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w/e 2023-07-23

Hello. A week ago I joined the modern world: I bought my first pair of wireless headphones.

I always imagined this would mean exchanging one kind of minor inconvenience – a cable – with others – batteries that need charging and eventually lose the ability to charge, a fiddly special case, etc. So I didn’t bother.

But the cable on my olde fashionede earebuddes became a little too annoying at the gym, so off went £170 for a pair of Beats Fit Pros (Beats Fits Pro? Beatses Fit Pro?). Even at that price (John Lewis and Currys occasionally reduce them from £220) it seems a lot for some tiny earphones. Years ago, back when most people were content with whatever headphones came with their phone/iPod/whatever, I felt extravagant spending £50 on some decent alternatives. Then Beats came along and here we all are, with fancy ears.

Unsurprisingly, it’s very nice and kind of magical to have music playing into one’s brain from apparently nowhere. I no longer get a cable tangled in the arms of my glasses, or knocked by a towel as I wipe the sweat from my bristly, glistening head. I can even do an Apple Fitness Plus yoga workout in the gym, untethered from the phone, Dustin, Jessica or Jonelle audible only to me.

But part of me still thinks devices like these are too good. Like, unnecessarily good. So good that we don’t deserve them. That people will look back from an Earth that’s 50% flooded and 50% burning, and point to the time when everyone decided that battery-powered, wireless, easily losable and breakable, earphones were essential as the time when we tipped the world over from “maybe, just maybe, we can make it?” to “nah, maybe let’s not bother?”

Ah well, sorry, descendants of other people.

§ I did a bit more scything this week, cutting back a lot of grass and weeds near our big pond. It was less like neatly turning a meadow into a lawn, and more like hacking away at undergrowth with an unwieldy machete.

A photo of the palm of my hand with a very small frog, or toad, on it, maybe 2cm (less than an inch) long

I managed to rehome lots and lots (over 20?) tiny frogs/toads, and a couple of much larger frogs/toads, before they got caught up in the mayhem. Unfortunately there were a couple of the larger frogs/toads that I only spotted too late, and I had to put them out of their scythed misery. I was going to say that wasn’t a great feeling, but it was obviously a worse feeling for them. Sorry, frogs/toads.

§ I made a small but (inevitably) tricksy-to-implement change to a page at this week.

I assume that if you’re actually interested in one of my other sites then you’re subscribed to a way to find out about new things there anyway. But I feel like I should use my weeknotes to mark such things all the same, as an indicator that I’ve made some kind of progress in life, other than simply ticking off TV shows or, occasionally, books.

§ Talking of which ✅ we watched the second season of Slow Horses this week, which was excellent. Really enjoyed it. I wish River Cartwright wasn’t quite so bland – it’s a bit like he’s popped in from a BBC One thriller – but I guess he’s supposed to be a bit more posh and polished than the other failures. Anyway, otherwise, top marks all round.

§ And ✅ I finished reading A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. I remember seeing the title a fair bit years ago and just didn’t like the feel of it, so never looked any further. What’s a goon squad? Doesn’t sound like something I’d be interested in. A bit gangstery? A bit footbally? But over the past year I’ve seen the book referred to favourably a few times so gave it a whirl. It was pretty good.

As with any story that jumps between lots of characters and periods of time, some of those characters and periods are more interesting than others, and I wanted to stay with them, not move on. Also, towards the end, I could never remember if an apparently new character was actually one I should have remembered from much earlier in the book (usually, yes).

There were many bits I liked but at the end I was left feeling like all the parts didn’t make a complete thing. Like too much space was left between everything. Maybe if I’d rattled through it quicker – I read it over a couple of weeks – and forgotten less, it would have worked better? But, fine.

§ That’s all. Cheers, ears.

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