Category Archives: Misc

#EV12 Day Three

I began my day in London with a morning walk. I walked from my hotel in Pimlico to the Palace of Westminster… aka, Parliament.

Earlier I had lamented that Canadian Parliament is so much better than British Parliament, because to tour ours, it’s free, to tour Britain’s is £15. There’s another reason why Canada’s Parliament is better… we’re allowed to take pictures. So the one above and the one below are the two photos I took.

The tour was interesting. I got to see and be in the insides of the House of Lords and the House of Commons. I got to school an American on hereditary rights of the monarch. I learned more about Parliament’s uprising against Charles I, and learned that the building was built in the 1830s, not that long before Canada’s Parliament, which explains why they share a lot of style. That and we like to copy the Brits.

Then I went to see All New People, a play written by and starring Zach Braff. For those unfamiliar with Braff’s acting work

If you’re unfamiliar with his writing skills

All New People is a play which begins with Charlie (Zach Braff) hanging himself. In walks Emma (Eve Myles) who saves his life.

For those of you unaware, this is Eve Myles… took me a while to recognize her.

Yes, it’s Gwen from Torchwood, the Doctor Who spinoff. Myles is a lot less whiney in this than she was in Torchwood, or even her pre-Torchwood Doctor Who role.

So Emma is showing the house for it’s owners in the middle of winter on Long Island, which is apparently a cottage island. So it’s empty and some old Jews are coming by to see the place. Well, empty with the exception of the dude hanging by his neck.

Eventually she invites over her dealer/the town’s firefighter, and a prostitute becomes involved. It was a good play, the ending was clunky, but otherwise enjoyable. Basically a play about desperation and loneliness. Other than the ending, the only negative was Paul Hilton’s piss-poor American accent.

Finally that burlesque show I mentioned. Fucking sucked. Really just a club night with some burlesque acts on the side, and it’s not even funny burlesque which is what makes burlesque awesome. Toronto has an awesome burlesque scene, which when awesome is about the humour, not about stupidly trying to be sexy, and failing. I think I can find the perfect example:

That’s Betty1 on the left. That night we hung out and since then we’ve become friends.

Tomorrow I have no plans, I think I’m going to sleep in. Then… I don’t know. Go to a park, and hang out? I don’t have a book, because the book I’m reading, Have Not Been The Same, is fucking HUGE. My legs are killing me from all the walking. My feet are killing me, too.

  1. Let’s use her stage name here. []

#EV12 Day Two

For those wondering #EV12 means European Vacation 2012. Much like #ORT12 was Ottawa Road Trip 2012.

I went to The Tate. I liked some of the art. My favourite was this room with only a set of see through stairs on the ceiling, and a railing, but it’s all being seen from below. What I really liked about The Tate was people watching.

It was quite interesting watching people staring at this object on the ceiling and photographing it.

So my legs hurt. I walked a lot today. I woke up at 9, too early, but whatever… I walked to The Tate, as I figured that would be my first stop. I went there, walking along the south shore of the Thames the whole way. When I got there, I did a lot of people watching.

The people were interesting, the art is interesting, the building, not so much. Almost industrial. This might give you an idea.

From there I walked to the Clink. Except I thought the Clink was on the north side of the Thames, so I walked across, the Millennium Bridge, then came back across the bridge just east of there. I found the Clink, paid my £7 fee, and was severely disappointed. It wasn’t very interesting, wasn’t very informative, and it just lacked in many many ways.

Afterwards I went for lunch at Wagamama which was a suggestion by Alicia. How she described it, it sounded like Ginger. From reality, I found it kind of a cross between Ginger and Salad King. I ordered the Spicy Ramen. It wasn’t very spicy, but it was good, and there was hot sauce on the table. Definitely an enjoyable meal.

When I sat down I saw above the kitchen area a Symbol wireless access point, the ones that my company used to use until we replaced them with much better APs1. The Symbol ones were decent, just weren’t able to handle the demand we put on them. I asked and got access to the internet, which made me feel better. It’s so very strange not having internet where ever you are. It’s a sense of isolation. OH! And the hotel is CHARGING me for wifi. It’s £5 for the week, not the end of the world, but it was in their ad.

The room offers one twin or one double bed with Internet access-wireless, cable/satellite TV, telephone, coffee/tea maker, wake-up calls, hair dryer, iron/ironing board and clock radio.

There’s no coffee/tea maker2, there isn’t a hair dryer, which I don’t need because my hair is barely an inch long, and no iron or ironing board, which I could actually use, but there’s nowhere to actually put one.

