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w/e 2022-11-20

Despite the workers withholding their labour to resist the exploitations of capital, Mary has arrived home after her trip and I am trying to remember what our old routines were. I’ve already clogged up the coffee machine after four weeks of solo Aeropress coffees.


§ I continued to spend the afternoons this week re-writing code for $new_project which – spoiler! – involves fetching and parsing lots of RSS and Atom feeds. I thought I was done until it got stuck fetching one feed and failing to time out.

It turned out that while I was using feedparser to do the actual fetching and parsing – leaving me to decide how to handle headers and status codes – and how to store which bits of the parsed data, there’s no nice way to add a timeout to it. Buried in a comment on a pull request the current maintainer advises using something else to fetch the feeds. So, that was another afternoon writing code to use requests to do the fetching.

While I continue to find writing tests for code a huge drag, doubling the time it takes to do anything, there are times like this when I am so glad I did. Given I was swapping out some third-party code for my own code doing the same thing, having lots of tests to check it all still worked was great.


§ After months of agonising over web hosting – mainly whether to continue using Heroku for Django websites – I actually made a decision this week.

Once Heroku’s new charges come into effect each site I host there (two currently) will cost around £17 (US$20) per month, for the dyno, Postgres database, Redis for caching, and some periodic tasks with Scheduler. It’s chunky, given this site and Pepys aren’t hugely busy, but it’s trouble-free.

But if I want to throw up another site – probably just as quiet – then that’s another £17/month. Which starts adding up. I keep eyeing the several HTML and PHP sites I have living happily together on a simple shared host for £5/month in total.

For $new_project I set up a VPS, using the ever-lovely, but off-puttingly-named, Mythic Beasts. As previously described it was a bit of an adventure to set up but I’m reasonably happy with it, and learned a fair bit. That costs about £10 (US$12) per month and I’ve set things up so it’s easy enough to add further sites to it.

But, while it’s gone OK, I’m not super confident about it. If something goes very wrong I would be dreading the stressful googling and experimenting, trying to get the sites up again.

So, given I hope to save £34/month by moving my two Heroku sites there, I’ve added Mythic Beasts’ £30/month “VPS management” option, which not only includes monitoring it, keeping it updated, etc, but also automatic backups to separate backup space (which I would have paid for anyway), and some nice graphs. It’s pricey for a bunch of hobby projects but it’s peace of mind for the moment, and I’ll see how it goes. I just need to migrate those two Heroku sites over now 😬

In successful sysadminning this week, I switched over from running gunicorn and django-q2 using supervisord, to using systemd. I don’t really know why other than that it feels simpler to use something more default. It felt like an achievement to ditch something I’d only just got working and get something else working.


§ I’ve continued to make bread from Flour Water Salt Yeast mainly using the overnight 40% whole wheat recipe, but with about 80% whole wheat plus some seeds. As I hoped it does become a bit less of a faff as I become used to the rhythms of it, but I’m still glad I don’t have much else urgent on while I’m doing it.

A photo of two round loaves of whole wheat bread on a wooden chopping board, one loaf cut in half. Both are crusty breaking open on top, with white spirals of flour.

The loaves still don’t rise as much as I hope. I originally thought it was because the house wasn’t that warm, but over the summer the rise didn’t change much. However, gradually they’re improving, judging by the maximum height they reach anyway, going from around 8cm up to 9.5cm for the latest couple. I’m not sure why. Maybe the slightly different way I fold? Maybe slightly less time proofing in the fridge? Anyway, extremely tasty whatever.


§ Four films watched this week, the first two finishing Rohmer’s “Comedies and Proverbs” series:

  • The Green Ray (Éric Rohmer, 1986) – Pretty good, a nice portrayal of a woman feeling a bit lost in life and unhappy about any of the several summer holiday opportunities she’s offered.
  • Boyfriends and Girlfriends (Éric Rohmer, 1987) – I enjoyed this one. Had a great example of starting a scene “full”, when Emmanuelle Chaulet enters and bursts into tears. Plus an interesting location, the new town of Cergy-Pointoise.
  • Four Adventures of Reinette and Mirabelle (Éric Rohmer, 1987) – Stretching the definition of “adventures” a bit far, but nice enough.
  • Listen Up Philip (Alex Ross Perry, 2014) – It has flaws (e.g. a confusing sense of time and an unnecessarily wobbly camera) but I really enjoyed it nevertheless. After thinking early on, “Elizabeth Moss doesn’t have much of a role in this,” I was grateful for the section in which she features more prominently, especially after one close-up where several conflicting emotions – grief, relief, happiness, disbelief – fought over her face. Amazing to watch. I wish the film had been more about her character.

§ That’s all. I’m enjoying the people I follow on Mastodon enough now that I can imagine ditching Twitter entirely, should it come to that.


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