A map of my year in Obsidian

Posted on 2023-09-11 20:07 +0100 in Life • Tagged with journal, Obsidian, graph • 3 min read

Some time around late October or early November last year, around the time I started working at Textualize, I "discovered" Obsidian. While I didn't need another note-taking application (having gone through Evernote, trying to use Org, dabbling with a couple of other things and finally settling mainly on Apple Notes), I was quite taken by its style and ubiquity and the fact that it was, at heart, just a bunch of Markdown files.

So quite quickly I started using it; not to replace Apple Notes (which is still my general note-taking tool of choice), but to keep work notes and a daily coding journal, the latter coming in useful for the quick end-of-day meetings we normally have.

One of the things I was quite taken by was the graph. It was interesting and fun to see how each of my work days related to other work days, and what subjects kept getting pulled in, etc.

So come the start of this year I had an idea: what would it be like to keep a personal vault, but one where I track things I've done. Not a journal as such (I do keep one of those too, have done for many years now, but that's for other far more important reasons -- perhaps I'll write about that one day too), just a daily record of stuff I've achieved, stuff I've actually done, the routine things and the exceptional things?

What would that graph look like?

While it's not the end of this year yet, here's how that's shaping up:

The main graph

Each of the yellow circles is a day, each of the blue ones is a tag of some sort. As you'd imagine, the size of the circles relates to how often that item is tagged. So I can see what proportion of my days so far this year have been tagged with being heavily involved with work:


Likewise, if I want to see how many days this year have involved a significant spot of gaming:


Ditto for days where I've done some coding on pet projects, or even some personal-time coding relating to work projects (it might be work, but it's also Free Software and I do like to support FOSS!)


I sort of have a curated set of tags I apply, but I've not made it a strict set; if some new situation crops up that calls for a new tag I'll use it. Mostly though I try and keep the tags pretty general so lots of days can relate to the same general subject.

Another thing I've done is tag each and every day with the day of the week, so while it's not really surprising to find that Sunday doesn't dominate over other days, I can see which days are Sundays and perhaps wander along the connections and see what I get up to:


I don't quite know what I hope to get out of this, I don't really know if there's anything useful to be had here at all, but it will be interesting to look back over it at the end of the year. It also means that I'll have a directory hierarchy full of Markdown files, all tagged and filled with information, which I'll be able to grep and slice and dice and count and perhaps pull into a database and cross-reference with stuff and things.

Or perhaps it's all just really me not having a good use for Obsidian but inventing one anyway. ;-)

Mythos: Ragnarok (plus Oppenheimer)

Posted on 2023-08-27 10:55 +0100 in Life • Tagged with Fringe, wrestling, movie • 2 min read

And I'm done! While it did only turn out to be one a week, I pulled it off, I managed to make it to at least one Fringe show per week!

View inside the Roxy

Yesterday was a full, busy, and hugely enjoyable day. While it could have just been a dash into town to see the show and back home again, in conjunction with Mariëlle (who first introduced me to the Mythos show) we arranged to go watch Oppenheimer first (amazing, easily the fastest any combined 3 hours have passed for me -- I'm not even going to try and write up anything about this, other than I was utterly enthralled by the movie from start to end), grab some dinner, then go and see Mythos: Ragnarok.

With a wee bit of shopping thrown in along the way.

As I've mentioned before, I first saw Ragnarok last year. Then they were in a fairly small venue, with a pretty full crowd. At the end they talked about how the first night they'd played the audience had been a single person; over the nights of the run it had slowly grown, and by the end of the run (we went on the last night) it was getting properly busy.

This year they were in a much bigger place, with a lot more seating, and the house was full. This did make it feel a little less intimate than last year, and also last year we were sat all around the stage, which worked well for the performance; this time around it was a more traditional stage at the front, seating all on one side thing. I was really pleased for them that they were in a much bigger place, but I did miss the layout from last year.

As for the show itself... just as fantastic. There seemed to have been some tweaks and changes to how the story was done over what I remember from last year, but mainly it was the same. The energy in the performance was incredible, and the comedy was spot on, with a lot of nods and winks to the audience. This is the part that I think I enjoy most: they know what they have, they know what they're doing, they know what they have on offer. It's a high-energy play performed by stunt people.

It's amazing.

As I write this there's one last show, I believe, tonight; so the chances of anyone reading this and getting to see it are very remote. But if they're back next year, and you're reading this near then and wondering about Fringe shows, do it! Really, do it. You won't regret it.

I'll be going again. No question.

Little Shop of Horrors at the Fringe

Posted on 2023-08-19 15:00 +0100 in Life • Tagged with Music, Gig, Fringe • 2 min read

As mentioned just over a week back, last night I went to see a Fringe show that was a production of The Little Shop of Horrors. Before going I had no idea what to expect (in terms of how it would be done, not what the content would be): I wasn't clear if it would be a really small affair, or something on a bigger stage with reasonably high production values (what can I say? It was LSoH, it was a Fringe show, it was booked knowing nothing else).

