dal niente

Montreal Weather

I remember that when i talked to my students in Korea, they couldn’t believe the weather that we have here in Montreal.

Here are some pictures of my neck of the woods within the span of the last week and a half.






Wenes Thurs

Time: 3:36 AM dECEMBER 9
Location: @Work
Batteries: 20%
MOrale: (=_=)

I am SO tired right now.


I got home this morning at about 8:30, but I wasn’t all that tired at first so I ended up staying awake until at least about 11AM. Which was bad, because I needed to get up and running, since I had a long day planned ahead of me.

The plan was to wake up at about fall asleep at 9am and wake up at 5pm, which would have given me a solid 8 hours. Estimate that because of whatever reasons, I might be woken up, so I might lose an hour or so.

Well, the plan was to wake up at 5pm, finalize some repairs on my Rampage (which is the name I’ve decided to give my winter bike, for reasons I’ll explain at a later time), head downtown, return Inifinite Unidiscovery, rent a new game, go to the Mac store and pick up an english copy of Snow Leopard to send to Zanshin in South Korea, and finally, meet up with [Supergirl] and some of her friends to see New Moon at the Scotiabank Theatre.

Well, instead of waking up at 5pm like I’d planned, I slept through my alarm, and was only woken up by my phone ringing. It was Supergirl, who I had asked to give me a call at 5:30pm to wake me up for sure (my phone ring is a lot more pestering than my alarm). Not without good cause, it seems, because if she hadn’t done that for me I probably would have slept a couple more hours at least.

I basically had to skip everything except meeting up for the movie, and I was still dead tired.


We watched New Moon and I must say: Wow. Like really, wow.

How can a movie get away with this kinda stuff?


On a side note: God, do the wolves have awesome bodies.


Anyway, the movie was so unbelievable for a number of reasons, but I guess it did make me think about a lot of things, particularly the nature of relationships.

First of all, Edward and Bella both have issues. But I’m sure you already know that.


When I think about relationships, a lot of it has to do with timing. It’s not just about love, and it’s not just about who you are, but there are a lot of other factors that come into play, and timing is probably one of the most important.

If I look at what happened with every girl before [Supergirl] I’ve ever had a crush on, maybe propositioned, maybe dated, or been the receiver of said feelings, things probably didn’t work because of timing. Sometimes it was just a lack of interest.

I’d like to think, however, that because we’re constantly growing, it’s a question of how much time it takes you to become what the other person needs, and how much time it takes for the other person to become who you need. And I don’t say want. I say need.

The difference between needs and wants is something they teach you in basic economics– needs are more or less limited, and have a lot to do with survival. Wants, on the other hand, are icing on the cake. They’re little garnishes that make things better.

If you asked me to be totally honest about What’s wrong with Bella and Edward in a nutshell, is that they’re focusing too much on their wants.

Bella loves Edward.
Edward is a vampire.
Bella figures, Bella must become a Vampire.

Edward loves Bella.
Bella is a human, who he doesn’t want throwing away her humanity.
Edward figures, the best thing to do is run away and ignore the girl.

Uh, hello? Hasn’t anyone ever heard of communication?

See, they’re both too busy thinking about what they want for the relationship to work. But what they need is something simple– BRAINS.

Edward especially, the one who takes initiative– he’s 108 years old, and can recite ROmeo and Juliet verbosely– and he doesn’t learn any lessons from Shakespeare about the importance of sitting down for some simple, frank discourse; nor does he learn anything about the stupidity of suicide?


Time: 01:18 AM DECEMBER 10
Location: @Work
Batteries: 70%
Morale: 🙂

I didn’t really get the chance to finish what I was writing yesterday about New Moon, so I can’t exactly remember what I intended to say anymore.

But in general, here are my thoughts about relationships, inspired by what I’ve seen of New Moon:

Don’t date a bitch like Bella.
If a man is 108 and still acts as retarded as Edward (ie: abandons you to “save you”, choses to commit suicide after he can’t have you (big surprise! you dumped her!) etc etc etc) don’t date an idiot like Edward.
Team Jacbo seems to have a bit of “Nice Guy Syndrome” but I would understand– I mean, he’s a frigging wolf, that’s not an easy thing for most girls to accept. He certainly handles his situation a lot more pro-actively and, in my opinon, much more honestly than Edward.

I think what it comes down to is that a relationship always comes down to a unit of two people, and not a couple of units. Edward and Bella both have their individual problems, but they have neither the ability to resolve their problems on their own or to communicate with the other in such a way that they can get help from the other.

Solution? BREAK UP. It’s BROKEN.

If one peron has a problem that they can’t solve on their own, and the other person can’t solve it for them, either that person has to continue to try to fix that problem BEFORE expecting the relationship to work, or they need to go looking for a new partner who can give them what they need. Otherwise, the relationship will be pointless. And it’s not just because people are unhappy– because, aside from not getting what they want out of the relationship, they’re not getting what they NEED.

Look it up an pscychology textbooks. Look it up in any wellness book. True, there are many types of relationships out there, but not all of them are healthy.


Time: 2:15 AM
Batteries: 70%

So, I forgot to mention, but Montreal was hit with it’s two first significant snowfalls in the past 3 days. The first time it happened it wasn’t much at all, maybe a few centimeters that mostly melted as it hit the ground. I took out the winter bike for a spin and it just ate those roads up– light slush and hardpacked snow? NO PROBLEM.

It’s kinda cool that when my winter tire hits clean asphalt, the studs on my tires give off this crazy sounding droning noise like a tracked vehicle. Which is why I’ve decided to name the new bike “Rampage,” after the character in Transformers: Beasties/Beast Wars. Originally, because the bike was supposed to be white with black patches, it was going to be named “Snow Cow,” but since the final color scheem turned out to be white, blue and black, it didn’t seem appropriate anymore.

