Found two unused lateral flow tests in the chest of drawers.
The first one, I clumsily spilt the buffer solution on the table; the second, I tested positive for the novel coronavirus, which is not so novel any more (late to the party as ever).
Oh well, quite good timing I suppose, hadn’t made any plans so didn’t have to cancel any.
There’s no law against going out and infecting people these days, but I didn’t feel like going anywhere.
And after a just a few days I stopped coughing and started feeling better, what a lucky fellow I am.
Got a newer digital watch that can measure one’s blood oxygen level, and was reassured that my blood is full of oxygen. Technology! Not knowing my normal blood oxygen level as a baseline, I didn’t find it that useful actually, but … the screen’s a bit bigger than the old one.
Noises! Thought a neighbour had a noisy washing machine, until I realised it was a pair of Chinooks flying overhead. Then, some cockneys who’d hired a boat and moored it outside were running the boat engine overnight, the money saving mindset too ingrained to countenance paying for an electric hookup at the yacht station half a mile upstream.
These are just observations, not complaints – I slept soundly.
📺 Sherwood is quite affecting. Yes, I too was expecting a biopic of Tim Sherwood, but it’s something else altogether, at least he hasn’t turned up yet, ha ha.
📻 A few great calls in the last hour of Saturday’s Allan Beswick radio programme (moon dust, jigsaw puzzles), but then a racist child phoned up and blurted out some hate speech – that’s what happens when you have austerity and close all the youth clubs – so it’s not available for listening again on the BBC Sounds.
Mentioned in the latest Buses magazine. Morrisons has fixed its barcode database so it no longer scans as Barbie magazine, by the way.
It’s not the main thing, but maybe, as the owner of the #3 UK “ground transportation” website (according to the deeply dubious Similarweb) I stand to benefit in some small way from the upcoming rail strikes. Anyway, ✊.
Went to a bit of a local technology conference, a bit of which left me fizzing with ideas, but with regret I didn’t feel like spending the hottest day of the year in a big room of nerds so instead I stayed in the shade, did some laundry, things of that nature.
Bought some things on the internet, yes in this economy, which could be a response to the trauma of a weeping fig (ficus) plant shedding most of its leaves last week? Well I could afford them, lucky me, and I have no regrets.
Most of all, a bicycle. The folks at Tredz Bikes are minimalist in their use of packaging materials, but they seem to know what they’re doing – some crucial sellotape had come unstuck, leaving the box flapping open, but it didn’t matter as the bike was uninjured. And now I know how to use a torque wrench, because it wouldn’t do to have an over- or under-tightened screw on your handlebars.
🎦 Morbius, the film of the summer.
Now I’m not going to pretend it was good, but … it didn’t disappoint, I had a nice time, and there’s something to be said for being able to enjoy even mediocre things.
Imagine how much my tiny mind would be blown by an actually good film.
Only three other Morb-heads in (although there’d been several more seats blocked out in the interactive seat picker).
One left before the mid-credits scenes, and they didn’t miss much.
Elton John had his little piano sing-song next door. I was slightly annoyed by the diesel generators that were continuously running outside my window for a few days, but now there’s just silence and it’s all forgotten. Hope everyone had a jolly time.
To “Laugh in the Park”. I don’t much like that name, but it was three evenings on the trot of live comedy in a big tent, you know, Edinburgh works-in-progress.
On the final evening, in front of me sat the worst people – they kept getting up, going away, coming back, and conversing deeply, in a little world of their own.
Even when a performer noticed and called them twats, they didn’t snap out of it.
I couldn’t hear their conversation, but couldn’t help but be distracted.
Bit under the weather now. Tested negative for the corona, but I don’t know, maybe I didn’t swab my nostrils properly.
Some work. The website gets better. And I took some time to fill in some test coverage gaps, cos that’s a satisfying little game, and in so doing I found and fixed some bugs – brilliant, the process works.
Oh and my latest sort of high availabilty setup finally got put to the test in in a real scenario: one server went a bit wrong overnight (Varnish spookily started listening on the wrong port) and another seamlessly took over as designed, and I was asleep the whole time, brilliant, we’re close to regaining some nines.
