Week 36: Tourist

14th September 2020

Some good things from this week:

Week 35: I've not got it

7th September 2020

This week we had our first COVID test as part of the ONS Infection Survey. A very nice person came round to give us a swab each. It turns out swabbing the back of your throat (“they” say: if you’re not gagging it’s not far back enough) is as bad as they say. I could definitely feel a phantom swab for much of the rest of the day. But it let them test to see if we’ve got it. Given that we’ve heard nothing back, the assumption is that we’re all clear for the moment.

This came about because our address we were randomly selected in a lottery. We’re now signed up for random testing for up to the next 12 months. This lets them monitor how it’s moving in the community, and lets us periodically know for sure if we’ve got it or not.

It certainly made me feel slightly better at the weekend when I was catching up with family that I knew, given I’d not seen anyone since the test, that I was there was very little chance of me passing it on.

I imagine one potential future, assuming there isn’t a antidote forthcoming, is regular testing will become part of every day life. Much the same way as we clean our teeth, just do a cheeky little test, make sure you’re still clear. Perhaps my gag reflex might desensitize.

Week 34: CMYK

31st August 2020

This week I pushed out a realignment to this blog, as well as my homepage. Cameron Moll once said “Good Designers Redesign, Great Designers Realign” (gosh was that really 15 years ago?!?) and as I definitely see myself as a “Great Designer” it seems fitting that I would realign. The main inspiration came from the Cinelli offset CMYK paint jobs on their bikes (it’s an effect that’s definitely elsewhere though).

Cinelli Vigorelli 2015

Owning one has been on my bucket list for a while (pictured is the 2015 Vigorelli, though I first saw a similar paint job on their 2012 Strato). I’ve tried to do something similar in CSS before but it isn’t possible with just opacity, you need blend modes on the layers. Then when I saw Stripe launch their new homepage and realised blend modes had made it into browsers I had to give it a go.

The passing of Chadwick Boseman this week hit me harder than I was expecting. The video of people telling him what Black Panther meant to them especially had me sobbing. As a white middle class man there are role models for me literally everywhere I look. Black people aren’t afforded that luxury, so to loose one, who should have had so much more ahead of him is heart breaking.

We know that from the life he lived and the films he chose to be a part of — movies that elevated stories of black people — that he was more than a superhero. He was our superhero — and at a time when we have so few. 

Oluwakemi Aladesuyi

We’ve now finished the first 5 seasons of Black-ish which is all that is legally available in the UK at the moment. It’s still really annoying how we can’t easily pay for shows that have been “released” somewhere else in the world just not “here” yet. Take my money already!

Similarly I spent some time trying to find a legal source of Grown-ish, a spin-off from Black-ish which is already on it’s third season in America, to no avail. Which means I can’t tell you how it’s also a good easy watching show, if at times makingyou slightly cringe at teenagers being teenagers.

Week 33: Camping

24th August 2020

This week, for the first time since before lockdown started, I spent a night not in my bed! We went camping for the weekend to a lovely little campsite just outside of Hastings. We were there with some friends, and spent two days almost able to pretend we were in the before. One of the benefits of camping is it’s very easy to maintain proper distance from others while still hanging out for multiple days. I’ve always enjoyed camping, and have enough equipment to make it a very comfortable experience, add in the ability to finally spend more than a couple of hours with friends and it was magical.

One of the highlights of the weekend was getting to lay back in the dark and look up at the stars. Due to there being a new moon, and being sufficiently far enough away from any town or city, there were sooooooo many stars. It’s a shame there is so much light pollution in London you don’t get to properly enjoy it.

On Saturday we went on a walk from the campsite and managed to get ourselves chased out of a field by some overly friendly donkeys and horses. While I’m sure they were just coming to say hello, as I’m sure I would if someone walked into my home. Having them all running at us at speed was really very intimidating.

