Sunday, March 31, 2013

hazy sunday

i spent too long in bed, getting up only when lying down started feeling weird. i have shit to do, i'm just not doing it. i'm not unhappy right now. i caught up on web comics and i watched a couple of episodes of strip search - awesome - and was just having coffee and prepping to check out the gym, maybe do a little work, and watch the open mma mat.

i had eminem in the background, having bought the eminem show yesterday, and was inspired by his meter and the memory of some guys hanging around outside the club on friday night freestyling. apparently they do that a lot. anyway, i quite like the result of that inspiration.

mac and gaming

oh, man. i don't know why i thought i could run antichamber in parallels. now i've bought the game and i'll have to wait for a mac port to play it. i know my little netbook isn't strong enough to handle udk.

:(

smells of not cooking

well, how about that? i finally get it in me to make something (simple, of course), and i don't have anything??. it's too late to go shopping :(

i stopped off at walmart to pick up a notebook, and stayed for ages to talk to SxS because i wasn't up for multitasking. to be fair, i haven't been up for multitasking in a long, long time. i visited the dollar store and didn't find what i was looking for, then hurriedly returned home thinking i'd be in time for the 4.40 showing of olympus has fallen which SxS had advised me to see. i got home too late, so i looked up reviews for eye laser surgeons (it's hard to find negative ones) and left in time to catch the 6.50.

first off, the trailers:
oblivion looks like fun. after earth looks like more fun. red 2 makes me shake my head in sequel-shame, but not nearly as much as fast & furious 6. i'm confused as to how many installations of the series i've missed of the latter, and i'm reminded of the intro trailers to tropic thunder; i'll probably see both.

revolution looks like a good reason to go to the movies. or download illegally.

finally:
olympus has fallen is a wildly entertaining action flick. but what really got to me is the ideology. it's so over the top, is it ironic? is it for or against the current american government and its attitude towards its citizens and the rest of the world? that's me not showering you with spoilers. either way, it's fascinating meta and an invigoratingly classic plot.

i've now eaten too much (toast with peanut butter, tofu, salt, pepper and tabasco), and it's late, and that means nothing because i only go back to work on wednesday ^_^
perhaps i'll try out antichamber: scrapper gave it a good review so i figure the $20 was worth it.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

somewhat good friday

friday:

it was a slow, easy morning. i was still feeling arm strain from my first push-ups in a while and my neck was mildly uncomfortable, which would irritate me for the rest of the day. seeing the squirrels frolicking in the streets put me in a good mood, though, and made me think that perhaps i'm ready to enjoy the spring :)

it was a good good friday, most people were on holiday and everything was accordingly relaxed and jovial. even moonlighter came in (to say farewell to the coo), and in a pleasant chat with him and the new director it was settled that he's replaceable and that he himself would like to work less. the sad thing is that the cto is now our principal developer and moonlighter his second-in-command; if we don't wrest control things are going to be weird.

i'd intended to leave early, but only made it out at 5pm. i thought i'd get some cleaning done but a) i didn't really have it in me and b) i was surprised to find that the apartment's not in a bad state overall. i'm used to israeli quantities of dust, and here it's a different level entirely.

i watched a lot of the xxx sequel, which is kind crap in spite of the cast, and had dinner watching legend of the drunken master which i remembered enjoying thoroughly. yep, still excellent :)

i was starting to fall asleep when i received a call from yang, and i met up with him for drinks at the cock 'n bull. i was completely turned around last time, but i won't get lost again!

we walked down to a really great and super-dodgy club, where the music started at funky minimal and moved through actual dub (seriously! it was amazing) into dub-step. by that final stage i'd been offered an opportunity to do something i'd forgotten i don't do in public (specifically; i don't do it at home either) or in normal doses (i've always been a light-weight), and all i could think of afterwards was louis ck telling the story of his experience smoking with kids in a parking lot after a show. my blood pressure dropped so low i couldn't stay standing, and the evening went from great fun to mild suffering. the deep, deep bass made my brain feel good but produced the sensation of liquifying insides, and as soon as i'd rested off enough of the effects i took a taxi home.

what a bummer!

---

saturday:

i *had* to take the morning slow. when i eventually got out of bed i recalculated my budget, took a couple of items to the dry-cleaners and walked along the sunny highway entranced by the similarity between the noise from the traffic and a day on the beach with strong waves crashing constantly. i was walking along a highway with my body while my brain was at the beach.

i found the gym with the help of some guys leaving it (the only sign on the building is a poster for a ballet studio). after a quick tour, i signed up enthusiastically: i dropped a lot of cash on a three-month trial membership, but overall it works out really reasonable per month for all-access!

VERY pleased.

i wasted an opportunity to go snowboarding because i went to the bank; i didn't have some information i needed, so i gave up and came to the-office-favourite indian restaurant for a delicious meal. now i'm ready to spend my afternoon chilling.

Friday, March 29, 2013

the sounds of the universe

just like janna levin said.

i bought tickets for a mindless self indulgence concert next month! awesome ^_^

it was not a bad day, and it wasn't a good day. i put my nose to the grindstone on some uninteresting chores, and got at least one messy clean-up job done. the shock at the end of the day was receiving an email that the coo - my other boss - is leaving. or, more to the point, had left, and we wouldn't be seeing him again.

i'd been informed that it was a possibility and asked to keep my mouth shut... but that didn't make the abruptness any less startling.

