Week 04

Week 03

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"...

Is it appropriate to make a 'dad joke' if you're not a dad?
No, it's a faux pa!

Cue face-palm 🤦‍♂️

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.

LL's 10th birthday card illustration
My illustration on LL's 10th birthday card.
OK, the number of days hasn't taken leap years into account, doh!

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?

Been playing LEGO Indiana Jones on the Wii with LL, reminiscing various scenes from the movies, so decided to watch Last Crusade whilst writing up these weeknotes.

Week 02

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.

Week 01

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...

Where are The Beatles? 300 piece jigsaw.
Where are The Beatles? 300 piece jigsaw. Took about 90 minutes, alone.
Balloon Festival. 500 piece jigsaw.
Balloon Festival. 500 piece jigsaw. Took about 3 hours with Lucy.