Thursday, October 20, 2005

Holy Flock!

Well, it's out - I just got my invitation to download Flock, the new web browser. Actually, I'm posting this right from Flock's built-in blogging tool, and playing around with the full integration between Flock's bookmarks and (which I just started using a couple weeks ago, and loving it). It also looks like it has integration with Flickr, but since I don't really use it I haven't played with it yet. I'll post more later once I've gotten a better handle on Flock.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Bring out your dead! [clang]

I'm not dead!
Nothing. Here's your ninepence.
I'm not dead!
'Ere. He says he's not dead!
Yes, he is.
I'm not!
He isn't?
Well, he will be soon. He's very ill.
I'm getting better!
No, you're not. You'll be stone dead in a moment.
Oh, I can't take him like that. It's against regulations.
I don't want to go on the cart!
Oh, don't be such a baby.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Scene 2

In a related note, I'm not dead either. Just this blog. Steps will be taken shortly to remedy this, most likely followed by tripping and falling on my face, as seems to happen whenever I make pronouncements online.

Monday, July 04, 2005

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Tastes like chicken?

I have no idea if this is serious or not, but... it's Hufu - the healthy human flesh alternative.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005


Originally uploaded by cowboy_k.
Birgitte Joy arrived @ 2005-06-20 19:43, weighing 8lbs, 4ozs, and 21 inches long. Mom and baby are doing fine. Dad is too, but no-one ever asks about that.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Are we having fun yet?

I'm having so much fun right now, I can't begin to describe it. We've got two kids down with chicken pox right now (nothing like feverish children waking up every 30 minutes or so all night to make you feel rested), and the company's primary DNS servers were not operating properly over the weekend, and when we finally got them working I found out it was something that I had done to screw it up.

At least tonight is shaping up to be an OK night - the DNS servers are still working, the poxy kids are feeling somewhat better (enhanced with Tylenol), and I should be able to get to bed at a decent time. Tomorrow is a new day, full of new opportunities... to screw things up royally again. But, I'm getting ahead of myself.

P.S. My apologies to RyeShy for the DNS debacle.

Friday, May 27, 2005

Awake and not happy about it

Stupid servers at work started sending out alerts about an hour ago, about the same time that Kol started fussing (he's been running a fever and generally cranky today, probably the beginning of chicken pox). Turns out it was a simple problem (needed to restart the primary DNS server), but now I'm wide awake. This sucks. I'm going back to bed now - hopefully I'll be able to "shut down" pretty quickly...

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Unplanned hiatus is over

It's been a quiet month here on the blog, which is completely the opposite of what's been happening offline for me. Here's the highlights:
  • Chicken pox - Julianna is just about over them, which means that Mari and Kolbjorn are probably going to be dealing with them in a few weeks time.
  • Baby on the way - we're hoping the baby isn't early, 'cause the due date is pretty much right after we expect Mari and Kol to be finished dealing with chicken pox. We had an ultrasound yesterday, and we actually got a decent look at the baby's face - very, very cool. No idea about the gender, and that's just fine with us. We've also finally settled on our name choices - of course, we're not saying anything until the little one is finally here.
  • Renovations - the main bathroom is finally usable after six months, except for the sink (need to rip out some of our freshly installed and painted drywall because we forgot to put in a crossbrace for it). The concrete for half the driveway has been poured, and the rest of it should be finished PDQ (weather permitting), and the frames are in place for the sidewalk to the front door. The basement and deck have had no progress.
  • Work - craziness continues. Big project right now: our co-lo ISP has asked us to move our servers to a different IP subnet. It's not a quick and easy job, to say the least. Also continuing staff changes, budget fights, etc. Situation normal, I guess.
  • Babylon 5 - just about finished season 4. This has been very exciting - when B5 was originally broadcast, our local TV station dropped it midway through the third season. Had a friend who worked for another local station who taped it off the satellite feed and made a bunch of copies to distribute - managed to keep up with it until early fourth season, when his manager caught him using the company equipment for his little operation. Since then, I had never seen any further 4th or 5th season episodes. Fantastic show - the acting wasn't always stellar, but the writing and story are excellent. I'm almost going to be sorry when I finish watching the entire series - but hey, that just means I can start again from the beginning and pick up on all the hints of things to come that I missed the first time through.
  • Aquarium - we've added a whole lotta fish, including some "refugees" from my sister's tank (which she is decomissioning while they are in the midst of renovations). Current count is 13 pristella tetras, 6 black skirt tetras, 2 cardinal tetras, 6 panda cory cats, 5 otto cats, 1 upside-down cat, 1 pleco, and 3 angels. It's a very busy tank, but not too crowded. Very relaxing to just sit and watch.
  • The Saskatoon Curse - yes, it struck again. Transmission trouble with the van stranded Kristen and the two youngest in Saskatoon one day a few weeks ago. Warranty covered the repairs, but we had to borrow a vehicle from my folks for a few days while ours was in the shop.
I'm sure that there's more that I could ramble on about, but I'd really like to watch one more Babylon 5 episode before going to bed. A man's got his priorities, you know.

