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Sat, Feb. 25th, 2017, 08:56 pm
serene translucent lake

Just a short note since I am on vacation and the internet be slow in Tasmania.

Last night we went to see the Tasmanian Devil feed. The keeper was explaining that the devils are solitary selfish animals it made me think of the day before taking the boat out to Wine Glass Bay where the passengers stayed affixed to their possie on the front of the boat to make sure that nobody else got a turn.

[photograph]

Mr Wong's in Sydney day #8


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Sat, Feb. 18th, 2017, 08:31 pm
Conceiving a plot

I had the world's shittiest week before going on vacation, which explains my relative quiet in the past two weeks. After a week in Sydney I am starting to feel a little more human again. Also after a week in Sydney I really miss living here, a lot. The US feels like it is getting worse and worse. The thing is though, Australia has always had terrible racist immigration policies, and the US (problems though it has always had) is only now starting to catch up. To be honest. (There is of course so much more than just immigration that is wrong with what is happening in the states though).

A few weeks ago I not very seriously checked to see what it would cost to get a partner visa for my wife. Shockingly it is now about AUD$7k. Which is still a lot when you convert it to US Dollars. Appaently it is amongst the highest or the highest in the world. I was talking to a dear friend complaining that they are using it for revenue and she said “why shouldn't they?” I think it is unfair though to charge such a large sum of money to be with the one that you love so that the federal government can buy some dodgy F-35s. As I say it wasn't very serious, and I hope it doesn't come to that.

Thursday was my great auntie Rae's birthday, the reason for our visit. Thursday was a family only with a swim in te ocean, lunch at the club and a climb up the coast by the golf course. It was quite lovely.

Saturday (today) was the big party with 39 people, most of whom I did not know. We were at a table full of aussies, none of whom I knew. All of whom had a quaint opinion on America. I didn't feel it, but it is common, and Lena told me latter she was feeling defensive, given the current regime. Aside from that it was a lovely weather and a lovely party. Uncoordinated mum and her friend both brough Rae a corsage. Lucky one was for the wrist and the other wasn't.

Oh aisde from one other thing: In Australia they sometimes do this thing when they cater a big event where they alternate main dishes, and you get to negotiate with you neighbor if you get something that you don't like. Or are alergic to. That is definitely not cool.

Now we are watching Crocodile Dundee which happened to be on the tube, and lena said “You can hear that same bird outside”.

Some photos:

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Sunset day #1
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Mon, Feb. 6th, 2017, 05:52 am
end is the only part of the word

On the way to the movie theatre last night Lena rightly repremanded me for calling it the “Stupid Bowl”. I am a bad Australian in that I have no interest in sport. Well I wouldn't say “no”, I do like to sometimes watch a bit of The Ashes, to see the Aussies beat England. I could not watch all five days of a test, much less the entire series though. Cricket always seemed to be on the TV when I used to go visit Auntie Rae in Collaroy. My aunt is going to be 90 this month, which is part of the excuse to go to Australia. I have never been so thankful to have an excuse.

Mon, Jan. 30th, 2017, 06:21 am
faintly glimmering radio station

After the hubbub of last weekend we decided to take a little break and relax. Only kidding! Lena's parents came down for the weekend, and they brought her grandma. Lena had a choir concert on Saturday, where they broke attendance records for the choir and that along with cookie monster and the dancing the air was electric! A standing ovation (and not the kind where it is because you forgot to tell people to sit down)! At the reception Lena's father Misha bought a raffle ticket and won a nice basket of wine, cheese, crackers and chocolate. So when we got home we have a little improv wine, cheese, crackers and chocolate before going to sleeps.

The next day we had a play in the city to go see, so after lunch the parental units were on their way back to New Jersey as we took the train into the city. Nothing like last weekend, but there were a number of protestors on their way to the White House to protest the Muslim ban[1]. Lena struck up a conversation with someone who clearly had a sign. “Are you going too?” they asked. Meekly I said we had a previous engagement. We will resist further, just not today.

