This is the farthest I’ve ever been from my mom on Mother’s Day, I think: she in Vancouver, and I in kinda-London (soon to be Amsterdam). I usually don’t dwell on distance, and honestly once we’re no longer in the same house or city my communication frequency degrades as though I were stationed on Titan, but I struck me a bit today.

When I was much younger and shorter, and I believe had not yet developed the annoying habit of interrupting everyone I spoke with, Mom was considering taking a job in France, I think with Alcatel. At the time, I really didn’t know much about anything, but it seemed like a neat idea and only a little scarier than our previous moves, if indeed “scary” is not too strong a word. (I was inured to the traumas of relocation early and often, no doubt in part due to the “gypsy” blood Mom claims to host.) Now, though, I boggle at what an undertaking that would have been for Mom, with two young children, no support system at all in France, a language she didn’t really speak, a new job, visas, being an alien again — I get tired just thinking about it, because I’m a spoiled wimp.

But reflecting on that of course leads me to reflect on all the other miracles that Mom — or “Janice”, as I knew to yell for in stores, not quite realizing that a mother can pick out her child’s voice even when there are thirty other mothers in the area — performed to keep us going and healthy and happy. Performed so well, in fact, that I took it very much for granted growing up. Feed and shepherd two kids, be a consummate software professional (both technically and “socially”), help her quirky and demanding son learn and grow, pitch a mean softball, train a dog, drive stick, be a great and true friend, look out for her kids’ friends too, keep a house, act as the nexus for her family, make a desperately shoestring budget feel comfortable, and make a mean lasagne? Sure, how hard can it be? Mom can do it, and she can’t even beat me at chess any more.

I could relate a thousand anecdotes of her strength, courage, humour, wisdom, kindness, good judgement, selflessness, and other miscellaneous virtue, but after living a lifetime of them they pale when I try to capture them in words. I am who I am today, at least the good parts, because Mom is who she is, and because she never caved in and became someone else, even — especially — when that would have been so much easier. So thanks, Mom. I don’t know what else to say.

[Ed: boy, it sucks when I forget that I need two line breaks to create a new paragraph when I'm posting by mail.]



I’ve been taking notes at some of the GDC lectures, and when I get a chance I’ll be turning them into posts of some sort (writing things of that scale on the blackberry and without a preview cycle is not a thrilling prospect).

So far I’ve been to, among other fun stuff, three presentations on prototyping and experimentation: a great talk by the Kyles from the Experimental Gameplay Project, an excellent exposition by Chris Hecker and Chaim Gingold from the Spore team, and a decent post-mortemish thing about the Civ4 iterative development process.

It’s been pretty timely for me, as I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to make Firefox and our platform more amenable to quick experimentation — both for things like extensions and web applications. Much more about that later, but it’s been very energizing and I think GDC will make a substantial, if indirect, contribution to my work this coming year. [tags]gdc, mozilla, software development[/tags]


To celebrate St. Patrick’s Day — and when your mother has a last name of “Halligan” and works on a project code-named “Guinness”, it’s not really optional — I’m standing outside the James Joyce in line, waiting for, oh, I’d say 30 people to leave. Then I can join rev/transfix/pop inside and get my blarney on.

The girls in front of me would not, I’m sure, be able to stand on their own, but somehow they’re able to keep each other vertical. A miracle of modern social engineering, I would say. The crew inside have been drinking long enough that they have a table, and this is the second pub they hit, so I have no possible hope of catching them. I’m sure they’ll make me try, though.

I guess this is the college experience I missed! [tags]social, roaming, random, mom[/tags]

Testing email posting

Just a quick test to see if I can get this whole post-from-Blackberry thing working. I’m trying to use postie for this, as well as the many wonders of UTW. [tags]meta, roaming, geekery[/tags]