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w/e 2020-04-26

Hello, from my limbo to yours.

§   A varied week in music here. I’m enjoying the rattly sounds and attitude of Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters (on Spotify).

My friend Ted, who makes annual mixes (formerly CDs) of his favourite music, has started filling in years from his childhood, starting in 1981, on MixCloud. I don’t often listen to music from back then but I am enjoying these a lot. Maybe it helps, right now, to listen to good, often familiar, tunes from “the good old days”. Here’s the first part of Ted’s 1981:

Then one day this week, when I was trying to concentrate on coding work while my brain really didn’t want to thanks, I started off with a couple of episodes of Warren’s “ambient / haunted music” SPEKTRMODULE podcast, spent the rest of the morning shuffling this shape note singing playlist, and all afternoon in this complete Ghost Box Records playlist, and that’ll show my stupid brain.

§   Three “OK, the internet’s pretty great” moments this week.

  1. At the end of one of the brain-struggling days I, not unusually, posted a question on Stack Overflow and had it answered promptly and effectively by a stranger in Indonesia, meaning I could sleep that night without stupidbrain going over and over the problem. It’s like magic. Or, maybe, having cleverer colleagues to hand.

  2. I often get emails from regular Pepys readers querying something on the site, often a mistake or omission on my part. This week we were able to check a reference to “the Swede’s Embassadors” by looking up the report of an event in a copy of the London Gazette of 25 April 1667.

  3. I enjoyed this Twitter thread by Tim Soret explaining why simply desaturating a colour image doesn’t turn it into a decent black-and-white image. I thought Mike Johnson might like it so I sent it to him and his subsequent Online Photographer post now includes two lengthy interesting comments about the physics of light and the biochemistry of the eye. But I also agree with other comments about what a shame that the original thing is a bloody Twitter thread instead of a blog post and, oh no, now I think the internet’s gone all rubbish again.

A photo of a square of earth, where turf has been dug out
Gardening, or an art

§   This week I have done some gardening, which is not a task or hobby I look forward to particularly.

In my first ever interview for a proper job I was asked, “What are you interested in?” and I ended up saying, “Everything except gardening.” Wired UK’s creative director said something like, “You’ll probably find it interesting when you’re older,” and moved on to other topics, such as why hadn’t I brought a portfolio of work to an interview for a design or production job. I’ve often wondered if she was right about gardening and… I guess not yet.

I don’t dislike gardening, but it’s not near the top of my list of things I get pleasure from doing. However, like brushing one’s teeth, a certain amount has to be done, especially if one wants the pleasure of sitting and gazing out at a nice garden, or at a nice set of teeth OK that simile doesn’t really go anywhere does it.

So this week I have dug up turf, shoveled compost, planted herb plants, pulled up fistfuls of weeds, raked up grass cuttings, and pounded in stakes (Mary, for clarity, being keener, has done all this and more). I assume these tasks are much like what you’re all doing in Animal Crossing: New Horizons except I’ve experienced more stinging nettles and fewer hedging pears on the bell markets or whatever it is you’re all doing.

§   Today I went for my first cycle since we’ve been here. I’m not sure I’d call these narrow, hilly roads fun: even the road surfaces that seem in relatively good condition while driving a car over them aren’t very pleasant while on a rattly old road bike. Although I do want to get the gears working properly — I couldn’t reach the bottom one — and successfully make it up that final hill.

§   That’s all. On reflection I’m less enthusiastic about DEVS than I was last week but that now seems so long ago, who cares? Each week slides by rapidly and yet a week ago feels like an age.

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