Thursday, February 28, 2013

delivery failure

again.

i'm hating ups so hard right now. two delivery notices when someone was home at the time, no knocking / calling my phone, and my package is being stored outside of montreal so i'd need to travel on a weekday to go pick it up. what the hell is their added value? how is their delivery strategy not a waste of *their* time???

life goes on

de vrais mensonges might be a romantic comedy, but it's entertaining, amusing, and an excellent way to practice listening to french :)

i walked in to an apartment that's that much more home, and the news that pg and her mom will be travelling nepal come april and i won't see her for about a month and a half all told. that's gonna be tough.
having said that, it seems like we're almost settled on a wedding date before then (or should i say marriage date? there won't be a ceremony)... and i guess meeting her in amsterdam after her trip will make a decent honeymoon.

i feel the hours of this week flipping by like the sheets of a wall calendar in a movie montage.

already long

[originally this post was supposed to be published around 2pm]

1. cam2. it took two hours and four repeat explanations to get him to send an email outlining the plan i'd given him. after that last time, the time he finally managed to see it through, i was taken aside to be informed that my tone needed control.

this man holds a master's degree. what am i missing?

2. half an hour in line at the bank, twenty questions to confirm it's my account and they still wouldn't let me make a withdrawal because my driver's license isn't registered as valid id with them.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

missing highlight reel

from wednesday through sunday (the worst being sunday, trapped on a bus for eight hours) i suffered horrible sinusitis. i've still got it, but coldfx inexplicably seems to help. ginseng? maybe it's a placebo thing?

moonlighter's got us all by the short and curlies; we seem to be okay (after my last post concerning him), but i'm now desperate to extract as much knowledge as i can and as soon as possible. both thursday and monday had five of us in the office until late because he has different priorities.

robocop: still a great film. why does he leave his helmet off??

on thursday i sat cam2 down for an evaluation. military style. i made sure everything was clear - in particular the "very poor" issues - and he seemed genuinely grateful for the feedback. i'm still not seeing much change, though.

i still haven't signed my contract, because there are a couple of issues. i will not sign a non-compete clause that would prevent me from working in an entire industry.

my bank in israel just doesn't let up; we couldn't get them to send us the report that they were only too happy to print and charge us for, containing data that should be available online. assholes.
on that note, i'm happy to report that my first payslip arrived just in time for me to leave that account in the black. nice!!!

dr who (the first episode): okay, it's not SO bad. but certainly not exciting.

greyhound buses are easy to find and relatively cheap, but traveling sick is no fun. lots of staring out the window, reading wired or playing penny arcade games. the prelude to on the rain-slick precipice of darkness went by too quickly for my liking.

stepping up to american immigration was inexplicably terrifying. pg and i were separated and that made me even more anxious.

two idiots talking loudly for half the trip made me think of one of my first flatmates when i immigrated to israel. dodgy, dodgy fucker.

one shouldn't order more than a single tofu dish in a chinese restaurant.

the freedom trail is kinda boring.

boston by day may be pretty, but it's not a patch on boston by night in the soft rain. empty streets with occasional and sometimes surprising neon reflections.

my first slurpee ever was delicious even though it was cold.

pg and i had a huge fight on saturday night, and everything was very dramatic until we figured it all out around 4am. that was when pg woke me up from a dream in which we were still arguing; my mumbling had woken her up. the two realities were confused there for a while.

south station lends itself to my new sense of the essence of america; such a wide open space, each protagonist errant in the wilderness, simply bumping into other errants for better or worse.

clif bars: if it's vegan, healthy and delicious, it's the shits!

---

tuesday:

interviewing: french level up
our columbian developer's cousin wasn't as fortunate with the CIC as we were... we talked about david eddings and anime.
linux coaching until very late.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

perspective doubt

i suddenly registered something important that i brushed off at the time...

as we left late last night one of the interns said, in wonder: "i don't know how you do this. i mean, we're young, we can handle these kinds of hours."

what?! when did i become "not young"??

moonlighter down

another (relatively) quick post:

1. moonlighter
yeah, i'm not sure we're friends any more. for the second time - the first being on thursday - he delayed a build all by himself and kept five of us in the office late waiting on him. all this while the executives were stressed and pressured to deliver a presentation with it, and they had to wait until we were finished.

his response, when i fired him an email apologizing for my tense tone and explaining the reason, was
just don’t take my indifference as mocking. i can’t just be that intense.
i was thinking that we desperately need more good developers, but now i'm thinking that this man just might be a liability.

