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w/e 2023-10-15

Some post-holiday blues, as to be expected this week, which are already in the distant past thanks to a relaxed and sunny weekend at home. Funny head.

A photo of a lot of green trees, close together, under clear sky
Trees in the garden in this morning’s sunshine

§ Updates to the annoying technical issues of three weeks ago:

  • My Watch returned to pretty much normal battery duration after a couple of weeks or so, although it’s a little erratic. I didn’t do anything to make that happen but people are still discussing their probable illusions of causality.
  • After some back and forth with support it turns out that my Backblaze backup was stuck in a “purging loop” which sounds grim, like a human centipede of vomit. Sorry. The solution was to erase the backup and start again. So I’m now trying to back up 546GB 624GB (it’s increased in the couple of hours since I first wrote that…) over a 4G internet connection.
  • is still unable to fetch TypePad RSS feeds and I’ve yet to try anything to fix the problem.

§ I’ve watched quite a few YouTube reviews of the new Jeep Avenger, the brand’s first electric car. I enjoy internet-window-shopping and this is shopping for the hypothetical, “if we were going to buy a brand new EV now, what would it be?” The answer had been, “probably an MG4,” because they’re (relatively) cheap (from £27,000 (erk)) for something with a decent range and spec. But if the idea of spending that much on a car (five times the cost of our used Panda) wasn’t bad enough, spending that much on a car that looks blandly anonymous is even worse.

The Avenger looks a bit more fun, to me, and is smaller than its chunky appearance in photos suggests – shorter and narrower than the MG4 – which is good. But it’s more expensive (from £35,700) for slightly less range. Anyway, the AutoEV review was probably the best – or least annoying – once you get past the long introduction. It’s longer and maybe duller but he mostly doesn’t try to be funny, badly adopt TV presenter mannerisms, or complain endlessly that “it’s not a proper Jeep”.

Hopefully, by the time we get round to needing another car there’ll be plenty more choice and I’ll have killed a lot more time with internet-window-shopping.

§ When we were at our friends’ wedding in Italy we were surrounded by people who could converse in two, three, or more languages which made me regret, yet again, my monolingualism.

I gave up on practising German at the start of the year because after years of daily practise with Duolingo, Anki, Memrise, Lingvist, or Busuu, I could barely understand any real-world German texts or speech, and wouldn’t have been able to have a conversation.

But I would really like to be able to understand and speak – and maybe think in – another language. So I’m back to it. I’ve started with Duolingo again, just to get myself back into it. And I watched this presentation by Lýdia Machová about how polyglots learn languages, which was inspiring enough to make me think, “I can do this!” I should probably have watched it when my sister shared it with me ages ago.

So I plan to spend more time each day actively learning, plus some time each day either listening to or watching German language things. Maybe, vaguely, an hour in total. I can but try.

In a few weeks, once I’ve brushed up as much as I can to where I was, I should try to sort out having regular conversations which is the main thing I haven’t done and which is holding me back. If I don’t try it, I’ll definitely never be able to do it. Having conversations with a stranger is daunting enough, never mind in a different language, but still, one must make mistakes to improve.

§ We watched the fifth and final season of Ghosts this week which I enjoyed more than the previous one. Really gentle, amusing and lovely, and we’ll miss the ghosts. We did try the US re-make but I found some of the ghosts too annoying to continue with.

§ Aren’t we all at times.

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  1. We've owned a Smart (sigh about brands) #1 (why) for a week now, and whilst it's definitely in the expensive EV category it is a very good car so far, surprising us with delightful things most days, and its precursor BMW i3 was a hard act to follow. FullyCharged has some good YouTube reviews. If you are going that way, happy to answer questions.

  2. Thanks Laura, the #1 (I know) would definitely be on the shortlist. I'm glad it's working well for you. I think my favourite YouTube EV reviews are the Late Brake Show, but it's a bit all over the place in terms of what other (uninteresting to me) car stuff it covers.