metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
We drove from Liverpool to Truro today, for Elizabeth to be a featured guest at the Truro Fair Trade Community Café open mic night. It turns out there are two FTCCs in Truro. We hit the original one on Prince Street.

We explored a bit, and Truro has a maybe-surprising number of health food, yoga, organic stuff and other hippie-ish shops. Later, our host Ray explained that the agricultural college here (one of the biggest in Canada) has a major organic food institute. Truro also has lots of nice red brick buildings and a really pretty park an easy walk from downtown.

The open mic night was a bit disparate: everyone else was singing mostly country, spirituals and hymns, and then late in the evening, a Cape Breton fiddler came in and wowed everyone. Folk-pop piano stuff was a bit out of the envelope, but it was still a really fun evening hosted by really welcoming people. Ray reminds me a bit of [ profile] ramou in many ways (even his haircut is sort of similar), and he runs a really nice café. During the open mic, an older couple, maybe in their seventies, got up and danced every once in a while. Eventually, Elizabeth took me by the hand and we followed in their footsteps.

Today, bolstered by excellent coffee and blueberry-flax-apple pancakes, we will journey back to Halifax for a 10 PM show at Ginger's Tavern on Barrington Street.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
The show at Mersey House was a success musically. We had a moderately full room of people who were really attentive, participated (thank you, volunteer last-minute Soundman Stu) and generally warm. The two openers, Kristen Murray and Krystele Leveque Liverpool is really pretty, as was the drive up: it looked like autumn, and once we were out of Halifax, it was dead simple (actually, Halifax wasn't too bad either, although Saint Margaret's Bay Road is a bit twisty).

Next stop: Truro and the Fair Trade Café (I think it has more adjectives in there, but how many fair trade cafés with Friday night music can there be in a small town?).
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Elizabeth and I got to Halifax yesterday in a little 50-seat plane, it was sunny and a little chilly with no snow on the ground.

Every transportation person we met was nice, from the flight attendant to the bus driver to Young Alex the rental car guy. The agency was out of compact cars, though, so they gave us a big black Magnum station wagon. The keyboard fits really well in the back but it does feel like driving a bunker.

We wandered around downtown Halifax a bit after arriving, picked up the keyboard from the rental place, climbed up to the Citadel gate, looked in a couple of shops, had a supper of nice fresh sushi and then proceeded to Gus' Pub. Somewhere in there it started to snow. Starting from dry pavement it didn't pile up too high, but it seemed to put a damper on Haligonians coming out on a Wednesday night to the North End. The music, courtesy of The Fool, Oh Dinah and Elizabeth, was fun despite the small turnout. I took some pictures but left my camera cable at home, so there'll be a big photo post in a few days.

We're crashing at one of the musicians' place, breakfast should be soonish and then we're off to LiverpoolTruro and Mersey House for show #2.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
In a little over a week, I will be off with [ profile] rottenfruit to Halifax, being a general-purpose roadie, merch salesman, companion and driver on the Nova Scotia bit of the Eastern Tour (I'll probably be at the Cagibi show in Montreal, too). I'm still a bit worried that the rental agency will look at the vintage of my license and tell me "no car for you," but I've got the age, usually calm demeanour and untarnished-if-short driving record going for me.

Wedding planning is going well: I think we have most of the details at least sketched out, even if we still have to set one of the readings, post banns, and attend to many details. We finished a marriage prep course last week. It was fun at times and kind of intense at others. Our instructor seemed pretty positive about us, and we're still positive about us too! Coming home from one of our sessions, we took the bus in the wrong direction and the driver was new and got a little lost. Neither of us, nor the only other passenger, had any idea where to go. After a plea for help, the driver just stopped at a corner for a while and collected his thoughts — we got to South Keys eventually. We were hungry enough to decide to eat at Denny's in the parking lot, served beer, lumberjack breakfast and a veggie burger and beer by a chipper doctoral student before heading home.