2. training
i'm managing less and coaching more. i really feel like i'm teaching these guys from scratch, and what i'm teaching them is very simple: plan before diving in, be methodical (in development and testing), and don't leave anything to chance or possible human failing. with these three things you can be a decent developer with no experience or formal training.

3. shopping
now that i have some money in the bank, i've wasted no time spending it on what i've been dreaming about! i sorted out the wrap1200 this morning, which was shipped in the afternoon, and i've just come off the best buy website. after much reviewing and comparing, i've settled on a projector that sounds like a good deal (benq wxga 3d dlp), a playstation 3 (the ps4 comes across as pretentious and unnecessary, and not worth the wait) and a fairly cheap but highly praised soundbar (philips).

i think i'm all shopped out. how bizarre that the projector, the piece that puts it all together, will only be delivered a week later than everything else :S

4. snowboarding
we have a reservation for this weekend ^_^

Monday, February 25, 2013

-post

i have a long list of notes since wednesday, and i can't be arsed to look at them right now. i've been sick - sinusitis or a cold, i don't know - and i've been crazy busy, i've essentially been promoted, and pg and i finally visited boston. boston is a beautiful city, but more than that i can't really say.

everything pales in comparison to that feeling as we were called up to pay the fees for pg's work permit. the sleepless night, the seven hours on the bus and the half an hour of waiting and answering questions faded as a great sense of relief washed over me.

pg's response was something along the lines of "yeah, i don't think i would have had the energy to return to burlington and buy myself a plane ticket back to israel."

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

ugch

there's nothing like waking up to a sore throat, probably an infection. this sucks.

maturity

zomg so much fun with the new itunes store and kindle books!

i won't spend too many words on electronic books costing three times the price of a new hardcover...

it's really late, and i've got to go to bed, but not without a word on the most beautiful snowstorm that began as i left work and has rendered montreal silently shrouded once again. attempting to express the experience of waiting for the bus with pg, it not being very cold and everything magical, lets me know how inept i am with words. it's like being wrapped up in blankets on a cold night watching a perfect three dimensional movie about exploding marshmallows raining down on dark streets. i guess.

in all the excitement...

after all that anticipation, finally receiving my credit card was so exhilarating that i didn't mind the (presumably outsourced) operator trying to convince me to purchase credit insurance instead of just activating my card. then i tried to attach my new card to my paypal account.

hello

i am a victim of bad policy on paypal's part, and before i up and leave your services i would like to attempt a resolution. i, like many other people whose stories i have read about in the past hour, have moved to a different country and now hold two credit cards. i have one email address and had no intention of creating another, but as you have locked my account to my previous home you leave me no choice.

your policy is absurd; it is completely legitimate to have made this move and i find myself penalized for it? why should i continue to use your services, convenient as they may be, when your treatment is so narrow-minded?


i got that far before remembering that i have an alias email account, so sod them and the horses they ride about on, i registered a new account and that should hopefully be the end of the story. they're bloody stupid about this, that's what they are.

officiality

instead of messing with the interesting stuff, i spent my afternoon configuring our new server that's finally arrived, failing another of cam2's code reviews (this time with moonlighter by my side), and helping newk'd with an urgent correction of a half-a-patch he made last night.

i discovered that he had ignored my "rule number one" regarding svn checkout policy, and was gifted with no less than four opportunities to say "that is why you need to listen to me". sheesh. everyone thinks i'm being a hard-ass because i'm a bureaucrat, not realizing that my methods are the ones that i've discovered are the shortest, easiest paths. it's like these guys aren't registering my words each time i tell them that they're working too hard.

...

when i called the translators this morning i was informed that the work could be done by thursday afternoon. when i got the quote - a cheap $780 for approximately one page of text all told) - i was told that it would take at least five business days.

how professional! i asked how long and costly certifying my own translations would cost, as i'm perfectly capable of doing it myself. i wonder if they'll get back to me.

hmm. i think i just found a niche market that needs to be exploited.

