Surviving the Trough - Volume 1
I'm still in a trough at the moment mind-headspace-wise. This isn't fun for you or me: I don't do anything interesting and you don't have anything to read. Forcing myself out of these is possible for about a day out of every four, but that tends to do more harm than good because I regress even further on subsequent days. It sucks all around. Thankfully, there are a few highly self-destructive things that make this time more bearable.
I don't know whether they sell this stuff outside of Costco, but it's a pretty compelling offset for the membership fee. There are about 2,700 fairly traded calories in one of these bags, and it's pretty easy to taste where they might be hiding. Bark Thins are a multi-stage, complex snack: the initial munch of pumpkin seeds melts into chocolate while little spikes of salt keep things interesting. All of this takes the mind off the malaise at hand with facility. Highly recommended.
Being angry at the stock market
This is an old classic, made more interesting recently by what industry insiders call a "correction" (possibly the least honest term in the whole vernacular, which is saying something). Is China about to implode? Have we priced in the possibility of an unforeseen (possibly even foreseen) major natural disaster at any point anywhere? Does anyone actually read earnings reports or are they just buying and selling shit at random? All these questions will make you profoundly unhappy if contemplated, but the source of your ire will cease to be how lazy YOU are, so that's something. Highly recommended.
Buying and returning high-end audio equipment
I didn't actually intend to do this one but it turns out that, once you get past a certain threshold in price, expensive audio stuff just starts sounding *different* rather than better. I bought a pair of Sennheiser HD 650's a handful of years ago because someone online said they were pretty awesome. That person was right. I have wasted an ungodly amount of time the last month trying to up my speakers-on-face game to no avail. Message boards and review sites all appear to agree...on nothing whatsoever.
Luckily, with consumer rights being what they are (better than you assume on a day-to-day basis! Stop being so whiny.), for the cost of shipping the stuff back, I was able to confirm that:
- Beyerdynamic T90's don't sound like my 650's. They do in fact have a different EQ curve and feel that is subjectively better or worse than other headphones.
- Dedicated amps can absolutely be differentiated from one another in A-B-X testing so long as you are deliberately trying to tell them apart instead of enjoying yourself.
- If the DAC in your music player sounds like it was made by an actual company, it's probably fine.
- Higher quality music files sound better than lower quality music files.
This is not to disparage the pursuit of good sound. I'm a fan of good sound (hence all this hard-hitting journalism about it). The point is that doing all this did a fantastic job keeping me from thinking about what a lazy fuck I've been the past few weeks. The life of the critic is, without question, the life of fine wine and ignored opportunity. Highly recommended.