Friends and family plan

I had an event yesterday that hasn’t happened in a long time.
I used to live in Winnipeg, where the only relatives were immediate family. Long ago we would travel to distant continents to see kin. But that hasn’t happened in decades.
In Edmonton, I live alone.
But yesterday, when my mother was visiting, she introduced me to some fairly distant relatives that lived in town; My mother’s grand-niece and her children.
So I had a dinner with relatives. It felt different, in a good way. It’s hard to describe, but I highly recommend the experience.
Being with people you don’t know, but who treat you like good friends.

London Drugs for what ails you

After the operation, one of the important things to do is to stick various fluids into your eyes at very regular timed intervals.
So, much to my delight, my watch from grade eight died on Friday morning. Batteries ran out.
So, on the way back from a follow-up appointment at the eye doctor I stopped off at London Drugs and bought a new cheap watch. This one only cost $15 and looks like it was designed in communist Russia. It puts the total for replacing the watch band at $40 now.
While there, I saw Harry Potter on sale for $29.
My initial plan for this book was to buy it from Superstore. The last book they had was cheaper than most places. This time they were selling it for $23. But that is in the liberal sense of the word. A better way to describe it would be to say they were sold-out at $23. Save-on-foods had a similar story.
Chapters was right out with a $38 price tag. I am cheap!
I’m not in a rush. It is just a book. My only requirement is to have it read before I go on my long vacation. So I was thinking of going for Amazon which was selling the book for $22.50.
Needless to say, I picked it up at London Drugs. It seemed the cheapest of all the options. If I did go with Amazon, I know I would order several other things I didn’t desperately need that would have added $60 to the price.
And yet, I still have yet to read more than the first page.

Oh yeah. Laser operation seems to have worked.



I have successfully mother-proofed the place. Except for the laundry room. I can’t really clean that out until I get rid of all the beer bottles, and I can’t do that until people have drunk the full ones I already have.
She should be here any minute.
I am filled with a sense of dread over the incoming operation.

Wristwatch problems

About a month ago, my watch died. Well, actually it is still working fine, the band just broke. Normally this would be a simple operation. Find a new band and stick it on. I’ve done it before. Easy!
However, when I bought it long ago I actually stated “It does have an interesting watchband that I’m worried will be a headache to replace when it wears out.”. Well, a promise made, a promise kept.
To get it replaced I have to ship it to Ontario. I don’t have a big problem with that, other than for two weeks I would be without a watch. And that is just wrong. So I’ve been keeping it in my pocket, trying to figure out when would be a good time to give up the feeling of time for a fortnight.
Then, joy of joys, I took a peek into my bedside table’s drawer. I had stashed a writstwatch there! I didn’t think I had one. The previous search for old watches that still worked turned up two lurking in my laundry room, but they were horribly broken. One looked demonically possessed.
So I popped the broken band watch into a package and sent it off to Timex headquarters. In an insured package. This band replacement is costing me about $25! I’m desperate. But I will not recommend their watches to anyone anymore. Ironic, because I do like the operating system, and they did make one of the best watches I ever had: the one I’m wearing now.
I think the watch I’m wearing is the one I got in grade eight. It has the distinct honor of having been on my wrist for half my life. That isn’t true anymore, but when I finally did replace it, it had earned that label.


On Friday there was a farewell party for one of the founders of my original company. The company has been through two acquisitions, so it isn’t the same as it originally was. The initial acquisition made him quite wealthy. So now he is moving to Vancouver island. I guess the natural order is to make your money in Alberta and then get out.
I must say though that I didn’t enjoy the party. The founder kept talking about how fantastic his new mansion was and how great things were going. He harped on how everything was perfect in BC. He apparently will not miss anything in Alberta. And we heard a parade of stories of things he is doing with his wealth.
Now don’t get me wrong, the founder is a great guy. Very charismatic. He deserves his fortune because he put in a lot of work to get it. But at the party, I felt like it was being rubbed in my face.
I should look at this the correct way: If you work hard you can get rich and deserve it.
However, there is the hidden resentment that I didn’t get rich like he did when the company was bought up. The founders gave out stock options and allowed employees to buy shares. I bought a lot of shares so that when the time came I made a nice amount of money. Insanely risky, but it worked out for me. But the stock options were worth very little. So while the founders got a lot of money, the other employees did not become one of the upper class.
I read a review about the reality show Pirate Master which pointed out that the crew is getting resentful of the captain because he is getting all the money and not sharing it well. The crew gets at most a few scraps. (The author was relating this to the idea of hirelings in a D&D campaign.)
I wonder if that is the same thing happening here with me.

