Mostly walking the dogs

Helix Editor

Some brief (and somewhat belated) notes about Helix.

At about just the time I managed an extension for Nova I started using Helix daily; You know how it goes, always with the shiny.

Coming from quite a few years of using Vim there are some things I struggle with or miss:

But some things I really like:

  • The idea of selection —> action over Vim’s action —> selection is great.
  • More consistent and logical keyboard commands if sometimes a little longer: Adding gs, gl and ge to Vim’s gg for instance.
  • The built-in space+f file-name search.
  • The built-in space+/ file contents search.
  • The overlay for shell commands.
  • The default purple theme
  • Sane defaults, a simple configuration file, and most of what you need is built-in

I’m going to keep playing with Helix. Financially it’s going to make more sense than paying for Nova every year; Although really I owe a few years of Vim sponsorship; And I supposed I should sponsor Helix if I do start using it all the time; One day.

Related: If I had a computer I would be doing more to get Pkgsrc’s package updated.

Old Boys In Their House Slippers

"He’d become one of those people he’d once liked to tell me about, that he met on his route and had always pitied, old boys in their house slippers watching afternoon shows until the evening shows began, seeing hardly anyone, doing nothing."

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Might have some more quotes from this at some point in the future.

Her Favourite Thing In Life Was To See Conflict Resolved

"Her favourite thing in life was to see conflict resolved, any conflict, and so my mother was a great resource for her: everywhere she went she made conflict, which Miriam then had to resolve."

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

Got this book for Fathers’ Day. Steadily making my way through it. It is good.

Album of the year long list (so far)

Definitely not a short list.

  • Doja Cat: Scarlet
  • Say She She: Silver
  • The Streets: The Darker The Shadow The Brighter The Light
  • CMAT: Crazymad, For Me
  • Jorja Smith: Falling Or Flying
  • Holly Humberstone: Paint My Bedroom Black
  • Ren: Sick Boi
  • Dream Wife: Social Lubrication
  • Lucia & The Best Boys: Burning Castles
  • Cleo Sol: Gold
  • boygenius: the record - any other year a shoe-in, but don’t need this depressing shit this year
  • Matt Maltese: Driving Just To Drive
  • Mitski: The Land Is Inhospitable and So Are We
  • Cleo Sol: Heaven
  • Joey Valence & Brae: PUNK TACTICS - so good, but also perhaps for a new generation, not me. Would be so fun in a club… ach, youth…
  • Hot Milk: A Call To The Void
  • The Chemical Brothers: For That Beautiful Feeling
  • Coach Party: KILLJOY
  • Blur: The Ballad of Darren
  • Janelle Monae: The Age of Pleasure
  • Olivia Dean: Messy
  • Ezra Williams: Supernumeraries
  • Christine and the Queens: Paranoia, Angels, True Love
  • Che Lingo: Coming Up for Air
  • Sleaford Mods: UK GRIM
  • Lottery Winners: Anxiety Replacement Therapy
  • Overmono: Good Lies
  • Billie Marten: Drop Cherries
  • Caroline Rose: The Art of Forgetting
  • Lana Del Rey: Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Boulevard?
  • Ailbhe Reddy: Endless Affair
  • Jadu Heart: Derealised
  • M83: Fantasy
  • Kali Uchas: Red Moon In Venus
  • Yasmin Lacey: Voice Notes
  • Brix Smith: Valley of the Dolls
  • Young Fathers: Heavy Heavy
  • Lisa O’Neill: All Of This is Chance - how did this end up on my radar?
  • RAYE: My 21st Century Blues
  • RAYE: My 21st Century Symphony (Live at the Royal Albert Hall) - Really quite a superb compliment to the album
  • Caroline Polacheck: Desire, I Want To Turn Into You
  • Paramore: This is Why
  • Samia: Honey
  • The Waeve: The Waeve
  • The Reytons: What’s Rock and roll

For whatever reason* I have been in a funk and decided against my semi-regular posts where I mention anything I’ve been listening to recently. Until this post, where it’s all built up.

I had a recent opportunity where I could forgo having to watch telly for a few days and just listen to music instead. I took it. I listened to about fifty albums in total, the majority of them being the albums listed above, released this year. I had listened to most of above already throughout the course of the year, but it was good to listen again, if only because sometimes it takes a few listens to an album to appreciate it (Young Fathers for me).

There has been a ridiculous amount of albums out this year (at least on my radar). And I know there’s many more I’ve missed.

And yet, for whatever reason, I don’t think any of these here are “it”; Normally I just base it on a feeling rather than me having to think about it and decide.

A lot here have really good standout tracks, but then I’m not so fussed about the rest of the album.

There’s some here I thought really would be contenders. Ezra Williams, Coach Party, and Lucia (especially) it feels like I’ve been anticipating for ages. And they are really good albums. And I’ve listened to them a lot. But that “feeling” isn’t there.

I’m not going to comment on them all individually, but lots of these have tracks that have made it onto my 2023 favourites playlist.

