Category Archives: samba

What a Sunday

Posting long notes because this will help me remember. =) You can skip this if you want.

I woke up to a nice long Skype chat with my mom and dad. =) It was
great catching up again and telling them about the stuff I’ve been up

I helped Brian Wilson buy groceries for the Graduate House Council
barbecue this Monday. We bought 60+ liters of softdrinks and juice,
200 hamburger buns, 100 hotdog buns, and lots of condiments. I took
pictures of the heaps and heaps of stuff at the cashier, and I’ll post
them soon.

Then it was off to Dufferin Grove for the
Wireless Toronto launch. They’ve
blanketed the park with wireless internet. I might need to replace the
extended battery on the Fujitsu so that I can get good battery life
again. It would be so nice to be able to work under the trees!

I had a fun chat with Craig of Kijiji about
social software. He moved to Toronto from Montreal in order to work
for Kijiji, a community classified ads system that emphasizes being
able to meet people in person. It was great talking to him about the
company and how people hear about the cool stuff.

I met Jutta because she was picking leaves off stinging nettles for
use in a nettle pesto for an upcoming party – feeding 700 people! Wow.
She was chatting with Andrew Kegney(?), who’s into Wireless Toronto.
We had a fun conversation about nettles. Andrew’s story about running
into a huge patch of stinging nettles was funny! =) Jutta introduced
us to David of Clay+Paper Theatre and Georgie Donais of, two
interesting projects I should definitely look into.

Another mental note: Check out Patrick Dinnen’s blog post on
electronic communication’s suckiness.

After the Wireless Toronto thing, Jed Smith and I walked to Kensington
Market to take part in the first Pedestrian Sunday for the year. I was
supposed to attend samba practice with Jed, but I felt the pull of
tango too strongly. ;) On the way to the park where we were to meet
for samba practice, I saw that a tango club had arranged a circle of
chairs on the concrete road. I also ran into Leigh Honeywell, who was
waiting for the cooking demo at one of the booths.

A short distance down the road, I met Nana, the girl from the Queen’s
Park drum party who did totally awesome fire poi. Unfortunately, she
absentmindedly left the poi in the park one day. I gave her my
condolences on her loss and lent her the glowy poi (I still haven’t
found batteries!), giving her my telephone number so that she could
get in touch with me just in case she needed to leave early.

Anyway, tango. Couldn’t resist. Instead of going to samba practice, I
walked back to the tango circle ad danced with Trevor Barrie, Peer
Flach, and a few people I hadn’t known: Renett(sp?, Peer’s friend?),
Richard, Ian, and… err… someone whose name I’ve forgotten.
<sheepish grin>

Renett had taken a few tango lessons from Victor Hugo. Richard was an
experienced dancer. Ian was completely new to it, but I managed to
teach him a few basic steps. =) He reminded me that we’d met at a
Python meeting or something like that, and that we were both in Toastmasters. When I heard that he’s working on the Persuasion manual, I told him about my interest in sales and marketing. Now I have a study buddy! =)

When tango wound down, I wandered back to the samba group. We walked
back to Kensington Market, not too far from the tango place. I should
probably have stayed there, then! It was good that I rejoined the
group, though. They had free food and beer at a restaurant near there.

I wasn’t feeling particularly hungry and I really wanted to get my
poi, so I trekked back to Graduate House and picked up my poi and my
diabolo. =)

When I got back, the samba group was warming up, so I slipped into a
Samba Elegua T-shirt (ack! it’s
large!) and played the tambo by mimicking the others. It was _tons_ of
fun, just watching so much energy pour out of the crowd.

It was a little bit weird because this was hippie central and so a
number of people were smoking marijuana. I’m not used to that and I
probably will never be. I tried not to feel weirded out by it, but I
have to confess being a teensy bit afraid of people who were drunk or

The drumming was good, though. =)

After our last set, silence returned to Kensington Market. I brought
out my diabolo and started playing with it while waiting for the samba
group to figure out what to do next. Jed picked it up and tried it
out, too. I still can’t quite believe that this was his first time
with it, as he got the hang of it so quickly. (But hey, this is why I
hang out with brilliant people, right?)

I switched to the cloth poi and played around with it, drawing a bit
of an audience. I met a number of people interested in diabolo and
poi: Alia (happy birthday!), Corin, David, Norman, Denis(?), and Ariel.

I also met Himy again, and he introduced me to Ismael. I should talk
to them more about catalysts, activists, neigborhoods in Toronto…
Himy’s a walking atlas/history maven. Wow. =)

Himy, Jed and I called it a night at around 12, 1. We headed back in
the direction of GH, and had an interesting conversation about
homelessness and politics along the way. I hope Himy becomes a
councilor! He’d do a great job. =)

It will be so hard to wake up tomorrow, but today was definitely worth it!

