Week 7: Sail We Must

24th February 2020

  • Andrew Weatherall died this week. It was somewhat unexpected and sudden to the point I was supposed to see him on playing on Friday as part of A Love From Outer Space. Sean played without him, it was a touching evening with most of the crowd wanting to pay their respects to a legend.
  • Of the quotes and stories about Andrew this is one of my favourites:

    Following his rave-era glory days, it’s interesting that Weatherall never attained the “superstar DJ” status of, say, Fatboy Slim or Calvin Harris; that, he says, is entirely by design.

    “That sort of carry-on was never for me,” he reflects. “It’s a lot of work, once you go up that slippery showbiz pole, and it would keep me away from what I like which is making things. I mean, I had a little look in the early Nineties. I stood at the bottom of that pole and looked up and thought to myself ‘The view’s pretty good. But it’s very greasy and there are a lot of bottoms up there that I might have to brush my lips against. So, maybe I’ll give it a miss’.”

    Andrew Weatherall interview - Independent

  • As the legend goes, Andrew Weatherall once asked a fisherman “Are there times when you get up in the morning and you can’t be arsed?”. His response was “Fail we may, sail we must”. Andrew had that tattoo on his arms.
  • We watched Sorry to Bother You at the weekend which I really enjoyed. It was a story of how a black man became a telemarketer and had to learn to use his white voice in order to succeed. There are a number of parts of the script which I’d have loved to been a fly on the wall when it was pitched.

  • Over the weekend we also watched the two seasons of Man Like Mobeen. It had us both laughing at many points as it very directly tackled topics of racism and islamophobia. Well worth a watch.

    Do you remember what he used to call me?

    Africa

    That’s fully racist init. You can’t call someone a whole continent because of their skin colour, init man.

  • Fail we may, sail we must!

Week 6: 90

17th February 2020

  • This week we’ve been watching Hip Hop Evolution. We’d only watched the first series and it turns out there are now four of them. It’s been really interesting watching it with someone who grew up in America and hearing about what made it big there that I’d never heard. It’s been really compelling watching even not knowing most of the music, artists or impact of the tracks at the time.

  • Watching Hip Hop Evolution has also been working towards a goal that I’ve got to consciously watch more things staring people of colour or other minority groups on TV. It was reassuring last year during Black History Month when checking Sky Cinema’s “films staring black people” playlist that I’d already watched most of the titles.

  • This weekend I went to a 90th birthday meal. The thought of living until I’m 90 is completely wild to me. It would mean I’ve got almost two thirds of my life left. Think of all the things I’ve still got time to achieve, all the things I can do, the places I can go. Thinking about that along with the social expectation to always be getting promoted, to always be growing, is equally exhausting.

Week 5: Oat Milk

10th February 2020

  • This week I’ve listened to most of Daring Greatly: How the Courage to be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent and Lead. It was recommended to me and I didn’t quite know what I was getting into. Turns out it was much heavier than I was expecting and I’ll probably need to give it another listen to really absorb what was covered. Audiobooks are, to me at least, far more suited to lighter books where you’re able to drift in and out as you carry out other jobs (like commuting, or driving).

  • Two of my favourite quotes from the book were:

    When we shame and label our children, we take away their opportunity to grow and try on new behaviours. If a child tells a lie, she can change that behaviour. If she’s a liar, where’s the potential for change in that?

    and

    Charlie [the authors son] also gets the distinction between shame and guilt. When I found our dog pulling food out the trash can I scalded her saying “bad dog”. Charlie came sliding around the corner shouting “Daisy is a good girl who made a bad choice, we love her we just don’t love her choices.

  • Lots of good takeaways from the book though, and I’m looking forward to the second reading.

  • This week we watched The Trial of Christine Keeler. By far my favourite character had to be Profumo’s wife. In episode 6 she puts Jack Profumo right in his place pointing out the inherent sexisim in his opinions. Unfortunately then he pulls a “but I fought in the war” line to try and excuse himself. Ugh.

    Being a teenage girl is like being invited to a glorious picnic. Then you discover you’re one of the sandwiches. Poor girl never had a chance.

  • After musing the other week about the environmental impact of buying cartons of milk alternatives I realised this week that it’s actually incredibly easy to make oat milk. It requires soaking some oats, blending them, then straining the bits out, which all sound like steps I can do. So I’ve made my first batch of homemade oat milk.

Week 4: On mat

3rd February 2020

  • I finished reading listening to The Good Immigrant this week. It’s a great set of short stories, my favourites being: Darren Chetty talking about teaching children creative writing, and talking about how many children didn’t feel allowed to write about people of colour; and Bim Adewumni giving us the three steps for writing a good character of colour for TV (which seems beyond the reach of most TV shows)

    1. Write a stonkingly good, well rounded character
    2. Make the effort to cast a person of colour
    3. That’s it.

    I could have picked any chapter to quote though, they were all great and everyone should read it.

  • This week we finished watching Cheer. Many parts of the series had me having to turn away from the TV in fear of broken body parts, the limits that athletes push themselves to always amazes me. Though I worry about the lengths a multibillion dollar industry will go to hide that truth, the same way we know the NFL treat concussions.
  • I was saddened by the news of Nicholas Parsons passing this week. I have fond memories of catching Just A Minute when my parents had Radio 4 on when I was young. I also once got the chance to be in a Tech Just a Minute game when I spoke at EpicFEL, which was incredibly fun.
  • At the weekend I was booked in with a couple of hours with a personal stylist as a present, this was more a nudge to buy some clothes that aren’t falling apart rather than a slight on my current wardrobe. It involved me trying on more clothes in a short time than I’ve ever done in my life, and then being asked for an objective opinion on them. It was really fun to see the process of someone else picking out clothes and then working them into outfits that work together. I was also surprised when some things I initially disregarded while still on the hanger did actually look quite good when I had them on. As someone who isn’t usually a very adventurous clothes shopper (and regularly finds the experience anxiety inducing) it was definitely an eye opening experience through which I was made to feel mostly at ease.
  • During the week we also went to a London Terrariums workshop where we made our own Terrariums. It was lot’s of fun and now I’ve got my own miniture rainforrest.

