Ben Mann Monthly Dec 2022
Diet, reflection, duloxetine, constitutional AI, Stutz
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Experiments and experiences
Low sugar diet completed
Diana and I made a resolution for the last few months to not purchase or make any food with significant added sugar. In contrast to previous diets, this one was much less strict. We didn't have to avoid food that was already in the house, we didn't have to check the labels on our salad dressing, and when we were at social gatherings we could cheat a bit. I'm down 8 lbs from my peak and feeling much better. It ended Jan 1, but we might do it again soon. Until then, pie and ice cream please 🤤.
Usually I use Alex Vermeer's 8760 template for yearly reflection, but this year it felt too heavy duty. Instead, Diana and I answered 3 questions:
What went well?
What could've gone better?
Goals for 2023
We did this not only individually, but also for our relationship and Euda.
For me, nothing too surprising came out, but I on reflection I was surprised by how well EAG and my DEFCON trip went. Maybe I should go to more conferences.
Stopping fluoxetine in late October fixed my sleep, but some of the mood issues returned. I wasn't nearly as depressed as before I started taking SSRIs, and I felt like I had more buffer and tools to handle it when I did feel down. Occasionally I still had an episode. Last week I started taking duloxetine. One night I stayed up until 4am, but otherwise it's been good so far. Let's see how it feels in a month!
Dad life: month 3
Baby is operating nominally. It's hard to imagine not having the internet at our fingertips as we learn about how to take care of her, any issues she might have, etc. Back in the day, you'd call your pediatrician on the phone and they'd tell you whatever anecdotal advice they'd accrued in their career. Now we have the luxury of all the world's RCTs 🧑🔬.
Diana's been taking the lion's share of the load but her maternity leave ends in a week, so we'll be leaning more on my parents, who live a block away now.
Balancing work and home life continues to be a challenge. I'm a night owl and get my most focused work done at night, but that's also when it's natural to spend quality time with family.
💼 Returned to work full time
⛰️ Trip to Grass Valley for winter holiday
📚 Started reading How not to hate your husband after kids
💕 Starting to open up again socially now that Euda's immune system is stronger
📜 Published Constitutional AI and Model-written evals papers
🚀 Slowly expanding access to our tech
5 point Likert ratings for “I would recommend this content to a friend”, sorted
While his philosophy is a mashup of modern Western self help and ancient Eastern traditions, a lot of it is a nice reminder of a toolkit that can dig you out of emotional holes.
The interactions between Jonah Hill and Stutz felt a little Richard Linklater in the sense of "listening in on a natural conversation"
Watched it with my parents and Diana. Good launching point for discussion around internal experience and our experiences with therapy.
A woman is suspected of murdering her husband, and the assigned detective falls in love with her.
I liked how weird and mysterious the characters were, and how the plot did't follow the usual patterns. Fun cinematography. Not as deep as it wanted to be though.
Bullet train 3/5
Tarantino-style romp. You get what it says on the tin.
Glass onion: a knives out mystery 2/5
Somewhat entertaining, but also trying hard to deftly address the issues du jour, but not succeeding.
After Yang 2/5
A family laments the death of their android servant. They get access to its memory banks and realize it had a rich inner life.
Not as thought provoking or interesting as I'd hoped.
White noise 2/5
Didn't finish. Trying too hard.