Category: It’s all about me

Geek training, now with actual geek tools.

College is awesome, if for no other reason than while I’m not being paid, I’ve still got plenty to keep me occupied during a day. And now, the stuff I have to keep me occupied just became a whole lot more relevant. I’ve been taking this program for pretty much exactly a year, now, but the thing about this program is it’s taken that long just to get to the parts most people who go through it are more likely to use once they’ve found someone who’ll pay them. Not necessarily by choice, but definitely by design–there’s just that much actual background material that needs covered before you get there. You can’t, for example, throw up a web server on a Linux machine if you don’t know how to make Linux do your tellings. Well, you can, but I’m not supporting you. So the first year and change was pretty much this is how you make the things go. Now comes what I like to think of as play time.

The entire reason for me taking this course is to put the skills I already have on paper. I’ve done the Linux administration thing. I’ve done the website maintenance thing. I’ve done the hosting thing. But that’s been a thing I do when I can find both the free time and the spare money–both of which have rather recently come into some shortish supply. So the first half of the program was spent largely covering ground I’ve already covered on my own time and fighting with the occasional professor for reasons far too well known to anyone who’s done the college thing from the perspective of someone with a disability. It’s been fun, but not quite what I signed up for. From this semester onward, though, it gets interesting–and, very likely, significantly easier if you’re me, considering the difference between me and a certified geek is, well, not much.

For instance, one of the courses I’m taking this year is rather self-explanatorily called PC Troubleshooting. Essentially, while there’s a relatively small theory component to the course (there’s only one two-hour lecture a week), the entire point of that course is you walk into the lab, the professor hands you a computer, and your task is to 1: find out what’s wrong with it and 2: fix the damn thing. While all the while being very thankful your professor isn’t quite mean enough to make you nearly relive one of the stereotypical tech support experiences in the process. If you’ve been reading for half as long as the site’s been online, 1: congratulations–I’m impressed, and 2: you probably know on some level this used to be that thing I’d get paid to do, only not in the hands-on sense quite so much–I’d do the finding out what was broken, but then I’d usually be sending someone else with the parts to fix the broken (call center work has its advantages). So this has the potential to be very similar, minus the paycheck.

In another instance, this semester’s Linux course has a component that will involve you setting up and configuring web and email services. Now, I wouldn’t call myself an expert in the area, but I’ve rolled my own in both cases. I’ve also handed a large portion of that rolling to legitimate hosting software when I’ve needed to–see also: 4:00 AM phone calls because person A needs a new email address. I’ll probably learn something, but I’m expecting this to largely just be that thing I’ll do while half awake and walk off with a decent enough grade to matter. Which means I can give just a little more attention to that component of the program that requires I be able to do the same thing on a Windows server. Because, you know, Windows is precisely what I’d want running my business resources.

We’ve sat through the geek training. And while I’ve discovered not for the first time I suck at the theory portion (this is why me and school weren’t on speaking terms for several years), it’s the practical aspect that will probably concern an employer more than anything else–and I’ve got that covered. Now, we get the actual geek tools. And this, right here, is exactly what I came for. Now, about plans for summer…

In which education kills brain cells and eats sleep schedules for lunch.

So. I might have mentioned it’s been wicked crazy if you’re me. I might have also mentioned that I rather love that it’s been wicked crazy. The problem with education getting wicked crazy, though, is it tends to pretty much force everything else to the back burner. If you’re me and it’s getting pretty near the end of the semester and you’ve still got a nifty little stack of things that need sorted through, doing or just handing in because you’re an idiot and neglected to do so, that kind of eventually starts to include things you’ve been relatively good at holding together–or, at least, faking it ’til you make it in any event. Which, conveniently enough, is how I ended up turning in a paper I’d written in 3 hours… at 6:30 this morning. It’s a hell of a ride, and I’m definitely going to need the 3 weeks I’ve got coming to me after tomorrow’s exam, but this course is exactly where I need to be. I’ve always considered myself mostly a geek in training, though not in any real way that would have ended up with getting me paid–not for lack of my grasping at any straw going. But these classes are a halfway decent excuse to put that training into something that vaguely resembles real practice while adding to it with a logical end goal of an actual paycheck. Even if that process accepts payment in student loans, brain cells and what’s left of my already not quite together sleep schedule. Still, the only loose thread I have to tie up on this semester is tomorrow’s exam, so that’s a thing. I’ll take it. Now about that vacation…

In which life happens and leaves me behind. again.

Not for the first time and not for the last time I’ve gone a small age without actually touching this site. Fortunately this time I’m not coming back to the thing in time to deal with a potential malware infection–I don’t think. Long story short: everything is happening. And because not everything requires a full paragraph’s explanation, coupled with the fact I’m still as lazy as ever, have a thing in list format. Because sure.

  • College: Holy hell on toast the busy. I started my second semester in September. It’s now mid-October. And I just now think I might have a sort of handle on how my schedule looks. In short, I expect to have no social life to speak of between now and approximately 2017 barring complications of the unforseen variety. Love the courses, though. I even love the courseload. Could do without the schedule. In particular, doing the lab work for stuff we haven’t yet spent any theory time on is all manner of fun–particularly when the courses, rather, don’t necessarily come with textbooks.
  • Personal: What hit me? It’s been a very interesting/eventful summer/early fall. Without getting into details that aren’t fit for public consumption, everything is changing and will just keep right on changing. There is yet another move in my near to immediate future. I’m still staying in Ottawa, mind, and will hopefully still be in this end of Ottawa, so there’s that. But, uh, that’s a thing to be planned around. It’s gonna get interesting before it gets stable–hey, kind of like just about anything I touch so far as code’s concerned.
  • Baseball: What the actual? The last time Toronto had a team that was anywhere near the postseason of baseball, I was 10. That year, they won the world series for their second time. Now, we’re playing in the ALCS–and just lost one, but I’m not overly concerned. I say again. What the actual?
  • Related: Hey guys? You picked the wrong year for the #LoveThisTeam hashtag. #ComeTogether is just so very much overrated.

Hockey: don’t–just don’t. My Leafs are rebuilding. It, uh, shows. I’ll watch when I think of it, but let me let you in on a little something. IT doesn’t hurt any less when you know that’s the plan.

Like I said. I probably forgot or skipped past more than a few things. That’s what happens when you just now remember that yes, you can actually do more than check the thing for signs of broken. With a little luck and a lot of miracle, it won’t be 2016 before I remember to do this again. But who am I kidding? It’s what I’m good at. Well, that and coming from behind in the world of academia. Speaking of, ahem… Excuse me.

Is it spring yet…?

Ottawa winters can usually fall into two categories. “Six layers required” cold, or enough snow that the first step of getting out of your driveway is, well, finding your driveway. This winter, Ottawa has decided hey, let’s go for the best of both worlds. So, because it’s either holy crap cold or holy crap snowing and I’m not looking forward to stepping out into either, have a half-assed version of a not even close to official spring countdown entry. And because I’m still not quite awake, have it in a list format version of things I’m, well, pretty much done with until next year.