---
i was inspired to get back into training yesterday, and i went to check out a taekwondo gym this evening. i'm still mortified by the experience: i felt like i was watching a train-wreck. i was especially shocked by the overweight, sloppy black belts, but in only a few minutes i saw what i didn't want to train with and i gave them forty more for the benefit of the doubt, which they didn't warrant. they certainly seemed to be having fun, but none of them looked like they were taking it seriously. except for the guy with the deformed arms, who was the only one keeping his balance while kicking and looking like he was making an effort. respect to that dude!

there's another taekwondo group not far from my work, but right after reading about that one i discovered that i live about two minutes' walk from georges st-pierre's gym.

universe? is that you??!

not only would i like to learn mma, but it sounds like they treat the place like a regular gym as well, so i could practice alone too.

i didn't see it when i took a walk in that direction, but that's because i didn't bother to be wowed* by google street view until after i returned. what i did find was indoor go-karting, which is something that popped into my head a few days ago.

universe? i'm listening!!!

* google street view is a lot more impressive when you actually need it.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

humanity roll

i spent the afternoon wallowing and feeling horrible. i watched random shit on and off, including the entirety of snatch and an episode of ufc 100 greatest fights before something magical happened: i got amped. i haven't felt like this in a very long time. aggressive, driven, and not at all passive. i did some taekwondo exercises in my apartment and i think i'm ready to get back into training.

this is a feeling i haven't had in an extremely long time. and it feels good. i also suspect that i'm in pretty good shape. it's time to get physical.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

evaluation

lying in bed this morning, i found myself morbid and miserable. i think it's the first time i've really had an opportunity to think about pg's leaving without distraction, and for some time all rationalization went out the window and i just felt really awful about it.

i'm still not feeling great physically - i'm pretty sure that i'm not entirely healthy but i'm not sure that i'm actually sick as such. my head's definitely not in the right place, i've been feeling stupid and demotivated for a while, and i think i do need to just wallow a little. am i repeating myself? i don't care.

so... i have a list of things i really need and want to do, and zero inclination to do any of it. this is a problem. i eventually pulled myself out of bed, read a long and painful article about gilad shalit, read a very good response to holocaust denial, figured out what's missing from my 2010 travel posts, practiced a bit of french...

---
what an absolutely stunning revelation! i'm filled with hope, wonder, and general awe. allan savory's ted talk is a must-see, he explains a breakthrough discovery about climate change that's counter-intuitive and inspiring.

i'm rethinking my veganism / supplementarianism since last night: it's such a mission in these parts. it might be healthier, but it makes life complicated. and, well, if what this world needs is more cattle and sheep...

consumption

*sigh*
the home theatre kicks ass.

the karate kid remake is awkwardly bad at the beginning, and gets progressively more entertaining as it progresses. not a great movie, but not a bad remake.

ren & stimpy: adult party cartoon is gross and freaky. i think i like it.

extra long weekend

when i began this post i was locked in to my apartment and the building's water pipes were closed. i'd just gone for a walk to do some shopping, and came back with a sensation that spring is here. i'd just got off the phone with godmother, who had let me know that considering everything i've been through it's really okay to just wallow for a bit. that was confirmed by my mother later. i'm very, very glad that i get passover off.

i am resuming this post after returning from the second passover "seder", very nice, if a little awkward (i was, at least). the continuous loud buzzing in the background is me attempting to run down the charge on my clippers, which i used today and which come with an advisory to empty the battery once every two months or so. the battery life appears to be really, really good!

---
thursday:

the day began with the faculty dean; the man is a phenomenon, with the most fascinating personal history and incredible achievements. he's the real deal, fighting corruption and playing the game simultaneously - talking to him is inspiring. talking to him about his plans for our product was reflexively inspiring: our product has tremendous potential, and the developers are so deep into tweaking its core that we don't get to appreciate the forest for the trees.

the shock of the day was discovering that the woman i'd ranked as dumbest in class is the woman in charge of the phd program - i spent a good deal of time replaying our quick q&a's in my mind and hoping that i hadn't been too flippant. so it wasn't that she'd been struggling to figure out our system; she was observing and evaluating. damn she's good.

after a long day at the end of a long week, i returned to the hotel and immediately shaved off my beard. i then sat by the pool and consumed half a bottle of myers's. which is a heck of a lot of rum. it wasn't too late when i stumbled back to my room and collapsed.

---
friday:

it was a tough stomache morning, and i'd be in pain and uncomfortable for the entire weekend. the moment spent staring out the window at the fog-blanketed rainforest was not enough. my only meal in panama that wasn't amazing was that last breakfast, which was awful.

we were almost late for the flight, and the double security and frisk (!) wasn't appreciated. the flight itself was long and sucky. i felt horrible when we arrived in newark, my head felt screwed off and i just wanted to get home. five hours of nothing, with a touch of irritation with the idiot tsa guys forcing me to remove my plastic belt and raise my hands to go through the machine.

shit! i'm such an idiot!
*facepalm*
here i am complaining about indignities, and what i *should* have done is simply removed my pants and put them on the conveyor. what would they have done? arrested me for indecency?

the short flight to montreal was spent in agony. my belly was hurting, and no amount of time spent in restrooms was having any effect.
regardless, immigration into montreal was such a surprising pleasure! their welcome back made me feel really good. i was so happy to be back!

---
saturday:

aside from household chores and a bit of fallout, i spent my day with k-twang and cls who were visiting. cls showed me that my projector issues were focus related and not resolution related (hooray!), our visit to godmother was amusing and silly, dinner was huge and drinks were fun (i hope i didn't talk too much, but i think i might have :( ).

---
sunday:

brunch with godmother: it was hard to get into tiffany's, but the food was good and it's a comfortable place. afterwards we visited the old jewish quarter in an unsuccessful quest for kosher-for-passover gifts.

the rest of the day was a day of nothing: george carlin, star trek ii, a little bit of shakespeare in busan's to be or not to be and johnny mnemonic. only a little of to be or not to be because it kinda sucks.

i finally went shopping, and the slow, quiet walk was time for reflection, on my being alone and on my motivation in general.

