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.
This week we got the keys to our very own office!
During the enforced working from home period we’ve become increasingly aware
that our small one bed flat was slowly turning into an office. We don’t have a
separate room in which to close off work, instead the areas we usually use to
relax are slowly became synonymous for the places we do work.
It’s reminded me a lot of when I moved from programming being my hobby, to
programming being my career. It’s still something I derive large amounts of
enjoyment from, but the setting changed, even on days I don’t feel like it,
I’ve got to continue doing it. It’s very easy to start resenting something
you used to enjoy, and loose it as an escape.
Unwittingly this has happened to our flat. While sitting watching TV I can
still see my work desk, while cooking or sitting at the dining table I can
still see work chairs, monitors, computers, and other paraphernalia. There is
For the same reasons as I’ve pretty much stopped writing any code in my spare
time, I’ve been longing to go back to an office so I can stop living in my
office. The physical separation allows an emotional disconnection.
A couple of weeks ago I thought I’d fire an email to the office complex near
our flat asking if they had any co-working spaces or any small units free. They
didn’t have any co-working spaces, but they did have one small unit that was
currently vacant. So after going and visiting it, we decided to rent it. This
weekend we spent lots of time giving it a lick of paint and assembling some
desks, making it feel like our space.
So we now have our own office with a door we can close (important while there
is a global pandemic ongoing), a window I can stare out of, and a fast internet
connection for the video chat meetings. We can move work out of the flat and
reclaim our living spaces as relaxing spaces. Now we’ve got it, I honestly
don’t know why we didn’t do this months ago.
- This week I bought a dynamo front light for my new fixie. It’s only a “cheap”
one so I don’t mind leaving it on a bike I’m locking up at the shops. But so
far it’s amazing. I’ve been able to completely forget about charging lights
and still have a really bright light to get me home. I’m now disappointed I
didn’t get one sooner as I’ve been charging lights to commute with like a
chump for the past decade.
- When having things built, or building work done, there is a constant stream
of questions around things you’ve never had to think about before. At that
very moment though you often need to make a decision on it. A good workman
will often guide you to the ‘right’ answer, other times they just shrug and
tell you that it makes no difference but they need an answer.
- This week we had lots of questions around the edging of tiles and beading
strips. A couple of weeks ago I had to deal with how high I wanted the towel
radiator. Of course someone needs to make these decision but I felt
underprepared to make an informed decision. I hope this doesn’t mean all our
towels will now touch the floor.
- Riding a fixie there really is nowhere to hide. Your legs just have to keep
turning. No matter how many times I remind myself of this it’s still a shock
when my legs are getting tired and I just want to coast down the road for a
- This is doubly true when you’ve just accelerated to get over the green light
that’s been green since you saw it and must be turning red soon. Usually in
this situation you’d do your sprinters lunge for the stop line, then freewheel
until you’re back down to a more manageable speed. With the fixie your legs
get dragged round at a comical cadence as you slow back down. You best have
saved a bit back from your sprint to enable them to keep moving.
- For Halloween we were supposed to be going to a party. With the current
restrictions though, this got downgraded to a walk around Tower Hamlets
Cemetery Park at dusk. I’ve never really spent much time in a graveyard
before, but walking around this one was amazing. It’s the kind of graveyard
they have in horror movies, and the full moon and a slight mist in the air
added to the spooky atmosphere.
- As much as the current restrictions suck in a number of ways, they do add an
interesting set of constraints which lead to some really enjoyable moments.
- My sound track for this week has been this mix
This week I learnt how to use Sketchup to model a room. One of the things
we’re having done with our bathroom work is having the door moved along the
wall. We’d spent ages talking about the impact it would have on the bathroom,
but when seeing the new position of the door from the bedroom side I was
concerned. Before asking for modifications to the original plan though I set
about trying to create a scale model.
I consider myself somewhat computer literate, Sketchup though made me feel like
I had no idea how computers worked again. I spent ages trying to work out how
to draw a square to the same size as the bedroom. A seemingly impossible
challenge. Once I got beyond the initial learning curve of drawing a to scale
cube though, the rest was actually surprisingly straightforward. I was able to
create two models, one of the room with the door how it had just been
positioned, and one with the door in a different position. Ideally I should
have done this before the work started, but better late than never.
