Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A long-overdue Proud Papa update

As you may or may not know, Kelly has been on several recruitment trips to visit US college rowing programs in recent weeks. Although she hasn't made a decision about where she'll end up, I thought you might like to know what she's been doing.

So far, she's visited Washington State University in Pullman, WA, the Univeristy of Washington, in Seattle, Sacramento State University, in Sacramento, CA (obviously) and the University of Louisville in Kentucky. While the west coast is beautiful, the rowing programs look a bit stronger in the east...so we're still waiting to see what happens.

She's now evaluating at least two offers but she's still waiting to hear from a couple of the schools. Needless to say, we're pretty excited in the Wood/Traynor household!

Watching Kelly jet off to parts all over the continent has really brought home to me just how quickly Heather and I will be on our own. While I keep reading about how some parents are getting used to their kids staying at home forever, that's not the case with us.

Cory was by last night to pick up some recipes and we were chatting about his future. He's really enjoying his house, but he's thinking that he might like to find a place of his own come next May when his lease is up. Right now, he's living with four other guys and while that's all right, it can be a bit tiring at times. Especially when you want to go to bed and everybody else is interested in sitting up and drinking beer!

So, when Heather and I head out to Victoria at the end of the summer, we'll be on our own, for the first time in over 21 years...hard to believe. (Of course, Jaime will be close by...which will be nice.) Speaking of being alone, Heather will be spending January and February in Victoria, before coming back here to wrap things up in Hamilton. And then she'll be back there for good in July, while I'm not likely to make it out until September or so...it's going to be an interesting year, to say the least.

Well, that's my short update for today. More to come soon, I'm sure, especially now that we're having an election...oh joy!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

GooglePrint vs publishers

You've probably heard about Google's plan to index all the world's books. If you haven't, you might be interested.

At first, it sounded like a great idea. Then some publishers and authors' groups stepped in and cried foul and claimed that Google was an evil empire intent on smashing the sacred cow of copyright protection. Sounds like a bad thing, right?

Since I'm a writer at heart and by profession, albeit one who is fascinated by all things electronic, this is a debate I've been watching with interest.

Well, today, I found a great commentary at Wired News by Lawrence Lessig, one of the founders of the Creative Commons licensing scheme, who is someone I think a lot of.

I think he's hit the nail on the head. And his warning of what the result of this could mean for the future of the Internet is defnitely food for thought. Read it for yourself.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What a way to spend an afternoon

I've been travelling a lot lately. Unfortunately, I keep going back and forth, back and forth...down the same stretch of road, or railway. I'm not really going anywhere. So it's not exactly the kind of travel that enriches and enlightens!

I had thought I might be able to give you regular updates on the life of a rail commuter, but it hasn't happened yet. But I am gathering some good material. When you step back from the day-to-day and just watch what's going on around you, it can get pretty interesting...kind of like when you stop watching the tennis game and start watching the crowd watching the game...

But that's not for today. Today, I've been grooving all afternoon at my computer here in my home office. I've really missed this place. Right now, I've got Brother Love blasting away on I-Tunes and I'm catching up on all the blogs I haven't been reading lately.

If you don't know who Brother Love is (Listen to There She Goes) , or Matthew Ebel, (Listen to Drive Away) or Planet of Women, (Listen to Waking up the Neighbourhood) you're really missing something. Podsafe music is where the world is going, people, and Brother Love is just one of the poster children. As CC says, "It's all good."

I've become addicted to podcasts...I've got 20 shows that I'm subscribed to and I listen to them all faithfully. Some are updated daily, others every few days, weekly or even monthly. I listen to music, talk, jokes, nasty bits, business stuff -- it's all over the map, really. But they're all great. And there's thousands more out there. I'm not going to even try sharing links, or anything like that. You'll see what I mean once you jump in. Suffice to say that once you discover the joys of listening to podcasts, you'll never go back to regular music.

Oh all right. To get just a sense of what's out there, check out Adam Curry's Daily Source Code and PW Fenton's Digital Flotsam. They're two very different shows, but they both are at the top of their category.

There is a revolution going on in the way information moves around the world. Pick up an IPod, hook it up to your new Mac (or Windows, if you must) and your life will never be the same. New technology is allowing us to easily share words and music and now even video in ways that were unthinkable not that long ago.

I remember how exciting it was in the early days of personal computers...I entered this world in the early 1980s. I was a Compuserve member back then and I loved the opportunity to get and share information. Since then, it's become a big part of my life. Now, I'm trying to build a business helping others learn how to use this technology in their business.

I'm not sure where this road is going to take me, but I'm sure having fun travelling down it and then back again, and then again, and again. But if I've got a good book and my IPod with me, it's doable.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Rowing Weekend Update

Just a short note to say I just got off the phone with Heather. She's watching the Canadian University Rowing Championships in Victoria.

Jaime's Varsity 4 just won their race, by a comfortable 3 boatlengths! So they've repeated as Canadian Champions, capping off a very successful fall rowing season.

