Captain’s Log: November 2022

Carrying on the home improvements the extremely unlevel living room floor was ripped out and replaced with a level chipboard floor. In the same week the chimney was dug out and setup to take an electric fireplace. The room looks a lot better but now needs decoration and a decision on a new top level of flooring.

first weekend

We got out to a “fireworks” display and then had a pretty relaxed weekend together. My partner took the kids to the library and loaded them up with a new stack of books. I got them to the park briefly on Sunday and all was well.

second weekend

This weekend I needed to empty the living room to prep for the chimney/flooring projects. This was exhausting and because the kids were not really involved there was kickback at the lack of time with me. I forget that they really need to spend time with me or they go spare. I would love to chalk it up to them really liking me. But no it is more that they are terminally unable to play together without an adult mediating, and neither can do any play time on their own really.

We had a babysitter come for Saturday evening and so got out for our first date night in a while (chicken pox and a holiday had upset the regular schedule). We went to a Thai restaurant in town and enjoyed several different dishes. The company, as always, was a delight. The food was very worth trying but didn’t really take off for me.

The Sunday was mostly emptying the living room. In the morning my longest serving friend came round to help lift stuff up stairs after my partner had messed their back up on Saturday doing similar. Then we went out for brunch with two of his daughters and my kids too. A tiring weekend where sleep was minimal.

third weekend

I booked a day off on Friday with the hope of going shopping to get some clothes that actually fit. I have not bought any new trousers in a very long time. I would like to have something that is not just running trousers I bought to exercise in.

Alas my kids were both off nursery and school on that day! They have a 100% record of being ill if I ever book time off work to do something without them. I never tell them that I have time off. One just vomits or has a fever and I always end up literally holding the baby on my time off. So that didn’t work out for me and the quest continues for time to do that.

fourth Weekend

I ended the work week a bit depressed to be honest. I think the Winter nights were drawing in, and it was an obscenely busy week again. So I decided to do something fun that I hadn’t been doing for a while. I made plans to cook lots of different food.

In addition to the usual burgers, pizza and my usual “I am going to cook something from scratch” fare, I made Pierogis for the first time. I have a new Polish team member at work and they said these were awesome. They were not wrong! I don’t know if I did it like how grandma makes them but these were absolutely delicious.

I also got out with the kids to an event at Kelvingrove Museum on Sunday which was nice if not relaxing.

short bits

Talos Principle – Picked this game up again. I think I have completed it twice before a few years ago. The puzzles are brilliant. With the gap in time I was having to solve them again almost without memory. A great game.

Audio Books 1 – Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari I am almost through this now as I have been regularly walking places before work.

Explained (on Netflix) – Nice short episodes of high level knowledge on a bunch of topics. Most episodes had something interesting to learn in there. I recommend it.

I did not play enough guitar this month. Not even slightly. I should remedy this.

Captain’s Log: October 2022

Finally there was some progress in the internal work on the house! This was great for the psyche. The kids bedroom floor had the 1960s boards ripped out and a level chipboard one fit in its place. A new carpet, a lick of paint, a bunk bed, and now the kids have an ok bedroom.

I killed the mould on the bathroom ceiling and painted it a nice grey colour. Installed a new bath panel to fill the massive gap where rodents came running in. I did a little bit of tidying up and decorating too. All in all making the house a little bit nicer every week.

first weekend

My partner was ill so this was time spent with the kids mostly. We started to watch the Karate Kid movies as I figured it would teach a bit about balance and focus etc. Having now watched the original trilogy of movies in a week it is safe to say that the character of Miyagi is absolutely amazing. Played to perfection.

second weekend

My brother and his partner were in town to see the strongest man competition and came over for lunch before heading over. It was nice to see them even if it was only a brief visit.

third weekend

I took some days off work and took the family down to the borders for a long weekend. This was hands down the most relaxing holiday I have had since having kids. The drive down and up went well without major tantrums. We met up with a friend and met their very lovely dog.

Exploring Kircudbright (pronounced ker-coo-bree) was relaxing. I had enough headspace to buy a book from the local book shop and then to read a few chapters too.

This was the most relaxed I have been in a long time. Seriously.

fourth Weekend

When we built the kids a bunkbed I put a storage pocket onto the top bunk and clipped a reading light up there too. It was actually the sweetest thing to see $eldest get hugely excited by this. Now they can read for a bit before falling asleep and it has reduced them coming out saying they are bored.

This weekend we went off to the Library on Saturday morning. Loaded the kids up with books and $eldest was reading for hours. Given how hard they fought to NOT TRY to learn to read at all a few years ago this is huge. They still have issues but it was definitely at peak levels when trying to get them to look at a page to learn the mysterious symbols. Now they can unlock a lifetime of knowledge and adventure and I am so happy that this is apparently life now :D.

On the Sunday I tried to take the kids out for breakfast to leave my partner alone to study. We had a really horrible trip to MacDonalds. A really filthy one. With poor service. With bad food. It was pretty damn grim.