Well, a couple of days ago when it was just a few centimeters, Rampage fared pretty damn well. But tonight? Well, tonight, it’s over 20 centimeters out there and let me tell you– it’s pretty hard work to get through all that on a bike.

Don’t get any misimpressions– I’m not riding right through snowbanks, up and down hills of shoveled snow. I’m actually mostly navigating through tire tracks or any patch of ground that’s been paved within the last couple of hours, and even so, it’s a crazy ordeal.

This is the first winter that I’ve ever tried something like this so I’m still getting used to the whole thing. It’ll be a lot like getting used to a footbrake bike, or using toeclips on my shoes I suppose– it just feels impssoble at first, but one’s brain adapts with time.

Some of these things, I will be tweaking day by day to see what works, and some of them have no solutions except to get better at biking through the snow. In no particular order, here are things that require attention:

Rampage’s bike’s derailleur system is fucked up, so it’s essentially a fixed gear bike. This is because I didn’t have good deraiuleur parts leftover, so essentially, I’m not switching gears at all.

With regards to that, i’m somewhat concerned about the derailleur getting more damaged during a right side fall, so I was thinking of maybe getting BMX foot bars for the back wheel. It might be useful anyway when the snow melts so that I could take passengers, but it has the nice benefit of protecting the derailleur on right-side falls. The tradeoff: Rampage already weighs over twice as much as Warthog (my summer bike), and with knobby tires 3 times as big, it’s slow as fuck. Should I really be adding more weight?

The toe clips in installed on the pedals aren’t compatible with my winter boots (my winter boots are too thick) so it gets a bit cold at times. There’s not really a solution to this, except that I’ve taken to wearing my leather Merrels instead of any running shoes, which are fully waterproofed.

Because it takes significantly more effort to pedal this thing, I want to raise my seat to increase pedaling efficiency. However; I lost control and fell once tonight; I lost control but recovered by putting a foot to the ground three times tonight because I could no longer stay on just the wheels; I purposely put my foot to the ground at least a half dozen times before losing control. All these control issues suggest that I need to keep the seat level down so that dismounting is easier. It’s more strain on my muscles, but I guess this is the only way to do it– with all the patches of ice due to snow compression hidden under snow, my bike fishtails a whole lot. If I start experiencing any knee pains then I’ll know I’ve got to make some adjustments.

I need to figure out a good cadence, which I haven’t yet. The thing is, the front wheel is responding really well, mostly because it’s being shoved headfirst through things and is basicalyl just a glorified ski. But the back wheel (the one I’ve got the winter studs on) is actually slipping out constantly. Rampage suffers from sever understeering because I can’t risk fishtailing at high speeds.

I think in large part the fishtailing is because my current MTB riding technique is to rock the bike left and right to generate more thrust, but that doesn’t work on winter roads it seems because the angle of the wheels is very important. Because I can’t rely on traction, and because I’m going at low speeds, the slightest tilt results in fishtailing because there’s not enough consistent centripetal force to keep the bike upright.

So, what I need to do is what I developed for my road bike technique– that is to say, commited, straight line “railgun” riding. It’s somethign I learned when I started riding with my roadbike early on: because the steering on a road bike feels a lot less forgiving than the steering on a MTB (in my opinion anyway), rocking my roadbike when trying to climb hills, or when racing down areas with potholes or lots of little ups and downs, well, it was just kinda dangerous. So, instead of rocking, I’ve learned to just use more of my upper body muscles to grip the handlebars and really use my back muscles to “row” to counteract the pedaling action. If it’s timed correcetly, you can really get a lot more power transfer into your drivetrain, at the expense of upper body exertion. But the added benefit is that your bike stays perpendicular to the ground. Timing just requires that you make small hops to clear potholes and debris. Steering ability is severely reduced when riding like this though, because when stabilizing the handlebars this much and pumping that hard, it’s just not easy to safely turn. So it’s a technique that is mostly used alternately with a seconds of steering here and there. I call this railgun riding because it sacrifices maneuverability and agility for straight, forward action that cuts through all obstacles.

In winter, and I was trying this just today, it’s a lot more difficult to pull off because the snow is constantly bogging me down, making it difficult for me to keep up the necessary speed necessary to really cut through angled snow (for example, the ‘valleys’ of snow cut out of the main road by car tire tracks). Without a certain amount of speed, hitting little snow hills at angles tends to deflect my bike sideways, but not my momentum, which results in a fight for control. I think, however, that if I can acheive a sufficient speed, I might be able to resist deflection of my angle of incidence and just keep a true path.

Question is: do i want to go faster, given that brakes are almost useless in this weather?

I have, however, installed a wider handlebar set for more stability.

Visibility is an issue because when it’s snowing, even if it’s not blowing against me, it’s a lot more distracting than rain because it falls a lot slower. It’s not something that I can block out of my eyes mostly by tipping my helmet more forward– snow tends to blow up into my face, more subject to the aerodynamics of my forward downward angled arms. Thankfully, [Supergirl] is going to lend me a pair of he ski goggles.

All in all, the ride to work today took me 40 minutes, wheras it takes a bit under 15 under summer conditions with my road bike. I say “ride” but it was more like a biataholon, because there were parts of my route where it was impossible except to get off my bike and run with it, either by my side, or on my shoulder. So, give or take, it’s about 3x longer to ride druing winter.

But I think I’ll be able to stick to it for the next little while at least– it’s actually pretty fun. It’s been a while since I’ve done any kind of physical activity that really required me to struggle. Doing this requires a surprising amount of concentration– I need to coordinate not only my body movements but balance and time them based on the shape of the road.