...

i'm glad pg went to the israeli embassy without me today. apparently they're completely useless.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

feedback

yesterday was all about babysitting. the lowlight was dealing with the technical writer, whose bat-shit insane and gets really intense when she doesn't understand - and i'm beginning to consider the possibility that she might not be possessed of much wit, never mind her wits. also, her daughter has strep throat and my own throat began griefing me just after i got through a particularly aggressive questioning. no real connection, perhaps, but that's not how the psyche works :P

the interesting phone call was regarding moonlighter: apparently he has so much trouble working collaboratively that he's essentially been pulled out of the team "to explore other projects". i wouldn't be very suspicious if i didn't know how much deadline pressure we're under and that we can't afford to have a capable member not directly contributing.

i find that sad. and as i said to him, i find it sad that he's been so disconnected that the only contact we've had has concerned the urgent and the negative. i wouldn't be surprised if that's coloured his perceptions of me somewhat.

israeli documents: at least some of them have arrived already, even if they require translation. it turns out that our bank has a montreal branch, but that they can't help us because the branch in israel isn't an international one (like my mum's). and of course mine doesn't give me any way to contact them other than a non-personal fax :/

i suffered a surprise belly-ache yesterday that's lasted, initially accompanied by a massive headache, a sore throat and a cough. this is not the time, inferior biological organism! we have boston and border officials to encounter this weekend!!!

on an entirely unrelated note, i hate the office toilets. i absolutely abhor auto-flushing, the sensors activate arbitrarily and a lot of water gets wasted.

i left late after doing some serious wiki-ing, and hurriedly gobbled down some toast before rushing off with pg to hit the wall of awesome: what a pity real life accomplishments are mostly gradual, because i've concluded that my level is at least 5.8 and i don't *feel* like i'm in a montage :P

i don't know what the deal with all the extra static is, i'm shocking and shocked a ridiculous amount of times per day now. pg and i decided it was my synthetic sport shirt in particular*, and being shirtless was quite liberating. i always find that. barefoot too.

* hmm. now that i think about it, my polyester shirts might have something to do with it. i've asked pg to buy me some more cotton ones anyway.

the problem with the wall being open so late is that one can find oneself arriving home after midnight. after discovering that my protein consumption is woefully insufficient - i apparently need at least 100g per day - and scanning documents, it was almost 2am and i went to bed.

...

my stomache's still not good and i was a little snotty this morning, but the day started with relief that certified translators aren't too difficult to find and so far a day reviewing moonlighter's code is no less than pleasant.

ah! i was so busy with getting up and finding out about translations that checking my work mail slipped my mind: my contract should be ready for examination soon. while being informed of that, the boss let me know that i can expect a little extra something in my payslip this month - they seem to really appreciate my hanging around so long :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

coconut charms

in spite of what appears to be an enculturated and almost exclusive reliance on meat and dairy in this country (our supermarket has a constant stream of ads in french and english trying to convince shoppers to give vegetables a try), we have found something special: coconut-based ice cream! totally vegan-friendly and delicious. a perfect excuse to stream an episode of community ;)

legitimacy

today was weird. the morning was the epitome of what a sunday should be. then i got into sorting out our documents to prove that pg and i are sufficiently together to satisfy canada; between the websites of the bank and my life insurance provider, i ended up having a mini-anxiety attack. i calmed myself by putting together a bedside table, we went shopping and settled in to discover the new world: netflix.

1. i don't know what the deal is, because while everyone i've talked to has complained about the lack of content i was so occupied with adding movies and shows to my list that we almost didn't watch anything! and it's already enough stuff that i'm sure i'll never see half of it.

2. how weird to have a legitimate, inexpensive way to watch things! very, very cool.

3. shakespeare in love is a fun movie. there's, like, one thing that my i-know-better function got irritated about (his sonnet writing), but by and large it's either faithful or innocuously fictitious. i'm glad i've watched it.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

après-ski

i never thought i'd describe -13 as "warm", but yesterday was bright and sunny and absolutely fantastic. the entire area was almost unrecognizable, actually: i'm not used to being able to identify much under all the snow, and a lot of it has melted.

i hadn't really woken up by the time we left for the ski lifts; it was in a dream state that i stared at the fantastic scenery and in a dream state that i made my first couple of runs. i felt... disconnected.

a part of that might be that "full speed" was somewhat slower than i'm used to - i noticed that on other people too. so either something was different in the conditions (the surface, the wind) or my nervous system has become used to crazy speeds. i'm inclined to assume the former.

pg had a really tough day, she's finally at that magical point of actually snowboarding*, but she's not clearing it. it was only on our second-last run that i noticed what i suspect may be hindering her: she's spent more time working goofy than regular, so she's uncomfortable with taking control with her stronger leg. either i'm wrong and she's goofy, or she's a masochist! we'll see if she can fix that next time, if there is a next time because she found an entire day of struggling to be quite disheartening :(

