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This One's Just For You

Okay, so I don't post links to Youtube videos a whole lot, but this one is special. Make sure you view it on the site itself, with the US English language setting (because it really is special), and make sure to catch what's in the tabs at the top of the page.

(Almost) Got a New Bike

Today, I apparently felt very optimistic.

You see, Monday I went to Cycle Technique and asked them if they had some used bikes, having in mind of getting a rain/winter bike. Turned out they did, their summer rental bikes, they were pretty nice, and (allegedly) they had a large one that would fit me. I figured I'd give it a thought, then decided it was a good idea, and went on the Tuesday. I figured I'd walk there, pick up the bike, then ride to work. Except that large was actually a medium. So I walked to work instead.

Today, I figured I'd head over to Beaudry metro, check out Vélo Espresso and Revolution Montreal, for sure I should be able to get a decent used ride between the two of those, right? Well, no. Well, maybe. But mainly no. I had forgotten that Revolution mainly does custom built bikes, meaning that, no, they did not have anything for sale right there. Vélo Espresso had a used bike, but while it could have done, it was quite used. On their main floor, they had this rather weird bike, a Norco VFR 3 Internal. It's a fairly sporty frame, although not too aggressive, and it actually has space and lugs for fenders and racks (although I hear that it's not always the best fit ever), but it has an internal hub and a chain cover. An internal hub and a chain cover, but no fenders? I keep seeing utility bikes that have fenders, racks and lights, but no chain cover nor internal hub, and this bike has the reverse? Well, uh, it so happens that this is the exact set of things that you can't add, so I guess that's cool? I tried it out around a few blocks, and while it's not nearly an upright riding position, it's still surprisingly relaxed. It also comes with clipless pedals and clip-on platforms like those I already have?!? What a weird bike!

After that, I went to ABC Cycles & Sports, but it was closed (only on Wednesdays, argh!). I stopped by Brakeless, since it was just down from it, but they only had the one fixie, it seems more trendy than a place I'd actually want to get a bike from. I then headed over to Le Yéti, where I had a rather informative chat, and saw a ridiculously fancy German bike (I think? don't remember the make/model), which, while complying with pretty much all my requirements, and piling on disc brakes on top (because I really like brakes that work well), is also almost three grands, although it's now on sale at a bit past two grands. Uh, tempting as it is, I'll have to pass.

After that, La Bicycletterie JR, Sport Dépôt, and Pignon sur Roues. The latter had an interesting bike, the Louis Garneau Cityzen One, but is oddly missing just a chain cover (even though a blurb about the bike in Vélo Mag claims there's one?). Why is there almost no bike with chain covers?

I ended up going back to Sport Dépôt, and after some pondering, getting a Marin Belvedere. I had already spotted that bike from some research on the web, and while I knew they had Marin bikes there, turns out they pretty much only had this one, 20% off, so it was a happy coincidence. But... Their mechanic was off today, so they couldn't prep the bike, so I did not ride to work, once more.

Tomorrow, I shall ride home on my new ride! There's no stopping me! They may try, and Jeff might try to jinx me (I beat his Space Invaders high score to ward it off), but I'll be riding back tomorrow, rain or shine, and there'll be no stripe down my back if it's raining!

Nothing Sucks Like A Vax!

We moved into our new office this week (photos courtesy of MAD, thanks!), and it's pretty damned awesome! Considering the small size of the office (in number of people), it is extremely nice, the food is great, and so is the view (we had a nice view from the 24th floor, but now we're more "in the action", I like that better). Plus, we can easily reach the wifi from the pub nearby, hehe!

While the move was ongoing, we had an off-site activity on Île-Ste-Hélène that was pretty cool, involving, among other things, geo-caching, which I had never done before and is a lot of fun. It can be surprisingly difficult to find a small item, even when given the location within 10 feet! I bike there from home, and it was particularly nice, hitting 40 kph for fairly long stretches and all. On the return trip I was pretty confident that I'd get to the dinner's location first, but when I found out that the likely reason for my swift arrival was a wicked strong headwind, I wasn't so confident anymore. I did arrive first anyway, but I'm told they took a brief detour in a sketchy St-Henri bar first. Crazy people!

Today, we also obtained a vacuum cleaner at home. You're probably thinking that this doesn't really sound all that exciting, and normally, I'd agree with you, but that was before I met the Dyson DC20. As far as box-opening experience goes, relatively speaking (let's face it, it's still just a vacuum cleaner), they're taking lessons from Apple, it looks like. One of the selling points is how it can fit into a small space, and when I got the box, I was a bit worried that it'd be missing, you know, maybe the whole thing?!? But no, it was all in there, and even when assembled, it packs into almost no space, and is very cleverly engineered.

Tomorrow, a rather late in the making haircut.

Tempting Fate?

I talked about how the weather was great for biking recently in my previous post, when I left the office, it started raining hard, and it stopped just as I arrived home.

A sign? At least, it's not too cold...

