pphaneuf: (Default)
It's been sort of a busy week, but in a good way, for the most part.

There was an unusually high amount of the [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe this week, having been to her DJing night at the Katacombes, her visiting us at home, then her birthday, then more of her birthday (which involved a bunch of hot people hanging out at my place, so yay!)... That's cool, I think. We've got bait for more visits, in the form of tons of Torchwood and the Dieux du Stade DVD (which might also work very well with [livejournal.com profile] archdiva, hehehe!).

In her most recent visit, she left me some computer hardware to fix up, which is kind of amusing, because we're currently being invaded by electronic equipment already! I got a new television delivered Wednesday, got all sorts of cabling to hook my computers to it (gotta be able to watch the Torchwood!), and we got a PVR cable box (I'd do without broadcast television myself, but [livejournal.com profile] azrhey is a fan, and there's got to be something on?). This means that the place is a bit of a disaster area at the moment, while I try to put all this together in a sensible way.

For anyone looking to get some audio/video cabling, I'd like to point out something rather weird. As you may know (well, if you're still reading past the previous sentence), there's some serious price-gouging going on with A/V cabling. In some cases, it can be understood (analog signals are sensitive to interferences of all sorts, better shielding and conductors do make a difference), but in the modern world of fully-digital HDMI cables, WTF? Unless you have a freakin' ion storm in your living room, the very cheapest digital cable will get you the best possible quality (unless it doesn't, in which case it'll either be very obviously horrible, or outright won't work). Stores liked to sell high-margins cabling, though, so they're still at it anyway. So, I set out to find the cheapest digital cabling possible.

You'd think that Apple would be in on the price gouging, no? Well, apparently, Apple is a bit schizophrenic in that regard. Future Shop had this 4 feet HDMI to DVI cable, which is the cheapest of that type they had (there were some cheaper HDMI-DVI adapters, but with the cable, came out more expensive). At the Apple Store, they have this 2 metre (6.56 feet) HDMI to DVI cable. As I said, as long as they'll work, the image quality will be identical, and the one at the Apple Store is longer. The Apple Store one is also only $19.95, compared to $70.99 for the (shorter) one at Future Shop. That's less than a third the price!

So, less than a third of the price for better stuff? Uh, a bit out of character for Apple, but keep it up, I could use more of that (if only as an "inspiration" for other stores)!
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
Ouch, that was a bad week. So, of course, I didn't write.

There was this moment, at some point, where the root causes of my annoyances here were coming together before my eyes, and I could see that they weren't specific to particular companies or individuals, but a product of the whole system, and that, therefore, there was precious little chance of avoiding it. They're not intrinsically negative things, but similarly to apenwarr, I like small and responsive, rather than big and stable.

In France (and most of Europe in general, it would seem), things are optimized for stability, from the top-down. They have a strong, controlling state, unified almost all the way down, with cities having a little control (not much), and the bulk of decisions emanating from the center. Have you ever wondered how such enterprisey things as the WS-Deathstar ever see any use? As far as making money and keeping things the way they were, they are doing a marvelous job, actually, but when it comes to things like "making a difference" or "doing something I could give a flying fuck about", well, it's rather less than stellar. For example, do you know Bull? No? Never heard of them? It's the premier European IT supplier, something a bit like IBM, but for Europe. They have such giant customers such as Dassault Aviation, EDF, Total, Boehringer Ingelheim, La Poste, SNECMA, France Telecom, T-Com and the SNCF. What, you've never heard of most of these either? I can assure you, they're all gigantic, half of them are or have been nationalized at some point, and the system will roll on forward whether you know about them or not! I do think there is change coming, but the timeframe is in the decade, I would say. I'm not that patient!

At first, I didn't know what to do anymore, and that left me very sad. This being a systemic issue means that finding another job wouldn't do it. Starting my own company wouldn't really do it either, as I'd have this system to deal with (and more pressingly, would quickly have serious problems with hiring).

That last thought kind of surprised me, though, in another way. Previously, I didn't want to start a company. I didn't want to do management, didn't want to deal with the business end of things, and I was rather afraid of the risks. I just wanted to program. But in the last few years, I did management (and actually enjoyed it, I reluctantly have to admit), I got interested in business, probably from hanging out with apenwarr, even if it wasn't to his scale. And ironically, this project of moving to Europe had me face my fear of risks, where I didn't know where I'd work, where I'd live, how I'd get to stay in the country and other such things. So, oddly enough, I'm now considering doing something I can't do here, but only because I have come here!

Now, I'm not just packing up just yet! I still want to travel around Europe some, and I can do a good amount of the early work on just about any potential idea for a startup from here. So I'll be doing that.

