Older blog entries for dria (starting at number 90)

I was supposed to go out with The Gang this evening, but didn't. I think I'm getting a cold or something. Very low energy day.

On the other hand, I got my taxes done. More accurately, I took my stuff and got someone else to do my taxes for me. It took about 20 mins with a professional, and was worth every penny. I'm starting to really groove on this "division of labour within the increasingly complex organism that is Western Society" thing.

Since I didn't go out for the evening, I decided to browse through epicurious.com. My personal recipe box now contains some three dozen terribly-yummy-sounding dishes that I'm hoping to try out when I get settled in Montreal. Part of my "attempt to live a more balanced lifestyle" plan includes cooking at home for a change. I figure, on average, that I've cooked about one meal at home per week for the past 3 years. I suspect that vast quantities of my "low energyness" is due to basic nutritional deficiencies brought on by eating crap at local restaurants.

Montreal is also a "foody-friendly" city, and it seems that the majority of the people I know there are hardcore foodies. I'm suspecting that we'll be having dinner parties on a reasonably regular basis, particularly since shaver has scored the Ultimate Apartment. I'm rather looking forward to it, actually. Dinner parties, done properly, can be a great deal of fun. Especially if work-related-talk is banned.

I've also decided that part of my "balanced lifestyle" plan is to start writing again. That might sound odd coming from someone who has, theoretically, made a living as a writer for the past three years, but technical writing isn't the sort of writing I'm talking about. Once upon a time I was an aspiring creative writer...I've even had a poem or two published in my time. But, writing for a living has a pretty profound effect on one's ability to write outside of work. In other words: once I started writing for a living, I stopped really enjoying it, and didn't write much outside of work.

Not good.

But, I'm not working as a technical writer any more, and as a result my interest in writing-for-fun has started to pick up again. We'll see how long this lasts, and whether I actually have the personal discipline it takes to really start doing some decent work again. It won't be easy...writing, even for fun, is hard work. Definitely one of those "labour of love" types of thing.

Ideally I would like to start writing articles for magazines. Non-computer related magazines. I'm a closet magazine junky, you see, and the magazine-article-genre has always interested me. Magazine articles are pretty unique, because they're short, non-fiction, carefully-crafted pieces that work to inform, entertain, or educate the reader. It's the length restrictions that really make magazine articles a challenge. They require as much editorial skill as writing skill, really.

Etcetera. I could blither on about writerly things for days given half the chance. All that aside, however, I think I'm going to start working at it again. My written-language skills could seriously use a bit of polish. I've grown slack and lazy, as is shown clearly in this very diary entry.

In other news: I'm getting my cat declawed. I had a long chat with the vet assistant today about the perceived cruelty, necessity, problems, and complications that are involved with such a procedure. She reassured me that it's really not cruel, although it will take Cat a while to get used to not having claws. Why am I getting my cat declawed? Because for the first time in my life I'm actually going to buy brand new furniture, and Cat is a holy terror when it comes to ripping hell out of upholstered chairs/sofas. Up 'til now it hasn't really mattered because I've always had crappy, free, hand-me-down furniture. But, if I'm going to spend $800 on a sofa (+ $200 for a different colour slipcover), I'd really like for it to remain more-or-less intact for a couple of years.

Hm. I'm a big weenie when it comes to my cat, however, and I'm already feeling hella guilty about it already. He's going to be at the vet for 3 days next week :( I hope he doesn't end up hating me.

Righto. Time to go read, have a quick snack, and then sleep. I hope everyone has a lovely Easter weekend. Avoid ODing on chocolate if you can.

I have discovered something.

  1. sleep is good
  2. too much stress is bad
  3. vacations are not overrated
  4. people are generally nice and helpful
  5. baguettes, fresh out of the bakery oven, are worth the wait
  6. bookstores are my favouritest places in the world
  7. when the going gets tough, the sane sit down, have a latte, and think about it for a little while
  8. reading is good
  9. books weigh a lot
  10. magazines are addictive
  11. not all advertising sucks
  12. lighting is important

In other news: I've realized that moving to another city is like choreographing a rather complicated ballet. It's all about getting the right people for the parts and making sure the timing is on. Other than that, it's a cakewalk.

Having said that, of course, all hell will break loose. Karma doesn't care for arrogant prats.

Packing is going well. I have 24 cubic feet worth of books so far, and about 4 cubic feet left to pack. I'm estimating that 40% of my total move weight is books. Yes, including furniture. Most of my stuff is books. More odd is the fact that I have, in fact, read most of them. Did I mention that reading is good?

I got a belt clip for my phone and promptly broke it. My advice: go for the expensive one.

Um. That's really all I have to say right now, in spite of having not updated my diary for a few days. Being on vacation is like that.

Oh, one last thing: through careful experimentation and observation I can conclusively state that the world does not actually come to a screaming end if you don't check your email all the time. My advice: turn off the machine and go read a book.

