Back on 12 December last year, we had a spectacular rainbow out behind the house — so clear it felt you could reach out and touch it. Here’s a photo of it that I took on my phone, completely unedited:
That’s all: just something beautiful for these dark times.
“Lockdowns don’t work!”
Sorry, reality disagrees. This graph shows Covid-19 infection rates from the Government’s data as of today. I have superimposed pink boxes showing the 2nd lockdown (5th November–2nd December) and 3rd lockdown (4th January, ongoing.
This isn’t complicated.
Building modern software is so complicated. So many layers where things can go wrong. Vagrant, VirtualBox, Docker, Maven, JVM, Vert.X, Spring, Node, NPM, Cypress, Chai, SSH, tunnels, git, GitHub, Jenkins, Travis, the list goes on and on.
I understood everything about my Commodore 64. Now I barely understand NPM. I know there are good reasons why things are the way they are. But that doesn’t mean I don’t lament what we’ve lost.
And yet I can’t feel our family decision instead to re-watch the 2011 Christmas special The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe was the smart play. Apparently Graham and Ryan leave the series during the special, though, so that’s something to look forward to. It’s just possible that Yaz as sole companion might turn out to have as-yet only hinted-at depths.
Word on the street is that Jodie Whittaker’s on the way out, too, at the end of the forthcoming season. I for one will not mourn her passing, as I consider her the weakest of all the New Who Doctors. Now if we can just get rid of Chris Chibnall, we might really be getting somewhere.
And get of my darned lawn.
 OK, word in the Guardian if you want to be pedantic.
As the final, definitive break the the European Union approaches — the transition period that has shielded us from most of the implications of Brexit ends in 16 days — we’re starting to see headlines like “Furious British expats blast EU’s new post-Brexit travel rules which will ban them from spending more than three months at a time at their holiday home from January” in the Daily Mail.
As with so many of the unpleasant surprises that await us after 31st December, it’s really important to remember three things:
- This is not a punishment for Brexit.
- It’s not even a consequence of Brexit.
- It is Brexit.
What the UK is doing is leaving the European Union to become a third country that operates under the same rules as other third countries instead of as a member country.
This is, in other words, exactly what people voted for — or, at least what they say they voted for.
Turns out that Brexit means Brexit.
I recorded this song for a Christmas event at my church. It was written by Graham Kendrick, who is best known for congegational worship songs of 1980s that have not necessarily aged very well; but he was also rather a good singer-songwriter. This is his meditation on what Mary must have felt on the first Christmas, and whether even then she saw in Christmas the seeds of Easter.
Yes, it could do with a lot of tidying up; yes, I’m flat on the first high note on the chorus (“did she see there“); yes, there’s a fluff on on the guitar chord just after “here it comes again”. But at least there is a scientifically rigorous Brachiosaurus model on the mantelpiece behind me.
For what it’s worth, I find this song genuinely moving.
Northanger Abbey — Jane Austen
I’m making my way once more through all six of Austen’s completed novels, and was interested to see how this one would hold up. Although published posthumously it was actually the first one she completed, and bears many of the marks of juvenila — including a lot of pop-culture references that are now lost on us, and were probably already outdated by the time it was published fourteen years after completion.
In the last few weeks I’ve had a horrible and debilitating attack of arthritis, so extreme that for several days I was physically unable to leave my bedroom. It also fogged my brain so I was absolutely unable to concentrate, so couldn’t work from the bed. (Don’t worry, I am much better now, thanks to the wonder of anti-inflammatory steroids.) During my lay-up, I watched quite a few films, so here are some brief and beleated thoughts on them.
Rocky III (1982)
I watched the first four Rocky films way back around the time they first came out, and have been gradually revisiting them in the last year. Continue reading
I recently learned that Pink Floyd played a gig in my home town, a little under a year before I was born (on 12th March 1968):
It’s a strange thought. I am 52 years old. Pink Floyd are even older. For the princely sum of nine shillings and sixpence, I could have seen them play less than a mile from the house where I grew up, if only I’d had the foresight to be born twenty years earlier.
We live in a content-saturated world. It took me a long while to get used to the idea that books are now easy enough to source that I can start one, decide I don’t like it, and just give up. I don’t owe the book anything. The same of course goes for TV shows and films. Here are some that I have started, but given up on in the last few months.
This is the one that I sort of regret giving up on, and might return to. Continue reading