Didn’t write anything last week, so expect a bumper crop of events to read about
this week. Well that would be true if there wasn’t a lockdown which precludes
me from leaving the house that much.
Despite this I’ve been out pottering on my bike a fair amount. The weather has
allowed that to happen on everything from shorts and t-shirt right through to
multiple layers with a woolly hat.
I took a couple of extra days off over the Easter break so was able to have an
extended period without thinking about work. Having been working fairly solidly
since New Year it was nice to stop for a moment.
Easter was quite fun, with the rules of being allowed to socialise outside we
were able to catch up with friends outside and have some good belly laughs. This
also included a trip out into the countryside for a day. Being surrounded by
nothing but trees and grass was a highlight, need to get more of that time in
my future. I’m getting super hopeful about being able to hang around in the
grass with friends again this summer, bring it on.
On Friday evening we went to B&Q to pick up some bits for the garden. Included
in that were some trellis panels for climbers to grow up. We exited the store 2
minutes before closing and got back to the car only to realise that the panels
we’d selected were 10cm wider than the car boot and wouldn’t fit. I very
quickly hot footed it back into the store and grabbed a length of rope, some
foam pipe insulation and a pair of scissors. This was enough for me to cut some
lengths of rope, fashion a roof rack from the foam and tie the trellis to
the car roof without anything getting damaged.
This weekend I made another planter out of a couple
of old pallets. Unlike last time where I did the whole thing without going to
the shops this time I went straight to B&Q to pick up the right length screws
and a pry bar to make my life easier.
B&Q on a Saturday morning was unsurprisingly busy, and seemed to be almost
completely sold out of screws. Normally they have hundreds of boxes of
different sized screws. This time I had to buy some expensive “Turbodrive”
screws because they were the last ones left in the size I wanted. Had I wanted
anything either size though, I would have been completely out of luck.
Building this planter I was quickly aware of how many muscles in my body
don’t get used in my daily walk to my desk, cooking or sitting on the sofa. One
day, when I’ve got room to store it, I’ll get a work bench to let me to DIY
projects standing upright so I won’t have to bend over to the floor the whole
time. I think if I decide to make another I might also invest in a power saw of
some kind so I don’t have to do it all with my hand saw.
This week we watched Biggie: I got a story to
tell followed by
Unsolved. So I now know a lot
more about The Notorious BIG and Tupac, and their murders, than I did before. It
was fun watching them in that order and then having the chance to dissect the
casting choices of the actors having seen footage of the actual people days
I’m not sure much else happened this week. We’ve mostly run out of TV we know we
want to watch so hopefully summer will hurry up and we can just spend time
Spring is here
The days are getting longer
The weather is getting warmer
I cycled without wearing a jacket
London is odd with no people
Rest in peace Oxford Steet Topshop
Only the naked mannequins remain there
I ate too much delicious food
My tummy hurt
I drank a more than the doctor recommends
Zoom is shit.
An emotional roller-coaster of a week. It started so innocently watching the
Harry and Megan interview with Oprah. It was sad to hear about the racist and
toxic masculine attitudes of the royal household. It was refreshing though
watching someone so openly calling the UK press the racist institution that it
The week took an emotional dive with the news of a death in the family. It
had me questioning my own and others mortality. Life is so finite. Are we
living the best life we can? Do we have the right work-life balance?
While there is hope in the air at signs the world can start to reopen now there
is a vaccine, it’s going to be a very different world, a chance to define a new
normal, what normal do I want?
Then on Thursday our internet went down for 48 hours. One of the perils of
having a smart house is it’s often not so smart when the internet dies. While
cooking me shouting “Okay Google, set a timer for 20 minutes” and “Okay Google,
add rice to shopping list” went ignored. Dimming the lights after dinner was
We also couldn’t stream any music while cooking, and had to watch terrestrial
TV. We ended up watching this episode of Amazing
which was a surprisingly interesting look at the hotel in the Shard. Filmed
during COVID they even showed how the air conditioning works in the sealed
building, and how the buildings windows take 3 months to clean so is being
constantly cleaned to ensure each widow is cleaned 4 times a year.
For the second night we did at least manage to use the DVR in the Sky box to
record something to watch at our own start point. Thankfully the internet is
now back and I can once again ask Google to make the flat warmer.
This weekend we borrowed a pressure washer to clean the patio and some fence
panels. Pressure washing, it turns out, has the best instant gratification. You
can easily see the clean edges where dirt has been removed.
It turns out updating the week number for the title for these weeknotes is of
O(log n) complexity. They mostly all settle a week after
publishing as I go to create the next post and realise I’ve buggered it up again.
You probably never notice, that’s ok, my brain doesn’t either.
Little to say about Week 61. We watched
WandaVision on Disney Plus. It’s a
miniseries with ties into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though the only way I
knew that was because the opening credits said Marvel. Turns out Vision was
totally forgettable from his scenes in the movies.
I enjoyed it as a mini-series, though some of the jokes went straight over my
head as I wasn’t a big watcher of many of the sitcoms it parodied. It also did
a really good job of explaining the Ship of Theseus thought experiment (though
I still prefer the Sugarbabes
analogy). I wasn’t quite
expecting some light philosophy chat in the middle of an epic fight scene.
I’m quite looking forward to it finally being legal to go and sit in a park by
yourself next week. It’s weird that it’s been illegal up until this point this
This week I completed The Last of Us: Part II. I was playing it in place of
watching TV for the past couple of weeks, as it’s got a very strong storyline
it was perfect replacement for some TV for a bit.
