Weeknotes 28 (July ’20): Normal activities

  • A return to some ‘normal’ activities this week have felt significant.
  • I had a haircut. My hairdresser got keen and my hair is shorter than I was wanting, but probably exactly what I need. We all wore masks, of course.
  • I am not used to being with people anymore. Are you? It’s exhausting. But with good friends it’s worth the energy.
  • I have travelled this week. It brought home the reality that the pandemic is everywhere. That is depressing and overwhelming. But also that it’s possible to manage it better than it’s felt managed in central London. That gives me hope. And if you can get to some nature and move your body freely, it is very restorative.
  • I’ve been thinking a little bit about leadership. The person is charge is not always the best leader, but we all have to play the hand we’re dealt. What makes good leadership? Well, in this week, the bad leadership was a failure to unite or inspire, and in fact achieve the opposite. And, in a separate case, a failure to trust the experts with the problem, rather than giving them the solution. Different scenarios, but in both the outcome is not what it could and should be. So, when I lead, I should look to unite and inspire, and to trust my group with the problem.

Weeknotes 27 (July ’20): Risk

  • An unusually busy week. Our balcony has been leaking into our flat, and we were finally able to get some people round to fix it. Having people in our flat was strangely stressful – they were pretty gung ho, so there was both a sense that they might break something, and the complications of social distancing etc. It was fine. Obviously. And now we just have to establish if we’re meant to be able to see the water pooling under our paving stones or not.
  • And then a family birthday and a large present meant I found myself masked up and in an Uber for the first time in months. Another family member was unable to come at the last minute because of a suspected loss of sense of smell. This is the reality of the new normal, I guess.
  • And to further that sense, I have started to engage with the return to sport guidance that is filtering out about getting taekwondo back in a shared physical space. Two meter distancing seems to be required, which makes sense, and there is a lot to think about in terms of what is possible, how to keep standards up, and how to manage it all.
  • Gove says to use “common sense” about whether to wear masks in shops. That is such an absurdity it’s hard to know where to begin. The general population has been so confused by the guidance and information thus far, not least because of the Cummings fiasco, how can people possibly make proper “common sense” decisions? In my experience, the vulnerable and the people used to caring for others (mainly women) are the ones in the masks, scared as they are forced into close contact with people who are assessing the risk differently (mainly young men). Surely the government should use “common sense” and reduce the number of risk vectors we all need to think about these days.
  • I’m playing with Notion. My setup currently looks like a bunch of random notes and thoughts, but the simplicity of it is feeling a bit addictive. My horrible BuddyPress / BBPress project has been made less awful by a Notion bug document, into which I can easily paste screengrabs of bugs, to help me work through the bugs, and emojis to make me feel less depressed.

Weeknotes 26 (June – July ’20): Small worlds

  • I had an experience this week in which a couple of my worlds collided. The upshot was me feeling absolutely terrible about myself for a couple of days. Which was not helped by…
  • Working with WordPress, BuddyPress and BBPress is not a recipe for happiness. I am slightly appalled to find myself still, ever, dealing with these technologies.
  • I spent over an hour on the phone with my father trying to help him work out why some of his documents are in OneDrive. I ended up remote controlling his computer, which then further confused him, not least because he couldn’t comprehend how fast I typed.
  • I’ve ordered some face masks . Or rather coverings. There’s lots of variety in this field, it turns out.
  • I didn’t go to the pub or have my haircut on Saturday. I did, however, walk up near Borough Market and feel like the second wave was being built before my eyes. Recent stats for London indicate the R is around 1, and that’s without opening the pubs.
  • It’s genuinely hard to know what to do when you think your government is screwing everything up, isn’t it?

What Nextdoor should always look like

Nextdoor always feels like it should look like this, but often it’s just random bits of local advertising and people ranting about the noise / rubbish / trees etc. It’s nice to notice when it seems to be working.

Weeknotes 25 (June ’20): Doing naughty things and honking

  • Between us, S and I taught 9 kids one to one this weekend, helping them with their poomsae. Perhaps the best bit about it was just seeing all these kids, who’ve been working hard on their taekwondo at home, and just see how they are doing. They’re doing pretty well, was the answer.
  • We had all the weather for it. I can’t tell whether my face is sunburnt or just windswept.
  • Otherwise, work, work, work.
  • My leg injury is gradually receding, so perhaps I’ll be able to run again soon.
  • Finished watching Crash Landing On You. Would i recommend 22 hours of Korean romance? Not really. But interesting for the North Korean stuff, for sure.
  • Very late to the party, S downloaded Untitled Goose Game yesterday. Today, I have been going around the flat doing naughty things and honking.

Weeknotes 24 (June ’20): Ups and downs

  • I missed last week because I started Sunday with an emotional collapse, which morphed into working for the rest of the day, and taking most of Monday off and going to the seaside. It was amazing to get out of London, although then Tuesday involved a further collapse after all the excitement. Anyway. Ups and downs.
  • With the exception of that, I managed to let work get a bit out of control and the balance with other elements of life went off kilter. This week will need a rebalance.
  • We are experimenting with a bread machine. So far, the results have not justified the existence of the machine in our flat, but the experimentation is far from over.
  • Had a Covid-19 test because of my involvement with the daily reporting app. I reported a headache, it asked me to have a test. Negative, of course, but quite interesting to do the test.
  • I have not had my hair cut at all through lockdown. I have finally reached breaking point, though, and am going to hand Sarah a pair of scissors.

