Monday, December 20, 2010

And done

Last exam written and done earlier today, I'm now free and clear until January.

I also got some marks back (provisional pending approval by blah blah blah) of A+ in Numerical Methods and A in Math Prior to 1640. All in all a decent showing.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A minor scare

So yesterday, when I was out in the Polo Park area after writing my exam, I had left my backpack with my laptop in the car (I know, I know). It was still there when I returned a few hours later, but unfortunately the cold temperature had taken its toll.

When I woke up my laptop when I got home, to my horror I saw a series of teal streaks on the display. Needless to say, I was not pleased.

The streaks were on the order of a pixel or two wide, and up to an inch long. They seemed to react to pressure, so I surmised that whatever was happening wasn't just outright pixel death. I played a bit of minecraft to see if exercising the pixels with a changing picture would help things along, and after a little while of playing it seemed that the streaks were starting to get better.

Then the inspiration hit me: condensation inside the panel! The cold temperatures and high relative humidity inside my car had clearly caused some water or frost to infiltrate the panel and condense, messing with the function of the display.

To test this theory, I got out my hair dryer and, starting on low, heated up some problem areas. To my delight, they reacted by shrinking and lightening. After 10-15 minutes of heating, the areas I was concentrating on had vanished into perfect, flawless pixels, and I continued my way around the monitor cooking off the streaks. In the bottom corner, the last and worst trouble spot, I had to switch the hair dryer onto high, but those pixels too were soon brought back to life.

All in all, I'm annoyed but happy, and find myself with yet another reason to hate winter.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Winter only hits me because it loves me

So I come home this afternoon after writing an exam and getting a consultation about my wisdom teeth, and I park my car, and go to plug it in.

Now, I had set the extension cord on top of the fence to keep it out of the way, and so to retrieve it I felt it would be a good idea to give it a quick tug to give it some momentum such that it won't get tangled in the chain link at the top of the fence. Turns out I gave it a bit too much of a quick tug, and the end of the cord came whipping around and smacked me in the face just below my left eye.

Thus, I now look like the victim of domestic violence. I think it's about time I left winter, for good this time. It says it can still change, and that it still loves me, but I know better now.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Dividing my attention

It occurred to me that with moving to California soon it'll be difficult for the people I leave behind to feel connected to me.

With this in mind, I decided to start up a microblog on tumblr. The plan is that when I get my iPod Touch (eventually) I'll use the camera to post a quick snapshot now and then when I run into something I feel like sharing.

Moreover, I plan to post these pictures without any title or caption because I like the idea of communicating through a restricted medium, and I also want people reading it to use their imagination a bit. Of course, if you see something on there that really intrigues you, you can always email or IM me to ask about it or just remember to bring it up the next time we speak.

If this intrigues you, feel free to drop the RSS feed into your reader. I'm not planning to abandon this blog, I'll still post here when I have something to say with, you know, actual words.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

One down

Three more to go. Did well on my Numerical Methods final today.

To pad out this post, enjoy a quick video:

Meet Buck from TeamCerf on Vimeo.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

The magic of bluetooth

I've been wanting to get a game controller for a while, so that I could more easily play emulator games on my computers, but one way or another I never really got around to it. The trouble is that the market for PC game controllers isn't very big, and is as such not very well served.

This afternoon, though, I was out shopping and decided that enough was enough: it was time to get myself a controller. Rather than get a PC game controller, though, I instead opted for a PS3 DualShock 3 controller, with the assumption that I'd be able to make it work with my computers, since it's just a bluetooth device after all.

I figured I might need to do some tinkering or scrounging for some hacked drivers or something, but much to my delight it turns out that OS X has built-in support for the DualShock 3 controller, so all I had to do was plug it in to sync/charge it, and it immediately connected via bluetooth and provided full HID capability.

This pleases me.

