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w/e 2022-01-16

This week I have continued to listen mostly to Anna B. Savage’s A Common Turn. It was her Tiny Desk set that made me give it a second listen, and then many more, so here it is:

§ We’ve had good foggy photons around here this week and this is one of my favourite photos I’ve taken for a while, one morning near dawn in the field across the road, where we’re often above the fog:

A photo of a large bare oak tree on a frosty green hill against a clear sky that fades from pink near the horizon up to pale blue

§ Wildlife update… we’ve known for a while that there was at least one rat living next to, or in, the compost heap and/or the plastic composting “Dalek”, judging by the holes appearing in and around them. A couple of times, in another part of the garden, we’ve also seen a rat eating up the seed that the messy little birds throw out of the bird feeder. We take the seed feeder in for a while and the rat, presumably, goes elsewhere.

We bought a rat trap – a plastic box with a hole in each end, and a spring-loaded snap trap in the middle where the bait goes – and have tried it in both locations. So far we’ve caught four mice (and/or possibly voles?) and, more sadly, a briefly courageous robin.

Reading the internet it sounded like rat-riddled compost is probably not great to put on veg patches. So this week we emptied the Dalek of two years’ worth of food waste, putting it in bin bags for the dustbin lorry. No rats were encountered during the process, thankfully. We then laid some steel mesh on the ground, that worms can still wriggle through, and put the Dalek on top. We’ll see if that stops them burrowing in. I’d feel more optimistic if we actually caught some of the varmints though.

§ I’ve been enjoying a daily Apple Fitness Plus HIIT or Strenth workout followed by half an hour or so of yoga. I also found r/AppleFitnessPlus and it’s nice to occasionally read other people enjoying the same workouts, wondering where absent trainers have gone (are you OK, Amir?!), and who will fill in when various other trainers are on imminent maternity leave. All the community of a physical gym with none of that having to jump around in a room full of people.

A photo across frosty dawn fields to a misty valley where the silhouettes of bare trees poke through the fog
An early morning view. The camera’s JPEG didn’t capture the blue sky unfortunately.

§ Since last winter I’ve had “Darn socks” on my to do list (which is less GTD and more Not Getting Things Done). I’d convinced myself I couldn’t fix the moth holes in those woolly winter socks until I’d got a darning mushroom, but had also failed to come across a shop that sold them.

A photo of a wooden mushroom on a wooden surface. The top of the mushroom is darker, warmer than the stem, and both show rich grain.

This week I remembered this thing called “the Internet” on which one can perform what I believe is called “e-shopping” or “iBuying”. I discovered that for four of your e-pounds I could buy a mass-produced mushroom painted like a white-spotted red toadstool, with many reviews from people complaining that its two parts didn’t fit together, or I could spend around eight iPounds and buy either a vintage wooden darning mushroom or a new hand-turned one.

So I now own a beautiful and satisfyingly-shaped mushroom made of yew and ash by Bluebell Woodturning on It’s a surprisingly lovely object to leave sitting around for occasional fondling and I can recommend it.

Stay tuned to find out whether I actually use it for darning those socks before spring.

§ It’s not often these days that I post something that gets picked up by anyone popular but that list of my favourite Ask MeFi questions of 2021 was kindly tweeted and then blogged by Jason Kottke. Here’s a chart of my not-very-popular website’s referers for the past two weeks showing the effects:

A line chart showing referers to the site over the past two weeks. There's a brief and big jump for the line up to about 1,700 visitors per day. Usually the lines are under 200 per day.

There was a very brief time when Cloudflare’s Analytics said that page load time hit around five seconds but it’s mostly been more acceptable, which is reassuring.

§ We have re-subscribed to NowTV Now for a month purely to watch season three of Succession, which we did this week. It is still exceptionally good fun and I laugh at it more than most straight comedies.

There are so many good examples of scenes in which no one is saying what they actually mean. Sometimes it comes as a shock when someone (Tom) momentarily tells the straight truth to someone else (Kendall).

There are also scenes in which everyone is trying to come to some kind of agreement but it’s like an exercise in which no one is allowed to actually agree or disagree with the proposal, always shifting their ground, trying to work out what everyone else wants, and figure out what’s purely in their own best interest, while they prolong the discussion, always circling, smiling teeth bared. Fantastic.

There’s one odd thing about Now which is a great example of internal company organisation being confusingly apparent to users: Early in the week our next episodes of Succession were flagged with a label of “2 DAYS LEFT”, “1 DAY LEFT”, “6 HOURS LEFT”. Which was worrying given we’d paid specifically to watch the show. And confusing when a logged-out view of the site said the show would be streaming until 2025. A confusing exchange with their Twitter support revealed that this was a countdown to a “renewal date”, a date that apparently makes zero difference to the availability to viewers, but which they feel compelled to alarmingly highlight in their UI all the same. Baffling.

A view across a countryside valley. Bright green grass in the foreground gives way to winter trees shrouded in mist. Hills on the horizon sit under a blue sky streaked with white clouds.
A view from up the road this morning

§ I continue to inch carefully and quietly through The Last of Us Part II. I don’t understand why occasionally I’ll feel motion sickness within an hour, and have to stop playing, and other times I can play for more than two hours without ill effects.

I also continue to drag an eight-year old Django project gently into 2022 for a client. I’ve yet to feel motion sickness while doing that.

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