Jef Claes

On software and life

11 Jan 2015

Consumed in 2014

Starting 2014, I wanted to look more closely at everything I consume. So I started keeping a list of everything I read, watch and listen to.

I started off with a markdown file on Github that quikcly evolved into a good excuse to dabble with an alternative stack. I ended up writing an event sourced node.js application on top of postgres, hosted on Heroku. I could write a post on that particular experience, but it’s safe to say this blog post captures it better than I ever could.

In 2014, I listened to 10 audiobooks and 18 podcasts, read 20 books and watched 12 movies and 13 shows.

I just went over the list and cherry picked three items per category that stuck with me the most.


  1. Addiction by Design: An incredibly complete overview of the gambling industry, with insights into the human psyche which apply far outside the domain of gambling. 
  2. 11/22/63: I try to read a fiction book for every non-fiction book I read. This was my first “real” King book, and I was hooked instantly. I devoured the 880 pages thick book in less than two weeks, and was left with a big gaping hole in my heart - the journey was more than worth it. 
  3. SQL Performance Explained: The author succeeds in capturing the essentials in only 204 pages. This is one of those books you want to have going around at the office. 


  1. Be Here To Love Me: Not-your-average documentary about Townes van Zandt; my musical and philosophical discovery of 2014. A troubled soul, struggling with the futility of existence. Simple poetic songs beautifully crafted, capturing in a few words what would take others books. While darkness inspired his best work, it was also the search for relief of that same darkness that led him further down the path of self-destructive behaviour. Painful to watch. RakeWaiting around to dieSnake Mountain BluesDollar Bill Blues.
  2. 3-10 to Yuma: A true modern Western, capturing the American West beautifully, making me nostalgic.
  3. Dallas Buyers Club: Is there one role Matthew McConaughey can’t hack?

Audio books

  1. On Writing - A Memoir of the Craft: “What follows is an attempt to put down, briefly and simply, how I came to the craft (of telling stories on paper), what I know about it now, and how it’s done. It’s about the day job; it’s about the language.” If you’re not a King fan, you will be after finishing this one. 
  2. Getting to Yes: Separate people and issues, focus on interest, generate options and use objective criteria. But also, what to do when the other party is more powerful or when they use dirty tricks.
  3. Blink: Making decisions in the blink of an eye; why you should go with instinct and why you shouldn’t.


  1. True Detective: “Life’s barely long enough to get good at one thing. So be careful what you get good at.” “If the only thing keeping a person decent is the expectation of divine reward then, brother, that person is a piece of shit.” “People incapable of guilt usually do have a good time.” Heavy stuff.
  2. [Rick and Morty]( “Listen, Morty, I hate to break it to you but what people call love is just a chemical reaction that compels animals to breed.” “Nobody exists on purpose. Nobody belongs anywhere. Everybody’s gonna die. Come watch TV? “Snuffles was my slave name, you can call me snowball because my fur is white and pretty.” Must be the best animated series of the moment hands down, looking forward to next season. The first season is available for free.
  3. The Walking Dead: Addictive soap opera that features zombies.


Mostly classics on Functional Programming.

  1. Out of the tarpit
  2. Program Development using Erlang
  3. OOP is an expensive disaster which must end