I’ve got a new keyboard, and it’s a fabulous beast. Regular readers may remember that I have been using a Happy Hacking Keyboard Pro 2 (HHKB) for some time (about 6 years, as it turns out). That was my first mechanical keyboard since the days when mechanical keyboards were the only ones you could get. I’ve loved it to bits, but for the past few months I’ve been having pain and discomfort in my hands and wrists, and decided it might be time to look around for a more ergonomic replacement. After a lot of research and deliberation, I ended up getting an ErgoDox EZ. I’m still tweaking the configuration a bit, but I love it. It has already done wonders for both the comfort of my hands and my writing efficiency.
I’ve recently been rethinking my photography workflow. Since I got my Fujifilm X100T camera, I have been mostly using the JPEG output, rather than shooting RAW. As I mentioned at the time, this was because the Fuji film simulations are so lovely, and because I felt that shooting images (rather than processing and tweaking them) was my favourite part of the process. I originally used Adobe Lightroom, but Lightroom and I never really clicked together. I never felt like I truly knew what I was doing with it, and captioning and processing photos always felt like a chore. As Adobe moved towards a subscription process, with photos managed in the database itself, and a shift towards a ‘filters and presets’ kind of workflow, I decided to look around for an alternative. I have also (for various reasons)1 gone back to shooting RAW.
(If you don’t feel like reading to the end of this admittedly long review, you can see some of the fruits of this tinkering here.)
A couple of years ago, I was a devotee of Path Finder, a Finder replacement. However, as Finder got more capable, Path Finder started to feel a bit too heavy on resources and too complex, so I stopped using it. Nevertheless, I would often miss some of its handy features. Recently, I came across Forklift 3 while browsing through Setapp’s applications, and decided to try it out.
I’m not really a ballet fan. I don’t dislike it, but I don’t go out of my way to watch it, either. I certainly appreciate the skill, athleticism and artistry of dancers, but somehow it doesn’t grab me the way that live music or theatre does. Maybe I’m just resentful that I wasn’t the kind of twiggy, graceful little girl who would have felt comfortable in a ballet class, who knows. Given this — shall we call it indifference? — to ballet, I was surprised to find myself watching Balletboyz ‘Young Men’, a ballet about First World War soldiers screened recently on BBC Two. I was even more surprised when I couldn’t stop watching it.
Not long after it was launched, I subscribed to Apple Music. I know some people swear by Spotify, but I had tried it some time ago, and didn’t get on with it — I’m not entirely sure why. In many ways, I’m an old-fashioned music listener, and I prefer to listen to whole albums, most often in the order in which the artist intended. I found that Apple Music supported browsing and listening by album rather than song more easily, so that’s what I’ve stuck with. I still buy music in physical formats (most often vinyl), and so the ability to try out any album and play it multiple times to determine whether it is a keeper is very useful. I’ve also found that it has made me more adventurous, simply because I don’t have to pay per album, and can give something a quick try to see if it is my cup of tea. That strategy has led to me finding music that I probably would not otherwise have considered. So it was that I came across Kate Tempest’s album, Let Them Eat Chaos.
We don’t subscribe to any cable or satellite TV channels (though we do have a LoveFilm subscription for films on DVD1), as we generally find that there’s more than enough material that we want to watch on the terrestrial TV channels. Just occasionally, however, a series that we want to watch is shown on a channel that we don’t have access to, and we buy the series on iTunes. I’ve done this for the two series of Agent Carter, and I am hooked.
Last weekend, we watched the animated film, Song of the Sea, by the same director (Tomm Moore) as The Secret of Kells, which I so enjoyed a few years ago. I wasn’t disappointed: this is a gorgeous, joyful, haunting film. It has the same richly layered and beautifully coloured imagery, which is inspired — like The Secret of Kells — by Celtic art, and explores Irish folklore.
I haven’t reviewed any films here recently, having moved most of my reviews over to Slipstream, but I saw a film last week that I can’t stop thinking about, and I wanted to write about it here. Actually, I think this will be less of a review of the film than an extended ramble about stuff that it made me think about.
I mentioned when I wrote about my new bike that I fitted pedal straps — specifically, Restraps. I really like them, and have used a similar (but slightly more flexible) style of straps before on my recumbent bike. However, after using them for a couple of weeks, I found that I had great trouble getting my second foot into the strap. I tried tightening it, loosening it, entering from different angles, but nothing really seemed to help.
Disclaimer: this pen was sent to me free of charge by Pen Chalet in exchange for my review of the pen on this site. However, the opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own.
If you watch documentaries where the presenters examine original historical documents, there’s often a moment when you find yourself marvelling at the beautiful handwriting of the document’s author. I’m thinking particularly of documents from the 19th Century which are often written in an immaculate copperplate hand.