Nor are there any outlets to plug an iron into! There are two outlets. One for the TV, up high on a wall, and one for alarm clock/phone which is in the back of the wardrobe with a hole drilled in to get the power to the ledge above the bed.

It’s not a major thing as I only have one British to North American plug3 But it would be nice to have a bit easier access to power, as I will need to charge my iPhone nightly. I’m using it quite a bit for maps, and shit. I’ve been taking screenshots of Google Maps when I have wifi, and then pulling up those screen shots, so I can check it out when I’m getting to the neighbourhood. It’s actually working quite well, one downside is if you’re going the wrong way, you have the blue dot telling you that.

On that note. I’m going to stop typing and perhaps write a couple more postcards before I leave for a concert.

While in Camden, I stopped in a bar, because they have wireless. I ordered a Pimms & Lemonade4 and sat on the rooftop patio with my laptop and a pair of headphones. I was going through tons of show listings for the city, and I came across Grant K. Fennell, he was the first one I checked out who wasn’t utter shit. His songs were actually nice and pleasant. He was playing at The Lamb, which is near Highbury & Islington station on the Victoria line. I’m staying not far from the Victoria line, HUZZAH!

So I went back to the hotel, and plotted… and by plotted, I mean I wrote some postcards, wrote all the above. Then around 8pm, I left. I got to the pub. The pub was called The Lamb, I asked for the wifi password, it was “lamblamblamb” and as Nick says:

I didn’t recognize most of the beers on tap. It’s strange and nice… no ability to order a Beau’s, it means I can drink something new for once5. She gave me some Pale Ale, she had a funny accent, English, I think, so I didn’t really catch what it was, but it was decent, MUCH better than last night’s. The beer is £3.90. I think that’s a strange price. I’d imagine that they’d make it £4.10 or something so that you don’t only have a pound and a 10p piece, hard to tip with if you don’t want to give a pound.

I did, however want to give a pound, so I left the £1.10 on the bar, and walked to grab a seat on a couch. The bartender comes up to me and says, “you left your change on the bar.” I look at her inquisitively and say, “it’s a tip.”

Apparently I’m the first person in her entire bartending career to ever give her a tip6. She didn’t even know what to do with it. So here’s a message to you Brits. Don’t be an asshole, tip! Show your appreciation for the person who’s helping you get smashed!

Then they started to play Stereolab in the bar… could they have made my day better? I actually listened to Stereolab on my to the bar.

Grant started playing… he played some acoustic guitar, it was good, I enjoyed him. I for some odd reason decided to take out my camera and shoot. I know, a shock… It’s not like I’ve ever shot at a show before. I also shot some video, for use in my #ev12 retrospective. This one will have fewer sexy ladies than #ORT12.

I then put my camera away, and ordered a cider called Harry Sparrow. It was good. I think it’s better than Strongbow, but not as good as Black Thorne. After Grant finished performing, I hung around a bit, finishing my pint, listening to some young women discussing their love lives, and reading Twitter. I held back from posting information about their love lives on Twitter7. From there I decided, DINNER TIME! So seeing as it’s Erev Pesach, I went looking for matzah. I couldn’t find any. I went into a restaurant and was told “we’re closing.” I went into another restaurant and was told “we’re closing.” It wasn’t even 11pm, yet! Seriously London, wtf is with your early hours. Are you 808? This is slightly ridiculous. I think it’s bad enough that most places are closed around 1 or 2 in Toronto, but 11 is just ridiculous.

Any way, to bed I should go, because waking up at 9 won’t do me, as I have to be Parliament for 9:15. Yup, tomorrow, I tour Parliament. Which I want to call Parliament Hill, but their Parliament is not on a hill, it is on a shore.

After my tour of Parliament, I’m going to try to go see a matinee performance of All New People starring Zach Braff, and written by Zach Braff.

After that… to a burlesque/circus show that sounds interesting. Though I doubt it can be as good as Boylesque TO.

