Category: Long Form

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    Are you being a fucking idiot?

    (Originally pasted into facebook)

    I don’t often stick long posts on this god-awful surveillance website, but after hearing about some friends and family suffering, I didn’t want to hold back.

    If you’re going into shops etc without a mask on when you should wear one, you’re a fucking idiot.
    If you’re holding personal gatherings when you shouldn’t, you’re a fucking idiot.
    If you’re reading this and about to dispute it because of some dumb ass reason because “well kids mix at school so what’s the difference”, you’re a fucking idiot.

    There are people who are actually suffering, whether through loneliness, loss or struggling to battle this thing.

    Boredom != Suffering.

    Acting like a fucking idiot, thinking the rules don’t apply to you, whilst people fight to get rid of this virus, is no different to locking the front door with 50 locks whilst some prick leaves a window open.

    Yes the government are inept and more concerned with profits over people’s lives. But you can’t use their stupidity as an excuse for your own fuckwittery.

    Open your eyes and realise you live in a society.

  • πŸ“‚

    2020 β€” Review of the year

    Disclaimer — this post is still in a bit of a draft state. I have published it, however, as it is New Year’s Eve 2020 and if I don’t do it now I will probably forget to do it.

    What an absolute bloody shit show this year has been. I’ve been super lucky when compared with most and still it’s probably been the most terrible year I’ve experienced.

    Inept and corrupt Government; complete idiots who think wearing safety masks are against their civil liberties and more besides.

    I thought I’d start a new tradition of reviewing the year just passed and looking towards a plan for the new year to come.


    I began this year working at a Birmingham based web agency called Substrakt. And although I enjoyed most aspects of the work, and 100% of the people, the job just didn’t end up being the right one for me.

    From there I moved to another Birmingham based agency, Eastside Co — this time focusing on the Shopify platform. And despite having a great welcome and on-boarding, have decided that Shopify is not a platform I want to be focusing my time and energy.

    At the time of writing I have recently handed in my notice and am planning to start at a new company come February time. Really looking forward to seeing what the future brings there.

    Music I’ve discovered

    I have fallen in love with an American metal band called Skid Row — more specifically their excellent album “Slave to the Grind”.

    I have learnt to actually enjoy a couple of songs by The Killers. The two songs I have come to love are “The Man” and “Shot at the Night”.

    Eminem’s album “Music to be Murdered by” is incredible and the recently-released Side B album is growing on me too.

    The music of Low Roar was an obsession of mine thanks to the excellent PS4 game “Death Stranding“. My obsession was compounded when I was working at Substrakt as I would have to take my work laptop to and from work in a large laptop / travel backpack.

    Sam, sam – He’s our man

    Sam Porter Bridges from Death Stranding

    Books I’ve read

    This year I planned to read 12 books — 1 per month. However, I failed miserably and only manage a few.

    I kicked off the year with George Orwell’s Animal Farm.

    Next came my trying to read Dune, but stopped reading part way through. Not sure why if I’m honest.

    I also tried to read Stephen King’s It, but I just couldn’t get my head around the shifting character points of view in a police interrogation scene near the start. Need to re-try that one.

    I read a classic horror book this year — Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And I loved it. I read it because it felt like it was one of those bedrocks of horror that I should read in my life. I’m glad to say that I really got lost in that one. I definitely plan to read it again soon.

    I have just (literally 1 hour before writing this) finished Stephen King’s Duma Key. One of the longest books Ive attempted, only surpassed by Clive Barker’s Gallilee some years ago. I really enjoyed the journey and characters of Duma Key but couldn’t help but feel slightly disappointed by the closing chapters. To be honest I don’t think “disappointed” is fair to say. I think it was more like me just expecting a huge explosive ending, when in fact the ending was more low key. But I can’t really fault the book as a whole — it was a journey I enjoyed being taken on.

    Films I’ve watched

    I have been digging into Italian Giallo films more this year and even got round to watching the remake of Suspiria. Absolutely insane and incredible in equal measure.

    I finally began watching the Friday the 13th film series (only the first 2 so far). Loved part 2 and looking forward to continuing this journey soon.

