In case you weren't keeping track... we've just about hit 1/6th of the way through 2008. I don't know... personally that seems a bit insane. Tech events so far this year... one launch party, one demo camp, northern voice, and drupalcon next week.
So far this year... of almost 9 weeks I've had a cold or flu for 5 of those weeks. Yes, it's been awesome. I think this can really only mean one thing... my body is telling me it's time to take a vacation. I haven't taken a "real" vacation for as long as I can remember... probably last time I went three days without doing any work (and not having the flu ;-) ) was the last time I was in New Brunswick / PEI which (I just looked up) was about 2 years ago (I'm pretty sure I didn't do much work there). Doing the freelance thing... I decided it would be wise to never have weekends or vacation, this turned out to not be so wise. So if in the next month or two I disappear to some far off corner of the world, don't be surprised.
Tonight I'm having a date with myself... sushi and a movie (Across the Universe). Tomorrow I'm going to wake up and not be sick anymore.
It was a really good movie and good sushi! Just what I wanted :).
Probably would have been more useful to post this before the conference started. Anyway, I decided to try to search out all active Northern Voice feeds to see what I can find, where things are, and how information is disseminated as the conference is in progress.
The focus at Northern Voice / Moosecamp is more or less about blogging, social media, and photography. Search flickr, and find photos of the talk you're currently attending, taken maybe 5 minutes ago. People live blogging the live blogging session, and micro-blogging about people blogging about people blogging at the conference. If you can follow all this, you can get your all your conference sessions and more... all without walking out your front door.
Here's the live feeds I've found (I'm sure I've missed some):
facebook group and event (both not useful during the conference)
Consolidating information is something that facebook has been able to do very well. Photos, groups, events, the wall, inbox, status updates, notes, videos, links, etc. All in one place, easily accessible. In the list above, everything there is more useful that the facebook equivalent, IMHO, however, the ability to link all of this information together is almost as useful as the information itself.
Do tools exist that can link this stuff together, on an event-by-event basis? Or is this going to be my new pet project?
IM, Jaiku, email, blogs, Facebook, SMS, Flickr. These are the tools I use to communicate and coordinate with friends. The interesting thing is that each one gives me a very different way to interact with people in my life. This post is actually more about the tools, than the relationships.
I started using Facebook as kind of a joke about 1 year ago. Ariane and I were up at whistler chilling out with some wifi and I was like, "what's up with this facebook thing?". She's like, "I dunno... I think you like keep in contact with old friends or something." So we both signed up. And now what? Search for old friends? Me: "who should I search for", Ariane: "how about shauna?". Kind of random, but what the hell? Turns out she'd joined only a few days earlier. One obvious aspect of facebook is that it lets you find old friends, most of who I simply added but never to talked to again, with a few I was lucky enough to get back in touch with. Facebook also helped to redefine the way people interact with each other. Closer friends I stayed in a bit closer contact with, easier to organize things, share photos and other interesting things. Of course, Facebook is dead now, so time to move on...
You know when you're talking to someone, and they're nodding and appear to be listening to what your saying. And then when you stop talking they start talking about something totally unrelated and it was obvious they weren't listening to you and just waiting for their "turn" to speak? This is why I like personal blogs, it gives people the right to do that in a socially acceptable manner. I read a few peoples blogs whom I've only met a few times in person, and it's interesting to know relatively personal stuff about someone who very likely has no idea who you are.
Over the past year I've sort of grown to hate most personal communication with email. It's tedious, relatively slow, and doesn't give enough reference to properly understand tone. Yeah, that's right, I'm getting my hate on for email.
Last February I got a cell phone. Finally. I found SMS kind of interesting. Low commitment communication. Way lower commitment to sent a text to someone then to actually phone them. And the fact that you can text 10 people "brunch @ mel's @ 11" makes planning so much easier.
I remember in University IM (specifically ICQ) got very popular. It sort of faded away for a few years and seems to have been slowly making a come back. Well, it seems to have made a full comeback now. I spend a *lot* of time IM-ing with people now. It seems like there's very little miscommunication in IM. Unlike email, the conversation is happening fast, and you can almost always tell what the person means based on the feel of the preceding text. Actually looking back at some of my logs, I can tell how much I enjoyed chatting with someone based purely on how many :-) I used. Everyone has their own quirks online and after a little while you get a feel for how their feeling. :)
It seems weird to put Flickr in this list... but it belongs just as much as blogs. And hey, a picture's worth a thousand words, right? Flickr does let you have a sort of micro-conversation... but more than that, I think a photos/pictures a person uploads do tell a story about them. A lot more literally with some people.