For the shorter term, there's a trip to see some of [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's family for Christmas, and possibly a short trip to Barcelona for the New Year, getting pick-pocketed and all, as the tradition requires. And I've discussed some idea of going to Copenhagen to see [livejournal.com profile] skjalm, which would be very nice.

I also met two hot girls on the train, Hungarian and Italian. See, it's not all that bad around here, hehe!
pphaneuf: (Default)
Okay, these days, there's someone I think about (and miss) weirdly often. And it's... [livejournal.com profile] liberation_now. When I'm at the grocery store and pondering the flight capabilities of certain plastic containers, or like not long ago, listening to the interesting drumming in Interpol's "Obstacle 1", I think of the guy.

I should probably have my head checked or something. So should him, actually. Or maybe we're the only two who don't need our heads checked?
pphaneuf: (Default)
I've been notified that I was slightly confused (as usual) and that fall is here now. :-P

Favourite people of mine seem to chat me up on a semi-regular basis, which I appreciate muchly!

Did some cleaning of the apartment and (finally, as they were long overdue!) of my boots this weekend, with much welcome encouragement from [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, but didn't do laundry after all. Oops. Hopefully, I won't have to show up naked at work this week...

It is 15.5 degrees Celcius at my desk right now (up from about 14, before we opened the windows). The stupid A/C is totally out of control, gah!
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
Whew, haven't written in about two weeks. Which is well known to be silly (in my case, it's usually when there's bad shit going on). I won't go into the details of a day-to-day coverage, that'd just be too much to write (and to read!). It's not just bad shit, thankfully, there's also very good stuff, but I've just been insanely busy, I didn't want to write without covering the bad stuff at all and just skip it... So here we are!

I struggled with some uncharacteristically large amounts of drama in my love life, mainly because I'm a blubbering idiot at times. No, don't anyone argue. I am, sometimes, and that's that. I might mean good, but that's not enough to do good. My shiny white armour isn't looking too pretty. Still, I go on. Mistakes where one doesn't learn are the only real failures, I think.

Other than that, there has been all sorts of things, both good and bad... She Wants Revenge, delicious dinner at [livejournal.com profile] sfllaw, dental work (complete with temporary damage to my nervous system!), water heater going dead, Easter dinners, lazy mornings, early mornings, movies, rusty water sprayed all over my kitchen, flamenco, hot water back on, Ikea, pantslessness, various anniversaries, hot water and heating going dead, packing, cleaning...

I was having a bit of a case of the "blah" yesterday that I couldn't really identify (maybe it was just the doing dishes or cleaning the bathtub with cold water? these are things I don't like doing even with hot water, so...), but I'm much better this morning, despite a rather cold night. The lady [livejournal.com profile] azrhey might disagree, but apparently, being cold is healthier for you, they say? Oh well!
pphaneuf: (Default)
"What, do you have the whole collection?" — [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe, after seeing I had my smaller Frida bag instead of my usual (because of my laptop) Fred Cocotte Equipment courier bag.

Yeah, I'm a yuppie bag-whore. And she hasn't seen my collection of Lowepro photo bags (I own no less than four!).

I like having the exact bag for the occasion and the equipment I'm carrying, and I enjoy attention to detail in the design of those bags. And I have to say I am not impressed at all by laptop bags in general, but most particularly by the appalling almost complete lack of bags designed for compact laptops (like my Apple Powerbook 12").

Dudes, I bought a small, easy to carry laptop. What the fuck would make you think I'd want to carry it around day-to-day with a large, clunky bag I could carry half my wardrobe in? The only non-stupid bag I found was just about exactly the side of the laptop, with no capacity whatsoever for anything else (like, um, my wallet, keys, or sunglasses). I can respect a minimal bag like that, can come in handy, but it's not a day-to-day thing either. I ended up hacking something, by putting that minimal bag inside my Fred courier bag. Pretty decent, but not perfect (the handles get in the way often, a double-zipper is a bit overkill for an internal pocket, and it moves around easily).

Well, turns out these smart bags exist, they're just a pain in the butt to find out about (thanks to Tim Bray for recently writing about that). Crumpler is somewhat well-known, but I've only seen their models for photo equipment or larger laptops in store (they also have one mighty offensive web site, if you ask me (which you didn't, I know, but too late!)). Tom Bihn is a new one to me, but seem to have pretty cool wares. RoadWired also had some decent offerings, but didn't catch my eye as much as the others.

Now, that's fine and dandy, but why do I learn of this, a) when I already got some kind of non-horrible setup (and so making it hard to justify to myself), and b) when I'm spending money on my move to France by the bucket-load? Oh well, nothing's perfect.

