What a week. I’d intended to spend the last hour writing weeknotes but instead I’ve been watching the news and feeling angry. But let’s keep it light.
At work, the onboarding (week 2 of 4) continues.
This week Shopify announced that they’re becoming “digital by default”, i.e. a remote-first employer, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. So in a short space of time my nascent job has gone from “you’d be mostly remote, but please come to the office for an interview and visit regularly once you’re hired” to “travel is temporarily on hold but we’re remote-friendly so we can interview you remotely” to “lol everyone is remote indefinitely”.
This feels like the right thing to do because it briskly formalises what is going to happen to many (most?) tech companies anyway whether they like it or not. It’s a major disruption for some people — I imagine this is the nightmare scenario for anyone who just bought a flat near the office — but more importantly I expect it’ll be all upside for me. I was always intending to work remotely despite the big disadvantage of being a second-class collaborator when everyone else is colocated, but now it’s really only the time zone and culture gap that separates me from my Canadian colleagues. If I have a bit of a lie-in and eat vegan poutine for breakfast I doubt anyone will know the difference.
I should’ve said last week that, frustratingly, Mrs. Maisel does know how to show restraint in depicting the arts. In episode 7 of the second season, Midge asks the artist Declan Howell why he won’t sell his mythical perfect painting:
No, I painted this for me. This was going to hang in my home — when I had a home, and a family, when I had that life, this was going to go there. But that was then and this is now. I will never have that life.
I’m not trying to spin a melodrama. I’m being very realistic. The chance for that life is gone. It’ll never happen because everything I have I put into that. Nothing left. That’s the way it is. If you want to do something great, you want to take something as far as it’ll go, you can’t have everything. You lose family, sense of home. But then look at what exists.
Sounds like a brilliant painting! Imagine! But the whole scene is shot with the canvas facing away from us, so we do in fact have to imagine what it looks like, and that works very well because no actual painting would live up to our expectations.
Why not use the same light touch for Midge’s stand-up sets? I suspect that part of the problem is the showrunners’ appetite for variety show filler in their comedy-dramas. Patient viewers are also invited to sit through many middling Shy Baldwin numbers, extended dance routines, an embarrassing holiday camp staff musical, etc. Less dialogue to write innit.
I picked up Red Matter on sale and it’s great so far. Because I was so used to the PSVR I’ve been slow to internalise the idea of walking about with a headset on, but the Quest makes it very comfortable and Red Matter takes full advantage of that freedom. I’m getting a kick out of solving puzzles by wandering around my living room to pull levers and push buttons and pick up convex things and plug them into concave things.
At one point the battery in one of the controllers ran out and my hand drifted off into the sunset. How am I going to operate my Apple Watch now?
This morning I totally forgot, for the first time ever, to buy any turnips.