too spicy

Yesterday morning I woke early, annoyed by the cat (this happens a lot). I was sitting in the big easy chair in the living room, not really dozing but not ready to be officially awake either, messing with SynprezFM on my phone. That’s a surprisingly okay Yamaha DX7 emulator which a whole bunch of presets (but limited editing). I happened to find a pad sound I liked in that moment, and wanted to record it on the computer.

So I grabbed a stereo-to-dual-mono splitter cable, which didn’t fit with the case on. Taking that off, I noticed the back of the phone was peeling away… uhoh. I’m not 100% sure that battery swelling was what did it, because it wasn’t the super dramatic “spicy pillow” look, but it seems like the most likely cause. So I found a place that does same day battery replacements (got lost on the way, then got quasi-lost again on the way back to pick it up…)

After reading up on it, it turns out a little swelling isn’t unsafe, but charging a battery that’s a little swollen can lead to a battery that’s a lot swollen, and at that point it’s at risk of a “thermal event.” And nobody wants a thermal event.

So I got to experience, for just part of a day, what it’s like in 2023 to suddenly not have one’s phone available. My spouse still had her phone, and I could still turn mine on briefly when absolutely necessary… so I wasn’t completely cut off from civilization. But still, reaching for the phone is a reflex.

Want to know what time it is? What the temperature is officially? Want to use GPS? Play music in the car? Check if you have a message from the repair shop? Kill a couple of minutes with a puzzle or web browsing? Look up an unfamiliar Korean dessert? Log in to work (we use two-factor authentication)?

I had thought about replacing my phone. My Samsung S10e is now 4 years old, which is about 80 in phone years. But this cost a lot less, and aside from needing the battery I don’t really feel like my phone is insufficient in any way. When it’s slow, it’s not the processor but the network; when photos don’t come out well it’s not the megapixels but the teensy lens. (Granted, lenses are more typically dime-sized now rather than notebook paper hole sized… but still far from the bazooka-sized lens for decent astrophotography.)

Anyway, I got my recording done, and the next album just passed the 25 minute mark so far. The “synth choir” thing is pretty abstract in places, but that’s fine; it’s serving more of a sort of ritual purpose than anything else.

I’ve been doing another round of Guild Wars 2, with my usual pattern of deleting an old character, starting a new one, leveling to 80 and quitting. I thought I was going to run a Ranger next… but the current Necromancer absolutely breezed through 1-80 with zero deaths and soloed several open-world Champions, and did it in style as a gender nonconforming Sylvari. So I switched to Reaper and that’s a new experience — new skills and rotation to learn. I’ll probably stick with them for a bit.