Forgot I’d locked a bicycle badly outside a Japanese restaurant, and when I went to retrieve it a week later the front wheel had been nicked.
Actually, the thief had gone to the trouble of replacing it with a different wheel – a too-small wheel from a mountain bike, with a flat tyre, so completely useless, but I guess it’s the thought that counts?
It’s gruelling wheeling a one-wheeled bike home, looks a bit funny. And I was reminded that some places you’d expect to sell wheels only deal in posh lightweight racing ones. Started to wish I’d taken up unicycling. Haven’t bothered reporting the crime to the police.
Without wanting to dox myself, the Killers had a little gig on the football pitch outside here, and it was great fun seeing all the dozens of lorries delivering bits of stage and everything. Most interestingly, Elton John’s playing in a few days, but they’ve already dismantled the Las Vegas rockers’ stage rather than keeping it for the Rocket Man singer. But the Pimm’s and prosecco stalls by the entrance haven’t moved.
As for the music, well, I don’t know much about acoustics but I think sound sounds better when you’re inside the stadium it’s coming from rather than outside of it, but it’s OK.
A small part of me’s almost tempted to finagle a ticket to see the Candle In The Wind singer now, but at what cost?
🎦 The Man with the Golden Gun, in which Roger Moore wears some horrible clothes. It’s not one of the best films but ah well. One reviewer says it “suffers from double entendre-laden dialogue”, which feels like a misuse of the word “suffer”. (Missed the start, embarrassed again by there being no adverts or trailers, which I’d’ve known if only there hadn’t been some last week.)
This is definitely an unoriginal point, but acronyms can be confusing can’t they, “assigned cop at birth”, “all males are bastards”.
Down by the river I saw the cutest thing, (and also) a brood of ducklings swimming closely behind their parent, using their innate knowledge of fluid dynamics to conserve energy.
And then a team of rowers came thundering along in their skiffs, and with a clatter of oars they smashed the ducky babes to pieces.
The slipstreaming fluffy dears reminded me a tweet there was, actually a screenshot of a Facebook post about bad dudes on their racing bicycles creepily following a lone woman, and I wondered if that ever happens among the birds in the water.
If you think such a development is as easy as clicking my heels (or a mouse) and making it so, I’ve got news for you … actually it sort of was. The railway timetable data just appeared without warning in the London region of the Traveline data (L.zip), amid the existing buses, tubes, etc. I did have to do a bit of work to match the ATCO codes in the timetable data to the ones in NaPTAN
and the same for the operator codes
minor discrepancies which I guess they’ll fix properly in time. But that was all.
Of course it all might disappear just as suddenly as it appeared.
I could go further, add some real-time information and stuff, but that would take actual effort, and there are already a dozen great websites and apps (like Realtime Trains) which only a fool would try to compete with.
The main ramification is you can log more non-bus journeys to Busmiles, in addition to trams and ferries, if that’s the kind of pointless fun you find fun. RailMiles is still better if you want to account for the way the tracks are curved and trains don’t go straight between stations like flying crows.
Predictably, some emails asking me if buses were running as usual on the bank holiday. To which an answer is “I don’t know, they’re probably on a Sunday (or maybe Saturday) timetable … I could Google it for you, but so could you.” But I’m not complaining, it’s always nice to hear from people.
Proud of the lack of flags or bunting festooned anywhere around the building here. My people!
I’ve not followed the jubilation coverage (let’s say I’m saving it to watch later, so no spoilers please), but on Twitter I saw a picture of a bus (one with a local connection no less) decorated with a bizarre sort of cod–Cold War Steve collage of celebrities, one of whom was Billy Connolly but I initially thought was David Davis, what a thing to think. And it’s funny that there’s a Five Guys outside St Paul’s Cathedral.
Had to drive a motor car, which I can but usually don’t do. Good poets don’t drive cars, but how is that relevant? I’m not a poet. Anyway, big up the Enterprise Car Club, whose app I have some complaints about but otherwise worked well. A few humiliating moments, before I remembered how a clutch works and thought to push the seat back to make enough room for my legs. No-one beeped their horn at me, no trauma, and oh I was patient and generous when overtaking bicyclists. Now the next time I have to drive a car, whenever it comes, will be less daunting.
