Transient Thought

My favourite live wallpaper on my Galaxy Nexus is Microbes because you get to tap to feed them and watch them multiply. Digital life under a microscope indeed!


To improve global food security, perhaps I should convert my expelled mucous into edibles.  Just saying there'd be a lot.



This is perhaps the most expensive virus I've fought yet.  To placate my father, I tried Buckley's (it tastes awful, and it does nothing).  To placate my cough, I've gone through a lot of Halls (they actually work, for the duration of the Halls).  To placate friends, I stopped in the medical clinic at home (I was dismissed quickly as having a cold).  To placate myself, I went to the clinic on campus this morning after a night of almost no sleep.  This time the term "viral cough" was suggested and a potent nighttime cough syrup was prescribed.  It's not covered by my University drug plan, but it is supposed to put me out any second now, so hopefully it will be worth it.  I find sucking on Halls while asleep difficult/deadly. I was amused when having the prescription filled out to realise that the last prescription I had filled out was five years ago for a particularly long-lived cough which I think turned out to actually be a chest infection.  It was so severe that at the time, a friend contemplated the possibility that I was dying and what that meant.  I'd like this one not to last two months. :)

Cons and Colds

So perhaps going to Con-G this weekend with a cold was not the best idea. Ah well, live (hopefully) and learn.

Con-G is Guelph's annual anime convention. It sounds a bit like "kanji". There mascot is also a dragon named Kon.  It feels very right to me, and a lot like a scaled down version of Anime North, with a good distribution of vendors in the Dealers' Rooms, panels, anime showings, and special events.  It's also quite a bit of fun because a good proportion of the attendees dress up in cosplay.


Ouran High School Host Club
Due to my oft-mentioned good friend the plague, I only attended each day for half the day, usually missing the mornings. I did still get to see a lot though.  My favourite thing was meeting people, old and new.  I know a lot of the people who go to Con-G and it's a fun place to hang out and do something together.  There were also some surprising faces, like Dr. Who (friend of a friend), a fellow kendoka, some OCUSites, someone from my undergrad, and someone I met at Anime North. It's also a very friendly atmosphere making it possible to meet new people.  I was happy to meet a fellow nerdfighter, a not-a-cosplayer, a musical-dancer, a master chess player, and a few others.

The dealers' room this year became the dealers' rooms, and included a greater variety of stuff.  I always wait until the last possible moment to make purchases to minimise the amount of money I'm spending.  This year that was aided by having the ATM machine on site run out of cash.  Whoops!  Luckily, technology came to the rescue, as the vendor I was most interested in had a credit card processing application on her iPhone, replete with beloved e-receipts, enabling me to get a shirt I coveted last year.  Hehe.

chlorophyll, the veggie molecule

Besides the Dealers' Rooms, there's also an Artists' Alley where you can purchase or commission art. Amusingly, last year I asked an artist if they could do Cyber Six (a character from an old cartoon) and it wasn't feasible in the time left, but this year there were a bunch of pre-done Cyber Six pieces.  I think there were fewer artist vendors this year all together, though, which at least meant saving me more money.

I helped my friend Ira win the murder mystery by being his Watson.  There was an "actual" Sherlock there, but he wasn't Sherlock enough to affect an accent, so I didn't help him.  They hid clues all over, and it turns out I'm great at finding things, especially in the strangest of places.

A favourite part of Con-G is the Masquerade.  It's when cosplayers are paraded around the stage in a competition for best costume, best presentation (they can do a small performance) and stuff, and they're judged at different levels.  I think this year's masquerade was a bit shorter than last years, with fewer group performances, but it was still delightfully hilarious.

At the masquerade: Piranha Plant!
The J-Pop dance is supposed to be a dance to J-pop music in name, but in practise it's just typical dance music, because previous years found J-pop too difficult to dance to.  I don't really mind, as long as I get to dance with cool people in a fun environment.  Dancing with a Pikachu and Sherlock Holmes is pretty fun.  I didn't stay until the very end this year because I wanted to catch a bus back to avoid walking in the cold with a cold.  Coughing over the past week had also beaten up my abdomen a good deal, making dancing incredibly painful.  However, I don't run into that many opportunities to dance anymore, so I made sure to stay a bit. :)

I like the anime showing room as a place to get introduced to new anime.  I discovered "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" in 2007 at Anime North in that fashion, and much to my delight, they were showing "The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya" this year.  I also caught an episode of Dr. Who which was riveting.  I'm soon going to solicit friends with the series for cowatching it.