Play was a production of As You Like It at the Folger Shakespeare Library, which takes us past the Supreme Court. As you know a Supreme Court is just like a regular court, only with sour cream. I had been reading that a judge had issued a stay on the possibly unconstitutional Muslim ban executive order. This felt like a victory, only it wasn't clear that the Homeland Security (DHS) was going to honor the stay. I am reminded of the time the Supreme Court ruled against Andrew Jackson's unconstitutional policies toward Native Americans, and the president is reported to have said “[Chief Justice] John Marshall has made is decision; now let him enforce it![2]

But I digress, and “The play's the thing wherein” we will catch the conscience of the king[3]? More appropriately for this play “All the world's a stage, and all the men and women merely players”. I have never seen As You Like It so far as I can remember. I thought this production was wonderful though. They had integrated some modern music into the tale and I thought Rosalind was fantastic. Her relationship with Celia was authentic and alive! After some mistaken identify and some foolish comedy, everyone was married off to the correct partner. I hath not seen this play, but methinks that I hath?

Weeks ago, we had by mistake gotten tickets to see Dirty Dancing in the movie theater that very same night. When we realized that we had made the error of scheduling two entertainments for the same day, we decided that we would ‘see how we felt’ after the play and decide if we wanted to go. Lena was not excited about it. But she has wanted to see the film with me for a while, so I insisted that we go. It was not as terrible as I thought it might be. There was an interesting intersection of popular culture and class in there. There was also another plot element in the film that reminded us of the Supreme Court as we head back into the 50s and 60s from which this film was set. I can have hope and fear for the future at the same time.




  1. let's call it what it is, shall we?
  2. Okay, probably apocryphal, but it may as well be what he said, since that is how he acted.
  3. Though we seem to live in a land where the King hath no conscience to catch!

Sun, Jan. 22nd, 2017, 03:38 am
flowers of flaming truths

Woke up at like 5:30am yesterday in the hopes of getting a good position. Somehow managed to misplace one of the two metro cards that I had charged up on Thursday! So grabbed a metro card with who knows how much on it in its place. Listening to the radio in the car on the way to the station, we heard that there had been ~6k people in the Sydney sister march, which was a little more than the ... 300 they were expecting! My mum and Don were there I am so proud of them. We were early enough at the station that things weren't too crowded, but about 2000% more than what you normally see on a Saturday morning that early. The random metro card we grabbed had enough charge on it, thankfully, because there were long lines to recharge your cards. It was still darkish when we got on the train. We got within visual distance of the stage (barely) and a handy jumbotron (decent, when the signs weren't in the way). We listened to a number of speakers. Gloria Steinem had some interesting things to say. Michael Moore is a troll, but some of the things that he was saying were true, fortunately Ashley Judd interrupted him before he went too far down his hyperbolic rabbit hole. The normally private Scarlett Johansson had some wonderful things to say, but the audio cut out toward the end of her remarks. Van Jones had some awesome things to say. Muriel Bowser had some choice things to say, including a claim that DC would become the 51st state (I do not oppose, but not likely). There were lots of pink hats. Lots of nasty women. There were some complaints about the organization, but I thought for the numbers of people it went pretty well. After so many speakers, and some degree of repetition, people were starting to get agitated so we started marching. I don't think people were following the official marching route, we ended up going right up Pennsylvania Ave, past Trump's new hotel (which got a number of boos) and past the White House. The DC National Guard were there in force, and they were terrific at helping to keep things safe and happy. In one video I saw later marchers were thanking the guardsmen (and guardswomen!). Police were present, but there weren't any negative confrontations that I could see. By some estimates the marchers numbered 500k. I have never seen the city so crowded in my life! Overall if I had to sum it up, I don't know what this will do or what this will change, but I have to say that I was glad that I went. In November I felt demoralized, and I still am to some degree, but it was positive experience to spend some time with people who also felt the same way and who are engaged to resist! Lena took some pictures on her phone (most of mine are on film to be developed later):

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Lena and I were there.

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At the end of the march, we walked a few blocks back to Chinatown to get a direct ride out of the city. I figured that trying to change trains with the huge number of people was going to be a disaster. After trying three different entrances to the Chinatown metro station we finally got in. Once again we were thankful to have money on our metro cards because the lines were crazy. My feet were killing me, and the train in front of us broken down, and it was standing room only until the second to last stop. When we finally got to our car it was already dark again.

Fri, Jan. 20th, 2017, 05:05 pm
Beyond your latest ad campaigns

The internet is not a fun place today. So I kept my head down working on some things. Finished a few. One of my favorite tech things is writing tests. So many programmers do everything they can to avoid writing tests. But not me. I love to see all of those ‘ok’ messages to line up in a neat formation. Sometimes in green. Sometimes unhighlighted.

