Hey, brain? What were you thinking?

2015-05-02 at 18:19 (triathlon)

So, brain, what exactly were you thinking when you signed me up for that triathlon? Do you remember how long it has been since I was last on a bike? Sure, I didn’t fall off of any when I went bike shopping because I needed a bike for that triathlon you signed me up for, but still. Now I need to practice riding one without being flattened by a car. And I need to make arrangements for a wetsuit. Last year the water was so cold, wetsuits were required.

At least you had the sense to go with a Try-a-tri distance.

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Rainbow Trout

2013-07-13 at 14:33 (Food)

What can be found, seen, heard, experienced, eaten by simply looking and asking about posters in the city is sometimes unexpected. On one visit to Market 707, I saw a poster on one of the containers with a handwritten amendment tacked onto it stating: No fish heads! “No fish heads”? Why would there be such a sign there? That stall, Kitchen Cargo, sells meat pies, not fish. And even were they to sell fish in the future, couldn’t they just make that request of the fishmonger?

It turns out that the poster referred to an event on the previous Friday with food trucks and a swimming pool full of fish. If you brought them your catch, they’d fry it for you, but they’re not fans of fish, much less fish that looks like its looking at you. There were two other stalls listed on the poster as also being willing to cook fish, both willing to accept fish with heads, and all three were still accepting fish. Why fish when the fish were on Friday? The big Friday event was just the opening of a week of fishing in the Scadding Court Community Centre’s indoor pool. Fish, tackle, and rods were still inside.

I still had time to spare before I’d be late for class, so down I went to try to catch my supper. I got my Fishin’ Licence, a rod with a plastic lure and a push-button reel, a spot at the side of the pool, and tried my luck. Not biting, and the water’s so clear that I can see the fish swimming around my line while giving the lure and hook wide berth. Meanwhile, the little kids were pulling up the fish, only to have them successfully escape after being removed from the pool. They would thrash about in the buckets used to store caught fish, which would knock them over, and they would slide back into the pool. I think all the stupid fish were caught on Friday. But, it’s time for class with no freshly-caught trout for me.

I still had a chance to get my revenge. There were still two days left in which I could go fishing.

On my second fishing trip, there was a long line to get in. After waiting for a rod to be freed up, I made my way to the poolside once more. Not as many fish in the pool, and they still avoid the plastic worm. This time, a volunteer comes by, asks what’s on my hook, and hands me a real worm. After switching up the bait, some fish come closer to my hook. Apparently the fish prefer flesh over plastic. I get a couple of nibbles, but I couldn’t set my hook. At the end of the night, I have half a worm, but no fish.

One of the volunteers decides that I should have a fish for dinner, and he comes over with his own rod. His has a float on it, which lets his line stay in the middle of the pool, where most of the fish swim. A few minutes later, he reels in a fish, I net it, and am handed a rather lively fish in a bucket. When I get it cleaned, the person cleaning it leaves on the head, and places it in a happy face bag. That means no Kitchen Cargo cooking for this fish.

Of the two stalls that accepted headed fish, only Kanto was still open. My trout was beheaded, deboned, butterflied, lightly seasoned, and deep fried with no batter. The resulting dish was a nicely crispy fish that was still moist on the inside. It was a tasty dinner, but I was still unsatisfied: I wanted to catch the fish I ate. I still had one day left in which I could catch one.

On my third trip, I get handed a rod with a proper reel, pre-baited with shrimp and corn. Fewer still fish than before, and there’s an obnoxious kid next to me who waves his rod around a bit too much while casting than is safe in the confines of an indoor pool. A lifeguard tells him off for his hook-flinging, and he switches to casting sideways, hitting me with his rod. A space on the other side of the pool opens, and I make my escape. But once more, I can’t get a fish on my hook; they still swim up to and around it. All the stupid fish had already been eaten.

A volunteer near me had his rod out, and called out asking if anyone wanted to fight a fish. My rod was plucked away, and his was put in its place. I reel in the trout, he nets it, and I’m handed its bucket. Lunch. I get the fish cleaned, and head outside into the pouring rain with my corpse-containing happy face bag.

This time, I headed for T&T Roti with my fish. After being descaled and rubbed down with some fresh lime, it was rubbed with their seasoning mix and just a touch of their hot sauce, lightly battered, and fried. This fish was handed to me wrapped up so that I could take it home. A quick TTC trip later, it’s unwrapped and eaten. This fish was more challenging to eat, as it wasn’t deboned, but it was moist and delicious. There was a lingering taste of warmth and lime afterwards.

But I still didn’t catch any trout. I did everything save for setting a hook, but I still didn’t catch one on my own. Maybe next year.