🎦 Diamonds Are Forever. Turns out the Odeons are showing the Bond films just slightly out of sync with the Vues, which is handy, big up capitalism.
Alas, it’s beginning to seem like I might never get to see Morbius on a big screen, so much for the summer thereof.
Another week, containing various thoughts, feelings, as weeks do, but I’m buggered if I can remember what they all were. I had a burst of productivity at one point.
Listened to some Maintenance Phase. Made the mistake, or maybe not mistake, of making a beeline for the most interesting-looking episodes – the crazy world of Belle Gibson, J Peterson’s meat-and-salt diet, etc. The two hosts’ voices are hard for this undiscerning ear to tell apart, but ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ that’s not a problem, why would it be?
Reminds me that last week I was inspired to try Anna Wintour’s “go-to” lunch order, although the caprese salad I made was with tomatoes and cheaper than $77 so really completely different. Cool story.
Looked at NextDoor, you know, the app where you can see your neighbours being racist and complaining about the bins. Best thing I ever saw there was a suggestion that there shouldn’t be buses because there used to be chalk mines here and indeed a bus fell into a sinkhole once. This week, someone shared some well-intentioned tips for saving money in these difficult times: cover your windows with bubble-wrap, and only shower once a week, ugh.
One lovely morning in London. At Stratford, spent a short while searching for a sign pointing to the TfL Rail service I thought I needed, until I realised it’s called the Elizabeth line now, wtf, is this what being “gaslit” is? Why hasn’t this change been more widely publicised, ha ha ha.
Although it was orthogonal to the purpose of the trip, I did squeeze in a little ride on a bit of the newly opened bit of Crossrail. But I have nothing to say about it, apart from that anyone using the word “tube” is mistaken, as it’s surpassed tube quality and obviously transcends the modes.
During the Champions’ League final, went to the room above the backstreet pizzeria to see Bobby Mair (supported by Red Richardson, who I’m sure I’d heard of before but I don’t know where).
Mair was great.
On the bicycle to a wood in Suffolk to see Daniel Kitson perform. Kitson was great, deserving of his mythical status, and the wooden outdoor theatre was a delight. Would bring a blanket next time.
Thought cycling there might be insane. It’s the sort of distance the spandex and carbon fibre folks do before breakfast (100km round trip), but not me with my normal trousers and heavy bike.
Maybe one day we can explore my dumb refusal to get some high-end padded shorts and a stiffened lightweight frame. Is it a bit like how I’m hunched over this laptop instead of spreading my windows across a wall of wide screens?
Towards the end of the journey home – not the last few miles, but the few miles before them – it got a bit cold and bleak, snot dribbling down. But apart from that it was lovely, perfect temperature, very little traffic.
Have a nice jubilee. All I remember from 2002 (?) is being given a commemorative leatherette bookmark at school.
This time around, the nature of my work means no especial days off, but for me every day’s a holiday – and as an empath, I’m happy for you normal people. In just over a week, you should be able to get some discounted biscuit tins in M&S etc – handy if you need a tin to put things in and/or like biscuits.
After a week or so of perfect reliability, at last the connectivity problem happened again. Brilliant, I thought, and leapt to point the floating IP address at a different server. But immediately that server started having the problem, and the other was OK again – the problem seemed to follow the floating IP address around.
So let’s say that floating IP address is cursed or something. The DigitalOcean support folks are useless, although I wouldn’t dream of leaving negative feedback when asked to rate my satisfaction, because it’s probably not the poor staff’s fault.
The main thing is now I have a new, better solution involving a Cloudflare load balancer, so let’s see how that works out. I have some complaints about Cloudflare’s UI, had great difficulty finding my way around and trying to input my card details to pay them some money, but never mind.