Someone attended in a Dalek.  He rolled into the Dr. Who
showing and threatened us with annihilation.
There was a panel instructing attendees how to sew their own plushies with a simple rice ball design.  I tried to capture the emotion of a freshly served rice ball.

My lovely though incomplete rice ball plushy
There was also a great live-action Mario level that saw me jumping from mushroom to mushroom, over piranha plants, over goombas, navigate a castle maze, fire blast Bowser, and leap for a flag poll.  It was lovingly effected using hula hoops, cardboard cut outs of enemies, and volunteers.  I don't think anyone got a photo of me doing it, but at least I have my memories.

There are other highlights, like spending the second day with my friend L, playing Pokémon while there, watching cosplay chess (which was hilarious and not always for the nicest reasons), meeting a convincing Darth Vader (I fled from his sight), meeting the Ninja Turtles (cowabunga!), the games room, eating fries, Thai, and Squirrel Tooth Alice's (including the server who never let my tea run out of hot water) with friends, random cougar statues outside, and more, that I can't really write about because of the aforementioned plague!  So here are some pictures,

Darth Vader, after a confrontation with
Phoenix Wright, Ace Attorney

A cougar defends someones automobile

I went in my typical last-minute lab coat, but this
year with my Newfoundland vest and black dress shirt.
So, in summary, hooray for Con-G!  Too bad that afterwards I felt a dozen times sicker.  Hehe?



For a convention I almost decided to not go to, I'm really glad I went.  I wasn't feeling very great today (lingering plague) and was a bit nervous about what it would be like.  However, several of my friends were going that I wanted to see, so I went anyway.  I skipped the cosplay for this year, though.

There were fewer panels that I wanted to go to this year, but I still had a great deal of fun hanging out with people and wandering and watching.  I ran into a fellow nerdfighter who was wearing a Pizza John shirt, which was smart, and made a Con-friend when I accidentally mistook her for a cosplayer: she just naturally has great style.  I had to take a nap during a showing of Dr. Who to cure a curable headache.  I have to go to sleep now, so I'll jump to the dance, which I thought would be awkward, but it turned out the most painful part was my abdomen, still sore from lots of coughing this week.  My solution to that was to ignore it, and now I feel like I've been brutally assaulted.  At least Sherlock shared a good word with me for my trouble, though :D, and I finally unravelled the mystery behind a dancer from last year, too.

Now I sleep.  Sorry for being dull lately. :)

Life limited by a pestilence

Being a bit sick, I haven't had the will to write much recently.   So, here's a synopsis.

I've mostly been at home with my father.  He was a bit paranoid over my cold for reasons I don't understand.  I heard "You should take oregano oil" five times.   I went to a talk by Temple Grandin.  Guelph gave her an honourary degree.  I didn't end up staying for the whole thing: the friend I went with isn't too impressed by Dr. Grandin and she also was having computer problems I volunteered to repair.  I received home grown sprouts as compensation: oh barter system!  I went out for morning tea at Village Green's with my father a number of times.  I got home originally via my amazing brother, for whom I repaired a broken phone, most of that hard work done by another friend.  Finally, I have a Top Sekret side job involving a website for a business local to home.  It's kind of nice: first comes structure, then imagery, then comes font and colours, next comes polish.

There you have it.  Now I'm back in Guelph, but that's for another post.

OH!  And I ate with my father at a new mostly-vegan café in Guelph called Magnolia.  It was actually magnificent.  Its brightness recalled optimistic cafés not seen since Sharon, Lois, and Bram were on TV.


The comfort of home

It's moments like this, when I'm riddled with the plague that I can appreciate Flesherton most.  I cancelled plans with friends and retreated home for reading week.  I think my dad really appreciates it.  I really appreciate him.  I haven't been home as often I used to be, as life is incredibly busy and there are lots of places I want to be.  However, I appreciate that home is still here waiting.
It's a bit in contrast to my post the other day about loneliness.  I'm not sure if it came out right: I chatted with a friend who was concerned.  I guess it's hard to write about that topic and not concern someone?  Anyway, I wasn't discontent or alarmed, particularly because how alone I was was under my control.  Which I think is an important factor.  I've had moments in my life where I felt it wasn't under my control, like I couldn't alter my situation.

