Not Dead. Still Alive.

I’m mostly still alive, at least. The weather, across the past week, I will have you know, has been the kind of weather that kills a person like me. By being hot and humid. I had expected to be killed by the winter; so this being killed by summer thing is a fascinating surprise.

I meant to post this yesterday, on the tenuously significant two month anniversary of my arrival in Canada. Today is just as good. I guess.

The Hostel Doorstep in Montreal

Since last I posted, I spent a couple of weeks in Toronto, a couple of weeks in Montréal, a few days in Edmonton, and another week in Vancouver.

I’ve also been on rollercoasters. Lots of rollercoasters. I did, I will have you know, ride rollercoasters in three different timezones in less than three weeks. Going on a rollercoaster safari wasn’t something I had particularly planned, mind you.

There have also been lots of concerts. Lots and lots. Montréal has had Death Cab For Cutie, Cut/Copy, British Sea Power, Long Blondes and Los Campesinos!. Toronto had Foals, The Constantines and Creature. Vancouver had the previously mentioned Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, Teenagers and Handsome Furs. Nice.

I’ve also been to theatre, museums, galleries and parks.

Which brings us to now.

I have started to learn French. J’écris un peu, et de parler un peu. Yeah.

I’m living in Montréal, now. Which is a little surprising since I was thinking about living in either Toronto or Vancouver. But that’s just how these things go, sometimes.

This is one of my favourite places in Montréal. I don’t know where it is. I went to where I thought it was, but it wasn’t there:
Somewhere near a subway station...

This week I started working at another start-up. I’m doing some pretty interesting Java stuff with a really great client. I’m totally stoked that there’s a MacBook Pro on my desk (:

For now, I’m living in a really nice furnished studio apartment where interesting things happen. As nice as it is, I should really find somewhere a little cheaper. That said, ignoring exchange rates, it’s about the same as it cost me to live at Oriental Bay.

This is from my balcony:
lightning

The people here are, on the whole, exceedingly nice. I should really acquire one.

Oh. Oh My.

I am going to be computer-less for the next month or so.

Eep!

In the interests of informativeness, this is where I will be for the next month or so:

April 25th -> I Fly to Toronto, until..
May 9th -> I catch a Train to Montreal, until..
May 23rd -> I Fly to Edmonton, until..
May 26th/27th -> I catch a Train to Vancouver

One Week in Vancouver

Here, have some postcardy pictures of Vancouver, from around about where I am staying.

Cranes.  So Many Cranes.L1010415From Granville Bridge

And this is a squirrel in Stanley Park. You may be familiar with squirrels. I, however, am not familiar with squirrels; so they fill me with an unreasonable and insidious amount of glee and delight. I imagine that when they aren’t being cute, they do something bad to irritate everyone; but I’m not sure what that is just yet.

A Squirrelly Little Beasty

Jellyfish! I used to think I really liked aquariums, but it turns out that really I like looking at jellyfish. One day, I will have a tank of jellyfish of my own to look at. Except not for a very long time. Because jellyfish tanks are crazy expensive, jellyfish need special feeding, and I’m not going to be here forever and it seems like a pain of a thing to get rid of. Also: much easier to hug a cat than a jellyfish.

Jellyfish

Nom. Nom nom nom. These cupcakes are awesome and delicious. There’s a cupcake store which is dangerously close to where I’m staying. They have all sorts of cupcakes. And also trays of all sorts of cute little tiny cupcakes.

A selection of miniature cupcakes.

Caramel-Chocolat
More noms! This time, deliciousness from Ganache Patisserie. It was boxed up all pretty like, so it seemed like it was worthwhile to make a series of unboxing photos (:

Caramel-Chocolat in Box in Bag
Caramel-Chocolat in Box, with Ribbon
Caramel-Chocolat in Box

In what can only be described as a total lack of planning; I have nothing resembling a spoon to eat such a delightful thing with. So I ended up barbarically eating it using a coffee stirrer. A coffee stirrer really is a lot better at stirring coffee.