How petty of me.

Science marches on

At the parade they had helicopters flying by, flushing out terrorist elements causing trouble. (I suppose.)
It’s interesting to just spend a moment to look at a helicopter. They are very impressive.
An airplane uses the birds as an example of how to fly. And it adapts to the air around it, working with the atmosphere in harmony. It doesn’t try to fight it. It can be quite graceful.
A helicopter takes a different approach. It has no natural example of how to fly. It decides where it is going to go, and where it is going to be. It doesn’t try to work with the air. It levitates through pure force of will. Opposition to gravity.
This is what I like about science and technology. Humans getting to point where we can make demands on physics and force it to work for us. Where we don’t need to accommodate it.

Parade review

I got to see the Capital Ex parade today. I’ve never been to the main parade of the Edmonton summer. It’s downtown and I don’t work there, so I haven’t been able to make it there in the past. However the new corporate overlords let us go see it.
It’s quite a bit bigger than the Silly Summer parade on Whyte Avenue. So it’s less intimate. But it wasn’t as big as I expected.
There were maybe about ten floats. The rest of the “exhibits” could be classified in one of several categories.

  • People who think they are famous and want to wave at the crowd from the back of a car.
  • Marching bands. There were three bands that highlighted bagpipers. The Red Deer marching band’s cheerleaders looked like their uniforms were from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
  • A trailer piled with junk, that someone thought was festive, being pulled by truck. Usually this was advertising something.
  • Horses. Always followed by a street-cleaner.
  • Tanks! Best thing there. Nothing commands respect like the barrel of a gun bigger than your head pointed at said head. But being me, I really wanted to yell at them to honk their horns.

Arts and Crafts result

The experiment with the homemade A/C didn’t work that well. In the middle of the night I wandered into the room to see how it was doing. The tube had slipped a bit and so instead of piping hot air out of the place, it was blocking the intake of the fan. i.e. It was just making a lot of noise.
I might feel inclined to continue with the experiment if it gets hot again and I want to avoid being more productive.
For Science!

Exit, pursued by bear

I went to see The Winter’s Tale today at the River City Shakespeare Festival. My previous experience with this work was The Winter’s Tale Project, which was a lovely musical. (The fact that it was a musical and that I liked it should speak volumes.) That performance had good tunes and poked fun at itself.
And it had sexy sheep.
Now this performance left a bad taste in my mouth. The main reason people go to see The Winter’s Tale is because of the “Exit, pursued by bear” stage direction.
They go to see the bear!
This performance had no bear. Not even a hint of a bear. Instead some women in white danced around to, I don’t know, metaphorically represent the bear? It was wrong, and I can not support this. I would not recommend this show to anyone.
Other than that it was fine. Good acting. Nice sets. Everything that you would need to make a good Shakespeare, if only it didn’t have that ugly wart of bearlessness.

Give credit where it is due

My Visa bill came today. I was expecting it to be high because of charges made to support a European vacation. And they were on there, and it was high.
A little too high.
There were some other charges I didn’t recognize.
In Mississauga.
For “Solo Mobile”.
Four of them.
All for the same amount.

I don’t own a cell phone.

I do believe my credit card has been compromised.
When I contacted the fraud department, there were actually seven charges to “Solo Mobile”. Now my card has been cancelled. Which will make grocery shopping tomorrow somewhat awkward.
I should have a new card soon enough though. It is more of an inconvenience than anything.