Then we played our new favourite board game “monopoly junior”. This is just interesting enough to play and yet simple enough for the kids. It ends really quickly in about 15 minutes a round.

short bits

Mass Effect Andromeda – a few hours of this were played.

Football Manager – I started a game where I manage Scotland to untold heights. In my alternative reality the most fun thing to happen was me qualifying for the world cup in Qatar. Then having Craig Gordon retire about 3 months before the world cup! The timeline was weird. I called him up for a camp where we had 3 fixtures. He announced his retirement but he was still part of the camp. I could not pick a replacement for him. He played a blinder in the first game of the camp and then retired before game 2. Still unable to call up a replacement and suddenly needing to find a goalkeeper for the world cup when literally every other Scottish goalkeeper was playing backup at their clubs or having a pretty torrid time playing in relegation battles. I mention this purely for how much I love this game and how weird the alternative realities get.

Audio Books 1Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari I have listened to about another hour or two of this. It has sparked lots of juicy thoughts in my brain.

Lower Decks – I finally started to watch this and it is basically like Futurama in a Star Trek universe. Pretty much as awesome as that sounds too.

Captain’s Log: September 2022

Overall September was another great month. I managed higher quality time with the kids. I managed a good amount of time on hobbies, and work has been progressing nicely.

There was one negative highlight in that I had my first panic attack in ages. It was a minor one and the cause appears to have been doing too many fun things and a run of bad nights sleep. Because I now know what to do it was short lived and had little or no impact the next day. This is what having is mostly under control looks like.

Some progress was made in the house in the first days of September. External work was done to re-render the chimney, and a new TV aerial was fitted.

Thoughts turned to Internal work to the chimney to make it suitable for an electric fire. Sure the price of electricity is sky high now. But really this is for aesthetics rather than heating. Long term I think we need to be on electricity instead of coal or wood. It will be nice to have that focal point but I doubt we will turn the fire on very often.

We need to replace the entire floor in the living room to level it too (as it really was a state when we moved in). I am trying to get that done at the same time to minimise the disruption and we might have that done before Christmas which is huge. Just the thought of having a room in the house I can decorate and enjoy would be massive.

first weekend

We went to B & Q to look at all the electric fires and found a nice one. We had a look at all the bathrooms for ideas as we might replace ours in 2023 before the kids patience ran out. At which point it was KFC and then back home.

We watched Pacific Rim and $eldest was glued to that. What a fantastic movie that is. As a parent I will watch pretty much any live action PG rated movie I can. Why streaming services do not simply let you search by classification is beyond me. Yes they have “kids” modes most of them. But they are pushing mostly animated or genuinely made for kids content. When there is far too much of that and I just actually want to see some human faces sometimes. For this purpose Pacific Rim was pretty much perfect. Great music, fantastic costumes and it was not a story made specifically for kids. More PG films that don’t suck please.

second weekend

This was a really decent weekend. Got the kids to the park on Saturday morning. Then an evening out with my partner at Chaakoo (west end). The food was brilliant and the service was great. Then a nice long walk home chatting in a dregs of summer evening.

On Sunday I went to my grans, and went out for lunch with my sister. A nice place that had enough playground that the kids were essentially not there save a few minutes to cram food in. Result.

third weekend

I really tidied the house. When the place has so many structural problems it is hard to stay motivated to clean. In the flat we had things just about right so you could tidy and clean it in around 2 hours. In the house we are limping by with all the wrong storage solutions. Until we get the basics right such as the flooring it seems nuts to splurge on furniture that’ll just have to be moved around when we do. The cleaning spree was entirely because the proposed joinery works in the house soon massively motivated me to do so.

I remembered to ask THE most important question of my family members; “what do you want to do with me today?”. This is vital when you are busy in the week days and aren’t seeing so much of them. The answers are usually brilliantly simple and are mostly adorable. They want TIME with me. How nice is that?

  1. I want to go out on my scooter while you run. So we did, and it was fun and helped me get a little exercise.
  2. I want to play board games and do puzzles with you! So we did. The challenge is finding games that both kids can play at the same time. Not always possible and really they seem to want 1-2-1 time with me so I have to divide and conquer.

Super Busy Week

I have been going to my guitar maintenance course on Tuesday evenings for a few weeks now. The guitar I am working on is much better now with the frets levelled, then rounded. Next up I’ll be polishing those frets before finally putting strings back on it to setup properly!

I went to see Scotland vs Ukraine at Hampden with my longest serving friend. It was nice to catch up. Men are shit at meeting up and I know I have been extra shitty for the past few years on account of my bullshit panic attacks, and the associated trigger avoidance.

I won’t say my problems are gone (I still find myself needlessly worrying about stuff). But by going places and doing things this year I have massively reduced the anxiety. As well it should because I always knew this stuff was irrational.

