Changes in the key of D (or: the post in which I announce that I’m moving)

beck - loser - 20 years ago

About this time twenty years ago, a musician who went by a single name released a quirky, stripped-down single built on a D major chord that got high rotation on my Mac (a Quadra 660AV on which I was teaching myself to build the hot new software of the time, multimedia applications), which was my primary music player at the time.

It was Beck’s breakout single, Loser, which had been released the prior year and got a lot of play during my DJ sessions at Crazy Go Nuts University’s engineering student-run Clark Hall Pub. For those of you who remember it or who’ve never seen it, here’s the video for the song, directed by Beck’s friend Steve Hanft on a $300 budget:

For me, 1994 was my final year of university, a time of some interesting music, serious final-year computer science projects, dealing with more than my fair share of girl trouble and twenty-something drama, and those tentative first steps away from the familiar bubble of university and into the real world. It was a year of big moves, big changes, and some steps out of my well-established collegiate comfort zone.

comfort zone vs where the magic happens

Six years later, I’d make a similar move into a larger world.

san francisco cablecar

My residency in San Francisco from the fall of 2000 to the summer of 2001 could hardly be considered a success. A mere handful of weeks after talking the then-girlfriend into following me from “Lawn Guyland” to the west coast, she went back home, unable to make the adjustment. Shortly after that, the startup I worked for closed down the San Francisco office while I was visiting the head office in Toronto. I didn’t even get to go back; they simply went to my apartment, threw everything that wasn’t nailed down into a moving truck and sent it to me here.

Ten years after came my separation, and with it came a lot of crazy things. There was the week at the hospital with killer flu, the non-date gone terribly wrong, a couple of weeks at South by Southwest, leaving Microsoft to join Shopify, so much travel that home had become a nice place to visit, and most importantly, meeting someone very special.

new york from the air

I took this shot from my flight Wednesday night. Click to see at full size.

Twenty years after Loser, there’s another single that gets a fairly high rotation on my Mac (a 2011-era 15″ MacBook Pro on which I ‘m teaching myself to build the hot new software of the time, mobile applications), which is my primary music player. Coincidentally, it’s also a stripped down single from the previous year, riding the D major chord, put out by a quirky musician with a single name.

It’s this song:

Like twenty years ago, it’s a time of some interesting music, and serious computer-related projects. This time around, there’s no drama (in fact, the girlfriend just this week referred to me as “refreshingly drama-free”. But it is time to make another set of steps away from a familiar bubble of where I am right now and into a different world. It’s a time for big moves, big changes, and some steps out of my well-established middle-age comfort zone.

And I’m doing it next week.

visual studio

I’ll go into more detail in a day or two, but in the meantime, let’s just say that the job offer letter has been countersigned. The necessary paperwork is getting put together. The stuff is being packed. The car is getting tuned up. A copilot has bravely volunteered to accompany me on a road trip. Next Thursday, I’m moving.

comfort zone 2

This should be interesting.


The “City” of Mississauga gets a cute new logo

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Mississauga is the next municipality west of Toronto and is described in Wikipedia as “the largest suburb in Anglo-America by population.” For the past little while, their logo has been the one pictured above. I’ve always thought that they could’ve picked more appropriate slogans, such as…

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Being in North America in the 21st century, where every act is a branding exercise, Mississauga is undergoing a rebranding and getting a new logo:

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Nando Iannicca, a councillor for what Mississauga laughably calls a downtown, has made some rather stretchy claims in this Toronto Star article, of which my favourites are:

  • “We’re more fresh and more vibrant compared to some older cities, be it a Montreal or Toronto.”
  • “People forget, we’re a very young city. We’re the next Portland, we’re the next Barcelona. We are the future.”

The next Portland, Maine, maybe, if it worked on having some actual charm. Geez, they get a couple of curvy condo buildings (with terrible maintenance records, I might add), and they think they’re the effing home of Gaudi.

Mississauga’s logo reminds me of a couple of icons I see on a daily basis on my iPhone — this one…

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…and this one:

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Which makes sense: like Mississauga, email apps are cheap, cheerful, serve a useful function, are 90% spam, and are at their best when they’re not noticed. Of course, if that’s the message you’re trying to get across, this logo — which comes with a slogan, just like Mississauga’s old one — is the one they should go with:

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Sign of the Day: “Is your life affected by someone’s drinking?” and the Rob Ford remix

my mayor

Click the photo to see it at full size.

Seen at a subway station in Toronto. Thanks to Jesse Ship for the find!


What showering with your girlfriend is REALLY like

how couples showers feel

A random internet find, whose typography I cleaned up. Click to see the source.

Another one for the “It’s funny because it’s true” file.


A creative way to say “We don’t take American Express”

american express

The photo above shows one of the more creative ways I’ve seen a small business say that they don’t take American Express. If you’re wondering why many small retailers and restaurants don’t take AmEx, it’s because of the higher fees they charge for processing payment (3.5% versus the 2 to 3% charged by Visa and MasterCard). The blog of the money-management company NerdWallet explains that AmEx make their money on fees, while Visa and MasterCard do so through interest.

gold iPhone

Note that they didn’t say they wouldn’t accept unlocked iPhones. In many countries, they’re the best barter items.


My bootleg sense is tingling

robocop fishing

For some reason, I don’t think that this is any sanctioned part of the Robocop franchise.


Don’t forget the OTHER Canadian heroes of Olympic hockey!

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Pictured above: Actual bartender Stefany Dalgliesh from Fionn MacCool’s in Toronto.

Seriously: tip them well!