I am DVDKOURIL. This is my blog.

Thinking about the blog, visiting Prague, and other things

I took some time off from writing the blog but now I’m back.

After coming back from USA the days have been different. One thing is that the weather took a rapid change (for worse). The days are shorter and usually there’s not much daylight anyway. It’s not very pretty to look at.

It took a while to adjust to this timezone again and the weather wasn’t helping. There have been some public holidays which is nice. I’m not gonna lie, I definitely had a little post-travel sadness. I was wishing to go back to sunny California, planning how I can do it so that we can move there. But the thing is that I kinda like Europe. I like living a little bit detached to where “it’s happening right now”. I like being the outsider, somebody who’s unknown and comes pretty much out of nowhere (but that’s a thought for a completely different article).

About blogging

On September 28th it has been a year since I started blogging and I’ve managed to do it pretty regularly over the course of the one year. I’m really happy that I captured this part of my life and it’s so much fun to scroll down and look at all the photos.

However, I didn’t like that at the end it was mostly just writing about what I did that week. The idea was that I would be posting every Sunday and I wanted to make sure that I have a deadline, that I will just have to figure out something to write about. And I can say that it worked—many times I thought there’s absolutely nothing to make a blogpost out of but in the end at least one idea I was able to put down.

But my vision for the blog is different. I want to not only write about things I did, I want to think more deeply about things that are going on in my head. I want to write more in-depth articles.

I think it was fine for this one year to write about my life, and give these “weekly updates”, I wanted to start writing and that’s hard. You need to ease into that. I see this first year as exactly this, easing into writing, finding the voice, topics, getting used to publishing regularly.

Now for the future. I want to try and do two things differently:

  1. write more articles that focus on one topic, have a better structure, and are more in-depth, and
  2. write articles that capture mood, show a certain atmosphere or style of the time period, ideally put more work into the photos.

A short visit to Prague

We (me and Manu, a colleague from VisGroup) went to Prague for a few days to deepen the cooperation between TU Wien and CVUT.

About work

At work I was starting to think about the approach of my first paper of the PhD. Ever since I started in spring this year, I’ve been working on things but they weren’t directly contributing to my PhD, so now I finally had the time allocated to (mostly) just that.

It took a few weeks to get into the topic but yesterday I had an idea that I think is worth trying. The problem is that there’s a lot to do to even get to the point of trying this idea out.

It however reminded me why I like working on things. There’s this idea in your head and it’s just on you to make it happen. I’m so attracted to the process of having this intense motivation, this picture of how it should look like and work, and then it’s about me making it happen. If I don’t do it, it’s not gonna happen.

It’s of course very frustrating at the same time. Life gets in a way and if you are trying to do something non-trivial it’s gonna take days if not weeks. And that’s the challenge of just keeping up, believing in that idea you initially had.

Now that I’m thinking about it, I don’t really like the pre-Christmas season. I’ve always had it associated with stress in school which gets multiplied by all the Christmas busyness.

It makes me want to make more colorful art. Something to compensate. I should do that.

David goes to USA: final part, the road trip

The final part of my trip to USA was a road trip on the west coast with three colleagues. I think I already mentioned that it was a big deal for me to go to US (farthest I’ve ever been from home, fulfilled a dream of going there) and I had a chance to experience a lot on this road trip.

I’ll put my tips first: if I’d do this again (and I want to!) I would:

  • plan and book the accommodation beforehand; we had to figure out where we’re gonna sleep on the fly and it made it a little bit more stressful (but also more adventurous, depends on what kinda person you are)
  • get an US sim card with mobile internet; from my experience the wifi coverage is not as great as I read on the internet before leaving. Also we had problems to reach some US numbers from our phones.
  • make sure that I can pay with my credit card; one hotel pre-authorized a large sum of money of my credit card and I couldn’t raise the limit because I forgot the phone I use to authenticate internet banking actions at home. You should also make sure that you don’t have a geolocation control/lock activated on the card.

I wanted to put these down mainly for myself to remember. So let’s get into the trip itself!

We started in Phoenix. On the way to San Diego we slept in El Centro (still not sure how that’s pronounced) and continued the next day. We went to La Jolla Cove and I really liked it. It had a great atmosphere and we arrived at a perfect time when the sun was setting.

We slept in a motel in El Cajon. It was probably the place I liked the least of the places we slept the whole time, big motel in a big city, lots of noise and weird people.

So I was very glad to go to Sequoia National Park the next day. Sometimes I’d rather face the nature than the people. In this case we had to face the cold at night. It was a good decision to bring Gabi’s sleeping bag.

We slept in Grant Grove Village (which I think is technically Kings Canyon National Park but they are very much connected so…) and met there the most friendliest guy at the reception of the camp.

After Sequoia we drove to Yosemite National Park, sleeping in a tent-cabin in Half Dome Village. 

Yosemite is simply breathtaking. We did one big hike to Nevada fall and some small walks around the Yosemite Valley. Once again I was amazed by how well organized the national parks are. I simply have to come back to explore more of it, the 2 or so day we spent there are just laughably short amount of time for it.

For the last weekend we stayed in San Francisco and I have to say that I think I fell in love with this place. We stayed very close to Market street which might have been a mistake but hey, at least I’ve seen this part of SF/USA as well. I was just amazed that I’m there. I’m in the place where so much has happened, where so much is happening now, the place I’ve heard, read, or seen so much about. I was happy to be at this place even if for such a short time.

