Week 47.22

My camera roll and expense tracker tell the story of a quiet week, mainly spent at home getting this cat to like me (I think it’s working) and not die by falling from the second floor or chewing electrical cables. She’s become more comfortable climbing up and down the stairs, and now joins us to watch TV in the living room without being forced.

Achievements yet to be unlocked: switching her to occasional dry food, giving her a bath, clipping her nails, trimming the fur around her butt, sitting still in my lap for more than a few seconds, and trusting her enough to be left roaming the house at night.

My Nintendo Switch profile tells the story of actually playing a game this week, completing Sifu at the Student difficulty level. I have not gotten the hang of parrying attacks and dodging combos, so I think my character was in his 40s when I beat the last boss. For those who haven’t seen it, it’s a cinematic martial arts game with a novel aging mechanic: each time your character dies, he/she is revived by a magic amulet that ages them by a year. So you can start the game in your 20s and finish as an old wizened kung-fu master in their 60s. Maybe even older! As you get older, your maximum health decreases but your attack strength increases, plus you unlock new skills along the way.

My Goodreads profile (you get the point by now) attests to my also finding the time to read again, finishing John Scalzi’s Kaiju Preservation Society which was a fun little side quest — it had seemingly been described by its author as a pop song, a necessary gift of levity to the world, written during Covid and referencing it (it’s not about Covid). That brings me to 12 books in 2022, short of my overly ambitious goal of 24. It’s like I forgot I was going back to work this year or something.

I spent more time in Mastodon this week as Twitter continued to burn. Musk’s comically shit handling of layoffs and code reviews that aren’t code reviews have been so absurd that there’s no more room for shows like Silicon Valley to parody it. Just like with The Onion and real news headlines these days. If science fiction imagines technological futures that we become compelled to realize, satire sends us towards irresistibly amusing hellscapes.

In doing so, I decided that my original Mastodon identity (which used “brandon” as a user ID) wasn’t great for people looking to find me, so I’m now at @sangsara@mastodon.lol. It’s kinda dumb that you can’t change your user ID; I’m not sure if it’s a result of Mastodon’s federated model, having to support legacy links and all that. So the only way was to create a new account on a new server and “migrate” over. The migration process does NOT move your old posts, only your followers. If you want to follow the same people you did before, it’s an extra manual step of exporting and importing the database via a .csv file, and it’s not mentioned as part of the migration flow. I found out myself, after I had already manually re-followed everyone.

This is what people mean when they say Mastodon’s a little rough around the edges, but what open source software isn’t anyway? As software, as a service, I like it a lot already. As a community, as a place where I can find the opinions and recommendations I want, it will take time. And the final, unmistakable collapse of Twitter. I don’t think a critical mass of people will choose to use both at the same time.

My Apple Music listening history shows that I’ve enjoyed Fred again..’s latest installment in his Actual Life series. They are sort of mixtapes, except I’m not sure people in electronic music use that term? Anyway, Actual Life 3 (January 1 — September 9 2022) is great stuff; try it on your commute.

It’s that time of the year again, but we’re getting some actually good Christmas projects. Brett Dennen has a Christmas EP! And Jesse Malin, another longtime favorite of mine, has also rerecorded two older songs to put out as a two-track single entitled Xmas, Etc. Alicia Keys’s Santa Baby looks promising, but I haven’t been in the mood yet. The holidays still feel so far away.

However, Kim decided it wasn’t worth me waiting another month to get the new AirPods Pro as a gift I already knew about (nor worth her hearing me talk about them for another month), so Christmas came early! They’re actually a big improvement: the XS tip fits my problematic ear quite well, everything sounds both clearer and more fun, and the ANC is way more comfortable. I’ve never had a problem with the “pressure” that turns some people off noise canceling, but it’s so absent here thanks to the redesigned acoustic vents that… they feel open? It’s like how Transparency mode makes it feel like there’s nothing in your ears, but with silence.

On Sunday afternoon we visited an exhibition organized by Leica Singapore at Gillman Barracks, featuring some extraordinary work including Nick Ut’s famous “Napalm Girl” shot from the Vietnam war. We had a chance to speak with Rosalynn Tay about her evocative travel photography which I really loved (if they were NFTs I would have bought them on sight) and will probably attend her talk next week. The exhibition is on until Nov 27, registration seems to be required.

Caught this while having a beer on the way home

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