ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Sep. 29th, 2017 04:09 pm)
I've been off the mats, away from martial arts, for a month, due to what we're pretty sure is a pinched nerve in my arm. It's not doing great things for my sanity to be away from aikido in particular, but at least the weather has been good enough for me to spend some time outdoors.

Physiotherapy is in progress, and sometime next month I should get a nerve conduction test; hopefully, I will be free to go back to practice before too long.
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Reflection for 19-20 August 2017
Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Text: Isaiah 56:1, 6-7; Romans 11:13-15, 29-32; Matthew 15:21-28.


In which Ironphoenix wanders through the Gospels a lot... )
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A recent study demonstrates that having a smartphone within one's sphere of awareness is distracting, reducing one's ability to concentrate effectively. From the Discussion section of Experiment 1 (p. 146):
[T]hese results suggest that the mere presence of one’s smartphone may reduce available cognitive capacity and impair cognitive functioning, even when consumers are successful at remaining focused on the task at hand.
It seems that it is best to leave the phone out of sight, and preferably even in another room, when doing anything which requires intensive thinking.
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Reflection for 24-25 June 2017
Twelfth Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year A

Text: Jeremiah 20:10-13, Romans 5:12-15, Matthew 10:26-33.


Read more... )
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ironphoenix: (pirate)
( Jun. 6th, 2017 04:24 pm)
After a hiatus of a few weeks, I'm back to my martial arts practices. The break was enjoyable in some ways, but it's good to see everyone and catch up, to move that way again, and to experience (and contribute to) the energizing effects of the space and practice.
Google Docs shares may not be what they seem; exercise caution, and if you have gotten caught, revoke permissions to the fake app and change your password ASAP.

Telegraph article

Wired article
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ironphoenix: (gear)
( Apr. 11th, 2017 10:54 am)
Since Danier has closed all but 4 stores, where does one go to get a good leather jacket in Ottawa? Recommendations?
Pictures from the flood mentioned in my previous post; cellphone camera, click to biggify.

floodwaters over road, with little waves breaking

floodwaters over road, with sign warning of possible water on road
The sign is a warning of possible standing water on road in spring or after heavy rains.

floodwaters partially covering trees and shrubs
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Default)
( Apr. 10th, 2017 02:23 pm)
It's great to be here tonight, folks! Or at least, that's what two-thirds of LJ's userbase seems to think right now!

This should still crosspost there; I'll keep my LJ alive for a while, but I've ended my automatic paid account renewal.

In other news, I had hoped to get to Quebec City for a martial arts seminar (aikido and iaido), but got hit last week by the flu that's going around town. I spent the weekend in town with family instead.

[personal profile] diaspora and I got out to the Cobbs's Creek and Bearbrook Creek spring floods yesterday, where we saw more water than we usually would, and consequentially fewer geese. We did still see a decent number of Canada and Snow Geese, and quite a few Pintail Ducks. We also saw more muskrats than I've seen in one place before, including some young ones--very cute.

The water was high because of recent intense rains, which flooded not only the creeks, but our basement, via the window. Fortunately, the main casualties were empty boxes, which went out with recycling this morning. We'll have to get the back yard regraded, as the root cause of the flooding is subsidence of the ground around the foundation. We'll probably recaulk the window too, and get some insulation replaced to head off any mold issues.

Yes, I'm trying to be a bit more vocal on here... maybe we can get some energy back into a decent social platform!
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ironphoenix: (no return)
( Apr. 8th, 2017 11:20 am)
This may be my last direct post on LJ: I'm importing everything over to DreamWidth and will figure out how to crosspost from there. It's been a long time, I created this account in 2004. When DW got started, I reserved my username, but didn't really do much else with it, but I'm glad I did that much!

