Week 329

In to the home straight of 2019.

It has been 15 weeks since my last week notes and in that time I…

  • went to London with Dave Guarino, then Bucharest and Amsterdam with Alex.
  • went to a bunch of conferences (Fronteers, JSCampRO, JAMStack San Francisco, Chrome Dev Summit) and generally hung out with more nerds than I have for a while. Probably don’t need to go to anymore for a year or two, tbh.
  • hired some very wonderful new folks at work that start in the new year for the front-end team.
  • created a “life hack” that consists of using android’s “focus mode” as a way to turn off all work related apps on my phone after 5pm. The mode is supposed to be used to turn off all the fun things you do on your phone, but actually it’s not the fun things that are the problem – it’s mostly Slack chipping slowly away at the last of my sanity that I need to do away with.
  • got a library card! I think that means I’m a local now. I don’t know if this exists back home in the UK, but here you can rent e-books from your local library and read them on your kindle for free without ever having to actually go to an actual library. It’s brilliant, but I’m curious about how Amazon is taking advantage of this otherwise very friendly social feature.
  • got Switch Ring Adventure, which looks completely stupid, but it’s REALLY hard and I’ve been using muscles that I’ve definitely never used before. It’s much harder than the Switch Fit Boxing that I’ve been doing so far (and this month I’m challenging myself to do one or the other every single day in December).

Week 280

I’m in the kitchen at work mourning the loss of my intern. She’s not dead or anything, but today is her last day and we’re all very sad about this fact.

I also just got back from a trip to London to visit the family for an early Christmas-ish type trip. London is good for sparkly lights, mince pies, fancy dinners and having breakfast at the next table over from George Lucas!

Just before I left, I was gifted a copy of Public Digital‘s new little bright yellow magazine, Signals (thank you, Ben!). Still working through it. It’s a collection of short pieces of writing by various people about working the public sector.

Very yellow

On Wednesday, I had possibly the most wholesome holiday party, ever – a semi-competitive flower-arranging game and sake with my ikebana class. I forgot to take a picture, but needless to say everyone was a winner.

I emigrated

It’s been quiet around these parts, but I have a good excuse. I’ve been busy.

As you may already be aware, in July of 2013, I emigrated.

I left my beloved London to set up home with my American husband in San Francisco. A combination of visa issues and job shenanigans led us to making this decision, which are far too boring and tedious to bother to explain in any other setting than that of “over a beer in a pub”, which I’m happy to do should the situation arise, but let it be known that I left London and my job there with great sadness. If given the opportunity to go back one day, I gladly will. I miss London a lot, but that’s almost exclusively because I miss all the people I counted as friends there more than I let on.

Come visit me, guys.

And so, we’ve been busy with moving and finding somewhere to live in the madness that is the San Francisco real-estate market (it’s a really quick way to learn your way around SF, if nothing else, after you’ve viewed near 30 apartments) and doing all the sorts of boring bureaucracy that comes with starting over, not to mention dealing with the ridiculous US immigration system – I’m now a family-based visa expert, if anyone needs that.

We’re pretty settled in now, finally.

What’s next?

I loved working for the Government Digital Service. Having been there from before that department was even born, back in those slightly dingy offices in Lambeth, I was in the enviable position to see things grow and have an early impact. I can barely believe how big they are now and how much has been achieved in such a short space of time.

It was truly an honour to get to play a part in all of it and to get to work with such an incredible team of people. It’s affected me greatly in terms of what sort of work I now want to do. I knew when I arrived in San Francisco, that I didn’t want to just jump on board with the first thing I came across. I wanted to find somewhere that I knew would “get it”, somewhere that wanted to try and do Good Things™ for real people.

And so, on January 7th, I’m joining Code for America as their senior designer and front-end engineer.

The Decemberists/Emmy the Great

Emmy the Great

Not bad. Slightly underwhelmed and the sudden demise of the set was a let-down.

The Decemberists

Something very special. The beautifully orchestrated first set complete play-through of the new album, The Hazards of Love, then a second set of eclectic favourites from the past played by the massively multi-talented group was a sensation.

The Decemberists at The Coronet, 19th November 2009

Slow Club/The Cheek/Cate Le Bon

Cate Le Bon

Pretty cute set. Twangy plucked acoustic guitar and simple lyrics.

The Cheek

Deritive dullness. Felt like I should have been watching them reherse in their parents’ garage. If they lost a superfluous guitarist and that too-cool-for-school vocalist/keyboardist* (*if you can call someone who pushes half a dozen keys in a set one) they might be able to sort themselves out a bit.

Slow Club

See previous gushing posts. I’m totally starting to get into the obligatory sing-a-long. Last mention though before this blog becomes about them exclusively.

Slow Club at Scala, 24th September 2009

Slow Club/Viking Moses/Pete Ingo

Pete Ingo

Unfortunately, we mostly missed Pete, but we caught his last track – seemed nice enough.

Viking Moses

Weirdly animated and slightly theatrical. Really liked his Bluesy tones and sometimes childish sense of humour in the lyrics. A real character.

Slow Club

They never disappoint. Starting off by springing up suddenly in the middle of the audience with an acoustic Wild Blue Milk, and then on to mostly double-speed favourites, they were fun and charming all the way. If you haven’t seen them yet – do.

Slow Club at The ICA, 22nd June 2009

King Creosote/The Pictish Trail/Player Piano

Player Piano

Energetic but still soulful. Happy discovery. Listening to the Into The Dark EP on repeat as I write this.

The Pictish Trail

Backed up by KC on the accordian, Pictish Trail was a treat. Soft acoustic ballads mixed up with electronica keyboard samples.

King Creosote

Good mix of old and new bits, bringing in the previous acts to make up a full support band. Completely enjoyable, with only the (partly unplanned) set ending being it’s downer.

King Creosote at The 100 Club, 1st June 2009

Metric/Conan Moccasin

Conan Moccasin

Pretty dull on the whole. Kept expecting them to really get going, but it just never happened. Best we could say about the lead singer was “sounds like a chipmunk” and they murdered a Teenagers cover. Oops.

Metric

Certainly can see the much more rocky direction they’re beginning to take, and essentially it was a decent show. Disappointed that two albums were more or less entirely overlooked (I may occasionally want the moon on a stick, but I don’t think it’s unreasonable to show a bit of love to your early fans by playing more than Dead Disco.)

Metric at The Electric Ballroom, 19th May 2009

Slow Club/Jay Jay Pistolet

Jay Jay Pistolet

An unassuming man in a jumper far too warm for the tiny venue and hot lights, but a mesmerising acoustic set with 50s tones and twee lyrics.

Slow Club

Energetic, heart-felt and as good-humoured as ever. I genuinely can’t watch them for long enough. Chair percusion and the occasional screw-ups add to their charm.

Slow Club at The Enterprise, 20th April 2009

The Mae Shi/Dananananaykroyd

Dananananaykroyd

Second time I’ve seen them, and just as much fun. Running around in the audience, screaming vocals, tons of energy and drumming to die for.

The Mae Shi

Hugely entertaining and very crowd-pleasing. Slight hints of math rock with 8-bit backdrops.

Bonus entertainment points for Calum Gunn’s comedy raffle at the end.

The Mae Shi at The Old Blue Last, 4th August 2008