    I really need to be making a note of the films I watch next year too. As I can only remember the ones I’ve written about on my site.

    The New York Ripper and Rosemary’s Baby were stand out films for me that I discovered in 2020.

    Games I’ve played

    I have come to the decision that Horizon Zero Dawn is my favourite game of all time — at least until Forbidden West comes out. I finally played through the story of The Frozen Wilds DLC and found to be a glorious addition to an already perfect game. At least perfect in my eyes. I really must write up a post about that game.

    Before the DLC, I conquered the game on Ultra Hard New Game plus, and really would have the game any other way. I am still working on getting 100% completion for it and its DLC content.

    The Last of Us part 2 was the stand-out new release for me this year. And despite having to big twist spoiled accidentally the night before release — yes I managed to not hear anything up until then — I still enjoyed it for the dark, brutal, often tough-to-endure story that it is.

    I have replayed Death Stranding and took my time, almost doubling the play time from my first play through.

    I made a meme

    2020’s Governor to 2021’s Negan — A Walking Dead meme I made

    Next Year

    Like many people I have some goals for the coming year. I want to buy my own home with my lady. I want to be move organised and more goal focused, which I’ve actually been working on in the latter part of this December 2020. I should thank Carl Pullein for this organisation boost as I am implementing his TIme / Sector system — it seems to be working for me so far.

    I want to read at least 12 books this year. I have written out the 12 I want to read and in which months. Only this time I am determined to actually pull through with it. I am starting on January 1st with Daphne Du Maurier’s The House on the Strand.

    I will be dedicating more time to building up my Junji Ito Manga site. Writing a lot more on there and building out the tag pages too.

    Along with writing the posts on the Junji Ito site, I will be aiming to write a lot more heavily on this site also. As well as keeping better track of what I watch, read, hear and play.

    I want to see many more Films this year too — specifically classic horror.

  • πŸ“‚

    Setting up my own labs

    I’m going to begin setting up my own “labs” area to play around with various web technologies.

    For the longest time now I have been holding myself back quite a bit by only really learning technologies around current roles at the time and for my own personal site. This has mainly revolved around Laravel and to a lesser extent WordPress.

    Whilst I will continue to love both of those projects, I do want to start pushing myself to learn things that are completely out of my comfort zone.

    I will also begin writing more about my learning, discoveries and new things that excite me in web development — something I haven’t done for a long while.

  • πŸ“‚

    31 Films of Halloween 2020

    I think I’m going to try and do the 31 days of Halloween by watching 1 new horror film each day in October. (Or just 31 new horror films by the month’s end is more likely for my timetable)

    I may alter the order as I go.

    • 1 — Suspiria (2018 remake) — watched 1st October
    • 2 — Friday the 13th part 2watched 5th October
    • 3 — The People under the Stairs — watched 6th October
    • 4 — Friday the 13th part 3
    • 5 — Night of the Living Dead
    • 6 — Jacob’s Ladder
    • 7 — Hereditary
    • 8 — The Blair Witch Project
    • 9 — Sisters
    • 10 — Blood and Black Lace
    • 11 — Bay of Blood
    • 12 — Don’t torture a duckling
    • 13 — Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key
    • 14 — What Have You Done to Solange?
    • 15 — The Burning
    • 16 — Inferno
    • 17 — I Trapped the Devil
    • 18 — Phantasm
    • 19 — The Brood
    • 20 — Carnival of Souls
    • 21 — The Tenant
    • 22 — An American Werewolf in London
    • 23 — The Fall of the House of Usher
    • 24 — The Wicker Man
    • 25 — Re-animator
    • 26 — Train to Busan
    • 27 — Invasion of the Body Snatchers
    • 28 — Mandy
    • 29 — Repulsion
    • 30 — Drag me to Hell
    • 31 — Midsommer

    Other Possibles:

    • Raw

  • πŸ“‚

    No better feeling than to create

    There is no better feeling than that of creating. Yes, that is a super vague statement but I wanted to write something — anything — and this post is it.

    I have spent too much time tonight just clicking around reading articles and watching videos around the world pandemic and the complete fucking cretins governing the people through it.