Given the recent ToS changes here, the flock is moving, and social media is all about the flock. Interestingly, the ToS update stated that it did not apply to paid accounts, but it didn't say what the status of paid accounts is.
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ironphoenix: (I love my work)
( Feb. 10th, 2017 05:27 pm)
Export Development Canada (EDC) prepared a video featuring the company I work for; check it out (under 4 mins). No CGI, all real footage at a volcano where we actually have instruments deployed.

In related news, we're hiring; see our careers page. If you're interested, let me know, and I can forward your resume; as at many companies, there is a referral bonus, and I'm the sharing kind.
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ironphoenix: (wake up call)
( Feb. 1st, 2017 12:31 pm)
Fellow Canadians, please join me in signing Petition e-800 (link is to Parliament petition website). This petition is to remove a regulation which would prevent Canada from considering refugee applicants refused by the USA. Until recently, this regulation was useful in preventing abuse of the refugee applicant system, but the current US President has violated the treaties which underpin the Canada-US Agreement on which this policy was based.
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And not just because you'll get caught, but because if you're reading this, I probably prefer you alive.
Reflection for 17-18 December 2016
Second Sunday of Advent, Year A

Text: Isaiah 7:10-14, Romans 1:1-7, Matthew 1:18-24.


Imagine yourself... )
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ironphoenix: (tunez)
( Oct. 17th, 2016 05:38 pm)
This weekend, I went to two very different concerts.

Friday night: Joseph Edgar at Cabaret La Basoche in Gatineau (Aylmer). He's an Acadian rock singer-songwriter, performing mainly in French; [livejournal.com profile] soul_diaspora was the impetus for going to that one. It was a fun and energetic show; he's at that point of his career where he's getting a bit of airplay, but he's still humble and a bit overwhelmed at having sold-out shows a long way from home, even in such a small and intimate venue as that (about 120 audience). His accent lends a distinctive character to his singing, and carries his emotiveness well. He was backed up by a solid band, notably a drummer/bassist/singer who could do all three of those things at once. Our tablemates had come down from Montreal, in a rare reversal: usually, folks from here go there to catch the good music, especially in the case of francophone performers.

Saturday afternoon: Angela Hewitt (piano), with three significant talents from the NAC Orchestra, Yosuke Kawasaki (violin), David Marks (viola), and Rachel Mercer (cello), at the National Gallery. These afternoon concerts are a great opportunity to hear some less well-known classical music in a casual setting. The first piece was Three Romances (Op. 22) by Clara Schumann, a woman of considerable talents as both a composer and performer. Next was Beethoven's Serenade in D major (Op. 8), of which the fourth movement (Adagio--Scherzo) was my favorite of the concert; the following movement (Allegretto alla polacca) is fun too. After the intermission came Robert Schumann's Piano Quartet in E♭ major (Op. 47), which was the most integrated of the three works; rather than liking this or that movement, it was the whole piece which appealed. Ensemble performances are fun to watch, as the performers collaborate as equals rather than following the direction of a conductor, subtly riffing off each other in much the same spirit as musicians in less structured forms do more overtly.
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Ones I've read are in bold. If I've read something else by that author, only the author's name is in bold. Ones on my "some day soon" list would be in italics if I had such a list. Ones I've read synopses of and don't want to read would be struck out if there were any. Ones I hadn't heard of before this list are underlined.

Books! )
ironphoenix: (preach)
( May. 29th, 2016 04:46 pm)
Reflection for 28-29 May 2016
Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ, Year C

Text: Genesis 14:18-20; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26; Luke 9:11b-17.


As an occasional reflector, there are a quite a few sets of Sunday readings I’ve never preached on. This set, however, keeps coming up for me; apparently I’m going to keep working on this until I get it right.

Previous reflections on these readings from 2010 and 2004.

Read more... )
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You have lots of time before that's due, right? One more game can't hurt...

Very portable collection; the .js links are probably the easiest way to play in your browser.
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ironphoenix: (gear)
( Mar. 25th, 2016 10:10 am)
This smartphone-based $99 3D printer may well be the build technology which takes 3D printing to a large percentage of people; prior systems are an order of magnitude more expensive.