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Taste and what happened to Linuxcaffe

2013-07-01 at 21:25 (Food)

Here I am, a couple days after my sense of taste went a bit overboard with taste. It was interesting how a simple increase in the intensity of taste could render everything so unpalatable. A simple marinara sauce felt like it was burning me, any salt from the polenta fries I had needed to be immediately washed away. Fortunately, that faded after a couple days. That means that I was able to actually taste what I was served when I visited what used to be Linuxcaffe.

What is where Linuxcaffe was is the recently opened Bickford Flexitarian. Many of the snacks in their fridge are familiar to me, as they’re still being made by the same person as they were in the Linuxcaffe days. I could recognize other familiar elements from their Linuxcaffe days, although most of them had been repainted red or black. But they did replace the espresso machine. And what I sampled was also new.

I had a blueberry and cream cheese French toast cup, which was topped with maple syrup and vanilla whipped cream. I’ll admit that what I first tried was the whipped cream. It had the smoothness of texture that comes of not being from a can. Less sweet than I was expecting, given that it was introduced as vanilla whipped cream, but it was far closer to my preferences in whipped cream than I was expecting. My preferences is for minimal, if any, sweetening. Too much sugar just overpowers the taste of the cream, and this time, the taste of the cream stood out. I then tried a small bit of the baked cream cheese, and the tartness jumped out. This had not been sweetened to oblivion.

Then came trying the actual baked French toast. It lacked the distinct eggy taste of the French toast I grew up with, but I was expecting that. What I grew up was soaked through with eggs, and was still soft and moist with egg on the inside after frying. This was instead made up of bread cubes that hadn’t been soaked in egg, but were closer to dipped before being mixed with the blueberries and tossed into cups for baking. It was a bit harder, and with more chew to it, than I was initially expecting, but the inside still had softness to it. I had to topple the toast in order to be able to cut it in a controlled manner, but some of that was simply due to the base being narrower than the top.

It seemed like most of the berries had migrated down to the bottom of the cup. But the effects of that were minimized by positioning the toast on its side. Perhaps next time I’ll try something a little less constrained by its form.

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Contributing to the data overload

2012-02-19 at 22:36 (data overload)

I see those other people preparing fancy combinations of their recorded data. All that does to me is bring out my “everything you can do, I can do better” side. Immature, sure. Can they do better? Quite possibly. After all, they have the advantage of starting earlier, and on a platform that has more pre-made tools for this purpose, but still. I want to see how far I can take the Pathologically Eclectic Rubbish Lister, GD, and a touch of C++.

How on earth am I going to keep all the disparate clocks synced up? One occasionally updated by NTP, one modified by hand after it gets to be a few minutes slow, and one that cannot be modified (but is currently fast, I think). For recording, I need to hook up the slow clock to the NTP-updated laptop, and I’ll just have to embed a sync-signal for the unmodifiable one.

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Unfurling the woe ball

2012-02-16 at 01:31 (Uncategorized)

No matter how much I may try, I occasionally end up curled up in a little ball of woe. Today’s unfurling comes with a familiar taste that I haven’t tasted for a while, a little bit of jitteriness, the hints of a headache, and an empty wallet. A glance at the little box beside me confirms it: I went out and had a bicerin and bought some chocolate. Too bad that I’m not supposed to have caffeine. Still, there are worse things to drown my sorrows in than a tasty bicerin and “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality”.

No long, drawn-out mysteries here about what triggered the woe-balling. I just don’t seem to do well with appointments with my sleep doctor. I don’t like being spoken too like I’m in kindergarten; his simplification of equipment descriptions makes it harder to figure out what he means. And then the brushing off of a potential issue that I had noticed, and my RT told me that I should mention, because it didn’t happen in my titration.

I also can’t stand the lighting in his office, but that one probably isn’t him or under his control. Modern fluorescent tubes don’t flicker like those distracting dinosaurs. I know that it’s probably the building management laying in a stockpile of them due to them being cheap, but I like being able to complete my thoughts before going “ooh, buzzy”.

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A day’s aftermath

2012-02-06 at 22:37 (Uncategorized)

Much happened yesterday, at least with regards to the most important part of the detailed day: doing the assignment. While still fuzzy from a headache (stupid lattes, so tasty but painful), I found the books I was looking for. And yes, the books did mention what a “strictly row diagonally dominant n x n matrix” is. I dragged them with me to the university, sat down, and was able to get the assignment mostly complete. The not completed portion is writing the neat copy of it, the version that doesn’t have half a page crossed out because my approach to a problem was slightly incorrect (right idea, wrong term). I worked on it for eight hours straight (alright, so I took a few short breaks), and only noticed the time, and that I was very hungry, after all the core work was done.

