Thursday, July 31, 2014

radiation scares

badger reposted this sad video about a young girl who got cancer.

it's always correct not to press electronics close to your body if they haven't been specifically cleared for that kind of thing, that doesn't mean wifi and cellphones are dangerous when used properly and there's no need for paranoia.
a lot of misinformation has been disseminated under the guise of science - one of the largest causes is discussed here: http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/a-disconnect-between-cell-phone-fears-and-science/

if you're worried about radiation in general, a great (easy to scan quickly) guide to different levels of radiation is available here: https://xkcd.com/radiation/

and if you're worried about microwaves... check http://nutritionfacts.org/video/best-cooking-method/ out!

this is nothing more than sensationalist media doing their uneducated fear-mongering thing. it's a terrible story you posted... i don't wish cancer on anyone... but seriously? under her bra? that's clearly not smart.

thursday already? part thursday morning

[... continued]

yesterday:

i called up my credit card company to switch to a plan that will give me air miles. it was a long call and involved two "please listen to this recorded voice reading off our terms and conditions in a bored voice"s, and just as we were finishing up and consenting she stopped being able to hear me. i stormed up and down the apartment fretting that i'd have to go through all that again, and after about a minute the connection improved and we were able to complete the call. whew!

on my way out i tried moving some of my music to my iphone, but it refused to sync. that's annoying. another paycheck or two and i think i'm going to pick myself up a newer model.

my morning was dedicated to finishing the build script and i was successful; i took lunch reading daniel burnstein - introduction to quantum-geometry dynamics; i'm only reading a little at a time and i already see what's getting so many people excited!

the moment that i got my build up and running, i excitedly jumped up and looked across to big junior, who had his back to me and was wearing headphones. i should have gone over there, but instead i called out his name. unintentionally loudly, in an otherwise silent open-plan office. the effect was dramatic, extremely embarrassing and i won't be making that mistake ever again :$

the rest of the afternoon saw me combining studying the system and fixing it, breaking only for an emergency junk-food run to the nearby walmart. i've learned a lot about the practical details of streaming video and audio and the limitations of html5 and mobile devices...

boxing was good, but i was most upset to find that i'd left my hand-wraps at home on a particularly sweaty day. i came home feeling good but was too tired to make proper dinner, so i ate badly and posted and crashed.

---
i just got up from epic dreams in sepia in an old muscle car, then climbing old stairwells on rollerblades; it was a dream with lots of threads and i woke up with almost nothing but a fallout sensation. i was feeling good, right until i was about to leave the bedroom - i was standing, relaxed, when suddenly a muscle in the middle of my back (the one that pinched my nerve a few months back) spasmed and with horror i felt a chain reaction up to my shoulder. i've stretched a bit and been subjected to a simultaneous massage and lecture about not hydrating enough, and i'm praying that it's not going to mess up my day.

i REALLY don't want to miss training tonight. i'm finally back in action! don't do this, body. please.

---
what's in a name? rather a lot, apparently.

thursday already? part wednesday night

holy crap, i'm gonna be due a paycheck in a moment. it's just past midnight and i'm risking a late night just to post this, but it's looking to be another busy weekend and this is the only real quiet time i have...

---
monday:

i suffered from rls and generally not resting enough. i woke up to chilly not-summer weather threatening rain and was frustrated by my hoodie going missing. for some reason it was an aerosmith morning.

an hour or so spent with big junior taught me that i need to be careful with him: he's the gatekeeper for the system i've been assigned to fix and he's really sensitive... smart guy, nice guy, but inexperienced, lazy in the wrong way and a little averse to change.

on my way to lunch i had another think about my middle east solution.

i got stuck with the stupid woman at the supermarket, who mumbled something to me so i had to take my other headphone out:
"that's mars," she said, pointing to my fruit fucker shirt.
"it's an orange, actually."
"no, mars is much more interesting."
...
"an orange ball, maybe, but not an orange."

*facepalm*

the next weird thing was one of my co-workers giving me a "gift" of an image of one of our porn service's girls wearing cat ears. that was a weird gift, and i tried to politely decline and [failed]. at least a couple of the others jumped in to the rescue.

pet peeve: relying on a specific build of something that's used in production and not knowing why nor how to go about building it? that's dangerous. that was my motivation to uncover the whole story of ffmpeg and libav in all its politically pathetic glory. what followed was two days of writing a build script that works, and learning a couple of really cool script tricks that resulted in something i was proud to commit to the team's tools repo ^_^

the rain outside was demotivating but i trained strong in spite of my desire to just go home. on my way out of the gym i realized i'd forgotten my headphones at work... which is really not a problem, my office is on the way to the metro :D

as i left the metro, aerosmith - walk this way came on and i couldn't not sing joyfully and add a bit of a spring to my step.

dinner was awesome in spite of a misunderstanding about a couple of disparate things i'd told gd about work and my co-workers. it's weird working with pornography. it's less weird than i'd imagined, but big junior told me a story about a creepy guy who used to be in the team and the very same day some odd guy from the company tried to friend me on facebook :S

we started watching expendables in anticipation of the third installment coming out. gd hadn't seen it, neither of us have seen the second. it's time.

---
yesterday:

a gorgeous morning to chase the miserable one, but rendered uncomfortable by all the antisemitism in our feeds. i tried finishing my chapbook, but the software i tried to use (bookwright) has a minimum of twenty pages. seriously?!

after a month of silence, i disconnected ff from the project and sent her an email explaining why. i just received a message apologizing, responded by making it absolutely clear what the problem is and invited her to rejoin *IF* she thinks that'll change. hopefully that won't be the last i hear from her.

during the day i had a meeting with the team lead for an overview of the system, and i discussed my pet peeve about naming things "new" and "old". he proceeded to demonstrate that i was totally right and he and the manager have agreed to address my concerns.

my team-mates have explained to me why physically visiting a bank teller is an unnecessary waste of time, but that was only after i complained about my bank needing a lunch hour express teller. after withdrawing the cash and paying my rent for august i was left with no time for lunch and i rushed back to a long, boring meeting :(
at least it's the last of the "this is what these meetings will look like" and they'll be quicker and more relevant from now on...

an afternoon of script wizarding whizzed by and i suddenly developed a headache just before kickboxing. that sucked. but in spite of that, and in spite of badger abandoning me to work with the sweet, slow and weak older guy, i managed to spend my hour and a half training hard and really pushed myself. badger and i were talking afterwards and ended up going shopping together so i could show her what to get now that she and her partner are considering a plant-based diet. the talk moved on to politics; we never really got into details about the middle east before and she now has as solid an understanding as anyone's going to get.

when i got home gd told me that she's spoken to nystire who'd told her to tell me about the game. i had a good laugh at that, because i'm not playing but it's rather special considering his usual bashfulness and the fact that he and gd don't know each other from a bar of soap. nice try, mate. nice try.

we finished watching expendables, which i already knew was terrific, then went straight to bed.

[to be continued...]

Monday, July 28, 2014

decadence day

it was a sunday spent half in bed, half out and about having a good time. the evening with gd's friends (my friends too, now) was awesome in spite of the fact that gd wasn't feeling well.

aaaaand that weekend went by quickly. back to work!

...

^_^

Sunday, July 27, 2014

life - work - balance - links

google founders think that we work too much? and some wealthy guy thinks three days a week is enough? i'll agree in principle, but i think that it's more realistic to suggest that people should focus less on hours worked and more on setting reasonable goals.

regardless, according to this article obama doesn't appear to be having much affect on the amount of hours americans are working.

---
as bored as i was about the world cup and as irritated by how badly fifa screws with the host countries, i'm impressed by the casa futebol proposal.

i've talked about switching off your car's engine before [here, here, here, here, here], i'm hoping that the fact that lifehacker is talking about it will get the idea spread...

synthesized biological leaves? sounds amazing!

---
on the nutrition front, here's how you should be looking at risk when it comes to food.

at least some health care organizations are cottoning on to the benefits of plant-based diets.

on the job - part ii

[... continued]

today:

my sleep was perfect and desperately needed, with crazy dreams i can't recall. i got up slowly, twice, spoke to my mother and rushed out for a meeting with the throw poetry collective. i arrived just on time and the meeting was interesting and motivating; also, résonance's chili on rice with its sour cream made of cashews and their latté with home-made almond / coconut milk made for a great lunch.

after two hours of that i visited godmother for coffee. on my way home vfmp and his boyfriend cancelled their plans to go see shakespeare in the park; i understood, seeing as the weather was a bit iffy, but wanted to go anyway. later, when gd and i were getting ready to go it started raining and then suddenly it didn't seem like such a good idea after all :P

saturdays are supposed to be gaming days for me, but i got in about ten or fifteen minutes of ffix before gd returned home. they weren't very good minutes, either :/
i then invested a bit of my soul responding to my unfunny south african comedian ex-friend... it's not a regular duty calls, this is a case of an otherwise intelligent jew with an audience who's clueless about what's going on and is spreading lies that cause anti-semitism. the world is really sucking right now.

my short nap didn't cure my exhaustion, but it made the rest of the evening manageable.

