I can’t believe I forgot to write about the Australian.

There was an Australian couple walking near me. They chatted a lot about inane topics such as viral videos and who knew their best friends the longest and wouldn’t it be neat if a monkey would climb on one of us.

The monkey park is clear that this last bit of inane chatter is best left as is. Don’t look them in the eye, don’t feed them, and don’t be a dick.

Well, the couple opted for a more liberal approach, coxing a monkey up on the man’s head. It was a cute Instagram moment, to be sure.

Then the monkey proceeded to dig into the backpack pockets. Cute!

Then the monkey proceeded to unzip the other pockets and pull things out. Monkeys do this. And they like shiny objects.

The man decided to drop his backpack and the monkey on the ground, pockets spilling all over the pavement.

The monkey decided to grab the couple’s scooter keys and run off into the park.

Cheeky monkey!

Oh, in case you care about the Australian couple and if they got their keys back … I had so little invested after the monkey skedattled that I didn’t follow up beyond pointing them to the closest park ranger.

I flew through Taipei from Tokyo to Bali.

I want to spend more time in Taipei. From what I saw from taxis and my hotel, it’s my kind of town.

Speaking of taxis: when I got mine from the stand at the airport, I asked if he takes credit cards. They said he did and off I went.

Guess what? He does, but doesn’t like to. I had no Taiwanese currency, only Yen and Dollars. He tried to get his machine to work, cursing at it or me or both. Eventually he got so pissed off he threw me and my bags out and took off.

His taxi? It had stickers for all the major credit cards.

My brief stay at the DoubleTree Hilton was fantastic. I’m looking forward to my return.

The airport there is great if a too spread out – some kind of tram system would help.

Here are some pictures to set the mood.

Oh, yeah. And “Hello, Kitty”.

Landing at Denpasar airport, one is treated to a 2-4 hour wait to pass immigration – in line, standing, with little guidance as to if you’re even in the correct spot.

Over 60? There’s a special line for you. Disabled? Special line. Traveling with small kids? Technically there’s no special line but … Yes, there’s a special line.

Not one of those? Enjoy your temporary limbo.

There are two hints as to why the lines are so long: all the flights seem to arrive in the same time window and there are too few agents processing. The agents will get up and walk away with no warning. They do not return.

After clearing immigration there’s the standard baggage claim where your luggage has been siting unattended for hours. I checked nothing so passed on to customs.

Me and everyone else flagged for secondary scanning had light luggage. It was fast but another delay to my vacation.

It’s a gauntlet to get from customs to the taxi area. If you don’t have a driver waiting for you with a sign, there are any number of aggressive men offering their taxi services. Assuming you follow the few signs and get to where the actual official taxi desk sits, you will negotiate the cost for your ride.

My driver was nice and the right one for that moment in my life. I was sleep deprived and tired from queuing. He pointed out where things are and, other than some stilted English chatter, left me to see Bali from the back of his cab.

Things got interesting when we approached Ubud, the town near where I am staying. His navigation ability (no GPS unit) went only so far. To get the last kilometer required a combination of my Apple Maps and better night vision (something that disturbed me greatly to learn). We managed to get to my resort a mere 6 hours after I landed. Sadly, Google Maps is measurably better, so I installed it.

The room at the Karma Mayura resort is nice. It’s a bit spartan but the perfect fit for my digital detox. I grabbed some food and a beer from the restaurant and then crashed in my room.

I hopped on the hotel shuttle into Ubud. It drops off twice a day and picks up twice a day at the grocery store.

The weather forecast said over a 50% chance of thunderstorms. It sprinkled for about 10 minutes. The rest of the time it was sunny and very warm. Not hot, thankfully, especially with the humidity. My linen shirt and trousers with a Marino wool tee and travel boxer briefs were the right outfit. Even my slowly disintegrating Allbirds were the right choice. Sandals would provide too little protection and my hiking books would have been a foot baking apparatus … an oven, if you will.

I walked around a lot. The town reminds me of Mexico City in its ramshackle nature and also Japan in the Buddhist temples and statuary all over. Actually, it exceeds Japan in that regard. There is no place here without some idol or offering.

I tired of taking pictures out of sheer volume.

The monkey park, however, lacked not for interest and cute!

Side note: There are more including a whole raft of videos that iOS kindly neglected to import or tell me about. It was more than happy to delete them from the SD card. I am saving this for when I get home. I can I delete the files.

Apple, get your act together.

Meanwhile, I set my camera to MP4 video recording.

The food is fantastic. I’ve gone mostly vegetarian so far with only a little bit of chicken and egg in the mix. Bintang, the omnipresent national beer, is kind of perfect for here. It’s a Pilsner, so it’s light in flavor and low in alcohol. It still tastes like beer, is inexpensive, and is safer than the tap water.

Speaking of water, the resort offers two large glass bottles of water in the room. They can be refilled at a spigot near the restaurant. That seems reasonable.

As I sit here on a comfy chair listening to the crickets or cicadas or whatever wildlife on one side and the little kids in the pool on the other, I’m reminded that I am half way around the world from where I was born.