Anyway, this plague.  It's quite nice coming home.  My father isn't really the type to make me soup any more: he doesn't really know what to do with a vegan.  At least the local dairy and video bar (e.g. convenience store) was still open despite Family Day so I could get me some Halls.  I used to eschew Halls, but I once bought a bag of Ricola from a Zellers to deal with a long-lasting cough.  I think that lasted months.  Anyway, the Ricola didn't do anything, and I was frustrated at first until I realised that they weren't cough drops but their vitamin C supplements.   And thus Halls.   Yeah, I don't get it either.

I'll go visit friends tomorrow and finish a bunch of research maybe.  Maybe.  Maaaybe.  Good night.

Mark Thy Selves

I just finished the last automarker for the semester, which was a small headache because of complications with the cold and delays from others, but I think it's a lovely if imperfect work of art.
His wings are gray and trailing,
Azrael, Angel of Death.
And yet the souls that Azrael brings
Across the dark and cold,
Look up beneath those folded wings,
And find them lined with gold

- Robert Welsh
School is a lot of work.  One of my favourite parts of school is TAing.  My students generally love me, and I like to break my neck for them.  Well, I used to, now I put in half the effort and the results are twice as good?  I think that's just experience, or perhaps just an attitude change from having to coddle them and letting go.  Or both. :)  I certainly spend less time in the lab this year than last.  It's for the same course, which is nicknamed the Angel of Death.

I sometimes bring in cookies to labs, and sometimes my students bring me cookies.  Sometimes we make paper pirate hats and swash-buckle in the lab, like during Fair November last year. Other times, like the other week, I assemble my students in front of a window so we can collectively stare into a professor's office until he notices and gets weirded out by the unexpected audience. :D  Maybe that's an abuse of power?

Last semester.  I don't have a difficult-to-identify-individuals
photo from this semester :D

It's definitely worth the effort.  I think they really benefit.  It makes me happy to be well-prepared for labs and take an interest in their problems.  Sometimes it's a little weird to command their positive opinion.  It's not like I'm all that.  But I guess they like that I try?


Something I would like to do

I want to draw pictures of huge dragon flies, and then make them real on paper and suspend them from my ceiling.  I want to use translucent paper for the wings and shade it in colours and hang them by lights.  I want to suspend them with elastics and give them a little tug to get them flying.

I want to look through bleak photographs of Toronto's narrow, grey streets and overlay treework over them and drop vines down vertical surfaces. 

Instead right now I'm drawing my wonderland through a looking glass, and it mostly sees me the misfit king over a charmingly broken world waiting atop a hill in my mismatched finery. 

I'm glad to have my stylus back.


Enter if ye dare!

My second room.

Transient Thought

Now serving: Peanut butter out of a jar.  I feast like a KING!


Quarantine, isolation, and loneliness

I've probably blogged about loneliness before, but it's a topic I actually avoid for fear of giving the wrong impression.  I think I have a safe context to discuss it in right now, though.

I currently have a cold so I've quarantined myself for most of this week.  Ideally, this will help expedite my recovery and minimise my infection of others.  It has the side effect of isolating me a bit.

I'm not totally isolated.  I've violated quarantine a few times, to briefly attend a SOCS wine and cheese (under duress! ;), to do TA office hours, to attend a GSETA dinner, a special Jodo practise with a friend, and the OCUS formal.   That's a lot of acronyms.   It's amusing that it's where the opportunity to spread infection is greatest (largish social gatherings) that I've gone out, but they've also represented the strong prior commitment, hardest to break.   I also have the Internet to communicate with people.

However, I've still spent 3 of the last 5 days completely indoors without using my voice more than to update my father on my cold when he calls.  Most of that time has been spent comfortably huddled in bed, except when I get up to make food.  Most of that bed time has been spent typing away on this computer to finish work, or hiding from an amazing headache that you could not believe.  Or filling a bag with snotty tissue (ew, gross!).

Previously, I would abuse myself when sick.  I would force myself to keep going.  I'd feel brave for doing it, for doing something stupid.  That's when I used to stress myself a lot, physically and mentally and emotionally and externally.  It's surprisingly easy to not, though.  To tell people that you're not coming any more, that you can't meet up for tea and cake, that you can't go skating, or can't go to Value Village.  (I suddenly fear cancelling and declining becoming a habit.)  It's always hard to tell what treatments are most effective for my colds because at a year apart, the environment and nature of the cold varies greatly.

So now I'm treating my body better, but isolating myself, and that leads to a little bit of loneliness.