🎦 Benediction (the Siegfried Sassoon biopic). It had already started when I stumbled in, I guess were no adverts and trailers because it was a special early screening that was supposed to be accompanied by a recorded Q&A? And the projector bulb was rather dim. Still, glad I went. It’s a slightly odd voice that Peter Capaldi does in it.
On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. Some jolly silly fun. Twice we saw an associate of Telly Savalas falling to their death from off of a mountain, and neither time could George Lazenby’s Bond think of a lame quip, even though each fall was long and slow – pathetic – but never mind. Your local Vue are probably showing the remaining films over the next several months.
Last week, one of the things that made me mutter oh fuck off was when the centrist media hyphenate Richard Osman came on the loudspeaker while I was considering washing-up liquid in Sainsbury’s. Osman was advertising his new audiobook, I think? But they don’t sell audiobooks in Sainsbury’s, so how strange.
Friday. Had a little evening bicycle ride. Went to Sainsbury’s. Osman’s disembodied voice boomed again, and this time I stayed quiet, and turns out it’s a paperback he’s advertising after all. Makes more sense. Cool story.
A little mechanical problem on the way back meant I had to walk for a bit and spilled some beefy Korean supper on the ground. The sticky red puddle had almost all gone by the following morning, licked up by foxes I presume, nice for them. This might feel like a warning about the perils of active travel, but it’s equally possible to spill milk in the boot (“trunk”) of your motor car, and foxes’ tongues won’t help you then.
Some work. The big bustimes.org news: now, for some timetables, instead of a list of dates like
there’s a simpler list of what are called OperatingProfiles in TransXChange:
Only some timetables for now, because sometimes the data makes it hard, but it’s still an improvement.
And it turned out I’d already done most of the work eight months ago, it was sitting in a stale branch, that was nice, like finding money in forgotten jacket pocket.
You might well ask “is that it?”, and no it’s not, but I think you’ll still be disappointed.
Art! Well, the arts.
There was a giant domino-topple here to open an arts festival,
I mean you’d struggle to play a tabletop game with the unmarked blocks of aerated concrete which snaked across the city centre,
but it was impressive.
I was more into the spectacle of the spectators – excitedly dashing down alleyways, chasing the progress of the topple – and the pubgoers going “wahey” each time a motor car had to U-turn because the road was blocked.
I’d been worried I was becoming a miserablist, but here I was upbeat about this bit of communal fun, in the face of a few dissenting voices about it being pointless rubbish and what about the embodied carbon.
At least the used dominoes will be recycled, maybe to fill in potholes or build a hospital, who knows.
Watched The Dropout, the “tale of ambition and fame gone horribly wrong” about the Theranos and the Elizabeth Holmes.
(It feels strange how they call eight episodes a miniseries, I know everything’s bigger in America but still.) Apart from some cringe at the start, and I got bored at the end, it’s some satisfactory drama, well done to everyone. I’m left wondering exactly how many fun little details correspond with exactly what happened – you know they have a legal disclaimer saying it’s all made up and any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental, which is poppycock.
Of course I was expecting it to be about a slot in a bicycle frame for attaching a wheel, ha ha. Because they too are called dropouts, like the people who abandon their university studies. Remember when I was having trouble with them some months ago until I realised the wheel itself was buckled.
This is a sort of social medium, so it’s filtered, just a list of glamorous events, we don’t talk about ennui.
But I’ll share one bit of mild desolation, cos I feel I can now it’s more than a week in the past: fishing through a bag of similar T-shirts, trying to find the clean one, and the relief of finding a salty outline, the high water mark of my back sweat, so I could eliminate it, leaving the obviously clean remaining shirt. Life on the road.
Of a midweek evening, normally a poached egg and something is plenty entertainment,
but quite spontaneously I went to see Confidence Man at the local venue.
They scrub up well and put on a good show, the two at the front with their outfits and dancing and the two at the back dressed as gothic beekeepers.
(Supported by Mind Enterprises, with their vintage tracksuits and their demeanour.)
Last time I was there, an old woman spilled drink on me and apparently I was much less angry than the last person she’d spilled drink on. This time, at one point Sugar Bones sprayed some of a bottle of sparkling wine/Appletiser everywhere like a celebrating racing driver/cyclist, which wastefulness I don’t approve of, I took a big splosh, but you’ve only yourself to blame if you go out wearing soluble clothes.
