• Finished Reading: Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers ๐Ÿ“š โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ

    This series is just cosy and nice, just… people getting along and trying to understand themselves and each other. It’s not exciting but it just makes you feel quietly good.

  • Currently reading: Cheer Up Love by Susan Calman ๐Ÿ“š

  • ๐Ÿ“บ Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99 (2022)

    Trainwreck: Woodstock ‘99 poster

    I watched this after listening to the episode about Woodstock ‘99 on The Big Flop podcast. I’m a bit surprised I hadn’t heard about this before as this was kind of my era (then again I was only a teenager and the internet wasn’t as ubiquitous at the time). Dear me, what a shitshow! Very interestin, very infuriating that the people running it seemed completely oblivious to everything going wrong, and even in the interviews they still don’t see to grasp what horrible mistakes they made. I suppose at least they made lots of money though, eh.

  • I really like the new Apple Watch Pride Strap. The fluorescent colours are very pretty.

    (I promise it isn’t as tight as it looks in this photo, it’s nice and comfy ๐Ÿ˜Š)

    The 2024 Apple Watch pride strap and watch face, showing the interwoven neon colours

  • One of my fidget toys - a big squishy ball with tinsel-ish stuff inside. My sister and I were wondering what it would look like in slow motion. I like it!

  • Finished Reading: The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris ๐Ÿ“š

    Like when I read the first edition years ago, I’ve come away with some ideas about the kind of person I want to be and how I might realistically start moving in that direction. I like the new ‘tools’ in this edition too

  • I’m looking forward to seeing actual videos of the new Apple Watch pride strap. It looks nice in Apples photos and I’m pretty tempted

  • ๐Ÿ“ท Blue sky and green trees today

    A cloudless blue sky above a mostly empty car park, at the back of which is a row of trees with green leaves that contrast against the sky

  • My little niece had her first sleepover at my house yesterday. I probably got about 2 hours sleep total last night but we had fun and I returned her to her parents in one piece at lunch time today so overall it was a huge success.

    We talked about her sleeping over again something and I said yes but I need about a month to recover from this one.

    Highlights included temporary tattoos, a massive bumblebee in the house and asking Siri what a llama sounds like (they sound like me when my alarm goes off in the morning)

  • DNF: You Are Not So Smart by David McRaney ๐Ÿ“š

    Meh. I’ve been on Reddit too

  • Currently reading: The Radium Girls by Kate Moore ๐Ÿ“š

  • My little bike

    I should have bought a bike ages ago! I bought this little folding bike from Halfords a few months ago, thinking that it will be a way to get myself outside a bit more. I’m still taking my time here because it’s kind of hilly where I live, and there are some really bike-unfriendly roads. But the little trips out that I’ve made so far have been awesome. I’ve also had a lot of fun buying bits and bobs for the bike and I thought I would share.

    Halfords do a couple of versions of this folding bike and at the time, this one was about ยฃ85 cheaper than the others. This one has disc brakes, the others have rim brakes but also have mudguards and a rear rack. Honestly, I like the colour of the other one better too. But hey, 85 quid. And the bright red is kind of growing on me!

    My little red folding bike, leaning on its kickstand. The black spokes on the wheels have white spoke reflectors attached. My helmet is dangling from its strap on the saddle. There’s a small bag attached to the ‘inside’ of the handlebars and a rear rack bag that’s loaded up

    Mudguards

    It turns out that Halfords don’t sell mudguards or a rack to fit this bike so I got these from Amazon. They were about ยฃ10 and they’re actually meant for kid’s bikes (with 16" or 20" wheels) but they fit on here absolutely fine. They are a bit plasticky and don’t look as nice as the ones on the other version of this bike but I mean, they’re just mudguards. They’re also really light and I’m not the strongest person in the world so I think that’s good too when you consider I still want a bike that I can fold and lift.

    They were the first thing I added to the bike. It was easy to do but I think the screw hole for the rear one on my bike must be 90 degrees to where it is on other bikes? I had to bend the bracket almost totally back on itself to fit it. Still only took a few minutes and I was proud of my first bit of customisation

    Lights

    Just from Decathlon and not very expensive, they came in a set with both the front and back lights. Both are brighter than I was expecting them to be. They attach and detach quickly. The front one came with a little bracket that just finger-tightens on the handlebars and the light itself just slides in to the bracket. The rear light has a rubber strap that fastens around the seat post. They charge by micro-USB, and I think that’s the only bad thing I can really say about them. I don’t plan to be riding around in the dark anyway so these aren’t going to be hammered with use

    Rear rack

    The other thing I was missing a bit when I got this version. I’m nowhere near brave enough to be riding this to work yet, or really for any distance where I might need to bring stuff with me but I mean, having a place to put stuff on the back is only going to come in handy isn’t it? Again, Halfords don’t sell racks for folding bikes but Decathlon do. I think they do two versions, and the one that I probably should have got for this bike was out of stock.