When we got there and got into the venue it was... small, oh so very small! No real set to speak of. The cast who were about to kick off the performance didn't really seem to have much of a costume going on. So, without judgement, I settled down to expect the next 90 minutes or so to be... a Fringe experience.

First impressions were oh so wrong! While there was (for obvious reasons) a lack of any real set, the effort that went into the performance really worked and I absolutely enjoyed every single moment. Also, because it was a production of the musical (which I haven't seen), rather than an adaption of the movie (which I have), I got to experience a fresh ending (spoilers!).

The seats were uncomfortable. The room was down in the basement, with no ventilation, and so was uncomfortably hot. Physically it wasn't a great space to be. And yet I really wasn't wishing for it to be over. I think that says a lot about the show itself.

I think special mention has to be given to the Audrey II models, of which there were three different sizes. Someone put some real effort into them.

So, yeah, a fun night, topped and tailed with pre-show dinner and post-show drinks with friends. I couldn't have asked for more.

Unless I last-moment book anything else over the next week, there's one more show to go in my push to go and see at least one show per week of the Fringe.

PS: Sadly no photos. I wasn't sat in a great spot to take photos.

Mythos: Ragnarok booked

Posted on 2023-08-15 20:06 +0100 in Life • Tagged with Fringe, wrestling • 1 min read

That's a third show booked! This means that, as I hoped, I'm going to manage at least one show a week for the Fringe!

Now, this one could be seen as a cheat, sorta, kinda. I've seen this show before. But I liked it so much last year I have to see it again! The odd thing about it was it's not something I would have gone for on my own, it's technically not really my thing, but I got talked into it and I'm so glad I was!

So a year back Mariëlle told me about this wrestling show at the Fringe and how she wanted to go but nobody else was interested and I was all "yebbut wrestling though?" and didn't think much more about it. Eventually though, after some persuasion (I mean, an hour or so at a show and some beers afterwards, how bad could it be really?), I agreed to go. I expected to find it meh.

Cast of Mythos: Ragnarok 2022

Holy shit was it so much fun! Like, seriously so much fun. I'd never realised that wrestling was the best way to tell the tales from Norse mythology; turns out that wrestling is absolutely the best way to tell the tales from Norse mythology.

So we're off back again this year. All booked, not this weekend, the weekend after.

There might even be a beer afterwards. Perhaps not quite so many as last year though.

Nick Harper at the Jazz Bar

Posted on 2023-08-12 08:15 +0100 in Life • Tagged with Music, Gig, Fringe, Nick Harper • 3 min read

As mentioned about a week back, my first show booked for this year's Edinburgh Fringe was to see Nick Harper. It's been a long time since I've seen him; far too long. As best as I can tell the last gig I made it to was in 2009.

Fourteen years. Shit's changed in that time, for me, for the world. O_o

On first getting into town it was warm and crowded, with that fun "town is doing festival shit" vibe that I like, so I went and grabbed an ice cream to kill some time until the venue opened. I knew I was in the right spot when, as I stood on Chambers Street, enjoying the cooldown, the man himself dashed passed, guitar case in hand!

When I got into the venue I grabbed a drink and tried to find a seat; most were taken; except for one right at the front and off to the side. So I grabbed it. Moments later Nick himself came over to say hello to the folk sat in this spot. We had a wee chat about how long it was since I'd last seen him, nattered about general stuff, and he said very nice things about my hat.

Nick Harper

The gig itself was fantastic. While I love his recorded work anyway, Nick's always been one of those artists who I enjoy most live. He's got this way of singing and playing guitar that fills whatever time he's got to play; never once have I ever found myself looking at my watch, wondering if it's near the end; or if I have it's because I'm worried it'll be over soon.

Nick Harper

A good number of the tracks he played I didn't recognise; at least two of them I know are from a new album that's coming, and I have to admit that when I do listen to his stuff it's the earlier works that tend to go into heavy rotation (I think the last album of his I bought was The Last Guitar). But I loved everything I got to hear. I'll be diving back into his catalogue and also keeping an eye out for the new release.

Nick Harper

While there was only an hour for his slot, he did manage to get a couple of old favourites of mine in; I was delighted when he launched into By My Rocket Comes Fire, did a wonderful She Rules My World, and even squeezed in a quick Galaxy Song.

Nick Harper

All too quickly though, the hour was up. It was kind of fitting that many of the songs he did have on the set list were all about time (on purpose, I'm sure). I'm happy to say I got to say a quick thank you and goodbye and then it was time for me to head out of town again.

