I have been feeling somewhat weird lately, for lack of a better word. (As I look at the titles of my most recent blog posts, I realize that they’re all a bit down-trodden, to say the least.)
I continue to be politically despondent, and I don’t know how to combat that. As I’ve noted before, my day job has turned off a great deal of internet access but I still have Twitter and the news, and the TV in the kitchenette is turned to CNN, and every time I look up something horrifying is happening and, just as horrifying, nothing is being done about it.
So I turn to – what else – retail therapy. I went a wee bit bananas during the Amazon Sale. I now own a Bluetooth record player, some very nice Bluetooth headphones, and a Kindle Fire (for some reason).
It’s funny – when I’d heard that the iPhone 7 was doing away with the headphone jack, I, like most people I knew, was pissed off. And now that I actually own an iPhone 7+, I was confronted with the realization that using wired headphones was a pain in the ass. So now I am free from the tyranny of small wires and dongles. I got these bad boys and they are delightful.
The record player… well, you knew that was coming. We got it set up last night and christened it with two of my favorite albums – my mother-in-law’s original copy of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bookends”, followed by my sister-in-law’s copy of Yes’s “Fragile”. [EDIT: I have just been informed that it’s actually my wife’s copy. Sorry, dear!] And as my wife and I sat down on our couch and the music started playing, I realized that it was the first time we’d both sat down and listened to music in years. And that’s kinda the awesome thing about actual, tangible records. There’s a ritual to getting an album set up to play that simply isn’t there when you’re firing something up on Spotify. You browse through your collection to find the album you’re looking for; you remove the disc from its sleeve; you carefully lay it on the platter; you press “Start”, and in this case the needle automatically finds its way onto the record. You sit down, you get comfortable, you listen. You also have to pay attention because you’ve gotta flip the record over, which is something I hadn’t had to pay conscious attention to since I switched from cassettes to CDs (say, 1992-93). And then you consider the album as a whole, rather than as a collection of songs; you pay attention to sequencing, how the end of Side 1 and the beginning of Side 2 are their own definitive statements as well as the songs that bridge the album as a complete thing. (Yes, I might’ve been a little stoned.)
Anyway, I bought the Sgt. Pepper and the OK Computer reissues today.
I have finished Part One of Five of the massive new Neal Stephenson novel “The Rise And Fall of D.O.D.O.“, and it is exactly what I wanted to read right now. (Until David Mitchell gets around to releasing his new one, whenever that may be.) I’m a little surprised that nobody’s talking about it; I did notice that it’s unusually pricey, even on the Kindle side of things, but I had Amazon credit and bit the bullet. It’s easily one of the best things he’s done in years, and that very well may be because it’s co-written by Nicole Galland. In any event, the sci-fi stuff is very cool, but the characters are also very cool, and as Part One came to a close I found myself very, very excited to know that I still have another 600 pages to go before I’m done.
Why did I buy a Kindle Fire, besides that it was on sale for like $50? I don’t know. I already have a Kindle Voyage, which is the best e-reader I’ll ever own. I also own an old iPad 3, which I haven’t really been using but which at least has a ton of apps on it. It was an impulse buy driven by anxiety, and so if nothing else I get to offer the first “Thanks, Trump” of what will probably be many. I only hope that the world ends before my credit card debt is past due.