Now that we have started 2023, one can take a look at the year that was 2022. Personally it was a great year (no deaths/cancer in the family so that is new), with a number of stand out moments.
The biggest one is that I married, Kelley, the lady of my dreams in the summer. We wedded in our own home, with the ceremony in the front, and the big tent in the back. It truly was perfect. We had our close family come over from the UK, and with our close friends/family here in the USA the time we all spent together was far more special than any of us could ever have imagined. Each morning I wake up, not believing I got this fortunate.
Special mention to the night before the wedding, when we all had one major karoke night, with everyone taking the mic for their song of choice. Those are memories that will never leave me. Thank you.
Healthwise, getting to that age where I have to really listen to my Dr, as we are still within a fighting chance of correcting anything. On his advice, I purchased a Peloton back in January. With my first ride on the 15th, I had no idea if it was going to stick. I have tried many activities before, but none really got into the habit to make any material difference.
For some reason the Peloton, with its deluged of data, succeeded where others failed, with the metrics below speaking for themselves. I purchased a heart monitor to go with it, which is a game changer, as it shows just how much effort you are putting in to get to where you need to go. The data has shown my heart is indeed stronger 12 months later, with my average output sitting at 350 for a 30 minute ride – compare that to my first ride out at 205. As I crossed the 50 threshold late in the year, I can honestly say, I have never been in better shape – thank you Cody!
I have been tracking everything I watch for the last 5 years now, and 2022 was no different. Between movies and TV, I consumed 278 different shows, compared to the 184 in 2021 (2020 has the highest with 405 – must have been some sort of global pandemic or something to have me at home consuming so much).
My top 5 rated movies of 2022 :
Being a huge Elvis fan (son and I made a pilgrimage to Graceland in ’21) I was hoping it would not disappoint, and I can say, even after the 5th time watching (twice in the cinema), Baz Luhrmann hit it out of the park with his story telling and the new remixes of the classic tunes.
- Thirteen Lives
The story of the Thailand football team being trapped in the caves, Ron Howard, once again cements he can transform a true life story. I knew the story, but it was edge of your seat stuff throughout.
- Bullet Train
Where the hell did this come from? It hit us like a bullet train! With a whole “Snatch/GuyRitchie” feel, this kept us entertained from start to finish. The witty dialogue is what pulls you in.
- Top Gun: Maverick
I mean what is there not to like; Cruise played to the audience, plucking at every single string from the original and doing it in a way that never disappointed. This could have gone so wrong, but never put a foot wrong.
- Against the Ice
Now this surprised us, the true story of two explorers as their fight to survive in Greenland as they look to map out the area. Went into it, knowing nothing, but was captivated throughout. The book to which it is based on, is waiting for me to read.
As to what made it to the bottom of the list, there was a number of turkeys, but the biggest disappointment was the new Avatar. I was bored senseless, and the complete lack of story didn’t help. Every single thing that happened could have been prevented if the kids did what their parents told them!
On to the TV side of things. What a year for great drama. I have excluded series that are beyond their first season, but Slow Horses and Succession are just getting better as each one moves on.
My top 5 new TV series of 2022 are:
- SAS Rogue Heros
The “true” dramatization of the forming of the British SAS, with a huge amount of dramatic license taken, but enough to keep it anchored in reality. Extremely funny and witty.
- House of the Dragon
It took a few episodes to get going, but once I finally allowed myself to buy in to Matt Smith’s character, it delivered, to the point where you were itching to get to the next episode.
Amazon nailed this version of Reacher, which is completely different from the Tom Cruise movie version.
- The Guilded Age
Julian Fellowes goes stateside for his Downtown Abbey version, and delivers with the right level of upper crust snobbery in a new world, wrestling with new money over inherited money. Captivating.
- Karen Pirie
Her from Outlander – yes, this is another one that came out of no-where and proved to be a great detective series set in Scotland.