Now, if someone designed a courier bag specifically to carry a 12" laptop and an SLR camera, I'd be all over this, but somehow, I'm not holding my breath. :-)

Lastly, before anyone latches on too hard on the subject line, know that I also have a fetish for sunglasses, and a minor one on watches (although I'm skipping out on that one, not just for money reasons, but because of my uneasy relationship with time)... Bonus points if titanium is involved. ;-)

Such a yuppie, I should be ashamed.
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
I've spent a worrying and stressful end of week (last week now, my writing is getting spotty!), but even weirder, still fun and interesting nonetheless.

Read more... )
pphaneuf: (Default)
Did the demo of the thing I was coding up recently (including over the weekend). It was well received, that's nice!

Yesterday, we had been discussing the current lack of pop and juice in the company fridge, and today, I went to the fridge, half-heartedly, expecting to be disappointed still. Nope, still no pop, but I looked around, thinking there might still be something to steal off someone (we put labels on personal stuff). I see a bunch of Waterloo Dark lying about, with labels on them. I check whose they are, and it says "platform". Hey, wait! I'm part of the platform team! Score! So I drank one before my presentation, and another after. :-)

I'm stressed a bit, these days, with all those things I have to do... Went to get quotes for international movers and to the optometrist yesterday, so it's all about spending money. I mean, I've got some, but this is just insane and out of my reach. A grand for the plane ticket, a bit more than half for a year of travel insurance, I ought to get glasses (my glasses have been broken for the longest time now!)... Got the first quotation for moving back yesterday, and it was five grands!

Thankfully, it turns out that it's way overpriced, got one that estimated three something, and got another that will do it for two grands, door-to-door. Lots of money, still, but this was just looking appalling yesterday and I was rather discouraged. But with those news, and my demo having gone well, I'm much better now! Also, had quite the solid support to back me up, between [livejournal.com profile] azrhey hanging out and taking good care of me (*purr!*), and [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe's encouraging words! Thanks!

I cooked a bit yesterday. Something low-risk (an omelette), but even then, syncing it up with the soup didn't work out at all. I'd make a terrible chef. The food itself was good, I'm not so bad this way, but I'm so inefficient at cooking, and since time is one of my most expensive resources, I'm quite reticent about it. Probably beyond what is reasonable, though, as I keep forgetting to make myself sandwiches for lunch, even though I have all I need, but that's just me being forgetful, I think. :-)

Busy schedule, these days, but it's looking quite good and enjoyable! Cleaning my apartment tonight (so I can have [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe over tomorrow without my apartment eating her or something!), going to a co-worker's going away party, going to C.O.M.A.3 Saturday (with [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe, who likes the noise!)... Whee!

Mr Nice Guy

Mar. 9th, 2006 03:22 am
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
Thanks for the support, people. Just a teensy bit of panic, you know? I'm slowly coming back to my sense and taking care of the stuff.

Seems like I might not be able to take Diva along with me. I've started looking at finding her a new host. I had someone in mind, asked there first. Might still require some temporary lodging (for a few months). I'm rather sad, I'll miss her a lot (I did when I was in France for two weeks!). This will be the second cat that I really care about that I'd have to split up with.

Looking into getting rid of the Linux Mobile too. Much less heartbreaking, even though I might get a bit sentimental at times. So, if you'd be interested in taking over a lease on a low mileage, well-maintained Mazda Protegé5 2003 (here's a photo), contact me.

The only acceptable replacement would be, of course, a McLaren F1 (got to have some goals, no?), the only three-seater sport car ever, while also being one of the most awesome ever, full stop. Coincidence? I think not. ;-)

Went to see Peter Jackson's King Kong with [livejournal.com profile] red_star_stone. I felt a bit thorn about that. On one hand, I didn't entirely feel like going out for a movie, and even if I had, I'd probably prefer going with someone I feel closer to, before time runs out. But on the other hand, I don't really like dropping the ball on people at the last minute, especially as she had changed her work schedule to fit this day. So I decided to stay with it (I did back out of some other things, and will be pickier, to make better use of what time I do have). I'm told I might be a little too nice, sometimes. I can think of worse things I could be too much of, that'll have to do!

Turned out okay. It's a good movie, although not making the top of my list. Some performances were spotty, good at times, not so much in others. The kind of content did suit my slightly iffy mood pretty well, though, and maybe it wasn't such a bad decision after all to go. I wasn't too hungry today, and now, I feel the hunger coming back. Easily entertained, I suppose!

Got to chat a bit with the good man [livejournal.com profile] gregorama, whom I'll be having dinner with (in company of [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and [livejournal.com profile] jul3z, awesome company!) tomorrow evening. That should be quite nice, and I should be in a much better mood by then!
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
Had fun yesterday at Old Dublin, but it's seems like it's just rubbing something in my face. Until I leave for France, I'm just a shadow here.

There's nothing I can build here, everything is oh so very temporary. I'm not one to feel like things have permanence, but this is mere months. I know some people and would like to know them even better? Well, that's too bad.