  • Before Christmas, my hockey team was… well… was. Not perfect, but not crap. I wasn’t on the “we’re going to the freaking cup” bandwagon, but hey, not being in last place is an accomplishment. I’d have accepted that. Yeah, about that. Go Leafs go, and all that.
    • Yes, we beat Edmonton last night. But a wet noodle could have beaten Edmonton last night. Talk to me in a week.
  • I mentioned we go one of two ways most winters–extreme cold or extreme snow. I’m staring at -28 degrees c. It’s been as cold as -35. And they don’t list “you’re fucking nuts if you think I’m walking outside in that” as a valid reason to skip class. Related: get on that, Algonquin.
  • Related partly to the point above: There has been snow removal equipment doing the rounds since last night. There is still snow equipment doing the rounds. Which pretty much means, well, if and when we decide to venture out in that mess, it’s probably going to suck a little. Not cool, winter. Not cool.
    • Oh look. It’s snowing again. That was not a challenge, dammit.
  • Anything wintery causes pretty much a citywide shutdown. People forget how to drive. Buses are delayed. And the place where I love to live gets just a little bit annoying. And that’s before some jerk decides he doesn’t want to be stuck behind a snowplow. A ten-minute trip by bus can very easily take closer to 45 minutes–unless you’re smart, at which point these guys will probably get you home in 15.
  • I absolutely love having the windows open pretty much any chance I get. And in this apartment, I can do that with some pretty nifty results. Just… not particularly, uh, right now (see also: -28 degrees c). I love fresh air. Just not quite, well, that much.
  • And probably the thing I’m most done with this winter: the Ottawa freaking Senators. Not kidding. Anywhere that happens to have a radio on (yes, surprisingly, there are still people who listen to the radio in 2015) is guaranteed to put up with a Sens advertisement in one form or another at least twice while I’m in earshot. Look, guys. I get the whole team spirit thing. Trust me, I do–I’m a Leafs fan. Our team spirit’s through the freaking roof (for better or worse). But see, here’s the thing. You’re in the tank. You know you’re in the tank. Well, okay, maybe you don’t–but the NHL does. Chill, already. You’re making Toronto look good.

So yeah. About that spring thing…

In which I sincerely hope I never move again.

I’m no fan of moving. Haven’t been a fan of moving since, well, the first time I did it. More often than not, it ends up turning into a headache which then leads to stress and confusion, which then leads to more headache, and the circle goes round. This move wasn’t quite as migraine inducing as some others (I’m looking squarely in your general direction, Bell), which is a thing that works in its favour. But yeah, if it’s all the same to you, I think the next time the possibility of moving comes up I’ll just, er, not.

The move itself went quicker than anything I’ve seen in approximately ever. May and I had a ton of help (thanks by the way, guys, times a million), so the actual moving process didn’t take nearly as long as I was figuring–everything was loaded at one end, transported, and offloaded at the other in a little over 2 hours. Coordinating the administrative end of it all, though, was a large part of the exercise in patience, tolerance and general–well–restraint. Did you know, for instance, that if you’ve got your phone through someone like Bell Canada and your internet through someone like TekSavvy, to get both services switched over requires a remarkable skill in fancy dancing? Yeah, neither did I.

Either TekSavvy or Bell (my money’s on Bell, personally) requires your phone service to be on at the new place for at least 5 days before they’ll let anyone touch your internets. I suspect this is a Bell idea largely because I’m pretty sure if we’d gone back to their Sympatico service there’d be no such foolery, but you’ll have that. May and I are both in school, so 5 days with no internets during approximately now is kind of a big deal–more so for me, given the nature of the program I’m involved in. Several phone calls and some numbers fudging later, it was still mildly annoying–but fixed, and with a minimal amount of bloodshed, but the time between mildly annoyed and fixed was just enough to remind me why if it were entirely up to me and US long distance requirements weren’t a consideration, there would be no Bell in relatively short order.

The place itself is kind of awesome. Three bedrooms, two of which are currently playing partial temporary storage for the long list of crap we’ve yet to unpack, sort through and optionally get rid of, plus an overall not crappy living space. The living room area, for example, is large enough that I can sort of turn part of it into a defacto office–this will become useful if/when I end up needing to decide between homework and hockey, but y’know, priorities and all. We lose our back yard, but the currently half-snow-covered balcony will make up for that–just as soon as I get around to acquiring things that belong out there. And then, well, find the energy to clear the thing off so they can belong out there. They lock the laundry room here at night–oh, yeah, and relatedly we actually need to leave the place to do laundry again–so there goes our waiting ’til half past dark on the day we need to leave for somewhere useful before we decide it might be in our best interest to actually, you know, leave with clean clothes. But we’re back to a secure building, which is always a plus–particularly when family decides they feel up to dropping in and you’re not even close to awake, nevermind dressed yet (yes, this has happened before).

This apartment’s laid out similar to another I used to live in–and, actually, is owned by the same company, so moving in here I kind of knew what to expect already. Still, the level of awesome was just a tiny bit surprising–I’ve met and had actual conversations with more folks in this building than at most others, for one, which could potentially be positivity material. And they seem quick to react to issues as they crop up, which–yeah, some other places could probably stand to learn from (note: intentionally not naming names, but the info’s out there), so there’s at least that. And holy crap on toast the amount of stuff we’re actually able to walk or bus to without needing to aquire a degree in creativity. It’s almost like the place I lived in when I first moved to Ottawa in that respect–all kinds of places a minimum of a few minutes’ walking and a maximum of 1 bus away. Or two, if you need to stretch it because there’s just no other way. Unfortunately it’s like where I lived when I first moved to Ottawa in that I also don’t right now have a whole lot of time for actually, you know, figuring out the best way of getting me from here to most of those places–back then it was working, now it’s school. Go figure. But when I’ve got the time for it, this place is going to turn around and probably be completely perfect–or, you know, as close to perfect as you can probably have for what they expect from us in rent per month.

I can’t stand the idea of moving to save my life. But since I’ve kind of, well, done it, I suppose I could have picked a far worse place to move to. And hey, if the trend of apartment living continues, I might actually have to start taking notes again–my last few places provided nearly as much blog material as I could come up with on my own. Because, you know, other people and other people’s problematic problems, but you’ll have that.

Two things I’ll just kind of drop here that I picked up on in, say, the first week of us being here. Thing the first: we are not the only blind folks in this building–I literally ran into one on my way to class this past Monday. And thing the second: Apartment-level blogging more than likely won’t include the third rendition of the weed basement. And for that I say, freaking thank you. Now, I suppose I ought go unpack something…

In which I actually learn things. Who knew?

This thing’s due for an update. I have a couple minutes free in class. Therefore, update. And it’s a something.

Last week, I officially started what I term my geek training. 6 eternities and a forever later, I walked into the first class of a computer systems technician program at Algonquin College. And in that first week and a half, I actually learned something useful–including a couple different keyboard shortcuts for Linux I didn’t actually know existed. Considering how much time I spend in Linux, that’s a something on its own.

The thing I think I’m going to absolutely adore about this program, though, is it’s almost entirely hands-on. For instance: I’m sitting in a Windows course right now. There’s a theory component to it, which is why I’m sitting here writing this (it helps that he’s talking about things I already know), but then there’s a hands-on, lab component to it–where I get to install Windows in a VM, play with it, break it, and generally prove I know how to do the things we just talked about in theory. The same thing applies for the course I’m taking on Linux–which falls right into part of where I want to be anyway, so that works. Our theory classes, plus our lab work, involves connecting to a Linux server on campus–the server runs an instance of Ubuntu, if you’re curious what I get to play with a couple times a week.

That was a problem, I think, in school environments I was in before–my first run at college, and then the upgrading I did last year to get into this program. That was almost all theory, so you had people going on and on about junk and you just got to sit there, kick back, listen and try your damnedest not to fall asleep. Now, they let me play. And they test me on what I’m playing with–so I break all the things, fix all the things, and get graded on it. Only thing it’s missing is getting paid for it. But, I’ll take it. And now, I suppose I ought get back to paying attention to this professor’s droning…

There will be a better entry eventually. But hey, first time since October. Work with me some. College geek is in college.

College. Finally.

So it’s taken approximately three quarters of forever and a small portion of eternity, but effective just as soon as the financial details are sorted, this geek goes back to school–for real, this time. I’d been doing the academic upgrading thing over at Algonquin since last year as just one of the many significant hoops I had to crawl through to actually get into my program. That, at least, ended up being wrapped up in August in a very anticlimactic way. It was a math course, which–as I may or may not have said once or twice–seems mildly pointless considering how much the program I’m heading into doesn’t actually have to do with, you know, math. But it was required, and after completing most of that course then taking an assessment test to kick myself out of the rest of it, I was pretty much in the clear. So as soon as I discovered I was pretty much in the clear, through the door and into the world of college applications I went at breakneck speed.

