Weekly Head Voices #93: A thank you note.


The week of Monday June 21 to Sunday June 28 as seen through bullets:

  • On Monday I received a super sweet email from an ex-student of one of my DataVis courses at the TU Delft. My course got a “one of the best” rating, but more importantly, the gentleman in question explained that it had inspired him to make a career in DataVis (and judging by his work record up to now, he’s doing a really good job of it!). It’s hard to explain how much good such a thank you mail does to my heart.
  • This reminded me accutely of the concluding life advice the American author David Sedaris gave to the guests attending his edition of the Dutch College Tour. The advice was:

Write thank you notes.

He made it patently clear that “thanks in advance” was absolutely not good enough, but that a dedicated thank you email or letter after the fact was an art that he recommended we all practise. I shall try harder to remember to do this more often!

  • I wrote a really nerdy bullet in this post about trying out docker. Then I wrote this bullet to warn you about the nerdiness of the subsequent one.
  • I finally got to try out docker. It gave me great pleasure to do this in exactly the way that would probably cause any docker expert to pass out due to the sheer magnitude of rules and guidelines I alternatively broke and bent. I’m only using docker as a convenient way to bring up development-only light(er)-weight isolated virtual environments on my macbook using boot2docker. On Linux I would probably just use LXD/LXC, but there’s no boot2lxd (yet?) and I like to have my development tools consistent everywhere. I can report that even when you’re doing it wrong, docker works pretty well. The upshot is that I now have a docker image, based on ubuntu-upstart, with postgres, solr, redis and a whole bunch of Python to start containers from and work on one of our products that requires that stack. I use IntelliJ’s remote interpreter support for the IDE parts of this solution.
  • This week, I really missed my AfrikaBurn family. I guess we should start thinking seriously about our next appearance in Tankwa Town. This has also made me think a little more about nostalgia, and especially the fact that it’s directed at a point in space-time. We can travel through relevant space more or less at will. However, through time we can only move in one direction, and as if that wasn’t bad enough, we have to move at the same speed as everyone else. If we wish to reach back through space-time to that exact point of nostalgic origin, our only choice is to learn how to warp reality by sculpting with perception.

Have a great week, and remember to write that thank you note! Thank you very much for reading this!

On leaving the Netherlands

Moving consists of leaving one place and going to another. This post is about the first part. It’s really not easy to write, but I would like for people to understand that the leaving part of this decision is one of the more difficult things I have ever had to do.

So after 13 beautiful years in this great little country, we are leaving the Netherlands.

Our life here has been exceptionally happy and fulfilling. We’ve made many great friends, and even some best friends. Our children are super happy in their little lives. Hey, we made a little family!

The single downside of the beautiful life that we’ve had here, is that leaving is complicated, and even a little painful.

It’s complicated, because that’s the way it is when one has to move a whole household and wrap up 13 years of accumulated stuff. It’s complicated, because we’re moving in the wrong direction, away from our adopted country. We can’t leave a trace behind.

It hurts, because we would love to stay with our friends here, but we have now made the choice to live far away.

We actually have no good reasons to leave, while there are many reasons to stay. The thing is, our reasons for moving are all in the going to part.

I think this might be a healthy perspective on moving. Unfortunately, but not unexpectedly, it’s just not the easiest.

Dearest friends, thank you for the parties, for the laughter, for the warmth and for making us feel so at home. Thank you for being the kind of human beings that never stop striving to be more human.

I would love to see you on the other side.