    My bike has the attachment points for the type of rack that has those two little arms that fit kind of horizontally. But I got the kind that fits to that same spot as the mudguard instead. Again, this hole seems to be oriented differently to what’s expected, and so I had a bit of trouble bending the bar to get it to fit. You can see I’ve not done the best job when you look closely but actually that metal bar is really strong so I’m happy with it. This was a little more involved to fit than the mudguards and I actually managed to get everything nice and sturdy, and it’s fairly level too. Having this on actually makes the bike a lot easier to lift, which is a nice bonus.

    I had to move the rear reflector from its original place on the frame as the rack would block it, and it’s mildly annoying that it’s off-centre but it doesn’t matter. The maximum weight that this rack is supposed to be able to take is 10kg, and considering I bent that bar it might actually be a bit less. I doubt my puny legs would be able to haul much weight anyway so again, this is fine for me. The rack itself is nice and light too so again I haven’t made the bike much heavier for myself here.

    This rack has a spot for attaching a little flashy light that Decathlon sells (as does the helmet that I bought at the same time) and when I have the reflector fitted here I can’t use that, but again as I’m not planning on going out at night I don’t think this will be a big deal

    Reflectors

    I fell off my bike on one of my first rides out, and I think this is when I lost of one of the spoke reflectors. I saw these ones on Temu though and I actually really like them. They’re very reflective - more so than the ones that it came with. I quite like the contrast between the white reflectors and the black spokes.

    Bags

    I have one small bag attached to the handlebars. Decathlon calls it a water bottle holder but it comes in handy for putting my phone and things like that in. It’s nice and tall though so it does make a really good bottle holder.

    A view of the handlebars. The bars themselves are black, as are the accessories that are attached. From left to right: there’s a bell nearest the left grip, then a front reflector screwed on near the middle. A small water bottle bag is velcro’d to the middle of the bars and the post. To the right of this is a bracket for attaching the front light, then the gear shifter is nearest to the right grip

    I bought the rear rack bag from Temu and like everything from Temu I wasn’t expecting much but it seems to be alright. It fixes on with two velcro straps so it’s not exactly quick to take on and off but I don’t think that will matter. I stayed overnight at my sister’s house (which is only about a mile away, and I was coming home first thing in the morning) and I had room for PJs etc in the bag itself, and used the elastic ties to fasten a light hoodie on top. I was lovely to not need a backpack!

    A close up of the rear rack and rack bag. The bag is mostly black with a small silver reflective strip. It looks quite full. On top, a light grey hoodie is fastened by elastic straps. There’s a small water bottle pocket on the back, containing an empty blue water bottle

  • After having a really rough time at work over the last several weeks, my boss suggested I move my compressed day off from a Monday, as I was coming in to work every Tuesday morning on the back foot, with everyone else having a day’s worth of demands to chuck at me. I asked if I could have Wednesdays off instead. Today was the first time I got to see the benefit of this and oh yes, it’s been lovely to have a little mid-week rest!

  • Currently reading: Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers ๐Ÿ“š

  • Redoing my todo list for non-work stuff

    Trying out a new way of keeping a todo list for non-work stuff, inspired by Plaintext Productivity. I’m not using todo.txt as I can’t see a way to have that information available on a widget that I can have on the home screen of my phone. So I’m sticking with using iOS’s Reminders app.

    One of the inspirations I’m taking is around what actually gets added to the list. On that site, your todo list should be for anything you are actually realistically going to get done in the next week. If you don’t really think you’re going to do a task, be honest with yourself and don’t add it. And if a task is due further in the future or it’s just not something you need to do right now, don’t put it on your list, but instead put an event in your calendar to remind you (or if it really is just a ‘nice to do someday’ make a note of it somewhere). The outcome should be that your todo list consists only of things that you can and should do as soon as possible.

    The other part that I liked was the use of priorities. Using todo.txt, the idea is to use the (B) priority for tasks you intend to get done that day, and the (A) priority for your next task. (C) and (D) also get used for tasks that are likely to be done later in the week. Priorites can be assigned, changed and cleared with a single keypress, meaning that you can quickly choose the task you’re going to do next, and easily reconsider the tasks you think you’ll get done that day just with a few taps on the keyboard.

    The author of the site mentions that he gets interrupted a lot at work (and I do too so I’m going to try copying this system more closely at work) which is why it should be very obvious what the current task is. For me, for non-work stuff, it’s not that I’m going to be distracted (well, that could still happen of course), but more that I would just like to know what’s next on my list so that I can get started on it when I’m ready. Having a big list and thinking ‘oh yeah, what did I decide I was gonna do?’ slows the whole process down.