Nick Harper

Seeing Nick brought back a lot of good memories, and reminded me that I need to catch up on his more recent works. While most of his stuff doesn't seem to be on Apple Music (what can I say, I'm very online these days when it comes to music), I'm glad to see he's got a full Bandcamp, so I'll be paying that a visit!

I hope he swings back this way some time soon, not during the Fringe, and with a proper long set. It's been too long since I got to enjoy him really going for it and having a ton of fun.

Off to see Little Shop of Horrors

Posted on 2023-08-10 20:30 +0100 in Life • Tagged with Music, Gig, Fringe • 1 min read

I almost feel bad admitting this. For someone my age it feels like a thing you should not really admit, but here goes... I only saw Little Shop of Horrors for the first time back in 2020. Don't ask me why. I just... never got round to it. I've known plenty of people who have seen it and loved it. I had a girlfriend for a while in the late 80s who was obsessed with it. She, like plenty of people I know, would quote all the quotes from it.

And yet... yeah, I never got round to seeing it.

Until 2020. On first viewing it became really bloody obvious why so many people seem to love it.

So you can imagine my delight when, earlier this week, I was fighting through the Edinburgh crowds to get to my bus home and I saw this:

Poser for Little Shop of Horrors

Oh yes please! Oh so yes please! Given my desire to try and take in a few more Fringe shows that I normally would, this year, this seemed like a perfect fit. It also solved the choice paralysis problem for at least one week (really, have you seen how much there is on offer?).

So today I booked some tickets for myself and a couple of friends. Next week's "try and see at least one Fringe show" problem is solved: I'm going to go and see a performance of Little Shop of Horrors.

Off to see Nick Harper

Posted on 2023-08-07 21:56 +0100 in Life • Tagged with Music, Gig, Fringe, Nick Harper • 2 min read

Poster from likely the last time I saw Nick

I've lived near Edinburgh for getting on well over 6 years now and, aside form the odd show here and there, I've never really done the Fringe. As in, really dived in. Since moving up here my life situation didn't quite allow for it and then the pandemic hit and... well, you can imagine. Every year I've been up here I've managed one show, at least, but this year I want to try and make myself get to a few.

Maybe one per week. Possibly.

Might not happen, but I'm going to try. What can I say? I don't live in Edinburgh, I'm not a big "be out amongst people" kind of person, and the activation energy to get on a bus into town vs what I can do in my little part of Scotland is a constant battle.

But this year I'm going to try my best.

This evening I've booked a ticket for an artist I've been a fan of since the 1990s: Nick Harper. I saw Nick quite a few times in the 200xs (see the image above, I think 2009 might be the last time I saw him!) and then my going to gigs tailed off somewhat (again, life stuff). So seeing that he's playing here for a few days was something I could not ignore.

This weekend me can thank Monday me for committing him to doing something kinda sociable. I'm sure he'll be mad at me most of the day it's happening, but once it all kicks off and the music is flowing he'll be thankful.

Right now, at this moment... I'm rather looking forward to it.

Encouragement, I guess?

Posted on 2023-07-21 08:20 +0100 in Life • Tagged with UI, UX, health, fitness • 1 min read

Anyone who was (un)lucky enough to follow me on Twitter back in 2020 will know that, starting January 1st that year, I set about losing weight. At the time I was very overweight and wanted to get into some sort of healthy state. By August that year I'd managed to drop 30kg and hit and then went a wee way under my goal.

These days I'm back up a wee bit. Not much: generally about 5kg or so above that goal, most of that having turned up on the last 7 or 8 months (not exactly coincidental that it's happened in conjunction with the new job, the new work location, and the new commute). While it's no real cause for concern -- I'm still generally careful and still get plenty of exercise (normally walk around 35km a week, run 20km, get my 10k steps in every day)

About a week back I decided that it was time to give myself a bit of breathing room, to try and at least drop a couple or kg; so with that in mind I set a lower daily calorie goal in my tacking app.

When recording my weight first thing this morning (yes, I'm one of those people who records it every day and have for a few years -- it makes for interesting data!), this is what my calorie/stats tracker had to say:

Screenshot of my calorie and weight tracking app

I guess it's putting a positive spin in things? (for the record, I'm 5.3kg above my absolute goal).

New desk

Posted on 2023-07-08 17:50 +0100 in Life • Tagged with Life, desk • 2 min read

I moved into my current place back in August 2019, bringing with me a fairly small desk. Originally, many years back, I'd had a pretty big office with lots of office space but, upon moving up to Scotland back in 2016, I needed to go with something a lot smaller.

Which was perfectly fine. Me and that desk wrote a lot of code. Me and that desk transitioned from one job to another, and then another. Me and that desk made it through the pandemic.

It's been a good desk.

