[livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball and I left for NYC on Friday, returning late last night. He was the instigator, saying he really wanted to see Pippin, and after watching the Tony awards video (which you can see on that link right there ^^ ), I had to agree it was worth seeing on Broadway. So, in for a penny in for a pound, we also made plans for Kinky Boots, another Tony winner this year.

We had our next-door teenaged neighbour watch Rover for us, which worked out quite well, compared with boarding for the weekend- R. likes her routines, and our neighbour certainly likes Rover! (And now I notice that Rover has to sniff their door when she comes back from her walks... I think this may have something to do with bacon on the weekend...)

We got to Pearson and discovered our noon-time United flight had been postponed three hours. Well, indefinitely. Well, we might be able to rebook onto the next flight in three hours maybe. Instead of following the gate agent's instructions, I found us another United agent who instead put us and one lucky other guy onto an Air Canada flight at 3pm, and standby for an earlier flight. So the three of us trooped out of the ground-level prop-plane area to our waiting gate, and crossed our fingers, because 3pm was going to make it tight for us to get into the city and to our hotel and to Pippin. dan did his thing and got us from an unlikely standby to a much more likely standby flight- and lo, all three of us got lucky. And found ourselves on the ground at Laguardia just after 2pm. And we made it to our hotel in Hell's Kitchen, Midtown, in fine time.

At the end of this trip, I'm quite appreciative for the chance to run off and do things like this. We both really love Manhattan. We were idly talking about how great it would be to live there; perhaps when we both retire; perhaps for a short period on one of dan's sabbaticals. If this works, it will certainly involve a lot of planning- and being flexible, perhaps more so than with the flight rearrangements...

This was a full, but not overly full, trip.

We stayed in Hells Kitchen, the first time either of us had spent much time on the West Side. It was quite convenient to Broadway, our hotel was comfortable, and there were many good restaurants, including an eponymous Mexican restaurant "Hell's Kitchen" which had amazing fish.

Pippin was eye-poppingly neat. The acrobatics were the most awe-inspiring I've ever seen (see ^^ video). The first act is easily in my short list of favourite first acts of any musical. (Whatever that list is; I haven't given it serious thought except that the first act of "Sunday in the Park with George" is currently at the top. But I digress.) The story feels like it sort of unwinds in the second act. I hadn't seen the show before and wasn't prepared for a bit of storytelling where a certain amount of plot seems to be un-done in order to tell a completely different story in the second act- the story felt stapled together, and the main character AND the main actor started to grate on me a bit. I see from the wikipedia page that it could have been smoother in the second act. But the Leading Player/"Ringleader" character was wonderful throughout, including the very end where she offers Pippin a suitably glorious finale for his life aspirations. All in all, seeing this was my favourite part of the trip.

We had left Saturday mostly unscheduled, with an idea to get half-price tickets for an evening show, and a plan to see my Aunt who lives in Manhattan in the mid-afternoon. d. and I negotiated this one pretty well, also; I was going to see my Aunt while d. went downtown to buy us tickets. She accepted my sending his regrets about not seeing her, even though in advance she had said she would be very offended if he decided not to see her. Anyway, she and I got to visit, she got to show off her local Whole Foods and get me a mid-afternoon snack, and d. got to stay the hell away and do some clothes shopping downtown while ostensibly "on a line" getting us tickets at the TKTS booth.

But I get ahead of myself: In the morning we went to the Guggenheim. The main exhibit was by James Turrell, a Quaker artist and architect who works with light and shadow. In addition to designing a Quaker meeting house in Austin Texas, he's done other arts installations that have felt Quakerly to me, inviting contemplation and inner stillness. His big new work turned the seventy-five foot tall spiral atrium into ... Well, sort of the inside of a mood lamp, with gorgeous curves and subtle slow colour changes. Some 50 people laid back in the atrium looking upward at the colours. It felt meditative to me, even with the occasional conversation nearby. Though: it didn't feel like Quaker Meeting, not by a long shot. But it was at least as meditative as I could hope for in a crowd of New York tourists. I'm not sure what Frank Lloyd Wright would have thought about what they did to his atrium, but I'm grateful for the chance to see the exhibit.

There were also some great abstract art from the Guggenheim's collections, from between World War One and Two- including some great dadaist work, and some great Miró and Klee. These would have been a fine stand-alone reason to visit the museum.

And then we hit the Armory for "WS", a retelling of Snow White by Paul McCarthy. This, like the Turrell, was large-scale, covering the stadium-sized Armory (we once went to an art-sales show there, which took many hours to get through). Unlike the Turrell, it was loud, edgy, and quite profane, and I'm quite surprised they weren't sued by Walt Disney's estate. Every staff person we asked what they thought of it, said they couldn't wait for it to finish- which it was to do the day we saw it. In retrospect, I would have been fine if it had closed just before we were there.

After we met up after my Aunt, d. and I walked down to the High Line, the multi-mile linear park which used to be an elevated train-line. I wanted to like it, as a floating-park-in-midair. But there were too many people, too many rope barriers telling us what was off limits, and too few comfortable benches. All it needed was a roof and it would feel like the train- in the end I think it didn't escape far enough from that which it once was. I hope that it can gradually shift into something more than that, over the decades. Maybe a few exits into adjoining buildings? That would be spiff.

Dan's ticket find for the evening was "Phantom of the Opera", which neither of us had seen, though 20 years ago I listened to the CD quite a lot. Now in its 25th year, it was exactly like the CD, not a note different from what I remembered. And the music, instead of being a fond reminisce, sort of felt late-80s cheezy. Upsides? The costuming was great- particularly, I loved the spectacle of the masquerade ball. I guess it's good to finally see this; just as later this month I'm finally seeing Cats (in Toronto). I hope I like Cats more.

On Sunday, we walked to the Hudson River Park, just a few blocks from the hotel. Now this, this is how to redevelop an urban park. It was less manicured, more varied, and most importantly, not cramped. There was also free kayak instruction and consequently lots of people *in kayaks on the Hudson*. Which felt a bit weird to me, since I always considered the water there to be too dodgy to do anything with. For that matter, the ducks we saw next to the water looked a bit scruffy.

We did quite a lot of walking: after the Hudson park, across midtown to Central Park, lunch near Lincoln Center, and back down Broadway and down to 42nd street to see Kinky Boots. Which was great fun, and deserved their Tony wins. I might buy the album; it felt like a Cindy Lauper CD but in drag. (Which is possibly the same thing).

