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Things which are about me -- kinda. Or maybe just things I like. Or possibly things which occur to me. Who knows! We'll see how it goes.
20040709(Personal):Whats On Your Desk Day, 2004
And another year grinds around to the inevitable annual tradition of What's On Your Desk Day.

Although I've been assigned a permanent desk by my employer, I'm on parental leave right now -- leaving us with the stuff on my desk at home for at least one more year.

Read More:Always More.

20040608(Personal):Age-appropriate behaviour
So we went off to the movies on Friday, since it was opening night for Harry Potter III. And of course, there were previews for upcoming movies. And since Harry Potter is a kiddies movie (well, it is getting a bit deep for a kiddies movie, but the kiddies can follow it so that's who it is aimed at), the trailers were for other upcoming kiddies movies.

Including Catwoman. A trailer which included gratuitous fighting, leather, cleavage shots, and whips.

So in the silence immediately following this trailer, I comment dryly to Jenn, "Yeah, 'cause that's a children's movie."

And this little girl, all of five or six, in the row in front of us turns to her mother and says, "Mommy, why did the man say that?"

We didn't hear 'Mommy's response because of the noise of the following trailer, but the exchange amused us.

20040211(Personal):Big Win #1
I know it's unsportsman-like to gloat about a lopsided victory, but lets say my Wednesday curling group built a large amount of character in the first draw this year and so we earned this win.

So after two ends its 1-1. Third end, we take 3, and it's 4-1. Fourth end, we steal six (we had a traffic jam in the back of the house, plus control of the front -- the opposing skip chose to draw against the traffic jam so he'd have something to stop against -- and amazingly slipped through a microscopic hole and out the back). Fifth end, we steal two when his draw comes up light, and he says "That's it, I know when I'm done."

We got lucky several times in this game -- the opposition drew us into a hitting game, and our hit, hit-and-roll, and hit-and-stay games are all much stronger than our draw games. That said, we all made key draws when required. We enjoyed a couple of fluke shots -- overcurling and then rubbing back into position, that kind of thing. The opposition couldn't really buy a break.

Call me uncooth, but I think we deserved just one like that after giving up several so far this year.

Both leagues are going well this draw -- my Saturday group earned a solid win against a solid team, which means that with one game in the book we lead the standings. Because of the caliber of the team we beat, I think it bodes well for the rest of the year. (Unlike last draw, where we had a solid hold on last place.)

20040208(Personal):Car Reflections
So I've been driving the wife's car for most of the last week (because mine was in the 'Collision Center' having the wing mirror replaced). Because her car is different from mine, I've been thinking about cars in general and some of my biases towards them.

My wife's car as a V6, and so has about 30 more horsepower than mine does. This, tied to the automatic transmission, makes the utilization of this extra power much easier than does the 5-speed in my car. Translation: I tended to speed more when driving her car. It seems almost like effortless power when compared to the buzzy flat four in my car.

The ease with which the power was used was noticeable at the gas pump too. Not helping is the fact that my wife's car drinks the medium grade, while mine takes the least expensive grade.

On the other hand, we had some snow this week and I really missed the AWD grip and capabilities and ABS that my car had, as opposed to the FWD car I was driving. Not that I got into any trouble driving the FWD car, mind you, just that having had the AWD for so long meant it was something I was really used to.

If I had to choose, I would definitely give up the extra power in exchange for the AWD capabilities.

The whole experience made me think that driving a car with an automatic might not be such a bad thing -- I would be able to live with it. AWD is really non-negotiable at this point, traction control just isn't the same thing. And while on snow and ice ABS is more of an annoyance than a feature, it has kept me out of trouble on dry, dusty, or wet surfaces enough that I would prefer to have it.

I think that for the next car we'll look for a car with AWD, ABS, an automatic, and a decent amount of power. That's likely to be several years away at this point, since the Subaru is going strong at 7 years and my wife's car isn't paid off yet. However I see more and more manufacturers are "getting it" when it comes to AWD -- BMW, Volvo, and even Jaguar are joining Audi and Subaru in promoting AWD on many of their models. Who knows, by the time we are back at the dealership looking to buy, maybe even the American manufacturers will "get it".

