Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Hez's New Bike

Hez's New Bike, originally uploaded by Xenoc.

Hez just brought his new bike over to show it off. Sweeeet!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


Pizza, originally uploaded by Xenoc.

Sara and I made pizza from scratch last week. She did most of the work, making the dough and chopping the veggies, but I helped by grating the cheese, and helped put the toppings on. It was incredibly tasty, even with the "ground round", some ground-beef-like tofu product.

Hopefully the photo posting works this time.


Last night, Sara, Jenny and I went to the Park Cinema on Cambie for the first time to watch Pirates of the Caribbean. It was an entertaining movie, and the theatre was great.
On the way home, we had to cross through an area where they've got the entire street ripped up so they can burry some concrete pipe.
I snapped a cute photo of Sara and Jenny in a section of the pipe on the way home.
(I'm emailing this to the blogger publishing address with the photo attached, in the hopes it'll work.)

(Ok, so it didn't work. Here's the picture.)

Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep Beep!

There's a server in the server room (behind a closed door about 10 feet from me) that's beeping. It's been beeping since yesterday morning. It's quiet, on the limit of audibility, but it's there. I can just hear it if I put my headphones on without music playing. If music is playing I can't hear it. But as soon as my headphones come off, beep beep beep beep beep. It's slowly driving me insane. I've asked that something be done about it before I go insane, but it doesn't look like that'll happen until tomorrow. If it wasn't behind a locked door, I'd be in there with a screwdriver right now, shoving a wad of gum in the speaker.


I finally got around to ditching bogofilter last night, and setting up spamassassin last night. I'm pretty happy that as of this morning, only one spam got through to my inbox, of the approximatly 30 spam emails that my account received. In addition, all 5 or 6 of my non-spam messages made it into my inbox.
The thing that prompted all this was my new Treo. I want to use it to access email, but I don't want to be wasting my data bandwidth downloading spam.
So far, so good.
I'm also trying out ChatterEmail, which seems pretty good so far. It's got a neat feature for "pseudo-push", where if the Treo recieves a text-message with a certain piece of text in it, will cause it to check for new email. I've configured my mail server to use the Telus email->SMS gateway to send this text-message whenever I receive new email. Less than a minute later, my Treo vibrates twice to inform me of this new email. Pretty freaking cool.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

New Phone Number

So Sara and I each got a Palm Treo 650 pda/phone last night, so we've got new phone numbers. My new number is still a 778 number, but the next 3 digits are 30 lower than before (take the old 3, and subtract 30), and the last 4 are 5541 lower than before (take the last 4 from before, subtract 5541, and then put a zero at the front.)
I hope that made sense. If not, drop me an email.
So far, I'm very much enjoying my Treo. It's nice to be able to keep my phone numbers in one place. I was always frustrated before because I'd have the new number on my phone, and still have old numbers on the palm, or vice-versa. Now, they're all in one place, and I can dial easily through the palm address book software and all that. Sweet. :)

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

It's All Gone

So, I just decided to try to restore my palm from backups. I was phenomonally stupid a couple weekends ago, and let my palm battery get SO low that the volitile memory, storing all my years of data, went dead. Basically, my data's all gone. I just found out that my most recent backup is titled "2004-03-30". Yes, that's right, over 2 years old. It's before I even started dating Sara.
I find it hard to imagine how much I lost. The frustrating thing is, I even tried doing a backup a couple months ago, but ended up spending so much time fiddling with trying to get it to work automatically, that I never actually did a proper backup. I'm an idiot.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Cute Kitten Video

I've been trying not to get in the habit of posting videos, but I just have to. Hez sent me this link, and it's just adorable.
For those of you in Linux, or at work, it IS "suitable for work", and you don't need sound for it.

Stupid Fido

I'm rather annoyed with Fido, my current cell-phone provider. They were bought by Rogers Wireless a year ago or so.

I left Telus Mobility to sign up with Fido because I wanted a phone with bluetooth. Telus had jerked me around for 2 years, telling me they'd have phones with bluetooth "any time now", or "in 3 months". I eventually got fed up and signed up with Fido, got a (I thought) decent bluetooth phone, and was all good. Used the bluetooth with my laptop to get online, used it to sync my phonebook with my Palm, and life was good. Except that the Sony Ericson Z600 I bought is a piece of junk. The user interface looks pretty, but functions slowly. It's hard to navigate around because it's always half a second behind. It randomly locks up from time to time. Sometimes it decides to sync it's time from the network, but it asks me about it, and when it does, the backlight on the LCD comes on, while it's sitting in my pocket, and stays on until I notice, which drains the battery. If I get a call while it's waiting for me to say "ok, just do it, damnit" for it's time update, it'll lock up solid. I have to pull the battery to get it to recover. Sometimes the interface lags so far behind I'm not sure if I actually pressed the button. Waiting 5 seconds to navigate into a menu item is just rediculous. I was trying to set up my timezone properly (sometimes when it syncs the time it screws up the timezone) and it ended up locking up for 30-60 seconds at a time just trying to navigate around the menu items. Oh, and it's reception sucks.

So, thanks to all this, and the fact that my Palm has been acting flaky lately, I really want to get a Treo to replace them both. Everyone I've talked to that has one is really happy with it. Unfortunatly, of the 4 cell-phone companies here (Bell, Rogers, Telus, Fido), Fido is the ONLY one that doesn't have a Treo. Oh, and even though Rogers owns them now, I can't transfer my Fido number to a Rogers account. What a load of crap.

Grad '96

I had an awesome weekend at Sara's 10th grad reunion.

Friday morning, I carted an extra couple bags to work on the bus in the morning, with my camera, laptop, and clothes for the weekend. I was thankful that things weren't too busy (for me, at least) at work, so I was able to leave at 4:00 in order to make it to the 5:10 ferry.

I almost missed the bus though. Somehow I confused "Dunsmuir & Cambie" with "Dunsmuir & Seymour", and so ended up sprinting about 4 blocks, with my two bags, in order to catch the bus. I did catch it on time, and had a nice ride to the Horseshoe Bay ferry terminal.

