Wednesday: OLS opening

None of the talks were that exciting to me today. Martin Bligh talked about surviving out of memory situations--NFS and iSCSI, for example, both may need to allocate memory in order to handle writes, so if the reason we're writing is in order to free memory, we can easily deadlock. It seems to a hard problem that no one's really worked on enough yet, but I suppose it's at least good to know that people are aware of it....

This is the third year I've attended OLS. Every time they've had an opening night reception. They always attempt to have a couple of speakers, too. But this is in a big evenly lit room containing a bunch of people who haven't seen each other recently, with plenty of drinks and snacks. The result--people snacking and talking throughout the speeches--is completely predictable. Will the organizers ever learn anything from this?

Afterwards Trond, Olaf and I met Beepy at a nearby bar. The only other people there were the bartender and her mom and dad. They all had Russian accents, and there was a bunch of Russian memorabilia on the walls that I didn't look at closely. Beepy showed us some of his photographs after the mom helped him hook up to the wireless network.


Tuesday morning I did my laundry and packed, then caught the airport shuttle at noon. By 4 I was in Ottawa.
I took the bus downtown, registered for the meeting, had a quick dinner, then stopped by my bed and breakfast (the "Auberge King Edward") to meet the owner and pick up keys.

I wandered around the nearby university campus a bit, then picked up a couple comic books and went to the opening night party for a while.

I managed a personal record for light packing:

  • Just three days' worth of clothes, including what I'm wearing--I'll just have to do some laundry. The "Lava Java" laundromat/coffee house a couple blocks from the B&B looks like a good place to hang out.
  • No shaver--I'm buying disposables and learning how to use them. I've actually only used an electric shaver before, so that's kind of an adventure.
  • No rain gear--if it starts raining, I get wet. I may have to do some shopping while I'm here--my only rain jacket has actually stopped repelling water.
  • Only disposable reading material--I brought a few old New Yorkers to catch up on during my flight, then threw them out at the Ottawa airport.

So I get to just use my regular backpack, and it's not even much more full than usual. If I can do the same for my Paris trip, I'll be happy.

working, movies, and packing

Sunday I alternated debugging, watching Truffaut's "Vivement Dimanche", and vacuuming.

At the end of the day, the carpet was cleaner, I'd fixed a bug or two, and actually seen the movie most of the way through twice. The DVD jacket describes the movie as a Hitchcock tribute, but I've disliked most of the Hitchcock I've seen. His movies all seem misanthropic to me. "Vivement Dimanche"/"Confidentially Yours" is more humane--the characters are sort of absurd, but in a way that's funny and human instead of creepy and cold.

Today I tied up some loose ends at work, ran an errand or two, and came home to get stuff together for tommorow's trip to Ottawa. Sara got home from Maryland around 7.

Weather and monopoly

Saturday morning brought dramatic weather that took out the power for a couple hours. (sample thunder claps for your amusement).

It was still raining at 2, but without Sara at home I was starved for company and determined to go for juggling. After missing the bus downtown, I walked, and wound up getting more wet from the perspiration than the rain--it was hot!

The rain had kept everyone else away, so I juggled on my own for the while, and managed some fairly good Alberts, including a run of four in a row. Ajit showed up eventually, and afterwards we had a pretty good lunch at sushi.come. We then met Wendy at Borders and went back to my place for dinner and monopoly.

I hadn't played monopoly in years. I'd remembered it as kind of a long game, but I assume that was because I'd just been a slow player as a kid. But now I'm reminded that it really is just inherently a long game--if no one gets a monopoly, it settles down into a long slow game of attrition.

On my own, Purple

I stopped by the library after work Thursday and got some movies, including Purple Rain, which I started Thursday. It's a strange movie--no surprise--but I enjoyed it. With a lot of the people playing themselves, the acting is awkward at times, but sometimes it's actually pretty good. The music is mostly identical to that on the soundtrack album, which doesn't sound particularly "live" to me, so it's odd to see them on stage pretending to play it. The performances are kind of fabulous in their own way, though.

Friday at work I just wasn't managing to understand the things I really need to understand, and I found myself getting kind of angry at myself.

So I gave up around 6 and hung out in the library a while. There was a band playing in the basement, but something about the room just made them seem loud and screechy. I listened for probably less than a minute and then left and came home to watch the second half of Purple Rain over dinner.

On my own, Red

Sara was picked up this morning to go to Bethesda for her conference, so I'm on my own for a few days.

To keep myself busy at night I watched "Red", which I'd seen before. But it was a while ago, and I remembered liking it. It's still OK. What's the fascination with the number 25? The heroine is 25, the ferry has 7*25 passengers, and on an interview on the DVD the director makes a point of the fact that a critical scene occurs 25 minutes in. (Oops, wait, this is what I get for doing arithmetic in my head late at night while watching a movie. The ferry has 1435 = 7*205 passengers.)

Delegation headaches

Our NFSv4 server gives out read delegations, which allow clients to cache file data and attributes by giving them guarantees they will be notified before a file is changed. But we don't really have any policy for when we give them out--we just hand them out whenever we can. This has a number of consequences, one of which I discovered today: since we don't even have any limits on the number of delegations given out, it's possible to overwhelm the server just by creating a whole bunch of files--the server will dutifully give out a delegation for each one, until the state required for all the delegations exhausts available memory, at which point we get some rather mysterious deadlocks.

Anyway, fixing this all should be interesting work. There's no lack of interesting work at work these days....

The roughly 40-minute (2.5 mile) walk to work is an excuse to enjoy my new toy, the digital music player. So I've walked to and from work both of the last two days. The only thing that makes it a little impractical is traffic noise in the downtown bits. I can't listen to anything with dynamic range without turning it way, way up.

Ready for Paris?

I finally got tickets to Paris, leaving a few days after I get back from Ottawa, and staying another week and a half after the ietf meeting ends.

What the heck am I actually going to do there? Who knows.

I had some fun listening to French podcasts on my way too and from work. Their main subject seems to be, erm, podcasting. I need to find something more original.... Anyway, as an attempt to improve my French comprehension I think it's not totally in vain.

Sunday: Top of the Park finale

I had a ton of chores to do at home, so I spent most of the day dealing with a backlog of bills and bank statements, fixing some odd computer problems (the stupid self-signed certificates for my mail servers had expired, so I had to remember how to make new ones), etc.

We showed up at Top of the Park partway through Laith Al-Saadi's set. I'm a little impatient with straight-ahead blues when played by rock bands, but I'm a sucker for overblown guitar solos, which they do extremely well. They did a version of Stevie Wonder's Superstition that seemed like it would never end, and I didn't mind a bit.

And George Bedard and the Kingpins was great fun as usual.

Sara I think would have liked to stay for Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, but it's a long movie--it would have lasted till something like 12:30--and we'd both already seen it. So we went home instead.


I walked downtown, picking up a quart of cherries at the farmer's market on the way.

I passed clubs with Dave a bit and tried fooling with devil sticks. I'm still no good at that.

After a sandwich with Fred, Deanna, and Wendy, I puttered a bit at work, then went to Top of the Park, arriving maybe halfway through Jeremy Kittel's set. Too bad, I should have showed up for the whole thing--he was great.

Jo Serrapere was OK too. Does she get tired of "Jesus in a Snowball"? I don't, but I only hear it once a year.

"Big Foot Bob and the Toe Tappers" was good but kind of cheesy and, once again, we were getting tired. So we went home after a few songs.

I think the cherries were finished by about the time Jo Serrapere was.


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