pphaneuf: (Enlightened)
A little while ago (okay, okay, that was in November!), I went to see Me, Mom & Morgentaler at the Club Soda with [livejournal.com profile] gregorama and [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe. Oh my goodness, the energy! They did pretty well, for a bunch of fat people in their fourties. ;-)

On top of the sheer awesomeness of it, this was a rather significant event for me on so many fronts. To this day, I still remember parts of an evening I spent in St-Hyacinthe's downtown, on the sidewalk in front of one of the venues there, where I watched this band of insane people jumping around on the stage, being so completely and madly happy. That was sixteen years ago, and since then, lots happened, of course, and I didn't really expect to see them.

In fact, I didn't really even expect as much as to be able to pick up their CD, until that evening where [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe and I wandered from one used records store to the next (and to the next, and to the next, etc!), and we found it! Actually, she had found it, and managed to snatch it away in front of my eyes, but it turned out all right, as she gave it to me as a farewell gift, before I left for France. That was eighteen months ago, and since then, well, lots happened (ok, well, not nearly as much as in the sixteen years before, but still!)...

Among other things, we broke up, and frankly, while I try to see the nuances and not think in terms of black and white, a pretty ridiculously significant share of this disaster was on my shoulders. People weren't around to see it, but it was a massive breakdown, including talks of breaking up with [livejournal.com profile] azhrey as well, for a bit. I've come out of this rather scarred and traumatized, and I'm surprised I didn't just lose it (or maybe I did?). After this, I was still thinking that non-exclusive relationships could work, but I was seriously questioning my ability to do it myself, and considering how much happier my life has been since I accepted this aspect of myself, this was some hard core introspection. Let's just say that the daily ride on the commuter train was sometimes very thoughtful. I have been, and still am, to a degree, ashamed of the all pain I've caused to the people who I wanted to hurt the least.

I finally figured that maybe I wasn't doomed to failure, if only I could manage to learn from my mistakes.
pphaneuf: (Default)
I'm not much of a Christmassy person, it would seem, but hey, that's no reason not to have fun!

I received some well wishes from favourite people (ill wishers can stay home!), which was very nice and in some case, even took me by surprise! Ever since the adventures in France, I find that while I do miss people, I'm much better able to go on for long without them, for better or for worse. While it can be handy at times, I'm not entirely convinced this is fundamentally a good thing... I should get out more, which should also be easier when we'll have moved (which is less than a month from now!).

I got mostly monies from close family who don't know what to get me (and I'll give them that, it's hard to find good gifts for me!), despite having stated a few times that a gift-less Christmas was just fine by me. My sister gave [livejournal.com profile] azrhey and I some kitchen stuff, which caused [livejournal.com profile] azrhey to go on a chase to return the favour (she's all proper and stuff!), but it all worked out in the end.

There was the red scare, which was rather worrying at that moment (and caused us to miss out on [livejournal.com profile] swestrup and [livejournal.com profile] taxlady's solstice party, boo!), but turned out to be okay.

I had this strange dream the other night where I had a crush on a girl, and in the dream I knew it was a dream and I thought "hey, I think I might have a crush on this girl in real life, I better tell [livejournal.com profile] azrhey!", but when I woke up, I couldn't make out who it was, either I couldn't remember or she doesn't even exist.

This morning, in my sleepy haze, I left a "ten dollar tip" to the metro dude when I bought my monthly pass. Doh.

Can't Wait

Oct. 13th, 2007 06:11 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
I just can't wait to get to the new place, for a number of reasons (and no, the hawtness of both our male and female future neighbours isn't the main reason, but it sure helps!).

I want my own base of operations, and I want to be able to launch all-weather, night and day adventures. Being stuck in 9-to-5 in France wasn't cool, but the fact that I didn't do much outside of work made it easier. Now, it's just plain horrible.

