Entries from April 2006



I’ve been keeping a fairly low profile since I got back from SXSW a couple of weeks ago. Upon my return I was immediately swamped by Stuff That Needs Immediate Attention, Too Many Clothes That Fail the Smell Test, and of course Quality Time With The Girlfriend and Cats — all priorities to be sure. Things were going just smashingly until last Saturday, when I got walloped by an über-cold that left me quivering, fragile, and phlegmy.

The cold I’m currently playing host to is one of those apocalyptic ailments that left me feeling literally like I was getting the snot kicked out of me (insert emphatic eeeewwwww). Needless to say I haven’t been good for much this week except shaking my fist feebly (but passionately) at shitty daytime television and making a casual attempt to read melodramatic American fiction written by uneasy, balding white guys.

One thing that I did ended up doing this week was start and scrap about a dozen attempts at writing my thoughts on SXSW 2006. My feelings about this year’s conference are complex to say the least, and I was getting stress wrinkles on the back of my neck trying to figure out a way to communicate how I felt.

Thankfully I can unclench myself because my SXSW roommate / good buddy James McNally posted his thoughts on the conference. He nailed what I was feeling more eloquently, passionately, and succinctly than I could possibly have. Thanks, James! I’m still going to go next year, but my expectations will definitely be much lower.

Even with the somewhat disappointing SXSW, 2006 is turning into a very interesting year. There’s a very good chance in a couple of months I will leaving for Bogota, Columbia, where I’ll be staying for 3-6 weeks. If anyone reading this is or knows anyone from there, please get in touch or let me know in the comments any advice, places to visit, or things to see that you can recommend.

Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for the daily clearing of the lungs (A-HEM!) and a hearty session of researching the intricacies of FARC.

04/05/06 = 36


36 years old at some point this morning, not sure when. Still sick with a nasty flu.

When I was a kid, on my birthday I used to double my age and say, “when I’m x years old, I’m going to…” and make up some outlandish thing like visit Mongolia, tweak the nose of the Prime Minister, or shave my head like Mr. T.

Just as I took this photo I thought, “When I’m 72 I’ll going to… be 72.”

That gave me a moment’s pause. But only a moment - J’aime ma vie beaucoup.

Boy, there was a lot of interesting stuff that happened today, wasn’t there?

Shadowy Geese


Michael Snow’s Canadian Geese, probably one of the most photographed pieces of public art in Canada. Every time I see this and the inevitable small group of tourists taking photos of it I can’t help but think of an excerpt from Don Delillo’s novel White Noise.

Here’s the excerpt. I normally don’t dump a large section from a novel into a post, and maybe you already know it well, but it’s so awesome it’s worth repeating. I’ve been thinking about it a lot these days.

Several days later Murray asked me about a tourist attraction known as the most photographed barn in America. We drove 22 miles into the country around Farmington. There were meadows and apple orchards. White fences trailed through the rolling fields. Soon the sign started appearing. THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED BARN IN AMERICA. We counted five signs before we reached the site. There were 40 cars and a tour bus in the makeshift lot. We walked along a cowpath to the slightly elevated spot set aside for viewing and photographing. All the people had cameras; some had tripods, telephoto lenses, filter kits. A man in a booth sold postcards and slides — pictures of the barn taken from the elevated spot. We stood near a grove of trees and watched the photographers. Murray maintained a prolonged silence, occasionally scrawling some notes in a little book.

“No one sees the barn,” he said finally.

A long silence followed.

“Once you’ve seen the signs about the barn, it becomes impossible to see the barn.”

» Shadowy Geese continues...

G4 and G5-optimized Firefox now available (updated)

Man, I really wish the Mozilla guys would stop pooping out these teensy version updates. At any rate, optimized builds of Firefox for the G4 and G5 processors are now available.

Here’s the changelog:


  • Security fix for a denial of service vunerability.


  • Universal Binary support for Mac OS X which provides native support for Macintosh with Intel Core processors. Firefox supports the enhancements to performance introduced by the new MacIntel chipsets. (Obviously this isn’t applicable to these builds).
  • Improvements to product stability.
  • A whack of security fixes

That’s it. No mood-enhancing flavonoids, no brand new widgety-doodads, and no life-reaffirming Yngwie Malmsteen guitar solos; just bug fixes and “product stability”. But you asked for optimized builds, so here they are.

Updated: For now, there are G4 builds with the aqua native form widgets and Firefoxy form widgets, and a G5 build with aqua form widgets only.

If you’ve a G5 and looking for a Firefoxy build I sadly won’t be able to help you. I no longer own a G5 machine and all of the G5 builds that appear on this site are provided by my building partner Voon Siong Wong.


As usual, comments are welcome, but I’m not responsible if these builds slap you in the face and call you a Dungeons and Dragons weenie (or, god forbid, crash). And for the last time, the Firefox icon and name can only be distributed with official builds. Sorry for yelling, but I’m getting pretty tired of people sending me angry emails asking the same question over and over again.

At any rate, enjoy.

(Neil, who is in dire need of strong caffeine and a muffin right about now).

(Looking for bleeding edge Firefox 2.0 nightly builds? G5-optimized versions are here. I’ll post a new Intel optimized build soon, too.)


There’s no real tangible reason for me to feel this way, but I’m glad that this week is over. It’s been a tiring five days and I’m not exactly sure why, but I fumbled my way through the week with a cloud of lead ball bearings enveloping my head and shoulders. It felt as if someone had fastened bowling balls to my kneecaps, filled my ears with cotton and UHU Stic, and pushed me into the middle of a highway.

Renée has been feeling the same way all week, too, so either we’re both fighting off another round with the plague, or someone is secretly piping eau de laudanum into our apartment. I blame the patriarchy.

Jane JacobsJane Jacobs died earlier this week, and the first thing I thought when I read the news was, “damn”, followed by, “this is exactly what it felt like when Pauline Kael died.”

Jane Jacobs was another person (like Pauline Kael) whose writing made me feel smart. Discovering and reading The Death and Life of Great American Cities while in high school… well, it was one of those so-called watershed moments. I remember finishing the book and having a sense of my place in the world and a feeling of great potential. Considering at the time I barely had a grasp on my own hormones this was a pretty big deal.

I remember actually thinking that I wanted to become a politician afterwards; the book made you feel like the only proper response to reading it was to act. That was her gift, really - this incredibly intelligent, articulate, unmistakably human voice that made you want to jump up and make shit right.

There was something about the fact that Jacobs chose to live not only in Canada but in my adopted home of Toronto that make me feel proud. It seemed like a little smidgen of proof that Toronto has been doing at least some things right all along.

Rest in peace, Jane Jacobs.

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