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Apple Watch

Last fall, I was gifted a Fitbit Sense. This was right around the time I was planting the seeds about getting healthy and despite having never owned a smart watch, I was excited to test its potential. Sadly, the Fitbit was a massive disappointment. The lack of accuracy made using the watch useless, and glitches that have existed for years (such as saying I’ve walked up several hundred flights of stairs when in fact it was two) just made me stop wearing the watch.

I went online to see what watch was listed with better accuracy but could also function in some other ways to assist me in my daily life. The Apple Watch seemed to fit the mold the best, and so I began thinking about getting one.

It’s been six months, but I finally bought an Apple Watch SE. I won’t bother to review it, there is plenty of that online, but I will say, thus far, this watch has exceeded all of my expectations.

Not only is the fitness accuracy on point, the ease of use and comfortability is top notch. I utilize things like Spotify, notifications, timers, etc., and thus far I’m very happy with my purchase. But I think the biggest surprise I discovered was my three free months of Fitness+ that came with the watch.

See, I didn’t need the watch to get fit. I can definitely get healthy without it. I don’t see myself posting photos of my rings or any of that mess, but I did wonder if the watch and the rings system would encourage me to do more. And that’s where Fitness+ came into play.

Fitness+ is Apple’s online fitness program. They range in variety from yoga and meditation to HIIT and cycling. There are multiple instructors, multiple styles, and new videos being added all the time. When combined with my Apple TV, I can watch my watch statistics on the TV while working out and the classes are no-nonsense and just enjoyable.

I love the quick ten-minute yoga classes, but surprisingly, I’ve been utilizing the heck out of the meditation classes. I don’t typically like guided meditations, but I’ve enjoyed what Fitness+ has to offer and I’ve been exceeding my goal to meditate for six minutes almost daily since I got the watch. Heck, last night I meditated once in the afternoon for ten minutes and then did a ten-minute sleep meditation that actually put me to sleep!

The Apple Watch and Fitness+ are tools. They won’t make you healthy on their own, but if you utilize them, I think it can help you develop more healthy habits. I’ll admit, for years I judged smartwatches as pointless and ridiculous, but I was wrong. Time will tell, but I think my Apple Watch is going to help me along this journey.

Battlestar Blues

My wife is currently away on a ten-day work trip. Before she left, she wanted to finish up a couple of shows we were watching: Battlestar Galactica and Peacemaker. I watched Peacemaker a few months ago, while I was sick with COVID, and thought she’d enjoy it. Battlestar Galactica came about in a more natural way.

I adore the first episode of Battlestar Galactica, 33. It’s one of the greatest episodes in television history as far as I’m concerned. The mini-series is good, but it’s not until 33 that Battlestar Galactica becomes great.

Last fall, I found myself with a desire to re-watch the first few episodes of Battlestar Galactica. I turned it on and didn’t think my wife would care. I mean, she likes sci-fi, and I always thought she’d enjoy it, but at the time we didn’t need yet another show to watch together.

I decided I’d watch the mini-series and 33 and probably stop there. It was a lazy Sunday, and I thought that would fulfill my Battlestar Galactica need. My wife was in bed, ready to take a nap, but the sounds and dialogue of Battlestar Galactica was just too riveting for her. She gave up trying to sleep about half an hour into it, and I restarted the series so she could watch everything she missed. We watched the mini-series and 33 together that day.

That was the beginning of several months of watching Battlestar Galactica. It was my first full rewatch since the show was on the air. Not every episode is perfect, but overall, it’s pretty darn close. The acting is top notch, the special effects hold up for the most part, and the music… the music is absolutely wonderful.

As we made our way through the show, I found new admiration for Admiral Adama. I was always a fan, and I can’t help but tear up every time A Good Lighter begins to play, but I didn’t realize just how much I respected that character until this watch through. I didn’t even realize it until my wife mentioned it, but at one point I even said out loud, I wish Admiral Adama was my father. I admire his honor so much and his ability to take on the most difficult tasks with empathy and common sense.

I even found inspiration in the show during the “fat Lee” phase and the bluntness that Adama tells Lee to get his act together. I went as far as to create a silicon bracelet to remind me to keep getting fit and not to be “soft”, a kinder version of Adama’s actual comment to his son who had become lazy and overweight.

