Of things past

Sep. 24th, 2017 12:52 pm
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Drove to KW the "long way" yesterday, up Highway 25 and across Highway 7, which is considerably more scenic than the 401. I had vaguely intended to carry northwards along the escarpment towards Orangeville, but traffic was unusually poor and ate up all the time I had set aside for that.

The purpose of the drive was to head to UW to rehearse a bit I said I would do in celebration of 50 years of the Faculty of Mathematics and 60 years of the University. I parked at Renison (which still raises their parking gates on the weekend, unlike St. Jerome's) and enjoyed a nostalgic stroll across campus in the direction of the plaza via Science and Engineering, whereupon I indulged in a classic order from my undergrad days at Harvey's: a veggie burger with cheese and bacon.

I headed back to the MC along the traditional DC-CEIT-C2 route and entered via the southeast stair, the first time I think I've been back in the fortress that was my home for five years in quite some time (2013 I think?). It looks a little different in some places, but it still smells the same, which was very affecting. I was little early for my meetup, so I headed to the third floor, whereupon in what I can only describe as a cosmic joke, MathSoc wound up needing my help. They lost the keys to the photocopier cash box some time ago, and no one can even remember what they look like, but I can. Alas, we were not able to locate them, but I was able to tell them who to call (whatever Graphics is called now).

I think MathSoc is sick. Quite a lot has been forgotten that I worked hard to remember, and even stuff that was common knowledge before is mysterious to them now. Not mine to fix, though.

Anyhoo, the rehearsal happened, and then some fortuitous texting got me invited to a campfire at Laurel Creek, where I was able to make blue comments with FASSies of times past ("I don't think we have enough wood to last all night" "Yeah, I've said that before"/"I saw it coming and wasn't particularly impressed" "I get that a bunch, too") and hold a three month old baby.

Then it was a nice easy shot across the 401 home. Glad I used Waze to determine that down the DVP was the faster option. Apparently it saved me 25 minutes!

That'll be the last long drive in the Abarth, I think. It was a good one.

Extremely short comedy reviews

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:16 pm
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Janeane Garofalo edition.

I arrived at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre early enough to get a seat in the front row just house-left of centre, and at several points in her set, Garofalo looked me dead in the eye when delivering material. That was great. I also got to tell her the meaning of "invictus". I guess knowing Latin pays off once in a while.

I still use the set I saw her do in 2013 as a ruler for every other standup I see, and she easily matched again. I'm full of adoration. She's just my favourite. Ahhhh.

Garofalo claims not to be a "joke writer" as such, but she definitely has bits, some of which I recognized from her lunchtime interview with some dude from Vulture (which I also attended).

Apparently she performs around New York all the time. Something to track down when next I'm there.

Sold a car

Sep. 22nd, 2017 05:28 pm
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Alas, my dear Abarth. It seems we get just under two years and seven months together.

I was getting resigned to having to take to the Abarth to a used car dealer who would lowball me ridiculously, but I got a nibble from AutoTrader yesterday and the guy sounded pretty promising. He came around today just after 11, and after a good looking over and a short test drive, we shook hands.

I didn't quite everything I wanted, but at this point I'm pretty sure my my BATNA was the dealer lowball and not some other suitor (not that there were any), so I at least beat that.

In theory he's going to e-transfer me a deposit, whereupon I've said I'll take the ads down. Early next week I should get my used vehicle information packet from the MTO, and then we'll finish it.

When I was in Paris for most of last November, the thing from home I missed the most to my surprise was the Abarth. I kept seeing Fiats 500 in the street and thinking of it fondly. When I got home, one of the first things I did was go for a quick drive, despite being brutally jet lagged (then I went to a party, because that's a great idea).

This is the first pain of moving I've felt so far. It's been little things up to now, but here's a time where I'm actually giving something up, not just signalling my intention to. I really, really liked the Abarth through all the time I had it, and I continue to do so, but circumstances just aren't right. Farewell, dear car. You will be missed.

You better believe I'm going to do a bunch of driving over the weekend.

Extremely short comedy reviews

Sep. 21st, 2017 10:31 pm
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Michelle Wolf edition.

JFL42 is back! I'm not sure why it's called that any more. There are way more than 42 acts now.

