dal niente

Month: October, 2016

Back to work

[CM] and I have been back to work for a bit over a week now– the time off after the weddings was much needed, and was really great for just resting.



We did a cruise from Quebec City to New York, New York. Many people ask me if cruises are boring– depends on which cruise I suppose. The particular route we were doing had a different destination every day across the Canadian Maritimes and the American east coast, so no, we didn’t really get bored. We ate lobster almost everyday (it’s rather uncommon here in Australia)..


While we were in NY, we looked up a former Xangan, [VisualNoise]. That was really something– we’ve never met him in person before, but he took us out to dinner and dessert.


For those of you who don’t know, a long time ago, I used to blog on Xanga. Xanga has since died as a service, under very suspicious circumstances that basically summarise as “they sold a product that was for lifetime services, and then shortly afterwards, ran with the money”. No amount of hypothesis at this point is open to suggesting that the Xanga owners are anything other than incompetent, or crooks, or both– and I can actually say that, given the community that used to exist there, I hate the operators of Xanga for the way they treated the community.

That’s another story though.

I’ve been reading VisualNoise’s blog on Xanga for as long as I can remember– it’s been around for over a decade (maybe even over two decades at this point, I’m not sure). When all you have of someone is what you read, and all that you read is what they’ve written, you get a particular image of someone in your head. And then you meet them in person, and you can see all those connections between who you imagined and who they are, as well as the differences.

It’s not a good or bad thing– it’s just an interesting experience.

VisualNoise was a great host and really was doing his best to recommend all the best sights and eats that we could cram into our one remaining night and morning in the city. We got to do things and go places we wouldn’t have been able to figure out on our own, that’s for sure. Locals are the way¬†to see cities where otherwise things get lost in the wash.

It’s just kind of cool to meet someone out of the blog. It’s almost like meeting a character in a book in real life.

No, it’s not as good as windows.

I use a lot of older hardware, so I will admit that running a Linux based system (as opposed to Windows) is often a good choice. For some uses, anyway. 

For basic web browsing, using a Linux operating system cuts tons of overhead out and allows you to use a decade old machine as fast as a modern Windows equivalent. I run Linux Mint on one the work laptops that’s over 7 years old– from pressing the power button, I’m in a functional web browser in under a minute.
And that’s good, because if the laptop were running Windows 10, it would be struggling to boot up. Actually, it was running windows 10 before I nuked it and out in the Linux distro. It took about 4 minutes to boot up, and even after I could open a browser, the system would still lag for another few minutes. 
But Linux isn’t great for many things , and it bothers me when it’s proponents try to suggest that it’s a viable alternative for everyday usage. Simple things make it prohibitively painful to use at times, and they remind you why most people do just go with standard Windows or Mac configurations. 
For example , Linux systems really struggle with simple things, like getting  Netflix to run without the Microsoft Silverlight libraries. Further, office functionality is extremely limited– for all the hype surrounding Open Office and Libre Office, these two suites are a decade behind Microsoft Office in terms of functionality and user friendliness.

Other common software features, such as a proper interface for using Exchange mail offline or even simply annotating PDFs, is lacking out of the box. It takes considerable work tondict tape yourself a solution in these regards, and that’s a provlem– especially considering that computers are meant to make my life easier.

Middle of nowhere with everyone that matters 

It’s 6am somewhere and I’ve just woken up. I have no idea when I will get over the jet lag, but given that we are ona cruise, it doesn’t seem to matter all that much anymore since we are working on whatever schedule we please. It’s nice like that.


Being on a cruise is a bit of a social connections detox. Part of it is because of the fact that you are on a boat and don’t know anybody except who you come with. CM and I aren’t the type who actively seek to meet new people in these sorts of situations– part of our reasons for being in this type of holiday is to not have to deal with people we know.

The second reason is that there is no internet. Well, there is, but it is only by satellite uplink, and at 75 American cents per minute, it gets real steep real fast. 

So there’s no email and no Facebook and no alerts to constantly demand your attention. That actually counts for a lot.
Our Montreal wedding was less than a week ago, and our Sydney wedding was less than two weeks ago. It’s only now that we are realising what the whole honeymoon process is for: it is to recover from the wedding. 

CM had more involvement in the planning of the Sydney wedding than I did. It is one of those situations where I know that she has more aesthetic sense than I do, so I necessarily left most of the choices up to her. It’s mostly near the end where i was involved in some of the legwork, like driving things back and forth to the villa where most her her visiting family were staying. I honestly can’t say that I had relatively nearly as many responsibilities as my wife did in setting it all up… And I still felt like it was a lot of work.
For those of you who are not yet married,all I can say is if you can afford it, get a wedding planner. CM mostly planned the Sydney wedding from scratch, and I mostly took care of the Montreal wedding, but they were both mentally very draining. By the time we were at the weddings, we were exhausted and any little thing was making CM upset.

Weddings are a mixed bag– there is so much social expectation to do things a certain way that we really felt string pressure to get things right and to impress in ways that we wouldn’t normally care about. This makes a lot of people upset. It makes a lot of people bitter and angry.
On the other hand, the celebration is something else. It’s a gathering of the people who you honestly like to spend time with but can’t normally coordinate with enough to actually make it happen. You get to catch up and people will tell you, with sincerity, all the nicest things. 


It’s been an absolutely crazy couple of weeks.


Yesterday was our Canadian wedding. It was actually pretty good– [CM] was starting to crack a bit at the church wedding, as she wasn’t raised Catholic and expressed strong reservations from the beginning. But by the end of the night at the reception, after having the chance to catch up with lots of family and friends, she was having a good time I think.


I don’t often dance– pretty much only at weddings– but it was fun to join in with people here and there and just party for a bit.


Everyone was so happy for us. They said many kind things to us and of us, and it was all quite touching. [Zanshin] was the best man, and gave a best man’s speech mostly about our times in Korea.

My mom even gave a speech. This was totally unexpected. It was pretty touching as well, considering all the nice things she said and what I put her and dad through when I was young and rebellious.

Everything was all quite nostalgic. I got to catch up with friends from my old apartment, when I was still living with room mates– times have changed for all of us, but when we meet up at situations like this, it’s nice to know we just pick up where we left off.