Nov 24 2009

Mad Month December

Depend­ing on the out­come of this week, the next month may end up being com­pletely mad. I have a poten­tial job down in Mel­bourne — not a bad one, by the seem­ing of it — and if it all pans out, I may have to be down there for at least a week or two in Decem­ber (and then mov­ing down there per­ma­nently thereafter).

I also have my Uncle Phil’s wed­ding to go to in a fort­night, so I have to work that in.

Then there’s the usual Christmas-​period mad­ness; par­ties, social engage­ments, try­ing to get enough con­tract­ing work done to make enough money to sur­vive. It’s get­ting some­what stress­ful already and it hasn’t even started.

Every­thing could work out mag­nif­i­cently (what a refresh­ing change that would make) or it could all go rather pear-​shaped. I don’t know what to expect, but I’m deeply hope­ful that I can make some big and pos­i­tive changes.

Nov 22 2009

The One Year Mark

Ruzkin pointed out to me today that I have now been blog­ging on arcwhite​.org for over a year. My updates may have occa­sion­ally been patchy and spo­radic, but I’ve man­aged to post some­thing just about every month at least — I con­sider that a bit of a win.

So — happy birth­day, arcwhite​.org!

Com­ing up in the next few months: Some more big posts about grandiose sub­ject mat­ter, more travel ret­ro­spec­tives, big per­sonal news, a change in theme and plenty more waffle.

To every­one who’s been read­ing, and com­ment­ing — and there’s more of you than I ever really hoped there would be — thank you!

Nov 18 2009

A Capital Trio Talk Tech — Interim Update

We haven’t for­got­ten the pod­cast, fear not! We’re in the process of relo­cat­ing to a new, ded­i­cated blog. We’ll post details here as soon as it’s done, and redi­rect the iTunes pod­cast feed appro­pri­ately. We’ll also be sched­ul­ing pod­casts a bit more reg­u­larly (we’re look­ing at a bi-​weekly release cycle). There’s some pretty neat inter­views com­ing up — stay tuned!

If you have any ques­tions or com­ments, or if there’s some­thing spe­cific you’d like to see us dis­cuss, please drop us a line.

Nov 13 2009

Things I learnt In The Czech Republic

A quick post, because I’ve been busy and not updat­ing my blog as well as I should’ve. Only way to get back into the habit is to keep writ­ing, right?

So, a few inter­est­ing things I learnt in the Czech Republic:

  • You’ve prob­a­bly heard that Prague is beau­ti­ful. The descrip­tions are not doing it justice.
Old Clock Tower, Old Prague

Old Clock Tower, Old Prague

  • Watch­ing Opera (Dvorak’s Rusalka) is much more enjoy­able when cap­tions are pro­vided. Goes dou­ble if the per­for­mance is in Czech and you’re not a native speaker.
  • Any coun­try where beer is cheaper than water (~25 kro­nes, or AUD$1.50, give or take) is fan­tas­tic fun — but hard on the liver!
  • Czech food is extremely rich and dense (and deli­cious). I have a the­ory that this is some­thing to do with the colder months of the year and need­ing high energy input tra­di­tion­ally to stay warm. Cita­tion needed. If you can find a good, trust­wor­thy restau­rant, you MUST try tatarak.
  • Many Czech peo­ple speak Eng­lish to some degree or another; most of them are quite ner­vous about actu­ally using their English.
  • Every­body appre­ci­ates it when you speak at least a few words of their lan­guage. In Czech, this seems dou­bly so.
  • Lots of peo­ple (at least in Prague) have dogs, even if they don’t have a back yard. This seems vaguely cruel to me.
  • Any pub that’s been around since the 14th cen­tury is Doing Some­thing Right.
  • Lucerna is a fan­tas­tic night­club full of very friendly, drunk Czech party ani­mals — if you like music from the 80s. And I don’t mean the best of the 80s. I mean 80s music, all of it, even the stuff that wasn’t very good.
  • Really good cof­fee can be hard to find. (I highly rec­om­mend Café Lam­borgh­ini, around the cor­ner from the Lazarska tram stop — the food is a bit expen­sive but the cof­fee was solid! Ser­vice is great too.)
  • A large num­ber of Czech peo­ple that I encoun­tered did not seem par­tic­u­larly opti­mistic about their lot in life. I believe this to be a holdover from Com­mu­nist oppres­sion, and sus­pect that the Czech peo­ple will become extremely entre­pre­neur­ial over the next 10 years and that the rest of Europe should watch out. The folks I met who were opti­mistic and/​or ambi­tious were pow­er­houses of hard work and talent.

    Statuary atop the State Theatre

    Stat­u­ary atop the State Theatre

  • There was a Czech movie a few years ago about a simple-​minded young man who wore big head­phones around every­where. Walk­ing around Prague wear­ing a pair of Tech­nics head­phones will earn you strange wry grins from peo­ple that will baf­fle you ini­tially — all because of this movie.
  • Every­body smokes, every­where. Get used to it.
  • Accord­ing to pop­u­lar leg­end, the Russ­ian mafia own a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of busi­nesses in the Repub­lic. Pol­i­tics and crime are closely inter­wo­ven. Despite this, petty crime on the streets, at least in Prague, seems quite uncommon.
  • Tea houses are a fan­tas­tic way to unwind if you a) like tea and/​or b) like shisha pipes. They’re turkish-​style dens of relax­ation, usu­ally very quiet and a great place to sit with a friend and talk. Def­i­nitely need more of these in Australia!
  • Hav­ing a higher pop­u­la­tion den­sity in an area makes a lot of really cool things pos­si­ble that you just can’t do in a place like Aus­tralia (re: pub­lic trans­port, util­i­ties, busi­nesses), where every­one is accus­tomed to hav­ing a back yard and a lot of space. Not hav­ing a yard really isn’t that big an impost, in my opin­ion, and we should be build­ing up rather than build­ing out where possible.

Finally, the key words of the lan­guage for a trav­eller: pivo (beer), prosim (please), dekuji/​diky (thank you/​thanks), dobre [den|rano|vecer] (good day|morning|night), vyborny (fantastic/​delicious). Guar­an­teed to get a smile if you can use some of these.

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