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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in David's LiveJournal:

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Thursday, August 23rd, 2012
10:24 pm
Not fond of passengers
I've noticed that there are some cyclists who take being passed as an invitation to jump on your wheel. Sometimes I'm okay with it. (If they say "hi" I'm much more likely to be okay with it and there are regulars I've seen for months or years, some of whom I've ridden with before, plus it's not as much of a concern when it's less busy.)

But riding home in the evening, with the trail busy, I'm usually not happy to have someone hugging my wheel. But this one guy... I passed him at a comfortable cruising pace, probably 30ish km/h; he'd have been doing no more than 27. Next thing I know he's right on my wheel. So I hit a curve and kick it up to 37; seconds later he's back. Fine, if he wants to go that fast, I don't need to. So I just coast until, around 25km/h, he finally passes me. And doesn't speed up! So now I'm moping along at 24km/h to stay behind him, which is not how I want to be riding. I wait until we're headed down a small hill then crank it and blast past him at 45km/h (which I can't sustain) but I keep it nailed at 41km/h for the next half kilometre. And of course he's glommed onto my wheel again, and he's still with me. So, slow again. 35, 32, 30, 28, 27, 26... He finally passes me around 24km/h. So I take a deep breath and go 23. And he slowly drifts off.

Thanks for ruining my ride home.
Friday, August 17th, 2012
8:57 pm
A quandary...
I have one of last week's peaches left. It is perfect. I have several of this week's, and am planning on leaving them until next week - in hope that they will ripen somewhat. (This week the quality has fallen from last; I suspect I won't bother buying any more after this.)

Earlier today I ate the other peach I'd saved from last week. It was truly wonderful. Do I eat the other one now, rather than risk it spoiling over the weekend or save it until last? (And if I eat it now, am I as disappointed by the remaining peaches next week, when I no longer have a perfect peach to compare them to?)
Friday, July 13th, 2012
1:22 am
Peaches!
I can't believe we have fresh local peaches already. It's the 2nd week in July!

Normally I'd expect to see local peaches in mid-August; that's a full _month_ early. Crazy.

Loving the peaches, though. :)
Friday, June 29th, 2012
9:24 pm
At night the ice weasels come.
So we're basically halfway through the year. To date I've cycled to work on more than 100 days, and I'm already within 400km of my _total_ distance for last year...

Now if it would only please stop being so hot? :)
Wednesday, April 18th, 2012
2:26 pm
Monday, March 12th, 2012
11:01 pm
You fail bike maintenance forever
I _finally_ went shopping and bought fenders for my Trek. (Along with new shoes, to replace the ones with the cracked sole and the holes in the toes, new shorts to replace the ones with the see-through fabric...) Sunday afternoon was beautiful weather for a ride, and I could kind of justify the time by riding in to MEC.

Of course it was pandemonium on the bike path, but I persevered...

Long story short, I managed to torque off one of the bolts - firmly lodged in a braze-on - as I was attaching the rear fender. You might have thought I'd pay more attention after I nearly burned my finger from the heat of seating the opposite bolt, but sadly no. So now I need to find a 3/32" carbide drill bit so I can drill it out, plus the necessary futzing around time to actually do it. And even if I don't damage the hole, based on how tight it was it'll probably need to be re-tapped anyway...
Wednesday, March 7th, 2012
11:25 pm
New bike!
Went to the bike show on Sunday, for the first time in several years, and walked out with a new bike! I wasn't familiar with the brand "Scott" but several reputable bike shops were carrying the make, and they all had good things to say about it... It's not super-fancy: basic carbon construction with 105 gruppo, but it's quite a bit nicer than my old Trek. (And it's very light. It'll be almost painful to mount bottles and a saddle pouch on it. :)

I made a point of getting recommendations for a bike that would be comfortable for a 200km ride, as opposed to a 50km fast ride, so the geometry isn't quite as aggressive as, say, your typical Cervelo. The ride should also be a bit softer, and with a slightly longer wheelbase, it should track better (i.e. be less squirrely).

Haven't taken it out for a ride yet; I have an appointment next Tuesday to get it properly fitted first. But I'm looking forward to taking it out...

Now I just need a new helmet in a matching red-and-black colour scheme. :)
Friday, February 24th, 2012
11:12 pm
Books
I've been riding my bike so much this winter (if you can call it winter) that I haven't had a lot of time to read. (Most winters I tend to get through a book or so a week while commuting.) I only took the train once this week, twice last and not at all the previous week; I don't even have the habit of making sure I have a book with me before leaving the house anymore.