At work, things are going well... last month I participated in the employee choir singing a Beatles medley, and I'm feeling pretty happy with my co-workers and my work. My unit is going to lose its supervisor (he got promoted), and I haven't found out who will replace him, but we've still got some time before he disappears (he clears out completely for July 1st). In any case, I'm getting to teach, write, tinker and snuffle through the library, and they're paying me for it. This week I'll be taking a couple of days for the public-service-wide orientation course (how we relate to the government, accountability, etc.) — it'll start early, but they're feeding us breakfast. I'm not sure how much will be new to me, but it'll be a different perspective from my rather specialized day-to-day context.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)

I finished my thesis yesterday and today I'm in Montreal handing it in and wandering a bit: lunch with an old high school friend, then wandering, then meeting [ profile] denkizero at DemoCamp.

Here's the abstract of the thing that's eaten my summer:


more… )

I signed up for yesterday, I'll keep the scrobbler on unless it degrades performance when I'm listening to music and online. It gave me a nifty quilt thing:

I likka this moosic )
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
1. which places would you like to travel to in your lifetime?
I would like to see Boston and area and San Francisco and area as cradles of knowledge in the disciplines I do. I'd like to travel across Saskatchewan at a leisurely pace, checking out Saskatoon and sleeping in bed and breakfasts and campgrounds. I'd like to see Victoria and skip stones in the Pacific. I'd like to see Mumbai and Perth, Australia, partly to soak up the commonwealthy vibes. Mumbai is another nerve centre of geekiness (and by the time I get there, I'll probably admire someone from there as much as some denizens of Boston and SF), and Perth would be a chance to see [ profile] big_red_dave and family.
2. pick one thing you could have everyone on the planet do to help the environment
I think if everyone flatly refused to buy overpackaged stuff and opted for reusable whenever possible, we'd be a few steps ahead (and I think it'd be the kind of gesture that would get easier as demand changed what was available).
3. favorite kind ov cookie :)
Buttery oatmeal cookies, textureful not too sweet.
4. what was your second school option had you not gone into the one you did?
I only applied to one graduate program, but in undergrad my second choice was honours in statistics. Funny how things work out, eh?
5. top 5 movies ov all time
I'm terrible at ranking movies, and my rankings change all the time.
Five movies I've liked a lot for a reasonable amount of time: The Never-Ending Story, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, 2001: A Space Oddyssey, Silence of the Lambs and 21 Grams (possibly the most harrowing movie I've seen).

If, in a comment to this entry, I feel a question-me vibe, I will come up with five questions for you.

Also, I've been pecking away at creating one of those lists of 101 things to do in 1 001 days… but unfortunately my list-making skills are bad enough or my productivity is good enough that it's coming together slower than things get crossed off. I guess I won't try too hard to overtake my doing with my listing for a while.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I have arrived, luggage and all, in London. The flight was turbulent at times but on time and pretty uneventful. I've found where I'm staying but have to wait for check-in time, and I've found "London's cheapest Internet cafe," which won't let me do anything laptoppy... but it'll do for now. I remember there being one that was just as cheap and laptop-friendly, out near the V&A. I just need to refresh my memory and hope they're still in business...

Last time I was here, it was sunny and unlike the London one always hears about. Now, it is cool and rainy. To complete the Authentic London thing, I will now seek out some fish and chips while waiting to be able to unpack and take a shower.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
The first half of last week involved getting ready for a big night of sponsors, partners and company visiting the lab, then actually doing the night. We got a bunch of interesting and interested visitors: the evening was pretty laid-back, we had more than enough people to greet visitors, and got what I think was a pretty good response. Walking home from that was pretty wet, though: the rain promised most of the week came down in a gigantic dump Wednesday night.

Thursday to Sunday, I travelled to Subtle Technologies with [ profile] rottenfruit. The festival itself was intense: we saw maybe two thirds of the thirty presentations, including some really hardcore chemistry ones, some beautiful art and music ones, and some that were just... weird. Like utility fog, for which I'm now on the beta testers list. We also traded off some of our worldly goods to Nancy Nisbet. [ profile] rottenfruit acquired a negative ion candle and a ceramic vase-y thing, I got a nice bandana. There's now a Handmaden CD and an alarm clock and bus schedule combo in Nisbett's big truck going around the continent.

