Week in review 2024-07

A 5k parkrun, CMAT in Amsterdam and Elle learns chess.

Notes on the week

I woke up at 8am on Saturday morning, threw on some gym clothes and cycled to Kralingse Bos to take part in my first ever 5k, the weekly Rotterdam Parkrun. I made a point last year of making running a part of my life, and whilst it started well with the help of an encouraging partner and the wonderful JustRun app, I just never found it becoming habitual and was always an effort.

One of the many benefits of living in a large city is that there are almost certainly a number of other people with shared interests or goals (see the pixelbar for example). I figured what I need to help me get running was a community, so I signed up for the ParkRun during the week, and just showed up on Saturday without knowing what to expect, and without really doing any training either. The crew (all volunteers I add) were great, welcoming and have all the logistics down to a tee. Around 08:58 they called all the runners (around 110) to the starting line and at 09:00 exactly we were off. In the initial pack before everyone gets strung out, it was great to see so many different people across a huge range of age and ability all coming together for this weekly event.

As noted previously, I have not been training for running, have never been good at running (even when I played sports every day of the week I was only ever dangerous over short distance) and have the cardio vascular fitness of a Jaffa Cake. It wasn’t long at all before the elite runners were disappearing into the distance, and I found myself with the pensioners and pram pushers. Honestly that’s not even fair, because what must have been a late arrival absolutely glided past me about 2km in, pushing a svelte and aerodynamic buggy with a sure-to-be future long distance running champion on board. I finished 99th, just inside the top 100 and just inside the 40 minute mark (39:11). To say I have a lot of work to do is an understatement of Dublin Metro North scale, but I think this way of running is magic. You have camaraderie, friendly competition, a number of metrics to measure yourself against and it happens every, single, week. Ask me again how positive I’m feeling about the whole thing if the weather turns ugly next weekend, but the great thing is whether it’s sunny, stormy, wet or dry, I know I’ll be there. Top 100 to top 90 and beyond, sub 40 minutes to sub 35, then who knows maybe even sub 30.

On Thursday we went to Amsterdam to see CMAT play at the Melkweg. Elle’s been a big fan for a long time now, and has been buzzing to see her play live. We got the train from Rotterdam to Amsterdam, about 35 minutes and then a quick tram journey to the venue, without once having to book, or even purchase a ticket for either (you just tap your debit card or phone at the turnstile, or at the door for the tram). Have I mentioned before how good public transport is in this country?

The gig itself was phenomenal. CMAT exudes star quality, and she owned the stage from the moment she stepped out. None of this was in a grandiose manner though, she was self deprecating, funny, full of crowd interaction and really shared the stage (and the spotlight) with the members of her band. I think there are two parts to evaluating a gig - the performance itself, and the crowd’s reaction. The performance was perfect, she really is an incredible vocalist, but the way the crowd hung on to every word really stood out to me. I think the world has been crying out for an artist like CMAT, and for young women especially having someone sing about such relatable things in such a beautiful way is incredible. The guilt of apathy, "And I feel bad ‘cause I didn’t cry when someone I grew up with died", the casual substance use "Shaking my hips and cutting lines , Feels a little passé now, shoulda cherished my wine", one sided relationships "I’m just somе stewardess who feeds your pets ,And does your dishes and pays your rent , And helps you heal from something Heaven-sent" all resonate with people in very real way. I think she’s a breath of fresh air and can’t wait to see what’s next for her.

On Sunday the weather was crap. It rained a lot, but we timed an escape during a predicted break in the rain (thanks buienradar.nl), and cycled to the Library. Elle wants to learn how to play chess, and there’s loads of tables set up for playing in the Rotterdam library. I taught her the pieces, the moves and the objective of the game. I don’t know how someone gets through life without coming into contact with chess, but I was delighted that she hadn’t because the hour or so we spent today together learning about the game, and then playing our first match together was lovely. I hope that we keep it up, I’d love to improve myself, having been on the receiving end of some demolition jobs at the weekly board game night hosted by Library, and even more so I love finding a new activity for us to enjoy together.

Building Vision Pro apps

An excellent retro technology youtube channel

Teaching The Iliad to Chinese Teenagers

Building a raspberry pi webcam with the shell of an old Apple iSight camera

The Web is fantastic

The loneliest photo

How to centre a Div

Apple should get weird


I cracked the code for reading Moby Dick. Sea Shanties! I was determined this week to back into Ishmael’s adventure, and figured I’d try some ambient music to help get in the zone. I put on the soundtrack to Assasin’s Creed Black Flag, a video game set on the high sea and lo and behold it worked, and I’m now burning through the book. The style of writing is so weird, and reads more like the journal of a slightly deranged ADHD sufferer trying their best to tell a story through intermittent bouts of distraction, but I’m getting there.


Rob released what I think is the best song (at least available to the public) that I’ve heard from him. It’s massive, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see this get picked up for sync in Film or TV this year. Congrats on the release Rob!


Poor Things’ is a stunning film that captures all the best of Yorgos Lanthimos unique style of film making, and triumphs in spite of some of the worst aspects of his particular style. We went to see it this weekend at Cinerama, and were blown away. Not one for the squeamish or prudish, (it’s a Lanthimos movie and that comes with all the usual baggage), but definitely my favourite of his films so far. Emma Stone not only delivers a 10/10 performance, but was very hands on with the production of this movie and it shows.