James Foley

Week in review 2024-17

Week one in the new house, delivered a week later

Notes on the week

I’ve been remiss in my duty to writing these updates. I’m going to blame moving and no one will argue with me, it’s a stressful thing to do!


We’re up and running in our new home in Charlois, and by we I mean me, because Elle had to travel home this week for a job.She’s shooting another exhibition in Ireland. The place already feels a lot like home, the minimal decoration of the flat when we moved in meant that all our little trinkets and personal stuff really stand out, and I love that. I spent the week working from the kitchen table, as the ‘office’ room is completely unfurnished, but a trip to our favourite charity shop ‘Het Goed’ has solved that. We found a desk, an office chair and a few other bits and pieces that we needed for €80, including delivery.

They’re due to arrive next Monday. They only deliver to the front door though, and with Elle away that means I’m going to have to navigate getting these things up three flights of stairs (no elevator is a pain) on my own. If anyone spots a deranged looking person disassembling a desk on the side of the road in Charlois next week, don’t judge.


The same day that we went to Het Goed to get some furniture, I also got a new bike. During the weekend of moving, my bike was stolen from outside our old flat in Glashaven. The glass half full take here is that it meant one less thing to move?

When we got to Rotterdam we were advised that if we didn’t have indoor storage (we didn’t), don’t buy good bikes. We spent very little on ours, and managed to get a surprisingly long time out of them. They were a bit rough around the edges, and have needed some TLC over the months to keep them going, but two bikes for roughly €100 wasn’t bad! I guess that’s why I don’t feel too bad about mine being robbed, it was either going to let me down mechanically in a way that was too expensive to justify fixing, or get stolen, and I was aware of both eventualities.

One of the great things about our new place is that we have access to a basement. Each apartment has it’s own storage room underground, and honestly it’s pretty big. I think in Dublin you could probably rent the space out for a grand a month. With the security of having somewhere to lock up safely I felt better spending a little more on a little better bike, and on Wednesday went to Mega Bikes, a massive bike shop with locations across the city. I got a second hand city bike in great condition for €250, and it is such an upgrade on my old bike. It’s so much smoother, lighter and faster, and I feel much more comfortable on it.

The added benefit of having the basement room is that if I do need to perform any maintenance or repairs on the bike, I have somewhere to do it that isn’t the side of the road! When Elle gets back we’re going to get her up and running with a new bike too, because if my old bike was hanging on by a thread before it was stolen, hers is held together by hope.


VOYAGER IS BACK IN CONTACT WITH EARTH!

The hardest thing in Computer Science is centering stuff

Pushing Halo 2 and the original xbox into HD

Humans lived in ancient lava tubes

25 years of working in engineering

Why the modern internet is shit

Crazy Charlie

Fabien Sanglard breaks down a SNES cartridge

Equinox, a browser based first person mystery in space

Reading

I’ve finished my journey aboard the Pequod. It took far, far longer than I ever could have expected. Moby Dick is a big book, but not excessively long (especially in comparison to some of the longer fantasy books I’ve read a la Sanderson or Robert Jordan), but it was such a struggle to get through. I described it to friends recently as having prose that was written just recent enough that the english is perfectly understandable, but long enough ago into the past that the structure and phrases are so different to what I’m used to that I really had to take my time to make sure I was getting the correct meaning of each sentence.

Overall, I’m really happy that I stuck with it. I nearly gave up on it many times, but I actually feel a real sense of satisfaction having gotten through it. Ishmael’s meandering narration annoyed me at first, but as the book went on it actually drew me in. In the same way Andy Weir’s The Martian is so compelling as a series of journal entries, Moby Dick feels more like Ishmael’s private thoughts on the topic of whaling rather than a story being told for our pleasure.

Clocking in at an average 1,800 words read per day, it might be the slowest I’ve read a book since I was a child, but on reflection that was kind of a cool experience too, as the tiny slices of narrative I took in every day read like a daily dispatch from Ishmael, rather than a broken up long form piece. For comparison, after I finished I finally got round to reading “Project Hail Mary” by Andy Weir, which I devoured and finished within 24 hours. 9/10 Book, would highly recommend.

Listening

For whatever reason, last summer I got really into watching the Tour de France with my Dad. Like most people I knew roughly what the Tour was about, a team based cycling race across France, dipping into other countries on occasion before ending with the final stage in Paris, but had no idea of the complexity of strategy employed by the teams to get their riders to the front of the peloton. I looked up some YouTube videos to find out the backstory of the great rivalry we were watching, Pogacar vs Vingegaard, and along the way stumbled across the Lantern Rouge cycling podcast. I learned more over a few days listening to these two guys breakdown the event than I had in a lifetime of casually observing the Tour. I’ve kept up listening to them long after Jonas won his second Tour, and even if I’m not a massive cycling fan, still find it really enjoyable.