    (I think this is one of the reasons I’m dropping my Bullet Journal for now - flipping through pages looking at open tasks that aren’t really in any kind of order seems a little bit overwhelming at the moment)

    The reminders app does have a Priorities function, but it’s not fast to use. To edit a task’s priority you need to click into it, scroll down a little and then select the priority from a little menu. The idea is that priorities should be very quick to assign and change so that you can quickly choose which task you’re going to work on next, and I think the clunkiness of priorites in Reminders gets in the way of doing this.

    I’ve decided I will use the Flag function instead, and I’m using this in the same way the (A) priority gets used above. I think my list moves slowly enough that I won’t miss having any further way to break up the tasks.

    So I have one list, just called Todo. Everything that I want to get done in the next few days goes on the list. If it’s going to be further out than that, it can go on my calendar if there’s some sort of deadline associated with it, or if not I will just make a note of it in Bear to save for later. I can then look at my list, decide what I’m going to do next, and Flag it. This is a couple of taps on iOS which isn’t bad at all, or there’s a keyboard shortcut (cmd + shift + F) if I’m using a keyboard. I then have a Reminders widget on my homescreen that just shows Flagged items - meaning it just shows the thing I am intending to do next. I kind of like that the rest of my list is hidden away a little and that I only see my next job. I think it helps my mind to feel less cluttered and it’s easier to just focus on one thing.

    Once I’ve done the thing, I get to mark it as completed, and then take a moment to look back through the list and decide on the next thing. Taking this little bit of time is nice too, there’s something deliberate about it which again helps my brain feel less cluttered.

    I can add things to the list as they come up, either as I think of them or an event in my calendar turns up that gives me a little nudge. If I think of something I need to do, I like to write it down in Drafts, so that I have the option either at the time or later to decide whether it goes straight into Reminders, or into my calendar, or into Bear, depending on when I realistically am going to get that task done.

    The last part of the system is stuff in Bear, as mentioned earlier. If I have some project or a hobby-related idea that I might want to do at some point, I’ll put it in a note somewhere in Bear and mark it as a task. Bear has a Todo option in the sidebar which lists all notes with unticked tasks, and so periodically I can browse through these and add them to Reminders if I want. For me there’s no real intention of getting anything in Bear done with any urgency, it’s just ideas that are there ready for me to pick up in the future if/when I feel like it.

    I’ve only been trying this out for a little while but I like it so far. It helps avoid that feeling of a huge list of tasks that doesn’t seem to be budging and that is hard to pick apart and get started on. As I’m working on improving my mental health hopefully this will help me get things done slowly and steadily.

  • Finished Reading: Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett ๐Ÿ“š

    The Witches are definitely my fave Discworld characters. I want to be Granny Weatherwax when I grow up lol

  • Currently reading: The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris ๐Ÿ“š

    I’ve read the first edition but not this one. I’m cautious of self-help books but this one actually had some real substance and practical stuff that has helped me before. March was a super crummy month for me and I need that help again

  • ๐ŸŽฎResetting my progress on Vampire Survivors today. I think the pretty lights and dopamine will do me good at the moment

  • Todo.txt, Notepad++ and AutoHotKey

    Recently been getting oddly excited about using todo.txt, after I discovered plaintext-productivity.net.

    My work laptop is super locked down though so I can’t install any apps (can’t even get Sleek off the App Store) so it’s Notepad++ and AutoHotKey all the way (I’m thrilled to bits that we’re allowed to use these at least!)

    So you can download a user-defined language to colour code your list in Notepad++, it turns out there’s already a hotkey in Notepad++ to sort alphabetically. I wrote a couple of lines in AutoHotKey to mark things as Done and to include the completion date. And then I completely cheated and downloaded a very fancy AutoHotKey script that has a GUI and everything.

    Only thing is, that doesn’t make much use of priorities (which I want to use), and the colour-coded text in Notepad++ is easier to read. So I’m using this to quickly add stuff occasionally, and also to archive completed tasks.

    I want to write myself a little script that will be able to add/remove/cycle through priorities, and figure out how that fancy script is doing the archiving. Then I’ll have a little toolset in AutoHotKey that will work alongside my little Notepad++ setup, and then I’ll get loads done!! Or at least I’ll get loads written down, and it’ll be nice colours.

  • ๐Ÿฟ The Super Mario Bros. Movie (2023) - โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…โ˜†โ˜†

    The Super Mario Bros. Movie poster

    Finally got around to watching this (with my sister and my niece). It’s exactly what you expect it to be. Dumb fun, my niece loved it