---
monday:

monday was full of woe. work-wise, i had a few meetings and a training session for a new developer who i'm excited about, and the director and i had an important chat about my responsibilities.

i tried to transfer cash to pg to pay my imaginary social security fine, only to discover that her bank branch has two SWIFT codes. why does everything have to be complicated?!

leaving early on such a beautiful day made me feel a little better, and i was amused by the beery pub smell of the guy entering the metro in front of me: it was the perfect afternoon to be out drinking with friends.

the passover "seder" was really nice, not quite what i'm used to but fun nonetheless.
i played fallout into the night, and was totally exhausted when i finally dragged myself off to bed.

---
tuesday:

i already posted about the important stuff.

---
gun control: oh, shit. in one fell swoop, the case for controlling firearms has just been relegated to the irrelevant box. our options? have full government control of all technology and our uses of it, OR try to educate and instill values so that we can be free and reasonably safe.

we'll never be 100% safe, but as long as we can offset the dangers we can maintain a good balance. that offsetting cannot include big brother without causing more dissatisfaction and frustration and thereby increasing the threat level.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

probabilities

aaaargh! it's 2.30pm and the water's been turned off. just after i tidied up my buzz-cut post-shower, so i can't wash off the remaining tiny trimmings. the building notice warned that the water would be off between 9-11am, so what gives?! i'm very lucky that i could shower after the main event, at least.

---
am i sick? or am i just depressed? perhaps my feeling lousy has something to do with the fact that i cannot recall when last i spent a morning like this one, simply staying in bed until almost noon. i watched some of the ted talks on space, and then switched to dmt: the spirit molecule when i began passing out again.

it's a fascinating documentary. i'm startled at how well their conclusions fit with my philosophy, and how dangerously close they are to missing the point entirely. without having tried dmt, i have formulated my own theory: taking dmt is like plugging in the access codes to your operating system. your external perceptions are temporarily shut down (including time) and you are treated to a visualization of the world of ideas that plato was referring to, or "god" as i choose to call it: that mechanism of meaning that filters and translates from objective reality into your universe.

those angels and souls awaiting rebirth, that comprehension of one's place in one's own consciousness and one's power to change one's reality, that connection with all things internal which are actually representations of all things external... it all makes sense.

why do i say "dangerous", you might ask? well, the attitude that what one is communicating with is an external intelligence is no less ridiculous than any of the other religions' foundations. some guy gets in touch with himself, by accident or intentionally, and decides that everything he has learned has come from a higher power and must be brought to everyone else? no, i say. one should be free to have that spiritual experience and awakening and not to have others cram their experiences down one's throat. your universe is vast and you should have sovereignty over it.

that's not to say that one shouldn't see oneself as a part of the biosphere - everyone is. and yes, we communicate with it constantly. but the entities that contact you while you're offline are your own representations, your soul or elements thereof. their messages are not to be disregarded, they're very real, but one should appreciate them as such.

but, like, that's just my opinion, man.

bad instants

i have lots to say about the past five days, but right now i require a purging:

after a weekend sick and miserable, i woke up this morning feeling a little better and was immediately thrust into shock by an email informing me that a dear aunt in south africa passed away during the night.

the day would not have begun well anyway (emergency ironing and unnecessarily complicated packing things for aota and the it guy), but once i arrived in the office things more or less returned to normal. i managed to leave early in order to purchase gifts for my hosts (tonight is passover), and after dropping my gear at home i headed downtown to the saq to buy kosher-for-passover alcohol.

i didn't find any, there was a problem with the metro and it took forever and a mission to get home empty-handed. that's just enough time to really think about my aunt, her passing and her immediate family who must be devastated (it was really sudden and the funeral was rushed because of the religious holiday).

so the mix of mourning and gift frustration needs venting. they may not be at all related, or even similar in terms of importance, but they're both doing a fantastic job of upsetting me in their different ways.

...

i keep imagining my uncle dealing with the loss at the passover "seder" table. what a horrible time.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

french radio

my subconscious was on fire last night, and i experienced the weirdest, most convoluted dreams. far too complex for me too recall all the details or translate what i do into any semblance of coherent text.

i wonder if having a french itunes radio station on in the background had anything to do with it.

training days

i don't know where to begin or end this post, or what to put in the middle. this post actually begins on monday, recalling the meeting with the government organization. most of it went over my head, but the bits that were translated painted an interesting picture. aota came out an absolute winner.

the government building is located on an evacuated american army base: military is military. an unquantifiable sense of familiarity when walking into a building on a repurposed us army base, every aspect different, yet precisely what i'd expect after my six years of service. i felt at once at home and uncomfortable.

it was a long day and we tested until late. even though i was exhausted and needed to get to sleep, i spent a few minutes on a comic script that i thought up on the flight down here. i'm a few panels in and quite happy with it.

---
tuesday:

in spite of my (ulcer? heartburn? nerves?) the training went really well. so well, in fact, that i walked out really proud of myself and aota and i began the evening's celebrations by visiting the canal. after a good dinner spent ogling the ships - which were impressively large - and once again being fascinated by the simplicity and elegance of locks - we returned the hotel to swim (it was a beautiful evening) and polish off most of a bottle of ron abuelo. we talked a lot and laughed a lot, and i left to go to bed early.

i slept a lot, and i slept like a baby.