The Sketchup pricing model is really designed for businesses, which means I
couldn’t get the full VR experience with the new 3D room I’d built. It feels
like it they’d tried properly they could have created a compelling personal
licence but I guess there just isn’t the money in hobbyists like me trying to
model our bedrooms.
The other thing that happened this week is that I got a new (to me) bicycle.
I’ve been toying with the idea of getting a new commute bike for a while. My
current one is now 12 years old, and according to my records has done around
33,000 miles. So a little bit accidentally I placed a low ball bid on a bike on
eBay. Surprisingly no one else bid higher and I’ve ended up with a nice black
It’s my first ever time riding fixed and it’s taken a little bit of getting
used to, but is quite a lot of fun. Learning to never stop peddling hasn’t been
too challenging as I’ve always peddled most of the time anyway. The times I now
realise I stopped pedalling for though is going over bumps, for those I
apparently brace for the impact. The first time I did that the bike tried to
rip my leg out of my hip to remind me to continue peddling. Never stop
pedalling. I’m particularly looking forward to never needing to index a front
derailleur again, it could just be my poor workmanship but they always need
indexing again very quickly and are the cause of hours of frustration.
This weekend we had a [Hawksmoor] at home meal. It’s like those meal boxes
supermarkets sell where you’ve just got to heat everything through. Though
slightly more complicated as one of the items that needs heating through is a
steak, which needs cooking just right. The food was, as you’d expect from
Hawksmoor, delicious. They also provided quite a lot of alcohol so by the end
of the night we were both full and a little bit drunk. I’d definitely recommend
(assuming your not vegetarian), it was a great way to make staying in feel more
like going out.
This week started with a delivery of a bath tub. The problem with that delivery
was that bath tub was 10cm longer than the one that we had ordered. 10cm was
significant because that’s 5cm longer than the space that we have for the new
bath tub. It turns out the website we’d ordered it from had the wrong product
code against the bath we actually wanted so when we phoned to say the wrong tub
had arrived everyone was very confused. Thankfully by the end of the week the
delivery person was back, this time with the correct size bath.
I made another solo sourdough this week. It was a bit of a rush due to not
really having enough time to make it, so I skipped a couple of steps that
seemed unnecessary (mostly the bits where you seemingly wait for nothing). The
end result is definitely better than my last loaf so I guess those weren’t
important steps anyway. That better loaf could also just be because I was using
a significantly smaller pot so it could only rise up rather than out (masking
my poor shaping technique) but nobody needs to know that.
With the release of watchOS 7 I’m now able to use my Apple Watch as a sleep
tracker. I’ve not used a sleep tracker in a number of years but thought it
would be interesting to see how Apple has approached it. So far the number of
false positives of tracking me sleeping when I’m definitely awake makes it
mostly useless for any serious tracking.
It believes any time I spend more than 15 minutes sitting still on a sofa is
either me in bed or asleep. I’m currently hoping that there is some AI magic in
here which will work out over time the difference between me actually sleeping
and watching TV. But at the moment the 2 hours of TV we watched on Sunday is
coming up as a nice long nap before bed.
One of the side effects of the sleep tracking is I’m now also able to see my
heart rate while I sleep. I’d not thought about that as a feature until on the
second or third night of me wearing it my watched tapped my wrist while I was
sleeping to let me know I’d triggered my low heart rate alert. Given I’m
certainly still alive I’ve had to disable that alert, let’s hope it wasn’t
This week builders started work renovating our bathroom. The works were
supposed to start at the end of March, but an ill-timed global pandemic threw
that schedule out of the window. The work had been overdue for a long time,
we already knew this, but the smell of damp wood that filled the flat as the
demolition started really reinforced that.
I initially found it slightly odd when the builder described what they were
going to do as demolition, I would have descried it more as just removal, but
looking at the results I’ll give it to them, they demolished the old bathroom.
I’m already looking forward to my first bath in the new shiny bathroom when
they are finished.