Arts and Crafts day

During the day it is just hot.
At night, it is actually nice and cool outside.
But inside, it still remains warm. The air that has been heated just doesn’t leave and lingers. I don’t have the entire floor of my building to myself, so I can’t open windows on opposite sides of my home to get a cross breeze.
I decided to experiment.
My theory is that if I can get the place filled with cool air at night, and then close it up and darken the place during the day, my condo will remain cooler.
So, to test my hypothesis, I’ve constructed a do-it-yourself air conditioner. Using the A/C term liberally. My fan only moves the stagnant hot air around inside, but never really does a good job of replacing it with the outside cool air. So, I took some garbage bags and made a large tube. One end is attached to the output of my fan, the other is attached to a window leading outside.
I’ve now opened up all the windows in other rooms. So, in theory, the fan will pump out the warm air from one distant window, and cool outside air will waft in from others all night. Then tomorrow morning, I will close all the windows and hope it stays cool.

Heat has made me desperate.

The eye is part of the brain, right?

Yesterday I went to the Gimbel Eye Centre to see what it would take to have a large industrial laser pointed at my eyes and allowed to have its way with me.
Part of the evaluation is a pupil dilation formula in the eyes. In other words, I’m not supposed to drive afterwards. With my eyes in this funky state, bright lights hurt and there is trouble focusing. So I got a carpool to work, and then took a cab to the eye centre.
In theory, the smart thing to do would be to take a cab home. Or at least a bus. But when have I ever done the smart thing. You’re reading about a guy who likes to go running, but is not permitted to. Hell yeah! I’m walking home.
On what was probably the brightest day of the year.
Sunglasses were absolutely necessary. And they did help, but a lot of the time I was keeping the sunward eye closed, and the other as squinted as possible.
Oliver Square seems like a very nice open-air shopping place. They even have an M&M Meat shop there. Always a fine place to get bachelor chow. And they had a special on some very nice bacon-wrapped filet mignon. So of course I go in and pick some up. What could be the problem. Other than that this stuff needs to be kept frozen. Did I mention it was also the hottest day of the year. No problem. I’ll walk straight home quickly.
And I promptly cross the road and enter the Little Caesars and order a dinner.
So instead of walking home quickly, I’m sauntering downtown munching a pizza.
Still half blind.

It took an an hour and twenty-five minutes to make the whole trip.


It was actually an hour wait in total for the doctor. Luckily I had brought my iPod and could listen to a podcast of Quirks and Quarks.
The doctor doesn’t think I need a bone scan, which is good. Apparently they take over two hours to perform. Since it has been getting better in the past two weeks (and doesn’t hurt all the time), he thinks I might just have a bone bruise. He’s prescribed an x-ray so we can determine if it is. I hope! It would mean I wouldn’t be off my feet for so long. He was concerned that I should keep exercising, otherwise all the leg muscles will deteriorate. And I worked hard for those muscles.
I can run, but only if I feel it is okay; If the level of pain isn’t too bad. I might have to find alternate exercise. I really don’t like swimming for exercise. I’d be tempted to go bicycling, except I don’t have one. Rollerblading isn’t that recommended.
Apparently I’m really cheap when it comes to exercise. I’m only willing to fork out for a pair of running shoes.
I would have gone to the x-ray tonight, but there doesn’t seem to be a huge rush. And I have stuff to do to prepare for an eye doctor appointment tomorrow. I’ll try going Friday, or Saturday.
I guess this is medical week for me.

Yearly pain in the neck

Crud! Crud! Crud!
It appears my yearly injury has happened again. I like to say that it happens in the Spring, or the first half of the year. Now I guess I have to say it is Spring or Summer.
That ache in my ankle; I went to a physical therapist to get an opinion on it. She thinks it might be a stress fracture. (i.e. No running for three months.) To be certain though, I need to get a bone scan.
So I went to a doctor after work. Now I’m waiting half an hour for a general practitioner to give me a prescription so I can get one.
Of course since the doctor is a ten minute walk from where I live, I went home. I’ll pop back soon enough.

It’s a trap!