---
wednesday:

the second day of training began with me unable to get dressed as the laundry hadn't been returned. i had a quick breakfast and returned just as the laundry guy was leaving the room; while speaking in a constant stream of spanish he signed what appeared to me to be a message that two buttons on one of my shirts were missing, and i sighed and thanked him for the heads-up. i quickly shaved and brushed my teeth, by which stage i was running late (even by panamanian standards), and i opened the closet to discover that only one of my shirts had been returned.

noooo! only one shirt, and it had buttons missing??? not many choices there, and so i put it on, surprised to discover that everything was in order. then the penny dropped and i realized that he'd been signing that two of my shirts hadn't been returned yet.

*phew*

the training itself was fun and entertaining on both days, but today more so as i put the customers through their paces and did tricky things to test them. we were pretty much done by lunchtime, and the rest of the day was relaxed. i could finally spend some work time responding to urgent emails and imparting lessons learned from the training experience.

we went for lunch, and it was delicious. we had dinner when we got back, and it was delicious. the food here, for tourists at least, is really incredible. i haven't had a meal here that i haven't enjoyed, although today's were something seriously special.

---
tomorrow is our last day. i'm not sure what we face, but friday we leave and i will be feeling very relieved indeed. i might miss some aspects of hotel living, to be honest, but they're not as strong a pull as the crazy snow that's fallen in montreal this week or my own personal space with fallout 3.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

overdone

forget the day yesterday, some of which actually went well. we started early and only returned to the hotel around 10pm, eating our dinner through a conference call that can only be described as political and diplomatic.

today's the big day, and working or not we have to perform. meaning, i have to perform. i woke up around 3.30am with an inexplicable burning in my chest which i suspect of being caused by an ulcer. i hope i'm wrong. it's now hurried breakfast time and my stomache's doing backflips.

Monday, March 18, 2013

headlining

i just received a mail with (allegedly) tailored news, and the headlines read as follows:
"when is it ok to bash a founder?"
"is the death of javascript upon us?" (our tech is heavily reliant on javascript)
"the best definition of success is the one you never use" (are you happy)

is the internet hinting at me?

---
i woke up this morning (minutes ago) and listened to a bit of infected mushroom - classical mushroom. imo it's a perfect album that never gets old, and it invariably takes me back to the first time i heard it: back in the in-apartment bomb-shelter that i called my bedroom after drawing the short straw. those were interesting days. how was that thirteen years ago?

signing off on the wrong long weekend

this is fucking negligence: moonlighter has now achieved full liability status. we waited half a day for a half-assed, unplanned and untested fix to an issue that i simply cannot believe had not been dealt with as part of the original design. as in, there was no original design. the cto is supportive and defensive of his behaviour and that's caused me to lose all faith in him.

this little trip has been a complete perspective flip. i have gained insights into our company and our product that i might have glossed over if i'd been back at home base. well, maybe that's not necessarily true: the past couple of weeks have been extremely off the mark and frustrating.

i have been familiarizing myself with this company and its practices for most of the past half a year and actually working for about a month and a half, and i am shocked and amazed that a company with so much potential can be so badly mismanaged. if we can pull the present delivery off, we might be able to get things on track and i'd be really happy to be a part of that. but if we can't, well, then i guess it'll be time to go looking for greener pastures.

the relief comes in the form of discovering that if my employment is terminated for whatever reason, i can still remain here legally until my current permit expires and so go through a relaxed job search before re-applying for a new work permit as soon as i find other employment. i'm disappointed that i'm even thinking about this stuff so soon after getting started.

on an amusing note, all of this is happening and i haven't yet signed the contract. this is the second time i've been in such a situation (my previous engagement as a freelancer was also sans signatures) and that means that there's less chance of my being taken advantage of.

---
aside from an extremely unpleasant start to the day, the rest of it was quite comfortable. aota and i were taken out to lunch and later to drinks, and on all counts the food was exquisite. also, panamanian rum is exceptionally good! panama is beautiful, the people are friendly and i'm glad we're getting at least a little time to enjoy some of this trip.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

the "real" me

after a long day, i sat down for drinks with aota. her comment when i placed my first order? "yeah, let's meet the real you!"

i figured i'd just get tired fast and go to bed early, but after talking about our recently failed relationships we moved on to philosophy, psychology and religion. i got more excited in spite of the constantly flowing double jack daniels', and my favourite part of the evening was the bit where an otherwise argumentative aota was suddenly awestruck by the sheer coherence of my theories as it all came together in the first commandment.

---
today was not the saturday i'd been hoping for. i had to leave early to work and there wasn't a lot to do (moonlighter and the cto really weren't at full speed). there were three of us on call, and the two panamanians took me for lunch to a great spot with a fantastic view. there's a definite touch of paradise over here. the ceviches and panamanian local vegetables were delicious. it was fun! on the way there i was surprised to discover that the girl's music collection includes a lot of late 90s house, and i feel like i got to enjoy something touristy and local simultaneously.

at least the system seems to be stabilizing with all the small fixes... some of which i was shocked to discover weren't in the original design. *sigh*

---
comparisons:

1. i take back my comparison to israel, it's only relevant in terms of the weather. in terms of attitude, it's somewhere between india and africa, but i guess that's just a relatively uninformed opinion.

