This week, Plugged In is licking the wall and sticking its tongue in every available socket.
Friends, enemies, people who haven't made their mind up about me yet — I've done something I haven't in over a year: come back to the UK.
Don't worry, this isn't an ode to British culture (music! pints! gravy!), YET... there's one towering part of the country's civilization that smacked me right in my mindface when I arrived.
You guessed it, I'm talking about plugs.
I've lived in Amsterdam for a few years now and, the thing about Europe, is that pretty much everywhere uses the same plugs. You know, these ones:
This is the only GIF of an EU plug I could find, soooo.... enjoy?
These are exactly the sort of plugs that the UK does not use.
And — in my endless, ever flowing wisdom — I made the mistake of bringing but a single adaptor.
That might not sound too bad, but it is. Oh my lord it is.
Let me spray some context on that statement. Currently, I have four separate pieces of technology that need charging touching my body.
For the intrigued, I'm typing on a laptop, have a phone in my pocket, an Apple Watch on my wrist, and am wearing headphones.
Of course, My Struggle™ is My Own Damn Fault™ — and I'm not gonna dispute that.
But this has led me to a place I didn't expect to be in, specifically a place where I'm thinking about plugs quite a lot.
Solving my issue was easy. Almost cool.
I ordered an adaptor for about $5 that arrived on the same day and allowed me to juice up my devices with impunity.
But, on the other hand… what?
Look, I get it. AC power infrastructure was created long enough ago that standards differ across the world. But... can't we all just agree to move to USB or something? Make my life just a little simpler.
This issue riles me up even more when I remember that... the UK and Europe are… right there...? next to each other...? close enough to swim between...?
WHY CAN'T WE USE THE SAME DAMN PLUGS?
If only there was some sort of united governmental body across the continent that could work together to make its part of the world a better place for its inhabitants.
No. I'm being stupid. That could never work.
(P.S. We're keen to improve Plugged In and hear what you think about it, so head to the bottom of this email to give us your thoughts!)
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DRAIN ME OF FLUIDS SO I MAY QUENCH THE THIRST OF THE MACHINE.
Recently, I read a book called The Shepherd's Life: A People's History of the Lake District.
Written by James Rebanks, this piece of non-fiction describes his life as a shepherd in one of England's most famous bits of countryside.
At times, I came close to adoring the novel. In the end though, I settled on it being pretty damn good instead.
The main issue is the narrator, Mr. Rebanks himself, kiiinda comes across like an arrogant know-it-all who's convinced that his way of life is the only way.
And yes, stones and glass houses and all that.
Despite this, The Shepherd's Life has some absolutely glorious moments. The writing is sparse and evocative — especially when Rebanks is describing landscapes and weather.
Where his book really shines though is giving an insight into the ancient nature of shepherding in the Lake District. It's impossible not to be fascinated when he's talking about the ebb-and-flow of the seasons and how it relates to sheep rearing.
If you're looking for a non-fiction read that'll shine a gorgeous light on a world you probably know little about, you could do far worse than The Shepherd's Life.