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04/27/2002    -{ "They say it's lonely at the top, so I did not go." }-

Well, back and safe. The ride-along went well, but I can't tell you any details about it due to signing a paper saying I wouldn't. This was in case anything happened that was "legal" in nature, statements, etc. However, I will tell you that nothing happened :) It was a very cool ride, and I got a very good idea about how it is to be a cop, how training was, and best of all, the interaction and "family" feel of being on the force.

Great Huge Thanks go out to Cat5, Andy and most of all Jen for their various contributions, and most of all making sure that my first ever time in a police car was a pleasent one :)

Trippy trippy dream last night. Guess I've been thinking about the Spider-man movie a lot lately.

I was spider-man. While travelling in a raft, I cleaned my ears out with a q-tip, and an evil bad guy cloned me from my ear wax. So now there were 4 spider-men running around, and we fought crime togeather. On one occasion, we were all lured to an old warehouse together and trapped. The bad guys came in and tried to get us. While they were doing something we all started hitting them with big foam slabs (like you find in the gym for doing stretching on). Eventually they just got used to being hit in the back of the head with this and forgot about us, and we just ran away.

Less than a week until it starts!

What else has been going on. Well, I set up a second box for myself. I had to grab a video card (nvidia geforce2-mx (32mb)) and mouse (ms optical (but the new box gets my old mouse)), but other than that I cobbled it togeather from other bits I have sitting around. It's got a hard drive installed with Linux (the very cool Gentoo distribution) and another with Windows XP. It's only a P2-300 (256mb ram) but should be adequate. I'm going to use this as the windows development box as I have mostly accepted some contract work doing some windows and linux library development. Now I just need a bigger desk to fit all this stuff on :) Hmm.... <looks at the new ikea just down the road....>

04/24/2002    -{ Here fishy fishy fishy! }-

More things today. Saw cadiolas' presentation for his 440 project at the school, a java installer called BIAS which was quite cool. Good job! I hit this on the way out to the Burnaby PD to see Cat, who works there as a computer guy, who introduced me around to some of the members, as I wanted to talk to people who could tell me what it was like to be a cop. I talked a lot to BJ and Ben, who have both been there for 20+ years, and wouldn't change anything for the world. A shining endorsement to be sure. They were both really nice guys who seemed to have their heads on straight, and asked me almost as many questions as I asked them.

After a couple of hours of chatting and touring, and getting a bit of a better handle on how the recruitment procedure goes, and what things are like period, I mentioned that this is all nice and good, but it'd be nice to talk to someone who is a more recent member, and who can tell me what training is like now. The dude (Andy, the watch officer and guy in charge of shit that happens) said that he could hook me up with a ride along with someone by the name of Scudd, who was relatively new (a couple of years). So tomorrow evening (you get fast turn around when you know people there I guess) I get to ride around with someone and find out what it's really like (and more importantly, what training is like, and get a view of it all from someone who hasn't hasn't had 25 years to love their job :)

Ok, enough of that, I'm sure I'm scaring the crap out of my mom :) My thing is when I get something into my head I have to research the crap out of it until I know everything, and I've been that way forever :) Just think of it as me going on a wild tangent that nothing will ever come of k? :)

I'm currently setting up a GenToo linux system. It's attraction is that it downloads all it's sources and compiles everythign specifically for the computer you're using it on, so theoretically you've got a bit of a speed/efficiency increase. It's chugging away compiling and installing things, so I'll just let it go. I was thinking of setting up a *BSD system, but once it's installed, it's really just another UNIX, and I know unix. The spare box is only partially mine, so I may turn it into a Novell server or windows programming workstation or something that will help me learn more to make my resume look more attractive.

I think I'll slack on the gym tomorrow.... I've been going every day or ever second day for the last couple of weeks, and feeling good about it. Well, feeling "good" is a bit of a misnomer, as my left shoulder is in a bit of pain right now. Maybe I'll go for a run tomorrow though, I think there's going to be good weather tomorrow. Course, I may not :)

04/23/2002    -{ Aaahhhhhh...... nooo..... Canucks must play better! }-

Ok, bit of an update. After my last entry I headed down to the Bellingham Linux Users Group Linux Fest with Cuv, BSpudd, and Cadiolas. It was a lot smaller than expected, with one room full of systems, one room with people (local venders) selling things, and a guy doing a raffle, and one room with the VanLUG and a lone *BSD guy. The fest consisted of demos of linux in action (yawn, I see it every day), tutorials (I accidently dragged the guys into the KDE one, mistakenly thinking it'd be educational, and finding it was in fact a "this is the 'K' menu, to use it, click on it... to click on it, move your mouse...." yea, scary stuff, and I'm very sorry for doing that to ya'll!), and talks (the security one we went to and was moderately interesting, except that it was done by a consultant, and some of the time he was simply talking out of his ass... it was nice to see that he had some of the same ideas that my boss has). The main event was a talk by The Illiad on 'gatekeeping' and syndication, and he did a good job. After the main talk we all got togeather and headed out for beer, and caught up. Twas very good.

