June 14, 2021 to June 20, 2021
June 7, 2021 to June 13, 2021
May 31, 2021 to June 6, 2021
Past couple of weeks have been a bit of struggle to write up these weeknotes. Time feels to be flying by, along with feeling that I'm not being very productive. But I've told myself to stick with it, so here we are.
School half term holiday time again. My work schedule thrown up in the air. Oh and one of the kids brought home a lovely cold to share with the family. Yup, suffered the whole week with a cold, cough, sore throat - rubbish! 🤧 (To note, this wasn't COVID-19, just your plain old boring frustrating cold/cough.)
Because I felt so rubbish, I'd avoid various social gathering on Bank Holiday Monday - and it was so lovely and sunny - I felt even more rubbish for staying in-doors. I forced myself to do a jigsaw, since it'd been a couple of weeks since the last one.
Despite the rubbish cold/cough/sore throat, I tried to get out the house at various points of the week. Walks with the kids. Campfires in the field.
I cancelled my dentist appointment, didn't feel right given the rubbish cold. Strange thing is, I wonder if this was before lockdown, would have I still gone to the appointment? Funny how our perceptions have change.
Saturday. Weeks ago we planned a band practice, first time we'd all played together since the first lockdown. Despite still feeling rubbish and not wanting to let the rest of the band down, I went ahead with it. We still know all our songs, good thing really.
Saturday family movie night didn't happen, Lucy's sister and niece had a joint birthday party - well just immediate family, given lockdown easing numbers (up to 30 people gathering outdoors). I went along for a few hours, but zonked out - tired after band practice and the rubbish cold.
Sunday, I did something that I hadn't done in a long time - lay on the sofa all day, (literally all day), I felt so lousy, just watched movies all day. Felt more rubbish afterwards though. Anyway, I watched... Palm Springs, Premonition, Brightburn and Color Out of Space. I think that last one really messed with my head. 🤯
Next week is Umbraco CodeGarden virtual conference. I do miss my annual trip to Denmark, but I'm looking forward to catching up with old friends and hopefully make some new ones.
May 24, 2021 to May 30, 2021
Another week has flown by, where it feels that not much as happened. Mostly focusing on a client delivery, which has all gone pretty well, happy client.
Well, after a few weeks of no dental issues, one of my older crowns came loose. Spoke to the dentist about it as this crown was put in over 10 years ago - wow, starting to feel old - and that over that time my jawline may have changed slightly, meaning that if I had the crown put back in, it'd only come loose again within the year. So it's new crown time! I'm back next week for an impression. Afterwards, I went home and told my kids of the perils of drinking too much cola during my teenage years.
The weather has been much better this past week, lovely and sunny. Went for a nice long walk in the woods at Brockley Coombe, (up near Bristol Airport).
Bank Holiday weekend (again), coinciding with school half term... throws my routine in the air. Spent most of Saturday out in the garden, mostly clearing brambles, preparing for sunnier weather. Had a campfire out in the field with neighbours, stayed up way too late - paid for it on Sunday though, hangovers, urgh.
We delayed our usual Saturday family movie night to Sunday, it was Lucy's choice... Black Beauty (the 2020 Disney remake). It was alright, probably more enjoyable for horsey people. Lucy and the girls enjoyed it. It wasn't really my cup of tea, there were a couple of good scenes and I liked Iain Glen's performance - felt that he was channelling Clint Eastwood. If only they'd remade this film 40 years ago - oh wait, they did, several times!
May 17, 2021 to May 23, 2021
Where did the last week go? Most of my focus has been on a new phase of work for a client project, it's been full on, probably why it feels like the days have flown by.
I haven't spent much time on Umbraco community/package related activities this past week. My free time has mostly been bass guitar practising. Gearing closer to recording our album.
Friday night, I went to the pub for the first time since they re-opened. Met up with the band, planning out upcoming practices, recordings and gigs. Nice to go back to a pub, but hangovers are less nice, urgh.
Saturday family movie night didn't happen this week. Lucy had bought a ticket for the virtual Glastonbury live-stream - yup, she got caught up in the frustrating "invalid code" muck up. I ended up watching Eurovision anyway, love the chaos of the scoring system at the end.
I watched Army of the Dead on Netflix... there was some hype around it leading up to its release, and I generally like post-apocalyptic movies. It was alright, zombie heist genre mash-up, it has its moments. It tried to add a spin on the typical zombie hoards by having "alpha" zombies, which was different. The characters were likeable enough, but overall, quite predictable and a long runtime (2.5 hours), could have probably been cut by an hour.
May 10, 2021 to May 16, 2021
Continued my migration work on Contentment v3 (for Umbraco v9/.NET Core). It's progressing nicely, albeit I'm finding the incremental rebuilds quite slow at the moment, still working to resolve that. (Probably to do with my frontend bundling/minification scripts.) I had a good chat with Andy Butland about our approaches on tackling this. My latest updates are up on my GitHub repo. I'm edging closer to an alpha release soon.
TV viewing, Monday marked the return of Inside No. 9 (for it's sixth series on BBC2). I love this show, and very much enjoyed the first episode of this new series, very meta, very funny. Looking forward to upcoming episodes.
I bought a new bass, (yep, another one, that's now 4 basses and 3 guitars, eek!) I'd been thinking about getting a new practice bass for a while. Last year I bought an expensive Fender Precision Bass, (that I love), but found that I'm being overly precious with it - always putting it back in boxcase between practices, just that tiny bit more effort to get it out and put away. I end up practising on my acoustic bass, which I leave out on a stand, easily accessible. But I'd be recording our album on my P-Bass, that I should be practising on that, so decided to get a cheaper P-Bass that I would be less precision of. I went for a Squier Affinity Precision PJ Bass. Paid for it with money from my GitHub sponsorships - huge thank you to all who sponsor me! ❤🙏🌟
Wednesday, I hadn't left the house in a couple of days, Lucy dragged me out for a long walk in the morning. She has a knack with these walks, of wiping me out for the rest of the day. When I got home, a parcel had arrived - wasn't the new bass, that was later in the day - but a copy of a book called Out of Home. It's an insightful look at how the homeless viewed London during the COVID-19 lockdown. I find it sad to think back that we were all told to "stay at home", but what if you didn't have a home?