I’m relaxed right now, tired from the day and a little bit buzzed from the beer. I’m considering another night in. Tomorrow might be a read by the pool and spend some time at the spa day.

They call it a resort for a reason.

More soon!

I slept like a log last night. Over the past three days I had had about 12 hours of sleep with a chunk of that in the plane. Now I’m at breakfast.

The weather is gorgeous, by the way.

I’m taking the shuttle into Ubud and spending the day there. Then I’ll come back and camp out by the pool with a book and a drink. And upload photos … I’m using my Canon point and shoot, not my phone, to help disconnect

The resort staff is attentive and friendly. It is taking me a bit to understand their English and I’m pronouncing there words in a very Japanese way.

The other residents are diverse: Retired western couples, young Indonesian families (one set is in the pool now), a Russian couple straight out of central casting, and an assortment of others. One pair that just came down to eat taught me that, as far out as we are, apparently Dominos delivers here. That’s sad.

While I’m out I will get bug repellent and some more toothpaste. Maybe I can get some coffee for the room, too.

This story infuriates me.

no ducks in a row by :

a long farewell to the tech industry
I suppose one could say that I’m losing hope. In fact, I’ve always been losing hope, one small papercut at a time. Yet, after the publication of the black hole image, the rate of loss of hope has accelerated dramatically. After news broke out of another ‘diversity manifesto’ incident – this time at Microsoft, it accelerated a bit more. Sometimes, I have to wonder, why I keep coming back to a place that clearly believes I can never be as good as my colleagues because of the way my body looks. In an industry that always makes a point to talk about “the future”, “progress” and that dreadful word that in practice means the complete opposite than what says in the dictionary, “meritocracy”, we get quite hungup on someone’s external characteristics that have no bearing on how they will do their job. I thought I could help us fix that, but it looks like no one truly wants to fix the problem unless it’s a quick brushup for an upcoming photo-op.

The point when those kindlings blew up into a fullblown fire was the day the image of the black hole was published. News outlets had stories of Dr Katie Bouman, the MIT researcher, who had written the algorithm to generate the image of the black hole from observations made by a global team. Within hours, internet message boards were full of messages discrediting her contribution. The supporting evidence was found when someone dug up the Github repo with the code and calculated the percentage of her contributions (in terms of lines of code written). Every person in software engineering knows that lines of code is a shit metric to measure someone’s contribution, but alas, the internet bros were at it again.
Shortly after this debate flared up, Mekka Okereke, engineering director at Google who I follow on twitter, wrote a thread about it. Dr Katie Bouman “survived” this challenge, to quote Mekka, because she had all of her ducks in a row – enough ducks and good enough ducks to satisfy the nasty commetators looking to discredit her – a PhD from MIT and a professorship at CalTech. That is how good, how amazingly excellent you have to be, to survive in this industry.

Do read the entirety of the article.

Some people, a minority, suck. They use social network services (SNS) to broadcast their suck. On SNS, their suck gets amplified.

Don’t contribute to their amplification. Pity them instead. They may not know better. If they do, pity them anyway. Let them know.

Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition: Feel The Powerful Magic of Words by Tiffany:

Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition: Feel The Powerful Magic of Words
Any talk about Studio Ghibli will bring to mind the legendary Hayao Miyazaki or Isao Takahata, but perhaps some fans may be less familiar with Toshio Suzuki. As the producer and former president, Suzuki is as integral to the studio’s success as Miyazaki and Takahata. Thanks to the dynamic trio of Miyazaki, Suzuki, and Takahata, Ghibli films are critically acclaimed, well-loved hits all over the world.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
If you’re a Ghibli aficionado and/or you want to know more about Suzuki, you’re in luck! April 20, 2019 marked the launch of a Suzuki-centric exhibition, simply called Toshio Suzuki and Studio Ghibli. Held at the newly opened Edo Culture Complex (EDOCCO) center on the grounds of Kanda Myojin, one of Tokyo’s most famous shrines, the exhibition runs from April 20 (Saturday) to May 12 (Sunday), 2019.

