Weeknotes #25

in weeknotes

  • I moved the conversations I have on Facebook Messenger to iMessage. I now don’t regularly use any Facebook services.

  • As noted in last week’s weeknotes, I finally bit the bullet and invested in a working from home setup. I’m pleased to report that the delight I felt after putting it all together continued unabated this week. It’s honestly better in a lot of ways than the setup I have at the office. The biggest surprises have been the monitor and the physical act of standing (which I thought I’d tire of but which has been a non-issue, possibly because of a squishy ‘standing mat’ I bought to stand on).

  • I mentioned that the key reason I invested in a 4K display was for macOS. In fact, since I’m connecting to work remotely I didn’t expect to be able to use the higher resolutions of the monitor at all with my work laptop (which is itself no processing powerhouse). I was wrong. I’m able to use it just fine and the higher density makes reading PDFs of contracts an absolute delight. I have to visit the office on Monday to do a couple of things and I’m not looking forward to it at all.

  • One thing that was most certainly not a delight was our air conditioner leaking. I’d set up my workstation under the air conditioner (of course) and I don’t know whether that was the cause but for whatever reason water started dripping from the unit. Eri and I have a long history with leaking air conditioners and the thought that we were in for a month or two of that was intensely stressful. I moved the desk to another corner of our living room and fortunately we were able to get two repairmen over to the house by Tuesday to check it out. I still don’t understand exactly what went wrong (the unit is only three years old) but they replaced part of the inside of it and hopefully that’s fixed it.

  • Speaking of stress, I said above that I need to go into the office on Monday and Eri and I watched the climbing numbers of new infections in Tokyo with great alarm. The thing that we find the most difficult to understand is that the government hasn’t taken any real action. A large proportion of the cases are connected to Tokyo’s nightlife establishments (especially so-called host and hostess bars) and the fix seems to be relatively simple: order them to close. I can understand why balancing public health with broader economic concerns is a difficult call but how important are these businesses? And if they are that important, can’t the government simply provide financial assistance to them directly? As of Sunday, Tokyo has had four consecutive days with detections above 100.

  • One of the aspects that’s been the most bewildering to me during this past week is that we’re in the midst of an election for Tokyo Governor. I would have expected that the incumbent, Governor Koike, would have been pulling out all the stops to make everything look as positive as possible. Instead the general wisdom seems to be the reverse; it’s because of the election that she’s so reluctant to take action. This doesn’t make any sense to me. It’s another of the many times since moving to Japan that I regret my inability to read Japanese fluently. I don’t know if this is being discussed in Japanese newspapers and magazines in the same way that the situation in the U.S. is over there.

  • As if all this wasn’t enough, Emma came down with cold-like symptoms on Saturday. Eri took her to a hospital yesterday and the doctor was relatively confident it was in fact just a cold but given Emma is the one person in the family regularly going out of the house, we’re all worried she’s the most likely to contract COVID-19.

  • It would be remiss not to note that on Wednesday, China rammed through a national security law that applies to Hong Kong and destroys whatever political freedom it once had. I’m not sure I’ll ever feel comfortable travelling there again. It was the first place in Asia I ever visited and it was one of my favourite places anywhere in the world. I grieve for the people of Hong Kong.

  • While we pay for Netflix and Disney+, the video streaming service I use the most is undoubtedly YouTube. I generally watch video essays there and one of my favourite essayists is Patrick Willems. His video this week about the 90s ‘dark universe’ (YouTube) was a great example of why I love his channel. The movies featured are ones I’ve never given much thought to and Willems’ ability to do that in a fresh and interesting way is his greatest strength.

  • Willems is also the source for my music recommendation this week. He mentioned in his ‘director’s commentary’ breakdown with Dave Chen (YouTube) that he often listens to Daniel Pemberton’s soundtrack to Steve Jobs while he edits the videos. I think the movie is underrated but had never thought much about the music. It’s not in the same league as, say, the soundtrack to The Social Network but I enjoyed listening to it (Apple Music) while I worked on outstanding pull requests for Rouge over the weekend.

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont