2015.04.17 – A Quiet Day

Yup, Andrew is sick but he still had to get in a day of work so he stayed in the guest room and I checked on him now and then. I went with Michael to drop the kids off at their schools/daycare, did our laundry and then Michael and I went to get Andrew some Sudafed. Apparently I haven’t purchased any since meth users made it nearly impossible. The pharmacy tech was super nice and apologetic but it took forever for her to input every single detail off of my license. It did help him feel better so success!

It was Michael’s birthday so I offered to watch the kids while he and Josh went out to dinner but they wanted to spend time with us so we ordered pizza and had a night in. Northampton is really nice and quiet. The scenery is beautiful. I love to visit them.

Today I learned that Big Hero 6 is a great movie!

2015.04.14 – Last Day in Montreal

Well that’s it. Another wonderful PyCon and another wonderful trip to Montreal. I actually got a little bit done today once Asheesh found a bug for me to work on. Well, I should have gotten a LOT more done but once again I talked and talked. Michael from Mozilla sat with us and I enjoyed listening to his process of working through his bug. I would ask him questions about things I didn’t understand and it was really interesting. There were a lot of distracting conversations going on but I didn’t want to miss out. I also spent too long working with virtualenv and a new python version manager to try and get the version of Python I needed running in a virtual environment. It meant deleting the environment several times and recreating it and also installing the dependencies I needed. It was a bit of yak shaving but what else is new?

Lunch was provided again but I spent a long time at our table talking to a guy that lived in Montreal for two years while his wife was in graduate school. He was telling me all sorts of interesting stuff about Canada, Montreal, the college system, the historical and cultural beliefs about the French language, and a lot more. SO interesting!

Andrew and I took a break in the evening and went to a nearby tea house that I had no idea existed. When we walked in I was just blown away. It was like a dream come true! Tea and teas sets everywhere! We only had one hour before they closed to have some tea and a couple of small snacks. Andrew ordered an oolong and I ordered a golden eyebrow. When the man brought out our teas they were served on the traditional trays. He picked up a cup with my dry tea leaves and held it to my nose saying, “Smell your tea.” It was wonderful. He then proceeded to demonstrate how the tea was to be prepared, “The first steep is not for drinking.” as he poured the water over the tea leaves. “We use this to heat the cup and then pour it out.” He dumped it in the tray and added more water. “Ten seconds or a tiny bit more if you prefer it stronger.” as he took the strainer out of the pot and poured my first tiny cup of tea. Then he did the same for Andrew but his was even more complicated. “The first steep is also not for drinking.” as he poured water into a tiny teapot. “The water is poured through this strainer and then we use it to heat both cups and also we pour it over the outside of the teapot to heat it.” As he poured. He refilled the tiny teapot. “Now we pour into the strainer again and then we pour into this tall cup.” it was very thin and tall like a skinny shot glass. He covered it with the tiny tea cup and then inverted it before handing the empty tall cup to Andrew and saying, “This cup is for smelling. Smell your tea. The other is for drinking. Taste your tea.” He told us to enjoy and off he went to prepare our snacks. We had some steamed dumplings that I really liked and some tofu rolls that apparently had seaweed in them which I gave to Andrew. It was so much fun! Amanda would have loved it and I wish I had known of the place sooner or even last year! I probably would have gone there every day though so maybe it’s a good thing I just found out about it. I did buy some of that delicious tea to take home though.

We headed back to the conference center and by that time everyone was getting ready to head to dinner. I guess we were done. We decided to go to IGA and get a dinner to make at the apartment and also get food for the train tomorrow. We headed over there, got what we needed and made it back to the apartment in time for me to remember I forgot to get vitamin C. Off we went again to a pharmacy nearby and picked some up. When we got back I made dinner while Andrew did some work stuff and then we packed most of our stuff and called it a night.

Today I learned how enjoyable the traditional tea drinking process is. I need a tea set.

2015.04.13 – Sprints!