Now, to clarify, I know two types of loneliness well.  One is inconsequential, and the other less so.  I'm sure there are other types I could make up, but yah.  The first type is simply daily isolation.  It's the one that's cured by having friends you can hang out, by having regular faces, even if they're not personal, like waiters and waitresses when you go out for tea.  The other is deeper and abiding.  The treatment for the first can treat the symptoms of the second, distract you from it, but I don't really think it can cure it.  The second goes away when you feel that someone is always there for you even if your mutual contexts change.  Best friends can help, partners and family still better.

I think of the second as worst, but I'm more visibly affected by the first.  If I'm deprived of rich human contact for too long, I go a little batty, I get a bit depressed, and my thoughts run off on me.  I felt that during the summer a bit when all my friends left Guelph and I didn't know anyone in town and it was hard to communicate with friends online.  I was overwhelmed by work and at one point hid away in a blanket and pillow fort while I watched a marathon of Joss Whedon's Dollhouse and began to fear for the world.  I cured that simply by deciding to work on campus every day and make new acquaintances, who are now new friends.  I'm in no danger of going insane during this quarantine because I feel like I can violate it whenever I like.  Mwahaha.  I am lucky to have a bunch of local friends who I can visit if I feel necessary.  Plus, I do like having alone time.

The second, as I said, I think of as worse, but it affects me less visibly because I suppose I am used to it.  I spent a couple years of high school feeling like I didn't relate to anyone there, that my closest friends were in a chat room and they weren't even personal.  I felt it again through most of my undergraduate and at most of my co-ops.  Friends treated the symptoms, but there was always an abiding loneliness.  Now that I live in my own apartment, I've reacquainted myself with this background sense, and it's moments like quarantine that combine the first and second that make me wonder what the world will be like when my father passes, when I move to a new area, when all ancient connections have dissolved and been replaced by local, recent, nascent connections.  In the long term, what will have been the point of time and energy invested?  A colourful history, memories locked in the past.  That's why the second is worst than the first, because it questions meaning of connections, questions the necessity of my being.

That's not supposed to sound emo.  My current isolation is temporary and self-imposed, and the second form of loneliness slumbers in the background as an afterthought.  It's just something to think about tonight as I wonder what the world is doing and whether I matter much to it, with a smirk and a cup of soy milk and perhaps soon a couple cookies?  I mean, at least I'm not the neglected elderly yet :|

You have entered...

I kind of have a room of my own at a friend's place. Really, it's the guest room, but I requested the privilege of naming it. This will go on the door. :D


A high school student spoke to me on the midnight bus the other day. She asked me if University students were always like this. Looking down the length of the bus, you might confuse it for a cramped dance floor. Very raucous. I told her not necessarily, that she didn't have to be like that if she didn't want to, that I knew a bunch of people who were more consistently mature and weren't weird for it. She seemed relieved. She was alarmed at feeling more mature, having at 14 moved out of her house and trying to survive just high school.

Humans are weird. They celebrate life in weird ways. I can't say their ways are wrong: I'm much more tolerant of the less controlled ways than I used to be. Despite what I consider traumatic experiences growing up, it's helpful to focus on examples of good people letting loose: not everyone is a jerk or a complete idiot. And I remain free to be different: I'm glad I have friends who don't bother me and are considerate about it, and I let them have their fun in their way.

Last weekend I threw a birthday party for a friend at my place, and it was typical me: I baked cookies, made ghetto sushi, played Wii Sports Resort, and watched Scott Pilgrim. 3 of us had already seen it, and it was new to 2 others. The film is transcendent. Tonight I went to the 2012 OCUS Formal, which was a bizarre experience for me for a variety of reasons. I ate, I danced, I laughed and helped people laugh, and I was a runner up for best dressed. (I should have won! and I might have, had I voted for myself!) I love formals, getting dolled up on a lark, showing my finest Value Village finds, and dancing like crazy. I think someone compliments me on my dancing every time, and I still can't figure out if people are being sincere, or if they think my dancing is weird and thus remarkable. I don't think it matters as long as I have someone to dance with.

There was an anti-formal party at a friends' house afterwards. They're the cool kids to me, superficially suggestive of misfits who actually fit quite well. I drank (pure) kool-aid while others had their beverages of choice, and it was fine. No one was obnoxious. One fellow perhaps chose too much beverage, but he was a fine fellow before and remained a fine fellow after. There was good conversation, good laughter, and good company beside me.