2. french versus spanish: similar, but one's pretentiously elegant and the other is fun and seems to flow a heck of a lot more easily; i can get the gist of things when i'm reading in spanish whereas with french every second word's a struggle.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

an academy of broken dreams

i woke up this morning from a deep, comfortable slumber. the view from the balcony was magic. the weather wasn't as bad as i expected - not compared to israel, at least - and breakfast was manageable. kind of. i guess i'll be consuming a lot of fish this week.

after a struggle to arrange room cards and pack the equipment, i joined our it guy in the taxi and we headed off to panama city. the canal's pretty, what we could see of it at least, and the whole area and city is pretty darn awesome. it's kinda like israel, only jungle instead of desert.

universidad de panamá: it looks like a bomb hit it ages ago and the janitors all quit. at first it was kind of boring, and i took the opportunity to go through my inbox and deal with all sorts of issues. but the real work started when moonlighter finally got his shit together, sort of, and the cto and i spend half the day coordinating testing. it was long, hard work and it got late very fast. i was tired and had a headache, but i know that aota isn't interested in leaving the hotel so i joined the it guy for a walk about town. after a decent dinner i bought some good rum fairly cheap (myers's), and we went to play pool in a super-divy joint. it was really fun!

i haven't a clue how we made it back to the hotel, because we don't speak any spanish and the taxi driver didn't know where it was. but i was exhausted and passing out on the back seat... until we arrived. after a quick shower i lay down to write this, and instead was distracted by a long series of insane ice hockey fights and amazing clips of ufc champion st pierre.

it's late, i'm tired... and i'm not looking forward to resuming this shit early on a saturday morning. today was delivery day: we should have been done weeks, if not months ago.

Friday, March 15, 2013

core temperature offset

last night, i was sweating just thinking about how hot it was going to be in panama when i arrived. the thought of it when i finished packing at 1am was enough to force me to open the window; i couldn't sleep otherwise. the -6 the night got to was good enough, though.

---
work yesterday was relaxed. the new director is precisely the kind of guy one should be able to expect in a managerial position. he's all about doing things right (even more than i am), and he has a head for meetings and memos (which i don't). this is seriously comforting. perhaps i'll learn a thing or two!

dinner with godmother after work was really nice; her doctor friend came over and made inappropriate consolations that were quite amusing: apparently montreal's jewish community could use another eligible bachelor. i was a little offended when godmother scrapped an offering on the grounds that i'm not a "creative type". i kept my begging to differ to myself :P

my packing took a while, and was accompanied by netflix's stand up shows - louis ck, aziz ansari and joe rogan. none of their performances were particularly good, but there were a few funny moments.

i woke up this morning to episodes three and four of penny arcade's strip search - it's simply excellent!

the officials at the us border told me that with my short-term visa stapled into my passport i wouldn't need to carry my old one at all. i found out the hard way that this only applies to ground entry - i couldn't check in at the airport and i was extremely fortunate to catch a ride home and back with our art lead who hadn't gotten far after dropping me off in the first place.

the front seat of a no-class emb-145 is nothing special. aside from overhearing conversations in yiddish (so it *is* a living language!), i passed the flight either nodding off or feeling crap.

no water on the plane?! i mean, nothing coming out of the tap, and waterless soap indicating that that's intentional? damn, united airlines, i've never heard that one before.

---
once again, i forgot to request vegan meals on my flights. i was hungry when the meal cart came by, and when i heard "cheeseburger or chicken wrap?" my choice was easy to make. the first few bites tasted weird, though i couldn't quite put my finger on what was bothering me. it wasn't bad, as such, but it definitely wasn't good either. then i got to the halfway mark, at which point i had a clear view of the wrap's contents. not so much with the chicken, and plenty with the cheese. what the hell? i immediately thought back to the news report i saw two hours before, about the heart-attack grill guy most unironically dying of a heart attack.

this is newsworthy in america? they don't exactly force you to eat there, their food does precisely what it says on the tin. free meals if you weigh more than 350 pounds? AWESOME. it's essentially a legal euthanasia clinic! they really shouldn't shut it down (i presume there'll be calls for that). a quick death by excess doesn't sound so bad, actually.

i dropped the wrap, and moved on to the salad. well, the lettuce. it came with a dressing, which i was tempted to use until i read through the list of ingredients, which would have done a fantastic job of mitigating any potentially healthy / not nutritionally irresponsible effects of eating the lettuce. i picked up the brownie, wondering if it was possible for it not to be too bad: milk, eggs, corn syrup... yeah, okay. whatever. but... "made with love"? love for who?

---
arrival in panama. first off, flying in over panama city at night is incredible, the city is magnificently well-lit and between the ships and the city it's beautiful.

the airport experience:

1. immigration was surprisingly uncomplicated.

2. i was shocked and horrified to discover that the lock on my bag was missing. my first thought was that crooked panamanians had picked the lock and stolen the demo equipment i was transporting, but the stuff was all there. later i found the polite little slip from the tsa: "to protect you and your fellow passengers... the officer may have been forced to break the locks on your bag". the bag was in transit, dammit. america, land of the free? that's a country that really doesn't understand the meaning of the word freedom. and privacy in particular.

3. i was worried about customs. i've heard stories. i lucked upon two officials who didn't speak english. after an odd back-and-forth, i asked if they wanted to send me to someone else.
"just go," i was told, with an unsubtle "just get out of here" to boot. i hadn't completed the forms, so they don't know what's in my bag, where i'm staying, or how to contact me. smooth.

the hotel:

it really is rainforest, the hotel is located in the middle of a national reserve. i'm sharing a room with our it guy. he regaled me with tales that make me certain that nobody's in control of what's happening here and that i may as well take things easy. i'm disappointed to learn that he's looking to work somewhere else; he's fed up with having so much responsibility and being at the mercy of bad management. i can't say i blame him, and i really hope that with our new additions we can turn things around a bit.

---
the remake of the jazz singer is very different from what i expected. also, much longer. it's a surprisingly good movie, and even more surprisingly serendipitous: jess and his wife separating because she's not into what he's into feels heartstring-tuggingly similar to my present story with pg. i'm not sure how i feel about the blackface nod to the original.