No waterside observations, apart from the little green bugs who arise from who-knows-where and crawl all over when you sit against a tree. The grass these days is long enough that, after a gorgeous day, the riverbank’s bed-headed and you can see the respectfully spaced flattened-grass silhouettes of where folks sat, all the best places to sit. And the discarded bottle of sherry – surprising choice of tipple, but no judgment! – casting a bluish shadow, some light refraction going on.
Started reading The Pragmatic Programmer. It’s a bit like what I imagine a self-help book might be like, but that’s OK, it gets a thumbs-up from me. Why not try self-improvement, affecting a positive attitude and trying to improve things and solve problems better, rather than silently moaning about shit things being shit. Its format means you could read it backwards, or on the loo, if you wanted (but I don’t).
🖥 Last week’s network connectivity trouble recurred a few times this week.
Finally, slightly inspired by some of the wisdom in the first quarter of The Pragmatic Programmer,
I resolved to accept that computer hardware simply can’t be expected to work correctly all the time,
and although it’s not my fault that it’s been failing so unreasonably often, it is my problem, so why don’t I do something about it?
So now the poorly bit of infrastructure has a sort of robot “understudy” ready to step in at a moment’s notice
(alas not automatically yet),
and the single points of failure are smaller and fewer.
How embarrassing that it took me so long to make that change.
Inevitably, it’s all gone back to working perfectly for the last three days, so the understudy hasn’t been needed yet, but let’s wait and see.
🎂 Had a birthday, I’m now a whole year older, crikey.
Went to Newcastle (upon Tyne), which is like other places except for the way some of the people talk and the stone some of the buildings are built with.
Walked along the mouth of the Tyne and a bit of coastline, regretted wearing new shoes, blistering which made me reflect on the shame that Joyce Carol Oates is better known (to me) for one yucky tweeted photograph than any writing.
Above all, some days of actively trying not to do work, being on sort-of holiday, had a positive effect.
To Stratagem with Alan Partridge. Alan was in good form, wearing some inspirational clothes, and there were thrills aplenty, dance and song, time travel, etc, but something about the bigness of the venue, a vast arena, meant I wasn’t quite feeling it, didn’t guffaw much, oh well. Counted at least three Castrol GTX (funeral attire) jackets on the way out.
All the week’s public transport went so well until the train stopped and there burbled an announcement about a trespasser trespassing ahead. Hope they were OK. The train crew came handing out free bottled water to compensate for the delay, such a high standard of customer service that I was a bit nonplussed.
Peering over a shoulder, spotted bustimes.org on another phone screen in the wild – you can’t mistake that weak-lemon-drink colour scheme. This was on the excel, whose timetable is horribly badly presented because of the use of a split registration to avoid certain driver hours regulations – I can do something about that.
I’ve started enjoying this sort-of blogging,
so much so that I’ve started writing bits of stuff during the week instead of leaving it to be one big end-of-week resentment.
So I started to write baskingly about
how the reliability of the website seems rock-solid again these days,
and has been since records began.
Then, you can guess what happened next. There was some networking spookiness, which quickly resolved itself, but unfortunately some things I’d tried in the meantime to mitigate the spookiness only caused further, longer-lasting, overnight trouble. Oh well. It wasn’t that bad a time for it to happen, last night, although it’d have been better if I was either less tired or already asleep.
Apart from that, some will have noticed ongoing “upstream data” problems going on. Deja vu, same as it ever was, etc.
I sympathise with the people upstream doing their difficult jobs, the data equivalent of trying to stop sheep weeing in the river I suppose?
I still don’t have a good stock reply to folks noticing these issues, but the fact of the noticing is good if it shows people use this stuff when it works.
Apart from that, the work continues and is satisfying and I have some ideas and a wall is getting covered with sticky notes.
