In this week’s newsletter, I offer my first impressions after one week with the new iPhone 11 Pro, share some thoughts on new music, go through my usual media diet rundown, and share a playlist of ten songs I enjoyed this week. This week’s supporter Q&A post can be found here.
I realized this week that I’d blown right through the first anniversary of this newsletter. What started as me just writing a few little bullet points in the Supporter Q&A thread about things I watched and listened to over the week, has ended up becoming the vehicle by which I’ve done my most, and most consistent, writing in years. It’s become a staple of my week. When I set the goal that I wanted to write more for a year, I wasn’t sure what form that would take. This newsletter has ended up being the perfect balance of formal and casual to help me reach my goal.
I’ve had a week with the new iPhone 11 Pro, and my review is pretty simple: It’s a better version of the iPhone X that I had and loved, so I’m very happy with the upgrade. The camera is truly incredible, the battery life is outstanding, and it still does everything my old phone did, just a little faster and better. With the wedding coming up I wanted the best possible camera to take photos over the next couple of months because photos are the one thing you can’t re-take later. And after taking a whole bunch of photos this week with all three lenses and playing around with Night Mode, I’m extremely impressed. Night Mode feels like magic. As for iOS 13, I think it’s a nice update overall, even though it’s still quite buggy for me. I’m still not used to the new Share Sheet, and I wish I had way more control over where items appear in it (Tweetbot keeps forgetting what I set as favorites), but I like having instant access to Shortcuts, and I’m using those more than ever. My new favorite is the shortcut on my home screen, for Hannah, that when I tap opens up a menu for find my friends, texting, calling, or sending her my ETA. I love how much faster these all run now. I haven’t had enough time to set up and play around with iPadOS yet, but I hope to do that this weekend.
I fixed a few iOS 13 bugs around the website and forums this week, and I have one or two left to go. Once that’s done the next feature I plan to tackle is an option to set your theme to “automatic” so that the website will show in light mode or dark mode depending on what your system theme is set to. I currently have my phone set to change to the dark mode at sunset, and I think it’d be cool if Chorus automatically changed as well.
Last weekend we did a little wine tasting get together with some friends. We all brought two bottles of wine (one under $15, one over $25) to a friend’s house to try the different bottles and have a smoked meats BBQ. I’m not a huge wine drinker, but I thought it was a lot of fun. I liked trying and tasting wines without feeling like I needed to fake knowing what I was talking about. Any winery I’ve been to usually has me just nodding along or making stupid “yeah, I’m getting a hint of grapes” jokes that no one laughs at. I found this Pinot Noir by B-Side Wines at the grocery store that I was very impressed with. I bought it because I liked the label (and it did end up winning “best label” at the get together), but the wine itself ended up being pretty damn good too. Or, at least I liked it, but, don’t forget: I really have no damn clue what I’m talking about when it comes to wine.
In Case You Missed It
My music listening this week was largely spent trying to put together songs for a wedding playlist, so I spent an inordinate amount of time listening to the “popular” songs on all the charts to see if there was anything I could stomach that I know people are expecting in a dance playlist. Uhhh … there’s slim pickings out there. I found a few things I liked well enough to include, but I think a significant portion will be throwback songs and stuff I know Hannah, our friends, and I like.
This week we were blessed with new Jimmy Eat World music and, unsurprisingly, I’m very much in on the new song. I only listened a couple of times because I’ve always felt Jimmy are a band that deserves the full album experience, and I don’t want to overplay anything too early. The album itself is only a few weeks away, so I hope to have it to listen to relatively soon, and I’ll share thoughts once I do.
I’m still playing the new Blink–182 with regularity. I was wondering if the new album smell would fade for me, but it hasn’t yet. I’m still finding new things to enjoy in the songs and even spun the vinyl record a few times this week. My “neon” sign should be delivered later today, and I’ll share photos when it does. The Japanese-only b-side “Out of My Head” leaked early this week and it’s a fun little song, but I can see why it’s a b-side. I don’t think it would have fit as well on the album; however, it does have a fun little synth part I like.