---
hmmph. i was totally getting into breaking bad, but then fallout 3. much healthier. also, i had a flash of inspiration on the way here for a quick and cool comic, maybe i'll play with that now that i should have a good deal of spare time.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

today should have been a friday

it might have been our wedding day, not a hug and awkward smiles farewell day, wishing each other safe travels through time, and being sure to keep in touch.

two years and five months (to the day) is such a very long time, to go bye in a mere week and a half.

de gray day

it was a perfect, perfect morning for staying in bed: cool, rainy, sleepy. and you could see that everyone was feeling it. a gray day, filled with warm and cozy spots. sitting on the metro, head down and eyes closed and hoping not to drift deeply enough into slumber to miss the stop.

the morning was quite good, and productive, but the afternoon was horrible. the trigger was two important remotely-hosted servers going down simultaneously when i needed them. that was when my ability to multitask was reduced to nothing and i simply didn't have the patience to do three things at once.

oh, and they're sending me to panama on thursday, instead of sunday. that gives me just a little less time to adjust. and pack.

i was going to take pg out for her last night here but it was raining and neither of us really felt like it. we watched bender's big score and ate well - she prepared enough food to last me a day or two, not knowing that i'm not going to be here to enjoy it.

*sigh*

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

real life fallout

huh. i was mostly asleep until i walked into work today, and most of the day just kind of passed on by. i guess things are okay, and i'm quite glad that we've got a new guy on board who speaks my language and is supposed to take on a sizable chunk of my responsibilities - freeing me up to do some actual development.

...

i came home relatively early, and after half an episode of the guild pg had dinner ready and we watched the original ghostbusters. by its end it was 10pm, and i should have known better than to get into fallout... hah! two hours flew by and it was suddenly late again.

that game... is... incredible. it's precisely the same as its predecessor, only the perspective and controls make it more personal. it's gorgeous. and its options are as open as can be. and there are so many things to learn! usually the hard way. but it doesn't matter. i kinda see this as a trial run. i haven't figured out my character at all and i really do want to be consistent. i can't explain why.

also, there's something special about standing up with the controller and fighting larger than life-size enemies. with such a massive viewing area, the experience is quite immersive ^_^

...

i've been the primary user of pg's ipad, so before showering we sat together deleting my accounts and apps and logging her in. tomorrow night will be the last we see of each other for a very long time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

standing by...

today was planned and executed accordingly:
1. return pg's snowboard
2. buy cabling for the home theatre
3. enjoy the home theatre

item 2 involved some time at best buy* - i think the cheapest purchase was the most important: fallout 3. i waited for years for it to come out, and until now have simply not had the means to acquire it.

* also canadian tire. no idea why it's called that, it's an alternative to walmart.

here's the thing: now that i've waited so long, i'm starting with all of the downloadable content and i'm playing it on a massive screen. the experience is visceral.

the intro alone has blown my mind: not only have they captured the classic fallout experience while using a first-person perspective, but to spend an entire chapter on character creation?? holy crap. i've now completed it and am already haunted by choices that i made in order to escape.

and, shit, i died at least twice trying.

anyway, after that pg made another delicious mexican-style dinner and we watched the second half of the original star trek movie. how brilliantly clever! it's a beautifully crafted movie with a beautifully crafted narrative. colour me impressed.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

mystical moguls

well. the coffee got me on my feet and outside, and now that pg's got the basics she's down with decent hills. the late afternoon was significantly cooler (still open-shirt, though) and the snow conditions were just shy of perfect.

i had so much fun! in particular, i challenged myself with a short off-piste mogul run which went invigoratingly well.

i'm really, *really* glad i dragged myself out of bed this morning ^_^

Saturday, March 09, 2013

too hot

i shouldn't just have left my sweater in the locker... i shouldn't have a jacket at all. and i should be wearing regular wrist protectors, not gloves. and shorts. this is weather for snowboarding in shorts. [note: 4 degrees]

i just put my head down for at least half an hour; non-stop dreams and i feel like i'm on a beach after a party. it's nice, but i don't want to waste the day!

questionable standing

it's 7am and i'm waiting in line for the bus. this is not entirely unheard of, but i've never done it after getting home rather drunk at 2am.

i know i was drunk because i got properly lost finding the metro station and had to take a (rather expensive) taxi.

the night was really fun, and i think i've lost my voice after shouting over the band at the cock 'n bull. we all talked a lot, including the random strangers who joined our table.

...

there was a weird moment on my way home from work when i was lost in karnivool - deadman and the words DEADMAN WALKING appeared behind the window in front of me (theatre poster).

did i mention that spring is here? it's palpable, even through the cold. it was totally refreshing to walk out at 6pm and still catch the sunset - the morning's weather was so perfect that it was a bummer going indoors!

the day was long and involved lots of phone calls from the cto: the last one was as everyone (including me) was filing out, and when the phone rang and i saw the caller id i could only respond by throwing up my hands and yelling "NOOOOOOOO!" at the ceiling. there were laughs and there was some concern, but i performed some placating gesticulations as i answered.

good news! it seems that moonlighter found his mistake. clean-up time.

Friday, March 08, 2013

mentally excavated

it's been weeks of babysitting interns, and my patience is wearing thin. also, this morning our cto decided that because of the problems caused by moonlighter not following procedure, all development must be stopped so that moonlighter can continue to work alone and without following procedure.

something in there does not inspire confidence.

