Friday, December 31, 2021

Look back on 2021


Its been a long while since I posted here, but this is too much to put up on social media.

We won't speak (much) of 2020.  But 2021 is okay.

This is a place that I wrote about hobbies, primarily photography, so hobbies is what will be here.


First, I've spent a lot, and by a lot I mean A LOT, of time listening to music.  It's primarily been streaming, either from files off my home network or Tidal.  In the year that shall not be named I listened to every album that won the "best engineered" Grammy. 

On my desktop I have a pair of powered speakers on my which are fun to listen to.  Its not setup that is going to win awards, I mean, there is a 34in monitor directly in between them, but it does produce a good stereo illusion and experience.  This is always digital-sourced music.  I would guess about 1/8th of my listening time was at my desk.

My primary stereo is setup with both a digital streaming source and a basic turntable.  The turntable side of things is what I want to talk about.  This year I had a couple of firsts. 

First up, I found an original Metallica album, not a "modern" re-issue.  Cover is pretty battered, and the vinyl is "okay", but it sounds pretty decent.  This is one of the things I like about vinyl, finding stuff with age and history baked in.  This is also one of the things I dislike about vinyl, depending on how that "history" makes the record sound.

Second up, I picked up a few in shrink albums.  This isn't something I do too often.  I don't want to gather up too much "stuff".  I have a single record crate, and my intention is to never have more records than that will hold.  Buying up all the new shrink-wrapped records that I find interesting would deplete that space faster than I want to deal with.  I also am not a collector so if I miss out out on something cool, its okay.  This particular album I decided to get after listening to it 4 or 5 times all the way through via streaming.  The records sounds good, and its a great album for the rhythm and process of listening and interacting with a physical album.

Third up, a Record Store Day album I intentionally tried to get.  I did mention above I am not collector, and I'm not.  But, when I saw this album was coming out for RSD 2021 I really wanted to try and get it.  Leonard Cohen is great, and this one is released in white vinyl that looks cool.  I felt a little nervous trying to get it as locally there were 2 copies in the town I was going to try -- across two different shops.  I chose wisely and was able to get it. When I visited the second shop later in the day their copy was gone. This also sounds pretty good on the turntable.

Those two albums almost make me want to pick up more brand new albums, they sound so good vs my average pre-owned albums.  Although, some of those sound beyond perfect as well.

Learned a few new songs on guitar as well, but that is a different experience than listening to a stereo.


In 2021 I read 52 books.  I don't have pictures of the ones I will discuss because I read them on an eReader (see that bit about collecting stuff above, I really really don't like having stuff around, despite failing and still having a lot of stuff around.).

This is the most books I've read in a year since I kept track of such things.

My top surprise : I really liked Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

My top recommendation : Good Lord Bird by James McBride

Favorite series (that I finished) : First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie [ I also really liked The Expanse by the James Corey writers -- but I'm only on book 4 ] 


I haven't been doing this as much as I'd like.  I know, I'm the only one that can fix that.  But I did get to do some senior photos for my niece.  [Lead image].


This year I was able to play a few more games in person, but the one I've got the most time in is above.  I've been playing it on VASSAL.  I didn't even have a physical copy of the game, it was out of print, and sadly used copies were selling for way more than I was willing to pay.  However, MMP (the publisher) found a few in their warehouse and I was able to get it brand new for retail price.  It was one of the few times I've ordered something before thinking about it (although, I did a lot pre-thinking as I looked for used copies, so perhaps that counts.).  

Games are one of those things where I do have a lot, and I simply deal with the space they take up.  I like the table-top game experience and I'm willing to make that trade off for it.

So, here is my 2021 hobby post.  Its mostly for me to look back on later, but I opted to make it in a public space.  

Here is to a great 2022

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