Owen Blacker

Weeknotes, 10 May 2024


A 2nd week of writing weeknotes. Week 1 was already a somewhat feeble personal best, but I will absolutely celebrate the small wins — we all should.

As I already mentioned, a 3-day weekend was indeed greatly appreciated, especially with the restorative effects of meeting with comrades for the May Day March, organised by the Cardiff Trades Council, and then going to see Queertet at Canolfan y Mileniwm. Queertet was amazing; the world needs a lot more queer jazz, frankly. And I had forgotten how lovely is the Millennium Centre’s big fruit mocktail. Monday was also capped by seeing quite how many people Cardiff Stop the War can turn out for an emergency protest at the attack on Rafah, after spending some time giving some thought to some grants feedback queries for WMLGBT+.

Tuesday was a half-day team-leads planning workshop for my new Department for Education dayjob project. Despite being only 1 of 3 people dialling in remotely, with 7 or 8 people in the room, it was a really productive session and I felt super included all the way through. I don’think I’ve attended such a well-managed hybrid meeting before. When it went to breakout planning, the main Teams call was put on hold and each of us remote attendees was shepherded around with a specific in-person colleague who called us directly (also on Teams) from their laptops and everyone made sure our remote opinions were sought and respected just as much as for the people in the room. A genuine highlight, seeing how well that ran, with remote teammates each able to discuss aspects with other in-person participants just as much as (and, I think, without overwhelming) our shepherds.

Both Wednesday and today have been chock-full of meetings, but very productively so. The tech leads of the 2 workstreams each walked me through the architecture and the database and APIs and the web interfaces, then a mixture of group-meetings and one-to-ones as I get to know the wider team. Yesterday was less busy, so I got to do more reading and thinking. Overall, I’m feeling very welcomed and trusted by this team and like I have a reasonable understanding of the programme of work, despite only really being 8 working days into things. Some code-diving and more get-to-know-y’all meetings next week.

And yesterday evening, I went to see Love Lies Bleeding with some Civil Service LGBT+ people yesterday. An amazing film, and Kristen Stewart and Katy M O’Brian were clearly having the time of their lives making it. Really good fun. (The trailer isn’t necessarily NSFW but I wouldn’t want lots of colleagues to see it unexpectedly; it might be worth avoiding in an office or on public transport. Also, while there are some spoilers listed, people might want to see the content warnings at Does the Dog Die; a tl;dr is that there is a lot of sex (f/f and m/f) and graphic violence plus depictions of injected drugs.)