While I was on my down the gangway, boarding the ferry, Warren approached me. As it turns out, he was catching a ride with us from the Departure Bay ferry terminal down to Brentwood with us, so I had some company on the ferry ride over. On the way, he told me a little bit about what he's been doing these days. I knew he was working on a doctorate in maths, but wasn't sure specifically what he was doing, or if I'd even understand what it was. Turns out, he's working on control theory, which, though I don't know much about, sounds absolutely fascinating. It's all about the mathematics behind automated control systems, like cruise control, autopilots, HVAC systems, industrial automation, you name it.

When we arrived in Nanaimo, Sara was ready and waiting for us. She had been watching a movie, Superman Returns, a bit later than expected, and she wasn't sure if she'd be there when we got off. As it turns out, she got there just as we were disembarking from the ferry, so the timing was excellent.

We hit the highway, heading to Brentwood, stopping on Duncan for gas, alcohol, and dinner for Sara, as Warren and I had eaten on the ferry.

We got to Brentwood at around 8:30, after registration had closed for the night, but we found our room assignments from the sheet on the wall, and were rather surprised to find it reading "Sara Quist ('96) and husband". We all had a good laugh about that, and spent the rest of the weekend denying it whenever her classmates or teachers asked.

Before we even unloaded the car, we headed over to the new auditorium building for the wine and cheese reception. This was where I met most of Sara's classmates, though more continued to trickle in over the weekend. This was also when we all started to grasp that we hadn't really needed to stop by the liquor store, as there seemed to be ample supply of beer and wine, of which we consumed our fair share.

At one point in the evening, one of Sara's teachers took us on a tour of the new building, which was absolutely gorgeous. Sara's so jealous now that it wasn't there when she was attending Brentwood.

The festivities continued well into the night, and I understand where were still people up partying at 5am. We, however, turned in around 2am (I think). Warren is another story, but I'll leave that one for someone else to tell. :)

On Saturday, another of Sara's teachers took us down to the room she and Warren had Biology class in, and we sat down there and chatted for a good hour or two. While we were there, he showed us a SmartBoard, a whiteboard that's all computerized, with a projector for display, and a touch-sensitive surface for drawing on with "pens", or just your finger. It was really quite fascinating.

All in all, the time at Brentwood was a lot of fun, but when the time came to go, it was just as well, because I was starting to go into social withdrawal, after being social with so many strangers.

We left around 11:30 on Sunday, on our way to Beacon Hill park, in Victoria. Along the way, we stopped at a street-market sort of thing, and spent a few minutes wandering around looking at the hand-made art and crafts stuff. I was pleasantly surprised to see quite a few booths of people selling photographs. I seem to usually only see paintings, and while I appreciate the work and talent that goes into them, I like seeing photographs, as I can identify with the work that goes into them a bit closer, being a photography nut myself.

After we had seen our fill, we hopped back into the car and drove to Beacon Hill park. I had a wonderful relaxing time meandering around the park with Sara, taking pictures as we went, and just enjoying the weather. At one point, we heard what sounded like music, and wandered towards it, to find a brass band warming up on the band shell. Checking the signs, we saw that there would be a free concert there in half an hour. We wandered back off for a while, and came back as the concert was about to begin. I snapped a few photos of the band as they were warming up individually, and after a moment, one of the guys wandered over towards us with carrying a trumpet or something. For a moment I was concerned that he was going to ask me not to take any photos, which would have been kind of depressing, but he handed me the band's card, and asked me to drop them a like if I got any good photos, as they're putting together a promotional press kit. That just made my day, so I made sure I did get plenty of photos, and once I've had some time to go through them, I'm going to email them and see if they'd like any of them. Maybe I can make a few bucks off it.

The band that was playing was the Beacon Hill Brass band, and they were great. They did quite a wide variety of pieces, everything from early renaissance pieces, to some more modern pieces based on some stray cats that the composer had taken in. Unfortunately, we had to leave at the intermission, as we had plans for dinner with Sara's dad. I would have liked to stay for the whole thing, it was quite fun, but I was hungry too, and I must learn to listen to the beast within. ;)

Dinner with Sara's dad was great. We surprised him with the car (which I can now blog about!) and then walked over to Maude's, the pub nearby, for some food. I had a chicken caesar salad, which was very tasty.

After dinner (or lunch, it was around 3 pm), we drove up to the airport to pick up Warren, who had found a vehicle to borrow for his afternoon visiting, which he was then dropping off at the airport for another family member who was flying in late that night. It saved someone having to drive out from Duncan to pick them up too. Funny how things just seem to work out like that sometimes.

We got to the ferry 2 cars too late to get on the 6pm ferry, which was thankfully more humourous than frustrating, because we'd only been planning to catch the 7pm anyways. While we were waiting in line, I opened the presents from Sara's mom, and was very pleasantly surprised to find a jig-saw (the tool, not a puzzle) and some blades. I guess this means I'll have to follow up on making some chairs for our SCA camping. At the last event, Christine's brother had some really neat and very simple chairs that he had made. I'll have to email him and get the instructions for them now, but I seem to recall that you just need some 2x12's or something, cut into roughly 5' lengths, with a few chunks cut out of them in particular ways that should be almost trivial to do with a jig-saw. I have to say, I've always thought jig-saws were really cool anyways, because of the type of cuts you can do with them.

On the way back on the ferry, the captain made an announcement that there was some entertainment in the water ahead, a bunch (school?) of killer whales. We just happened to be at the front of the boat, so I went up to the windows (along with half the passengers, I bet the stern was half out of the water) and could see them just barely, in the distance. They were too far to make out well, so I went back to my seat a little bit disappointed. Not a minute later, we found out they were alongside the boat, on the same side as us. I was at the window immediately, and got to see them leaping and blowing alongside the boat as we passed them, for at least a minute or so. It was an amazing site, and I called Sara over to see, but she came only reluctantly. I wasn't until after that I asked her, and realized that this was nothing new to her. Growing up on the islands, and taking ferries so often, she'd seen them many times before, sometimes even from her house on Galiano island. Oh well, I enjoyed it. :)

After getting back on dry land, and dropping Warren off at home, we followed tradition, and went to the Eatery for dinner. It was delicious, as usual, and we went home satiated.

