Plant growing update 

Plant status: some activity.

I've planted two rounds of four seeds some time apart. The first round don't look they're doing very well, only the broad bean has done anything. I'm suspicious the planting depth the seed packets give is nonsense. I'm testing this theory by planting the second round much shallower. So far, about half of the second round have put leaves out. I'm not sure if that means the depth is better, or if it's just that the leaves are visible sooner.

I've moved the bean to a pot to acclimatise it to being outside, as I think it's getting a bit big now. I think the black bits might be from being in a damp box a few days too long. Hopefully they'll heal now I've moved it.

I actually did some programming today! I think this is the first time in weeks the thought of hobby programming hasn't immediately made me go urk and do something else. It's nice to have got round the mental block, at least for today.

Current project: horrible horrible compiler for my equally horrible splice of Lisp and Forth DNA.

Unlike yesterday, I woke up without all my internal energy gauges already in the red, so I've finally tidied up the electronics box. It wasn't what I'd call exhilarating, but it is satisfying to be able to find things, see what we've got, and know that things won't get broken in the one huge jumbled box of components.

I think the most obscure things I found in our stash were a pair of ancient single-digit LED matrix displays and a 40 pin DIP chip that implements most of a multimeter (ICL7106CPL).

Gardening, much mentioning of poop 

Having acquired a bag of old shit - actual well rotted poop - I have planted a plant in it to see if I understand how plants work. Possibly I have ruined a plant, but hopefully not. Doing not-computer things is nice, I seem to be in a sick-of-computers phase at the moment. Also, it turns out literal shit is much less offensive than software shit.

My experiment in growing vegetables begins!

These little seed pots are 3D printed because I wanted ones that'd be easy to eject the blob of compost from (the bottoms come out). I've stuck another clear box over the top to keep water it, because of course we've lost the lid to the one I'm using as a tray.

Anyway, these seeds are going to sit on my windowsill and we'll see if any grow. This is probably entirely the wrong time of year to try, but that's just how it goes. Also, I don't really know what I'm doing, so this will be fun!

This just in: audio editing with SoX* is amusing but very very clunky.

It did mean I could process what would have been ~4GB of raw audio in the 2GB of RAM I actually had available by leaving it compressed, so that was good.

*command line audio processing utility

Getting my queen jokes in before this gets entirely old 

I'm slightly disappointed, I was really hoping the queen would just keep going and that in about 2040 there'd be a huge scandal when everyone realised she was a robot/zombie/unholy abomination all along

The audiobook saga 

I was looking for entertainment to go with meals, remembered audio books exist, and thought “great, there are books I haven't got around to, problem solved”. Not so, apparently. My options for [legitimate] acquisition of audio books seem to come down to Kobo and libro.fm.

If you can put up with Kobo's subscription it makes books £7 each, which is... kinda expensive actually, but maybe doable? Sadly the only way to download them to anything that isn't Kobo's phone app is someone's hacky Python script. Terrific.

libro.fm let you download mp3's (huzzah!) but charge £15.65 for a similar setup (224% of Kobo) (my calculations, they won't tell me the tax applied) and seem to have issues selling stuff outside the US.

[Dis]honorable mention to Google, who offer moderately expensive mp3 downloads, but are... Google.

I've now spent hours trying to figure out if there's somewhere I can buy an audio book. Judging by my search results, piracy would have taken minutes and been trivial. All Kobo's faff with apps and DRM, and it's just made piracy *more* attractive! *sigh*

Complaining about computers and programmers 

Reading programmer websites as a distraction from work was a mistake. “Running personal email is really easy actually, you just [run a virtual computer inside your virtual computer on someone else's real computers] so you [don't have to deal with the nightmare that is modern email] and it does everything for you” is the sort of comment that makes me want to go outside and scream for a while.

Quick sketch of a game concept I've been thinking about:
- phase 1: grow plants, trying to overlap areas of effect to optimise their health
- phase 2: pick fruit, each fruit is a little action mini-game, like lockpicking in various games

I liked the idea of how this could look using Uxn's sprite renderer, so this doodle was mostly intended to explore that side of it. Given my energy levels at the moment and frustrations with Uxn, I'm pretty unlikely to write this thing, it's just a source of art ideas for the moment.

Exercise undertaken: 1
Other people's dogs found and taken home: 1

The high point of today was 3D printing a clip to hold bags of things closed, and having it actually work properly at the first printing.

We've got some commercial versions of this, but wanted some more and couldn't get them easily, so I threw this nonsense together. I think this took maybe two hours design work, then 1.5 hours printing.

Feeling kinda low today, but still managed to get excited about polycultures in vegetable gardening. Very much on a tangent of enjoying plants being neat at the moment.

Accidentally playing Halo for several hours yesterday evening:
- going to bed late messes me up
+ am now an expert in putting warthogs (vehicle) in places designed not to hold warthogs

Pun: where do goths buy accessories? 

The black market!

I guess an energy crisis is a good time to have developed a fascination with off-grid energy and sanitation systems. I hope this fascination gets to the point of producing actual useful skills.

Today's wiki walk was biogas, “food waste in, cooking fuel out” sounds very cool. Wrangling bacterial cultures and flammable gas sounds like trouble though.

I'm sufficiently put out about it being Monday *again* that I seriously considered having ice cream for breakfast

Me, a few seconds ago, programming: “I can't tell if this is a brilliant innovation in elegance, or a horrifying innovation in brain-fuckery*.”

*i.e. in overheating the brain of anyone trying to understand what on Earth my code was supposed to do, mine probably included

Today I'm excited about:
- Pi Zero bare metal programming looking easier than I expected
- big flash memory chips being available in forms I might be able to DIY
- the existence of ferroelectric RAM

Book opinions: Use of Weapons (I didn't like it, 180 words) 

To while away a bad mental health day earlier in the week, I finished reading Ian M Banks' Use of Weapons (Culture series). I quite enjoyed Excession, or at least bits of it, but had I been feeling less shite I'd probably have had the sense to give up on Use of Weapons half way through.

Apparently a lot of people really like this book, but I can't see the appeal. My experience of it was a book that was almost as grisly as it was boring. The main character's only defining traits seem to be a favourite gun, ambiguous trauma, and a personality blander than flour. Which is a problem for a book that's basically a character study!

The whole story is a long buildup for the wacky twist at the end, but I found the journey so tedious I'd entirely stopped caring by then and it fell totally flat. There are a few moments where there's a sparkle of humour or imagination, but they're relegated to the sidelines along with the interesting characters.

So yeah, not my thing.

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