I’d done this dance, at least, before–albeit it’d been a decade and there were a few new twists I needed to introduce this time around, so in a way it was sort of getting back to the familiar. But with the majority of my headache being out of the way, getting it done and handed off this time did amazing things for my stress levels. That leaves the waiting game, but amazingly enough that’s probably easier than what I just shoved out of the way to get this far.

I took the long way around for a shortcut, largely because I freaking had to, but after way too freaking long, my geek has the potential to wind up showing up on paper. One step closer to making me marketable again, and three steps further from going completely nuts. That second one may change at around approximately March, but I’ll get back to you. In the meantime, it’s about freaking time.

In which I try sidestepping my way into college.

So. This thing got forgotten about again. Largely because math was killing my remaining brain cell. But math is pretty much done with now, so there can be broken. At least until I go back to procrastinating.

So how’d I do with the math course overall? Well, I’m not done as in done, as in completed. I’m done as in I’ve been informed I could have avoided taking the last part of the course, the graphing/extrapolating/brain twisting part of that course, by just sitting down and taking a placement test instead. I found this out escentially two months into the last part of my course. So now, I kick back and cool my heels while the stress of the last year or so goes that-a-way, and set me up to take a placement test. Assuming the placement test doesn’t trick me with misleading sample questions, this oughta go a step towards confirming I’m definitely getting the hell into my geek program in January. Which means this thing can get back to what I was hoping to use it for when I started this version of the site–geek things. Well, okay, and political rantings and God knows what else, but you know. It’s a long way around to get to where I need to be, but I think I can see it now. That’s something. I’ll let you know when I know what that something actually looks like.

In which I learn, again, why math is bad for me.

So I’ve been doing the college thing the last while. Well, sort of. It’s more like I’ve been doing the prerequisit education before I can do the college thing. And that’s meant several months of pretty much all math, all the time. Because until I’ve nearly melted my brain with numbers, letters, and letters that try and become numbers, I won’t be getting through the door into something slightly more useful. And what I’ve discovered when trying to avoid completely frying my last brain cell–at least until I’ve managed to put this hot mess behind me, at which point it can do all the frying it likes–is, quite simply, I was not built to tolerate highschool math.

Well, okay, that may or may not be entirely fair. Probably more accurate is I was not built to tolerate all highschool math and nothing but highschool math. But either way. The way this course is laid out, one of two things is pretty much guaranteed to happen. Either I’m going to find myself exceedingly bored, and still come away with decent to high marks on a huge pile of junk I’ve done before even if I don’t straight up remember it right away–this is how I spent most of my time with this course, or it’ll sit there waiting until I’ve turned my head for 3 seconds and suckerpunch me in the face with something obvious that sends me around the twist for an hour or so while I attempt to figure out how it is, exactly, a thing that made sense 5 minutes ago became a tangled mess of what in creation was I thinking–this has been a more recent development.

Needless to say I’m discovering, sometimes the hard way, my own limitations in translating all manner of equasions that are supposed to represent actual, visual shapes into something moderately useable in an honest to goodness math problem. And, at the same time, discovering–probably not for the first time–exactly why it is my first instinct when I was actually, you know, in highschool was to get me the hell out of dodge and find a way up that didn’t mean staring at a graph and trying to figure out which of the 80 million points the thing represents is actually supposed to stand in for x.

On the positive side, at least, the people are awesome. Not quite so enthused about the new instructor (*), but you’ll have that. And the material, for the most part, at least tries to be vaguely useful. If math was something I had an interest in in the first place, like for instance if I were actually planning on doing something I knew would heavily depend on it, I’d probably be a little quicker with actually catching it. But since math and I were never on speaking terms, and the program I intend to get into doesn’t actually look like it has a whole lot to do with math beyond the first semester, I look away from the thing for 3 seconds and suckerpunch. So that’s been just distracting enough to keep me out of trouble, and is probably partially contributing to my continued descent into chaos and madness. It may or may not also be partly to blame for a virtual lack in, well, pretty much anything else that requires any kind of creative energy. maybe not, but it gets the blame anyway.

I do like how they’ve set the program up, though. You’re escentially supervised, but can largely go at your own pace (**). There are expectations, naturally, and fairly loose deadlines. You’re not really handing in assignments or anything–the only things you’re actually graded on in this program are your tests. It’s sort of like a correspondence course meets an adult learning center, or something along those lines. Which works for me, for a couple reasons. It gets me out of the house for a few hours a day, which isn’t a bad thing. Plus, because it’s largely a DIY deal, you’re not spending your entire class time listening to the instructor drone on about the finer points of graphing a polynomial function–which, just for the record, is only slightly higher on the snore scale than actually attempting to graph the offending polynomial function. Which has the added benefit of you can use said class time to, well, actually do the work. Highschools could probably learn a thing or three from this program overall, I’d imagine.

Barring a natural–or mental–disaster of one variety or another, I figure I’ll be well on my way to finished by late July or hopefully early August. That’ll give me a few months to recover and focus on getting me ready to start the actual program–I applied a couple weeks ago now, but I probably won’t actually be accepted until August anyway. If all goes well, that whole process should end up being a formality. Then, I can start getting right back to handling things I didn’t think need handling when I was mucking about with junk the first time. And even if this program ends up giving me a headache, actually being able to say that for real, and mean it, sure as hell won’t suck. I just may be required to singlehandedly keep the caffeine industry afloat until then. I don’t mind if they don’t.

(*): It’s a do it yourself deal, so there’s not really a whole lot of actual instructing going on. She’s more like a supervisor. Babysitter, really. Making sure everyone who’s supposed to be there actually, you know, shows up there, that kind of thing. You can usually bounce things off her if you’re stuck, so I guess to that end the instructor label fits. But pretty sure it’s a stretch.

(**): The government usually has an idea of how long it should, under ideal circumstances, take you to finish a course or section of a course. So the program uses that as kind of a benchmark to figure out if you might need a little nudge or two to get yourself back in gear. But for the most part, if you’re not seen to be falling behind that benchmark, they tend to leave you alone about deadlines and junk. Or, at least, they do if you’re me.

In which life decides to happen all at once. And I fall behind again.

You know how you get all comfortable with a routine, you even manage to work your busted sleep schedule around that routine, then it all just kind of comes undone and before you know it you’re going 80 million different directions in the same 30-minute timespan? Yeah that. It was how I spent a few weeks here in December, after keeping things relatively quiet–periodic posts up in here notwithstanding–for the couple months before that. And somewhere in between there I still managed to remember to breathe. Actually that’s kind of how parts of 2013 in general went, but that’s a post for later. As for right now, life in a nutshell–or a somewhat rambling essay. Whichever.

Just hear those sleigh bells jingling…

The folks over here at Accora Village, also known as the neighbourhood we live in, threw together an attempt at a sleigh ride earlier in the month. Pretty sure it was maybe the second weekend of the month–late enough, anyway, that things like wind chills in the vicinity of -30 C were a definite thing. What we didn’t have quite yet–it would definitely come shortly afterwards, though–was the actual snow. So instead, it was a horse-drawn wagon. Was still fun, though, if a little chilly. It was also May’s first, ever, sleigh ride in spite of the fact she’d been in Canada for a decade. Clearly we need to get the girl out more. I’d been on quite a few of them, both here and in BC, but it was nice to actually see it from the perspective of someone who hadn’t–she posted that perspective on her own site if you’ve got a few minutes. Definitely something I’ll do again if I’m here for it. Hopefully next time on an actual sleigh.

Somebody call for global cooling?