* when the nose of you board is down and you're switching between your front edge and back edge to control your motion / speed.

i didn't do too many runs without her - not only was i desperately trying to help her, but going slowly was an excellent opportunity for me to learn to switch. and i got it! i'm not 100% when i'm going fast, but even at low speeds getting it right is thrilling. and the wipe-outs are spectacular :P

by the end of the day neither of us really had energy to go out; between the late night, early morning and long hours on the slopes we both could have just passed out in the cafeteria. but it was such a lovely afternoon! so we agreed to go out and take it easy, like a sunday stroll sort of a thing.

it was magic. it was so intensely beautiful, there was a moment where i sat down to stare at the mind-boggling view and was content, every fibre of my being happy to just be in the moment.

...

we kind-of slept on the bus, but it was uncomfortable. i wanted to go out exploring on a saturday night but by the time i'd had a shower i could barely keep my eyes open... i'm such a fader.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

nap time

perhaps a little too much rum before getting up super-early. but we made it! it's an absolutely gorgeous, sunny morning and we're on the bus to saint sauveur... with tickets in hand for boston next week ^_^

bircher muesli and rum

it's delicious, and worthy compensation for pg's miscalculation that had us both lugging heavy boxes to and from the bus. still easier (and quicker) than finding a taxi, and it was as good an excuse as any for exercise.

i'm very excited about our new arrangement: on my left, a very cool and simple desk on wheels with enough space for the both of us. being leaned on by me, a matching, tall chest of drawers the perfect height to stand in for a standing desk.

i've been worried about sitting for long periods of time (it's super-unhealthy), and this alleviates a lot of that concern with burning a serious hole in my pocket.

speaking of holes in pockets - vuzix refunded my cash, and that's comforting enough that i'll re-place my order as soon as my credit card arrives. funny thing: i've been expecting the card every day, because i cannot believe that it's only been a week since i ordered it. it feels like at least twice that.

even the building thought it was friday

t'was a long, slow day in the office.

i discovered that one of our star interns had never operated in web paradigms and needed serious coaching; i've assigned him a fair quantity of homework to compensate.

cam2's definitely working better, but we're still not 100% on our big picture understanding. every little success is exciting and pleasing, though.

for the rest, some serious ups and serious downs, but overall the day ended on a very positive note and i'm feeling ready to face monday's challenges. the biggest one will be placing boundaries on moonlighter and performing extraction of some of his secret system knowledge.

Friday, February 15, 2013

early morning travel blues

my credit card statement informs me that vuzix may not have trusted my credit card enough to ship my order, but they were more than happy to take my money. that's comforting - i wonder when the thirty days of my "thirty day money-back guarantee" begin? i've cancelled my order, i'll re-place it when i'm sure i won't be double-charged. that shit's expensive.

---
i spent this morning being harried by bad websites that are supposed to facilitate airline ticket purchases; it was kind almost a relief when pg reversed herself and made the call to spend the weekend in boston instead.

finding a reasonably-priced hotel room downtown wasn't a problem, and the greyhound tickets would have been a breeze... if they could have been purchased online. i tried three times before calling them, running the automated assistant gauntlet and speaking to a man with a terrible accent to find out that we'd need to purchase the tickets from montreal in person. couldn't that be written on the website?

we now have a week to get all of our documentation in order. it had better be enough.

deeply sighing

today was satisfying, although only at the very end. and the end was late.

i've established with everyone short of the cto and moonlighter that we share the concerns and i'm not a single point of failure. we've sorted out payroll issues, i've been given optimistic advice by the lawyer and pretty much confirmed a visit to SxS in florida next weekend. that's so that we can meet his girlfriend and respect pg's visa limitations simultaneously, then apply for her work permit on the way back in.

two of the interns worked through their issues with the builds with my and cls's coaching; the builds were finally ready around 5pm. so was the one i worked through with newk'd: that was a tricky fix that's been a thorn in our side for a while now. i think he's got the message about comment-driven coding now. even cam2 made me happy today, demonstrating that he's taking my last instructions seriously.

the only thing that didn't work involved our web hosting: they're not only expensive, but they're greedy and unhelpful when the tools we're paying fees for don't work. switching from them is now an item on the to-do list.