The final season gets philosophical and religious, and it can be a lot to process during some of the middle episodes, but it ends so well. It wraps things up better than I remembered and when we watched the final episode a week ago, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of melancholy. My time with the crew of the Galactica was over, once again, and here I am back in the real world with no Admiral Adama in sight.

One of the things I love most about sci-fi is that at its core it’s about family. It’s about strangers stuck on a ship or a planet, who rely on each other to get through the day. When I watch or read good science fiction, I feel like I’m part of that crew and when the show ends, it’s almost like a part of me is missing. Luckily, thanks to streaming and physical media, I can always start up the journey once more, and thanks to rabid fanbases, there is usually tie-in comics and books to further explore the worlds I come adore.

Battlestar Galactica is a wonderful journey, and one of the best science fiction shows ever made. It’s almost one of the most digestible even for folks who are not fans of the genre.

F’n Bosch

I’m still not sure why I turned on an episode of Bosch a few months ago, but I did and I’m so thankful for it. I’m not a fan of police procedurals and those hideous sideburns turned me off, but once I put all of that aside I found myself on a wonderful journey into the world of the LAPD and Hieronymus Bosch.

This week, I finally finished the final episode of Bosch Legacy, a spin-off/continuation of the Bosch series that exists as season eight for the show. Last week, Bosch Legacy was announced to return this upcoming fall, with a follow up season to come after that. I got to say, I’m excited, because I just can’t get enough of these stories.

Bosch is based on a series of books by Michael Connelly. The character is a Detective for the LAPD who treats his job as a mission, and for him, “Everybody counts, or nobody counts.” Having grown up in foster care after his mother, a prostitute, was murdered and no one seemed to care, Harry took it upon himself to become the voice for those who had no one to speak for them. He’s not always the most pleasant man, but he’s good at what he does, and he is fueled by his desire to help.

Over the first seven seasons, we see Harry take on several cases while surrounded by a flat-out fantastic cast of co-stars. Jamie Hector (The Wire) plays his partner J. Edgar, who is a good man trying to balance a difficult job and a family. Amy Aquino (ER) who quickly became my favorite, is the Lieutenant of the Hollywood Detective Division and is honorable and fair. The always great Lance Reddick (Fringe) plays Chief of Police Irvin Irving, and well… Lance was always amazing in everything he did, especially in Bosch. Mimi Rogers, plays a civil rights attorney, Honey “Money” Chandler, and steals almost every scene she is in.

Other cast members include Annie Wersching, Madison Lintz, Jeri Ryan, Steven Culp, Gregory Scott Cummings, Troy Evans, Scott Klace, DaJuan Johnson… and the list goes on and on. This is one of those shows, that is a character show at its core, and the casting is 100% spot on. Every character has a purpose, and every actor is perfect for the role.

With only a few exceptions in seasons three and four, the pacing is very solid. The mysteries unravel with little wasted time, and the show establishes a feeling of authenticity. I’m not a police officer, but it feels like the show has done its homework.

It’s hard to talk about Bosch and not mention the city of Los Angeles. Like how Taxi Driver utilized New York as a character, Los Angeles is a character of its own in Bosch. It’s beautiful and hideous at the same time. Bosch’s amazing view of the city, from his home, makes you want to sit on his porch and just stare out at the lights and the sea of chaos that exists below.

With the use of Los Angeles as a setting and Bosch’s personal love of jazz, the show has a noir vibe to it. Harry is not a particularly happy man, and he has his own demons (obsession with the job, inability to maintain relationships) but is good at what he does, which is usually the traits you find in a noir protagonist. The jazz selection is so good, it inspired me to download some jazz myself, which is something I rarely listen to.

There was a quality drop between the original series and Legacy, but the show was filmed during COVID and also transitioned from Amazon Prime to Amazon FreeVee. It was created with a much smaller budget, and while there were some shortcomings, I’m hoping the upcoming seasons will be a bit better. Two spin-off series were also announced, but with the writer’s strike I’m wondering if they will ever come to pass.

I wish I had given Bosch a watch sooner, but I’m glad I eventually stumbled upon it. Right now, I’ve begun the book series, which began in 1992. It’s different, being that Harry has a mustache and is a Vietnam vet, but so far, I’m enjoying the mystery. I hear the books really pick up around book three or four.

I’m not sure if it’s an age thing, or I just appreciate mystery stories a bit more these days, but characters like Harry Bosch, Jack Reacher, and Joe Pickett really do it for me. I just can’t get enough of these great characters.