We also went out to Mississauga to have supper and kick around with my grandfather, aunt, uncle and one cousin, and wandered Kensington Market and Queen Street in the space around the conference. My grandfather's health is not so great, this may be one of the last times I see him. I'm glad he got to meet [ profile] rottenfruit , and that she'll have more than just stories and photographs to know about him from.

We ate amazingly well... our good food sense led us well all weekend: vegetarian sushi on College (with ice cream and hot sake for dessert), amazing smoothies, burgers, fries and peanut sauce, free cookies (with coffee purchase)...

The trip felt a little packed, boxed in by both our work schedules. It's the longest we've taken together yet, though. We missed catching up with a few people (and didn't even attempt that many — too many friendly people in TO, not enough time).

Two days ago, [ profile] rottenfruit's rat Apostrophe died. I felt more involved with Apostrophe than with Kiki, having been the rat-keeper for a week in February and having helped take care of her here and there since. She was energetic and social almost to the end (and had long lost her bite-y streak) and lucky to have such a caring owner.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Got that perl/sh confusion sorted out with some help from [ profile] pphaneuf, [ profile] hub_ and [ profile] swestrup. Thanks, guys! It has resulted in a repackaging of some work stuff so that it doesn't require too much geek-fu to play with.

Godfried Toussaint's rhythm/computation talk on Tuesday was good and pretty well-attended. I hope we can draw more of this kind of thing to Concordia (or that I can get out to see more of it this summer at Subtle Technologies).

I've got lots of work to do, still, but I think I'm getting up a head of steam. Take-home final season starts next week.

I may get off the continent again this summer. Still very up in the air, but we'll see.

Oh, and I just missed International Dadaism Month. No matter, it resumes on Saturday.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
A postcard from San Francisco arrived in the mail today, a fitting precursor to seeing Ellie again.

I'm not focussing very well right now, but that's pretty much OK.


Feb. 21st, 2006 11:46 am
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Stood up and gave the very distilled version of our research work to assembled guests today: I think they should've got some radio or TV documentarist to interview us and chop it into five minutes per project rather than try and get geeks to talk about interesting and complex stuff for only 300 seconds.

I'm planning a major assault on the bugs (I talked with one of the pros, he thinks a housecall is overkill but had some tips for getting rid of them for good) over the "break", and probably some vet time for Noisette (just a check-up) and dentist time for me (it's been too long).

I'm also reading up on a couple of festivals to hit this summer to soak up some (geeky) culture and hit the road with [ profile] rottenfruit (maybe as a roadie of sorts — mailing her submission off today...).

Other things I'm up to are more art support type things, homework and rat-sitting.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
I am officially adding David Emerson to my Peter Mackay club.

Went up to Ottawa by train with [ profile] rottenfruit this weekend. We had a bunch of plans, and although we didn't manage to skate the (closed due to warm weather) canal or see the (no longer free) National Gallery permanent collection, she recorded three new (to recording) songs with some help from me (clapping and singing along on one of the tracks, and and constructive [I hope] lay criticism), we saw [ profile] hallelujah, ate some food, chatted and got Christmas gifts straightened out, played a couple of games of travel Scrabble and visited her parents and Tasha the cat. The visit felt really short, and wasn't quite what we were counting on, but I'm happy we went.

Work and school are insane. They would've been anyway, but the trip did cut into my panicking time. So I'll panic more efficiently. Starting by dumping my current state out on LJ :-P

Pretty close quiz result for one side of me, I think. )
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Feeling a bit whomped with work and school of late. I'll get what I can get done done, and try to do enough sanity maintenance in there too. Going to Ottawa Friday night can't come soon enough. Travel Scrabble, talk and "reasonably priced snacks" on the train are calling to me.

I've been putting in some time helping out with a paper on shape grammars as design tools, marking, and not doing quite enough problem sets. Tonight, babysitting a roast in the oven (some people I know do turkeys, I have beef from home to keep me up all night), and alternating procrastinating with stuff I need to be doing.