And then we retrieved our luggage and headed for Newark airport for our evening flight home. And we returned to Rover in our house, which was the best return ever.

round and round

Monday, 17 September 2012 12:03 am
Bike log: my odometer just rolled over another 1,000 km. [1]

[livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball came home from Slovenia on Friday just in time for the condo to open the roof-top common area, so we had an impromptu party with a few neighbours. [2]

Saturday included a "Doors Open" visit to a local Mennonite church for a talk on the history of pacifists in the traditional peace churches in Ontario during the War of 1812.

I considered and skipped a number of other interesting Doors Open venues, leading to one major theme for the weekend: being choosy with my time, versus too many exciting possibilities for one weekend.

We went to a house-warming across the hallway, at which we heard some nearly unbelievable stories from another neighbour, which I expect I'll write about sooner or later.

I skipped a Local Foods tasting-event in the afternoon, and a "Raspberry Jam" demo event for Linux computers the size of credit-cards. I also skipped an arts gallery opening related to Nicola Tesla sculpture, and the DJ Darude at a local club. Instead, d. and I went out for sushi dinner. :)

Today: Quaker Meeting, and afterward I skipped a street-fair in favour of a nap and housework. Dinner with friends, which we cut short because d. is still quite jetlagged. I, on the other hand, am a few time-zones off; I should be sleepy now but I'm not.

[1] I've only gone 600km so far this year, but this included 3 weeks commuting from Elora by car, plus a 3 week chunk last month when my back was too sore to ride. This is likely to be a low year for cycling- possibly the first since I started paying attention that I will go fewer than 1,000km.

[2] The roof amenities are really not bad: an indoor party space, gym, sauna, and patio, which until this weekend was locked. The patio is better than I expected- it looks more like the glossy renderings in the advertising than it has any reason to. There are a couple of gas grills, and tables and seating for about 30 people outside. Also, nifty planters with many of the house-plants we have (I hope the Juniper shrubs are winter-tolerant) and city views of lots of greenery. Yes, we ought to have a house-warming, which will probably happen in October!...
It's true- the condo is technically a rental from the builders until around December; and the house sale became final as of today.

We've been ready for the house to sell for 4 months- and since it got repainted in beiges last month, it hasn't even felt to me like the home we had lived in for eleven years. It's a good time to move on.

The sale was supposed to become final next Wednesdy, except last Thursday our realtor emailed to say the buyers have requested closing a week early.

...Um, OK maybe, because this was 4:30pm, and [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball was to leave in 90 minutes for Slovenia.

Our lawyer indicated the change was likely possible, so we prepped a few things in lieu of d. being present at the paperwork-signing before we popped off to the airport. On Friday I spent a few hours finding documents the lawyer needed such as the survey, deed from our purchase and so on; and signing the revised papers with our agent. (And I will note that I'm quite pleased that our city has a single-phonecall service to handle starting/closing accounts with all of the municipally owned water and gas utilities, tax rolls, and rental hot-water heater. That call plus one to the power company was sum total of required calls to change the closing date).

In the evening I went to clean out the shed and attic, which the buyers had realized still had junk in them. Junk that mostly belonged to the prior owners. Ugh.

Part of this story is that a few weeks ago I had decided I was going to treat this weekend as a personal retreat- centered around a massage on Saturday. So I had a fair bit of grumpiness about upending the retreat in favour of mortgage paperwork and cleaning out junk I didn't realize we had to deal with. Friday after work, I went to the house and began hauling junk- meditatively. Believe it or not, it worked- I wasn't grumpy at the buyers, or us for not cleaning it previously, or the previous owners; the retreat now just had a physical labour component.

Would you believe that worked? I scarcely did. It kept me going till 9pm, at least, which is when I finished the worst of it, leaving the rest to handle on trash night.

And lest you think [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball was merely lounging around in Slovenian castles, by 4pm he had electronically signed and emailed back the legal documents fulfilling his part of the paperwork, which meant I just had to go into the lawyer's office Monday morning with some paperwork, and everything would be finished, save accepting a scary big sum into our bank account, which is now shifted over to a 1.8% savings account.

I'm still a bit impressed that it all came together.

And now my keychain is one key lighter, and we no longer own a lawn-mower.
So, yeah. We had a week of vacation. The second half:

Suddenly coming up on a pack of bicyclists on a twisty Vermont road? Slightly scary. Seeing their reaction to a car: scatter in all directions, to both sides, and the middle, including making hand-gestures for us to slow down? Eeek! We were a bit rattled, for a while, and I'm glad for dan's reaction-time while driving. When we later ran into them at a nearby town, I was sorely tempted to get out of the car and have a stern conversation with them. (Dan's comment was something like: "what is this, Critical Farmland?")

Sutton, Quebec is charming. I took a jaunt across the border because I wanted to give the wedding couple a bottle of Sortilege maple whisky, which one cannot easily buy outside Quebec. Hey, we were 30 minutes from the border, and it was a nice day for a drive. And Sutton wowed me. Particularly compared with the tiny towns in northern Vermont, Sutton seemed to be a hopping place. Just between where I parked and the SAQ, I found three cafes and a chocolate shop and museum. Also a pair of realty offices, which put the price-per-square-foot at much closer to, say, Stratford, Ontario than Northern Vermont. I found my Sortilege, and the chocolate croissant I got was very tasty, too. (I got a second bottle, for home, and I expected to pay duty on it, but the US customs guard was confused enough as to how it was that an American was living in Ontario, that he only paid attention that I was giving one of them away as a gift, and he waved me through. Whatevs!

We got much better weather than we probably deserved. It was supposed to rain all three days we were in Vermont, but it only really rained one evening. So we got to leaf-peep as well as hike a portion of the Long Trail (we climbed 1,000 feet; the peak we aimed for was apparently a further 300 feet altitude, but we were pretty pooped after that hour of climbing). Rover was quite helpful at finding our trail, actually- it wasn't well marked, but we used an effective heuristic of "if two of the three of us thought it went one way, we'd go that way".

As commented in my last entry, it turns out we weren't the first people we know to stay at this B&B- in the same bizarre room, no less. They were great hosts; I would go back to the B&B, but I think not back to that room.

Onward to Massachusetts! We realized that our route took us through Hanover NH, and managed to get in touch with our friend Judy, so we got to have lunch with her on Friday, as well as stopping at King Arthur Flour, a baker's paradise in retail form. It was Dartmouth's Homecoming weekend, which Judy didn't know when she suggested we have lunch in town. We used up probably a month's worth of parking karma to find a spot just next to the restaurant we were aiming for. And after a really good time catching up with Judy, we were back on the road.