This was my second Scotland match at Hampden in a few months. It is starting to feel normal to go to a place, have a pint, and then go to a football match. Because that IS normal. I had gotten so screwed up that the thought of it was a source of dread. Now I am actively thinking about taking at least one of the kids to get them into it.

fourth Weekend

I had taken Friday and Monday off to match with the local Glasgow holidays to make this a 4 day weekend. My partner got a chance to go meet their sister in Portugal which I encouraged them to take up. This meant, the dread of it, me being in sole charge of two kids for about 3 days.

Now… One of the other irrational thoughts I have had is what if I have a panic attack when I am in sole charge? There have been times I was spiralling over nothing like 30 minutes into my partner going out for an evening. Then I basically had to deal with that rollercoaster until they returned. But this was 3 full days pretty much.

I planned to get through it by being busy. By setting a routine where we went out in the morning to do something. Returned to play games together with me having a bit of a lie down in the afternoon when they finally got screen time (so they would zone out for a solid hour – the secret is to starve them of it by going out first).

The best laid plans and all that… Kid A was sick after bedtime for the first two nights. It meant I didn’t sleep as I was tending to them. Our sleep patterns were wrecked and it also meant we now could not go anywhere outside. This stretched the days on forever and made the job I had more challenging. I managed to keep my head despite the nights of awful sleep.

On the positive side in the middle of this the kids sat and watched Scotland vs Ireland on the TV. That is the first time they have watched an entire game without going away. I think the sickness made them just the right level of docile. Had a lovely chat with the $youngest about football and they asked to go to a game and get a t-shirt like mine. A result! As $eldest has never ever cared but $youngest looks like he is into it. Pity that the next Scotland game at Hampden is probably ages away.

short bits

The Boys – I watched season 1 back in the day and this month I decided to pickup season 2. It is really well made isn’t it? Lots of tension and twists. Season 3 has been… Hilarious. Is all I can say. Such a brilliant made show.

Mass Effect Andromeda – I have decided to replay this on the PS5 this time. The load times are much better as a result! It is a pretty good title. Though I find the combat more clunky than peak ME: 2/ME: 3. Sometimes video games are great for teaching $eldest things. This is because the rules are well defined. Here they are learning that you should help if you can, and that if you want to have strong relationships with friends you should regularly speak to them. He hates that I talk to every crew member at every opportunity as obviously it is not shooting aliens! But… They keep giving out side missions and more lore about their lives which can be entertaining (and even more missions where you get to shoot aliens). I am sure there will be studies on this somewhere using games to teach socialisation, and Mass Effect is actually great for it.

Guitar – I made good use of my Spark amp this month using it to do something I have never really done; play over backing tracks. Weird to think I have mucked around on guitar so long but never done this. But hear me out. Even though I read Total Guitar magazine back in the day and they came with CDs full of backing tracks. I didn’t have an amp! It was also fiddly af to co-ordinate playing a CD for me. Now? There is a wealth of youtube videos out there with a backing track and the relevant chord progression/recommended scale on screen. As I am sat at my PC desk I can use a mouse easily to drag back to a section if I want to go again.

Audio Books 1Red Teaming by Bryce G. Hoffman was completed. This was about using contrarian thinking to consider business planning. Not about the technical red teaming that pentesters are familiar with. It had some nice ideas in there.

Audio Books 2Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari was started. As with his previous title Sapiens this is a very well put together book and the ideas it fires off are interesting.

Captain’s Log: August 2022

first weekend

On the Saturday we bought new school shoes and attempted to visit relatives. I got pretty close but our old adage that one outside activity is clearly enough for our kids held true. They started to go pretty crazy in the car on the way over to the second activity so I had to stick true to the promise that if they did we would go home. Bit sucky. But I do want consistency in the consequences to actions.

On the Sunday we relaxed at home. We watched the Lightyear and the kids thoroughly enjoyed it.

second weekend

We drove to the East coast and chilled out. This is my second “long” drive in a month. I enjoyed it. The kids were way better at not screaming and I was fully relaxed. I had a date night out with my partner at a lovely Thai restaurant while we were there. This was a rather excellent long weekend all in.

third weekend

My partner was ill. We chilled out on Saturday then I took the kids swimming on Sunday. It speaks volumes as to how much $eldest has matured that I even “risked” this. Until now they would have been too unruly to take to a swimming pool without an adult dedicated to watching each of them. Some much needed water confidence was gained and actually it was pretty fun!

Weeknight Joy

This week I started a new evening course on guitar maintenance. It was fun and I am learning how to fix and setup my guitars. Nice to get out of the house and learn something. This is actually a marker that I can now do things of an evening. It is only possible because $eldest has matured enough to not be a two person job 24/7.

Unfortunately the “back to school lurgy” arrived so I had to cancel plans to meetup with a friend on Thursday. But again. It is actually great that I had made plans

fourth Weekend

The “back to school lurgy” arrived and so me and my partner were out of the game for the weekend. The kids coped well with being cooped up. They mostly played nicely and took advantage of the garden. I could imagine this would have been much worse without that safe space for them to roam in. So I am glad for that.

short bits

Audio Book – it has been a while since I had the head space to listen to a book. With my kid having anger management issues I thought I might give Never Get Angry Again a go. In the most part this was reiterating things I know but in a nice format. Then there was a weird chapter where it endlessly spoke about how we should do things to please god and that god loves us etc etc. It really stuck out like a sore thumb and then ironically it made me a bit angry!