On monday afternoon I headed in to the Valley Laser Eye Center to get a free check up / consultation. I have been meaning to do this for a while, just to see, after I met a an older gentleman who had just had his eyes done when I got my wisdom teeth pulled. They basically give you a full check up, with all sorts of cool gagets (some of much better quality than yon average optimitrist it seemed), to see how good of a candiate you are. Apparently I'm very good, and even with my really crappy vision (7 and 8 IIRC) the lady said it'd be a 90-96% chance of 20/20 the first try. The cost has gone down a lot as well from when this technology first became available. Both eyes would cost "only" $2950 (inc taxes) (that's including the optional $500 post-op checkups at 1 week, month, 6 months, year), and that includes any "touch up" that is needed. Ironically if I were to get this done, now would be the perfect time, as I'm not working and could easily afford the 4 days of crappy vision, and with $ from my tax return, I've actually got the funds. The only thing the lady said was that at 50 I'd probably need reading glasses. Well, newsflash, I'm going to need glasses at 50 anyway, same as I do now, so having that restriction isn't going to kill me :)

Of course, I'm not going to jump in just yet. Mom, dad, don't worry, you'll have lots of time to talk me out of it, as the $2950 in the bank is still needed for things like rent and food. I could also just wait for another 5 years until the technology gets that much better, or hell, 10 more years, or 20, or... but then I'll end up at 60 wearing glasses same as I do now. Don't get me wrong, having a laser slice into my eye is not something that makes me feel warm and fuzzy, but the thought of being able to wake up in the morning and see, does. We'll see how it goes.

Another thing I looked into the possibilities of joining the police force (RCMP, local, whatever). Again, mom, dad, this is by no means an immediate thing, even if I decide to do it, so there's lots of time to let me know how foolish it is :) I figure that in my current situation I'm in the right place for a career/life change should I decide to. Heck, who hasn't wanted to be a cop right? The main thing against me (other than the 8 years of driving a desk accumulated around my middle) is my eyes (abby police require 20/40 uncorrected, and 20/20 corrected, but they also allow laser surgery, so if I were to actually become a member, that'd have to happen first. There's other things, like becoming RCMP is different than becoming an Abbotsford member... RCMP has 6 months of training in Regina, while abby has two three month stints of training, but it's done in New West. Lots of other things too, the less than great (but nothing to snort at) pay compared to that of a programmer, the fact that you have at least 5 years of "grunt work" as a General Duty officer before you have any real chance of moving up to the extradoublesupercool jobs (computer crime, undercover, etc).

Like I said, this is mostly just a complete shot in the dark, a whim if you will, but hey, if you gotta dream.... (More on this in tomorrow's entry).

04/18/2002    -{ Eeeeeeek! }-

Trippy trippy dreams, recorded right after I woke up, just... for.... you!

This one is a bit of a two parter. First part is that I was moving. Moving from one house to the next with my parents and sister (I don't have a sister). I remember at least three times when I had to go from the new house to the hold to get things that had been missed the first time. One time it was a matter of stuffing my dresser and something else into the back of the car, hoping that the tie downs would hold it, and that it wouldn't scrape on the ground. Then I had to go back to get a whale. Big blue whale I think, but not huge, you know, pet sized. I was in a bit of a panic, trying to figure out how to transport this huge whale. I didn't have a big trailer or anything, and I couldn't get it into the fifth wheel mobile home that I had. I think I even pondered just dragging the thing behind the car, but that couldn't have worked because there was no water. The creek that ran around town offered a possibility to drag it in that, but it wasn't deep enough...

