My physical wellbeing continues to slowly but steadily improve. I’m now in much less pain which is making everything else feel easier, including hauling myself to the gym in the dark every morning, so the positive feedback loop has gained a little purchase.
This week I cooked Ruby Tandoh’s hot and sour soup:
(Again, the original story has better audio. If I keep doing these videos I’ll need to find a better way to export them.)
“Plant-based” is rapidly taking over as a euphemism for “vegan” in the UK, presumably because it’s diet-focused and free from unpalatable ethical connotations. I’ve struggled to spot the vegan items on a menu at least twice this month because I didn’t realise they were marked “pb” rather than “v” or “vg”. Now that I know what to look out for, of course, there’s no problem — if it’s easier for me to find edible food then I don’t care what they call it.
It’s amazing how even the smallest tasks expand to fill the time available. For example: on Tuesday I went to the gym, had breakfast, ordered a hard drive, had lunch, bought ingredients and made dinner. That’s not a day’s worth of things is it? And yet.
It feels important to remind everyone — mainly myself — that I’m explicitly on holiday at the moment, so this utter absence of industry is all fine.
One long-running diversion this week has been the process of backing up, wiping and installing macOS Catalina on two computers (hence the hard drive). Starting from scratch is an opportunity to indulge my irrational desire to have as minimal, simple and unsurprising a setup as possible. That means switching from
chnode, and generally emptying all my configuration files and building them up again as I find things I definitely still need.
For years I’ve maintained a shell script that does all the
defaults writefaff to set up a fresh Mac to my liking, but it’s so hard to keep it working consistently across OS releases that I’ve declared bankruptcy and turned it into a list of manual instructions instead. Introducing a human sandwich means the procedure takes longer to execute but I think this arrangement will save me time overall because it won’t require any future investigation to determine whether it still works or makes sense. Besides, once I’d put the list together on the first computer it was surprisingly quick to mindlessly run through it on the second.
The most annoying thing which I initially forgot about: if you want to allow guest access to a shared folder over SMB, it’s not enough to enable it in Sharing → File Sharing, you have to also go to Users & Groups → Guest User and check “Allow guest users to connect to shared folders”. I’m including this not interesting but true information here in an attempt to make it slightly more likely that I’ll remember it next time I reinstall my Mac mini and end up sleepily struggling to get my Sonos to play rain sounds from it at bedtime. Welcome, again, to the future.
I’ve been a fan of Gourmet Makes for a while, but being on holiday has given me the opportunity to properly go down the Bon Appétit Test Kitchen Cinematic Universe rabbit hole. Bloody hell it’s good. They’re a model colocated team: smart, curious people with engaging personalities, beavering away happily in the background of each other’s work, spontaneously wandering over to help or commiserate. BA really upped their game in 2019 but I didn’t have time to notice until now.
Of course Gourmet Makes remains their best show. I could (and, at work, did) bang on all day about Claire Saffitz’s approach and how many important lessons it contains for software engineers specifically. I will not rest until I give an overwrought conference talk about this.
Their second-best show — new in 2019! — is Reverse Engineering. Watching Chris Morocco recreate dishes from taste alone is really fun, notwithstanding the unadulterated body horror of the lobster thermidor episode. Brad Leone’s freewheeling style makes It’s Alive entertaining despite the content itself being less interesting to me. And Making Perfect — also new in 2019! — is an inspired Avengers: Endgame payoff that unites the gang for a single mission.
To unnecessarily rank the main crew in order of how much I want to watch them: Claire most, Chris, Brad, Molly, Christina, Carla, Rick, Andy least. I’m always happy whenever Gaby or Sohla show up, and special mention for cool dad Adam Rapoport I suppose?
Although it feels like a personal failing, I think I must grudgingly accept that I’ve abandoned Outer Wilds. It has too much breadth for me: the initial pang of curiosity has been outpaced by the sheer quantity of different (and superficially disconnected) mysteries I’ve discovered, and now I feel overwhelmed with meaningless detail and confused about what to do next. I would much rather have pursued a single thread of enquiry to a satisfying conclusion before moving on to another, which I suppose is possible with enough forethought, but I don’t have the determination to make it happen. And yeah, as predicted, squinting at the large amounts of small text doesn’t make me any more motivated to continue.
We started watching The Witcher. I don’t understand what’s happening but it’s still pretty compelling.
My current weeknotes “process” is to take rough notes during the week as things occur to me, then on Sunday throw half of them away and write up the rest. So, believe it or not, you’re getting the good half.