LJ security sucks :-(

It looks like LJ has been hacked; someone broke into my account and posted a whole bunch of spam. It's worth thinking about changing your password if you haven't done so recently.
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    annoyed annoyed

"That's it! I'm moving to Canada!"

I've heard quite a few American friends postulate moving to Canada if the Presidential election in the fall doesn't go their way. Amanda and I moved here in 2004, and we love it. Here are some things to keep in mind if you're thinking of following suit:

Most importantly, please don't come if the word "if" appears in your statement about moving to Canada. "I'm moving to Canada if $CANDIDATE wins." Canada is a terrific place, and there are a lot of good reasons to come... and a lot of people from a lot of countries with genuinely bad situations want to come as well. If you come, you'll be elbowing one of those people out of one of the limited number of places. In particular, please don't come if you're planning to then turn around and move back if things in the US aren't as bad as you feared, or after four years.

Secondly, if you're coming because you really do want to live in Canada because Canada is awesome, you need to apply RIGHT NOW. It used to be the case that it would take two or more years to process an application for permanent residence, but that has dropped to 6-8 months recently... and there's been a huge spike in interest since Trump took the lead in the GOP primaries, enough so that the Immigration ministry's web site couldn't keep up. Processing times are likely to spike if there's a big influx of people applying... and more importantly, the system has changed so that you're now competing with everyone else who is applying, and they take the top people in terms of points. Applying now means less competition, and a chance of actually getting to Canada before Inauguration Day.

Thirdly, try to get a Canadian job offer right away. The point system has been changed so that having a job offer counts for up to 600 of the 1200 possible points. And they take the top point-getters. So having a job offer in hand means that you go to the front of the line. and are two of the top Canadian job boards. A couple of years ago, immigration was completely skewed in favour of health care and skilled trades for the Alberta tar sands, but the oil industry in Alberta has now totally crashed, and that's no longer true. The Loonie is down, which helps the tech sector in a couple of ways; if you're in technology, the job market is currently very good.

Fourthly, brush up on your French. The other 600 points come from "adaptability" factors, and both official languages contribute to your point score.

Fifthly, if you want to live in Montreal, or elsewhere in Quebec, and you're not a native French speaker, tell the immigration folks that you're planning to live in Toronto or Ottawa, and then "move" after you land in Canada. If you indicate that you want to live in Quebec, the Quebec provincial authorities have to approve you, and they want you to be a Francophone.

Sixthly, Toronto and Vancouver are both really wonderful places to live, but real estate in both cities is now stupidly expensive. (Think NYC or San Francisco.) We live in a rent-controlled house in Toronto, and love it, but I wouldn't move here now if I were moving to Canada, just because of how expensive housing is. (And traffic and transit are under stress.) There are lots of other really great places in Canada, including several tech hubs.

Seventhly, now that I've said all that, Canada is a wonderful country, and if you're musing about maybe wanting to live here, I can't recommend it highly enough! But please DO come because you've fallen in love with the place, not because you're fleeing a slightly less good result in another industrialized democracy. (This applies to non-US folks as well; Canada is a great place, no matter where you're from.)

Finally, the most important info of all: there are Naginata dojos in Toronto, Montreal, and Edmonton at the moment, as well as Hudson, QC (a Montreal exurb), and one opening in Vancouver later this year. And there's very good kendo all across the country, including in places like Saskatoon.


Trio Of Bear Cubs

These are the gladdest of possible words:
"Pitchers and catchers report."
Soon, there will be northbound migrating birds.
Pitchers and catchers report.
Farewell to winter winds' cold, icy sting.
Even if baseball just isn't your thing,
Pitchers and catchers mean it's almost spring!
Pitchers and catchers report.
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    cold cold


I'm finally home from the last trip to Erie to clean out Mom and Dad's house. It's been exhausting. I'm glad to have some time to just shut down now. I think I'll read a book....

Still here

Mom's made of tough, tough stuff. She's been at death's door five times, and rallied each time. This time looks to be for real: she's been unresponsive for 24 hours, her breath is rattling, and this after a huge pain crisis. Still, it's been about 18 hours since there's been any change, and we've been here before. We'll see.

By the way, fuck cancer.
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    sleepy sleepy
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Leave of absence

Mom has terminal cancer, and the end is approaching. I'm taking a leave of absence to go care for her.

From the news this week, it looks like it's going to be a shorter leave than I planned.
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    sad sad

Plenary update

Wow, it's been a while since I've updated this. Most of the rest of the naginata folks in Toronto use Facebook, so I've been dragged kicking and screaming into the Facebook world, and that's taken up the time I used to spend reading and updating LJ.

The World Championship trip to Japan last year was fantastic... except for the Worlds themselves. The Canadian government didn't come through on my citizenship in time, and so I was disqualified from our team, which won bronze. If I'd been able to compete, I would have had a match against Katie (the US champion) that would have determined who went to the finals, and possibly another against Andrea (captain of the US team) for a trip to the medal round in the individuals. As it was, I won a couple of matches in the International Friendship Tournament the following day, and learned a lot from the week-long INF seminar.

And I got to train at the Shubukan! It's the third-oldest dojo in Japan, and the home of Tendo-ryu. We had a two-day seminar, and I went back again the following Tuesday for the regular monthly Shin Getsu Kai practice. I'm sad that I don't have a teleporter to get back there regularly.

Japan was fantastic. Amanda and I had the time of our lives, and we can't wait to go back.

I got home to find a letter from Citizenship and Immigration Canada, inviting me to my citizenship ceremony, several weeks too late. So now that's done, and I'm a dual citizen.

My gig at Rogers ended when I left for Japan, and I took the rest of last summer off. A LARP friend and I drove out to Edmonton in August for A) another group's event out there, and B) to see friends along the way. It was a lot of fun, despite one 22-hour marathon stretch that we ran into on the way back because every single motel room in southern Saskatchewan and northern North Dakota was full. (Go figure!)

Mom broke her ankle at Labour Day at Chautauqua, so I spent most of the fall commuting to Erie every couple of weeks to run her errands and so forth. She was able to drive again in January. I managed to total our car in a low-speed collision on the way to a naginata seminar in October (the other car's bumper was much higher, and struck my engine and bent my frame), so I'm car shopping now.

I spent a week out in Cascadia last month on a big interviewing blitz. Both and one of its subsidiaries were interested in me, and I nearly wound up relocating to Victoria. Everything looked perfect, and I got the impression that they were going to make me an offer, but they didn't, and the Toronto Amazon office did, so I'm staying put. I fell in love with Victoria, and Vancouver Island in general, though, and we're going to keep it on our radar as a relocation target for the medium term.

I got back from the recruiting trip in time to drive down to Palenville for the March holy season, but I was exhausted and not feeling well, and wound up not going. I did make it there in November and December for the court case against the town of Catskill, who are trying to deny us a tax exemption for our temple property; a verdict should be forthcoming later this spring.

We had a particularly successful trip to the New York naginata tournament this year. I won the women's division, my engi partner and I won the Funahara Cup, and I was taisho of the third place team. All my students placed in at least one division, and I got some really good feedback from the accompanying seminar. And we had fun on the road trip.

I start my new job with early next month. They're flying me to Seattle for a couple of weeks, then I settle in with the team I'm managing here in Toronto. It looks like we've got some interesting things on tap, as well as management buy-in to clear out several years of accumulated technical debt.

Tonight, it's off to the opera. All in all, life is good. But really, I'm updating my Facebook more than I'm updating this journal.