Friday, July 07, 2006

More Computer Stupidities

I just ran across this on the Computer Stupidities website, and it made me think of Sara's time at UBC music school. That's not to say that Sara's "excessively terrible at singing", quite the contrary, she sings beautifully, and I'm quite thankful for that, given this story:
I was an IBM tech at the time. A customer called in with a complex problem. During the course of the call I could hear, in the background, a screeching wail. I tried to ignore it, but it was distracting, and later I began to get worried about what sort of thing was going on there. About five minutes into the call I considered putting the customer on hold and calling the police when the customer asked if I was wondering what the noise in the background was. She said, "I work in an opera school, and that particular student is excessively terrible at singing." I had to put the customer on hold until I stopped laughing.

Washing your Keyboard

Before I get into this, I just want to say that this isn't a procedure I would recommend anyone try, especially on a modern keyboard.
Back in university, around the same time as the last post (sometime in 1999 I imagine), I had an old IBM Model-M keyboard. One of the ones with buckling spring keyswitches.
I used to love that keyboard. Who needs ICQ sound effects when your keyboard goes KLACK KLACK KLACK all on it's own. That thing was heavy, but boy was it solid.
So, one night, the eventually-inevitable happened, and I spilled a can of Coke on my keyboard. Not wanting to have to replace it with a quieter, but flimsier, modern keyboard, I proceeded to "fix" it. I took it all apart, removed the small circuit board with the ICs on it, and put the rest of it in the bathtub. Yes, in the bathtub. With water. I swirled it around in there for a few minutes, then let it soak for an hour or two. When it was done, I took it out and let it all dry for a full 24 hours before reassembling it. It worked perfectly again. I was so happy. :)
Some time after that, I spilled on it again, and did the same thing. Unfortunately, I let it soak for too long this time, and a capacitor soaked up a bunch of water and expanded. This was just too much effort to bother trying to fix, so I bought a logitech keyboard, which I am still using to this day.

Hard Drive Woes (of the past)

Ben's comment on my last posting reminded me of a few things that happened to hard drives back in University. Oh, and one that happened to a CD burner.
Dayton had a awesomely fast and reliable Yamaha CD burner. This was back in the day when Yamaha made the only IDE CD burners that you could rely on to consistently burn anything other than coasters. At some point when we were moving stuff in and out of residence, I was carrying an armload of stuff which I'd stupidly tossed the burner on top of. As I was walking down the hallway, approaching the jig in the hall where it zigzagged left, then right, the burner slid forwards off my pile of stuff. I tried to cushion it's fall by getting my foot under it, but mistimed it such that I ended up booting the drive down the hallway, right into the wall. It still worked after that, but was never quite the same.
Dayton did something similar to my 850 MB Maxtor hard drive sometime after that too, but I don't remember the details of how it happened. I do remember something else that happened to that Maxtor though. With my new computer, with a 6.4 GB and 4.3 GB hard drive, the Maxtor had become sort of an extra. I would hook it up when I needed it, and (usually) unhook it when I was done. I didn't feel like mounting it properly in the case every time, so I usually left it sitting on the top of the case. As it happens, the way the cables went, the easiest way to place it was sitting with the circuit board side of it facing up. One day, I bumped a cup of coffee that was on the edge of my desk, and it tipped over, spilling coffee all over the circuit board of that drive, which was on my computer right beside the desk. I reached for the power switch on the back of the computer and turned it off as fast as I could. After sopping up the coffee, and dabbing at the drive with a damp cloth, I let it dry for a while. After that, it worked as well as ever for another few years.
So remember boys and girls, no, your hard drive is not thirsty.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Installing new RAM

I found a link the other day, while reading some article, to a website called Computer Stupidities.
Reading a couple of the stories there reminded me of something from university.
I don't remember all the details, but it was while I lived in residence, during my second year. Our little group had become rather well known in the student residence as being tech savy, so everyone and their dog would come knock on our door asking for computer help. At one point it got so bad, we put a sign up on the door saying "No computer help unless you look like this", with a picture of, I believe, Milla Jovovich.
While Milla Jovovich never knocked on our door, we did break the rule and help a few particularly attractive undergraduate women with their computer problems.
Anyways, the incedent I've been remembering was before the sign went up. I don't even remember how it originally started, but some guy came to us for computer help. I ended up going over to look at his computer, and eventually found out that the motherboard was fried. After enough talking to him, I finally figured out that he had installed new RAM in his computer. By himself. While it was on.

Woodwards 'W' is gone!

I can't believe it! They've taken down the big 'W' on the Woodwards building! That thing was a downtown Vancouver landmark.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Island Test

I'm really annoyed. I already posted this, but somehow it never published, so now I have to retype it all.

One of my favorite online writers, Paul Graham, has an interesting new essay up, titled "The Island Test".

I've discovered a handy test for figuring out what you're addicted to. Imagine you were going to spend the weekend at a friend's house on a little island off the coast of Maine. There are no shops on the island and you won't be able to leave while you're there. Also, you've never been to this house before, so you can't assume it will have more than any house might.

What, besides clothes and toiletries, do you make a point of packing? That's what you're addicted to.

I'm not sure if it's fair to assume that this house would have electricity, but I'll make that assumption, since my #1 item pretty much depends on it. My items would be my laptop, a stack of novels, and my camera, with some lenses and close-up filters.

I guess that paints a pretty clear picture of what I'm addicted to.

