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08/25/2001    -{ Question: Is it immoral to attempt to get out of a speeding ticket by asking the arresting officer(ess) out on a date? }-

Before I tell you abou the diving, this is what happened when I got home. Saw some un-disclosed friends outside and went to talk to them. One of the, lets call him "Joe" for now, informed us he was in the mood for a musical. I asked if he was a man or not. He pulls his waistband out and looks and says "yeap". FF says she is worried that he had to check, to which he replied "Well, I could have put my hand down to check but it might not have come back up for 20 minutes or so.

Thanks "Joe".

Ok, so I thought it was funny (well, disturbing too).

Anyway, went up to Porteau Cove today with Cuvarack and Joker, did two dives, one just scouting around and the other to the pilings that are out there. The pilings were cool but not what I expected. I imagined some jungle of concrete towers, but it was really just a bunch of pipes it seemed. Cool nonetheless though :)

Oh, and the surface swim sucked. I'm sooooo out of shape that swimming 18 km in rough seas against the tide (or what felt like it) is not a good idea!

Might be throwing a nice new HD into the UFies box tomorrow eve, compliments of fred (whhohoooo!). Just gotta arrange things with my main dude yohimbe (of uf fame). Hopefully we'll be back to the dive shop by 4 (when the close) and all will go well.

08/24/2001    -{ Forced Funtime Should Mean Everyone }-

Another weird dream last night, a really good one involving a small cabin, a bunch of derilict buildings scheduled for destruction, a wierd old man, some buildings that were only thin enough for one person to be in, Iambe but with two heads, a housefire that destroyed everything but the master bedroom and some of the couches and chairs, and a bunch of fighting (verbal though I think). I really wish I could remember more of this one, which I don't except that I was in this cabin with someone else or other people, and there were arguments, ending up in a fire gutting the place. All said and done everyone comes back as friends (I remember the two headed Iambe talking about getting married but "only two honeymoons!" (one for each head I guess). When everyone's friends after we look around the place and there are other buildings and an old man who is really surprised that the whole place hasn't been torn down yet. I go into one building and find important pictures in a book (page 80). No, I don't know what of, but they had something to do with the history of the place. The old guy shows us around a bit and one of the buildings is almost "T" shaped, with the stalk of the T being extremely thin, thin enough that only little children could get into that part of the house.

I'm pretty sure that this dream held some great meaning of life, buta s I don't remember enough.... *shrug*.

Finished Just For Fun. Good book, with lots of interesting thoughts and ways of thinking about things like Intellectual Property, copywrites, patents, and so on. A good explanation of why the RIAA and MPAA are cutting their own throats in trying to ban MP3s and DVD playing systems that they can't control. Basically the way that he put it was that if you tried to hold something and control it, eventually you'd screw up, or overcharge, or in some way make it so that people find a way to get around you, and you loose it all. IE: You own a waterhole and don't share, doling out water and charging for it, without simply sharing. Eventually people are going to find a way to get water some other way and you're left holding a useless commodity. Same goes for the RIAA and their fight to ban MP3s. If people are forced to pay $20 for a CD with 2 songs on it that they actually want, eventually they are going to find a way to get just the songs they want. For example, MP3. The recording industry has a long history of trying to ban recording devices and ways that people have been trying to record music, and have failed time and time again. I think most recently they have discovered that CD-R devices are used, and are trying to ban them or something stupid like that. If they got their heads out of their asses they'd realize that people want more music, they just want a choice in what they can have (ie: the songs they want in an easily transportable format). Sure, they'll trade their music back and forth, but that's going to happen regardless, and has been since people recorded LPs onto cassettes (I know I did). If the industry embraced Mp3s and similar and found a way to live harmoniously with them, they may not find this backlash of trading. Lately I haven't bought any CDs because I'm finding it's much better for me (with a car MP3 player) to get my music in MP3. I also haven't bought CDs not because I don't want to support the artists, but because I'm sick of the RIAA and want to stick it to them in my own little way. Well, that and I'm not convinced that the $20 I pay for a CD actually makes it in more than a few cents into the pocket of the actual artist.

That and I'm still a bit pissed over the whole creation of Britney Spears and the Spice Girls thing. What happened to artists who become artists because they love music?