We got to Essex, MA without any Boston drivers actually doing damage to our vehicle or persons; and in the process of getting dinner at a local seafood shack [1], discovered that the next day was Essex Clam Festival. Darn! We'll miss it due to the wedding we came all this way for! Aha- the Clam Fest was at lunch time, and the wedding wasn't until 3:30.

So, Saturday morning, we and a few other people went back to Essex, and sampled a dozen types of clam chowder for $5. Local beers were $4. We had to try a few chowders more than once. In order to properly determine our favourites. Damn, that was good chowdah. We also got our photos taken with Shucky the Clam, the mascot for The First National Bank of Ipswitch (Slogan: "We Dig Our Customers"). Our bank (TD) was also giving away freebies; Rover now has a TD-branded neckerchief, which is adorable.

So, success all around.

OH YEAH. The wedding! Very well organized; the weather once again cooperated, so they got to be married next to a very photogenic pond. The officiant was the groom's mother; she told stories she hadn't cleared with the wedding couple, and they recited vows they wrote themselves, which were very sweet.

Dinner was fun; one of the themes was plush viruses, because the bride has traveled the world working on water-treatment engineering. We came home with Giardia, which felt apropos.

We also got to meet several really nifty people, friends and family of the bride and groom. Sunday we had a big brunch with everybody and hit the road at 11.

At 12:30, we stopped for a stretch-break and dan realized he had migraine symptoms. So I started driving; and I drove until sundown, when he woke up feeling much better. And at that point I realized I had migraine symptoms, in part from staring directly into the sun. So dan drove the rest of the way. All in all, we were lucky that we got our migraines serially, instead of in parallel; we would have stopped and rested if we needed to, but it's good we didn't have to.

Aside from the migraines, the biggest down-side to the last part of the trip was that Rover picked up some ticks in Vermont, and I just discovered them on her this evening. Now taken care of, but... ick!
...and now she is running and barking in her sleep on the floor of my study.

It is good to be home again.

The weekend that was

Sunday, 3 July 2011 11:24 pm
Hello world! Happy Canada Day!

Happy 4th of July, those who get tomorrow off (and those who wish they got tomorrow off. Whether or not they live in the US...)

I have three music reviews in the queue, which I expected I'd have time to do this weekend.

Instead of writing them, I:

* went away to the cottage of [livejournal.com profile] the_infamous_j, for an afternoon of lazing and not-sailing (which would have been fun, but watching the water from indoors was also fun, and less effort)

* spent about 5 hours playing with Google Sketchup, enough to turn our notional condo layout into a zippy 3D representation thereto.



I will not, however, spend the next six months making ever more detailed models of the condo and our current (and new) furniture. As much fun as that might be. Just watch me not do that. Uh hum.

* watched a fascinating documentary with [livejournal.com profile] catbear, [livejournal.com profile] dawn_guy, and Boy about Henry Darger, who "became famous for his posthumously discovered 15,145-page, single-spaced fantasy manuscript called The Story of the Vivian Girls, in What is known as the Realms of the Unreal, of the Glandeco-Angelinnian War Storm, Caused by the Child Slave Rebellion, along with several hundred drawings and watercolor paintings illustrating the story." (thanks wikipedia). It was utterly bizarre, and I'm glad we saw it.

* Friday I spent a night away with [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball for Canada Day; at the local inn where we have gone for outrageously tasty food, plus very comfortable accommodations including [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog. Their Canada Day picnic dinner featured grilled trout, beer can vinegar chicken, suasage and lobster gumbo, heirloom tomato salad, pickled veggies, bbq onion rings, morel mac & cheese, and for desert: strawberry shortcake, hemp seed pie, maple crème caramel, s'mores, and something they called "caramelized sea buckthorn tart," though for some reason I have doubts that it contained real buckthorn berries. Because who has actually tasted buckthorn and could vouch for them? Hmmm? (Sorry; side-tracked).

There were fireworks, we had a super 4-km hike with [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog, and in the morning we had a wonderful breakfast: d. had duck confit fritata, and I had french toast, both with the "continental breakfast" which had yogurt and honey smoothie, heaping plates of berries, lox and cream cheese, pastries made with their in-house churned butter, and a really good coffee.

Oh, and the night before, we met this wonderful couple, about our age, who asserted that the honey-butter was actually made of crack, it was that good. (The only down-side to this vacation was that during dinner, back at the room Rover decided she needed to pee, despite having gone right before we left; and the right place to do that was on the feather-bed. Which they apparently discovered when they came to turn down our bed; they left us an apologetic phone-message that they wished they had another feather-bed, but they didn't and hoped we would understand. Eep. And we apologized to them, figured out that over breakfast we could leave Rover in the entry foyer (which had two doors and a comfortable mat to rest on, but not our bed)).

And that was our three-day long weekend, more or less.
I have been in a writing lull over the last month. I've spent a bunch of free time immersed in that game; I've been thinking about work at other free times, solving problems in my head; I've been thinking about Quaker Meeting and making plans for Quaker-related travel; and while dan was away, I had a cold for a week that made me fairly low-brain.

Then, the cold got better two Sundays ago, and I went to Quaker Meeting and felt absolutely wonderful, and spent the afternoon bouncing around, writing journal posts in my head, only to see them disappear when I sat down at the end of the evening, just as the cold symptoms came back again for the night. So, oh well.

But the last two weeks have been pretty good. I went to a Vote Mob [1], voted early in the national election, went to a birthday party, a pub dinner with programmer friends, and we had friends over for tea and cookies. I think I finally kicked the cold, despite some very rainy and windy weather. And I finished what I needed to do at work, for the start of the new term on Monday, despite a fairly impressive set of potential problems with infrastructure upgrades which have largely been ameliorated. And that is all I will say about work.

Last Wednesday was the start of Open Ears music festival, which is more low-oomph than prior years. It's held every other year, and it's how dan and I have seen Pamela Z, Negativland and Patricia O'Callighan, and DJ Spooky, among other highlights. I hope they can get their act together for 2013; Open Ears has been one of the great things about living around here.

This time the only out-of-town performers I was really excited about was the Princeton Laptop Orchestra; and their concert didn't really do it for me.

So far, the best pieces were by Penderecki String Quartet (with DJ P Love). The Quartet are always excellent, even if I don't like what they play. This time they played Different Trains by Steve Reich, and it totally blew the recording away. The mix was different; you heard less of the recorded voices, and a much more lively violin-against-steam-whistle that just sounded awesome. They also played a piece composed during the CBC Strike (of 2005?) by Nicole Lizee, called "this will not be televised", which at one point, sampled the most famous riff from the middle of Duran Duran/"Rio", and cracked dan and me up.

