The Matrix Movies
January 14, 2022 | 1 min read

Photo by Markus Spiske

Over the Christmas break I rewatched the original The Matrix trilogy. I haven’t seen these movies in a few years. I watched them in preparation to watch The Matrix Resurrections on HBO Max earlier this week.

I think the first Matrix movie was revolutionary. At least in my eyes. I think it came out as the right time in my life. It was such a good movie. For a long time after watching it, I would think about the movie a lot. Even rewatching the original, I am reminded of how much I liked it.

For a little while after the original movie, I wished they would make a sequel. And then they did. The two sequels they made were not good.

The Matrix Reloaded and The Matrix Revolutions weren’t like the Star Wars prequels. The Star Wars sequels weren’t great, but had their place. The Matrix sequels were just bad and I managed to block them from my memory. When I rewatched them last month, I had completely forgotten what happened.

Whenever I think of The Matrix sequels, I think of this XKCD Comic (Matrix Revisited). The comic came out 10 years after the release of the original (and after the sequels), but still wished for sequels.

I watched The Matrix Resurrections over a few days earlier this week (it takes me a while to watch movies). I really enjoyed it. It was enough nostalgia without relying too much on the original movie. I don’t think it was as good as the first one, but way better then the second two movies.

If you’ve watched the original trilogy and gave up on them, try The Matrix Resurrections. It’s good. This is another movie I want to watch again.

Will Smith - "The Best Shape of My Life"
January 8, 2022 | 0 min read

Photo by Christian Wiediger

I recently finished watching Will Smith’s “The Best Shape of My Life” 6-part docuseries on YouTube.

It was really good.

I went into the show thinking that it would all be about how Will Smith went from a COVID body back to the usual shape we’re used to seeing him in in his films.

It wasn’t.

The docuseries wasn’t just about Will trying to lose weight and get back into shape. It was also about him writing his memoir and diving into his past.

I learned a lot about Will Smith. I’ve only really known about him from movies, music and TV shows. I have a lot of respect for him putting all of this (this meaning the weight gain/loss, history, personal stuff) out there for anyone to see. I don’t think I could do that.

I really enjoyed this series.

Some of my favorite things - 2021 Edition
December 31, 2021 | 3 min read

Photo by Brands&People

I’ve consumed quite a bit of content in 2021. Here are some of my favorites. Not all of these were released in 2021, but it’s when I enjoyed them. So I’m going to count them. And since I’m making up the rules here, I’ll allow it.

Books

In 2021, I read 43 books. I liked most of the books that I’ve read. I couldn’t put down either of the following books.

Favorite

My favorite book that I read this year was Hail Mary by Andy Weir. I really like his books and this was no exception. It’s a great Sci-Fi novel.

Runner Up

It was hard to chose a runner up. It was really close between any of The Expanse novels that I’ve read. But I think my runner up is Press Reset by Jason Schreier. It’s a great look into the video game industry when things don’t quite go as planned.

Movies

I don’t watch as many movies as I used to. I really enjoy watching movies, but I am alone on this in my house. So I try to sneak movies in here and there. Sometimes it’ll take me a week to watch a movie. I was able to talk some family members into watching these two movies though.

Favorite

Dune was such a good movie. I only watched it once, but can’t wait to watch it again. The movie also has an amazing soundtrack, which I have listened to multiple times (including The Dune Sketchbook).

Runner up

No Time to Die is a great ending to the Daniel Craig Bond movies. The Daniel Craig Bond movies are the only Bond movies I’ve seen, but I’ve enjoyed all of them. This one was no different.

TV Shows

We watch more TV Shows than movies. But we end up watching older shows like The Office, Seinfeld, Friends, etc.

Favorite

Wandavision was a bit of a slow start. Once things got going, they didn’t slow down until the end. I spent a lot of time reading the Wandavision subreddit theorizing about what might happen next.

Runner up

Ted Lasso (Season 2) was a family favorite. I think we watched the entire season over a weekend. We’re all looking froward to season 3.

Video Games

Along with movies, I don’t play as many video games as I used to. And I’ve actually gotten pretty bad at them. But I did play a few video games this past year.

Favorite

I both played and finished Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. I have a thing for Star Wars content. This was probably the best Star Wars game I’ve played in a while. I hope they make a sequel to this game. I had a lot of fun playing though it.

Runner up

Metroid Dread. I have a special love/hate relationship with this game. It’s an amazing game. But I am terrible at it. I died hundreds of times. I persisted and made it to the end boss.

I really enjoyed how Metroid Dread made me better at the game the more I tried (and died). I never finished the game though. I got to the final boss, got frustrated, took some time off and have probably forgotten everything I’ve learned while playing.

2022

2022 is just hours away. I have a backlog of content. I hope to make another list like this next year.

Holiday Treats
December 11, 2021 | 3 min read

Photo by Michelle

It’s the Holiday Season and around this time year, I usually indulge a little bit with some extra treats.

Eggnog

I am a recent convert to eggnog. I don’t believe I’ve ever had it before about a year or two ago. Now I will usually pick up a quart of eggnog each week while grocery shopping.