One last note - I've still got more Gmail invites than I know what to do with. If you want one, just let me know. Doesn't matter to me if you're a close relative or a complete stranger - ask, and ye shall receive.

Transformer training wheels

Now this is a pretty cool idea- instead of training wheels, these guys have figured out a way to make a tricycle that turns into a bicycle while in motion. Just wish it was past the prototype stage - Julianna's soon ready to drop the training wheels, and this looks like it would be a much more natural progression. Oh well - guess I'd better make sure her helmet fits right, and stock up on the band-aids.

Competitiveness vs. fatherhood

My mom just gave me the Star Wars Trivial Pursuit DVD Saga Edition game the other day, and Julianna was itching to play it against me. Now, this is a problem for me - I'm a very competitive person when it comes to games, I'm pretty good at normal trivia games, and I'm a complete Star Wars fanboy. I tried my best to restrain myself (she's only 7), but I beat her. Twice. I did my best to help her along, and I managed to make it close (both games she had at least 4 wedges), but I had to win. Actually, by the end of the second game, it was getting to be way past her bedtime, so I just wanted to end it quickly. I comfort myself with the thought that it will help her to be a good sport about winning and losing.

Before going to bed, Julianna told me that she plans to challenge Kristen to the game tomorrow. She's pretty confident of her chances. So am I. Sorry, dear, but your daughter is gonna kick your butt all the way to Tatooine.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

I can't dance

But even so, this is pretty cool. Bunch of engineering nerds at university decide to build a 128-square-foot computer-controlled disco dance floor (think Saturday Night Fever). Relaxen und watchen das blinkenlights.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Happy birthday to me

Well, another year older, another year wiser... or some such nonsense. I'm 34 years old as of today - it's kinda strange, seeing the big four-oh getting closer and closer. In many ways, I don't feel any older than I did when I was first married (over 10 years ago now)... and in many ways, I feel way too old...

Had a good birthday this year - got a phone call from my sister, got an e-card from by brother in Asia, got an actual physical birthday card (with a fart joke no less) from my other brother, my folks came down from Saskatoon and took me (and the rest of the crew here) out for supper... oh yeah, and the kids were pretty excited about it too - sang "Happy Birthday" for me before I left for work in the morning, stuff like that. Work was stressful today, but I'm able to forget that until Monday morning. Nothing like some fettucini, birthday cake, and ice cream to make me a happy camper.

Topped off the evening watching two more Babylon 5 episodes (half-way through the third season), and going online and ordering seasons 4 and 5 - I got a little birthday money, so I splurged and got them delivered by Xpress Post, so they'll be here sooner.

34 years... hard to believe it's been that long. I guess I'm an old guy now - don't quite know exactly when I crossed the line into "old", but I'm here now. Oh well - now I have the missing piece of the "grumpy old man" honorific. If you need me, I'll be sitting in my rocking chair on the porch, complaining about the humidity and talking about how things were better in the old days.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

Yes, it appears that I have been neglecting my blog the last few weeks... not that nothing has been happening, I just haven't gotten around to writing about it. Here's what's been happening lately:
  • We bought an aquarium (120 gal), and we're in the process of cycling it with a dozen pristella tetras. Very relaxing to sit and watch the fish swimming around at the end of the day.
  • We have successfully survived a couple trips to Saskatoon, so the curse appears to be broken.
  • I've been reading the Narnia books to the girls for their bedtime stories - so far, we've finished "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe", "The Magician's Nephew", and "The Horse and His Boy", and we just started on "Prince Caspian" this week. They've been absolutely engrossed in the stories, which makes me a happy geek daddy.
  • We (me and Kristen) have watched a ton of Babylon 5 (we're now about 2/3rds of the way through the second season), and I'm loving every minute of it. I picked up season 3 at Wal-Mart on one of our city trips, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to shell out for seasons 4 and 5. We also managed to find time to watch the extended edition of "The Return of the King", which we also enjoyed a lot.
  • NERD ALERT: At work, we've just finished setting up a subversion source control system, running on Debian sarge... I am seriously loving working with Debian, after my years of working with Red Hat - apt-get is amazing, and the Synaptic Package Manager is a work of art as far as I am concerned. I'm thinking that as we replace systems at work, I'm going to use Debian instead of Red Hat - the only place that we may have problems is with our Lyris system, which is a Red Hat only system. If I could find a decent replacement for Lyris that works well with Debian (and preferably costs a whole lot less), I'd be tempted to replace that one as well.
I'm sure there's more than that, but that's about all I can think of right now. Oh, and don't forget to mark your calendars, 'cause my birthday is coming up in just a couple weeks!

