorado, which improved our satisfaction with daily life tremendously.

There is a nice grocery store nearby and our favorite wine store is just a few blocks away. We cooked a lot as usual and we walked to restaurants whenever we wanted to. We can walk anywhere and Uber/Lyft is always available, unlike in Fort Collins. The public transportation hasn't been useful for us, though.

We hacked a lot on multiple projects: Stellar Soroban, Solana's Move port, wasm-opt (for the Web 3 Foundation), Brian gave a talk about Soroban fuzzing in Spain. Brian hacked on a bunch of unfinished personal projects.

We played a lot of pickleball making many pickleball friends.

Brian published 15 songs. Aimee made a little bit of progress on playing bass guitar.

During summer, we visited nearby ski towns Silverthorn and Frisco, we hiked in Golden and Lakewood, and we biked a few times and joined a group ride one time. We flew to Cincinnati visiting Brian's family and friends before Thanksgiving. Our friend Jason visited us in July. It hailed. Pretty memorable.

We cooked a lot and we are very satisfied with the results.

2023 was a good year for us. We hacked and spent more time on hobbies. We ate moderately healthy, exercised, and made sure to get enough sunlight. We are happy and content.

Next year, we'll try to keep our good routines, but also get out of our comfort zone to explore new challenges. We'll hack on new projects, probably hike a Colorado "13-er", visit Spain, Canada, and maybe the east coast of the US.

🔗Hacks we made

We did a lot of hacking on Stellar Soroban, including writing a general-purpose token fuzzer.

Brian hacked on the Solana port of the Move language, a project that is proceeding slowly.

Our contract with the Web 3 Foundation to maintain the wasm-opt Rust bindings ended.

Brian recently began work on TigerBeetle, writing in the Zig language.

We maintained the Rust in Blockchain newsletter: it was a slow year in the industry.

We stopped maintaining realtps. Too much work. We are undecided about whether to shut it down or try again to maintain it.

We attanded EthDenver 2023. It was disappointing, and we probably won't go back in 2024.

🔗Sports and outdoor activities

We aren't usually sports fans, but we noted that our local basketball team won the NBA championships.

This year though we got into pickleball in a big way. We have courts near our apartment and have been playing 3-6 times per week, participating in the open play community there and taking lessons.

We even watch pickleball games on YouTube. We dream about pickleball.

We do other workouts too, although, not consistent enough. Aimee began practicing yoga, pilates, powerlifting, and running. Brian went to the gym three times per week. We both stopped these workouts in November when we started playing more and more pickleball. However to prevent pickleball injuries, we should go back to strength training sometimes.

People in Denver are pretty outdoorsy. They do all kinds of things: trail running, biking, hiking and camping, fishing, boating, snowboarding, skiing, etc. Thanks to the city planning, there are amazing biking trails and parks all over the city and suburbs. Neighborhoods are super walkable.

People usually go to the mountains on weekends or holidays. Mountain trails are mostly well maintained. From a short hike to a "14-er" and any difficulties in between, you can easily find a place to go, to run, or to bike in. Pretty awesome.

🔗Music activities

We set up a tiny music studio in our apartment, with a dedicated DAW, keyboard, and guitars.

Aimee got a bass guitar and practiced on and off for a few months.

Brian published 15 tracks. His favorites are BA010 Bass Experiment 2 V6 and BA011 Bassconcept 2 V12.

Brian switched DAWs from Ableton to Bitwig.

🔗Our top 10 recipes

2023 was supposed to be salad year but ended up more of a steak year.

We made wedge salads, beat salads, kale salads, etc, and they were so nutritious and boring. Brian learned to grill amazing steaks and we were addicted to steak for a while.

We also went through a pizza phase, making the dough from scratch, cooking it in our cast iron pan. Hamburgers and nachos also surprisingly fell out of our top tier.

We only made lasagna once this year, and one of us is not happy about that.

We ate tons of beans and rice as our fallback dinner plan, and lately have learned to make a good poke.

We prepared a real Thanksgiving dinner this year, including a roasted turkey. It took multiple days to prepare and the outcome was a bunch of dishes that weren't that great. Good experience but we probably won't do it again.

We've tried and loved many recipes. Here we list top 10 delicious dishes that are easy to make. These are links to the recipes we work off of, but we usually modify them.

  1. Mulligatawny Soup. The winner again this year and every year! It's so easy and satisfying. Make it with homemade chicken stock.
  2. Super Simple Bread. We make this multiple times per week. Serve it with some basil-garlic compound butter.
  3. Tuna/Salmon Poke. No recipe, but the fish is diced small and marinated in soy, rice vinegar, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, scallions and thinly sliced peppers. Served over rice with whatever, often avocado, ginger, wakame, more sesame seeds, spicy mayo.
  4. Grilled Steak. We learned to get a good sear with the grill. Gotta use a thermometer to get the right cook, and even with the thermometer it's hard to judge. Usually served with mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus.
  5. Shrimp and Scallop Scampi with Linguine.
  6. Scones. We make scones often. We have gone through several recipes and this is our current favorite.
  7. Bean and Cheese Burritos. In prior years we were very ambitious with our burrito prep, making 20+ at a time and freezing them. This year we instead made simple burritos just enough for dinner.
  8. Feta-Brined Roast Chicken. Save the bones and make stock for the mulligatawny.
  9. Chicken Stock.
  10. Roasted Rack of Lamb.

We made awesome pumpkin pies and cheesecakes. Always pair them with coffee or black tea.

🔗Other tidbits

We finally watch all of Attack on Titan. It was captivating and epic.

We watched a lot of episodes of Bob's Burgers, currently on season 7.

We also liked:

  • The Last of Us.
  • The One Piece live action show.
  • Killers of the Flower Moon.

Other shows and movies we watched didn't leave much impression.

🔗More photos