Things I Was Grateful For in 2023
Things I Was Grateful For in 2023

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It’s hard to believe another year has passed, and it’s time to reflect on another 12 months of life! It’s been an eventful year. Lots of travel - both for work and pleasure. Moving within Vancouver again - hopefully, I won’t repeat that in 2024.

I’ve enjoyed writing my media diet posts, but they need more substance. They were inspired by Jason Kottke’s Media Diet posts, and I appreciate the deeper insights his write-ups provide. I want to spend more time reflecting on what I watch next year.

I wrote various posts that weren’t media diet posts this year, but nowhere near as many as I had intended to. The goal for next year is to write as many non-media diets as there are media diet blog posts. I’m getting closer every year!

Blog Posts By The Numbers

The Holdovers
Movie - The Holdovers

Paul Giamatti in a coming-of-age film directed by Alexander Payne. My ideal film! I’ve always been a sucker for coming-of-age films and have loved Payne’s previous work.

I enjoyed attending a pre-screening in Vancouver with my partner and some close friends. Dominic Sessa’s debut performance as “Angus Tully” is phenomenal. It’s a perfect film to watch over the holidays; it will be a recurring Christmas classic for me!

Poker Face
TV - Poker Face

2023 was a fantastic year for television, so this was a tough pick, but it’s a perfect modern reimagining of the “case-of-the-week” murder mystery series. Natasha Lyonne is incredible, as always.

The twist of the murder mystery “case-of-the-week” is not being police investigating but instead an individual with a unique ability. It is such a fun adaptation of the genre.

A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
Book - A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine

In 2023, I started a Sci-Fi and Fantasy Book club in Vancouver. I’ve loved having a book club of fellow Sci-Fi and Fantasy fans to read with and discuss different books.

One book we read this year was “A Memory Called Empire,” the prior book in the “Teixcalaan” series. I enjoyed it enough to continue to the sequel, “A Desolation Called Peace,” which was an incredible read.

The pair of books in the “Teixcalaan” offers a view into a futuristic Sci-fi world rooted in linguistics. I can’t say I’ve ever read another series like it.

Search Engine
Podcast - Search Engine

The podcasts I listen to are one type of media I don’t write about in my Media Diet posts. I listen to a fair number of podcasts, but many of their release schedule makes it hard to realize when they’re “done” for a season to mention them.

For all the podcasts I listened to this year, there was a clear favorite - Search Engine by PJ Vogt. I thoroughly enjoyed PJ Vogt on Reply All and was happy to hear about his return to podcasting.

Some of my favorite episodes from this year include:

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom
Game - The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom

There was no competition for my best game of the year. “Tears of the Kingdom” was the only game I sank into for over 20 hours.

I played a few hours of “Diablo IV” and “World of Warcraft: Dragonflight,” but I didn’t reach the end game either.

“Tears of the Kingdom,” on the other hand, was the only one I managed to play all the way through, and it kept me enthralled for hours.

It’s been a strong year for Nintendo Switch releases, with both “Pikmin 4” and “Super Mario Bros. Wonder” being released. For once, my Switch was getting a decent amount of use!

Sleeping Gods
Board Game - Sleeping Gods

It was a tough competition for my favorite board game of 2023. I played a lot of different games throughout the year. I had many rounds of “Moonrakers” and “Eclipse: Second Dawn for the Galaxy” with friends, lots of sessions of “Star Realms” and “Star Wars: The Deckbuilding Game” with my partner, and large group plays of “Blood on the Clocktower.”

“Sleeping Gods” is a co-op legacy game. You work together, piloting a ship and exploring an unknown world, fighting bad guys, and completing quests as you go. A great group of four played this over a few months - usually with brunch on a weekend. Playing through with a group and a fun world to explore was an absolute joy.

If you enjoyed playing “Pandemic: Legacy” or are curious about legacy board games, try “Sleeping Gods”!