At the weekend, the weather forecast suggested rain, lots of rain. I planned indoor jobs, mostly to re-arrange my office, I'm desperate for a change in there, too gloomy. But the weather turned out to be sunny (so far), I ended up out in the garden all day, doing random "gardening" stuff, well mostly moving logs around and collecting firewood. Manual labour isn't my thing, once again I was wiped out for the rest of the day. (Unfit and/or getting old, bah!) 😆
Saturday family movie night was my choice... Adventures in Babysitting. I had fond memories of this movie as a kid - probably because I secretly wanted Elisabeth Shue to be my babysitter. Thought it'd be a hoot to re-watch it with the kids. On my initial suggestion, the kids eyes rolled, but I insisted... and they really enjoyed it. Plenty of laughs, tuts, and edge of the seat moments.
KK does rugby training on Sundays. When it's my turn to drive her there, I've been taking my laptop to write up these weeknotes - gives me a solid hour, sat in the car, to focus on writing without distraction.
Did a jigsaw, 500 pieces one. Another one of these kid-friendly extra large size pieces. Started it this morning, before writing up these notes, then LL helped me finish it off in the afternoon. It's the first time she'd shown an interest in helping out, a lovely bit of family collaboration time.
May 3, 2021 to May 9, 2021
The past week, I spent a significant amount of time on the migrating of my Contentment package over to Umbraco v9 (e.g. .NET Core version). Hit various snags, found workarounds, I'm still journaling my progress, if you wanted to follow along at home.
It'd been several weeks since I'd last done a larger jigsaw, so decided to tackle this one that my Dad recently gave us.
I'd started it Tuesday evening for a couple of hours, sorted the edges. The rest was done during Wednesday, an hour or so in the morning, again at lunch, then a few hours in the evening. That's the trouble with these jigsaws, once we've got going on them, can't seem to stop until it's done.
A couple of my good Umbraco friends, Matt and Kevin, have started a podcast! Package Manifest - which is all about Umbraco package development and the people that create them. Matt did ask me to be one of the co-hosts, but I politely declined - I'm making an effort not to over-commit myself these days. I'm sure I'll be on as a guest at some point.
Mentioning commitments, prior to the first UK COVID-19 lockdown, my band had started recording our first album - we actually recorded the drums on the weekend before the lockdown happened. I was due to record the bass shortly after. We did try to do it all remotely, but it got a bit stressful - mostly due to technical frustrations, unfamiliar with the software, juggling work + kids + general lockdown woes. I mean, we did manage to get a couple of songs together - they're up on YouTube - but for the whole album we wanted to aim for higher quality, so the album got put on-hold.
That is, until after the 17th May - when the next lockdown easing happens and we can meet up indoors! So I've been frantically practising (and re-learning) all the songs. Feels a bit like a fitness regime, maybe I need a montage?!
Saturday family movie night was KK's choice... Ratatouille. KK claims to have never had seen it - I'm sure we had. It's a great movie, kids loved it, but I fell asleep halfway through.
Sunday, at a bit of a loose end, thought I'd start off another jigsaw - do the edges and leave it for a bit. That didn't go to plan - 5 hours later...
Enjoyed that one, fun puzzle!
April 26, 2021 to May 2, 2021
Last week I was late writing up my weeknote, same again this week! I can't blame the COVID-19 vaccine side-effects again! 😆
It did take me a few days to feel fully normal again after the jab, I'm not sure whether it's a known side-effect or more disrupted sleep, I was very irritable - literally anything and everything would annoy me, quite the mardy bum! Seemed to clear up by Thursday.
Umbraco v9 (beta) was released. This is the re-platforming to .NET 5 version, with initiatives to encourage established package developers to migrate their code over to the upcoming version. Historically, I have bad form in conforming to this - I've been known 'to let the chips fall where they may' - deal with the consequences later. After all, I give my time and energy for free, there should be no expectation of me.
But! I've had a change of heart. Maybe because Umbraco HQ are more forthcoming for this major version release, I felt more compelled. Let's do it! I've been keeping a log of my developer journey - actually, that's where I've probably spent most of my "writing energy" these past days, no wonder I'm late on this weeknote! Go read it, it's a lot of words, and links, and code.
KK and I finished watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier - exciting finale, and a new Captain America, nice!
I haven't been completely sat in-front of a screen the past week. Over the bank holiday weekend, spent a lot of time outside, couple of walks, helping out my neighbours, being "Dad taxi driver" (oh heck, that's a thing now isn't it?!). Had a few beers around the campfire on Saturday night, I'm not liking hangovers again, urgh.
We postponed our usual Saturday family movie night, as we were out in the field - camping, (well not me, I was socialising with neighbours at said campfire). So we got around to family movie night on Bank Holiday Monday evening, it was Lucy's choice - I say "choice", the kids pressurised her to pick... Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2. Yes!!! It is done! The Horcruxes have been destroyed, Voldemort vanquished and in future we can pick some non-franchise movies!
I did watch Stowaway on Netflix. Yet another one of these movies that popped up out of nowhere, decent trailer, solid cast, potentially predictable but good - gave it a go, it was good - but feels like another one of those fleeting Netflix titles, it'll disappear in a week or so, cast away to a distant memory.
Been a while since I've done a jigsaw. I now have a backlog of them. I guess doing the development work on Umbraco Contentment code has filled that void in recent weeks. I'll aim to do a jigsaw this week.
April 19, 2021 to April 25, 2021
Sunday morning, I had my first COVID-19 vaccination jab. 🎉 Hurray! Another step towards "normality". I'd started to write up my week's notes up on Sunday evening, but one of the side-effects kicked in, aching all over. Having been pre-warned this may happen, I'd already dosed up on paracetamol, and had an early night.
I'd planned on getting my notes finished yesterday (Monday, yup now on Week 17), but still didn't feel 100%. Also had a dentist appointment early afternoon - my tooth implant work is finally complete! It's funny, the implant at the back, not even noticeable when I smile. Functionally, at least I can chew on both sides again! Hurray! 🎉
OK, last week. Easter holiday is over, the kids went back to school! 🎉
Decided to work back in my office. It's quite horrible in there. Cold and dark. Trying to recall how I accepted it for all those years. Definitely need to do something about it, fresh paint, more light, new desk.