Part two takes place in space. I don't know if the two sets of events are connected, or if it's just two dreams from last night that I remember. I was on the space station I think, and the first thing I remember is loosing my balance in space and putting my hand down onto one of those panels of unlabled buttons... actually two of them. Alarms go off and panels full of green lights go red. People around me are saying things like "what did you do? what did you hit?" and I can just tell them over and over again that I put my hand sort of here like this, but I don't know which buttons I hit, but I'm pretty sure I hit them with this hand and maybe that one as well. One guy is standing on the other side of the panels and keeps on hitting and holding down a "clear" button, hoping that the faults will go away, but they don't. Eventually someone suggests going and setting up a simulation when they try to hit random buttons like I did and produce an error like that. At one point I float around and one of the bright lights shines directly into my eyes (I probably turned over and the sun came through the blinds, or a cat jumped up and opened them or something). I don't remember what happpened at the end, but I hope that nothing got destroyed because of me!

The problem when you start writing down your dreams is that they are remembered more and more easily, and when they are remembered, you realize what a completely messed up brain you have, and share that with other people.

So I've been playing with a couple of things the last couple of days. Simply GNUstep is a re-implementation of the NeXT OS/UI for linux. The downloadable file is a bootable CD image (non-vmware working though) that uses linux from scratch, grub, a framebuffer driver for X, and ghostscript display (very similar to what OS/X uses). Sadly it's coolness is a bit diminished because it's very much "normal". I felt the same with it as I did seeing Linux on an iMac the first time. Weeee... it's linux. When they do really cool stuff with the postscript display like they do in the iMac (cool colors, drop shadow, blending, shading transparency), then I'll be excited :)

The other two things on the list are Mondo, an archive program and GRUB, an alternative (and cool it sounds like) boot loader (like LILO but not).

04/14/2002    -{ Don't Speed Up! }-

Wow, had a gooood dream last night. Trippy and committable that is anyway.

I don't know how it started out, but myself, Foz, and Engel were driving back from somewhere in Foz's car. He was driving, and his attention drifted for a second or two and the car went onto the shoulder, hitting a young guy who was walking beside the road! Instead of just smunching him outright, the guy ended up on the hood of the car, very much alive, and hanging out as we continued on at full speed down the road. For some reason it took a very very long time to get brian to slow down! He was concerned about hitting the brakes too hard or something, I don't know, but he kept on going at the same speed down the road. At some point I got onto the back of the car (no idea how I did that) and got a wrist lock on this fellow. Eventually Foz finally slowed down and stopped. Dude was alright, and the other two just figured it was ok to go. I asked dude if he wanted to go to the hostpital, and he shakily replied "yes."

Fast forward a bit, and I told this story all over, to the police. That's why it sounds so weird to tell it here now, as I feel like I've already been over it twice already.

I'm visiting the police, a friend of mine I think, who is at a large house where there's a party for a bunch of members, who are all hanging around and chatting. As the party winds down I have no way to get home, but someone leaves a car for me to drive. Well, "car" isn't the exact word for it.

Take your standard police cruiser. Now turn it into a stretch limo. Got that? Ok, now fill that up with cool gagets and electric bits. now put wings on it and make it a air machine. Oh, and the controls for flying it? They are circa 1914.

My friend helps me get used to it, which is very hard for some reason. There is no "pilot seat" per se, and there's just a window in the front to look out. I've never flown before, so I'm scared shitless at the prospect of killing myself as well. The controls like I said are medievil at best. There are two handles that control the rudder, which I use to get lined up with the bumpy gravel road that the house is on the end of. At first I don't even remember seeing a stick, but finally I see it, a short stubby thing sticking out of the floor. The up and down motion is controlled by ballast, and that is done with a large pot of water. At one point in my maneuvering to get lined up I tipped the pot over, and had to get my friend to get a re-fill.

Finally things were all ready to go everything was lined up, and all was good. I had no clue how to land, but was fully prepared to go and do this to go home. At a point I woke up, then thought to myself, "I want to see how this ends," and closed my eyes again. As I was preparing to hit the throttle forward though, my friend helping me came around the front of the plane and said that while everything was good to go, the color of the propeller, was... red! I guess that meant that it was a test prop, and not actually able to fly with (like how practice rounds are marked with blue in the military (well, the movies anyway)). That pretty much ended things, in my dream at least. Around then I woke up and came out here to write it all down.

04/13/2002    -{ Today, apparently, is Saturday }-

Ok, many things to tell... but first, a couple of dreams. The first was from last night:

Firefly and I went to someone's house.... it was in the woods, off a side road, and the driveway went through fairly dense trees. The driveway was the kind that loops around in a semi-circle, with an in and an out. When we went there there was a storm going on, and for whatever reason we decided that unlike the other people there, who were staying, we were going to leave. So we prepared to go out. One thing I remember distinctly was staring down at my feet as I crossed a puddle filled with ice, stepping on the ice carefully and watching it go down and up as my weight went on and off it. Course, that has nothing to do with the rest of the dream of course.