...

we watched the rest of safe, which is an intensely fun film, and finally put stickers on the magnets gd bought so we have a useful tool for keeping track of what we need to do when we get home or before we leave. now that i've posted, it's 3.30am and it's just started raining and we're going to bed.

on the job - part i

achievement unlocked: onboarding (the next milestone).

godmother was telling me earlier that the first phase of joining a new company should be elation: check! on my way home last night i couldn't stop thinking about something: i'm working for a company where people share my taste in games to the point where i got loud compliments for my syndicate shirt, and if you don't spend your lunch hour playing something you're looked at with suspicion! even one of the security guards stopped during his rounds to inquire about shadowrun online and ask if i'd played its predecessors.

---
tuesday:

i can't remember my dreams from so long ago, but the note i wrote for myself was "packed holiday festival city of madness".

i couldn't snooze but enjoyed a fantastic wake-up anyway. we had another discussion about the middle east and how we define friends, after which *gd* poked fun at *me* for being disorganized and hurried on my way to work because i've been doing the same to her for months.

for the first couple of days this week, we suffered from an ugly heat wave.

the company provides breakfast to anyone who gets in before 10am. bagels and fruit? don't mind if i do! i spent the day glued to my screen, taking only ten minutes for lunch. i chased that with kickboxing. in the middle of the class my sweating from the heat turned to cold sweat from low blood pressure, but with a little encouragement i pushed through and finished satisfied.

i was, however, disappointed with myself for having forgotten to bring dry underwear. there's nothing like getting out of the shower and putting on the sweaty ones you've just trained in. less disappointing was discovering that my old wraps were actually in my bag - because i hadn't been able to find them earlier i'd bought new ones. and the new ones are awesome.

i quickly shopped and went past my apartment to try and clear mail but the tenants weren't in. when i got home it was still super hot and humid (so much so that the fan was ineffective) and i was super tired to match. i couldn't believe i managed to eat anything in that state.

i watched an episode of hunter x hunter and half an episode of one piece, argued with an anti-israel jewish comedian i used to be good friends with and then went to bed.

---
wednesday:

i woke up from a series of sci-fi dreams that were epically and indescribably weird. i was so spaced out that i filled the blender with water before connecting the stopper, so that saw me unhappily cleaning up water that had poured everywhere. recently gd was watching a documentary and the following quote made a strong impression:
it's not the large things that send a man to the madhouse... no, it's the continuing series of small tragedies... not the death of his love but the shoelace that snaps with no time left.
— charles bukowski
i left just as the rain stopped and the thunder and lightning afterwards was magnificent. the morning was consumed by meetings, i tried to have lunch at subway but the one across the road has stopped serving falafel too... i picked up a veggie burger from harvey's instead. just as i returned i received a call from a recruiter who wanted a reference for my ex-co-worker who i had coffee with a couple of months ago. i was only too happy to provide a good one, and was pleased and amused when the recruiter began asking after my details and i thanked him and informed him that i'm very happy at the moment :D

the afternoon's training went well, and i was deeply satisfied by the general good vibes in the office. i walked out shocked that the week was flying by so quickly! i picked up my mail, stopped for an energy bar and coffee, then hit the gym.

i've been promising myself new equipment for months now, and i finally bought new gloves. they're fantastic! they have small holes for breathability and i can feel the difference. also, they were the only 16oz gloves available and they're a gorgeously ugly blue and yellow ^_^

one of the boxing coaches recently underwent neck surgery and he taught me to do isometric neck stretches pre-training. i can feel the difference, it's easy to do and it's just become a part of my routine. boxing was cool, even though i got stuck with the time waster. it was frustrating but he did actually make a little progress and i got a pretty solid workout in spite of him.

i walked to the metro facing a breathtaking sunset and i was feeling good. dinner was drawn out but was stupidly delicious: my usual salad (before i learned about steaming vegetables) but with avocado and aux vivre's dragon sauce. WOW!

we started watching jeff who lives at home, then went to bed.

---
thursday:

i got up with stiff, sore arms and lats. i needed to sleep late but that was denied. it would have been a beautiful morning if not for the antisemitism in the news. and that seems to be getting worse.

i left comfortably late, worried about an accident warning on the line i needed but nevertheless arrived on time. it was a jamiroquai day (i bought high times) and half of it was spent trying to get doxygen to parse php properly.

there was a company lunch and it's a BIG company, there was no way that i was waiting in an insanely long queue for a lunch that wasn't guaranteed to be vegan friendly. instead i picked up a frozen meal at the supermarket, and by the time i got back the rush was over and a single vegan sandwich was left. i wolfed down both lunches.

on the way i tried to call my visa hotline; the damn iphone keeps blanking my screen at the worst times and i eventually gave up. i guess my proximity sensor's screwy.

i completed the research i'd been doing to a reasonable degree and began translating some of what i'd learned during the week into documentation. the girl who sits next to me and i were the last to leave, and she asked me why i wasn't messing around like a lot of the others. apparently my behaviour this week is "grinding rep" :) i can afford to keep this up for four months at least!

my body was still hurting pre-training and the kickboxing class was rough, but i completed the class deeply satisfied and feeling a lot looser. on the way home i thought out of the box, which got a lot less of a response that i'd hoped for, and gd and i finished watching jeff who lives at home which is a fantastic film.

---
yesterday:

the weather was definitely cooler, and i dreamed epic dreams. the morning began well with me singing along to simon & garfunkle, and continued with a relaxed code review and a long qa meeting that almost put me to sleep. i had a serious pre-lunch avocado and spinach sub that was huge and delicious, ate lunch while playing shadowrun online and spent a slow, meandering afternoon analyzing the code i'm going to be working on.

did i earn my weekend? i feel amazing about my week. i ran to walmart but couldn't find what i was looking for, picked up rainbow mentos (which turns out not to be vegan) and remembered just how awesome their flavours are.

we had a fantastic friday night boxing class, working hard and feeling good... minus wrist shock from doing impact with one guy who's so solid that hitting him hurt me. the shower afterwards was great, and i walked out bubbling with excitement over ending a week that has been consistently excellent. ^_^

gd ordered good indian food for dinner and we started watching safe.

[continued...]

Friday, July 25, 2014

out of the box

the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

we're way too into this whole democracy thing, israel isn't exactly a shining example of a functional one and most of the powerful countries aren't either. so i say fuck democracy, turn israel into a totalitarian jewish state with democratic values like freedom of speech and equal rights and let all the palestinians in for a completely fresh start.
enforce a separation of church and state, expel any trouble makers, declare a large buffer zone, patrol the borders properly and spend the military money we'd save on new infrastructure for all.

nobody would get to vote, which is great because the entire middle east is filled with incompetent voters regardless of race or religion.

it seems to me that the potential for disaster with this plan is no worse than the current options on the table, the potential for success unlimited and immeasurable. all arguments (for and against) welcome.

[edit] okay, maybe a democracy in which you only get to vote if you've done military or community service and haven't been on any form of welfare since the last election.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

regression: protective edge media update

i guess this fighting's not ending anytime soon, and it's paining me to see friends getting sucked into it. i responded to a post of bnw's before going to bed and then found myself awake in the middle of the night worrying about fighting with strangers on her wall. so i deleted the comment, sent it privately and began this post instead.

...

you don't believe the jews? well, here's a lebanese woman who's seen it all. if you don't speak hebrew, almost everything she says is in english. she's the same brigitte gabriel who spoke at duke university many years ago.

here're some interesting and disturbing articles from un watch:


this article speculating on the media focus on gaza contains a lot of food for thought, but the conclusion leaves me wondering why nobody gives a damn about darfur.

---
an argument with someone i went to school with who's completely lost the plot has proved to be most informative: i had no idea netanyahu has been lying to everyone (again, but on a different issue) nor that attitudes appear to be growing bleaker. that nobody has faith in obama is unsurprising, but the rest of the stats paint a picture that means something.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

sweaty in sheep's clothing

örmagörd.

it's soooooo hot. and we only have one fan, it's in the bedroom. i'm standing here with the window and door open to the night air and i'm sweating bullets.

after a great weekend, i went into work today and found myself very comfortable indeed. it's a great environment, the conditions are excellent and my team members? very smart, and very chilled. and even if they weren't i would be making the best of it, but i hope my first impression lasts. the funny thing is that one of the reasons i'm so at home is because it's just like the army: a big company with more bureaucracy than employees. very dilbert, without a very NOT-pointy-haired boss. very i-can-handle-this-shit.

