A video, in which I rant about the challenges of carrying two-childrensworth of school gear while dragging our dog, herding somebody else’s dog, and trying to stop the kids from
fighting. Some mornings it’s easy. Today… it was not. Also available on YouTube.
Full transcript of the audio (except for the ocassional snorting sounds of our noisy Frenchie as she snuffles about in the background):
The morning school run is never effortless. But some days it’s easy.
Today was not one of those days.
It’s a Wednesday. So, for some strange reason, that’s the heaviest-laden day. And so, with the eldest child on her bike and the youngest on his scooter I set off, pulling the dog, and
carrying a PE kit, two book bags, two water bottles, and a guitar.
I should have realised early on that today wasn’t going to be a day that the universe smiled on me when the dog immediately ran off into a ditch to take a dump and I had to clamber down
into the ditch with a poop bag to fill it.
But while I’m coming out of the ditch I discover that the youngest child has zipped off up ahead in an effort to ram into his older sister and in doing so has inevitably flipped himself
over the handlebars of his scooter and is now lying, crying, in the middle of the road.
So I go over to him dragging the dog and carrying a PE kit and two book bags and two water bottles and a guitar and a bag full of poop and as best I can, carrying all those things,
console him and eventually, with some encouragement he’s able to get back up and carry on walking to school, but says he can no longer scoot, so I have to carry the scooter.
Now I’m dragging a dog and carrying a poop bag and a PE kit and two water bottles and two book bags and guitar… and a scooter… and that’s when the oldest child manages to throw the
chain off her bike.
Now she’s had little experience, in her defence, of the chain coming off her bike. And so she does the absolute worst thing possible which is tries to pedal as hard as possible to solve
the problem which makes it much worse. By the time I get there the chain is royally snarled between some of the sprockets and their housing, so I put down the guitar and the bag of poop
and I hand the lead to the younger child so that I can try to unpick the older child’s chain from her bike, getting myself covered in oil.
And that’s when I notice the commotion up ahead. There are some workmen who are rebuilding the wall outside Letterbox Cottage, and – up ahead of them – barking furiously, is a small
dog. This dog is Lovey, and she belongs to a friend of ours. And she’s probably the best example of whatever the opposite of nominative determinism is. Because Lovey is a truculent
little bitch. Lovey is a tiny small yappy dog who will start a fight with other dogs, try to see off workmen (which is what she’s doing at the time), and she’ll bark at passing cars.
And right now she’s running free, unattended, in the middle of the road. And one of the workmen says to me, “Oh, do you know who’s dog that is?” and I have to admit that yes, I do.
So, dragging our dog and carrying a PE kit and two book bags and two water bottles, a guitar, a scooter, and a bag of poop, I have to help round up this lost dog, who – if it gets too
close to our dog will start a fight – and get it back to the house where it lives.
So the younger child and I manage to succeed in our mission and return this lost dog and get back on our way to school and it’s there that we finally catch up with the older child who’s
gotten bored and cycled ahead. And when we catch up to the older child with me dragging the dog and carrying a PE kit and two book bags and two water bottles and a guitar and a scooter
and a bag of poop… she looks up at me and says, “Ugh! You took your time!”
Suffice to say, it’s a good job I Iove those children.
The week before last I had the opportunity to deliver a “flash talk” of up to 4 minutes duration at a work meetup
in Vienna, Austria. I opted to present a summary of what I’ve learned while adding support for Finger and Gopher protocols to the WordPress installation that powers DanQ.me (I also hinted at the fact that I already added Gemini and Spring ’83 support, and I’m looking at
other protocols). If you’d like to see how it went, you can watch my flash talk here or on
If you love the idea of working from wherever-you-are but ocassionally meeting your colleagues in person for fabulous in-person events with (now optional) flash talks like this, you
might like to look at Automattic’s recruitment pages…
The presentation is a shortened, Automattic-centric version of a talk I’ll be delivering tomorrow at Oxford Geek Nights #53; so if
you’d like to see it in-person and talk protocols with me over a beer, you should come along! There’ll probably be blog posts to follow with a more-detailed look at the how-and-why of
using WordPress as a CMS not only for the Web but for a variety of zany, clever, retro, and retro-inspired protocols down the
line, so perhaps consider the video above a “teaser”, I guess?
This video accompanies a blog post of the same title. The content is basically the same – if you prefer videos, watch this video. If you prefer blog posts, go read
the blog post. If you’re a superfan, try both and spot the differences. You weirdo.
Today, a friend reported that they had eaten “Sunday dinner on a Wednesday”, and I found myself reminded of a running gag in this old, old vlog… and threw together a quick compilation
reel of some of its instances.
For GC9EXXX Church Micro 14129…Sutton, a geocache I recently set up, I wanted to use a “pole topper”
style cache. I’ve always felt slightly let down by finding yet another magnetic nano stuck inside a pipe, so I wanted to do something better. You can watch the video here or on YouTube, or scroll down for written instructions.
Sand down the lid and the inside of the pole topper so the glue adheres to it better.
Mix up your 2-part epoxy in the pole topper. Don’t use too much or it’ll overflow and block the lid from closing.
Put the lid into the pole topper and press down firmly and evenly to squeeze out any air bubbles.
While you’re waiting for the epoxy to set, file off the flange around the edge of the tub. It’s there to catch drips but
you’re not going to be storing food anyway! The lid is easier to take on and off with the flange filed away.
Finally, roughen the bottom edge of the tub with some sandpaper to make it easier to grip when opening and closing the
For Lorilyn by Casey LaLonde, used under a CC-NC Creative Commons License.
I’ve been doing a course provided through work to try to improve my ability to connect with an
audience over video.
This is my fourth week in the course, and I opted to revisit a video I made during my second week and try to do it again with more engagement, more focus, more punch, and more
emotion. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out. Interestingly, it somewhat mirrors my Howdymattic video from when I first started at
Automattic, but I pivoted my “origin story” a little bit and twisted it to fit one of my favourite parts of
the Automattic Creed.
I’ve been doing a course provided through work to try to improve my ability to connect with an audience over
video. For one of my assignments in this, my fourth week, I picked a topic out from the “welcome” survey I filled out when I first started the course. The topic: the Devil’s Quoits. This stone circle – not far from my new house – has such a bizarre
history of construction, demolition, and reconstruction… as well as a fun folk myth about its creation… that I’d thought it’d make a great follow-up to my previous “local history”
piece, Oxford’s Long-Lost Zoo. I’d already hidden a “virtual” geocache at the henge, as I previously did for the zoo: a video seemed like the next logical step.
My brief required that the video be only about a minute long, which presented its own challenge in cutting down the story I’d like to tell to a bare minimum. Then on top of that, it
took me at least eight takes until I was confident that I’d have one I was happy with, and there’s still things I’d do differently if I did it again (including a better windbreak on my
lapel mic, and timing my takes for when geese weren’t honking their way past overhead!).
In any case: part of the ritual of this particular course encourages you to “make videos… as if people will see them”, and I’ve been taking that seriously! Firstly, I’ve been
sharing many of my videos with others either at work or on my blog, like the one about how GPS works or the one about the secret of magic. Secondly, I’ve been doing “extra credit” by
recording many of my daily-standup messages as videos, in addition to providing them through our usual Slack bot.
For his 30th consecutive day of training his body to withstand sub-zero temperatures using the Wim Hof method, with up to five minutes in a cold bath every day, Robin stepped up his
game and challenged himself to withstand a solid ten minutes, outdoors, in an ice-filled paddling pool.