The description of it from the website is…

milk chocolate caramel mousse with hazelnut croquant, raspberry gelée, 75% Tanzanie dark chocolate mousse, praline crunch, chocolate biscuit

I would describe it as being extremely delicious. I forsee returning at some point to try more things.

Have also been along to Roller Derby, and to see Fleet Foxes and Blitzen Trapper perform. There’s a lot of shows on; but also a lot which sold out ages a long time ago. Other shows manage to be on in the wrong city (Nina Nastasia plays in Vancouver two days after I leave; and Colin Meloy is playing tomorrow night in Toronto (and not even sold out. Oh the humanity))

[I collect photos of stamps I acquire when I go to things.]

Stampy! Roller DerbyStampy! Blitzen Trapper + Fleet Foxes

So yes. That has been what has happened since the last huge update with photos. Pixies have hid the cable for my camera somewhere in my luggage (presumably), but now that I’ve bought a card reader, no doubt it will reappear.

p.s. Flying to Toronto on April 25th.

Obligatory Update

Flight from Wellington to Auckland involved a window seat.

Sunset

And a sunset.

The flight from Auckland to Vancouver, however, did not involve a window seat.

In any case, I arrived in Canada. My baggage arrived in Canada. My baggage and I were reunited in Canada.

Marvelous.

Then I had to go leave my baggage while I stood in a queue for, uh.. an hour and a half.

But it’s okay! After queueing for an hour and a half I have a work permit which is valid until April 10, 2009. And when I finished with that, my baggage was where I left it.

Nice.

I found a taxi. The taxi person took me where I wanted to go. No drama ensued. It cost me $30. That kicks the ass of trying to deal with the weirdness of foreign country buses.

I find it distressing at a deep level that people here drive on the wrong side of the road; but, I think, I notice more that they are sitting on the wrong side of the car. I’m also not sure if it’s a quirk of this hotel, but on/off switches also seem to be opposite.

Turns out the hotel also has free wireless. Awesome.

Balcony View

And I can see stuff from the balcony.

Also: I am able to carry all of my possessions unaided. Clumsily, but unaided. I feel like perhaps I still dragged far too much stuff with me (I think I had ~38kg of checked luggage).

Floggings Will Continue Until All My Stuff is Sold

My For Sale page has had a bunch of additional stuff added to it.

Additionally, I have trademe auctions running at the moment for Lego, my darkroom gear and a chest of drawers.

That was all (:

Oh! And I will be flying from New Zealand to Canada on April 11th. And through the magic of the international dateline, I’ll arrive six hours before I left. It’s just like magic.

Webstock: Day 2

Lessee. Day two. I kicked day two off by going to the Breakfast with yr web idols event. Which involved getting up unreasonably early. But that’s fine (: I ended up sitting next to Jason Santa Maria (and Mike!); and there were bloody marys, chatterings, eatings and so forth.

Of the speakers, Tom Coates was fantastic to listen to. Roughly, websites don’t have to be the main “product”, and that the product should spread as far as networks allow it; and that producing collections of data and making it available lets all sorts of good stuff happen. Where data is available, and in a combinable form, you can create new forms of data which are more useful than the individual data items. Meta data for objects is also really useful – when there are a lot of objects, being able to discover things is hard. Being able to use relevant criteria to guide discovery is a good and helpful thing.

Damian Conway was hilarious to watch. He made lots of good points about the little changes that can be made to make it easier for ordinary people to use websites. Although it was framed as making it hard for mere mortals to use the internet (:

Kathy Sierra had lots of really great things to say in the area of how to try and make happier users (They’re concerned with performing tasks, not using tools; so should be supported in that. Which is to say that they don’t want to use Product X, they want to do the task that Product X allows them to do). There was a brief moment in her talk where I was extremely self-conscious, though – she talked about predators and prey, and how predators have forward facing eyes vs. sideways facing eyes of prey; on to thinking of audiences as bunny rabbits (I had been wearing bunny ears all day). For the record, I had no idea she was going to say anything along those lines d: (and if I had, I would have been waay less likely to be wearing bunny ears).

Post talks, there was much with the drinking and eating and drinking and drinking. Wandering home, it was kinda disappointing to think that there wasn’t going to be more again today.