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Random Japanese sentence: 彼は猫を二匹飼っている。一匹は黒でもう一匹は白だ。 He keeps two cats: one is black, and the other white.


I joined Samba Elegua for the Walk for
Hunger fundraiser at Coronation Park. It was a lot of fun picking up
the beat from other people. The kids were absolutely adorable,
inventing all sorts of dance sequences on the fly.

We had a picnic lunch afterwards, and then we jammed for a while. It’s
interesting hanging out with people who just can’t help drumming
rhythms on whatever’s handy – sticks, cups, roofs, posts. My
background isn’t musical, but I like mimicking and amplifying other
people. I’m learning slowly. =)

Now it’s back to my research…

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Random Japanese sentence: 村人たちは皆、行方不明になった猫を探すために山の中へでかけた。 All the villagers went out into the hills to look for a missing cat.

Full day!

I woke up early to check if anyone I knew was online, and I had a nice
chat with Marcelle. I fell asleep waiting for Dominique to come back
online, though, and I had such a vivid dream that I didn’t wake up
until an hour or so later – by which time even my mom was starting to
feel like she was talking to cyberspace… =)

Anyway, it was such a nice chat that I didn’t mind being late to the
clothing show held at Exhibition Place. Quinn and I eventually made it
there at around 12, and we browsed for an hour or so. I bought a
bracelet and two necklaces, all made of shell. I thought they might go
nicely with my ethnic stuff. I didn’t really find anything else that
particularly struck my fancy, as tiered skirts are getting a _little_
too popular for my tastes. I might shift back to nicely colored
skirts, and of course I like wearing stuff from home. I wore the red
malong as a skirt today, matching it with a colorful abaniko fan.
(Thanks, Mom!)

That’s why I was late to the Ruby meeting. =) That was cool, too! As
soon as he saw me, Austin said, “You know Steve Perelgut!” (He’s one
of my mentors from IBM, and a totally totally cool person. The fact
that he reads me blog (Hi Stephen!) has nothing to do with the
gushiness of the previous statement. =) ) Austin shared what he’d
learned from the Ruby code jam (lesson 1: be better prepared!),
particularly the effectiveness and _fun_ of pair programming. It
worked out really well because Ruby novices were paired up with Ruby
veterans, but the Ruby novices were also good at other aspects that
the Ruby geeks might not have learned about. In this case, they were
porting an archiving library to Ruby. =) Good stuff.

We also had a fun chat about how people can learn to read and write
code. Apparently, I _am_ really weird in that I rather enjoy reading
code… =)

Jed and Quinn were there too, although they dropped in and out of the
conversation, as I fangirled a bit about Ruby and got some interesting
tips. Should check out the Water framework for testing web
applications, although that might need Windows. Also, Austin suggested
SVG + PDF for my graph outputs. Whee!

Jed mentioned a samba jam at an art gallery on Queen Street West. In
keeping with my plan to get to know a wide variety of people and
experience more than what I’d ordinarily get just hanging out with
computer geeks and talking about computers, I decided to go. It was
tons and tons of fun! I told them I had no sense of rhythm and that
I’d be perfectly happy just listening and taking pictures, but Jed
wouldn’t take no for an answer. Heck, he didn’t even ask if I wanted
to join. Instead, he held up two instruments and asked which one I’d
like to play. <laugh> I opted for a small drum, and I found
myself picking up the rhythm thanks to the coaching of people around

A photographer wandered in, too, so I adopted her. Marie had just
joined a camera club and was thrilled to stumble across such a cool
event. I gave her the tips my dad shared with me about using long
exposures and lower ISO speeds to capture dramatic action, and she had
a lot of fun exploring that, too. =)

I made it back for coffee time at Graduate House. I had so much fun
catching up with Sam. She wants to do really cool things with
accessibility, and she’s in a terrific position to do so! I’m also
really excited about her application to be an RA for the dorm. I think
she’d be a terrific one. I told her about what’s cool in my life: the
Delta Kappa Gamma fellowship, my research up at IBM, the thrill of
introducing people to other people… She nodded and told me how much
she enjoyed that too. When I learned that she hadn’t yet read Tipping
Point, I ran upstairs to grab my copy. I lent it to her, pointing out
the section on Connectors and adding a note about context. I’m also
going to have to get myself a hardcover (if I can find it!) of Love is
the Killer App, which is another thing that she will _so_ be able to
identify with. (Thank you, Maoi, for introducing me to that book!)

Afterwards, I had a wonderfully geeky chat about computer science and
assorted things with Mike and Joe. In particular, Joe’s overlapping
clustering algorithms _might_ be fun to run against tag clouds, social
networks, and other cool things. I need to show Mark a sample and see
how we can ask for suitably anonymized data…

Happy girl. Full day. Great fun. =) Lots of interesting people!

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Random Japanese sentence: ペルシャ猫に関連した古いお話があります。 There is a classic story related about a Persian cat.