Sonos

I have always loved music. I used to cart around 300+ records for three+ decades. I probably carried them through three or four moves even after I no longer had a turntable or a receiver capable of playing records where I carted those damn things around. I realize now records are cool again. I always thought they were a pain in the ass. If the records were any good they got destroyed in parties. All of my best albums had huge grooves right in front of the best songs from too many parties in college playing those songs after a couple of beers or 20…

Now, my house is filled with Sonos. I absolutely love this stuff. The gist of Sonos is it sets up a separate wireless network in your house and you have these wireless speakers that you can move around and they are seemlessly attached to each other. You can group them which we frequently do with the kitchen and the dining room. I can play my music in my office and Nancy can play hers in her office on the same music network. I also have the Sonos PLAYBAR attached to our ‘home theater.’ We have two Sonos PLAY:3s, one PLAY:1, one amp attached to regular speakers, and the aforementioned PLAYBAR. All of these sound great within the limitations of their size and my ability to hear well after 40+ (yes, that is the third damn time I have used a + in one blog post) of listening to music way too loud. So if you own a tube amp and it matters to you, you should take a pass now. Just saying…

Sonos hooks to Spotify, Pandora, Beats, Rdio, and about 20 other streaming sources (but not iTunes streaming), your own music for you retro grouches that actually own your own music (includes me), and about a gajillion radio stations. The setup is incredibly simple. You link the Sonos bridge to your main router. The bridge creates a separate network so music does not clog your main network. You plug the speakers into a wall socket, they pretty much link themselves to the bridge. Viola, you have a network of linked speakers.

At this point, you can link a group of them together if you wish or all of them. Or you can break them apart so that multiple people can listen to what floats their boat at that moment. Bring on the Ramones!

I love my Sonos set up. But I insist you not listen to me (usually this is not an issue), listen to the Wirecutter.

Jeans

Jeans are such a personal thing. Usually, you have your favorite brand and that is pretty much it until you die. I wore Levis from Junior High School until about two years ago. They fit pretty well and they looked pretty good. However, I have been looking to make my purchases matter more and by that I mean buying American. Levis regretably moved most of their manufacturing to Mexico.

Gustin

About two years ago (February 3, 2013 to be exact) there was a kickstarter campaign by a company called Gustin. Their idea was that they were making premium jeans that would normally retail for greater than $200 for $80. They obviously cost more than your 501s but I know people in San Fransisco and I don’t know anyone in Mexico where Levi’s makes most of their jeans. I went in on the Kickstarter campaign for $80 and began the three month wait.

So how are the jeans? They are great in a word. They are made of Cone Mills denim (I know people in North Carolina also). I love my Gustin original jeans. They fit great, they have been rock solid in workmanship, and they have worn great. I get a lot of compliments on my jeans. I liked them so much, that I have purchased a pair of lightweight blue jeans, a pair of Italian denim in umber, and recently a pair of black jeans. Again, workmanship and fit are incredibly good.

This is the best Kickstarter campaign that I have ever been part of by far. These are the jeans for the rest of my life assuming they stay in business and, at the moment, business seems to be booming for them.

Drawbacks

So are there any drawbacks? Well, I will mention two:

  • First, you have to use your real waist size (hint: your pants size is seldom accurate. They refer to it as vanity sizing).
  • Second, you have to wait. Gustin is pretty good with communicating but you are waiting for 2-3 months between ordering and receiving. In the age of Amazon (Baltimore just got two hour shipping), waiting this long is a thing but I have not found that I need jeans that quickly.

Advantages

  • First, you are employing other Americans. I love buying American made products. Do I pay more? Maybe. Does it matter to me? You fucking bet it does.
  • Two, excellent craftsmanship. These jeans are extremely well made. I think they are a great deal for the price.
  • Third, the fade on these has just been amazing.