I mentioned the -30 degrees C wind chill already. That made a couple more reappearances after, sandwitched in around some pretty significant snow events–winter definitely showed up all at once in Ottawa. It wasn’t even the official first day of winter yet, and already we’d had to have the walkway/sidewalk in front of our place cleared a few times. Walking to class was quite on the fun side. Not to mention damn cold. I actually need to get used to such evils again, it would appear–it’s been a while since I’ve actually not had much choice but to stick my nose out the door and pray it didn’t fall off before I made it to the freaking bus. And I was getting paid to do such monumentally stupid things last time. I stayed my ass home on the coldest of the wicked cold days, though, which… Actually turned out to be probably the smartest brainstorm I had all year. Because…

I did not authorize death bug 2013, thanks.

I only grow a major, major health issue maybe once a year, if that. When I do, though, it’s quite the impressive one. This year’s episode came with everything but the kitchen sink–and the major inability to keep food down. Dizzyness, fever, wicked nifty cool cough, and a perfect combination of all of the above to pretty much guarantee my ass stayed itself at home, if not in bed, for the better part of 24 hours. And because I can never seem to develop these things any other way, it came perfectly timed to keep me off my feet a day before a test I was hell bent I was taking before I left for Christmas vacation, because like hell I was leaving that out there to be delt with in the new year. New year, new chapter. Besides–what the hell else was I gonna do on my last day there other than drag my feet? So instead, I stayed as close to comfortable as I could manage with a temperature, and just bounced what I needed to off my instructor from the comfort of the home office and college email–I do love that about this college, if we’re being honest (more on that in yet another entry). And the next day, not quite at a hundred percent yet but definitely better than I was, I went in and tossed off that test in about 15 minutes. Might have been 10, but like I said not quite at a hundred percent yet.

Death bug 2013, the sequel? Well crap.

I was getting over it just in time for May to be catching pretty much that same thing herself. So after dealing with college things on Friday, and then dealing with unplanned, unexpected and uninvited financial things after that, it was off to do 4 different flavours of running around in preparation for getting her well enough to travel and tying up the few loose ends that were left before we did so, which ended up being pushed back a couple days on account of a combination of she was nowhere near well enough (she caught it worse than me), and round 45 of let’s throw as much winter as we can at pretty much all of Ontario–at least this one waited until the first official day of the season before it nailed us but good. She was off her feet for pretty much the weekend, and part of last week while she kicked what was left of it. Though we did actually manage to leave the city for Christmas, I don’t imagine doing so was overly comfortable for her. We tried, though…

All your travel plans are belong to winter.

In a way it ended up being a good thing we weren’t ready to travel on the weekend before Christmas. Because right around the time we were thinking maybe it might be smart-ish to stay ourselves right at home for a day or two longer, weather was fixing to make sure we did exactly that. Major snow storm Friday and into Saturday, then apparently a wicked major ice storm in parts of Ontario (I’m looking at you, toronto) on about Sunday. Ottawa didn’t see a whole lot of the actual ice storm, but we did catch enough of it that roads got interesting for a majority of the day from what I’ve been hearing. We’d pushed our travel back to the 23rd of the month for health reasons, and that turned out to be the second smartest decision I was involved in of pretty much the entire year–look above for the smartest. By the time we got moving, things had cleared up at least enough that I wasn’t seeing news of delays, accidents and general traffic crappery every 5 or 6 minutes. So now all we had to do was beat our schedule into submission–not an easy thing to do when your schedule’s primarily out of whack because you’re out of whack, and you still haven’t quite corrected that malfunction just yet. But, hey, when you’ve been brought up in my family, you tend to develop the ability to take a messed up tangled up mangled up routine and turn it into getting where you need to be ahead of when you need to be–either that, or you get run over and left behind by the folks who know what they’re doing. That first thing sounds better, so we somehow went with that.

I’ll be home for Christmas…

On the Monday, we did actually manage to leave the city. As said it took some scrambling, because we were both running a little slow still what with neither of us being entirely over what ran us over the week before yet, but we managed to hit the bus station with more than enough time to get things situated so we could actually leave relatively on time–not bad for leaving the house a few minutes behind schedule. Which worked out just fine for us after all, since we gave the bus the room it needed to not actually pull out of the station until a bit after we were supposed to, and we still got to the other end about an hour after we were supposed to–a thing we, surprisingly, were both somewhat okay with and not a bit responsible for (Go us!). Pretty sure it was a combination of we were still in recovery and generally dealing with being tired from the trip, but travel day at the other end was pretty much spent barely conscious once we got situated, fed and made the people who needed to know aware that we were in approximately 1.5 pieces, but we made it. I… Don’t actually remember much more about that day aside from we made it. Which I suppose is really all that counts. Well, that and I was warned to expect a nephew ambush. Good thing one of us was mostly mobile…

… Please bring caffeine, and medication, and food, and…

The warning of a nephew ambush was not unjustified. As in at all. As in adoreable overload–again. The oldest was more than a little testy, but when he wasn’t pushing just about every limit his dad didn’t actually set down, he was pretty freaking adoreable. His brother, on the other hand, pretty much didn’t know how to be anything else but. Which worked out sort of well in our favour, given they stuck close to May and I every chance they got. When we weren’t having a nephew afternoon, or morning, or evening, or everything, there was plenty of good things to be had. My mother knows me and May both too well, so the caffeine was stocked. And because it’s Christmas and she can never resist doing it on Christmas, there was more food of more varieties than you can shake a cat at. Baked goods, healthy goods, grab some to munch on the way by goods, you name it it was out there. If you went hungry in that house, there was seriously something wrong with you. And just in case death bug 2013 followed us from Ottawa, or the kids left you with a migraine, she stocked up on medication. Because it’s not a Christmas vacation without someone needing at the very least to pop a tylenol or two. Of course it could also just be that she worries too much, but whichever. We came ready for christmas, and probably ate enough to see us through to, well, newyears.

It’s beginning to look a lot like giftmas.

Christmas morning came and went, and when it was all done and over with, the kids came out well ahead of the rest of us. Santa was at mom’s place this year, so for the first time since probably we were growing up, the tree was quite a bit on the full side. It didn’t last long, though, once the kids actually got up–maybe an hour or two, and all the evidence of a productive Christmas morning was all over the living room floor. The adults all pretty much got things they needed, or things that we figured would go right along with what they already had. I got to scratch a few things off my 2014 shopping list, which is never a bad thing if you’re a guy what can’t actually stand shopping. From a concert May got to go see in November (I’m still mad at you about that, by the way), mom got a CD from the two of us–she’d mentioned being a fan of the group, so that worked out quite nicely. No one went over the top this year, really. Well, except for things for the kids, but you can’t really not spoil the kids–it’s really their day, after all. But I think we all had a hole or two in our personal inventory filled. Or if nothing else, a little something extra that might could come in handy later.

One food coma, please.

As always, Christmas dinner was a stuffed afair. Turkey, potatoes, two kinds of stuffing, a couple different vegetables and of course a wicked selection of desserts. I think I may have gained a few pounds just in that one evening. One of my sets of aunts and uncles dropped in for a bit, which also meant we didn’t have to coordinate trying to find them while we were doing our visiting later. Which also had the advantage of meaning May and I didn’t need to go visiting later, as we’d already seen my grandparents the day before–so when it came time for food coma, all we had to do was waddle down to where we were sleeping and pass out. Which we had no problem doing. There’s something to be said for just shutting down for the evening while you try and find more room for that second piece of pie you couldn’t quite fit in earlier–which, I have no shame in admitting, I so very much did. Oh, and there may or may not have been a Big Bang Theory marathon tossed in there as well. Not entirely sure how much of that I actually saw after supper–see also: food coma, victim of. But it was there, and it was seen, so it counts. Mostly.

