Friday, January 30, 2009

Back in the Swing

Though I still plan to sell Blackbird (a fairly shocking development that IMHO went un-noticed on this blog), there is still some tri-action in my future.

Keen readers will recall the parlour game known as the indoor triathlon. It is a bit of a joke -- stationary bikes and treadmills -- but they are short and energizing. (The worst part is putting the treadmill on the back of the car :-)

Plus, I am fairly un-fit right now and signing up for 4 of these jobbies in February is a good kick in the pants.

So... the first one is Sunday morning at a local YMCA. The morning of the Super Bowl, no less! No Jim G as he is recovering from the bike crash, and generally avoids indoor tri's for some reason.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wintery Message to Chicago and the World

About 6 inches of snow here in the last 24 hours.

Some people are at work, but some are having fun... Check out this pic! I'm pretty sure it has not been Photoshopped.

This town loves their Cardinals.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Je me souviens

This weekend, a top UFC fighter named Georges St Pierre is going to fight in a title bout. He is a French-Canadian who trains in Montreal; he has a tattoo of the fleur-de-lis on his calf.

I was once fluent in French, and have occasionally deluded myself that I understand Quebec. In 1980, Quebec first tried to separate from Canada. In a triumph of multi-lingual education, I remember being puzzled at why so many people called the Quebecois names: it was just a language, and for me, not an alien one. Though I could tell that this was very serious, I didn't really understand what all the fuss was about: neither why Quebec wanted to leave nor why the rest of Canada seemed anti-French. I thought I understood.

Around that time, Quebec changed the slogan on their license plates from "La Belle Province" to "Je me souviens". I knew it meant something along the lines of "I remember" but I didn't think much of it.

Years went by. Quebec again tried to seperate circa 1995, with players (on both sides) who were sad imitations of the intellectual giants of 1980. By this time, I realized that there was so much culture in French-Canada that I didn't understand (can you name a famous Quebec folk singer or author? There are zillions), but I still thought that I understood the issues and the divisions, on both sides.

Last year, I mention the phrase "Je me souviens" to a friend at work. He is my product manager, from France. I don't know if he has ever been to Quebec. As I spoke, I became curious, and looked up the phrase on Wikipedia: sure enough, there was an entry.

My friend read the full phrase (arguably from a poem dating to the 1880s):

Je me souviens,
Que né sous le lys,
Je croîs sous la rose.

I remember,
That born under the lily,
I grow under the rose.

He nodded and smiled immediately: he got it. Born under the lily (fleur-de-lis) of France, yet living under the rose of England.

He had seen something profound that I had never really considered. Now, I think of it every time I see the Quebec flag, or their license. In a way, it is vaguely approximated by the Confederate flag in the southern US.


ps. This post is about the phrase "Je me souviens" and not the issue of separatism. That is a deep, complex issue that had its origins in the 1960s and the seeds of oppression long before that. I can't possibly summarize it here. However, I can state that I am 100% federalist, for a united, bi-lingual Canada.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Happy Anniversary

This is a shout out to my Mom and Dad, who are celebrating their anniversary today... 46 years!

Happy Anniversary and here's a toast to many years ahead....

peace, love, and fun wedding cakes

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


My sister read over 300 books in 2008. That's wicked, and a major bonus for family members: she works for a bookstore (i.e. discounts) and thus gives books that generally kick ass. I started one recently and can't put it down, despite having a ton of stuff to do. Merci pour rien!

The best part is that she doesn't buy many books: she is a library patron of the highest order. At the risk of making PEI look like a one-moose town, Vic's daughter works at the city library and knows both my Mom and my sister by reputation (it is unclear if they have met).

It would be a lie for me to say I'm a true bookworm. But both on PEI and here in St Louis, my bookies are the best, and my kind of people.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Resistance is Futile

Long ago, I resisted from getting a cellphone because I thought it was cooler not to have one. I found solace in the sweet irony of being a tech person in my career and yet a Luddite at home. e.g. To this day, I have never owned a printer.

This blog has featured rants about Facebook and Twitter in the past, but I have to say: resistance is futile. They are both charming sites and, IMHO, enrich one's experience with friends. They seem different from old chat-rooms where one can have a total, weird online existence without ever meeting anyone.