Today is the first day of sprints and I am joined OpenHatch again. Asheesh is one of the first people I met at PyCon last year and he was so welcoming. We met him on our first night in Montreal while hanging out in our hotel lobby, he told me a bit about OpenHatch and what they do and then asked if I wanted to fix a security bug in Django at the sprints. I was SO excited and told him that I did.  We hadn’t scheduled time to stay for sprints because I didn’t know what that even meant but we would have half a day since our plane left in the late afternoon. My excitement about fixing the bug started to fade as I thought about things though. Although I had been learning Python for a couple of years I still felt really new and started to think that maybe Asheesh was just making a joke about the bug and I didn’t get it because I was so new. Why would a newer programmer be fixing a security issue? He had to be joking and wow what an idiot I am for not getting it. I went from excited to embarrassed pretty quickly. The conference was great, we met tons of wonderful people, listened to great talks and it was over before we knew it. It was the first day of sprints so Andrew and I went over and I avoided the OpenHatch room but went into the Django room to see what I could learn. I fumbled through their issues for a long time not understanding much of anything at all. I took a bit of a break and happened to run into Asheesh. I figured he would avoid me but he came up and asked if I was ready to work on that security bug. Huh?? He wasn’t joking. I told him I would be right there and that bug ended up being the very first open source thing I had ever contributed to with a LOT of help from Andrew.

Anyway, back to this year’s sprints. I thought we were late since I have been sleeping in but there was only one person there before Andrew and I. More people showed up and they were new to open source and OpenHatch so I helped them get set up on IRC and helped as needed while they set up their dev environment. I looked through open issues but honestly I spent the entire day talking to some really interesting people! Russell, is from Hawaii and works on the big telescopes at the university. Fascinating to talk to him.

Lunch was provided so we were able to eat and get back to work (talking) but a group of us went out to dinner together. Michael who I had the pleasure of working with at Mozilla, Hannes who lives in Portland, Renee who lives in San Francisco, Eric who also works at Mozilla but lives in one of the Carolinas, Andrew and I all went to a really good Italian place in old Montreal. The weather was amazing on our walk there and back. We had a great time.

Today I learned that the big telescope on the island is 24ft in diameter but they are trying to build one that is 30ft in diameter.

2015.04.12 – Pycon Day Three

Yep, slept too long again. I’m just doing a terrible job of getting moving in the morning. We missed every keynote of this conference but at least all talks are recorded and are already appearing on Youtube. These Pycon people really know what they are doing. The conference has been spectacular again.

Anyway, I did get up and dressed in time for the job fair. We went in and I had no idea what to do. I suck at this! But Andrew said to just go up to booths where I’m not interested in working and talk to people to get over the nervousness. I did that and of course was blown away by the company and what they do. It would be working with scientists who do genetic research! Gah, that would be amazing! But they are in San Francisco and they don’t do remote. Dangit. I wandered around to a few more booths and then saw Michael, a Mozilla employee I chatted with often at the office. It was really nice to see him so we stood and talked for a long time! Jonathan from Dreamhost walked by and confirmed our lunch. I was still sure he’d find a way to cancel because I suck at self confidence.

Turns out he was waiting for me! Woo hoo! Andrew came with us and we went to a nearby noodle house we had eaten at last time we were here. We even got seated at the same table. We had a really great talk, he was very nice, had a very interesting back story, was interested in mine. All in all it felt great and felt like a better meeting than it would have been over the phone. I’m trying not to get my hopes up too much but maybe it all worked out for the best. I would love to work there.

We headed back to the conference for more talks, one about serialization which was really interesting and one about something really boring. After those it was time for Guido to give a final talk, then someone gave the final keynote and another person gave final statements and thanked the many, many, many volunteers who made the amazing conference possible. They also announced where Pycon would be in 2016 and 2017. It’s in Portland which wasn’t a secret but they played a really nice promotional commercial. The only thing missing from it was the Unipiper. I was kind of surprised about that. Next the people running sprints came up and talked about their projects. So many sound so interesting. We are staying so I can participate in a couple of days of sprints but now I have no idea what I want to work on!

