Sunday, December 07, 2008

5 Exams then a plane ride to the homeland...

Hi. It's been a while, and no video this time either. I swear I still call myself a videoblogger, and I still think like one...just not getting any videos up to the internets.

In the meantime, a quick update because I am inspired by the fact that my entire family is now blogging...which is amazing!

You can read for yourself here:

Now I'm trying out Google reader so that I am made aware of their updates. It's been a while since I've followed blogs that aren't aggregated by a planet. Time to push myself to get out there more and break away from my school-induced tunnel vision.

In my corner of the world, I moved into a new apartment and have done some basic things to make it a comfortable homework-hovel.

The Living Room (aka homework cage):

Well-Adjusted Hound who will follow me anywhere so long as the bed is there too:

The Kitchen

My first home cooked meal: fishcakes, sauteéd turnip green, red pepper aioli

Finally, I've been listening to lots of great music lately. Been going to quite a few more live shows that usual. Recently I've had the pleasure of seeing Santogold, Sunset Rubdown, Rae Spoon and this coming Friday I will be seeing The Dears and Metric because my sister Lisa is playing bass for The Dears now.

If you want to check out some of the music I've been listening to, download this playlist ( file size: 117MB) and enjoy.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Radio Silence is broken...

So I left California and the blog got all quiet...sorry.

A lot has been happening - returning to school, working part time for Mozilla, going to the nolose conference and meeting lots of amazing activists.

One of the ideas that came to me while at the conference was to start a FatPlanet. Mozilla and OpenSource at Seneca both use planet to aggregate feeds, so why not a FatPlanet?

Well - it's here. I got and got the ball rolling.

Now I just need feeds to add to it - so send you feed information to: and get your blog feed into the planet stream.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Ubuntu - not just an operating system...

Last night I had the pleasure of eating at Ubuntu, not to be confused with Ubuntu. Apparently this relatively new restaurant is getting high praise for its vegetarian menu, which is really quite diverse and also features a fair amount of items from it's nearby bio-dynamic garden.

The following pictures are only a couple of the dishes I got to try, not pictured is the amazing corn pudding with roasted peach. I've been having a good time with corn this summer, at the Front Porch I fell in love with grits, and I intend to learn how to make them when I get home. After reading Michael Pollan's Omnivore's dilemma, I got a bit corn-phobic for a while but now that revulsion has mellowed into a "if it's organic, it's okay in small quantities" take on the issue. Three food related goals for myself based on this summer's reading:

  1. Eat sitting down. This may seem obvious, but I think that I do sometimes tend to eat while doing other things and just stopping to make eating its own task will go a long way towards slowing down my eating and making me appreciate what I'm eating more.

  2. Avoid high fructose corn syrup. Sad but true: Orangina contains HFCS, as do a lot of other beverages. It's a small thing I can do, even if I am not great at cutting out all sugars, I can do this one.

  3. Avoid meat from CAFOs. I will continue to eat meat (for now) but when I do it will be better quality, and supporting a local meat economy.

And now for some food-porn...(photos courtesy of Naomi)

cauliflower in a cast iron pot with our vadouvan roast-puree-raw-“couscous”, brown butter toast amuse bouche:

our carta da musica with truffled pecorino fresh-picked GREENS, lemon, ROSEMARY, trumpet chips:

and finally deep-fried egg with tartar sauce & black garlic smoked potato salad, grain mustard, roast cippolini onions:

Can't wait until I get an iPhone so I can blog about the food I'm having, while I'm having it!.

Stay tuned for my wine tasting notes, I will try to transcribe them when I am back in Canada next week.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Week 7, 8, 9, 10 update...

Um, Hi!

So I got a little busy...

Let's see - Andréa came to visit, so did my Mom. I've been working a ton and taking on lots of new responsibilities - with great responsibility comes longer hours and more tiredness.

Also there was Frameline - Allyson, Christina and Amy were here from Toronto. We saw some movies, I met some new people including some of the staff of Frameline who are super nice. Attended some interesting Q&A periods, went to a filmmaker's brunch, spent many hours in Dolores park.

