I'm definitely a gadget freak... especially when it comes to headphones. As you know, I love my music. I'm also a bit noise sensitive (landscapers, screaming kids), so noise cancellation is an extremely important feature to me. Over the past few years, I've purchased a number of headphones... both wired and wireless (mainly wireless). In most cases, I used bonus money from work to buy them... so I didn't pay much.
This post is going to tell you which ones to buy (and why).... under $300. If you're paying more than $300, you're an idiot. First, let's get this out of the way. Unless you're a serious audiophile, skip wired headphones/earbuds. Wireless has come a long way... so there's no reason to deal with wires anymore. Also, you probably won't notice the difference. I've tried most of the over-ear headphones (Bose, Sony, Sennheiser, etc.), as well as all of the earbuds that are out there (kind of a little hobby of mine). Wired headphones lead to fatigue. They're also a pain in the ass.
I'm an Apple guy all the way, but I'm sorry... I hate AirPods Pro. Yes, I know... the Spatial Audio thing is interesting (not a fan, though it is an improvement). They're also the best when it comes to call quality (when making phone calls; hands down)... and they're very light. Oh, and... they easily switch between Apple devices. They suck, though, when it comes to listening to music and the noise cancellation? Please.
They also look like tampons. Come on... you know they do.
I used to say Bose was in a league of their own when it comes to noise cancellation, but... that's no longer the case (although, spoiler... I still prefer Bose; more on that in a minute). Sony has upped their game. While I don't like the fit of their over-ear cans, I love the new WF-1000XM4 earbuds (come on, Sony... get more creative with your names). Your music will sound incredible. The noise cancellation is right up there with the Bose QC Earbuds. Great battery life. Smaller case. That said, they're not as easy to get in your ear (whereas the Bose are super silky with their silicone tips).
Which sounds best? The Sony's... hands down. Richer. More bass-heavy.
Which look best? Again... the Sony's. Smaller footprint. The Bose are big.
Which fit best? AirPods, though the Bose are easier to get in than the Sony's.
Which has the best noise cancellation? Bose, but the Sony's are close.
Sony & Bose only sync with one device at a time... which is a pain, but oh well. Just means that if I want to use them on my phone, I have to unsync from my MacBook. Still, all devices immediately find them. The Sony's allow for more customization.
At the end of the day... I prefer the Bose.
So... if Sony sounds (and looks) best and I said the noise cancellation is about the same, why do I recommend the Bose? Don't know. On paper, the Sony's win. I just know that when I want to listen to something, I gravitate to the Bose. They're easier to fit in my ears (and feel better). The audio quality is good. The noise cancellation is, of course, the best in the industry. Yeah, the case is bulky (and they look bigger than the Sony's)... but there are two final things that settled it for me.
First... the Bose allow for volume control (swipe up on the right earbud to turn your music up and swipe down to, well... turn it down). Second... when I want to turn off noise cancellation and listen to someone, it's much quicker with Bose. Not sure why, but the Sony's take a few seconds before it switches from NC to Ambient (meaning you can hear your surroundings). It's only a few seconds, but it can be frustrating.
To be fair, I still use them both (Bose most of the time, but Sony's on the road).
Regardless, you should buy one of these two... not the AirPods Pro. If you don't want to spend this much, go with the Jabra Elite Active 75-t. A much better value.
She's Norwegian singer-songwriter Marie Ulven... and she's incredible. I'll post a couple of my favorite tracks, but here's my Spotify playlist devoted to her.
This is absolutely the best show you're probably not watching. Black Mirror (Netflix) owes a lot to The Twilight Zone, but even though it's relatively new... this dystopian British anthology series has been hugely influential across its 5 seasons. Everyone has their favorite episodes, but mine are Hang the DJ, San Junipero, USS Callister, and The Entire History of You. You can't go wrong with any of them.
Love how this guy remixes old classics (he's done a lot of Disney stuff). Careful, though. You're going to spend all day listening to his YouTube channel.
Not Safe for Work (NSFW), but cool as hell.
I'm going to spotlight some great TV shows and movies that I think everyone needs to be watching. First up... Love, Death + Robots on Netflix. These are short stories that have been adapted into animated films. ADULT animated films. It's the brainchild of Tim Miller (Deadpool) and David Fincher (Fight Club). There's something here for everyone (Sci-Fi, romance, horror, extreme violence, nudity, comedy, etc.)... and there's nothing like it. Don't expect any connective tissue. They're standalone gems.
Even though I'm from Chicago (and love Lou Malnati's deep dish), I prefer a good thin crust pizza. There's a place near my hometown that had the best version. I grew having it every Friday night. I spent years trying to perfect it, realizing that if you change one ingredient... it changes the entire pizza. The sausage needs to be mild and not that Johnsonville crap. I tried every imaginable mozzarella (from Trader Joe's to Kraft to gourmet stuff) until I found that Sargento's worked best. The sauce needs to be the same, too. Nothing fancy. Classico's Traditional sauce does the job.
What you need...
Start by partially cooking the Italian sausage (not too much; just enough). Set aside on a paper plate. Melt some butter in the microwave (about 30 seconds; cover it; I use a tiny glass bowl). Put the pizza crust on some parchment paper. Brush the melted butter over every nook and cranny. Spoon the pizza sauce on (I like a lot of sauce; same thing... cover every inch, ideally by hand; I use disposable gloves). Take a few handfuls of the mozzarella and spread evenly. Crumble the sausage and spread it out (not too much, but ideally every bite should have a piece). Put the veggies on (same; spread them out; every bite should have some). Put down another few handfuls of cheese (just covering everything; don't use too much). Sprinkle a little Italian seasoning over the pizza and do the same with the cracked pepper.
As for your oven... if it's lavash bread (thin, cracker-like crust), go with 400 for about 17 minutes. Put it on the middle rack. Turn the light on about 10 minutes in. Once it's starting to brown (i.e. looks like the pic), take it out. If it has its own directions (I think Boboli is about 425), that's fine. Just keep checking (without opening the oven door). You want to make sure it's brown (like my pic), but not TOO brown.
Take it out. Cut into squares. Enjoy.
I typically make about 5-6 on a weekend. I eat one of them and vacuum seal & freeze the others. Why? I now have homemade frozen pizza ready within minutes.
You can't find this on Spotify or Apple Music, but... great Cuban track.
Yes... I'm a Springsteen fanatic, but I think for good reason. As I've rambled on about before... he's "other level" when it comes to artists. Look, I think Bob Dylan is a brilliant songwriter (probably the best). I also realize Bruce (like Bob) doesn't have the best singing voice (he's more of a songwriter and live performer than singer). That said, more so than anyone else... he's a genius at interpreting and re-inventing songs, including his own. Whether it's "Staying Alive" by the Bee Gees... or this.
"Open All Night" is a track from his acoustic masterpiece, Nebraska. I'll give you the original track (recorded in his bedroom on crude equipment, meant for demos to play to the band for what would become Born in the USA; he ended up releasing the raw demos as is)... and then the version he re-imagined for a concert in Dublin.
Just some musings from an old guy...