Last night I saw Tanya Tagaq Trio, who are made up of a percussionist, a violinist, and Tanya Taqaq, an Inuit throat singer. This is not easily described. I'm glad I went. She has toured with Bjork, and I can see the mutual attractions. Many of the sounds she made were ones I didn't know the human body could safely produce. They closed with a set of traditional Inuit throat-singing, between Tanya and a female cousin, which was amazingly intimate and sort of kind of like this, though dialed up in intensity quite a bit.

There are two remaining concerts I'm interested in: Blue Dot tonight, and Da Capo tomorrow afternoon. However, we have our friend Lee-Ellen visiting from Ithaca, and I'd rather see her than the concerts!

[1] Vote mob: if you're outside Canuckistan you've probably not heard the term. And fellow Canadians are probably sick and tired of hearing it. In short: a month ago and at a school not very far from here, students decided to Stick it to The Man via YouTube, to counter the claim that "young people don't vote," and there have now been a few dozen youtube-video-driven events along the lines of Flash Mobs, though none I've seen have had amazing music or amazing dancing or amazing anything. Just lots of energy. Being part of the local campus one was... um, sort of silly. But I got to run through mud puddles, which turned out to be fun.
Or, Columbus Day, or both, if you prefer!

Today we took on the challenge of the Butter Tart Trail, through Arthur, Mt. Forest, and Damascus, Ontario. We didn't have a designated driver, but did practice safe sampling, not too many tarts at each location.

We met up with [livejournal.com profile] amarylliss in Guelph, which is under a metric buttload of construction (detour D-twelve?!), enough backtracking to get downtown that we were fairly grumpy at their not communicating if there even were an alternate route to the centre of town. And then saw a detour sign which they didn't even bother labeling with the detour number. "D minus." Yeah, that's Guelph in a nutshell right now...

The plan was to hit the two stops on the Butter Tart Trail we knew were open on Thanksgiving Monday, and see what else we found on a long weekend drive. Success!

Fergus had practically nothing open, being Thanksgiving Monday. But Tara got some bouldering in on a cliff at the waterfront. And Rover got her first swim of the day.

In Arthur, River's Edge Goat Dairy was open to our surprise, and we had our first butter tarts with goat's milk in them. And they sold us some amazingly good chevre. The goats posed for photos, though they didn't want to be in the same shot as [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog.

Kenilworth Country Kitchen, in Kenilworth, had half a dozen types of tart. We had lunch in their restaurant, cheap tasty eats (their breakfast special had slabs of home-made bread and thick slices of turkey sausage. Mmmm.) And as we ate a Butter Tart Sundae, our waitress told us about moving to the middle of nowhere from Toronto a few decades ago for her daughter's sake, and being a criminologist for the RCMP as her main job. She called Kenilworth "Never-Never Land", which having lived in a tiny town, I can identify with. Dan got peach pie instead of trying a different flavour of butter tart, which was also quite tasty.

We stopped in Mt. Forest for their waterfront park, which gave us all a chance to walk off a bit of lunch. Rover had a chance to swim and wag at Ducky Friends, and Tara took the chance to climb a tree.

In Conn, we picked up a pack of Walnut Butter Tarts at a country market. And in Damascus, we stopped at the Damascus Emporium, which had such a jumble of junk masquerading as a rummage sale that we didn't feel like actually going inside, despite writeup in the Trail guide as having "Old Fashioned Charm."

We did not have a conversion experience either on the roads to, or from, Damascus, even as we unwrapped the Walnut Butter Tarts. Mostly we looked at the leaves and did the road-trip thing. Perhaps we would have had an epiphany had we been walking.

But we all agreed the trip was a success, and I'm so glad to have friends to go with on this sort of thing. Because that would have been a lot of butter tarts to eat all by myself.

UK trip notes

Saturday, 11 September 2010 11:37 am
Caution: contains Super Lambananas )
You know, I'm looking forward to home.

[ETA: Comments disabled due to spam]

In an airport

Thursday, 2 September 2010 04:39 pm
I'm sitting with [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball at Pearson. Next stop: Manchester. By early afternoon, we will be in Wales.

We're spending two nights in Wales; then 4 nights in Liverpool, where d. has a conference.

Then, we fly to Long Island, for the memorial for my grandmother who died this spring; we're spending two nights at dan's parents' place, and one night at my aunt's.

Possibly the biggest factor into whether this is a good trip for me, I expect, is whether I sleep OK. Last night it took me a while to fall asleep, and at 7:15 this morning there was street construction, which continued all morning. I tried napping, but it's really tough to sleep through random vibrations. I do hope I can sleep on the plane.

I am looking forward to this trip. I expect I'll take lots of photos.

This is the first time I've used my brand-new Canadian passport.

Since we're traveling to the US, we're bringing both US and Canadian passports. I admiit this makes me feel like a spy. :)
I went to a potluck on Sunday that was hosted by a variety of grassroots organizations: a Local Foods vendor, barter group, and the local car-share. I happen to be members of none of these, but [livejournal.com profile] nobodyhere was.

I had more fun than I expected to. I ran into friends I don't see much ([livejournal.com profile] pnijjar ) as well as a coworker and his spouse, who I enjoyed talking with; and also someone who used to come to Quaker Meeting and was wondering about whether she should come with her 2.5-year-old (yes!)

Also, [livejournal.com profile] nobodyhere and I brought our dogs; and many outdoor events are better with dogs.

The potluck pot was surprisingly lucky. Among 50 or so participants, I brought the only fruit salad; there were lots singleton main courses, finger foods, and deserts, and all but one dish I tasted was yummy (the non-tasty one was some sort of cheese pie that tasted old). Someone made skor bars. I should try that some time.

Later on Sunday, I finished my Canadian passport application, which included figuring out when I had met my two references. The last five years have been good for me socially.

Tonight, I watched [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball give a 30-minute talk to high-school students; he did an excellent job connecting with them and giving them a positive model for an academic path.

My bike odometer rolled over another 1,000km on my commute home from work. Just before some sort of stinging insect made impact with my nose. Which is still swollen, but by now it doesn't hurt as long as I don't poke at it.

Happy Friday

Friday, 6 August 2010 11:53 pm
As I write, [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball is sitting laying a-bed [1] on an airplane enroute to Amsterdam; he's gone 'till next Friday. In the morning, [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog and I are enroute to the exciting metropolis of Watertown, NY, for dinner with my parents, then to their 2nd house, 45 minutes further away. I'm looking forward to seeing them, and I hope I can be useful helping them reduce clutter as they slowly work their way towards moving into the Watertown house.