I got back into programming my own application again. It has been a long time, so I started simple:
The window for controlling the sea level of the world being generated had a minor defect. When it first came up it didn’t display a proper value for the percentage of the world covered in water. The instant the sea level was changed it would correct itself, but it still was annoying.
Now it isn’t.
Progress would have gone faster if Wikipedia hadn’t totally distracted me. I started out with trying to figure out what was the best description for an Ark (Hey, I was flooding the world!) and from there I eventually ended up in a discussion of Japan’s surrender during the second world war.
Can you guess the encyclopedia steps needed to get there?

And I would like to thank Admiral Ackbar for the title quote.

Sound of mind

I should have been more productive. Then I found some old copies of World of Puzzles magazines up to no good.
Of course, having the attention span of a goldfish, I started going through them. I have never successfully finished more than a handful of the puzzles in these magazines so there are always lots more to do.
These are old magazines from 2001.
Before Google really got popular.
Oh look, my desk has a laptop on it!
Trying to complete quotes of people is a lot easier when you figure out one specific word in the quote and then google it.

Guess what I did today

Let’s consider the plot of reading a Lawrence Watt-Evans novel. I do not meant the plot of the book itself.
It follows a strict pattern that cannot be deviated from.

  1. Obtain the book in question.
  2. Let it sit on bedside table for several days.
  3. On a weekday evening, read a chapter before going to sleep.
  4. The next weekday evening, repeat.
  5. On the following day, typically a Saturday, instead of getting up, plan to read a single chapter.
  6. Place finished book on bookshelf.

Do not question the plan. The plan is sound.

It was the ethical thing to do

I woke up with a nasty headache. My left eyeball hurt. Half an hour before I got up I put a cold pack on it to try and relieve the pressure/pain.
I was seriously thinking of calling in sick today. Then I saw the weather report. +33.
Work has air conditioning. Home does not.


This was the best movie ever!
It could have been bad, but no, it was great! It had a good source material of giant robots fighting and didn’t try to deviate from that and make it a love story.
And the pacing was good. The cool CGI never becomes boring CGI. The fighting doesn’t last for so long that you tire of it. It changes gears and you have a few moments of drama. Then back to the giant robots.
And nobody is outright stupid! The military is actually doing the right thing most of the time.
It didn’t stay completely true to the original cartoon, and I’m not disappointed that it didn’t. The cartoons don’t hold up well when you are an adult. But they had the few moments that harken back. Megatron from the start accuses Starscream of failing him. As it was meant to be. And okay, Megatron doesn’t transform into a handgun. That was pretty silly when you think about it, and his origin in the movie makes much more sense. He doesn’t feel the need to deny who he is. He’s a giant robot and proud of it.
I have two minor issues. They seem to come up with a Transformers-detector. Isn’t the point of being a transformer is so that you can’t be detected? And at one point they pop the hood of an Autobot and take a look at the perfectly normal engine. Where does the robot parts go then?
Minor quibbles for an otherwise awesome movie.

Why are you still reading this. Go see it.

Post Canada day hangover

The problem with Canada day is that it is the exact centre of the year. In other words, it is the half New Years day.
I hate the new year. It always puts me in a bit of a mood. Apparently the half is no exception.
I did get to see the fireworks though. I arrived at the park just as they were starting, with someone pre-smoking the air with the smell of marijuana. Fifteen minutes later, after an impressive show, they were over. And the crowd of people I could pretend were a party drifted off.
I went to Whyte Avenue and wandered around a bit. I settled on a bench and watched the people go by. It didn’t improve my mood. Eventually some smokers came and chased me off. And now I go to an empty home, to apparently spend time on a computer.

Something is wrong here.

Happy Canada Day

We are a lazy people.
Other countries, on their national day, need to do a lot of work to dress appropriately. We have it so easy. The Americans need to wear stars and stripes. We just need to wear some combination of bright red and white. We can probably find those colors in our closet already. Or carry a can of Coke. (Classic only, not diet.) An American in red, white and blue doesn’t cut it.
I suppose it is because our botanical banner is harder to replicate. When it is flapping in the breeze, you only get to see flashes of red and white. Not the large symbol in the centre.