08/20/2001    -{ QOTW }-

Quote Of The Week:

"Given the choice of Coke or Pepsi, I'll have a strawberry smoothie"
-- Silverstr, at dinner the other night.

We have a freezer now. It's in the living room. Where else do you put a freezer? I'm scared when they talk about getting a washer/dryer and bashing holes through the walls to hook it up in the closet.

Well, I got some work done tonight. Webmail is fixed thanks to a package update, LVM is going as an experiment, and I found a nice substring replace() function in C. Firewalls, normally my bitch, were the bane of my existance tonight as I tried desparately to get things going on them. I guess when something is designed to "not work with a firwall or NAT system in between the client and the server", it means it, even if I wrote it :) Oh well, hopefully things will work properly when I get to work tomorrow... I've been having some weird problems with server messages and replies not working properly, but I'm pretty sure that's the SSL connection not passing data through the firewall, not random pointer related problems (fingers crossed).

I was looking forward to updating tonight to the latest version of phpnuke, and maybe even re-theming it in something less ugly, but life wouldn't have it. Instead I had a nice relaxing dinner, a nice relaxing bath, some good coding (it's nice to see complexity go away sometimes), and an apt-get install imp fixing wacky webmail probs.

Still in the middle of Linus Torvalds' book Just For Fun. It's quite good, though I find the history of the OS more interesting than the political stuff he gets into towards the end (though seeing him tactfully say that RMS can be a weenie was kinda neat). The latest batch of MP3s need to be organized, and all my other tunes still need to be checked for dupes, bad tags (things like spaces, spelling, capitalizatiON) and so on. I'm slowly starting to suck them all across the VPN to the office where I can listen to them 8 hours a day to find ones with errors, the wrong filename/info, or virtual scratches.

Hmm... could use a facelift one of these days too....

08/13/2001    -{ Never Stop Breathing }-

Well, back and alive again today (yesturday), and I'm a fully certified PADI diver (yay). Sunday was spent on some (IMHO) minor skills such as navigation, some major but probably (hopefully) never used ones such as the out of air emergency swimming ascent, and using old ones (descend, ascend, etc). We had another few dives in the pool and then headed to Camp Hope for lunch, followed by 2 more dives at Lake of the Woods.

Diving at the lake was better this time, I was a lot more comfortable doing things and a lot less muck was kicked up off the bottom. After the last required skills (taking your mask off underwater and underwater navigation (go somewhere and head back, hopefully arriving at the place where you started (using a compass))) we got a tour of the lake. I have to say it wasn't that interesting. Oh it was very cool to move around underwater, to be able to not shoot to the surface or drop like a rock while skimming over the bottom, but seeing alge, rocks, and a few trees (and a beer bottle or two) just didn't crank my chain too much. I'm looking forward to going someplace interesting (even Whytecliff Park or Porteau Cove) and being able to enjoy seeing things instead of worrying about the actual diving part of it.

Minor Bitch for the Day: People who have the attitude of "I tried and no one did anything so I'm not going to bother" coupled with "I can't do this because I'm not known enough/close enough to important people/whatever, but since you (Arc) are, you can" and drop it on my shoulders that I'm the only one to make important changes that they want. Why the hell can't they do it themselves? If whoever it was that said the earth was not the center of the solar system had said, "shit man, no one likes this idea, oh well, fuck it" we'd still be living on a square earth. Changing things is not easy, and sometimes, impossible. Just because I have what I think is a good idea doesn't mean it is, however, it also doesn't I should give up if a couple of people turn their noses up at it (on that note, I'd like to bring up the subject of the "give Arc money for no reason campaign"... donations are not a tax writeoff, and are non-refundable, however, if you'd like to consider donating, please contact me immediately :)

08/11/2001    -{ Cat5 Being Thrown Out of McDonalds for Not Wearing a Shirt Made My Day }-

Well, survival was attained today in the first day of the actual pool/open water PADI tests. We all finished off the written part of the certification on friday, with myself scoring a whopping 98% (highest in the class if I may say so) tied only by Cat5 (who had to suck up to the teach to get his almost-answer approved as "OK". He's just jelous though.

