Now, September 2021
This past month I’ve been throwing myself into my new job, trying to soak in as much as possible. I’ve been enjoying it immensely, both the work itself and the people I get to work alongside. I help people every day and do my best to turn what is often a stressful and disheartening experience into a more positive one. Of course, starting something new has always taken my full attention, which means writing has taken a backseat as I try to find a new balance between work and play, but I think I’m getting there.
Fun excursions were also moved to the back burner a bit, but my wife and I did find some time to try a local Thai restaurant for date night (delicious, by the way!), and I met up with some friends for a game night. I’m looking forward to more get-togethers as the end-of-year holidays approach.
Speaking of things that I’m looking forward to, my wife and I will celebrate our third wedding anniversary at the end of the month, and we’ve both taken time off to go on an adventure together. This time we’re heading east into New York to explore the Adirondacks, which should be a great time. I’m excited to unplug and just enjoy her company.
Apps I’m Trying
Cibo — Recently featured in the Club MacStories newsletter, Cibo is an app that uses the text recognition feature baked into iOS to identify menu items in the camera’s viewfinder. Why is this helpful? Because it automatically pulls up pictures of that type of food. I just downloaded it yesterday and haven’t had an opportunity to try it yet. Still, it would have been beneficial at that Thai restaurant since I’m unfamiliar with traditional Thai dishes.
Mactracker — In my job, it’s helpful to know the latest operating system that a particular device can handle. Mactracker is the quickest way I’ve found to get that information, along with all kinds of other metadata for Apple products.
Mela — I’m in a real pickle with this recipe app. On the one hand, it’s by far the most visually appealing recipe tracker and cooking assistant app that I’ve ever tried. Plus, it has some fantastic features for automatically importing new recipes from food websites that speak to its developer’s prowess with RSS (it comes from the maker of Reeder, my RSS/read-it-later app). And, it was able to import my recipes from Paprika, the long-standing best-in-class app for this category. The only things that are keeping me from switching over to Mela full-time are (1) that because it relies on iCloud for sync, I’m not sure how to share the same recipe database between my wife’s and my devices, and (2) it didn’t important the pictures of physical recipe cards (of which we have many from family recipes) in a helpful way. Still, I highly recommend you check out the app and the MacStories review of it.
Bandbreite — Another find from the Club MacStories newsletter, Bandbreite is a must-have for anyone who has (or wants) a collection of Apple Watch bands. It’s got a complete database of every band ever produced by Apple and helps you to catalog the ones you own or want to purchase. Besides being helpful, it’s also a nice trip down memory lane and a testament to the boatload of bands that Apple has made over the years, including all the limited edition ones.
MakePass — I’ve used MakePass in the past, but it’s gotten some valuable updates over the year that’s gotten me to take a second look. MakePass lets you create arbitrary passes to save to your Apple Wallet. I’ve used it to make grocery store and climbing gym membership cards for places that don’t offer a native Wallet pass. I was also able to make one that presents a picture of my COVID vaccination card so that I have quick access anytime I need it. The recent enhancements of recognizing bar codes from images or files greatly expanded MakePass’s capability.
RelayforStJude — This app is provided only as a TestFlight beta but lets you add a widget to your Home screen to keep tabs on the progress of the Relay FM fundraiser for the live-saving work of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. It’s incredible to see the Apple community get behind this fundraiser in a big way. If you have even a dollar to spare during the fall hardware season, I encourage you to donate. I will be.
Stuff I’m Reading
With great effort and much time, I’m finally caught up on my read-it-later queue — just in time for the fall hardware season. 😝 But that means I’ve been able to put some evening reading time toward my first actual book in months. Along with other members of the Club MacStories Discord AV Club, I am reading Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life. I’m only a couple of chapters in, but so far, so good! Also, the idea that one should only eat until they’re 80% full, which is a central part of that culture, speaks to me as I work toward a healthier lifestyle.
On Heavy Rotation
You Signed Up For This by Maisie Peters — Regular readers of HeyDingus will not be surprised to know that I’ve had Maisie Peters on heavy rotation this past month. I love her work and can also recommend her Instagram. She’s started up the concert season and has been posting pictures and videos of her tour.
Screen Violence by CHVRCHES — Great as always, CHVRCHES seems to have solidified into a grungy alternative band based on their latest album. I love the moodiness that brings me back to some My Chemical Romance roots, but that doesn’t lack maturity.
Particles by A Great Big World — Heartfelt yet airy, A Great Big World does it again with their latest album. I’ve always held A Great Big World in the same class of music as Owl City. I’m sure you recognize some of their music, even if you don’t know them by name. So give their latest a listen — it tackles some heavy topics with grace.
Only Honest On The Weekend by Becky Hill — I’d never heard of Becky Hill until her song “Remember” showed up in my “Friends Mix” playlist. It’s a banger and led me to check out the rest of her debut album. The whole thing is an exhilarating pop/dance ride. Some of my other favorites are “My Heart Goes (La Di Da)”, “Business”, and “Perfect People”. I think Becky Hill is going to be another to keep an eye on.
Things I’m Watching
Ted Lasso — Season 2 tells a very different story from season 1. But I still love the characters and applaud the writers for taking them through real-life journeys. I feel that once the entire season is out and can be binged, the storylines will feel more cohesive. But I still highly recommend the show.
Modern Family — Down to just a couple of episodes left. At 11 seasons, this may be the longest-running show that I’ve ever watched. Very binge-able.
Mr. Corman — This newest show from Joseph Gordon-Levitt (or is it Jordan Goseph-Levitt? — I always say it wrong) is super weird but has drawn me in. The titular character, Mr. Corman, is a schoolteacher dealing with acute mental instability. Between Ted Lasso and Mr. Corman, I’ve noticed that TV is doing an outstanding job depicting anxiety without punching down. I’m interested to see how this story resolves.
Truth Be Told — I wasn’t sure if I’d watch season 2 of this show after season 1 didn’t sit that well with me. But I think I’ll give it another try after a compelling first episode. It’s an intensely dramatic show about a true-crime podcaster.
Marvel Cinematic Universe — I’ve finally finished my sojourn back through the MCU, culminating in Infinity War and Endgame. If I had to choose my favorite of the whole series, it would still be Thor: Ragnarok. Going back through the entire timeline, I’m even more excited to watch Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and (particularly) Spider-Man: No Way Home.
CODA — This award-winning and record-setting movie is about a young girl who is the only hearing person in her small family. This, understandably, puts a lot of responsibility on her shoulders to help her family navigate life while also pursuing her passion for singing. I don’t want to spoil any more, but you should watch it on Apple TV+.
Hamilton — The music and movie of Hamilton have become a sort of comfort media for me. I know the songs inside and out, but I still am amazed by the broadway performance and choreography.
Hobbies I’m Hobbying
As I mentioned above, my free time has been somewhat limited this past month. But I’m still hitting the pavement a few times a week, and I work toward running a half-marathon by the end of the year. So the cooling weather is quite welcome in that regard.
My goal for the next few months is to carve out some time to get back into the climbing gym a couple of times a week. I miss the community, the physical exertion, and the problem-solving that’s all wrapped up in rock climbing.