Week 3: Living in the future

27th January 2020

  • A couple of years ago I tweeted:

    Musing over if I could ditch my phone day to day and move to just an Apple Watch with cellular.

    @edds - 7:04 AM - 22 Mar 2018

    I now quite happily leave the house without my wallet or phone. Being able to pay and message people from my watch is revolutionary. Not being able to read WhatsApp messages is the only feature I really miss, thankfully most of my best friends use iMessage.

  • On the days I’ve been jogging to and from work I’ve been able to run with just my house keys. It’s fantastic.
  • I pushed myself too far jogging and have hurt my knee and and achilles so will need to back off to let them recover.
  • We’re currently hiring lots of engineers at the FT, it means I’m spending increasing numbers of hours a week interviewing. If you know anyone who wants a new job feel free to get in touch.
  • The new Apple Pay Express Mode makes it feel like we’re living in the future. It’s like using a wand to get through the barriers.

Week 2

19th January 2020

  • I’ve been thinking about my milk consumption recently and if it would be better to switch to a milk alternative like oat “milk”. Most milk alternatives are sold in Tetra Pak cartons though, and it sounds like they aren’t as recyclable as their plastic dairy carrying alternatives:

    Several supermarkets, for instance, are selling more drinks in coated cartons under the assumption that they can be recycled.

    In fact, the Green Alliance says, the UK only has the facilities to recycle a third of the coated containers in circulation.

    BBC News - Plastic packaging ban ‘could harm environment’

    So I’m not sure what to do about that. It was much simpler when the electric milk float used to drive glass bottles around that could just be refilled.

  • Over the past few years the volume buttons on my phone have slowly filled up with lint making them unable to be pressed. This wasn’t an issue most of the time, but was mildly irritating. I’d unsuccessfully tried to use a pin to clear it until I remembered that my phone is waterproof. Sure enough after washing it under a tap for a couple of minutes I was able to wash all the lint out making the buttons just like new again. The ability to wash my technology still messes with my head.

  • Last week when I managed to jog home, I failed at jogging back into work. This week I managed to both jog home, and then make it back into work the next morning… well there might have been quite a bit of walking, but I got in under my own steam so I’m taking that as a success.

  • It might have been a success at getting back into work, but I managed to hurt my knee and ankle so it probably was a net failure. One of the worries of taking up a new sport (jogging) when I’ve already got fitness from another sport (cycling) is the risk of injuring myself is increased as my cardio system can handle workload my joints can’t.

  • Goal for next week: do some more jogging, but don’t hurt myself.

Week 1

13th January 2020

*taps the mic* is this thing still on?

All the cool kids seem to be writing week notes so I thought I’d see what all the fuss is about. Expect these to be as sporadic as my blogging always was.

  • I started running jogging again at the tail end of last year after an almost 2 year hiatus. I’ve mostly been doing some lunchtime jogs up and down the River Thames and this week I tried to extend that to a run home from work. On Monday I successfully managed the 6km run home. On Tuesday however, I unsuccessfully managed the run back in to work and had to catch the bus the rest of the way. Negative points for not completing the run, bonus points however for picking the bus route to run along so I could jump on it when I realised my body wasn’t ready.
  • This week I finished reading listening to Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging by Afua Hirsch. I really enjoyed it and would recommend a listen if you’re interested in both a first hand account of the realities of growing up and being black in Britain, and examples of how racism is still alive and well in Britain.
  • I was forwarded this opinion piece at the end of the week, also by Afua Hirsch: Black Britons Know Why Meghan Markle Wants Out. Which can give you a flavour of some of the topics raised in the book. It nicely points out how it’s not that much of a surprise why Meghan might not want to stay in Britain:

    The legacy of Britain’s history of empire — a global construct based on a doctrine of white supremacy - […] is with us today.

  • After a glowing review from Tom I watched both Paddington and Paddington 2 at the weekend. They were both very good, I’m now excited about Paddington 3 which is due out this summer.

2015 tl;dr

31st December 2015

Led the team getting GOV.UK ready for the 2015 general election. Got a new job working for Deliveroo. Spoke at Pivotal Lunch & Learns, Devoxx, State of the Browser and Epic Front End London. Attended TXJS, and was surprised to appear on stage, twice. Competed in 8 cycling hill climbs, up a variety of excruciating hills.

2015 was also by far the most stressful, challenging and emotionally torturous year of my life so far, both personally and professionally. It pushed me to breaking point and then kept pushing. It forced me to grow more than I could have predicted, and hopefully left me a better person at the end. At points I felt like I was just trying to survive this year, trying to get to the end still alive.

I’m so very grateful for my friends who’ve been there for me this year, who provided me the support and advice I often required. My year’s set to end better than I imagined possible just a few months ago. I’m happy to be looking forward to 2016, who knows where it’s going to take me!

…read the rest of this entry.

Getting Analytics data for designing

1st July 2015

Google Analytics is widely used to gather information about how users interact with websites. As a developer, designer or product owner it’s really useful to use the information it collects to inform decisions. However, I often find that the Google Analytics interface can get in the way of getting the right data out quickly.

…read the rest of this entry.

More posts can be found in the archives.