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Where I exhibit restraint

It was extremely brief, and you had to pay very close attention, but the sugar season's passed now, and thankfully, azrhey and I managed to catch some sugar shack action, thanks to my dad inviting us over to his annual thing (which went better than the last time, as I wasn't dying this time!). It was what, azrhey's third time in a sugar shack in her life? How do they manage over there? ;-)

I went for a lightning trip to New York City, where I thought it'd be a good idea to get a room at the Hotel Chelsea, since, you know, the office is in Chelsea, that'd be convenient, no? I did listen to punk music, but I don't remember stabbing anyone. I didn't write a novel either, but I did write a small piece of code, related to my most recent ranting, where my hack gets similar latency on event handling as busy waiting on the event queue, while using less CPU (and much lower latency, by multiple frames!) than SDL's built-in SDL_WaitEvent.

This last item results in myself restraining myself very hard from going off and making a high-performance game library. Add it to the list of things I could do very well, but that I shouldn't be doing because it's useless. Argh.

azrhey and I went to see Iron Man, which was pretty damned good, I think. I think that it was a good introduction, although the battle at the end was a bit contrived and short on time. I think Justin Hammer might have been a better choice, with multiple supporting bad guys, but Iron Monger does make for big badaboom. I liked the hints at War Machine, and the small (in that movie, at least) involvement of S.H.I.E.L.D..

I'm now about to register for the Bike Fest, which inconveniently overlaps with MUTEK. The day ride doesn't pose a problem, but I really like the night ride, and that will obviously mean that I'll be missing out on something else... We'll see.

Can't Wait

I just can't wait to get to the new place, for a number of reasons (and no, the hawtness of both our male and female future neighbours isn't the main reason, but it sure helps!).

I want my own base of operations, and I want to be able to launch all-weather, night and day adventures. Being stuck in 9-to-5 in France wasn't cool, but the fact that I didn't do much outside of work made it easier. Now, it's just plain horrible.

On the upside, I now have in my possession a ticket for Me Mom and Morgentaler (as well as tygrbabe's ticket, which I intend to use as a bargain chip for various nefarious purposes, most of which I have yet to come up with!) and I had an awesome time yesterday recovering from my week using two pints of Guinness at gregorama's birthday and dancing off at Saphir for liberation_now and nevergirl's combined birthdays!

I'm now jobful

Seems like I'm now a senior something-or-other at Cypra Media, which did cause me a bit of grief. It's a "targeted marketing" company, meaning at the moment that they'll be sending out emails with ads in them to people who, weirdly enough, asked for it.

I would have liked maybe a bit more "completely new and different" maybe, and while they seem open-minded, they're not quite an actual free/open source software company, merely using a lot of it. But C++ and Perl are two of my favourites at the moment (mostly for their ratio of how much I can bend them to my will to how much they suck), and I think I might be in for learning some AJAXy JavaScript hackery in the process, which I've been meaning to do for a while, so that's that. They're Scrum fans there, which is better than being, say, RUP! Still, I'm more of a chaos model type of person, myself. We'll see, I want to try Scrum first, as it doesn't look completely nuts.

So I'll be starting there as soon as tomorrow!

Random Items

I'm in a weird headspace these days. This is the first time I'm unemployed in, what, ten years? Totalling about four jobless months since I dropped out of school (which was no big loss!), and it was willingly both times, once again to move to Montreal. I'm being a bit of a homebody, which is not that different from my year in France (yes, I'd go to work, but that'd be almost all I'd go out for), but this time I'm not depressed, I'm just, you know, at home. Rather relaxing, I must admit, but better not over-extend this!

I went out photo-walking with jul3z last Saturday, which was quite nice. I had nearly zero inspiration for photos for a long time now, and coming back to Montreal, I've had it coming back to me, but seems like I was never carrying my camera at the right times (despite carrying it around a good deal, doh!). We went along the Lachine Canal toward the Old Port, and while it was a good time chatting along with her, mid-day sun and my self-imposed restricting myself to my 28mm/f1.8 didn't make for anything great, I feel, but it was nice pushing myself a bit, and I did spot a few places that could make very interesting photos with better light (by the way, jul3z, here's that chain that's gone missing!).

We then watched Stranger Than Fiction, which I had seen bits and pieces of on the flight from Casablanca to Montreal. To start off, it has a nice casting, with Will Ferrell (but it's not a Will Ferrell movie at all), Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, and they did great job of giving some texture to the characters without being too blatant about it. For example, tiny details like Hoffman's character pouring himself some coffee at the start of a conversation, then as it ends, pouring back the content of his mug back into the coffee pot just had be imagine the lifecycle of his coffee, and what it must taste like at the end of the day. The subject is also one that I like, that of finding purpose and meaning in life, but it wasn't some overly cheesy grand meaning either, it was just the same kind of "ordinary" meaningfulness that I experience often, of appreciating what you have and being happy.

gregorama is right, girls in Montreal are a severe whiplash hazard! (hey, the subject says "random item", you were warned!)