So we leave, and have to go out the in, as the out is blocked by fallen trees and upturned stumps. The in is in a similar state, but not quite as badly. As we drive through it, the driveway turns into an asteroid field, and spaceships start pursuing us. I say something corny about "losing them in the asteroid field", and try maneuvering around an asteroid. They are much better than I, and catch us in some sort of tractor beam. I break free just long enough to get caught in another beam.

Pretty trippy huh? The next one is from two nights ago. I have been meaning to put it in here, but have been slacking on the arcterlife updates.

I was woken up by the cat puking in my gym bag (though not in real life), and couldn't sleep so I went for a drive. I ended up by some strange house, that looked unlived in, so I decided to poke around. I went into the backyard and for some reason I remember playing "army" or Urban Terror or something. Not too sure about that though... I went up the outside stairs and went into the upstairs living room, and watched a little bit of TV. I then decided to go, and got as far as my car when I realized that the TV remote was still in my back pocket. As I was heading back to the stairs to return it, the owner of the house came back and parked beside my car. I decided that instead of faking something and lying, I'd still return the remote. I do that, knowing that there's really no way to avoid him seeing me.

On my way back out of the building, the owner is in the backyard. I decide to go and talk to him, and ask him if he'd like an explanation (I know I certainly would if someone was seen coming out of my house! I go and talk to him and he says "sure," so I explain that I thought the house was abandoned, and just watched a little TV. He didn't seem to care, and offered me a beer. He apparently had a friend, who brought out a couple of beers. The beer was fish beer (it was a dream obviously... the english "bass" beer excluded of course), which was... fishy.

Apparently we ended back on the first floor in the kitchen, where I was preparing to leave, and accidently spat fish beer all over this guy and the floor, and spent the rest of the dream cleaning it up.

Ok, so on to more pressing things. Today is saturday... the trip that I took downtown wednesday was good. Eventually I did make it to the JRFM studio. I told the lady at the front desk that I had won a CD a while back, and couldn't get in until now. She took my name and went through her little book, and told me that nope, sorry, after 60 days prizes get reprized, to keep them from sitting around. This would have been nice to know a) when I'd first won, when among the other things that I wasn't told was that I had to come in and pick it up b) when I called to say where is my CD and was told I had to come and pick it up, about a month after winning it.

So I was in a bitchy mood to say the least, and as I wandered to the elevator muttered something about "well that was a waste of a @%@$!!!% drive." The suit who was waiting there for the elevator as well inquired about what was going on, and I explained that I'd won a CD, and lived in Abbotsford, and couldn't get in here until now, and that the CD had been reprized. He immediately got my name and address and said that "we'll make sure you get something, driving out from abbotsford for nothing is bullshit" (his words). He also said that the lady at the front desk should have been nicer about it (wonder if someone got a talking to after that :)

The dude turned out to be the general manager of the station, a Mr. Gerry Siemens, and on thursday a package arrived with two CDs in it, and a busines card from him with "with my compliments" on it. Very fast turnaround, and a very nice gesture. Thanks Gerry!

The other thing that arrived thursday was my Income Tax return. A very nice relief to have, as well for the people who I've talked to lately (saying "I can't wait till ma' money gets here!" :)

Anyone who gets the chance, read Neil Stephenson's "In the beginning... was the command line". Great read.

Anyway, enough for now, time to start the day.

04/09/2002    -{ "Sister! So you have a twin sister?" }-

Well, my brilliant plan of going to the gym every morning this week were foiled, today at least, by pain in my chest and abs. Guess maybe I should take it easy the first couple of times back eh? I'm going tomorrow morning though, don't worry. The workout tomorrow will start a day of long and less than exciting events that will take me to white rock, downtown vancouver and finally maple ridge. Weeee.... the reasons for these trips are mundane at best.

Today was partially spent sitting, partly standing, and partly driving. Laundry was done, kde 3 (final) was partially compiled (and in fact, is still compiling at the end of the day.

Cheers to the Wendy's in mission by "the junction" for reading my mind and giving me, even though I only asked for two "frosty"s of unspecified size, a large one and a small one.