I’ve tried a variety of eggnogs, but my favorite (so far) has been Upstate Farms Light Egg Nog. If they don’t have the light variety, I’ll get the regular variety of it. It’s delicious and smells great.

I will usually have about 4oz of eggnog in the morning with my breakfast. Eggnog is rich, so I usually won’t have a lot.

I haven’t tried any spiked eggnog. I haven’t ruled it out yet, but I just haven’t tried it yet.

See’s California Brittle

In the “before times” (pre-COVID), I used to travel to San Francisco, California about once a year.

During these trips, I usually tried to pick up some See’s Candies on the way home (along with a lot of sourdough bread for the family). I usually picked up a variety pack (of some sort) in the airport while waiting for my flight home. During one of these trips, I discovered See’s Milk California Brittle.

Milk California Brittle is described as:

Buttery brittle with California almonds covered in smooth milk chocolate.

It’s absolutely delicious.

Last year, I ordered two pounds of California Brittle and had it shipped to me. I did the same thing this year. This has already become a bit of a Christmastime tradition for me. I think if I did this any more than just around Christmastime, I would start to pack on a few pounds.

If you haven’t tried California Brittle, I absolutely recommend it.

Puppy Chow

Puppy Chow (also know as monkey munch, muddy buddies, muddy munch, reindeer chow, or doggy bag) is another amazing treat for the holiday season.

Puppy Chow is Rice Chex covered in chocolate, peanut butter and powdered sugar. What’s not to like?

I’ve tried making this once a few years ago and failed miserably. I don’t know what I did wrong, but it was terrible. Now, I beg my wife to make it. She will usually humor me and I’ll scarf it down.

I haven’t had puppy chow this year, but I’m looking forward to it.

Chex Mix

My Mom used to make us her own patented (not really) Chex Mix every year for Christmas. This was pre-COVID. My kids tried to make it last year and it just wasn’t the same. It was good and I love that they made an effort.

I don’t really know what’s in my Mom’s Chex Mix other than Rice, Corn and Wheat Chex, Pretzel sticks and peanuts. I have the recipe around here somewhere, but I’m too lazy to dig it up. It’s also patented (not really) and you can’t have it. 😝

Roasted Chestnuts

I had never been particularly interested in roasted chestnuts. A few years ago, we were on vacation in Italy over Thanksgiving. The street vendors were roasting chestnuts on street corners and they smelled delicious. I never tried them, but I should have.

Ever since that trip to Italy, I’ve wanted to try roasting chestnuts at home.

A few weekends ago, we tried roasting chestnuts (in the oven) for the first time. They turned out good, but didn’t smell as good as I remember from our trip to Italy. In Italy, the street vendors had roasted the chestnuts on an open fire (ala The Christmas Song) or over charcoal or something, I can’t remember.

I think we’re going to try again, but use the charcoal grill to roast them instead.

I’m sure you also have some Christmas time treats that you enjoy during the holidays. These are my recent ones.

Merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays if you prefer) everyone.

From HomePod to Sonos
October 5, 2021 | 2 min read

Photo by Alex Ghizila

I was a pretty early adopter of Apple’s HomePod. I got one as soon as they were available (to me) in early 2018.

I really enjoyed the HomePod for a while. I had it on my desk and used it while I worked every day. In the last year or so, I started to want a stereo (left and right speakers) setup. However, I didn’t want to spend another $500 on a HomePod.

When the HomePod Mini was announced, I thought it would be a great opportunity to get a set of stereo speakers for my desk. I also thought that I would use the (big) HomePod as sort of a subwoofer. This way, I wouldn’t lose out on the lower frequency sounds (meaning bass) in songs. I preordered two HomePod Minis.

Trying to use two HomePod Minis and a HomePod in a “group” was kind of a pain. I would have to say something like “Hey Siri, play [x] in my office.” Alternatively, I could use AirPlay, but I would have to pick the stereo pair (minis) and then the (big) HomePod.

In this setup, with three mixed HomePods, sometimes one of the speakers wouldn’t play. It was usually one of the HomePod Minis. So I’d have the left mini and the (big) HomePod playing a song. It was frustrating to use.

Siri was also frustrating to use. I don’t know if the service has gotten worse, or I’ve become more picky about it. Siri would often misunderstand what I say, wouldn’t respond, or say that there was an issue with Apple Music. However, seconds later playing the same song through AirPlay would work just fine.

I just got frustrated with it all.

So what did I do? Well, if you ready the title of this post, you already know I’ve moved to Sonos. We have Google Minis throughout our house and the work well, but I want something that sounds great. I spend a lot of time working in my office and listen to music for most of that time. I want it to sound great.

I ended up buying a pair of Sonos One SLs and a Sonos Sub. If I’m being honest, this is overkill for my office. But, wow, it sounds great.

I got the One SLs, which don’t have a voice assistant, and I’m perfectly happy with that choice. I use AirPlay to play music. The Sonos app let me set up the One SLs and the Sub as a group called “Office”, I don’t need to do any weird AirPlay dance like I had to do with the HomePods. This approach (playing via AirPlay) always works (at least so far).

I’ve been incredibly happy with the move from HomePod to Sonos. The speakers sound great and are easy to use. I am so glad I’ve made the change.

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