We were going to grab Carl and go to dinner with Michael and some others but they were going to a steakhouse so we hopped on a bus and went to some interesting vegan raw food place. It was my first experience with raw food. I had always avoided it because it seemed really boring. Our food was pretty good though. Even Carl, who is most definitely not vegan, enjoyed it. Dinner was long and leisurely and then we ordered dessert. They do a fantastic job of raw dessert. We walked back to the bus stop and waited for a while while talking about this and that. A bus showed up but it was not the same one we took to get there so I asked the driver if he was going downtown. He waved me on and said, “It’s free. Come on.” so we all boarded. His machine was broken apparently but we had no idea if it would really take us where we were going. Whatever, it was a beautiful night so we would figure it out. We did make it downtown though and the driver was nice enough to tell us where to exit. We walked Carl back to his room and then headed back to ours. I sent Jonathan an email thanking him for making some time to go to lunch in the midst of conference chaos and then it was time for bed.

This has been a wonderful conference again! I got to see Sumana, Asheesh, Honza, Elana, Shauna, and Carl. I got to see friends from Portland. I met tons of new people, some in unexpected places and had a great time.

Today I learned that Montreal seems to have a LOT more hippies than Portland. It’s a wonderful, diverse, beautiful city. I hope we can come back just because.

2015.04.11 – Pycon Day Two

Once again I couldn’t get out of bed. Made it across the street in time for the talks to begin though. Listened to some great talks about diversity and getting started as a new contributor. I then went on my own to a test driven development talk that was pretty boring for me unfortunately. It was lunchtime so I met up with Andrew and Amanda and we headed to the Open Hatch booth. We talked with a group of really nice women, one who is a vegan. We started talking about the lack of vegan dessert and I remembered a friend had suggested a vegan bakery to try. I looked it up and it was a fairly decent walk away but Andrew and I decided to go for it anyway. It seemed pretty nice out but as we were walking it was getting more cloudy, cold and windy. We were already far enough to be kind of invested in the walk though so we kept going. We finally made it to Sophie Sucree and it was totally worth it. We had a great talk with the girl who was working while I had tea and cheesecake. Andrew had carrot cake. We got several cupcakes and a pecan tart to go and by the time we were all done the weather had cleared up and warmed up so we decided to walk back. It was wonderful.

We made it back to the event and dropped off a cupcake to Liz who was ever thankful and then wandered around the booths some more. We were collecting stuff to take to Josh and Michael’s boys Felix and Kayden. We would be seeing them in just a few days and what better to bring them than conference swag. We dropped everything off at our place and then headed back for the last of the talks, techniques for debugging and a talk about avoiding burnout.

Our friend Carl was here and somehow I didn’t know that until the end of the day when Andrew mentioned that Carl had gone back to his hotel. It took me several seconds to process that he was here in Montreal. Well we just had to see him! Luckily he was willing to go out to dinner with us so we walked up to his hotel. We took the underground path that is a lot longer but an interesting labyrinth to traverse. We took this walk many, many times last year since we stayed at the hotel last time.

We got to Carl’s hotel room and visited for a bit before deciding to go get pizza nearby. Once we walked up to the place, I recognized it from last year. It was where we ate our first meal in Montreal and it wasn’t that great. This time it was wonderful! We also had the pleasure of making friends with the older couple sitting next to us. The wife was so outgoing and funny! When she mentioned that she has been to Paris 17 times and knows it like the back of her hand I said I wanted to go with her. She immediately gave me her contact info! She also seemed to think Andrew was a minor and also my son. Wow, that just never gets old…..unlike me! She said if I didn’t like the woman he decided to date that I needed to “flick her away like a bad burrito” as she made a flicking motion. The three of us had several good laughs about the whole thing but man I feel old. Shaking my fist at Andrew’s youthful looks is doing nothing to age that baby face of his though. We had a nice walk back to Carl’s room and visited for a while before heading back so we could go to bed.

Today I learned that Eddie Money sang a song called Gimme Some Water. I thought I knew all of his songs!

