I am DVDKOURIL. This is my blog.

Preparing for the USA trip

I’m going to USA in a few days and I’m excited (and just a little nervous) about it.

First, we have a meeting with collaborators in Salt Lake City and afterwards we will attend VIS 2017 in Phoenix, trying to squeeze a Grand Canyon visit in between those. After the conference me and three other colleagues are going on a road trip on the west coast. Plan is not exactly clear for the road trip yet, we want to go to national parks mostly but I would really like to see some of the big cities too. We are flying back from San Francisco on Monday, October 16th. That’s almost 3 weeks I’ll spend there and I’m just super hyped for that.

I’m looking forward for all three parts: In Salt Lake City I will meet people that I’ve only talked to online so far, I’m sure the conference will be inspiring, and the road trip afterwards is going to be awesome too. I’ll be giving a short presentation in SLC, nothing at the conference, I’m only coming there to watch, get inspired, and network.

But most of all I’m looking forward to just experience US. Ever since I’ve been a teenager, I’ve been living in the US world through the internet. Even though I’ve lived in Europe my whole life, I know a lot of the American culture from second hand. You get the feeling that this is the place where it’s all happening. I’m really curious to see how is this world experienced in person.

I’ll try to continue with writing updates on blog (with lots and lots of photos) but besides that I think it’s to be expected that I will be posting a lot of my instagram.

In the middle of a hot summer in Vienna

It’s consistently hot in Central Europe. I definitely like it better than winter (I hate being cold) but sometimes it’s annoying when you sweat through a t-shirt just walking few steps to a store. Our apartment doesn’t have air conditioning—it’s not very common in Czech Republic and Austria—so we are experiencing the heat wave pretty intensively. In the office we do have AC, but it’s 3 of us there and it’s hard to keep the most comfortable temperature for everyone. It makes me wish I had an office for myself a little bit.

Most of the people from work are on vacations. On Wednesday I had to go to Brno to get my Master’s and Bachelor’s diplomas translations. Ticket machine broke while printing my public transport tickets, then the bus back to Vienna had more than an hour delay. But I got the translations so I would say it was a success.

On Thursday I finally submitted the PhD admission (that what I needed the diploma translations for). I almost left the study department because there’s been such a long line of people waiting. But fortunately it moved pretty fast and I submitted everything successfully. Now I have to wait few weeks for the answer if I can do the PhD at TU Wien.

On Saturday we went on a small bike trip/hike. There’s a hill with a castle, or a church or something, that you can see from the city. I’ve wanted to go there since I got here and we finally did that. The route we took was pretty steep but the view from the top was worth it.
Looks like our vacation plans are forming! Gabi has been going through flights and booking.com and she’s basically the one planning the whole thing. She found some quite cheap plane tickets to Kalamata and we bought them. Just like the last year, we will pick the accommodation later, rent a car, and just go on our own.

Talking about vacation makes me realize that it’s almost a year since I started writing the blog. That’s cool. And although I’m not breaking any view records, I have no plan to stop. Looking back, seeing the photos, and reading about the things that we’ve done, or what I’ve been thinking, is just too much fun!

Going to my first conference

As I’ve said before, I’ve been at a conference this week. It’s been SCCG 2017 in Mikulov, Czech Republic, and it has actually been the first conference that I’ve ever attended. I’ve presented my Master thesis (through a poster). It wasn’t a huge event but it was good.

Mikulov is in a famous wine district so we had a wine tasting one evening. It was pretty nice.

Even though SCCG is one of the smaller conferences, I still brought back a number of notes. The three invited speakers (Daniel Sykora, Niloy Mitra, and Kwan-Liu Ma) have been inspiring. I’m at the very beginning of my PhD, so there’s a huge amount of stuff that I can absorb. And by the way, I think that the most that I’ve learned was from the bad presentations. I don’t know if it’s mean of me, but I really like to learn from mistakes that other people make. I can see what they do wrong and I try to not do it too. I guess it’s a little selfish, I still need to learn to be able to take critique of myself.

On the way back we stopped by at one wine shop, so I also brought some wine back home with me.

The weather has changed rapidly while I was away. Coming “back home” to Vienna has been pretty overwhelming—it was so hot, lot’s of people everywhere, and I had another one of the moments of realization that we actually live here now. I kinda love it.