I've been swimming a lot, running a little, biking around. My mom was here and we biked across the Golden Gate bridge which you may notice in the pictures is a little fogged out. It was an exhilarating ride because there was a combination of elite cyclists trying to cross quickly and shouting at people to move over alongside tourist with rented tandem bikes who weaved around and almost crashed many times in front of me.

Since it's been a while, I can really only remember this past weekend. I was supposed to go to LA for Outfest. I had a plane ticket and a place to stay arranged. It was making me anxious though - and I kept wanting to cancel. In the end I did cancel, and stayed here to go to Joey's goodbye party at the Lexington where I stayed way past closing and had tamales from the Tamale Lady SF, and chatted with one of the bartenders for several hours. One of those nights where you just aren't tired...oh and maybe you've had a few whiskeys.

Then on Saturday I went out to Oakland in the daytime so I really got to see it for the first time. It was so pretty and felt much more neighbourhoody than anything I've been in so far. Stormy was having a birthday bbq in a back yard with lots of great folks and I made a few new friends, visited with old ones and played with the pictured baby english bulldog named Tug. I NEED one of those!

Sunday I woke up early and went with Naomi and Sam to Green Gulch which is a Zen Buddhist center. We did a "sit" for about 40 mins, then had a break and then listened to a speaker - this was followed by an exceptionally tasty lunch. There's so much that was great about the experience that I don't even know what to highlight. Sitting was interesting. I haven't done anything like this since I was pretty young. I'm not that keen on organized religions, but this was very relaxing and since there's no overt god-ness about it, I didn't really have trouble with it.

The speaker was pretty funny and made lots of wise comments that still ring with me. I'm curious to learn more about Buddhism - I always knew that I liked the ideas behind it but it's much more tangible here since more people in close proximity to me are practicing. There's even a group called Dharma Punx that meets here and I've downloaded some of their podcasts to check out.

What's amazing about being in California, working, is that I have way more spare time that when I am in school and working. The school part makes sure that you never really feel like you're done. There's always something to be working on. So all this free time is really giving me opportunities to do so much more, and to experiment with new pastimes. I've been hiking and being outdoors more. Biking around SF is easy and practical with the price of gas around here. And now I'm checking out meditation. I'd say that California is agreeing with me.

At work things are great too. The stuff I'm working on is in the spotlight a little bit right now and so that's keeping a fire under me. The summit in Whistler is coming up and I'm going to be meeting people from the community all over the world to talk about the future of the organization. Also, it's a possibility that I could keep working on my team as a part-timer throughout the school year. My fingers are crossed that this happens because it would be a perfect scenario. Not only to keep working on a project that I'm enthusiastic about, but also it would be the best fit with my hectic school schedule. This fall I'll have 6 courses again and it looks like 3 out of 4 days will be 9 am - 5pm up at York. Having work that I can do in the gaps between classes will be key.

Okay - that's my big update. I must say that now I have crossed the halfway point. It's closer to the time I will be going home, and that is feeling good to me. I've started to miss home, miss my people, my home, family. Hope everyone there is having a good summer.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

California Internship weeks 5 & 6

Well, I missed last weekend's update because I was out having a lot of fun with a little boxer dog named Ruby. You'll see her in the slide show. Please do not tell my dog that I was out hiking with another dog - we didn't really chat about opening up our relationship while I am away.

This week I got to take in some of the National Queer Arts Festival going to the Hogwart's Express Harry Potter Musical, Kirk Read's "This is the Thing" and next week I'll be at the Deep Lez Potluck and Performance Night and Home-Made Super Hero. Also starting next week is Frameline - whoo-hoo! I'm going to get huge doses of gay and art...two things I love.