But last weekend, after watching "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" (Hollywood version), a friend lent me the books. And then I was very bad; I read "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" on Saturday, "The Girl who Played with Fire" on Sunday, and "The Girl who Kicked the Hornets' Nest" on Monday. Other than basic chores (shopping, cooking, cleaning the house, walking the dog, laundry, etc.) I didn't do a single thing other than read. (I even shorted my sleep to get through them all.)

It was fun to do some concentrated reading again; I haven't done anything like that in years. But it's kind of left me, the remainder of the week, wanting to read more. Kind of like how having sweets conditions one to want sweets.
Saturday, February 11th, 2012
9:27 am
So yeah...
...I guess I suck.

My New Year's resolution (my sole resolution) was going to be that I would post something at least once a week. I've been far too absent, let friendships slide, and being depressed (or whatever) is exactly the wrong reason to withdraw from people.

Now at least I've made that public. So I can't tell myself anymore "well, nobody _knows_ you're welshing on your resolution."
Wednesday, July 27th, 2011
3:05 pm
So, a month ago I announced that I'd managed to reduce my incoming mail to deal with to 10 messages total, across 3 sort buckets. It was a huge step, but I knew that the trick would be to keep it up.

Yesterday, when I went home, I had 1 incoming message in limbo. Right now, I have 0. It's actually almost bizarre, just 3 empty mailboxes. But I must say that the approach of keeping a clean mailbox is really working. I probably spend an additional 5 minutes a day thinking about the stuff that arrives, but at any moment it's trivial to see if there's anything I need to pay attention to. And since stuff gets sorted (to trash, to archived help threads, to design discussions, etc.) as fast as it gets resolved, it's trivial to notice the resolution of an ongoing thread and file it appropriately.

As an additional benefit, I'm occasionally able to prod someone on the team to respond to something that slipped past them and is languishing waiting for a response (that they are best able to provide).

We'll see how long the discipline lasts - our next release crunch will be the critical moment - but I'm cautiously recommending the approach.
Tuesday, July 19th, 2011
10:57 am
Ouchies
Well, yesterday I made my quasi-annual propitiation to the Asphalt God. Which is to say I sacrified some skin to the road...

Naturally, it was my own fault; I failed to take into account that a light rain was wetting the road (it was dry when I set out and only gradually got wet) and cornered faster than I should have. (Turning while crossing a speed bump, on a damp road, at 24km/h; not too bright.) Had that instantaneous flash that I was not going to enjoy this next bit and then dropped sideways onto the pavement.

Skidded quite a distance too, probably well more than 5m.

All in all, came out reasonably well. Primary contact point was my left thigh, just below the hip; secondary was the inside of my left elbow. Shredded my bike shorts, nice bit of road rash there, some scrapes on my elbow and left ankle. Bike is fine. :)

Handy that I carry first aid stuff on my bike; rinsed the scrape out, disinfected, smeared with antibiotic ointment to keep it clean until I could get to work...

Little bit stiff this morning, didn't get a great night's sleep, but otherwise okay. I suspect that heading home the heat will be more of a problem than the leg.
Thursday, June 23rd, 2011
6:34 pm
Looking for a dev job?
Apparently I haven't posted this here yet...

Does anyone know any decent intermediate/senior Java developers in the Toronto area who are looking for (or are considering) a new job?

We actually have 5 openings right now. That's unheard of in the era since we got bought by our US corporate masters, and pretty decent news. Now if we can only get the positions filled before internal politics takes the reqs away from us...

I can supply more details on request.
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
12:46 pm
I have 1 message in my Inbox
This is unbelievable. I haven't had (only) 1 message in my Inbox since it was created; by the time I first connected to the Exchange server to check my new mailbox, it had already accumulated more than a dozen messages.

Periodically it would get too big, well over 2k messages, and I would hack and prune it a bit, but then it would start growing again. In April it reached 3.6k messages, and I finally decided I needed to get it properly under control. So for nearly 2 months I've been trying to sort, archive or delete at least 100 messages every day (from the backlog, not counting the 50-100 that arrive every day).

And now there is 1. Once I get back from lunch, I'll check it again, and maybe I can get to 0! (Admittedly, I now have "needs action" and "help issues watching" folders, but they only have 4 and 5 messages respectively.)