2015.04.10 – Pycon Day One

I was too tired to get up and make it to the opening statement and keynote talks. Andrew let me sleep while he got up, made coffee, tea, showered and got dressed. We made it across the street to the conference at around 10:00 and wandered around the expo hall. We talked to a few people, ran into some old friends and scoped out the different booths. I spotted a Dreamhost booth which surprised me a lot. They are a Perl shop and this was all about Python. Andrew and I wandered over to chat with them and I talked with a really nice guy for a bit and then glanced over at the other person, looked at their nametag and noticed it said Jonathan. Huh. I was supposed to speak with a Jonathan on Monday but the call had to be rescheduled. Could this be the same person? He saw me and I saw him and then we both realized who the other person was. I didn’t know he would be there and he didn’t know I would be there either. So weird. Anyway, he said we should have lunch on Sunday and I said that would be great but I was definitely not expecting he would follow through. I figured it was just awkward for him and he was being nice.

It was time for the talks to start so I went to the first one and ran into Amanda. We stayed in the same room for the next talk as well. Andrew went to a couple of security talks and then sat with us for the last talk before lunch. The talks were all pretty good. I enjoyed the talk about PEP 8. The three of us went and stood in a really long lunch line and then ended up missing the next talk. Andrew and I headed to the Advanced Git talk. I was very curious about what constituted advanced. I ended up knowing and regularly using everything he talked about except for bisecting. I thought, “If that’s advanced Git then I’m a freakin’ genius!”

After that we watched David Beazley LIVE code for his talk. It was so impressive and very funny. He’s a great speaker. We had the pleasure of listening to his talk last year about being locked in a vault with a computer. It’s also a fantastic talk.

After all of the talks were over we were both pretty tired so we went to the local IGA and got some groceries. We made a yummy dinner in our cute little studio, caught up on some email and went to bed. Great day!

Today I learned that I know more Git than I thought. That or the talk was horribly titled.

2015.04.09 – To Montreal and Pycon!

Today was pretty much just a day of travel to Montreal but with one interesting twist! Our flight had a connection at Dulles airport in Washington D.C. which would be a first for us. Taylor and Delaney were returning from a trip to New Orleans and Alabama. Apparently their flight was delayed by several hours and they now had to connect in D.C. as well. I just happened to see his post about it right before we were to board the plane so I told him what time we were arriving. They were arriving at exactly the same time and just a few gates down from us! We would be able to hug them in passing and I could wish Taylor a happy early birthday since it’s tomorrow.

We arrived and there they were! It was so great to meet them all the way across the country like that when we live just a mile from each other 🙂 The rest of the trip was totally uneventful. We arrived in Montreal at about 19:00, easily made it through customs and caught our bus to the city. Our flat was pretty easy to find and although I knew it was close to the conference I didn’t realize it was right next to it. Perfect! The flat is really nice and has everything we need for our week here including a washer and dryer. Once we dropped off our stuff we headed out for dinner. There was an Ethiopian place about a mile from where we are staying so in spite of the cold and the rain we walked there. It was a nice brisk walk and our delicious food was totally worth it. We ate every scrap and were both stuffed. The perfect time to make the walk back. There were a surprising amount of people out at that hour and in that weather but I guess the rain is an improvement for the locals. I am told they had the coldest winter they have had in years.

Today I learned that I can handle being out in colder weather than I had realized.

2014.10.26 – Finding Food

Our last day in San Francisco was clear and cool. We all slept in a bit and then got dressed and headed out to find a late breakfast. Our flight wasn’t until 20:30 so we figured we would have a late lunch before that.

We headed to a tea house I found on Yelp. It was about half a mile from the hotel and the walk was really nice. I neglected to look at their prices though and decided against eating there when we saw it was about $24 per plate! We headed back the way we came and tried about four places looking for something vegan with no luck at all. We were like vegan zombies looking for graaaaaains. We finally found a place that claimed to have vegan options and they were open! We were so happy and then found out they only had oatmeal and barely two servings. Whatever! We were hungry so we took what they had and ate it while we walked back to Chinatown.