I find the method that works best for improving my tolerance of things that are different from my norm is to find wonderful examples of them. I used to not be fond of punk culture until in high school I made a friend who was totally punk. Same with a lot of subcultures that don't typify me. My friends really do save me from intolerance. I'm glad intolerance doesn't save me from making friends. :)


Transient Quote

"I go to seek a Great Perhaps." - François Rabelais, nerdfighter


Quick Art

It's supposed to be a little wolfy

A friend of mine likes beasts.  I was going to draw her one for V-day, but I'm not a very good drawer.  However, I did get a new stylus the other day for my tablet PC, so I've been inclined to draw more.  Here, randomly, is the beginnings of a beast.

If lines of beasts aren't your style, here are some juvenile doodlings of airships.

so infeasible (open in new tab/window to see full view)

I say juvenile, because if I was more serious, I'd actually research what would make such a thing feasible.  I'm tired of worrying about feasibility right now.  I'll worry about realism later when I can do it at my leisure.  For now, it's fun. :)

The worst thing about my new stylus (the old one is out west with the laptop it belongs to) is that it disintegrated out of the package.  I bought it on ebay.  I will probably never buy something third-party from ebay again.  Ah well.



Inspired by a friend's conversation

More V-day

A delightful friend just shared this with me. It goes well with my ancient Velociraptor Day cards:

Roses are red.
      Violets are blue.
Look, a Tyrannosaurus.
      Oh god, my leg!

(originally by Brian Switek)


Hmm, someone just tried to deliver flowers to my apartment, but addressed to Winston Godwin. I'm hoping this wasn't someone's joke?


Velociraptors are so 2006

Back in 2006, I created a small set of Velociraptor's Day cards this time of year. I've created a new card which lacks the same humour but whatever. Next year there might be robots.

The batties and the velociraptors (warning: gore ahead) can be found here.

Winter Colds


Winter colds are slightly nostalgic for me. I haven't had one since last winter. I've already wandered through frigid snow stifling a cough. And I have my flask of hot tea with me. This year, I'm trying to be safer with colds. I've probably been reckless regarding quarantining myself. Last year, I even TA'd with my cold, and I probably got some of my students sick. This year, I'm even postponing delicious cookies for friends, because they're actually going to put those in their MOUTH.

Being a little sick can sometimes be nice, mostly due to connotations. Staying in bed, drinking hot tea, eating soup (I don't have soup, maybe I can get a friend to fetch some :D), and when I was younger, having someone like my mom or dad check in on me. Staying home from school, rescheduling appointments and work, getting stuffy headed and maybe finally watching some anime (video games would be too stressful). Curling up and being warm and cuddling my sheepo.

Sheepo Pistachio, cuddler extraordinaire

Case of the missing Tupperware

Today I finally figured out where my large plastic containers went.  I actually had thought someone had take them but then partially in a dream I remembered my last usage!  In the summer, I'd frozen a collection of berries (and some other food) to make a pie for a friend's birthday.  I ended up not making the pie and quickly forgot about them.  Almost 8 months later, I run to my freezer and tada, in the back, there they are.  I'm not sure if the raspberries, strawberries, or blueberries are still good.  I'm not even sure how well these containers will have survived their hibernation.

Blueberries, pineapple (I think?), strawberries,
chickpeas (pre-pie),and raspberries off screen. Nom.
I wish being sick saved me from the sudden opportunity to clean, too :D

Sick and crazy

Today I woke up with a cold, ate sushi, sliced rolled tatami mats with a sword, discovered that Planet Bean has vegan cookies, finished my Internet service with Rogers, tried to be a good TA, and made someone laugh a bit.


Samurai wandering in the snow

I like the arboretum.  I like wandering through it, especially after a fresh snowfall.  Each time I've planned to go, though, the mild weather stole my freshly fallen snow.  The other day, I mentioned going with a couple friends after jodo under the full moon.  However, it was almost devoid of snow.

So last night, when I saw a good couple inches of fresh snow fallen after iaido, I struck forth and boldly again.  A fellow iaidoka joined me and we tried hard to get lost.  Hard, because we're both quite familiar with it, but despite that we still managed to discover an ice covered pond to stand by while we discussed the nature of life.  I love the snow.  I love icy ground (when I'm not hurting myself on it).  My friend is like a monkey, and can easily catch herself as she falls, and bounces and lurks and stalks through trees like a veteran tripper, making the trip all the more enjoyable.  It's nice being able to experience the wild with a fellow adventurer, especially when we're both wandering in moderately falling snow, still in our hakame and gi, with sword bags in tow.  Winter is a great backdrop to life.

