select

overkill select | Spring 2022

Remember my Select series? You know, the one with a single article in it? No? Well, I thought so. To remind you what it is:

This is the first post in a series I plan to do on a semi-regular basis. In it, I'll write a few words on things I want to share my opinion on. These may be products that I like but are not worth an entire article, or I plan to write a review at a later date.

I decided to relaunch the series and call it overkill. Because most of the things below might be overkill for most people — me included. And because I paid for that logo and want to keep using it.

So here is the overkill select for Spring 2022:

HomePod Mini and Biggie

Yes, my TV unit is too small, the HomePods are in front of the TV!

I own three HomePods. Two big HomePods — the ones Apple discontinued, I got them through ebay— are used as a stereo pair next to my TV (LG C1, in case you care), and one mini in the kitchen, used for timers and music while cooking.

They are… decent. They are nice, they mostly do what I bought them for, but slowly some things bother me.

It's cute. I have to admit that.

The mini never hears me. As soon as I cook and have my range hood spinning, I can shout as loud as I want, but the mini won't react. When it does, it's good. When it doesn't, it's frustrating, and it mostly doesn't.

Now for the big ones. I seem to experience the same issues most people are running into: the HomePods are starting to fail. They occasionally crash for the weirdest reason, take ages to restart and sometimes don't react to my voice. I love how these HomePods sound, their appearance, and the general experience when they work.

But something is wrong, and they are dying on most of us. Apple doesn't yet seem to want to replace them, and I guess if they die before Apple releases anything else, I'll have to look at Sonos.

Apple, do something! I want to give you my money.

Kindle Paperwhite

Book with fancy words to show you how intellectual I am.

I love my Kindle, and I hate my Kindle. I wrote about it previously here, but for the sake of this post, let me recap why I hate/love it.

The Kindle Paperwhite is a decent device. It's nothing fancy, does what it's supposed to do, which is let me read books, but does so in such a dull, uninspired way that it's difficult for me to create any relationship with this device.

The Kindle looks fugly next to actual paper books.

Compared to a paper book, the reading experience is not as good. Sure, I can zoom, look up stuff, and change the layout, and it's backlit and synchronizes my reading position. But everything I love about books, the smell, the feel, the letter printing, what it sounds like going through pages (yes, I am weird), is just lost with this.

But, I have over 100 unread books on it, and it synchronizes my highlights with Obsidian without me having to type them or write them down by hand, which is why I continue using it. And will do so for a long while. Because I still have over 200 handwritten notecards with highlights from books, and I am not doing that ever again!

But damn, I wish someone would do something to the ebook market to make it more interesting.

Valve Steam Deck

A nearly 600 eurodollar machine to play an eleven-year-old game!

Oh, the Steam Deck. I don't think any gadget has me as excited about tech as the Steam Deck. I am still firmly convinced it will shake up the market in one sense or another. At least many other companies want a piece of that pie and are working on their gaming handhelds.

While still stupidly challenging to get, the Steam Deck does precisely what you imagine it to do. There's this meme in the Steam Deck community: whatever your question, the answer is yes.

You don't realize how huge the Steam Deck is until you compare it with the Switch.

The Steam Deck is a full-fledged Linux PC in a Nintendo Switch-like format. It runs steamOS, a flavour of Arch Linux, lets you boot into a desktop mode and technically be your only PC as soon as you attach a keyboard, mouse and screen.

I use it to play one of my over 700 games in my Steam library (don't ask) or emulate one of the several few consoles I own ROMs for. Oh, and I use it to learn how to get around Linux, and frankly, sometimes browse the web, lying on the couch and using the trackpads as my only input source.

I love it and expect much more content about it on this blog. I'll make you suffer from FOMO like the MOFO I am!

Lumin Skincare Regimen

For my routine: I use the cleanser face in the evening and moisturize it afterwards. Only water in the morning, however.

I used to have bad skin in a not-so-distant past. But then I went to a dermatologist, and she prescribed a drug called Roaccutane, and I've been acne free ever since. (My experience with Roaccutane was good, with no side effects whatsoever, but people keep sharing horror stories, which go from hardcore depression and bleeding lips to exploding puppies.)

But Roaccutane doesn't keep your skin from ageing, and since society wants you to have skin like a "baby-ass but without the rash", I looked for some skincare regimens and landed on Lumin.

I can't say much about the effects long-term yet. I've only been using it for a little over a month, but at least my skin feels good and smooth and like a baby-ass without the rash.

Looks good, smells good, feels good. Doesn't taste good.

Also, when you sign up for a subscription, you can get a trial month for "free" by only paying for shipment. The doses are much smaller, however.

Panasonic Automatic Bread Maker

Look at my bae!

I love carbs. I know I shouldn't, but the Italian genes make me love carbs as much as your uncle loves to drink alcohol.

Bread is my shit. During the lockdown, I learned how to make a nice bread following this tutorial, but I became lazy and still craved homemade bread. This is why I got this bread machine as a gift from my father-in-law.

I learned about bread machines through this YouTube video and have made brioche (a bit more involved) and a simple white bread (completely idiot-proof) so far. There are at least a few dozen more recipes I want to follow, but then again, I earnestly try NOT to eat as many carbs.

If anyone can teach me how to take a pretty picture of this thing, I'll pay you!

Really. I try! No, seriously.

