Dylan Smith

Weeknotes 2022-W03

I got really into YouTube over the past year or so. I have a bunch of subscriptions I catch up on regularly and I like checking out the recommended videos, too. Eric Haugen was put to me this week by The Algorithm. He’s a guitarist and music teacher with a series called Where to Start wih Music Theory. I’ve been playing guitar for 22 years1 and never even thought about learning theory, nor acknowledged how it might help — you don’t tend to when you come up through punk and its derivatives.

I’ve watched the first few videos and his style of teaching clicked for me immediately. The way he explains theory, keys, and scales in relation with the fretboard was eyeopening. For example, I now know these are the A Major and A Minor scales:


These scales can be moved anywhere on the fretboard to be played in different keys, always starting on the note the key is named for. I already knew or could tell which notes and chords work and sound good together — I have a good ear — but never could have named which key I was playing in. I’ve been a trial and error player. Knowing (or being able to deduce) the key and which notes are in the scale feels like a cheat code.

On Friday I walked Louis to the vet to get his annual vaccinations. While I was in the waiting room, a man walked in with an injured squirrel in one of those big Tupperware bins. The receptionist gave a bit of a non-answer when he asked how they would treat the squirrel. Then he asked how long they might take; if they wouldn’t be too long, he could bring the squirrel back to where he found it. At this point the receptionist gave a look and a head shake that made it obvious the squirrel wasn’t leaving the vet’s office alive.

I spent a bit of time one morning to take care of some housekeeping on my website. I’m slowly but surely making my site feel like more of an online home for myself, with writing and features beyond just a professional presence. This week I sorted out a box-sizing bug with my blockquote elements, improved the styling of my notes list, and fixed up the width of media in posts. I also added the ability to use a featured image on posts that will display as a larger Twitter card (summary_card_image) which I’d not previously bothered with. That‘s especially useful because I’m going to add more pictures to these weeknotes posts moving forward.

Here are a couple of photos I took this week.

Two dome-style security cameras that have been tossed into a canal and exposed when the canal was drained.
They’ve drained the Hertford Union Canal again for more repairs to its walls. Every time it’s emptied, all sorts of discarded stuff is revealed. Last time, a magnet fisherman pulled up an old grenade and the towpath and Gunmakers Gate to Victoria Park had to be closed off so a bomb unit could come sort it out. Lots of it seems crime-related, like abandoned mopeds, but rarely as on-the-nose as these two security cameras.
A corgi standing in a frosty park at sunrise on a clear morning. A light flare cuts across the centre of the image and a line of trees flanked by two residential high-rise buildings sits on the horizon.
I’m not that into “good” photography — photos that are well-framed or arty or whatever. I prefer quick shots that capture the truth of a moment. But every once in a while something catches my eye and it’s worth shooting as best I can on my old iPhone.
  1. I played ice hockey from around age 4 or 5, as you do as a young Canadian boy. When I neared my teens, I stared becoming interested in music and telling my mom I wanted a guitar. She said I could either keep playing hockey or start playing guitar, but I couldn’t do both. I chose the guitar and it changed my life. 

Newer Thoughts on Parcel Older Weeknotes 2022-W02