April 16, 2007

So THAT's where I live...

So, I was doing a little digging online for info on a condo I'm considering purchasing, and in the process, I came across an article detailing Frederick Rastrick, a major architect working in Hamilton during the 1850's. Turns out...he didn't design my building. But the article did have a (albeit short) blurb on The Castle. Built in the 1850's by a man named Reid for the Thompson family, it was once named 'Amisfield', I'm assuming after Amisfield Tower in Dumfries, Scotland. Quick quote from the article:

"From the late 1940s, when the annex known as the Castle Building was added on the north, to the present day that has seen it engulfed by mediocrity, "The Castle" has been a textbook example of indifference to architectural quality."

I couldn't agree more.

Amisfield House, as it once looked:
Amisfield House, 1800's
Amisfield House, three days ago:
Castle (Large)

March 27, 2007

This looks like fun...

While Arcade Fire was in Paris, they sang one of their songs in a freight elevator at the Olympia. Great song, great band...

Apparantly, the guy that filmed it does this a lot with various bands. My favorite band-i've-never-heard-of so far? Alamo Race Track. Too bad their album's only released in Holland and France.

March 21, 2007

My computer cheats.

So, with the stress of convention bearing down, I like to relax a little with some computer gaming. And what could be more relaxing than a little backgammon? OK, not my first thought either...but it was a free download. So, why not.
Now, if you don't know backgammon, this will be absolutely meaningless to you. But if you do...
My suspicions were aroused after getting creamed in the first game. And the second. And the third. But the fourth was mine. All mine.
I'm up 8-0, he's still got pieces stuck in my home.
Then it happens.
I stop scoring. Bad numbers. I shuffle my pieces around in the vain hope of scoring, but it just wasn't happening.
Meanwhile, here's how the PC's game goes:
Double(score x4)
Double(score x4)
...and so it goes, until I'm left with 8 pieces on the board, all in the 2/3 position, and rolling a 5/1...four times in a row. The PC? Three pieces in the one position.
I think to myself,"if the PC rolls a double one (which would win him the game), I'm uninstalling this game." The result?
The game is no longer on my computer.

March 15, 2007

Stupid DST.

Who would ever have thought that a change to Daylight Savings Time would create more hassle for an IT department than the Y2K change did??? No point in going into details...let's just say that bad programming = my giant headache.
So, life in the castle goes on; not much new here. Hey, the restaurant's (finally) open again...really good food too. Mmm...calamarie. Tasty!
Convention's shaping up to be as big a headache as ever. Which is odd, seeing as the word 'housing' alongside the word 'help' have yet to be uttered in my presence. But whoever's idea it was to reduce the PC to just seven members needs to be shot. Figuring out how we're getting the equipment to Ottawa should be a five minute conversation, not a two week ordeal. But that's what happens when the right people aren't allowed to talk to each other. All the same, it should be a good year. Assuming there's no more surprises.
Anyhow, that's about it for now. The search for a house continues, though I'm afraid I may be a little too picky. In theory, I could have bought a house six months ago, yet here I sit, in my castle, wasting money on rent. I need a swift kick in the ass, I do.

January 25, 2007

Re-entering the web design world...

At long last, I've put the finishing touches on the website I've been working at for a while. I'm pretty happy with the results, though it needs some more tweaking. I've yet to lock it down--I'm currently fighting with the hosting company over this, as properly securing it results in me not being able to modify it. At least, not until they make some changes at their end. Annoying.
The image gallery needs to be tweaked. I'm using Joomla (a CMS program), but I've yet to find an easy-to-use gallery for it. There's quite a few available, but most are far too complex. The colour scheme...not a huge fan, but the idea is to make the photographs 'pop'...it is a photography site, after all.
Anyhow, let me know what you think!

January 11, 2007

This is what happens...

...when you walk into concrete hydro poles.
Broken Glasses
They finally gave out this morning. Those glasses lasted longer than anything else I've ever owned. Well, almost. I've had my gold chain for longer. And I've had a pair of Airwalks for forever, but I think I tossed those out when I moved; at least, I can't find them anymore.
I'm now relegated to wearing contacts that a)were prescribed 10 years ago, b) have been sitting in solution for six months, and c) actually expired a year ago.
On the plus side--I'm getting new glasses. Appointment's not 'til Monday, but I've already picked out the frames. They're sessy. Just like me ;)

January 06, 2007


Who puts a concrete hydro pole in the middle of a sidewalk?

My family rocks.