Jaiku... I don't feel like explaining it in this post if you don't already know what it is. Jaiku and Flickr are the two most interesting to me. Probably because their the newest tools to me. Both of which I've only started using actively in the past few months. The funny thing about Jaiku is that I've actually met new people because of it. A friend of a friend starts a conversation, your friend adds to that conversation, and then you get drawn in and start writing with that friend of a friend.
One thing that all of these tools have in common is that each of them seems to aid in bridging the gap between acquaintance and friend. People who I never would have felt comfortable saying anything more than "hi" to have become someone I can comfortably start a conversation with. People who I could comfortably start a conversation with have become closer friends. All are very low commitment forms of communication. I can comfortably text, jaiku, or facebook someone I would not be able to comfortably phone (and even if I was, they'd probably think I was a little odd for doing so).
Anyway, this is fun. And I hope these tools can grow integrated more with each other. Well, except for facebook, which is totally OUT in 2008.
Went to Parveen's and Livleen's combined birthday parties at Lucy Mae Brown's Saturday night. Not gonna say too much, except for that I'd strongly recommend against *ever* going there for dinner. After we were paid up for dinner I need to go for a walk to clear my head before I could bare going back. Glad I did though, cause the rest of the night was awesome. Great DJ, cool people to talk to. Needless to say the crowd was a lot cooler than the crowd at the cellar the night before, where a fight broke out. Well, more like a beating than a fight :-/.
On Sunday I went on a photowalk organized by the Duane Storey (thanks Duane!), it was a great day for it. I was pretty happy with how most of my photos turned out, though light was a little low in a few of them.
Over the years it seems like my family has sort of adopted a number of traditions around Christmas, a few haven't survived the years but most have. It's to the point that it wouldn't feel like Christmas to me without them.
A couple of the "retired" traditions are cutting down the tree and the family curling bonspiel. We use to always head out to a near by tree farm a few weeks before Christmas to cut down a tree for us and a couple for other family friends, afterwards there was hot chocolate and roasting hot dogs over the fire. We did that a few years in a row and I always loved it, but it got tougher to do when I only made it home the weekend before Christmas. The Hollyspiel was Vernon's annual Christmas curling tournament which unfortunately hasn't been organized for the past few years. Always fun times :).
Christmas eve starts off with fondue, oil and cheese. It never seems like I'm eating that much, but I always seem to have problems moving afterward. Dinner is ALWAYS followed by opening one present each. Probably my favorite tradition :).
Unfortunately, followed the next morning by my Dad and brother trying to wake me up at unreasonably early hours, like 8:30am, by playing loud, bad Christmas music and yelling up to my bedroom.
Opening the present has it's own set of strange rituals as well. Usually Mike or my dad get a single present for everyone and we all open our presents one at a time. Taking turns on who opens first. We normally head to Penticton to visit family either Christmas or Boxing day.
Every year me or my brother gets my dad a jigsaw puzzle as a present, trying to go harder every year. This year Mike got him a 5000 piece 1.5x1 meter puzzle. Enjoy!
Of course there's all the visiting with family and old high school friends that's a big part of the season too. Incidentally all my high school friends who staying in Vernon are now married and have kids. Makes me feel so non-grown up :).
I started getting back into music this year for some reason. I think it was probably related to the fact that I often like to have fresh music for late night coding sessions... and for some reason I had a lot of those this year. Anyway, I love lists... so here's my list of my 10 favorite albums, not necessarily produced this year, but I discovered them this year (in the order that I started listening to them):
XO - Elliot Smith
The Reminder - Feist
Neon Bible - Arcade Fire
Graduation - Kanye West
Made of Bricks - Kate Nash
Challengers - New Pornographers
In Rainbows - Radiohead
Greetings from Michigan - Sufjan Stevens
Cross - Justice
Alive - Daft Punk
Right now Alive is without question my top played album.
My #1 favorite music video of the year was easily Feist's 1234.
My #1 song? Internet Love Song, baby. You have to watch that video if you haven't seen it already.
Been living in yaletown for 3/4 of a year now. One thing I've noticed is that it's almost like a weird little utopia.
