in Prose

Weeknotes S03E12: XXX

Everything is new but old but new

I’m back on my old team. We’re delivering things ahead of the meaningful vote on Tuesday. There is not very much I can say about these things.

Still, other things happened. Maybe there’s a post in them. Let’s see.

I did more baking than I’ve done before and worked out how to temper chocolate. Tempered chocolate — glossy, dark, smooth — is the most decadent, most delicious sight in the world. I love it. I love it so intensely that I tried to record it and felt immensely disappointed when it didn’t match the way it looked inside my head. I was tempering chocolate in order to win the bake-off my new team’s DM organised.

Yes, I said win. Who enters a competition without the aim of winning?

https://media.giphy.com/media/10nGcSDXpLv9w4/giphy.gif

The treat I’ve made is vegan chocolate brownies that contain cherries and nuts. Early feedback is that they are amazing, but also need more chunks and possibly more umptuousness, a word that — like my brownies — is mysterious but has a wonderful mouthfeel.

I spent a full 90 minutes with a colleague who helped me understand our communications strategy, because I’m nosy and asked to learn about blogging. I think I’m good at personal blogging, but strategic blogging is a slightly different thing. I don’t think I fully agree with their viewpoint, but I’m also not an expert in this field. I’m willing to be educated, and I’m pleased and excited to work with colleagues who are willing to give up their time to explain it to someone like me. There’s also a workshop happening to bring together devs like me and professional writers like them to help us to better understand each other. This ought to make publishing easier.

Antonia and I played chess, and it gathered a small crowd. I think there’s potential for a small chess club, but I don’t want to take on another corporate objective. I do want someone to set it up though, because I like playing chess and I like getting to know my colleagues better. If nothing has changed by March I’m going to start annoying people to start it themselves, but I’m committing to no more corporate projects until I’ve finished the ones I’m on for the moment. In the interim, watch these incredible geeks play chess in four dimensions and try not to let your brain squidge out of your ears.

I scored a ticket to Hack the Police and I’m immensely excited, because I love an opportunity to muck about in a novel context. I’m also going to Pushkin House, the Russian language centre in London, to be assessed on my Russian language.


A Russian-speaking friend has given me an appraisal of “like a five year old”, so I’m confident I’m ready for the intermediate class.

These are all part of my aims: I want to be a senior developer within 18 months, and I’d like to be an interesting and well-rounded person.⁰ Daytime language courses are cheaper than evening and weekend, so I’m going to do some rejigging of my hours in the new year to swing at least half a day off per week. A whole day off a week would be even better, but that would be such a blow to my finances that — ironically — I’d struggle to afford to do anything with that day off.

Purchasing a flat continues to be the most arduous task I’ve ever had to do, and now includes legalese. I hate legalese. I hate it so much because it feels like the purpose is to obfuscate meaning and humanity.

If that is the purpose, it can get in the bin, because meaning and humanity are all we have in this universe. The stars; the wind; the earth beneath my feet. All these are cold and uncaring and have nothing in common with me except chemistry. Let’s at least be humans to each other.

If that’s not the purpose — if lawyers truly believe that this is the way people like to have their lives laid out and ordered — then I volunteer to go up and down the country to shake them firmly by the lapels of their exquisitely tailored suits and say with force that it is not, it is not, nor will it ever be.

Here follows an excerpt from something I am supposed to swear that I understand.

The Seller shall at it its own expense procure that the Property be practically completed as soon as reasonably practicable to the reasonable satisfaction of the Buyer’s or its mortgagee’s (if any) surveyors in accordance with the Specification (subject to any amendments made under this Clause 3) and in accordance with planning permission and any planning agreements relating thereto (so far as they relate to the Property) and building regulation approval relating to the construction of the Property (subject to any variations made to them and to any amendments required by any local or other public authority) and to the standard of the Warranty Provider PROVIDED THAT the Seller shall not be liable to the Buyer for damages or any loss or inconvenience that the Buyer may suffer in the event that the Property is not ready for occupation on the Anticipated Handover Date which is as a result of any delays in the Property being practically completed in cases where such delays are beyond the reasonable control of the Seller.

What absolute cock. I put it through the excellent Hemingway app and after it had recovered it told me that:

  • 3 adverbs in a single sentence is too many
  • 6 phrases have simpler alternatives
  • And 1 (out of 1!) sentences was very hard to read
  • However: there were no uses of the passive voice. Good job!

WRITE FOR YOUR AUDIENCE. STOP MAKING PEOPLE ANXIOUS BECAUSE YOU WANT TO SHOW OFF HOW CLEVER YOU ARE.

THAT’S JUST HOW NERDS BULLY PEOPLE.

DON’T BE A DICK.

THAT IS ALL.


⁰ Yeah, it turns out it’s only easy to do one of these things.

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