So today we headed out to Hope (tooooooooo eeeeeeeeaaaaaaarrrrly!) to the pool and spend the next 3 hours jumping in and out of the pool, doing excersises like recovering a lost regulator, buddy breathing, breathing from an free flowing regulator, and emergency ascents. Everyone did great in this, with a couple of people who were a little shakey with doing things like taking their mask off at the bottom of the pool (and rightly so I might add). Everyone did awsome though, and at noon we headed to Lake Of The Woods on the north side of Hope. It's a little lake that is very popular, has a tiny little crappy beach, and a nice muddy bottom for all us rookies to stir up while trying to control our boyancy.

Boyancy is my main problem. I'm ok in the pool, I can maintain level floating underwater, but put me in real water, and I'll either drop to the bottom like a rock (not descending, that's fine, but once I'm actually at the bottom) and end up on my knees (stirring up the muck). When this happens of course I inflate my BCD (Boyancy Control Device - the vest thingy) and start shooting to the surface. Not good, especially without proper equalization, so I purge air from the BCD and end up, you guessed it, back on the bottom, with muck flying all over, making it impossible to see.

The pool is so much different from the lake. Not just the heat, or extra gear you don't have (wetsuit), but there is just something about it that is less friendly and "easy" then the pool. To be expected I suppose.

Tomorrow we were supposed to head back to the pool, but it's closed or something, so we're going someplace else. A camp or something. I assume that that means we'll do the open water part of the last couple of modules first, and then head to the pool for the final pool component. Not sure how that's going to work with the muck and grim that is so easily picked up from the ground by your boots and gear. Huge kudos to Wayne (and Cuv) for being the ones to wash the gear out tonight for us tomorrow.

08/08/2001    -{ "There is a time when sperm are past their 'sell before' date" }-

Wow, judging from the amount of mail I've gotten over the last few days, I figure a lot of people are interested in hearing how Clinton was. Well, 2 or 3 anyway. I hope that doesn't represent my entire readership for this humble little journal :)

Although Iambe has already posted her thoughts on the trip, and a decent view of what happened, it wouldn't be right not to throw my own thoughts in. The trip up wasn't that long, only about 4 hours. We drove up with fozbaca in his car full of stuff, and I got a lot of reading done (finished Xenocide on the way back actually, now I'm on to Linus' autobiography "Just for Fun"). The weather sucked leaving chilliwack, and I was not in the best of moods, forseeing 3 days of rain and misery (camping in the rain sucks in case you were wondering.... I don't enjoy it nearly as much as camping in the sun). Coming through the Fraser Canyon things improved considerably, which made me feel a lot better. By the time we arrived it was full out sun, which was very nice :)

There were a lot of people there. I never realized the SCA attracted so many people to one place! The parking lot on the side of the huge field that was being used as a campground/battleground was full of cars, and the rest of the area was full of tents. We were given only the instructions on finding our party (Cyranth and CyranthSqueeze) was "House of Juxt" (except we had no clue how to find it). To imagine how we felt, go to a large mall and go in and start looking for Bob. Just Bob, nothing else. After asking a bunch of people we thought to check the message board at the front and found a note with a map (whoho!) on how to get there. After another 20 minutes of finding the area, and then finding the people in the area that actually knew what we were looking for, we found our camp.

Tucked in near the creek showers and washrooms, it was a nice pavillion type structure from Walmart ($500 I'm told) that belonged to the Gypsie party we were camping with. It was very nice, and there was enough room around for our tents, which Scott/Roger/Cyranth had planted the day before when he came up.

My basic impressions of my first Clinton war were "wow". The garb ranged from ok rags (what myself and Engel and Foz were wearing (Iambe says we look good but I still say that's just a way of getting us to look like peasants who have lost their homes to bombing and are wearing poofy pants)) to simply amazing gear. Full armour, chainmale (chainmail?) and musketteer/rapier type garb was common and simply amazing. I'll see if I can find some pics somewhere online and post, because some of these guys (and gals, but I'll get to them in a moment) looked amazing.

The women's garb on the other hand (aside from our own ladies, who looked awsome) was also amazing. Again, they ranged from ho-hum, to, well, wow. Lets just say that cleavage was in back in those days (apparently when a lady bows to you it's an invitation to check the cleavage) and some went as bellydancers (again, wow). The lady dancing in the tavern in the gold chainmale (chainmail?) bikini top was quite impressive (I hope that the metal links weren't cold!).

