Weeknotes 42

December 13, 2021

We arrived in Colombia for a family visit. It took around 24 hours door-to-door yesterday (with a 4am start). To be honest, I’ve been dreading the journey, particularly because F- is at the age where being stuck anywhere for too long drives him a bit mad. I’m not going to say it was an easy journey, but the two boys were great. The only time F- cried was when he couldn’t get his big plastic dinosaur into a small plastic box. Otherwise he travelled really well.

It was exhausting keeping him entertained particularly towards the end when we were tired ourselves, but a few things helped. We wrapped up some little toys in wrapping paper (and kept aside a few gifts from friends to unwrap too). Bringing one of those out every half hour or so was fun. Lots of snacks (airline food is generally bad and Avianca seem to be cost-cutting hard in these pandemic times). We got quite a lot of milage out of a reusable sticker book too.

N- enjoyed some games of magnetic tick-tack-toe and a spot-the-difference book. I also loaded a tablet with some of his favourite programmes1 and that kept him busy of course.

The jetlag and altitude sickness has hit us pretty hard, but the sun’s shining and the abuelitos are so happy so it feels like mission accomplished.

  1. I recently rescued an older Lenovo android tablet from a pile of abandoned computers in my office. It runs an older version of android, but has an SD card reader and runs VLC fine. It turns out you can use youtube-dl to download programes from the iplayer. I used the link extractor firefox extension to create text files of episode links, and then the -a flag to youtube-dl to download them in batches. The resultant files were quite large (around 500MB for an episode of Hey Duggee) so I ran them through ffmpeg with the -preset veryfast -vcodec libx264 -crf 28 flags to reencode them with a lower bitrate. This made the files about 10 times smaller and the quality was fine. It made it easier to move them and store them all on an SD card.