Case in point: I have played a word game called PathWords on Facebook. Due to some dexterity, I have done somewhat better on it than some of my friends. At a recent party, people came up to me and asked me how I achieved the scores I was getting. (Hint: click on the starting letter, sweep through the word, and then release the mouse. It's fluid and fast.)

The point is that the game is an immediate icebreaker. Pretty cool.

Both sites might be fads and part of me still wants to shower with industrial soap after using them, but highly recommended. Especially to the Luddites out there who are holding out: you know who you are! (Including you, Mr BPL !)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Running with the Songsmith

I've sent this out to some people but it is too good not to share, particularly if you like hard rock from the 1980s.

The setup: Microsoft has a research product that generates cheesy background music to a recording of your voice, in key. Here is a lame video of it.

The gag: Someone pulled the audio from a hard rock song to see what it would be like with a real singer, or in this case, David Lee Roth. It is pretty funny (click here).

Friday, January 16, 2009


From the "Sometimes you need a smile" Department:

Long-time readers will know that I am a cat person, not a dog person. I am usually neutral on dogs. Negative neighbours aside, I tend to not relate to "dog people" (general animal lovers are a different story).

E.g. I have a small comic bit of how if I say I need to leave work to practice piano, my ethic is questioned; if someone else says that they have to go home and let out their dog, then people will call for a police escort. For God's sake, make way! A dog has been holding it for hours!

However, there are some dogs that give one startling, serious pause: e.g. Brawley, a Sheltie from my youth. And now, Bandit, a puppy recently purchased by a friend. Bandit is a Havanese. Particularly as puppies, these dogs are the distilled essence of dog goodness and gregariousness. I still remember Rocky, a bike-shop resident (also a Havanese pup) that witnessed my purchase of my bike, Blackbird. These dogs are adorable.

N.B. This pic is not a pro photo: it is really just a coworker's pic of Bandit. I told him I would post it some time ago.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Update on JimG

Recall from a previous post that my arch-rival, the nefarious JimG, suffered a serious motorcycle accident that resulted in broken bones and a concussion.

The news is that he is back to work, which is a very good thing. He is in physical therapy and I'm guessing his triathlon future is on hold, but all things considered, he'll take it.

I hope to have lunch with him later this week.


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tri League 2008

Well, it wasn't a gold medal but I came in 4th in my local triathlon league! (click here)

This is easily the best I've achieved in the standings, and I've won a gift card and other schwag from FleetFeet.

Part of the story this year is that I was one of the few to complete the maximum of 6 events. Actually, within those that did complete 6 events, I'm last... But I'll take it.

Monday, January 05, 2009

We win ! We WIN !

Canada has won its 5th straight gold medal at the hockey World Juniors!

This is a great achievement, given thrilling games against the US and Russia, who would absolutely love to take us out. We were down 3-0 against the US, only to comeback 7-4. Russia led 5-4 until Canada scored in the final seconds, and the Canucks went on to win a shootout.

Tonight, we rolled over Sweden 5-1.

And again, all is right with the world of sport. I am so happy for those lads.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

New Blog on the Block

There is a new blog on the block: introducing Pedaling PEI.

The author is unclear, but consider this: do you know anyone on PEI who bicycles for tremendous distance, and has been doing so for years. i.e. Perhaps he is near retirement age by now.

At risk of giving it away entirely, there will probably be a lot of weather-related photos on there as well. Check out the blog for the recent dump of 50 cm (20 in) of snow.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Hello 2009

A quick post.... I have been back in StL but super-busy with work and various social stuff.

The trip home was great, if somewhat chaotic. I saw most everyone with a few exceptions, which are regrettable and entirely my fault.

The travel was pretty wild, and yet it could have been much worse. e.g. The Maritimes is currently being hammered with a wicked storm. If I had been there circa Dec 31, I would still be there, I imagine.

Many readers have asked for a review of 2008 and for predictions on 2009. After all, this blog serves as a moral compass for many. The crown rests uneasily here, as I haven't had time to consolidate a lot of my award-winning thoughts. More to come?

There have been many joys and sorrows among my friends lately. One piece of sad news is over at Geography. I invite you to read and send along a prayer and positive energy.