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w/e 2022-07-17

For no particularly good reason I’ve been mildly stressed and anxious recently and am trying to calm these unwelcome feelings by spending the weekend doing nothing but warming up (lol) for the imminent heatwave by sitting in the shade of a yew tree on the fringes of the WiFi, with the only annoyance being the distant buzz of motorcycle races and the drone of my own brain.

Mary has sensibly managed to avoid the heat by going somewhere cooler — Ladakh, India — and will be spending the next couple of weeks walking in mountains a few thousand metres high.

§ A photo from the rear of an audience of people sitting outside in foldable chairs looking towards a small stage on which two small people stand. We see the backs of the audience's heads and nearly all of them are grey-haired.

This week we went to see The Recruiting Officer performed down the road in the grounds of Dore Abbey, the first play (or movie, or gig, or anything) I’ve been to, and been able to log, in more than two years. I’m not super keen on Restoration comedies, other than out of historical curiosity, but the small cast were good – I can barely imagine the amount of work and effort. We weren’t the youngest people in the audience but we were probably in the youngest 5%. We’re in our 50s.

§ After last week’s pondering about website hosting, Ben Edwards had some useful thoughts in a comment, and a correspondent pointed me at Mythic Beast’s VPSes and their managed hosting service.

I’m currently paying £8/month to host several PHP/HTML sites on Mythic Beasts’ shared hosting, £28/month for two Django sites on Heroku, and £4/month for file-serving and backup space on S3. So, £40/month in total, with no server-wrangling required.

Mythic Beasts’ managed hosting is an expensive add-on (£30/month) but if I could replace all of the above with a managed VPS it would still come in at a similar price. And that’s before I take into account hosting any further Django websites. Obviously, it’d be super-cheaper without having them manage stuff but, for me, it’d probably be worth the peace of mind.

§ It was only a few days ago and I’ve already forgotten where I saw this quoted, but I enjoyed an anecdote from Kurt Vonnegut about the purpose of life – it ends, “I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you any different” – which you can read on this blog post.

It’s a nice antidote to feeling like life should be full of Achieving Great Things. Maybe it’s fine to just relax and enjoy little pleasures, if and when you’re able to?

Of course, Vonnegut published fourteen acclaimed novels and a lot more, so I guess this affirmation doesn’t quite work.

§ We finished watching the second season of For All Mankind (Apple TV+) this week although there were several points where I wondered whether to bother. Aside from a couple of exciting episodes it really dragged, with way too much Earthbound relationship and family drama happening. It doesn’t help that the “main” astronaut is both a bit of a dick and very boring, and therefore dull to watch.

§ Last night I started a couple of weeks of more movie-watching with Éric Rohmer’s A Summer’s Tale (1996) which I didn’t enjoy as much as Springtime and Winter. A whiney, self-involved young man complains a lot about being unsuccessful with women, doesn’t get called out enough by Margot – the attractive and clever woman he meets on holiday – and ends up in a pickle, having to juggle his commitments to her, his annoying girlfriend Lena, and another woman, Solene.

I enjoyed this brief Letterboxd review by “Liv <3 !”:

gaslight = lena
girlboss = solene
gatekeep = margot

gaspard = proper pick me boy

And also this one by farah:

gaspard is what elio would’ve been if oliver hadn’t showed up that summer

After this and the previous item, to be clear, unlikeable characters can be entertaining and interesting to watch, but sometimes – like Elio aswell – they’re too boring.

§ I also finished watching both seasons of I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson (Netflix) whose sketches are full of characters who are not only unlikeable but really, really terrible. It’s good and almost unbearable! Some of the pushing-a-stupid-point-further-than-you’d-think-possible gets a little repetitive but after enduring it I understand some more memes which is, after all, the only reason to watch TV.

§ That’s all. I hope you find a place to stay chill, and have some time to fart around.

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