A blog by Andy Pearson
10th May 2023 at 18:55
Hello, remember me?
There are thirteen previous blog posts in this ongoing series. Unlucky for some.
I have to admit, I am sitting here wondering how short I can make this post and have it still count. Could I stop here, for example? Would that be allowed? Who even makes the rules?!
Fine. I’ll have a bit of a go.
There a number of things that have been affecting this year that aren’t my stories. Maybe someone else will tell them one day.
I’m still having a lovely time at Breakroom. Start-up life is frantic, fun, and fascinating.
I have learnt a lot of things that I didn’t know that I didn’t know. If feels good to be out of my depth on a semi-frequent basis.
Elixir is a joy to work with, and thinking functionally has expanded my overall abilities as a developer. I do still long for RSpec and Capybara style testing DSLs though.
Being a proper line manager is challenging and rewarding, and it helps that my lines have been a pleasure to manage.
It’s nice to help build a good bit of internet with awesome people.
One thing I had forgotten about commuting is that I get to enjoy lunch in London twice a week. I eat like a king1.
Pal-from-work Jay invited me to a bouldering session at City Bouldering Aldgate. I wasn’t sure what to expect, and was mainly worried about the heights after a traumatic climbing experience when I was ten-ish years old.
I ended up having more fun than I could’ve imagined. Bouldering is a combination of strength, technique and thoughtfulness, as you work out a plan and then execute and refine until you eventually go-the-hell-up a wall that isn’t terrifyingly high. Jay is an excellent teacher, climber, and hype man. The bouldering community is also extremely welcoming and encouraging. I climb once a week. It is awesome.
I’ve made up for lost time on the gigs, having seen Pillow Queens, Merpire, Grace Petrie, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, Weezer, Orchards2, Night Flight, Coheed and Cambria, Art Brut, Wet Leg, Panic! at the Disco, La Dispute, Tangled Hair, Pool Kids, Paramore, and Bloc Party live this year. Not a bad haul.
There was a brief flirtation with mountain biking, with two trips to Bike Park Wales and one to Swinley Forest. A helmet-denting crash at the former made me realise I’m not that extreme, but a very minor concussion could potentially explain the moment of madness where I bought a BMX that hasn’t seen much use.
I went on a few walks with the Chiltern Young Walkers. I met some nice folks and also saw an old friend. Hoping to get out for a few more rambles at some point but things have been busy.
Aiden and Claire got married in August. It was a lot of fun, as was the stag do. I remember finding myself on the dance floor with Aiden’s dad, previously a strict, scary parent now mellowed by retirement. We held shoulders and bounced along to I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor. We did.
A serious number of board games have been played this year, both at work and with a number of friends at home. I am yet to survive the Forbidden Desert.
I’m totally back on the running wagon; working towards my fifty Parkruns t-shirt3, ran the Kew Gardens half marathon the other month and am doing the Hackney Half again in a few weeks.
Pal-from-work Ania encouraged me to do my first proper trail run. An 8 mile jaunt around Princes Risborough. The course was exceptionally muddy, I think the last time I ran through that sort of mud would be in secondary school cross-country. Back then I hated every minute of it. Thankfully I finished the race with both shoes still on my feet4 and it was an absolute blast to run. More of that then, please.
This year will be remembered as the year that Matt discovered running, undermining the years he spent scoffing at my desire to get up early and pound some pavements. He is in the last week of couch to 5k, we’ve run the Parkrun together a few times now and there is a 10k race in the calendar.
Matt’s unbounded enthusiasm for the thing-I-already-knew-was-great, some conversations with his boss who just completed the London Marathon, and a gentle nudge from Ania led to a semi-dazed midnight sign-up to the ballot for 2024.
The twist is that I also checked the “Get a place in the 2024 Brighton Marathon, organised by LME, if you are unsuccessful in the 2024 TCS London Marathon Ballot” option, so place or no place I’m running a marathon next year!5
I eventually finished off the Redemptor Dreadnought6 which took my Space Marine force to an even 1,000 points. I also painted some Warp Talons7 for my Chaos army.
Games Workshop released a rules update in which all Space Marines were made cheaper and I no longer had a legal army. I settled on painting up a squad of Eradicators8 taking me back to 990 points. Close enough.
The Eradicators were the first models I have ever base-coated using an airbrush. I found the learning curve a bit steep, but it was a lot quicker than getting a smooth coat of Xereus Purple down with a brush.
Last weekend I took my finished Space Marines army to play in the casual tournament at Warhammer Fest9 with Aiden and Stephen. A great time was had with very kind opponents and beautifully painted armies. Exactly what I hoped for. I somehow managed to win two games out of three, placing twelfth out of sixty-odd players. A pleasant surprise!
It’s now all change for Warhammer 40,000 with the announcement of the tenth edition of the game. Everything will be new again. To celebrate I have some stompy T'au mech suits to paint next.
I have to admit to completly running out of steam on Paint Pad.
Last year I only did paint range additions and updates, and they only made the tiniest dent on what needs doing.
I still haven’t released the Hobby Log and have given up on Tailwind because it feels way too clunky given the way some of my UI is in JSX and other bits are in ERB. Going to stick with BEM style CSS, and throw in some utility classes like we use at work.
I did at least realise that I was letting it languish, and started to take steps to improve things.
I re-designed the footer, and although it was very, very far down the list of things that needed doing on the site it was a small and focused enough piece of work that it felt like I was getting something done.
At work we do a lot of iteration based on metrics and it made me realise that I have no idea how people are using Paint Pad. So I installed PostHog10 and set up some health metrics. I’ve already discovered a few things and hatched a few plans to make graphs go up and to the right.
Sara suggested we start a “side project night” to mimic what we used to do on Friday afternoons at General Products so now we meet up once a week-ish on Google Meet to hold each other accountable for an hour of programming. I’m finding it invaluable at the moment to keep a rhythm going. Thanks SoC!
Next Thursday marks the five year anniversary of Paint Pad being on the internet. That’s not nothing.
All the other paragraphs in this blog post also refer to things.
Those goals I mentioned last year? Completed two out of a possible twelve. Not sure this exercise can be considered a success. I have set fourteen goals for this year to make things a bit more manageable.
At the start of the year I added dark mode to this here blog. If you’re an old person like my you’ll need to click here to leave the comforts of your RSS reader to see it. Don’t worry, I made the text bigger as well.
David13 started a blog. It’s the best. I’m not sure posting once a week is going to catch on, however.
No snowboarding this year, but I’m pretty keen to return.
I have learnt the keyboard shortcuts for typing a right single quote and a non-breaking space14.
It’s possible that Nic used to read this nonsense. I think of you often my friend.
I’m thirty-six this year and my beard is going grey.
I’m seeing Pool Kids again tonight.
Stay cool my friends. <3
Go to Tibet Kitchen London at your earliest convenience, you won’t be disappointed ↩
Twice in quick succession! This band is amazing ↩
As well as making a small contribution towards my twenty five volunteer t-shirt ↩
Unlike a poor soul that left a particularly muddy patch with fewer shoes than they entered with ↩
Legs permitting ↩
Angry coffin on legs ↩
Spiky, even angrier men that can fly ↩
Chunky, angry men with very hot guns ↩
Exactly as nerdy as it sounds ↩
Who could resist the adorable hedgehog logo?! ↩
Rather inevitably I went back to Dota. On Sunday night I played until 3am. This is Bad. ↩
A late entry that Edd recommended to me, correctly identifying that it is a perfect piece of art that I would adore ↩
‘DAVID M! DAVID M!’ ↩
option+space respectively ↩