For years my laptop's docking station (Surface Dock) had been acting quirky, randomly disconnecting the monitor or USB devices, always at the wrong time and frustrating. I'd spent a fair amount of time searching up the issues, installing various drivers and firmware updates. Can't be doing with it now. Within half-an-hour of moving back in my office, the Surface Dock was ripped out and thrown out the window, piece of trash! I've now got wires all over the place, but no random disconnect quirks! 🎉
After a week or so of KK's nagging, we've started watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, 3 episodes in so far (no spoilers please!).
In Umbraco-land, I've been fairly busy with Contentment again. I'd been asked if it integrates with Umbraco Forms - which it doesn't, but it gave me that "developer's itch" to see if it could. Ending up with some nice bridging code, to pull out a configured data-source to be used with form field options. Still a prototype, the code is available on a GitHub gist.
I managed to get a Contentment v1.4.1 patch release out too!
Now that Umbraco v8.13.0 is out, I've started work on Contentment v2.0, bumping up the Umbraco dependency and making all those breaking-changes that I'd been holding off on. Nothing too major, all incremental improvements that I couldn't do in a minor or patch release.
Friday, I attended the Umbraco Application Integration training course. The hosts have got the courses down to a tee - nice, friendly and professional. Some of the course material was a bit dubious - in as far as their recommended approach is not what I'd do professional, but like most aspects of Umbraco - there are many ways to skin a cat, (so to speak).
Saturday family movie night was KK's choice... Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1. Oh yes, we're getting closer to the end of these (current) movie franchises! 😆 The random in-depth trivia my kids have about Harry Potter books is mad, like... when Hermione is caught in the woods by the snatchers, she says her name is Penelope Clearwater - which is actually the name of Percy Weasley's girlfriend! 🤷♂️
Sunday. Already mentioned my COVID-19 jab. I was impressed with how efficient the process was, not much waiting around - in, out, all done within 15 minutes. 🎉
April 12, 2021 to April 18, 2021
I had a haircut! Yes, I've had a haircut! Finally. In my mind this was the peak moment of the current lockdown, where I can now mentally and socially prepare myself for "getting back to normal" (whatever that means anymore). High hopes and sunny days ahead. Yup, I've had a haircut!
I'd spent a lot of time the past week working on my Umbraco plugin, Contentment. Did another release, v1.4.0, (for any fans that have been following, they'll be tired of me overusing the shushing face 🤫 emoji this week, I'll stop soon). I spend a lot of time deliberating many details of the plugin. Mostly related to the editor experience, or rather the developer's configuration experience. Finding ways to reduce cognitive overload, sometimes I fail, sometimes I succeed. Always learning, always progressive.
My sister gave us a family jigsaw - something to do over Easter weekend, but we hadn't got around to it. It's a 200 piece kids jigsaw, I say kids as the box says aged 8+ and the pieces are oversized extra large. I had a couple of hours free on Saturday afternoon, tried to get the kids to do it with me, but they weren't too interested, just as well, I'd finished it within 40 minutes. 😆
Saturday family movie night didn't happen this week. Lucy and the kids went to watch a Live stage show of Billionaire Boy (based on David Walliams book), it was at Bristol Airport car park, one of those where you set your car radio to the right frequency and listen/watch the performance. I wasn't too interested, so stayed at home - well sat out in the field, with several cups of tea, chatting with neighbours.
I watched Love and Monsters on Netflix. It was one of those that seemed to appear out of nowhere. I wasn't aware of any adverts or trailers, never heard of it - and there I was thinking I was reasonably in-touch with new streaming releases. The movie was okay, bit like a coming-of age teen-friendly version of Zombieland, but swap the zombies for mutant insects and Woody Harrelson for Michael Rooker. Still enjoyable.
I noticing more with these streaming titles, they're very fleeting. While they'll have a popular-ish cast, they'll be heavily marketed for a week or so, and suddenly disappear, with no one mentioning them ever again. Remember that George Clooney one back at Christmas? You know, the one he also directed? Oh yeah, what was that called again? Dunno, whatever.
I feel the quantity, volume and traffic of the endless flow of streaming titles is too much. I'd prefer less quantity, more quality.
With the weather being much nicer now it's springtime, I'm feeling much more optimistic than I have recently. Re-reading some previous weeknotes, ouch, not liking "negative Lee" 😉 Here's to sunnier days!
Oh, did I mention that I've had a haircut?
April 5, 2021 to April 11, 2021
Double Bank Holidays, great for long weekends, confusing for the following work week - especially during the current lockdown mindset. "No, I did that yesterday, on Monday", "but today is Wednesday", "No, today is Tuesday!", oops! I lost track of days (again)!
I can't wait for that bloomin' haircut!
My knee has been recovering this past week, still taking it easy, doesn't ache when I bend it now.
We had really odd weather last week, given it was so sunny over the Easter weekend, by Tuesday there were hailstorms - thought it was going to snow at one point.
Finally released an update for my Umbraco plugin, Contentment v1.3.0! Some new features and bug fixes. Since enabling the telemetry statistics, I've been enjoying seeing which features are being used, (and maybe more interestingly, which are not).
Thursday was back to the dentist for impressions... "uh huh, hulo, my name is Lee." 🤦♂️ My dentist tells me that the impressions will be sent off to Sweden for the crown modelling, that'll take between 3 to 6 weeks. Couldn't help but wonder if Brexit had any impact on those timescales. 🤷♂️
KK has now finished watching WandaVision. There are couple of things that I had to subtly prepare her for, e.g. she hadn't seen any of the X-Men movies, and I didn't want the Pietro re-cast to go over her head, so I put a few YouTube clips of cool scenes from X-Men: Days of Future Past, (with no real explanation), then when the reveal happened in the WandaVision episode she was like "wait a minute!" 😆 ...and Agatha All Along has been stuck in our heads for days!
She's now pushing to watch Falcon and Winter Soldier, but I'm pushing back for a couple of weeks, too much MCU!
