Monday, August 18, 2008


First post! From the beach anyway. These new "mobile" devices
certainly make it easier to beach-blog. It's a nice day, if a bit
windy. My eldest son is hoping that I'm watching Roblox Gone Wild
videoes, but he is wrong. It's not as licentious as it sounds. Too
bad I can't spell. Anyway, time for frisbee!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Two days in a row

Sitting on the couch, tap-tap-tapping along. Well, at least I got something working. Got my first bill for this mobile-dealie. It was shockingly correct. I know I was surprised. And now the big deal on the homefront - the fence is coming!

Got home and saw the poles, sticking out of the ground and everything. We're getting cast iron fence. I talked to a friend of my parent's and he told me that his iron fence cost about 30% more than what I'm paying. And that was 30 years ago! I hope this fence lasts as long as that one, uh, does.

My dad got himself a nice new bike. Got a sweet comfy seat and seven internal gears. No deraileur for him! I guess I'll get a report on how well it's working in a few days.

So I the idea is slow and steady. Guess we'll see where this goes too.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Posting from the mobile device

Got around to upgrading my mobile phone. Now I have a mobile device. There finally is a device that does all the things that I wanted - specifically music, organizing stuff and phone. The iPhone was the one I'd been looking for. I find it hilarious when people suggest that I'm being trendy, given that I've had 3 phones in 9 years.

So far, I've been pretty happy with device. I'm glad that I didn't wait in line or anything. The screen is awesome, and the multi-touch is well done. I've done some neat things, but not what I'd consider outstanding. I suppose that jailbreaking would make it outstanding,
but not yet anyway.

Tonight marks what I hope will be the start of a couch-blogging trend. Maybe even a porch-blogging or two. I feel like I have to fill the breach left by a recently departed co-worker. And by co-worker I mean Kimota94. And by departed I mean retired - you know "departed" from work, not to return. I know my jokes are weak, but somehow you're still reading... Anyhoo, Kimota94's prodigious output might be stifled by lack of portable device to publish with. Seems like he may
be spending more time away from the ole kybard during retirement. I suppose there is some kind of joke involving retirerees and editorials...

So let's see how things start off with this here post and see if the couch will inspire greater, uh, something.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

A post

Every time I get around to producing another post, I realize how long it has been since the last one. And every time I think to myself (and write in the post) that I should try writing more frequently. History has shown that it hasn't happened. As an optimist, I guess I should say that it won't come easily, but consistency will arrive.

Catching up on some of the backlog in other blogs, (there's only one that I visit that could possibly post faster than I can keep up with), prompted me to imply post to "The Studio", which in turn, started this post. As I was writing that post, I realized that I should make notes some how, organize my thoughts a bit better, so I would have something to write about. That must be part of getting more consistent - making sure that there is a supply of material.

My problem is never with the act of writing (talking, dominating conversation) as I can always come up with something. The ideas, kernels of subject, notions, setups, and angry rants are the hard part. That's not to claim that such off-the-cuff rambling is always cogent or coherent, but it can fill a page. Twas an excellent skill to have in high school. Probably would have pulled me through several liberal arts degrees, but alas I had to study that which is best expressed in concise precision - math. Such flourishing embellishment was not required for my CS degree (BMath, Hons CS, minor in C&O - really there was alot of math involved), but I still enjoy rattling the keyboard with a few unnecessarily lengthy words every now and then.

See? I prattled on about how I the ideas are most difficult part for a nice solid paragraph. I should use this handy outlet more frequently.

Monday, March 10, 2008

This is a blog?

This just seems to be an online protestation that I'm not writing online with every new entry. Still... I keep coming back. I guess it's all okay because no one really reads any of this stuff anyways.

Got around to posting on The Studio again, mainly because of my recent DVD haul. I got "Shake Hands With the Devil" (my review), "Eastern Promises", a four-in-one Steven Segal special ("Glimmer Man", "Fire Down Below", "Under Siege" and "Above the Law"), the wrong version of "Blade Runner" The Final Cut" and, my special weakness, a Criterion 2-pack version of "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro".

The "Blade Runner" I wanted, and didn't realize I didn't have until I got home, was the special edition that has all four cuts of the film (European theatrical, US theatrical, director's cut and the director's "final cut"). I hadn't seen Blade Runner at all until 1999 when a good friend from university hauled out the director's cut (the one without the voice-over). He helped me along, which was great in the limited time I had to digest it the first time. I've wanted to watch it again, but I haven't searched out the film. I saw the special edition and thought the time was nearly right. As is standard with such discoveries, not acting on them can lead to hassle later on. I postponed the purchase, but the internet informs me that the correct version is in stock somewhere near by.

