§ I recently got caught up enough with reading The Wire that I’ve begun 2023 and so have started a new Spotify playlist to save albums and tracks that I wouldn’t mind hearing again, on the off-chance that’s of any interest to anyone else. They tend to be more listenable (or tuneful or conventional) than the average The Wire music.
§ I was in Derby for a couple of days this week. Walking around the pedestrianised city centre on a drizzly afternoon I thought how neglected the place looked, with the usual empty shops and very few big names. I thought that last time I’d been in Derby there was a big indoor shopping centre but I figured I must have confused it with somewhere else.
It was a while later that I noticed some entrance doors leading to “Derbion” which… turned out to be the big indoor shopping centre. Bright, clean, and full of all the big name stores and premium mediocre food outlets missing from outdoors.
Quite an odd experience, discovering this easily-missed, parallel, semi-private, city centre. Not as odd as the time I discovered central Houston’s subterranean network of six miles of air-conditioned tunnels, filled with shops and cafés, via a door in an underground car park, but similar.
§ I was in Derbyshire for the memorial service to Liz who was, I think, my first-cousin-once-removed-in-law. But “aunt” will do. It was a Quaker service and I was expecting an hour of sitting in a contemplative silence, occasionally broken by anyone who was moved to speak. But there was hardly any silence, as one person after another stood up to recount a memory of Liz. So many memories from childhood, from Greenham Common, from working at Relate. About helping with looking after children, about her own parenting, about her baking, her driving, her generosity, kindness, and strength. Lots of laughs and tears. She was pretty amazing.
It was also a lovely opportunity to spend time with our second cousins, who we saw occasionally when we were all kids, and more rarely since. It was a sad day but also really nice.
I say this to myself now: If there are relatives you get on with but don’t see often, take any chance to spend time together, even if you’re an arse who apparently finds it increasingly difficult to persuade himself to go anywhere. They’ll always be your relatives, even if it’s been a while.
Pondnotes: While scooping algae out of the small pond today I accidentally caught a newt. Little slithery fella. I transferred it away from the tadpoles into the larger tadpole-free pond. But this afternoon I happened to see two more in the small pond, so good luck tadpoles!
We’re trying some eco-friendly liquid, based on barley straw, that claims it will get rid of algae. We’ll see.
I had been planning to buy some plants for that pond but, reading about it, apparently plants might just appear over a year or two. If the choices are “learn lots of stuff, buy some plants, and plant them in the pond” or “do nothing” you can guess which is going to happen.
§ Before I went to Derby I finished some stuff for ooh.directory to use data I’ve collected about how often individual blogs update. Not live yet, but very shortly.
And today I’ve hopefully updated the code that posts to Twitter for @samuelpepys to use the v2 API instead of the v1 API which might stop working at some point soon.
I’ve been dithering over turning off Twitter’s @samuelpepys for ages now. On the one hand it’s a more terrible place than it’s ever been, run by a terrible man, and I think less of anyone I see still using it. On the other hand lots of people like the bot and they’d be sad if it stopped.
I wouldn’t start it there now – just as I never set it up on Facebook – but so far inertia has prevented me turning off Evil Samuel Pepys, about which I feel bad.
§ This week I finished reading The Adolescence of P-1 by Thomas J. Ryan which I thought might be worth a re-read given all the yawnsome stuff about AI at the moment. Maybe I’d find some funny quotes from this 1977 novel that’d make for a good blog post or social media engagement!
But, other than the amusing amount of RAM this AI has at its disposal after taking over all the mainframes in the US (5.8GB), no, I have nothing.
§ We tried watching The Night Agent on Netflix but gave up after a couple of episodes. It just… doesn’t seem very good? Oddly so. I don’t think there’s a single interesting character.
We then tried watching Billions but that also wasn’t great. It’s not especially deep or complex, but it also doesn’t have the humour or interesting characters that make something like The Good Wife so much fun. Everyone is Very Serious and many of the men in suits look very similar.
On the plus side, very excited about the new season of Succession.