  1. Aruba []
  2. wouldn’t use it any way, as they all make your tea taste like coffee, which is fucking disgusting. []
  3. Thanks, Helen! []
  4. Thanks Adam & Cari for introducing this to me… did you know they put fruit in it in the UK? []
  5. The night before I left, Christine walked up to my table and said, “a Beau’s?” I surprised her and ordered wine… TOO MUCH WINE! []
  6. She’s only on her third day. []
  7. Sorry, Twitter folk. []
  8. Umm, oh, you were actually born around 43 AD? Maybe you should get to bed. []

#EV12 Day One

My father was nice enough to give me a drive from his place in Thornhill to Pearson at 6am. I arrived at the airport around 6:30, and went through the whole shebang of getting on a plane. First I had to check in, then I had to drop of my luggage, then I had to go through security. It’s a whole big thing. The plane was supposed to board at 7:55am, an hour before it was scheduled to depart. I got there around 7:15 after going through all the fun. I was happy I wouldn’t have too long of a wait. 7:55 rolled around, then 8, then 8:15. We didn’t even start boarding until 8:30. Sigh. Whatever. I got to my seat, and discovered that I had an aisle seat… better for stretching out, worse for sleeping. After a couple minutes no one else came, a few more minutes and no one else came… then we starting departing the gate, and I had TWO SEATS TO MYSELF! FUCK YEAH!

I watched the latest episode of New Girl, and as usual, it was garbage. I listened to Love At The Bottom of the Sea, I tried to watch a movie, but couldn’t keep my attention on it. So I listened to Departures by The Rural Alberta Advantage. I got to look down on the coast of PEI and Newfoundland (but not Labrador).

They served a shitty breakfast. A really bad bun, some cantaloupe and honey dew, yogourt1, and a choice of either an omelette or pancakes. I had to make a decision. I had seem them roll the cart of food onto the plane about two, or two and a half hours earlier, obviously it won’t be very good, but which will be worse.

I took a wager and bet the omelette would be terrible. I don’t know if I’m right, but I was right that the pancake, while edible was not very appealing.

After some time of restlessness and being unable to sit there. I decided to get a sleeping pill. I took one rather than the usual two. I tried to sleep. I didn’t sleep. It wasn’t fun.

Oh! What I didn’t mention was that I got to watch a couple making out in the seats across from me, and groping one another, and conspicuously going to the back of the plane around the same time… and not returning for 10 minutes2.

So eventually we passed by the southern shore of Ireland3. We saw Wales, and eventually we landed, in London, it was late. It was 9:30pm.

From that point we needed to go through customs. My passport lost its virginity. I found my luggage, and went through a long maze of hallways and corridors leading to the Underground, and by Underground, I mean Subway4. I rode the dark blue train in silence, listening to two groups of Germans chatting amongst themselves in both English and German. There was also a Canadian girl (with a Vancouver 2010 knapsack) sitting beside me… listening to Dave Matthews Band way too loudly.

I transferred to another line5. I saw in the middle for some odd reason. Then a group of four people were laughing and giggling, and apparently one of the stuffed a salt shaker from the restaurant in another’s purse. She shaked the salt over her shoulder, I sarcastically thanked her and a conversation was born.

One of her friends was so enthralled that I was wearing my Apple windbreaker, and was impressed, because as he put it, it was an Apple mack!

So then I got to the place at midnight, and for the first bit I couldn’t come in… Evenutally someone did let me. I’m going to assume he’s the Fawlty in Fawlty Tower. He was grumpy, gave me a key, and sent me to my room. I didn’t have time or the wherewithal to ask for the wireless password. I think my room is about 3 metres length, 5 metres width. Now this space is divided into a washroom, sleeping area, and a little foyer. I don’t quite get the point of the foyer, it’s about a metre squared. Kinda useless, but there it is.

From there, I started wandering. Turns out there’s nothing in Pimico… maybe that’s why the hotel was inexpensive. I did however find a group of people who were friendly enough and pointed me across the river where I found a pub that advertised it had food. The barkeep reminded me of the elderly Steptoe. I ordered a Marston’s English Pale Ale… and it tasted like piss-water. They weren’t serving food, and the gentleman though I was a fucking moron for asking him about food at 1am. To which I replied, It’s only 8pm. I don’t think he understood me, both my joke, and my accent.

From there I found a corner shop, and dined on chips and a half decent mango drink. I got back to the hotel, took a couple sleeping pills, and here I am, 10 am… gotta figure out what to do.

  1. yuck! []
  2. Truly a quicky. []
  3. The republic, not Northern Ireland which is part of the UK []
  4. Not the sammich restaurant. []
  5. They have more than 2 and a quarter subway lines. []

Dear Toronto

Dear Toronto,
Suck it.

Yours truly,

Jimmie Simpson

I’ve lived in my neighbourhood for what I think is closing in on four years. I worked at Queen and Broadview for three years before that. Yet I had never been to the Jimmie Simpson rec centre. I went there yesterday and went to their Leisure Swim, which is free (all non-instructor based programs are free).

