I’ve recovered fully from COVID. Happily I don’t seem to have any lingering symptoms unless you count the weight I gained from days of lying on the sofa eating chocolate because I felt dreadful.
I suppose it’s now at least temporarily safe for me to return to the gym, but I’ve got 2 weeks away from home to get through first.
Happy Easter! 🍫
I dropped a punnet of blueberries in the supermarket and it fell in slow motion and burst and they scattered across the dirty floor in all directions (uniform) at all possible speeds (normal). I made a brief calculation about the cost of blueberries versus the impact on my dignity of having to talk to someone about the bad thing I’d done.
There weren’t many staff at that early hour so if I’d wanted a conversation I’d have had to start wandering the aisles with blueberries in my outstretched hands hoping to meet someone sympathetic. Instead I scooped them back up into the dented punnet, paid for it at the self-service checkout and dropped it directly into the bin. A price is a fine.
Is this vignette interesting in its own right? No. But does it illustrate in microcosm a broader point about either social isolation generally or my personality in particular? Also no.
I hadn’t baked for ages and wanted to get back on the wagon. I made an extra-seedy loaf for Alice by irresponsibly adding double the Tartine-approved quantity (i.e. one cup) of mixed seeds to the dough in an attempt to add a dimension of textural interest. It felt partway through like it was going to be a disaster but came out fine in the end.
I ultimately failed to deliver this so I ate it instead and it was very nice.
Weeknote connoisseurs will note the absence of a fancy knife in the photo above. Regrettably it was a casualty of the Challenger: since I started baking batards rather than boules, it’s easier to use a normal boring bread knife. I may return to boules in future, but for now the JonoKnife bides its time in a kitchen drawer.
The work book club finished part II of Crafting Interpreters. So far it’s like… quite good? Three stars out of five? The topics are interesting but the exposition gets a bit bogged down in incidental complexity and I don’t agree with all of the decisions about how it’s been organised and explained. I’m glad the book exists but it’s not the total slam dunk I was hoping for. Maybe part III will blow my socks off.
At Computation Club meetings we had a bit of a running joke (or was it?) about avoiding the temptation to get derailed by literary criticism when discussing a book. I can feel that danger here too: even a very technical book necessarily consists of words in an order and those details can be distracting sometimes.
We watched Get Back this weekend. It’s eight hours long, technically impressive, and a fascinating endurance exercise as a viewer.
The material itself is essentially very boring. It’s hours of raw footage with only the absolute minimum of supporting detail, which I suppose still qualifies it as a documentary but makes it feel more like a procedurally-generated art project. I don’t really know anything about The Beatles and none of the songs have any significance to me, so I just took everything at face value: endless shots of some guys in a studio messing about, occasionally bothering to perform something together, but mostly just chatting and joking and smoking and eating toast.
I found part one pretty hard going. It’s so impressionistic that you never hear a complete conversation, so I couldn’t get a real sense of anyone’s personality or priorities. For example, when (spoilers) George Harrison leaves the band it comes out of nowhere and doesn’t seem to be precipitated by anything in particular.
I’m sure it’s a completely different experience for Beatles fans who’ve already established a rich context for every fresh scrap of information, but for me it felt like looking at that “name one thing in this photo” picture — you hear people saying stuff, but none of the fragments connects to anything else or adds up to a coherent human interaction. The reverent, occasionally absurd onscreen song credits add a weird layer of taxonomy to what is otherwise a disorienting soup of audio played over mismatched video. When is a song even a song? What is music anyway? What day is this?
Parts two and three were easier to watch as the studio sessions themselves became more structured and focused. I found it interesting to be reminded of how unpredictable and arbitrary the creative process is, and even an ignoramus like me can appreciate the novelty of seeing how famous songs were put together by people who were just trying stuff and seeing what worked.
The thing it most reminded me of was Christian Marclay’s The Clock, mostly because of the feeling of paying attention to how much time has passed and the awareness of my own choice to continue watching. Overall it was fun and I’m glad I saw it, even though I’ve now heard Get Back and Let It Be a truly punishing number of times and would ideally never experience them again.
The Canadians have begun arriving in London. 🇨🇦