The weekend involved a bunch of communal time with [ profile] rottenfruit: Saturday Dim Sum with her and my folks, gaming with her and the usual suspects, and on Sunday we went to monthly Scrabble as thrown by [ profile] feygele (in nifty rainbow kippah) and [ profile] vierge_en_trop (who made said nifty rainbow kippah). Saw the kippah in question through a basement window today at Concordia, debated pressing my nose up against the glass and gesturing "hi", but I was late and the head under it looked to be concentrating on something deep. I had fun, and got some stuff done — not as much as I should have, but there was progress. Today was long, and isn't over.

I think I'm slowly growing up.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Still straightening out my peer support schedule... it's the one thing that still feels like the beginning of the semester, two and a half weeks in. Everything else has settled down, I think: students, classes, work (sort of). Meeting on Monday evening, so I'll be straggling in to the election results party a little late. With a good stiff drink handy.

Went and gave blood with [ profile] rottenfruit today. Here's to over a year of blood donation dates! The intake nurse recognized my name and chatted me up on what my dad was up to: it turned out my dad had trained him in the fine arts of liver palpation for hospital transport teams, in 1988. I had a nice speedy donation, as did Ellie. The trial location in Centre Les Ailes is cozy and pretty: whereas at Globule out by Radisson there are lots of photos of platelets and red trim, here there are more photos of happy people and a blue-and-wood colour scheme. It's a little easier on the blood pressure for a mildly squeamish donor... Afterward, we picked up train tickets for our trip to see her folks, skate the canal and spend some time in a recording studio (she'll be recording, I'll be staying out of the way and beaming). That's something to look forward to, for sure.

I'm reading up for some serious paper-pitching this week, and getting ready for that work meeting. Life is pretty good, and rather busy.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
The little gathering Thursday night was nice... mostly Châteauguay Valley people, but some city dwellers too, and lots of chatting, food, drink and generally kicking around. The place is starting to feel like my own, and is getting quite comfortable. I hope I can stay for a while, and throw the occasional small bash (so all is not lost, ye who missed it and know who you are — I'd still love to have you down, jointly or severally, sometime soon).

I went to Oka Provinvial Park this weekend with Elizabeth. It was a fun, relaxing trip.

We set out Friday afternoon, four thirtyish or so... )

Sunday, we bicycled the whole way back through Deux-Montagnes, Laval and bits of Montreal, about 70km, stopping for an Indian feast at Pushap. Saw Elizabeth off at Atwater, made it home, unpacked some stuff, let my folks know I was alive, and then [ profile] loupdebois turned up for some impromptu beer, snacks and chatting. Went to bed pleasantly tired.

I'm so happy and lucky to be able to share this kind of experience with someone who I love that also gets it. Happy to get away from it all, keep my watch out of sight, live pretty simply and have a big stretch of time to enjoy the fresh air and the company. Didn't think to take many photos, but here are a couple.

Photos! )

This week, some work, some bike repairs (a couple of front spokes went on the trip as my bike mechanic had predicted -- time to get those fixed before they become a big issue), and then off to Oakville with my folks to celebrate the marriage of my cousin. It should be fun, pretty serious and religious (they're both church youth leader-ish types) but not too serious (this is my family here, and my dad's probably been practising his ukulele extra-hard for next weekend).

real entry

Oct. 12th, 2004 01:00 pm
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Spent the weekend in North Carolina (or rather, 33% traveling to/from NC and 50% in NC) to attend my high school friend David’s wedding to a midwifery instructor from North Carolina (they met in Australia and are going back there... good thing they didn’t tie the knot down there, it’s out of Greyhound range...). The trip was an adventure, the ceremony was simple and beautiful (and quite, er, evangelical... but it’s their party and they’ll proselytize if they want to)... I was chief monkey suit technician to the groom, but none of that wedding party stuff for me. The speeches at the mid-afternoon reception were carefully crafted this time (no “frumpy” remarks, unlike at David’s brother’s recent wedding) and we sent the couple off throwing little vanilla sprinkles at them. I hadn’t met Darcy until the day of, but after all the happy stories, ecstatic e-mails and grinning jpegs from David, I felt like I knew her a bit. My mental picture didn’t have that NC accent, but otherwise she lives up to all the hype... I think the two of them will be happy together and complement each other...

