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w/e 2020-07-12

Hello! I’m not yet ready to lift my personal lockdown, so it’s business as usual out here.

§ I’m still listening to BAD MOVES’ Untenable. The first track, Local Radio, is such a great sub-three-minute, relentless goer. A few bars’ warm-up and then not a moment wasted:

§ Back in February a painful left knee called a halt to my attempt at Couch to 5K, a week or two before I reached the end. Not so long ago I picked it up again, starting at week three, and this week I did my first 5 kilometre run since around 2007, with neither knee complaining noticeably. The warmer weather this time has made the experience more pleasant although I wouldn’t go as far as to call it enjoyable.

A few months ago I saw a post on AskMetafilter which went something like, “I know I should keep fit but I really don’t like exercising. Help me find some exercise I will enjoy.” My first thought was, “Wow, someone thinks that people who do exercise find it enjoyable!” This was shortly followed by, “Oh, maybe there are some people who enjoy exercise!”

I don’t hate doing exercise but it’s mostly boring and mostly hard work (of course).

It can have good moments: when swimming and I feel like I’m slipping through the water rather than struggling against it; when running and the weather’s great and my legs feel good and it’s very early enough in the run that I’m not yet gasping for breath; when I’m doing weights and I briefly feel the satisfaction of moving heavy things that I wouldn’t have been able to move months earlier. But these moments are rare.

All else being equal I’d much rather sit on a sofa watching telly. Exercising’s like brushing your teeth; a tedious habit but one worth persisting with for the long-term benefits. Plus, if you do it in the morning you do benefit from feeling smug for most of the day. I guess that’s enjoyment?

§ To my list of undemanding YouTube pleasures I’ve added reviews of audio equipment, especially speakers. One never owns the perfect speakers, or the perfect headphones, so there’s always an excuse for full-screen window shopping.

One YouTuber I’ve watched a few times recently is Z Reviews for which Zeos, the reviewer, uses a head-mounted camera so you share a first-person view of his room and his gesticulating arms. I expect someone’s written something erudite about first-person videos like this (or those walking ones) and the role of the viewer — compared to watching videos with presenters or voiceovers — so I won’t try, but I do find the experience interesting, whatever the content.

I assume that you, like all my gentle readers, are sensitive and woke, so I feel obliged to at least acknowledge Zeos’ occasional sexual metaphors, love of desktop wallpapers featuring nubile manga girls, and a tendency to refer to inanimate objects, such as a speaker, as “she”.

Leaving that there, I still enjoy his videos. I like that he’s quite down-to-earth and doesn’t assume a huge amount of audio knowledge in the viewer. And I love that he just talks, unedited, which is a huge relief when compared to the frantically-edited, relentlessly-paced, weirdly-voiced, “professional”-sounding typical YouTube reviewer or explainer. I’d happily watch, say, Zeos’ 33 minute rambling review of the Adam Audio T5V and T7V speakers over most briefer, highly-polished YouTubers talking about anything.

§ This week we finished watching the third season of Babylon Berlin which is still good, although I realised I wasn’t that gripped by it towards the end. The setting is fascinating – some real-world characters from 1929 make an appearance – and our knowledge of what’s coming to Germany and the world glooms over proceedings, even happy ones, with the foreboding of future events.

This scene loses something without its context but, amid all the detective capers, and PTSD, and battles for power, this was beautiful:

Du Bist Alles from episode 9, season 3, on Loom

Ohhh, all that looking.

§ That’s all. Whether you’re lifting lockdown, maintaining it, or going back to it, keep safe and stay fittish.

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