I haven't managed to get it connected to my Wintendo, though, as my PC currently lacks bluetooth. I've added a bluetooth dongle to my xmas list, though, so hopefully that problem won't persist forever.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

We Did

For reasons that escape me now, I came upon the urge this evening to go find that old "Bula Vinaka, Beachside" ATT commercial. It wasn't nearly as amusing as I remembered it from 1988, but one of the related videos was a roll of all the 1993 "ATT You Will" commercials. It's fun to categorize each one into "we already do this", "we do this, but better", and "moneyed interests ensure that we don't do this, despite the technology being available".

Friday, September 17, 2010


Technically that should be こんばんは since it's late at night as I'm writing this, but seeing as nobody will read this until morning...

Just a quick blog entry to remark upon the wonders of learning 日本語, so that many years from now I can reference back and remember when I started.


Monday, August 30, 2010

Day 2,3: Twin Falls to Glendive to Winnipeg

(Backdating this post so it lines up to when I originally intended to post it)
The drive from Twin Falls to Glendive was annoying but tolerable. It rained a lot, though there were periods of sun. Sadly it was cloudy when I went through Butte, so I couldn't see the giant Butte'er Jesus on the hill (the internets tell me it's actually a statue of Mary, but it's not easy to tell from the interstate).

The drive from Glendive to Winnipeg was a lot rainier. I think I passed a tornado or two after Grand Forks, and had lightning strike objects within 200ft of the car at least 3 times. I also just barely made it through Morris, as the road through town had started flooding, and was at least 8 inches deep by the time I waded my car through it.

And, to cap it all off, the rain was bad enough that it even stripped some of the paint off my hubcaps.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Day 1: Sunnyvale to Twin Falls

Not much to say, same 'ol drive. My hatred for US93 burns with the fire of a thousand suns.

As with every year, I passed a bunch of freaks headed for Burning Man, including one guy who was driving an old 80s Honda Civic with the roof cut off. Not a convertible, just no roof. As would be expected, a few of the remaining body panels weren't all that well attached either. I'm going to miss California.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Third time's a charm

As I posted previously, I finally got my bike home from the bike shop and have since been riding it to work most every day. I've also taken it up in the hills a few times, and this past weekend on my third attempt I managed to make it to the top of my favourite route, up Moody and Page Mill road. Yay me!

The bike was delightful to ride and handled the hills splendidly. I was originally worried that the gearing might not be low enough, but it turned out to not be a problem.

I probably would have been successful the first two attempts, but it was much hotter on those two days so I ran out of water both times.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

And it's about time

I finally brought my bike home from the bike shop today. Riding it with my recovering shoulder isn't 100% comfortable yet, but if I go easy on it it's ok. I'm planning to do a few test rides this weekend, and then hopefully start riding to work next week. Hopefully.

I took a picture of it, as well as some pictures of some other stuff I've picked up over the summer. I'll probably move those pictures around later when I get my gallery set back up properly, but so long as you're not reading this blog post 6 months from now the links should be good.

I still need to mount up my GPS on my bike, so I think I'll go do that, and then take a swim to stretch out my shoulder a bit.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Walk a mile in my shoes, or maybe 7.5 miles

Yesterday (Saturday) I was contemplating taking a quick train ride up to SF to wander around a bit. The purpose of this journey would be twofold: Firstly, it would get me out and about and doing some physical activity, which has been in short supply ever since that little incident with the longboard. Secondly, it would provide an opportunity to drop by an American Apparel store to spend a $5 coupon I have.

Unfortunately two things conspired against me: The item I was hoping to purchase was only available through their online store, and I was feeling a bit off on Saturday morning, and didn't want to be stuck in SF if I should happen to get properly sick.

Thankfully I am undeterred by such minor setbacks, and went about formulating a Plan-B. This plan, as it would turn out, was to take a walk from my apartment over to Stevens Creek Trail. I wasn't sure how much walking I'd be in shape for, so I left open the option to perhaps walk a section of the trail as well, though that didn't turn out to be the case.

I managed to keep up a good pace and walked the 7.5 mile round trip in about 2 hours. I took my GPS along with me (though I haven't downloaded the log yet) and the heart rate monitor showed me keeping me ticker ticking at a good 125-130bpm, which is a nice moderate aerobic level for me.