On the upside, I now have in my possession a ticket for Me Mom and Morgentaler (as well as [livejournal.com profile] tygrbabe's ticket, which I intend to use as a bargain chip for various nefarious purposes, most of which I have yet to come up with!) and I had an awesome time yesterday recovering from my week using two pints of Guinness at [livejournal.com profile] gregorama's birthday and dancing off at Saphir for [livejournal.com profile] liberation_now and [livejournal.com profile] nevergirl's combined birthdays!
pphaneuf: (Default)
Bon, il ne reste même pas une semaine avant notre départ! Et il y a un peu plus d'une semaine, je quittait mon travail.

Quelques jours après, mes collègues m'ont invité à un BBQ, et j'y suis donc allé, pour me faire dire qu'ils étaient surpris que je suis venu, parce qu'il paraît, "je ne viens jamais". Euh, c'est le deuxième BBQ qu'ils organisent dans l'année que j'ai passé là! Et effectivement, je n'était pas allé à l'autre, mais bon... On a fait voler les bouchons des bouteilles de cidre, littéralement, mangé des saucisses et des brochettes, c'était excellent. J'ai compris pourquoi les français mangeait les cuisses de grenouille, il y en a plein et c'est très bruyant!

Vendredi, on est allé assister à notre dernier Toulouse Carnet, exceptionnellement au Carson City. Beaucoup de nourriture, la "Arizona potato" était très bien, mais le chili con carne était d'une tristesse... La disposition des tables laissait un peu à désirer, mais on s'est ensuite déplacé à la Prairie des Filtres pour s'installer plus à notre aise, et ainsi discuter de bières possible et autres sujets hautement intellectuels, éclairés par la lueur des flashs photo. Oui, j'ai plus de sacs que [livejournal.com profile] azrhey, c'est vrai...

Dimanche, nous sommes allé souper avec un de mes ex-collègues. Je voulais aller à la "pizza des fous" (aussi connu sous le nom de La Pastasciutta), mais comme c'était fermé (comme la plupart des fois où j'ai tenté d'y aller, donc j'ai l'habitude), nous somme allés à un autre resto pas trop loin, d'où nous avons pû observer l'averse diluvienne, juste au bord de la fenêtre ouverte (sous l'auvent, tout va bien!).

Ça tout contrairement à Alban, qui avait laissé son Velux ouvert, ce qui ne nous a pas empêché de prendre une petite bière mardi, tout de même, mais bon, dehors, hein? ;-)


May. 12th, 2007 07:45 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
Last weekend, I got my residency permit turned down, which, to make a long story short, means that we'll be heading back to Canada. Seems like I was misdirected by the Consulat de France in Montreal, and from what I hear, it seems to be something they've done a few times ([livejournal.com profile] azrhey worked in a place here where they hire a lot of foreigners, due to language skills).

So, it looks like I'm going to be looking for a job back in Montreal.

My weapons of choice are C++ and Perl, but being a Unix/Linux hacker, of course, I am not limited to those, they're just the ones I'm most deadly with. I am comfortable with meta-programming (mostly, but not limited to that of C++ templates), continuations/coroutines, closures, multithreading, as well as event-driven state machines. I am quite effective at code refactoring, particularly in strongly typed languages, where I can use the typing system to my advantage.

I am deeply intimate with Unix/Linux, mainly in the area of network programming (sockets, networking protocols, other forms of IPC). On Linux, I am quite familiar with a number of the high-performance APIs. I have a deep knowledge of the HTTP protocol (and some of its derivatives). I have experience writing Apache modules. I know the difference between bandwidth and latency (and wish more people did too). I have some experience with developing distributed software. I have a higher-than-average knowledge of ELF and Mach-O binary formats, particularly of how symbol resolution works. I know a good deal about component software (dynamically loading modules, for example), and ABI stability issues. While I am not a master at it, I have some Linux kernel development experience as well. I know what make is doing, and why.