Weeknotes 23 (June ’20): Black lives matter

  • Black lives matter. If you think the correct response to this is ‘all lives matter’ and you’re not being wilfully unpleasant, then I really suggest you do a bit more reading. It’s not hard to find. If you still think it after about half an hour of research, get in touch and I can point you to some resources. Do I think anyone I know might have that response? Yes. I know white people who are well intentioned but not tuned in to racism. And I have seen comments on friends’ posts on Facebook where this seems to still be a matter for debate.
  • I am as law abiding as they come, and even I think the protests have been totally justified, even in the midst of a pandemic. And the fact they are resulting in change is one of the most heartening things I’ve experienced in my lifetime.
  • The parallels in the UK between racism and sexism are pretty astonishing. They both seem to edge along in the right direction, but still have a long way to go.
  • In other news, I went for a walk yesterday and I’m just not used to exercise out of the house anymore. Alarming!

Weeknotes 22 (May ’20): Political despair

  • The US is rioting because yet another black man was killed by the police. Protests are being infiltrated by armed agitators, probably partly white racists, causing damage and violence, inflaming matters. The President is Donald Trump. What sort of society is this? There are so many areas of the society that are dysfunctional, it’s hard to see how they can reach anything that resembles a companionate, fair society. Widespread distrust of government. Widespread ownership of firearms. Widespread racism. Widespread belief in capitalism at all costs.
  • Years ago I was in the US and speaking to a liberal teacher. Even she thought national health care was a dangerous communist idea that would remove the right to fail.
  • Meanwhile, the British government… I actually can’t bear to write about it anymore.
  • I don’t know if this is the correct coping mechanism, but I’m trying to control the controllables.
  • I made granola.
  • I have been going through an HTML and CSS course to make sure I know how the modern stuff all works. I laughed at a bit about how in the olden days things used to be laid out with loads of divs. I remember when divs were an exciting upgrade from tables and CSS was a new idea.
  • I found out you can put variables in CSS.
  • On we go.

Weeknotes 21 (May ’20): The inevitable P.E. injury

  • On Friday, mid Frog Jump, I pulled something in my lower back and was stuck on all fours in acute pain for a while. It had a certain sense of inevitability about it. After all, PE with Joe is not wildly targeted at someone in their mid 40s, and the warm up is not as comprehensive as my body might like. I was also asking for trouble as I’ve been nursing a bit of a glutes issue. So.
  • Sarah took both the classes on Saturday. Ahem.
  • Granola recipe number 3 is nice. Will this be the final one? Stay tuned!
  • Dominic Cummings travelled over 200 miles when he should have been self isolating.
    1. This was probably a legitimate and sensible thing to do in his circumstances, and within the guidance.
    2. Many many other people would not have done this, thinking it was not allowed.
    3. Communication about what is and isn’t allowed has not been good at all.
    4. The media has not helped with extracting clarity. The government has not given clarity.
    5. People in positions of power will interpret rules to their benefit. Those without power will interpret them differently. Of these people, some will follow rules to the punitive letter. Some will decide to break them because they are used to rules penalising them and therefore ignoring them.
    6. People who normally have power: men, white people, rich people, middle and upper class people, middle aged people. (Cummings ticks all these boxes.)
    7. People who normally don’t have power: older people, younger people, women, people of colour, poor people, working class people.
    8. The Conservative party is for a particular sort of person, and is in government.
  • It’s been fun playing with linux again, even in the small context of a Raspberry Pi media server.
  • It’s a bank holiday tomorrow. Time to revisit the accounts!

Weeknotes 20 (May ’20): The probability of kangaroo jumps

  • Writing this on Tuesday because Sunday and Monday somehow got away from me.
  • Having got my hopes up about the PM’s announcement last Sunday, I, along with virtually everyone else in the country, did not feel perky after he presented the ‘plans’.
  • I am extremely law abiding and can always understand how decisions have been reached. I get that leadership is hard. I get that compromises need to be made. All of this perhaps makes it harder when you see people doing their jobs of leadership badly. And leads me to think about which rules to follow, which is tough for someone who normally just follows rules that are given.
  • Social distancing seems to be becoming more natural for a lot of people. The public spaces I saw this weekend were nice and calm.
  • Raspberry Pi media server is up and running. My brother in law sent me one that he wasn’t using, and a neighbour on Nextdoor had a spare USB keyboard he wasn’t using. Getting a media server to stream to the airport express was easier than getting the drives to map on my Mac.
  • I visited my mother on Sunday for the first time since lockdown began. Very nice to see her. And quite an energetic bike ride.
  • PE with Joe sometimes involves games of chance in which the exercise is determined by something seemingly random, such as a wheel of fortune. This week he had 12 exercises and two dice, and we had to do the exercise that the dice added up to. He seemed mystified by why we were getting more of the exercises clustered in the middle. Sarah and I chatted about probability while doing kangaroo jumps.