Captain’s Log: July 2022

first weekend

On the Saturday I took the eldest to a friend’s birthday party at a massive trampoline place. I had a quite depressing 90 minutes wait trying to play with busted arcade machines that all just swallowed coins and didn’t let me play! The most annoying machine to eat my coins was a drinks vending machine. The place was hot and I really wanted a drink. The cafe at the location was also pretty bad. Other than my personally disappointing 90 minutes it was actually a great day because the eldest hung out with his friends and didn’t cause any “incidents”. So massive win!

On the Sunday I took the eldest for a 2.5 mile jog in the morning and then went to a friend’s house for an epic late lunch. Their house is lovely and their hospitality legendary. It was nice to see them and to meet up with my guitar playing friend on their way to tame the high seas (as they went sailing off Largs). Unfortunately on my return home I found the kids had destroyed a part of the wall in the living room and had a massive party with the dust. So that angered me a bit. I rounded out the evening with a few rum & cokes while playing Football Manager and watching Star Trek: TNG. Saved.

Overall this was a great weekend.

second weekend

I took two days off work and made a long weekend of it. We went to the coast and $eldest threw themselves into the sea with abandon and ended up with a fever for their troubles. While $youngest had a pretty insane number of sweeties and bounced off the walls. This was a great weekend away.

Nice and relaxed and I ended up with a “project” guitar to go and setup/tinker with. Not had a new guitar in a really long time and this is definitely different from any I have already.

Also notable because I drove for several hours for the first time in years. I did have some wee nervous bits but generally kept that in check and got there and back safely.

third weekend

This was a low key weekend. We went out to get our passport photos taken to renew my passport. That was about it.

fourth Weekend

A babysitter came by and my partner and I went out. Had a slap up mean at Dhabba in the middle of town and attempted to go to a Ceilidh. Sadly it was too apocalyptically hot inside the venue so even though we’d paid £5 a ticket we turned right back around and left. But it was still nice to be out on a Saturday night for the first time in many years. We had a lovely evening anyway.

Week Off

I tool a week off here with the idea of decorating the kids bedroom. As with everything in this house you are fighting the crappy plastering at all times. A few months back I had taken out a built in wardrobe and behind that there was some old wallpaper. It took 2 days just to take down this 2m wide section of wallpaper.

In scraping that off several bits of plaster broke and lots of tiny bits of wallpaper adhesive remained. Day three was spent sanding those little bits of paper, scraping out the broken plaster, and then trying to seal the broken bits with watery PVA glue. Then pollyfilla to all the most obvious holes in the wall to prep the area for a first paint.

Eventually prepped I spent one day painting the walls and returned it to a bright boring neutral white. Next month or so we need a carpet installed. I’ll have a go at installing skirting boards and possibly coving to end up with the first nice room in the house!

Last Weekend

After my week off I moved the kids furniture back into their room, played with the kids a bit and made a bunch of Pizzas out in the sunshine on Saturday.

On Sunday we went swimming as a family and then I met up with a friend for dinner on Sunday night which was good.

short bits

An electrician came round and fixed a bunch of minor stuff in the house like a broken light fitting, and made safe the wall socket for the cupboard I smashed last month. I was very impressed with them turning up when they said they would, doing the job, and then saying “because there was less time spent onsite than anticipated we will invoice you less”.

In health news I have been regularly jogging sorta 2-3 miles about 3 times a week for about two months. A huge achievement getting back from that sore ankle and immobility last year. I have been feeling physically and mentally a lot better as a result. I also got another scan of my liver and was told it is firmly in the normal range again. Though I still need to drop about 26 pounds ideally before they scan it again next year so now I have an actual goal and a deadline.

In my week off I didn’t do any jogging at all. This was mainly because I was doing tonnes of manual labour getting a room decorated. I was exhausted and eating dreadful food all week so this has been a little set back. As I am late with blogging July I already know I have been out now that I am back to work so hopefully just a little holiday.

Captain’s Log: June 2022

first weekend

This was the sunny jubilee long weekend. In it I:

Destroyed a built in cupboard – I spent the Thursday smashing this down, and then had the rubble collected on Friday. I have now taken out all of the additions made to the house since it was built. I have uncovered all of the areas of broken floors and areas that will need replastering. I cannot build things, but I am very happy to destroy things! A step closer to getting a joiner/decorator to coming and fixing things.

Went to the shops – more than once actually. We generally order online and so it was nice to have a jaunt to the shops with the kids to get them involved.

Played board games – a quick round of Qwirkle with the family. We need to build up tolerance to game time as I would love us to play more often.

