Category Archives: review

Weekly review: July 23 to July 29

Goals from last week:

Goals last week This week
Finish and print thesis draft In progress. Up to the tenth revision of my paper. Supervisor happy. Needs some more formatting, though.
Book room for defense Done.
Meet manager re declined offer Met Robert Terpstra and had great conversation about life.
Ping tech sales Talked to Liz Elek about immigration documents.
Read more books Read 7 books: one book on sales, four books on relationships, one book on e-mail, and one book on jobs. Only one sales book and one relationships book were particularly note-worthy: How to Sell to Difficult Customers, and the Feminine Mistake.
Start booksnake blog Done: Booksnake
Do core exercises 3x week Assisted reverse chin-ups.
Finish 6 more sessions of Cantonese study 5 done so far, 1 more scheduled today.
Fri: Attend drop-in circus class Tons of fun!
Revise CASCON paper Not started.
Build cooking vocabulary Not started.
Swim Not started.
Outsource a task Not started.
Plan birthday event - LifeCamp Not started. Thinking about what I want to do with my life.

Other stuff this week:

  • Watched J-'s Shakespeare for Kids performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Watched Dream in High Park performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • Found other book-related blogs.
  • Signed up on, a social website for stuff you want to do with your life. Like 43things, but better for my purposes.
  • Skin reacting to Clinique acne starter kit. Toner might be too strong.

Next week:

  • Send thesis draft to people, really.
  • Check paperwork requirements for post-graduate work permit and start compiling them.
  • Revise CASCON paper.
  • Do one week + one advance post for Booksnake.
  • Plan birthday event, really.
  • Touch IBM blogosphere.
  • Swim.
  • Pay rent and balance books.
  • Learn about sales.

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Weekly review

This week

Send thesis draft to people, really. Done.
Check paperwork requirements for post-graduate work permit and start compiling them. Started
Revise CASCON paper. Done.
Do one week + one advance post for Booksnake. Done. Pretty handy...
Plan birthday event, really. Bah.
Touch IBM blogosphere. Done.
Swim. Done.
Pay rent and balance books. Done.
Learn about sales. Done.

Other accomplishments:

  • Got on Second Life.
  • Tried out scripting: built interview bot.
  • Read five books; three of them were worth it.
  • Attended birthday celebrations for W-.
  • Hung out with Steve.
  • Went to Yoga for Geeks.
  • Drafted blogging presentation.

Next week:

  • Prepare presentation for thesis defense.
  • Defend thesis.
  • Write and mail birthday letter.
  • Choose driving school.
  • Go to Toronto Circus School drop-in trapeze lessons.

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A fantastic year

Every year is better and better. This year was more intense and tumultuous than the last, filled with challenges and accomplishments and new opportunities. I growed a lot, too. It was painful, particularly coming to terms with the very real stress that travel and distance can put on relationships. But it's the kind of pain that forces you to keep growing, and I'm looking forward to next year and the years after that.

The key lesson I learned this year was that of finding my own happiness. Not that I've figured everything out—no, I have a long way to go. But I'm getting better at making my own decisions and standing up for them; not accepting just what everyone else accepts, instead reaching for more; and also being open to the experiences and insights of other people around me—open, but selective.

This year, I felt the limits of books and magazine articles. Some of the things I think about, some of the things I deal with... I can't find best practices. I can't find research. I just have to keep figuring things out until I get deeper insights that connect to lots of other people's experiences.

I'll share some of my goals for next year in another blog post. I know it will be an amazing year. =)

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Weekly review

This week has been a tumultuous one. Trying to sort out lots of different issues took up a lot of my time and energy. There are still a lot of tricky bits to work out, but we're slowly making progress.

Because other people are involved, I don't feel comfortable writing about it in public. (There, see? I do have a private life.) I learned a lot, though, and I'm still learning more. I wish I could share what I'm going through, because talking about things helps me understand them better. Writing is difficult; even talking is. It's easy to forget that words can only sketch a still-evolving understanding. My mind maps have helped me think, and maybe after a few iterations I'll understand a few things enough to describe them.

It hasn't all been complicated, though. As part of my preparations for the working world, I found out what to do about clothes that need to be altered. I'm short and my top and bottom are different sizes, which means it's difficult to find ready-to-wear clothes that fit me well. Some of my pants needed hemming. A new blazer that I picked up as part of a suit needed to be reconstructed to fit me better. Pants were relatively inexpensive, but the alterations to the blazer cost nearly as much as the blazer itself. Still, I'll be glad not to have to think about the clothes. As it turns out, getting things done by a proper tailor (High Park Tailoring in this case) is only a little more expensive than getting it done at the cleaners, and you'll get more advice and chitchat from a proper tailor.