It’s a good quality pool. I have no idea why I didn’t go before. If anyone ever wants to go swimming in the east-end, hit me up.

Member of Parliament for Toronto-Danforth

It’s a beautiful day in Toronto. While it may be the last day of winter, it feels like the final days of spring.  Im sitting in Riverdale Park looking at the sun hanging low over the skyline of Toronto  and all I can think is how it exemplifies everything I love about this city, and my neighbourhood. The city is filled with green, and it fades to the skyscrapers downtown. Humans and dogs alike are running around the large open field at the bottom of the valley, while I can sit on the slope taking in the sun for the first time in months. Soon enough we’ll be able to trek out to the island to enjoy the sun, the lake and feel like we’re running away from the city, if only for a few hours.

Tomorrow spring begins, after the poorest excuse for a winter ever, and the first day of spring will also bring a new Member of Parliament for my slice of Toronto. For those unaware, Jack Layton, the leader of the opposition passed away in August. Since then, Toronto-Danforth has been without representation in Canada’s federal Parliament. Today I cast my vote for the first time in recent memory for someone I actually respect and who I want to win the election.

Craig Scott, the NDP candidate took time to speak to me after a town hall meeting and I have to say he impressed me. The man is intelligent, well spoke socially aware and active, and seems to have a grand desire to make change in Ottawa and bring a voice for the riding.

He was able to talk to me at length about what he has done and also what he will do. He surprised me.  The only downside is he didn’t talk to me sooner than he did, as I was willing to volunteer if one of the candidates appealed to me. Maybe in the next general election.

Another Day


I woke up this morning, it was around 3:30. I didn’t want to wake up that early but I did. So I put on my GSD1 hat.

I waited around until it was a reasonable time, and then I headed to the Passport Canada office in Scarborough2. After waiting way too long, they processed my paperwork, and OH YEAH! I’ll be getting a passport.

Apple Connect 2012

From there, I went up to Steeles and joined Apple Connect 2012 after the opening talk. I don’t really know what I missed, but oh well. What I do know I missed was breakfast, and after having lunch and dinner there… OH MY GOD! I was expecting shitty sandwiches and that kind of stuff like at other Apple events I’ve been to… but no, they’re pulling out all the bloody stops3!

The sessions I did go to were thus:

Apple Environmental Footprint
There was nothing else going on at that time, and my god was this a bloody boring speech. I really don’t care what Apple’s footprint is. It was long, boring, and *YAWN*.

Lion: Where is my server?
The title made me think of this. This was a discussion mostly of where to find pieces of Lion Server that aren’t preinstalled like it used to be. The vast majority of this was pointing us to the binary for MySQL or how to enable FTP on a server4. Those things weren’t that interesting, what was were the items that he had to take out of his presentation, because since the release of 10.7.0 and the release of 10.7.3, it is not easy, and builtin.

Lion Open Directory Update
Open Directory is an authentication protocol which Macs can use to authenticate to a server. It’s a decent system, has some advantages, though, honestly it would probably be more accessible to use Active Directory, but I do not. The presenter was a programmer for the OD services. Apparently the rewrote it from the ground up and she gave a very technical and detailed examination of the services. It was interesting, but barely useful.

Certificates and PKI: Concepts and Lab
This was my favourite of the talks, mostly because of Arek Dreyer.  He is very animated and he seemed to be genuinely excited about the subject. It was an excellent two hours. We had a lot of information thrown at us, both technical and practical. We had a chance to actually play with the self-signed certificates that are default to Mac OS X Server.

I missed two sessions, as they conflicted with others, including one from Mobile Iron a third party company who make a Mobile Device Management solution. Apple just released one called Apple Configurator, which I’m looking forward to playing with along with a cart of iPads. I just worry about the fact that the app seems to be thinking the iOS apps should be volume licensed, when there is no volume licensing for Canada, yet.

The other session I missed was Intro to iOS Development. I’m a terrible developer, and honestly don’t care.

After a tasty tasty dinner, I went to downstairs to the main event room where I wrote a test for certification. OS X Support Essentials 10.7 Exam was the test, and I passed! WOOO! That makes me an Apple Certified Support Professional, whatever that means. It’s a certification that will last until Mountain Lion is released in the summer. These exams were built into the cost of the event, so I took it on a whim not expecting to pass, and without having studied, but WOO HOO I passed5!