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

And we're back!

We have returned from Saskatoon, mostly safe and sound. The curse appears to have held, although to a smaller effect - this time, the only thing that broke down was our stroller. Nothing like spending a day at the mall with a stroller that pulls sharply to the right...

But nobody got sick, no vehicles went off the road, the kidswere remarkably well-behaved, and we ended up enjoying ourselves. Who'da thunk it?

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Back into the belly of the beast...

That's right, we're tempting fate, and driving to Saskatoon tomorrow. Kris has a prenatal checkup, and the van needs some warranty work done on it. So, despite the disasters that have befallen us on our previous trips, here we go again.

If you don't hear from me within 48 hours, send help. Or maybe just an e-mail to remind me to post a "still alive" message to the blog.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Running back from Saskatoon...

I don't know why we bother going to Saskatoon any more - lately it seems that every time we do, it ends in disaster. Friday night was another case in point.

Kristen picked me up after work on Friday, stating that she didn't want to make supper tonight. I innocently suggested that we should go to Saskatoon for supper, and it wound up snowballing into a planned overnight trip with shopping and taking the kids to see the new Pooh movie.

Things starting going wrong right away. We ended up not leaving Outlook in time to make it to the movie Friday night, so we went to Jerry's for supper. Towards the end of the meal, Kolbjorn threw up at the table - he hadn't eaten much aside from a few fries and a glass of fruit juice. It was the revenge of the technicolor puke. And that was the end of supper for us.

We had one change of clothes packed for Kol, so we got him into fresh togs, piled into the van, and drove to Mom and Dad's place, where we had planned to crash overnight. What we hadn't counted on was the fact that Mom and Dad had house sitters while they were in Arizona, something I hadn't realized until we pulled up in front of the house and noticed people moving around. I called the house from my cell, and realized that I had no idea who the house sitters were, and I'm pretty sure they didn't know who I was. That was a very confusing conversation.

So, deprived of our planned base of operations for the weekend, we did what came naturally - we went to Wal-Mart. There was method to our madness - we still weren't sure if Kol would be sick again, we didn't have another change of clothes for him, and we were out of a few essentials (diapers, etc.). A quick run through Wal-Mart yielded two pairs of pajamas for Kol, diapers, wipes, etc. We then proceeded to Petland to check out some aquarium stuff.

As we walked through the door at Petland, an employee mentioned that it was only 10 minutes to closing, so we got what we needed (aquarium backdrop) and headed out the mall doors back towards Wal-Mart. A voice over the PA system announced that the mall was closing, and the staff at Wal-Mart began closing their mall doors. Mari began panicking, thinking that we would be locked in the mall and unable to get back to the van at all. Fortunately, the staff saw us coming and kept the mall door open for us, but Mari was in tears as we got inside.

We stayed in Wal-Mart for a while - Kol seemed like himself again, we looked at fish in the pet department, browsed through the DVDs in the electronics department, and generally had a good time until Wal-Mart's PA system announced that they would be closing in 15 minutes. That set off Mari again, and she didn't calm down until we were out the door.

We all loaded into the van, and made it back to Outlook without incident. Just as we were pulling into the driveway at 11:15 PM, Kristen suddenly realized that there was a relatively important playschool board meeting scheduled that evening that she had completely forgotten about. Sure enough, we got through the door to find a message on our answering machine about the meeting, wondering if Kristen was going to come or not.

Next time Kristen says she doesn't want to cook supper, I think we'll just order pizza.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Gmail invites

I just noticed a little box at the bottom of my Gmail inbox for invites. I've had invites in the past, given out some to friends and family, given out quite a few to random strangers in newsgroups, Fark, etc. but lately nobody seems to be asking for them. Anyhow, it looks like I've got 50 - that's "five-zero" - invites to use, so if you're reading this, leave a comment on this entry and I'll send you an invite. Alternately, if you're feeling paranoid about leaving your e-mail address on a public blog, send me an e-mail - check my profile for more info.