Us Quebeckers got together for supper afterwards at a place that the hotel concierge told us was good and reasonably priced... it turns out their lunch menu is reasonably priced, but hey, David will only get married once. The beef table d’hôte was really good, and probably due to being closer to Texas than I’ve ever been, freakin’ huge.

Long distance Greyhounding is a skill, I think... finding a good seat, packing your carry-on with appropriate food, reading material and soft pillow-surrogate clothes, selecting seat-mates for one’s state of alertness and sociability... I think next time I’ll try to travel with a friend or two, but solo is a stretching experience.

Now I’m back, in the home stretch on the FQRNT scholariship application ($15K a year for two years of M.Sc. if it is accepted)... my transcript and award history is so-so, so I have to have a real smacker of a CV and statement of intent. Wish me luck: deadline is Friday, shortly after my Complex Analysis midterm...
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Got in yesterday after a nice, uneventful plane ride, stayed standing long enough for a mid-afternoon meal and chat with [ profile] funny_socks, then conked out until recently.

It’s good to be back... back to work tomorrow and full of ideas and only slightly slap-happy.
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Had a relaxing day today, went to the V&A Museum and wandered through the wonders of silver, 20th century and ceramics... saw some of the tiles I’ve been studying in the abstract for two years now. Wow. They have a beautiful collection. Proceeded to the Tate modern, which was packed and hot and somehow sterile and extremely septic at the same time and I was tired, so I opted to meander along the South bank, pick up some goodies, see city hall, a soon-to-be-cut-back Marks and Spencer Food Store and the London bridge and some random bits of London. Tonight: pack, take stock, read proceedings, do whatever I’ve forgotten, and get some sleep for a day tomorrow where there are 20.5 hours between six-thirty AM (wake up to leave for airport) and ten PM (keep awake ‘til then in an effort to shift back into EDT).

This has been quite an experience. If I can come back here to work and live for six months or something, I will. I wonder if anyone will be hiring mathematician-propagandist-techies in a few years when I’m done school... ?
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
After three days of conference, my head is about to explode -- lots of neat stuff, from graph theory to gigantohumungousmultirearprojector screens to ambient computing, presented my lots of neat people. I don’t see the sun during the day, but I’ll get to walk around and look at some art and sniff the London air independently tomorrow... after a good rest and a solid English breakfast, that is.

It turns out we saw The Rat Pack at the theatre the other night... OK I guess but not overwhelmingly spectacular. Basically an irreverent tribute... the music and dancing were good but part of me was waiting all night for the plot. A fun night out though, got to meet my prof’s son who works out here, and mingle with a certain type of Londoner (and probably loads of tourists).

This has been quite an experience. The presentation went really well and the profs are musing aloud about dispatching me to other far-off places to spread the word about our project. It’s exhausting but fulfilling. I hope I can keep everything balanced!

Looking forward to a relaxing day tomorrow, but even more to coming home to Montreal, [ profile] funny_socks, friends, normal work, EDT, paying for stuff in dollars ...and my own bed (that sounded cliché, but it’s true).

Time to be off now... next entry will probably be stamped with a -5:00!


Jul. 13th, 2004 01:18 pm
metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
Made it to the UK on an overnight flight from Montreal, and stayed mostly awake yesterday, getting oriented, eating traditional Brit fare (bangers and mash for lunch, fish and chips followed by treacle pudding for supper) and wandering around the touristy stuff (saw 10 Downing, Westminster Abbey, Nelson-on-the-pillar and Canada House)... today, I’m going to check out the Victoria and Albert Museum, a potential source of archived goodies for our project, and the National Gallery before heading off to the theatre with Fred and company.

Still some prep and administration to do for the conference, but it all looks good, and my accomodation situation has stabilized -- we had to switch hotels this morning due to some organizational difficulties. I have now found a place where I can get a daily broadband hit and keep up with the world -- I imagine the conference, being full of computery types, will have a hookup too. But I now have a plan B.

The weather is unbritishly sunny and warm, and walking outdoors beckons...


metawidget: A platypus looking pensive. (Default)
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