The other puzzle piece which we need is a free or very low-cost, easy to learn and use tool for creating 3D printable designs. I suspect that this may well use a neural human-machine interface, in which the design is specified and adjusted as we visualize it, reducing the need for technical skills.
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ironphoenix: (hangover)
( Mar. 6th, 2016 11:04 am)
Another unnamed cocktail, created last night, that I want to remember:

3 parts Kraken spiced black rum
1 part Cointreau orange liqueur
1 part Bärenjäger honey liqueur
1 part fresh-squeezed and strained lemon juice
a few drops of Victoria's Twisted & Bitter Black Pepper

Shake with ice and strain into chilled cocktail glass.

The result is summery and refreshing, without much burn even though the alcohol percentage is relatively high. Bärenjäger is quite strongly flavoured, and this is the best I think I've done in balancing it with other tastes.

For what it's worth, I prefer to get cocktails like this as cold as practical, and so I deliberately shake them hard enough to make them a little cloudy with ice crystals on first pouring. I haven't noticed any significant sharpening of the taste of the spirits, although I usually do cocktails with enough sweet or sour flavours that it wouldn't be a big deal.
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ironphoenix: (pimp)
( Feb. 13th, 2016 12:30 pm)
Researcher illegally shares millions of science papers free online to spread knowledge (Fiona MacDonald) (short) Halelujah, and more power to her. The paywall sites are charging exorbitant amounts given how low the real costs of publication are.

Attention Fellow Introverts: It's Time to Stop Beating Ourselves Up (Ashley Lauretta) (medium-length) I'm not an introvert (I'm a moderate extrovert), but I know and love many, and this article rings true to me.

The opposite of rape culture is nurturance culture (Nora Samaran) (long!) This is a really good synthesis of a lot of ideas about masculinity, development, and relationships. Highly recommended, but don't be in a rush. For people who are wondering how masculinity can fit with feminism, this is a really good place to look.
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Reflection for 23-24 January 2016
3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, Year C

Text: Nehemiah 8:2-4a, 5-6, 8-10; 1 Corinthians 12:12-30; Luke 1:1-4, 4:14-21.

I kept it short, which is good, because that second reading is rather drawn-out... )
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An inverted distribution of particles in available energy states has been created in the lab. This is deeply weird. It looks like thermodynamics-violating weird. If it's real and scalable, it may be world-changing.
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ironphoenix: (flaming)
( Nov. 29th, 2015 01:39 pm)
There are always lots of good TED talks, but here are two that have struck me particularly:

Simon Sinek on leadership. (12 minutes) This is what I strive for as a manager; I want to be part of an organization that supports me in it.

Guy Winch on emotional self-care. (17.5 minutes) Help yourselves; help each other. More people than we may know need this.
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ironphoenix: (no return)
( Nov. 9th, 2015 08:22 am)
Yesterday, I discovered that the drivers' window control switch didn't seem to be working properly: I could lower, but not raise, the window. Normally, this wouldn't be a big deal, although it might make for a chilly ride.

On my way into the car wash, however, was not a good time to discover this. )
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ironphoenix: (tunez)
( Sep. 21st, 2015 04:03 pm)
Anyone interested in coming to hear Stewart Copeland and Jon Kimura Parker play some crazy modern stuff? This is a concert arranged by Ottawa Chamberfest, but not during the usual festival period. I'm very fond of Parker's warm and energetic performances; I've seen him previously at the NAC, and look forward to a different perspective on him. Stewart Copeland is indeed that Stewart Copeland, the former drummer for The Police. There are a few other folks who will fill out the combo; this promises to be somewhere between a classical and a jazz concert. Tix $47 + etc.
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Those of you in the USA, I'd like to encourage you to express your support for a proposed update to the minimum wage and overtime rules which raises the exemption threshold. Industry groups are mobilizing to oppose this change, which would protect low-wage employees from being required to work unpaid overtime.
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I encountered a New York Times Magazine article about the "Hollywood Model" of employment, in which an ad-hoc team of specialists is assembled for a project and then dispersed on completion; the article suggests that this will become a more dominant mode of employment in the future. It's an interesting article, but I'm not sure I agree with the degree to which they predict the ascendancy of this model.

