A mid June update, courtesy of #604insomnia

Part the first – des vacances

– We’re going to Seattle on the weekend, and seeing Panic at the disco and fun on friday night, and Tim Minchin on saturday night. Awes. May also see Ebbie, for the first time since 1999.


– In mid July, we’re going to Costa Rica, to meet up with Elizabeth’s sister, since it’s a lot closer than Canberra, and to see some of central America. It’s our first time going to a non-first world nation, and today we’re getting poked with various engineered compounds to keep us well.


– In August we’re planning a weekend away in Oregon


– In October, we’re planning on a visit to NY (don’t think any of you live there?) and Washington (sup Stephanie  and Claire!)


– In December, Elizabeth’s parents and brother and sister are coming to visit for Christmas. Plans are for the Island somewhere. We should book that soon.


Part the second – nous voiture

Following an unexpected encounter with a bike trailer, ‘er majesty’s Crown Corporation, The Insurance Company of British Columbia saw it fit to pay for a good whack of repairs to our car, and in for a penny, in for a pound, we also paid to get some other stuff fixed, original paint damage from before we bought it, and a few dents from not being quite used to its size/shape in relation to our parking garage.


It took a week longer than quoted, the car smells of paint, and the paint job is definitely not concours standard, but it is a whole lot better than it was.


For those interested in the source of the original covered damage, we were driving along one day, and a guy on a bike on the footpath was riding in the same direction. As we passed him, the rope fixation of his trailer came loose, and it fell into the road and onto our car, scratching from passenger mirror to rear bumper. Yeah. We stopped and talked to him, and the trailer had contained all the cooking and camping gear he used living on the streets. Feeling sorry for him and glad he was well, we went on our way.


When we bought the car, the hood (bonnet) and front bumper were covered in paint chips, and the day after we got it, I backed it into a pillar in our parking spot, injuring the rear bumper, quarter panel and cracking the tail light assembly. Then, while heading off to Whistler with Raif in August 2010, I misjudged another pillar in our garage and scraped the rear door and quarter panel. Awesome, huh? We had a quote to fix all of this stuff for $1400. With the covered damage from the bike trailer, it was only $1100 to fix it, but since the other “driver” could not be contacted, it was a $300 excess, or .. $1400 in total. But at least I get $15 back from my 1% cash rewards credit card.




Part the third – en été


It’s summer! Trees are blooming, birds are singing, it’s not longer 10C and rainy. What a time to be alive!


We went out for dinner last night at our local Cactus Club Cafe, and sat on the “patio”, as Canadians so politely term it. As it was also the equinox, despite it being almost 7PM, it was still broad daylight. As it was until 9:30PM. Thanks Canada. Thanada.


Part the forth – le immigration


There has been a postal strike in Canada for the last week or two, so no mail. Apparently it’s being sorted out (through legislating them back to work.. possibly the only option, given some of the demands were less money and more totally reshaping Canada Post’s business model to keep existing staffing levels in face of declining mail volume)


This is related since it will soon be 20 weeks since we submitted our Permanent Residency applications, which is the timeframe for initial notification of receipt of application. We sent it registered mail, and you can see on the website that it was accepted by Immigration Canada, but this is the one where they tell us we completed the craft project successfully. Hopefully.


This weekend also marks 2 years since we arrived here in Canada. It’s been a lot of fun, so we’re sticking around for now. I still miss the old country, and eagerly await Nic Mayer’s return, hopefully with Minties and musk sticks. On Saturday we found the last White Knight we brought back from Perth in Jan (it had been in the freezer), and we nommed it good and proper. We also cut up a fresh pineapple last night. It’s all gone now.


But it’s not just the food I miss, it’s the people too. It was sad not to be able to go to Helen’s wedding, and seeing Alexa in a video of it made me a bit nostalgic, and it’s been sad not to be around for Matt and Susie’s first child being born.


More of you should add me on Skype – I’m theducks.org on there :P


Yesterday was National Aboriginal Day here in Canada. This is related, since 12 years ago I was also in Vancouver, and remember going to an exhibition in Robson Square. If future me had come up to me at the time and told me that in 12 years time I was going to be living in Vancouver, I would have been somewhat surprised, and my initial guess at possible reasoning would have been way off.


As I posted on twitter some time ago: “Short version: Adult life turns out fine. You’ll never see where I am now from where you are now, but you like surprises, right? #tweetyour16yearoldself”


Part the fifth – le travail


Still the Manager of the Systems team, all 16 of them (14 of whom are older than me). I suppose it gets to a point where that doesn’t matter, and I suspect I’m approaching that, but it’s still a change from Arts, where of the 21 in my 3 teams, only 7 were older than me. We’re interviewing for a new Manager this week and next, which should be good. I’m on the interview/selection panel for it, and I’m not motivated to apply for it, partially because it’s only $50/week more, but also because it would mean a definitive move away from tech, and I don’t think that’s for the good of the organisation or really what I want right now.


I read through about 65 resumes for 3 jobs yesterday. Too much braining. But being on the hiring side of things does give you a good insight into how to write resumes. Looks like some good candidates there. I seem to have ended up on a lot of hiring committees this year. It’s nice to be trusted, but I sometimes wonder if I volunteer because I don’t trust other people to make these sort of decisions. Then I remember our helpdesk guy who insisted he could only give me a USB switch, not a USB hub, but that would be ok, since it was faster. So it’s clear some people can’t be /o\


It has been mandated that we start tracking how staff time is spent, in broad categories like maintenance, projects, admin and leave. Where have I heard that before? Hmm! Today I got to break the news to my team that we need to do it, and defend something that I know in their position I’d probably be initially peeved about. But I think it’s a good thing and I think it went down well.


Ahh yes, UCS, circa 2005. I wrote an application back then to do it (remember timekeeper guys? :). I found a copy of it all, except the SQL schema, in a uuencoded attachment. So I’ve dusted it off, and mostly rewritten it (No longer requires Tcl/tk! now has client authentication! No longer requires pop3 auth to cyllene to login!) I hope that showing off this application and offering it to them will help with acceptance, as well as explaining the motivations behind the reporting requirement – transformation goals of moving from being reactive to proactive, avoiding overloading us with project work.


It was also fun to do some PHP again, after 3 years since I did much, and 6 years since I did a medium sized app like this. Elizabeth helped, and showed me in detail something she’d done for her team. jquery is pretty awesome, even though I didn’t use it in mine.


In other news, we ipv6 enabled the university’s main website, and I took the opportunity to setup ipv6 on my linode host, so theducks.org is also ipv6 enabled. I just need to make like an animated TRON duck or something to display to ipv6 viewers.


So that about wraps up this mega update..

#604insomnia, brought to you by Coca-Cola with dinner. A bad idea since 1886.

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