...

dinner at godmother's was really nice (and pg organized swell gifts), and aside from putting up the curtain rails (we finally have the need) i've ordered myself moo minicards with my canadian number. it's an exciting purchase.

---

my emotions took a dive this week, but i think i'm already back to manic. this delegation stuff is pretty darn cool.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

black snow

it's not a healthy perspective that one gains while lying awake in bed in the dead hours of the morning, contemplating a tangled, nonsensical mess. happy valentine's day! mine began fretting over how we're going to keep pg with me, because the nasty official who welcomed her at the airport left a note in her passport that pretty much ensures (to my legally untrained mind) that she'll have to exit canada, even if she would otherwise be able to extend her visa legitimately.

you see, she gave us a number to call to extend pg's visa, which tells us to use the website. using the website means sending in an application package (like the one i had to submit for my work permit), which appears to be impossible in cases where the passport holder would normally not require a visa. so the note in her passport says "must leave by ______", and the website says "you don't need a visa".

seriously? and there's no human to talk to, apparently.

---

i got home last night feeling like shit. apparently i've continued to come across aggressively when talking to cam2, even though i thought i'd toned it down. i finally got around to performing a code review, so that i could have an excuse to have a meeting with him. i think and hope that he understands that he needs to shape up or ship out. either way, there was at least one positive in that we established a set of steps he needs to take for each change he makes so that we can have some idea of how to review his work without wasting hours.

if a code review is complicated, something is very wrong indeed.

the other part of the dark sensation is a looming, inescapable deadline that i don't feel like we're ready for. i'm frustrated because a huge part of our lack of readiness is the cto and moonlighter not listening to me, and i'm terrified that if we don't pull this off everyone will look at me as a point of failure.

...

no credit card, no wall climbing, and stress up the wazoo. but the snow doesn't care; it just floats gently down around me.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

premonition

i had the strangest dream this morning, and it ended with a surprise video call from a commander in my last unit, sobbing as he informed me that one of his officers i was friendly with had passed away. as i got up i sent said officer a message and got an immediate response, so i don't know what that was all about but i'm pleased it wasn't accurate.

pg did one heck of a job tidying up after i went to bed, and this morning i got a distinct sense of the new comfort level of our apartment: it's a deeply satisfying feeling. we're almost ready to have people over!

i've waited three days for an opportunity to call immigration and find out how to proceed with pg's application, and was vexed and disappointed to have to listen to lots of information i already had and to have no way to contact a live assistant. in dismay, i tried again to find what we wanted on the website. my google-fu is lacking and i suspected that i wouldn't locate anything useful, but after trying a couple of stab-in-the-dark links i actually did get somewhere: "implied" authorization holds for changing permit types, too. perhaps pg could work as an immigration lawyer and i could advise her.

the temperature was warm-ish (-2) and the snow was softly floating down as i walked to the metro: it's the second time i've noted "traditional" flakes with identifiable structures this winter. it's incredibly beautiful and not at all photogenic.

making the bed - part ii

the bed is made. it's exhausting work, constructing it after a long day and feeling like you should be sleeping *right there*.

the day was long and stressed but i feel like i have a good plan to go forward. it's hard to delegate when every time you open your mouth someone interrupts to give you another urgent item to add to your list.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

making the bed - part i

friday:

a proper snowstorm on my way to ordering my credit card. the advisor was really helpful, and i walked out elated with anticipation.

what's with all the extra static??? for the past few days i'd been getting more shocks than usual, and a few of them were intense enough to hurt :(

penny arcade's gamers vs evil is pretty addictive once you get familiar with the cards. it's a really fun game!

the technical writer's a bit mad, but in an endearing manner. i spent my morning setting up accounts for a surprise guest developer: of course, the IT guy would be off for the day :/

i took a break around lunchtime to rush to the CIC offices to organize my SIN: pg took the opportunity to visit walmart so that we could lunch afterwards. here i thought israel was jacked when it came to organizing immigration documents - there, two weeks. here? ten minutes, *including* waiting and filling out a form. amazing!!!