However, the bill charged for two regulars. I don't know if Wendy's is one of those places that doesn't have a "small", but only medium, large and super size, and I'm not familiar with their cup size (pardon the expression), so I don't know if I got ripped off for the $0.20 of getting a small instead of a regular, or if I gained $0.20 by getting a large instead of a regular. Jeers to the if the former, Cheers if the latter.

04/08/2002    -{ Time to Spring Ahead! }-

Just finished Cryptonomicon, which I've been working on for a while now, but only recently had the time to get it finished. It was a great book, full of pure geek-love, and lots of cool crypto, security and networking geek stuff. I only have a couple of complaints about the book. It took far too long to really get going, and things only got exciting around 3/4 of the way through. They also should have (IMHO) gotten more into the details and actual utilization of the Crypt. However, the scenes such as when Randy was in jail, and how he did his really cool stuff with the laptop (which I'll not talk about here, as hopefully others out there who haven't read it yet will go and read it now), far outweigh any bitching I may do :)

Started on Neil Stephenson's novel First there was the command line... right afterward :)

Oh, also started going to the gym again. I figure I'll go every morning until my pass-book is depleted. It's nice when "first thing in the morning" means "when I wake up" and not "6-bloody-oclock in the AM". I can definately feel this morning in my abs... youch!

Aside - why-oh-why does Star Trek Voyager have such a high percentage of shows relying on actresses appearing with themselves (evil twin sister from another dimension type episodes)?

Why the hell am I still up? Trying out Dungeon Siege. It's ok, a bit like Ultima Online was I assume (I never played it). While it is very nice looking, the first part, and I admit I'm not all that far along, is booooooooring. Basically you walk along, and at set times baddies in various forms (flying mosquitoes, gouls, and dog-like things so far) come out of the woods, and you click on them and kill them, then continue down the path a bit farther, and wait until the next set of baddies jump out at you. I am playing on the easy level, so I'm guessing that in harder levels the combat is actually hard, but as you're not actually doing combat other than clicking that you want to attack the first in the set of baddies... (your character is smart enough to attack the rest of the baddies that are piling around you). You can cast spells as well, and have to deal with your inventory, deciding which weapons to keep and which to throw away when your sack is full. I'll play a bit more, but so far I have to give it 2 out of 5 thumbs down.

Ever notice how your cats react differently to catnip? So far I have a stoner (Rex) a scrapper (Zoon) and the one who gets the munchies really bad (Cornelious). Weird eh?

04/06/2002    -{ "Del, why are Joe's legs wrapped around your body?" }-

Slow week... sadly I can't say what's going on at work with you-know-what yet, but those of you who care about you-know-what already know.

So what has been going on in my life lately. Well, not a lot. Tonight we were invited to Foz's place down the hall (I hate these get togeathers where you have to go so far you know!) as his parents were in town and they wanted to have a good 'ol Kentucky cook out. We had Jumbalia (a crawfish pie, a me-oh-my-oh) and other goodness, and it was delicious! Ditto on the cake-like stuff we had afterwards (not a southern thing specifically, but great nonetheless). His folks are pretty cool people, and you can definately see his dad in him and his mom in his sister. His dad has a great accent as well, he reminded me of Boomhauer from the show King of the Hill.

The other day I took a long time and cleaned my car. I gave it the "Mothers" treatment (Mothers is the brand of car wash/wax stuff that was recommended to me) and gave it the wash, the wax removal treatment, the pre-wax sealer, then the wax job. After that it was tires, rims, interior (dust, armour all) and windows (rain-x brand window cleaner). All in all it took about 5 hours, and left me very sore and tired (and dehydrated, as I was in the hot sun). A job well done though, I'm quite happy with the results. I even had a day of sun to drive in before it started raining this afternoon. I must say the disturbing part of it all was seeing all the little nicks and scraps that I have. Guess next time I'm in town I get some touch up paint and go to it with that eh?

I'm trying out the new KDE. On Wim's suggestion I tried it (the day before the final 3.0 was released too!) and am using it to give it a good go-round, and see if it sucks or not. I'm quite happy so far, and the liquid theme (see the link for screenshots) is awsome looking. The only complaint I have really so far is that while the environment is quite mature, there are far better apps that are GNOME based (ie: PAN, galeon (though the 3.1 version of konqueror is going to have tabbed browsing) burning utils like gtoaster, and powershell (though this version of Konsole seems to have much nicer hotkey support). All in all I'm going to give it a bit longer before I give it a thumbs up. I think most of it is getting used to and learning the environment and it's little quirks. There's some cool stuff in here though, that's for sure!