What to expect at the Toshio Suzuki and Ghibli Exhibition

toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
In addition to being a co-founder of Studio Ghibli, Suzuki is also a talented calligrapher, so the exhibition features some of his writings. Suzuki is a believer in the power of words, and indeed, as you walk through the venue, you too will feel the magic of words.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
You’ll see Suzuki’s inspirations–old-school, Showa-era (1926-1989) manga and films–and learn more about the trajectory of his career. While explanations are only in Japanese, and there are sadly no multilingual audio guides as of this writing, there’s more than enough for you to see and enjoy even if you can’t understand Japanese. If you’ve ever wondered what anime magazines from the ’70s looked like, or what a handwritten thesis looks like& well, you’ll wonder no more once you check out this exhibition.
Suzuki’s love for the written word didn’t just stop at calligraphy; his way with words also helped him brilliantly craft the copy for Ghibli films’ promotional materials. Did you know that the taglines for many Ghibli films have the word “live” (ikiro in Japanese) or some variation of it? Thanks to this exhibition, now you know! Be sure to have a look at Suzuki’s documents, notes, sketches, handwritten versions of Ghibli films’ taglines, and more.
Yubaba | Photo by Tiffany Lim
And now for the fun part. Time to have your fortune told. Take your pick from the imposing Yubaba or her twin sister Zeniba, who’s just as imposing. Yubaba’s got luck-related fortunes up her sleeve (er, mouth), while Zeniba has love-related ones. Unfortunately, you can’t line up for both.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionZeniba | Photo by Tiffany Lim
Reach into either sister’s mouth, pull out a number, and head to the nearby drawers. Find your number, and take a fortune. Don’t worry; this one’s got English translations. Heed Yubaba’s reminder to take good care of your new “name” (i.e. fortune), and off you go.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
Finally, at the end of the exhibition, you’ll find merchandise, in case you want to take home the magic with you. Not only event-exclusive items, but also some popular items from the Ghibli Museum in Mitaka, are in store.
toshio suzuki and ghibli exhibitionPhoto by Tiffany Lim
Downstairs, you’ll also find the shrine selling limited-edition Ghibli-themed omamori (charms) and _ema _(prayer tablets). While ema are typically used to write prayers or wishes, and then left on shrine grounds, you can take these tablets home.

Tips

  • Especially if you’re visiting on a weekend or holiday, be prepared to wait in line just to get into the gallery. While not tiny, it’s not huge enough to accommodate too many people, either.
  • Save time by buying tickers from Loppi, Lawson’s ticketing service (link in Japanese only).
  • If you don’t want to spend too much time in line waiting for your fortune, the line for Zeniba’s love fortunes is shorter.
  • Are you a merch hound? If so, check out not only the shop at the end of the exhibition, but also the first floor of EDOCCO and the shrine’s stand for lucky items. Each area has its own merch related to the exhibition.
    Can’t make it to the exhibition? Check out the permanent Ghibli Museum in Tokyo.

Long Lost ‘Zork’ Source Code Uploaded to GitHub, But Few People Understand It – Motherboard:

In 1977, four members of MIT’s Laboratory for Computer Science Dynamic Modeling System started writing a seminal work of interactive fiction. Published later in three parts by Infocom, Zork (along with Zork II and Zork III) is one of the earliest text adventure games, and the start of Infocom’s legacy in interactive fiction. The games told stories using a choose-your-own-adventure style. You reach the end of a hallway. Which way do you choose? The player types their answer to continue the story. But beyond simple commands, Infocom’s games were able to understand more complex sentences, which gave it a depth other games of the era didn’t have.

Infocom was eventually bought out by Activision in 1986, but was quickly shut down a few years later. There are more modern collections of Infocom games available, keeping the spirit of Zork alive, but the source code, which could teach us how Infocom managed to create such a sophisticated game at the time, had been deemed lost. That is, until this week, when internet archivist Jason Scott uploaded a collection of all Infocom text adventures and interactive fiction games’ source codes to GitHub, including the Zork games and Infocom’s video game adaptation of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

More Infocom goodness!

The annual Earth Day Matsuri (Festival) is taking place at Yoyogi Park’s event space this weekend (20-21 April 2018). Every year I think I won’t go, I end up going, and enjoy myself in the process.

Every year when I come back I can’t help but think, “If we all consume less and then, when we consume we’re more thoughtful about it”, wouldn’t that be better for the environment than buying a bunch of organically grown and ethically harvested cotton made into a T-Shirt you don’t need?

Of course, that is a gross over simplification of the complexities. And the reality of existence is that one needs income to live pretty much everywhere on the planet. By not consuming you negatively impact the job of the farmer and picker and weaver and dyer and …

jwz: Infocom:

Jason Scott just posted all of the Infocom source, which is glorious!

<TELL “The ” D ,GLASS-CASE ” is “> <TELL “open”>) (T <TELL “closed”>)> ) ( >> ) (<VERB? MUNG> )>>

Zarf summarizes:

“This material has been kicking around for a while now. If you search for articles about “the Infocom drive”, you’ll see some discussion from years past. Actually, don’t do that, it’s mostly old arguments that don’t need to be rehashed.

The point is that a great deal of historical information about Infocom has been preserved — but it’s not publicly archived. You can’t go research it anywhere. Nobody admits to having it, because it’s “proprietary IP”, and you’re not supposed to trade in that stuff because companies like Activision make the rules.

So when Jason puts this information online, he’s taking a stance. The stance is: history matters. Copyright is a balance between the rights of the owner to profit and the rights of the public to investigate, discuss, and increase the sphere of culture. Sometimes the balance needs a kick.

Quite possibly all these repositories will be served with takedown requests tomorrow. I’m downloading local copies for myself tonight, just in case.”

If you’re in a mirroring mood:

curl “https://api.github.com/users/historicalsource/repos?page=1&per_page=100″ | grep git_url | cut -d \” -f 4 | xargs -L1 git clone

Read on for a fun fact.