Thursday, March 19, 2009


I've been at this job now for about 9 months, and it's continually amazed me the entire time with how much I'm learning. A couple weeks ago, I started to once again feel the urge to write code even when I'm not at work, so I've been working on my long-term personal software project again. Looking back at some of the things I wrote last time I touched it, back in around September, I'm shocked at how wrongly I did things, and how easy it is to think up better ways to do it now. In just those 6 months, I've learned a phenomenal amount. I really don't know what I was thinking in not taking this job right away.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


I just got back from an hour and a bit of bouldering today. I climbed from around 11:30am to 12:30, without any partner, so I was just bouldering. It was a good opportunity to work on some technique things I had been reading about, quiet feet and balance. I also tried backstepping a bit, but without someone to coach me, I don't really have any firm idea how I'm doing, other than that I think my footwork is improving a bit.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Expensive Books

I just saw an article about these books on sale. Yes, it's $116,530 for only 126 books, but oh, what books! First editions of all the Hugo and Nebula award winning books since 1953, with 95% of them signed by the authors, and all in "fine" or better condition. I've got shivers running up and down my spine at the thought of it.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

iPod and Headphones

Well, I just found my iPod and headphones I thought I lost in Vancouver. They were in the pocket of a pair of pants I just put through the laundry. The headphones might be ok once they dry out, but I think the iPod has had it.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Beautiful Day

Beautiful Day, originally uploaded by Xenoc.

It's a beautiful day here today. The sun is shining, there's only a
light breeze, and it's just overcast enough to keep the heat in.

I woke up fairly early today, only a quarter of an hour later than I
get up for work, had a brief laze around the house, then went out for
my morning coffee, after a quick stop at McDonalds for breakfast.

After my coffee, I walked over to Westway, arriving just as the
climbing gym opened at 10am. Since I was on my own, bouldering was all
I could do without finding a partner. I started on the easiest
bouldering routes and was quite surprised how hard I found them. The
holds were smaller, and spaced much farther apart, than on even the 5+
walls I had been climbing. I only climbed for about half an hour, but
worked up a good sweat, and felt my hands starting to tire from the
small holds. I'm climbing with my coworker again tomorrow, so I didn't
want to overdo it today.

After climbing, I headed over to Notting Hill (yes, from the movie) to
explore the area, and to see a flat later. It's only a 15-20 minute
walk from work or Westway, just off the famous Portabello road and
it's market. I found a Cafe Nero, my favourite coffee shop, and
convinced them to make me an iced americano, even though it's not
something on the menu. They did a fine job of it, and I'm now enjoying
my cold beverage on a bench in a nice little park square a couple
blocks from the flat I'm going to see. The neighbourhood and location
seems ideal, and from the photos I've seen of the flat, it looks very
nice and fairly spacious. What remains then is to see if it's as nice
in person, and what I think of my potential flatmates, and vice
versa. That's at 1:30, so I'll be done there by the time any of you
north American readers are even out of bed.

I'm seeing another flat at 3:30. It's farther from work, about half
hour via the tube, but it's also in an area I like, one I walked
through a couple weeks ago, Little Venice it's called, because of the
couple canals that run through it. (Uhm, two police on horseback just
rode past. London is cool). The location and neighbourhood are nice,
though the room looks a bit small, so I'm not sure if it'll work out.
I seem to have acquired a shocking amount of "stuff" since I got here,
between stereo, computers, camera gear, and all the assorted boxes of
miscellaneous manuals, parts and such that go along with. I haven't
decided yet how I'm going to move, whether I'll hire a "man with a
van", or just make many trips on public transit with my two roller
suitcases full of stuff.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


Climbing last night was a blast. The first thing I had to do when I got there was pass my registration test, proving I know how to tie in properly and belay someone safely. That was a piece of cake after having been taught all that in the course on the weekend. After that, I got a monthly pass, and decided to kit up then and there. After pricing things out, if I go 30 times (that's only 3 1/2 months if I go twice a week), then buying the equipment was the same cost as renting, and I'll have had the advantage of better fitting shoes. If I'm going twice a week, then the monthly pass is slightly more than half the cost it would be to pay per session, plus it's a lot more convenient.
As far as the actual climbing went, I had so much fun. Having my own shoes, and being able to go barefoot in them seemed to help in a few spots. I was able to hold myself on my toes better than with the rental shoes. I tried a bunch of different grades. I did a F5 (YDS 5.7) and a F5+ (YDS 5.8) without too much difficulty, and managed to get up a F6a (YDS 5.9) using everything I had, including using my knee on one of the features. I got about halfway up a F6a+ (YDS 5.10a) before falling. There was an overhanging lip, with the next hold about a foot past the edge of the lip. The only handholds below the lip werr small, and on the underside of the lip, so it was hard to hold myself up against the wall with them, seeing as I was leaning out from the wall because of the lip. In addition, those hold were down at about navel level, when I was standing high enough to be able to reach the next hold past the lip. With my hands as tired as they were, when I let go of one to reach for the next hold, I just couldn't hold myself up, and fell off. I was too exhausted to even try again, but I might give it a try on the weekend.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Short Words That Rhyme With "Fail", and Their Homonyms

I have no idea why this suddenly popped into my head, but there are SO many.

gaol (is it pronounced the same as jail?)
Yale (it's not Scrabble, so proper nouns count, says I)

Did I miss any?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Sore Arms

My forearms are still quite sore. I really hope they're ok by tomorrow, because I want to go climbing with my coworker after work on Wednesday.

Posted with LifeCast

Sunday, March 01, 2009


Oh, and I forgot to mention. SOOOO sore! It'll definitely be a couple days before I'm capable of climbing again.

Second Day of Climbing

I had an incredible time climbing today. There was much more climbing today than there was yesterday, because we didn't need to spend all the time going over knots and belaying technique, we just jumped straight into the climbing. I fell for the first time today. It was really exhilarating to "fall" and not really go anywhere because of the rope. Having done it unintentionally once really improved my comfort level. On a harder route later, the last climb of the day, I fell more times than I could count at one particular problem before finally giving up and getting lowered down.
They use the French grading system here, I don't know what the climbing facilities in North America would use. I motored up a 3+ without much problem, and got up a 4+ with one slip, my first fall. I can see where a chalk bag would be useful, when hands and holds get sweaty and slippery. When I tried a 5, I was able to get up it, but did slip a couple times. I met my match quite solidly with a 5+ though. I wasn't able to get more than halfway up before I found a problem that I couldn't get past. I fell off the wall there more times than I could count before I finally gave up and got lowered down. I think if it wasn't at the end of the day, and my hands weren't so tired, I might have been able to do it. I'm hoping to have another go at that one next time I'm there.