The Weekend

I had an awesome long-long-weekend. On Tuesday night, we decided not to wait for the morning, and headed up to Kelowna that night. My mom waited up for us, so we had a brief visit with her when we arrived at around 1:30am. It was a nice drive up, in the cool evening weather. The next day was scorching hot, so I'm glad we went up when we did.
The time in Kelowna was nice and relaxing, swiming in the lake and just relaxing at my parents' house reading my book. We also spent something like 2 1/2 hours at Value Village buying clothes. I got lots of great summer shirts, and a couple of pairs of cargos. I was silly and didn't get any shorts though. I also got a few nice long-sleved shirts for work, once the weather cools down this fall.
On Friday morning we left for Williams Lake. We left my parents' house down Westside road, which is very twisty and fun to drive. I was driving, however, so the Sara ended up having to take some gravol for the nasea and passed out. She was on-and-off asleep the whole way to Williams Lake, which was kind of too bad, because it meant I had to drive the whole way. Next time, she drives first shift.
The time in Williams Lake was great, even if it was a bit overwhelming for Sara to meet so many of my relatives. It was the first time we've had all my grandparents grandkids together for years, and I think it might be the first time ever that we've had all eight of us together, as the youngest is, well, pretty young. It was a lot of fun. Many games of Racko and Pictionary were played, though my sister and her friend Geoff won every single game of Pictionary they played. They were quite a team. It was great to see everyone, but in the end, I was glad to come home too.
On Saturday night in Williams Lake I got to open my birthday presents a day early. From my parents and sister I got a 320 GB hard drive. That'll go nicely in my server, so I can replace my ailing 40 GB drive in my gateway. Sara got me a set of computer surround sound speakers. I bought a set of Logitech Z-5300e 5.1 surround speakers a few months ago, with the Best Buy gift card CUCBC gave me when I left, and I've enjoyed them so much, I asked for another set for my birthday, to hook up to the old LCD-less laptop we use for watching movies and tv series. I mounted them around the bed (where we watch movies, leaning up against pillows stacked up against the headboard) the night we got home, so we could watch an episode or two of 24. Unfortunatly, the built-in soundcard in the laptop doesn't actually do surround sound, so we're stuck with simulated-from-stereo surround sound until I can get my Creative Labs Extigy USB sound card working properly in Linux.
Sara's gone for the next couple evenings, on the Island visiting her mom, so I'll have some time to tinker with stuff.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Pay Parking-Meters by Phone!

Wow, is this ever cool! I look forward to them rolling it out to all the meters here. I can see it being really handy.

TP In the Urinal

You know, it's things like this that really make me sceptical about the general intelligence of humanity. Twice now in two days, I've seen a big wad of toilet paper sitting in one of the urinals in the washroom here at work, yellow with soaked up urine. It's disgusting. Anyone with eyes can see that urinals have a grate at the bottom, and will NOT flush anything through. The washroom in question services this floor of the building. This entire floor is rented by the company I work for. I've generally thought, and still do, that the people I work with here are pretty damn smart. A good portion of them are probably what I'd call the cream of the crop, or at least close to. Yet somehow, on a floor of (I'm guessing here) about 100 people, with maybe 60 of them being men, we end up with stupid crap like toilet paper in the urinal.
I expect this kind of stuff in a highschool, or a bar or club, even in a restaurant. People in general are pretty stupid, in my opinion. I'm rather shocked to see it here though.
If the human race is getting this stupid, can I quit? Is there somewhere I can just get off the train?
Hrmf. Stupid people.

My Weekend

I had a pretty awesome weekend, so I just want to recap it here before I forget.

Sara took me for an early birthday breakfast (about a week early) at Cloud 9, a revolving restaurant downtown. Fun :)
At 11:00, there was a harp recital and potluck lunch at her harp teacher's house, so we went to that.
Afterwards, we were rather tired, so we went home and naped, until around 5:30.
Then we called up Conan, and went over there. We ate nachos and played Carcazone(sp?) for a while with him and Jen, then we all sat around and played video games. Sara snagged Josh's Gameboy DS Lite and played Mario. Totally oldskool style! Conan and I played some Ratchet & Clank, an absolutely hillarious futeristic battle-robot game. Or something. The in-game commentary was pretty funny, if a bit repetative. Jen played something on her laptop... not sure what she was playing.
We got home around 1am.

I slept in till around 10:30, then drove Sara to work so I could wander down 4th ave on Kits day. There was soapbox racing, which was pretty funny to watch (wish I had my camera with me), and I even got to see Gordon Campbell drive some 12 wheeled limo soapbox down 4th ave.
I spent the rest of the day soaking up tons of sun. I washed and vacuumed the car, and sat around in the backyard reading. I also wandered around Heather park talking to my parents on the phone, and then called my old highschool friend Tegan, who I haven't talked to for a while. I talked to her husband Carn for a while, because she was at work, and then talked to her later when she got home. Turns out they're planning on going camping the same weekend as the big f00f camping trip, so I've invited them along. Regardless, I'll have a chance to see them while I'm in Calgary.
Later in the day I picked up Sara from work, and we picked up some quick groceries. At home, I BBQ'd some steak for dinner. Yum! Turned out great. After dinner we watched the first 3 episodes of "24", season 1. I think I've got Sara hooked. I've seen season 1 before, but it's long enough ago that I'm really enjoying seeing it again, and I'm looking forward to watching the newer seasons too.

All in all, it was a pretty awesome weekend. :)

Monday, June 26, 2006

Doom Doom Doom!

As I mentioned in a previous post, I broke things in production on Thursday morning. As a result, I provided entertainment at our weekly department update meeting at 9:30 this morning. The tradition at this company is that people who achieve particularly spectacular screwups get to sing at the Monday morning meeting. Since much of the office here seem to be Invader Zim fans, I made my Monday morning debut singing "The Doom Song", as performed by Grr.
The lyrics are as follows:
I'm going to sing the doom song now.
Doom doom, doom doom doom doom doom doom doom!
Doom doom doom, doom, doom doom doom doom doom doom doom dooooom,
doom doom doom dooooom,
doom doom doom doom doom doom doom doom doom doom
doom doom doom doom doom doom
doomdoomdoom doom doom doom
doom doom doom
Doom doom doom then end.
Unfortunately, I didn't get a helium balloon last night. Even so, it seemed to go over well. I'll be doing me best to ensure this isn't required again.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006


Wow, do I ever need a new palm. I just pulled mine out to check something, and it looks like the backlight has bit the dust. Generally, my Tungsten T has been a piece of crap since I bought it. Within the first year, I had to exchange it, because the digitizer was drifting like crazy. I had to recalibrate it every time I took it out of my pocket. The replacement they sent me has been no better, after the first couple months. Half the time it decides it doesn't want to bother reminding me about things I've set up reminders for. Yeah... useful. Makes me wonder if getting another Palm product is such a hot idea, but the Treo's seem to be the only decent PDA/Phone combo out there, and I'd like to stop having to carry two devices.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Sea... Planet! Sea... Earth!