After the broken bike fiasco of two weeks ago, my friend Armen located a better bike and this morning we went on a 23 mile trip, this time bringing along Dan who was riding a cruiser bike rented from Stanford. I was a bit ambitious in choosing this ride and I hope they will forgive me and come on a ride again next Saturday. The coaster bike was awfully hard for Dan to ride, and it turns out that 20 miles is about 32 km...I had been thinking in kms when I estimated it would take us an hour and a half to ride it. It took 2 hours and 20 minutes. Oops.

At one point in the ride Armen pointed out some fruit-bearing tree and exclaimed how fruit were "like apricot" but better. So later in the ride, when there was another of these trees right in front of me, I stopped at it, intending to see if Armen wanted to pick some. Unfortunately, the two guys behind me did not notice that I had come to a complete stop. Dan swerved by me, Armen crashed into me. I now have a permanent slo-mo visual memory of Armen coming straight for me at full speed and me crying out "Oh my god - Armen!" CRASH!

Thus, the bleeding elbow you will see in the slideshow. I also have some bruises and a scrapped up knee. It's my own fault so don't cry for me. I must learn the hard way to use my hand signals for more than just turning.

Interesting things happening at work - Firefox 3 is coming out on Tuesday (you can play with the sneak peek, it's basically the same thing). I encourage everyone who can to download it and try it out, especially since by downloading it on Tuesday you will be part of setting a Guinness record for the most downloads of a software package in a 24 hour period. Firefox 3 is really amazing, and instead of trying to explain it to you - I can point you to this: "A Field Guide to Firefox 3" by Deb Richardson which is the ultimate guide as far as I am concerned. I look forward to hearing what you think of it.

On Tuesday there will be parties all over the world in celebration of Firefox 3. Here in Mountain View we will have a BBQ with a rock climbing wall, Wii tournament, music, movies, and lots of other festivities. I'm personally looking forward to trying the rock wall cause I'd like to see if I can do it. There will be plenty of documentation from that event, I assure you.

Well, here's some of the best pics from the last couple of weeks. Some of them are from the Fremont Older Preserve where I took the boxer dog Ruby on a 9 mile hike last Saturday. It was a significant hike for me, and I thoroughly enjoyed it but it has also prompted me to invest in real hiking boots since my running shoes are not actually that comfortable for hiking. Anyway, at the Fremont Preserve, there was a reservoir along the way where tons of people sat out in the sun fishing. I was amused by this as there was also a sign on the path shouting loudly to "NOT EAT THE FISH". Some people's idea of a fun way to spend a Sunday is very different than mine.

Friday, June 06, 2008

What's new in Firefox 3? Check out this demo!

A quick (< 4 minutes) overview of some of the new features in the soon-to-be-released Firefox 3. Check it out, then head over to and sign up to be notified when the new version comes out!

read more | digg story

Sunday, June 01, 2008

32 Mile Ride

This morning Armen and I took the Caltrain from Mountain View to Bayshore with our bikes and then proceeded to ride them back to our apartments.

When we got to the Caltrain stop and purchased our tickets, I put in $11.50 for the both of us to ride one way through 3 Zones. We were rushing and worried we would miss the train so I just grabbed the first thing that popped out of the machine and we booted it over to the platform. A moment later I looked at the piece of paper and saw that it only claimed to be one ticket for $5.75. Armen ran back to the machine (very fast!) and there was nothing else in the dispensing area. Because we had in fact paid the correct amount, we still got on the train and I secretly hoped that we would not be asked to provide proof of payment. Two stops before our final destination a guy came through asking to see tickets. When he got to us, he did not believe the story about the machine and in my nervousness I blurted out that this was our first time on Caltrain and that we were Canadian. Well! That changes everything because it turns out that he is also Canadian (from Winnipeg) and that he has family in Cobourg. Phew! He let us off the hook and was very nice from then on.

Armen had purchased his bike from Target for $89 yesterday. At the time I had suggested to him that he reconsider this idea because any bike for $89 is probably not mechanically sound and it's also politically dubious. About 1.5 miles from the apartments, after having strange rear wheel issues for about 6 miles, the bike finally crapped out. We inspected the bike to try and figure out why turning the pedals was not turning the rear wheel. The gears seemed to be loose from the hub of the back tire so we took it off and when I tried to inspect the gears, a ton of bearings poured out onto the sidewalk. That pretty much cinched the deal and I left Armen at a gas station to go home and get the car.