Saturday family movie night was LL's choice... Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. More of the movie franchises, we're enjoying them, but they're all blurring into one for me now! (For any regular readers may have spotted that it shouldn't have been LL's turn to pick, we goofed up, it should have been KK's turn, eek, doh!)
Rest of the weekend, we've been out in the garden again. Time to get my hedge cut! (cue "Every Time A Bell Rings").
March 29, 2021 to April 4, 2021
Feeling lost. We're at a confusing stage in this current UK lockdown, the roadmap of easing us out of it is happening, with the initial "rule of 6" (outdoors) date started last week. A few of my mates wanted to socialise immediately, I felt overwhelmed by it. I wasn't ready yet. I need a bloomin' haircut, for starters! Ended up declining all invites last week. I have a haircut booked for the 15th, I'm hoping that's when I'll feel renewed.
I haven't made as much progress on Contentment as I'd hoped. I have a new release ready to go, well, that is, once the documentation is done.
Monday, we had school parent's evening for LL. All good, she's fitted back into being back at school nicely. Although, no sooner as they're back at school, they're now on Easter break for the next fortnight! Preparing myself for the usual "working from home with kids" chaos!
I did my knee in again! (I didn't mention it last week as I didn't think much of it). No idea what I've done to it, must have knelt on it funny and now it aches when I bend it. Bloomin' knees, I'm getting old, bah humbug! I'll rest it up this week, see how it goes.
Saturday family movie night was Lucy's choice... Yes Day. It was alright, predictable, but fun! Now the kids want to have a "yes day", great. 🤦♂️
KK has started watching WandaVision. I'm limiting how many episode she can watch back-to-back, I keep reminding her that I had to wait a week between episodes. I don't know, this binge-watch generation, eh? 😆
Easter weekend was relaxed, good sunny weather, spent most of it outside in the garden. Had a nice campfire on Sunday evening.
March 22, 2021 to March 28, 2021
I forgot to mention last week that I'd completed the Census. As a web-dev, I was impressed how well the digital forms had been done, a solid example of accessible web design.
Tuesday, I worked back in my office. It was horrible. Quite lonely. Doing brownfield client work didn't help much either. Moved back to the dining table on Wednesday. Think it's going to take me a while longer to re-adjust to my old set-up.
In-between work tasks, I'd been hacking around with my Umbraco plug-in, Contentment - plenty of new surprises to come.
Friday evening was our local monthly Yatton 'Skype' Open Mic Night (the Lockdown Anniversary!) I did do a few of the compering links again. Good daft fun.
However, I didn't actually watch the Open Mic night live, as KK had been putting a lot of pressure on me to watch Avengers: Endgame, and given that I'd already seen many of the Open Mic submissions before doing the links, I gave in to KK.
Avengers: Endgame. What to say. After the emotional ending of Infinity War, KK's anticpation was high, and oh man, did she have an emotional rollercoaster during Endgame! Thrills, shocks, laughs and tears. It's been lovely to share the movie journey with her.
Saturday, out in the garden all day. Great to be outside all day, but my garden requires so much maintainence, and I'm quite a lazy person! 🤣
Saturday family movie night was LL's choice... Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. We're whizzing through them now! LL has been reading the books on her own, she seems to have acquired her sister's passion for speed-reading too!
Later on Saturday night, I'd spotted Unforgiven was available on Amazon Video. It's another one of those films that I'd been wanting to watch for years but never got around to, so thought why not now. It's a great movie, enjoyed it a lot.
Through out writing these weeknotes, feels like all I'm doing it watching movies and doing jigsaws. Whereas in the past week, I hardly watched any TV until Friday night, then 3 movies within 24 hours, and nothing since!
Did a quick jigsaw on Sunday morning...
Sunday evening, KK did her first COVID-19 self-test, I've been impressed with how maturely she's been handling the whole testing situation, I'm not sure I would have at her age. The self-test is interesting, the indictator device is a bit like a pregancy test - (as a father, that's such an odd thing to think) - you sit waiting half-an-hour for the result... negative! So back to school for KK! 😆
March 15, 2021 to March 21, 2021
The past week went by quite quickly, I can't really think what happened. With both kids now back to school, I've spent most of my time focusing on work tasks. I'm still working from the dining table, I haven't quite felt the need to get back to my office just yet. I suspect as the spring seasons kicks in I'll get back in there.
KK has been pushing for more MCU movies... this week we've watched Doctor Strange, Thor 3 (Ragnarok), (one of my favourites from the series), and then Avengers: Infinity War (last night). KK's reaction at the end of Infinity War, wow! She's pleading me to watch Endgame immediately, ha!
Renewing our mortgage, always a pain in the backside. We're at the end of our fixed interest rate term, our mortgage advisor wants to find us the best deals, but given my business situation it's that hassle of gathering accurate financials. I fall into that grey area of business ownership, I'm a company director, so not an employed, nor self-employed, I get paid with dividends, so no salary, no payslips. It's all sortable, just that little more hassle than presenting recent payslips. 🤷♂️
Umbraco-wise, I had a good catch-up with Marc about Umbraco property-editors. I like that we're always exploring ideas, a lot of which stems back to our "Atomic Design" talk at CG18... and the Periodic Table of Umbraco Property Editors, (I've linked to Kevin's version of it, as that's much better than my one!) It also inspired me to bring back the Buttons list-editor to my Contentment plug-in.
Saturday family movie night was my choice... La La Land. It'd been on my watchlist for a long time, but kept putting off - probably because it felt overhyped when it came out, (and all the Oscars stuff). But I wanted us to have a change from the usual Disney, Marvel, Harry Potter franchise movies and enjoy a modern musical. La La Land did not disappoint, we enjoyed it very much! It had a great balance of modern romance with a callback to classic Hollywood movies, (I was a fan of Rebel Without a Cause in my late-teens, so those references were cherished). LL thought the ending was sad because they didn't get back together, but I explained that it was a happy ending as they did make their own dreams come true.
Continue watching I May Destroy You, turning out to be an impressive show, it tackles much more than I was expecting. I think in time this will be one of those pivotal shows for the Millennial generation.
