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mendel


Rich Lafferty's Journal

(mendelicious mendelusions)


O hai.
Welcome to my blug. I’m a Linux and internet geek living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada with my wife Candice and cat Rasha. I’m a Zen Buddhist and an amateur cellist, and I work at a little invoicing startup called FreshBooks as their network operations manager. This right here is where I write about whatever's on my mind.

New Year's resolution
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I'm going to post this on my zen blog later this week, but right now I want to post it somewhere and I'm too tired to compose a post over there, so I'll post here instead!

As we do every year, nyxie and I spent New Year's Eve at the Zen Centre for its New Year's ceremony. It's a longish ceremony, starting at 8 and going until 12:30 or so with a social get-together following -- we didn't get home until 3 am or so. The ceremony has a bunch of components: a whole bunch of zazen, a shortish jukai (precepts-taking) ceremony, a repentance ceremony, and circumambulations of the centre to drive out the (metaphorical) demons. But the bit that's relevant here is the reading of resolutions.

Everyone attending the ceremony is asked to make a New Year's resolution, and to write it down and put it in a bowl on the main altar, anonymously. Then later in the evening, the bowl is passed around the zendo, and everyone takes out someone else's resolution, reads it to themselves to understand what was written, and then reads it aloud. We're encouraged to write our resolutions in advance but in the past I've just sort of thought about it in passing, and wrote down something when I got there. I can't even remember what I wrote before, except that I'm sure it had something to do with my practice.

Anyhow, this year I wrote a resolution in advance, and as I wrote it I turned it into free verse. This felt like a bit of a stretch for me. I'm not someone who writes free verse, that's other people, rite? Having written and rewritten, I stared at the result for a while, unsure of whether or not to actually go through with making someone else read this (anonymous) resolution. Was I too full of myself? Was there too much fancy and not enough meaning to it? I printed it out and took it with me, but I wasn't sure if I was going to actually use it.

But I got thinking about coffeechica and eyeteeth's comments in the past about not needing permission to do creative things, to write, and so I used it. (And Shelley, the ukulele songstress, drew it from the bowl and read it beautifully!)

And having passed this "Is it good enough for anonymity" test, I'm going to put it out here on the Internet with my name attached to it too:

It's in here.Collapse )

Happy new year, and may peace prevail on earth!

how's this work again
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So uh hi there everyone, long time no see?

So I've got this theory where I think it'd be good for me to just write about stuff that's going on here, not capital-B Blog capital-P Posts, not trying to write for a particular audience, just, you know... journaling. Sounds simple, but DAMNED IF I COULD EVER DO IT BEFORE EH SO WHO KNOWS

Anyhow, sorry I disappeared.

It feels like everything and nothing has happened since I was posting here last (which would've been around when we got the house). We lost Rasha in June -- even though he had failing kidneys, the poor guy must've had some brain or nervous system issues, because he had lost most of his control of his front legs, and when he lost control of his bladder we decided it was time.

I'm still at FreshBooks, I'm definitely a manager-type now, with three people on my team reporting to me. We're in the process of moving from our current 9,000 square feet into a new 21,000 sq ft office (!) and they've made me the project manager for the construction (it's an empty industrial shell right now) and the move which is totally paralyzing and crushing but also a pretty awesome challenge and responsibility too, but boy howdy will I be glad when the move is done.

I'm still practicing at the zen centre, more and more seriously by the day. I've done a couple more sesshins but the office move makes it hard to take a week off incommunicado right now. There's a seven-day working person's sesshin at the end of March, where you are allowed to leave the centre during the day for work, and we should be moved by then so I'm looking forward to that one.

The house is totally homey these days. nyxie has some recent pictures. I'm sitting in the office RIGHT NOW in fact.

And we're in the process of adopting more cats! These two, Stacey and Stella. Just working out the logistics of getting them from their foster home in Kitchener to here.

Also I'm totally obsessed with the new My Little Pony. This is the first time I've been deep into a fandom. Aren't I just the cutest?

Anyhow, nice to be back, sorry I went away!

(By the way, what's the state of the LJ/DW thing these days, anyhow? Have a bunch of people I used to read moved over there, or is everyone still here, or what's up?)

o hai lj.
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I should totally start using this again.

We have a HOUSE
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Silly me, I mentioned this on Facebook and Twitter but forgot about here!

As of June 15, nyxie and I will be owners of an actual HOUSE. Offer night was last Tuesday, and ours was the winning offer of three! Here it is:

Front exterior

It's on Maria Street in the Junction, the middle of three attached houses; the third one is set back a few metres on the left. It was built around 1915, I think. Our agent thought it was from about 1910, but I found maps showing it built by 1923 but not in 1912. So somewhere in there, anyhow, nearly but not quite a century home.