Meanwhile, at work, my colleagues and I have been struggling to resolve "integration bugs" in new products. These are the problems which arise when individual pieces of a product or design appear to work when tested on their own, but because specifications are pretty much always incomplete and architectures are imperfect, don't quite work perfectly when brought together in a system. Some such problems make themselves felt immediately, but others can be subtle and sneaky, surfacing only under extraordinary circumstances.

Specialists aren't good at figuring out integration bugs. They require a holistic understanding of a system, and a significant strength of my company is that we have a fair number of bright people who have been there long enough to have not only deep understanding of their own specialties and broad understanding of the company, but significant understanding of the systems we work on. The Hollywood Model doesn't seem to allow for that, and so is vulnerable to integration bugs.

I don't think that every kind of work lends itself to managing integration bugs on the fly or to specifying every element exhaustively, so I think there will be a place for the "Corporate Model", in which people form a structure which remains stable across projects, for a long time yet.
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ironphoenix: (slicktory)
( Aug. 1st, 2015 10:26 am)
Nufonia Must Fall was a weird and wonderful show: it was in fact a sci-fi movie, being created live on stage. There's a matinee at 3 today, so you can experience it for yourself. I don't know whether he's going to come out after and spin tunes in the lobby, as he did last night, but he might. Kid Koala spinning "Moon River" at midnight in a high school lobby as part of a chamber music festival is pretty far out!

One thing that struck me was that most of the audience was around my age and up, with lots of non-mainstream folks in evidence; nobody I knew, though. I did, however, see a fox dart out of the parking lot and across a road as I headed back to my car, rounding out a remarkably wacky night at the end of a really hectic week.
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ironphoenix: Raven flying (Raven)
( Jul. 27th, 2015 01:31 pm)
Anyone interested in joining me for Kid Koala's show at (believe it or not) Ottawa Chamberfest this Friday night? Tickets are $35, general admission; show starts at 10:00 p.m. at De La Salle H.S. downtown.

Kid Koala is a Canadian turntablist with a jazzy, storytelling vibe. For this particular show, he's teaming up with a string ensemble and also a visual performance group. I expect that it'll be weird but wonderful!
ironphoenix: (gull)
( Jun. 18th, 2015 01:00 pm)
Cape Breton was friendly, interesting, pretty, and tasty, but also distant and a bit chilly.

(Gee, that makes it sound like I'm talking about something other than a vacation...)

The drive to get there and back was long. Overall, we put in more than 4500 km of driving, which is a bit much.

The weather was mixed, with a few wet days. The temperature ranged from the cool end of comfortable to pretty cold: there were still snowbanks here and there up in the highlands. Where the wind was off the water, the temperature was distinctly chillier. In retrospect, bringing several pairs of shorts was perhaps unduly optimistic.

