It’s not always about throwing a spanner in the works

I can’t think of anything more Kiwi than some dude having COVID-19, thinking yeah, but I don’t want to miss this Tool concert and going anyway.

I used to love Tool. I still like the band, but I’m definitely not a fanatic. I keep forgetting that they even released a new album last year. For a long long time, metal was my thing. Rock/metal/prog was my wheelhouse, and I wasn’t interested in much outside of that. These days my tastes have sprawled. I’m less of a rock/metal listener, or rather I’ve shirked away from the more mainstream outlets. I like indie pop/rock, I’m into R&B/hip hop/rap. I’m big on electronic music in a range of flavours. I’ll even listen to big pop artists if I like what they’re putting out. I think out of principle, me at 20 would never have given a Beyonc√© album the benefit of the doubt. I was too stuck in my ways, I bought into dumb rhetoric, and kept my tastes rigid. Over time that opened up, but it all stems from one interaction.

Back in university, there was this girl I thought was very cute and cool. She had short cropped hair. How do I know this? Because I wondered if “cropped” was the right term, googled it, and one of the first results was this picture, which looks quite similar to how she did. She also had a green Radiohead sweater, and carried kind of a “scene” vibe around her. I crushed on her from afar, but basically never talked to her. I didn’t think she was standoffish, but I definitely thought she was too cool for me. Like most straight beta male unrequited crushes, I had no idea who she was, but I thought I did. Anyway, one time at the student bar I walked up to her and said hey, I know you’re into indie music. I feel like I’d probably get into it, but I don’t know where to start. Is this something you could help with? She immediately pulled out a notepad and a pen, and wrote down about 12 bands to check out. Flaming Lips, Sufjan Stevens, etc. However, the first band on the list was The Decemberists.

I went home and downloaded The Crane Wife, their most recent album, then pressed play. This is what I heard. I was instantly hooked. It sounded different from my regularly scheduled diet of rock and metal. I liked the tune, the harmonies were great and the lyrics were fantastic. I wasn’t used to so many evocative and polysyllabic words in my songs, or the concept of translating a classic folk tale to song so accurately. I loved the album to bits, and I went through the list. I soon found Sufjan Stevens’ Sufjan Stevens Invites You To: Come On Feel the ILLINOISE and it all cemented.¬†“Chicago” won my heart over, and I couldn’t get enough. I ravenously explored music blogs and review sites. I asked other friends for recommendations, and loaded them onto my computer. My tastes shifted over time like Pangea, and my mind boggled with all the new and diverse music out there.

I can’t remember the last rock album I really dug into. Now I listen to music, and if it hooks me I listen more. I’m less bound to genre than I am finding what ignites me. I’m less about “Down with the Sickness”, and if I was down with the sickness, I wouldn’t be desperate enough to bring a HIGHLY INFECTIOUS VIRUS into an arena that holds 12,000 people.

What a goddamn tool.

I swear I did not smoke a half-pipe before writing this

Happy Valentine’s Day.

I’ve been writing dumb little Valentine’s rhymes today. Wrap your eyes around these bad boys:

Roses are red
Violet is blue
She should have thought
Before she started to chew.

Blood is red
Veins are blue
Is a caesarian
A womb with a view?

Who says romance is dead?

I also can’t stop thinking about how hard OPM’s seminal single “Heaven is a Halfpipe”, from their 2000 album Menace to Sobriety, refutes the titular dichotomy of the landmark 1988 video game “Skate or Die”. I’m conflicted. One is a dumb stoner anthem from the year of our lord, Will2K. The other was an unmitigated gaming delight from my childhood crammed full with fun minigames. I know who I want to believe, but that’s not what truth is. If I can die and skate, then maybe my cherished skateboard simulator needs an ampersand in its title. Then again, now that I’m thinking about it, skating in death is not a certainty, despite OPM’s assurances. They only mention heaven’s halfpipe scenario, but Hell defies explanation. Are we then to believe that posthumous skating is a reward for ascension? If I’m to carry myself through this mortal coil in a morally unscrupulous fashion, am I forsaking my ability to kickflip in the afterlife? THEN then again (it’s a term now, poindexters), OPM doesn’t NOT say that skating is possible in Hell. In fact, I can’t imagine Beelzebub foregoing gnarly grinds for all eternity. Which sphere of Hell has the skatepark? In true hellish style, do they put it in the icy one? Creating vast difficulty for anyone trying to gain traction on the nefarious, slippery terrain? And furthermore, if Heaven is a halfpipe, isn’t that sorta shit for non-skaters? What do they do aside from getting in the way of ardent tiny wheel based sportspeople? That sounds like a pretty shit reward for a life well-lived, playing second fiddle to some goodie two shoes skate punks.