Needless to say we returned the bike and now Armen is going to look into either renting from Stanford for the summer or purchasing a better road bike so that we can do more rides.

For anyone interested, here is the map of our ride:

Saturday, May 31, 2008

California Internship - Week 4

4 weeks in, 13 left. Wow. Feels like any day now it will be halfway to done. This is where it's at right now:

I'm watching "Alice in Wonderland" out of the corner of my eye, the laptop is so hot that I have to prop it up on a pillow and tomorrow morning I will be going for pancakes with some of the interns. This week was different than the last three because now there are about 20 interns. The big batch (9 from Carnegie Mellon) landed last weekend, including my roommates. So things have been hectic.

I spent all of last weekend away from the apartment. On Saturday I drove down to Santa Cruz to go wine tasting with Hannah. We hit about 6 different wineries and I got to taste a lot of wines and even experienced a futures barrel tasting at Soquel.

My favourite winery was Bonny Doon mostly because of their really beautiful labels and artistic leanings. Other wineries really couldn't compete in that area - they tend to have one template for all their labels and only change the text as needed. You can see an example of a Bonny Doon label in my slideshow, but also I would encourage people to look at their website, it's pretty awesome. I bought a few packs of their leftover labels to stick all over my computer.

After the wineries, Hannah took my past the Santa Cruz surf museum where there is also a rock covered in seals. I adored the seals, Hannah told me a little story about when she lived across the street:

With a couple of bottles of wine in the trunk, I headed up to San Francisco to meet Joey post-work. We had an easy night of watching movies and eating the most intense pizza I have ever had. It was 3 inches of melted cheese on what seemed to be a deep-fried crust, if such a thing is possible. Um, I shouldn't know that this kind of take-out exists, it's dangerous to a melted cheese lover such as myself. You can see a picture of it (a small!) in the slideshow:

On Sunday morning we picked up Sam and Anna Joy to drive up into Marin and go to Bass Lake. There is a nice little 3 mile hike which takes you to the lake. Since it's inland a bit, there's not too much of a crowd, and certainly nothing resembling a public beach. Watching out for poison oak, we wandered in to the furthest depths where there's supposed to be a rope swing. Just as we arrived, a park ranger was talking to some guys about a recent death in the lake and he proceeded to cut the rope off right in front of us!

Next time we go there, we'll bring a new rope. It wasn't conclusive that the rope swing was involved in the death, the park ranger was just being a keener and taking out anything that could be dangerous.

Still game to swim, Joey went down the steep slope first and got herself psyched up to jump in. I've discovered what makes Joey take action if she hesitates:

Monday was all about card playing and teaching Kim, Naomi and Hillie how to euchre. I'm always happy with hours spent playing cards. A perfect long weekend all around.

This weekend I hope to do some quieter, at-home stuff like reading and then also on Sunday taking the Caltrain to SF and then biking back here. It's about 36 miles, and will take about 3 hours. That will be good practice for the triathlon I'm planning to do in August.

Time for bed.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

California Internship - Week 3

It's been another fun filled week in sunny California. Seriously sunny - we had a little heat wave where the temp was about 100 degrees Fahrenheit and that's almost 40 degrees Celsius!

In the past week I've finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" which I did quite enjoy even though I found her to be a little judgy sometimes, and way too flowery often. However, she's patient and observes little things that I never do and I enjoyed seeing gardening from her perspective. As someone who kills plants whenever they are near, it's a form of escapism to go into her world - and it's a beautiful, appealing world. Furthers my notions of packing up when school is done and finding somewhere I can be a computer geek and also raise chickens, goats, sheep and learn to make cheese.