The Kurosawa films "Yojimbo" and "Sanjuro" recalled the "Blade Runner" find - once I found them I had to get them. I ignored the price and just carried it to the checkout. I am looking forward to watching "Sanjuro" as I haven't seen it, but "Yojimbo" I know well. I have seen it a couple of times but also in its other incarnations "A Fist Full of Dollars" and "Last Man Standing". Oliver Stone gives a writing credit to Kurosawa and does an excellent job transposing the ronin with mob gunman-for-hire in the '20s.

Gotta get my act together and send off my tax return. I'm hoping for a decent refund, but then again who isn't? Guess it is very Canadian - pay your taxes and wait for the government to grudgingly return a few bucks. Don't get me wrong - I don't begrudge paying my taxes. I get many things, large and small, tangible and intangible, for that money. But it would be nice if I could keep more of that money to pay my own debts, rather than the debts run up by people now long gone.

Now that the spring-tax-rant is done, I have to get my act together a little more and get myself to bed and (later) off to hockey.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Some increase

I thought that I'd be on the computer posting more thoughts - you know "a headache with pictures" (Phillip J Fry, "A Taste of Freedom", Season 3, Futurama) - but it's more like stress relief. I find myself playing lots of games online now that the reliability is back, rather than typing up blog posts. Not so good.

Been a tough slog at work recently though - deadlines approaching and all that. I mean it's always there but it's looming more impressively with each passing day. Like that Far Side where two cave men are standing outside of a cave with a glacier an arm-length away and says "Thag, wall of ice closer today?" The last iteration was one where the feature our team worked on was probably larger than originally sized, so there was much scrambling to finish. These kinds of iterations will probably become more frequent as the ice-wall encroaches, but hopefully we can alter our plans so we proceed more evenly.

Well, there goes another yawn - I suppose that means I should be in bed rather than forcing onwards. Mayhap soon there shall be posts with a more hasty cadence.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Fallen flat

Nice daily streak, eh? It's been almost a full month since my last posting - pretty pathetic really. Oh well, there is room for improvement and boy do I need it. I really hope to write a little more often because I obtained a new computer! My old computer was nice and all, but the reliability was not good - it would occasionally lock up hard to a black screen. This does not make it conducive to blog writing, posting, reading or what have you. I spent a lot of time trying to diagnose and then fix this problem, but to no avail.

Looks like there are two things left to test - re-installing XP or a new CPU. I don't think the first will work as I have had locks when running liveCD versions of linux, but I can't remember when the last time that happened was. I don't know if I'll get around to that. The more I put it off the less likely it will be because I won't be able to find the proper CPU (Socket-939) .

Well, Friday is fast approaching, so I need to sleep. There is hockey to be had tomorrow - at least I'm assuming there is. I haven't seen an email about it though, but I guess there will be something. I'm going there anyway, or at least checking my email when I get up. That's no longer the chore it was with the new computer! Ahh, sweet juicy reliability. I'll talk about my purchase in the near future.

Monday, January 7, 2008


Well, back to work it was today. Took the first week of the year off and it was quite relaxing actually. The real frustration was trying to get the ole desktop PC fixed, but that's another story. The spouse went to work for half the week, so it was just me and the boys hanging out and playing games, reading magazines - whatever. Very pleasant and relaxing, as I mentioned already.

I really do want to make a habit of posting more regularly, but that hasn't been terribly easy recently. In the last few months the various time-suck devices that popped up have stood in my way. That should be a reason though, so here I am wondering about what to write about. I still lack focus in that area - topic. I always enjoyed writing stories when I was in school, but I was always at a loss for ideas. Once I had the kernel of an idea, I could twist that into something enjoyable, but alas I don't get paid to do that now. What I should be doing is coming up with ideas and writing them here.

Something I did listen to on the way home from work was part of a continuing series on the World At Six (CBC radio 1) about modern spirituality. Today they talked about a couple of people who moved and tried different things until they arrived at meditation-based practices. One was a form of Japanese Buddhism and the other was a rabbi who also uses transcendental meditation as part of what he does. The appeal of Buddhist meditation was that it is in stark contrast to typical "daily life" - quiet, still, peaceful. However the article brought in another view which suggested that the greatest spiritual benefits, changes, advancements - seemed to happen people practice in groups.

I always find it odd that the views are always laid out as distinct and (possibly) opposing. I'm sure that aspects of individual and group practices would be combined to achieve the greatest whatever. Balance doesn't arrive through concentration on one thing. The appeal of meditation and stillness is obvious. People feel encroached upon and need to create that mental space around them. They need to realize that mindset is what the meditation is helping to bring. If you believe you can create an oasis of calm (not clam) then you can. Meditation provides a framework to feedback that sense to you, so you can believe. Being alone is something I have always enjoyed. I think that I've been lucky that there have been times in my life when I can wander away and be alone - that I live where there are calm, peaceful spaces all around.