The geeky type can find some dynamic language humour (Perl hackers know that there is indeed such a thing!) involving the Visigoths (that, the Perl hackers might not have known, but they probably suspected) here.

I boggle at how much attention to details Apple has sometimes, and how they manage to instil this attitude to their developer community. While I had previously noticed that, for some reason, moving around word by word in the location bar of my browser using the Control and arrow keys worked in a nicer way in Camino than it did in Firefox, where they use a slightly different set of delimiter characters, and they put the cursor in a different place depending on the direction you're going, avoiding the cases where you get just one character off of where you want to go (say, over a dot or a slash). But I just noticed that while double-clicking on a word selects that word, if you hit the Delete key, it deletes the word and the preceding space. Selecting character by character doesn't "discover" that you stopped at word boundaries, though. Oh well, for all I know, it's going to be in Leopard.

I'm probably one of very few people to be excited by what's coming in C++0x, especially as my top peeve about C++ templates seems to be fixed. One of my big use for template-based meta-programming was to detect errors at compile-time, but providing readable compile-time error messages is currently impossible (my error "messages" are often things like "variable YOU_FORGOT_TO_DO_THIS_THING does not exist", surrounded by a huge chunk of useless, unrelated context). Of course, actual lambda (even though Boost has a really neat hack to do it now) and type inference are very nice to have too. The latter will certainly help cut down on the amount of "foo<bar, baz>::const_iterator it = bob.begin()" typing I'll be doing, as it will now just be "auto it = bob.begin()"! My wrists thank the C++ language committee.

It seems one of my ideas has been picked up by some people in Waterloo, in the form of AideRSS. Now, I want an "Edit" button in the Firefox toolbar that would use AtomPub, okay?

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I'm a B-person.

Denmark, which I sometimes refer to as "the place the future comes from", gave me another reason to do so: the B-society.

Having just spent a year working a more or less 9-to-6 shift (we had "flex time" inasmuch we could arrive between 8:00 and 9:30), there's no doubt about it (if there ever was!), I'm a B-person.

One of the problem with being a B-person is the clash with the rest of society. Even if work lets me come in and do my hours whenever I want, there's shops, restaurants, and such. Having dinner at almost midnight can restrict choice a little bit, obviously! Social life can also be tricky. Although these is a natural clumping effect between people living similar lifestyles, they might not have as flexible work schedule. And I wouldn't even think of what things would be like with children! Ask anyone who's had to wake me up early in the morning...

But it would seems they're actually trying to tackle the issues, even having B-classes in school that start a few hours later. Just like the French had rules preventing abuse by employers asking employees to work later hours, they're picking up on the fact that, for some people it's asking them to not work later hours that is abuse. And that's the future.

P.S.: Also, in the same line of thought, why the 9 to 5 office worker will become a thing of the past. Not that it matters that much to me now, but I am curious to see how France will integrate that into its culture.

Entre deux cartons...

Bon, il ne reste même pas une semaine avant notre départ! Et il y a un peu plus d'une semaine, je quittait mon travail.

Quelques jours après, mes collègues m'ont invité à un BBQ, et j'y suis donc allé, pour me faire dire qu'ils étaient surpris que je suis venu, parce qu'il paraît, "je ne viens jamais". Euh, c'est le deuxième BBQ qu'ils organisent dans l'année que j'ai passé là! Et effectivement, je n'était pas allé à l'autre, mais bon... On a fait voler les bouchons des bouteilles de cidre, littéralement, mangé des saucisses et des brochettes, c'était excellent. J'ai compris pourquoi les français mangeait les cuisses de grenouille, il y en a plein et c'est très bruyant!

Vendredi, on est allé assister à notre dernier Toulouse Carnet, exceptionnellement au Carson City. Beaucoup de nourriture, la "Arizona potato" était très bien, mais le chili con carne était d'une tristesse... La disposition des tables laissait un peu à désirer, mais on s'est ensuite déplacé à la Prairie des Filtres pour s'installer plus à notre aise, et ainsi discuter de bières possible et autres sujets hautement intellectuels, éclairés par la lueur des flashs photo. Oui, j'ai plus de sacs que azrhey, c'est vrai...

Dimanche, nous sommes allé souper avec un de mes ex-collègues. Je voulais aller à la "pizza des fous" (aussi connu sous le nom de La Pastasciutta), mais comme c'était fermé (comme la plupart des fois où j'ai tenté d'y aller, donc j'ai l'habitude), nous somme allés à un autre resto pas trop loin, d'où nous avons pû observer l'averse diluvienne, juste au bord de la fenêtre ouverte (sous l'auvent, tout va bien!).

Ça tout contrairement à Alban, qui avait laissé son Velux ouvert, ce qui ne nous a pas empêché de prendre une petite bière mardi, tout de même, mais bon, dehors, hein? ;-)

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