I forewent IT’S A REAL WORD, GET OFF MY BACK, JACK the gym today and I’ve already been punished. I’m on the subway. The train has travelled all of one stop. There’s an unauthorised person at track level. We’re stopped with the door open. The air conditioning just turned off. The lights in the train car have gone out too. It’s packed, we’re all waiting. There’s a gentle dissatisfied hubbub, but mostly people are sticking with whatever they were doing before the power went out. They’re reading books, typing on phones. I can see the train opposite, it’s waiting too. Honestly, everyone is in pretty good spirits. Strangers are chatting. It’s unbelievable how much disruption this dude walking around in the tracks has caused. The power is out, I’m guessing because they don’t want to electrocute the guy. I’d walk to street level and take a bus, but it’s -20 degrees outside. It’s so goddamn cold that being above ground feels like a hazard. If I’d just gone to the gym, I would’ve been blissfully ignorant of this disruption, instead of dejectedly looking at my phone, wishing for the sweet release of death so I can skate in Heaven.

Happy Valentine’s Day, I guess.

I just have trussed issues, okay?

Chicken soup night. Booyah!

I’m being brave, dear readers. I’m trying an instant pot recipe. While this sounds like the inverse of brave, it’s brave for me. No, I’m not scared in general of using my instant pot. I love it. Despite the fact that I sound like a walking infomercial whenever I sing its praises, it does most everything I want, and a lot of things I’ll likely never need. For soup though, the instant pot ain’t my jam. I have a time honoured tradition of making stove top soup in a pot. Y’know, the classic way? I get chicken frames (/bones, I guess. I dunno, my mum always called them frames and it stuck with me. You got a problem with my mum?) and toss them in a pot, bringing it to boil (I read somewhere that if you’re using frozen bones, you want to put them in pre-boiling otherwise the texture gets all weird). Once it comes to a boil I let it simmer. Then once the chicken is all cooked up, I remove it from the pot and let it cool. The other ingredients vary by whimsy, but generally I toss carrots, celery, onions, cabbage, mushrooms and spices in and let them cook away. Once the chicken has cooled, I pull the meat off the bones, shred it and toss it back into the soup. The bones go away into a broth bag in the freezer. Then I let the flavours come together for an hour or two lightly simmering away in a pot. When I’m ready to serve, I mix in a tin of peas.

Honestly, while I’ve made some great soups that way, I’ve had mixed results.

I’m not even sure if I’ve tried an instant pot chicken soup. I once or twice tried slow cooker chicken soup and the results sucked. Maybe that’s what’s pushed me away. While I do enjoy the ritual of my chicken soup method, I’m quite fine with finding a standardised process, especially if it results in tastier soup. Generally, anyone with a recipe blog will be a better chef (though considerably more preamble as a writer, and that’s saying something) than I am. Chances are, they’ll be able to figure out ways through my sticking points. Hopefully, the soup turns out great. It just finished, so I’m gonna take ten to pull out the bones and remove the chicken. One moment caller…

Fine, I’ll wait ten minutes for it to naturally release. Geez.

