(October 8 – 14)
This week I renewed my house and contents insurance. For most people this would be a gloriously trivial matter. For me, not so much.
Last year, as part of an effort to streamline and manage my finances, I adjusted my insurance policy before renewal: main change was to raise my excess to $1000, reasoning that reducing the monthly payments would a smart move. The following week my backyard fence was irreparably damaged in storm, landing me with a $1000 excess bill (the total cost of the replacement fence was $1500). I quickly decided that I would drop my excess back down before the this year’s renewal, while spending much of the ensuing 12 months crossing my fingers that no more of my fences would blow down.
So this year my renewal quote comes in and it’s already $20 a month more than last year, and this is before I even reduce the excess. Given that the same company had increased my car insurance premium a few months earlier (and I’d been too lazy to do anything about it) I was determined to get a better deal this time round. So, I shopped around and found a better deal (almost $50 a month better).
There was just one problem.
I would need to phone my existing insurance company to cancel.
Naturally I didn’t want to start the new policy without cancelling the old one, but neither did I want to pick up the phone. So this dance went on. And went on. And this week we get to crunch time: the day that my insurance policy automatically renews if I do nothing about it.
So I double checked my replacement policy, got a fresh quote, and fiiiiiiiiinally made that phone call. It couldn’t have been more straightforward—they didn’t even try to haggle (to my simultaneous chagrin and relief). Even better, I was able to set up the new policy completely online.
The curious aftermath of all this is how much better I felt the following day. Now that I’ve laid it all out, it doesn’t seem much of a surprise, but I suspect this ridiculous business was stressing me out more than I realised over the last few weeks.
Stupid, the little things that wear us down.
Of course the big news this week is that Doctor Who finally came back, and it’s arguably one of the most anticipated season debuts since the series relaunched in 2005.
For my part, I love that the show changes. I love that it’s different every few years, and I love the fact that we’ve finally got a female Doctor. (If I have any reservations, it’s simply that showrunner Chris Chibnall has historically written some of the series’ weakest episodes in the past; but he may end up being a superb showrunner).
It’s odd to be able to say that a show is different in almost every way, but is still intrinsically Doctor Who. The way it looks, sounds, and even feels, is totally different now; and yet Jodie Whittaker is unquestionably the Doctor—the same character we’ve followed for decades. One of the smartest things in this episode was to make almost no reference to the fact that the Doctor is female now—there’s a few offhand comments, but this isn’t an episode about how the Doctor is different now (as post-regeneration episodes can sometimes be). Rather, it’s an episode about how the world changes around the three companion characters. Now, I’ll admit I was a little bit dubious about having so many companions for this season—it smacks of hedging bets, as if Chibnall wasn’t sure his new Doctor alone could bring in the viewers (same thing that happened when Tom Baker left)—but I’m enjoying the company so far and it definitely feels like the right decision.
Anyway that’s enough about Doctor Who. For this week…
For Fridate horror we watched the original version of Suspiria, which turned up streaming on Stan a week or two ago. I’d never seen it before, so it was quite a trip. Probably one of the most gorgeous horror films I’ve ever seen, but of course it didn’t make a lick of sense.
I had a curiously tangled journey towards my Saturday night film choice. I settled on something earlier in the week, and then promptly forgot what that choice was. I spent Saturday afternoon narrowing down my choices, and then happened to read something that mentioned my original choice: Looper!
I’d only seen the film once before, and was keen to give it a second viewing. And it holds up to a repeat showing. Strongly. Both leads (playing the same person) are fully rounded—they make bad choices at times, but it’s understandable why they do what they do. The time travel shenanigans hold up (at least I’ve not spotted any obvious gaffes yet). It’s a film that’s well worth the buzz it generated (and I’d completely forgotten that it was a Rian Johnson movie).
Keeping with the theme, and in the mood for some more potentially mind-bending sci-fi, I dipped back into my Netflix list for Sunday and picked Infinity Chamber. My only complaint with this one is that the casting was a bit of a missed opportunity. The lead actor is perfectly good, but given that the narrative demands one person to carry the film solo for large chunks of time, the movie could have been immensely elevated by casting someone with a bit more charisma.
Nevertheless, this was still a really engrossing watch that offered plenty to think about and left room for a couple of different interpretations.
Still going with the audiobook of It, and very much enjoying Steven Weber’s narration.
Also still going with The Boy On The Bridge. For once I’ve been pretty good at picking this one up almost every day; it just seems, on this occasion, that only having 30 minutes or so reading time per day is the reason why I’ll be with this book for a few weeks.
Late in the week I also picked up the graphic novel of Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep in a ComiXology sale (and, yes, I am worried about how much of my live suddenly revolves around Amazon companies). More on this one next week.