Running, Playing, Working, Broken

Montreal Subway floor

Renée and I are off this weekend to Ottawa for the Ottawa marathon. I’d love to say that I’m running the marathon this year (going to beat last year’s time by at least 45, yessir), but the sad fact is I’m merely a lazy ass spectator. I have started running, ‘tis true, but my report on the status of that endeavor will have to wait for another day when my self-esteem can handle the shame.

Renée has been training to run the half marathon for over eight months, and I’m going to cheer her on, run along side her trailing links of energy-providing bierwursts and kegs of Macedonian wheat grog, and generally make a complete idiot of myself screaming out the melody to Chariots of Fire until I’m hoarse. I would have made a killer cheerleader.

Afterwards, it’s a quick Via Rail ride to Montreal for a week of relaxing, café slumming, shopping, and more français than this French fanboy could possibly handle. Montreal is easily my favourite city in North America with its heady mix of cosmopolitan chic, grungy boîtes and bars, and incredible food. My French has become rather rusty and I’m preparing for some wanton mutilation des bon mots, but after a day or two I usually get in the swing of things and people stop cringing. I hope. I’ll be sure to have a tasty sandwich at the Café Santropol for you.

Even though Renée is the one doing all of the work this weekend, this trip has been long overdue for both of us. Work has been really nuts ever since I got back from Winnipeg at the beginning of May, and some extreme relaxation (or “slabbing”, as my brother would say) is in order. I’ve been freelancing full-time since the beginning of December 2004 and I’m totally shocked (and pleased) with how busy I’ve been.

It seems the industry has really picked up in the last 18 months, if the high number of people making the switch to freelancing or running their own businesses is any indication. Talented people like Andy Budd, Jason Santa Maria, and a bunch of others whose names I’m blanking on but remember reading about have made the jump this year. It’s all very cool.

It’s been really interesting but weird to get back into freelancing, especially now that I’m earning nearly 100% of my income from it. Probably the most difficult thing I’ve found is maintaining some kind of division between work and play. When your work is also one of your hobbies, everything gets all messy and squished together, and suddenly you’re craving chocolate and peanut butter together and feeling incredibly clichéd.

The best advice I can give: take a shower every day. Trust me, you’ll thank me later.

In more nerdy news, I was the unhappy recipient of my first DOA Mac. I recently had the chance to upgrade my first-generation iMac G5 with a brand new one and jumped at it. The new model’s screen was just as good as my old model (brighter, actually, if that’s possible), the machine felt zippier, and it came with the mighty fine Mac OS X 10.4 and iLife 2005 pre-installed.

It also came with non-functioning firewire ports and a dead Ethernet port, both of which I was able to only revive momentarily before fading away for good. No amount of open firmware and PRAM resets, pleading, sacrificial goats, or special mayonnaise smeared all over my lower extremities cajoled them back to life, and I finally had to give up and call Apple.

Luckily, the return authorization process was pretty straight forward and I didn’t have to press my case for an exchange as I had expected. The main issue is because we’re leaving in two days I’ll have to wait until we get back to get the process started, but such is life.

So that’s the way things are like these days. It’s green and lush and decidedly spring-like around these parts (about bloody time). Somewhere out there a very misguided man has decided that he wants to spend the rest of his life with his Segway (dorkiness be damned), and at that same moment a young boy realizes that playing Dungeons & Dragons will not help him “get with the ladies”. Life goes on.

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