...

thai express sucks. that's my conclusion, and i'm sticking with it.

i hurriedly scanned resumes that i'd need to review, then hit a last minute nightmare - if you say you're not going to demo anymore after i've already said we need to polish our demo, then don't demo. really. EVERYTHING went wrong, none of the devices would communicate with each other, and moonlighter had sent me a broken package before rendering himself completely unavailable. newk'd proved himself indispensable in the heat of the moment, eventually setting up a sneakernet using two computers, a cable and two memory cards. we eventually got moonlighter on the phone, calling the evening's disaster to an end by agreeing to resume on sunday with a new build.

in spite of all that, newk'd and i finished on a good note with videos of vuzix and leap. later in the weekend i'd discover that leap's product costs all of $70, so i'd pre-order my little piece of the future.

i gobbled down a super-quick snack before heading to godmother's to be lambasted over my apparently melodramatic use of the word "horrendous" when describing my afternoon, and then went with yang to another awesome igloofest party. the greatest disappointment of the evening was the lack of snow post-blizzard warnings :/

---

saturday:

i went to sleep after some late night email clearance, and slept quite a lot.

pg hadn't ever seen we all stand together by paul mccartney, and doesn't know who rupert the bear is either. we began the morning correcting the first issue.

pg's immigration process isn't so simple... she's now eligible for an open work permit, but we don't know if applying for it will extend her visitor's visa :S

our internet's been weird, so i contacted bell's support. i can't decide if i'm satisfied or not.

...

it's cold but a sense of spring demonstrates to me how powerfully our perceptions rule reality.

...

ikea - they have what we want, it's reliable quality, and it's cheaper. but the experience of shopping there is like a punishment for getting those three things.

inside, i was screaming along with the little girl in the next aisle.


the lack of oxygen, my neck giving me grief, the crazy crowds and running around the warehouse when they were out of stock didn't add anything positive to the experience.

...

pg was responsible for us missing our stop, and we followed that up by almost missing the bus after twenty minutes waiting in the cold. we had fun, though, and an important conversation about her plans that might've been missed without such a perfect opportunity.

we did a quick supermarket run then came home to pg's first attempt at home-made vegan mexican food (awesome) and pg's first viewing of evangelion. (the reboot). i thoroughly enjoyed it but was so wiped out that i called it a night halfway through.

---

sunday:

the day of rest began with a disaster: the resumes i'd scanned to review were from the wrong file.

pg and i continued shopping for a bed (with a visit to best buy thrown in), and eventually arrived at the conclusion the ikea was the best bet in terms of value for money.

ikea drove me crazy.

but at least we're satisfied (so far) with our purchases. main note of the weekend: ikea's LEDs are cheap and bloody good. screw compact fluorescents and the mercury they shed!

the couple of hours in the office were productive, and i found the misfiled resumes so i'd be prepared for the big day. after getting home and eating pg's leftover mexican (it was delicious), i reviewed them and crashed.

---

monday:

waking up so early was harsh. hitting metro rush hour in both directions was overly warm. early morning exhaustion set in around 11am, a giant sigh of relief was expelled when i heard that the demo had run smoothly, and the long day of interviews went well but was... well... long.

it's a tiring exercise in the extreme.

pg and i finished the first of the new evangelion movies (i really do love the reboot), and i went to bed really early.

---

today:

i felt much better this morning, i've done some basic intern training and had a long and intense meeting with the cto (his temper flared, i backed off but it took a while for him to calm down. at least the end of the conversation was amiable).

commensal has a new frozen food flavour. thai delight it is.

right - next step.

Friday, February 08, 2013

climbing up

three out of five ain't bad. level up! aota didn't realize those were my first interviews. it's tiring and there's no clear and easy route to pick a candidate; but pick we did.

that took most of the day, the rest was consumed by a surprise demo that i need to train botswana for... and he's old-school non-tech. hoo boy.

---

i went to the bank to order a credit card, but after waiting in line for twenty minutes was advised to book an appointment because with no credit rating i'll have to front some cash. i'm cool with that! once that's done, the only urgent thing to do is register with the authorities for an SIN, so that i can be treated like a canadian. and get myself on the payroll! being paid will be very cool after bleeding cash for something like four months.

---

pg and i returned to the climbing wall tonight, and it was hard. hard, but fair, and i felt that my successes meant something :)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

rolling over

the sensation of relief and excitement remains; beginning to make plans for the long term is wonderfully cathartic. i haven't felt well physically since lunch, but i suspect that that's either lunch itself or just my body unwinding post-tension.

it was a good day to complete 10000000: the "you are free!" message at the end just wrapped up my moment perfectly. i found myself staring at the credits until they were done, and laughed at the mode i unlocked. i'll pass, thanks.

i ran into the office to pick up the macbook charger, and both bosses were there - it was oddly disconcerting standing before them not dressed nicely.

i met up with pg at the supermarket, which did such a good job of exhausting me that *i* bailed on the wall climbing.

