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w/e 2020-06-21

Hello. I don’t know how I always forget that it’s light quite so late in midsummer but I do. I expect I’ll cotton on eventually.

§   I like SIXTYEIGHT2OHFIVE by Hanif Abdurraqib, which will include a personal Spotify playlist for each year. It’s not necessarily ground-breaking but it’s a simple idea, nicely done. I’ve only listened to 1974 so far but that was great – so much variety from one year.

§   Tuesday was a day. I spent most of it in bed with an unusually bad migraine while a thunderstorm rained outside.

I emerged in the early evening to find three birds on the patio, further victims of flying into the conservatory’s glass. Two were, I think, female blackbirds, dead on their backs, sodden from the rain. The third was a male blackbird sitting still, as the surviving casualties often are, occasionally turning its head.

We left it for a while to see if it would recover enough to fly away but, as the midsummer night began to darken, the bird was still sitting there. I decided to try putting it into a tissue-lined box, the internet’s recommended place for an injured bird.

I crept slowly towards it but just as my hands reached gently for the still bird it hopped forward out of reach, one wing sagging slightly. I tried again but away it hopped. I didn’t want to chase it or force it to work hard – the hopping didn’t look easy – but I also didn’t fancy its chances if left on the ground overnight.

I crouched nearby, looking at this shiny black bird, wondering what to do. Then its head began tilting forward, very slowly, its slender bright yellow beak opening a little. Its wings shuddered wide slightly and then folded again. Its beak closed and opened a couple of times as its head continued to sag further forward until, finally, the head rested on the ground, the rest of the bird’s body still. That was it. The blackbird had gone.

Misty Grey Valley, on Flickr

§   §   From this week’s guest edition of Football Morning in America, by Michael MacCambridge, I liked this:

Last spring, I was reading an interview in Apartamento magazine, with a Nigerian designer named Kenneth Ize. He was asked about the environment in his hometown and replied: “[T]he creative scene in Lagos does not inspire me right now. It is too digital, too scroll. Everything goes out too fast, there’s too much hype and too much insta love.”

I’d never heard the expression “too scroll” before, but I knew exactly what Ize meant.

God, yes. Everything’s a bit too scroll.

§   This week I finished moving a dozen websites from WebFaction over to Mythic Beasts. Slightly fiddly and frustrating in places but Mythic Beasts’ support was excellent: fast, human and helpful. The WordPress migrations were made so much easier thanks to the Duplicator plugin. That’s nice progress since whenever I last had to do this.

§   I spent a bit of time yesterday renaming the master branch on a load of my personal GitHub repositories to main because of this. I haven’t done them all but everything that’s been updated in the last couple of years or so. Hopefully I haven’t broken anything.

Here’s the thought process I rapidly went through before doing this:

  1. I’ve never thought of master being like “slave master”, more like, er, “canonical”. Huh. Is this really a thing?
  2. I noticed the person who came up with the term for git said he adopted it from the concept of “master tapes” in recording (I can’t find the tweet now, but they supported changing to main).
  3. But, still, the same argument: it’s not like you have “slave tapes” is it.
  4. Oh, fair enough, I should change my branch names.

Inevitably, everywhere this idea comes up there are a load of people who either think this is all lefty PC madness (fuck ’em) or that this is a futile tiny gesture, a distraction from the much more important things that could be done. “renaming your git branches isnt gona end racism lol!!!”

OK, fine, we’ll do it your way. First, let’s do the massively complex societal and economic work to fix all of the really obviously blatant racism in the world… [waits a long, long, long time] …right, now that’s all done and we live in a beautiful world of equality, we can finally fix the many very easy-to-do problems that, for a lot of people, create a pervasive atmosphere of oppressive slavery-infused language.

Or we could just do them right now? Maybe that makes more sense if you care so much? Come on.

§   Also yesterday, I realised my links weren’t getting imported from Pinboard due to an error. Turns out that the political campaigner who runs the site upgraded the server and a byte order mark was getting added to API responses which caused my code to give up. Googling, and trial and error, solved the problem, I wrote tests to ensure the fix worked (both with and without the BOM), published a new version of django-ditto, updated my site, it all worked, and I felt like a real developer. I mean, ideally something would have notified me of the import error in the first place but we all need room for improvement.

Slightly relatedly, after reading posts like this, I’ve started wondering about organising my links into a directory. I think that might be nice. Tags are fine but they never feel very browsable, or human. I doubt it would be any use to anyone but it’s good to have a pointless little project I guess.

§   We watched Succession season two this week and that was still so much ridiculous fun. Trying to work out exactly who will shaft who and how provides much entertainment between episodes.

We also enjoyed Staged – David Tennant and Michael Sheen failing to rehearse a play in lockdown. Silly and fun. I wonder how we’ll look back on the TV and video produced during lockdown in a few decades’ time. It’s going to be an odd sub-genre isn’t it. I mean, I hope it will seem odd and not normal.

§   That’s all. Keep going.

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