Twice this week I’ve been treated to a glorious sunrise while out on my
bicycle. Sunsets usually get most of the attention, but I far prefer a good
sunrise. The world always seem more tranquil during a sunrise, probably because
most people are still in bed.
Though the fact I’m seeing sunrise without much planning implies that the days
are quickly going to be dark outside of traditional ‘working’ hours. With the
flexible pandemic working I’ve heard a couple of people talking about
shifting their work day around a bit and use their old ‘commute time’ to afford
themselves a two hour lunch break, enough time to get outside and enjoy more
daylight than a 9-5 usually enables. While still ‘leaving’ and ‘getting home’
at the same time as the before. I like this as a time hack.
After banishing the coat stand to the cupboard under the
stairs at the beginning of Lockdown
we’ve been living very happily with the extra space it afforded us. I say very
happily, but every time I’ve needed to get anything out of the cupboard
I’ve now first had to contend with maneuvering the coat stand out of the way.
There had to be a better way. After doing some research I order up some parts
to make an “industrial pipe” coat rack. At least that’s how they are marketed
on Etsy. In reality it’s a bit of threaded gas pipe with a threaded flange to
attach it to the wall. Rather the buying one of the Etsy versions though, I got
mine from a pipe shop, which meant it turned up without any ribbons,
handwritten thank you notes, or any bolts to attach it to the wall instead
it came with a fine layer of plumbing grease covering it.
After popping out to get some appropriately oversized bolts to fit the flange
we’ve now got a very nice permanent coat rack mounted under the stairs. It fits
in so well with the exposed gas pipe and gas meter aesthetic there was some
mild concern we’d need to let the next owners of the flat know it’s not
connected to the pipework.
This week I made my very first unassisted sourdough loaf. I had made a loaf last
week, but that was with some very hands on tuition. I’ll save you a photo of the
loaf instead you can just imagine an object that closer resembles a Frisbee to
a half a football. My understanding is that means my shaping technique needs
We’ve had a starter since the beginning of the year and since then I’ve been
mostly just been the beneficiary of the baking process (though also helping out
with flour acquisition when needed). I’m not sure if I was spurred on reading
about Nat’s coached
or something else, but I’m glad I’ve now got a deeper understanding as to what
everyone has been nattering about for the last 7 months.
One of the techniques used to demonstrate the difference privilege has played
on peoples lives is called a Privilege Walk. It’s pretty straightforward in that
you get a group of people standing side by side and the instructor reads out a
list of statements (being raised by two parents, ever having to worry about
money as a child, being comfortable holding your partners hand in public, etc).
For every statement that you identify with you take a step forward. It’s a
very visual way for privileged people to see just how privileged they are.
There is a really good article about why they are bad, and why you shouldn’t
This week I really enjoyed this mix from Ameeva. Some lovely ambient
and drone tracks with dialogue recordings mixed in. I particularly liked the
Black Lives Matter chanting mixed in, I’ve been thinking it would make a good
ambient overlay, so I’m glad someone is doing it.
I spent lots of this week creating some new lighting for our kitchen counter. The
lights that came with the kitchen had always been a bit naff, they never
really illuminated the useful parts, and their wiring was questionable with
bare sections protected by layers of electrical tape.
I’ve now replaced all of that with a proper plug socket and a Phillips Hue
Lightstrip. There was a bit of a challenge as the Lightstrip only comes in 2
meter runs and my kitchen has corners and a cooker in it. So cutting it into
bits and soldering Cat-5 cable as joins allows the strip to go around corners
and jump over the cooker as needed. I’m super happy with how the soldered
joints all came out.
I found focusing at work this week increasingly hard. I’m not sure if it’s the
fact that we’re now acknowledging the pandemic will last at least another 6
months or something else. But there was definitely something. One of the
differences of working for a medium to large company is when you have weeks
like this it’s super easy to hide in the team, or find different people to walk
around and chat with about nothing and consume loads of time. Working for a 7
person company it feels like it’s much more obvious on days I’m not really
Hopefully next week will be more productive at work. Even if it isn’t, at least
I can see clearly when cooking dinner now.
More posts can be found in the archives.