I'm wiped out from my week. Monday was a civic holiday, which we took to drive to the beach in Goderich on Lake Huron. The rest of the week sort of flew past. Even though I mostly got enough hours of sleep, I tended to feel un-rested in the mornings. I hope that trend is over.

I had other things I was going to say, but they have evaporated. Perhaps in the morning they will have re-coalesced.

[1] d. sent me a text-message that his upgrade to first-class was successful. Which means hopefully he'll be well-rested when he gets to Amsterdam. There's a parade to go see, after all. ...Yeah. Nice job if you can get it; his conference in Holland just happens to be at the same time as Gay Pride. ;)

(no subject)

Friday, 2 July 2010 11:22 pm
Dan, rover and I are at an inn a town over from home; we're spending the night, and tomorrow I'm going home, repacking, and heading off to a week with 1,000 or so Quakers.

The experience here has been delightful. They fed us well. We shared a table with three other couples, each with good stories. There were fireworks. Our room smells of wood fires. Tomorrow breakfast will be tasty.

The irony of going off to a Quaker gathering afterward is not lost on me.'that will also be good, but differently so. There probably won't be buttery croissants at Bowling Green State University.
Bless me LJ, for I have been quiet. It has been two weeks since my last post.

Hey, I'm 36! My birthday was low-key; bookended by food: takeout BBQ one night and yummy home-cooked shrimp scampi. And ice-cream on my birthday. 36 so far feels like 35 with more things falling apart.

I've lost track of how many times I've had bike flats in the last month. It's at least five.
Tomorrow morning might be exciting; I'm biking to work by way of the bike shop, to replace the rear tube (again) and tire (overdue). The tube/tire on the bike might hold long enough for me to get there.

On Saturday morning, I went to reinflate my bike tire to the recommended pressure... and didn't notice a hole worn in the tire sidewall. "Hey, that side's bulging. Hey, maybe I should let the air out before it - " BAM! My ears were ringing for a while. I had to laugh out loud at the absurdity. I immediately pictured birds flying in circles around my head.

In the last week, I've had high hopes for a long bike-ride after work, or on the weekend, but with the different flats, it just didn't seem like a good idea. Hindsight, at least two of the flats were caused by wearing through the tire sidewalls. One was glass, one was a bad patch (over a seam) and I don't remember what the rest were. At least I can still say Rapid Flat-Fixes Я Us.

The odometer did roll over another 200 km, Friday evening just after I replaced the n-1th flat on my way home from work; exactly 30 days after the last 200km.

Other stuff falling apart? Goodness. My laptop has been crashing (though I now have Time Machine running backups, so at least that's automated), my phone/camera has been acting finicky, my iPod has been refusing to update again, our front stoop has lost a chunk of stone and now looks a bit gap-toothed, and I think the front doorknob is possibly loose. Whee! Oh, and we're probably going to replace the car reasonably soon, as upkeep costs begin to approach trade-in value. I feel super-lucky, though, that none of these are dire situations, as long as everything doesn't fail simultaneously. (*glares menacingly at laptop, phone, iPod*)

Anyhow, this weekend included a batch of errands, a wonderful walk with [livejournal.com profile] roverthedog and [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball in a leash-free dog-park along a river, and a fairly recuperative Pilates session that made me feel all stretchy.

Work recently has included a foray into writing some C code, which is quite challenging for me. So many ways to screw up! But I've hopes that I (and colleagues I can rope into helping) will end up with a minor contribution to OpenSSH. Srs!

Since I last posted, I also went to Philadelphia for a Quaker thang, which was useful at unsticking some "how should I do this" sort of questions I'd been stuck on (and perhaps will post on eventually) and also for some good news about the Quaker Quest program- there will soon be funding to hire some number of additional staff. And then I spent a wonderful afternoon with friends in the Philly area, and we romped in the park with their dog and their 5-year-old, AND had a visit from NJ friends who came into town for the afternoon; and then they fed me soup and brownies and sent me on my flight back home with a big smile on my face.
Frankfurt, 14:30 Monday-
My impression of Frankfurt from the train: more farms and graffiti, fewer billboards than I expected. No billboards, in fact. The train was two minutes late. I thought my watch was wrong.

 15:28- changed trains. The regional intercity train routes through a surprising number of tunnels cut through hills.  My ears keep popping. Ow. 

I could use a nap. 

We're not on the faster 'ICE' train; I'll take that when I go to Hanover tomorrow or Wednesday. And on Thursday to Berlin. I think we're going about 175kph, not 250-275...

16:30-
Göttingen, hotel Gebhards. Why are German showers designed to spray the room with water so easily? It's not like the room is supposed to be hosed clean. Oh well, it is this time.
Dan just got off the phone with his host at the university, who is taking us to dinner. I'm momentarily confused what evening it is. Whee!

18:39- fun walk through the town, getting just a little sunlight before sundown. Twisty turny streets galore. I suppose I should have a real map.

Tomorrow if I'm up for it, I'll buy a Länder-ticket for unlimited provincial travel and go up to Hannover, and Goslar.

Göttingen, 9:50 Tuesday morning.
Last night at dinner with dan's hosts B and V, they came up with the sights I *had* to see. I'm not sure what I will get to today.

Breakfast buffet at the hotel was excellent. I'm not too jetlagged at the moment. 10 hours of sleep, plus ou moins. Showered without hosing down the room, even.

11:30- off to Kassel, soon. Having an early lunch in a café. Jetlag makes me hungry!  

Chicago: days 2-5

Wednesday, 9 December 2009 01:16 am
After my first 24 hours in Chicago...

Friday night, we were off to Steppenwolf Theatre to see American Buffalo, by David Mamet. I hadn't known anything about it, other than it being a classic, and it turned out to be a real treat. The seats were excellent (even though they were in the back row; it was a small theatre), and the play itself was disturbing and well done. "Disturbing" because it said much about friendship and "business" (read, shady dealings). The set made me smile- the stage was made to be a junk shop in a basement, with much of a real junk shop's worth of stuff cluttering the stage, with amazing lighting coming from "upstairs" or from florescent bulbs. Very intricate, as also were the story and the dialogue.

Saturday, we went for deep dish pizza at a nearby bar and didn't pay much attention to the (American) football on the tube, except when the guy next to us at the bar made a comment in our direction about a play. I burned my tongue on some marinara sauce.

