weeknotes 1

how to weeknote

this website

Nothing like wanting to pick up a new habit to push you to get stuck into something you’ve been meaning to do for a while, as a way of potentially procrastinating against that new habit, right?

I’m sick of maintaining my existing website. It’s been ~3 years since I did that rewrite in React from its Jekyll predecessor, and it was fun to do but ended up massively complicated for what it is. The plan was for it to be the testbed for building an engine I could use to quickly spin up personal websites for other people, and an excuse to cement some of my React knowledge. That engine never really happened, though. I’m also not freelancing anymore, so my needs for the site have changed anyway.

I’ve been meaning to do another rewrite for a year or so, so here’s the kick to make that happen. The goal of this new site is to be more accessible, more progressively enhanced, more static, and hopefully simpler while still aesthetically pleasing. Svelte has been catching my interest recently (I’m a big fan of the component-based model popularized by React), and I wanted an excuse to try it.

I’m starting with just these weeknotes, but I’ll expand the scope as we go, probably starting with a more general blog. The source is (as always) on GitHub, if that interests you.

medical nonsense

Last week I ran out of sertraline due to GP holiday closures and non-functional repeat prescriptions. I am still waiting for them to be delivered. It’s been two weeks of hot flashes, constant anxiety, electrified bones and teeth, and insomnia (for which you can blame the length of this first post)…

On the other hand, the prescription fuck up forced me to actually use a phone for voice stuff, which means I finally got the blood test results from the beginning of November. That unlocked an increase in my estradiol dosage, so I’m now on 200 µg / 24 hours via patches! :tada:

On the other, other hand, that took me 9 months to organize, from having the endocrine consultation in April: a consultation that was supposed to be followed by an immediate blood test, so that doesn’t bode well for the test I’m supposed to get done in 2-3 months.

I have also utterly failed to book the follow up I was supposed to book for 6-9 months after that consultation, due to more phone call requirements. I have extreme phone anxiety, which, when combined with executive dysfunction, basically means I won’t do things that require a phone (which is why HMRC, my mortgage, and my credit cards all have my deadname still, years after I changed it everywhere with sensible modern systems - or even email). The waiting list for appointments is 7-8 months (this is private - the waiting times are so much longer on the NHS), so assuming I manage to force myself to do the phone thing next week, I’m still going to be very late for a followup. Plus it’s going to cost me £150 I don’t really want to spend.

I wish services would drop phones as a single point of access.


Writing notes for this reminded me that HMRC deadnames me still, so I had another go at trying to fix that without having to call someone. Things have improved since the last time, in that instead of “call us” it’s now “wait on a page for a button to appear for your slot to do a live webchat - or call us”. Unsurprizingly, I have yet to actually see that button. Is there something wrong with queues?


I remembered that I’ve been meaning to work out an automated backup system for on- and off-site backups, but I no longer remember what I wanted to back up, given almost everything lives in the cloud somewhere. Hrmm… I have a RasPi sitting around doing nothing which is probably a useful component if I do decide to do something about it.


After making our way through the first two seasons of Fringe, we took a break (I find it helps with continued enjoyment of something) for the new releases of Jeopardy on Netflix.

I’m not sure I enjoy Jeopardy very much. It’s a weird American nationalist thing, and far too many questions are about a country that I already know too much about. Pretty sure we’ll still watch all of the collections that appear on Netflix, though.

We watched the end of Discovery, and while I enjoy it, I wish they’d be a little more episodic and a little less cliffhanger, especially when using the antiquated drip-feed release model. But I’d forgive it nearly anything thanks to the wholesome queer representation this season.

We’re now catching up on this season of The Expanse, which I love, but it’s taken me 5 episodes to remember what’s even going on.


I presented some advice on SEO to a client this week. Turns out SEO is a little less mysterious than it was the last time I spent any decent amount of time reading about it. A big take away from the research, and the headline, was “making things better for your users is probably good for SEO”. Nice to see Big Tech doing something good for the world, I guess.

There was an interesting question about how to optimize for coming second (rather than first), which I’d never really thought about before. Neither had the rest of the internet, apparently, but the advice basically ended up being “tell whoever you want to be first to do a better job of SEO”.

Everyone who’s read the deck so far has found it interesting or useful, so at some point in the next month or so, I intend on turning that research into a post for the dxw blog. Which reminds me that I should probably cross-post the things I write there to somewhere I control, for posterity. I wrote some advice about being inclusive of trans people focusing on pronouns shortly after I started that I still think is solid advice worth keeping somewhere.


I’ve pitched a session to this year’s (online) edition of UKGovcamp about navigating governance while delivering services in an agile way.

How do we deliver work in an agile way while maintaining the assurances needed? Frequently, the service standard is at odds with organizational governance. Are there tools that public sector orgs could share with each other to make that more consistent across government and reduce the friction to delivery?

I hope I come out of it with some tactics or tools that will help with what can be a really frustrating experience.

I also expressed my frustration about needing to make phone calls (see above) and someone else has offered to facilitate a session on making that better.


A modern dictionary about us. We define our words, but they don’t define us.

My contribution of a definition of agender was merged into Self-Defined. I’m a little sad that that project is still fairly sparse in terms of definitions, as I’d like to be able to send more people to it as general reading.

junior developer role naming

I asked Twitter for some advice on how to think about naming a junior developer role. I was trying to work out a useful way to disambiguate someone who can make a computer do things sometimes from someone who can deliver working software as part of a team.

It turns out that asking strangers on Twitter for advice is a recipe for people assuming you’re a shitbag who wants to rip off people at the beginning of their career unless you’re really careful about how you word it. Who knew? I think forgetting to mention degree education caused some people to think I was trying to say that degrees are somehow more valuable than self-teaching or bootcamps, where, if anything, I value them less. In practice, I’d just forgotten that anyone still did vocational degrees.

It did reveal some useful advice, though. I think I’m probably wrong to try to give those things different names, even if we need to be able to tell the difference internally.

recruiter archaeologist

I got an email to my work email from a cold-calling recruiter, deadnaming me. The most annoying thing about this is that that email address has never been associated with my deadname, so that recruiter must have gone digging to find it. I told them to piss off and emailed the company they were recruiting for, whose CEO emailed me back to apologize.

being openly trans

Someone from a client reached out to me to say hi as a fellow trans person, remarking on seeing my pronouns, which was nice and cancelled out some of the recruiter bullshit. Part of the reason I’m very publicly trans is to pave the way for better trans inclusion in the world, so seeing the direct impact of that is pretty validating.

inclusive job descriptions

The blog post I wrote on writing more inclusive job descriptions dropped, and got a handful of positive reactions. I’m glad it’s been helpful, and that my thoughts resonated.

green party

I had a chat with a campaign manager for the Green Party about volunteering my time and expertise. So that’s a thing that’s happening.


Dylan continues to be an utter delight. He’s very weird about fizzy drinks, especially ones with red labels, because they hiss at him, but he’s not running away every time one’s picked up any more. On the other hand, he now walks back and forth at the end of the bed instead of getting up on it (where he’s welcome and encouraged to be).


Dogs are weird.

I wrote this earlier in the week, but taking him out today was a fucking nightmare. The park was full of people, Dylan was demanding balls from anyone with anything that looked remotely like one, and not paying attention to whether or not he was attached to me or not before bolting after them at full speed. And it was freezing cold. Ugh. At least he tired himself out.

how to weeknote

This has essentially been a stream of consciousness, sorry, but I’d like to give future issues more structure. Or at least some organization.