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w/e 2021-02-28


A too-dark photo of some daffodils in a green garden with blue sky over the distant horizon

Just a few daffodils have emerged in the garden. Not in the cluster that I can see from where I have breakfast in the kitchen, so I’m only grudgingly celebrating, but, still, we have daffodils out in the garden and it is now Spring! Sure, it’s snowed at Easter in the past but, whatever, after a couple of days of non-stop wind we’ve had some gorgeous weather that has made being here in the remote-feeling countryside worthwhile.

Yesterday we had one of our most rurally accomplished days, when we tore off the log shed’s broken and leaking corrugated bitumen sheets and fixed new corrugated bitumen sheets in place. It all went fine and, despite me head-butting a tree, no one suffered life-changing injuries or death, so it was a complete success. The only flaw was my inability to always hammer nails in straight which I am assuming is an innate and unavoidable affliction suffered by all middle-class desk-workers.

After that we put the finishing touches to Mary’s greenhouse, clipping in the plastic lengths that hold the glass, and chatting to a neighbour over the hedge.

It was such a nice outdoorsy day that it was almost as if the internet didn’t matter. Or, rather, that while the internet is useful as a functional tool for shopping and admin, it might be possible to forever ignore its cultural and social aspects in favour of the real world. I haven’t pursued this thought too far in case I realise the past 25 years have been a huge mistake.

§ Talking of which — the internet’s social aspects, not huge mistakes — I popped into a friend’s 50th birthday Zoom this week which was lovely. Unlike many of you I hardly do any video chatting, occasional family FaceTimes aside, so it’s not yet become a work-like chore. I didn’t know many people in the Zoom but it was just nice to see some American friends I haven’t seen in years, and everyone being friendly and happy. The thought of meeting an old friend in San Francisco or Austin or somewhere… one day.

I also played a bit of online poker with some friends (using Poker Now) which was fun although the site was almost too efficient, compared to our real-life poker games in which chat and snacks take up most of the time and attention. It probably just needs a switch for, “Are you serious about poker or do you have no idea what you’re doing and this is just an excuse to hang out?”

§ I know other people’s dreams are tedious so I’ll be as brief as possible, feel free to skip ahead:

Last night I dreamed I had to identify the American sports team’s logo on the cap of a man far in the distance. I looked through binoculars but the logo was on the other side of the hat. Damn. But, when I put the binoculars down, it turned out the man wasn’t far away but was just very small! So I stepped over him, looked down through the binoculars, and identified the logo. Small, not far away. Easy.

(The logo was of a Spoonbill which I’m not sure represents any real team but, I only realise as I type this sentence, was my unconscious remembering seeing yesterday morning.)

§ I finished moving a small number of repositories from Travis CI to GitHub Actions this week which was satisfying. These ones required running tests in several combinations of Python and Django which all worked out eventually (here’s one of the Workflows).

I don’t think I ever found a single example using the same combination of Python, Django, Flake8, Tox, Pipenv and Coveralls that I needed. So it’s my usual trial-and-error combination of fragments experimented with until everything goes green. Also, what Tom said about everything being so complicated and always slightly different.

Now I’m working on adding more tests to some personal projects that are lacking them, which is both satisfying and tedious but will let me keep them updated while worrying less about them breaking.

§ I recently put together a chart of how many days I’ve worked per year over the past 20 years. Freelance work is sporadic, which is fine, but when I’m not working I always feel guilty: I’m a worker who’s not working.

So I’m experimenting with thinking about myself differently while I aim for that longed-for retirement: I’m trying to think of myself as retired, or semi-retired, but sometimes I do work for people. It’s only been a few days but, so far, I’ve felt less guilty about having non-working time.

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