The most eventful thing that happened this week was probably when I was
following a recipe which instructed me to fry some mustard and cumin seeds. I
was unaware that together this would make quite an explosive combination. For a
couple of minutes there were herbs flying around the kitchen as the mustard
seeds exploded. In hindsight it seems like a cruel prank the recipe author was
playing, but it definitely added some excitement to the proceedings.
Earlier this week when browsing Amazon looking for something to keep me
entertained during this lockdown Amazon asked me to “Enter your child’s
birthdate for age-based recommendations”. I found it pretty creepy that they
wanted a full date rather than just an age. But reassuring that the algos are
bad enough that they believe my shopping trends imply that I’ve got a child. In
hindsight I should have put my birthdate in to see what age-based
recommendations they might have for me.
The only other notable thing this week is that at work I built and shipped a new homepage. It’s not perfect, but it’s
better than what we had before and better reflects what we do.
On Wednesday morning I was reading this article on the FT which
talks of Neomi Bennett who refused to leave her car when a stranger tried to
open the door as she thought she was being robbed.
She was dragged from the car, handcuffed and held overnight before being
charged and convicted of obstructing a police officer. The search had been
instigated, Ms Bennett was told, because the tint on her car windows was
How was this ever appropriate? How does anyone go from legally sitting in a car
to spending a night in custody? The answer is unsettlingly: being in a car
whilst black. Neomi is also far from alone from being accused and harassed for
The day ended watching a mob of white supremacists walk carefree into the
Capitol building. Watching that play out and the apparent lack of security had
me incensed. Even Joe Biden was able to see the difference to the Black Lives
I have spent the following days though, wondering how many more points like
this we will need to get the general population realise their own white
privilege. How long before we can admit security services are racist, and work
to counter that. Back here in the UK the PSNI were even forced to
apologise just before Christmas because of their institutionalised
racism. Though depressingly even that report tried to claim it was “not based
on race or ethnicity”.
1 in 20 people in some areas of London now have Covid-19 yet they are still
having to throw Covid deniers photographing empty corridors out
of hospitals. I despair.
Sorry for the news heavy week notes, it’s just somewhat consumed my week.
Happy New Year! This also marks a full year of writing weeknotes. Part of me
feels this would be a good time to hang up my metaphorical pen, a year feels
like a good block of time. The other part of me is quite enjoying sitting down
and trying to write something coherent on a regular cadence. So the weeknotes
will continue until moral improves.
This week I’ve been getting increasingly jealous of photos of people in snow.
One of the real downsides of living in Zone 2 is the lack of snow. I’m not
planning on moving out of London, if this pandemic has made me realise anything
it’s how much I love living in London, but it would be nice to wake up to a
proper blanket of snow covering everything.
This week we did a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle. They’ve become a bit of a
Christmas tradition that started a couple of years ago when we listened to
Michelle Obama’s Becoming while completing a puzzle. I love the almost mindful
state you can get in while hunting around for a bit with one innie and three
outie edges, one that’s got some grey on it the other two are blue.
I really enjoyed watching The Forty-Year-Old
Version on Netflix this week. Watching
a modern black and white film was really confusing for my little head, but it
fitted the style of movie pretty well. Though why she didn’t take my advice I
was shouting at the TV I’ll never know.
Twice this week I spent the day out on my bicycle hand delivering Christmas
cards. Before we were placed in Tier 4 we had planned to spend more
days out delivering Christmas cheer to friends around the capital.
With the global pandemic ramping up though we decided to curtail the adventure.
As we were celebrating Christmas day by ourselves we decided to have a mostly
vegan Christmas dinner (apart from the plate of pigs in blankets… and the
double cream on the Christmas pudding). We made a nut roast, roasted a large
quantity of vegetables, candid some yams (which are actually just sweet
potatoes if you’re American). It was nice to try something different.
One of our friends also gifted us a couple of minimum viable crackers, just the
cracker snap. In many ways I much preferred them to normal crackers, no plastic
toys, no excess cardboard waste, and a much louder bang given it didn’t have a
We’ve also watched quite a bit of TV this week. Some of the highlights were:
- Critical Thinking think The Queens Gambit but actually a true story, and starring people of colour.
- Small Axe 5 parts with some of them based on real events. Stories of the Black resistance, the first part is a must watch.
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind another true story. Possibly longer than it needed to be and the title is kind of a giveaway for the ending, but was a nice feel good story.
- Jingle Jangle a new Christmas musical, if you like musicals then it’s a good watch, if you don’t I’d skip it.
This week we had the chimney swept so we can light the wood burner.
I’d not had it done in a couple of years and there is a small risk of the soot
that collects on the inside of the chimney catching on fire. I’d prefer not to
have a fire on the inside of the chimney.
I enjoy watching them clean it as they poke a brush all the way up the chimney,
then attach a drill to the end and spin it all the way back down. Having
watched it a number of times I could probably buy the parts and do it myself,
but I feel much safer in the knowledge that someone else is going to ensure
that soot doesn’t cover the living room while it happens.
This week was my last week working this year. While I’ve had a really
enjoyable year, I’m looking forward to a couple of weeks not having to think
about work. I did miss being in the office for December though, it’s always
one of my favourite times to be in an office.
On my second day of not thinking about work I saw this HTML Elements Memory
Game that Alex shared on twitter. I
managed to get 73 tags before I realised I’d just spent 15 minutes thinking
about work. Doh!
It’s a fun game though, kicking myself at some of the tags I forgot.
Let me know how you get on.
Boris also canceled Christmas this week. I’m sad for the people who’ve been
following the rules all this time that now won’t get to see loved ones. I’m
pretty fortunate that it won’t really impact my plans as we were mostly
planning on bunkering down for the period anyway.