Of course, this assumes that anyone is actually reading this blog. Is anyone out there? (echo) (echo) (echo)....

Monday, January 31, 2005

Why yes, I do intend to spend the next 60 hours watching TV

I'm a happy camper - my order finally arrived today! 17 DVDs worth of Babylon 5 - the movie collection, season one, and season two - 22 episodes per season, plus 5 movies, plus bonus features - that's a whole lotta sci-fi goodness to work through.

I still haven't had a chance to watch the extended edition of Return of the King, though - somehow watching Babylon 5 one episode at a time seems a lot easier to do than finding 3 or 4 hours to watch RotK in all it's Tolkien-y goodness. Not to mention that it's been so long since I've seen Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers (both extended editions as well), I feel like I should watch those first before diving into the final one.

And let's not even mention the appendices of the extended editions that I still haven't made it through...

Saturday, January 29, 2005

Surviving the week

Not a whole lot to say, other than that I have survived the week without noticable calamity. Biggest event of the week: I moved to a new desk at the office as part of my inter-departmental move (from development to systems). Not much else to report right now, but at least I'm trying to keep this blog updated regularly.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Still more fun

Today has not been fun. I think I got whatever hit Mari on Thursday night. Spent most of the day in bed or in the bathroom, but I think I'm over it now. When I stocked up on ginger ale and arrowroot cookies on Friday, I didn't think I would be the one needing them. Everyone else seems OK, except for Kolbjorn - he's puked once tonight, but that seems to be it so far.

Hopefully tonight won't be "interesting", aside from having my sleeping patterns completely screwed up by spending the better part of today sleeping.

Being sick sucks.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Oh what fun...

The last 48 hours have been... interesting.

Thursday afternoon - I have an optometrist appointment in Saskatoon (followup for my laser surgery), so Kristen, Mari, Kolbjorn and I pile into the van and head out. The roads are awful. I mean, highway 219 isn't exactly the finest highway in the world to begin with, and when you add freezing rain the night before and a heavy snowfall that morning, things happen. About 10 minutes from Saskatoon, we're meeting oncoming traffic, have to pull over a bit because the other guy is hugging the center line, right wheel starts digging into snowdrift, and we find ourselves heading into the ditch at around 50 or 60 kph.

The ditch is full of snow - probably two to three feet. I have a very distinct memory, as a wave of snow went over the windshield, of thinking "Wow, this is very reminiscent of a scene in The Empire Strikes Back, where Luke's X-Wing crashes on Dagobah and the water goes over his cockpit." Once a geek, always a geek, I guess.

The good thing about hitting the ditch with that much snow is that it's a surprisingly gentle experience. The bad thing about hitting the ditch with that much snow is that when you finally stop, there are still at least 6 inches of snow between the tires and the ground, which is a non-optimal situation as far as traction is concerned.

Calling Kia roadside assistance is an experience to be cherished. When asking for the location, the operator asked where the nearest major exit is. I just about laughed out loud at her, but seeing as she was my only hope of getting out of the ditch, I said we were a couple miles north of Beaver Creek. I have no idea if Beaver Creek has ever been referred to as a major exit before, or if it will be ever again.

The tow truck arrived about 25 minutes after I got off the phone with roadside assistance, got us out of the ditch in about 10 minutes, and we arrived at the optometrist about 45 minutes late. Fortunately, they were very understanding about the delay (I suspect especially since I called them as soon as I was done calling roadside assistance), and my appointment went just fine (20/20, optometrist says it's "perfect").

The highways on the way home that evening were even worse (average speed for most of the trip home was around 70kph), but we made it home without major incident. We stopped and lent our cell to someone who had just bought a van with a broken gas gauge - they were stuck pretty much in the middle of nowhere (although that seems to describe most of highway 219), and they only had a Rogers cell (which has pretty much zero coverage on the 219). When I pulled over to help them, I managed to get stuck in deep snow and had to get them to help push us out. Guess that makes it a fair trade.

We finally got home to Outlook, and I declared that we would all go to bed at a decent time because we were all tired and needed sleep. Surprisingly enough, we did all get to bed at a decent time. However, at about 1:30am, Mari came into our room and announced that she had thrown up all over the bed. Mari had also consumed some brightly coloured candy popcorn that evening, so it was a very Technicolor experience. Poor kid continued to puke about every hour or two for the rest of the night and into mid-morning before she started feeling better. Nobody got any decent sleep last night.