Finally went to the Grecian gyro/souvlaki trailer in the Homebase car park, and it’s as good as everyone says. Because they’ve a lot fewer than 250 employees, they’re exempt from printing calorie numbers on their menus, which might be a bonus? Being a car park, the car park isn’t nice, but cross the road and there’s a big heath with some picnic benches somewhere.
In America there’s an iconic series of posters advertising gyros, and if someone offered prints on the Etsy/eBay/Redbubble they’d sell at least a few. But it’d also be a strange thing for a person have on their wall, so never mind.
Ian McMillan tweets somelovelytweets, bits of conversation overheard on the bus, I suppose you’d call them vignettes. The motorist, ensconced in their padded cage, doesn’t get to enjoy such things, but on the other hand they’re safe from being stared at by “Cosmo Landesman”.
Do I have any things I’ve noticed while using transport? Not really. Bicycled past a cricket team whose bus had broken down, they’d clambered over a bank to seek refuge on the path beside the road, and they clapped and cheered as I passed. Got distracted by someone picking wild garlic – you won’t catch me foraging for that, although you’re right it’s just the sort of thing I might do.
To Britain’s most easterly comedy night. Obviously easterliness is a daft thing to make a point of. The dilapidated seaside town crowd is an interesting sort of crowd. Legge, O’Rourke, Wool, great. Ran to catch the train but it wasn’t due for another 18 minutes, cool story.
E Musk is a doofus, but is he happy? Owning a website is a bit of pain in the arse sometimes. And one day he’ll be dead.
(Decided to mute him on that website of his.
I still click through to read the bad tweets when people quote-tweet them, but I like it to be my choice to click. Alas, muting can’t stop screenshots of his tweets.)
(tw/s*) Down by the river, someone was sitting on the edge, shoes off, toes in the water. That’s unusual, I thought, man I hope they’re not going to jump in. I kept walking, bought milk and mayonnaise, walked back, something had happened. There was a little crowd, thank fuck it was a place with passersby about, capable people. (I know something about feeling like shit, but I’ve never wanted to go in the river.)
Voted by post, cos I’ll be out on the day of the day of the election, and it’s so important to have your say about bin collections. Just about managed to follow the instructions, tearing some paper along a dotted line, placing one half in an envelope that goes in another envelope with the other half. There’s a risk that my vote is rejected because my signature’s slightly too different to the one on the postal vote application form – there’s a growing problem, which I last encountered at the driving theory test centre, of young people these days not having consistent signatures.
Bought some shoes from the European Union, and there were some customs charges to pay.
No sympathy expected – it’s up there with how it’s harder to take your dog skiing these days.
The Parcelforce website asked for a “payment reference number”, but of course the letter they sent only gave a “tracking reference” and a “parcel reference”. Turned out it wanted the parcel reference after all … so why not say so?
And the bank I bank with offered to let me pay the charges in instalments … which is fair enough, and in less lucky circumstances I might have taken them up on the offer, but my point is how 2022 it is.
The shoes are great, thank you.
🎦 Operation Mincemeat was merely OK. I was tired, and it was sunny outside, so I should have just had a nap in a park instead.
The Worst Person in the World – better. Watch out for the discussion of car parking arrangements in Oslo.
The Thief, His Wife and the Canoe was OK – an ITV drama, you know, but it’s a heartwarming true story about a landlord (12 rental properties) falling on hard times. Someone uses a search engine called “Bong” on a period-appropriate Windows laptop, and there’s a fictional insurance company called “Mutual Assured”.
(Oh the adverts on ITV. Bemused at Jamie Redknapp saying “plus, they’re machine washable”, and unaccountably enranged by the smug Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall–sounding voiceover advertising poncey settees.)
To a room above a backstreet pizzeria to see Liz Lawrence – a small joy.
Down by the river, it doesn’t take much sunshine for folks to lay about the goose shit–smeared grass and enjoy some rosé, which is almost enough to make you feel “proud to be British”. As I walked along, some flat-capped costermongers crossed a bridge ahead of me, and one shouted something something tits at the prone rosé enjoyers, which seemed a bit rude. Was this catcalling that I’d witnessed? As I disappeared under the bridge, I muttered STFU, too quietly to be heard, a weak attempt at allyship.