On a side note, I'd like some sort of "view a random diary" feature on advogato. For times like this when I'm bored, but not bored enough to do anything about it, and tired, but not tired enough to sleep, and basically just looking for random stuff to read while I set my brain on total idle and just clicky-clicky around the weeb.

It's probably lots more trouble than it's worth :)

As it turns out, buying appliances is remarkably easy, particularly when the salesperson is working on commission. Here's generally how the conversation went:

    SalesPerson(SP): Hi, can I help you?

    Me(Me): Yes. I need a fridge, stove, washer, and dryer, but I need them delivered to a different city about three weeks from now.

    SP: Do you have a [deptstorename] card?

    Me: No.

    SP: Well, lets get you one of those first.

    [45 second pause while the SP does magic things with a computer]

    SP: Okay, you have $XXXX.XX credit with us now, what do you need?

    Me: I dunno. One of each within that limit.

    SP: Okay.

    [30 min pause while SP shows me appliances and I buy them]

    SP: Thank you for shopping at [deptstorename].

    Me: Yeah, thanks. Seeya.

Ta dah! It took me a grand total of about 35 minutes to get credit, select and purchase 4 major appliances, set up a financing plan, and arrange for delivery. Consumer Frenzy. I'm quite pleased. For some reason I expected it to be entirely more complicated than that. Best part is that the store in question is having this HUGE spring appliance sale, so with all the discounts involved I got about 28% off, and 5/10 year warranties on everything. Who would have thought that spending gobs of money would be so easy?

What's funniest is that 4 major appliances cost approximately half what I paid for my laptop. Value is not an emergent property of volume, it seems. I totally made that sales guy's day.

In other news: not a lot happened. I slept in, goofed off, and spent the afternoon wandering around the mall. Then I met some old friends/ex-coworkers at the pub and spent a lot of time trying to explain what an Information Architect does. Most of them seemed surprised that I was moving to Montreal so quickly. I think I take this whole "uprooting my life and moving to a totally new city" more lightly than most. Maybe because I'm actually sort of used to it now (this is Major Move #3 for me). Whatever. It just doesn't strike me as that big a deal.

Um. La. That's all. I have to get up early to go have breakfast with a friend and fetch packing boxes. Fun fun.

Nothing exciting happened today. In fact, not a whole lot happened today. Which is a pretty ideal way for a vacation day to go, really.

Now I'm off to have dinner with phil, and then to a bit of a party. I'm suspecting I won't be out too late since shaver failed his time management roll and isn't actually going to be in town for the evening.

Technical stuff: I'm considering turning LinuxChix into a zope site. We'll see if/when that happens. Have neither fixed nor moved the OSWG site. I am such a slacker.

Other stuff: I think I need more cds. I'm also reconsidering the whole "tv-free lifestyle" thing. As someone pointed out to me, I might want to have something to at least watch movies on (not that I watch a lot of movies, but I do indulge every so often). We'll see. If nothing else, I doubt I'm going to find a buyer for my TV in the next 2 weeks, and I might as well take it as throw it away.

Right. Off I go.

Heehee. Advogato diaries are fun. *waves to argent*

If I hadn't been so deep in a "I hate the press" mode at the time, I would have actually been on the cover of the May issue of Upside (along with 13 or 14 other people, so it's not as cool as it sounds). Although I would have had to figure out how to get from here (Ottawa) to the photoshoot (San Francisco), on my own tab, which would have been highly unlikely.

I've decided to start talking more about technology in my diary entries. Right now my tech stuff consists largely of reading neat books about Information Architecture and Knowledge Management. Here's the list of related books that are currently in the pile beside my bed (which, as some may have noticed, serves as a home office...convenient for those afternoon siestas):

  • Building Enterprise Information Architectures, Cook
  • The Enterprise Data Warehouse, Sperley
  • Quality Information and Knowledge, Huang, Lee, & Wang
  • Data Warehousing and the Zachman Framework, Inmon,, Zachman, & Geiger

All in all, some pretty heady stuff. How I got from being an undergrad literary theorist to here, I'm at a loss to explain. I really groove on this sort of stuff, however, and I'm rather giddily excited by my upcoming post as an Information Architect. Mmm...information management systems design. Grooovy.

Other books in my bedside book pile:

  • Interesting Times, Pratchett
  • Mort, also Pratchett
  • Home Design from the Inside Out (a highly touchy-feely, feng-shui, colour-therapy approach to home design), Lennon
  • Use What You Have Decorating (a book for people who don't have a $71,000 interior design budget for their apartments), Ward
  • Ikea Catalog, 2000 (spot the theme)
  • Cluetrain Manifesto (which has yet to impress me, although I'm only 30 or so pages in)

Right. Sugar sources have been obtained. Back to Pratchett.