Fellow Carter Everywhere Mug

This was a gift. And if you know me, you know coffee-related gifts always make me happy. And this coffee-related gift makes me especially happy.

I don't know how many virgins they had to sacrifice to create this jar of black magic, but the coffee stays burning hot forever. FOREVER! I don't know how often I burnt myself thinking the coffee would be merely lukewarm by the time I took my first sip.

Bullshit. It's like drinking lava. Not that I know what that feels like, but I imagine it feels like this.

I'm happy this doesn't have some drinking spout because then the risk of melting my intestines would be even higher.

Great product. I love it.

Select | April 2021

This is the first post in a series I plan to do on a semi-regular basis. In it, I'll write a few words on things I want to share my opinion on. These may be products that I like but are not worth an entire article, or I plan to write a review at a later date.

I've stolen the idea from Andrew Kim's Minimally Minimal. But as he hasn't been blogging in years now, I doubt he will mind.

Kissa by Kissa Coffeetable Book

A gorgeous book by a gorgeous man. I'm a Craig Mod fanboy and fascinated by Japan and its culture. And since I've recently picked up hiking as a hobby and plan to walk in Japan myself, I had to pick this up.

Craig knows his shit. This book is incredible. The pictures don't do it justice. You have to see it in person to understand it — the typography, the photography, how it's made, how it smells, how it feels. I aspire to one day create something physical as pretty as this.

I regretted not getting Koya Bound when it was still available.

Zee.dog Leash and Harness

During the mentioned hikes, I've realized that my current leash solution was sub-par.

While walking, I attached my dog's old leash to a carabiner on my backpack. But this little dog is an energy ball, and she pulls as soon as she sees something of interest. And she constantly sees something of interest. A fucking flower is something of interest. This hurt my back pretty bad after a while, as most of the pull mainly was on one shoulder.

So I got this Zee.dog-leash as recommended by Bruce. When going for everyday walks, I have it across my body, but if I go for big hikes with a backpack, I have the leash around my waist. Way better.

I also got a harness, as this one is of higher quality than what I used before and a little coat. Overall, I'm happy with the quality, and so is my dog.

Autonomous.ai Kinn chair

Thanks to that little pandemic of ours, I have been working from home for over a year. And if it's up to me, I will stay here for long after we all got vaccinated.

But this meant I had to invest in some quality of life upgrades for my office situation. This is why I got Autonomous Kinn chair.

This thing is weird. It's entirely made out of plastic and steel but still feels comfortable despite the lack of padding. But it does look uncomfortable as shit.

Due to its fishbone design, it'll remind you of some more expensive alternatives from brands like Herman Miller. And it's that fishbone spine that has fantastic lumbar support.

I had issues with it at first. In the beginning, the chair pressed the waistband of my pants into my back. Yeah, I know how weird that sounds, but it got uncomfortable pretty quick.

This is not an issue anymore, though. Maybe the plastic of that fishbone was too stiff. No clue. I'm not a product designer.

In the end, a worthy upgrade to my no-name-brand chair from before.

Standing Desk

Another home-office upgrade I got is this standing desk I am standing in front of. And yeah, I get the irony. I bought a new chair to use it way less than the previous one.

To be precise, what I copped, are the automated legs. You can attach these to any surface you own. In my case, I was rocking the Ikea Gerton tabletop from my previous desk.

Installing the legs took around 30 minutes without any help. You should use an electric screwdriver, though.

The legs come equipped with a small motor and a remote you attach to your desk with profiles for up to four different heights. I use two, sitting and standing.

I try to start my days standing for 3ish hours before sitting, and after my lunch break, I stand again, for at least two. My back hurts way less nowadays, but this might also be due to me exercising now.

Great investment, but now I need to fix my cable management. Oh, and you should get a mat or anything to protect your feet. I don't wear slippers, so I'm standing on a yoga mat.

Leica Q2

Before I start: I will write a full review in the future. I also shared some of my thoughts on my podcast. Go listen!

The Leica Q2 is a great camera. I get why people love this brand so much. It's a joy to use, the pictures out of the camera look fantastic (I started shooting JPEG+RAW, something I have never done before), and even the app is fun compared to what I was used to from Sony.

The Q2 is my everyday camera, and on me everywhere I go. I use it primarily to document my life and do some occasional street- and portrait photography. It fits my needs perfectly.

I need more time with it, though, before I feel comfortable enough to write a review. Read Craig's on the predecessor.

Hobonichi Techo

I used to have a Techo a while back. It was the international version, and I loved this little planner. Due to unfortunate circumstances, it got destroyed, and I never picked up a new one until recently.

This time I went with the Japanese version as it goes from April '21 to April '22, and I got mine in March.

If you write with a fountain pen — I do, this is my journal, and I want to feel fancy — you'll love writing in this. The Tomoe paper is famous for being incredibly thin but soaking up ink like a champ. I'm writing a more comprehensive review, in which I'll share more details about the paper.

The Techo comes in several versions and languages. Every agenda has little poems and short stories at the bottom of the page and little checkboxes at the top that I use for some gratitude journaling.

At the end of each Techo, you'll find a whole bunch of interesting facts, as well as some unique pages like a personal Top 100 list, a little page to write short reviews, and guides on how to, well, live? As my Techo is in Japanese, and my Japanese still lacking, I can't tell you what it says. Working on it. But know that this thing is excellent.

I also got the day-free Cousin for my big thoughts that are not bound to any date. Equally great!