Biking to Pointe Claire

A lengthy (55km) bike trip along the lakeshore to Pointe Claire.
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Fireworks

big white firework

I went to see the fireworks tonight – the last ones of the Summer. They were ok: some moments – like this big huge white blob of craziness – were very exciting, but for the most part it was a little garish – they used all the silly tricks like heart-shaped explosions and the like, and while it was very colourful most of the time, the choice of colours was a little bland – lots of very bright primary colours, but not mixed together nicely. The Australian show last Wednesday was much better, in my opinion.

I took several pictures, but this is the only one that turned out at all – I got there later than I intended so I didn’t really have space to set up my tripod, and it’s not easy to get pictures like this to turn out at all without one. Without a rather long exposure, it just looks like nothing at all, because you don’t see trails – just points of light.

silly

I just turned on the TV (such as it is – a tv input card for the computer) and saw a beach volleyball game between some Brazilian women’s teams. I found it rather silly that it means that their clothing had to be identified like this though:

Brazilian volleyball player with

Lachine Canal

A morning jaunt down to the end of the Lachine Canal.
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Biking down the canal

Bike
I’ve been upgrading and fixing my bike a bit in the past week. Nothing major, but I finally got a rack and a pannier! I highly recommend this to anyone that uses a bike much. It’s a million times nicer than a backpack, especially when it’s hot out. Much easier on my back too – a heavy pack puts all the weight into just the wrong places.

The bag I eventually decided on, after spending a very long time perusing bike forums and looking at the offering at MEC (they’ve mostly sold out this season’s supply, apparently!) and other stores was the Arkel Bug. It’s very nice. I particularly like how it converts to a backpack – most of the panniers out there are well-made, but they’re designed for people on long trips who leave the bag on the bike most of the time. For something that I’ll be carrying around to stores and work all the time, this is far better. It’s also just very well-made, and as a bonus, the company’s based in Quebec!

I also picked up a bike computer (i.e. speedometer + odometer) from MEC. It’s the cheapest one they offer, though now I’m thinking the next model up might have been nice to have. It’s no big deal, but it’d be nice to have it display your maximum and average speeds. But I just couldn’t justify the extra $2.

I also finally got around to adjusting the saddle a bit. It’s never been perfectly comfy, so I tried tipping it forward a little bit. It felt much better at first, but I think it was just a little too much, since it put much more weight on my arms, and my butt started getting sore after 45 minutes or so. So I reduced the angle a little, and also slid it back an inch or two, and I think it’s an improvement! Luckily, it’s a very easy thing to adjust. I think I’ll just keep some hex keys in my bag for the next little while in case more fiddling is warranted.

Finally, my chain needed some work after the rain on the weekend, so I cleaned it and squirted in some oil. Seems much nicer now!

So, with a functional bike, and all sorts of toys, I decided it was time to do some exploring around Montreal. Can you believe that I had never traveled down the Lachine Canal? It’s a really nice path, gentle, flat, with lots of trees. I stopped at the end of the Canal, but next time I might go further, and keep travelling by Lachine. Apparently that’s also very nice.
view of the trail

Parasites are NOT our friends!

spider mite
Don’t worry, it’s massively enlarged in that picture. Click the image for more interesting pictures of the bugs and the plant they’re living on.

Our lovely New Guinea impatiens plant (a housewarming gift from Tom and Lindsey – you can see it here) is not doing so well anymore. It appears to be infested with spider mites, and it isn’t much enjoying the experience…

I’m not sure what we can do about it at this point, unfortunately. Most of the remedies I’ve seen online seem more suited to outdoor plants, or large greenhouses. Things like “immerse the entire plant into 110°F water for 20 minutes” just aren’t feasible. Nor are spraying nasty chemicals around our living room, or spending 80$ on carnivorous mites to eat the naughty mites. Most of the flowers have fallen off now though, and many leaves are severely wilted… I hope it can survive!

No more ~jono

I finally got rid of the cute but silly splash page that used to be at http://jono.redowl.ca. (a copy now lives here) Now my site (that you’re reading right now) takes center stage, so you don’t need to use the ~jono in the URL anymore – it will still work for a at least a while, probably a long while. Ideally, I’d like to stick in a redirect so that anyone using the old URL will automatically get forwarded to the new one, but I haven’t managed to get it to work yet. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know!

I’m sad to see that image and text vanish though… I’m considering attempting to redesign this site using at least the image, and some red stuff. It is called redowl after all! But I hate white on black text now, so I’ll have to fiddle around.. it’ll be a big job, in any case! We’ll see if it happens.

Update: redirects are working now! I was confused about a few things: first of all, the RewriteBase refers to the directory on disk, not the location visible to http. Also, for the same reason, the option needs to go in a Location directive, not in a Directory directive, since I only want to do any rewriting when the /home/jono/public_html dir is accessed via /~jono, but not when it’s accessed via /. In the end, setting RewriteBase / and then making the RewriteRule change the whole directory name worked – RewriteRule /home/jono/public_html/(.*) /$1 [R]. All makes sense now that I understand how it works. In related news, the pretty permalinks in wordpress are more trouble than they’re worth, since they wreck any relative links in all blog posts. Messy.

Also, rather than moving DocumentRoot to /home/jono/public_html, I left it at /var/www but moved the contents of it into /home/jono/public_html and then made /var/www into a symlink pointing to the other dir. That way debian packages and other programs that expect /var/www to exist and be the DocumentRoot won’t get too confused – they can just dump their files into my home dir via the symlink instead. Hopefully the permissions won’t cause any trouble.

Yum

tomato/pasta salad

A very summery supper! Fresh tomatoes – which were cheap even at that bastion of overpriced produce, metro – basil and rosemary that we grew ourselves, feta and romano cheese, garlic, lemon juice, olives and olive oil, chick peas, and probably a few other things that I’ve forgotten. Yum! And it’s so nice to eat cold food when it’s hot and sticky outside!

The very best thing is that we made a huge amount, so I have something to munch at work tomorrow.

Bugs

Two-spotted Spider Mites – Nasty critters! – infested our New Guinea impatiens.
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Summer food

A very summery supper! Fresh tomatoes – which were cheap even at that bastion of overpriced produce, metro – basil and rosemary that we grew ourselves, feta and romano cheese, garlic, lemon juice, olives and olive oil, chick peas, and probably a few other things that I’ve forgotten. Yum! And it’s so nice to eat cold food when it’s hot and sticky outside!
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