There’s many more tests I can take tomorrow, but I’ll only be able to take one more. I can go with OS X Server Essentials 10.7 Exam  which will make me an Apple Certified Technical Coordinator. That will be a much harder exam, which I could probably pass with study, but I haven’t studied whatsoever. I could at the least read the 30 page Exam Preparation Guide.

They also have exams for Final Cut Pro X and Aperture, which have very little actual worth in the real world, I use these apps nearly constantly. They have a Level One and Level Two for FCPX, and I know I wouldn’t get to level two with my knowledge, and wonder about Level One. As for Aperture, I’m sure I can pass it in my sleep. So I don’t know which I should opt for.

Bow ties are cool

In additional to all the fun I had with Passport and AC12, I also sent an email to Wickham House Brand who have a bow tie of the month club. I signed up for three months starting in February and have yet to receive my first tie. I was kinda worried, so I sent an email. I was told it should’ve arrived last week (but I didn’t say I was in Canada, and he answered from his iPhone, so he might not have looked my order up), he suggested I contact him again at the end of the week if it hasn’t arrived.

I got home from AC12 and checked my mailbox, which had been empty every day for the past two or three weeks. There was a notice from Canada Post in there. I checked the notice and saw that Shoppers was open for another 3o minutes. I headed down the street, and got a package, which was too big for a bow tie. sure it was flat, but it was about 12″ squared. I looked at the return address, and it wasn’t from the United States, it was from Halifax… WHO WOULD BE SENDING ME SOMETHING FROM HALIFAX?!?! Then I saw the name on the return address, “Mike O’Neill.”

It was Mike O’Neill’s new record! Hooray! I had figured it would come from owner Dave Ullrich, who lives a few blocks away from me in Toronto6.

Sad there were no bow ties, but WOO! MIKE O’NEILL.

Man I’m tired.

  1. Get *expletive deleted* Done. []
  2. Eww, Scarborough. []
  3. Food did not contain blood. []
  4. which is omitted for good reason, use SSL. []
  5. Students, don’t follow my example. []
  6. I’ve seen him in the street a few times, he never noticed me when I waved. []



My vacation video.

We went to the Diefenbunker in Carp, Ontario, we went to Centre Block on Parliament Hill, and mostly we just had fun in Ottawa, en route to Ottawa, and en route back to Toronto. We even briefly visited Quebec, and enjoyed a nice dinner at St. Hubert.

An apology to Helen

First I’m going to start with an apology to Helen. When it was suggest that four of us share two beds in a single hotel room, I had a bit of a sense of dread, but I bottled it up, because “WOO! OTTAWA ROAD TRIP!” Now here I am, 3:30 am on Sunday morning. I only got an hour or two of sleep the previous night, if that. This night, I was smart enough to stay in when Emily, Joseph and Helen went to meet a friend of Helen’s. I spent most of that time editing the video (except for the footage that has yet to be shot) that will hopefully be posted on Thursday. However, I did get an hour sleep before the rest of #ORT2012 crew arrived back at the hotel. The problem was I wasn’t sleepy and having a minor panic attack. My heart had been racing, since driving back to Ottawa from Quebec (and CFB Carp) in horrible weather with no street lights. When I finally got some sleep that was nice.

Since they’ve been back, I’ve been able to get 15 minutes here and there, but I’ve been in and out of bed so often, that I’m feeling really sorry for Helen. To the point that I’m now lying on the floor, playing with my laptop with the screen dimmed to the lowest level (which is very bright in otherwise pitch black).

I really don’t know what possessed me to think that I’d be able to share a bed with someone (especially a double, when I sleep alone, diagonally on a Queen1). There’s only been one person who I’ve really successfully slept with2 since Lisa and I split up all those years ago, and I loved her, even though I didn’t want to admit to myself that I loved her, yet. So it was either that, or the fact that she was (and still is) so fucking skinny, that the first time she spent the night in my bed, I woke up and thought she had left. So I have to apologize to Helen, for her lack of sleep. I’ll take the blame, and I’m so very sorry. Here’s hoping I have enough wherewithal to get us back to Toronto safely3. Don’t worry mom, I won’t do anything dangerous, I know my limits, and will work within those.

This was going to end with #ORT2012 playlist 2, but after this long post… I’ll save that for Friday. Next time on NH2F… Cosby Sweater of the Week.

Edited to add: At around 6am, I went back to bed, and three hours of fitful sleep. Not ideal, but enough to make me feel much better.

  1. Insert joke here. []
  2. and I mean actual sleeping. []
  3. Right now I’m so bloody awake, that I could probably drive to Vancouver without a problem []


Today would have been Calvin’s 10th birthday.