May: first month of Spring term, so much teaching, focus on judo

Posted by Patrick Lam on Monday, June 6, 2022

Table Of Contents


I got off the plane from New Zealand, took the taxi back to Waterloo, got up early the next morning, and went to an OAC event at Rattlesnake Point. It was too cold and rainy for climbing, unfortunately, but we picked up trash. Mostly old bottle fragments.

Apart from that, most of my work effort this month felt like ECE 653 prep and delivery. Some research, but definitely more teaching. And, as I’ll write below, quite a bit of judo effort, which was reasonably fruitful.

People are really pretending that COVID isn’t a thing now. The University still has a mask mandate, and the CO2 levels really would get high enough in a classroom to be somewhat alarming without masks, but I guess it’s mostly OK with masks. Still didn’t eat inside restaurants in May. Takeout is fine.

Yes, you still have to wear a mask. Even if adequately vaccinated.

I voted (early) in Ontario. Sigh. At least we have a good local MPP in Waterloo.


Not spending a huge amount of time on campus besides actual lecture hours. Sometimes camp out in my office between meetings or something. Slowly getting things set up in the office, i.e. more keyboards and monitors, though I haven’t gotten any of the 3 desktop computers working.

The townhouse & life maintenance

Put curtain rods back up after being unable to sleep at 3am due to lack of curtains. (Previously, we’d had our windows replaced, but I hadn’t bothered with replacing the curtain rods). Changed garage code.

Stuff management

  • Blackout curtain (for the curtain rods!)
  • Another cellphone stand (now: one at the office, one at home—always have one thing per location) and power plugs for the Turkish lamp
  • Windshield replacement (Titan Glass)
  • Motorcycle battery

And more motorcycle maintenance: changed battery; tried to change spark plug.

Owning stuff is a pain. Stuff inevitably needs maintenance.


The biggest research thing was resubmitting the mock detection paper to ASE. Hope it gets in this time. As of the end of May I’d almost finished the NSERC Alliance International application; I submitted it early June. Mostly the rest of the month was routine meetings with research students (10 days) and so much teaching, mostly ECE653. I’ve consolidated grad student meetings to mostly 1 day per week, so the number of days with student meetings is less. Worked on 23 days despite all the judo.


Average amount:

  • You@Waterloo Day: wow, an actual marketing & undergrad recruiting in-person event!
  • Organized SE23 “full-time job negotiation” panel, plus a picnic for my grad students.
  • Walks As A Service: 4 (once in Montreal with students from SE26), plus one call.
  • SE23 class rep elections.
  • Ongoing planning for SE graduation celebration.
  • SIGPLAN mentoring: 2 conversations.

We share a TA pool for Design Project and Software Requirements, so I’ve been contributing to TA management there too.


Kind of full on again. 125 student grad course, plus SE 490 (“Design Project I”). SE 490 is perhaps less work than a full course, but still. Tiny bit of leftover work from last term: sent comments on a course project.


  • 🚶 Walking: 106km on 18 days (more than I thought)
  • 🚲 Biking: 246km on 21 days
  • 🚗 Driving: 720km on 12 days (Pearson 4x = 440km)
  • 🚆 Train: 517km (TRTO-MTRL)
  • 🚗 Taxi: 16km (delayed train = taxi rather than bus to judo camp)
  • 🚇 Métro: 92km on 6 days
  • 🚌 Bus: 101km, also 6 days
  • 🛩 Plane: 1504km (3× one-way YYZ-YUL or YUL-YYZ)

Biking is my primary means of transportation in KW for sure. On travel days I often have 5 or 6 means of transportation (e.g. driving, walking, cycling, taking the bus, metro, and flying). Trips to Pearson aside, biking and driving distance are in the same order of magnitude.

Trip: Montreal, Judo Quebec pre-Nationals training camp

I took the train for the first time since December 2021 (which was Québec to Montreal). Not sure if I’m super thrilled with being on a train for 6 hours. But it’s cheaper than flying and less boring and safer than driving.

So, on the Friday, after the first meeting of the Capstone Design Project course, I carpooled from campus to Toronto with Derek, leaving my car in Derek’s parking garage, and stayed overnight at Marco’s place in Toronto. On Saturday, I took bikeshare to Union Station, the train, a taxi to the training camp (the train was late), and got a ride back to my parents’ house.

Club Judo Boucherville, judo training camp: smaller block.

The judo training camp was probably the highest-COVID-risk activity I did in May. 80 unmasked people doing exercise. Could have taken out a quarter of the Québec team for Nationals. Fortunately it didn’t seem to, in the event—Québec was not having a wave during the camp.

The bus to Boucherville was not bad, especially for a Sunday. Not busy at all. Not super frequent, but enough? Afterwards, I took a stroll in the Vieux-Port, which was better than the nearby walk through the Cité du Multimedia that I’d done the previous time I was in Montréal.

