It has been a long time since I last wrote, and I wanted to give you a quick update.
The good news is that I’m feeling very much better, so much so that I published a 2200 word article yesterday, my first writing in three weeks. I’ve not been taking any Oxycodone since last Thursday, and my ankle is giving me little pain at all.
I hated the fuzzy blur of the Oxycodone and various other drugs, and am absolutely puzzled as to how it is some people choose to take such medications for recreational pleasure! It is lovely to have a clear head and to be able to concentrate on things again.
But, the bad news? Now – almost a month after my accident – my ankle has stabilized, and the swelling reduced, but it is time for ‘the big one’ – or what the surgeon describes portentously as ‘major surgery’ – scheduled for late this afternoon. The five pins currently screwed into various bones and sticking out of my leg are to be removed and will be replaced with internal plates and screws, with an expectation of a longer than normal hospital stay for ‘pain management’. Yuck.
So, as in so many things, progress is a funny old thing. Needless to say, this Thursday/Friday is extremely unlikely to see anything approximating a newsletter or anything else from me, and I’m dubious about the following week, but will hope to get back into the weekly routine subsequently. Meantime, for daily micro-doses of Travel Insider content, courtesy of our volunteer docents, there is always the http://news.thetravelinsider.info site for you to visit (it also offers a free daily newsletter).
I’ve not been entirely inactive during my enforced silence/absence. I have a theory that pain/anxiety levels can be partially controlled by listening to music, and furthermore, for much of the last few weeks, I’ve lacked the concentration or alertness to do other things like read books, and I’m not yet as desperate as to throw myself in front of daytime television. But listening to music is something that can be enjoyed/experienced either when alert or semi-zonked out, and so I’ve found myself returning to my neglected passion for music and my library of CDs.
I’ve written about portable and digital music many years ago, and needless to say, there have been changes over the years. I’ve learned some interesting things during my current review/refresh of what constitutes ‘state of the art’ and will be updating my earlier articles on digital music when I can. But, to start, here’s an introduction below that traces the astonishing demise/devolution of digital music.
Although today’s video is unthinkably better than that we had ten, twenty and more years ago, today’s audio technology is appreciably inferior – indeed, some people would say that the best recorded music goes all the way back to LP records in the 1970s, prior to CD technology displacing them in the early 1980s.
But while mass-market music standards have dropped, there have been some high-end improvements, with the relevant technology, while little appreciated, becoming more affordable and practical. Its lack of wide acceptance is probably due to an interesting exception to the general passion for excellence that surrounds Apple.
Steve Jobs clearly had a passion for design and technology, but he seems to have suffered from a ‘tin ear’. The iPod – the device that defined the portable music player market – used and still uses an inferior type of music storage format. There were better choices that Apple ignored when the iPod was first released, and Apple has never revisited its choice of format in the 13 years since releasing the first iPod, keeping the mass market focused on a music format that is becoming increasingly obsolete and inappropriate.
In the hope that higher quality music will translate to a better pain-distractor, I’ve been replacing my MP3 library with new much better quality FLAC music, along with replacing my iPod with a better music player, and getting a good set of non-noise cancelling headphones, too.
As I’ve always said, while noise-cancelling headphones are excellent to the point of essential in a noisy environment like an airplane, they are not a good choice for listening to high quality music in a quieter setting.
Re-ripping many hundreds of CDs has taken a lot of time, and there are moments when I wonder dangerous thoughts such as ‘Do I really need six different versions of this symphony?’! However, this is all definitely in a very good cause, and I don’t begrudge a minute of it. The difference in sound quality is stunning; and I’ll find out soon enough if it makes any difference in terms of pain management.
When I can, I’ll write a follow-up piece to explain how you too can enjoy the best possible quality music – how to create FLAC files, and what type of personal music player to store/play them on (regrettably, Apple refuses to support FLAC technology on its iPods and other more modern devices such as iPhones and iPads).
Thank you also to the many people who wrote in with kind wishes, prayers, cards and even flowers. It is all massively appreciated and does help me to keep a positive attitude.
Until my next communication, please do remain safe and healthy, yourselves. Trust me, the alternative sucks.