The new Sturgill Simpson album is out today and I think Craig Manning’s review captured my feelings pretty well on the record. The more I think about this album, the more I wonder if it’s one that will fall into the category of records that I know I like but never find myself actively wanting to listen to. That happens now and again with an album that feels as dense and weighty as this one does to me.
I’m very into the new The Japanese House song and even more excited that we’ll be getting a new EP later this fall. Anything Amber does is a must-listen for me these days.
The new Vacationer album is a nice instrumental release that I’ll be adding into my “working/coding/writing” rotation. Feels perfect to have on in the background.
I recommend everyone check out the new Tegan and Sara album. That’s been in daily rotation over the past week, and I think it’s their best release in years.
The new The Early November album is out today as well and while I haven’t come back to it a whole lot lately, I do think it’s good.
I’ve only had time to listen to the new Lagwagon album once so far, but it felt like a genuine successor to Hang. It has a little more edge and bite to it, and early favorites include “Parable” and “Pray for Them.”
I gave that new Future Teens album, Breakup Season, a listen and I can see why this is popular with quite a few people on our website. I’m not sure it’s for me, but I certainly see the appeal.
I’ve got the new EP from Simple Creatures, and the new album from The Almost to listen to next. I plan to share thoughts on those as I become more acquainted with them. I am sincerely shocked that there’s a new The Almost album. That was not something I was expecting to happen.
Hannah and I have found it difficult to finish movies in one sitting this week. We would start one and then end up pausing to talk about wedding planning and different things we needed to do to put the finishing touches on little things in the next few weeks. We did end up getting through a few, but I think this may be the new normal for a little while. This newsletter section may suffer.
Tall Girl on Netflix was a safe teenage rom-com like movie that I couldn’t really get into. The “best friend with a crush” character that reminded me of Duckie in Pretty in Pink bugged me, and I felt my attention drifting through most of the film.
The Between Two Ferns film has more than enough laughs to justify watching it. The joke goes on just to the point where you think it’s jumped the shark, and then it ends, and you get hilarious blooper outtakes.
Crawl was better than I was expecting. It’s not great, the gators CGI is iffy in a few places, but it was a pretty good mini-thriller. I think I’ll always be in on “giant animals harassing humans and they must survive” movies.
We finally finished season eight of Doctor Who. It wasn’t my favorite season, er, series, of the show, but it did remind me why I like the character so much to begin with. Now that I’ve gotten more used to this Doctor, I’m looking forward to the next few seasons that I’ve read are pretty good.
I loved the third episode of Titans. I like what they’re setting up here and am excited to see how it plays out. I’m irrationally excited for something as silly as Dick finally getting his Nightwing costume.
Random and Personal Stuff
This week was a pretty heavy wedding planning week. We’re in the final details stage right now. That means finishing up the slide show for the rehearsal dinner, which has led me to find some hilarious old photos. I’ve also been working on putting together all the first dance songs, and a final playlist for everyone to dance and get silly too. It’s annoyingly hard to pick the songs I like and that are popular enough that other people will know them and like as well, let alone ones that are danceable. (And then I’m peppering in stuff me and my friends will all go crazy for on the dance floor.) And yesterday I spent most of the evening working on the wedding timeline and the individual timelines for everyone in the wedding so they know where they need to be and when. We’re 43 days out now, and everything’s starting to come together and move at an even faster pace. It’s almost “harass people that didn’t send back their RSVPs yet” time.
The President needs to be impeached.
Here are ten songs that I listened to and loved this week. Some may be new, some may be old, but they all found their way into my life during the past seven days.
Jimmy Eat World - All the Way (Stay)
Tegan and Sara - Hold My Breath Until I Die
The Japanese House - Something Has to Change
Somos - Ammunition
Bayside - Interrobang
5 Seconds of Summer - Teeth
Future Teens - Born to Stay
Vacationer - Treat
The Early November - Make My Bed
MUNA - Who
The trending and popular threads in our community this week include:
The most liked post in our forums last week was this one by callumnmacleod in the “Jimmy Eat World - Surviving (October 18, 2019)” thread.
And with that, another week comes to an end. I hope everyone has a great weekend.
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Previous editions of Liner Notes can be found here.