I stayed for the Monday, went bouldering at Bloc Shop, took the plane back to Toronto, and drove back to Waterloo. Driving to Toronto on the Friday afternoon took 2 hours, while driving home on Monday evening took 1h10.

Josephine la poutine; Esplanade Tranquille; trees in bloom in parents' backyard; My Nemesis V5 at Bloc Shop.

Trip: Montreal, judo Open Nationals

This should be its own post: Trip report: 2022 Judo Open Nationals.

Quebec team gear for Nationals; from the stands; Veterans -66kg podium; cutting to -60kg.

Overall it was a good return to senior competition; my most recent senior Canadian circuit points before that were in 2016. This was about as well as I thought I could do. Obviously I’d like to do better, but also, it is the Nationals.

Future travel planning

Planned the late May Nationals trip early in May and YVR trip for July; got ticket to Wellington as soon as the exam schedule came out; organized Iles de la Madeleine scooter rental (first request seems to have gotten lost).

Volunteering (OAC)

Apart from the Rattlesnake cleanup (was nice to see people), I also managed to figure out how to use the CiviCRM API. It’s actually quite easy. I used it to reset event signup dates. Better than clicking around on the web interface. Also we’re using it for a member lookup tool.


The priority this month was judo.

  • Judo training: 7 practices + 3 camp sessions + 2 days of competition (6 matches, including a 8 minute match)
  • Climbing: 1 bouldering (after judo camp); 0 Rattlesnake (too cold + rainy); 1 Mount Nemo
  • Plyometrics: 5 to get fast for Nationals
  • Walk with students: 13km
Back to Mount Nemo after 2 years. It's still Ontario limestone.


  • Joséphine la Poutine: pretty good poutine in a food court in Place Versailles. Might be better than the place I usually go near my parents’, Bellepros.
  • Bagatelle: they always say “Bagatelle-bistro-apportez-votre-vin” as their name. They want to get out the message about being a BYO place? Anyway, the patio was great. Well-executed bistro food near the Marché Maisonneuve. Had been there a bunch of years ago before they rebranded.
  • Sushi Nanami: extremely sociable guy working front-of-house; perhaps a bit more sashimi than I wanted when cutting weight (but it worked out OK).
  • La Dinette MTL: well, it’s in Canada, but quite good tacos (but you have to get 3, not 1).
  • Schwartz’s: it really is better than the smoked meat available in the Trudeau airport Maple Leaf Lounge! And the fries were way better than from St. Hubert, even if I was eating it all on a bench on St. Laurent.
  • St-Viateur Bagel: Fairmount had a pretty long looking line. St-Viateur did not. There I went.
  • Brasserie McAuslan: good outdoor space on the Lachine Canal. Pizzas are good enough given the location and the focus on, well, being a brewery.
  • DeyJah’s House of Patties: the location in 42 Bridgeport didn’t seem to work out for them, but I did get a bunch of frozen patties and am working through the box. Well worth the 30 minute toaster oven wait.

Plus the usual places in Kitchener-Waterloo when I was there.

Tacos; St-Hubert (with mediocre fries); Schwartz's (with excellent fries).

May posts

  • Three days in Yellowknife: I was writing the April monthly summary and noticed that a Yellowknife trip report had appeared, so I pulled it out. Pictures to come.
  • Travel philosophy: Written in March 2020, but the moment wasn’t quite right for posting it. People are definitely travelling now. I still have some qualms. But, I don’t think there’ll be a much better time to post in the near future.


Plugging along.

Sulphur-crested cockatoo at Willowbank; swallows; tourist train at Oamaru; aurora in Yellowknife; Kapiti Island from Kapakapanui; Avalanche Peak and Mount Somers views.

I guess that if I finish Tongariro then I’ve done all the major trips up to a year ago. There are some more one-day sets from the first half of 2021 as well, but there shouldn’t be too many of those.

To do, all from 2021:

  • [February] Tongariro Northern Circuit
  • [June] Rotorua (airport walk)
  • [July] Hobbiton
  • [July] Aotea
  • [August] Cook Islands
  • [September] Sea to Sky II
  • [September] Paparoa Track & the Glaciers
  • [September/October] Abel Tasman Coast Track
  • [October] Mt. Cook and Mt. Somers
  • [October] Red Rocks
  • [November] Lunar eclipse
  • [November] Leaving NZ

Even more pictures from 2022:

  • [January] Walking around KW
  • [February] Reading week trip to Montreal
  • [March] Avalanche course
  • [April] Yellowknife (the rest of it)
  • [April] Northland
  • [May] trips 1 and 2 to Montreal


Need a break (from teaching). Looking ahead, June is pretty quiet; MP arrives on June 21, and then it gets really busy with weekend trips.