Archive for July, 2005


Still working

Minnesota state government is being shut down while the Legislature debates how to fund it, but higher education funding has already been passed and signed by the governor, so I still have a job. Unlike 9000 other state employees. Thanks for asking.


Back from YAPC

YAPC was fun. Kiara and I flew into Toronto on Saturday, leaving Owen with his grandma. We spent the first day poking around town, then Sunday went out to Centre Island, where we just happened to stumble into dragon boat races. The first few days, everywhere we went I kept finding myself thinking, “Owen would like this!” And I do think that should we go to Toronto again, which is likely, we would find plenty there for him to enjoy. I think it more likely that our next trip to Canada will be to Montreal and Quebec, but I’d be happy to be in Toronto again. I could even live there. It feels like the Twin Cities, but bigger and with better public transportation.

It pains me to say that, thought it is so obviously true. We have such potential for public transportation here, but it just isn’t being realized. This hits me hard whenever I visit somewhere that’s doing a better job and has been for decades.

The conference organizers (, mostly) did a fantastic job. The location was well-chosen, on the fringes of Chinatown, surrounded by restaurants. We stayed at the conference hotel so could take advantage of the food and nearby trains. And we walked a lot. A lot.

Food that stood out:

  • Hemispheres in the Metropolitan hotel, just across from the conference hotel, was phenomenal. We went there expecting more vegetarian dinner options because the lunch menu had them, but there were none. They put together an exquisite mushroom risotto with asparagus for me. Delightful. A bit pricey, but considering the experience it was well worth it.
  • We had fantastic Chinese food at Lai Wah Heen, also in the Metropolitan,
  • The food was marvellous at Brassaii, but the waiter was a real jerk. I’ll never go back.
  • The day we left we stopped twice for crepes at Art Square, a new creperie and cafe. Yum.

Those last crepes almost made us miss our plane. We missed the shuttle bus we meant to the airport but shrugged our shoulders. Hey, what could we do? Unfortunately, the next shuttle wouldn’t get us there until an hour before our flight, an hour later than we should have been. Aargh! Then traffic was awful, and we ended up racing into the airport less than half an hour before an international flight. Not good. Lines at customs were short, though, and the gate attendants were very helpful, so we just made it. Whew!

Anyway, the conference. It is so very exciting to be surrounded by people who actually enjoy programming Perl, who get it. Every session I went to was good, but I wouldn’t say that any of them was a fantastic, life-changing experience. Except that I did walk away with a new understanding of testing in Perl, and how I can use it to test things other than Perl. Casey West gave us a preview of the JavaScript Archive Network, which will be launched in a more complete form at OSCON. JSAN is a JavaScript equivalent of the CPAN (as Autrijus Tang put it, “CPAN is my programming language of choice”). Excellent.
I didn’t take part in any of the social events, which I’m coming to understand are really the best part of any conference. But hey, I got to spend five days in Toronto with Kiara! So I hardly missed anything.

We saw two movies in town, after a tragecomic initial failure to find the movie theatre: Hayao Miyazaki’s Howl’s Moving Castle and Batman Begins, on an IMAX screen. Batman rocks, and it rocks even more on a huge screen.

After five days away, it was a delight to come home to see Owen, running toward us at the airport. The poor kid’s been struggling with a cold, though, and is hoarse. It’s kinda cute sounding, even if it is sad to hear We brought him a book about the Mounties and another about a hockey-playing bear, which he’s been having us read him every day. He’s excited about going to Canada someday himself.

I suppose this means I ought to get a passport.


Holy cats, that’s a big fish.

Giant catfish caught in Thailand. Normally with stories like this you’ll see pictures of the fish with people for scale. Like this:

giant catfish, photo courtesy World Wildlife Fund - National Geographic (via AP)

But how often do you then see photos of the fish being butchered? Now that’s journalism.

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