In the meantime, wasn’t Shakira’s Super Bowl performance grand? She did all that cool gyration stuff, played with rope a little, whatever the fuck that close up goat bleating thing was. Loved it. I forgot what a blast she is to watch. Every time she performs, she seems to be having a fucking riot. Always grinning like she’s goofing off and getting paid for it. What an enduringly enjoyable pop star. J-Lo was… Look, I know everyone loves J-Lo. Is it uncharitable for me to say that I think she’s damned impressive, and considerably boring? Maybe I just don’t get it. She’s absurdly fit and quite talented. She has surprisingly few memorable hits that hold up. The Puerto Rico flag thing was neat, and a choice statement. Altogether though, I sorta felt like I was waiting through her performance until Shakira could come back and have fun again. Plus, she looked like her Gazelle character from Zootopia.

Better yet, it’s even time to release the soup! L8r Sk8rs.

Hear today, gone tomorrow

I had the best New Years.

It’s a declarative statement, and I’ll stand by it. My New Years featured nothing but fun, excess, and comfort. I basked in the warmth of intimate friendships, easily digestible films, and digesting food easily. At around 5am, after a kick ass costume party, I headed off to another friend’s penthouse apartment downtown. She has a massive deck, open plan lounge, and lots of sheets/mattresses in front of a big bedroom TV. There was ample food, booze and weed. Whatever needs I had, they were simple to tend to. Lots of cuddles and even more laughter. My girlfriend and I could nap haphazardly, or join in conversations as we pleased. We stuck around watching movies and getting collectively H O R N Y over Brendan Fraser in George of the Jungle. We continued the Fraser Festivities with Blast from the Past, and tossed on Mulan for good measure.

I couldn’t get over how many conversations I had about music. There was a tablet hooked up to speakers/Spotify, so all day we shared tracks and playlists. It made me remember how integral music used to be in my life. I was constantly searching out new artists and albums. I’d see live concerts all the time, and a significant portion of my income went into maintaining that. I had nuanced opinions on what my most treasured songs meant to me, and considered it important that I did. Friends shared some of their favourites from the past decade, and I felt a longing to jump head first back into caring about music like I once did.

It makes sense. Last year my iPod broke. I didn’t replace it for months, which meant less music and more podcasts/DJ sets. I moved away from keeping up, and disregarded a ton of new releases. The fact that both Vampire Weekend and Tool released albums last year I barely touched should be more personally significant than it was. Even having my new mp3 player, I just loaded all my old music on. While it’s been nice diving back into the vast back catalogue I have, I’m still thirsty to refresh what I listen to while out and about. It’s time to download the albums I’ve accumulated on my Deezer shortlist. It’s also the start of the year, an ideal period to comb through critics’ Best Of lists in a hunt for new favourites. While I hate New Years resolutions, I would like to see more live music in 2020 than I did in 2019. It enables parts of my personality that feel lost, awaiting reawakening.

I also realised how important it is to me that people are comfortable in my presence. At the New Years party I was chatting with someone in a hallway (prime party hangout spaces second only to kitchens), and I mentioned that I just want people to feel comfy always. I didn’t realise at the time that it applies a ton to how I conduct myself. I’m always trying to do things for others, take care of people in their own homes, etc. Later in that party, I saw one of my friends getting buffed across the room. I was sitting on a couch chatting to people. Concurrently, part of my brain was wanting to help her get the best out of her experience. She was sitting up, the sheet that was used to create a barrier between buffer and skin was being poorly applied. I was ready to shout out and give guidance, and I stopped myself. My friend is an intelligent, grown woman with agency. She was free to do whatever she wanted. While my intentions were good (knowing she has back problems, I wanted her to feel as good as possible), I wasn’t doing anything for anyone with my interference. I was needlessly getting involved in a scenario that had nothing to do with me, and distracting my brain from its current conversation in the mean time. Of course it’s great to take care of people when that’s desired, but I think I’d be wise to pull back a bit. Maybe it’s time to learn when my help is actually desired, and stop wasting so much brain space on pointless involvement.

NYE 2020 stuck the landing. Let’s see how the year measures up.

It’s called being mp3-PO’d

Venting time.