I am posting this after a Friday when a whole new batch of albums have dropped. Maybe it’ll be one of those?

* - Oh yeah… human beings doubling down on destroying the shit out of each other instead of helping each other

Note: Went to see Mitski talk about cats. Would go see again.

Note: Read this and was jealous of Martin

LINK: Nobody's Driving

I’m still reading Positive News and I have once again blocked most news websites from my phone, but this is one of the most accurate and depressing things I’ve read recently.

It’s really getting to me how after a global fucking pandemic a select few people decided to make people’s lives even worse. Be it business leaders, politicians or world leaders, these people have made decisions that are not in anyway necessary, nor justified and yet they’ve gone full steam ahead in full knowledge they are making lives worse for hundreds, thousands or millions of people.

And there is nothing anyone can do. You can’t vote for a change, because the opposition is basically the same as the current government. Protesting changes nothing. You can’t really even change your job, because it’s still capitalism.

All I know is I’m not running anywhere near enough to cope with this mentally. But 75 minutes is what I’ve got so it’ll have to do.


Making do, mending, getting by (redux)

Of sorts, although things aren’t that bad.

I somewhat recently dropped my (now old) new old phone and cracked the screen. It was still usable, but I’d been toying with getting the battery replaced via a third party since it was at 45% battery health, but with the screen broken I’d have to replace that first and at that price might I might as well get a second hand SE 2020 instead. If I had that much money. Which I don’t. So I switched back to my original iPhone SE (85% battery health). I was amazed at how much better and brighter the screen is. I can use Apple Pay without it freezing the screen. It’s so light and small I don’t even notice it in my pocket. The A9 processor is still fast enough. This was the peak of phone technology.

In hindsight I would have not bothered with the iPhone 8, I got that because I anticipated the iPhone SE going out of support, but it actually took a year longer than I thought it would until the latest iOS wouldn’t run on the SE, plus Apple pretty much do support the previous iOS for another year anyway (iOS 15 just got an update so really it’s only going to be right about now as iOS 17 is released that it is unsupported). I’ve decided it can last a little bit longer still and then maybe I’ll have to get something on contract - I’m paying £10 a month anyway for data/minutes/sms, if I got a contract at around £20 a month then that seems really quite reasonable.

My plan for one pair of running shoes a year is not going to work out. I’m not even at six months and I’ve had to re-glue the sole on one shoe and stitch a tear in the upper in the other (to be fair, the tear is exactly where I’ve removed the internal reinforcement cage, because it gave me a blister). I had not factored in all the dog walking, and what’s more the shoes getting constantly soaked from dewy grass which I’m sure has weakened the uppers. I hope they can keep going a bit longer (more glue, more sewing) and then I think I’m going to try some cheapish Decathlon trail shoes (£40 for the Evadict Easytrail to £60 for the Evadict TR2) which can do the combo of road, trail and dog walking; I slipped over at the weekend on a muddy trail run in my “road” shoes so it’s time for something with more grip.

And this was going to be a separate post, but actually there isn’t that much to say so it makes sense to be part three here. I’ve sadly given up using Teuxdeux (again) and have switched back to Taskwarrior. It’s going to save me a bit of cash and I wasn’t thrilled with the direction the preview was going in: Function over fashion, whereas I really appreciated the fashion of Teuxdeux, if I want pure functionality… well, there’s Taskwarrior. Since I last used Taskwarrior the bugs that impacted my reports have gone so I don’t need any wrapper scripts, etc and I can have simple reports like so:

#Custom report - Teuxdeux
report.teuxdeux.description=TeuxDeux style
report.teuxdeux.filter=(status:completed or status:pending) and due.after:sow-1min and due.before:eow and -BLOCKED

#Custom report - Teuxdeux
report.roll.description=TeuxDeux rolling
report.roll.filter=(status:completed or status:pending) and due.after:-2days and due.before:5days and -BLOCKED

I am trying to use it mostly like Teuxdeux, but with:

  • annotations for links, etc instead of markdown in Teuxdeux
  • sometimes using tags instead of short prefixes like I would in Teuxdeux

I.e. just keeping it as simple as possible. I also resurrected my crontab entry for rolling over incomplete todos.

I never finished off updating Haskerdeux for the new Teuxdeux API, but using Taskwarrior means I could easily update my Apple Watch shortcuts so I can once again see and complete todos from my watch. I thought about setting up a sync server, but I might as well just have my home todos on my server and my work todos on my work laptop and separate things that way. Simple.

[EDIT: 2023-10-30] Turns out the daylight saving bug is still there in Taskwarrior. Almost nine years since I provided a patch. For now I’m not going to update my patch and rebuild from source because I’m using on my work macOS machine and my NetBSD server so it’s easier just to use the binary. I’ll just modify tasks after daylight savings occur using task $(task +TEMPLATE uuids) modify due:'due + 1 hours', etc; At least I just use recurrence.limit=1 now; I did think about just setting my recurring tasks to midday, but this other old bug screws up my report grouping.