The majority of people living here are between the ages of 25-35, with about another 10% or so who are older than 20 but younger than 40. No one lives here outside of that range. No one has kids. Everyone has their little dog that nicely complements their purse or jacket. At Halloween you forget that kids go tricker treating. Because there are no kids. Most people who live here are financially well off, and everyone is in good health. The power never goes out. Storms are weakened to the point that you don't notice them, they're blocked by the buildings in the West End (I had no idea there was even a wind storm a few weeks back until everyone started setting their Facebook status to things like "Jane is happy her power is back after 8 hours without". Amazingly enough, it did snow here last weekend. Downtown rarely gets snow. The temperature is somewhat milder than outside of the downtown core. It doesn't even rain as hard, or as much. There are two types of restaurants here, the standard pub style, with overpriced, usually low-ish quality food, and medium-high end, with overpriced food that is generally ok. Most people walk to work, and few have cars. The buildings are less than 7 years old. Most look the same. Primarily one bedrooms between 400-700 sqft, in suite laundry and a dishwasher. Honestly, the whole neighborhood just feels a bit too homogenized. But I'm still having fun, so I'm happy :).
I'd go on about the other areas of downtown that I love... but my sleep schedule is too messed up, so I'm going to bed.
1 week and 1 day ago I started working with NowPublic, a local startup. I've more or less stopped doing the freelance thing (still finishing up contracts and doing the odd thing until the end of the year) and am working for them full time now. I'm really excited to be working for NowPublic and I'm looking forward to getting deeper into stuff here. I'll hopefully be writing a bit more about what NowPublic /is/ in the near future, but for now, here's the official one sentence summary :)
NowPublic is a participatory news network which mobilizes an army of reporters to cover the events that define our world.
I kind of forgot how different managing/scheduling development is than actually doing development. It feels a bit like a totally different profession, actually. But I get to talk/research technology and development all day, which I love doing, probably as much as doing actual coding :).
EDIT: This video seems oddly appropriate for some reason.
For some reason birthdays always seem to make you think about the past... the things you've done and the ways you've changed. I turned 27 last Sunday and the few days preceding my birthday I had been thinking a lot about the past year and where my life is headed. As many of you know, I've made some fairly big decisions in the past week or two, which probably only adds to my thinking about these things :). So... what better thing to do than write my past year (from my perspective) here on my blog?
A lot happened this past year, a lot more than normally happens to me. Last year at this time I was working at SFU as "Special Projects Manager", doing my MSc in CS full time, starting to ramp up a bit of contract work, and of course, living on Burnaby mountain with Ariane. Over Christmas I had a short break from fall intensity (for some reason fall is always the most intense season for me) and realized, somewhat unbelievably I know, I still really didn't like working at SFU. That, and I figured I could make more working for myself doing freelance. In January, while still on vacation (so they'd know I was for real), I went into work and handed in my letter of resignation. I ended up dicking around there for another 6 weeks (half time) finishing things up, giving people demos, and writing documentation that no one would ever read, before going full time with the freelance thing.
Freelance went really well. By July I was earning what I was at SFU when I left. It was a little surreal being able to earn a living on my own. By October I was making more than my old boss at SFU... unfortunately I'd also stopped enjoying it.
Over the past year I've met a lot of new people, many who I consider good friends now. In February, Ariane and I broke up and we both subsequently moved downtown. I don't know what was up with this year, but every week or two I'd here about another long term relationship ending. What gives? A lot of the people I now call friends ended a long term relationship this year too. I think as a side effect a lot of people started hanging out more with people they didn't in the past and many new relationships were formed. Kind of a silver lining I suppose. I've also become a lot closer to my older friends who I've seen a lot more since moving off the mountain.
Food was another big thing for me this year. Mike (my brother) bought me the Omnivores Dilemma for Christmas and I started reading it after I finished work at SFU. It really inspired me to start learning more about where my food comes from and actually care about buying fresh and locally grown. I started going to the farmers markets (would someone please make that website better?) and decided to give the 100 mile diet a try, which failed miserably when all the yummy Okanagan fruits started showing up. But the whole fresh food thing really gave me whole new outlook on food. Something that would be awesome, would be to organize a dinner night for all us downtowners, maybe to coincide with hot tub night, it's so tough to cook for one all the time.
I guess the whole local food thing kind of led me down a path of wanting all local things. I started getting into music again (something I haven't been into since the napster days), especially trying to find good local musicians. Hopefully I'll blog more on that some day :). Oh yeah, and I started doing critical mass too, a bike ride the last Friday of every month that runs through downtown Vancouver in an attempt to raise awareness for bike traffic and encourage people to stop using their cars.
In addition to work, friends, and food, my other major activity of the year was partying. I think I partied more this year than in second year university, which is crazy! Ok, maybe that's not true, but I had to have been pretty close. Though, I never posed for pictures wearing lingerie or cowgirl clothes in second year. A few months back Parv and I started going for brunches every Sunday as we were generally hung over from Saturday night. This quickly turned into a ritual... and now generally Saturday and Sunday, regardless of hangover. Weekend bunches pretty much rule. You should join us. Maybe we should make a facebook group ;).