But it was small. I'm in a place where I could spread out a fair bit again, but I also kept putting it off and putting it off.

Earlier this year I decided that it was high time I actually upgraded; I also promised the desk to someone else who I know will get a lot of good use out of it; so finally earlier this week I put in the order for something bigger and fancier.

Yesterday, with the help of a very good friend (thanks Mariëlle!), I got the desk built and roughly in place, and then today I've been putting the desktop back together and adding extra bits.

My new desk

It's so nice to have more space to spread out, it's also nice to have a black desk again! (the last one was white because... reasons) But what's really exciting is that it transforms into a standing desk at the touch of a button.

I've been trying it in the standing configuration today and, while I doubt I could do a whole day of coding with it like that, I'm already really liking it as a way of breaking up the time at the keyboard. On the days I work from home, or the days of my own where I get sucked into a personal project, I can absolutely see me swapping between the two states.

All that's left now is to get used to it. The screens are ever so slightly further away, the height is ever so slightly different (although I can adjust it, of course, but what I've done is adjust the sitting position to a nicer one and that's going to take some getting used to), my iPad and Stream Desk are in just a slightly different location, etc, etc... So I'm sure there'll be a few days of sitting here and making small tweaks to the spot where things live.

Before I know it I'll be used to it. It'll be "my spot".

On to something new (redux)

Posted on 2022-10-05 09:24 +0100 in Life • Tagged with coding, work, life, Python, news • 4 min read

Just over five years ago I got a message from my then employer to say I was going to be made redundant after 21 years working for them. After the 3 month notice period the final day came. Meanwhile, I found something new that looked terrifying but interesting. In the end it was less terrifying and way more interesting than I imagined it would be. It was fun too.

But... (there's always a but isn't there?)

In the four and change years I've been there the company got bought out, and then the result of that got bought up. As I've mentioned before I'm generally not a "big company" kind of person; in all my years I've found that I'm happier working in a smaller place. After a couple of buyouts my employer had gone from being 10s of people in size to 100s of people in size (and technically 10s of 1,000s of people in size depending on how you look at it).

This change in ownership and size meant the culture became... well, let's just say not as friendly as you tend to enjoy when it's a smaller group of folk. On top of that I was starting to notice that my efforts were making less of an impact as things got bigger, and I started to feel like my contributions weren't really relevant any more. There were some problematic things happening too: undermining of efforts, removal of responsibilities without consultation or communication, that sort of thing. Plus worse. There's little point in going into the detail, but it's fair to say that work wasn't as fun as it used to be.

That felt like a good time to start to look around. If work makes you feel unhappy and you can look around... look around.

Thing is, I wasn't sure what to look for. I was in the comfortable position of, unlike last time, not needing to find something, so I could take my time at least. Over the course of the last year I've spoken to many different companies and organisations, some big (yes, I know, I said I don't like big places -- sometimes what's on offer deserves a fair hearing), some small, but none of them quite said "this feels like me". In some cases the whole thing didn't have the right vibe, in others the industry either didn't interest me, or felt uncomfortable given my personal values. In one particular case a place looked interesting until I checked the CTO's socials and OMG NO NO NO AVOID AVOID (that was a fun one).

Then I saw Will McGugan saying he was hiring to expand Textualize. This caught my interest right away for two good reasons.

I can't remember how long I've been following Will on Twitter; I likely stumbled on him as I got back into Python in 2018 and I also remember noting that he was a Python hacker just up the road from me. We'd vaguely chatted on Twitter, briefly, in that "Twitter acquaintance" way we all often do (I remember one brief exchange about fungus on The Meadows), and he'd seemed like a good sort. A small company run by a "good sort" kinda person felt like a damn good reason.

The second reason was Textual itself. I'd been watching Will develop it, in open, with great interest. I had (and still have) a plan to write a brand new CHUI-based (okay fine TUI-based as the kids like to say these days!) Norton Guide reader, all in Python, and Textual looked like the perfect framework to do the UI in. The chance to be involved with it sounded awesome.

Now, I said two reasons, but there's also a third I guess: Will's pitch for applying to Textualize felt so damn accessible! I'm on the older end of the age range of this industry; for much of my working life as a developer I've worked in isolation from other developers; while I first touched Python in the 90s, I've only been using it in anger since 2018 and still feel like I've got a lot to learn. Despite all these things, and more, saying "aye Dave this is beyond you" I felt comfortable dropping Will a line.

Which resulted in a chat.

Which resulted in some code tinkering and chatting.

Which resulted in...

Something new.

So, yeah, as of 2022-10-10 I'm on yet another new adventure. Time for me to really work on my Python coding as I work with Will and the rest of the team as part of Textualize.

Or, as I put it on Twitter a few days ago: I'm going to be a Python impostor syndrome speedrunner!