Someone asked "why would anyone want a March issue of Upside?" Well, it's the May issue I want, not March. I want it because apparently I'm mentioned in it, and I've started saving my press clippings. So nyah. (I have no idea if I'm actually mentioned or not, but they're sending me a crate of them for some reason and my curiousity has overpowered my patience.)

In other news, I had a nap. I've also run out of sugar-based products, so I'm off to go buy more. One of these days I'll stop being entirely random in my diary entries and start talking about technology again, but I'm on vacation, dammit. Besides, there's more to life than technology, and when you spend your days hip-deep in it, sometimes it's nice to talk about something else for a change.

Here's to hoping that the local shop has York Peppermint Patties in stock.

Warning: if you're going to be epicuriously adventurous and try cooking with Thai fish sauce, be very sure to use it sparingly. That's some nasty salty fish flavour happening, and it's quite easy to go a little overboard. Note: do not be curious and taste a drop of it right out of the bottle. Just trust me on that.

Earlier, before I decided to cook something unique for dinner (which included vermecelli, thai fish sauce, and fresh mint leaves), I went downtown. This seemed like such a good idea before I left the house, but I was psychologically unprepared for the consumer frenzy that is Downtown Ottawa Slightly After Noon On A Weekday. By the time I got to Chapters (where I completely failed to find the May issue of Upside Magazine), I really just wanted to go home.

Deftly wielding my bus transfer, I managed to fit four bus rides into an hour and a half. Nothing like saving $6.75 in bus fare on a single day. I did manage to talk with the Fido people, and they sold me a belt clip for my cellphone and upgraded the software in my handset. They did not include a changelog, and I'm at a loss as to what actually changed. I didn't ask about getting a Montreal-local cell account, tho', because the Fido people are very good at doing things quickly, and I really don't need it for a few weeks yet.

I think the Fido people scare me a little, actually. Can there be such thing as service that is too good?

Wending my way back home, I met the moving-company-sales-guy at my house, where he proceeded to give me a cost/weight estimate for my stuff. He also gave me a hefty discount and told me that I can have a bunch (like 30) of moving boxes for free. I think I made a very good choice in moving companies. They're treating me well, and my stuff will be insured for more than it's worth. If they get everything to me, intact and on time, I will sing their praises and recommend them to anyone who's moving in or from Canada. I'll keep you posted.

In a rare technological note, I think the Zope gang has already fixed the bug that has been causing my ZServer to crash at seemingly random times. So, now the question is: do I update the Zope stuff on the current host, or do I get my act in gear and migrate it to the new host? I should probably just migrate it, but I really don't want to right now. I learned my lesson in migrating LinuxChix...moving a site to a new host is about 100x more complicated than you think. Well, than I think, at least. Take a moment and go hug your sys.admin. Trust me, they deserve it.

Oh, I finally found a copy of Mort (another in the infinite series that is Discworld). I think I've collected the whole set (except for the two newest ones, one of which is still only in hardcover).

That Pratchett fella, I tell ya, is some prolific. I wish Robert Jordan would just get on with it already, and I hope that Jack Whyte gets better soon. Rumour has it that the next Dream of Eagles book will be published in 2000, which is a good indication that he's doing better now (yay!) Jack, if for some bizarre and unlikely reason you're reading this, thanks a million for the Dream of Eagles series.

Righto. Time to go read and goof off and do other things that people on vacation do.

Ryan mentioned that he would like feedback on his diary entries. I wouldn't mind seeing facilities within advogato that allow the following:

  • to see who has read my diary entry
  • to see who has linked to my diary entry
  • to let people add comments to my diary entry
  • to let me link to other people's specific diary entries (by date or whatever)

I'm sure there are other features I'd like that haven't popped to mind right now.

About wikiwikiweb: don't read it without first having ingested a sufficient amount of caffeine. It is not for someone with sluggish synaptic pathways. Certainly not this early in the morning, at least.

In other news, I managed to accomplish a huge number of things yesterday. It's amazing what you can do with a telephone, a web browser, and an email client when you set your mind to it. I later went out for dinner with a friend and picked up a hands-free headset for my cellphone, saving my blood/brain barrier from further meltdown. It's quite neat and gives me a bit of that "Secret Service Agent" edge, which is always good. Keep 'em on their toes, is what I always say. On the other hand, from certain angles it probably makes me look insane since some folks, without the visual clue of the "hand to ear with bit of molded plastic", will assume I'm just gibbering to myself whilst I wander around the mall or whatever.

I almost started rereading Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas last night. Instead I continued reading Interesting Times (one of the apparently infinite number of Discworld novels).

My vanity site is beginning to be indescribably vain. Nothing in moderation, saith I.

Okay. Good morning. Time to go scrounge up more caffeine.

random thought

Has anyone else noticed that advogato diaries are beginning to blur together into a large, ongoing, collaborative narrative that is alarmingly similar to Microserfs in tone, content, and style?

As someone else noted, however, we haven't been reduced to word-association poetry yet, so it's probably okay.

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