Spoilers: this post is all about Last of us Part II, it may contain spoliers
So what did I make of the game? I was captivated. Back when I started the
original Last of Us I got both bored quickly and thought Ellie was an
annoying spoilt brat. I would even mimic her because she sounded so ridiculous.
However, by the end of the first season I was totally captivated and totally
The second season totally abused that relationship and at numerous points had
me throwing down the controller refusing to put her in danger. The final scenes
of the game were completely heart wrenching.
In terms of game play I found the continuous friction between the weapons I was
given and the impact of using any of them completely at odds. More often than
not I’d start trying to do a scene using the guns I’d been given only to
attract too much attention and either run out of ammo quickly or die
pretty quickly once everyone came running towards the loud sounds.
I’d then retry the scene only using stealth kills and be able to pile bodies in
door frames (they all come to investigate dead bodies so you can wipe loads out
without moving) and complete the scenes without using any ammo. It also
stopped the frantic fight scenes which left me button mashing (this was also
totally game induced as you were supposed to mash the square button to get out
of a hold and once you start mashing a button, well you just mash them all).
If I was to rate my least favourite to favourite enemies to stumble on walking around a dark corner it’d probably be:
- Stalkers - they were impossible to see to shoot at from a distance and just didn’t die in hand to hand combat
- Dogs - shoot with a silenced pistol before they see you or accept you’re going to die again
- Seraphites - they were too well organised, I ended up running through most of those scenes
- Everyone else - really even bloaters weren’t that bad, a couple of shotgun rounds and they died, and at least they let you know where they were.
Overall a really enjoyable game, and would play again, I may have started just
to see what having all my guns in the beginning of the game would be like. Ohh
and the boat sex scene caught me completely off guard! I wasn’t expecting
that after we cut away in the Library basement and came back afterwards.
Bit of a slow news week this week. Beyond playing more The Last of Us 2 and
going to work very little else happened. The highlight was being able to be
outside without a coat on this weekend, which was a thrill considering last
weekend it didn’t get above 0ºC.
I’m very ready for this lockdown to be eased to make it legal to sit outside
I was reminded this week of this amusing post imagining if founders treated investors like early employees.
After completing The Last of Us last week, this week I started The Last of Us 2.
It’s really interesting to see the progress that 7 years has given the
franchise. The advances in rendering and human motion is particularly
impressive, but also the exploration seems more immersive than before. In
version 2 the budget for the voice actors also seem massively increased, I
don’t think the characters have stopped nattering since I started. Even when
it’s just one character alone fighting they are giving themselves a pep talk
encouraging them through the scene, it’s cute, you’ve got this Ellie!
Playing The Last of Us has been a great distraction from the other two main
hobbies of lockdown:
- Watching TV, and
- Trying not to buy things I don’t need, and probably won’t use.
There was a point on Friday for example when I found out I could get a new 3D
printer delivered next day for £125. I’ve never had anything custom 3D printed,
but at that price it seemed like a hobby that I should take up! Thankfully I
managed to resist and don’t have a 3D printer turning up, but it was very
In terms of TV this week I watched:
- It’s a
Sin. I was sobbing at
the end, it was great, but harrowing.
- Outside the
Wire (on Netflix) which was in comparison, mostly
terrible. Though perhaps that’s just my dislike of the sci-fi genre which was
apparent when I was disappointed at the end when we never got to see the
wedding they had spent the whole film talking about.
- Official Secrets (on
Prime) which is an account of the whistle-blower who exposed illegal spying
designed to start the Iraq war. It was a really compelling watch and I do
wonder if in the same situation I’d have the courage to leak the memo. I
almost certainly wouldn’t have, but I like to think I would have.
This week I managed to complete The Last of
Us. After a slow start I got
quite into it towards the end. I particularly enjoyed causing the scenes to not
make sense given how I walked into them. For example ensuring there were no
enemies left then calmly walking through a door, but have the voice over
exclaim how quickly we needed to block a door to stop them chasing us and how
close it was.
We also finished Snowfall season 3 this week. Apart from the weird alternative
universe in the final episode it was great. Hopefully when season 4 starts
showing in America later this month it will also be available here.
On of the things we try and do is to watch some easy watching TV on a Sunday
evening before bed. For weeks we were watching an episode of The Crown a
week. It’s fun to break up the season like in the old days, and also a great
way to let our brains know it’s work in the morning.
We ran out of The Crown a couple of weeks ago, but luckily Blow
Away season 2 is now on
Netflix. The episodes are only 30 minutes and they skip 90% of the usual talent
show fluff which makes it really watchable and very low stress. No one dies
For January I’ve been doing a Veganuary inspired month. I’ve not been a strict
vegan, there was definitely some illegal milk chocolate and other illicit items
I neglected to check the ingredients of. But I didn’t eat any meat, or cook with
any eggs or dairy.
It’s been a nice little adventure of finding new recipes and ingredients. My
favourite from the month has to be this vegan
haggis. We had it on Burns
Night and the flavours have been swimming around my mouth ever since. I think
I’ll have to cook another one in a couple of weeks.
This week YouTube recommended me this digger
video which has Chris using his
big digger to rescue a smaller digger that’s buried itself while digging a pond
bed. I was captivated watching him move dirt around, one digger scoop at a
time. I’ve since watched a number of his other videos, including relaying a
pipe someone laid backwards and
fixing a pond someone cheaped out
on. It’s the perfect slow TV,
just a man doing his job filming bits and shoving it on YouTube. No fancy
lighting or fast cuts, no “click the bell to get notified”, just a camera
mounted in his cab watching him work. I’m here for it.
More posts can be found in the archives.