We walked around Old Town, and we saw A Very Merry Unauthorized Children's Scientology Pageant. It was very merry, indeed. Fairly self-referentially funny (it started with a disclaimer about Scientology and Dianetics being copyright, etc etc.) The players were all kids, the set was very simple, and it was a 60-minute show. We agreed 60 minutes was a good length.

Then, to a Mexican restaurant, where our dinner was overshadowed by the blind-date a table over, where the guy really needed a hearing-aid, because we didn't need to hear him strike out.

Sunday: more touring around, including The Art Institute of Chicago, which has added a large wing since I was last there in 2006. High points for me: a temporary exhibit called "Light Me Black" - the floor was drywall punched with a lot of craters, and some hundred florescent tube lights were suspended in the middle of the room. Entering, we were told, "please watch your step and don't make more holes." It was remarkably stark, and I liked that. There was also a wonderful exhibit on Arts and Crafts in Britain and Chicago; not only Frank Lloyd Wright, but Stickley furniture, Tiffany glass, and photos by Alfred Stieglitz and others. I was amazed by two finds: a self-portrait by Edward Steichen, a bichromate gum photograph which appears as a painting- Steichen manipulated the print with brush-strokes to add both white and black shades. I stood there studying it for quite a while. ...And there was a neat piece by Marion Mahony Griffin, a line drawing of a Frank Lloyd Wright house which used space and light/dark in a stylistically Japanese way. I appreciated how the exhibit called out a number of associations between Arts and Crafts and design elements taken from Japanese forms in the mid-1800s- lots of connections I hadn't known of.

In the evening, we popped off to Alinea for the most decadent dinner I've ever had. Twelve courses )

So that's how I ended my Chicago trip; with a hangover, pulling my bags through a new layer of snow, back through the Red Line, Orange Line L, to Midway (a bit concerned about time; the train was slow; but then my plane was late arriving), back to Toronto Island, back to Royal York Hotel, where I sat and read for an hour because my late plane meant I missed the earlier bus back, then dragged myself up to the Greyhound station to catch the 3pm bus home, which got me in the door at 5:30.

Which, I'll note, was just exactly 24 hours after the caviar, champagne, and quail eggs.

This life, it is a good one.

Oh, finally: I think Porter was a good choice, but not a great choice. I didn't pay more for the plane ticket, the departures lounge in Toronto was wonderful; but on the way back, missing that bus meant I got home two hours after I'd hoped I would, turning a 7-hour travel day into 9-hour travel. *shrug* It was a good experiment, at least.

a ramble

Monday, 16 November 2009 12:35 am
I've been listening to Lady Gaga / Bad Romance on loop for the last few hours. It's a catchy song. Video's sort of weird. OK, really weird. [1]

This morning I dropped off [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball at Toronto City Airport, for his flight to Chicago. He's gone for a month- but I'll see him in three weeks on a visit. I'm... not sure how this will go, keeping myself on a sane eating/sleeping schedule; at least the dog will remind me to go to bed on time.

Since I was in downtown Toronto on a Sunday morning, I went to Quaker Meeting. I can't claim to be a stranger there, despite only having visited for a wedding once many years back- I was surprised to discover I knew half a dozen people. I was introduced to a friend's house-guest, visiting from Holland, who was surprised I had visited his hometown in the north of the country. (him: "But nobody visits Groningen!" me: "Ah, but we did." him: *shrug* "...OK." [2] I also met Steven, whose partner is a Master's student the department where I work. (They moved to Canada for his school, and they're from Rochester NY. It's a crazy small world.)

And then I excused myself for the second part of my plans, to see the Dead Sea Scrolls at the Royal Ontario Museum. Even though it was just three blocks away, I wasn't sure how I would get to the ROM, given that until I got there I had overlooked the Santa Claus Parade between me and the museum. (The Dutch guy said, "How long is the parade? Maybe you can just wait." I told him it's over two hours. Deadpan: "Two hours? It's just one guy!")

So I dashed across Bloor Street, narrowly missing being trampled by Elves. [4]

And can I just say, November 15 is too early for a Christmas parade. (December 15 might be too early for a Christmas parade, if you were asking me- but nobody did.)

Right. No trampling, though the clowns were scary, and there were too many people in general, but at least the crowds outside the ROM meant the museum was comparatively empty for a Sunday afternoon.

The Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit was neat (if pricey- $28 for my ticket). The ten fragments of the scroll were text from various books of the Bible, apocrypha, and non-Biblical texts, from 2000-2500 years ago. The fragments are quite fragmented- on the one hand it's amazing that paper scrolls have lasted this long; on the other, you were often looking down at a smudge on a dark frame and only really seeing the text in a reproduction. The light was quite low, in order to preserve the fragments. There was a fascinating video of how badly the fragments had been treated over the last 60 years. Early after discovery, they were taped together, which just makes my jaw drop. They were pieced together in a brightly lit room, people ate while handling them, and so on.

The uncertainty behind how the scrolls got stashed in the caves where they were found is also neat. One theory was the nearby hilltop town was a religious community of Essenes. Another justifiable theory was that the town was a commercial center occupied by stone-masons and potters- which doesn't explain the cache of 600 scrolls hidden in jars in the caves under the town. The exhibit did an OK job putting out the evidence, showing videos of archaeologists arguing about it, and leaving the mystery for the visitor to consider.

I mostly liked the rooms of context they provided before the actual scroll-bits- how the civilizations in the area had been living for the prior hundreds of years, and how they lived in the subsequent centuries.

I was having a bit of a grin at the context, as well, because I'm in the middle of reading Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal. Right. Fiction, history. Fiction, history. But "Lamb" mentions many of the same pieces of daily life. Such as the Mikvah ritual baths, which involved a joke I won't try to explain but involves the frustrations of being a teenager and needing to take lots of ritual baths.

The ROM certainly could have done better with sound-insulation. The space is tall and echo-y, and a few videos have loud sound, meaning that visitors will be talking fairly loudly throughout the exhibit, making it a bit hard to concentrate.

And the gift shop had some truly special items, like Aveta (sp? can't be bothered to google) brand Dead Sea Mud in 4 different varieties. Also some odd book choices, including "God's Little Princess Devotional Bible" and "God's Mighty Warrior Devotional Bible." [5]

I also saw some modern art on the theme of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which partly worked for me- it had text sliding off glass plates onto the floor, written in rainbow glitter; the text might as well have been "Lorum Ipsum" for its lack of meaning, though the visual effect was interesting.

