The Young Offenders, 2016 - ★★★★★

After a difficult week, this gleefully rackety film was just the ticket. Two young Cork lads (Conor and Jock) - who are not overly burdened by common sense - hatch a plan to steal bikes and cycle 160 km to the tip of Cork to try to find a missing bale of cocaine from a smuggler’s shipwreck, thereby making their fortune.

What they lack in brains, they make up for in chutzpah and a rather touching bond of friendship. Their road trip is full of physical and verbal comedy, but there’s also a darker, sadder element to balance it out, as both boys have dysfunctional families.

The lads speak so fast that it takes a few minutes to adjust to the Cork accent, but from then on their chat is a treat. The music is wonderful too, and you’ll end up with a persistent Sultans of Ping earworm by the end.

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The Lunchbox, 2013 - ★★★★★

A lovely, tender, epistolary romance between a neglected young wife and a widower who is about to retire. The daily lunchboxes, lovingly prepared by Ila for her husband, get mistakenly delivered by Mumbai’s dabbawalas to Saajan. He can’t believe his luck as he - as a widower - usually gets his lunchboxes prepared by a rather indifferent commercial service. He starts returning the boxes with little notes, and before long he and Ila are revealing their deepest secrets to one another.

It’s a gentle film, but never saccharine or unrealistic (except, perhaps, for the mis-delivery, which a dabbawala in the film assures Ila can never happen, because people from Harvard did a study…). There’s a lightness of touch, and elements that might be handled more heavy-handedly (like the fact that Saajan is evidently a Christian), are just left for the viewer to note - literally in the background. The city and commuting scenes are really evocative of Mumbai, and for non-Indian viewers it provides a rare glimpse into the lives of ordinary middle-class people.

Read full review on Letterboxd


Bobowler by Liz Berry

I heard this on the radio the other morning, and was transfixed. I love Liz Berry’s poetry. It’s full of the beauty of Black Country dialect words (like bobowler’ — a word for a large moth), and it grabs you by the heart when you least expect it. Even better is if you hear Liz herself read her poems, in her soft, warm voice.

link poetry

View from Brandon Hill Park, BristolView from Brandon Hill Park, Bristol

Such a great view from up here. One of my favourite spots in Bristol.


Yurt Lush veggie breakfast! #BristolYurt Lush veggie breakfast! #Bristol

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Using Alfred to start a Blot draft

After a bit of experimentation, I decided to use a Unix Epoch datetime stamp (i.e. the number of seconds elapsed since 1 January 1970) as the basis for both the filename of my Blot posts, and also the permalink. It’s not the most transparent bit of information to use, but some of my posts are short status posts with no title, so it seemed the most consistent and efficient form to use.

This is fine for posts that get created via Zapier by cross-posting from other services, but when I come to create my own drafts manually, it is a bit more fiddly than I would like, as I have to get the current datetime in the Unix Epoch format.

So I decided that I would write a little script to use as part of an Alfred workflow, which would create the file in the Drafts directory, create the correct filename and corresponding Date: entry in the front matter, and then open the file in Sublime Text for editing.

My Alfred workflow to create a draft Blot postMy Alfred workflow to create a draft Blot post

It’s pretty simple. I use a keyword (‘nsd’ for new Slipstream draft, in my case) to run the following Python code:


from datetime import datetime
import sys

query = "{query}"

now = datetime.utcnow()
drafts_dir = "/Users/bsag/Dropbox/Apps/Blot/Drafts"

u_stamp = now.strftime("%s")
f_name = "{0}/{1}.txt".format(drafts_dir, u_stamp)

date_tag = now.strftime("%Y-%m-%d %H:%M:%S")
date_tag = "Date: {0}\n".format(date_tag)
type_tags = "Type: post\nTags: {0}\n\n".format(query)

front_matter = date_tag + type_tags

with open(f_name, 'w+') as f:
    f.write(front_matter + '\n')


I enter the comma separated tags I want to use in the Tags: field in the Alfred command window, after the keyword, and these get passed to the script via the query variable. At the end of the script, the full filepath is passed to stdout, and then the Open File action opens that file with Sublime Text.

It works really nicely, and could be adapted to pre-enter more information in the draft. I love Alfred workflows for this kind of thing: it’s really easy to cobble together a little workflow that makes tasks like this a bit easier.

post coding