Weeknotes: 102

Work

I took the week off work. It was nice to relax, and I got through a lot of stuff on my to-do list.

Books

This week I read:

  • Volume 13 of Nana, by Ai Yazawa.

    In which the two Nanas make up somewhat, but rifts continue to open in the social web, driving people apart. This series has become so depressing, but I continue to read it…

  • The Body Politic, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau.

    This was a good read, I expected it to be pretty dry and hard to get through—like some of the books in the Penguin Little Black Classics series—but it was really approachable. I see why this became popular. Though, Rousseau does seem wildly optimistic about democracy, in ways which the past few centuries have proven false. For example, he says:

    the public vote almost never raises to the foremost positions any other than enlightened and capable men, who fill them with honour.

    That may be the case if all the electors value enlightened, capable, and honourable men; but history has taught us that that is not really the case. The Nazi Party was elected after all. They abused the system, true, but a political system needs to consider how it might be exploited, or there’d be no need for law at all: we could just elect enlightened and honourable judges and do everything by case law.

  • Volume 1 of The Book of the New Sun, by Gene Wolfe.

    This was good, my second Dying Earth book, and I definitely want to look further into this genre now. It’s a neat premise to have humanity so far after their fall that science is basically magic and society is a weird mix of medieval practices (like a guild of torturers) and fantastic technology (like interstellar travel).

    It’s also good to read these books which had such an influence on the early days of roleplaying games. Vancian magic, for example, seems like a really cool way to me of making magic seem more magical; and yet it got removed from D&D, largely I suspect because barely any players were familiar with its origins, and so it just seemed like some weird and awkward rules with no benefit.

It is week 35, and I have read 68 books. The gap narrows.

Miscellaneous

This week I’ve got through a lot of things on my to-do list: after 27 months and 903 completed cards the remaining ones all fit on one screen without scrolling for the first time.

This week I’ve:

  • Gone through almost all of my bookmarks (just a few hundred bookmarked as “to-read-later” remaining to examine), deleted most of them, and added the rest to my new bookmarks search engine. I’ve even gone through my huge youtube “likes” list for things that should really be bookmarks.

  • Written a bookmarks search engine! It’s on GitHub. I’m using the same deployment and security patterns as bookdb: there’s a read-only public version and a read-write version running on my home server; the local one periodically uploads its database to the public one; and continuous deployment is done through barrucadu.dev.

  • Written up my slow cooker chilli recipe.

  • Dockerised my deployments of pleroma—on ap.barrucadu.co.uk and social.lainon.life—and set up weekly database backups and also automatic deployment of new stable Pleroma releases. That’s been on my to-do list for a long time.

    I also dockerised my local deployment of “finder”, the manga scraper / browser I wrote.

    I’m finding “NixOS config which generates a docker-compose file and systemd unit” to be a nice way to handle things. My backup scripts just need to run as a user in the docker group so they can run docker cp and docker exec, and continuous deployment can be done by giving Concourse permissions to SSH in and restart the unit (which pulls the image).

  • Downloaded the archives for a couple of podcasts I’ve started to follow: Voluminous - The Letters of H. P. Lovecraft and The Good Friends of Jackson Elias.

  • And finally, this payday, met my goal of having £10,000 + 3 months expenses put aside as an emergency fund. I’ve got a couple of smaller finance goals to still meet this year, then I’m going to reevaluate how much cash I’m saving and how much I’m investing (as hoarding cash has little point).

I’ve decided to stop including the “This Week in Rust”, “Haskell Weekly”, and “NixOS Weekly” links in this section as I’m not sure when I last actually read one of them fully. Also the “NixOS Weekly” is more like “NixOS Monthly” at best, they should really rename that.