Wolf's set was quite good, heavily tinged with both pragmatism and feminism. It wasn't the most hilarious thing I've ever seen, but I in no way regret going. 3/4.

I managed to snag a seat in the second row. I don't fear sitting close to the stand-up. Wolf must have one hell of a personal training routine, because she looked like goddamn dynamite in skintight jeans and an open-backed sweatshirt.

Wolf's opener was local boy Mike Rita, who did a good job at getting the house to go from polite applause to actual laughing.

Extremely short concert reviews

Sep. 19th, 2017 11:10 pm
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Quatuor Bozzini+Philip Thomas at Gallery 345 edition.

Mostly I went to this to support the Bozzini Quartet, who I had the pleasure of playing with at CAMMAC last summer.

The program was new music, two pieces built around the idea of formlessness. The first was a takeoff on a chaconne, with the ground bass instead played at the very top of the violin's range (the two violinists traded this role off) and the other three playing a short phrase over and and over with minor variation. The second was a piano quintet consisting of random notes played on the piano while the quartet played glissandos. For an hour. In theory, it was in two movements, but once underway, I could not distinguish them.

The composer of the quintet in the pre-concert talk said that he was trying to reach for the idea of a waterfall, which has motion but doesn't move. Mostly the effect it had on me was that I was bored. Heavily. Already I can barely recall anything about either piece, and I can't say sitting through them was particularly enriching. The material struck me as pretty pointless.

The Bozzinis were great, though. I suppose I can salute their technical accomplishment, even as I'm left to ask "but why?"

End of an era

Sep. 18th, 2017 11:48 pm
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Sold my 2013 MacBook Air today ("zadkiel", archangel of mercy). It was my severance package when Keek ran out of money in October of 2013 (said the CTO, "take your laptop home with you"). Not sure why I kept it in the first place, as I think about it. Barely touched it for the winter, then I started sitting out on the balcony with it, and eventually it became my primary computing device. Now I haven't touched Windows in nearly three years.

It went to my friend Sam as she embarks on the next stage of her film career, having just signed her first feature deal as an Executive Producer. Big step for her, and she was looking to get a Mac to be on the same technical page as her new colleagues.

Mostly I'm happy to finally find a good home for it. I haven't really had a use for it since I got the 13" MBP last fall outside of toting it when I was on-call because it was still lighter than my MBP, but I couldn't bring myself to sell it to a stranger.

My computers and computer-like devices are usually named for Judeo-Christian angels, mostly from the Book of Enoch, because the names sound cool and usually end "-el". There's also usually a pun involved in the choice.

I've also had azrael ("help of god", 2002 desktop), kerubiel (the four-faced prince of cherubim, 2009 four-core desktop), asphodel (a flower that grows in Elysium, not an angel, Dell Mini 9 netbook), raphael ("healing one of god" for a biomed company, Sciencescape desktop), gabriel (the messenger, router), bezaliel ("shadow of god", a succession of Android phones, when a hostname is required), raziel ("secret of god", media box), remiel ("mercy of god" for finally getting a steady gig, FCT 2014 Macbook Pro), arael ("vision of god", Chromecast), gamaliel ("reward of god", personal 2015 MacBook Pro), and zaphkiel ("knowledge of god", FreeNAS box).

I've also had computers named gutbucket, tomato, mccoy, essex, and the imaginative elogan-pc and elogan-mbp.

It's done

Sep. 14th, 2017 11:54 pm
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I have signed the paperwork, and accepted an offer to work for Facebook beginning at the end of October.

I've lived in Toronto all my life, with the exception of that time I lived in KW an hour down the highway. Moving to California alone is going to be a big change.

In my field (which is to say, systems administration, IT infrastructure, DevOps, whatever you want to call it), Facebook is one of the top places in the world, up there with Google, Amazon, and Netflix. Making it to the big leagues is hugely gratifying.

Of course, getting in the door is just the first step. We'll see what happens next.

In lieu of actual content

Sep. 13th, 2017 09:33 pm
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Josienne Clarke's "Beyond the Green" is the most beautiful thing I've heard in some time. Give it a listen:

I heard a lark/ And I heard a nightingale )

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