20040201(Personal):Lousy Sunday
Today was a bad day:

I ran afoul of a snow build up outside a drive-through ATM. I turned my wheels right, applied the gas, and the car neatly slid left into the building -- crushing the mirror.

I can't wait to find out exactly how much this is going to cost to fix.

Update, 6 Feb 2004: $280, less than half what I thought it would. Still money I'd rather spend on something else, though.

20040120(Personal):Why Be Embarrased?
I feel all special now...

All this time I've been getting spam addressed to other people on the subject line... and now I get one personalized for me. Oooh.... And amazingly it wasn't for Viagra. It was for weight-loss.

Fortunately the spam-eater caught it. My mailbox has been almost 60% spam since I put the eater in, back in May or June.

20030811(Personal):eBay: an Xdroop Investigation
Ebay fraud, or me just being a stupid newbie? You decide!

Read More:lessee the evidence, hoss

20030730(Personal):Thats a lot of systems
Slashdot poll: How many OSs have you used for at least one hour?

Read More:my list inside

20030714(Personal):Whats On Your Desk Day 2003
Yeah yeah yeah, I missed Whats-on-your-desk-day 2003 by a little bit. My excuse is that I don't have a palm pilot up to date or a calendar program running as a routine any more, so these happy holidays sometimes slip past me.

Like last year, I still don't have an office desk so you again get treated to a list of what's on the desk at home.

Read More:Always More.

20030620(Personal):Hairy Potted
So just to see the reaction, I go down to the bookstore where they are building up the hype for Harry Potter: Revenge of the Clones (or whatever) (The Economist describes it as being well controlled, low-hype) and I'm all, Oh, there's a book now? Those movie people will spin anything off! Anything to make a buck!

The wife isn't going to the Midnight Madness tonight, but she will probably get a copy this weekend sometime.

20030321(Personal):Rhetorical Sun Question # 734:
Why is it that when I build perl on an NFS drive, the make install phase silently fails by running through everything and not copying anything to the destination... but when it is built on a local drive, it works just fine?

I hate computers. Have I mentioned that?

20030312(Personal):Desktop Screenshot
A desktop screenshot. Nothing particularly exciting -- I just thought it had been a little while since the last one. You see the usual olvwm on Solaris, with an older Konqueror (for some reason I can not get any KDE newer than 3.0.4 to build at all), an xplanet, and a minimized SunPCi window. The only real change of substance since the last one is the use of multi-gnome-terminals instead of konsoles. I made that change because mgt's are more configurable, and can do practically everything from the keyboard, including opening new terminals.

Depressingly, I may have to move to Red Hat Linux in the near term -- I am already running it on my laptop, and while I don't hate it I much prefer the sun. Unfortunately, the Red Hat installation disagrees with the sun when it comes to things like fonts, so I won't be able to use a sun as a display for Linux applications.

20030217(Personal):Too Much Information
Another lame web based survey. And yet I keep taking them.

self-serving sociopath
How Republican Are You?

brought to you by Quizilla

Irony so thick you could stand on it.

20030203(Personal):Ontario Man Likes Hotwheels, Cats; Says Things Are Great
I've learned a couple of things today.

Read More:nothing to see here, move along

20030109(Personal):Does Cadbury Have No Shame?
It is only the ninth of January. It is TOO EARLY FOR STUPID EASTER CANDY COMMERCIALS. Even if they are the hilarious Cadbury Egg commercials. I like the bunny making the clucking noises -- for some reason that cracks me up. This commercial was different, but it was pretty funny anyways. Irrelevant to that, however, it is too early to be thinking about rabbits. You know, we almost need another event before Easter just to break up the Christmas/Easter cycle...

Oh wait, we already have one, Valentines Day. So it is definitely way too early for rabbits. Put the rabbit back in the hat.

Erm... when is Easter this year?...