The camp was as I said before, basically a big field. It had all the amenities of home though, if your home was in the 600AD-1600AD period. Latrines were all around, as well as a Tavern where you could get your beer and conversation at night. Behind it were showers with real hot water and a bread making place called the somethingorotherthaticantremember Bun. There were firepits for the bardic circles and woods all around, as well as a couple of streams, one of which was the Clinton water supply.

Over the next two days I watched the war, rapier fighting, hung out in the evening, browsed the marketplace, and sat in on a bardic circle or two. The venders in the market area were pretty cool. You could get anything from food, tarot reading and a massage, mugs and clothing, weapons (both steel and the competition type that you can actually bash another person with without killing them) and armour etc. A armour helmet can set you back $250-$450. A knife or sword is between $5 for a tiny little knife to $450 for a huge and beautiful double handed sword with some awsome metalwork on the handle and hilt. I accomplished my goal of owning a sword on the last day by picking up a small sword (not a knife, a full length sword (for a short person anyway)) for a cheap $44. Nothing special looking, but a sword nonetheless. The "steel" "sharps" are used for decoration only, but certainly add the the effect when you are in medievil garb wandering around. Some of the venders were just re-sellers of stuff from medievil shops, but a lot sold their own warez and were in their SCA life, venders. Pretty cool. I'll see if I can get a pic of me and the sword (which hacks up a dead airmatress just great by the way).

There were classes going on in the day on everything from intro to rapier fighting (fencing) to "the art of lechery" and "the art of bedwarming". At one point wandering around I came across either a lesson or a demonstration or just plain fun at the tavern where they were doing knife fighting. 30ish people, 20ish knives. The knives were the shortswords used by rapier fighters (made of rattan, covered with soft stuff as not to hurt of course). Basically the knives went on the middle table, the people stood around the edges in their protective gear, and on a signal, well, last man standing. You are trained to realize the concequences of the location and harndness of a hit, so that if you got hit on the arm you put it behind your back as it's out of commission, or ignore light hits... honor system and chivilry make you (hopefully) honestly take a "killing" blow appropriately. Lets just say that not all rapier fighters are all gentlemanly and chivilrous. People were falling over dead and being stepped on, and there were honest questions before of "can we throw people/hide behind the bar". It was very cool to see the the chaos that ensued when the signal was given.

In the evenings sometimes we sat around the fire, and sometimes wandered. The Tavern of course was "the" place to be. It was very cool to see the assortment of people in their costumes sitting around and playing drinking games, chatting, or flirting with the bellydancers. The second night I sat around on a bardic circle where guys with decent voices were telling stories, singing songs, and in one case, singing medievil version of Arrogant Worms songs ("Me Like Hockey" was "Me Like Battle").

Probably the neatest aspect for me was the ability to get away. No technology, no email, no computers. Hell, even I wasn't there. In the SCA you assume the persona of a person who would have lived in that period. It's done "as it should have been, not as it was" because in those days 99% of the people were poor farmers who were going to die of hunger or illness before they were 30. So you become someone else. You are no longer a pasty faced programmer but now you are a spanish swordfighter banished from his homeland and crossing the country with the gypsies (or whatever). Even with just a new name you can easily drop into a world where you introduce yourself as someone else and that is who you are taken for. And the same with other people. In the SCA "every woman is beautiful and every man is handsome". It basically re-enforces good manners, which only helps with the illusion of this other life. It was great to drop out of my life into someone else's and imagine that I was in fact wandering around a camp and saying "M'Lady, M'Lord" to the lords and ladies that crossed my path. In this modern day saying "hello" to a perfect stranger (or 10) on the street would be viewed as very strange, but in such an environment, it was completely commonplace, and not that hard to do. A shy person such as myself was completely left behind as I assumed my new name and persona.

A lot of the good time and interesting things I learnt there are due to our gracious hosts (many thanks to all of you whose names I don't remember) and the "beginners introduction to the SCA" and "introduction to medievil chivilry in the SCA" booklets. These proclaimed things like "Chivilry is basically another way of drinking lots of someone else's booze and having sex with strangers". Sounds like my kind of party, not that I did much of that of course. It'll be much more fun next year or next event when I have better clothes, training, and maybe will be able to participate in the war.