Soccer at BC Place
Activity - Watching ⚽ Soccer/Football

I’ve had season tickets to my local MLS soccer team for the last two years and have slowly become more interested in soccer. This year, I stepped it up to the next level - finally picking a Premiere league team to follow, going to the local supporters’ pub, and watching games on TV.

On top of my season tickets to the Vancouver Whitecaps, I also got to go to two incredible games in Europe. First, I took a solo trip to London, where I saw a huge comeback in Arsenal vs. Bournemouth while standing right behind the net. Then, I went on a PSG vs. Lens trip in Paris in April with my partner and co-workers and saw both Mbappé and Messi score goals.

In the 2024/2025 season, I plan to finally join the Fantasy Premier League - something my brother-in-law has invited me to for years!

Tessa Violet: My God!
Album - Tessa Violet: My God!

I spend most of my music listening time on Spotify playlists, so I need help remembering full albums I enjoy. Thankfully there was a very memorable release for me this year - Tessa Violet’s “My God!” and her “Bad Bitch” music video.

I’ve followed Tessa Violet’s music career on YouTube for years, loved her 2019 release “Bad Ideas,” and enjoyed this year’s “My God!” even more.

I saw her perform in Vancouver this year; it was my favorite show. It was a fun show; she also had some incredible outfit changes. She’s worth seeing live if you ever have the opportunity!

App - Obsidian

I’ve struggled for years to find an app I enjoy writing and editing documents. I’ve tried various web and desktop solutions, but nothing has felt right.

I wanted it to support various devices, allow syncing between them, let me write in the Markdown format, support Grammarly for editing my writing, and offer some customization of how it looks and works.

Obsidian checks all those boxes - and then some! It’s a power user’s best friend and has extensions galore. I’m still scratching the surface of how I use it, but I consistently use it across Mac, iPadOS, and Android.

Weather Embed
Project - Weather Embed v2

The first version of Weather Embed was built during the COVID lockdowns in 2020 and has received little love since. It started as a simple API for generating weather forecast images to be embedded in newsletters, Slack posts, etc. Anywhere that a javascript widget wouldn’t work.

I re-wrote that simple API project into a complete SaaS application this year and added a few new features. Building a complete SaaS application from scratch solo has been very satisfying, using some new technology I hadn’t used before.

Currently, Weather Embed is feature complete until new customer feature requests exist!

What We Watched (And Didn’t Watch): Netflix’s First Engagement Report
Blog Post - What We Watched (And Didn’t Watch): Netflix’s First Engagement Report

There is a small amount of competition on blog posts this year. The only other competition was What I Want from Apple’s “Reality Pro” XR Device and Board Games For Product Teams. The easy choice is my write-up on Netflix’s first engagement report.

Data analysis is something I need to improve in - I failed Statistics 100 at University on my first go-round. Since then, I’ve built some practical skills working at SaaS companies and digging into metrics, but this was different from anything I had done before.

It was very satisfying to extract some interesting takeaways from the data, and I hope to do this type of writing in the future.

Tech - Flutter

I have a long history of building mobile applications with non-native programming languages, primarily with web technologies. I last invested in mobile applications quite a few years ago, but I have followed the industry developments along the way.

I have been following Flutter and had a small idea to experiment with implementing Flutter - a mobile app for finding airport lounges. Flutter was a pleasure to work with, and the modern CI/CI tooling for building and publishing apps like Codemagic is refreshing.

I’m sure I’ll be back with more Flutter applications in the future!

GaN II Chargers
Gear - GaN II Chargers

Last year, I finally achieved my goal of charging every device I travel with over USB-C cables. The only thing lacking was a good charger that worked for multiple devices.

With the launch of portable GaN II chargers, I finally have the dream setup for traveling. One Anker GaN II 100W charger, two 6ft USB-C cables, and a backup USB-A to USB-C cable (Primarily for use in rental cars for Android Auto.) It can handle charging my MacBook Pro, my iPad Pro, and my Pixel 7 with ease.

Part of Things I Was Greatful For

My yearly writeup of everything I was grateful for in the year.

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