In case you're dying of curiosity, the exact map of my journey is as thus:

View Larger Map

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Eating Right, Living Right

This morning I woke up, went back to sleep, woke up again, went back to sleep again, and eventually at around 9am decided to actually get out of bed.

For breakfast, I cooked up a pair of frozen waffles and topped them with whipped cream cheese and seville marmalade.

I then took a nap on the couch.

For lunch, I thawed a bagel in the oven, sliced it open piping hot, laid on some cheese, and then topped it with a pair of fried eggs.

I then took a nap on the couch.

Mixed in with this I also listened to a few podcasts, and I think I also took a few naps here and there.

Shoulder is still bothering me, but I'm feeling a little better every day.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Just over 3 hours

That's how long it took from the moment I purchased my longboard around luchtime on May 29th to the time I fell off it and broke my shoulder later that afternoon. It turns out that what I consider a hill and what a longboard considers a hill are two very, very different things.

The good news is that I don't need a cast or any sort of immobilization. Since I snapped the end off my humerus, all I need to do is go easy on it for 4-6 weeks and use a sling for comfort. Not a bad deal all things considered.

The road rash is healing up nicely, and I've regained at least basic light function in my arm so it should be pretty easy to deal with.

I took the week off work, and should be back at it this coming Monday.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 3: Twin Falls to No Internet

The drive from Twin Falls to Sunnyvale was long and boring, but not nearly as long and boring as the time spent waiting for ATT to install my internet properly.

For the record, it took them a half dozen techs and all the way through to Saturday evening to get me online.

Life at Apple is pleasant.

Also, it turns out I'm getting reimbursed 50c per mile for the drive out and back. Considering the number of miles I covered...

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 2: Glendive to Twin Falls

Like yesterday, you already know what the map looks like.

Had a nice IHOP lunch, got in early enough to avoid the Sunday rush. Almost hit a gopher on I90, twit just stood up right in the middle of the road. Wasn't a big deal.

Got a little sprinkle of rain coming into Twin Falls, but not enough to wash off the bugs, just enough to get the sides of the car dirty.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 1: Winnipeg to Glendive

Not bothering with the map this time, you know what it looks like. Head south from Winnipeg, hang a right at Fargo.

There was a bit of a lineup at the border but I made it through in reasonable time. The south wind was a bit of an annoyance all day, but nothing to write home about. Had Arbys for lunch in Grand Forks.

I also noticed that the rear suspension in the jellybean is fully bottomed out with all my crap in the back. This might perhaps help explain why I keep bending rims.

Oh well.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Huffing Fumes

On Monday I took my car in for its usual spring service, and one of the tasks that the techs performed was to rotate my tires. Usually this is a good thing, but in my case it rotated the wobbly tire back to the front where I'd be able to feel it in the steering again.

Now I've had trouble trying to get this fixed before. I, and my mother before me, have taken the rims in to get straightened countless times, and each time they come back claiming they're straight as an arrow but wobbling just the same. I decided to get to the bottom of it myself, so with some minor assistance from Father I jacked up the car and spun the wheel to see what was up.

It was no surprise whatsoever to see the outside of the tire wobbling back and forth quite visibly. What was a surprise was seeing the rim itself spinning straight as an arrow. Apparently the tire itself is mis-shapen. So, new tires are clearly on the menu.

But that's a blog post for another day. You see, while I had the car up, father commented on the shoddy shape my hubcaps were in, with their peeling silver paint not even hiding half of the gray plastic underneath. I'd been intending to repaint them, but since the hubcaps are secured to the wheels by the lug nuts, it's quite inconvenient to remove them. (Though I am happy they're securely retained at all other times)

Today I decided that enough was enough, and I headed over to Canadian Tire and picked up some supplies: a fine grit scuff pad to clean/sand the hubcaps, some latex gloves to keep my manicure clean, and a can of Krylon Fusion Nickel Shimmer to do the deed.

