Big week for Splatoon enthusiasts: the new game finally dropped for the Nintendo Switch! But I’m… not actually a big Splatoon player. I just love the aesthetic and music and bonkers world it takes place in. I clocked about 10 hours in Splatoon 2, most of them losing to much better players, and it never became a habit.

But that game came out five long years ago, and I wanted to see how Nintendo would squeeze the last dregs of performance out of their aging hardware with Splatoon 3. Initial reactions: loading times have been greatly improved and it kinda looks like a current-gen game, which I mean in the best way possible! It’s colorful and sharp and the action is very fluid — almost too fluid. I basically suck at this; there’s so much visual chaos with paint being thrown everywhere, plus your enemies can swim in the paint virtually invisibly. But I’m having fun anyway.

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Big week also for iPhone enthusiasts: what was expected to be just a camera-focused upgrade to the Pro model (that a strong enough person [not me] could shrug off and then go hibernate for another year), turned out to be a little more substantial. First up, I decided not to go with “Deep Purple”. It’s not really my favorite color + the “gray” model is called “Space Black” this year (it was actually “Graphite” last year), so I went with that. Apple usually reserves “Space Black” for things that are pretty much black, so I’m hopeful it’ll approach the iPhone 5’s yet-to-be-surpassed black and slate color scheme.

The Dynamic Island is early adopter catnip; it changes the core everyday experience of interacting with an iPhone in the biggest way since the iPhone X introduced the Swipe Up Multitasking interaction model. How could you not want to play with that? Like everyone else who read the last-minute leaks that the new sensor cutouts would be visibly “joined with software” into one solid black area, I took that at face value: they don’t want a distracting dot and oval visible all the time, so they’d make it one solid black entity. I didn’t think about you could do something interesting by embracing that concept. The little announcement video that shows the island morphing to become a secondary Dock of sorts sold me instantly.

Some people on Twitter think the animations are superfluous and will get annoying after the first few times, and while I agree, they’re kinda delightful and novel now and will probably be turned down over the next few years of iOS releases. Like most of iOS 7’s jarring and annoying changes!

Oh, I also ordered a new watch from the Series 8 lineup. It’s one of the smallest hardware updates ever, with hardly anything new except a new temperature sensor and accelerometer, but I’ve been on my current model for four years and even having an always-on display is going to feel like a big upgrade.

AirPods? I’m err… content with my current ones. Or at least content enough to not pay full price for improved noise cancelling. I can wait for the eventual price drop on Shopee maybe six months from now. Fortunately, the new Personalized Spatial Audio feature doesn’t actually require new AirPods. After upgrading to iOS 16, you’ll be able to scan your ears and use the personalized profile with older AirPods. I installed the iOS RC on my phone this weekend to try it out a few days early, and it’s definitely made a difference to the feeling of immersion with head tracking on.

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Kim got back from her work trip, and we got started on Season 2 of For All Mankind, which is such a good series I don’t recall why we put it off for so long. We also saw Nope, and while most people I know loved it, and I get what it’s doing and some of that was very much appreciated, I just couldn’t give it more than three stars on Letterboxd. It’s essentially a two-hour build up to a Jaws joke. With that, Jordan Peele’s batting average with me is 1/3. I was talking to a film buff about it, and was drawing comparisons to Shyamalan’s work: how he showed almost his whole hand with his first film, and then spent the next few struggling to break free of expectations and his own language, which was really a well-practiced, keen sense of cinematic tradition more than the Twists. He films the way Bumblebee talks in the Michael Bay films: in pastiche, homage, and remixes. Which I happen to Really Like, by the way. Nope is Peele’s Signs. There’s even a scene where a slow, freaky motion by an object you can’t quite make out sends a chill down your spine, just like the first time you see the thing in Signs. Anyway, the other guy thought I was talking about Peele, not Shyamalan, and agreed. So I guess there really is something in that comparison.

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In between meetings one afternoon, I found myself near where I keep my always-growing Monocle backlog (I subscribe but ever hardly read) and flipped through an issue from last year. I’m confident I’ll clear the pile soon. Whilst reading about Veja sneakers and the 10th anniversary of their Monocle 24 radio station, I realized it’s been awhile since I tuned in.

And thus I discovered Enfance 80, an instant classic of a song from 2020 by the French electronic duo, Videoclub. I don’t exactly know what they’re saying, but it’s something nostalgic about childhood in the 80s, and by god does the sound nail that vibe (as remembered in the 2020s).

The other song that I’ve had on heavy rotation this week is Paul McCartney’s The Kiss of Venus, both his original and Dominic Fike’s reworking of it. The base melody is super pretty, which Fike dials up with Beatle-esque organ parts, but it’s his addition of a funky new bass line and electric energy in the chorus that are pure bliss. And like all great songs, it ends far too soon.

I also heard Santigold’s new album, Spirituals, once through and really liked it.

Here’s one MidJourney artwork inspired by a song and a couple more I made this week.

The Kiss of Venus, co-created with MidJourney

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