Weeknote 0003

  • Went househunting.
    • No matter how carefully you study the listings and photos, you never know what awaits you. Perhaps I was seduced by the Rightmove ad: soft, twinkling sunlight streaming in as soft, twinkling piano music plays on. But I certainly wasn’t prepared for the reality of post-pandemic house sales. It affected me more than I expected.
    • Elderly folks who might have already benefitted from moving, then imprisoned in their homes for months at a time and possibly even cut down by the virus. House after house, exactly as they were left. Families trying to untangle the affairs of their parents or grandparents while still shouldering their loss. Clothes still hanging in wardrobes. Keepsakes still where they were placed. School photos of grinning grandchildren still proudly in their frames. Once-tidy lawns and vegetable patches now muddy and unkempt. Walking sticks still propped up by bedside tables.
  • The nice things about hybrid working is enjoying going to the office in person, even if for me it’s a substantial trip. In the new routine, the cost of going in is about the same as my salary for the time I’m there. And I also get much less done there, which means having to catch up. But the non-domestic social contact is good. It’s worth it for intellectual nourishment.
  • I used to travel a lot for work, which meant getting as familar with certain airports as I was with my own office. When that’s the role, you get used to the rhythm and cadence of it. Eventually you start to recognise familar faces, presumably doing similar jobs, perhaps for competitors. There’s a certain smile reserved for folks at a gate waiting to board: an acknowledgement of both a shared experience and a social boundary that ought not be blurred. I wonder where those folks are now. Perhaps still riding the travelators.
  • I have to manage some of my family relationships carefully, as some relations emit stress the way cats emit fur. This week was shedding season.
  • Did some research and thinking around the process by which we make career choices. It’s interesting how many people get a say in the decisions we make about work. It’s also noteworthy that many of our career ‘choices’ aren’t really choices. There’s no option 2. I’ve been researching this to explore ways in which those decisions can be more rounded, with a bit of neutral input from outside. It’s a tightrope between saying things you’d alrteady thought of, and saying things that feel undesirable or inapplicable or downright remote.

Bass notes

  • Learning your first (western) instrument is harder than learning subsequent (western) instruments as you have to wade through a bunch of music theory. Even though I don’t love the piano I am at least grateful to have first sat at one aged four. There’s probably. better place than the piano stool to learn the theory of octaves and intervals and whatnot. It’s all graspable on strings but a keyboard is much more visual. I’ve got that image in my head as I now fumble around finding those same notes on the fretboard.
  • I can now play Where the Streets Have No Name. Deceptively complex for a new player. You’ve got to master those those chugging 8th-notes faster than you might expect, while also finding four notes across two strings. Not bad for two weeks. I’ve been playing along with Spotify, using a bit of crude EQ to stand in for Adam Clayton. If they do go ahead with this rumoured Vegas residency, I’m sure he won’t mind.
  • U2 are unfashionable now; their massive, sustained popularity combined with Bonzo’s synonymity with humanitarianism that often comes over as virtue-signalling puts them in a league of music-press hatred they share with only Coldplay. There is no place for U2 or R.E.M. on Bowie-centric 6Music for example, which is a shame. I like a lot of U2’s work down the years, even the stuff U2 fans don’t like. This is not the golden era of stadium rock, but it wasn’t so long ago that a weekend TV schedule dominated by talent shows and ballroom dancing seemed very much of the past.


  • I’m using Publii to put out these notes; so far, so good. It’s not without its challenges: it works fine on my Intel Mac but not my Silicon one, and there’s no way to compile and publish the site from my iPad or phone. But the same would be true of Jekyll and I preferred an app over running Ruby at the command line. Ruby has never come intuitively to me, so all my experiences with it have been a fight, not a flow.
  • At some point it’d be nice to get into the weeds of building a robust site template for doing.digital to be usable in Publii or Jekyll or Eleventy or something, so I can migrate it off Wordpress. Or I might just kill it. Even while setting up that site—even before pressing ‘buy now’ on the hosting plan—I knew I’d regret using Wordpress. But I’d also prefer not to compile locally on the command line, since it ties me to (more or less) one machine that I don’t take everywhere. Even Publii is guilty of this. So maybe Microfeed is the next thing to explore.