Our flight home was from San Francisco International with Lufthansa to Munich and then from Munich to Vienna with Austrian. I was actually very surprised how easy the flight was, it didn’t feel long at all! And the flight to Vienna was almost funny—we ascended, flew for maybe 10 minutes and then the flight attendant announced that we are starting the descent to Vienna.

I’m now back home in Vienna and I have to say that I’m suffering a bit from post-travel sadness. And jet lag (I thought I’ve recovered already but yesterday I passed out at 8pm and woke up at 1am…). But I’m happy to be with Gabi again and I’m really excited to be working on things now. There’s so much I want to accomplish and experience in life. I’m happy to be back at working on the life I want to create for us.

David goes to USA: part 2

The main reason of coming to the US was the IEEE VIS 2017 conference so that was what this week was all about. The conference was held in a Convention Centre in Downtown Phoenix.

It was my first big conference so there was a lot to process. I wasn’t there for any specific reason. I wasn’t presenting a paper, I wasn’t there to meet people I know. I was just really curious about how the field of visualization works in the bigger picture, outside of the groups I know so far.

I took notes throughout all of the conference, here’s some of them:

  • My biggest takeaway probably is that I want to learn how to be a good speaker.
  • Other thing that I wasn’t expecting is how easy (and inconvenient) it is to get sick while traveling. Especially here in Phoenix, where outside it’s hot, and inside it’s freezing because of all the AC. Next time I’m going somewhere I need to prepare my immunity system for that.
  • Demos, videos, pictures, GIFs…any of this is better than trying to describe what you’re presenting.

I got to explore some of the food in Phoenix. Cornish Pasty was very good!

But the best thing I had was a burger at Welcome Diner, a place close to the motel the receptionist recommended.


Downtown Phoenix is kinda cool. It’s amazing however that you can walk somewhat short distance and suddenly you are in a not-so-nice area.

We left Arizona for California. The plan of the road trip is pretty fluid right now, hopefully we figure it out somehow and will have a good time.

Aiming to be the 40-year-old that doesn’t know what he wants to do in his life

I don’t know if you’ve seen or heard this piece before:

It was originally written as an essay by Mary Schmich and then made into a song by Baz Luhrmann. I’ve heard it first in the form of this song when I was writing my bachelor thesis. I put it in my spotify playlist and I regularly bump into it when I’m listening to this playlist on shuffle. I always take something different from it, depending on what problems I’m having or what I’m thinking about at that moment.

Last time it was this part:

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life. The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives. Some of the most interesting 40-year-olds I know still don’t.

Lately I’ve had the problem that I’m again being attracted by different things and I have a hard time choosing what to focus on. The things is—I’ve been led to believe that I need to choose one thing, give my whole life into it, and then maybe I have some small chance of being successful. That’s a very frustrating thought because I have quite a number of things I’d like to do.

This time however I’m starting to get comfortable with that. I’m not gonna be known as a prodigy, a 14yo kid who makes an iphone app, sells out concert halls, or writes a book. I’m an almost 26-year-old guy, my may-be-a-prodigy years are over. But I still can (and should) be me.

And therefore I’m aiming to be the 40-year-old who still can’t decide what he wants to do in his life. I want to explore everything I want. I most probably won’t be successful at it. But if there’s one thing I’ve found out already, it’s that you don’t have to be world-class at something to enjoy doing it.

What if you already had your followers?

I’ve been wishing for a (social media) following for some time now. You might think it’s stupid and that I’m just a kid that wants to be famous. But I don’t see it like that. I really think that if you do this right, gather around you the right people, use social media to your advantage, things can happen and you can get to opportunities you wouldn’t even dream of.

However, recently I’ve realized that I’ve been doing it wrong. I’ve been trying to get an audience just to have an audience. I’ve been posting to Instagram just to get followers on Instagram. I’ve been following many people and I was thinking about how can I emulate that, how can I take the thing that made them succeed on social media, and apply it to myself.

One problem is that I wasn’t really doing it. I wasn’t putting in enough work.

But another thing, far more important I believe, is that I lost the purpose. I lost my flavor, I wasn’t showing what I want to show, I was showing what I thought people want to see.

I kinda knew it subconsciously—I don’t want to be another lifestyle, food, or fashion blogger (that’s what seems to be “hot” these days). I actually want to do meaningful things (at least meaningful for me).

All this led me to ask myself a question: “What would I do if I already had my followers?”. What kind of pictures would I post? What would I write about? What would I share with these people?

It’s very similar to the  “What if money was no object?” question. I thought about what I would be doing if suddenly I had all the money I needed and a decent number of people following what I do.

My answer is that I would create more. I’ve been artistic for a big part of my life—I’ve been drawing and painting, and I’ve been playing the guitar and making music. Even programming was something that I took up to express myself artistically—by developing games. I’ve been drawn to all these things but I couldn’t really choose one to focus on. I believed (and still do) that to make it in something, you need to be really specific about it. You need to double down on it, and work really hard. And you still might not make it. I was really scared of that (I call it being pragmatic), that’s why I never fully took the artistic route and instead invested myself in programming. Don’t get me wrong—I believe that programming can be as creative and as fulfilling as doing anything that’s considered traditional art. But I realized that I want to steer it a little bit back towards the creative side of coding. That’s why I also fell in love with creative coding and generative art (or whatever it’s called).

I’m still very much interested in programming, software development, and software business. But I realized that the artistic side of me will always be there, that it’s what I would do if I had nothing to do at all, and that it is the thing that’s giving me some kind of flavor.