    As breaks from the sadistic act of reading about this country’s disease* and Covid-19, I have been continuing my reading of Stephen King’s book Duma Key. I’m really enjoying it.

    For some reason the notion of the feeling of creation being one of the best struck me. Whether the creation of an original work, or the the creation of connections with others. Or the creation of pictures in your mind’s eye from reading great works of fiction.

    Bit of a short random ramble, this one, but there you have it.

    *The Conservative Party

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    Moving my video share links to my own Peertube

    Peertube is a self-hosted alternative to YouTube and, to a lesser extent, Vimeo.

    I say lesser extent because I think Vimeo’s business model is very different from YouTube’s (Google inc’s).

    Whenever a YouTube video is shared on a web page, it is basically like a Trojan horse. Yes, it lets your visitors watch a video directly in your website, but it’s doing so much more behind the curtain.

    It is allowing your visitors to be tracked across the web. When a person lands on a web page that has a YouTube video embedded into it, they are seen and tracked by YouTube’s owners: Google inc.

    Please don’t do this.

    Moving to Peertube

    I am very technologically privileged in that I have the know-how to set up my own “peertube” site (an instance as they are called). So I am not saying that people should all use that.

    But do at least consider something like “Vimeo” as an alternative, or maybe even self-host the videos on your website if you have the available storage space.

    I am in the process of migrating videos in my older posts over to my own Peertube website (My Jams are already moved). If you notice any I have missed, please do let me know in comments below. πŸ™‚

    I don’t want the few people who visit my site to be tracked whilst here. I want this to at least be a safe space from the surveillance and advertising swamp that is the modern web.

  • πŸ“‚

    On Keeping a Commonplace book/site

    From Wikipedia:

    Commonplace books (or commonplaces) are a way to compile knowledge, usually by writing information into books. They have been kept from antiquity, and were kept particularly during the Renaissance and in the nineteenth century. Such books are essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Commonplaces are used by readers, writers, students, and scholars as an aid for remembering useful concepts or facts. Each one is unique to its creator’s particular interests but they almost always include passages found in other texts, sometimes accompanied by the compiler’s responses. They became significant in Early Modern Europe.
    Wikipedia extract on Commonplace books.

    As soon as I heard about the idea of a commonplace I was immediately interested and wanted to start keeping one myself. But then I soon realised — my website is kind of on the way to becoming what I would call my own commonplace. I tend to write about a bunch of things that interest me, and had even begun saving quotes from the few books I read.

    Not only will this give me a new angle at which to come at mt personal site from, I think it will even aid in ridding me of the occasional writer’s block, whatever that is. If I start writing little and often — some personal notes and some posts — it can only do good things for my writing habits. πŸ™‚

    External Links

    How and why to keep a commonplace bookRyan Holiday.


    Mark Twain’s Marginalia.

    Everyone Should Keep A Commonplace Book: Great Tips From People Who Do.

    All about commonplacing.

    How to Keep a Digital Commonplace.

  • πŸ“‚

    Been learning to use Docker Swarm

    After getting half-way through a Docker Mastery series on Udemy, I decided I would like to move my WordPress website, this one, to using a 3-node swarm.

    After a few days of editing and re-arranging my docker-compose.yml file (the local dev configuration file that can also be used for starting up a swarm since compose version 3.3) I have decided to just keep my website hosted on its single regular server. (Although I had already moved the database to its own dedicated server).

    Despite the fact that I haven’t actually managed to move over to using a swarm (and to be honest it isn’t even needed for me) I have managed to dive into a bunch of concepts around Docker and its Swarm component and feel that I have added a few new things to me dev toolkit.

    I think I will definitely be putting together a little demo in a swarm across three separate servers. But for now I will keep my website settled as it is. πŸ˜€

    What I have learned – or rather reminded myself of, whilst sat in at home during this damn isolation, is that it is important to keep looking into complimentary technologies around my everyday development skill set.

  • πŸ“‚

    10 Albums that greatly influenced my taste in music

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    February 2020 round-up

    Here are some things I’ve been enjoying in February 2020.