A month or so ago I got new earbuds. Bluetooth, wireless. I marvelled at how easily they connected. At the gym, it was almost a revelation to feel so uninhibited. No cords getting in the way. I didn’t even have to wear my mp3 player on my person, so no annoying pocket bulges to watch out for when holding weights. I’ve never dropped a weight on a pocket iPod, but there’s always a first time. After years of reticence over getting something a) wireless and b) bluetooth, they were working better than expected. Unfounded fears. They were excellent for biking too. Not bulky, able to be worn under a helmet. They even had a little carry case to handily slip into a pocket once I was finished. Exemplary.

One thing, the sound kinda sucked. I had no idea why. The previous pair I trialled of the same brand had no such issue. I tried swapping back to the original pair, which were a little too quiet for my tastes. They now had the same issue as this new pair. Needless distortion. The highs were too sharp. I tried toning it down with EQ, and other internal sound modifiers on my mp3 player. Still, distortion. Not with my non-bluetooth headphones though. I didn’t know what to do, so I admitted defeat and kept using the distorting earbuds. I sat with the disappointment for weeks. It was frustrating. My portable music is often the soundtrack to my life. My commutes, gym time, and living room listening revolve around it.

Then all of a sudden, my mp3 player reset in the middle of a listening session totally unprompted. My colour settings had changed, any options I’d swapped had reverted. Was this a complete factory reset? I listened to a track, worried that something had gone wrong. It sounded perfect, no distortion. I tried tracks/albums I knew had been problematic in the past. They were entirely fine. Whatever my problem was, it happened of my own making. Some setting I’d changed while trying to get the first earbuds to go louder. Maybe I’d cranked the internal bluetooth volume up too much. Perhaps I’d messed some kind of audio setting that was amping up the distortion. It’s currently a problem of the past. Will it always be that way?

I guess my qualm now, is that I’m a little bit tentative to mess with the settings. It’s remarkable how customisable this unit is. There are a bunch of visual changes you can make, which won’t affect the sound. You can alter how it transmits male or female vocals, sibilance, dark or warm bass, etc. There’s also a decent EQ function with a bunch of presets. Will I be too scared to mess it up, that I’ll miss out on crafting a more personal sound? Of course it’s easier to let things lie, but what if there’s a way to make it sound even more tailored to my tastes? That seems like a shame to miss out on.

Is conservative exploration a thing? Or is that what it’s called when you only travel to English speaking countries?

I mean, so far that does kind of sound like me. Maybe it’s time for a little progress.

Getting a bit blue in the tooth

Hey, it’s me. I’m writing on a train.

It’s snowing, and I made the last minute decision to skip that nonsense and transit to work. I had a hidden motivation: I wanted to try out my new mp3 player. After humming and hawing for months, I finally bit the bullet and bought one. First impressions, it plays mp3s. I guess that’s good enough. The turning point in actually sitting on my arse and buying one online was realising that I’d never be truly satisfied. Or rather, I realised I’d probably be fine with a much wider range of players than my narrow desires expected. I wanted a dumb machine. Something that played music without a stack of extra features and apps. I wanted something weighty enough that it felt sturdy and safe. Definitely no internet. I was against Bluetooth and FM radio. I just wanted a simple player, nothing more. It’s weird, I’ve been obsessed with having hardwired things for some time. I think there was some fear founded on the idea that this technology is fickle. Thing is, Bluetooth has been around for 10+ years. I think it works just fine. In fact, I decided to road test some average earplugs I had lying around for my commute. Turns out Bluetooth works. Who’d have thought? I’ve been clinging to outmoded notions. I’ve been jogging and working out with studio sized monitor headphones for years, when I could’ve had a far more lightweight option. Based on today’s performance, I might even get some new Bluetooth headphones for active stuff. I’m not an old enough dog that I can’t learn a few tricks.

It’s rad having 100 or so gigs of portable music on the go. Over the past few months I’ve gotten by with podcasts and DJ mix sets. When I’ve been at a computer, I’ve streamed from Deezer. It’s mostly been working. What I’ve realised though, is that having nigh endless access to music from across history is somewhat stifling. There’s so much of it, and it doesn’t pop right out to you. You need to search up what to listen to, and without a bunch of curating, I found myself listening to roughly the same 40 or so albums most of the time. When I use a portable player, I have a long list of artists to choose from. I can continue getting new music and adding it, while still remembering old favourites. Not to fall into an adage, but what’s old is new again. I’m discovering all these bands I love, but had forgotten about. It’s kind of a gift, and today’s commute has been spent reacquainting myself with Dan Deacon.