I did a couple more attempts at jigsaw time-lapse videos, but haven't uploaded them as they feel very samey as last weeks one.
March 8, 2021 to March 14, 2021
Could this be, a glimmer of the return to "normality"? KK's last week of remote learning, back to "in person" school on Monday, (that's today, at the time of writing, bah to my self-imposed Sunday evening deadlines!).
It was a funny moment when LL returned to school last Monday, my initial reaction was to rejoice, hurrah! A small piece of my freedom returned. By lunch, I remembered that we usually sat down to eat whilst watching old quiz shows on Challenge TV, like Catchphrase or Wheel of Fortune, (all very dated), and I felt a pang of sadness that LL wasn't there to enjoy this with us, as she usually did.
Tuesday, Lucy completed the jigsaw we'd started the week before, I say completed, there was 1 missing piece! Although we later found out that Lucy's dad had it. He'd been wondering which jigsaw this random sky-blue piece had came from, mystery solved.
Wednesday, My mum had her first COVID-19 vaccine. Another small piece of returning to "normality". 🧩❤
My neighbour lent me The Harry Hill Movie on DVD, which itself is funny as my DVD player has been packed in a box since I moved house over 3 years ago! I used to love watching TV Burp, my neighbour recommended that it was one for the whole family... and he wasn't wrong, it's a dreadful story, cringe-worthy gags, plenty of facepalm moments... we loved it! 🤣 (I say we. KK made a swift exit halfway through, she'd had enough of the cringe.) The chicken scene just cracked me up, hilarious!
Thursday, KK was desperate to start Phase Three of the MCU, with Captain America: Civil War - which is pretty much an Avengers movie. KK is loving these movies, picking up on all the fan-service references, (some of which I'm only noticing after a few viewings).
Lucy and I have started watching I May Destroy You on BBC iPlayer. It'd been something that I heard a lot about, had loads of good reviews and press, but I'd put off because I thought subject-wise it'd be too heavy. So far, (we're about 4 episodes in), it has a good balance of humour to offset the darker moments.
Saturday family movie night was KK's choice... Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is the first of them that is rated 12, LL felt a bit awkward about watching a movie that she "shouldn't be watching", but given she'd played the LEGO game and already knew most of the story, it was less of a risk. To be honest, the most noticeable things were Ron saying "Bloody Hell!" a few more times than usual.
Sunday, Mothering Sunday. ❤ Much love and respect to all your mothers!
Jigsaws. Nothing this week. But I have been experimenting with the idea of doing a time-lapse video of completing a jigsaw. Trying to figure out how to best tackle it was a struggle, turns out that the built-in time-lapse feature on my Android phone (Pixel 4a) has a limit of 20 minutes. I tried using my old GoPro (HERO4 Session), but the resulting video felt janky. After searching and searching, I found an Android app called Framelapse, which seems to do the job well. Here's my test footage...
March 1, 2021 to March 7, 2021
That was it, the last week of remote learning 🎉 - except not quite. LL goes back from Monday, (today, I'm late writing this note up), but KK's school is doing a staggered start, so she's back next Monday. Still, it's going to be quiter during the day in our house.
KK ramped up on watching MCU movies. We watched Captain America 2 on Monday night, I'd been trying to keep any spoilers from KK, her face was priceless when she found out who The Winter Solider was, classic! Wednesday night, we watched Avengers 2, which was good timing for me, to revisit the backstory in preparation for WandaVision.
re: WandaVision, (the finale, it was very good!), without much of a spoiler, there's a scene where the Ship of Theseus dilemma is discussed - I couldn't help but think of that Only Fools and Horses sketch, Trigger's Broom.
Watched the concluding episodes of The Serpent, really good, enjoyed this show.
Started another jigsaw, a 1000 piece one, this time with a view to take it at a slower pace. Not several hours in a single sitting, but over the course of several days. By the end of Tuesday I had edging done. Came back to it on Wednesday for an hour or so, struggled to make any progress. By Thursday, Lucy had took over, she's been enjoying it, so I left her to it.
I'm probably having that typical programmer syndrome of "flow", in a single sitting I could keep a mental model of the problem, whereas doing it in piecemeal it takes time for me to get back up to speed.
Thursday, I released v1.2.0 of my Contentment plugin for Umbraco. One of the new features is Telemetry data - my aim is to use this so that I can understand how plugin's components are being used. I put together a report page that analyses the telemetry data, this will be useful to see where to best focus my efforts for future developments.
Saturday family movie night was Lucy's choice... Pan. It was alright, kids seemed to enjoy it, but I couldn't escape the question of why?! Did anyone actually want a prequel for Peter Pan? Maybe the film-makers were hoping for a big series of follow up movies? I don't know, just felt odd.
Sunday. I did another collage!
As I was about to throw out the OK! and Vogue magazines, I thought I'd take one last flick through them. Noticed a few nice black & white shots, so I got the scissors and glue out again. Bit of a simplier one this time around, tried to keep it classy.
I named this one Director's C
February 22, 2021 to February 28, 2021
Counting down the days until the schools fully reopen, (8th March). Although, while I'm looking forward to regaining some "normality", I'm sure I'll miss them being around all day.
Previous week, I made a tweet about the latest Umbraco install stats, (it's going in the right direction), this triggered a follow up conversation with Lars from Umbraco about historical stats and HQ's efforts moving forwards. All part of the evolution of a maturing CMS.
Started watching The Serpent on BBC iPlayer. Reminict of our own backpacking experiences, making friends with everyone, it is scary how you could easily fall into being decieved, (or worse). I remembered about the time we were in Bali and a driver was acting very suspuctious, anything could have happened. We wrote about our Bali experiences on our old travelblog.
Since completing LEGO Harry Potter, (in Week 05), I'd been playing LEGO Indiana Jones with LL. Tuesday evening we were so close to completing it 100%, so we agreed to get up early Wednesday morning and finish it off.
Finally cancelled my mobile phone contract with EE. I'd been with them since 2006, (well started with T-Mobile), never really had any problems with them, but recent years price increases and additional charges just got a bit too much, so have moved over to GiffGaff, (similar package for a third of the price!) Kept my same number, all seamless.