Tomorrow the plan is to go into DC early for the march. I was at the metro station yesterday to fill up a couple of cards so that we wouldn't have to get tickets tomorrow. There were some women at the machine next to mine also filling up their cards for the same reasons. Mum and Don are going to the march in Sydney. One of my friends from high school sent Lena some socks to wear at the march so that she could be their with us. All this bodes well at least for the numbers.

The last time I participated in something like this was a protest in New York City against the Iraq War back in 2003. I feel pretty safe now saying that war was indeed a mistake.

Mon, Jan. 16th, 2017, 10:27 pm
flies and spiders get along together

One of the things that I think is definitely good for my writing is to take any opportunity to take myself down a notch or two. We inherently have our own best interests at heart, and so when we describe our adventures in life we are likely to color the scene in a way that puts us in the best light. Of course. But that is terribly dull I suspect.

On the way home from Sherlock[1], I was driving Lena's car, but I didn't want to back into the corner space, which would ensure a big SUV didn't park next to Lena's car. I parked into the spot on the other side of my car because it was an easier park to back into. Needless to say Lena was not thrilled by my laziness. We took the tree down today[2] and Lena took the opportunity as we were walking inside to take some external decorations inside and down into the basement. I heard this shriek of anger, because she discovered that I hadn't stacked the boxes that the Christmas decorations were in when I took them downstairs earlier in the day. She angrily and quite rightly complained about my habit to not put things away. I tried stupidly to hand her some rolls of wrapping paper, but felt foolish and awkward, and so instead walked upstairs and started doing the dishes. I left a couple of dishes unwashed for tomorrow. “Why can't you finish anything?” my wife quite properly asked me. After I told her that I would do it. One day.

All this is to say that I have many numerous limitations, and my wife is an amazing talented musician and nurse practitioner who for some reason puts up with me, and on top of all of that unfairness she simply makes me look good by virtue of close proximity.




  1. long time readers from ... er yesterday ... will recall that we were going tonight
  2. long time readers ... yada yada ...

Sun, Jan. 15th, 2017, 01:24 pm
haunts dismembered constellations

We were watching Sherlock last night (of a couple of episodes ago) and the protagonist randomly and inappropriately is all “Are those ginger nuts?” at which point I had to pause the show and run to the kitchen to get some of those “Swedish style” ginger nuts that are almost similar enough to Australian ginger nut, which long time readers of a couple of weeks ago will remember that I bought when I was trying to scam the super market out of a free half pan. This is all just to say that I am highly suggestible to very specific things. We're binge watching Sherlock because we're going to see the season finale in the theatre tomorrow and have to be brought up to date before that. Fortunately there aren't very many episodes in a season of Sherlock to get up to date, so the binge is only two episodes. Over two days. So not really a binge.

Benedict Cumberbatch sort of annoys me in that he seems to be in everything now a days. It is a subtle sort of annoyance though because he is admittedly pretty good and I end up watching most of what he is in anyway. Sherlock is okay on top of that anyway in that we were watching that show before I realized he was in everything.

Wed, Jan. 11th, 2017, 07:34 pm
between the canaries and the cockatoos

Work frequently offers the sort of hilarity which is only hilarious in retrospect. Today through a comedy of errors so byzantine I will skip through it I found out there was an SSL security vulnerability in our webserver. SSL is the thing that makes your communications between you and your bank secure. SSL is also so badly written, maintained and so complicated that it is also almost certainly the reason that the Russian Mafia is well acquainted with your social security number and your next of kin. Of course I was totally flying blind because although they told me what was wrong with the SSL, they didn't give me the tool to test it, or tell me how to fix it. Fantastic. Eventually John, in his usual disrespectful tone, sent me a the URL to a website that I could use to test the SSL on our server. The only problem was that it was behind the firewall and I was working from home. No problem, I will just connect using a browser inside the firewall, only the browser balked because the SSL tester itself had... wait for it... an SSL configuration error. Also there wasn't any way to turn off the SSL verification. So good job guys. Way to provide the least penetrable interfaces and the most broken tools to your workforce.

Tue, Jan. 10th, 2017, 11:54 am
there are pies on a carosel, have a slice

I wanted to post a few more from film366 as described here. Not sure what photographic goals I will set forth this year. In the meanwhile I recall some of last year.

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(63 ≈ 349) some interesting textures in Manhattan.

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