I need a vacation from my vacation…

As fun as christmas was, I think we were both pretty ready to come home, Or at least ready to be free of tiny things under the age of 10 for a little while. So after we took boxing day to pretty much recover from Christmas, we packed our crap up and my brother drove us back to Ottawa this past Friday. I took the weekend to relax, catch up on things I fell behind on while I was gone, and generally enjoy the piece and quiet. And at the same time I tried to pretend that us coming back home didn’t mean it was nearly time to get back into the same old usual routine. That part didn’t work so well. As I almost always do, I really enjoyed the Christmas vacation with the parents. I think I enjoyed it more this year because we weren’t piecing together a plan for how to handle things over the vacation about 5 minutes before they needed to be handled for a change. My only actual complaint is I freaking missed hockey in my absense. But in 2014, I will correct that. And hey, since I don’t have anything planned for tonight… I think I may just start right about now. Okay, so maybe getting back to the usual routine won’t suck entirely too horribly after all.

Week made. And I had very little to do with it.

And sometimes, things just happen that make you take a step back and appreciate the fact that not everyone you pass is a walking advertisement for Toolsville. Take this past Tuesday morning. I’d left here to head off to class (that gets its own entry later), and was about 3/4 the way to the bus stop. A guy walks past me with his kid going the opposite direction, either back home or walking his kid to the school across the way–whichever. Kid sees me, sees the cane, and immediately makes with the 20 questions. It took a second for it to click that that’s what was going on, though, not because I was having a slow morning (I *did* remember to caffinate before poking my nose out the door), but because he wasn’t stopping to play 20 questions with me. Instead, he was playing 20 questions with the guy he was walking with (I’m assuming his dad, but I’ll be damned if I could be sure). The kicker, though? Dad wasn’t just answering for the sake of making the kid shut up–you know the type, you guess at the answer and kinda hope enough of it sticks that the kid buys at least part of it and moves on to the next distraction. No, this time, dad actually gave it an honest to goodness try. And the answers not only stuck, but what I caught of them didn’t border on giving me a migraine–I call that significant humanity achievement unlocked.

Kid seemed very interested in how it is I managed to get where I was going. So dad explained about the cane (he called it a stick, but I can forgive him that infraction), and he actually got the general idea of what it was supposed to be used for. But as they were leaving earshot, he took it a step further and went into an explanation of how we as blind folk use that in step with what we can hear around us to figure out where we are versus where we’re going. Naturally he didn’t nail all of it, but hell, for a guy who I’m going to assume has had very little if any dealing with blind/visually impaired folks, he didn’t do all that terrible a job with it–I’ve heard much worse attempts at it from people who’s job it was to actually handle blind/low vision folks. And from what I could tell, the kid seemed to be hanging on to what he was being fed. Which, okay, could have just as easily meant the guy could have fed him a line of absolute crap and he’d have taken it, but you know. However it is the rest of my week ends up, this just pretty much escentially stuck it in the awesome category. A few more people like dad over there, and the universe will have just made my month. And if it sticks in that kid’s head when he gets older, that will be a new brand of wicked. And that right there makes spending the next couple hours bored out of my head just a little bit more worth it. My week, made. And all I had to do was not much.

Back to school, the hard way. Or, who’s bright idea was math anyway?

So let’s see. The last time I thought about educating myself, I ended up chasing Everest College around in a near to endless circle and wound up right back where I started. That is, no closer to being educated and no further ahead with working with the school on making things workable so I could get me educated. The entire point? I wasn’t entirely impressed with the way Algonquin wanted me to go about getting escentially the exact same education. I’m still not overly impressed, but given I’ve been in neutral for the better part of too long already I’ve about run out of options.

I’ve been looking for a way to take the skills I’ve already got in the sysadmin realm and put them on paper, more or less professionally, while at the same time probably picking up a few things I don’t already know. Like, say, why anyone in their right mind would choose to run a corporate website on any version of Windows Server, but you’ll have that. Both Algonquin and Everest offer escentially the same course, with at least moderately close to the same results. The key difference–and it’s a difference I’m still having more than a little difficulty wrapping my head around–is the course at Algonquin not only has a math prerequisit, but also runs a single, solitary math course in the first semester of the program. To what end I haven’t a clue, but beyond the first semester I’ll very next to likely never open a math textbook again in my life. That is–unless I plan on following through on my threat and adding some variation of programming skills onto what this program wants to teach me (Can we say professional student, anyone?).

When I brought up that situation with the guy what ran the course at Everest, even he seemed a bit confused by the requirement–you’re not designing the circuitry, for crying out loud, you’re just piecing what’s already been designed together and making sure component A plays compatibly with operating system B. Escentially a more hands-on perspective of what I used to get paid to do, more or less. And I sure as hell didn’t need math to do it then. But, Algonquin seems to have a different opinion on what it takes to be the guy what fixes their equipment, so we do the dance and hope for the best.

And that’s pretty much why, barring a complete failure of just about everything between me and the college campus, on October 15th I get in line for my very own generous helping of brain damage. The first step is to go through their academic upgrading course, because not thinking I’d need to see myself going back to school 10 years after leaving highschool and not figuring the world would escentially implode economically speaking, taking my job right along with it, and knowing you pretty much didn’t need a whole huge heaping helping of extra education beyond a decent ability to learn quickly while sidestepping from one problem to the next meant I got the hell out of highschool at the first chance handed me. It also meant I didn’t see a need to take a math course in my final years–I took an extra English instead so I could graduate when I was supposed to. Awesome decision then. Probably not so much now.

So I finalize things for my upgrading this week. Then, it’s the sit back and wait game until my course actually starts. And between now and then, I’m sure the idea will hit me at least twice. Who’s bright idea was math anyway?

In which I make 30 look average.

So I’m just over here, doing my thing. Nothing major; largely breaking anything and everything technological, getting way too close to caffinated things, and sleeping. Probably slightly more of that last one than is healthy–I enjoy my sleep, okay? Stop judging. Yes, you. I said stop. Fine, then–don’t.

So I’m doing what I do. And from out of nowhere, my freaking twitter blows up. My first thought: okay, which 3-month-old blog post has managed to offend the masses this time? Because that’s occasionally a thing that happens. Apparently people paying attention to days I ordinarily very nearly skip right by is also a thing that happens. Which, also apparently, results in Twitter explosions that vaguely resemble having offended the masses (I speak from experience).

Yesterday, while I was doing whatever it was I was doing and probably barely paying attention, I tripped and fell over 30. At least I think it was 30. It could have just as well been a pile of clothes–it was half past too freaking early and I was maybe an inch past conscious. But at some point yesterday, 30 happened. And perhaps not surprisingly at all, I was about the 23rd person to actually take notice.

You go into these things figuring everyone’s got a plan for somewhere around the time they hit 30. Mostly because about 90% of the folks you talk to have had things planned out for when they reach 30 since they were 15. And the rest seem to have tripped and fell into a plan by 30 through absolutely no fault of their own. Then you’re off doing your own whatever, ignoring the world, and 30 steals your coffee while you’re in the shower, the rat bastard. And suddenly you’re sitting down to write a blog post on turning 30 while juggling potential plans for school, employment, surviving school and employment, and asking yourself if you’ve got enough vodka to pull off this miracle. Oh, and still holding a grudge against 30 for stealing your damn coffee.

I’ve had maybe 2 solid plans in my entire life. I’ve had absolutely 0 solid plans that actually managed to make it from start to finish without becoming significantly less solid, or turning into a sadly misshapen thing that looked vaguely like what I always figured my brain would look like after finishing a major thing 3 minutes before deadline. Not, ahem, that I’m the type to finish something 3 minutes before deadline. Okay so it’s more like 20 minutes after. Sue me. I still don’t have a solid plan–unless the fact that at some point after this thing posts I will be in bed and close to a coma counts as a solid plan, at which point, hell, I’m not doing too bad. I have ideas of all manner, most of them involving significantly breaking just about everything I can get my hands on–for the purpose of improving the thing, of course. Some of those ideas could potentially become solid plans. Some of those solid plans could also potentially not decide to morph right in front of me into some untaimed beast of a thing with like 8 lives and 0.2 weaknesses. But they didn’t happen by 30.