It's very hard not to get the impression that I'm wasting my time with people, and to me, this is terrible. And then I panic, and I go crazy. I go and actually waste my time, going off and compulsively building up friendships with entirely new people, leading me to neglect existing friendships, since my time is so limited. I mean, those people, they're nice people and all, but really, can I afford this? I just totally lose track of priorities and wander off. What an idiot I make.

I feel like I'm already gone, but that I'm not anywhere yet. And when I get there, it'll take time to build myself back up.

To make things even better, it seems like I just feel so damned much these days. Both the good, and the bad. And when it's good, it often turns to bad when I remember I'm leaving. I remember days past, where I wouldn't feel so much, and as I've said before, I wouldn't go back to that. But, damn, this is a lot of feeling.

But I'll be fine, I know it. I just need to hang in there, and I'll be good, in the end. I'll make it good myself.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Went to see Good Night, and Good Luck with [livejournal.com profile] red_star_stone yesterday. Was a good movie, with a solid cast and equally solid. David Strathairn was hard core! The photography was excellent all around, with tight framing, excellent lighting, good use of changes in focus and depth of field, as well as a very good choice of film. It was shot on black and white film, but not a modern, sharp film like was used in Schindler's List, and not overdone, super-grainy film either, just a good, high silver content black and white film, with an apparently endless density range to show for it, very cool stuff.

There were a few weaknesses, of course. Some characters were rather ambiguous (maybe an advantage, not making them too campy either could have been difficult?), I didn't really get the arc with the Wershba couple, and the end was a bit sudden and quickly done.
pphaneuf: (Default)
It's pretty late now, will make this quick (trying to keep up the writing).

Decided to give the STL another try, after all these years. It sucked horribly back then, and I see it came a long way.

One of my favourite person worries me a little, I'd love to be able to be there for her, but she's too far away. Annoyed, but I'll live, and while she didn't feel like talking about it much, it didn't seem so bad, or so I'm telling myself not to worry too much. Well, it always come down to only one person being able to fix things, and that would not be me, I can only do what I can, so I will.

Later, in the company of [livejournal.com profile] cpirate, went to see [livejournal.com profile] kyn_mad_arabe and [livejournal.com profile] iangurudata at Grumpy's, and did what I can. Unexpected visit from [livejournal.com profile] emjayne, was nice seeing her, and got to meet [livejournal.com profile] zenchild.

Walked back home, very nice snowy weather, my boots making that delightful creaking sound in the snow that I love so much and that reminds me of some of my best memories of recent times. Hey, you, over there! I miss you! Yeah, I've got my hat on!

Looked for work some more. How much I am eager to have this settled and out of the way. Got some replies, of the "we're passing your resume around, don't call us, we'll call you" type, eurgh...

Chillaxing

Jan. 2nd, 2006 01:22 am
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
I went and used [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's gift certificate to buy myself some really cool shades, some Oakley Whisker, black frames with black iridium lenses. So cool! There was a titanium version of those, but they were, um, a notch more expensive, shall we say.

Went to [livejournal.com profile] archdiva's little evening of chilling, and chilling happened indeed!

Saturday was made of driving up and down Côte-Des-Neiges, having some of that awesome Pho Lien tonkinese soup I've been hankering for a while, attempting to see a movie (but seeing this unexplicable thing instead), having some cold coffee, then finally having it exchanged for properly hot coffee. Then headed to [livejournal.com profile] messiahdivine's new year's eve party, where much fun was had and many people were met. Yes, I was drunk, but it was fun! I paid for it with a bit of hangover, but I've had worse, assuredly.

Today was only going out for some breakfast at Cora, then a few video rentals, and spending the day in bed. Ah, we truly live in enlightened times!
pphaneuf: (Default)
I got myself boots again today. And the world is a better place. :-)

They're not new, as I had hoped, though, as it would seem military spec combat boots are rather hard to come by new (parade boots are easier to find it seems, but I prefer combat). But they are just about new, so that will do just fine. Put on some black polish on them, and they look smashing!

I'll go off and try them out better now...

Hawt.

Oct. 21st, 2005 04:23 pm
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
I'm wearing my long-legged biking warm lycra thingies (with shorts on top to reduce the dorkiness), and I feel hot. In more than one way.
pphaneuf: (Default)
Went to the boot/shoe repair shop earlier today, as we were supposed to do for the longest time. Turns out my boots aren't repairable. Sigh.

I'll use that as an excuse to get myself new boots. And by "new boots", I mean "brand new milspec combat boots", to be clear. I will most likely buy some other shoes as well in the coming times, because my shoes situation isn't looking too good, but there are brand new milspec combat boots in my future. Massively overspecified and overdone boots, designed to walk what seems like a hundred miles a day without destroying your feet. Black. Creaky leather (might have to settle for the microfibers stuff, bleh). Hmm... Goodness!

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