Saturday was great.
Sara and I spent the afternoon at Stanley park with lots of friends. Devon and Jenny, and others from Academy Duelo were there. Sam was there too, with her new beau Peter.
There was some sword fighting, which I didn't partake in, and some frisbee, which I did. Sam and Peter and I tossed the frisbee around until we were about ready to drop.
Later in the evening, Sam and Peter came over to play some games
First up was Settlers of Cattan. It was Peter's first time. Sara and Sam rocked the game, to nobody's surprise, and Sam won it mere moments before Sara would have.
Next was Pictionary, which I've owned since October, but hadn't played yet. Or rather, I've played Pictionary, but not my somewhat-newly purchased box. Somehow, Sara and I won the game, despite me being unable to guess "Sea World", all the while shouting "Sea... planet! Sea... earth!". I felt a little slow. ;)
It sure was a fun day.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Exciting Morning

Well, I've had an exciting morning so far. On the bus on the way to work this morning, I got a call from a number I didn't recognize. Turns out it was my boss (or one of them, at least) calling to say that something was broken in the production website (the one that makes us money), and wanting to know if I'm near a computer, or my ETA to the office. The bus was only 10 minutes from work, so I passed my Starbucks after getting off the bus (what an effort of will that took) and rushed into the office. It only took me about 10 minutes to find and fix the problem, which turned out not to be anything related to my code after all. Phew.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sealion War

Sealion War this year was pretty good. I say only "pretty good" as opposed to "awesome" because I was sneezing, and my nose was dripping, and my eyes were so itchy I wanted to carve them out of my head with a spoon. Apparently the field the event took place on was "hayed" on Friday night, so my alergies hit me like a Mack truck. Other than that, the event was awesome. I didn't shoot archery, unfortunatly, because my back was still a bit sore from last week. I went to the doctor on Thursday and had an hour long massage, which helped a lot, but I still wasn't feeling 100%. I have another appointment for this Thursday, and I'm still debating about whether to do archery on Tuesday.
Oh, I'm also sick.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Home Town Kids

I was just about to write something like "I can't believe something like this happened in my home town", but realized that it would be completely false. I absolutely DO believe something like this would happen there.
Handgun goes off on school bus

My Poor Back

Last Tuesday at archery I was silly, and forgot to stretch, both before and after. I did three royal rounds, scoring 49 (officially recorded), 50, and 49. The last two weren't officially recorded, because everyone left by then. It's getting frustrating, showing up as early as I possibly can, only to have everyone else leave nearly as soon as I get there, because they've somehow been there since 4:00 or 4:30 or something ridiculous.
Anyways, fast forward to Friday morning. I sit down at my desk, turn in my chair, and suddenly my upper back, between my shoulder blades, spasms like crazy, and I end up with two intensly painful knots of muscle on either side of my spine. Not at all pleasant. I ended up suffering though it until about noon, when I'd had enough and went home. Sara did a bit of massage on my back, and I spent the next couple hours in a nice hot bath after taking some muscle relaxants. Well, here I am, Tuesday, and my back is still sore. Guess I won't be going to archery tonight. I should probably so see a massage therapist about this, instead of just waiting for it to go away.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Subway Geniuses

The brainiac employees of Subway strike again. Way too much freakin' mustard.
I really don't understand how their brain is functioning. I asked for "mayo", just "mayo". I didn't qualify or quantify, and I got one line of mayo across my sandwich. Then I asked for "Just a little bit of mustard, just one line", to which I got THREE lines of mustard! If that's "a little bit", than how much is "a lot"? Do they have a bucket of mayo somewhere they'll just dip the whole freakin' sandwich in if I ask for "a lot"? I told her as much this time. I said "I asked for a LITTLE BIT of mustard", and she proceded to very painfully try to scrape mustard off of the shredded lettuce.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Perfect Subject

I had a fun day today, to top off a rather boring work. I've been in a "Advanced JBoss" training session in Burnaby all week, and it's been incredibly boring. If you thought 3 hour university lectures were a drag, try 8 hours. We get breaks, for lunch, and to keep our rear ends from fusing with the chairs, but still, 4 days of listening to the same guy go on about basically the same thing, for at least 6.5 of those 8 hours is rather tedious. To say the least.
Anyways, today was much better, partly just from the knowledge that it was the last day. Also, we went out for lunch today, as the food suplied the other days was a bit lacking. Lunch at Cactus Club was entertaining.
After work, I drove downtown to pick up Sara where she had been working, at the Robson Sage store, and take us to Tinsletown to meet up with many friends for dinner and a movie, X-Men 3. We went to this great Chinese place for dinner, I don't remember the name, but Ben recommended it. He told the waiter we wanted a meal for $14 each, and the waiter worked his magic, and shortly after, food started appearing on the table. It was awesome.
After the wonderful dinner, we walked back to Tinsletown and managed to get some decent seats for the movie, even though we arrived only 25 minutes before showtime on opening night. The movie was excellent. A lot of it was filmed in Vancouver, or at Royal Roads University outside Victoria, so some of the buildings were familiar. A lot of the outdoorsy stuff looks like it was filmed around here too.
When we got home, I noticed a dragonfly on the inside of the gate, just sitting there. I grabbed the camera and my tripod and headed out there. I'm rather happy about this, because Hez was kind enough to lend me his absolutely gorgeous Canon 24-70 f/2.8 L lens for a few days, and I haven't really had much time to shoot anything with it. My goodness goes that lens have a LOT of glass in it! It's enourmous! Anyways, I got what I think will be some great shots.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Mystery Gas?