That, I figure, puts me on about a level with those career folks that have their hearts set on being in middle management before they’ll plan for kids, then they hit middle management at around 45 or so and suddenly it’s a hundred-yard dash to find themselves a partner, a doctor, and a couple thousand dollars for the IVF–because really, if you can pull it off natural like at 45 and not have complications you’re probably Wonder Woman. Actually that pretty much sums up my track record with solid plans right there–thus eliminating about half of that other paragraph up there. It bloody figures.

So without even trying, I’ve singlehandedly managed to make the idea of turning 30 incredibly average. Possibly even a little tiny bit below average. Definitely a couple knotches well above just plain boring as hell. And all it took was for 22 people before me to catch onto exactly what day it was. The kicker is I didn’t even have to try and plan this. But, then, what the hell else is new?

Why I’d never do well in politics. Thank heavens I’ve never tried.

I’ve always had a passing interest in politics. Mostly in the following of things. Occasionally, I’ll find some aspect of a party or a specific member that I agree with–but more often than not, I find something to mock. It’s why I’ve never considered myself really right wing, left wing, whatever. Both sides have brilliant ideas. Both sides have moronic ideas. And both sides have more than a few just plain morons. But the thing that keeps me from going from a passive follower of politics to actually being directly involved isn’t a right or left thing. It’s an honesty thing. Specificly, there’s little to none. It’s a disconnect from the majority view, or even a view that a significant number of the common folk have that, if even hinted at by someone with political aspirations, is suicidal.

Take the recent example in BC, of an NDP candidate who was removed from the party over her comments, in 2009, about aborigional people and against bilingualism (she’s running as an independent now). Both have been bandied about by the common folk for years–I, myself, have snarked a time or six on this blog re: bilingualism (see also: Quebec, overfrenchification of). But because she holds these opinions, and wants to actually help fix the province of British Columbia, the two collide and she sinks. All on account of political correctness.

“It’s not the status cards, it’s the fact that we have been paying out of the nose for generations for something that isn’t our doing,” Van Ryswyk wrote on Feb. 11, 2009. “If their ancestors sold out too cheaply, it’s not my fault and I shouldn’t have to be paying for any mistake or whatever you want to call it from MY hard-earned money.”

“I don’t think anyone is saying that wrongs didn’t happen (incredible wrongs). You could have almost any race, group or ethnic people tell you horrible haunting stories of what happened to them. If someone did me wrong, it’s my right to sue … as it is everyone else’s.

“Again, how many Jewish, Polish, Russian, Dutch, etc. walked into a gas chamber, were gunned down, raped, tortured and starved to death. . . tell me how many Germans do you know that are handing over a (portion) of their paycheck EVERY month for what happened NOT very long ago. . .”

There is truth to this. BC’s NDP–and, in fact, just about every other party even federally–might not like it, but that changes a grand total of nothing about its truthfulness. These treaties were signed in the early 1900’s, before Canada was Canada. They were signed with Britain, and as I wrote before, weren’t supposed to be permanent life support. That aborigionals are still beating us over the head with them in 2013, sadly, says more about Canada’s various governments than it does the aborigionals–and the former NDP candidate turned independent acknowledged this fact. The catch? I don’t know very many who’d disagree. The NDP, however, prefers not to hear it.

It’s the same with bilingualism. Federally, the NDP has a vested interest in saying whatever Quebec wants to hear–because Quebec is the reason they’re the official opposition. So if the issue of the week is Ottawa isn’t French enough, the NDP’s all over it. Understandable. Annoying, but understandable. But in BC? French isn’t even the second most common language in the province. Even when I lived there–you were more likely to hear someone speaking Chinese before you would French. But calling out the ridiculousness of it, even after Quebec’s own 54 levels of ridiculous, shoots you in the foot politically–at least if you want to be a member of a party.

On a bilingual Canada in several posts, Dayleen wrote: “I’m getting so tired of getting french stuffed down my throat… this isn’t Quebec it’s western Canada… we speak English here … so does the majority of Canada. When you force it down my throat every time I turn around, it pisses me right off. Seems the only group of people universally hated around the world other than the Americans are the french and the French-Canadians. Their arrogance is astounding … the bigots are the french and not us.”

Example: Canada’s two official languages, as far west as BC and as far east as Nova Scotia, are English and French. Except in Quebec, who’s only official language is French–and they remind us of this every second chance they get. A pretty sizeable chunk of the attendees at just about any event held in BC will speak English, and probably some other language that isn’t French–if they speak multiple languages at all. But when an event comes up that even remotely references Quebec, according to Quebec, you’d better be busting out the French and pronto. That, or be prepared to have the folks across the river spend a year wining about it. Again, Dayleen had a point. And again, she expressed it. And again, it’s something a significant chunk of the common population’s said more than once, and thought way more often than that. And again, consider a career as a member of a political party out of the running as a result.

This is why I have never, and will never, consider a run in politics at any level. I’ve made my share of comments on these two topics myself. And probably several others that’d count against me. All they’d have to do, most likely, is toss a site-specific search into Google for any number of politically correct terms and I’d probably be blacklisted as a candidate. Because the two groups most in need of a swift kick in the rear end are the two you’re least allowed to give one–and everyone on both sides of the equasion knows it. Instead, I’ll just sit back, relax, grab a coke and watch things happen. And in 10 years or so, after we’ve gone through half a dozen more rounds of negotiation with aborigional reserves, and after Quebec’s signature still isn’t on Canada’s constitution as that childish little protest continues, I’ll come back and reread this post. And once again, be thankful I didn’t get the bright idea to jump into politics. I’ll watch from over here, thanks.

How I handle backups. Or, happy world backup day!

For most of the world, it’s Easter. at least, on the east coast, for the next… we’ll say… less than an hour. But for anyone who maybe doesn’t cellebrate easter, or has maybe more important things on their plate besides that, today is also world backup day. In honour of that, let me tell you how I work.

I’m insanely paranoid about my backups. To the point where at any given time, it can be pretty well guaranteed I know exactly what’s backed up where, and have backups of those in at least two other places. Let me run things down on a basic level. The server hosting this website has 2 hard drives, both of them 2 TB. On the first is everything I’m running–the OS, the software that runs the site, email, you name it. On the second, is every single configuration file, line of code, database, log file, random thing that just doesn’t really have a home in any other category. And on that drive, it’s backed up in 3 different locations–just in case one of them goes on vacation. Or, you know, on the off chance I need to quickly pack up and slingshot my crap from this server to some other in an aweful goddamn hurry. The advantage of also doing it this way is, pretty much on demand, I can grab a copy of that backup, and pull it to any location I choose with enough room to hold it–like, we’ll say, somewhere local if I suspect some fool’s intent on nuking the server. It also allows for a bit more flexibility–let’s say, for instance, I decide to once again fire up a Dropbox instance on the server. Configuring it to serve as a thing to hold backups would be only too easy, and actually be moderately a painless process. The advantage to that of course being I’d have local access to those backups, regardless what my definition of local is, so long as I have access to Dropbox. Kind of makes emergency “Oops I screwed it good” recovery a thing.

What does that mean for the hosted folks? In short, barring a nuclear bombardment that takes out the entire eastern/central region of North America, anything and everything data is relatively breakageproof. Of course if a nuclear bombardment on that scale ever becomes a thing, I suspect “where’s my crap” won’t be the first question on the list. But this also gives me a personal thing I can use later, should I ever manage to stop being bounced around and actually shove my foot in a professional door just enough so that it’s not slammed on my nose. I’ve had absolutely no professional training in this or any other area, and I’m more comfortable with the backup solution I have right now than I would be if I was paying someone else to do it. Largely, I suspect, because I know exactly where everything is and it’s a simple copy/paste if ever I need to unbreak something. But, I think, also because if it does go sideways, I don’t need to worry about holding someone else to account who doesn’t have a dog in this fight. It’s my data. It’s my friends’ websites. It’s another friend’s email. It’s all very good reasons for me to pay the fuck attention. And that, I think, is how I work best. Which reminds me. I think I’m due for a local copy pull…

BRB. Melting. All over the place.