20030102(Personal):Dream Machine
Now here's a car worth lusting after: the 2003 Subaru Impreza STi as europe will receive it. Gone are the ugly bug-eye headlights, replaced with sleeker looking component modules. The intercooler scoop has been increased in size, and the rear wing has been made more business-like (one of my first predictions for the 2nd year WRX was that the car would get a larger, RS-style wing -- I never dreamed that Subaru would put a WRC wing on it). Oh, and the car has about 40 more horsepower than the current WRX. These and other, less visible, changes were made in response to the needs of the world rally championship team.

Right now there is no word as to if North America will see this fantastic looking automobile -- I'd love to see one in a white shell... or even to drive one. One can only hope.

20021225(Personal):Holiday Photos
If you are here because of the holiday newsletter we sent out, the pictures you were promised are finally organized.

Read More

20021220(Personal):Some Lessons Are Learned The Hard Way
Pop quiz for all those hackers out there: what's wrong with this command? Besides the fact that it was run from cron in the middle of the night as root, I mean. (Broken up into multiple lines for readability -- it was originally issued as one monster command from cron.)

here# rsh there 'cd /projects/team/task/results ; \
    for i in * ; do \
    if [ ! -h /net/here/projects/team/task/result/$i ] ; then \
    echo Removing /projects/team/task/results/$i ; \
    rm -rf $i & \
    fi ; \
    done ' &

Read More:wanna hint?

20021128(Personal):Cool Camera Product
Here is a cool product: the Pedco Ultrapod II. You know, one of those would sure look nice under my camera.
20021027(Personal):An ode to &#*?! Sun Microsystems
I hate computers, I really do. Let me count the ways that my SunPCi card irritates me:

Read More:there are several.

20021020(Personal):Music Enabled
The Quest For Music is over -- success has been achieved!

Through my first foray into the mystical world of ebay, I got myself one of these SunPCi jobbies -- an AMD K6-2/400 on a PCI slot. It is a full-fledged intel-compatible computer, and only needs a few drivers to run things like Win98, WinNT, or Win2K. Right now I have '98 and NT loaded -- the former for USB jobs like my digital camera, the latter for playing music since '98 plays music at half-speed for some stupid reason. I was going to try Win2K to see if I could get the best of both worlds, but that will have to come later.

Here is a screengrab of the sucker in action. I'll have to set up a more impressive screengrab showing more unix-stuff going on, but I guess olvwm just isn't very impressive. Maybe I'll fire up KDE or gnome... or even CDE just to prove it is really running on a Sun.

But I have my music back, and we all know that's what counts.

Now, all I need is a subwoofer...

20021015(Personal):Conspiracy Theory
There exists those who believe that Microsoft is the Evil Empire, that it has tentacles of control everywhere, that nothing happens without Microsoft either noticing, or approving. Today I am a believer.

Today, I went into a Zeller's in search of Hot Wheels, and while browsing around I came upon a collection of Magic 8-balls. Thinking that I'd amuse my wife by asking it about email clients. After much of the typical hedging (Ask Again Later), you can imagine my dismay when it told me: Outlook Good

(The old, correct answer was Outlook Not So Good.)

So beware, no matter how small or insignificant you think you are -- Microsoft will get you!

20020924(Personal):Days Go By
There's this song on the radio by Dirty Vegas called Days Go By. When I first heard it, I didn't think too much of it. Then I saw the video on MuchMusic.

Read More:Always More.

20020731(Personal):Number One In A Search Engine
Today, punching empirical proof of sturgeon's law into Google, you get my splash page as the number one hit. Truly a dubious distinction.

There's exciting site news coming sometime. Promise.*

*(That it's coming. I make no assurances that you will find it even remotely exciting.)

20020709(Personal):Whats On Your Desk Day 2002
Well, it's time for that magical day again... yes, it's Whats On Your Desk Day 2002. This is the fifth time we've celebrated this, and as with all maturing celebrations there are going to be changes.

Read More:Always More.