Played in the garden – we stuck a tent up for a couple of days and had fun using it to stay in the shade at the hottest times. Watched “Captain Nova” with the eldest in the tent. I have been routinely murdering bits of the garden over the last few months. Not enough to keep on top of it but enough to mean we can still use it as the lawn is not totally wild. On the Sunday I had a go at the more aggressive weeds/unwanted plants.

First Week

I went to see a live football game for the first time in a decade. It was Scotland vs Armenia at Hampden. It was fantastic to have a night out without the kids and to catch up with a friend I haven’t seen since my wedding. It helped that the game was a victory too.

second weekend

Went to a kids cellidh. Played games with the family.

I also watched Scotland get thrashed by Ireland at football somewhat inexplicably. It was a good time. But fairly low key.

third weekend

On the Saturday I dropped the youngest to their first ever birthday party for a friend that lives round the corner. The covid interrupted kids really missed out on things like this so it was nice to see them toddling back afterwards happy and loaded with a bag full of cake.

I asked the eldest what they would like to do with me for two hours and to my surprise the first thing they suggested was: “I want to take you out for a run dad. I will go on my scooter while you run”. In the spirit of saying yes to the kids more I did this and it was great. 30 minutes of that and then we played beyblades for 30 minutes ending on the final suggestion of chilling on the sofa watching some TV.

What I realised is I never really get alone time with either kid. It is sort of messy with both of them because they are at different developmental stages. What one wants to do is boring for the other and so it is always a messy time when it is me alone with both kids. I have taken the note and tried to ensure there are activities I do with each individually regularly. I have continued the exercise with the eldest, and the youngest still just wants to be tossed around the place a bit like a tiny acrobat.

On fathers day I was treated to a trip to Zippo’s circus. This was honestly brilliant. I was really up for it and the kids were mesmerised. The skill of the performers is amazing. What a fantastic show!

It is also notable because this is the kind of event I would not have dreamt of going to due to pointless and stupid anxiety that I have. I would have fixated ahead of time on nonsense. I am a lot better at pushing through and doing stuff anyway now, and every time I have it has always been excellent. Go see the circus when it is in town.

final weekend

On the Saturday I took my partner out to Golf Fang. In the spirit of trying something new. At 2pm it was a full blown raging nightclub but with mini-golf. I wasn’t prepared for the fact it really was a night club in the middle of the day. But there you are with music blaring out such that you cannot talk to your comrades surrounded by hen do’s spilling cocktails on each other.

I had a nice time. We then walked over to Mother India and had an excellent lunch from their lunch menu. It was excellent to have a meal out that was relaxed without the kids and to talk a bit about the optimistic future we want to be in.

On the Sunday the eldest took me out for a long run while they scooted. Later I tried to take the youngest alone to “The Unit”. It was rammed so we couldn’t get a table. This was aborted after the kid ran feral around the place for about 45 minutes.

short bits

Life:

  • Exercise – I have been doing jogging regularly for a while now. Getting back into it. Aiming for more than 100 quality active minutes a week I have now achieved that for a full 5 weeks. In the final week of this month my eldest kid has gone out with me on a scooter. Long may this continue. My resting heart rate is heading south even if my weight hasn’t changed I am fitter, happier, and sleeping better. Time to change it up by counting calories again too as the final piece of the puzzle.

Media:

  • Star Trek TNG – Obviously I have seen this before. But I started it again assuming Netflix UK will lose it too soon. I don’t much fancy getting another streaming service just to watch a program from the last century that I have watched 3 times before.
  • Babylon 5 – I am watching this again with my partner and we are up to season 4. I haven’t re-watched it since it originally aired and this is really an excellent show. Everyone should absolutely watch this.

Music:

I have made a lot of music of late. I believe that when you leave a job you should do so on a song. Whenever a colleague chooses to hack new clouds from afar I put something together when I can. There have been a few colleagues moving on.

My Main Man:

A legend leaves my team.

We are grey:

This is actually the first leaving song collaboration! Where the leaver made the backing track but asked me to “I dunno, add some words to it”. Maybe want to adjust your volume before starting it as it is loud:

Message Deleted:

This is the nonsense I had part made before “We are grey” was made. Figured I’d share what I had made anyway. The schtick here was accusing them of quitting the band as we have long term talked about collaborating. We finally did (we are grey) above!

Captain’s Log: May 2022

first weekend

The first weekend was good. We had some neighbours round to break their Eid fast because the in-laws were in town and wanted to feed some new people. It was nice to finally have a house guest over to have a meal. I guess we have forgotten the skill during Covid and we were legally banned from doing so at the time we moved. I can see a BBQ in the future.

We also got the kids to the local parks and had a lovely stroll about in the sunshine.

another fecking health scare

After the in-laws left I felt the need to have a wee dram for the first time in a while. Long term followers of these posts will know I am at risk of starting to have liver disease so I essentially stopped drinking at that news which was over a year ago. I was away with the fairies after what was only a couple of pub measures.