There have been two guests at our institute on Friday—both very senior and knowledgeable people. I’ve presented some stuff that I’ve been working on since I’ve been employed by TU Wien. It’s still a little weird to me, to be talking with these people who have been working in the field of visualization for a very big part of their careers. But I’m trying to take advantage of that and I tried to get some advices from them.

I also finally got an Austrian SIM card. I wanted something with unlimited mobile internet (or at least close to it) and I ended up going for T-Mobile’s My Klax Flex (that’s what Renata got few weeks before me and it seems like a good deal). Having mobile internet in a new city is super useful. Even just when you’re looking for something in a supermarket and you need to translate it, it’s awesome to be able to look it up now and there.

On Saturday we went out to celebrate Manu’s (a colleague of mine) birthday. I finally took Gabi too!

This week has been pretty full of everything, just not a lot of actual working, I feel like. But it’s all good, sometimes it’s needed to step away from it, focus more on building the relationships, connecting with people, and making friends.

Entering the adult life

I can’t believe it has only been a week or so since I’ve finished the school. It kinda seems longer than that. I imagined that after this ‘deadline’ everything is going to be great and I will have no worries in life. Well…kinda, but I’m also not that naive. And I’m not trying to say that I’m having a lot of troubles right now. It’s just that once you get rid of some obligations and responsibilities, you don’t really get rid of them, they are just replaced by others. But on the other hand—I love it. I much more prefer to be occupied with the real-life stuff, like finding an apartment and working, then worrying about studying, preparing for tests and exams. I guess I just hate exams now. So I’m actually happy that I have to deal with stuff that I feel like actually matter.

We’ve started to look for apartments in Vienna. I should be starting my PhD at the beginning of March and I would ideally like to be already in Vienna. The question is if I will be able to get an apartment till then. The other option is that I would rent a room for a months or so and then I would be able to stay in Vienna and look for apartments from there. I guess it would be easier. But I will have to wait how it works out. For now, we will be looking at ads and writing emails. Maybe I will go see some apartments this week as well. In the end, Vienna is not that far from Brno, so I guess it should be fine to go there even if I go there for just one day and go back in the evening.

This week was all about me getting back to working. I haven’t programmed in a while so I needed to get back into that. Every time I get back to something that I’ve been programming, I am suprised that everythins works as it did before. I don’t know why it’s surprising for me. It’s just that I have this feeling that if I don’t work on something continually, it’s going to degrade somehow. I don’t know. It’s weird. But everything mostly works the same as it did before, I still enjoy graphics programming and I’m committed to getting better.

The main story of next week is going to be the flat-finding. I’m gonna have to figure it out somehow. I hope everything goes well.

I got my master’s degree!

…and Gabi did as well!

I still can’t really believe or grasp the fact that I’ve successfully finished the school and I’m done with it. If you read back through the blog you can see that I’ve been working towards this goal intensively since October. Finishing my last course, writing the thesis, trying to pass my last math exam and then studying for the final state exams. It wasn’t easy. I could motivate myself at the beginning because I was looking forward to getting on with my life but towards the end it was harder and harder. And now it’s all over.

The question is what’s next. I’ve been given an opportunity to go for a PhD at TU Wien and I want to go for it. Which means that I will be moving to Vienna. That’s kind of the big thing that’s going to be happening in the next few months. I should be starting in March, provided that I get an apartment until then. Gabi should move to Vienna month or two after me. I’m scared a little bit of course, but on the other hand, there’s probably not ever going to be a better time to try living abroad. We’ve finished school, have no commitments here, and we’ve both always wanted to try this. And Austria is still relatively close.

I also have lots of ideas I want to try and things I want to learn. My time is probably going to be occupied with the moving for a while, many things need to be researched and dealt with. But I’m looking forward to having weekends again for spending some quality time with my girlfriend and working on side projects.

Also, I stopped drinking coffee. At least for a while. I was drinking so much coffee before the defense/exam that I’m kind of sick of it. I also don’t want to be addicted to anything. So I’m trying a little detox. I’m probably fine with one cup from time to time but I don’t want to make it a daily thing at least for a while. We’ll see how long it will last.