September's notable activity was going to Drupalcon in Barcelona, I stayed with the Bryght guys in a condo there... the one week trip was amazing was easily the highlight of the year. Before I left Kris was talking about how "Drupalcon will change your life"... in my case it turned out this was true for several reasons. The two other fun trips I went on this year were a three day stay at Whistler in January (thanks Mom and Dad!) and a week and a half trip to Calgary/Red Deer. No camping though... something that will definitely be rectified this year, mark my words!
So, what's the point of this stupidly long post? There isn't one (do I ever have a point?), I just felt like brain dumping my year. This is the first year in my life I feel like I'm not the same person I was when I was 18 (well, first year since 18). I've learned a lot about myself and my friends and I'm expecting 27 to be an even more exciting year than last. nnnst!
That photo pretty much sums up Fridays selection of beer. The beer tasting turned out pretty well, in fact, I'd even say it was a success ;). Lots of great beers, some not so great, a couple terrible. And yes, that is a can of budweiser you see there. I think next time we do this we're gonna have to make it a little bit more formal, so that by the end of the night I actually remember which beers I liked, which beers I have to have again, and which I'm never touching again. Thanks to everyone who dropped by, it was rad.
It's about 2:30am and I'm 4 beers and 1 shot of jager drunk... which, as anyone who knows me, knows that that's what I pretty much drink daily... but I just felt that if I didn't blog about my halloween party night now it wouldn't ever happen. Kind of like how I never post any pictures I take because I don't deal with them right after I take them :-/.
Living in Burnaby the past few years (and in condo's) I wasn't ever really able to get into the halloween spirit. So I mostly just chilled at home or worked. This year however, in true spirit of this year (for me at least), I decided halloween needed to be intense. Yes, I know, Halloween is on Wednesday, but let's face it, all the action is happening this weekend. I'm not gonna post a picture of my outfit here, but I will link to one at the end of this entry for all to see.
For some reason, for reasons unbeknownst to me, my two themes this year have been cross dressing (specifically lingerie) and cowboys. So, I knew I had to choose one of the two for this Halloween. Both Boris and Steven made suggestions for a combination of the two. Later, when discussing with my new hair dresser during a hair cut (great hair cut, btw), the final result was determined. Lesbian cowgirl.
I picked up some boots (size 10 womens faux cowboy), a wig (blonde, medium length), and a XXXL red plaid shirt (only size available). I had to cut the plaid shirt down to a more appropriate size (with an exacto, as I have no scissors :-/). I met up with Steven before heading to a party at Jagers with Boris and others. I didn't actually know anyone besides the people I was with, but everyone was pretty awesome, and totally digging my digs. I was actually pretty surprised about the positive reaction from everyone. Who knew so many people loved cross dressers? Mind you, I guess I was looking pretty sexy.
I left at ~11:30 for another party at Crush that I had previously promised to attend. Btw, Lyal, wtf happened to you, dude? You texted me that you were in there, but no Lyal was to be found? I wasn't really getting much attention there (compared to jaggers), mostly just from dudes, and the occasional chick, I think most people were just into their own costumes (myself included). After a bit of dancing and getting some cold looks (wtf is with club chicks anyway, haven't they ever seen a dude dressed as a lesbian cowgirl?) I went back and chilled in the lounge and chatted with a few people. I needed to sit down anyway, my feet just felt numb when sitting, but broken when I was walking on them (remember, size 10 womens, and *very* pointy. how do chicks do it!?). All in all it was a pretty good night. I think my feet will still be feeling it for the next couple days.
In reality, it probably would have made more sense for me to go as a transvestite cowboy. I really wanted to fight for lesbian cowgirl though, so I maintained that persona. I now understand how girls can go out in the freezing cold wearing so little clothing. Every "checkout" from a dude or a chick totally warmed me up a little. It's hawt being constantly checked out walking down Granville street at 1:30am. Of course, I got a lot of weird looks walking from Granville to Beatty where I live.
Today was one of those awesome days, where shit just works out for you for some reason. If I have one regret for the night, it's that I didn't keep a tally of the amount of guy vs. girl hit ons. If I had to estimate I'd say about 2:1 guy to girl hit on ratio. Surprisingly enough, most of the guys that hit on me appeared to be straight. Sadly, I had to tell them I was a Lesbian.
Don't be too shocked if you see me in pictures all over facebook and flickr in the next couple months... I took a ton of photos with random people upon their request. Now... for the outfit pic (note the boots, cause they took some effort).