---
friday:

i performed my duties while gd watched half of american: the bill hicks story. we sat down to eat, all excited about watching the amazing spiderman 2 on crackle, but it was just the trailer. it should have said TRAILER, then. bastards!

so we watched bad boys instead, learning the ads by heart as they each repeat three or four times every twenty minutes.

---
saturday:

waking up was tough, and "ghetto shaving" without water wasn't actually as bad as i thought it'd be. the craigslist guy delayed my exit because he woke up too late to meet at our appointed time and i had shit to do. after making me wait for ages the day before, he should have been too embarrassed to screw that up :/

i made my appointment just on time, the consultation was brief and not particularly enlightening. my neck was too tanned to get started with the treatment, though, so i made an appointment for three weeks' time and i'm supposed to be exceedingly careful about staying out of the sun. i've had more exposure with less protection in the two days since than in a long time, which is kinda embarrassing...

i picked up a coffee bodum to replace gd's nail-you-in-the-hand one, met the craigslist dude for a smooth handover and slumped on the couch for more ffix. that damned grotto is mean! but after a few attempts (and, i'm ashamed to admit, a quick glance at a walkthrough) i got through to the boss and he's waiting for me for next time.

i left home late to meet vfmp and his boyfriend, and arrived with about three minutes to spare - talk about cutting it close. half an hour later we were in the suburbs (west island), enjoying a beautiful afternoon with badger and co in the swimming pool, stuffing ourselves on a great vegan barbeque and then losing myself in the jacuzzi. i've got to get us a hot tub. i felt like i'd returned to the womb, i don't remember when last i relaxed so perfectly! high on a hot tub, i was.

badger's dogs (boxers) are wonderful, one of her friends broke the ice by farting loudly as she joined us poolside (she's pregnant), and all around everyone was nice and interesting. the music was good too, it turns out that badger's into good trance :)

i was disappointed when gd called to say she couldn't make it, but not surprised. her timing was excellent, though, because the guys were just leaving so we all went together. gd and i had an evening of bad boys and massages. not quite as good as a jacuzzi, but certainly nothing to complain about.

---
yesterday:

there was a scary freak-out at 1am caused by a leg cramp, followed by deep dreaming and stunningly restful sleep. newk'd and his girlfriend came over for haircuts and i taught them both the basics of tekken, and it was gratifying to see them both get it and to see her beat him in a close round :D

we left for yoga in the park, and our exit was plagued by not-a-comedy of errors. our spirits and tensions bobbed up and down until we got to the park, where we met up with horseman and gd's best friend and did some really hard yoga that had at least two of us feeling all bubbly and good afterwards!

i tried really hard to avoid the sun but even my oversized hat couldn't protect me; we made our way to see great friends of gd's who i hadn't met yet and our first stop was a new vegan place that had just closed for the afternoon. fortunately they have a car, so we drove over to aux vivres which is always full of win.

the couple is fascinating, he's a writer and she's a producer / director / artist, and he's also slowly becoming a well-respected self-taught physicist. we all talked for hours, my brain was really flexing and being stretched and it was so nice to feel like it was mutual!

after they left, gd made delicious noodles, we watched about half of men in black 3 and then quickly passed out.

---
today:

no snooze for you! gd was having none of it. i crawled out of bed, did the dishes and made breakfast, then climbed into an argument of gd's because a "friend" of hers kept attacking her for having a different view of what's happening in the middle east. i'd post here what i wrote but i've already said that i'm done for now, though it's a relief that instead of fueling the fire what i wrote managed to get her to back off.

...

dressing like a grown-up sucks, but i'm very fond of gd's drawing for the day which is of me dressed up as a capital letter.

[revenge exit difficulty]

i left a little later than i'd planned, and was horrified to see 18 minutes till the next metro written on the display! fortunately they'd gotten it wrong and just before i gave up and rushed off to find a cab the next one entered the station. i could NOT be late for my first day.

inside the metro and out, i was sweaty in my sheep's clothing. in spite of that, i felt good and confident with the orientation. i would spend the rest of the day setting up my dev station and learning the ropes. one of those ropes was finding lunch, and after a couple of failed searches i ended up walking all the way to my old supermarket. we have no freezers, so i'll have to pick up a frozen meal every day and the walk takes a good chunk of my lunch hour...

it's a nice excuse to walk outside, but there was a lot of sun and i was unprotected :(
and for some reason my liver was hurting me. i suspect dehydration. at least once i got back i learned where the coffee and purified water are located.

i returned sweaty after my walk and then proceeded to nuke my lunch; when i opened it and the steam hit my face things got even worse! once i got back upstairs, i made a point of going around my team and inspecting them for dress code. tomorrow, i'm going in wearing shorts and a t-shirt :)

i walked out feeling like i'd have to be a complete asshole to be fired. i mean, i'm competent and professional, they're easy-going people and i only have to do my job. which looks interesting and challenging enough.

...

i stopped by walmart to finally pick up sunscreen, tried and failed to find a good sports bag and saw a sign that said $7 for badminton sets. gd wants to play, so i thought "how convenient!", picked up a set and went to pay. i was not pleasantly surprised when the bill came to $10 more than i was expecting, and after waiting for a manager for ages and then dragging him back to the source of the trouble we discovered that some asshole had thrown a completely different (much higher quality) badminton set in the wrong rack.

jolly good :/

...

i came home, went for a good run and sat down to a feast gd had prepared. neither of us had the energy to watch much, having to fold laundry and make the bed was a bit of a buzz-kill and i really shouldn't be drinking beers in the middle of the week. i had shit to do.

but at least i've written this, right?

Sunday, July 20, 2014

protective edge media update

this is what happens when you stop to think for two seconds.

as i've said before, the more you support hamas and its actions and the more you hate on israel for defending itself the more you hurt the palestinians as well as the israelis. your "omg israel is horrible" is only keeping the war going.

...

when you post propaganda you're picking a side. here's an article entitled why i'm pro-israeli AND pro-palestinian, it's badly written but absolutely correct. between this and the previous link, i've said just about everything that needs to be said and i'm now ready to resume with my regular programming.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

a head full of clouds

my neck's a bit screwed, and i haven't been to the gym since last week. this might have something to do with my spending an inordinate amount of time on the couch playing final fantasy ix. i'm thoroughly enjoying myself!

---
tuesday:

gd made excellent burgers and we washed them down with beers while watching the first half of the amazing spiderman, which as i remembered correctly is infinitely cooler and more fun than the tobey maguire version. gd went to bed and i spent a couple of hours drying out my eyes on final fantasy, and at 2am i looked at my phone and was amazed at how beautiful the resolution is compared to graphics from the turn of the millenium.

that night i dreamed deeply but couldn't recall a thing.

---
wednesday:

i continued playing in the morning, and it took me many attempts to kill black waltz 1. each attempt costs a game reload and clicking through a whole lot of speech bubbles, and after what felt like hours (probably forty-five minutes) i eventually succeeded! after all that i found what zidane told the rest of the group kinda insulting.

i went on a mission to buy an rca-headphone cable and builder bars, and it was such a gorgeous day i decided to walk from vendôme to the starbucks near villa maria to meet vector. our meeting was really positive and it seems like we're going to be good :)

on my walk back to vendôme i really felt the spirit of being on holiday; not just behaving like it but knowing that i have nothing to worry about? it's been a long, long time since i've been this relaxed.

i walked past rejuice! and was pleased to see they have vegan lunches. they're not marked, so i was a little shocked when the woman charged me $16 for the salad i'd taken. seriously?! i then stopped in at a coffee shop next door and their $10 sandwiches didn't sound much better. westmount prices are something else.

i went looking for the commensal that google maps says is in my area, but that turned out to be a lie and ultimately ended up becoming a scenic route to midi 6. at least i got a whole lot of cool photos. i returned home with a full belly, a bag full of chocolate and a head full of clouds. on the way i picked up horseman from the metro and we played an hour or so of good tekken, and i discovered that other great titles are available on psn like abe's exoddus and crash bandicoot: warped. i'll get those when i'm done with what i'm currently into :P

we went for a walk along the canal, then i returned home with plans to rest. SxS and i have been playing phone tag for a while now, and i called him again. i forgot i called and accidentally left a five minute junk voicemail... how embarrassing!

i played some more ffix until gd came home, and we talked about himalayan salt. everyone talks about the wonderful properties it has like it's magical or something, but the only substantiated claims i could find online boil down to "salt isn't bad for you" or "salt can be good for you". if anybody reading this has a link to real data regarding the pink wonder-salt, i'd be really happy to see a link to it below.

gd made INCREDIBLE tortillas using fake ground beef i'd bought, and we settled in to watch oldboy (the spike lee remake). it's a brilliant film and i was blown away. almost everything was fantastic (or fantastically horrifying), the only thing i didn't like was that sharlto copley really wasn't a good fit for the character he played.

i followed that with a good deal of ffix progress.