This news article is just so creepy. It's like something you'd only expect to hear in the movies. Person #1 goes missing. Person #2 goes looking, and finds them dead. Person #2 goes for help, and brings in Person #3 and #4. On returning to the body of Person #1, Person #2 dies, followed by #3 and #4. Totally freakish.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

British Submarines

I just read a newspaper article about some submarines that Canada bought from Britain in 1998 that made me laugh.
The deal was considered good at the time, but the fleet has been plagued with problems ever since. There have been serious electrical problems, rust and general deterioration in the submarines, which had sat mothballed in salt water for the previous four years.
Something British that has electrical problems and rust, who'da thunk!

40 Year Celebration


8:30 am: Jessica and Dorothy have arrived at our house by 8:30 as requested, and we're nowhere near ready. I'm in the process of topping up the coolant on the van, which had been overheating, and Sara is running around doing the packing we didn't do the night before. I was absolutely exhausted from a week of late nights, so I had a nap after work. Sara decided (thanks hun!) that I could probably use the sleep, so she didn't wake me up for dinner and packing, and I proceeded to sleep through till morning, 12 hours later. We got up at 7:30 and started packing and getting things ready, but after an hour, we still had a long ways to go.

Sara had spent Thursday driving to Dorothy and Jessica's places to get their stuff, but it was kind of haphazardly packed in the van, so that needed to be all unloaded, and repacked, without stuff, so we could get it all in. That took a while, and to make things even more fun, it decided to rain, and even hail, while we were in the process. We had to cover everything we unloaded with tarps so that it didn't get soaked.

Around 10:30 am we finally had everything packed, and hit the road.

The drive down was fairly uneventful until Renton. We were ripping down the 405, through Renton, looking for the exit to the 167, which I missed, when I suddenly realized that we were crossing the I-5, heading west. Whoops, wrong way. Turning around didn't look feasable, as there was miles of backed up traffic heading back east on the 405, so we took a little detour, and got on the I-5 heading south, which was an alternate route to the event. But, it was not to be. Traffic on the I-5 was horribly, so we found an exit in Tacoma that would take us over to Puyalluo, which was back on the route we had planned. So, after an hour long detour, we were back on track.

We stopped in Randle at the Adams-St Hellens Family Restaurant for a delicious pork chop dinner (we all had the pork chops), and raided the market next door for food and booze. We arrived at the site around 8:30 pm, as the sun was dipping below the horizon, and had just enough time to set up two of the three tents before darkness desended, leaving us to set up the third in the dark.

The site tokens for the event are beautiful stamped coins. They're quite large, and very nicely done. Some merchants were holders for them to wear around your neck, so we bought the ones Redwolf was selling. They're nice silver rings to go around the golden tokens. I don't know what either is actually made of, so by silver and gold I just mean the color.

The first night there we were quite shocked how cold it got. There was heavy frost on the ground in the morning, which the scorching sun promply eliminated. Thankfully we all had loads and loads of blankets. Despite that, the cold did cause lack of sleep for some.


On Saturday, we had breadfast at the Dew Drop Inn. There, we met Phillip (pronounced very Frenchly, Philleep), the Thief of An Tir. He took our orders, which he relayed to the lackey at the back, and we chatted with him while waiting for our Uber Breakfasts. He has some very interesting stories about food, amongst other things.

Later that day, Sara talked to Silverstone, the owner of the Inn, and arranged to do some chair massage for him, Phillip, and another, in exchange for some free meals for her and I. Gotta love barter.

In the afternoon, I popped over to the archery range, while Sara was doing massage, and shot a few rounds. I wasn't feeling particularly energetic in the heat, so I just shot at a close target a bunch, and watched my score go from 11 to 18 over the course of about 6 rounds. Oh, I almost forgot. I was wearing my wonderful new bracers that I bought at the event, from Arrow Leather. I bought a hat there on Sunday too, so I don't have to steal Sara's hat any more.

In the evening, after a delicious (free!) burger at the Dew Drop Inn, I layed down for a nap while Sara did some sewing on her new dress. From 9pm until midnight, some of the merchants where having a "midnight madness" sale, so we took advantage of that to pick up a few things. Unfortunatly, the hat place was closed, so I had to wait until Sunday morning to get my hat.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Massage Chair!

Sara's massage chair arrived yesterday, and joy of joys, I recieved the first massage! Now, if only I can find a way to make this a regular occurance... hmmm.
Sara also showed me a really funny video of some Aussie comedy band. I'll have you know, my map reading skills are excellent.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

So, I decided to try out today. So far, it seems pretty cool. I really like the idea of being able to keep track of bookmarks at work and at home, and on any computer, instead of being on my laptop and realizing the site I need is bookmarked at home on my desktop.
I'm going to try it out for a while, and see how it goes, but I'm feeling optimistic so far.

Hit n' Miss

Archery last night was kind of lame. By the time I arrived at around 7:00, everyone else was already leaving. Apparently most of them arrive at 5:00 or 5:30. Guess they must not be 9-5 workers. One guy stayed later, so I stayed with him for 45 minutes or so. My aim was horribly compared to last week. I fired one arrow into the wood frame around the butt, and wasn't able to retrieve it intact. I busted it right off from the tip trying to get it out. At least it broke right at the tip, so it's only a couple centimeters shorter, and I can probably put a new tip on.
With that, and the other two that I've lost the tips on, I'm down from 12 arrows to 9. Or was it 11 I had fully made, and one without feathers? I can't even remember.

My Boss the Comedian

My boss here is quite the comedian. Well, both of my bosses, actually. They conspire regularly to ensure I enjoy my new job, damn them.

I sent them a short email today, reminding them that I'll be away Friday and Monday, and recieved an email shortly after:
Perhaps you didn't see this:
On that page was the following:
Vacation Policy

At this time, senior management has concluded that vacations form a serious drain on the company's resources and agility.