I haven’t done this in years. The past few terms, when I tried to just sit down and get my work done, I wouldn’t succeed. I would get distracted by the grain in the woodwork, and start daydreaming. Stupid brain, trying to give me more reasons to continue to strap on that air hose.

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A day in my life

2012-02-05 at 00:28 (Uncategorized)

This day starts out easily enough. A clock buzzing, a quick shutdown and disconnection from all that tether me to my bed, stopping that clock from buzzing, checking for condensation, pulling apart pillows for quicker drying, coiling my hose off the bed, tidying my blankets, resetting the futon, and waiting for the clock with bad slew to chime. It chimes, late enough that I should see about setting the time on it yet again, but don’t.

It’s time to check the logs again. The fridge is noisy yet again. Some neighbour slams a door at 3am yet again. My leak line is gradually settling down, back towards where it was a week ago. Nothing of too much interest.

It’s still too early, though, to head to the university to work on an assignment. I want daylight first. I can poke at the Internet for a bit, then head out.

Pages have been read, the timing of an email from student health laughed at, and sunlight has arrived. Yay! But first, I should see if I can dig out my old linear algebra and numerical methods texts. It has been a too long since I did the prereqs. They should be somewhere in the box pile.

Dig, digging, dug, I don’t recognize this book that I pulled out. It’s not one that I’ve ever heard of, and I don’t remember buying it. A closer examination of it shows signs that I had bought it at a library book sale. I wonder what it’s his book is like.

Final chapter done, I can close the book. Its ending was a bit weak. Now for the textbooks. But what’s with all these unopened games and unread books. I vaguely remember getting some of them, back before being tethered to Li’l Facehugger. I keep running across signs of my existence from the past few years, but none of actually having lived. Unredeemed free passes to an art gallery that expired five years ago, untouched puzzles from one of the free newspapers from last year, the show times for a movie I wanted to see a couple years ago, but didn’t. No signs of living, and no signs of the texts I wanted to find.

Pity party for one at my place. The only easily accessible food is a small handful of jellybeans, so down they go while I contemplate the lack of living and the mess my ransacking had produced. I need to get out of this mess, out of this pile of non-life.

Off to university I finally head, hours after planned. It is now the middle of the afternoon, and I am hungry. I spot a chip truck up the street from the building I want. The poutine squeaks miserably as I eat it, but at least I’ve eaten something other than jellybeans. Off to a study area.

Assignment time. I have no idea what is on this assignment. The class is correct, but Taylor’s theorem eludes me, it’s in the past, most recently used back in the days of the vagueness. What on earth does “strictly row diagonally dominant n x n matrices” mean. I know it was in class, but I don’t remember it. Lecture has too many missing slides that I discover after class, and tutorial has chalkboards that fill and reposition in the blink of an eye. I will admit that those blinks in class are rather on the long side, but still. I don’t want to have to drop another class because of this mess.

And now for procrastination. I need to do more digging at home for texts and come back here tomorrow, but still. This bit of paper is due in two days. Things would be much easier if I could just remember what I did in my previous classes and stay awake in class.

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And so it begins

2011-12-27 at 20:44 (Uncategorized)

Or maybe it ends. I can hardly believe what I wrote those couple of years ago. Still, I survived the Great Boiler Flood of 2011 and got out of there, and re-lost “Introduction to Algorithms”. It’s somewhere, in one of the boxes. Now to figure out what to do with those holes in my new walls. I think they call them “windows”.

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raise BoredomError(‘Bleh’)

2009-10-29 at 00:27 (Uncategorized)

Bleh. Bored. What I have pending right now is either annoying or too loud for me to want to do it now. Bleh.

TTFN to teh intarwebs. Time to turn you off and go hopping on a pogo stick instead for a while. Actually, too late for that right now. Time for a book, instead.

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The Joy of Almond

2009-10-23 at 03:09 (Food)

Why are almonds so rarely used over here? There are peanuts all over the place, but not the far tastier almond. The peanuts I’ve tried taste like dirt. Almonds, especially with a touch of finely ground sugar over them, taste like winter. Then, once you start adding more ingredients than just sugar, you can get to such yummy snacks as mandeltÃ¥rta and amaretti.

Marzipan should be used more instead of insipid tasting “frosting”. Even the nicest buttercreams I’ve encountered end up giving the feel of trying to chow down on a stick of grease at about half way through the slice of cake. I want cake, not crumbs and shortening stuccoed to my teeth.

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