Checkpoint: Baller Brands Edition

Checkpoint: Baller Brands Edition

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When I was a wee lad, I saw brands like Apple and Bose as overpriced junk for snooty people. Now, a decade and a half later, I am typing on an Apple MacBook Air and listening to music on Bose Bluetooth speaker.

What happened?

I’m certain some of it has to do with lack of money at the time. How can someone spend so much on something that essentially does the same thing as a significantly cheaper brand? I never understood the differences in nuances available on higher end brands like Apple or Bose. For many tasks and functions, cheaper options would suffice but now I get it. Paying extra nets that extra layer of polish and quality that are “nice-to-haves”. Do I need them? No. But I also have the funds now to legitimately choose those higher priced options.

Consumer awareness has also increased significantly since my youth where big brands like Monster can no longer hide behind marketing speak. Companies now need to have actual substance behind their words. Technology and gadget sites now review and dig into the nitty gritty details to see how higher priced options stack up to cheaper offerings. I picked up the Bose SoundLink Mini II based on one of The Wirecutter’s recommendations and not out of any brand recognition.

I finished the first run of Nier: Automata which left me a bit underwhelmed if I’m honest. For some reason, I thought I would see more interesting vistas and places. The Copied City was amazing and I was hoping to see more areas like that but 2B’s run came to somewhat of an abrupt halt that left me wanting. So I dove back in as 9S curious to see what his perspective has to offer. 

Checkpoint: LG OLED55B6P Edition

Checkpoint: LG OLED55B6P Edition

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My goodness is this TV ever pretty. My LG 55LE8500 bit the dust last week and the stars aligned for me to pick up an LG OLED55B6P for $2299.99 ($700 off). It’s worth every penny despite the fact that I’m not able to fully appreciate the screen’s capabilities yet. I still have yet to receive the new A/V receiver to enjoy my home theatre speaker setup with the 4K goodness. 

First impressions of the screen is that it’s remarkably thin and light. My old LE8500 was 79 LBS without the stand and this new screen is a mere 36 LBS or so. It’s super thin at its thinnest point but half the screen still has a bit of a bulge for electronics, speakers and all the other bits that make TVs usable. The picture quality was very dark and saturated by default but after a bit of tweaking it was much more appealing. Motion resolution and clarity of image is what I’m most taken aback by. I’ve only played Nier: Automata on it but everything looks crisp still and in motion. 

The built-in speakers are quite poor but it’s not surprising considering how little space they have to work with. The interface and “Magic Wand” remote are a joy to use which is a huge step up from the clunky and laggy interfaces of old. I have yet to try any of the built-in apps but it looks there’s a solid app marketplace on there.


Checkpoint: CBC Edition

Checkpoint: CBC Edition

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I’ve been listening to a lot of Chinese pop music lately. I was inspired to go down this rabbit hole after I was shared a modern song and noticed how similar the music style and how coherent the occasional English lyrics were. I just had to know how much has changed since the late 1990s and early 2000s. I used to listen to Chinese pop music around that time — putting popular Hong Kong songs into my MD Player.

It always seemed off way back then. Now the beats and musical style aligns so closely to western tastes, that the only differentiator is language. Even how artists use English lyrics have improved tremendously. In the past, English lyrics were strewn in an incoherent manner. They were used as buzz words and uttered with thick accents. Now? I can listen to a song from Ztao and Wiz Khalifa. What a weird world. 

I was also inspired to get in touch with my Chinese side. I’m a Canadian Born Chinese and my comprehension of Mandarin has slipped into oblivion. It’s tough for me to even pick out words I recognize anymore. But listening to this music for the past few days has helped. I can pick out more and more words and maybe I’ll be able to actually relearn what I’ve forgotten. I was never great in the first place but I feel like I should put in more of an effort to at least get listening comprehension back to a basic level. 

So what do I think of what I’ve listened to thus far? Much of it was sourced from Spotify playlists and I’ve really enjoyed the melodies. I can’t say I understand an entire song yet but that’s alright. I’m hoping it gets better with time. I really wish my comprehension was better immediately because I would love to know what Chinese rap is all about. It sounds cringeworthy and I want to know if it’s warranted.

Checkpoint: Facebook Friends Edition

Checkpoint: Facebook Friends Edition

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As you know I’ve been listening to a lot of Kanye West. One line that’s been ringing in my head for the last couple days comes from “Real Friends” found on The Life of Pablo album:

When was the last time I remembered a birthday?

That’s a very good question.

I noticed a high school friend’s birthday was up — I used to have her birthday committed to memory but that data has long since been purged. I noticed all the people wish her a happy birthday knowing that it’s likely triggered by an automated notification. A couple days later, she posts a thank you to everyone for the well wishes. Then I saw a trio of comments wishing her a happy birthday. If it wasn’t for that automated notification, how many of those people would have known it was her birthday?

I remember the birthdays of family members and the girls that I’m interested in at the time but I cannot recall any of my friends. So when Facebook surfaces an automated reminder on a friend’s behalf, I don’t act on it. I didn’t remember it so I’m not going to go through the motions of wishing them a disingenuous “Happy Birthday!”. I turned off Facebook’s birthday notifications so I guess you can say if I do wish you a “Happy Birthday!”, it’s because I created my own reminder and it’s genuine. 

Close Friends

After reading that high school friend’s Facebook post, I realized we hadn’t actually talked in a decade or so I promptly unfriended her. I try to keep a svelte Facebook friends feed. I’m not looking to reconnect with old friends or keep a contact list of every person I’ve interacted with either. 

You can say I’m bad at keeping up with friends but I’m purposely letting relationships die. I will be the first to admit that many of my friendships were born out of convenience. If you were to remove me from my current workplace, how many of those people will I still get together with or continue communicate with on a regular basis? Perhaps less than 20? Or less? 

Wallet Sized Photos

You can chalk it up to me being old school but when it comes to pictures of kids, I prefer the more personal touch. I appreciate it when the parent is there to give context and physically show me their kid photos. Nobody carries wallet sized pictures anymore but the modern equivalent of showing off your kids on your smartphone is far more preferable to the random blast on a social network feed. 

Now imagine every single time someone posts a picture of their kids, it’s like they came up to you and showed showed their bundle of joy’s latest adorable adventure. At one point it’s an overload and I know far too much about other people’s children without having them to actually tell me personally. 

Not My Social Network

I feel comfortable sharing my random nonsense on Twitter because the people who follow me, do so on their own volition. On Facebook, I feel I have to carefully choose my words and content shared because I don’t know where it will end up due to Facebook’s sprawling nature. I’m not posting offensive garbage but I know my humor hinges on references that will leave audiences scratching their head.

For years, I didn’t sign up to Facebook because it was a two way street; you see my nonsense and I see yours. Since the ability to “Unfollow” was introduced, I’ve unfollowed more than 90% of my “Friends” because I just didn’t care for what they posted. They’re great people but I don’t care for what they post. There’s only one individual whom I deemed to be an interesting follow because he’s actually sharing interesting events, activities and projects. 

If you examine whom I follow on Twitter, it’s primarily for entertainment or news. Facebook is geared so much towards sharing personal moments that I have no interest in participating in whatsoever. It’s just not my nature to share photos of myself or loved ones online.  

Why Sign Up Then?

Why did I sign up to Facebook then? For online dating and to keep communication lines open for future employment reasons. I am fully aware that it makes me sound like an anti-social asshole but Facebook is nothing more than an overly complicated contact list to me. It’s just not for me whatsoever.

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