---
yesterday:

i got some hard sleeping done. hard like a log. i woke up to a sore neck and played a little more ffix. not really good for the neck.

somebody messaged me about a craigslist listing of mine, the listing was in english and they messaged me in french, so i responded in french only to discover that they're anglophone and their french is so lousy gd couldn't make heads or tails of it. later i'd discover that the dude was more of an asshole than that; i messaged him to confirm that we'd be meeting and he told me he didn't have the full amount on him and going to the bank would take too long. really?! if i wasn't so desperate to get rid of the damned thing (a model porsche) i would have told him precisely where he could stick his story.

i passed out for a bit, then woke up hungry and we still didn't have lunch. it's really hard to find commensal meals in this area! impossible, even. gd and i walked for a bit on her way to the gym, and we argued about ideological weaknesses.

strong people who feel they have control over their lives don't cause pain, they care and they build. when i say that i give people the benefit of the doubt i don't mean that i think people are by default smart or kind, i mean that they don't intentionally behave like assholes. that doesn't excuse bad behaviour, but it transforms my attitude towards them from anger to pity. gd and i had quite a misunderstanding, but we resolved it before she arrived so that's all good.

printing my documents for my first day at work was a breeze, and i sat down for lunch at satay brothers at atwater market for late lunch. the cashier knows his shit, he was able to warn me immediately that the tofu buns have skim milk in them (??!) and was able to suggest a decent vegan offering. which was delicious! oh, and he appreciated my ren and stimpy shirt, instant brownie points.

i struggled with the ps3 youtube interface for a while because you can't search or browse through channels. i played a little tekken and then took the metro to make the sale. i went into walmart and picked up yoga mats for gd and horseman, then returned home for more ffix and a little nap. gd made a wonderful quinoa dinner and we finished watching the amazing spiderman, supertongue called for advice on how to go vegan (slowly, i told her), and gd and i resumed watching detachment. phenomenal film, absolute must-see.

after being disappointed by the lack of offerings on canadian netflix, we watched a fair amount of the a-team and gd went to bed. i played with ps3 themes and converted some miyazaki films to mp4 so i can introduce gd to them.

---
today:

i slept well but woke up with my neck feeling even worse :(
another craigslist listing of mine - my taekwondo gear - had a pursuer and they'd been in touch the night before, talked about meeting in the morning at 11am and had promptly gone silent. i took the gear along as i went to pay a visit to a laser clinic gd had checked out, then bought coffee and waited (writing a bit, i'm quite satisfied with my use of that time) and eventually returned home only to receive an sms to say that they were talking about tomorrow. assholes abound.

anyway, i bought a razor because i have to shave my beard for tomorrow's consultation (damn!!!), tweaked role models and wrote cattle farming, then walked into canadian tire to buy a bunch of random shit we needed. then i spent my afternoon playing more ffix, discovering crackle (a whole bunch of films we couldn't find on netflix!) and crunchroll (great anime experience! but disappointing library).

i've seen an episode of sword art online, watched one of hunter x hunter and sunk into writing this. suddenly 7pm has rolled around and i've needed to do some shopping (and dishes) before gd arrives... uh, oh :P

a response to BDS propaganda

i've lost the link, but badger asked me to respond to a video that falsely summarizes the history of the arab-israeli conflict.

no, not really, this is a perfect example of the BDS movement's propaganda. the sad reality is that israel isn't interested in controlling more land, israel is interested in maintaining security. there are a couple of contentious settlements - and most israelis want them evacuated as soon as possible - but the ongoing fighting and terrorism make it practically impossible for this to be dealt with.

until the british ended their mandate the jews and arabs, while not living precisely harmonious, were allied in their desire to get rid of them and actually worked together. the jews have been proposing a two-state solution since the late 1920's, but the rest of the arab world (the notion of "palestinians" is a recent invention) rejected a jewish state and attacked when independence was declared, and what we're seeing now is still the independence war that never truly ended. when i say there were no palestinians, what i mean is that there were egyptians and there were jordanians, but when they fled during the war their countries refused to shelter them, which is why they're refugees now.

the sad truth is that the palestinians are pawns in the greater arab world's fight against the existence of israel, they have been oppressed and weaponized essentially by their own people. israel is the only entity in the region that's actually interested in their welfare - israel has been looking to make peace since its inception - but they keep having to fight the terrorists who use the palestinian people both as weapons (suicide bombers) and as human shields. from the palestinian perspective, it's very hard to negotiate with people who you've been brought up to hate and have been taught are the reason your lives suck, and from the israeli point of view it's very hard to negotiate with people who are constantly attacking you because they're not at liberty to do anything else.

the territories in question have been under exclusive control of terrorist organizations for many years now, and so no matter how many innocent, long-suffering palestinians there may be who have had it with fighting and just want to get on with their lives they have no control over their situation. hamas has brutalized their population in the name of the war on israel and currently all the casualties you're seeing are caused by people walking knowingly to the deaths as the israelis warn about impending strikes. even the egyptians, who HATE israel and israelis, are sick and tired of seeing what hamas is doing to the region and to the palestinians.

regarding "second class citizens", israel is no angel but the arabs living under israel's authority are the only arabs in the entire middle east to enjoy western rights just like everyone else. the right of return is an issue only insofar as it's a barrier to negotiation. that part's complicated and ugly.
israel has arab members of parliament and a vocal and visible arab population.

all of the fighting, the BDS movement as a whole and the terrible media bias against israel does little to help the palestinians. the longer everyone sides with terrorism the longer this story is going to be drawn out. the israelis have been sick of it for decades, and there're definitely a lot of palestinians who just want these horrors to end. but first the hate and the attacks have to stop. when things are quiet and israel's not on the defensive, they'll address the settlements because nobody wants them, they're a huge burden on the country.

the palestinians have recently created a new hashtag #FreeGazafromHamas and everyone who's hating on israel right now, everyone falling for "pallywood" using images from syria and even stills from hollywood movies to shock and enrage and inspire antisemitism, everyone calling israel an aggressor is only making their situation and their bondage worse. when the palestinians are given an opportunity to decide their own fate instead of being directed by countries like iran, the chances for peace will shoot up infinitely.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

fantasy holiday

yesterday:

on the way to godmother's, i asked about "ö". turns out we've been saying "örmagörd" a lot. dinner at godmother's was mostly nice, although uncle hate was being a right bastard and turned the salmon catching fire into an excuse to shame godmother's cooking - which is really good.

after dinner we walked to yeh!, and their raspberry / mango sorbet mix was AMAZING.

more disturbing than the vomit on the escalator at the metro station was gd reporting it and seeing the guy working the booth zip up his trousers as he stood up to respond.

...

i purchased final fantasy ix on psn last night, it's my first purchase and it seemed like a worthy one because i thought gd would like it. i started downloading it when it was already late, and it took longer than anticipated so my eyes were shutting long before i got to bed. i finally cleared the dishes and started reading dresden codak. it's stunning, but too many external references and i lose curiosity and just kinda buzz over whatever i miss...

---
today:

so gd is not a gamer. i learned this this morning. turns out a combination of my wishful thinking and cognitive dissonance got in the way... after we'd established that, i received an email from my office informing me that i'll be starting work on monday, so that gives me a week of real holiday! obviously, i sat right down on the couch and fired up final fantasy again, this time with myself at the helm.

there's a lot less control than viii and not being able to save in a hurry is frustrating, but it's otherwise beautiful and cute and i'm looking forward to more. also, $10? worth it.

...

why is it not summer? what the hell is going on? it's been raining and miserable and chilly and it's mid-JULY already!

...

gd and i went to meet vfmp in the village, and we stopped at folies en vrac for wraps. their za'atar laffa was too hard, and their falafel too dry, but overall it was a tasty, solid lunch. we then sat down with vfmp for coffee, before deciding that it was too cold with the aircon. so we went outside, where the temperature had dropped and the wind had come up, so gd made her way home and we walked to sophie sucrée for damned good vegan cupcakes and tea.

[meta misunderstandings make for disturbing the peace]

vfmp and i had a long talk about political media bias, the arab-israeli conflict and what's going on over there right now, conservatives versus liberals and crowdsourced government. then i came home and [a weirdly upsetting and relieving discussion] and now shit's all good and i'm ready to relax.

just as soon as we get back from braving the cold to go shopping.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

protective edge media update

yesterday there was a riot in toronto. nothing's changed, anti-semitism rules the day. nobody who's made up their minds already is going to see anything other than an extreme zionist point of view in this, regardless of the fact that what this man's saying is absolutely correct.

here, it's difficult to express any other point of view without being shouted down by those who mistakenly think they're defending human rights, even when what they're really supporting is quite the opposite.

never again? wishful thinking.