The ROM also had an exhibit on the 10 Commandments, but I wasn't particularly impressed- the historical info didn't seem well explained and the modern art part of that exhibit wasn't very interesting.

Oh- and food- I went to both restaurants, just for kicks. The 5th floor was too pricey for me, with $5 coffees , $9 fries, and $50 lunches. But the basement restaurant was surprisingly good- I got poutine, made with "hand-cut fries", with real cheese curd, and with chicken gravy. In the past I have mostly avoided poutine for two reasons: fake cheese curd, and beef gravy. This poutine was awesome. Oh, and their meats are from Cumbrae farms, so they're local and free-range and very tasty. $5 for a lunch-size portion. The other dishes there looked quite good as well, and they had tasty looking deserts too.

And that was my day, more or less.

[1] this version has a cute guy in it though. Not that Lady Gaga isn't attractive too- but flaming breasts don't really do much for me.

[2] in case it's interesting to anybody else, the reason I went to northern Holland was to visit Barbara Katz Rothman (who has come up in various friends' discussions on inter-racial adoptions and childcare)- her son was a friend in college. [3]

[3] which is why I know the Dutch proverb De een zijn dood is een ander zijn brood,
One man's death is another man's bread, a grim saying, but what the guy I met on the train to Groningen wanted to share with us.

[4] at the beginning of the day, while dan was driving us downtown, I saw a partially lit sign, and I joked on facebook about renting "Elf Storage." Which was all fine, and I joked with [livejournal.com profile] araleith [livejournal.com profile] insaint [oops!] about stashing my elves there, but I think the elves were unimpressed with the joke.

[5] Don't follow this link to God's Little Princess Devotional Bible unless you are less annoyed by gender-typing nonsense than I am. *shudder*

updatey thing

Tuesday, 27 October 2009 11:14 pm
The last week has seen me:

* startle Neil Stephenson [1]
* have an annoying contact lens incident [2]
* apply the necessary teachable-moment to a kid outside my workplace who was messing around with my bike when I left the office
* meet Stewart Brand
* watch a superconducting toy train, a sort-of real quantum computer and a really pretty 3-d movie which was narrated by Stephen Hawking [3]
* document the activities of the zombies at City Hall. Well, the zombies attracted to City Hall by a certain video. This was surprisingly fun.
* play with a working reprap, a supposedly self-replicating machine. [4]
* be part of creating and solving various problems; technical, social; problems of planning and problems of execution. Be pleased with some outcomes. Be exhausted at work, but not too exhausted.
* see [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball off on his trip to Japan. Missing him a lot.
* not get enough sleep. Not get the rounds of bugs that are sweeping my workplace. Now if I can just get my flu shots before I have any flu symptoms, I'll be even happier.
* feel simultaneously lonely and not like talking to people. Sometimes I wish I were wired to be more social.
* spending quality time with Rover.

[1] I saw Neil Stephenson speak twice last week; afterwards, I thanked him for providing fun role-models for geeky people everywhere. I offered that I was occasionally inspired by Sangemon, the "hero" of Zodiac, whose style of bicycling in Boston traffic was over-the-top assertive. Neil looked a bit nervous at this- "I hope you do that safely." I laughed. Anyway, he was very polite.

[2] on second thought, I won't describe it. Not fun. [5]

[3] The toy train zoomed around a magnetic track. The "train" contained a super-chilled magnet and it was propelled by a shove from the demo-guy. The "quantum computer" was very poorly explained by a volunteer docent but it had an oscilloscope readout with a squiggle. And a plexiglass and metal assembly. Sorry, but that's all I got. I found my favourite part of the video, animated by NCSA - flying from the western spiral arm to the center of our galaxy. This was the most effective use of 3D I've yet seen.

[4] This evening I went off to the local nascent "hack lab" (clubhouse for tinkerers, more or less). I brought my arduino and stepper-motor. But I spent a lot of the time there socializing, playing with other peoples' toys [6], and such. It's a cool space, and my life isn't compatible with spending much time there, but I'm glad to see it exists.

[5] but my optometrist's office is 5 minutes walk from my office; and they gave me a new lens to replace the one that was stuck in my eye. Oops, I wasn't going to describe it. Well there you go.

[6] the reprap was a surprise to see in person- by the end of the evening, it was working, and it did "print" a plastic part used to make itself. Re-reading reprap.org, I had forgotten they only produce 60% of their own parts- yes it's a toy, but it's a fairly cool toy.

I'm missing some stuff in this update, but that's what I get for not posting frequently enough.

Back from Nova Scota.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009 09:23 pm
Our Nova Scotia vacation was a success. We put 1,600 km on the rental car. [1]

I have something like 440 photos to weed through from the last week. As a lazy first approximation, click on the google-map link above, and anywhere our route took us, check out the existing photos. :)

There were many surprises on this trip, but possibly the biggest came in Mahone Bay where dan (and possibly me too) were caught by what looked to dan like a Google Street View truck. If so, that would be a fun birthday present to me from Google, as we were there on my birthday... [edit, 9 February, 2010: wow! Happy Birthday to me! :]

The most remote location we visited by car was Meat Cove, at the northernmost tip of Cape Breton. Egads, that dirt road. And those cliffs. Whee!

The most awesome food was, of course, eaten on the hiking trails, because nothing tastes better than food you carried up a mountain. In this case: lobster picnic. Yes, that's right. Caught the same morning around 4am, sold to us on the dock at 10am. 5 lobsters for $20. Tossed in a pot by our B&B host and packed up as a picnic lunch. MMmmm tasty. And to follow it up, the next day we had the leftover lobsters in sandwiches, on another trail, just before we saw mooses.

Very grateful for my travel partner sweetie. He did every last bit of the driving in the rental car (rather than $100ish more to add me to the allowed drivers). And he had excellent suggestions, including taking the morning today to drive a long way around to the airport, which meant we happened across the lighthouse on the Bay of Fundy with the highest recorded tidal range in the world (17 meters). We were there at low-tide, and then 30 minutes later we saw waves lapping upward as the tide rose; I will have to look up videos or photos to make up for not seeing high-tide, which given the huge mud-flats, looks like it must be amazing to see as well.

And now that I've run out of superlatives for the evening, with a snoring dog at my feet and a now much smaller pile of email to go through tomorrow, I think it's time for bed.

[1] the google map only shows 1400 km, but we backtracked from our B&B in Pleasant Cove (in the NW corner of the Cabot Trail) a number of times. The squeaky-new white PT Cruiser they gave us came back just a little bit muddy. :)

Days and weeks

Saturday, 16 May 2009 10:15 pm
It's been a while since I've made a proper update.

