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w/e 2023-04-09

I’m not usually in a rush to update software – let other people find the problems and wait for the next bugfix release is my usual plan. But, for no good reason, when Django 4.2 was released I thought, “I should definitely update all my sites right now!”

I then spent most of Wednesday pinpointing a different fatal error on each of my three Django-based websites, two of which ended up being related to the same bug with escaping % signs in SQL queries. Which is the kind of basic-seeming thing that I’m surprised made it through to release but, as you know, computers.

Given making websites is now pretty much only a hobby – not even an attempt to advertise my skills to attract work – it seemed like way too much hassle. Why make these websites? What am I trying to achieve? It too often feels like work and I don’t have to do it. I could do anything else! But if I don’t do this, what am I? Just some guy in a house looking out the window at fields?

Wednesdays aren’t good are they.

The week didn’t pick up much, what with our internet connection being inexplicably hopeless during the day, so even the simple task of adding more sites to wasn’t worth the effort. On the plus side I did get some updates to the site out at the start of the week, which possibly please me more than anyone else.

§ On Friday I decided to pressure wash the patio because we have a pressure washer we’ve barely used and on TikTok it looks like an extremely #satisfying activity.

I imagined myself arcing the jet across the paving slabs, sweeping a wave of dirt ahead of me, and the job being done in half-an-hour.

But it turned out that to shift any of the dirt clinging to the stone I had to hold the nozzle of the washer very close, so the ray of water was pretty narrow, and I could only clean a tiny amount at a time. It was like erasing a drawing the size of a billboard using the eraser on the end of a pencil. It took me a painstaking three hours to clean 20m2.

A photo of some square paving slabs. The ones on the left are black, or mottled with black. The ones on the right are lighter and sort of clean looking.
Dirty on the left, clean (but still wet) on the right

Was it worth it? I was in two minds when I’d finished; it didn’t look that clean. But once the water dried, and the clean stone looked even lighter and cleaner, it was clearly very different so I’d say it was just about worth the effort, time, water, and (solar) energy.

And so yesterday I continued with my plan to also pressure wash the drive, a larger area paved with bricks.

I should have quit early on when I realised it was taking around ten seconds to clean a single brick. A child or, possibly, an AI could have estimated how long it’d take to finish the entire thing. But I didn’t get where I am today, Acting Vice President EMEA of Completer Finishers Inc., by giving up on tasks when it’s a good idea to do so.

As well as the scale of the job, add in the difficulty of muddy water pooling in the uneven surface’s dips, over bricks I’d just cleaned. And add the time it took afterwards to clean the gritty dirt that was splattered onto the walls, doors, plant pots, gates, pressure washer, hose, extension cord, wellies, and my sad, sad face.

I easily spent more than eight hours over the weekend on cleaning the drive, a space whose sole purpose is to have cars sit on it. It definitely looks a bit cleaner but the bigger impact to its appearance was trimming the earth and grass around the edges back into straight lines, which only took about five minutes.

We live and learn! Or live, anyway.

§ This weekend I watched I Hate Suzie Too which was excellent. Three episodes of exhausting, non-stop, uneasy stress. Funny, sad, frustrating, amazing. Billie Piper is still very, very good, and/but I have no idea what I think about her character – selfish? helpless? trapped? Anyway, watch the first one if you haven’t yet, then Too.

§ Happy Easter or whatever.

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