---

i went out on wednesday night, yang let me in the back door: dubstep is house for the adhd generation. i was in need of good bass beats, the atmosphere was great, and overall the party gave me a serious confidence boost. nostalgia plus a sensation of getting back to the core of being me. it's the simple things in life.

one of the tracks got stuck in my head, some dude high-speed rapping in iambic pentameter. i tried reading shakespeare's sonnets in the same mode, and it's awesome shit.

---

i haven't really thought about going snowboarding lately, but i guess that's fair enough considering the last few weeks of unrest. i'm just trying to get my head around the upcoming changes - already, now that pg's been away for a couple of days, i've shopped alone and run laundry and ironed. it's the kind of thing that takes time and energy after a long day and that i've been fortunate not to have to do...

... if these are the things that are on my mind, then our relationship was definitely not in a healthy place. also, i keep trying and failing to understand how one can come to a new city and be entirely disinterested in going out and having fun in it, or meeting people. and i've been dragged along in that sense.

---

lots of stuff happened yesterday at work, but each item was just another step. nothing exciting, each one reminding me that we still have quite a climb ahead of us and not much time.

except for an argument with moonlighter. a long argument over the phone, in which he eventually convinced me to see things his way. the intensity was kind of disturbing, but the relief at finishing it amiably was nothing short of shocking.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

penny-wisdom

this little ordeal with the wrap1200 didn't just cost me psychological anguish and time: there's a monetary value attached. the price tag on my disappointment is about $135 in shipping and customs.

a nostalgic note

it's been a while since i wrote something i was proud of.

it's here.

consuming

okay, i'm about seven or eight episodes into breaking bad and its awesome level is through the roof!

on a completely different note, the second episode of strip search is fun, and it's short. check it out.

logic levels

how patient can i be, teaching a third-year engineering student basic logic? it's kind of embarrassing.

i feel like our interns, all engineering students from a rather prestigious university, are idiots.

---

rock music. vanilla rock, pop hits even (circa the 80s and 90s), can really make hard times easier. or maybe it's just a nostalgia thing. i mean, bon jovi will always take me back to age sixteen, playing pool and trying to score beers through other patrons of the heartache and vine. for example.

---

i feel like things at work are calming down, moonlighter gave a knowledge transfer this afternoon that demystified a critical part of our machine, and our new developer is really making me happy. newk'd is performing and the cto and i appear to be pulling in the same direction.

now if only my headache would go away.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

karma

it's true: everything happens for a reason. but 9 times out of 10, the reason has absolutely nothing to do with you. and it doesn't matter.

just saying.

the 90s called...

... to laugh at me for believing that 2013 technology would come even close to the vfx1. opening the box would've been more exciting if i'd opened the correct adapter's box first, but after the short and meaningless struggle i got the wrap1200 correctly connected to my iphone. the batteries were pre-charged as insinuated by the quick reference guide, i pushed the power button and hey! presto! the screen fizzled into just the right shade of blue and the on-screen video controls popped up.

they work, they really do, only that's all that works. the iphone was streaming a random show from netflix and it wasn't picking anything up, but even if it had picked something up i can tell you that the display size and experience were magnificently anti-climactic. it's like... a tiny screen... seen at an uncomfortable angle. like, wow.

so, umm, after all the payment frustration and delivery aggravation, i have to call them in the morning to get a return number and then ship it all back.

dammit.

apartment level up

projector + ps3 + sound bar: very cool home theatre! needs a bit of work vis-a-vis cabling. i'll deal with it.

now to check out the glasses.

Monday, March 04, 2013

the cheshire smile

the office day began with a cheshire grin from the technical writer; i've thought of her as "crazy cat lady" until now but i guess cheshire is more appropriate than crazy. it's as if that grin jinxed my day, man, in addition to creeping me out.

the main endeavor would have taken ten minutes if everyone had done things the easy way. but when you mistakenly think you're competent you can really mess things up. instead of working with the instructions, my interns had me rescuing them for over three hours. i need to make new guys write an exam or something, this is ridiculous.

of course, the surprise demo by our ceo helped my stress levels, and the more surprising catastrophic demo failure was the cherry on the top.

maybe pg's right. maybe i shouldn't work in such an unhealthy industry.

...

speaking of pg, i can't say i'm not distracted at all.

civil tongue

walking down cold, empty streets still recovering from the nuit blanche, with that crisp sense of deconstruction in a cool wind. i happily engaged it, breathing deeply and enjoying the fresh air and muted sounds of a city half-asleep, then realized that i'd been walking five minutes in the wrong direction.

back up, then almost patiently crossing the road to see the numbers.
odd, and i was looking for odd, so good.
across the road, the numbers were going in the right direction. i kept on, then suddenly the numbers were too high. i turned, then turned again. nonsense, i thought. i looked across the road, and decided not to ask myself why there are odd numbers on the even side; at least the number i was looking for was in giant lettering and not too far away.

i entered the building and took the elevator to the listed floor, from where they'd send me back to the entrance. i asked the security man if i'd arrived at the right place, and he became helpfully talkative as he pointed me to the tail end of a long, long line.

"i don't know how long you're going to wait here, though. and it's full upstairs. it could be a while. most people can't afford to come back when it's quiet."

music to my ears.

"until when can i come back?"
"if you're at this door by 4.29, you're safe."

that civil servant just made my day.

misery and company

friday:

mission to medical aid application
the day began with a hunt for my sin card - not something one wants to lose. i'd put it in a logical place but couldn't remember where that was; my memory was not helped by pg's certainty that she'd seen it somewhere else. memories are fragile things. tensions got high.

we were almost there when i remembered that we'd need passport photos. we had left them at home. the only place to get them done would only open in two hours.

we arrived at the place i'd been told was the place, only to be informed that it was the wrong place for what we wanted. by that time it was too late to return to the metro and start again.

the excitement of the first best buy pickup was pre-empted by ups automation frustration: we received authorization to have the package shipped to the local ups store, but the automated telephone service kept denying me access to an agent. apparently, the voice-command system understands expletives. when i eventually managed to get through, i spent a literal half an hour with an agent because my simply request overloaded her humanoid circuits. eventually, almost satisfied that i'd been understood, i was put through to payments and the woman there was efficient and helpful, running through everything that the agent had made a mess of within two minutes and providing me with all the confirmation numbers i could possibly want.

it felt like christmas, after a massacre.

