Winding up from winding down

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Today we started doing things again. I mean, not that we weren’t doing things. But the things we were doing were the things that are good for the soul that US society says have no value. Obviously they have value, and fuck that noise, but there are also things we need to get done which we allocated some time for on the last couple of days of our holiday. One of those was spending some time working on Kathryn’s studioshed.

So today we got out the circular saw and spent some time trimming bits of plywood. It’s coming along – I mean, it’s hardly phenomenally beautiful woodwork, but the walls are coming along nicely and I think we’re more than 3/4 done. There’s a narrow strip along the bottom of the west wall to do, and a full height board but only a short section – and that’ll be that wall done. Then there’s the north wall to do, and then it’s just getting the floor down.

We did, unfortunately, get some water ingress today. It seems like the door seals (in so far as they exist) aren’t really doing their job. I mean, they did sit a good 5 or so mm away from the door, which is a probably 1920s or 30s door frame.

It’s actually kept the water out until this past week, so far as I can tell, and it has been murderously wet these last few days. I mean, not untypical for the PNW, but it’s the full on winter “I’m just going to pour with rain every day until you’re not sure if you’re a duck or not”, which is not…my favourite thing. It certainly makes my run in the morning less fun (and more damp).

Anyhow there was some water that had clearly made its way in – not a ton, but enough to warrant investigation. And yeah, I’ve repositioned one of the door seals, but realistically they need replacing with new ones.

We also replaced the door lock – it’s largely ornamental in the sense that if someone’s come through our fence and is in our back yard then I suspect they’re not going to stop just because the door’s locked. But we didn’t have a key for the existing lock, and so we swapped it. Which I thought would be an easy five minute job… ha.

Because of course the lock isn’t a standard size. Of course not. So the new lock didn’t fit – and then I made a complete hash of enlarging the hole, which was quite disappointing. That will need either some filling or one of us to let in a small piece of wood to replace it. But – yay for progress.

The other thing that I randomly decided to make some progress on today was the CD ripping project. This endless delight that I’ve set myself of re-ripping to lossless FLAC all of my CDs – many of which were ripped to lowish bitrate MP3s waaay back in the day. Or not ripped at all… is a project which is both pleasing and also incredibly, mindbogglingly tedious.

It’s pleasing because oh hey, I have REM Green to listen to, which I’ve not heard in…uh, probably over a decade. Buuuut, also because a bunch of our CDs are not recognized by Max which leads me to spend a lot of time finding tracklists for obscure CDs – and also trying to track down album art for them too. Then, of course, there’s the endless joy of a lot of modern CDs having the bit set to say “you can’t rip this super quickly”. So instead of being ripped at 40x, they’re ripped at 7x.

I mean, try and push people towards downloading whydontcha…


I’m nearly through the first – very overpacked but smaller DJ case. Then there’s the random disks in sleeves and the larger, I think better organized DJ case… so there’s a long old way to go. If CD rippers were more reliable about identifying album art and tracklists then I’d be tempted to build the CD ripping robot (which I do have plans for but haven’t printed because it’s so frequent that disks don’t auto-populate with information (thanks Amazon for not sharing), and it’s just easier for me to manually catch all the ones that don’t rather than having to somehow split out disks it recognizes and which have sufficiently good artwork from ones it doesn’t, or which only have some crappy little 200×200 image attached.

In other, other news, I’ve started looking at what I need to do to get Home Assistant running properly, which probably involves removing ChickenCam from the Chicken run… because the Raspberry Pi team fucked up spectacularly on social media – with a really frankly unpleasant response to fairly moderate criticism – and now I don’t want to buy any of their products. I hope that they’ll turn around and fix this, but right now there’s plenty of other things I can use in their place. However, for the moment Home Assistant comes as a prebuilt doohick for a Rpi, and since I’ve got one I might just use it. However, I’m also thinking that I might want to use the little touch screen display that I got for it, too. I don’t know much the RPi displays when running Home Assistant – I’ve only ever used the docker before. But… yeah, that’s another project for another rainy day. :)

The idea is to tie into our Mycroft – when it eventually gains some more skills (although it does currently have Home Assistant, which is the first thing). Although at the moment Mycroft is mainly hilariously terrible at answering questions and also appalling at sensing when its being called. It spends a lot of the time just randomly saying “I don’t understand what you mean” to no-one in particular because whatever its listening for it just…well, decided that “oh, do you want some cheese” meant “hey mycroft”. Given the busyness the rest of the day I decided to hold off on that for now.


Kate's allegedly a human (although increasingly right-wing bigots would say otherwise). She's definitely not a vampire, despite what some other people claim. She's also mostly built out of spite and overcoming oppositional-sexism, racism, and other random bullshit. So she's either a human or a lizard in disguise sent to destroy all of humanity. Either way, she's here to reassure that it's all fine.