And like, cramming into a bus with some dude’s bag pressed against my face. But mostly Dan Deacon.

No Wayans, bro

Wow, it’s been an age since I wrote from the TTC. Say hello to the day shift.

I did DV for Scary Movie today. I had a script. Having watched the film many times in my teens made the process easier. Look, comedy has shifted a bunch since it came out. A ton of it was base level punching down shit. It’s fine, our standards were a lot lower back then, and we hadn’t yet dealt with a cavalcade of Wayans Brothers films. It felt fresh at the time. These days, egads it was stale. The Matrix references, the gratuitous gay jokes. I don’t even know if I’m judging here. It was probably what we were asking for at the time. I totally chuckled at the stupid Wazzuuup scene, and some of the physical comedy made it hard to describe with a straight face. Not a good movie, just Scary Movie.

Being an adult for me primarily seems to be coming to terms with the fact that most of the stuff I loved doesn’t hold up. It doesn’t need to, but I think there’s part of me that vainly hopes I always had good tastes. I didn’t, obviously, and don’t. I know for certain that it doesn’t matter, and whatever appeals to you, if it doesn’t harm anyone else or encourage harmful behaviour, is fine. Just enjoy stuff. It should be so easy. I dunno, it isn’t. If I’m honest, I think there’s something I’ve always liked about being an opinion leader, and that fits my motive. I want to be able to recommend experiences to others, sure that I’m adding goodness to their lives. On some level, I know I feel valued when I do. It doesn’t mean by any stretch that I don’t take others’ recommendations. Of course I do. It’s not such a one way street that I don’t watch things for my own pleasure, and trust the judgement of my friends. It’s just that when I see, hear or read something that moves me, I really want to share that feeling with others. That makes sense, right?

Who knows? Maybe one day these suggestion algorithms will actually become accurate. Netflix could start to understand why I enjoy the this i enjoy, rather than assuming a thumbs up or down means anything emphatically. Perhaps it’ll stop suggesting kids talking animal movies because I happened to watch an Air Bud or two while recording a Pawdcast. Look, I certainly didn’t thumbs up any of them. I wasn’t watching those films because they were cinematic dynamite. A lot of the Netflix stuff I view is based on specific criteria, filtered through an unfathomably complicated series of reasons. It could be because I like a certain actor, director or writer. Maybe it’s nostalgic viewing. Maybe there’s a joke I want to understand that’s predicated on having seen a certain show. Perhaps I heard a podcast and someone mentioned a scene. A song from a movie may have randomly popped into my head. I could’ve seen something entirely unrelated, then thought about a trope, gone to and looked the trope up, then found reference to a film that harnesses the trope in a certain fashion. It’s entirely possible that it’d be a hate watch. Too much for any simple algorithm to unpack. Until Google starts recording our brains as well as our conversations, that is.

Are they already doing this? I guess I’ll know for sure if Scary Movie 2 pops up on my Netflix recos today.

Here’s today’s slice of life

I’m feeling a little loopy, and that’s okay.

My sleep patterns have been a bit iffy lately, and it’s translated into a strange and addled state of mind. Yesterday I had a nap around 4pm. Later, I got a little high and cut some cheese. I looked down at the knife, and started singing an improvised song about a “cheese knife”. I’ve never been great at riffing lyrics on the fly, but for some reason I kept going as I prepped to head out for the evening. For maybe ten minutes straight, I kept up with this ditty, going through all sorts of stanzas and iterations. At some point it became a funeral dirge, the same weird little tune, but slower. The lyrics were inane, something like:

Cheeeeese kniife
No matter what, we stood together
Cheeeeese kniife
Through thick and thin, through stormy weather
You’ve been so present in my life
Taken my hand in all this strife
Cheeeeese kniife…