The current owners are architects and the interior is not only in great shape but it really suits our tastes, too -- we won't even have to do much painting to move in. Like the bright red accent wall:

Entrance

And the kitchen, with a bottom-freezer fridge (not visible) and a GAS STOVE YAY:

Kitchen

There's three bedrooms upstairs, a big master up front, medium in the middle, and tiny in back. The medium will probably be our sleeping bedroom, the front an office and dressing room, and the back a zazen and yoga room.

The basement is unfinished except for a small rec room, and has an outside door, which means I'll be able to easily set up a little bike workshop down there. The backyard is small but has all the space we'd need, and a trellis with mature grapevines on it.

There's a bunch more photos in this flickr set.

Looks like moving date is going to be June 18. So excited!

so much poni
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So I have a new obsession and it is PONY. Specifically, it is the new generation of My Little Pony (no, really, read on), "Friendship Is Magic". I was going to write a big intro to it here but you can read Know Your Meme if you haven't heard.

Anyhow this post kept turning into too much text so let's get right to it -- remember when I was humming and hawing about learning to draw? Welp, I guess I just needed ponies.

I sketched Twilight Sparkle:



and I was pretty pleased with how that turned out -- note: not bragging, I am still in the "wait, I can draw?" stage here -- so I made a copy, inked it with a brush pen, scanned that, and colored it in Photoshop:

subsequent improvements behind hereCollapse )

The house hunt has begun!
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Woo-hoo, we're house-hunting!

For the last little while, nyxie and I have been keeping an eye on the Toronto housing market on MLS, and a couple of weeks ago we met with a mortgage broker for pre-approval. We've been taking with a buyer's agent but scheduling has kept us from meeting her so far.

And then this weekend we checked out some open houses... and fell in love with the first house we looked at! Augh! That's not how this is supposed to work.

It's a semi-detached house in the top end of the Junction Triangle, on Osler north of Dupont. The current owners seem to have been renovating from the basement up -- the basement is done, the main floor has had a kitchen addition and reno at some point and has planning permission for another 300 feet off the back (!), and the upstairs is painted wood paneling and old but beautiful wood floors.

Here's the realtor's Youtube slideshow:

and here's the MLS listing. It's been on the market for a month, originally listed at $439,000 then $419 and now $399.

So we looked at a couple other places that day and didn't like either, which makes me feel a little bit better about loving this place -- it's not that we're just excited about house-hunting, it was this specific house.

It even has a weird little room upstairs, not shown in the slideshow, that's 7' x 4.5' -- both nyxie and I went in and immediately said "A zendo!". (A meditation mat is about 2'8" square.)

So we have one limit that's slowing down our "let's buy the first house we looked at" urge: the reason we haven't met our agent in person yet is that she's on vacation this week, and next week nyxie is on retreat at the zen centre. So we're leaving it up to fate for now; if it's still on the market a week this Friday we'll set up a showing, if not, oh well, on to the next cute house.

Fingers crossed!

unpaired paren
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[11:37] Owen Jacobson: ( is an unpaired paren
[11:37] Owen Jacobson: :( is not
[11:37] Owen Jacobson: weird
[11:38] Rich: )
[11:38] Owen Jacobson: (
[11:38] Rich: 


Goodbye, Sam.
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This past weekend, while I was in retreat, our family dog Sam passed away at the age of 15.

Sam


15 is very old for a dog as big as Sam, the equivalent of about 93 human years, and as is typical for big dogs, his hips had deteriorated to the point where it was painful for him to walk. But the last time I saw him, at Christmas, he was the same happy mutt he'd always been since he was a tiny puppy who "wasn't going to get THAT big".

Sam puppy!


Those giant paws should've been a giveaway!

Before Sam I wasn't really a dog person. We'd always had cats growing up, But Sam was a Good Dog, friendly with everyone, gentle, affectionate, and completely devoted to my father. "He turned me into a dog person," I told Dad when he let me know. "Yeah, he turned a lot of people into dog people."

(And you were a good dog owner, Dad, Sam was lucky you adopted him. He was one happy and well-cared-for dog.)

I don't have much more to say. I know Sam's karma will protect him as he moves from this realm to the next, and I know that Sam left behind a lot of happy memories to fill the hole his passing created.

My stepmother Golda commissioned a painting of Sam shortly before he passed away from a local artist, Jesus Estevez:



Thanks, Sam, you were the best dog.

Candice and I held a brief memorial service for Sam.Collapse )
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an extremely what taste?
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an extremely what taste?, originally uploaded by mendel.


that accent meme
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Yoinked from the lovely miz nyxie:

Here's the idea: make a voice post (or just record yourself and upload it somewhere) saying the following things and answering the following questions. Then compare your accent with your friends. Fun for all! :)

Questions:

Your name and/or username
Where you're from
The following words: Aunt, Roof, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting Image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught, Orange, Coffee, direction, naturally, aluminium and herbs
What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
What do you call gym shoes?
What do you say to address a group of people?
What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body and extremely long legs?
What do you call your grandparents?
What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

And since we don't have a working phone post number for Canada, you can LOOK AT MY MUG WHILE I DOES IT.