Dead Pony At Tunnels

In what seems to have become my (sole) annual benefit of moving to town I went to see Dead Pony on the first night of their new tour at Tunnels. Last year was Coach party at a less attended (god knows why) Krakatoa. This marked my third time lucky in getting to Tunnels: I’d missed OK Button and The Reytons (still pissed about that) previously despite having tickets. But at least now I’m in town there is nothing preventing me going.

I’d go see more if a) more bands played in Aberdeen and b) my allowance would stretch to it, but since I had to cover three tickets, and I’m desperate for other things, once a year it is (probably…).

They had local support from Pitnamoon (on first) and then, making quite a grand entrance, Tina Sandwich (great name) who is really quite intriguing - will keep and eye on her (and am tempted to see if I can squeeze in seeing her in October in Aberdeen).

This isn’t meant to be a review at all, but Dead Pony were amazing. The crowd took a while to warm-up, but I like to think this is a “good thing” and just all the old men at the front being considerate for the younguns, but they were eventually persuaded to get moving. This didn’t include me as I was nearer the back with A (but I’ll take that over not going at all; And we’ll leave going to the front to the youngest), but I pretty much dad-danced and sang-a-long from the start (I just don’t care anymore since Glastonbury - it’s better to just enjoy yourself than worrying about what you look like).

Intrigued to see where they end up on my top artists list as I do seem to keep listening to them on repeat. They are filling a Dream State sized hole that was filling a Marmozets sized hole. Here’s hoping Dead Pony have a bit more longevity to them.

Note: The Great! Christmas Movie channel has started, but I'm not allowed to watch it yet. I am defnitely not the grinch in this family.

Note: Also, third time lucky in finally getting to Tunnels. Missed OK Button in 2019 and The Reytons in 2021. Had tickets for both.

Note: Been to see Dead Pony at Tunnels in Aberdeen on first night of their tour. 200% awesome. Tina Sandwich great too.

Music Like Other Music

I can’t be bothered with a post catching up on everything I’ve been listening to recently, but I have been adding stuff to my 2023 picks list.

Anyway, some things from this year that sound like other things:

  1. Housewife: King of Wands. Love this track from a couple of months back now, but couldn’t help think of Honeyblood
  2. Billie Eilish: What Was I Made For. As we stood up to leave the superb Barbie movie, I thought, “Wow, I didn’t realise Phoebe Bridgers was in the soundtrack”.
  3. Sailor Honeymoon: Cockroach. Gives me big Le Tigre vibes, definitely doing the 90s riot grrrl / punk sound right.

Note: Went to see The Ocean at the End of the Lane. 10/10. Marvellously magical

LINK: Big Issue E-Bikes Aberdeen

Belatedly writing this, as usual, but “recently” I finally had an excuse to give these a whirl.

I got sent on an errand to the other side of town and in an effort to take as little time as possible (just quite how much “Can you just…” interferes with my supposed workday can be a topic for another post elsewhere) I hired a bike to do it.

They are a doddle to hire. Find one in the nearest parking zone (can check in the app before hand), scan the QR code in the app, the bike is unlocked and off you go - a little too quickly, the electric assistance kicked in sooner than I thought and nearly sent me straight into a post.

Despite not having been on a bike for a few years riding a bike is like riding a bike.

I did a ten minute journey to a parking zone near my destination and ended the ride there. Ending the ride can be a bit fiddly, because you can have the bike parked in zone, but you also need to make sure you (your phone) are in zone as well when taking the photo to prove you’ve parked it up. I thought it’d make sense to do my errand as two separate journeys as I didn’t know how long I’d be, but if you know you are just nipping in somewhere it might be cheaper to leave the bike directly outside and pause it. This is because the fees are £1 every seven minutes, but if you hit eight minutes then that’s going to cost you £2. So for my errand I did ten minutes out and eight back, costing me £4, but £3 gets you twenty-one minutes so if I’d been quick in-between I could have just kept one hire and saved myself a whole £1.

On a related note it makes sense to semi-plan journeys to be efficient. It doesn’t always make sense to hire the nearest bike if road routes mean you’ll get stuck in multiple traffic lights. Sometimes it makes sense to walk a bit further so you get a more direct cycling route.

These bikes are pretty cool though. I hope they stay around. And I hope I have an excuse to use them again - they are fun!

LINK: Rip Bram Moolenaar

A few days late mentioning and linking to this, but what a legacy to leave.

When I first started using Vim it took me so long to learn h,j,k,l over the cursor keys that I thought I would never get it, but now it’s ingrained: I use Vim mode in Nova, Vi mode on the command line, etc. And It’s jarring when I can’t*. And I know that’s technically more Vi than Vim, but I would have never have learnt Vi if it were not for Vim.

Anyway, I emailed Bram once and he replied far more quickly than I ever manage to and was amazingly gracious in just a few lines. I did feel suitably awed and humbled.

* - Related, I’ve been playing about with Helix which I actually really like, but it’s so hard unlearning x for d, etc.

These are the ten most recent posts (not counting any note drivel), for older posts see the Archive.