George V. Reilly

Lugging CRT Monitors to Montréal

My most recent trip to Montréal was a year ago this week for PyCon 2015, following another trip there two years ago this week for PyCon 2014.

My first trip to Montréal was a very long business trip in 1995. Four colleagues and I spent five or six weeks in Montréal, just before the Quebec in­de­pen­dence referendum, working onsite for our client, in­te­grat­ing the UI we had written into the rest of their software.

We had to bring our own computers, as they declined to provide us with any equipment. In 1995, this meant shipping our desktop systems and our heavy CRT monitors. Through Canadian Customs. And back through US continue.

Mixed-Up Canadian Date Formats

Apparently, there's no standard for writing dates in Canada. I assumed that Canada used the annoying US-style convention of MM/DD/YYYY. I didn't realize that the British-style DD/MM/YYYY is also widespread. How ex­as­per­at­ing!

Personally, I always write YYYY-MM-DD whenever I can get away with it, as God and ISO 8601 intended. A bill is before the Canadian parliament aiming at stan­dard­iz­ing on year-month-day formats.


We're spending a few days in Vancouver. The Vancouver. The Canadian city in British Columbia. Not to be confused with the large Canadian island, Vancouver Island, just a few miles away, or the American city of Vancouver, Washington, which is a suburb of Portland, Oregon.

We like to come up to Vancouver a couple of times a year. It's only 140 miles from Seattle, but you have to cross the U.S.–Canadian border and the highway runs out about ten miles from downtown Vancouver, so it always takes at least three hours to drive up.

This time, we're staying on the edge of Stanley Park, one of Van­cou­ver's greatest assets. Stanley Park comprises the western half continue.

Van Dusen Botanical Garden

We came up to Vancouver, BC for the weekend. This morning, we visited the Van Dusen Botanical Garden for the first time. In a relatively small area, they've put together many spe­cial­ized gardens: rhodo­den­drons, a maze, heathers, redwoods, roses, gingkos, and more. In Seattle terms, it has elements of the Arboretum and the Rhodo­den­dron Garden. Well worth a visit, especially on a beautiful May morning.

This afternoon, we drove down to Ladner to visit my great-uncle Dick and his wife Margaret. They moved into a retirement home in March. Dick has visibly failed since we last saw him in September. Margaret remains remarkably spry and fit, but is nearly blind.

Tonight we continue.


We drove up to Vancouver today. We'll be here until Tuesday. It's my birthday tomorrow and I have two days of vacation that I have to use by the end of March or lose them, so why not.

I always like Vancouver. It's un­equiv­o­cal­ly a major city. Vancouver feels more urban than Seattle, where people have only been moving into high-density downtown condos and apartments for a few years.

We're staying at the Sunset Inn and Suites in the West End. We stayed here before. It's relatively cheap, clean, and centrally located. No particular charm either.

Tomorrow, we see my great-uncle Dick and his wife Margaret. They're both 92 and about to move into a continue.


I don't, as a rule, pay a great deal of attention to Canadian politics. I was vaguely aware that something unusual is going on there this week. Then Emma pointed me to the Yarn Harlot's ex­pla­na­tion of what's happened.

In brief, for the last two years, Stephen Harper's minority government has been playing a high-stakes game, repeatedly forcing the opposition parties to either vote with him or force an election, which they would likely lose.

Last week, as soon as Parliament resumed after October's general election, Harper put forth an "economic strategy", which included removing federal election subsidies to all par­ties—­ef­fec­tive­ly hobbling the opposition. The opposition were deeply unhappy about that, and also continue.