Finally, I also have some experience doing project and release management, where I feel I did a pretty good job, and would certainly like to do more of it. I am familiar with the free and open source software community, belonging to a number of projects, including some that were part of my work.
pphaneuf: (Shy)

For a brief moment, I thought there were Disney brand condoms in France, and I was rather disturbed.
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
Monday morning, I went to the Préfecture with [livejournal.com profile] azrhey (thank goodness!).

Lots of waiting, but that I expected. I didn't expect the person to be so stuck to the letter of the word as to not get the part where my visa says that "I don't have to have a work permit" doesn't meant that I can't have a work permit! [livejournal.com profile] azrhey ended up composing a letter to the Préfet saying that his esteemed colleagues at the Consulat de France à Montréal were a bunch of morons or something to that effect, and please let me have a work permit. Which I then had to transcribe nicely.

I managed to screw up signing my own name, too, so really, I'm quite thankful to [livejournal.com profile] azrhey for leaving as little as possible to me to do (screw up?).

What an adventure...

Hot buns

Feb. 26th, 2007 10:41 pm
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)

"Exceptionally closed due to the explosion of the oven"

Recently seen on the door of the local bakery, while on a hunt for bread. Um, yeah...
pphaneuf: (Default)
I'm doing better, this last little while... I'm actually doing decent stuff at work, even though I'm finding the academic roots of the software grating at times.

In the past, I was under the impression that academics weren't as good as the engineers at getting stuff done, but I thought it was because they spent too much time getting things all just right, finding "100% solutions". It's not entirely wrong, but is somewhat mischaracterized. When they do start coding, they do get stuff done. The trick is that their "100% solutions" aren't for the system, but usually just focused on a particular problem. Also, they tend to stop when they solved that particular problem to their satisfaction, having proven their point. So they're shoddy as well, but in a different way than the engineers. Instead of having an overall shoddy, but complete product, they have one aspect quite spectacular, but the rest is all out to lunch, I wouldn't really dare call it a "product".

But that's annoying, as a general concept, it means that I don't really sit well with either engineers nor academics! Damn.

In other good news, I received my bank statement from December, and while I was a bit worried that I had overspent, it turns out that I didn't, being an overall cash-positive month? Oh well, no complaints here!

I checked out a new coffee place that had a, hmm, let's say "slightly less French" air to it, which sounded promising, as far as getting non-burnt coffee. I had moccacino, which is a first around here (and contributed to the "less French" feeling), was somewhat weird, but still tasty.

On the way back, I stopped by a used CD stored called OCD.net, finding the relationship between OCD and record collectors, ahem, telling. Picked up some Placebo must-haves ("Without You I'm Nothing" and "Sleeping With Ghosts"). Yum, Placebo...
pphaneuf: (Enlightened)
If you are going to live in France, make sure you have enough space on your keychain and/or that it's big enough. For some reason, just about everything wants you to carry a little thingy on your keychain.
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
Oh boy. That was something. And somehow, I feel like I haven't made the most of it, but New Year's Eve in Barcelona is still something, nevertheless.

Wasn't too hungover, despite the ingestion of various types of alcohols, some of which of rather dubious origins. I think it's more the bus ride back and the crazy non-sleep schedule that got me.

I've got some pictures, um, blurrier than I'd like, I'll be uploading them tonight and posting a more detailed account, because it certainly was an adventure! In the meantime, I'll, uh, work or something...

I brought my ergonomic keyboard and my headphones home from work for the holidays, and I forgot to take them this morning. So I stole a normal keyboard (thankfully, my coworkers are French, so half of them aren't there), and I don't have music today. *pouts*
pphaneuf: (Oatmeal)
Did you know that, for the price of a pint of Guinness in Montréal, you can buy a whole freakin' five litres of fine Cabernet-Sauvignon here?

Now, is that a good or a bad thing? I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader.
pphaneuf: (Default)
We're in Montréal-La Cluse for Christmas.

Got here after a ride on the TGV that turned out to be somewhat disappointing, since there was some cancellations and our train was over capacity. They were also old cars, since it's a peak traffic time of the year, so they're not as cool as the fancy two-stories TGV cars.