I know Jaime is flying higher than a kite right now. Congratulations to her and her whole team!

Heather called me while I was in the car home from the Toronto airport. I'd just picked up Kelly, who is back from her recruiting weekend at the University of Washington and Washington State University. She says she had a great time and she's got lots to think about.

But a final decision will have to wait until she visits the Univeristy of Louisville in Kentucky next weekend and Sacremento State in California the week after. Right now, there's a lot of stuff to process, but with luck, a decision will be made before Christmas. Keep your fingers crossed!

Man, am I a Proud Papa or what!?

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Proud Papa Rowing Update

I wasn't sure I could be any more proud of my daughters than I was a couple of weeks ago in Boston, at the Head of the Charles regatta.

But this weekend, I might just beat that record.

A year ago at this time, we were in Montreal, watching Jaime compete in the Canadian University Rowing Championships, where her UVIC varsity 4 took the gold medal.

Now, here we are one year later, and Jaime and her crew are defending their championship at the CU's in Victoria this weekend. I don't think there are any live feeds of results, but I'll be sure to post something when I know how she did. They're feeling very good about their chances of repeating, after the great showing they had in Boston.

Last week, the senior member of Jaime's boat, who is a former World's Doubles Champion in the Under 23 Lightweight Women, told Jaime that she has never been in a faster boat. Needless to add, Jaime is "over the moon" about how well things are going, as are Heather and I. (And while I'm waiting anxiously by the phone this weekend, Heather will be watching the event live! She's out in Victoria this weekend, "on business," she claims, although the timing worked out really well. I'm quite jealous.)

But that's only Part 1 of the Proud Papa update this weekend. As I mentioned a couple of posts back, Kelly is off this weekend in Washington, visiting the University of Washington and Washington State. We sent her off yesterday, and I have to admit it's all starting to seem very real to me all of a sudden. In just a few months, Kelly will have made a decision about where she's going next year, and then she'll be gone! And we'll be true empty-nesters! I'm not sure I'm ready for that.

Anyway, this weekend's trip will be followed by next weekend's visit to Louisville and the week after that Kelly is heading back out west to Sacramento, California. Then she has to settle down and figure out just where she wants to be for the next four years. It's a tough decision and I really don't know what she's going to do. Louisville has a great program, and she knows some of the other rowers there, so they are probably the front runners. But of course, we're going to be out on the west coast, with Jaime, and we'd all like her to be closer. And Seattle is just a short ferry ride from Victoria.

No matter what she decides, I know she'll do well. To have four top US Universities competing to have you join their program (and offering her full scholarships, no less!) is a great honour and a real credit to Kelly and all the hard work she's put into the sport. It almost makes up for all the hassles she's putting up with on her basketball team -- but that's another story.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

I'd like to think I'm on a super-secret assignment

You know the type...a favourite columnist or personality disappears from view and all that's left behind is the vague reference that they're "on assignment."

"Doing what?" you wonder to yourself..."It must be pretty important."

That's my hope. I've just dropped out of sight after that long car trip back from Boston and I'm sure you've all been thinking I must be off doing something really important.

Alas, it's not really that exciting and in the interests of full disclosure, I'm going to offer you a glimpse of what my reality has become each day.

I'm back in the commuting fast (or slow!) lane. I am up at 4:30 each day to walk the dogs and grab a bit of breakfast, then it's off to the Go train station. I catch the 6:29 out of Aldershot (just outside of Hamilton), and ride it to Union Station, then stay on it for another three stops, finally pulling into Eglinton station in Scarborough at about 7:51 am.

If all goes well, there's a shuttle bus waiting for me, to take me (and the other commuters) to Aviva, which is about a 10 minute drive from the station. That's the morning...if all goes well. Leave the house about 6 or so, arrive at work at 8:15. Lots of sitting around, but not too bad.

Coming home is a different story. I usually catch a shuttle from work at either 3:35 or 4:15. If I catch the 3:35 shuttle, I get on the 4:18 Go train, which takes me to Burlington, hope on a Go bus and arrive at Aldershot at 5:52 pm. Then I drive back home, arriving about 6:10 or so...Leave work at 3:30, arrive home at 6:10 or so. Just about 3 hours!

If I catch a later Go train, my time getting home jumps to about 6:45 or so...

Sometimes I catch a Via train instead, which is a bit more money, but is comfortable and you spend less time in the train. But it doesn't really get me home any earlier...

So...in order to book about a typical 7.5 hour day, I'm away from home for over 12 hours each day. That doesn't leave a lot of time for anything else, unfortunately.

I remain optimistic that once I settle in, working from home will become a bit more of a viable option, but I'll still be travelling plenty of the time. But it's worth it. I doubt I could do this in the long term, but as a short-term contract, it's worth it. The people are good to work with and I'm enjoying the work. So, aside from the commute, it's working out well.

And at least I get to catch up on all my podcasts during those long hours on the train!