When it comes to 2020, “I have tried to keep my sanity is by finding mini-obsessions,” my dear friend Shri writes on her blog. She has been obsessed with bonsais and mechanical keyboards, and she has gone into a rabbit hole, which even she finds challenging. For Shri, for something to count as a mini-obsession:
- It has to be multilayered, complicated, and can you into a deep dark dive.
- And these objects are modestly priced.
I liked her post because I have been a long proponent of small joys. As I wrote earlier, “Staying at home is a good opportunity to really savor things – you are not in a rush, and as a result, you can linger over words, images, sounds, and senses.” It is how I have kept my sanity during the pandemic.
While I won’t call them mini-obsessions — my infatuations in 2020 have included cheap and cheerful in-ear monitors made in china by Chinese brands. At around $50 a pair, I tried many models before I found one that worked for my musical tastes and gave a nice little lift to the hi-res files from Bandcamp, and not so hi-res files from Spotify. But the infatuation lasted for so long because once I found the product I liked, I stopped looking for a new one: no more watching YouTube reviews, lurking on Reddit or messageboards. I have sold off most of the IEM’s I bought since the infatuation started.
I am sold on BLON BL03 for all-purpose listening, while Tin HiFi’s T2 Plus for Ambient and electronica are amazing and cost anywhere between $25-to-$60 dollars, depending on when and where you buy them from. BLON BL03 is the best IEM on the market that costs less than $50 a pair. For people with mainstream music tastes — it is ideal. The sound is perfect for all kinds of music, though I end up listening to jazz and rock-n-roll tunes with this IEM. It doesn’t fit in my ears as well as my favorite: the T2 Plus.
Tin HiFi T2 Plus is ergonomically perfect and are well balanced, and are currently my favorite way to listen to ambient and classical music. They are clear, crisp, and have just the right amount of bass. I can happily recommend these pint-sized monsters.
My next infatuation is Agatha Christie and her mysteries. Hercule Poirot is 100 years old this month–and re-reading those books have kept me distracted from the social media madness and lunacy of the presidential election cycle. My slightly more expensive mini-obsession that isn’t over yet: terrariums.
It started with one. I now have four. They are highly intricate. I got these because they reminded me of specific landscapes I like to photograph — Iceland, Alaska, and Italy. I got them made by someone else because I wasn’t ready to dive in and build my own. I have been reading books, watching videos, and hopefully soon, will work on a terrarium that has been designed and built by me. It will utilize connected sensors.
“Mini-obsessions have given me a focus on learning in a sphere where there is no upside, no downside, no specific purpose besides curiosity, and the desire to learn and relax,” Shri writes. It is funny because when I started writing about technology almost three decades ago, I felt about technology and its potential.
What is your mini-obsession/infatuation that is keeping you sane?
October 20, 2020, San Francisco