---
i've seen a number of videos posted with jews spouting pro-palestinian propaganda. it's incredibly distressing, they're ignorant people giving legitimacy to something that's hurting jews and palestinians alike.

permission granted!

achievement unlocked: work permit acquired (the next milestone).

one of the lawyers drove me to the border as my representative, and i was shocked to learn that the previous time my lawyer had given me bad instructions! as it turns out, if you tell the americans that all you want to do is turn around at the border they will refuse you entry and give you a white slip, which you then take to the canadians. as far as the work permit application is concerned you're entering the country from the united states, but as the united states denied entry the border officials essentially have to let you back in because they weren't supposed to let you out in the first place.

that's all very, very weird, and super-bureaucratic. but i guess if everyone's happy with it then i'm happy with it, and the guy who admitted me was really cool and efficient. having been through the process a couple of times before i was a lot less nervous. but still a little nervous: those guys are essentially omnipotent regarding permits and visas, i wouldn't want them to dislike me.

...

i was pleased to learn that i pretty much know my shit regarding the permits and residence application procedures, but i was fortunate to learn that the rules for applying for residence might change soon. this means that i need to pitch a no-hitter for the next four or five months if i don't want to find myself having to fight to stay here...

---
saturday:

i forgot to mention a thought i had on saturday about the burqa fundamentalist muslim women wear: its use puts humans on the same level as all the other animals, where the females have drab colours and the males have otherwise useless or counter-productive flash, like the peacock.

with the good news that i'll be working again, i splurged on itunes: i bought foo fighters - greatest hits for $7. and then today i picked up a comedy album whose proceeds are all going to a good cause, but i'm so far a lot less satisfied by that one :/

---
i tried to take a nap after lunch, but my ocd was acting up and i began compulsively tidying. which mostly consisted of setting up the old amp and speakers in gd's "salon". we're now one rca-to-headphone cable shy of awesome :)

we watched stake land after going shopping, and were both thoroughly enjoying ourselves right until the end. it's a bad-ass super-cool movie about what are essentially a cross between vampires and zombies, and the ending made me feel like the world had dropped out from under me. in a bad way. other than that, the writing was really good, aside from one scene where it felt like someone had just stopped caring for a moment because they wanted a fun, scary effect that couldn't be easily justified.

gd made a double veggie / daiya cheese burger that was delicious, and we watched a bit of dan cummins - crazy with a capital f until i realized that it was midnight and i needed to be up at 6am.

---
today:

around 4am i got up to serious rls, and it took about forty-five minutes to go away. i finally fell back into bed, and had a nightmare in which i watched a large green spider enter an infant's nose. after that i rushed off, barely in time to meet with the lawyer and cross the border, but had to get off the bus i'd just hopped on to return home and pick up forgotten documents. i woke up with that dread still in my chest, and discovered that i'd slept through my alarm and it was ten minutes after i'd intended to leave; it took me half an hour to get out - butterflies in my stomache turned out to be more than just butterflies - and thank all the gods gd had ironed my shirt the night before and knew where the shoe polish was.

of course, my representative would call when i was down in the metro: why does my phone bother ringing if there's not enough signal to talk? then there was a metro service slowdown, but it was only for a few minutes. then i got lost in the building, but the guy found me instead.

...

it was a gorgeous morning and the scenery on the way down to the border was stunning. on the way back, my lack of sunglasses, my lack of sleep and the looooong drive with aircon and no fresh air had me trying to hide yawns all the way. i kicked myself for a while after we said our goodbyes and i ended with "see you soon" :$

i thought i was going to take a quick nap but i crashed hard for an hour or two. gd and i played carcassonne, which she eventually enjoyed, and the rest of the afternoon has been a whole lot of random, including some very unpleasant political stuff with our friends on facebook.

at least there's more good news: vector's back on the project! very cool, that had been upsetting me.

Monday, July 14, 2014

this week's points of interest

between this piece on nikola tesla and the posts on driving the tesla and another reason why elon musk is a hero, these oatmeal articles are all awesome and inspiring.

jaguar's land-rover's HUD is also very, very cool.

from a medical point of view, 3d-printed casts are almost as great as the first approved exoskeletons.

...

you might also find some of these free microsoft materials helpful.

finally, i'm shocked to say that a pop star has actually written a very clever op-ed.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

in a pinch

my back's being indecisive. pinched nerve or strained muscles?

yesterday was a strange day. i got some cool stuff done, and i studies a lot of things that i don't have context for. in between:

i read this month's wired's the code article: how to not be a jerk in the digital age. it's an absolute must-read.

i've played a bit of shadowrun online, which is just the right amount of challenging and the latest fixes make it a lot more fun.

i've had pleasant drinks with kgb and his girlfriend, and i'm guessing by the next time i see them they'll be parents.

gd and i started watching hick last night, continued this morning and we've still got about half an hour to go. it's a wonderful, wonderful film, dark and funny and beautifully made.

---
i'm sitting in a corner as far from the lounge as possible because gd's giving a haircut and we haven't set up a sound system in her "salon" yet so the volume there's on max. i've been feeling super-awkward since yesterday. at least the weather's perfectly depressing, it's like the universe wants me to keep to myself for a bit.

protective edge media update

seeing an israeli official being interviewed in arabic and actually being heard is extremely gratifying (if i come across an english translation i'll post a link), and canada's rejection of the absurd criticism of israel is as well. this south african summary of the situation is really good too.
so at least not everyone's buying the bullshit.

having said that, there've been some extremely shameful and embarrassing moments. a reporter showing images of palestinians next to rubble and calling them israeli victims? israelis sitting on deck chairs to watch "the fireworks" in gaza? my gods, like israel doesn't have enough of a disadvantage in the media war.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

empty-headed

i spent yesterday afternoon getting a handle on node.js, going crazy debugging until things i hadn't seen or heard in about a year came rushing back and producing a pretty cool little web app. i went for a run, and my zombies, run! with french podcasts (coffee break french) was definitely a good idea. i was too tired to finish the run and had to walk the last couple of hundred metres, and i got home weak and desperately hungry.

...

[pulse gd rage horror]

after our world came pretty close to ending, we went to bed early. i woke up more easily this morning, i've made progress in spite of a short nap, and overall i'm feeling emotionally exhausted and unfocused which is really not where i need to be right now. of course, it doesn't help that my artists haven't been in touch in over a week.

---
captain estar goes to heaven is a short, fun and clever online graphic novel. i suggest listening to lunatic calm while reading it, or even if you don't read it because it's a brilliant album.

Friday, July 11, 2014

media frenzy

apparently everyone's having a field day with operation protective edge, decrying the number of palestinian casualties.

let's be clear, deaths on either side should be condemned. but focus on the true cause of those deaths is important, and if the israeli forces are calling the civilians surrounding military targets to evacuate and those civilians are not only remaining in danger but calling their friends and neighbours over, then hamas leaders who call for that behaviour need to be condemned. the practice of using human shields to protect terrorist infrastructure is not new, and is not surprising.

i've seen far too much "pallywood" today. at least cnn's not completely falling for it.
but hitler being correct tells us that israel's going to lose, whatever happens. outside of israel, there really aren't a lot of voices that *aren't* perpetuating the myths that israel's an evil entity.

one should bear in mind that when israel is referred to as the "occupier" and "oppressor", that's got nothing to do with the palestinian controlled territories. what being said is that israel does not have the right to exist, and that jews are not welcome in the middle east. all of the action is currently taking place in areas where there is no israeli presence whatsoever and the terms are used in an attempt to instigate all-out war and the end of the jews in the region.

have you seen the shoot the jews video? these are the people running the show at the moment. let's just say that integrity and human rights aren't at the top of their list of priorities.

...

most international media organizations have fallen for the terrorist propaganda hook, line and sinker and one can't expect ordinary people to react in any other way. all one can do is talk, show evidence and hope that there'll be ears willing to listen to reason.

gearing up - part iii

[... continued]

i made some progress with the web development, i'm trying to focus on real issues instead of dealing with broken elements (the latest jquery and chrome don't want to play together). i listened to french podcasts on my way to the gym, where kickboxing was good and i was feeling much stronger in spite of some nausea that i suspect is caused by spine misalignment. badger's back, which is cool, and it looks like we might start group running on the weekends :)

...

intending to celebrate all the good news, i went to p.m. after training. gd ran really late for a variety of reasons, and by the time she arrived i was too hungry and tired to be jumping up and down with excitement. instead we drank too much sake, ate too much brilliant food and then walked slowly home, where she oversaw my stretching before bed and then my shambling into it. i was utterly exhausted.

friday:

to the point where i felt dead on my feet the first time i woke up. aside from political concerns over what's happening right now in the middle east, i was disturbed by a message from pulse asking after my health and inviting me to join her yoga class tomorrow. i haven't responded, and i don't know if i'll respond. burning bridges is something i always try not to do, but she needs to know that being nice to me and unpleasant to gd is unacceptable, and that our relationship (as friends) has come to an end.

gearing up - part ii

[... continued]


gd went to bed early and i sat down to watch hackers. i didn't realize that the netflix version is the director's cut! there's so much of that movie that i've never seen before*, it's all quite important and the overall experience was thoroughly enjoyable. i've loved that movie since i saw it on the big screen, and up until now i never realized how much it's influenced me: note the rollerblades, the outrageous clothing and the truly excellent soundtrack!

