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w/e 2022-04-10

This week I resumed work on what’s been a fairly long-term project for a client, resurrecting an eight-year-old website – the current part in Django and a lot of JavaScript – and getting it reasonably up-to-date and working again. As might be expected it’s both interesting and frustrating (someone else’s code, with no documentation or comments) but we’re getting there.

I’m only working half days on this and I’d like to say that I used all that extra free time to do something worthwhile.

Three red tulips growing from grass by the side of a narrow country road, a dark yew tree growing in the background
Tulips from bulbs Mary planted in the verge, on Flickr

§ The water pressure and/or flow from our taps has been quite low and, after Welsh Water came and tested various things, and replaced a leaky tap out by the road, the only remaining option was to replace the pipe between Welsh Water’s tap and our house, that pipe being old and too narrow and/or furred up.

It took a surprisingly large number of calls and emails to pin a local company down to actually do the work in exchange for money but, eventually, this week, three guys arrived, dug a hole, and with a loud machine moled some new blue plastic pipe through the clay-y earth. Now the water flows more quickly. Is it quick enough to satisfy the boiler, without requiring the pump we had installed? Who knows. We’ll see.

§ The new MacBook Pro continues to work well, as it should. I mean, I find myself thinking, “This is so fast, so smooth!” as I type characters into a text editor. The things I do on a computer now – write web code, do email, browse the web, listen to music – are the same as I was doing more than twenty years ago. So, sometimes, it feels like something’s gone a bit wrong that I’ve required two decades of technological advancement to keep up with only slightly more advanced versions of the same tasks.

This laptop is much more sensitive to the external display going to sleep (or itself going to sleep? I don’t know) – and so moving all my carefully positioned windows to one screen – than the previous one was. And occasionally deciding that the USB DAC that’s plugged into it no longer is. And the best new Apple hardware in the world can’t make up for the neglected state of some of Apple’s software (Hi, But it’s nice otherwise.

§ I had some webmentions to the site (for example) which did at least reassure me that code was working. I didn’t notice for a while because I’d been keeping an eye on the wrong page in the Django Admin screens. I should probably knock up an RSS feed for them, then add that to my Slack so I get notified of new mentions. Just because I can.

Some trees silhouetted against a blue sky on a grassy hill

§ We finished the fifth and final season of Friday Night Lights this week and, as the IMDb ratings suggest, the show kept getting gradually better from start to finish. Part-way through the first season I was a bit meh, partly becaus it was the first mainstream, broadcast, American TV show we’d watched in ages, and it was a bit more soapy and occasionally corny than what we’d usually watch, but by the end of that I was pretty much won over. And it kept getting better from there.

And now, after five seasons, it’s one of those shows where it’s a real shame to say goodbye to everyone. It was still occasionally corny, and sometimes daft, but in terms of drama, jeopardy, redemption, and “upliftingness” it was all just about right for what we wanted to watch around now.

I kind of wish it reminded me of living in Texas too but it didn’t. When I lived there I was only skating on the surface of normal Texan life, living alone in student housing out in the suburbs. And it was now so long ago that my memories are now memories of memories.

§ Over the past few weeks I’ve watched the first season of The Leftovers which was interesting and good. I was worried that the high concept – the show’s set three years after 2% of the world’s population vanished in a single moment – meant it could only be Lost- or Heroes-style nonsense: initially intriguing but inevitably drawn out for diminishing returns for as long as it still has an audience.

But several friends who’ve watched all three seasons reassured me that it’s very good, so I persisted through the relentlessly downbeat episodes and, so far, it was.

But, despite it being an interesting premise, and having great actors, and good performances, I didn’t feel compelled to keep watching. I’m not sure why. After a few episodes I wasn’t that bothered about what would happen next and, while I don’t mind unlikable characters, there weren’t many I found interesting. Which is probably why I didn’t quite get round to watching the final episode of season one before our NOW TV subscription – which we took out to watch Succession, and maintained to finish Friday Night Lights – expired today. Ah well, another time.

§ It’s taken me far too long to write this. Pulling the words out, distracted by music videos for entertainment. I’m not sure if this is a good use of my time but I’m not sure what is at the moment.

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