Inspired by the book, and all the other food related literature I've been devouring as of late, I went to the Mountain View farmers market two Sundays ago, and this past Sunday I met Naomi at the Alemany Farmers Market to pick up some fresh produce to bring to Kim and Hillie's house. I had this plan to make them some snacks entirely from what was available. As well as produce, there was a great one woman band:

Boy was I not disappointed! There were pink mushrooms, orange cauliflower, fresh organic fennel, blue potatoes (which I love), can you see that I'm going for colour?! Also I picked up some sage goat cheese, knowing that Kim was mostly on a goat/sheep diet right now. These items resulted in the dishes you see below...oh yeah, there was some asparagus too.

After our pretty simple fare, Kim and Hillie proceeded to ignore me and play with their iPhones...naw - not really - but they sure did make me jealous.


I really kinda want an iPhone...and no, it won't make me any more likely to answer a phone. It will just make me more likely to Geocache.

The next day was "Bay to Breakers" - a regular event in the city that draws out the weirdness in a predominantly young, heterosexual population. It was a sight to behold. On top of snapping pictures of costumes that interest me, I also enjoyed taking in the scenery as we walked from one side of SF (the bay) to the end of Golden Gate Park (the breakers) a total of 12Km during which we walked for 3 hours and 15 mins. The slide show below contains some of my favourite pictures from the event including salmon who walked "upstream", Elvis impersonators doing a mass pee break, and Spiderman. Something that I find both amazing and confusing is the "Yes on A" campaign. Maybe if I was living here I would pick up on what the intricacies of that proposition were, but since I don't, I think it's funny to be pushing such a simple phrase that suggests nothing of what it's about. "Yes on A!" ... sure, why not?

A few choice moments were seeing the sun break through the clouds at 7am by Embarcadero, meeting an adorable little beagle, and seeing the building with all the furniture stuck on the outside:


The icing on the cake, in Golden Gate park after walking for 3 hours - Surf Rabbanim and Thing 1 through 8 (from Dr. Seuss):

On Wednesday night I got to attend a birthday party for Kim who looked so healthy and happy, it doesn't seem at all like she just got that kidney 2 weeks ago...


Finally, this week at work the Mozilla Store needed some new pictures in preparation for the release of Firefox 3 and so a few of the interns participated. Here you see my friend Armen showing his love to the Fox...and the Fox hanging around. That costume is getting around...recently the Firefox completed a Triathlon.


Okay, that's this week's update. It's a long weekend and I'm going to spend much of it outside and in the city, so there will be plenty more photos next week.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

California Internship - Week 2

Happy Friday.

Last weekend, and most of this week actually, feels so long ago already. Tonight I went to see the Chronicles of Narnia - Prince Caspian with some fellow interns and assorted co-workers. I'm a little underwhelmed. The theatre itself was a little low-budget and the ceiling lights remained aglow throughout the film, and the movie was kind of predictable and awkward in its pacing. I really need to find time to read the entire series though because I'm very interested in the ideas of the stories. Plus I want to know how it ends. It's hard to watch the movie and not know what happens unlike Harry Potter chapters.

Okay, so the week in review. Well - first off was my hiking day in Big Sur last weekend with Naomi. She picked me up in the morning and we took off down highway 1 (again!) this time a bit further south to Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park where we did the Ewoldsen hike.

I'm totally in love with the forests of Big Sur. Also, this blue jay was very insistent that I take his picture and kept coming closer and closer as I snapped away. This is with hardly any zoom - little blue show-off:

One of the switchbacks on the trailPerspective on a trunk holeThe very friendly blue jay in Big Sur

There are amazingly large trees, beautifully maintained paths and views like this:

Big SurThe oasis @ Big SurWearing a Judith-made hat in Big Sur

Here is Naomi explaining why there were so many burned and charred trees:

Then there was the Waterfall. While it was close enough to the parking lot to be kind of over populated with tourists - it was still a sight to behold. I was mesmerized by the waterfall and the waves smashing against the rocks. It reminded me of a set from the movie version of Lord of th Flies. Funny thing is, there were all these signs:

Really, you have to hold yourself back - you lemming!

