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w/e 2022-07-24

On this drizzly Sunday those two hot days at the start of the week feel quite distant. I ended up staying indoors with curtains drawn – and windows open first thing – which was pleasant enough for the first day but started getting too warm by the end of the second. I’m glad it didn’t go on for longer and I didn’t have to do much or go anywhere.


§ Last weekend I was looking at the “meadow” that used to be our lawn, which at some point we’ll need to get strimmed/cut/mown and I thought, “I wonder if there’s anywhere near here I can learn to scythe.” One google later and I discovered a “scythe festival” only a few miles away, a week later!

So I signed up and went along. The “festival” was only about ten people in a small field but everyone was very friendly and into scything. I’d arranged for a day’s lesson and so was taught: about the scythe and how to put it together; how to sharpen it; how to scythe; and how to peen it.

A surprisingly small part of the time was spent scything. It’s quite difficult. Even assuming your scythe is set up the right way and is very sharp, successfully cutting the grass relies on you holding it correctly, swinging it correctly, not tilting it, or having it too far from the ground. I seemed to spend a lot of time just smoothing the grass over and I’d wonder why anyone would bother doing this when strimmers have been invented. But seeing the experts work their way through the grass looked very satisfying, not to mention quieter and calmer and more eco than a strimmer.

So, I now own an Austrian scythe, and various accessories, and will start slowly practising on our lawn. No doubt there will be photos when my photographer is back from her holiday.


§ Spending an entire day with strangers was exhausting. What has happened to me. I came home and wanted to curl up and go to bed. It was 6pm.


§ This week I read Boost Your Django DX ( that’s “Developer Experience” 🙄) by Adam Johnson which was very good. Working on my own – and having little interest in reading a lot about programming and development, or going to tech conferences – it’s easy to avoid learning handy ways of improving code and dev set-ups. This was a bit like someone looking over my shoulder going, “You should totally use this tool. Haven’t you seen it?! Ooh!”

I then spent a couple of days changing my “DX” for a couple of projects. I like to keep all regular projects roughly in-sync so I’ll be making similar changes to a few other Django-based projects too. In summary I have:

  • Ditched pipenv for virtualenv, pip and pip-tools. I like pipenv, and have been using it for years, but it is very slow to install/update packages and pip’s requirements.txt files are still the lowest-common denominator, that work everywhere, unlike pipenv’s Pipfile.lock or Poetry’s pyproject.toml. Simon Willison also blogged about pip-tools the other day so that was two votes, and I’m won over, for now.
  • Added ipython for a nicer terminal, which I should have done long ago. I’m usually resistant to adding new things.
  • Added Rich for nicer logging (not 100% sure I’ll keep this yet).
  • Switched from using a settings file for each environment (and environment variables) to having a single settings.py and relying solely on env vars (loaded using python-dotenv) to change things. Quite a relief actually, as it feels that bit simpler.
  • Added pre-commit to run its default scripts before any git commit, plus black, flake8 and prettier (I already ran those on individual files on save, so they’re unlikely to pick up much on commit, but still).
  • Added isort as a pre-commit hook to organise python imports in every file.

So long as it keeps working that’s all very nice. I try not to think about the formidable barriers of code that now sit between me typing stuff and it appearing on a server somewhere.

That was all a great distraction from thinking about where to host websites (previously, 1 and 2).

(I thought about making the above a longer standalone post but realised I’d never get round to writing it. While it’s sometimes a shame to put topic-specific things within a big weeknote post like this, the weekly deadline does mean I actually write the thing.)


§ I watched three films this week:

  • True Things (Harry Wootliff, 2021) – Could have been only so-so but Ruth Wilson and Tom Burke are always very watchable.
  • Jiro Dreams of Sushi (David Gelb, 2011) – I’d heard lots about how great this was and it was a good portrait of men being obsessed about a skill / job at the expense of everything else. What did his unmentioned wife dream of?
  • Bergman Island (Mia Hansen-Løve, 2021) – A little disappointing unfortunately. I really liked the bit of film-within-a-film and wanted to watch all of that, instead of the actual film, about mopey, Bergman-obsessed writer-directors.

There are a bunch of films in my Mubi queue that I want to watch but I see “120 minutes” and think, “ooh, that’s a bit much, maybe another evening”. But if a film is under 100 minutes I think, “hmm, sounds a bit lightweight”. So fickle.


§ That’s about it. I hope you get to boost your DX, or whatever kind of [Something] Experience is appropriate.


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