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.
Mr Wong's in Sydney day #8
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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”.
Sunset day #1
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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.
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. 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!”
But I digress, and “The play's the thing wherein” we will
catch the conscience of the king? 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
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.
- let's call it what it is, shall we?
probably apocryphal, but it may as well be what he said, since that is
how he acted.
- Though we seem to live in a land
where the King hath no conscience to catch!
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):
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
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
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
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, 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 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
- long time readers from ... er yesterday ... will recall
that we were going tonight
- long time
readers ... yada yada ...
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.
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.