Blog Archives: August, 2003
Welcome to Canada. Thanks for eating at Tim Horton’s.
I’m writing this entry from Pearson International Airport in Toronto, although it won’t get posted until my arrival in Windsor as this portion of the airport doesn’t have wireless internet access (how barbaric!).
It’s good to be back in the land of the free and the home of the brave: that is, Canada. The past week and half in California were quite hectic. Last weekend until midweek, Adam and Scott were visiting from Waterloo. I had some major meetings at work this week, transferring our elliptic curve cryptography technology to Mozilla, Java, and Solaris. We had to finish up a paper to meet an unexpectedly early submission deadline, and there’s still more coding to do. Up until Friday morning, there was the possibility of me staying an extra week, but I didn’t have a chance to get my visa extended (glad to see that NAFTA works for the little guy). So in haste I packed, unnecessarily watched two hours of Dawson’s Creek, and had dinner with my Aunt Irma and Uncle John.
After being out of the country for a while and flying into Pearson today hungry, I’ve decided to establish a tradition. It’s a habit I’ve had for a few years, now, but I think it should be firmly established in the sense that I should write about it here. Whenever I fly into Canada and I’m waiting at an airport to transfer flights, I will henceforth go to Tim Horton’s and have something to eat, assuming there’s a Timmie’s in the airport. In the morning, a bagel and orange juice, in the afternoon perhaps a doughnut, and maybe a slice of coffee cake in the evening, with hot chocolate or apple cider in the fall.
I’ll be in Windsor until Sept. 2, so if you’re in Windsor, give me a shout. It looks like I’ll be in Waterloo Sept. 12-14 (MathSoc-related meal probably on Friday, staying at 110 Friday and Saturday), and Toronto perhaps Sept. 14 and 15.
Sorry for the lack of updates lately. Adam and Scott came to visit from Waterloo and we’ve been travelling quite a bit. Tonight we’re going to watch The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, which just came out on DVD. But to keep me from record-breaking lags in blog updates, here’s a short one, forwarded to me by my friend Allison: a Molson “I Am Canadian” commercial in Flash. Cute and geeky!
My friend Matt had a brilliant idea: if I’m going to Oxford, I should join a rowing club. I’m seriously considering that suggestion; I think that it would be quite proper to join a rowing club while at school, stiff upper lip and all that. (That didn’t make any sense, now did it? I’ll learn my British slang eventually.)
As it turns out, my college, Pembroke College, is, apparently, “without doubt the best college for rowing in Oxford.” See for yourself. Now before you get scared that I won’t be good enough to join the best club at Oxford, don’t worry: “Whether you are an international oarsmen or a complete pie boy there is a boat for you.” I don’t know what a “complete pie boy” is, but hopefully I can row at least that well.
In preparation of my arrival to Oxford, I’ve switched the date format on my computer and on my blog from my favourite yyyy/mm/dd to the UK’s dd MMM yyyy. Feels a bit awkward, but perhaps it’ll grow on me.
(If you haven’t read about it yet, then I suggest you check out Cecilia’s adventures with a bat in Unit 304.)
I just spent some time updating my website; not the blog, but the rest of the website which you may never have visited through the links at the top right of the page. The biggest set of changes were to my research and school pages. On my research page, you can download my papers for some good bedtime reading.
I’m a big Google fan. It finds everything I want, and it even finds me. But now it’s also a calculator. Ever wondered about the value of
log2(1024)? Google knows! Needed to know how many furlongs there are in 120 metres? Google knows that too! Is there anything Google doesn’t know?
Last night I watched Boys Don’t Cry with a couple of other interns who are working at Sun. I’d seen the movie before, but I was more intrigued with the reactions of the other people watching.
(For those who haven’t seen the movie, I’ve put the rest of my writing in the second part of the post. There aren’t any spoilers, but you should still consider watching the movie.)
Boys Don’t Cry is about the life and death of Brandon Teena, a transgendered youth from Nebraska. He falls in love with a girl from nowhere, Nebraska, is discovered as TG, assaulted, and killed. It’s a terribly challenging movie to watch. It makes me uncomfortable to view, and I would be troubled if I found watching it easy.
One person watching the movie first expressed revulsion: such issues and violence didn’t belong in a movie. But it’s not a particularly violent movie, at least not by the body-count-in-the-hundreds movies that kids watch all the time. Rather, it’s true, personal violence, in no way shrouded in fantasy, and based in the reality of a true story.
This reaction was extended into the following attitude: “there may be bad things out in the world, but if I can’t do anything about them, I don’t want to know about them.” While I respect someone’s right to have this outlook on life, it’s not one that I would want for myself.
The predominant feeling in the room was that movies were supposed to be enjoyable to watch, and this was in no way enjoyable. This was a movie that challenged the viewer, and simply put, some of the viewers didn’t want to be challenged. I think a good movie can be just as demanding and rewarding as a good book: it can inspire introspection. With movie-watching being a group activity, it can provoke discussion and debate. I don’t think movies should be limited to the formula of Spiderman with occasional bite-sized chunks of The Matrix philosophy thrown in to satisfy critics.
Whatever I think doesn’t matter, though, ‘cuz I don’t get to pick the movie next time we go to our local Blockbuster.
Woohoo! I’m no longer homeless – I now have a place to live in Oxford. Starting this October, I’ll be living in a house with three other Oxford graduate students (Caroline, Emily, and Jane). One step close to being an “Oxford man”.