So, I was reading a bunch of Christmas horror stories over on JU, and I gotta say...my family rocks. Drunken in-laws, decades-old animosity, grandparents playing favorites--my family has none of that. We all--including in-laws--get along great. This year, we had the privelege of having Stacy's parents up from Tennessee. They even got me a present! It wasn't anything extravegant--just a basic socket set. But the fact that they thought to get me anything blew my mind. I mean, I don't know them at all, technically there's no relation between us, and this is only the second time we've met (the first being four years ago when Al and Stacy got married). I'm ashamed to say, I didn't return the favor--I'd forgotten they were coming until they were there. Oops. They didn't seem to mind.
Sure, having them come down messed up our traditions a little--we opened presents Christmas Day instead of Christmas Eve. But no-one cared, mostly because Christmas has pretty much stopped being about ourselves, and mostly about my nieces and nephews. Who also rock, by the way ;) Not saying that we adults didn't give and get presents to and from each other--of course we did. And of course we enjoy that. But seeing an adult open a box with a sweater isn't near as fun as watching a three-year-old (almost) open up a Princess outfit (and promptly stop caring about anything else--my brother chose well).

In other news, I'm an uncle...again! Or, still, I guess...Stacy and Al added another to their clan on Monday. Almost the first baby born in Toronto (she missed by 20 minutes). Jacob Allen, born 8lbs 4oz (I think). Stacy's doing fine, in fact, she was home the next day, playing with Sadie and John Michael while the rest of the family held onto her newborn.
Oh, hey...I finally bought a dinette set for my dining room (such as it is). We broke it in a few weeks ago. I've since realized that my dinnerware is...well, ugly. Strong, though--my parents got it as a wedding gift some 30+ years ago, and we still have pretty much everything for it. But it's next on the upgrade list.
Anyhow, time to go.

December 19, 2006

Well whaddayaknow...

Turns out, I'm not so bad a driver anymore!
Yes, that's right...the time has come to say goodbye to Kingsway Insurance! Yay! Goodbye, high rates, hello, cheapness! And by cheapness I mean...almost exactly the same rates. But at least it comes with comprehensive.
Author's note: This was written ~ 2 weeks ago...finally posting it now ;)

Well, it's late, and I can't sleep. So I was perusing a few friend's blogs and figured, what the hey...this is due.
So, to recap my life since the last post:
Bailey (the cat) has gone back to my sister. Devil cat (her husband's) was put down after it walked across the living room and scratched their daughter for no reason whatsoever, and she missed Bailey, so I brought him back.
I'm alive, which means I haven't taken up base jumping yet. Nor have I built a flame-thrower (though I'd probably survive that, so long as Tim was in no way involved in the project ;) )
DSCF0024 (Large)
The Jeep...died. While I wish it was in glorious battle against a large puddle of mud, alas, it was not to be. Surprisingly, it wasn't the engine that failed (though it would have in short order--people were pointing and laughing at the insanely loud knock it was making). Nor was it the slowly failing transmission. And I learned to live with the occasional death wobble resulting from the blown front suspension. And the police didn't force me to take it off the road, despite having plates that were then two years overdue (apparantly, you can't get an e-test on a rear-wheel drive vehicle if your rear brakes don't work properly). No, a short in the steering column was what finally did her in. Something about not having brake lights being unsafe or something.
So what glorious chariot carries me into the night today, you ask? What could possibly replace the infamous Red Jeep?
Well, nothing.
But the Honda Civic I now drive is good on gas. So that's a plus, anyway.
(quick side note--I just noticed something on this page that seems to indicate a problem with Blogger. Attempting to save a draft...errored out. Figures. But I don't give up that easily. And I'm still not tired. So I shall bravely forge on in...notepad. Here's hoping it's fixed before I go to bed, or this might not get posted for a bit ;) )
I've moved to a new apartment in downtown Hamilton. Having lived in the middle of nowhere for the last five years, it's a bit of a change (ok, it was two places, so 'the middle of nowhere' and 'the centre of nowhere', then. Picky, picky...). Gone are my quiet evenings, gone are the owls hooting, gone are coyotes howling at night.
And I love it.
My apartment rocks. The grocery store is a two minute walk away. I have internet. At home, even. I can arrive home from work with absolutely no idea what I'm going to have for dinner, go online, find a recipe, walk to the store and pick up supplies, cook a great meal, kick back and relax--all before I would have walked through the front door in Smithville. Downtown is maybe 5 minutes away. My drive to work is half as long. Many of my friends live nearby (though many now live ~ 1 hr away--that blows). And I have mice to remind me of the Smithville house.
OK, that last one's not really a plus.
On the 'not new' side, I'm still working for the same company. Hey, I just finished the last internal audit today (yay, TS-16949 certification! Not.) I had to write NCR's against a couple of co-workers, which never goes over well. But it's my turn to get audited later this week. That'll be fun. Though I'm sure I'll get my own NCR's. (NCR = Non Comformance Report, aka, 'You've-been-a-bad-boy' sheets, resulting in filling out fun things like 'Root Cause Analysis' and the like. And saying 'I didn't do it because I'm lazy' doesn't work. Though blaming it on others can.)
And lastly, on the completely unrelated side, I just noticed that the latest episode of Dexter finished downloading. For those of you that haven't seen it, I strongly suggest you do so (if you've got a torrent program, go to http://www.tvrss.net/ and get it from there). It's no Dead Like Me, but it beats anything showing on primetime. It's even ranked as #2 of the top TV shows right now, which is surprising, considering it's only showing on ShowTime in the States and TMN in Canada (thus the download). Happy vegging.
Anyhow, time for bed. And Blogger still isn't working, so I'll have to try to remember to post this later. Cya.

