Skip to main content

w/e 2023-02-19

Late weeknotes because yesterday my head was too tired, migrainey and – despite sunshine, birdsong and the first daffodils – mopey.

§ We’ve nearly watched all of season four of Babylon Berlin and so this week were both earwormed by Ein Tag wie Gold which features prominently:

The show continues to be very enjoyable with lots of great (and over-the-top) 1930s costumes and sets.

§ I tried a couple more rides using Zwift this week. Let’s see how the first one went:

  • The apps and devices synced fine (amazing!) and I joined a 30 minute club ride around Glasgow which was starting shortly.
  • That was quite nice, with a woman leading it giving facts about Glasgow that popped up on the screen every so often.
  • The other most prominent info on screen was a distance countdown starting at 10km. A bit confusing, because I thought it was a 30 minute ride, not 10km, but still.
  • I was about done by the time it reached 0km… only for the distance to be replaced by something like “Free trial expired!” Oh. What was that about? I guess it was unrelated to this ride? I think I had more time left to go? But, no more, I had to quit.
  • I’d connected Strava and, on finishing, this incomplete workout appeared there, but the route around Glasgow was overlaid on a map of the Isle of Arran.

On Saturday I tried another:

  • There was a different 30 minute Glasgow route so I planned to do that. But by the time I’d got most of the devices and apps going – not my watch, which refused to connect – I only had a minute to go.
  • Unhelpfully, before I could choose the ride, the app displayed some kind of… questionnaire? I don’t even know. I couldn’t see a quick way out of it so I force-quit the app. By the time it was back the ride had started and was invisible to me.
  • All the other rides were longer so I relunctantly decided to join a 60 minute one with the aim of dropping out half-way through. But whenever I clicked the “+” button to join it, the app momentarily turned it into a “✔” (I think) then back to a “+”. I could not join at all.
  • So I started a 20 minute solo training ride – I hadn’t noticed these before – which told me a bit about some of the display.
  • I cycled through a shadowless London. Maybe the graphics are better on devices more modern than my old iPad?
  • It was also eerily quiet, maybe because the only way I could find to disable the awful music loop – like being on hold to a company who can’t afford the licensing for real music – was to turn off in-game sounds.
  • Despite London’s roads being closed for a handful of people to cycle round it, a surprising number of the very few pedestrians were waiting at bus stops.
  • The ride was pretty boring. As part of the tutorial it asked me to do something like “change the intensity using the arrow keys on your keyboard or the Companion app”. There are no arrow keys or mention of “intensity” in the Companion app.
  • It asked me to “Give a fellow rider a Ride On!” I have no idea.
  • When the workout time was finished I was just left standing there on my bike by the side of the road. A bit anti-climactic.

What a shonky pile of shonk.

§ A photo of some daffodils in a garden, with two of them in bloom
Aforementioned daffodils

§ Some non-work web things I did this week:

  • Switched the daily Samuel Pepys’ diary emails from using an RSS-to-Buttondown Zapier integration to use Buttondown’s new in-built tool which seems to have worked seamlessly.
  • Years after @hugovk prepared the data, I got round to displaying the sunrise and sunset times next to each Pepys diary entry (e.g. here’s today’s).
  • Added 42 more blogs to taking the total to 1500.
  • Rationalised the tests for the RSS-fetching code on There was a lot of code duplicated for Atom and RSS feeds which now isn’t. So the tests are now a bit more manageable but maybe slightly more ocnfusing.
  • Started improving how the site’s RSS-fetching code handles errors, so it’s easier for me to see what’s failing, for how long, and what needs manual intervention.

§ We went to see Empire of Light (Sam Mendes, 2022) which was OK. Olivia Colman’s performance raised it up a notch or two.

Having not been to the cinema much over recent years I’d forgotten how distracting surround sound can be. Given I can only see things happening directly in front of me, it’s odd when sounds happen elsewhere – there’s nothing there to cause the sound!

I think there was a moment in Empire of Light when there was a knock at the door which came from the rear-right of the cinema. I then thought:

  • Who’s making that noise back there in the cinema?
  • Oh, maybe it’s in the movie?
  • I should look… no don’t turn towards the sound because it’s just the cinema back there.
  • But the person on the screen thinks the sound is coming from there… Weird! they know about the cinema, that we’re all here!

Even stereo can be a little distracting: at home our TV only takes up a small portion of the space between the two speakers, so on occasions when something happens at the extreme left or right, it’s happening off screen, in our home, on the bookshelves. Very odd.

Maybe I’m over-thinking it.

§ I watched East for Winter: The Making of ‘Driver’ this week, about one of my very favourite albums of recent years, by Adult Mom. There’s, like, a lot of, like, trying to, like, you know, describe the, like, creative process, you know? which is a bit unforgiving but it’s nice seeing people having a good time creating great music together.

I assume the performances are for the “Live from Headroom Studios” version of the album.

§ OK, better start this week properly now.

Mention this post

If you’ve mentioned this post somewhere, enter the URL here to let me know: