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w/e 2020-07-19

Hello. We’re still here.

§ I’ve been slowly catching up on a backlog of posts from The Ethan Hein Blog which takes a while because, as well as reading, they involve listening to music. I wish I understood more of the details in his writing – my musical theory knowledge is, at best, minimal – but it’s still fascinating and I hope to learn something.

This week I’ve listened several times to this track he made. A slowed-down track to practice playing Charlie Parker’s Donna Lee. I love the wonky, lethargic sound of the slowed-down saxophone. More explanation in this blog post.

§ I started using Strava this week. I’d not bothered before because I assumed it was all a bit “I’m crushing it!” and “Wooh, I totally beat my PB!” But, while there’s a touch of that (which is fine, please continue to crush it), it’s also really nice, sociably. Seeing maps of where friends have been running, cycling or going for walks is lovely. Some people are speedy cyclists, some are using Peloton, some are slow joggers, some are going for a stroll with their kids. It’s the same pleasure of ambient awareness I get from seeing people check in to places on Swarm, the activity on which is picking up a little now that people are venturing out more.

Two more 5K runs for me this week. It’s still not enjoyable and I spend most of it questioning all the choices I made that led me to doing this. Next time I shall endeavour to focus on it in the manner that James A. Reeves wrote of yesterday:

I hate running but I admire how it forces me to narrow my focus to a single step and all the life lessons this implies. And each night there’s the sensation of either running from or towards something.

§ When we arrived here the field across the road, to the east, contained sheep but after a while they were moved elsewhere, presumably having exhausted the grass. This gradually grew again, growing long enough to ripple in the breezes like a green sea.

For the past couple of weeks the farmer has been cutting it, then doing another process or two the names of which I don’t know, and finally turning the cut, dried grass into bales of hay. All of this done using the same tractors and towed tools he’s been using for decades, or so I imagine. The hay baler clanked as its levers and pistons magicked the dry, loose grass into satisfyingly geometric blocks, shuffling them out of its rear while the tractor chugged around the field.

Meanwhile, the sheep in the field to the west can occasionally be heard bleating, sometimes sounding like old, hoarse people complaining about something they’re powerless to change.

To the south the small hump-backed field once again contains a small herd of cows, in various combinations of white and black. A while back I happened to be watching them at their feeding time, a farmer having arrived at the gate in a lower corner. The cows, which were then stood at the high centre of the field in the evening sun, noticed this development one at a time, first walking, and then galloping down the steepening slope towards dinner. Galloping! I’d never seen a cow gallop but one after another they did, faster and faster, and I feared that, like over-enthusiastic children, they’d trip and fall, tumbling into a growing pile of broken cows.

But most of the time they stay close together, slowly working their way around the field as a group, as if scared of losing one other. If a cow disappears over the other side of the hill, who’s to say whether it still exists?

§ I enjoyed this Twitter thread:

Sooz Kempner @SoozUK
THREAD: This is a thread about Reply Guys. I like it when tweets go viral coz I’m a big show-off and Twitter is responsible for most of my career. When you go viral you get new followers, fun replies, sometimes even industry interest omg. But you also get: Reply Guys.

It’s great because not only is it entertaining it’s also a good way of educating any guys who are self aware or, like an AI, think they are. I have no doubt that I’ve occasionally been at least one variety of Reply Guy in the past, when I was younger, when Twitter was younger, when we were all younger.

§ Next weekend, Friday to Sunday, I’m looking forward to Indietracks at home a remote replacement for the music festival that would have been happening in better times. Lots of pre-recorded sets, videos, events, and free viewings of Jeanie Finlay’s film about the festival. Obviously, I won’t see you there but still, something like that maybe.

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