As with any paint job, prep is everything, and I spent a good half hour or so wet sanding the grime and loose paint off the hubcaps with the scuff pad. In hindsight, a medium grit scuff pad probably would have been more effective.

The paint itself went on quite easily, in about 4 or 5 quick light coats on each hubcap. After painting the first hubcap I took a before and after shot, for your ogling pleasure.

The paint dries to the touch after 15 minutes, and "dries" after 1 hour, but only actually fully cures after 7 days. I'll probably leave the hubcaps hanging in the back yard until tomorrow before putting them back on. (Partly to let the paint cure, partly because I feel like having a little lunch and then a nap)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fresh Tunes

So one of the things I recently got for my birthday was a $30 iTunes gift cert. This is kind of awesome, because I haven't really bought any new music for quite a while, and I had been meaning to expand my collection a bit to bring in some fresh, new music.

Unfortunately, finding good music is easier said than done, and it's taken me quite a while to come up with some albums that I actually want to get.

I managed to stumble across a King Kooba album I didn't have, "Indian Summer", and I've been fairly pleased with the music contained within. I also managed to stumble across an Underworld album that had somehow eluded my previous collecting rampages, "A Hundred Days Off". As luck would have it, it contained one of my favourite songs, which is featured in the video embedded below.

I've still got $14 left to burn through, so the search continues...

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Another year down

Last exam over and done with, and hopefully done well. Nothing left to do now but hopefully find my way to California for the summer.

I checked my mark, and I not only got an A for Russian History, I actually tied for the highest mark in the entire class. Not too shabby.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Death, lies and...

Taxes! Just worked out my US taxes for 2009 and I'll be getting $1223 from California and $2153 from the Feds for a grand total of $3376.

Like I was mentioning to Tyler the other day, it's like buying yourself a christmas gift and getting all giddy when you unwrap it later. It doesn't make any sense, but it's fun all the same.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Pleasantly surprised

When I was down in the states this past summer I was having a little trouble with cross-border credit card usage, so I took the opportunity to get myself an american credit card. Since credit history is apparently non-transferrable between Canada and the US, it turned out to be a bit of a battle to get one. Thankfully, living in the valley has its perks, one of which being that the local bank branches are quite familiar with well employed people with no local credit history.

To make a long story short, I filled out a form and got a card. The good news is that it was an american credit card. The bad news is that I didn't get to pick which one they gave me. I was aiming for a cash-back card that'd pay out 1% or so, but instead I got a points reward card. (Citi Diamond Preferred Rewards, to be specific)

Now I'm sure you all know as well as I do how these points rewards things work. You spend like a rabid consumer whore for 5 years, and finally after all that time you get to surf through their skymall-esque catalogue of useless consumer trinkets and find you've maybe saved up enough points for half a snuggie.

So, after 6 months or so of owning this card (and maybe only a month of using it, I only got it in august), my morbid curiosity got the best of me, and I decided to check out the points catalogue to see what was what.

The first surprise: their catalogue wasn't some low-rent skymall knock-off. In fact, it wasn't too hard to see that the majority of the catalogue was actually just a front-end for!

The second surprise: I somehow managed to rack up roughly $60 worth of points.

Needless to say, I was quite pleased by these two discoveries. After surfing the site for a bit, I settled on buying a pair of harmonicas. I was originally planning to buy just one (a Hohner Special 20 in C) with some money I got for christmas, but with my new found "wealth" I decided to go all out and picked up one in C and one in G.

Of course, the one downside is that they can only ship to the US, so I had them shipped to Palm and hopefully they'll eventually find their way up to me.

This might just change my opinion of points rewards programs... maybe.


So it seems I managed to sweep the fall term's classes with all As, plus a plus in there for Stats.

Things are looking good to repeat the performance this term.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Creeping slowly southwards

Looks like things are starting to move along for me to go down to Palm again this summer, working on the kernel this year.


Christmas Loot

Oh yeah, I have a blog. Almost forgot.

Hilights of this season's haul: Got a tablet from Mom and Bob, got a nifty screwdriver from Sister, and a hand-me-down TV from Father.

Good times were had by all.