So I’ve been hella crazy busy since I got back. Wicked busy. And it’s culminated in a brand spanking new place. Two stories, 4 bedrooms (or 5, if we do it right), and in a wicked quiet part of the west end of Ottawa. I’ll probably write an essay on the thing soon enough. But right now? If there’s a wall, I’m bouncing off it. Twice. I’ll calm down eventually, but the blog might just take a beating first. Sorry. Except not really.

I may have just been holidayed to death.

Have you ever run a 10 KM marathon with a 20-pound weight on your back? Okay probably not. Have you ever had one of those vacations that felt like you’ve just run a 10- KM marathon with a 20-pound weight on your back? Yeah, that was kind of me after the week spent with the family. We got there on the 20th, mostly as planned. And pretty much from that day outward, it was almost non-stop doing everything under the sun and then some. Visiting with people, putting things together for this or that little thinggy we do on occasion, being visited *by* people, all that stuff. And somewhere in between all that I remembered to actually, you know, breathe. And mock ODSP a little.

May started out not feeling quite so comfortable with the family. Not that I blame her–I’m not always comfortable with the family. It has one or two things to do with why I don’t very often go home anymore. But as the holiday went on she got a little better about it. We enjoyed ourselves quite a bit. And, uh, pretty much fell dead over at the end of the day as a result. Just in time to get up and do the whole damn thing all over again. It was kind of crazy, kind of whacky, and very much fun. And topping it off, we came back today to complete more of the paperwork for the new place–more on that in another entry.

All in all, it was a good holiday. Exhausting as hell, but good. And very nearly the death of me. As much fun as it’s been, though, the usual routine’s going to be nice to get back into–just as soon as I find it again. But first, I should probably go finish that entry I didn’t get a chance to finish before all hell broke loose. Ah, what the hell–it’s been sitting there this long. Where’s the vodka?

If you’re reading this, I’m causing trouble with the family. Or dying a firy death.

It’s around that time again. Time for me to pack up my minimal belongings, drag the girlfriend out the door, and go gain 400 pounds with the assistance of family and a ton of awesome home cooking. Or, if you’re of a different mindset, time for me to kick back, relax, and wait for the whole damn thing to get around to exploding around me. Whichever. there will probably be half a ton of amusement. I may turn up once or twice to post it. But the real hard core blogging’s about to take a vacation. WTN will be back in full swing on or around the 27th. Unless the Mayans were right–then I’ll see you all in hell.

because I didn’t have enough excuse to contemplate getting back in front of a piano.

My Twitter people are trying to tell me something, apparently. Scrolling through it today, I saw quite a few postings of piano related things–some from Youtube, some from I don’t even know where else. Because, you know, this occasionally thinking that maybe I should actually dust off the piano sitting in the living room isn’t getting me anywhere. Well, okay, not entirely true. It’s getting me places. Just not very many actually, you know, good places. So, uh, thanks for the push, Twitter. Or something. I now think piano will be this year’s newyears resolution. Because apparently the fact that it was my resolution from 2 years ago is not, in fact, relevant in any way, shape or form. So what brought this one? Well, here, have a video. Then remind me in 2013 that I said I’d actually get back into it. I might listen. sorry, if you’re reading this via RSS or email. You’ll have to click over to the site to see the video. It’s a technology thinggy.

Rob Ford is an idiot, the left half of Toronto’s got a hate on, and other asorded goodness.

What we have here is a random thinggy. Because random thinggies are good. Even if done at half past odd while coming off a weekend spent in Pembroke with a machine that could use a couple replacement components. And even if done by a guy who apparently wouldn’t know what spelling was if it walked up and shook his hand. Thank christ this will see some editing before it sees the light of day. Maybe. And since I should be sleeping before we have to leave in an hour and a half, have a list.

  • If you live in Ontario, you’ve probably heard about the Rob Ford kerfuffle. He’s been ordered–well, pending appeal, anyway–removed from office as toronto’s mayor after participating in and voting on an issue that, well, kind of involved him. There are two really good entries on the subject by Toronto Mike, with some pretty nifty comments on both, from both the folks in favour of and against what happened and how it happened. The short version: Rob ford is an idiot for voting on a resolution in council as to whether or not he should pay back what amounts to pocket change if your name is Rob Ford–even if he voted with the majority, and would have ended up not having to pay it back anyway. But that there’s one person in Toronto, namely the voter that took him to court over it, that has the power to remove someone the majority voted in from office is a little tiny bit concerning. Not quite as concerning as the fact the judge interpreted the Municipal Conflict of Interest Act to mean removal was his only option. Or as concerning as the fact that mayors of several other cities (I’m looking at you, Quebec) have either resigned or not for far worse. And let’s not talk about Dalton McGuinty. Both sides kind of flopped this one. And now toronto gets to more than likely go through another election–in which Ford wasn’t even banned from running, meaning he could very likely end up right back where they tried to kick him from. Not bad for a broke city.
  • The NHL has killed off pretty much half the season at this point. Is anyone even still paying attention? How many more times are talks going to end up going nowhere before they just come out and tell us what we’re already expecting? Bright side: the Leafs have their first .500 season going into Christmas since… uh… anyone remember when? Now about baseball.
  • We were staring at -13 degrees C coming on the end of last week. That’s freaking cold degrees, if you’re in the US. It was a fair bit above freezing in spots yesterday–note: not *this* spot, as evidenced by our driveway. Mother nature, please to be making up your mind. Thankya.
  • May and I came to Pembroke this weekend for a Christmas party. Well, it’s what the natives call a Christmas party–they serve passable dinner, we get to hear a couple speeches, then a couple somewhere in the neighbourhood of tolerable old guys from around here get up on stage and try not to kill what would otherwise be okay songs. But the conversations were good, anyway.
    • Related: I learned more about my cousin’s girlfriend in a couple hours during that party than I think I ever wanted to know about someone I’m not dating. Small towns’ll do that to ya, I guess. Is it too late for a refund?
  • This. So much this. It was on my mockery list. Then I read this post. I can do no better. Well, okay, I *probably* could. But both caffeine and alcohol are required and I only have easy access to one.
  • The one year I don’t get a lot of folks asking what I’d like for Christmas is the one year I’m exceedingly easy to buy for. I’ve had an iPhone for a bit over a year and a half. This means iTunes. This means gift cards. So if you’re looking…
  • There is a Twitter. It is awesome. And I had nothing whatsoever to do with it. But, should you find yourself watching the afore mentioned twitter and then developing a liking for Big Bang Theory, you can gladly hand the credit this way.
  • And lastly, because there can never be enough promotion, click, then hit play. You’ll love it. Yes, I’m a part-time fortune teller now. And also the awesome factor. I’m right. You’ll see.

Have bluetooth, will keyboard. Again.