* or perhaps had simply forgotten, and it's not the director's cut? i can't tell.

...

note to self: don't log in to imdb and start rating movies and making lists before bed...

or ever...

---
wednesday:

my bank account's hit rock bottom, and i'd been waiting for an SOS infusion from my mother just in case my permit was delayed. i woke up to an email informing me that it still wasn't transferring.

i was half asleep as i made us breakfast, which has become a thing. i desperately need to reset my body clock! anyway, i stretched with gd, continued rating movies on imdb, then went back to bed. the re-sleep was AMAZING, the difference night and day [sorry]. i ran shadowrun online's daily mission (i haven't won one yet) and agreed to help uncle hate out with an excel file, then headed out to the bank to figure out what was going on.

the idiot at my bank branch - a guy who messed with me a long time ago because he didn't trust my identity - informed me that the idiot at the other bank branch had given me incomplete information for an international transfer.

amazing! how very professional.

so i walked across the road to an excellent indian restaurant and scanned and sent the correct details while i waited. the vegetable briyani was terrific and i honestly can't believe i ate so much, i was *really* hungry!

...

in the rush to enter a train on the way back home i almost got pushed into a closing door, luckily for me the driver stopped the doors before they closed on me and for half a minute i glared at the asshole who'd been behind me :@

...

i didn't quite rest but had no time or headspace for the coding i needed to do. i left for the slam team meeting having achieved precious little.

it was a gorgeous day on mont royal. did i see a policewoman wearing black and white camo pants? what the hell?!

it was a good team meeting, i learned some interesting things and suffered inspiration overload. i've got sooooo much to write it's ridiculous.

...

i came home, and i don't know what i was expecting to do for the rest of the evening but whatever it was disintegrated in the furious flames of a crazy fight with gd. it was the kind of fight where we each thought the other had had enough and was ready to split up, it was a horror show and it astounds me that it ended with two very worn out, very loving combatants.

we're weird.

and while neither of us want to ever experience that kind of thing again, we both know that these are just obstacles on a long road together and we can only hope the rest of them will be a little more minor.

---
thursday:

yesterday morning was good and slow. the money had transferred successfully, so that was a load off my mind, and i attacked my task list item by item, finally looking at the first stages of my collaboration with airplane. his first page is gorgeous! i'm delighted by that :)

almost as much as by receiving news that my permit's been approved ^_^

[continued...]

gearing up - part i

it's friday afternoon, i'm still feeling a bit offline after my first cup of coffee. it's been a political day mostly, which i might mention in another post, and i've done all the dishes and i've got the weight of unfinished business on my back. i'm also quite nervous about monday, because that's when i'm going to go through the border for my permit. i'm a little bit nervous about getting back into an office and a routine, too. i feel like i need to shake some cobwebs out even though i'm sure i'll be fine.

i need to be 100% motivated, focused and ready for anything. i cannot afford to fail.

---
sunday:

gd and i watched the source family, a wonderful documentary on a wonderfully strange cult, and that put me into a deep sleep from which i woke up in the morning feeling stuffy. fortunately that went away. i had things to do but gd was on a video call so i spent that time consuming (having fun). afterwards she attempted to make carrot-and-apple juice with the resurrected blender, but that attempt failed miserably and we won't be doing that again. blended ice, maybe. blended carrots, nuh-uh.

the high from my call to my point of contact was short-lived, as gd heard about something remarkably stupid, mean and unprofessional her boss had done almost immediately afterward. that's all referred to here.

we finally cleaned the floors and made the living room livable, and i walked out into a hot, muggy and rainy afternoon to make the boxing class. boxing was solid, although my right arm was hurting and i wasn't sure if it was muscle strain or a pinched nerve. yesterday i realized that it's just muscle strain, the pinched nerve hits other areas.

note to self: bring clean underwear to the gym. i'm not used to showering there; i had things to do (shopping and picking up mail) and i aside from the discomfort i was walking around looking like i'd wet myself where my sweaty boxers touched my shorts. add to that discomfort the realization that i'd left my brolly at the gym when i was more than five minutes away... at least i was still in the same neighbourhood...

after shopping i arrived at my apartment just after realizing that while i've kept the mailbox key, i've given up my entrance key so i can't get to the mailbox without assistance. nice one. to round out the evening, i just missed the metro with frozen goods in hand.

concern for the evening: why are my arms so weak lately? is it nerve damage?

a shower, a quick frozen dinner, a load of laundry and bed.

---
tuesday:

i woke up to gd's nightmare pre-confrontation morning; there's little as difficult as telling someone to risk becoming dependent on you when you yourself are in a financial rut. so when things went well, and everyone was happy, you can imagine that there might have been a little post-drama celebrating.

...

i went to meet vfmp for coffee, the beatles - let it be being played by a busker as i left the metro felt quite appropriate. vfmp and i argued about the value of plush toys forgotten in the far reaches of musty cupboards and drew inspiration for a reboot of an old television series. after chatting we were considering going to get lunch somewhere when i realized that i didn't have house keys.

wtf?!?! how did that happen? i called gd to make sure she was there and hurried back, rather ashamed of myself and my ocd failure.

...

i spent some time installing emulators with the intention of playing chrono trigger some day, then rushed out to meet horseman. the metro was overly-warm and i had to wait a while for him to arrive, but once we cleared the surface it was beautiful weather and we walked around, ending up in griffintown visiting abyss. not only is it an awesome art gallery / studio / tattoo parlour, but the owner's prepared to discuss our slam team using the space for fundraising and her mother has aerospace contacts. nice!

i awkwardly called the woman subletting my apartment to ensure i'd be able to get in to the building. it was hot and packed in the metro, i was forced to stand while my blood sugar dropped and the half-hour ride took almost an hour due to service issues. i walked out clammy and unhappy. after making the new tenant feel uncomfortable, someone else let me in to get my mail so i hope she didn't rush home on my account :$

i didn't have time or energy to train so i went for a run along the canal. vfmp let me use his (virtual) library card to download an audiobook and i listened to the first chapters of suzanne collins - the hunger games in between zombies, run! pieces. it's a pretty good system, and i've since figured out how to add podcasts to an accessible playlist so i'll be combining running, zombies and french lessons in the future!

it rained for about half of my run, and i'm grateful that my arm strap is water-resistant enough to protect my phone. in addition to coming home soaked, the pinched nerve in the middle of my back was acting up :(

primary thought for the run?
which do you prefer, winter or summer?
whichever has less rain.


[continued...]

double positive

i've been a bit too busy to post, but tuesday and today have had some amazing news and i need to share it before i head off to the gym:

1. gd's boss did a complete 180 and not only gave a her a raise but reduced the amount of dead hours in her week; she's now working three days a week and that leaves her time to heal from her back treatments as well as the potential to work a desk job.

2. i received an email today informing me that my work permit has been approved and that i should be in the office within a week.

i'm not going to use capital letters or exclamation marks, i'm simply so excited and relieved that i'm going to let my little things-are-going-to-be-okay dance and my deep exhalations be enough for now.

next milestones: coming back through the border, onboarding, first paycheck, and getting four months of experience under my belt.

---
i finally got a chance to play around today; the more complicated stuff has proven easy, and the simple stuff has been wasting my time horrendously. oh, web development, how i've missed you :P

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

timing is everything

i just read an article on the rising trend of quitting, just as gd's at work facing off with her boss because he's not only been treating her unfairly but now he's interfering with her clients and assigning them to other staff. whatever game he's playing, it's costing her psychologically as well as physically, and she's reached the point where not dealing with him is as dangerous as dealing with him. he's a shameless bully, and gd's freaking out because she can't afford to lose her job nor keep a job that's not paying her.

it didn't help that the conversation about working with her friend that was supposed to take place yesterday was postponed until thursday...

meanwhile, i was really nervous when i called up my point of contact yesterday and was hugely relieved to hear that the background check has been cleared and that we should be expecting to get my permit authorized within the next week or two. i've been stressing like crazy for at least a month, and although i've finally reached the limits of my bank account i'm now quite confident that things are going to be alright.

that first salary, though? that's going to be the point at which i resume breathing properly. i'm just one paycheck away from being able to tell gd she can do what she wants. in the meanwhile, i have some playing to do with the technologies i've been studying.

