Best of the year lists are pointless. They are highly subjective and unless your taste mirrors the author / publication, you are not going to take a lot away from reading them. Not to mention, these are long and rambling for the most part (exhibit A). My theory is that folks read these pieces for the same reasons they read listicles. There is curiosity in knowing which movies that you’ve already seen end up in the best movies list for the year.
Apropos, the following list is irrelevant. The reasons for writing this are mostly self-serving: reflecting and understanding how my choices have evolved this year. 2022 was my first year “officially” working remotely. This presented novel opportunities (flexible hours) and caused troublesome predicaments (burnout). My wife and I bought and shifted to a new house, which meant learning about wall studs, circuit breakers and kitchen backsplashes. One thing that has remained consistent has been our consumption habits. We consumed a ton of TV shows, movies, podcasts, music, and media in general. Here’s what stood out for me personally:
There’s recency bias at play here, but trying out a small dose of legalized psilocybin was a surreal, standout experience. Psilocybin elevated me to a state where I was seeing Winamp visualizations in real-time while I was innocuously staring at my blanket. The invisible forces that underpin and are basic building blocks of the surrounding nature were observable to me. There were no strikingly brilliant insights that came from my quote-unquote trip, but it’s safe to say it did alter my consciousness for a brief period of time. Although my body wasn’t moving, my mind was drifting and dancing to the music I was listening to. Nostalgic memories where I was playing with my friend flashed, but all through the experience, I felt in control - I could ask my mind to switch to a different train of thought if one in particular induced pain or panic. My only regret being not spending enough time alone and joining my wife and her friend to watch a movie mid-way through. Oh, well. Still an 11/10.
The Sonos Arc / Sub has been a great value-add to our lives. It has enhanced our TV and movie watching experience at least by a factor of 2. This has led me to consume live music concerts in addition to the general fare of streaming shows and sports. We initially tried the Arc w/o the Sub and the Sub made a night & day difference. The Sub handles bass incredibly well, and in zero-bass conditions handles the mids and highs nicely. The app took some getting used too - but it’s become trivial to play content from the phone or the TV.
The planned obsolescence issue with Sonos in general is a concern, but this purchase was definitely a 10/10.
2022 was the year when I started many books, but didn’t manage to finish a majority. I read about mimetic desire, numbers, time management, and leadership through solitude. The subject of inflation however dominated both news headlines and my Goodreads. I touched upon many books on the topic, and the hyperbolic The Only Investment Guide You’ll Ever Need was the stand-out. Here are a few takeaways from the book which radically influenced me:
- Buying now and in bulk (especially consumables) will help you beat inflation. It’s not enough to make you rich, but neither is $1000 in a savings account. Be long tea, rice, other non-perishable food.
- For domestic flights especially, it makes sense to book two one-way tickets than to book one round-trip since you’re likely to adjust either the inbound or the outbound flight.
Apollo grabbed most of my spare attention moments based on my Screen Time stats, but the two standouts apps which I discovered and started using regularly in 2022 were:
- iA Writer: I started looking at Bear replacements to cut down on the monthly subscription costs, and iA Writer fit the bill perfectly. It definitely has shortcomings, but its markdown integration, flawless syncing and flat pricing model are the highlights.
- Gypsy Guide: This app was a god-send on our trips to Hawaii and South Dakota and help us discover so many nifty places at our own pace.
Special shout-out to TikTok which was a great distraction this year and helped me find multiple things about home decor, travel, fashion and much more. TikTok doesn’t evoke any negative emotions - primarily due to its unconnected social graph and the infrequency with which I see hateful or divisive content.
I don’t need to look at my Letterboxd to know that I watched a lot of movies this year; these movies touched Hollywood, Bollywood and unsurprisingly plenty of Tollywood movies (thanks to my wife). For the sheer absurdity and the WTF quotient, I’m going to go with Moonfall as my standout movie for the year.
The movie has a respectable cast, a stellar director and an interesting premise (on surface at least). It starts out unremarkable before descending into total chaos. The movie has everything - references to Elon Musk, bonker plot twists, uploading your consciousness to the moon and more.
It’s a masterpiece in stupidity. 11/10.
As I wrap up this note, 2022 looks eerily similar to 2020 / 2021 in that my consumption far exceeded my creations. My side-projects were neglected more than usual and there were no new projects that were kicked off. Going into 2023, I want my ratio of creation overconsumption to reach a healthy state. Circumstances, motivation, and priorities change drastically through the year so concrete goal-ing like reading x books or completing y substantial side-projects over the course of the year are not the right metrics; rather I want to come out of 2023.