Daily

Constantly getting interested in new things that I will pour attention into before abandoning it. Today: Horology. It's taking massive will power to not buy watch-making tools and old mechanical watches to work on. Fascinated with jewels-as-bearings, watch movements, crowns, and keyless works.

I need to obsess over something cheaper.

There is already a feeling of winding down from some people at work, already Christmas jumpers, and lights up in town.

Last Christmas was the first I enjoyed for years. This year it'll be back to business as usual; wanting the whole thing to slip by quickly, get into the new year, and start working towards Spring and the best part of the year.

I've been trying to balance buying presents with using retailers who offer a good quantity of points, while also using a card that earns points. This is truly the spirit of Christmas. What's in it for me?

In reading more about the stoics, the concept of being very careful with money yet constantly reckless with time keeps appearing.

How a waste of time is defined varies from person to person and from day to day. I watched 4 films yesterday, will likely watch more today, and for me that was exactly what I wanted. To some others and even to myself on some other day, it's an absolute waste.

Reaction videos seem like a pretty new phenomenon. Someone films themselves watching something and offering close to zero insight or adding anything at all. Often the videos are monetised, and more commonly what they're reacting to is from YouTube and is interrupted with advertising.

There is an exception. Watching younger people listening to music that I have known for decades for the first time is fascinating. Seeing how they react and really appreciating what it is, though possibly embellishing their thoughts for the sake of the video.

I sometimes get a feeling like I really want to create something.

I want to produce sharper scans of my photos. I want to get better colour. I want to calibrate my display so I know they'll look right elsewhere. I want to find qualities in the photos I'm unsure about. I want to capture more of what I see in my head but cannot find. I want to use my better understanding of the process to go back over older images and pull out detail that I have never seen but was always there, on a strip of film for ten years.

I have everything I need to do all of this.

I want to cut plywood, learn to build something. Put together improvised shelves and better organisation and make them perfectly to spec for their purpose and nothing else, with imperfections and a record of choices and mistakes all present. I can't find a perfect means for vinyl storage, but I can buy wood and a tape measure and and and

I don't have the tools, space, and freedom to modify where I live to do this. I dream of studio space, bench saws and pillar drills and workbenches. Everything I make for work ultimately becomes magnetism in a bunker in the desert. If no one has that web page open, it doesn't exist. Cut wood is as real as the splinters and paint splatters.

Shooting film can straddle each of these worlds. That strip of frozen light and chemistry was there at the moment the image was captured and exists in perpetuity, even if it's in a box in a drawer. The quality of image that is shared will improve over time as better tools are made to digitise. In working on and editing film photos I am shaping a physical object in a digital space. That will have to do for now.

2020: I love remote working.

2022: Please let me go to the office more I am begging you.

Book review: American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis.

I love this book.

There is some controversy attached to the book and the film of the same name. I can see why this is not an easy read or can be triggering for so many, with brutal violence, often aimed at women, appearing throughout. This being fictional and metaphorical doesn't change the realness of what's on the page.

Patrick Bateman is young, rich, works on Wall Street and is obsessed with perfection, status, and possessions. Among his seemingly perfect life, he is apparently compelled to commit horrific violent crimes as his life spirals out of control. And no one seems to notice or care.

What follows is my interpretation of what the book means. I am not book smart, so it's likely these ideas are both unoriginal and full of holes.

The acts of violence represent corporate and financial crimes. Early in the book they are less frequent and seem to require more effort and planning, even reluctance. As his crimes increase in severity and frequency they take more of a toll, with passages that describe madness and headaches and physical repulsion to his delusions and actions. We never hear anything about what Patrick does at work, only ever what happens around his rare appearances at the office. The smell he complains of in his apartment is not from decomposing bodies, but the stench of his possessions bought with stolen wealth. Killing a co-worker is him stealing his business. When he openly admits his crimes to his peers in some effort to unburden himself, they don't respond or dismiss it. Pat thinks he's admitting to murder and torture, but he's admitting to insider trading and fraud which is an every day activity among his circle of vapid friends and colleagues who are too self absorbed to care.

To illustrate Bateman's obsessive nature there are huge portions of the book dedicated to describing clothes, products, and music in minute detail. Almost everyone's outfit is carefully broken down by appearance and brand, HiFi equipment is analysed by the features and quality and why one might opt for one CD player over another, and there is an entire chapter dedicated to a fews albums in the career of Huey Lewis and the News. Each of the albums deconstructed and analysed in a style that seems very eloquent and put together but is filled with inaccuracies and a misunderstanding of music and artistry as a whole.

This taste in and understand of music maps with his life beyond work. Wanting to fit in, desperate to exceed the status of his peers, be a member of the most expensive health club, have assertive opinions on bottled water and rules for wearing a cummerbund or pocket square. All incredibly shallow and without meaning, yet valued and envied by society.