Caught up with Matt & Lucy about CODECABIN. Figuring out the possible logistics of doing it this year, with COVID-19 there are so many factors to consider. First and foremost is the safety of our CODECABIN guests.
Friday was also the day for the next letter in Alphabet Albums. Selections for "E" are: Eels - Beautiful Freak , Ezio - Black Boots On Latin Feet, and The Eagles - Hotel California. Alphabet Albums seems to be inspiring others, Ravi has been making suggestions too!
Stumbled upon a website called Songlink/Odesli that gathers all the link for various services for a particular song or album. For the Alphabet Albums I've been linking to Spotify as that's what I use, but the Songlink embed offers links to the available alternatives too.
Here's the one for The Eagles - Hotel California.
Received a letter from the ICO, stating that my company hadn't paid a Data Protection fee. Which was the first time I was hearing about such a fee. I don't think it applies to us, but will follow up during the next week.
Saturday family movie night was LL's choice, and she finally picked... Pocahontas, (see Week 03 for relevance). I'm not sure if I was feeling tired, but I struggled to connect with the characters and story, felt a bit meh. Kids seemed to enjoy it though.
No jigsaws or collages this week. I guess I am tired.
(I hadn't even mentioned MCU or WandaVision this week!) 😉
February 15, 2021 to February 21, 2021
Lockdown + school half term + working from home = a fragile balancing act.
I've been working from home since 2006, so I'm used to the normal turbulence that comes with school holidays, but with lockdown, urgh! I'm not sure where the expectation comes from of being constantly available at a moment's notice - "let's go for a long walk!" - doesn't quite fit in with my work schedule... but then, what schedule? I'm my own boss, I can set my own hours, right?! I guess my aim throughout these lockdowns has been to find structure to my day... but this week, efforts were thrown out the window! 😆
Let's get the weekly MCU out the way. KK's interest came back, we watched Thor 2, which I felt was one of the weaker MCU movies, but KK enjoys the relationship between Thor and Jane Foster, mostly because she's read the recent comics where Jane has become Thor. Watched latest WandaVision episode too, again no spoilers! I like where the story is heading.
Wednesday was KK's 13th birthday - cue Harry Enfield's Kevin sketch. I did an acrostic of THIRTEEN for her birthday card. She had a lovely day.
Thursday, had the lovely job of unclogging our sewer drain. Rods at the ready! 🤢 Ah, the joys of children using too much toilet paper! 🧻 I'll say no more. 🤐
GitHub Skyline - a 3D model of your GitHub contribution graph. Mine looks busy enough. Although, remember it's quality not quantity in your open-source contributions!
Completed the last part of my recent "jigsaw trilogy"...
Expand for a rambling about my jigsaw process.
When I do these jigsaws, I have been asked what I do with them afterwards. Do I keep them? Frame them? Put them up on a wall? It's an odd question to me, as I put them away almost immediately after I've taken a photo of the completed jigsaw. To me, a pleasure and process of doing a jigsaw is the journey not the destination. I enjoy the solving the problem in front of me, piecing it together, (as obvious as that sounds) are part of the creation. After the completion - achievement unlocked - then comes the destruction, taking apart, a hard reset. I take comfort in the symmetry - we create, we destroy.
Our Saturday family movie night we watched Pete's Dragon on Disney+, was predictable, but a good enjoyable family movie!
Watched part 2 of Adam Curtis' Can't Get You Out of My Head. Whilst I find it interesting, I can't help but think that it could have been done in half the time, total runtime of 6+ hours feels like it's labouring the point.
I think I may be going mad. I wasn't sure whether to write this next part or not. But as I've mentioned before, I'm not writing this for you (dear reader), I'm writing this for myself, my future self. Some reality, some humour, some truth.
I may have gone mad, not that I care, expand if you dare.
Sunday. The kids had watched several episodes of whatever on Netflix, totally zonked out, I had to get them away from the TV. I suggest that we do something creative. "What like?" they retort. I see a couple of magazines, ready for recycling - OK! and Vogue - not that we read these, (they were a gift from Lucy's friend, a cheer-me-up). I flick through them and suggest that we do a collage poster. Take random heads, put them on random bodies, random objects in random environments. The kids looked at me as if I was daft - probably right - "No thanks!" and they were off, escaping to their rooms.
"But it'll be fun." I call after them. No response.
I'm stubborn. It will be fun! I flick through the magazines looking for any inspiration. I start cutting, cutting and more cutting. Then gluing, gluing and more gluing, until... this...
Later, my youngest came back, saw the collage and chuckled. She picked up the scissors, flicked through the magazine, cut, cut, cut, glue, glue, glue, youthful creativity ensue.
I sent a photo of the collage around to a few friends, who thought it was amusing and had some artistic merit - well maybe that of a 14 year-old Y9 student 😆 - so I thought I'd share on this weeknote. Will I do more? Not sure. Could be something, could be nothing, more likely a mad moment in time.
February 8, 2021 to February 14, 2021
Threw myself into work mode at the start of the week, Monday, Tuesday were fine, they flowed nicely. Maybe too nicely - might have even zoned out, as by Wednesday I thought it was Thursday! Losing track of days (again), welcome to Lockdown Britain 2021.
Biscuit of the week is Chocolate Hobnobs. Oh, how I missed thee, it has been too long.
Found the new feature in Chrome web-browser, to generate a QR code from a website's URL. There I was thinking that QR codes were a passing fad, but now it's upfront in browser address bar! Here's one for my weeknotes...
Loving the T-Rex from Chrome's offline dinosaur game. Also TIL that you can play the Chrome dinosaur game whilst online, by typing
chrome://dino/ in the address bar, (I think Chrome disallows you to click on the link directly).
I wrote a blog post about how to use Umbraco's Image Cropper configuration as a data-source for a Data List editor - from my Contentment plugin. I'd been wanting to write something Umbraco-related, something in addition to these weeknotes.
Thursday evening we had school Parents Evening for KK. Of course, thanks to COVID-19, it was all done online. The school use a platform called School Cloud, a week earlier we went in, selected which teachers to see at which time slot, then on the night we logged on, had the full schedule all set up. All we had to do was wait for each video call to start - up pops the teacher, have a 5 minute chat, then on to the next one. Other parents I've chatted to have all been very impressed with the platform - even more than doing in-person Parents Evenings!