---

first gift to self post-permit acquisition: the vuzix wrap1200. there's some crazy shit those people sell, but that's the model that's relatively affordable. i can't wait for it to arrive :D

pg and i played carcassonne, after which i'd reached breaking point so quick dinner and bed was all i could manage.

---

today:

i woke up feeling awful. sick. fortunately that didn't last too long. i did some prep for the interviewing i'll be doing today, discovered that for pg visitor visa extensions currently being processed were applied for in september (oh, shit), and then came to the office for the first time - to work.

it's -21 and i couldn't bear to zip up my jacket - the metro's overheating is killer :(

---

pg made an excellent point yesterday about my sitting on the metro: it's not good for me! in general sitting for long periods is unhealthy, but developers do it more than the average joe..

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

internalization

i cannot satisfactorily describe my current state of excitement, relief, exhaustion and distraction in words. i was so tense i forgot to wear a belt this morning, and found myself waiting for godmother at the wrong bloody station...

... but the drive there was pleasant, the US border official was helpful and efficient, and plattsburgh may not be much of a tourist attraction but it was a nice enough place to grab coffee and print out documents. according to one young man we interrogated there are no printing services in the entire city, but we were less surprised to discover that he was as wrong as he was confident. the girl who did the printing was notably talkative, which, to be honest, was good for my nerves.

the canadian border experience was nothing short of pleasant! my documents were in order and they didn't actually question me, which after pg's experience was what had terrified me. we paid the processing fee, i picked up my passport with its pretty new permit stapled in, and tomorrow i'll be able to properly start my job (as opposed to just visiting) and earn my keep.

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it's six years to the day that i completed my mandatory service. this is one heck of a way to celebrate it. coming home to montreal today really was... coming home.

dodging bullets, past and present

i've just woken up and i am extremely excited / nervous about where my day's headed... godmother and i are headed across the border so that i can get my work permit. from making sure that i have all the documentation that i need to worrying about whether or not the americans will respect my visa (my old passport and rainwater mixed a little too well in varanasi), to wondering if the immigration official's going to like me... well, i'm certainly not apathetic.

today is a big day.

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yesterday was a big day too. it began with performing a review that left me utterly gobsmacked. moonlighter had sat with him the day before and come away confused as to what he was doing, i took a look and was later informed that the entire office could hear the condescension in my voice.

i'm not proud of that.

but cam2 had simultaneously demonstrated an excellent understanding of php and a disastrous inability to apply programming principles to solving a problem. he'd ignored the excessively explicit instructions and produced a complex beast that was incomplete, filled with legacy code (and he'd started from scratch), and functionally the equivalent of trying to hammer in a nail using a dart.

i couldn't not report this, and i can tell you that doing so did not feel good in the slightest. it felt awful. the cfo gave us a talking to, though, and put things in sharper perspective. it was eventually decided to keep him on and to attempt to retrain him.

yep, the situation in quebec *is* desperate. and i'm going to need to switch out my regular, more demanding mode and settle for coaching.

...

i was asked for my opinion on a bunch of resumes, interns that'll i'll be in charge of when i start working tomorrow (!!!). after each cv i felt like i'd met the guy and it's hard to disqualify someone when you're looking for potential as opposed to achievements. i eventually had to settle on criteria and hope that i'm on the right track.

the problem is that if resumes are to be believed... every candidate is amazing.

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

my old stomping ground

after hours spent mystified by spotify, everything began to fall into place and we got the website looking the way we wanted it. i then sat behind godmother and her friend and watched as they excitedly began entering text into their first product description.

flashback to 1998, when i first start playing with a geocities account to create the coolest, ugliest, most pointless site that fit in perfectly with its neighbours. that was how i learned html... nowadays, you don't need to know html. it's not worth it, for a consumer. that age is past.