No vacation requests will be considered until further notice. Please understand that we believe this is best for the company. If you have any questions, please talk with your Technical Team Lead. We would be glad to field further concerns once we return from our extended work-related travels to Florida.


The Management
That got a good laugh out of me. I responded in kind, by saying that I'll be bringing my bow and arrows in to work to practice then, and asking when they plan to return from Florida.

Laughs all around. :)

Archery Tonight

I'm looking forward to archery practice tonight. Hopefully I'll get there in time to do a couple royal rounds with everyone before they all head off. Last week, they all left only half an hour or so after I got there. I'd really like to get some royal rounds in, as a refresher before the event this weekend.

On another note, I managed to communicate my desire for only a LITTLE BIT of mustard today, and my sandwich was much better for all that.

Monday, May 08, 2006


So I just got back picking up lunch from Subway, and I feel I have to blog this. It's happened to me 3 times now, all at the same Subway.
I like mayo. I generally like lots of mayo on my subs. Mustard, I'm not so crazy about. I like a little bit of it, as it does add something, but I find that too much of it just overwhelms the flavor of the rest of the food. Enter Subway. In theory, the great thing about Subway is that you tell them exactly what you want on the sub, and they assemble it to your specifications.
Subway Employee: "What would you like on your sub?"
Me: "Lettuce ..." pause for them to finish that so I don't overwhelm them with information. I find that if I tell them more than one thing at a time, they usually do the first one, and then just stop and look at me for more instructions. I've concluded that I'll save precious air and frustration by just giving it to them one at a time. Same thing at any fast food joint.
Me: "I'll have the #7, with Coke, to go."
Them: "#7, with Coke. Is that for here?"
But anyways, back to the subway.
Me: "Mayo... just a little bit of mustard."
So three times now, I've stood and watched as they pick up the mayo, and make one thin pass with the mayo across my sandwich. Sometimes I ask for lots of mayo, and that usually works out well. But then, they pick up the mustard and run it across my sandwich, and then again! Two strips of mustard when I asked for "just a little bit", and one of mayo when I didn't specify a quantity. What don't they understand about "a little bit". I've thought about calling them on it before, and maybe I will next time. At this point, there's a delicious, almost ready, sandwich sitting 3 feet away from me, and they procede to dump way too much mustard on it, overwhelming the flavors of the cheese and deli meats.
What's a guy to do?

Cars are expensive

I was just thinking about the list of things that need to be (or really should be) fixed on the car. It's kind of depressing.
  • Cracked headlight
  • Ripped & shrunk top
  • Shocks and springs
  • Skipping stereo
  • Wiper blades
  • Most fluids
In addition, there's still some weird rattle underneath the car that's only gotten louder, and a rattle under the right corner of the hood somewhere that's been driving me nuts for 2 years.

Threats and Allegations

So my good friend sonneva has threatened me with no Quiche unless I keep blogging. I guess as far as motivational strategies, there are worse.
I had a great weekend. Sara made me breakfast in bed on Saturday. She made bacon and eggs, with waffled with chopped strawberries and bananas on them. Sooo tasty.
While we ate breakfast, we watched a movie, Sideways. On Friday night, we were at a friend's housewarming party, and borrowed three movies. Someone told us Sideways was good. It says on the cover "Best comedy of the year", along with other glorious reviews and praises from illustrious newspapers and magazines. Frankly, I thought it was a piece of crap. Well, maybe not that bad. But best comedy of the year, my ass. There were maybe 3 scenes where I actually laughed. The rest of it was incredibly depressing, or just downright annoying.
After breakfast and the movie, we drove out to Boorman Archery in New Westminster so I could renew my membership in the Burnaby Archers. I'm looking forward to practice again this Tuesday, as it will be the second and last opportunity to shoot before the big SCA event this weekend. They 40th anniversary of the SCA is this year, and the local celebration is happening down near Olympia, WA this coming weekend.
Well, back to work.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006


I went to a LadyTron concert at the Commodore Ballroom last night with Zen and Sonneva. While it was entertaining, it wasn't nearly as good as the last LadyTron concert I was at there. For one thing, the opening band this time, some band called The Presets kind of sucked, in my opinion. Also, I found LadyTron's new music and stage presence to be more rock'n'roll, less techno electronica than last time. While I haven't heard their new albums, so this could just be an artifact of having seen them live, I much preferred their performance of the music from 604 than that of the newer stuff. It probably didn't help that the sound guys had the instrumentals cranked up so hard that I could hardly hear the singers' voices, let alone understand them. Thanks to that, the new music was unintelligable to me.
All in all, an enjoyable evening spent with some friends I haven't seen in too long.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sturgeon's Revelation

In chatting with a coworker about MySpace, which I still know virtually nothing about, he commented that there's a lot of stupid people there.
I responded that he could simplify that statement, and he returned a puzzled look.
"There's a lot of stupid people", I said.
He then suggested that that sounds like Sturgeon's Law, as applied to the populace. Sounds just about right to me.

Monday, March 20, 2006


Well, Daffodil Tourney was a lot of fun. It was my first SCA feast, and I have to say, it was pretty good. All 12 or so courses of it.

Unfortunatly, we were all up late Friday night playing Settlers of Catan, so we got up too late to make it to the site in time for me to sign up for the archery. Oh well, next time. I don't even know if I would have been able to hit the target, after so many month away from the bow.

When we got home, Sara said she had a surprise gift for me. She handed me the bow and told me it's mine now. Yay!

Friday, March 17, 2006


I need some leather. Unless I can find some nice ones for sale cheap this weekend at Daffodil, I think I'm going to have to make myself a couple leather bracers. If I make them almost as long as my forearm, and wide enough to wrap at least half way around my arm, then they should be able to hold down my baggy SCA garb well enough for me to shoot my bow.

I all honesty, the style of garb I've been wearing isn't quite correct for an archer, but my girlfriend is a rapier fighter, so I've been using some hand-me-down garb from her. She's also made me a couple very nice doublets, which go well with the time period she dresses, but unfortunatly, means baggy shirts that don't cooperate very well with a bowstring.