Afterwards, I joined the Umbraco London meetup - lots of great info about re-platforming to .NET 5 and future Umbraco roadmap. Although I've become very weary of Zoom calls - especially with larger audiences, I started to keep my video off and not really interact much - felt odd for me. Hoping that's just a lockdown thing.
Friday - as one of my friends told me - was a Palindrome Day! . I guess that is better than Groundhog Day... oh no wait, does that it's the same, but backwards?!
Didn't watch too much TV this past week. Watched the latest WandaVision episode, but I don't want to say much about it yet - no spoilers, still enjoying it. Adam Curtis has a new documentary film series out, Can't Get You Out of My Head, only watched part 1 so far.
Saturday family movie night would have been my choice, but KK was having a virtual sleep over - is that a thing now? A continuous video call with a few friends, watching Netflix together using some sync party app thing - I'm told it's called Teleparty. Anyway, so I let LL pick a movie instead... Monsters, Inc.
My sister got me a "jigsaw trilogy" for Christmas, two 500 pieces, and one 1,000 pieces. I did the 500 piece ones over the weekend...
Sunday evening, we tried to find a nice romantic comedy movie to watch for Valentine's Day - not that we usually do anything for valentines - couldn't find anything classy, so we picked Penguin Bloom - a good heartfelt movie.
February 1, 2021 to February 7, 2021
Noticing how I start off these weeknotes with a comment on how the past week has been a struggle, I can see a pattern emerging with me. Mondays, I try to get back into a work mindset - except my current work is somewhat lacking, both in substance and motivation - that is, along with juggling the kids' home-school schedule. Tuesdays, I feel awful. Guilt. Probably why I keep having those "what day is it again?" moments. By Wednesday, I've given myself a kick up the backside and feel that I have a grip on things again, an optimism. Thursdays, Fridays, I feel fine, but then the weekend breaks routine and I find myself back at the start of a vicious cycle. C'est la vie.
Whilst we're on a downer, here comes the "Dad joke of the week"...
Thursday, back to the dentist, (oh, should have made the "tooth-hurty" joke instead!), for what I thought would be another impression taken for the implant, oh no, it was the implant itself. I'm not sure how I didn't know in advance, (I blame lockdown; convenient scapegoat), but I was not prepared for it. I knew I'd be numbed up, so no physical pain, but still the thought of drilling and stitches didn't fill me with a warm happy feeling. The implant screw/socket thing all went fine, was done within an hour, no pain, just a bit achy once the novocaine had worn off. Spent most of the day in bed, sleeping it off, (any excuse!)
Friday evening was our local monthly Yatton 'Skype' Open Mic Night! (It's actually on Zoom.) My band didn't do any songs for this one, but I did do a few of the compering links. Good fun to do something different and creative.
MCU time! Not to give any spoilers with the episode 5 of WandaVision, let's say that I'm excited and intrigued about how future stories will open up and tie together. KK hasn't mentioned carrying on with Phase 2 movies yet.
At the weekend, we went out for a family walk - as we'd got out of the habit of our daily walks - so took a longer walk to make up for it, that's how it works, right?
Saturday family movie night was KK's choice... Mulan (the new live action version). It was one of those that I wasn't too interested in seeing, but KK was eager so we gave it a go. As usual, Disney deliver, ended up being an enjoyable adventure/action movie. As I'm getting older, any emotional father/daughter scenes pull on my heart string! Huh? tears? oh, my eye was itchy.
Sunday, after months of (infrequent) searching for the "last Gold Brick", LL and I have 100% completed Lego Harry Potter (Years 1–4) on the Wii! (Yes, I still have a Wii.) If you're familiar with it, (or any of the LEGO-themed movie games), you'll know how frustrating and time consuming it is to find all the last little bits and pieces. LL was super happy that we got 100%, (and could play as Lord Voldemort!)
January 25, 2021 to January 31, 2021
I must admit it's been a struggle writing up this weeknote, I kept putting it off. The past week had been tougher, cabin fever kicked in. Remember to breathe, look after yourself. Fitter happier. More productive. Comfortable. Not drinking too much.
For most of the week, I didn't watch any TV shows or movies - maybe because in writing these weeknotes I realise how much TV I was watching? Not sure. On the positive side, we did play more family games in the evenings.
We did a series of Downfall play-offs, (not the crappy modern version, but Lucy's original blue version from the 80s! Nostalgia!) Ultimately, Lucy won, LL came 2nd, with KK and I in joint 3rd.
Uh-oh, it's "Dad joke of the week" time...
Paid my personal tax bill - tends to pain me, I mean, yes, paying tax is a good thing, think it's more that bitter pill to swallow at the start of the year! On a positive note, Beatles' Taxman always gets stuck in my head - great song!
re: MCU, (because I've mentioned it every week now), the latest WandaVision episode was the only one I watched. Enjoying where the story is heading.
I did a jigsaw on Saturday afternoon...
Saturday family movie night was Lucy's choice... Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Re-watching the films closer together, it's incredible seeing how much the actors age between them. Great movie, one of my favourites out of the series.
January 18, 2021 to January 24, 2021
These lockdown weeks seem to be getting tougher. This past week has mentally taken its toll on us - at this point I always acknowledge that we (as a family) are in a much more privileged position than others, so I shouldn't complain - although everything is relative to your own circumstances. Oh, how very English of me.
Monday, I received the replacement Umbraco MVP New Year's gift, (the first one arrived in several shattered pieces, eek!), just in time for the afternoon's Umbraco HQ Hew Year webinar. Main announcement being that this year's CodeGarden will be a virtual event.
re: (the now regular slot of) MCU movies - I gave in, we watched Iron Man 3 on Monday night. During the week I watched the first 3 episodes of WandaVision - I didn't watch with KK, didn't know if it'd spoil the other movies for her. WandaVision is interesting, at face value it's fun, while the underlying psycho-drama is apparent. Curious how much of the comic's House of M storyline plays out in the show.