These were posted every few feet - as though the view was so pretty that people were going to throw themselves down the cliff. Well, then I looked over and saw two people trying to do it - even with the signs! Fortunately they gave up after scrambling down a couple of meters of crumbly cliff side. The woman was wearing Uggs! Those are not hiking boots, and certainly won't help with what was essentially rock climbing. As they pointed out, and we had noticed, there were distinctly human footprints on the beach below - I imagine that there's a little sea creature down there with a foot on a stick making footprints to try and lure the tasty humans...

Here's a small video of the view in motion:

Final notes for the week - some office dog shenanigans and Bike to Work Day.

Julie has been bringing the dog she's caring for to work and it plays with Karen's dog Samantha until it's so tired that it must throw itself upon on of the many bean bag chairs and cushions in the downstairs common lounge. At that point the two dogs just play with their heads, determined pups they are.

Here they are when still able to stand on all four feet:

Zuri (the whippet) is incredibly fast as you can see by her dash:

Zuri Pre-dashZuri Mid-dashZuri End-dash

Maybe next time I will get a picture of her when she's not moving.

On Bike to Work week about 14 or so Mozillans took on the challenge. I've been biking to work every day and it's only 10 minutes each way for big deal. Several people biked in from San Francisco on Thursday which takes about 3 hours! Here they are in their Firefox jerseys. I hope to have one someday but that will require that bike jerseys are made by a company that doesn't predispose itself to the physiques of slim europeans. Too bad, cause they sure are pretty shirts:


Thursday, May 08, 2008

California Internship - Week 1

So its been a while. Hi! I've got lots of little documentation of my first week here in Mountain View, California.

The intro: I'm doing an internship with Mozilla this summer and will be living in Mountain View for 4 months - until Aug 29. So hopefully I will not only work hard and have an amazing summer of development but I will also get to see and experience a bunch of what California has to offer.

First experience: the Pacific Ocean.

Joey picked me up in a PT Cruiser convertible and took me down Route 1 to Santa Cruz. On the way we saw surfers and we stopped in at Swanton's Berry Farm for a strawberry shortcake that was amazing.

Once we arrived in Santa Cruz we wandered around downtown with Maryasha. These caught my eye since I'm always a fan of fancy carving of fruits and vegetables.

We also tried to go to the "secret cookie" place which was sadly closed. It's apparently really good, cheap cookies that only the locals know about. Don't worry secret cookie place, I'll come back!

Afterwards, we went to the Boardwalk and rode the Giant Dipper - a super old wooden roller coaster. The Boardwalk is featured in one of my favourite childhood movies - The Lost Boys.

I love the palm trees in California, it's so L Word!

This first week was all about setting up my computer, and getting up to speed on what kind of work I'll be doing this summer. Here's a nice shot of my office (with my welcome gift) and my office mate - fellow intern Armen.

A funny aside - I've been referring to this summer as "My Own Private Gattaca (such an under-appreciated film) and this is what's on a fellow co-worker's cubicle...

And then, as I've been going on about - there's the snacks. We are well provided for, there is often lunch brought in and the other night we had a Cinco de Mayo party with margueritas, beer, and of course we are also playing lots of Mario Kart on the Wii (not pictured). I'm going to be pretty good at MK by the time I come home. I love that it's very similar to the Super Nintendo version that we used to play oh, about 15 years ago! Crazy.

Finally, saving the best for last - if you've gotten this far you are in for a little treat. There is a couple staying at the Oakwood Apartments where we live and they are moving here from Spain to work for Stanford. It just so happens that my pal Armen is from Spain and he befriended them and introduced me. They're very nice folks and in their apartment they have the cutest cat I have ever seen. This cat is a little shy and wasn't too good at posing for pictures so his owner broke out the catsnacks - watch the video:

I want a smooshy faced cat!


Friday, February 01, 2008

Moz Dev Demo - 0.5 Release of Source Server for Windows Builds

This is a video demo of the status of my current bugfixing on the bug I filed regarding the adding of Source Server to windows debugging of mozilla code.