Last weekend's trip to Philadelphia was fairly intense. I have a lot of respect for the organizers of the workshop; they packed a lot into our 44 hours on-site at Pendle Hill, yet it didn't feel rushed or overloaded. We learned more about the nuts and bolts of leading Quaker Quest training workshops, worked in small groups on articulating our own paths with regard to Quaker outreach, and talked about how the group of 30 of us can make the overall project work more smoothly. In the balance, I feel just as strongly that this is a worthwhile project and a good place for me right now.

The only parts of the weekend which were bad-intense were entirely my doing, because sometimes I'm a space-cadet who loses things wot aren't clamped down. *sigh*

One high-point to the trip was meeting some really neat people, some even roughly my age, from all over North America; and reconnecting with other 'Quakes who I've gotten to know and respect more over the last few years.

Another high-point was being picked up at the airport by Carrie G., who introduced me to Alma, who's now 4 5 months old. We went downtown and met up with her partner, Kathleen, and we had some wonderful time together (with ice-cream, plus also really cute sleeping infant) It was great to catch up for an hour; an hour which I thought I'd lost when I missed my first flight- making the meeting even more sweet.

But that was my 48 hours in the Philly area.

And when I got back, dan made us a lobster dinner, because he has an inside scoop with our favourite fish place, and heard they had excellent cheap lobsters. Yummy surprise, that. Go, dan!

Work has been rewarding, for the most part- I'm dividing my time between three software-design projects, and right now the balance is good. One project involves integrating our department's inventory system with the campus DNS, to simplify provisioning new equipment and make less work on updates. Another involves properly synching SSH keys so (among other benefits) instructors can more easily access their course-accounts from off-campus. The third is an Engineering Computing project of doom, which may be able to massage data from across campus into one place, in the formats needed by faculty to apply for grants, prepare their annual activity reports, and a few other creeping features. It may succeed, or it may collapse into a pile of brittle sticks; given the non-standardized data provided (and required) by the different faculties. We'll see.

I've just passed the one-year mark from coming back to CS, and I still like my work, I still like my work environment. Quite a bit, actually. The end of this calendar year will be five years I'm on campus, or more than half my time since moving here. Wow. I hope I can keep being as valuable to the U as I feel like it's been to me.

What else?

I'm going to be trying acupuncture. I met with my physiotherapist last week over coffee, and she pointed me in the right direction. I'll schedule it just as finish as I finish with the next bit of travel in May. I will be sure to report back, since I know some of you are practitioners. (or practitionees?)

For my birthday (which is next Wednesday), [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball and I are going to Nova Scotia. We're leaving on Tuesday, back the following Wednesday. I'm very much looking forward. The plans are: two nights in Halifax, one night in Baddeck, three nights on the north side of Cape Breton in Pleasant Bay, one night in Truro. d's been patient with my impulse to arrange EVERY LITTLE BIT TO SEE IN THE ENTIRE PROVINCE in just a week. And I'm... actually quite OK with dan's desired agenda of seeing a few sights, doing some road-tripping, eating some excellent food, taking some hikes, and mostly relaxing. (Relax? How's that work?... Heh. Anybody have any tips here? Is there a class I can take on it?... Um. Joking, I think.)

I won't have my laptop, so don't expect much from me next week, even if 3G from my phone happens to work. I'll be too busy eating seafood to post, anyway. :)

The following weekend we're off to Denver to see The Three Bears, and also Other People. Long-planned trip, finally happening. I've never been to Colorado!

And a week after, with a weekend at home again, I'm taking a 3-day Project Management course, way far away at the University's extension office just a few blocks from my house. It should be useful, and there will be two colleagues in the course to trade ideas with also.

I have been keeping up with my friends-list, even if I'm not posting or commenting much. I do appreciate hearing what's up with you all; you inspire me and also give me great stuff to think about; as well as grounding me a bit. So, thanks.

Spinning Wheels...

Monday, 23 March 2009 11:39 pm
Not figuratively, literally. My bike has developed a (dangerous) tendency to lose its gear, often when I'm starting up from still, and also when I'm coasting. Not the chain, but likely the freewheel, according to [livejournal.com profile] elbie_at_trig, who was conveniently going home at the same time as me, just as I was thinking, "if only I could ask someone to jog along next to my bike..."

So, yeah. Tomorrow morning, cycle shop is my first stop on the way to work.

Otherwise, I feel like I'm not spinning wheels, quite the opposite.

Work is going, and the three active projects are interesting, if potentially long. But the structure of things allows me to interleaving the work, and I can't imagine getting bored with it. Really, this still feels like perfect job for me. And hey, I missed my boss, who was gone a week on vacation, but I can hardly fault her for that.

Life feels adequately social, these last weeks. Care and feeding of my introverted self- it sometimes feels like I need a push, but I'm getting most of what I need.

This Thursday evening is the third and final Quaker Seekers at Laurier session we have planned; we're speaking on Equality. I think there's an LJ post sitting in my brain, to help me organize what I'm saying in my two 6-minute pieces.

Last week I had a conference-call with co-organizers for the Quaker Quest Traveling Team. A month from now I'll be one of two presenters to a regional Quaker gathering, and in early May they're sending me to Pendle Hill for a weekend conference with other trainers. This work feels both like something I'm pulled to do, and a big side-order of "what the hell was I thinking when I said yes?" Where it goes nobody knows, but I am loving the finding out.

In late May [livejournal.com profile] melted_snowball and I are taking a vacation to Nova Scotia for my birthday; it's our first time to Atlantic Canada and I am already having dreams about rocky shorelines and whale-watching.

This week has featured two meals with duck (breast; and burgers), and two meals with pesto. It is a good life, my friends.

I'm midway through installing linux on a mac mini. I'm in love with this hardware; it's so quiet, runs cool, and is barely bigger than my hand. I'm putting Xen-enabled debian onto it, so alongside the web and email services it can run virtual servers such as Asterisk, or possibly freePBX. Anyhow, my coder.com server will move over some time in April, I hope.

Also in April, my geek crew of Perl Mongers are doing a hardware hacking workshop with Arduino microcontroller boards. So far, I've tested sample programs that play a simple tune; flash LEDs; and (sort of) replicate a Clapper but send a signal over USB to computer. My goals are to control a 600x200 pixel LCD display, and to precisely control a stepper-motor to... well, it'll be cool if it works, that's all I will say for now.

So, all you folks who haven't posted about yourselves recently- what's up with you?

August 2013

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