And so on. It was fun. There was something to be said for disregarding a fear of failure. Not worrying about the outcome, but relaxing into it and keeping up momentum. It reminded me of teaching kids to do back tucks in gymnastics. The thing about a back tuck that will get in your way is hesitation. There’s a point at which you just have to push it, elsewise you’ll get stuck in the wrong position. If you hesitate, you’ll hurt yourself. If you push hard, you’ll land the right way up. Riffing this dumb cheese knife song was similar, in that I just had to go with it and have faith that I’d stick the landing. I stumbled a bunch of times, but I was surprised at how often I managed to come up with a legit rhyme. At times if I thought far enough ahead, I’d get a word into my brain that would be great for the following line, and try to come up with a rhyming word for the line I was currently saying. It made my mind reel at the mental gymnastics that prolific freestyle rappers must do on a regular basis. There’s so much to consider, but someone like Black Thought makes it seem effortless. I can only wonder what he’d rap about a cheese knife.

I realised today that there are a couple of things I’ve had wrong for a while. For instance, I thought that the saying went “Fear is in the eye of the beholder”. Apparently that’s quite not it. I only found out, because I made a pun that I thought was decent about it. It would’ve been, if that was the saying. I also thought that the line in Nirvana’s “In Bloom” was “But he don’t know what it means/Don’t know what it means to matter”. In my head it made sense. Nirvana was all about connecting with the disaffected youth. Big time Gen X energy. Saying that the dude likes to sing along, likes to shoot his gun, but lacks purpose, it all seems on the mark. I kinda want to retcon the lyrics and change them to mine. I’m sure Kurt would be up for it, if he were still around.

I know the sentiment of what would Cobain have become if he lived? isn’t new, but I was thinking about it today. Not in a musical sense, but socially. Nirvana were kind of a beacon for the weird and unwanted. Queer culture wasn’t as mainstream as it is these days. I wonder if Kurt would’ve been a good ally or not. Maybe it’s wishful thinking, but I feel like he’d be supportive of LGBTQ+ peeps. I know he idolised Bowie, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see him follow in Bowie’s footsteps. As far as I know, Bowie was normally on the right side of history (like calling out 90s MTV for not playing enough black artists). Would Cobain have gone down a similar route? Of course we have no idea. I’m not gonna break any ground here. It also doesn’t serve any of us to imagine would could have been, when it easily could not have happened that way at all. Kurt was frequently unwell, and fame sorta fucked with him a bunch. If he didn’t take his life, would something else have done it for him? Sad. It’s been a while since I listened to Nirvana. Maybe I should go do that now.

Maybe I’ll cut some cheese, and have a listening party.

May as well say the same for the rest of the world

I’m seeing AC/DC on Friday.

Well, an AC/DC cover band, at the Norfolk County Fair and Horse Show. I’m taking a day trip with a friend. I’ll jump on most any excuse to go exploring, and our last trip there was tons of fun. Then the next day, I get to have Thanksgiving lunch with her family. Bonus. I remember when I arrived in Toronto, I had these grand designs of travelling all over Canada. I made it as far as a few cottage trips with friends, and one or two day trips. Having access to a car would make this all the more accessible, but I can’t afford the cost of owning a car in Toronto. Insurance alone is upwards of $2.5K per year. Owning a bike is quite frankly enough responsibility for me right now. So the GO train it is!

In coincidental preparation for Friday, I watched Detroit Rock City with friends. They used the excuse to psyche themselves up for an impending Detroit trip. My plans were somewhat less thrilling. The film was fun and dumb. Set in 1978, it followed four boys on a road trip, desperate to see their favourite band Kiss perform in Detroit. It was ludicrous, totally over the top. At the same time, if I’d discovered it at age 16 it would’ve been my absolute favourite thing. It has not aged well (especially considering it was released in 1999 “the same year as The Matrix” a fellow viewer kept repeating). It’s equally homophobic and sexist, filmed entirely through the male gaze. The kids get into some serious shit, and the last third of the movie grows pretty damn dark. The depths to which the kids sink in order to get to their concert defy reason. At the same time, it was a neat, forgettable movie to watch on a lazy night. We all snuggled up and passed bowls of home flavoured popcorn. Not a bad way to spend a Tuesday.