I wanted to get some tea for myself and some gifts for the kids. I went to Red Blossom Tea Company and tasted a couple of teas. I ended up buying a Golden Yunnan and a white tea. Andrew and I found a few things for the kids and then headed back to the hotel. We had late checkout so we hung around the hotel until we had to leave and then caught a bus to Source where we were going to meet our friend Spyral and have a late lunch. We waited about 45 minutes for him and then had to order so we could eat and get to the airport. The food was incredibly good! We had buffalo bites to start and I got a Gilroy burger. Andrew had a Koney Bow Wow and Wayne had a Cluck Avocado Club. They also had a ton of vegan desserts! We tried the vegan twinkie and some sort of almond creme thing that was really good. We also got a cashew chocolate pudding but were too full to try it. Spyral finally showed up looking tired and frazzled. He didn’t have a phone so was trying to find the address from memory and ended up going in the wrong direction. At least we got to see him for about an hour and he took all the food we couldn’t eat.

Gilroy Burger

Gilroy burger and fries

Vegan Twinkie

Vegan Twinkie and a delicious almond thing










We hopped on a bus to the BART station, caught our train and headed to the airport. Wayne somehow got TSA Pre-check so we handed him all the bags 🙂 That made things a lot faster for all of us. Our flight was fine and the stormy, rainy weather in Portland had blown through. Chris picked us up at the airport so we didn’t get home too late. It is wonderful to be home in Portland!

Today I learned that it’s nearly impossible to find vegan food on Sunday in the SF financial district.

2014.10.25 – Walk, Eat, Repeat

I slept really well even though we were in a strange hotel room. I awoke to the quiet knock at our door. Someone dropping off our scheduled tea and coffee. I peeked out the window and it seems it rained but there were only clouds blowing by now opening up large patches of blue sky.

We took our time getting up and ready and then headed for BART so we could try a breakfast place on Mission that claimed to have vegan French toast. By the time we got to 24th and Mission it was nearly lunch time and the streets were full of people. The restaurant we were headed to was Sun Rise Restaurant and it did not disappoint. I had the vegan French toast and a side of home fries. Andrew had the soyrizo plate and Wayne had the soyrizo breakfast burrito. It was all so good! Now that we were full we decided to just walk so we headed down Mission toward 16th where we cut west and walked all the way to Castro. We wandered up Castro, stopping to buy Wayne a shirt because he was not thinking it would be so hot this late in October.

Kale Yeah!

We continued walking up Castro and came across an open house. I’m totally into seeing inside these old homes so I dragged the guys inside. This house was a rarity for sure. The entire thing was for sale including the garage. It had a full one bedroom legal apartment downstairs, a decent back yard, two large bedrooms in the main part of the house, a huge master suite, a lovely kitchen and dining room. The ceilings were coved and had this beautiful plaster detailing I wish I had photographed. Anyway, it was available for the low, low price of 2.3 million. Thanks for letting us be nosy, realtor guy!

We continued on our walk up the giant hill! I made it without falling over and then it was back down the other side. We made it back down to 24th to an area I just love. Andrew and I had stayed on Castro very near here several years ago and spent several days walking around this neighborhood. We slowly walked down the familiar street although it was all new to Wayne. I wandered into a stained glass shop and we chatted with the owner for a while. I would love to have a piece to hang over our large dining room window but none of the pieces he had were things he had done himself so I wasn’t as interested.

We continued walking, making our way back to Mission so we could grab a late lunch at La Taqueria. We had heard that they have excellent burritos and there was quite the line so maybe it was true. Their sign claims they have the best burritos and tacos “in the whole world.” That is quite the claim! We stood in the long line and it went a lot faster than it seemed it would. Soon we had our burritos and they were pretty darned good. I wouldn’t say it was the best one I have ever had but it was up there. The guys loved theirs as well.

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We were so full but Andrew remembered Mission Pie! We couldn’t pass up Mission Pie and it was just a few steps away. Today they had vegan apple cranberry. We got two slices to share and it was perfect. They also had their amazing Shaker Lemon pie but sadly it is not vegan. Andrew and I had tried it years ago when I was vegetarian and I have tried a few times to recreate a vegan version with little success.

