Monthnotes: March 2024

The start of March found me glitchy and disorganised, a little overstimulated. I wasn’t burned out, but I was definitely singed from the Sweden trip and juggling two projects at work. On top of that, my sleeping patterns have been terrible, so that I was sometimes waking up at 4am, unable to get back to sleep. The month was basically a slog towards easter and the relief of a four-day break.

Dan and I launched the kickstarter for True Clown Stories. I should have published this back in 2011, but never got it off the launchpad. I looked into running a kickstarter back in June 2022, but it only got moving once Dan was involved. Running a crowd-funding campaign is a fun experiment, but it’s hard to make a continued impact. We’re currently at 60% with 18 days to go. I’m not sure if we will make the target or not, but let’s see. If you’ve not checked it out then please have a look.

I had a couple of trips this month. I visited Muffy in Blackpool and also went to Sheffield to see Rosy Carrick’s show Musclebound. It’s an incredible performance and I loved seeing it again. The show also brought together a few old friends, which was lovely. A great night out.

It’s been the last few weeks of the work steps competition. I walked 511,243 steps in March, for an average of 16,492 a day, with my highest total being 34,538 when I walked to Todmorden and back. Among all the other chaos of March, my diet has been a little unfocussed, and my weight increasing by 1/5 pound. Now that I feel a little less burned out, I can hopefully sort my eating out a little.

Work has been interesting, as I’ve been transitioning between projects. I left my previous project with some excellent feedback, which I feel very happy about. I’ve taken a little time to find my rhythm with the new one, although I’m enjoying working with a typescript stack. I’ve also been doing some interesting investigations into lambda cold starts.

At Rosy’s show I saw some people I’d not seen in years and, when they asked me about work, I found myself saying how much I love my job. And I truly do. I’m 16 months in, but I still feel excitement at the start of most days. I’m rarely bored, I’m challenged, and I am learning lots of new things. I’d never thought I would find so much meaning and satisfaction in a job.

I made some effort to focus more on reading books in March. The highlight was Booker prize winner Prophet Song, recommended by Jude. It took me a few attempts to get going with this, but once I did, I read it in a matter of days. Richard Norris’s biography Strange things are Happening was a great easter read. I’ve also been enjoying the graphic novel series Something is Killing the Children, rationing out an issue a night.

I watched 20 movies over the month – too many maybe? Highlights included the The Third Men, which seemed wonderful, despite being almost 80 years old. The remake of Road House was entertaining AF, and Tom Cruise was impressive in Michael Mann’s Collateral. I went to the IMAX to watch Dune 2 which was looked incredible but was somehow empty. Under the Silver Lake was flawed but thought-provoking. About 20 years after seeing it at the cinema, I rewatched But I’m a Cheerleader and was, this time, blown away. I also wrote a blog post ranking the ten Best Picture Oscar nominees.

Before the Kickstarter launched, I was seriously thinking about quitting writing. I’ve sold very few copies of Memetic Infection Hazards and, after months of writing the substack, my subscriptions had been flat. It struck me that the time I spent writing might be more effectively spent on my job. Then came a mention in John Higgs’ newsletter which lifted my spirits, as well as boosting my substack readership. And while the kickstarter has been slow, these are real people who have signed up.

Thinking about it, eight months of sending out a weekly story is far from nothing, and would have been unthinkable at most points in my past. Having an audience on the Substack also forces me to think more carefully about what stories are worth working on. I’ve deleted a lot of old notes, and what remains is very exciting.

I spent Easter clearing the decks a little. Throughout March, I felt overwhelmed by too much media, too many emails, and too much that I needed to do. It would have been good to do more with the break, but I feel better for having got things under control.

  • I realised recently that it’s a year since my last visit to Brighton, which seems odd. While I miss people there, I’ve not missed the place much. Although I am longing for a La Choza burrito, and Rosy has promised to bring one up when she next visits.
  • I had a couple of minor headaches in March, but nothing bad enough to force me into bed. So, it looks like increasing the amount of water I drink is working.
  • I blogged about the depressing state of Britain.

Look who I have visiting at the moment:

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