After most people left, a few of us stuck around awaiting a second movie. As we tried to figure out what to watch next, I noticed two attendees stretching deeply. One did a lotus pose, and folded their legs into their chest. The flexibility was unreal. We all tried, but few of us succeeded. Someone ran me through the motions, then pointed out how tight my left glute was. So I stretched as we waited. I spent the next half hour, under their advice, stretching my glute out. They told me to pulse: Push the stretch with medium strength for seven seconds, then release, wait, and repeat. I tried this off and on, and couldn’t believe how much extra flexibility I gained. I tried stretching my posterior chain. One of the attendees helped me with my stretch. They were a shiatsu practitioner, and guided the flow of my back, neck, and hips. I felt the strain slowly drift away. By the end of it, I was doubled over neatly, hands wrapped around the backs of my ankles. I felt so fucking good. It made me realise just how tight I’m normally wound. How it’s possible to stretch passively while watching a show, or waiting. I understood the capacity I held to feel so much better in my body, if I just spent the time. I considered how a more robust stretching schedule would fit into my life. I went home feeling great, passing out soon after my head hit the pillow.

Then this morning I biked hard, tightening my posterior chain all the more. There goes progress.

Fiio fo fum

Hi there. Welcome to my day off.

It’s a marvellous thing. My only problem right now is that I’m wearing my trusty lion onesie, but I’ve also loaded up on coffee. I have no problem being a perky so and so, but I’m engaged in a constant battle between robing and disrobing. Back and forth, to and fro, from one seat to another. At worst, I guess I’m keeping active. I have a bunch of days off ahead of me, and very few plans set in stone. It’s understandable that I’m fidgety, and caffeine certainly hasn’t helped.

Sorry, I just got distracted looking up mp3 players for an hour. Oh, and now I need to bathroom again. I guess that’s my day.

It’s 2019. I can’t believe that I’ve spent months trying to find an mp3 player. I know we’re in the darkest timeline, where the nail in Trump’s coffin might be a Nickelback meme he made. Still, this mp3 player thing is bonkers. WHAT IS MY PROBLEM? Honestly, it’s analysis paralysis. I want to make a good investment in something that will last, but I also have preconceived ideas of what an mp3 player should be, likely based on owning many iPods. I want something sturdy with physical buttons. I don’t love touchscreen stuff. It feels more vulnerable, and I hate the idea of a screen sapping my battery life. I want a large capacity (at the very least, iPod size), and decent battery life. At the very least, 10+ hours. I want good sound quality, but I also realise that I’m gonna be loading it with 320kbps mp3s, not FLAC. So midrange will be fine. I have very specific tastes, and I’m sure that the ideal player for me is out there.

But here’s the thing, I have too many options. I made an excel spreadsheet with pros and cons, features, etc. It’s not comprehensive, so when I get the gusto back up to start searching for mp3 players again, I forget all the stuff I’ve left out. Then I’ll be like “oh I like this one. I should buy it”. I’ll read a review or two and realise I don’t like its battery life. Or it has a weird, unintuitive UI, or it’s touchscreen, or has wifi. I’ll dive down the rabbit hole of alternative options, and after an hour I’ll bury my head in my hands and close my browser. Lather, rinse, repeat. It’s not getting me any closer to buying a new player.

I know what the answer is. I just need to find something that ticks off enough boxes, and not worry about it being perfect. But I waaaaant something perfect. If I’m spending $400+ on a new device, I don’t want it to ship along with mild disappointment. That’s a pretty hefty investment for me, in something that I’ll use daily for several years. It feels like there’s a lot of pressure to make the right call, but that’s all in my head. Just because I know it’s not as big a deal as it seems, that hasn’t cognitively helped me to look past my preconceptions and biases to find something suitable. So it’s back to square one every time.

I know I should just buy the Fiio X5 Mark ii, but what if there’s a better option?

I guess we’ll find out six months down the line, when I finally make my choice.