Once getting to Lyon, we got picked up by [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's aunt and cousin, but were still in for some adventures as we got lost and drove in circles for a bit. I ended up taking the wheel, which was nice, as the last time I did was last July. It was also sort of cool, since even though it was at night, the highway leads into the beginning of the Alps, having to go up a pass. It was my first time driving a diesel car, which was quite nice for the mountain driving: while it doesn't really pick up at all, it would just climb without complaining at all, barely ever changing gears. Sure was easy on my left foot!

Took a few photos, even though it's not the best time (just after noon!). I'll try again in the morning, should be quite nice.


Dec. 8th, 2006 01:27 pm
pphaneuf: (Sleepy Head)
I'm so tired. I feel like a whiny bastard, and I can see myself coming up with how things are better back home or shit like that.

Some people have asked me why I didn't go back, then? Well, the inertia works both ways around here, you see? I'd be packing up, but just how I had so much difficulty finding an apartment, I have this insane contract where I'd have to lick the pavement from here to Bordeaux in order to get out of it.

But I have to admit, some mornings, I'm bloody tempted to just tell all of this to fuck off, take my plane ticket and head back.

In the meantime, I'll be over there, writing the plan for the plan that'll allow us to plan. But I wouldn't expect much result or effect...
pphaneuf: (Default)
Big surprise, I'm depressed some more. It's difficult to pinpoint any one source, but there's this general feeling of insurmountable inertia that would put the biggest and heaviest icebreaker to shame. It's in the heavy bureaucracy, the attitude of people, the ever-present ads for insurance company, the traditionalist attitude, the enforced politeness, the overbearing smell of fear of change in the air. And here I am, an agent of chaos, of movement, valuing high manoeuvrability and careful instability, in this environment that more or less wants me to stop existing as I am.

I'm the most "normal" I've ever been, even as a child, and yet, I feel like I'm a complete weirdo. I used to take trips hundreds kilometres away at a whim, and now the most spontaneity I get to express is getting up to get some pudding from the fridge.

Choo Choo!

Nov. 30th, 2006 01:39 pm
pphaneuf: (Default)
Booked some tickets on the TGV for Christmas, to visit some of [livejournal.com profile] azrhey's family. I'm looking forward to finally trying this out!

I'm pondering ideas for projects, and I think I've got one or two things that could be promising, so this is rather encouraging. I'm still having more questions than answers, of course, but everything in its time...
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)
It is All Saints day today, which is a holiday in France. And since they're like that, my workplace is closed Thursday and Friday as well, so I'm on a five days weekend here, which I am at the moment using to hack on Quadra from the comfort of my bed. Accordingly, I am not wearing pants.

I stumbled upon the programme, which is giving me a severe case of missing the OLS. As Jonathan Corbet has said, going there would be an exercise on pain, having to choose between all these interesting talks. Maybe it's best that I don't go, that way I avoid tearing my hair out.


Sep. 22nd, 2006 10:27 am
pphaneuf: (Default)
It's odd how the climate difference surprised me in a way this morning. I woke up, and it was almost dark outside. But it's also still warm. The oceanic climate makes for a more uniform weather than in Montreal, but the reality is inescapable, the days are getting shorter: it's fall.

Didn't take my bike to work for the first time since we moved into our apartment, taking the bus to the train station instead. It's a gloomy, overcast day, with light rain, definitely gives a "fall" kind of vibe. Took my camera and decided to take some photos, I'll be putting some up.

I'm getting rather annoyed at my lack of non-exploding battery for my laptop, as it would be perfect to read my mail and feeds, update my journal and such. I read instead, but I'm in a moment where I'm full of ideas, theories and plans, and I want to try them out, talk about them, discuss them. I will probably mention some of them very soon, actually.

In other news, some stuff is just horribly bad. I really wonder how an entity manages to pull that off. It's a wonderful world indeed, just not always the way Louis Armstrong meant it.

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