I have two distinct memories of calm that help me. I felt like the places were occupying me - I was the observed. The first at the lake near my parents cottage. This is no puddle - it was Lake Huron. It was heading towards sunset and I came out at a beach with large rocks right at the waters edge. I sat down on a large rock and stared into the lake. I don't even remember how long I was there; eternity perhaps. It didn't matter. The sun, the wispy clouds, gently lapping water. Everything just was. I realize this is a poor description, but description doesn't work well. It seems like it may sully the experience-that-was, for it was physical, immersive, singular.

The next time was at my parents house during a perfect winter's night. The moon was full and the house was dark. Looking into the front ward, the blue-black of the trees and their shadows criss-crossed the perfect white stillness. I had to go out there and just stand. The moon was so bright and that blue-white hue of the trees and the snow was compelling. The air was still and cold - each breath weighty with the chill - denser than normal. Have to be quiet - movement would shatter the moment. Just be. Cast a blue and purple shadow and exist. It was hard to go back inside, but it was perfect. I can't say what made it different than other times - I'd gazed upon the same scene for so many years - but this time it was quiet and I was alone with it.

That is what I wish I could give to someone who feels overwhelmed. Replace it with those feelings. I guess it's the opposite of agoraphobia.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


New year, new blog entry, new... something. Re-new-all? Something like that. I haven't really been effective at using this space much in the past few months. There are a couple of reasons really - mainly I haven't really been enthusiastic about trying to use my computer. That and other toys have shown up at home (a DS Lite, the Wii from Santa) and the computer has been getting short shrift.

Soon should change. The biggest issue with my computer has been an electrical instability problem that really came to the fore after my original video card gave up on me. That card, a BFG6800GT-OC was an excellent card when I bought it. Plus it came with a lifetime warranty. So mid-2007, it's RAM died and it was replaced. The replacement wouldn't boot into WinXP properly, so I got a 7600GS to replace it. It worked well but the computer would suddenly shutdown in the middle of games. That is the electrical problem - when the CPU/GPU/Fans/HD draw a certain level of power, the motherboard can't take it and dies. I suspect that this was a manufacturing defect, given the quality of the parts and power supplies I used. I had problems from the first day setting up the machine, but the problems are really noticeable now. So I've ordered a new replacement AMD Socket 939 motherboard. Turns out there are very few choices of new 939 motherboards, with an AGP slot, left. This is an MSI with a VIA chipset. I'm hoping that the performance is similar but more stable.

The other thing I did to improve computer usage was to buy a nice LCD monitor during the "boxing week" period. Got a nice (21") but not cutting Samsung SyncMaster216BW. Spent less than half of the old 17" CRT it replaces, but certainly looks better. This thing looks much better than what I had. Gaming - I didn't notice the difference. Except it is brighter and sometimes the colours don't appear to converge properly in CS:S, but that's okay.

So hopefully the posts will be more frequent. It is a good thing to write a little every day. It would be good if that writing had a specific purpose or some other redeeming (monetary) quality to it, but one can't have everything.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Raised Patio: The Result

Well, it's done. Really it was done October 6, 2007 but it's still finished now, so no big deal. The first picture is of the whole deck. Gives you a nice overview of what it looks like all together. I had one neighbour comment that it reminds him of a castle wall - fortress-like. I prefer to think of it as "solid", but I understand what he meant. If it had been deeper or much wider, it would have cut a very imposing chunk out of the backyard. It would have started to dwarf the house. Not that it would have been bigger, but the look of the finished product.

Next there is a closeup of the stairs. The stairs are narrow enough that, by code, we only need one hand railing. What you see in profile is actually a solid wall, which forms a little nook on the ground. That's the last picture - the items on the ground are extra precast deck pieces. That's where the BBQ is now, in front of the access area. There's no door because it isn't someplace I want to go in and out of often. Or at all. So it's easier to remove the idea that there is anything under there by not putting a door.

Anyway these extra slabs are used as a landing for the stairs and to cover that area between the railing and the deck. That area is nice and sheltered - keeps the BBQ out of the wind. A few shrubbery and we're done (surplus that my parents were getting rid of).

So ends the saga of the raised patio and my big construction project. Next summer will be when the fun begins - the enjoyment of the deck. But there is also the obtaining furniture for the deck and so on. Currently, it is what it is and that is quite good. We have a few patio chairs, but really we need a table and maybe a lounge, but that'll arrive when it arrives. For now, the important part is done.