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Logging diapers. Elon Musk. Half-Life.

Luna // Eight Months // On Data

One of the things they don't tell you about becoming a parent is that, in the early stages, you're going to track a lot of data. You observe and record everything — feedings, diaper changes, naps — and the tracking becomes a sort of ritual, a daily diary of the mundane yet important details of your newborn's life. How much milk did she drink? How long was her last nap? Was that diaper change a pee or a poop? What color was the poop? Kristine and I never actually bothered to record that last one, but the app I used to track all of this definitely had a color palette for me to choose from.

Oh yes, the app. Before Luna was born, I found myself scrolling through the list of baby-tracking apps, hunting for the perfect one. Huckleberry had its merits but felt too overbearing with omnipresent timers. Joey, on the other hand, seemed too barebones. After much searching I ended up with Nara, which for me had a wonderfully calming aesthetic. It quickly earned its place on my home screen, becoming a much-used resource.

As the months have rolled by, data collection has become less important. Once Luna was clearly gaining weight, we felt less compelled to log every feed. When she overcame a long-lasting struggle with constipation, the meticulous recording of diaper changes seemed unnecessary. Now, Luna's sleep schedule has settled into a predictable rhythm, and tracking her naps is also a thing of the past.

Nara, once a cornerstone of daily life, has been gradually relegated to the background as the intricacies of Luna’s routines become second nature.

First it was deleted off my home screen. Now, it's been deleted off my phone completely.

I've moved from relying on external tools to trusting my instincts and Luna's signals. This isn’t to say that parenting has become easier. If anything, it's introduced a new kind of complexity — one that's less about managing a schedule and more about guiding a little person as she explores the world. Luna’s needs are more nuanced, her personality more pronounced. She’s not just a bundle of stats and schedules anymore; she's growing into someone with likes, dislikes, and a burgeoning sense of understanding.

To be honest, a part of me misses the tracking apps. There was a comforting certainty in them, a level of control that felt extremely beneficial in this phase. Each entry was a small reassurance; confirmation that Luna was eating, sleeping, and growing as she should. They were my companions in those first uncertain months, a tangible way to chart progress and help me transition from individual to parent.

Those early days of Luna's life were fleeting, and the apps chronicled every precious moment.

What I Read

I picked up Walter Isaacson's biography of Elon Musk, a book that, at its core, is about a person in relentless motion. The narrative has Musk flitting from one venture to the next: SpaceX, Tesla, The Boring Company, Neuralink, SolarCity, and now Twitter/X along with xAI. His life seems less like a series of calculated steps and more like an impromptu series of decisions to make big gambles and go all in. It's like watching someone juggle a bunch of flaming torches (or, in Musk's case, Not-A-Flamethrowers), except the torches are all major companies attempting to change the world.

The book throws you into the thick of it — Musk hopping from meeting to meeting and solving problems that he mostly brings on himself. He pushes Tesla to move to self-driving cars, and then to a robot. He asks SpaceX to abandon rocket designs to create completely new ones. He gives Neuralink the goal of making paralyzed people walk again and letting the blind see. And then there’s Twitter/X, which he rebrands entirely in an attempt to create the 'everything app'.

The biography captures the intensity of being Elon Musk; the toll it takes not just on the projects but on the individual. It's an exploration of who is actually behind the public persona, demented by a vision that's always a few steps ahead of reality and, in his own words, focused on taking the fiction out of science fiction.

What I Watched and Played

Half Life just turned 25, and to mark the occasion, Valve released a documentary on YouTube. As someone who remembers playing this game as a kid, hunched over a CRT monitor and getting jittery over the headcrabs hiding in every dark corner, I watched it immediately.

I was interested to learn that the team retroactively breaks down Half Life's development cycle into two phases: "pre-disaster" and "post-disaster." "Pre-disaster" was when there were multiple teams all working separately, each making levels without much collaboration. It was a bit of a mess. "Post-disaster" came after they nailed the initial story of the opening test chamber scene. That’s when they started to understand what they were building.

Two quotes I loved from Gabe Newell:

You'd have these conversations where you'd be sitting in a design review and somebody would say, 'That's not realistic'. And you're like, 'Okay?' Explain to me why that's interesting. Because in the real world, I have to write up lists of stuff I have to go to the grocery store to buy. And I have never thought to myself that realism is fun. I go play games to have fun. And so we had to come up with some notion of what fun was.


Late is just for a little while, suck is forever.

The documentary is less about glorifying Half Life and more about demystifying it, peeling back layers of game development to show us the human element – the doubts, the debates, the decisions. It's a candid, unvarnished look at what goes into making a piece of media that would define a generation of games to come.

Of course, after I watched the documentary, I felt compelled to reinstall the game (a paltry ~200MB file!) and started playing from the beginning. Booting it up, I was struck by how well it stands the test of time. There's a unique 'sense of place' in Half Life that seems absent in many contemporary games. The way it's designed, maybe due to its simple graphics, really drives home the idea of Black Mesa as this liminal space that drives you to continue pushing forward.

That's all for now.

From the present moment,

~ Drew

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