Week 32: Draughtsperson

17th August 2020

Some things:

Week 31

10th August 2020

Some good things from this week:

  1. Our kitchen scales had been playing up recently. They are pretty basic two button operation scales. One button turns on, off, and resets the zero offset, the other changes the units used. The on/off button has been intermittently not working for a number of months now. Last week though the button stopped working completely. In normal circumstances this could have been fixed by jumping onto Amazon and replacing them with some equally cheap scales. With nowhere to go and a soldering iron to hand though, I decided to take them apart and pretend I knew what I was doing. Turns out something had corroded one of the 4 pins on the button. Scraping it clean with a blade and applying some fresh solder and it’s as good as new again. The scales will live to see another day!
  2. I’m not sure I’m quite prepared for a heatwave while I’m not allowed back to a nicely air conditioned office. More often than not I spend the 28ºC+ days hidden away inside a perfectly regulated 22ºC office. I’m not going to get that luxury working from home.
  3. Our garden vegetable patch has produced a broccoli. I’ve never seen one grow before, they are always just things you get from the shops. It turns out they just grow like a really long stalked broccoli straight out of the floor. I’m pretty happy with the vegetables we’ve been growing. Even if the cucumbers don’t really resemble shop bought ones (they look like someones squished all the insides down to one end like a water balloon) it’s magical that given some water it all just grows.
  4. The world is starting to get back to normal and I’m ready for this. It’s yet to be proved if just good hygiene (people actually washing their hands), not overcrowding everything, and some simple face coverings can defeat a global pandemic. But it would be pretty awesome if that was all it took.

Week 30: Sunsets

3rd August 2020

Some good things from this week:

Week 29: Cycling

27th July 2020

If we assume that we’re not going back into offices until 2021 then we still have longer working from home ahead of us than we’ve had already endured. I hope that we get to go back to some kind of office before that.

This week was mostly uneventful. I did some cycling, some work and some more cycling and work.

I tried cycling through Richmond Park at the weekend to get down to Kingston but the park was closed to cyclists so I had to take the A3 which for that segment turns into a mult-lane dual carriageway. Judging by the number of other cyclists I saw on that stretch I wasn’t alone. I hope no one gets hurt because mixing cars driving at 50mph and less experienced cyclists is a recipe for disaster. All in the name of keeping people safe from COVID-19.

Week 28: Concurrency

20th July 2020

Some things from this week:

  1. We watched I May Destroy You this week. I had absolutely no idea what it was about when we started. It took me 3 episodes before I worked out what was going on, but I was hooked from shortly after we started the first episode. It turns out I May Destroy You used the same Intimacy Co-ordinator as Sex Education and Normal People, which makes sense as the sex scenes in each of them are really well done.
  2. I woke up at 3am on Saturday morning with my brain very actively thinking about the concurrency model, and database pool implementation differences between Phoenix (and Elixir) and Rails (and Ruby). This is probably my own fault as one of the last things I did at work on Friday before logging off was get half way through investigating why our database looks to be going slow in AppSignal (our APM) but that isn’t reflected in our postgresql slow query logs. Turns out my brain was on to something though as AppSignal does combine queue time and execution time into a single duration. Thanks brain, not sure 3am was the right time to crack that nut though.
  3. I cycled around London on Saturday, it’s exciting to see the amount of permanent looking cycling infrastructure going in. I just hope that they also get the signage right. I know I personally avoid lots of cycle paths because I don’t want to get accidentally taken somewhere with no way to get back onto the route I started on.

That’s probably it for this week. As predicted, not much happened. Who knows what exciting adventures the next week of not leaving the flat will bring us.

Week 27: No Campari

13th July 2020

Some good things from this week:

  1. After they were allowed to reopen I was able to go and get my hair cut for the first time in months. It was reassuring that, unlike a lot of barbers I’ve seen while out and about, mine is being very strict about all customers wearing masks. Still that was the closest I’ve been to other people in a long time and I’m not going to pretend it didn’t feel awkward. Being able to stroke the freshly shaved back of my head still feels fantastic though.
  2. I’ve been out cycling a couple of times and my power meter says my legs are definitely getting stronger. Part of me feels like I should set some goals to hit, but right now I’m just enjoying the ride too much.
  3. I did our fortnightly shop at Sainsburys, there was once again no queue to get into the shop. The only thing they are struggling to keep in stock that we want need is Campari. What a difference a couple of months makes.

That’s about as exciting as the week got. Don’t get your hopes up for anything more exciting next week. I’m not planning on making use of any open pubs / betting shops / drive in cinemas / etc and there is limited appeal in writing about the soups I make for lunch.

More posts can be found in the archives.