Weeknotes #96

in weeknotes

  • We typically go back to Australia each Christmas and, when we’re there, we get a photo taken with Santa at the mall that’s near my parents’ house. A couple of years ago we had to stay in Japan for Christmas and I was surprised how difficult it was to find somewhere you could do something similar in Tokyo. I realise Christmas is more of a romantic event in Japan, but still thought that at some point some enterprising mall operator would have invested in a Santa Claus and photo crew and everyone else would have been forced to follow. Not the case it seems. There are some hotels that do it (we ended up going to Hotel Chizanso) but that’s about it. I’m always curious as to whether that’ll change and so each year have a peek to see what’s around. Maybe it’s the fault of COVID-19 but it looked like, despite the intervening couple of years, the options are still mostly the same.

  • Because of the pandemic, it’s not something I’m keen to try this year but it did make me wonder if there was anything I wanted to do with the kids. The obvious answer is one of the (many) winter ‘illuminations’ that are on in Japan. We have one down the road from us at the local train station and while it’s not as elaborate as some of the more famous ones, it does have the advantage of being close. We still haven’t tried to go anywhere in a car with all five of us and the thought of doing so kind of turns my stomach. If we did go anywhere, we need a new booster seat for Emma and I’d have to double check whether Rowan can use the child seat we still have around. Once I’d get all this sorted, there’s just the logistics of driving around with little kids. What do you do if someone wants to go the toilet? How do you handle when people are hungry or thirsty? As pretty as Tokyo Midtown, Roppongi is an hour away (which of course means a two-plus hour round trip). All of which is to say we’re probably not going to do that. Sorry kids.

  • I did order the first Christmas present for Emma and John so I hope I don’t come off as a completely selfish Millennial parent. They both love Spidey & His Amazing Friends and wouldn’t you know it but in a wonderful bit of corporate collaboration, Lego has a Duplo set ready for Christmas. I don’t know if we’ll see some of the supply issues that are bedevilling other industries impact toys but I didn’t want to take the risk so got my order in early.

  • I’ve actually been thinking and rethinking what to do for Christmas for months now. One can make a very robust argument that our kids have too many toys as it is and don’t need any more. And yet in the past couple of months, John has really got invested in building things with the Duplo blocks we originally bought for Emma and an additional set or two would presumably encourage that further. Not to mention that Emma is still quite engaged in building things but is reaching the limit of how complex her designs can be given the blocks available. This would all be pretty straightforward if we were talking about Lego but the fact it’s Duplo makes me worried any purchases will pretty quickly be discarded as too childish once the kids are a bit older.

  • Speaking of overthinking things, Eri and I had a think about whether we should use the upcoming move to go back to Osaka. That didn’t seem like a very practical choice pre-pandemic since it’d mean needing to find a new job but given how successful working from home has been, I started wondering whether work would be open to the proposition that I work from home four days of the week and then come into the office on Fridays. As it happens, I have an upcoming performance review with my boss which seems like an ideal opportunity to test the waters.

  • I haven’t mentioned the COVID-19 situation in Japan for a couple of weeks and the reason is that all the news seems very good. We’re heading into winter so apply all the usual caveats about that being subject to change but hopefully a combination of high vaccination rates and community-wide masking will keep a lid on things even as Japan opens back up (NHK).

  • Back in December of last year, I opened an issue on the GitHub repository for Conjure. Conjure is a plug-in for the Neovim text editor that allows a user to send code from a Lisp to a server for evaluation (different server types are supported depending on the Lisp). In my case, the issue concerned the messages that were being sent back to Conjure in the event of an error in the parsing or evaluation of the code. Janet actually has pretty good error messages when code is being evaluated directly but when the evaluation was performed via the netrepl server, the line numbers would simply increase monotonically. The fix involved changes to Janet, Janet’s Spork library (where the netrepl server code lives) and Conjure itself. I’m really happy to report that the last piece of the puzzle was merged into Conjure over the weekend and is now part of the 4.27 release. Just in time for Advent of Code 2021 (which was the impetus for the original issue)!

  • I was somewhat dismayed to discover that Drake’s Certified Lover Boy now holds the record for most U.S. top-ten singles from a single album. Is this proof that pop music really is over? I don’t especially like any of the tracks from the album so rather than link to one of those, here’s ‘Billie Jean’ from Thriller, the previous record-holder (Apple Music).

Michael Camilleri @pyrmont