Unfortunately I then started to have worrying pain in my back. I wasn’t able to work out if it was maybe muscular (from all the exercise or gardening I had been doing) or if it was perhaps the first sign that I really need to be super kind to my liver.

I was concerned enough that I called to book a GP appointment to be told I needed to wait about a week to get an appointment. I was pretty certain whatever I had going on would a) have resolved itself by then or b) I would have been rushed to hospital if things progressed. I was having some other symptoms and eventually ruled the liver out and focused on the kidneys. With my MD from Google it seemed obvious that it was likely kidney stones.

I always stay pretty well hydrated so it seemed nuts that I could have been dehydrated by such a small amount of alcohol to achieve that (and I was drinking water in another glass too).

second weekend

Friday on the second weekend I met up with “my longest serving friend”. We met in primary school and, while we live in the same city, have been exceptionally shit at meeting up. Partly because of family lives, and maybe also because of how nuts I have gotten over going places. Since I am working on that all the time when he asked if I wanted to meet up. I jumped at it.

Unfortunately when the day had spun round I was in the middle of what I was calling the kidney-stone saga. I didn’t really want to get on the train and head into town due to how much water I had been consuming that day to try and dislodge the fucker. So I was delighted when he wanted to drive out this way instead. I had a really good catch up and was very happy to see him.

Buoyed by my first night out in… Well. I think this year. I ignored the kidney pain with some ibuprofen and took the kids to Braehead to buy some summer clothes, and to harvest a list of aspirational toys to motivate them with. If we can see continued regular positive feedback from the school then kid A is onto a winner with a choice of something off the list.

third weekend

Friday after the kids were back from school we ate, played board games until there was a near riot and then watched “Sing”. For the first time that actually went pretty well. I could see us maybe braving a cinema again soon. The problem has been the youngest kid being unable to watch a film and therefore we just wasted probably £30 as both them and one adult will be pacing the foyer.

We went out to a park on Saturday morning and had an impromptu picnic. Great to see the eldest wowing local kids a repertoire of ancient jokes that every kid seems to be delighted to rediscover lol. I must have been tired as I pretty much slept through all of Saturday other than that. Bringing it back for some quality time watching the Eurovision Song contest followed by an hour or so of YouTube Karaoke. It was nice to spend some quality alone time with my partner.

On Sunday very little was achieved by me. Played some board games, tidied a room, and did some exercise. I am still keeping on at that as best I can. On the Sunday it was skipping rope in the garden and light jogging to the end and back of the garden. The skipping is proper exhausting but I need to get into it to maintain the spring in my (formerly) busted ankle.

fourth weekend

Weekend started with a play date for Kid A after school on Friday. Then we got on a train early Saturday morning (me fighting that anxiety!). Had breakfast in a little cafe near central station. Then we had a meander through the Buchannan galleries shopping centre ending on a pretzel before heading home.

On Sunday the missus hung out with her friend up from near London while I played with the kids. All in a pretty good one.

final weekend

A lot of pressure on this one. We had booked a babysitter for the first time in ages with the intent on going out and doing something on Saturday afternoon. We are so out of practice at being without kids that I honestly do not know what to do with myself. I may no longer be such sparkling mealtime entertainment after 8 years being locked indoors.

We saw Dr Strange 2, I had some minor anxiety for about the first 20 minutes of that before it settled down like it normally does. Then I sort of enjoyed the film. The cameos were pretty great and it cracked along at a nice pace.

There really wasn’t that much choice for restaurants nearby and so we ended up in Nandos. It was not the greatest meal time experience with the food being a poor effort for a chain that is normally reasonable. The layout of the restaurant was also a bit weird in that it seemed we were setup such that you were looking at someone from another table at all times. That is not normal for restaurants! It felt awkward basically staring down a stranger while you bite into dry chicken sheepishly!

So yes.. I am trying not to be too harsh on that weekend. Given the cost of a babysitter, cinema, and a meal being somewhat astronomical it feels like you have to simply have the best time of your life in 5 hours. That is too much pressure and it is definitely a muscle that has atrophied. But… Here is the good thing. We did something (even if it was a tad disappointing) together. The commitment to do it and the desire to do that more is there.

short bits

Media:

  • Cobra Kai – I finally succumbed to the lure of nostalgia for Karate Kid. I am glad that I did because it hits an interesting tone and was fun to watch. It was nice to see Lawrence get fleshed out and I particularly liked the bit where they explained the original film from his perspective and it left you thinking that Larusso was the bully. Great. I have to mention how perfect the soundtrack is too. Am now stuck waiting on Season 5 having caught up.

Hacking:

  • I honestly did some of my finest work in May. I smashed three web applications in a row and was feeling rather great about that. Harvesting enough material to deliver multiple flash talks for colleagues too because there was at least something worthwhile in the way each project had gone. There has been a lot of new starters to work with as we expand the business and they have all been great to work with already making me feel more positive. Paired-hacking adventures are always more fun!
  • Then I was scheduled on a humbling Mobile application assessment where I had to graft and didn’t really get anywhere. Such is life. You always have things to learn. I was glad of my blog post on getting started with iOS testing from 2020 which honestly helped me getting back into the saddle to do battle again. As always I tried my best, learned a bunch of new things, but it felt like quite a come down from the month of ownage up until that point!