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We were beyond stuffed now and my feet were done so we headed to BART and took a ride back to Montgomery and our nearby hotel. Andrew and I took a lovely but short nap and then we sat around not doing much of anything.

It was 20:00 before we knew it so once again we started talking about what we should do for dinner and the evening. Andrew suggested we go see Citizen 4, the Edward Snowden documentary but it didn’t start until 22:00 so I would probably not be able to stay awake. We instead decided to have a late dinner at Pena Pachemama, a little vegan Bolivian restaurant a half mile away. Andrew made a reservation for 21:15 and we headed over.

It was still really beautiful out and the night was full of people walking around or patio dining. We found the restaurant and when we went inside there was a live band playing. The place was wonderful! We had the most interesting and delicious food with flavors both new and familiar. We ordered a few small plates and two dinners. I had a horchata which was the best I’ve ever had and Andrew had a margarita. We were first served a pear, pecan, avocado salad, pan fried yuca frita with cashew cream and a plate of butternut squash and caramelized onions. Yum! For dinner we had the Spicy Chef’s Plate and the Vegan Saice. I’m not exactly sure what was in these, lots of veggies, rice, and sauce. Delicious!

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We sat and listened to the band play until about 23:00 and then headed back to our hotel. What a nice day!

Today I learned that Venus Callipyge is the goddess of cute butts.

2014.10.24 – I Left My Heart in Portland

We were up at 05:00 for our 07:00 flight to San Francisco. Andrew earns free hotel nights thanks to the travel we do twice per year for his job. We had two free nights at an Omni hotel and the closest one is in San Francisco. We also earn frequent flyer miles with Virgin America so we used all of that to take advantage of a very cheap weekend away for the three of us.

I tried to read Red Mars on the plane but I fell asleep instead. That made a really short flight even shorter so that was good. We took BART into the city and it took us just three short blocks from the hotel. Our room wasn’t quite ready so we checked our bags and left to wander around. Apparently the World Series is going on. I don’t follow sports ball so who knew? Many SF Giants fans everywhere! We barely got a few blocks away when the hotel sent us a text that our room was ready but we were in no rush so kept walking toward the Embarcadero. We sat by the water for a while.

2014-10-24 11.30.51We decided to head for Blue Bottle Coffee and give it a try. I am not a huge coffee fan but their soy mocha was pretty delicious. We found Pepples Donuts and got a nice variety. Blueberry, Mexican Chocolate, Pumpkin Pie, Salted Caramel, Whiskey Orange, and Earl Grey Bergamot Orange Cream. They are a vegan cake doughnut which isn’t my favorite. They weren’t bad but not good enough to venture back.

We meandered back to the hotel, grabbed our bags and went up to our room. We absolutely love the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh. It’s become a home away from home and it’s a beautiful hotel. The Omni San Francisco Hotel is no exception. When we walked in the lobby we knew right away we were in an Omni. So beautiful and the service is wonderful. Our room was beautifully decorated, large and had a nice view of the city.

Andrew and I ended up taking a bit of a nap and then the three of us went out walking. We wandered through Chinatown.

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And then took a walk through Little Italy past St. Peter and Paul Church.

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Up a semi-giant hill to the Coit Tower gaining a ton of potential energy in the process.

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The views were spectacular!

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We headed back down the giant hill taking a different route back toward the hotel and dinner. We were hoping to eat at a vegan Chinese place Andrew and I had tried several years ago but it has either closed or moved. We couldn’t quite figure it out. We found a different place and had a so so dinner. It wasn’t awful but it wasn’t great either. We still ate plenty though. It was early but Andrew was pretty tired so we headed back to the hotel. He went to bed and I had a doughnut and did some reading. Wayne had a glass of wine and relaxed. It feels nice to do whatever we want!

I used to often wish I could afford to live in San Francisco. I would look at housing prices and try to figure out how we could manage to squeeze five of us into a tiny place that was something we could afford. But now as much fun as San Francisco is to visit, we have been constantly reminded of how much Portland is home. It’s the perfect city for us.

Today I learned that the Coit Tower’s namesake was quite the character.