And so it was when we finally made it back to campus and I realised I'd just missed the last bus down town.  Honestly, I welcome the cold and find it refreshing, and steadily walked through falling snow that grew so thick I couldn't see straight ahead.  It was surprisingly warm, and I'm not sure why.  My hands and neck and ankles were bare, my shoes slowly soaked with melt, I had no hat, my beard was frozen stiff and my head became a tray for a snowy dessert.  And let I couldn't stop grinning as I tightened my balled fists burying into pockets.  When I finally came through the door, and shook, it was like a fresh snow fall in my house.  When I saw the mirror, I finally realised just how much snow had fallen, because I'd grown over an inch taller with snow.
I think I look a bit like a hardy hermit
here, with an overly solid cranium


Galaxy Nexus, Andriod 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich, and Encryption

I say do not encrypt your Android phone.  I think encrypting your devices is a good idea, but at least with Android there's the possibility that you won't be able to decrypt your data once encrypted, at all. 

I had a PIN set to unlock my phone.  I wanted to encrypt it for a while, and so this morning I did, and afterwards it asked me for a password.  I did not have a password set.  Neither my PIN nor my Google password would suffice.

After googling for a while, this problem has occurred with others (usually after getting an OTA update) with no good resolution.  I just did a factory reset on my phone.

It's not really a problem, as all my data was backed up to Google's servers, including the apps.  (I think I only lost videos, again, for the second time in a week.  Oh dear.)


Before I went to University, I looked forward to a future where I'd end up with a close group of geeky friends and we'd hang out and play video games, watch anime, and be cool together.  That never really happened.  There was something a little like that in first year, but most of my friendships were spent with individual interactions.

I just realised that I finally have the posse I sort of dreamed of.  Any posse necessarily requires a misfit quality to its members and an innocent sincerity.  I've really gotten to see that over the last few weeks as myself and others have gone to silly lengths to be good comrades, remaking plans spontaneously, engaging on silly adventure, being excellent to one another, helping and caring.  Today I celebrated the birthday of Z at my place, organising cookie baking, ghetto sushi, Scott Pilgrim, and some Wii play time.

It's a little surreal as I didn't see it coming.  The composition isn't well defined.  It's just basically a small band of misfits that share a common attitude and capacity for silliness.

I'm quite grateful for it, and still grateful for my many individual friendships at Guelph, like with E and L and M and Ar and Am and the rest of the alphabet that I'm not noting here.  Anyway, thank you to y'all for being good friends.  I'm working really hard on being more reliable again, and hope to disappoint none of you much more this semester.  You all deserve the best I can muster.


Transient Thought

"His opinion has so many holes I could use it as a strainer."
- Ar, delicately describing another

"How would you like it if a cow tipped you?"

Transient Truth

I'm beginning to feel comfortable with my patience.  I used to be very patient with the world when I didn't have to worry about other people.  I realised I'd get paradoxically quite worked up when another's happiness was involved, but I feel like I've learned a lesson in maintaining calm even then. :)

Transient Truth

I don't sleep.  I time jump!


I believe in a thing called love!

I'm thrilled by an advertisement containing the Darkness. I've song them twice in karaoke in the last 6 months. It would be nice if the advertisement was focussed more on how awesome the Note was rather than picking on Apple users. Apparently there was a lot of criticism of the commercial based on "A stylus? What is this? A Palm Pilot?" I think it's a weird criticism, because styli are actually quite popular for smart phones in general. The biggest problem I find is that most apps don't make much use of a stylus, since almost no phones come with one by default. Even the commercial didn't do a great job of illustrating great uses for it (I think they were trying to draw on a Google Map where to meet, but wasn't clear. :D).

Lunar Walks

I have dreams of wandering through outer space.  I love starfields and full moons and cool winter nights and lying down on the hoods of cars.  Tonight I asked Maya and Kristabel from Jodo if they'd care to join me for a midnight walk under the full moon through the arboretum.  We stalked the nature centre, sought bamboo, tried to find an old wooden walking bridge through a swamp that I can barely remember, and howled like wolves.  I briefly confused coyotes into howling back at me.  My mountain lions roar wasn't very appropriate.  We also found snow.  These are things that make me happy.


Transient Thought

Nicety about the Galaxy Nexus?  I've been using it all day with GPS and Wifi and 3G turned on, and played music walking to school, and the battery's still not dead.  That sure beats my Nexus One's battery dead at 7PM with just 3G. :D

It's a wonderful life

Wow, I'm really fortunate. :)  Thank you!