7 for 7.30

is there a word to describe that sickening feeling when you realize that you've absent-mindedly handed a perfect stranger a noose to hang you with? because at around 6.50 this evening i stepped out into the cool air after a crazy but satisfying day and realized that i'd given my old laptop to the new new guy and he'd been working on it all day... and i hadn't yet disconnected my dropbox with all of my ultra-personal information on it.

it doesn't help me to know that if i get screwed, i'll know who to blame. not disconnecting my account before giving it to him was one of the dumbest and most irresponsible things i have ever done in my entire life.

i might not have made that mistake if i hadn't been running around like a headless chicken all day. between configuring my mac and long planning sessions, and a super-omg-crazy-important meeting with the ceo about my future in the company, i simply didn't think about what i was doing and i really, really hope i don't end up paying for it :(

...

so i turned around and went back inside to belatedly remove all the data. the laptop's touchpad was locked (i didn't know there was a button for that!) and windows was giving me a super-hard time by dragging its feet so what should have taken five minutes took about ten.

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then i received an sms that made me feel totally crap: godmother had moved dinner forward half an hour and i hadn't noted it, so i would've been late anyway. and that's to top off her making pasta especially for pg and with my having assumed that pg wasn't invited because i'm going there to help her with something technical.

Monday, February 04, 2013

thermal shirt weather

yesterday and today:

"the usual" as far as a snowboarding weekend goes, except that the place we took a room in was much nicer and much, much closer to the slopes. we had about five hours' riding yesterday and about the same today, we had a fantastic time on the mountain and pg made me extremely proud with her progress. she's now switching front and back properly and making it look good :)

it was remarkably cold yesterday, and we weren't properly dressed for it. if your body's not warm enough the rest of you will let you know, and i should've been wearing my thermal shirt last night as well as today. the stop for beer and dinner in the middle were more for an excuse to warm up than anything else. our eyes were iced (and my goggles got fogged up / iced up at one point, not cool) and our masks were frosty and as much fun as we were having it was offset by the desperate need for heat.

after the last few experiences i've figured out that riding with pg is a perfect excuse for practicing all the fun stuff: goofy and jumps and so on. when i'm by myself i simply don't have the patience for that - i just want to bomb down hills at breakneck speed. gives me a rush. just the recollections of some of today's "alone-time" experiences raise my heart-rate :D

anyway, even though today was warmer we both dressed better, and the only time i really felt the cold was:
when you're going so fast (and it's so cold) that your mask freezes to your face... there i was careening down the mountain thinking of how we're told as kids that if you pull faces yours could freeze in an undesirable state. i wondered if i'd be stuck with a perpetual look of AAAIIIIIIIIIIIII!!!! on mine.

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this morning's dream: a dream of a concrete motel with an attached strip-mall, all abandoned. someone walks up to the door and fiddles with a scrap of paper, it drops to the floor and grows into what looks like a human. the rest of the story is a mystery now, but it involved a shootout in a small crowded room using a weapon that transformed the victims' brains with nano-tech, effectively turning them into killing machines with a purpose unknown. the hunt afterwards ended with a sleepover and video games.

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i've made a fair amount of progress in 10000000, and i'm looking forward to finishing it so that i can get it out of my system. it's really simple and ridiculously, efficiently fun.

Saturday, February 02, 2013

pity for the netbook

it's late, and i've been spending a lot of time configuring my new toy - now that i'm going to be properly working for the company, they've bought me a spanky new macbook pro. having spent some time with mac development, i'm comfortable enough to be enjoying the experience of setting this up!

it was a relaxed friday which was mostly pleasant. cls presented me with a brainteaser, totally boosting my ego by asking me for help. newk'd found a terrible bug that moonlighter had created, and cam2 is easier to deal with when you tell him precisely what to do, which is not a compliment.

the new technical writer is a pleasure to talk to, it's nice to talk tech with someone who's got a degree in literature :P

big deal for the day: planning a trip to boston to visit overclocker. all very exciting :)

dinner at godmother's was delicious and busily loud; the rest of the evening / night has been quiet by comparison.

Friday, February 01, 2013

boxed in

it was a day of long meetings and planning.

i expressed my concerns about cam2 and they will be dealt with, and we've established a boundary that can be checked. the bottom line, though, is that there's no place for the uninspired in a start-up. i was upset that when i gave him his instructions - this is a man with a master's in computer science - i had to go into detail about things he really should know better than me. quite frankly, i wouldn't be shocked to learn that he'd bought his degree online.

i expressed my concerns about certain events that took place over the weekend, too, and the resulting discussion was comfortingly positive.

for the third day in a row i left early in the hopes of hitting the climbing wall, but pg can't decide if she's better or not so i finished reading this month's wired and played some more 10000000. it's an insanely addictive game.