I also dropped my shoes off at a cobbler so that the soles can be reinforced with rubber. I'd been meaning to do that in order to extend the life of my shoes. I like simple designs, and good shoes can be hard to find. I walk a lot, though. Reinforcing the soles now might make the shoes last longer or be easier to maintain later on.

This week has also been quite a week in terms of entertainment. On Thursday, I attended Jedediah Smith's long-form improv class show at the Bad Dog Theatre. Gabriel Mansour and Syed Dilawar were also there. Friday, I went to Buskerfest to take some pictures of street performers. I got a Facebook status update from Jed asking about things to do that night, so I invited him over and we watched the fire show. Last night, W-, J- and I went to the Ex. We had tons of fun at the Aquareve show. A waist-high sea of bubbles reduced J- and me to squeals of delight. Some pictures are up on my Flickr; log in and friend me if you don't see them.

Tea was also fun today - nice conversation. I made meringue cookies, which were quickly demolished. I had a number of kitchen accidents (spilled vanilla, etc.), but W- and I both managed to not freak out about it. =) Little things like that make me more confident.

It's been a jam-packed week, and I'm looking forward to balancing that with some peace and quiet.

Next week is mostly taken up by driving lessons. I've signed up for the Young Drivers manual shift course. It's a bit pricy, but I'd rather pay a little more now for a program that everyone I've asked has recommended to me, than pay lots more later if I get into an accident. I also need to follow up with my supervisor. I'd really like to finalize my thesis by the 31st in order to give myself some breathing room for my paperwork.

Yes, I think the main thing I want for next week is to find that quiet, happy center again... =)

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Weekly review

This week was mainly taken up by driving lessons at Young Drivers. Their program was much more expensive than others, but it was highly recommended by my friends. I was happy with how much I learned in the program, and it was well-run.

I also spent some time running errands. I'm reasonably happy with High Park Tailoring. The proprietors had been in business for more than forty years, and they gave me friendly advice on how long my slacks should be in order to accommodate the two heights of heels that I brought. Altering the blazer turned out to be almost as expensive as buying it, but the result was okay. For routine alteration, the drycleaner in the Bathurst subway station is much cheaper. I was disappointed in Yiorgos the Cobbler. The shoes were not ready when I came to pick them up. The shopkeeper hadn't even started on them. I'll look for a shoe repair shop closer to High Park. Now that I've sorted out my wardrobe and figured out a few places to go for maintenance, I should be fine.

James Iveniuk's birthday/send-off was a blast. I met a number of interesting people I'd like to get to know further, including a few geek girls. I baked meringue kisses, which were a hit. I think I'll make some for the department.

I'm a little nervous about my paperwork processing time. I'll talk to Lorna tomorrow about all the requirements. I'm planning to rush two bound copies of my thesis and complete the rest at a little more leisurely pace, if that's possible. It'll cost me $50 extra, but I think the peace of mind is worth it.

As for September: I've been meaning to writing a book on Emacs. I find myself skipping over my help.gnu.emacs messages, though, which tells me that I'm not quite that interested in Emacs at the moment. Thinking deeply about and writing about social computing might be something that'll help me transition into work more smoothly.

Next week, I plan to:

  • Complete my degree requirements
  • Complete my paperwork for post-graduate work permit
  • Have lunch with IBMers
  • Plan blogging talk
  • Take two in-car driving lessons
  • Outline social computing booklet

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Weekly review

Here are the highlights of the last week:

  • Finally got my paperwork together for the post-graduate work permit! After following up with the School of Graduate Studies a number of times, I finally got the letter thanks to a follow-up by my department. Now I have to wait for my work permit...
  • Notified IBM about possible delays. I'm glad that they're flexible.
  • Applied for IELTS, an English proficiency test that will be useful for my permanent residency application.
  • Started working on proposal for Emacs book. Read A-C of the EmacsWiki.
  • Attended a Toronto Linux Users Group meeting that promised to be a vi vs. emacs debate. Greatly amused to hear it turn into an ed vs everything else debate due to old-timers.
  • Watched "Philippine Science" with W- at the Toronto International Film Festival. Imagine that—a movie about my high school!
  • Baked a cake for Mark Chignell, my research supervisor. Well-received. Also, got back in touch with Calum Tsang.
  • Had another driving lesson. Reviewed 3-point turns. Also, practiced driving with W- in an empty parking lot.
  • Gave a presentation on blogging to around 15 people at IBM. Convinced a few people to start blogging.
  • Booked tickets for a flight home this March. W- and J- are coming. Yay!
  • Picked up tons of books from library. Current reading focus: personal finance, work-life balance.
  • Had a good conversation with W- about medium- and long-term goals.
  • Still working on improving relationship with family.

My goals for the next week include:

  • Clarify my vision for the next few years and develop a plan.
  • Develop clear financial plan.
  • Summarize advice on transitioning into real world.
  • Send professional update to people.
  • Spend more quality time with people.
  • Post book notes.

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