Calm in a digital storm

I think I've mentioned it, but the thing I hate most in computing is avoidable data loss.  Almost all data loss is avoidable, too.  It's been an interesting week, with two separate friends encountering it, and then me yesterday, when syncing my phone with my media player cleared all the other media I had, including my videos from the day of the Lights concert.   Anyway, I'm kind of proud of myself for maintaining perspective during that and not becoming dejected.  It's a lot easier to be graceful when I don't let myself get exhausted by stress: I'm a veritable unperturbable ballerina.



I suddenly wonder where my dragon wings have gotten to.  Perhaps they could work for Anime North. :D


Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich: Uploading Music

UPDATE: Using Rhythmbox (which uses libmtp) to sync a playlist of music to my phone incidentally wiped /sdcard/, including photos and videos, etc.  I think it was probably an issue with libmtp messing up, actually, though.  Be forewarned.

So, with my Nexus One and Gingerbread, I could mount my phone's SD card as a USB mass storage device by just plugging it in to my computer.  That was great, just like a USB key, I get a new device and I copy files over.  With the Galaxy Nexus and Ice Cream Sandwich, you can't do that any more.  As always, trying to send files via Bluetooth is failure prone, and using PTP (for photos) doesn't work reliably with other files.  (PTP: That's when you plug your phone in and it treats it like a camera.)

The way recommended by Google and the world is using MTP (Media Transfer Protocol) which is simple in Windows, relatively simple in Mac OS X, but not supported by default by Linux distros yet.  Until recently, nothing really significant that people would run with Linux would use it.

So, to copy files to and from my phone, I'm now using mtpfs, which lets me mount my phone like any other file system when I plug in (just like when it worked as a USB mass storage device!).  This required some steps in Fedora 16.
  • download and compile mtpfs
    • this required me to install some development file packages:
      • yum install libmad-devel libid3tag-devel fuse-devel libmtp-devel
    • then I went to http://www.adebenham.com/mtpfs/ and downloaded the source code
    • I unpacked it, and did a standard (./configure && make && make install)
    • (Thanks to PabloTwo at this thread)
  • and then I followed the instructions here:
Right now, I managed to mount my phone, but transferring music is going very slowly.   Earlier, I had to upload the "Ta Da" notification noise I loved so much on my Nexus One to my own web space, just so I could download it via the Android browser to get it on my phone.  Yeesh!

Making good use of what I've got

I used to use a double-monitor set-up back in GNOME 2 because my laptop's video card could handle it, but it can't handle it with GNOME 3's 3D acceleration.  At least not at the final total resolution.  So, for the past few months, my monitor has actually sat idle, unused, under-loved, wasting its potential.

Well, today I fixed that by simply having my laptop use this pretty 1920x1080 display, rather than its own 1024x768 display.  Facebook has never looked so fine.

Mild Discomfort?

Yesterday, while waiting in the mall on an adventure, a fellow approached me and told me his life story.  It was one of those moments that usually cause discomfort, and not for a good reason.  The gentleman was physically challenged, was bound to a wheel-chair and had difficulty speaking grammatically.  My instinct is generally to escape, which I'm ashamed of.

Last month, my friend Ar sent me a link to a video.  She has a similar response to mine, and we both found the video very helpful.  It's almost 10 minutes, and is a news segment on an autistic girl who eventually was able to express herself with the help of a computer.

The above video helped me a lot.  Part of my problem is a fear of becoming responsible for another person, and I don't mean in their being unable to operate in the world, but I guess I mean emotionally.  I am very cautious with who I let myself get close to and who I let depend on me.  I feel (rationally or not) that someone additionally challenged by their environment might rely extra-much on me, and I'd fail.  I've bailed on a friend before, which was stupidly related to my frustration at being unable to help them.  And yet I know I've been a burden to others.

Anyway, the video is excellent for helping establish very clearly in my mind how complete a person someone who has difficulty expressing themselves physically and verbally still is.  So, I didn't excuse myself while in the mall the other day, but stayed and chatted for an hour, with the perspective that the person was the same as me, but that we had a translation that was imperfect.  The whole visual-auditory system humans use to communicate is imperfect, though I dread the future where the "direct" neural communication I generally champion takes hold.  Dread.

The conversation was still hard.  Thanks to his challenges, he's been seriously abused and defrauded, and treated poorly regularly, and that's beyond having most people avoid him.  He had reasonable opinions on war, peace, liberality, religion, politics, and love.  I almost wish I could write about them here, but I don't think that would be polite to him.  I'm not perfectly happy with my current life, and I hate I can be so melancholic while another has had to adapt to survive in miserable conditions.  Not to demean him by describing them as miserable: he himself said he doesn't have any friends, and that that's quite hard.