Monday, July 07, 2014

a month of links

politics and bureaucrats

the tsa are still being useless assholes.

speaking of phones, how safe are ours from various governments?

elon musk understands what's wrong with patent law.

tech

THIS is a what a smartwatch should look like!

quadcopters: letting us see fireworks the right way.

jerktech: thoroughly disappointing hi-tech "solutions".

iphone photograph awards: these photos say a lot about photography.

the wheezy asthma attack detector has an interesting history.

environment

rolling coal: conservative americans take pride in being the dumbest people on the planet :(

harley davidson's livewire prototype is beautiful.

massive underground oceans? colour *me* impressed!

education

17 websites that will make you smarter is a great list!

this french tech school seems to "get" it.

business

starbucks college fund: good business.

who should worry about work-life balance?

psychology

recalibrate your reality is an incredibly interesting and well-written article.

a productive weekend

yesterday:

a visit to godmother for coffee yesterday had mixed moments of pleasant and unpleasant. godmother made me feel incredibly uncomfortable over the fact that i hadn't done the preparation my future boss had asked me to, and it was only later when i went over my posts from the month of june that i felt vindicated. it was an intense month, was june, and the next couple of weeks are already looking considerably more relaxed.

overall, i'm relaxing a little bit about the permit application. it's been about a month, so i should hear back in approximately two weeks or so. there's no reason i shouldn't get my permit, and there's no reason to think my point of contact's been dishonest. that doesn't mean that i'm not suspicious - i'm not unfamiliar with blatant unprofessionalism - but my hands are tied and there's not much point to stressing. now that i've gone over all the material i'm armed and ready to make a friendly call to my future manager and then spend the next couple of weeks playing around with what i've learned and trying to make things as comfortable as i can.

otherwise, it was a pleasant and sunny afternoon on the porch. i got home to hear that gd had spoken to her friend about a job that could really turn things around for her, so that's exciting news, and i spent the remainder of the afternoon and a fair amount of the evening poring over documentation and tutorials for web servers, accelerators and messaging services.

it was late when i finally asked gd what options there were for dinner, and she obliged with one hell of a meal; in retrospect, i can't believe she went as far as she did with it and it came out amazing. we ate half of it while watching the beginning of jack reacher, then we both crashed pretty hard.

today:

i woke up, did a whole lot of dishes and returned to bed. then we got up for coffee and breakfast, i played some tekken (some good, some bad, mostly taunting or screaming at online players who couldn't hear me) before kgb and his fiancée arrived. gd gave him a great haircut while us significant others talked about immigration policies, then the three of us left gd to another haircut and went out for (another) coffee next to the market.

gd joined me on a mission to the park for yoga, and i'm extremely pleased to report that she enjoyed it and it seems to have done her good. the instructor also prefers sundays, so i guess that's a thing now, and we stopped for ice-cream (sorbet for me) on our way home. we were supposed to be joining friends of gd's for a barbeque but she was feeling the yoga, so instead we rested a bit, made a great pseudo-barbeque lunch and finished watching the movie - jack reacher's a lot of fun, and that's all it needed to be.

the days keep flying by - i'm a bit freaked out that it's 10pm already. i'm planning for a peaceful night to prepare for tomorrow. it's looking like it's going to be a big day.

justice

oh, man. i've kept my mouth shut and apolitical about israel for a while now, and while i've watched with horror and sadness as the story of the three teenagers unfolded i've kept my thoughts to myself. i have to say something today, though, because everywhere i look the teenage palestinian victim is on the news and the world is outraged. i'm really sorry about him, and upset and angry and frustrated about what happened, but where was the media concern about the israeli kids? they didn't even warrant a spot on a ticker.

and now gd's feed is filled with anti-israeli propaganda, because it's a wagon everyone loves jumping on blindly :(

---
at least there's some positivity amidst the horror: the families of the victims have turned to each other for support. it would be nice if everyone could deal with things like these people. here's hoping their way succeeds, i think this is something worth fasting for.

Saturday, July 05, 2014

conserving energy - part ii

[... continued]

thursday:

we woke up to a cooler morning, which i spent studying, then napping, then studying again. in the afternoon i went to the gym to work on the bags because i wouldn't be able to make the class, and i spent about ten or fifteen minutes half-crazed hunting my wraps and certain that they were here somewhere and that i was just botching my search rolls. only it turned out that gd had accidentally taken them with to her gym, but fortunately she'd just finished there and we met at the station.

the hour or so that i spent at the gym was good, i worked hard and learned a thing or two from the guy who once made me paranoid about ringworm, who was pleased to learn a thing or two from me in return :)

it's the first time i've showered at the gym and the experience was pretty comfortable, even though i'd continue sweating for a while afterwards and needed to shower properly when i got home. note to self: don't go to the gym without a protein bar, especially when you're no longer living next door.

gd and i watched the end of reincarnated and i was left with the same complaint about the difference in quality between the music on the soundtrack and the actual album he released. we both agreed that while he comes across as a complete buffoon, snoop's at least honest. he really doesn't have much to say, but he's certainly entertaining.

gd received a gift of turkish coffee from one of her clients and it's the shit! a pity for her that she can't sleep after drinking it :P

we had a slam team meeting but i was the only one who showed up so two of us did some creative collaboration and we've had some interesting ideas. we were far more productive than we would have been with a full team, i suspect it'd be smarter for us all to meet in twos and threes separately.

i had serious munchies by the time i left, and being vegan with midnight munchies is a tragedy. i stopped in at a pizza joint where the guy's eyes popped out of his head as he yelled "pizza without cheese?!", and i eventually found a&w's végé burger which i could order without cheese. they still managed to surprise me by putting mayonnaise on it. mayonnaise?? without mentioning it? who the hell puts mayonnaise on a burger?!

i was still hungry when i got home, gd had made beets which i turned into a mess and she sorted me out with a grilled cheese before we started watching bad grampa. we finished watching the movie last night, and i have to say that watching bad grampa .5 first made the actual movie that much more interesting, shocking and clever.

---
yesterday:

it was even cooler than the day before, i was sleeping wonderfully wrapped in blankets but i forced myself to wake up so that i could make gd her breakfast shake. i couldn't get back to sleep, so i played a lot of tekken and watched a bit of underworld, which i've been meaning to see since it came out. it's pretty cool.

i wasn't stressing until i spoke to my mother - who's stressing on my behalf - and made a call to the bank to discover that they haven't heard anything of the amount that my mother transferred to me at the beginning of the week. they've told me to wait patiently until tuesday before panicking, and seeing as my bank balance just went below zero i found that so very comforting :/

i spoke to copywriter for a bit, he made some absurd suggestions about what i can do to stay on the continent if my job doesn't materialize and it took a while to explain to him how immigration works. when you're born an american citizen, these are things you never really need to understand...

i lost an hour to running around looking for a supermarket or health store in the area where i could buy commensal frozen meals. apparently there's an actual restaurant location a few blocks in the other direction, so i'll have to check that out.

desperately hungry and feeling out of time, i stopped in at midi 6 for their vegan option, which of course i enjoyed. i came home to study but found my brain non-compliant, so i ended up doing chores instead. it's not like there's a lack of those at the moment :P

i wasn't up for boxing, so i ran again. quite well, and although my legs were sore when i returned they've settled since and i'm feeling pretty good at the moment.

gd and i shopped, i made dinner and we sank into the couch to finish bad grampa before going to bed.

---
today:

i didn't fully wake up in order to make breakfast, and so i managed to get back to sleep and dream about renting out space i don't actually have, leaving me with a sense of disappointment when i got up. i'm glad i've finally posted this, i've tidied a little bit more and i'm about ready to face my day.

i've *just* received a request to rent my apartment... for one night. in the middle of september. *DAMN*, that's unhelpful!

---
how far are we from a star trek reality?

conserving energy - part i

it's been a rough few days, primarily because i've been stressed and not feeling at the top of my game: i've been exhausted, my brain's been operating in slow motion and i've been trying to read as much as i possibly can so that i can call up my future boss and be ready for anything.

...

i've been trying out songza now that google's bought it, and i'm listening to coffee shop indie as i write this. pretty cool.

---
wednesday:

wednesday morning began with an argument about kendall jones and animal conservation. i originally wrote "she's about as good for conservation as deforestation", but after a couple of articles (here, here and here) i realized that as unfortunate as promoting the killing of wildlife for sport may be, it does appear to be counteracting the disastrous efforts of poachers so from a practical point of view i guess i need to keep my animal rights opinions in check.

the guy i was arguing with was the pro-gun anti-obama moron that i studied with, and on a number of occasions i came pretty close to unfriending him. but i guess the above realization is precisely why we shouldn't ignore people who we disagree with. speaking of which, xkcd's commentary on the ethics of the research fiasco is on the mark as usual. i don't want facebook hiding posts i might not engage with. that's just stupid.