I got into work this morning to discover a small storm had begun brewing about 15 minutes after I had left for Saskatoon yesterday, with 20 e-mails and a couple voice mail messages, so most of my day was spent dealing with that.

Mari is feeling like herself today. We've got a good supply of ginger ale, Arrowroot cookies, and Pepto-Bismol now, and our washing machine has been pretty busy since 2am. Things at work are pretty much under control again. We had a pajama party with the whole family after supper tonight - we all crawled into our bed, put "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" into the VCR, and relaxed.

Life is good, even when it gets a little too "interesting".

Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Maybe she just needed a little makeup...

I'm not sure if it's intentional or not, but this is a pretty funny headline.

Monday, January 17, 2005

WARNING: Nerding out

OK, I've been dreaming for a while about building a new desktop system. My current desktop system is feeling a little bit creaky... 500 MHz ain't what it used to be. However, my budget doesn't look like it'll have room for upgrades any time soon, and I'd rather do one big project than a bunch of incremental upgrades.

It occurred to me that I should post my ideas here, see what others think about them. I'm a "do-it-yourself"-er when it comes to computers, so here's my parts shopping list:
  • CPU: Probably an AMD Athlon 64, socket 939. Performance rating will most likely depend on when I buy it - right now, the 3200+ feels like the right price/performance ratio for me.
  • Motherboard: Socket 939 (obviously), PCI Express, on-board SATA is a must, and RAID would be a big plus, USB 2.0 and Firewire. Not sure about chipsets, but the new NForce4 chipset is getting good reviews, and the SLI option for video cards is intriguing to say the least. The ASUS A8N-SLI is my current candidate, but the Gigabyte GA-K8NXP-SLI looks promising as well.
  • Video: depends on the motherboard. I've been an Nvidia fan for a while, but the newer ATI PCI-E boards are pretty cool. Of course, if I go for an SLI capable motherboard, that pretty much puts me back in the Nvidia camp. No favorites as of yet. Dual monitor output would be nice, as would DVI. As for the monitor, not sure if I'll be able to afford to make the jump to LCD - especially since I'm a hi-res junkie, and LCDs that have a native resolution of 1600x1200 or higher are a serious jump in price from the normal 1280x1024 units.
  • Audio: No on-board audio for me, no sir. I was about to say that my candidate is the Sound Blaster Audigy 2 ZS Platinum Pro (who the heck comes up with these stupid long names anyhow?), but then I saw the Audigy 4 Pro on - guess it'll come down to whichever is cheapest. Really looking for good digital inputs and full-size MIDI connectors for my music-making - the fact that it'll make games sound really cool is simply a bonus. Speaker-wise, probably a simple 5.1 system without too many bells and whistles - anything less feels like a waste of the Audigy's capabilities, but not sure I can justify anything fancier.
  • Chassis: OK, here's where I have a tendency to go a little bit nuts. I'm torn between something solid with a little bit of flash, like the Coolermaster Wavemaster or a Silverstone Temjin series, and something that's just plain outrageous, like the ASUS Vento or a Aerocool JetMaster. Whatever the choice, I'm going to try to make it as quiet as possible, with a quiet CPU cooler, larger intake/exhaust fans (larger fans == slower RPM for same airflow == less noise) and a quiet power supply.
  • Memory/Storage: minimum 1 GB of RAM, and a big SATA hard drive (or multiple drives, if the motherboard supports RAID). DVD burner will most likely be there as well. The eternal question of backup rears its ugly head here - do I invest in some sort of tape system, or do I rely on backing up essential data occasionally on one or more DVDs? Probably a tape system will be too pricey for my budget, and probably a bit of overkill.
  • Operating system: Most likely at least dual-boot - XP Pro and some Linux distro at a minimum, maybe a few different distros to choose from, and if I'm feeling really crazy (and have the hard drive space to spare) a BSD or two and BeOS.
I have a feeling that I'm going to spend more on the chassis and related components than I will on any other single component... well, maybe not - that Audigy isn't exactly cheap, and the video card probably won't be an entry-level model either... who am I kidding, I've got expensive taste when it comes to computers.

This would become my primary system - the old system would be repurposed (Linux server maybe), and the laptop would be for Kristen and the kids. Although, I am seriously tempted by the new Mac Mini - but I'm not ready to make the switch yet, it would be a co-existence with my current systems.

And then reality hits me over the head - I've got three kids and one more on the way, a mortgage, minivan payments... when the heck am I going to be able to afford to do any of this, and when will I find time to actually use it? Oh well, it's nice to dream...