2023 in review


The start of 2023 brought some activity to Tralfaz that tapered off after I created another site Sweatyspice first as a way to get familiar with Substack.

But from January 1 2023 to when I drifted away, I posted 28 times. I covered topics around guitar playing, the signal chain, some gaming, and some dishing about falling and getting stapes in my scalp that led to purchasing an Apple watch.

I did create the Sweaty Spice site and post a ton over there (please do go and subscribe. It is free, and I post mostly there lately).

I also moved my professional product management blog – The Product Bistro – to Substack, so the Sweatyspice thing was a trial run.

I will have plenty to write about the year on Substack. It has been pretty good, but lately I am considering whether to remain there. They have not acquitted themselves with glory in the recent spate of antisemitism and nazis on their site.

I have gone on a binge to add to my collection of physical media. Of course I rip everything and store it on my Plex server, making everything completely available on our TV.


I did build a real gaming PC. I tried to cheap out and buy a bigger case for the Ghost Canyon NUC to accommodate a better GPU, but that wasn’t so simple, and instead I bit the bullet and got a pretty solid system set up. Built around an AMD Risen 7 X3D chip, a Gigabyte motherboard, and an ASUS RTX4070Ti GPU, it screams. I get a solid 80 FPS out of the new Forza Motorsport, running at 1440p resolution (aka 2K) with all the nice graphical elements turned on. This should last me 3 or more years.

I bought it to play the 2023 release of Forza, and while online a ton of people complain about the performance, the graphics, the tracks, the cars, the AI, well, I just don’t care. I am working my way through the career mode, and I have dropped into some online playing.

The best things to watch

First, I can’t recommend “Poker Face” a series on Peacock streaming (it is worth it to spin up a trial subscription to binge it. It is that good!) Natasha Lyonne is phenomenal, the stories are well written and shot, and , well, it is just great. The director, Rian Johnson, is a genius. He will also be on my next recommendation…

Second, the movie “Knives Out”, also directed by Rian Johnson is top flight. Especially since I had to navigate an interesting (read: completely fucked up) trusteeship of my stepfather’s estate a few years ago. Starring Ana De Armas, and Daniel Craig playing a private dick, Benoit Blanc, with a delightful Southern accent. The rest of the cast is studded with top flight talent, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Don Johnson, and others who are just epic. The battle over the estate, and their petty infighting? Chef’s Kiss, no notes.

Third, Season 7 of Rick and Morty. This is the first season since Justin Roiland was booted for his , ah peccadillos, and I was worried that since Justin was the most iconic voices (rick and morty), but the replacements are good. No, I mean really really good. Like yes you can tell the difference if you hear them back-to-back, but otherwise you just don’t notice it. At all.

Fourth, two new items in our Christmas movie rotation. My better half looked for a list of Christmas movies that were an antidote to the diabetes-inducing classics, and the offered up Scrooged, and Elf, both movies I had never seen. And I have got to say that Bill Murray in Scrooged was amazing. Yes, earlier in the season, I watched A Christmas Carol, a classic version on TCM, and enjoyed it, but the modern take in Scrooged was very entertaining.

Finally, I kicked the Social Media habit

I ditched Facebook and Instagram years ago (n.b. I did do some Facebook in the early Covid era as I had gotten into RC cars, and that was where the community was), but Twitter was the monkey on my back that was the most difficult to kick.

Musk buying it in late 2022 started the process, and his just completely asinine actions (pay to play, reinstating some of the worst humans on the planet, taking advice from people like Catturd2, decimating the trust and safety team, and many more) were making the desire to stay very thin.

In December 2022, he picked a fight with journalists over the @elonjet account and that was when I deleted my “personal” account. I kept my professional (@prodbistro) account active to cross post when I published new posts to its new home on Substack. When he got in a pissing match with Substack, and blocked all links from that site, I logged in to get a lay of the land, and I was assaulted with right wing nuts, OnlyFans promoters (I have nothing against sex workers, and adult entertainment, but having my feed just buried in soft and hard porn was shocking) and I found that my block of Elon’s account was being ignored, as I was seeing all his posts.

I deleted my last active account, and added the lines to my Hosts file to prevent me from even navigating to that page anymore.

I guess I can thank Musk for breaking me of my last addiction to social media. Yay.

Our dogs

Both Lizzie and Cerbie are doing great, although it seems like even simple vet visits are big bucks. Sure, we could find a cheaper vet, but they are so good.

The pair of them are 7 or 8 years old, and while the walks with Cerbie are not as long as when he joined us, he still bust out for a 5 miler on occasion.

Lizzie has come a long way from being a fraidy-cat, insisting on doing walkabouts in our neighborhood. I do not think she will ever be a long walk girl, she is just too damaged from before we adopted her. It is just a shame.

We did find a high quality food that they both can eat and not affect their gut (if you are a pet owner, you likely understand the struggle). Alas, I just wish it wasn’t $80 for a 20# sack.

The Coming Year

I am playing with alternatives to Substack. I will write about the reasoning why in a future post, but let’s just say that even the free tier there makes me feel like I am tacitly approving of some really bad people.

I will try to write more here. There are 1,028 posts (this will be 1,029) published, stretching back to 2009, and I consistently log from 20 – 40 visitors a day.

I will also undo the use of Mailchimp for distribution if notifications of new posts here. No real reason why except that they talk a good talk about fighting spam, but they (Maichimp) seem to be fine with people abusing their service.

Final thoughts

If you are reading this, I would like to thank you for being part of my journey. I have plenty that I want to write about. How the end of ZIRP has caused chaos in big tech, how AI is going to completely screw a large swath of the middle class (and how I think that the fact that it is also a risk to the upper crust of professionals may lead to some good policy to control it), how Tech Brahs and their “Effective Accelerationism” is really fucking bad for society, and some tangential thoughts as we careen to a rematch of Biden v. Trump in the fall.

It will be a fun year!

About the author


Product Manager in Tech. Guitar player. Bicycle Rider. Dog rescuer. Techie.

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