...

i grabbed my ipod to go shopping, and was horrified to find that it's suddenly in its death throes. its screen is faded and crossed with scan lines. it feels like it's too soon since my last one went, but i guess it's had a good run. i don't have the cash to replace it right now and i have to say i'm quite upset that i've no way to back up all the tracks i ripped from my physical cds in israel :(

there were garbage bags outside the apartment building again, i hope we won't have to pay for those. i suddenly remembered that i needed more breakfast shake when i saw popeye's discount bills in my wallet, so i headed over there where i had an interesting conversation about vegan protein with the owner. apparently progressive accounts for vegetable bio-availability when labelling protein quantities, whereas vega doesn't. not cool, vega.

the rest of the shopping was quick and after lunch i read some more dr who comics and took a nap.

...

it had been a tough day so far, primarily because i hadn't the energy to do a damned thing. it was so hot. so far, the best part of my day had been receiving a photo of gd's second journal entry: i've convinced her to try keeping a drawn diary as an excuse to practice. so far, very cute indeed :)

...

i tried studying, and i made a little progress. afterwards i discovered that i can connect humble bundle to my steam account. seriously?! now i don't have an excuse not to purchase their game bundles, previously i simply didn't want to have to add another source to gog and steam. not that i'm in a position to be buying much right now, but in general that's pretty sweet!

i finally updated zombies, run! and ran along the lachine canal. 'cause i live here now, it's kinda silly not to :)
the run was pretty good, considering i haven't simply run in ages and i was being very careful about my form. i'm in serious need of cardio training, and i wanted to get back to the story in any event. my phone won't sync my old phone's missions so i have to begin again, the gps initialized incorrectly so my stats show an average of about 120kph for the first minute or two, and it's not picking up my pace so i never get chased by zombies. aside from that, my playlist is awesome and the route is excellent, so i guess i'm back into running when i don't have it in me to get to the gym.

after yesterday's run, though, i think that i should be listening to french music or podcasts as i go. i'll need something that'll power me as well as alter bridge, foo fighters, godsmack, (hed) p.e., karnivool, linkin park, lostprophets* and marilyn manson.

* as i said, i'm not going to stop listening to their music but i do think about the whole thing with disgust every time one of their songs comes on.

it was so hot and humid that i got out of the shower still sweating :(

[gd surprising me with an uncomfortable discussion that seems to have been about something we don't need to worry about but was a residual effect of an argument we had a while back]

gd and i went to p.m. for dinner, which was delicious but the pad thai was so incredibly spicy that we gave up halfway (made for a good following lunch, at least). we went to bed tired and still sweating.

[continued...]

Wednesday, July 02, 2014

armageddon

after months of fighting with the israeli tax authority, and being threatened with an insane fine (something like NIS 20000) in spite of the fact that *they* owed *me* money, the accountant finally managed to get the fine dropped and they're depositing NIS 1735 into my account.

accountant's fees: NIS 1770.

how very convenient.

---
monday:

on the way in to see maleficent i managed to offend gd, and on the way out we had a fight that escalated to serious trouble. we kind of resolved it before bed - kind of - and although i woke up feeling really shitty about everything things went back to normal (really good) fairly quickly. what followed was a great day, but in the afternoon the previous night's fight started anew and became even worse. when we finally reached a conclusion everything was clear and good, but we'd both had a rough time of things. as i'm writing this i'm thinking of how i don't really mention all the good stuff here, which might be presenting a rather negative slant to our relationship...

the truth is that neither of us have ever been in such a good space, such a healthy space, and as scary as our fights can be we always end up on the same side once they're over. and now that we've properly moved in together, things feel a little more under control and sensible, even if our home looks like a tornado struck.

---
maleficent is magnificent. it's beautifully produced, and the little twists were very sweet. gd had reservations about angelina jolie playing the part but she really performed excellently, and i guess we're going to see it again when it comes to netflix.

summer is here in the worst way, we're sweating when we sleep and everything's uncomfortably humid and hot. the swimming pool next door is certainly making that easier to deal with, but i'm *praying* that i'll soon be employed and unhappily wearing uncool clothing to work!

speaking of which, my plan for today is to call my future boss to see what's happening, but i can't do that until i've worked through the list of technologies he wants me to be familiar with... so that's today's mission.

yesterday was consumed by a little studying, some serious tidying, watching bill burr: you people are all the same again and really enjoying it, swimming a little and even diving a few times when a kid whose hair gd cuts wanted someone to join him :)

the cloudy weather made the pool experience a little weird, the suddenly sore neck made it a bit uncomfortable. gd and i went straight from there to her gym, where we did a little conditioning and i taught her some boxing. she learns *really* fast, in spite of our training session being the cause of world war iii.

...

we made an incredible salad last night! it's like each one is somehow better than the last, and i've absolutely no clue what's changing :P

i woke up this morning for breakfast (coffee and awesome vanilla-progressive-peanut-butter-banana-almond-milk shake) with gd, and played a lot of tekken while she got ready for work. now i'm tekkened out, and ready to study a little. after i do the dishes and run a load of laundry, perhaps. it's really hard to focus with all these boxes and unsorted clothes lying around.

---
three israeli teenagers murdered. one palestinian murdered. a video of hamas children's programming wherein little kids talk about growing up to shoot all the jews. i don't have anything to say on the matter, i'm just sad and disappointed and pessimistic.

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

smoothies and swimming pools

yesterday:

i woke up from dreaming of hanging out with serious fighters in an abandoned warzone, they began harmonizing and were seriously impressed by my singing voice.

i didn't feel like sleeping late; rather i was compelled to arrange things before heading out to bring over more stuff. the screen door gave us some shit, apparently we hadn't put it back correctly :/
we tried watching gintama over breakfast and coffee but gd wasn't up for subtitles. i decided to go, i was taking a large piece of her couch across and we had a fight about whether or not i would take a taxi... which she won. the taxi ride felt like it took forever.

my ps3 *was* there, as were some insects who'd moved in to the trash can and a whole lot of dirt under the carpet i was rolling up which indicates that maybe uncle hate isn't entirely wrong about the cleaning lady's work ethic. i took old meds to the pharmacy for disposal, stopped at the subway for a delicious avocado sub, then returned to fill my luggage with clothing and winter gear and return home.

of course, i packed it really well and forgot to close it, so as soon as i tried to drag it out it opened up and everything tumbled out. lovely.

obviously the first thing to do when i returned was set up the playstation. gd's tv has two hdmi inputs... but only one of them works, so we had to choose between apple tv and ps3. that wasn't too complicated a choice, fortunately. i switched out her superheated amplifier and speakers for my sound bar, which is great from an eco/bill-conscious point of view and the quality's better, but the damned thing doesn't remember volume settings so every time you turn it on you have to press the + button repeatedly until the max light flashes :(

a good friend of gd's arrived and drove us to the apartment for another mission, this time focusing on the carpet and couch cover. i don't think i mentioned the weekend's weather: it was HOT and HUMID. moving under these conditions was trying and damp.

---
after her friend left we watched forks over knives. have you seen it? you should see it. seriously, you're doing yourself a disservice if you don't.

i'm not saying you have to agree with it, i'm just saying that every single person on this planet needs to be exposed to it. all arguments (after watching it) welcome.

---
i played a little tekken, we went heavy* shopping. after that i went alone to my apartment for some hot, sweaty-night-hating packing and struggling over priorities... and then just missing the metro with ice cream in hand and no spoon.

* my arms were already hurting after the previous day's labour.

it was late and i was tired, i showered, had a frozen meal, finished the ice cream and fell into bed.

---
today:

i woke up from a long dream in which i didn't participate in an improv / karaoke event in a large concert hall, then found myself spending a night with buddies in jerusalem and was forced to resolve a hostage situation, frustrating the guy who tried to kill a whole bunch of us with our cellphones and obtaining the evidence we needed to put him away.

getting up was rather rough.

gd and i had enough time to finish packing the last of the important stuff and cleaning up before the woman arrived to inspect. she didn't need to inspect, she decided after a short while, but was absolutely stunned at the state of my apartment. she was shocked that it was so clean and that it hadn't been repainted. i'm always shocked by how people damage their apartments, because fucking things up takes effort.

an hour and a half after getting there we were outside with boxes and bags waiting for a taxi. we dropped everything off, relaxed for a bit with an awesome smoothy that i could make now that i've found the stupid tap attachment, watched yes man which is a surprisingly entertaining movie and then went to the municipal swimming pool.

i like that pool, and i love the fact that we live right next door ^_^

i'm currently playing housewife while gd trains (i'll go tomorrow and hope that the gym's not closed for canada day), then we're off to the movies.

*breathes deeply*
*sweats a little*