Folks who’ve been following me a while will remember me writing about this device. For those that haven’t and don’t, a short summary. Thinkgeek goes bluetooth keyboard, and I almost buy an iPhone just for that–until I realise I’m flat freakin’ broke. Well, among other reasons but that’s the primary. So I later bought me an iPhone anyway. And a bit later after that, bought me one of those there keyboards. And inside of a month and a half, it became an incredible waste of $60. Fun times, except no not really. So fast forward to July of that year–well, June really, but who’s counting? Jessica came up for what would be one of her last times, and had with her a non-thinkgeek keyboard for my using pleasure. And use it I did–until it went sideways after less than 3 months. Needless to say… I have not so good luck with keyboards for iPhones. So when Steve over there mentioned he was getting his hands on this one for his own battle of the phone, I thought hey, what the hell why not. Then I cringed. Then I clicked. Then I kicked myself in the face. then I hemmed and hawed and tossed the link at May. Then I bought two of the suckers. And now, after over a year of no keyboard tied to this phone, I have to get used to the damn style again. I’ll say this for these keyboard, though. The way Thinkgeek makes them now, I wasn’t as apt to reflexively pitch it across the room on site–the keyboard slides out, as opposed to flips out, from the back of the phone. Which makes it significantly less likely it’ll get jammed and run the risk of breaking–which is what happened way too often with the previous model from Thinkgeek. At first, I thought the keyboard didn’t actually fully come out for some reason–it looked like part of it was still stuck under the phone. But no, that’s just me expecting too much. A random feature neither of my previous keyboards had–and just one more goddamn thing to get used to. But, things of note. I can somewhat type on the phone again now. Yes, touch typing was getting there, but now? Yeah, screw that. Also, in list form, because list form rules.

  • In ways, this keyboard is similar to my last one–no, not to Thinkgeek’s first model, thank christ–so getting used to it is taking less time than I expected.
  • I have WordPress on the phone already, from my last attempt at mobile blogging. Of course, it’s been acting up a bit more recently–so I may actually end up tossing it until it behaves. Paging the wordPress devs…
  • If keyboard and app cooperate, there will be mobile random again. And hey, I think I still have a category for that.
  • Sadly it won’t be by email. I’m still trying to beat that into submission.

It’s way too overdue, but it happened. Have bluetooth, will keyboard. Again. Until my track record proves itself.

Let me tell you about this name I drop.

So if you’re a random reader of this thing who doesn’t actually know me, or doesn’t follow me on Twitter, first, correct that malfunction at once–it’s a requirement. Second, let me let you in on a little thing about me. A while ago, when I attempted yet another revival of the blog, I made mention to the fact I’m, shall we say, remarkably less single than I used to be. The quick among you will probably figure out there’s a connection between that, and the newest name to be dropped on the site–she also has her own, now actually used, category.

This weekend, a couple things happen. for most of the weekend, all of my crap once again gets packed up, and once again gets shuffled off Ottawa way. I’ve been spending most of my time here anyway, so rather than pay for a place I won’t actually be staying in (sorry, mom), it only makes sense. I’ll need a roommate when this happens. And, since my last attempt at a roommate went so fascinatingly well, I’ve reinforced my single, solitary rule–the next person I become roommates with will either be dating, or married to, me. So, easy decision. I’m dating May. I’ve been staying with her most of the time anyway. I’ve been helping her break all kinds of things anyway–she’s got her very own WordPress install right over here. So since I don’t wish to be stranded in the land of absolutely 0 job prospects, and hey, we seem to be doing amazingly well over here so far, it only makes sense. So hello, meet the new roommate/girlfriend.

In the girlfriend department, that leads to another awesome thing happening, well, sort of this weekend. Monday is officially 3 months since I became remarkably less single. Monday is also, because it can be, a day we take probably most of the evening and go for dinner. That’s probably just about all we can do, considering she’s got school and I’m trying to find it, but you’ll have that. It’s been an awesome ride to this point, figuring out what works and what doesn’t, and how we each handle all manner of things. We’ve hit our bumps and all that, but that’s par for the course. And now, partly to save money, partly because it just makes sense and partly because, hey, the only thing that isn’t here is my mailing address and most of my stuff, we get a lot longer to keep it par for the course. And that’s probably the best thing to come out of how I needed to move in the first place.

I’m doing things a little different this time around though. Not only does May have her own site, but she also now has access to this one. Why? Because between the two of us, we can come up with some pretty wicked interesting conversations. Some of those conversations, we’ve threatened to post on one–or both–of our blogs. Some of those conversations, rather, got posted. And now, we can both take a crack–since, you know, I have access to post things over there if for any reason she wants me to. Plus, hey, it could make for some interesting point/counterpoint discussions, which I love–pretty sure she does too, when they don’t degenerate into flame wars.

So that’s that. My girlfriend, also known as my somewhat less snarky half (sorry love, it’s true), now has the option of being a co-author. Whether she takes it or not, she will probably feature quite a bit on the site–especially if we have another chance to mock old people. The first 3 months went awesomely wicked. Now. Let’s beat on the next 3.

so I mentioned I quit caffeine.

Well, maybe not quit. But cut back. Somewhat. At least for the weekend. It’s a thing I very rarely actually do. Mostly, because–hey, it’s near the end of the month, I’m broke, and I haven’t yet found a reason–well, except for the fact Thursday involved steak–to bother with it. Have I gone twitchy? Well, uh, no. but I also haven’t broken anything supremely nifty since Thursday either–that, also, gets its very own entry. Could there be a patern? We’ll know if I end up finding something else to twist ’til it breaks. As for right now? I think I’ll go back to figuring out where the hell September went. Ottawa should not be staring at just above freezing this early in the damn season. That’s against some law or other, I’m sure.


I was informed in a comment to this post that I did, in fact, have caffeine on friday. Said caffeine was pepsi. I do not count that as caffeine. My statement still stands. At least until the author of that comment threatens my life.

May Cheated. She ordered pizza. Do you have any idea how impossible it is not to have caffeine with pizza? Neither did I. I do now. Oh well. What to break tonight?

In which I again fall off a cliff. And this time, I don’t have an excuse. Or a life.

Well okay, I have all kinds of excuses. But largely they can be disproven in about, oh we’ll say, 10 seconds. So there goes that. Back to basics. Which, in this case, means–uh, well, I’ll get back to you. I can say this, though. The new server? Yeah, that server? Rockin’ like nothing else. Had a couple scary-ish incidents at the beginning of the month–gotta love it when folks decide you really would appreciate them DOSing your ass just when you’re contemplating sleep, but a couple rooky firewalling mistakes later that’s been fixed. Also in the newness/what’s happening category, I’ve accidentally cut down on the amount of caffeine I live on. By that, I mean, uh, let’s see. There are 2 bottles of coke in the fridge. They are both unopened. The last time I had anything caffinated, I was out for dinner with May–who really needs her own entry up here. She’s already got her own category–think it’s time I make somewhat decent use of it. that was–now let me think. Thursday, if I remember right. working on 4 days without caffeine and I’m still breathing. Can I make it 5? depends on how long it ends up being before the afore mentioned May starts getting concerned for my health. Although, she may or may not need to wake up a little more first. Things in that department are going quite well, speaking of May–but that’s, I think, going to be its own entry. Just as soon as I go distract a dog. And maybe pretend like I actually want to do something productive with today.

And it’s blog-a-long blogging, take 75.

And once again, I very nearly forgot this site existed. I mean, aside from the fact it kind of also doubles as my email. And it’s been shifted around a bit to a new, less crowded and more spacious home. Okay so maybe it’s just updating this thing I keep forgetting to do. Oopsies. I should fix that. And probably mock something or other–I must be due for that eventually. Life needs to stop happening, then other things can happen.

So about that. What’s been happening this time? Well, let’s see. Somewhere between now and the last time I remembered to update this thing, the following happened in no particular order.

  • I found several more jobs to apply for
  • Promptly got nowhere with any of them, but you’ll have that
  • Found out I had 5 days to find a roommate or lose this apartment
  • Found out I’d be losing this apartment
  • Ended up becoming remarkably less single
  • Somehow managed to stay about as sane as is normal for a me

That is to say, it’s been fun. And remarkably short on geek. But I did learn a thing or two in my absense–namely, Bell Canada actually gets the art of static IP addresses! Who knew? Okay, so now that that bout of way too enthusiastic is out of the way, let’s see if I can go longer than 2 weeks before falling off the face of the earth again. Somebody really needs to kick me in the knees when I do that…