Cape Breton had lots of variety of land- and seascapes, with mountains, cliffs, meadows, bogs, beaches, taiga, streams, and lakes all vying for attention. We did a fair bit of walking and driving around, as is our usual habit on vacation. Aside from that, we went on a boat trip to look at seals, puffins, and other seabirds, and also visited Fort Louisbourg. We ate lots of good food, especially seafood: lobster, fish, scallops, shrimp, and some utterly amazing snow crab. Our favorite B&B of the four we stayed in was The Yellow Sidecar on the west coast; highly recommended.
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ironphoenix: (slicktory)
( May. 17th, 2015 07:00 am)
I passed my shodan (first-degree black belt) test in aikido yesterday, after about 15 years of practice! I'm still in Montreal for day 2 of the seminar where the tests are held, feeling a bit stiff and sore from the 5 hours of practice yesterday; it'll ease up once I get back on the mats and moving, and I have tomorrow to recover.
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ironphoenix: (bookgasm)
( Apr. 19th, 2015 10:46 pm)
I just finished [livejournal.com profile] truepenny's novel The Goblin Emperor, and loved it. There are not enough novels about good people, I think. Not that everyone in the book is good--saccharine doesn't appeal to me any more than anyone else--but it allows for the possibility of goodness, where too many other books suffer from an excess of cynicism under the guise of realism (see Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!). It's not a fast-paced or "active" novel (in contrast to, say, Scott Lynch's Gentlemen Bastards series): conversations and thoughts consume the pages, and their material consequences generally occur off-screen. The general flow was good, although I will admit to needing to stop now and then to get my bearings amid a fairly vast array of names, some of them very similar to each other and/or long. For all that, I found it quite absorbing from start to end, and recommend it highly. I hope that it finds some awards worth winning, too!
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ironphoenix: (I love my work)
»

3/4

( Mar. 20th, 2015 02:59 pm)
Three of four new circuit board designs completed on time or close enough as makes no difference (no change to delivery date of assemblies), and the fourth well under way, despite late-breaking changes to the specifications for all of them. It's been a busy week for my little band of merry men.
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ironphoenix: (blast of happy)
( Mar. 1st, 2015 08:14 am)
Memes on LJ... who could have imagined! [livejournal.com profile] beable tagged me with a 'B'.

Something I hate: Bullying. I'm pretty sure I inherit this from my dad, who was always a firm believer in using power to help and protect those without it, to the point that he and a few others would go bully-bashing when he was a youth.

Something I like: Booze. I've never really been drunk, but I enjoy the many tastes and varieties of alcohol a great deal.

Somewhere I've been: British Columbia. The most time I spent there was a few weeks on a Basic Officer Training Course (Hell) (acronym BOTCH), which I can't say I enjoyed much, but I've also been there on a couple of other more pleasurable occasions: a visit to Simon Fraser U and a vacation in the Okanagan Valley. I want to go back and visit Vancouver Island someday not too far off.

Somewhere I'd like to go: Baffin Island. Speaking of expensive vacations, this one's a doozy. Still, I really want to visit Canada's high north. I've been past the Arctic Circle, but that was in Finland, not in my own country.

Someone I know: Bill, a colleague who took a bullet in layoffs a couple of years ago, and whom I still share a beer or a game with now and then.

A film I like: Blade Runner. It's a visually beautiful movie that brings a lot of moral complexities out into the open, plus Vangelis' soundtrack for it is awesome in all senses of the word.

A book I like: Bloom County. I got into this thanks to [livejournal.com profile] soul_diaspora; it's classic politically charged humor which, at its best, spreads its lampooning equitably in all directions.

As usual with these memes, ask me and I'll tag you with a letter!
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ironphoenix: (bookgasm)
( Feb. 26th, 2015 10:46 am)
How to Become a Robot in 12 Easy Steps An interesting and affecting story linked from [livejournal.com profile] metahacker's LJ. TW for suicidal ideation.
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Dimanche, ma mère et moi sommes allés à l'avant-première du film “Astérix - Le Domaine des dieux”, grâce à un tirage à l'ambassade de France. Ça a bien valu la peine de m'y inscrire: le film est un très bon rendment de l'album BD de 1971. C'était fidèle a l'esprit de l'original, mais avec assez de variation pour garder l'intéret d'un fan qui l'a lu maintes fois. La plupart des gags ont bien viellis--l'avantage d'une oeuvre situé à l'époque de 50 ans avant J.-C. Les effets 3D ne sont pas exaggerés, donc même ceux qui sont susceptibles au vertige pourront l'apprécier.

English )

I write seldom in French, so this was an opportunity to practice!
.

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