Greg and I biked from the west end of Ottawa to Pink Lake in the Gatineau hills, and then back! 42 kilometers, uphill both ways! (Okay – technically that’s impossible, but there were lots of hills in both directions.)
I’m really proud of myself! I’ve never biked into the Gatineau hills before, and I’ve never really biked this distance before, I don’t think. My legs were a bit rubbery towards the end, but I have a good feeling about the 100km ride I’m going to be making in a few weekends.
This won’t score me any points with my vegan friends, but the other day Natasha and I cracked a double-yolked egg. This actually happens pretty frequently in nature, about one in a thousand, but it takes us years to eat through a thousand eggs, so it seems to be a spectacularly rare occurrence. I should go buy a lottery ticket!
I’m participating in a photo challenge with some friends, and one of the (first) assignments is a “high key” flower photo – characterized by really bright (white) backgrounds. After a couple of (weekends of) experiments, I came up with floating a flower on a pool of milk, and I like where it’s going.
I’m not thrilled yet about the actual photo, but I think the idea is going someplace. I think if I wait until I get the perfect shot I might be a year late – so let’s call this a first draft at my first photo entry.
Over the Easter break I dropped into Raw Sugar on Somerset, a little cafe with a consistently awesome lineup of bands cycling through their calendar. The band I was there to see were awesome (more about them later), but I was also very happy to discover a new band I really like – Tindervox. Kara Askwith’s dark guitar magic and moody vocals were really exciting, and Justin Black backed her up with fluid accompaniment.
Their set was a stripped down acoustic version of their usually very distorted power-chordy sound, which was good because at the tiny cafe we were sitting pretty much right on top of them. When I got home I looked them up right away, and I really dig their electrified sound too – I almost hope they release an acoustic album soon because their stuff sounds really amazing both ways.
Semi-related story – I met another Jason after the show who’d just purchased an album, and offered him a sharpie from my pocket to get it signed (because I once couldn’t find a pen anywhere at a Yamantaka concert and vowed it would never happen to me again). He looked at me like I was some kind of concert MacGuyver (I also had earplugs, just in case) and told me “You’re the kind of Jason I wish I was!“. I think maybe he was drunk.
New inside joke – the touch screen at the bowling alley wouldn’t let me enter “Dark Prince” as my bowler name, so the Dark Prinf was born, prepared to deliver righteous vengeance in the form of multiple strike combos.
Assuming the mantle of the pin-punisher comes with consequences. If you’re going to be the Dark Prinf of Late Night Glow Bowling, the standard uniform includes one pair of obnoxiously neon bowling shoes. The curse also includes a propensity for singing along to Bon Jovi choruses and a craving for popcorn.
“WoooooOOOOOAH! LIVIN’ ON A PRAYER!”
It’s about time I started reading some of the work by Cory Doctorow, the prolific near-future prognosticator who famously co-started Boing Boing. He’s written a heap of books written about the future just-around-the-corner, and he backs it up with insights gleaned from his deep connections to internet and nerd culture.
Makers moves between connected characters: Suzanne the tech journalist; Perry and Lester, mad inventors squatting in a junkyard in Florida; Landon and Tjan, business-people trying to spin Perry and Lester’s ideas into profitable enterprise. Along the way they struggle with the law, find love, and transform the world economy.
It sounds like it’s written for me, but I didn’t feel much chemistry here. While there were aspects to Makers that I really enjoyed, on the whole I found the book took a lot of effort to pick up – particularly during the second half, which is mired in legal battles that even the characters themselves find boring. There’s some small-world issues that make the story feel a little implausible – this single pair of inventors’ creations keep meeting enormous success, yet they’re universally unrecognized despite being worshipped as the faces of the New Work economy on the most popular blog in the world. Weirdly – although he spells out radical changes in the short term, the more he spins out into the future the more difficulty he seems to have getting away from the present.
Things I liked? Doctorow’s mining a rich vein of influences in his descriptions of the imminent future. Network clustered Tickle-me-elmo swarms. Goth Disneyworld. The radical metabolic Fatkins diet. There’s a lot of gold nuggets strewn throughout the text, but you’ve got to work for them. I particularly dig some of the notions he puts forward about squatter communities, hacking hardware and emergent storytelling. Maybe worth a read – but if you ask me about it I can just summarize all the good bits for you.