The wife and I were pulling out of our cosy little subdivision the other day, and we passed a late model sedan parked on the side of the street.

Read More:the power of observation

20020620(Personal):Cheerful Trailers
One day I'm driving home from a downtown client and I get behind this car towing a trailer.

Read More:there is absolutely no point to this article

20020609(Personal):Another Stupid Web Page
Something a little different this time. A page about my cats. Let's be entirely straight-up here: this is a page, with pictures, about my cats.
20020606(Personal):I can count
Today's M&M count:
  • 7 yellow
  • 5.5 orange
  • 9 brown
  • 12 green
  • 10 blue
  • 15 red
I wonder where the half ones come from? I usually seem to get one or two per bag.

I saw on the Discovery Network once about how the Smarties people got through all this study to decide what new colors to add and how various mixes of colors look in people's hands (well they were using little paper cups with about half a dozen smarties in them, but it's the same idea). It got me wondering if they do studies to see how pleased consumers are with their color mixture after they sort them.

20020429(Personal):Happy April 29
snow!Just in case you forgot that this was canada. It was only last week that we had a +30 heatwave and I was almost reaching for the air condioner. I'm going to be a rebel and not shovel it. I hope it will be gone soon.

I can't help thinking about my new house out there with no roof on it...

20020423(Personal):Sunday Teevee
I was flipping around on the TV on sunday morning, and I came upon this guy talking about Nostradamus...

(long discussion pointing out that Nostradamus was probably refering to the Istar river with his "histar" prophecies, not Hitler)

...more than nine in ten of Nostradamus' predictions have no known correspondance with any historical event since his making them. And of the rest, more than 95% of "accurate" predictions can be written off as historical coincidences due to impossibly vague predictions. So you see that you can't live your life by Nostradamus. He's wrong 90% of the time. He will lead you in the wrong direction.

Now on the other hand, the Bible...

I roared with laughter and kept on flipping. Kind of amazing what some people will believe other people will believe.

20011127(Personal):Desktop Screenshot

A gratuitous desktop snapshot. After months of KDE and that laptop, it feels good to be home at last.

20011104(Personal):Geek Test Results
I AM 40% GEEK.

I probably work in computers, or a history deptartment at a college. I never really fit in with the "normal" crowd. But I have friends, and this is a good thing.

Take the GEEK Test at Fuali.com!

20011023(Personal):Dealing With Reluctant Systems
This is a true story.

Read More:Cool! A Story!

20011005(Personal):Play time
I just had to share this. Sometimes the best way to prove your car's real rallying heritage is to take it out and get it dirty. There is a forced road through the bush that takes about ten minutes off of my daily commute, and it has been raining pretty heavilly for the last couple of days. Today, I came home down that road at Excessive Speed(tm), caking the car with rich, thick mud -- note the drips from the wheel wells.

Now that's what a rally car should look like. :)

20010823(Personal):HotWheels Collection
Just to show how obsessive I really am, I've put up the pictures of my HotWheels collection for you all to enjoy and make fun of. Partially an excuse to use the new camera, partially excercise for my script writing muscles, partially a chance to play with my toy cars.

Just as a secondary exercise, I am planning to add an info-box to the left bar which will show the last five or so cars I have purchased. Just because I can, you see.

20010709(Personal):Whats On Your Desk Day 2001
Yes, it's What's-On-Your-Desk-Day 2001. Since I've just been on vacation, my desk is pretty clean this morning.

Read More:This Year's List

20010702(Personal):And in the news
Alright, I think I stopped buying into the international convergence of news sites. The US has their collective news heads up their collective news asses.

Read More:insert other foot

20010628(Personal):On Vacation
As you are probably aware, my employer is engaged in a mandatory shutdown for the period of 2 July through 6 July. During this time, we are using up some of our accrued vacation time so that the company's financials look a little more favorable to Wall Street. So, for the purposes of matters pertaining to my employer, I am On Vacation next week, and as a result will not be at my desk, will not be checking email or voice-mail, will have passed the duty pager to someone else, and will have left my BlackBerry locked up in my desk at work. In short, I will be unavailable.