[unpleasant health issue] the sight of large quantities of my blood did not make me feel any better. [i must have over-blown my nose]

then i entered the metro, running super late, and i would have caught the train if it had only stopped. wtf???

...

everything about work was better, except that i was feeling washed out and functionally braindead: people were having to repeat things slowly to me; internally, packet errors abounded.

dinner at godmother's (sans my uncle) was boisterous and incredibly amusing.

pg and i shared an uncomfortable moment on the way home. that was essentially the trigger for saturday's news.

---
saturday:

i dragged myself out of bed to go to the bank. the closest branch was closed, so i sighed heavily and hit the metro. the metro was terribly hot and stuffy. i arrived at my branch, and after a quick chat with the helpful guy at the info desk understood that my experience on thursday had little to do with my id, and everything to do with my not having issued a formal withdrawal order. the fool teller only had to tell me that, and i wouldn't have to return again on wednesday :(

i shouldn't have listened to yang: i found breaking bad on netflix and i'm now hooked. it's really as amazing as everyone says.

pg and i watched le crime est notre affaire (a really fun film!) before napping in preparation for nuit blanche. it was upon waking up that we had the rather important conversation that led to my pressing pg into making a call; one sentence was all it took to break off our engagement.

...

the snowfall over nuit blanche was perfect and perfectly fitting. we had a crappy meal at a downtown amir, got the gist of the fireworks (we were behind buildings, and they were still damned impressive), and stared at some excellent building art. the lack of signage and the dodgy nuit blanche app left us wandering aimlessly. getting coffee at the tim hortons was a horrid experience - even with other patrons trying to help us out, the organization was ridiculous and frustrating - and we entered a building that was four levels of utter disappointment.

it was time to go home. neither of us felt like going to sleep, so we drank and played fluxx until quite late.

---
sunday:

i woke up late, after long and detailed dreams involving a flood on eastern boulevard and playing with a pit bull puppy. i watched some more breaking bad and then pg offered to go shirt shopping with me. no way was i going to refuse that - i eventually came away with two more shirts and the impression that zara is a place for men who try too hard. but... why the hell can't a man buy simple, cheap collar shirts anywhere?

we had excellent bad mexican food - well, i've heard it's bad but we found it delicious and the service and atmosphere were great - after which i sat with godmother for a long cup of coffee to discuss the disengagement and the way forward.

dinner and galaxy quest: such a great movie! then lots of internet stuffs and now it's bedtime.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

disengagement

we've had our ups and downs, pg and i, and i think probably less downs than an average couple, my opinion being informed by pure speculation and intuition.

at the beginning of this week pg was suggesting setting the wedding date, but today it came out that she's been mostly unhappy with montreal, less happy with me than before, and her decision has been to fly back to israel and see if she can figure out what she wants to do with her life, where she'll be comfortable doing it and with what kind of person she'd like to be with.

not knowing any of these things is, in my humble opinion, not a good start for starting a family. also, as i've said before, i'm not interested in being with someone who's not sure that she wants to be with me. life's too short for that sort of thing.

i'm neither shocked nor hurt by this sudden change; just disappointed. ce la vie.

Friday, March 01, 2013

ups has downs

if i hadn't been so distracted when i left the office, i wouldn't have left my computer behind. if i hadn't been paranoid, i wouldn't have returned for it. and i wouldn't have found another delivery notice from ups, pasted on the front door of the building and not on our postbox. and the penny wouldn't have dropped. pennies need context, y'know?

so suddenly it hits me with the force of a giant facepalm: ups isn't to blame! our building manager is! the caretaker has assigned us an intercom number that cannot be connected because we don't have a landline!

so asshole delivery man, who of course has neither access to a cellular device (it's only 2013, after all, not every professional can be expected to carry such a thing) nor wits to dial the caretaker's code after nine separate attempts to make the delivery, simply gives up and posts his flyer.

i don't know who i'm frustrated with more, nor how i'm going to stomache paying a monthly bill for an intercom.

what - the - fuck.

a bad case of bossing

today began on a great note!

ayla's "liebe" after epidemic '96 as i waited on the metro platform, and all i could think of as i enjoyed the moment was "those who were dancing were thought crazy by those who could not hear the music" :)

but it didn't continue on such a positive note:

you know that expression "couldn't find his way out of a paper bag with a torch and a map"? well, today i sat for the final code review with cam2. it's not that he can't find his way out of the paper bag, it's that he's been pre-occupied constructing an intricate and elaborate maze inside it whose exit point is anyone's guess.

i was certain the man was going to cry as i cross-examined him, and i found myself quite unsettled and trying to soothe him. the problem is that after a month and half we've had nothing of value out of him, and it was time to call it fireds.

neither aota nor i have any experience with this sort of thing, but there you go. i was actually shaking before the ordeal, and am currently still feeling terrible even if it does seem that we handled it correctly and sensitively.

---

the ceo called and we had a LOOONG talk about where this company needs to be. that was followed by another long talk along similar lines with the coo.

that was followed by a heart-to-heart with the interns, and some catch-up and documentation that saw me leaving quite late.