Monday, January 30, 2006

Happy Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day!

Sarah passed this link on to me, via her boss, Ed. She also arrived to work to find two giant sheets of bubble wrap on her desk. I have thus decided that once Ed retires from his current job, I am going to hire him to come and be my boss.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Kung-fu from Kyla

Kyla is upset with me for not updating my blog enough, so she's probably not going to be thrilled that I'm posting something that she sent to me.

Also, I'd like to take this moment to thank Tina for getting my hopes up high by sending me an envelope of pictures with a sketch of a wild turkey on the front, while the pictures themselves were completely devoid of wild turkey action.

That said, there were some lovely shots of tiny spoons and the Android in a satin nightgown, so I guess I can't really complain. Maybe if I get my scanner hooked up I will even post them up here later this afternoon.

Well, at least it wasn't that other certainty

Today I return to a state of legitimacy that I have not been at for years now - I am officially caught up with my taxes. It's a bittersweet sort of day - while I am now clear of the great feeling of dread that has hung over me like a dark cloud for the last two years, I only banished said dark cloud by writing the second biggest cheque that i've ever written in my life.

You know, I like spending money as much as the next person, but it's just no fun to write a huge cheque when you don't get anything in return. I mean, sure, I'm freed from my gigantic debt to the government, but I think that there should be some sort of service provided by my credit union where they send me something nice whenever I write a large enough cheque. It doesn't have to be much, flowers or a box of cookies, or maybe even just a postcard to acknowledge the pain.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


I'm posting this the night before Election Day because, let's face it, not a lot of people are going to read it the night before anyway. Also, I have to get up early to get up to the Paul Summerville (Toronto St Paul's) campaign where I have just come back from. I'm realizing this year that volunteering for a political campaign isn't rocket science - you walk around and hand out leaflets; you photocopy endless amounts of literature; you sort (and sort and sort) and then stuff (and stuff and stuff).

That said, I have never seen a more hard-working dedicated bunch of people - and I'd be lying if I didn't mean Sarah, who I have barely seen this week. I'll only have put two days of work in by the time the polls close tomorrow and I'm already getting an idea of how wearing it can be...I can't imagine how the people who have been doing this straight through for weeks on end or, god forbid, since the election was called last fall.

So when you consider how many 12+ hour days some of these people have put in over the last two months, I hope that you'll take ten minutes out of your day to get out there and vote. I won't lie, I hope that you'll consider voting for the NDP - they've got a better environmental plan than the "Green" Party, and no matter what your friends and the media are telling you, "strategically" voting for the Liberals is a load of hooey. It's a flawed strategy, so please don't show the Liberals that they can scare you into voting for them yet again.

Now get your ass out and vote. It's important.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Posting from Nerd Central

So my nerdiness has perhaps reached a new level today - I am posting from a cafe at the corner of Harbord and Grace called the LinuxCaffe. That said, I've only been here for ten minutes and I already know that there's no possible way that this will be my last visit. Why, you ask?

1. It's a ten minute walk from my house.
2. They've got a flawlessly clear, free wireless connection.
3. It's full of people, nerds and non-nerds alike.
4. I'm eating a delicious roast beef, goat cheese and sauteed mushroom panini sandwich with a rich, dark coffee - total cost, $6.
5. Most of my clients don't know my cell number, so I don't have to feel bad about screening my calls (it's Friday after all, and that's what voicemail is for).

What a deal - I feel stupid that I haven't been here before.

Just when I was about to give up all hope...

You know, as a web developer I can do almost all of my work in Dreamweaver. I like to hand-code as much as the next guy and I do scorn fancy GUIs in my everyday tools, but Dreamweaver just works so well as an integrated FTP (well, actually SFTP) manager and code editor that I'd almost entirely given up on other tools.

Until I upgraded my Mac to Tiger. Suddenly, I was having trouble just getting Dreamweaver to run for more than ten minutes without crash-exiting whenever I tried to upload more than a few files at once. Add this to my list of other complaints (lack of support for French characters copied and pasted from Microsoft programs, FTP threads that should have run in the background taking full foreground focus, lack of tabbed windows for multiple open documents, no XHTML tag balancing) and I was doing most of my work in BBEdit and UltraEdit with Transmit and SmartFTP.

Then what do they do? They go and release Studio 8, which includes a version of Dreamweaver that not only fixes the crash bug and improves the snappiness of the GUI, but also FIXES EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE ABOVE PROBLEMS! This never happens! I don't know if this is a side-effect of being bought out by Adobe, but whatever the hell the reason, I love you all.

Thank you.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

So that's what the PC stood for!

When I went to vote in the advance polls a few days ago, I was far too purpose-driven to read the parts of the ballot that didn't really concern me - I just singled out Olivia Chow's name and put my X in the right spot.

Sarah, on the other hand, while savouring the experience, noticed that there was a candidate for the PC Party. We were both pretty confused, but it looks like the new Progressive Canadian Party has decided to borrow the initials of the former Progressive Conservative Party.