I think some bracers designed the right way would probably alleviate any problems though. I'm thinking just one big rectangle of leather, about 12" x 6", with leather straps coming off two corners, going through slots cut in the other two corners, and tied to each other. Should be easy enough to make, although I'm sure it's not "period". As long as it helps me shoot, and doesn't appear too out of period, I think that's what I'll do.

Now I just need to find some leather.

Spring MVC + Hibernate?

A couple months ago, when I was still working at CUCBC, Scott gave an awesome presentation called, I think "Java on Rails", that showed how Hibernate and JSF could be used to build simple webapps in Java almost as quickly as Rails allows you to do in Ruby. Today, a co-worker here just did a presentation on the Spring MVC framework, which looks very impressive.

I'm wondering again if I'll be able to find the time to put these tools to use building... well, I don't want to give it away. ;)

It looks like the general process is this:
1. Build out your database schema
2. Use in ant to create the hibernate mappings and POJOS:
<hibernatetool destdir="generated">
<jdbcconfiguration packagename="com.lewisd"
<hbm2cfgxml />
<hbm2hbmxml />
<hbm2java jdk5="true" />

3. Extend the POJOs with whatever finder/lookup methods you need, or put them in some other class maybe.
4. Use Spring MVC and the Spring Framework to tie everything together.

Apparently Spring MVC even has some cool stuff for doing "Wizards", as they're called. Complex forms.
I hear the tags it uses for forms wrap around regular HTML tags, rather than replacing them. Sounds interesting.

Daffodil Tourney

I'm quite looking forward to the SCA event this weekend, in Victoria. It's my first time at this event, and my first even this year. Apparently it takes place mostly in a sort of barn, in a field filled with daffodils.

I wasn't expecting there to be any archery, but it turns out there is some sort of prize shoot. I haven't even drawn my bow (well, my girlfriend's bow) since October or so. The practices move indoor for the winter months, and I just couldn't drag myself all the way out to Burnaby to shoot indoors.

I haven't decided yet if I'll actually enter the archery lists. Being so out of practice, and my last experience shooting while actually wearing proper SCA garb... it just gets in the way. I need proper bracers for both arms, to hold the baggy shirt sleeves tight against my arms so they don't get in the way of the bowstring.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Great vengeance and FURYous anger

About a month ago Sony added PvP (player-versus-player) to Everquest 2. I had stopped playing about 3 months prior to that, but the lure of PvP was just to great for me to resist. Since February 21st, I've been playing a evil-aligned Fury called Exiok Thunderpants on the Nagafen PvP server. It's the same class I played on the PvE (Player-versus-Environment) servers, but hey, who am I to mess with a good thing.

The PvP has been mostly entertaining so far. While it's sometimes frustrating to be trying to just get quests and such done, and having an opposing player jump out from behind every tree to kill you, the vengeance I've been able to wreak on those poor souls has been worth it.

I had one of my most enjoyable PvP experiences yet last night.

I was over in Antonica, the lands of the opposition closest to their city, just doing some quests while I waited for some friends to come with me to help wreak havoc on other players. While wandering around, I saw something moving in a straight line in the distance, quite quickly. NPCs don't move that way, so I clicked to see if it was one of my side, or the enemy. I was surprised to see that it was another Fury, on the opposing side, of the exact same level as myself. I dropped what I was doing immediately, and headed towards him. I was rather interested to see how an even 1-on-1 fight would go. That is, assuming he didn't have any friends with him.

I gave chase, but was a long ways behind, and not gaining any. I used my sprint for a little bit to catch up, but was careful not to let my sprint use up too much of my power, which would have left me weakened even before the battle.

At level 24, the Fury class does not have stealth, or invisibility, as some others do, so there's nothing we can do to hide from other except to use obstacles. We also don't have "tracking", the ability scouts have to track players and NPCs they can't see, but that are within a certain distance. Chasing this Fury, this meant to me that if he turned his camera around while running, he would see me, unless I used obstacles to hide. But using obstacles to hide too much would have slowed me down, so I only did a little bit. Thankfully, he never saw me.

He arrived at the teleportation spires, and talked to the gatekeeper to start the teleportation. Thankfully for me, I arrived before he teleported, and using the spires as cover, I got as close as possible before jumping out. Booya!

I used a debuf on him, an ability that decreases his wisdom stat, the most important stat for a Fury. He engaged me, and the fight was on. It lasted a while, almost a minute, as the Fury is a healer class, so we just kept healing ourselves, and attacking the other. In the end, I think the fact that I struck first won the day for me, but it was a close fight the whole time. At one point I thought I was done for, but I managed to heal myself in time.

Wow. I realize that was pretty long-winded, but I just had to share that experience.

Windows XP on Intel Macs

I have to say, this is some of the best news I've heard in a while. Ever since the first rumours of Apple switching to Intel, I've been craving a dual-boot powerbook. They're just such sexy hardware, with a great OS... it's a shame I can't play Everquest 2 on it. It looks like now I might be able to, if the driver situation works itself out. The forum is so swamped and slow I haven't been able to finish reading the thread to see how the ATI drivers are working out. For the time being, I'm quite happy with my Acer Ferrari 3200, but when it just won't cut it any more, I would love to replace it with a Macbook pro.

Here we are, born to be... bloggers?

Well, here it is, my entry into the world of blogging. Actually, this is my second entry, but my first one didn't last very long.

It feels somehow, I don't know, narcissistic? To think that I can put my thoughts into words that will have any import to anyone other than people who know me directly. But, having realized that, at least if those people read this, I'll have been able to share some of my entertaining or informative experiences.

A couple people have mentioned to me over the last few months that I should start a blog. I just waved it off at first, but for some reason the comments stuck in my head, and I've been unable to rid myself of them for the past few weeks. Hopefully this will satisfy whatever bizarre craving it is that's kept me thinking about blogs.

I think maybe reading slightly-less-random's blog was what finally pushed me over the edge. Damn you Ben. :)