Blog

Wet bulb

2022-08-24

We’ve had successive record high temperatures everywhere, but most importantly to me, in London. There was a bit of respite for a week or so but yesterday the humidity starting rising and today the temperature will follow. I don’t think I’ll find 28° intolerably hot after getting used to almost 40° a couple of weeks ago, but the humidity doesn’t make it easy. Hyde Park is parched. The leaves have fallen off the trees weeks early, which I’m told is some sort of survival technique.

Cove

2022-08-22

Pieces of aeroplane sprayed across the water in front of them, but only Arlo saw the distinct shapes of people striking the sea’s surface. The beach was the thin fringe of a wide bay. At their backs, the drastic slope of the mountains dove into the ground. The town, just four streets deep, was squeezed tight between the mountainside and the sandy beach. The double blades of beach and town pinched off at the end of the bay: a headland the shape of a fist.

A swim in a pond in the rain

2022-07-21

Image generated by Midjourney Sarah asked me the other day, “do you actually find you enjoy writing?” Writing is always something I feel I ought to be doing. I feel bad if I haven’t written creatively for a long time. I don’t think I’m a great writer, nor do I really hope to become one if I applied myself and commited serious time to it. Nevertheless, I read a lot, and reading gives you a taste for writing that often wants satisfying with doing a bit yourself.

German is hard

2022-07-20

Image generated by Midjourney I was always a bit cocky about languages. I got good marks in them at school and by the end of sixth form I felt I had a pretty good grasp of French. That felt like a lot in the context of semi-rural England where very, very few people learned and spoke a second language fluently.* French faded because I was an idiot and didn’t keep it up after I went to university.

Taking down Goodreads

2022-04-12

Image generated by Midjourney TL;DR I’m switching from Goodreads to Oku. Sign up here (referral code). I got rid of most of my social media accounts. The remaining ones are really services I use to track something I do myself that I share with others: Strava (running and cycling), Duolingo (learning languages), and Goodreads (reading). Of these, the one that I have always been dying to replace is Goodreads.

New job, new season

2022-03-14

I left BuzzFeed two weeks ago and started at Kaluza the following Monday. The full implications of that are yet to be seen but for now they include: exciting new problems, lots of new people, nice new office, new cycle to the office through lots of parks, being a bit tired. I’m a really simple creature. When people at the office asked me on Friday how my first week went I kept just talking about how nice the bike ride through Regents Park and Hyde Park was and how I was looking forward to spring.

The layoff business

2022-03-12

Image generated by Midjourney When I was growing up I sometimes thought I wanted to be a writer, but I quickly realised that doing it for a job wasn’t going to be fun or rewarding. My position is that I took the coward’s way out in choosing to go into software engineering, for a more financially stable existence, but I went into the world with a respect for the writing staff and a general dread at their constant mistreatment.

A year in ads

2022-03-12

Image generated by Midjourney When, from the outside, a collection of people or an institution is doing things I strongly disagree with, it often turns out that from the inside I can see all the mechanisms and incentives that make perfectly normal people works towards bad outcomes. Take online advertising. In my last year at BuzzFeed I finally bit the bullet and started working in the part of the team that makes the money: the ad tech team.

You did your best

2021-12-20

The new pattern for living seems to go like this. Emerge from a lockdown and shake off the careful life you built inside the restrictions imposed on you. Take a few halting steps out to your friend’s house, to the pub garden, walk the streets more and more carelessly. Soon you can forget the bread baking cycle and the little routines you imposed on yourself so you didn’t bang your head off your own four walls.

It can be a village

2021-11-24

Image generated by Midjourney We were cycling to work together this morning and my girlfriend bumped into an acquaintance she hadn’t seen in a few weeks in the bike lane. I cycled a little ahead of them down from Ludgate Circus to Blackfriars Bridge and listened to them make smalltalk and catch up. Being in a busy but flowing bike lane on a morning commute usually makes me feel good in a tribal kind of way (us the cyclists vs.