One of the best things about my job is traveling to new (or in this case, old) places. And yet it wasn’t until I had a home to go home to that I began to appreciate the wide world. Always on the road, existence is a sort of fleeting limbo. But if you have an Ithaca to yearn home for, a Penelope whose arms await you, you suddenly understand. It’s in being away that we discover our home. It is in home that we discover away.
Returning to a place from one’s old life is always a complex experience. I’ve spent a year studying in this town, a mere decade ago: yet today, it feels like an eternity or a past life. So much has changed since then, and I barely recognise the man I was.
Back when I lived in Leiden, I was attached to the law faculty, housed in Kammerlingh Onnes’s old lab. If you had told me then that a decade and a bit later I would be back, but as a data scientist working with a client nearby, I would have laughed. Data science wasn’t even a thing back then, and while I was always into statistics and maths, I never saw myself doing it as a career until (relatively) quite recently. And so, to return to a town that holds all these memories from a past life is strange to say the least. Strange – but not necessarily unpleasant!
It’s complete! My amazing, gorgeous wife has just received her Master’s degree. And I couldn’t be prouder. I’m not east to impress. But it was impossible not to be impressed by the hard work Katie has put into this degree, and all the skill, talent and passion she displayed. She’s a true fighter, and to all of us who helped her (only some of whom could be present), it was a privilege getting to watch her in action.
Turns out that being severely anaemic and the reduced partial pressure of oxygen in high altitude trans-continental flights don’t mix. With a Hgb level barely above 6.5, I was expecting some shortness of breath and suchlike, but when my muscles started to burn like I just ran a marathon and my vision became woozy, I knew that things weren’t ok. The wonderful United Airlines cabin crew handled the whole issue with the utmost professionalism and without any panic or exaggeration – they simply gave me an oxygen tank and let me fix myself, just as I prefer. A few hours later, and I’m much, much better (although until my counts recover, I think I’ll have to organise oxygen for future trips). We’re an hour and a half out of Newark and have about 6 hours to go to DC, when we finally get to meet more of our awesome family! Katie and I couldn’t be more excited – after a few fantastic days in Paris with my lovely parents, we’re looking forward to visit our DC and Indiana kin. My sats are slowly back to normal, Katie is enjoying Finding Dory, and life is awesome. And that’s the point here – by not panicking, trying to take this as just another part of the adventure, we sailed through what could otherwise have been a frightening (but really not particularly serious) experience. Sometimes, the biggest gift St. Christopher can give you for the road is good people and a solid sense of humour.
After a lot of work on SDR theory, I thought I should treat myself to an early Christmas present. And so, I got the HackRF One from Great Scott Gadgets. Worth every penny – if for nothing else, for some SIGINT nostalgia! 😉
Happy #nationalwombatday everybody! My fantastic wife @katvcsefalvay drew me this. It’s a big bucket list item for me to get to spend some time working with wombats (and I totally have the skills, what with being a data scientist and computational epidemiologist! lol, not.). So she drew me with a whole BUNCH of my absolute favourite critters ever! Awwww-esome! 😉
You can see more of Katie’s art, and buy some priceless originals, at her Etsy store.
A friend I knew only through his work on ZeroMQ, passed away today, by his own volition, after a long battle with cancer. I am rarely speechless, but I am now. Pieter Hintjens was not just a great mind but also a great guy, and here I sit saying stupid things like “I miss him” when we’ve only met once briefly (although we did converse extensively online). The fact is, I don’t know what to say. So I’ll just leave this photo here, which I stumbled upon yesterday after believing it to be long lost, of the RAF church St Clement Danes, London.