Weeknote, 13th November 2022

This week has mostly revolved around the trapped nerve in my shoulder, which came on last Sunday evening. It took me almost completely out of action on Monday and Tuesday, as I just couldn’t sit at a computer and work – sitting up for too long was just painful.

I think that a lot of it is to do with posture, not so much when I’m sitting and typing but when I’m in the endless parade of online meetings on Teams which forms quite a chunk of my work. When I’m in meetings I tend to slump a bit to my left, usually with my hand supporting my chin, which probably isn’t the best position to be sat for a long while.

That’s exacerbated by my chair, which is lovely to look at but not ideal for spending a great deal of time sitting in and typing. The height of it isn’t adjustable, and it’s a little low with a back support which is OK at the bottom but not quite at the right sort of angle for my daily use. To compensate, I’ve raised the height of my monitor so that it’s higher, which forces me to sit more upright when I’m using it.

Of course, this was also the week when the long-awaited Muskapocalypse basically happened on Twitter, which led to some reflection on the state and development of social media. I should, of course, write something up properly about this, but it’s made me understand that the difference between social media now and in 2006 is that the news we think requires immediate delivery to our followers is no longer personal, it’s political.

When Twitter started, it was one of a slew of services which aimed to decouple the “Status” field from instant messaging apps like AIM to a third party which could then provide a brief message about what you were doing to all your friends. My first tweet on December 3rd 2006 was “going for a dump”, and in a scatological way that summed up what Twitter was there for.

It became that, but on a much larger scale: a method of delivering “vital” information in a timely fashion to large groups of people. News breaks on Twitter now, even before it hits the (already fast) 24-hour news services. I doubt that’s a good thing, for reasons which would take a whole post to define.

Weeks which start with being off or sick often don’t turn into particularly productive times, but this one was a little different. We’re at the end point of a phase in the project I’ve been focused on at work, and the beginning of planning for the next phase. That means there’s some breathing room, although there’s still a lot of wrapping up to do (and there will be until the end of the year).

We also went to see Black Panther: Wakanda Forever on Friday (more on that below) and I booked my train ticket for the weeklong writing retreat that I’m going on in December. I’m really looking forward to this, not only because it’s a week of writing, but also because it’s a week with no internet. Yes, that’s right: there’s no Wi-Fi (thanks to the building being ridiculously old and so hard to get connected) and virtually no mobile signal (5G? Forget it). I can’t wait.

Things I’ve been reading and watching

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever was good. It wasn’t as good as the first film, but given the awful death of Chadwick Boseman, how could it be? The way it handled his passing and made it a part of the movie was brilliant: sensitive, emotional, everything you could have asked. I think I counted four or five times that had me sobbing, from the opening Marvel logo (which forsook the usual montage of many heroes to be all Chadwick) through to the credits which start with “For our friend, Chadwick Boseman”.

I have no idea why his death has affected me so much – I can’t remember an actor’s death making me feel like this – but I think it is something to do with the impact of the first film and the realisation of how a black movie made me feel. Or maybe how having a movie which attracts a young black audience makes me feel: as with the first film, the majority of the audience at our showing was young and black and very much not the kind of audience you see at most Marvel films. It’s huge, and feels important.

Meanwhile, Andor continues to be the best Star Wars ever made. It’s lazy to call it “Star Wars for grown-ups” but it’s a proper adult thriller set in the universe, and has some absolutely terrific acting in it. Even if you don’t like Star Wars, I would recommend it.

Things I’ve been writing

Not much, is the quick answer. Those two days spent mostly flat on my back meant that I couldn’t write so much – this is easily the longest piece that I’ve written since last weekend – and what writing I did was mostly “manually, in a notebook” which barely counts.

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