1 message! I just can't believe it. (I'd deal with it right now, but I'm hungry. :)
Wednesday, June 8th, 2011
2:40 pm
Sheamus' first sleepover
My co-worker took very good care of Sheamus this past weekend. Almost too good; he spent Monday moping around since we weren't exciting enough for him...

She took him on (long) walks evening and morning, and he got to go to the off-leash area twice. (With us he's lucky to go twice in a week, let alone twice in as many days. Sad, but true.) Not that I don't take him on 2 longish walks a day, but she walked him down to Queen E. in the Beaches and he got to meet lots of people and other dogs. Our neighbourhood is a ghost town by comparison.

She said he was good, and she'd definitely take him again. I can't believe he was all _that_ good, so I figure she's fairly tolerant. :) But I'm not going to complain if she's willing to sit him again in the future. She even said that bringing her a bottle of wine was completely unnecessary, though to us it was basic courtesy.

So it really did turn out to be a win-win-win situation, except for the part where I now have a depressed dog. :)
Sunday, June 5th, 2011
12:19 pm
_Tiassa_
I've commented before that borrowing books from the library has saved me a fair bit of money on books that I'm very happy not to have purchased.

I kind of hate to say it, but _Tiassa_ is another such. In truth, it's not _bad_, but I'm definitely not going to get a copy until it's out in PB. It's really three mostly unrelated novellas with some framing elements to tie them together. Add in the variation of voice and viewpoint and the jumping around in time, and it didn't seem very satisfying (though I don't find much fault in the novellas taken individually).

I'd probably be quite satisfied by it if another author wrote it, but I have higher standards for Brust. :)
Thursday, June 2nd, 2011
7:16 pm
Know any good Java devs?
We're looking (immediately) for 2 intermediate-senior Java devs at our Toronto lab. There are also almost definitely at least 3 more positions in the pipeline, so if you know of anyone good looking for a job (or looking to change jobs) point them at me (or vice versa).

(This is really good news for us; not only are they not reducing our headcount by attrition, it appears they're also adding some new positions here!)
Thursday, May 19th, 2011
11:35 pm
Libraries
...turn out to be pretty useful sometimes.

Like when a book I'm interested in is only out in hardback, but I'm not sure I want to pay hardback $$ for it. (Hull Zero Three anyone?) And then there are all the cases where I'm not sure how interested I am in a book, and the library allows me not to pay for a book I'd regret buying. (Rob Sawyer, I'm looking at you. What happened? I used to really like your books.)

Anyway, for a cost of $3 (well, so far) in late fees, I've read nearly a dozen books since I rediscovered my library card in January. The only one I'm going to buy for myself is Iorich but I'm going to wait for the paperback. (I hate it when a series I have the first half of starts coming out in hardcover. I'm not going to buy half of a series in paperback and then switch to hardcover, so I'm stuck with an extra year-long wait per book? Well, not anymore! The library to the rescue! :) And I'm pleased I didn't buy Hull Zero Three; it was a decent story, but it's really only a novella.

On the flip side, I've (for reasons unknown) persevered through 3 increasingly uninvolving books by Sawyer, read the majority of a howling bad book by Larry Niven... But at least I didn't pay for them!

Now if only they'd get their acquisitions up to speed. Tiassa has been out for a couple of months; I'm high enough on the hold list to get a copy in the first round of circulation. What's the hold up already?!
12:14 pm
To the jogger I snarled at this morning...
Okay, I appreciate you're sorry. I actually feel a little bit badly about being so harsh.

But. If you're going to wear headphones, don't run down the middle of the path. Or, if you must run down the middle of the path, don't wear headphones. I did try to warn you I was coming up on you; you didn't hear.

More, it's a good idea to look around before you move suddenly sideways. Especially to your left. Especially if you're already in the middle of the path. Especially if you have headphones on and can't hear someone behind you!!
Wednesday, April 13th, 2011
1:06 am
Interesting article in the Star about brain differences...
...between conservatives and progressives. (Not a well-edited article, mind, but interesting.)

Apparently conservatives have a larger amygdala (not that the Star spells it that way); isn't that the part of the brain involved in processing and remembering fear?

So, potentially, conservatives are over-exposed to fear and more susceptible to it. Would explain an awful lot.

Couldn't watch the debate tonight. Just couldn't. (Sorry, unay; I know we used to discuss them.)
Friday, March 25th, 2011
9:47 pm
I don't get it
How come Vlad goes from being completely relaxed about the dangers of being in Adrilanka in _Dzur_ to being paranoid (again) in _Iorich_? Did I miss something?
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