If you find something of earth shattering importance to tell me, I'll likely be sitting on my ass somewhere, trying hard to not think about work issues on my own time.

Actually, I didn't send this literally -- but that's about what my notice boiled down to.

20010620(Personal):Hot Wheels
I am probably going through some kind of second childhood, but I've rediscovered Hot Wheels cars. While Christmas shopping for my wife's cousins (who are substantially younger than we are), I discovered the Pike's Peak Celica, and I figured that for a buck -- why not?

Read More:leading the way!

20010409(Personal):Desktop Screenshots

Yeah, gratuitous screenshots today, as well. Just a little insight into what I spend most of my day looking at. That is an xearth on the left, and a SunPCI dominating the right screen. I used to have the SunPCi on its own third monitor, but it displays a little 500x500 "virtual mouse pad" (my term for it -- dunno what Sun really calls it) that does not scale properly to the SunPCi's window resolution; as a result, the mouse slides around on the virtual mouse pad the same way that a real mouse slides around on a real mouse pad. With the real mouse you pick it up and put it down on the pad again, but with this thing you have to carefully push the mouse back and forth between the borders to generally re-center it on the virtual pad. And it was starting to piss me off.

I am starting to get annoyed with Konqueror's inability to display <dd> tags properly (ie the same way that Netscape shows them) so for the next little while I am going to change a bit the formatting for these entries, with <p> tags instead of <br> tags. We shall see how that goes.

Read More:Larger Images Inside

20010407(Personal):Desktop Screenshot

Gratuitous screenshot, just because. I like the xearth rotations which show the pacific ocean... sometimes you get an orientation which shows almost no land. That's one heck of a lot of water.

I also like the orientations on north america which show alaska and especially glacier bay. Sometimes it seems hard for me to believe that we were really there, and that the memories are actually real.

20010115(Personal):Desktop Screenshot
As you can see, I got KDE up and going over the weekend. There are things I don't like -- I am thinking of writing an opinion piece for NP called Komplaints which detail some of them once I have lived with this thing for a little while -- but overall, it is not too bad.

I am honestly not sure at this point if I will be abandoning the old faithful, olvwm. I am actually finding I am enjoying some of the eyecandy tricks more than I anticipated. Having the desktop automatically select a different image every 60 minutes is nice, as is the color blending from the top to bottom for the space surrounding the picture.

20000720(Personal):Whats On Your Desk Day 2000
Well what with everything going on at the time, it looks like I somehow forgot to celebrate July 9th. Yes, that was the third annual What's On Your Desk Day. So to make up for that, I've decided to celebrate it today instead.

Read More:Better late than never.

19990709(Personal):Whats On Your Desk Day 1999
Today is "Whats-on-your-desk-day".

Read More:A snapshot in time

19980709(Personal):Whats On Your Desk Day 1998
Today there is a survey question on Slashdot on the neatness state of your desk. In response, all the geeks our there have been inventorying thier desks -- making today the First Annual Whats-On-Your-Desk Day.

Read More:So, what's on my desk?

19971221(Personal):Desktop Screenshot
Here's a reduced image of what my desktop looks like.

Read More:What is all that crap?

19960801(Personal):Really Cool Wheels
Something I wrote ages ago about my car.

Read More:Ancient Hstory Again?


You are hereby informed and must take note that the contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views of my employer, clients, family, pets, auto mechanics, lawn care staff, sanitation workers (and/or their dogs), yourself, or indeed any organization, anyone or anything (including myself), except a small illiterate Iranian turnip which was last seen boarding a Air Transat jet in Greece on 16 April 1979 wearing a yellow raincoat and flippers sawed off at the knees. If anyone has any ideas as to go about contacting said small Iranian turnip I would appreciate the information -- the turnip probably wants its contents back. Copyright of these contents does not belong to the turnip so I will trouble you not to steal it for any money-making (or revenue-enhancing) activities. Link to it instead.

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