Music:

Still pushing myself to make new music most Sunday evenings. It is all keeping me entertained as I learn how to do all the things. As always I say things are a work in progress but realistically I never go back to a track and generally stop at the 2 hour mark with whatever I have cobbled together. Here is “Not my circus”:

Captain’s Log: April 2022

During the first weekend my partner had a friend up from London visiting so they went out and about leaving me with the kids on Saturday. This was really good because they were allowed to be without kids and to have a degree of spontaneity. They came home buzzing and it was nice to see.

On Sunday we went to the huge Victoria park in Glasgow and had a big explore around it. There are areas we had never visited before like the bit around the fossil grove. It is a wonderous area of natural beauty. Small. But really diverse in the trees. The kids had a lovely time bouncing off the little cliffs and running around in the trees. Then their friend became available again. So off they went spontaneously for a second adventure.

I enjoyed some extended video game time with the kids who are currently wanting me to play Dragon Quest Builders 2 endlessly. We all enjoy this but the days of me being able to play a game more than 4 hours are past! I eventually put it down and refused to touch it again that day.

The second weekend was written off. I was supposed to drive to the coast and see my parents. I think a hangover from the Covid that ran through the house last month I was exhausted and easily out of breath. The activity of the previous weekend was slow and deliberate in an effort to not exhaust myself. I was trying to push through and just drive away for the weekend but realised I really needed a lie down so cancelled it. I then spent the entire weekend lying down pretty much and felt much better by the end of it.

Easter weekend came around and I was feeling better. We do not know when we will find a builder for the loft conversion so we have started doing what we can ourselves. I smashed down an old wardrobe in the kids room, and built a bunch of Ikea furniture for my office. While still miles away from the goal of being tidy this has been excellent for my mental health. My office has nothing on the floor cluttering it up. My hobbies and work stuff are all at hand. So I have been inspired and made some music too.

Around about here in the month I popped a shell on a customer engagement. It has been a little while since I have had a less obvious vuln to play with. It was Java Expression Language (EL) and I think I will write a blog about that as it was fun.

For the fourth weekend we did the final trip to the tip dealing with the destroyed built-in wardrobe’s rubbish. The kids went off for a trip to the park with a babysitter and me and my partner got to eat a meal in peace al fresco in the sunshine. It was nice but could have done without the wind.

Pretty much all of Sunday was cleaning the house. One of the more depressing things about moving to this house is that it is exceptionally hard to clean. By tackling the storage issues we can finally expose enough floor to actually regularly clean it. Other than the regular quick clean. The house is starting to feel ready to actually live in which is nice.

The final weekend the in-laws flew in and we were treated to a flurry of cooked food. It was good but a little bit stressful since family staying is always going to be tense without enough space to give people alone time.

Media:

  • Dragon Quest Builders 2 – we really enjoyed DQB and this one is bigger and better. I really enjoyed it. The kids watched every hour of this over the last 3 months and it was nice spending that time with them.
  • Community – I have seen this show before but it is really really good isn’t it. Definitely worth the re-watch.
  • Parks and Recreation – first time for me watching this. It already feels like a nice comfy pair of slippers. Funny and ridiculous in the right places.

Hacking:

  • For work I hit a target pretty hard and achieved “root” on their server. It is still awesome to land a shell and demonstrate impact. I love my job!

Music

I made a track in an entirely different way. I took dialogue from a conference speech and cut it up to tell a story. Also working in my DAW (Reaper)

That was the month that was April 2022.

Captain’s Log: March 2022

We started the month still recovering from a round of illness in the house in February. So an excellent start.

First weekend of March we got away to Balloch and met up with my brother and sister in law who were in the area on holiday. We haven’t seen each other in over 2 years so that was great. A good meal out at Slanj Restaurant which is a beautiful building and good food. Other than that we went to the rather excellent park around the crumbling castle at Balloch and the kids enjoyed going feral in a wide open space. The play park there is magnificent 10/10 would recommend and while they are occupied you can enjoy views of Loch Lomond and surrounding hills.

The second weekend was going to be a busy one for me. My partner was scheduled to go to London to see friends so it was on muggins here to look after both kids alone. I get anxious about that because a wee voice from nowhere goes: what if you collapse when in sole charge of two kids?

Well.. I have trained the eldest to unlock the door and get help from neighbours, and I have survived the worry a few times before. Take that anxiety! There is ever increasing evidence that things will be fine. Actually I wasn’t really thinking about this nonsense this time so I was in a better place mentally.

Unfortunately (on Friday 11th) she tested positive for covid by LFT test moments before leaving the house. Then a bunch of days later Kid A tested positive. This dragged isolation over two weeks. With kids going spare. All of us feeling “meh” it was a great time.