For the first time in a number of months I was able to sit on the sofa without
any impending renovation, DIY or other interior design related decisions to
make. Between the bathroom, bedroom and office it’s been mostly all consuming
of my brain for months. I was almost at a loss though, what do people think
about when not planning their next trip to B&Q, Screwfix or Ikea?
While walking around Sainsbury’s I was reminded of how little I’m subjected to
Christmas music this year. Not going into the office, pubs, restaurants and
shops means I’m just not having any chance for it to be played at me. Is
Christmas even happening? I’m guessing we all agreed to skip it this year.
On the subject of music, I launched Spotify this week and it presented me with
my year in review. Unfortunately for Spotify all it did was tell me how little
I’ve used the service this year. So I’m going to go ahead and cancel that
subscription. Don’t think that was their desired outcome.
This weekend we escaped to the countryside and stayed in a small ‘pod’ with a
wood burning hot tub. It was nice to have the only real concern be if the fire
was still burning to keep the water warm. I’m now well and truly soaked, though
I do have a small bruise on the back of my head where I was resting it on the
side of the tub while watching stars.
This week we also watched Season 1 of Succession. I’m pretty sure I’m supposed
to hate all the characters as they are all vile humans, but I’m looking forward
to Season 2.
This week we’ve spent most of the week dusting and cleaning the flat and trying
to find new homes for everything. We used the excuse to have a sort through of
things we don’t need, want or fit. We managed to fill two black sacks of
clothes that we don’t wear anymore, so that was a success.
This weekend I went to Ikea to get some new bedside cabinets as the old ones
no longer fit where we’ve spun the bed around. Queuing at the Ikea tills has
always been a bit of a scrum, so it was nice to see that they have installed a
Post Office style ‘Cashier number 8 please’ system. Hopefully they keep that in
I picked up some new glasses this week. My astigmatism has got worse so wearing
the new glasses was initially like walking around in a house of mirrors where
everything in my periphery was slightly wonky. Thankfully my brain has rewired
itself so it all looks normal again now, just slightly sharper. Brains are
Did I mention building dust gets EVERYWHERE?
This week after 8 weeks of living at a friends house while our bathroom was
renovated we were finally able to move home. While the flat is still far from
being back to normal, being back feels great.
This week was also Thanksgiving in America. In past years we’ve hosted a
Thanksgiving in our flat inviting friends that we’d like to thank for playing a
part in our year. This year, due to COVID and lockdown, rather than the big
gathering of friends we’ve had round in the past, we celebrated it alone. It
was nice to be back in our flat for it, it was sad that we couldn’t share it
One of the traditions for our Thanksgiving is going round the group with
everyone having a chance to give thanks to the things that they are thankful
for that year. It’s a nice chance to reflect on things that enable
us to be where we are in the world, to appreciate the people that help you
Hopefully next year we’ll be able to have friends around again, and give thanks
for an enjoyable year.
- This week marks 6 months of me being in my job. I’d not have noticed the
milestone if Tom hadn’t said he’d also just passed 6 months in his weeknotes.
Thanks for the reminder Tom!
- It feels like I’ve come quite a long way in that time. When I started I’d
never written any Elixir. I now feel quite comfortable writing it and can
see why people rave both about both it, and also immutable data structures.
While they tripped me up for quite a while I’m now totally sold on the
- Immutability got me much the same as hardware description languages did in
University. With hardware description languages, or at least in Verilog which
we were using at the time, my little brain couldn’t deal with registers not
being around later on in the program (if you didn’t set the register at the
end of the clock cycle then it would be empty on the next execution). I lost
a good amount of time puzzling why my program didn’t work, or why it kept
- Being back at a 6 person start up is exactly what I was hoping for though.
It’s got that right level of having to do everything, and also having
everything to do. Hopefully we do the right everything, and skip the
everything we don’t need or have time for.
- We watched The Queen’s
thought it was excellent, and it prompted me to launch the Chess.app that
comes on MacOS and have a couple of games. It turns out I’m still terrible at
- This week I made a hastily informed choices about grouting colour and tile
layouts. I’ve never given much thought to the arrangement of tiles before,
for 20 minutes though it was all I was able to think about while I had to
make a decision so the tiler could start work. I’m hoping it can now go back
on the list of things I don’t have to think about.
- We started to watch Roadkill this
week. During the first episode we were slightly confused as to what was going
on lots of the time. Assuming that it was written as a who done it we went with
it assuming it would all make sense in the end. When we both missed what
was said just before the credits we decided to rewind 3 minutes and
watch it again in case it was important later. However, when I loaded up
Episode 1 again, and fast forwarded to the last 3 minutes it had a
different closing scene. Did we just watch the wrong episode first? So we
loaded up Episode 2, fast forwarded to the last 3 minutes… nope also not
this episode. What had we just watched?! We’d watched Episode 4… or the
- The Smart TV iPlayer interface had Roadkill listed in it’s recommended
episodes. I’d made an assumption that it would have worked like Netflix where
rather than recommending you actual episodes it was recommending you shows,
and clicking play would start that show from the beginning. The iPlayer model
however is built around episodes you can watch back, not seasons you should
watch from the beginning.
- Watching the first three episodes now feels a little pointless now we know
who did it. Bit of a shame as I was quite enjoying the episode we watched.
- We did manage to successfully watch Black Earth
Rising and The Trial of
the Chicago 7 this
week. They were both very enjoyable.
- It was good to have a weekend of sitting around doing basically nothing this
weekend. It feels like it’s been ages since we’ve done that.
- I’m starting to really look forward to a time when I can stop thinking about
home renovation, or paint colours, or socket placement for a couple of weeks.
More posts can be found in the archives.