November 17, 2005

The trouble with being the lone IT guy in a small shop is that there's no-one to celebrate with when you solve a problem that's been plauging you for weeks.

See, I ordered a new copier back in September. It's quite the machine--it'll even scan to e-mail. Except, that part didn't work. Ever.
No-one here could help me.
The support tech couldn't figure it out.
The bloody MANUFACTURERS couldn't figure it out.
Everyone blamed my mail server.

Turns out, the damn thing sends out mal-formed HELO commands. Not that that means anything to you, dear reader. But it sure meant a lot to my Exchange server.
A short edit to the IIS Metabase, and voila, it's fixed!

I deserve an f'ing cookie.

October 18, 2004

Added to the list of things I need to learn to do:
Base Jumping

July 01, 2004

Here's to the worst government EVAR!

'nuf said about that.

So summer's once again upon us. What does that mean for me? Well, there's work, of course, but when isn't there? No, I spend much of my weekends becoming the main course for the local airborne wildlife. That's right, camping. In fact, I'm on my way out the door as we speak, to spend a weekend w/ the family. Surprisingly, this isn't a bad thing--family becomes much more important when you get to be as ancient as me ;)

So with that said, here's something random: my next home project. Well, not really, but wouldn't it be cool?

June 02, 2004

She's mine! All mine!!!!!

With the final payment going through last night, I am today the proud owner of a 1993 Jeep Cherokee. That's right--the oil-leaking, overheating, wobbling, bent and battered box that has been my ride for the last five years now belongs completely and fully to me.
Something doesn't seem quite right there.

It wasn't supposed to take this long. See, when I finished college, I went straight into the workplace, and found myself with, what I considered to be, an AMAZING paycheck. My newfound *wealth* gave me a sense of power I hadn't felt before, and it didn't take me long to dispose of it. Three years of payments seemed easily affordable, and my mathematical skills showed me that I could theoretically have it paid off in a year and a half!
Well, theory met reality, and it wasn't pleasant. Suffice to say, five years of paying for a vehicle that is degrading beneath your feet (quite literally, in fact..watch where you step when you get in) gets pretty old, pretty fast.
Looking back, many would say it wasn't a wise financial choice. I probably should have realized it was going to be a rocky ride when the engine died on the test drive, spewing coolant all over the car lot. But it was too late--I was already in love.
As my first vehicle, this will be the one I will always remember. The adventures I and my friends have had in it will live on in our memories, long after its demise. From conventions ("what do you think of when you see a red jeep?") to retreats ("Ok, Tim, I *know* we can fit that keyboard...we just have to be more creative in our packing") to spontaneous road trips (ever raced taxis through NYC at 3:00 AM?), the good times we've had will never be forgotten.

May 28, 2004

My cat is a wuss.