Tuesday was one of those weird days again where I thought it was Wednesday, lost all track of time. I wasn't feeling too great, had a stomach ache - couldn't concentrate on work, had to escape the house - went for a long walk, few miles to get some fresh air and clear my head. A good opportunity to listen to the current Alphabet Albums.
Wednesday - the actual Wednesday - I had an Umbraco MVP Connect call, covered similar to Monday's main HQ webinar, but with extra insider news - well, things that will be announced in due course, (or on Friday's umbraCoffee).
After the MVP Connect, I had a catch up with Marc, (Hi Marc! Yes, you got a mention on my weeknotes. 😆), chatted about family, work and editorial UX for Contentment Data List editors. Thinking around the usability of multi-selecting from a long list of options - more to come on that in future Contentment releases.
I've been winding the kids up with corny "dad jokes", so I don't see why you (dear reader) should get off so lightly. I hereby present my dubious (and meta) "Dad joke of the week"...
Thursday evening, I missed the Umbraco Manchester meet-up! It looked a good one, I'm always curious about insights on Content Modeling. In my defence, I was preparing for LL's 10th birthday... I seem to get carried away with doodling on their birthday cards.
Saturday we went out for a 6 mile walk, an elaborate round trip to Lucy's folks to drop off some birthday cake.
Saturday family movie night was LL's choice... Lilo and Stitch 2 - she had suggest Pocahontas, (which none of us have actually seen before), but she suddenly changed her mind last minute. I like the original Stitch movie, the sequel was daft, but it was only about an hour long, and it had Elvis references!
Once the kids were in bed, I watched Dark Waters - I do like a good "inspired by a true story" political/legal thriller, I'd been wanting to watch it for a while - but knew the subject matter would be quite heavy, so been putting it off. Great acting and writing, I couldn't get to sleep afterwards, the details kept playing on my mind. Will we ever understand the darker impacts of our own inventions, on the environment, on our humanity?
January 11, 2021 to January 17, 2021
The week started with a dentist appointment to get an x-ray and impression for a potential implant, (had a tooth extract a few months ago). Back again early February for further impression and tooth modelling.
Slowly getting back into the swing with work. Still working from the dining table, I haven't braved my garage-office yet, (too cold). Built a couple of nice features for the Neon platform.
In the muddle of work and the kid's remote-learning, everyday has become lockdown groundhog day. I spent most of Wednesday thinking it was Tuesday (almost to the point of argument), then Thursday felt like Wednesday, and Friday who knows. Days lost, sanity questioned.
I've been enjoying hacking around on my personal website. I've ripped out the static site generator and gone back to hand-coding with good old HTML, CSS and PHP. Put together a page for the jigsaws I've completed. In the spirit of learning, I took a look at Tailwind CSS for making the Jigsaws page. I gave it a couple of hours, but cognitively struggled with getting the syntax in my head, spent more time searching the reference documentation - so sacked it off, went with plain old trustworthy CSS. I wanted something up there fast. I'm sure Tailwind is super productive for those who've invested the time, alas, maybe next time.
I'm feeling quite comfortable with my personal website being a mess, by that I mean unstructured. For many years I wanted to have an over-arching structure for the whole website, but that lead me to a long road of procrastination. My current idea is to have a collection of microsites for my various interests.
Successfully avoided any MCU movies this week, much to the disappointment of KK. Probably a few more days until I cave in. Watched the final few episodes of The Fall - 3rd series felt slow, but overall enjoyed it, more interested in the psychiatric aspects than the drama.
Friday was the day for the next letter in Alphabet Albums. Selections for "B" are: Blancmange - Wanderlust, The Brilliant Corners - Somebody Up There Likes Me, and The Beatles - Revolver.
Not too much went on at the weekend, spent most of Saturday out in the garden - sounds idyllic, well if de-weeding, pruning and shifting paving stones takes your fancy. Good to be outside though.
Saturday family movie night, we attempted to watch Bristol Old Vic's "At Home" performance of Swallows and Amazons, but we hit buffering problems, (not sure if it was a Chromecast issue or something else, we'll try again next week), so we paused it and watched Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets instead, (it's LL's first time watching the series, she was very excited).
Sunday, quiet day - had planned on a jigsaw, but ended up mucking around on the piano, re-learning some old Beatles tunes, like The Fool on the Hill.
January 4, 2021 to January 10, 2021
After a few weeks of yo-yo'ing between Tier 2 and Tier 3, we welcomed in the New Year with a full national lockdown!
School started back up, with remote learning in full swing, and both kids having full schedules. The primary school schedule is a little more flexible, but secondary school is pretty much full lessons between 9am and 3pm, (with lunch and breaks, of course).
I'm not sure how we got through the previous national lockdowns with only one laptop between the kids, but this time it wasn't going to cut it, so had to buy an extra laptop. After much research to find a decently priced, well spec'd laptop - basically it had to be able to run Microsoft Teams (full app) and Roblox (for the kids own sanity), I settled on a Surface Laptop Go. Reasonably priced forthe spec, slightly higher than my budget in mind, but I've had other Surface devices and know what I'm dealing with, plus minimal adware/bloat.
I've struggled to get myself back into a work mindset. I'd relocated from my garage-office to back inside the house, at the dining table, a couple of weeks before Christmas, as my garage-office was starting to feel too cold, (poorly insulated). This was fine whilst the kids were at school, but the past week of remote-learning has proven to be not very productive for me.
Daily walks, mostly around the local park, quite repetitive towards the end of the week.
Watched quite a few movies, KK has convinced me to do the MCU marathon with her. This week was Phase One of the Infinity Saga - Iron Man, Iron Man 2, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers. KK has really enjoyed them, but I'm slightly Marvel'd out for one week. Might give it a rest before starting Phase Two.
Our Saturday family movie night we watched Soul on Disney+, we enjoyed it very much.
Another lockdown thing I'm doing with a couple of my music-loving neighbours is, Alphabet Albums. Starting with "A", each fortnight we take the next letter of the alphabet and pick an album starting with the artist (band name or surname). Selections for "A" are: ABBA - The Visitors, Tori Amos - Under The Pink, and Paul Anka - Rock Swings.
I also completed a couple of jigsaws...