Week 54: Age-based recommendations

18th January 2021

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.

Week 53: Tinted windows

11th January 2021

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 too dark.

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 that crime.

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 Matter protests.

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.

Week 52: One innie

4th January 2021

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.

Week 51: Christmas?

28th December 2020

Merry Christmas!

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 cardboard suppressor.

We’ve also watched quite a bit of TV this week. Some of the highlights were:

Week 50: Not working

21st December 2020

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.

Week 49: Hot tubs

14th December 2020

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.

Week 48: Dust

7th December 2020

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 the after.

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 magic.

Did I mention building dust gets EVERYWHERE?

Week 47: Home

30th November 2020

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 with friends.

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 get there.

Hopefully next year we’ll be able to have friends around again, and give thanks for an enjoyable year.

Week 46: Everything

23rd November 2020

Week 45: Renovations

16th November 2020

More posts can be found in the archives.