I almost hate myself for being almost relieved that I didn't runaway.  It feels like patting myself on the back.  "Congrats, you did something reasonable rather than being a total jerk, GREAT JOB!"  Especially because I could have invested myself more, offered to be around or be a friend.  I've done that with others, others whose life situations are much more like mine, University children whose concerns are as petty as mine.  I'm weak.

I tell myself that in the future, I'll contribute a lot to helping address inequities.  I'll help conquer homelessness, I'll ensure everyone has access to an environment they can feel comfortable in.  I wish I could guarantee everyone a friend, too. :)

Ghetto Ikea

"Ghetto" can be a life motto for how to approach the quality of things in your life.  Also, "on a dime" or in my case "on the free".   In particular, I've long wanted a night stand on both sides of my bed.  One side is closer to an outlet, the other is closer to life itself.  So, my solution apparently is to eat a lot of mandarins.

A mountain of crates, delicious.

Spring cleaning

I just finished some spring cleaning (images on my G+).  The apartment is restored to "order".  I'm not a huge fan of order any more.  When I first moved out on my own, I liked to have everything very orderly and controlled.  "Alles in Ordnung", everything in order.  I realised the transformation away from that while I was visiting my aunt in Germany and she'd repeat "Alles in Ordnung" and I'd shiver.  Manageable chaos is now more the order of my day.  Still, some order is useful.

In particular, in my wonderful world of receipts.  I've retained almost every receipt I've collected in the last 8 years.  Commonly, they get bunched together into a cereal box, and then sealed, with their date written on them.  It's for a good cause, though.  No, not taxes, but memories!  They act as cues for places I've visited and things I've done and possessions I've acquired through the past and friends I've adventured with.  It's actually quite fun and nostalgic to go through them, even finding unexpected things like a receipt for the Dunedin Chinese Garden from 2009.   I don't want to be reminded of everything right now, though, so it's nice that I can tape a box shut and forget about it for now.

The other day, I helped a friend backup her computer before it had to be reformatted.  I had to make some space on my external hard drive, which was itself filled with old files and memories.  I hate data loss but going back in computer time can be kind of surreal, and some things are perhaps best forgotten, but then I found it bizarre when another friend went half-way in salvaging her music collection and then sort of just gave up?  :)  (You know who you are, crazy person you!)  I also did some digital house cleaning on my Facebook group that I'd been deferring indefinitely.  Though I'm still on it regularly to interact with others, I don't really care to use Facebook any more.  Its prime came and is now gone for me, so my profile and albums are now pretty bare.

I've also a good interest in reducing my material foot print.  I've become an incredibly light traveller, even impressing my New York host.  For the two weeks in which I lacked a phone, I appreciated still more its impact in making me more portable.  Often, I can leave the house without my shoulder bag, with just my phone, which does so much for me.  Perhaps it does more of my living than I do?  I think some concert goer's phones saw more of Lights directly than they did at last night's concert. :)  I don't really want to throw away most of my stuff, or give it away.  I've mentioned before my intent on renting a room from a friend when I'm done school to stow away my personals, liberating me to adventure lightly, get a bus and cross country and borders.

Almost everything proceeding smoothly.  I guess I'm incredibly fortunate. :)

Transient Thought

Sorting through old receipts, I have found a phone number and a name written on the back of a café one. But I don't know why!

Transient Thought

After 13 months, I have finally discovered my nearest post box. 


Internet and mobile phones

I didn't see this coming.  I already cancelled Rogers for my high-speed Internet.  (I'm stuck with them for a couple more weeks.)  I hadn't decided on a new provider, but when I was in the WIND store today asking about the imminent Galaxy Nexus, I realised that their mobile internet plans for home routers and laptops were actually Good.  In particular, an unlimited one that gives you the first 10GB at full high speed.  (You can still have full speed after that, but they reserve the right to slow you down if you're not a fair user.)  It costs less than then the Rogers plan I was already on, it's portable, and it's with a company I like, one whose business model is based on pleasing people instead of milking them.  I wonder if the unsatisfied Bell/Rogers customers (not all are) know what it feels like to be a dairy cow.

I'll actually at first try the still-cheaper tethering to my phone for Internet.  However, my Wii might like to have access to Netflix.  But then, I don't watch things alone much.  (Oh, would you care to swing by for a movie?  Assuming you're a reader who lives remotely near me. :D)


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