Notable mentions going to Brassic, which while in the 4th season now, only recently discovered and it is tears-running-down-cheeks funny. This was also the year we discovered Endeavour (the prequel to Inspector Morse) and it was brilliant (though I could listen to Roger Allam read the telephone book).
I keep a YouTube playlist for each year too, adding any tune that catches my ear throughout the year. While not formally ranked, the top 5 tunes that found themselves being repeated more than they probably should have been:
- Primal Scream – Moving On Up (Glastonbury 2022)
- U2, Leonard Cohen – Tower of Song
- Lady Gaga – Hold My Hand (Top Gun soundtrack)
- Elvis Presley – Trouble/Guitar Man (’68 comeback special)
- Macklemore – Chant
The Elvis OST featured heavily in my repeated listens, and continues to do so. I also added a lot of vinyl to my collection (as I have blogged historically), nearly rounding out the full catalogue of my favorite Leonard Cohen.
Gadget of the year
While I didn’t buy it last year, the reMarkable tablet continues to prove its investment. I love it. I use it all the time with all my meetings, muses and doodles captured there.
I have been reading a lot of books, and I switched over from the Kindle to the Kobo Libra, which I picked up second hand on eBay for a steal. I find it nicer than the Kindle and easier to consume content from outside of the Amazon eco-system.
I love my DeWalt power tools, particularly the 24v battery powered ones. I keep an eye on all the deals going on to add to my already overburdened collection. Though the one that had everyone say “why on earth did you buy that“, then proved its worth many times over, was the DeWalt 24v fan. This little beauty was mocked upon first arrival, but soon became the darling of the family.
It kept us cool in the hot summer and featured heavily in our wedding in July in our garden. If you look closely, it was behind Kelley and I and Pastor Tom, cooling us while we exchanged our vows. When the power went out for a night due to a summer storm, it ran throughout the night, keeping our guests cool.
This is the one that claims the gadget of the year award from me.
This was also the year I got my book finished and released online (best seller online at Manning for a number of months – so pleased with that result). 2023 will see it go into print, so excited to get it physically in my hands.
My career changed direction, when I joined New Harbor Capital as Partner, heading up the Portfolio Operations Group providing technology guidance and leadership to our portfolios. As with every new challenge in ones career, it should always be the hardest so far, otherwise you are not growing. This one is proving that, but thoroughly enjoying each day.
I also got to go to the Cayman Islands for the first time in my life, and while I am not a beach/sand person, I have to admit, I thoroughly enjoyed sitting under the tiki hut, with my bluetooth speaker and reMarkable tablet, as I wrote the final chapters of my book. I will confess to kicking and screaming prior, but Kelley (as usual) proved right to drag me to that wonderous place which was basically the UK in the sun (I loved it!).
Looking at 2023
As I look at 2023, I have a number of resolutions or goals I want to go after. I want to spend more quality time with my beautiful wife. I find myself enjoying more time away from the keyboard and weekends I love piddling in the garage whether that is a little woodturning or fixing/maintaining stuff (you know the sort of stuff my father would be proud of).
I wish to continue looking after my body, or as my Dr says “keeping the old man away” and focusing some “me” time so I am here for many years to come. The Peloton will help me there, and I will continue to knock out the daily miles.
I would like to get my motorbikes license this year, which is just a 2 day course. I had it in the UK, so this is just a formality. I have the helmet/gloves already to go just need to book it. I would like to get an adventure trail bike (the type that Ewan McGregor/Charlie Borman uses in Long Way round). I have my eye on one already – just need to be in a position I can legally ride it.
As the infamous line in the “Always sunscreen” song beautifully states, “The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that Never crossed your worried mind“. Who knows what ’23 is going to throw at us, but instead of worrying about it, I am going to try and put good into the world (something my inspirational wife lives by), and when the shit does hit the fan, I hope I am prepared to deal whatever comes with grace and composure.
Here is to ’23 – I am ready.