Weekly Head Voices #184: The tai chi of you.

Welcome travellers of the great and beautiful information universe!

(That universe was what we were promised. Thanks to the inherent and fundamental difficulties of our meat-based reality, we have ended up with something… different. I remain hopeful.)

Here in this little corner, I’ll be reminiscing about the minuscule thread of personal time stretched taut between Monday, November 11 and Sunday, November 18.


(that’s me plucking the thread. meat-space issues…)

One of the views at Gåte, Quoin Rock.

Intermezzo for computer nerds: WSL2.

Microsoft released Windows build 19013 onto the Windows Insider Preview slow ring, along with the shiny new WSL2.

WSL is a truly interesting development in the evolution of Windows that enables users to run arbitrary Linux binaries with full Windows integration.

I run a true-blue Linux installation of Emacs on WSL, displaying to X410 on the Windows side, manipulating files on the native Windows NTFS filesystem.

This is substantially faster for some or other reason than running native Windows Emacs.

Anyways, WSL2 is the next significant jump for WSL where Microsoft is now shipping a native Linux kernel together with Windows and exposing this kernel via a light-weight Hyper-V utility VM with dynamic host memory allocation.

I was planning to wait until it got released on stable, but when MS announced that it was available on the slow ring of the Windows Insider Previews, the temptation was too great.

The ThinkPad, my main development machine, is now running this hopefully relatively safe Windows preview.

At this point, I can report that WSL2’s IO on its own local filesystem is indeed much faster than WSL’s. However, IO on the host NTFS filesystem is three to four times slower…

This is indeed quite disappointing, as my work use-cases all involve accessing files on the NTFS side in some or other way.

An unexpected bonus of WSL2 however, is the Docker integration.

Docker for Windows Edge is able to use WSL2 as a backend, meaning much, much faster starting and general usage of docker containers on Windows.

I really hope that MS is able to improve the 9p-based NTFS IO performance of WSL2 to at least that of WSL.

Far more unrealistically, I hope that MS finally retires NTFS and replaces it with something better.

Windows really has been making great strides over the past years. Unfortunately, NTFS is a gigantic ball and chain that is currently doing a great job of holding the whole of Windows back.


At the start of 2019, I wrote that I had an “additional concrete (but very humble) running-related resolution for 2019, but I have decided to keep that quiet until it’s in the pocket”.

Well, it’s in the pocket and now I can talk about it.

On Saturday morning I went out for my usual longer weekend run (longer is anything greater than 10km).

It was cool for this time of the year, and there was almost no wind.

Importantly, I had had a solid night of sleep.

As I was going out, Morning-Voice whispered in my head: “It’s highly probably now, or never again in 2019”.

I nodded in agreement.

My longer weekend run proceeded to morph successfully into the casual 20km run that I had envisioned as my most concrete 2019 running goal.

Achievement unlocked!

Although I had indeed formulated the goal as “doing a casual 20km run”, the actual goal was being fit enough to be able to do so more or less on a whim.

For my next trick, I’ll try my best not to let it slip back too far.


Things are not always what they seem.

After the morning run, we met with multi-decade close friends for lunch at the restaurant Gåte at Quoin Rock.

That alternative “å”, also known as the a-ring, should give the first clue that this place is hipper even than any of Stefon’s recommendations.

I found the whole experience to be quite magical.

The 25 year old genius chef, Nicole Loubser, together with her team, has constructed the most amazing culinary experience.

See the airport coffee and cigar below for example:

The first of the 7 course lunch menu at Gåte. The macchiato is in fact tomato soup with a pumpkin espuma on top, the ashtray is a paprika espuma with maltodextrin on top, and the cigar is potato bread.

Our company, together with the beautiful surroundings and the party that had entered via my mouth into my sensory system, made for a truly sublime afternoon.


TPN recently and very fortunately pointed out that Joris Voorn, probably my favourite electro artist, has a new album out.

The album is of course called \\\\.

Below is an excerpt from the lyrics of track 8, This City (feat. Lazarusman):

You are not alone.

When you have yourself.

How can you be alone
How can you be alone when you have yourself?
When you have you?

it is you mastering the art, the tai chi, of you

it is you realising that these fleeting moments are all for you

you have yourself
you are not alone

To my mind, these words contain echoes of both mindfulness and of transcendental idealism, all on the background of an über hip electro beat.

At the almost 2 hour mark, these echoes contributed much pleasure to the mental aspects of my run.

Now when I listen to it in a different state of mind, it is clear that the music made the impact that it did due to the specific set of circumstances at that moment.

This is a good demonstration of how dependent an experience can be, and how fickle and unpredictable one’s preferences.

(How do we ever make good choices?)

Whatever the case may be, I have chosen to keep hold of the lessons, irrespective of the subjective ephemerality of their container.