Meet Bailey. Well, OK, you can't see him, but just imagine for a minute. He's a three year old calico cat, about 15" long, 11" tall, your average sized cat. Except for his weight. When I inherited this cat from my brother, he wasn't just a big cat--he was FAT. I mean, fur dragging on the ground, fat. My roommate and I have put him on a diet, which wasn't going too well until we found some cat food that was not only diet, but also tasted horrible. Yes, I'm evil. But now, he's just, well, 'big-boned', I suppose. Except for the loose skin hanging under his belly, which I figure will tighten up over time.
So, why is my cat a wuss? Well, it's not really his fault. My sister first bought him when she lived in an apartment in Grimsby (or, "the 'by", as some call it). There it stayed, 'til she moved in with me and my brother to a large house. Yet still, the cat remained inside at all times. My sister moved out, then got married, so my brother became the cat's pet. By that time, he had also moved to a small apartment, and he remained an indoor cat. Matt then moved to BC for school, and that's how I came to own Bailey.
So, this cat has spent its entire life indoors, protected from any danger by walls and windows. In fact, the only other living things it has seen are people, mice, and bugs. I, however, live in a house in the country. I like wide open spaces, and hate to think that this poor cat has had to spend its life cooped up inside. So, when the weather turned warm, I was kind enough to let it outside a bit. I'll tell you, there's little funnier than watching a cat's first experience interacting with this thing called "grass". Even funnier was his first experience interacting with this thing called "cats". One of the local strays had meandered its way into the open front door of our house. You would think Bailey, being the master of the house, would at least make an attempt to stand his ground. But who do you think was the first one out the door? Yep, my cat's a wuss.
The other night, we'd left the door open to allow the cat some time outside. Well, after about 5 hrs, we hadn't seen hide nor hair of him. We closed the door, and went to bed. This wouldn't be the first time the cat had spent the night outside, so we weren't too concerned.
The next morning, I opened the door, and Bailey limped inside, bits of fur hanging off his back, and using only three of his legs. The way he was acting, I figured for sure he'd broken his leg or something serious. But, let's not forget, my cat's a wuss. This being the first injury he'd ever experienced, "pain" was yet another new thing for him. A closer inspection revealed a bit of a scratch on his leg, minimal blood, and no broken bones. The next day, he was already starting to use that leg, and by the time I got back from the long weekend, he was running around as if nothing had ever happened.
Hopefully, he'll spend more time outdoors as summer goes on. I figure that'll toughen him up some, and the running around could really do him some good.
That is, if he dares to step foot outside again.

May 12, 2004

It's a Jeep thing, I don't understand...

My jeep and I have a unique relationship. I suppose it's the old "give/take" routine--I give it loads and loads of money, it provides me with transportation to and from work (and not much else at this point). I'm told it's like a woman--there'll always be the initial hint of a problem, which, if not dealt with immediately, has a tendancy to blow up in your face.
Take the latest episode. What began as the faint smell of unburnt gasoline attributed to a hole in the top of the tank, quickly turned into as much gasoline ending up on the road as went into the engine.
Sometimes, I get lucky, and the repair is quick, cheap, and easy, as was the case with this one (leaking fuel filter). Other times, it's quite the opposite, and it costs me a new engine and transmission, followed by two more years of payments. Even worse, I'll just keep throwing money at it, and it'll laugh in my face, then act like nothing was ever wrong.
My laziness in repairing my jeep is two-fold. There's the procrastination part (what, me, procrastinate? Never!), and there's the howmuchamonth problem. ie, how much is this gonna cost me, and how long is it going to take me to pay for it? I'm sort of an optimist and a pessimist at the same time. On the optimism side, I always hope that whatever the problem might be, it'll be small, and I don't have to worry about it, because everything's gonna be just fine. On the pessimistic side, I'm always afraid that whatever the problem is, it's gonna cost me a fortune to fix, so I don't want to know about it.
But for all it's problems, I still love my jeep. I dunno why, she's been a royal PITA lately. But we've had a good run, and I'll miss her when she retires this fall. If she makes it to the fall.

BTW, I'm taking bets on whether my transmission will implode before I can re-run the cooling lines ;)

May 11, 2004

Ode to Laura

there once was a girl
'little brat' comes to mind
her hair in a curl
her words less refined

she thought that the world
revolved around her
and for this little girl
not a thing would deter

her from getting her ice cream
but she hadn't anticipated
that her hairbrained little scheme
was so old and outdated

see, her babysitter had been
around the block once or twice
and though he knew it was mean
his job wasn't to be nice

"no ice cream for you"
said the boy with authority
"but mom let's me, it's true!"
"sorry, you're in the minority"

(one would think that her sister
would know of such traditions
but from her, not a whisper
which confirmed his suspicions)

her sad words of sorrow
they fell on deaf ears
"off to bed 'til the morrow
and stop those fake tears"

that babysitter was me
i was a bear, i admit it
but dear reader, you see,
i regret it, just a bit

try as I might
i can't make it up to her
i always seem to ignite
more anger to deter

her favorite ice cream
straight from chicago
would not make for her
a decent quid pro quo

visits, irish cream,
still she regrets!
this is one hurt
she'll never forget

but I hold no deep grudge
for my dear sweetest Laura
for she holds about her
an incandescent aura

she's always been gorgeous
far back as I recall
to deny it would be outrageous
she's beatiful; thin and tall

with a shine in her eye
that none could resist
and the occasional hair dye
seeing her is pure bliss

This rhyme is long due
I procrastinate, it's true
but it's my lyrical debut
So Laura, here's to you!

To Laura.