Mark Boulton

Weeknotes 17

  • Sat on a train travelling back from Cambridge looking at my reflection in the window and the darkening sky beyond. Feeling reflective. In many ways.
  • This morning's election result was expected – inevitable, even – but non-the-less bitterly disappointing. The English and Welsh map is blue. The Scottish is yellow. More divisiveness is to come, for sure. For all Mr Johnson's talk of healing, all I can see is an angry red, open, festering wound. It's going to take a while.
  • I have a compressed weekend coming up as I make my final trip to Heidelberg this year. Saturday is going to be spent hurriedly putting up a Christmas tree before jumping in the car to the airport on Sunday morning.
  • The trip to Germany is a chore: car journey, flight, two trains, and a cab. It's a ten hour trip door to door. That's equivalent to the time I spent travelling to Boston and back every month for the same duration. But it just feels longer as there is so much faffing involved.
  • Been doing a lot of talking about the design system work we've been working on for a year. It's foundational work; the bedrock of the system. But now we're starting to think about something I touched on at my talk at Front in August.
  • If you look at successful design systems in other media and industries. Mature industries. You see the same patterns repeated: they have solid foundations and – what Otl Aicher called – a strict grammar. But, they allow for free, playful expression. That phrase is my ear worm at the moment. How can modern web framework-like design systems allow for free playful expression? Especially when many of which are designs slapped in front of rotting technical debt (thanks for that other ear worm, Mark)
  • As you can see, for this reason and many more, work continues to occupy a lot of my head space. I posted on instagram the other day that I mounted my training bike with a head full of angry wasps that were only silenced by a very intense threshold interval session for an hour. It helped, but the wasps were still there.
  • Still, my leg appears to be better. It nags a little when I up the power in the interval, but it's not painful. I'm almost back up to my target power. I've got my eye firmly on target events for next year. Due to some conference commitments, it looks like I might have to favour some local sportives instead of any alpine adventures. I may join a local cycling club too and focus that competitive spirit into something more local and manageable. Mid distance time trial? Triathlon? Maybe.

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