As to whether this will get them enough accidental votes to take a significant amount away from the Conservatives, only time will tell.

Also, I'm leaning on the side of the UBC Election Stock Market with my current election prediction:

If the Liberals don't break into three digits, Fatty owes me a dollar.

Note: this image is dynamic and will update everytime you load it

Robocop, homemade digital cameras

Sorry for missing a day yesterday and thus breaking my promise to post once a day for two weeks - I'll try to make up for it today.

I've got three bits of coolness recycled from Slashdot's listing today: robot police in South Korea (hello, Robocop), homemade large-format digital cameras (that one is mostly for you, Steve) and a handful of "Lost" episodes of Mythbusters (sea otters playing with ping-pong balls!) - all for you.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Anybody else need a suit?

Quick quick - I need two friends who need a suit!

Unless these suits are overpriced by 300%, there's a hella bargain to be had.

I just had an awful thought.

What if some of the animals featured on previously mentioned Cute Overload or Kitten War look so cute and perfectly posed not because they were caught in a perfectly-timed moment of baby-animal cuteness, but because - *gasp* - they're freeze-dried?

Seriously now - I mean, those animals look alive to me. I can't tell the difference.

Update: I've fixed the link to the pet freeze-drying service. Sorry about that.

Monday, January 16, 2006

A simple question

I know it's late, but I don't want to forget to ask this question tomorrow because it's something that I've never managed to get a good answer for.

The question is, why the hell are the Montreal Canadiens, a hockey team, called the Habs? Is it short for Habitants? If so, why? Is it because they arean't homeless, because they live somewhere? If so that's kinda dumb - it's like if I started a dodgeball team called the Wicked-Awesomes and then nicknamed them the Lives, short for Livesomewheres.

Or maybe it's because of the Habitants that I learned about in history class living on their riverside serfdoms, with long thin stretches of land so that everyone could get access to the river. But if that's the case, you know what a good name for the team would have been? The Habitants, not the Canadiens!

Please, someone, give me a good explanation.

Update: Ok, so it's been 11 hours and I couldn't wait any longer so I looked it up on the internet. Turns out that, yes, they are called the Habs as short for Habitants. I dunno, maybe this makes more sense if you're Francophone.

Dodgeball Bloody Dodgeball

I can't believe how much I've missed my dodgeball league over the past weeks. We've been between seasons for a holiday break, but tonight it's back to the elementary schools we go.

That means it's once again time to break out the headband, safety glasses and knee socks - and thus time to start fighting the ladies off again. They just can't resist the white knee socks.

Since the Cobra Kai has been disbanded this season, I may find myself tagging along to play with the Lindy Dodgers, a group of people who became friends through their love of the Lindy Hop. This might sound silly to you, and I must admit I find it hard to take it totally seriously too...but Dodgeball is a game of quick coordination and, well, let's just say that I couldn't pull off these moves.

Friday, January 13, 2006

Don't Miss Jann Arden!

Ticketmaster, you have me pegged so well. I can't imagine what basis you have for thinking that you know my personal taste in music so well, but this is the result of whatever crazy algorithm you're running up there in your hive-mind processor:

Wow, Jann Arden and Styx. I'm so touched that you are considerately making sure that I don't miss these important musical events, I just don't even know what to say.

How did I ever forget to load these musical geniuses onto my new iPod?

Yeah, Chris and I finally broke down and got ourselves a couple of iPod Nanos. I had some tough choices deciding on the 4GB of music that I would put on (I had it filled last night before I even got to "D" in my music library) but now I've got it stacked up and ready to go.

Oh, and if you're wondering why my iPod is orange and brown, it's because I heeded the warnings of all those people who have a class-action lawsuit against Apple because their brand-new toys were scratched to hell the first time they put them in their pockets. Thus, my iPod has a silicone wetsuit. I am considering getting a matching silicone suit for myself.

Ok, maybe not.

In other news, "The Association of Hard Working and Decent People of the Greater Toronto Area" are doing what all sane, decent and hard working people do when confronted with a social problem:

They're calling for Martial Law. You know, last time I checked, I am a hard-working and mostly decent person, but I'm not particularly excited about the idea of martial law. But hey, maybe that's just me.

Also in the realm of poorly advised public postings, we have a Mr Sub advertisement where we are presented with the following questionable message:

"Why save the poor, innocent Tuna when we can eat them in delicious sandwiches?"

Oh, those fucking vegetarians and their non-delicious ideas.

And can someone please point out to the CIBC that a big part of the whole accessibility problem for the visually impaired is that they can't read signs, thus negating the usefulness of this big-ol' sign that's been put up just for their convenience?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Solutions for an ugly lawn

We have an ugly lawn. In fact, calling what we have a lawn is an insult to lawns everywhere - what we have is a bare patch of dirt where a lawn once lived. Thus, my spring project is going to be figuring out how we're going to landscape the space in front of the house.