I had some annual leave when we were locked in. I used that time to do minor improvements to the house:

  • I installed a full run of compliant fire alarms.
  • I hung a fancy wall mirror.
  • I replaced the toilet seat (yea.. It needed it).
  • I built a new BBQ/Pizza oven for the garden.

Looky at pimping BBQ thing:

For the fourth weekend we were allowed out into society so we went straight to Blair Drummond Safari park and had a lovely time. Totally nailed it with the exact perfect weather and a long but eventually successful hunt for the fresh doughnut business (which has moved near the Dinosaurs). Not saying we only go their for the doughnuts, but definitely they need to happen.

In terms of exercise I was basically not at the races this month. I am learning to be kinder to myself by saying; we were sick, then covid trapped, and I now am still recovering from that. While I never actually tested positive I am definitely more out of breath than I was last month. So I have tried to ease back with walking again before getting the running shoes back on. The main thing is to ensure I do a little every day and then aim for fun weekends.

In the final week of March Kid A has managed four consecutive GOOD DAYS at school and home. This has never happened. They are trying things again (after being brave at Blair Drummond and doing a tonne of new things).

I have not felt this relaxed in a very very long time. If I can just get some exercise back on the agenda regularly I’ll be living my best life.

Media:

  • 24 Season 8 – I love 24. I think it is absolutely hilarious and dramatic and brilliant. I am not convinced I have seen Season 8 before though. Surely I would remember Katee Sackoff and president “Nixon” coming back for more villainy? Or it could be that I am just simply old enough to have forgotten it. I have definitely seen the movie set after it with Robert Carlyle in it (Redemption), so the chances are high I have forgotten Day 8. Which is… Kind of great. Because I got to watch it again a-new.
  • 24 Season 9/Jack goes to London – I finally saw this! It was everything I would hope it would be. The scene in Wembley stadium was particularly brilliant.
  • 24 Legacy/the one without Jack – I can see why this season was not as well received. It just seemed that literally everyone was endlessly incompetent. Which I do think is mostly true of most seasons tbf, it was just more acutely felt. Early doors this features my favourite ever terror cell that totally fucked up their own shit without any CTU involvement. I found it hilarious. Honestly bravo. They were the best. It had some great moments but it was also a little under baked I think. I wasn’t aware it only had a 12 episode run so I was sort of waiting for more when it just sort of ended.
  • Start Trek Enterprise – many people hate this series. I have always been a fan of it. You know that netflix can skip intros right? If you judge a series by its intro entirely then I think you might have missed some great shows. I think Season three with the Xindi is possibly the greatest single season of Star Trek as it has an overriding narrative with a mystery they are slowly piecing together. Then Season four is just criminally a short version of what should have taken 2 or 3 seasons to complete the narrative on.

Hacking:

  • After about 4 months Mitre hit me with CVE-2021-44082 for the Textpattern XSS to RCE finding. The patch and details were already out there on pentest.co.uk.
  • I posted a pentesting relevant blog on the physical security afforded by a Master Lock Key Box. I am in no way an expert on physical security. But I needed to crack the 4 digits to get one off a wall. Not going to lie, it was fun doing this. Doing things outside of your skillset is a great way to learn.
  • I met an actual colleague in person. This has not happened in a pretty long time. So that was nice. Dare I say I might try and open the door to folks again to come and work from my gaff once Kid B is in full time nursery. I’d like it but maybe nobody could take sitting on hard chairs for a whole day lol. So maybe a bit of prep for that, I have time.

That was the month that was March 2022.

Captain’s Log: February 2022

February was a curious month. I was buoyed by no longer feeling significant pain in my sore foot/ankle and was enjoying doing 3-4 morning jogs back from the school run. I could feel myself getting fitter and it was awesome! So I was sprinting into the month full of optimism.

Then, as tends to happen, there was a bout of illness in the household. As is tradition it happened over a long weekend that I had engineered by taking some days off work to be with the kids on half term. We went to a swimming pool for the first time in ages and then over the next 4 days we all eventually cracked and gave way to Norovirus symptoms. It was pretty horrific. I have never vomited with such force in all my life. 10/10 can recommend, go for the experience.

It took about 10 days for me to return to action and to sustainably be able to keep food down. Not gonna lie. I absolutely smashed the Uber Eats button about 10 times in 3 days after I could finally eat.

Now as we get into March I am tentatively back to exercising. The work engagement is busy and stressful and I am looking forward to two speaking opportunities during what happens to be Scottish Cyber Week.

In February I started watching Season 8 of 24. Because… I love 24 and how absurd it became. I was not entirely sure that I have seen season 8 so I have been cracking on with that. Also rewatching Star Trek Enterprise.

As a result of losing approximately half of the month I haven’t really got any photos so this months image is essentially a magnetic play toy that entered the house. I can recommend it the kid and I have had a lark making faces.