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w/e 2021-03-14

Daffodils are now properly here!

§ I updated my Mac to Big Sur this weekend, making the assumption that it’s had long enough for the worst bugs to be fixed. There are no new features that I need or want, but I do like that it looks a bit different. That’s all I really want; I want it to feel new.

Although it’s a shame about all   the   extra   space   between   everything. Infuriating. And with many apps it’s now hard to tell which is the front-most one. And they still haven’t fixed the thing in Music where you scroll down a list of albums, click one to go “into” it, then click the “back” arrow and… you end up back at the top of the list of albums. Does anyone at Apple use Music?

But I do like the more roundy corners — just because they’re new — and it is, now, just about possible to guess whether Music has shuffle or repeat enabled or not by looking at its buttons/icons. Imagine what else they’ll be able to achieve when technology allows!

§ I finished reading Constellation Games by Leonard Richardson which is definitely the first fiction I’ve read by an author of a python-based HTML parsing package. I wasn’t riveted but I’m slowly realising that only reading a tiny bit most evenings just isn’t a good way to get into any book. It’s like watching a box set for five minutes a day.

But this was interesting and fun – imagining first-contact with a group of many alien races, from the point of view of a games developer. “If Douglas Coupland wrote sci-fi this is the sort of novel he would produce,” says one review, and I can see that.

§ This week we finished watching Deutschland ’89 which was good. I think it worked better than ’86 which travelled further afield, losing the claustrophobia of ’83’s East/West German action. ’89 was back in central Europe for the fall of the Wall, and better for it.

We stayed in the 1980s for Hoop Dreams (on iPlayer) which was, as everyone has said over the years, excellent. It’s only sort of about basketball really. American school sports are weird though aren’t they. One of those things that makes you realise how different the US is to Europe.

Hot new TV event in our household: Having mostly exhausted the seam of watchable telly on Now TV we have cancelled it and subscribed to Netflix. Maybe you’ve heard of it? I reckon it’ll be a success, you’ll see.

So I’m now trying to remember all the things on Netflix that people have recommended over the years. Aside from the current obvious must-see things, we have Abstract: The Art of Design, Better Call Saul, Call My Agent, Black Mirror, Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Tell me what I might have forgotten about! I am giddy with the possibilities.

Browsing a new selection of TV and movies does make me marvel that recommendation algorithms seem to have come no distance at all since, say, Firefly in the mid-late 1990s. There were shows buried in there that I knew I wanted to see, but were never shown to me, even after rating and adding a load of things. Come on, get coding Ian Netflix! Tips for actually discovering interesting things are also welcome.

We started our Netflix experience with Stranger Things and, after two episodes, had very exciting dreams. It’s OK so far I guess.

We’ve also tried two episodes of Superstore. Does it grow on you? I don’t want to do another The Good Place and plod through an entire season in the hope I end up liking it as much as the rest of the world. Or at all.

We can now see more films and started with Noah Baumbach’s first, Kicking and Screaming (1995) which was not great but I enjoyed it a lot. I cannot believe there was an overly-clever, overly-talky film from the 1990s that I hadn’t yet seen! Parker Posey! Chris Eigeman! Eric Stoltz! It’s so 1990s American indie! 1995 me would have loved it.

§ I’m having a “holiday” this coming week. I’m not entirely clear how it’ll differ from other lockdown weeks, other than not doing even a small amount of work. We’ll see.

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  1. Netflix...
    Gosh where to start

    Schitt’s Creek
    Sex Education
    Tiger King
    The Crown

  2. Thanks Phil. Schitt’s Creek and Sex Education definitely already on our list, and we’ve seen all but the latest season of The Crown already (on DVD!).