Growing up, my dad (a born-and-raised Dutchman) said that the main cause of car accidents was the fact that people get distracted, and that the roads are too boring. To build on that, one of my cousins from the Netherlands came to Alberta last year, and drove a few thousand kilometres while here. At the end of his trip, he said, "The roads here are so straight and uninteresting, I nearly had to check my phone to keep things interesting!"
Mr. Robot looks like it could be a great show. Episode 1 introduced the main character, Elliot, a socially-isolated nerd who struggles with how society is controlled by corporations. One of the cool things about Elliot's character is that he's not socially isolated because he's a nerd, rather, it's because he prefers that — or at least it seems that way. The videography does a good job of showing enough of computer screens for one to see that it's legitimate, current technology, and so that people who actually understand what's going on know that it's accurate information and not just made up.
Every couple months, the topic of the "Welcome to Edmonton" signs comes up. Do we need one? I don't mind the old ones. This time, CBC asked if anyone had suggestions for a new sign design, so we came up with one at work.
The idea is to portray the strength of character and resilience of the kinds of people who live in a city situated so far North (with a little pop culture humour thrown in). The sign would be made out of concrete to depict the sturdiness of our city and our people. The sloping top is meant to convey the river valley which is one of our main attractions with several key landmarks depicted on top (from left to right: Muttart, Legislature, Hotel MacDonald, Manulife, and Enbridge Tower). The glass swoop is meant to emanate the river itself.
One of the nice things about cars from the last five years is that they keep track of fuel usage and time that the engine runs, and they let the user easily access the information. Based on my last two months of driving, I've driven at an average of 64 km/h, which surprises me. I thought that the amount of idling to warm the car would have brought this down somewhat.
I used to read comics with an RSS reader. Then I started using IFTTT to add them to my Pocket. Now, I've transitioned all of the comics that I read to be emailed to me once a week. Each day of the week, I have two emails (since I read 14 comics at the moment) in my inbox. Each email contains the last week worth of posts. It works out quite nicely. Also, if you don't know of a good RSS feed for a comic, ComicSyndicate is a good place to look.
Well, that's it for our time in South Africa. We had originally planned to go to Zambia in December to do some volunteer work at Koti Ni Eden, another of FCE's bases, but they advised us against it, mainly due to the higher-than-usual risk of malaria and the fact that our daughter would be highly susceptible to it. So, instead of spending Christmas in Africa and New Years in Europe, we've bumped up our schedule to spend two weeks with my relatives in Nederland and be back in Canada in time for Christmas. We both learned a lot in our six-week course. Being a condensed version of FCE's three-month course, it feels hard to process everything we've learned, but I have a binder full of notes that I plan on going over again to be sure I haven't missed anything. Now we're in Holland, and next week we'll go "home" to Canada and the search for work.
We spent a weekend in Hermanus, a bustling seaside town with many beaches. In the two days that we were there, we visited three different beaches and cooked over the braai many times. Hermanus is known for the fact that whales come quite close to shore, and we spent many hours just sitting on the beach and watching them.
We've now been in South Africa for just over a week. It's been a mix of culture shock and excitement as we have gotten used to the way things work over here.
FCE's headquarters is located in Wolsely, a quick 1.5 hour drive from Cape Town. It's a small town of ~8,000 people, nestled in between some beautiful, bare mountains, and surrounded by farmland. We're right on the north edge of town, and it's about a five-minute walk to the few shops that are worth going to. (That picture is looking looking north from the entrance of the property.) For any real shopping, and non-exorbitant prices, it's a 20-minute drive to nearby Ceres (which is also where the nearest secondary school is).
We arrived in Cape Town last night, and tomorrow we'll be heading up to Wolseley. (The flights went flawlessly, Zelena was amazing, and nothing got lost!) To me, at least, the culture here feels like an interesting mix of traditional/local, Dutch, and British. Here's a few observations so far:
- Looking up at a night sky and not recognizing a single constellation, except for the ones over the equator, is very strange.
This past month has been a major whirlwind. Five weeks ago, I was laid off from my web design job, due to shortage of work. While working for a friend and learning how to do stucco, my parent's called and said they had an urgent thing to discuss.
"We want to send your family on a missions trip to Africa."