Actually, it might become a February project with the weather we've been having lately (I saw police out on their bikes today!) but that is another issue altogether.

Anyway, Sarah sent me this today. I think that she might have been kidding, but I think that it rules. I wonder if we could make it work on our shaded lawn? Only time will tell.

I'm a little bit concerned about the possibility of coming out of the house in the morning to find a random dude asleep on our lawn couch, but maybe we can loan out the couch in return for guarding our lawn from people dumping garbage on it in the middle of the night.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Google Earth for Mac!

Ok, so this is probably only vaguely interesting to those of you who don't have a Mac (read: almost everyone) but Fatty has just alerted me that an official Mac version of Google Earth has been released. Woot! Now I can spy on all of my friends from the sky without having to fire up my PC laptop.

Also from Fatty (I hope he doesn't mind me scooping him so much today) is a super cool site where interesting world landmarks are found through satellite footage. Also neat is to see what parts of the map are still inaccessible through satellite imagery, like this mysterious giant pile of snow that seems to have landed on top of Area 51, deep in the Nevada Desert:

Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't Uncle Sam making things worse for intelligence types by blanking this bit out? I mean, I doubt if I could really even tell if alien weapons were being tested if I could see the satellite imagery of the facility...but the big blanked-out white space makes me a million times more curious about what is going on out there.

Also, does anyone say "Uncle Sam" anymore or does that just make me sound like an old hippie?

p.s. As an added bit of coolness, pick a random site on the map with Google Earth and zoom right in to street level. Now, slowly zoom out to an eye altitude of 11,000 feet and you've got a half-decent idea of what it looked like when I went skydiving.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Back from the dead, had a good holiday.

Heya all. Sorry for the long-ish period of inactivity. For all of you who have been just that much more bored at work, I apologize profusely - coming back after the holidays is bad enough without having to deal with your slacker friends who are too lazy to post up to the internet to give you something to read. Thus I hereby promise: I will bring you something new every weekday for at least two weeks. Cross my heart.

I have a whole crapload of random pictures sitting on my camera that I need to do something with, so even though they're mostly out of date and not at all related I'm going to bring them to you now.

Sarah P and Chris came along on a day of fun-packed Christmas shopping (we're going right back to mid-December here) and I took their picture in the subway.

This is what happens when I'm feeling creative - I take pictures of toilets reflected in the glossy bathroom stall divider of the grossest facilities in town (this is in the Lettieri at Queen and Spadina). I don't know why I thought this was a good idea, and I'm sure that the guy who came into the bathroom while I was taking this picture of the bathroom stall was thinking something along the same lines.

The ROM is undergoing a massive renovation right now that will eventually see a large part of its historic exterior covered by a massive crystalline addition. I love it - I think that it's so cool, but it's a pretty harsh contrast.

I live in a pretty calm and stable neighbourhood. Very relaxed and, well, dull. We're totally the evil neighbours with our porch full of garbage and the Christmas tree that time forgot (more on that later). That said, the oddballs that we do have in our neighbourhood really stand out - like this guy who lives down the street and who covered his entire house AND his Dodge Caravan in action figures and bug stickers and other random bits of stuff.

Dupont is my new favourite subway station because it looks like a scene from a sci-fi movie where the hero has to rescue someone from a colony of ants the size of people. Look at that awesome bench - it's molded right out of the wall!

Sorry for the bathrobe/chest hair shot. I just had to show you how lovely our little Christmas morning was with our tree full of presents and the fireplace burning in the corner.

Sarah was struck with a semi-rare case of Bell's Palsy over Christmas (more on that here if you're curious) which was a bit of a downer, for sure, but it gave her the rare ability to sneer like Billy Idol.

Sarah P got two new kittens, Bean and the other one (yet unnamed and pictured here). As far as I know, Sarah is still accepting suggestions for names so fire them in if you've got any good ones (my suggestions were already shot down, apparently "Mr. Farts" is not a good name for a Kitten).

The ever-talented Tracey made me an apron for Christmas, and I love it. This is not the most flattering picture of me, but it's not the apron's fault.

Chris is just tuning his guitar here, but I like the shot because it makes it look like he's rockin' out with Pamela.

Let this be a lesson to all of you - don't forget to water your Christmas tree! We did, and look what happened! This is only a few days after New Year's, but you'd think that it was in our house for months by the state that it's in. After the tree was dragged out, it literally left a pile of needles that was several inches thick in places and that filled half of a garbage bag.

And now that we got it outside, the city won't even pick it up! They came around and picked up every tree on the street but ours. Maybe they thought that we were trying to scam them, that a tree that had lost THAT many needles couldn't possibly be our Christmas tree from this year.

And no, I'm not balding as much as that picture makes it look like. Really.

This is a celebratory picture, taken moments after I almost forgot my camera in a movie theatre where we saw King Kong. I have become convinced that it is not possible to take an unflattering picture of Rajo - he is one good lookin' fella. Though, I do miss the moustache, sorry Ben.

This is just a picture of Sarah. No reason.