Speaking of the war, it was fucking awsome. Imagine 200-500 people per side, all in full armour, weilding swords and shields, with the light fighters behind them with bows, crossbows, and as hammer-throwers. They march togeather and amid shouts of "wheel right!" "wheel left!" they collide in a mass of dust and sweat and thrash at each other, the guys with pole lances trying to reach through the wall of shields protecting the knights. Wow. Part of what appealed me is I've never been involved in that sort of mass organized combat. Maybe something like football is like that, but I never played football. I also like the idea of the rapier fighting, with it's gentlemanly attitude and skill with the sword required. However, after seeing the knights go at it, I'm not sure. I guess you can do both eh?

Anyway, to make a long story short.... "had fun, bought a sword".

08/02/2001    -{ Stranger Noises Than I Ever Imagined Coming From My Nose }-

Why did I know it was going to be another of those nights.... First, yesturday, then this evening, then now.

Yesturday me and Firefly were talking about the long weekend. Basically three things presented themselves as things that could be done.

  1. I suggested we drive up to Clinton for the day to see the SCA war that is going on there.
  2. The idea of driving to Edmonton to visit people was presented.
  3. The idea of flying to Edmonton to visit people was presented.
  4. The idea sitting around all weekend and relaxing, doing nothing, or at least, doing nothing of consequence.
  5. The compromise, where she gets a flight to Edmonton and I sit around doing nothing.

If you have to ask my friends, you'll know that the final option was not the one taken. Option #2 is good except that it's basically a day of driving, a day of "relaxing and visiting" and another day of driving. Not really fun. Option #3 is far faster, but the cost of 2 plane tickets is far greater than the gas required to drive. Additionally, you are limited transportation wise when you get there. For one person the cost of a plane ticket vs. cost of gas is a toss up, for two, it's not really. Option #4 is good, but kind of a waste of a long weekend (or at least all of it). I'm not sure the last option was even considered :)

So I get home yesturday after a finger-ripping workout at the climbing gym (mental note: put up pull-up bar somewhere in the apartment) to find Firefly and Iambe sewing. "So what's going on," I ask. "We're making garb for Clinton," they reply.


"Uh huh."

Apparently the idea of heading up for the day to see the SCA nerds bashing each other with swords had been transmogrified into "Lets get a bunch of people and go camping for the weekend." Now don't get me wrong, I love camping and all, and I love spending time with my friends. But I need "downtime". You know, that time that is spent just Doing Nothing. Sitting on the couch reading, watching TV, even coding. As long as it's in a comfortable environment. But I figure, as long as I don't have to do any work (Iambe and Firefly and FireflyMomTheCrazyLady are doing all the garb making) that's cool (upon entering Iambe's place I was told simply "Take off your pants and put these on [garb pants]". Uh huh.

My only stipulations for this whole excursion are a) We come back by sunday night so that I have sunday night in my own bed and monday as my downtime and b) If the weather is crappy we come home. I love camping, don't get me wrong, and if this were camping it could rain, snow, sleet and hail and I'd be fine with it. However, this is not camping, this is going to Clinton to watch the SCA geeks. I hope you can see the difference.

So that was yesturday (many thanks to my folks for the tent, stove, etc).

Tonight we headed out (from 3 to 9 somehow) to get indian food. Mm....... naaaaaaaaan. Foz got his first taste of indian after being given the slapdown everytime he wanted to try it till now. Mmmmm..... naan.... Anyway, we eat well.

This brings me to now. After getting home I had a bit of a screamer of a headache so I took some of the remaining Tylenol 3s and started organizing MP3s. By 1:30am or so I was about ready to sleep (or so I thought). Head to bed and discover my nose is stuffed up (much like last weekend). That sucks. Lying on one side didn't do anything either, except it was that that point I discovered my stomach was doing gynastics in my gut and making some of the coolest noises I've ever heard. Nowhere near falling asleep at this point. Turning over creates pain in my gut as well as weird noises, and still no movement on the stuffed up nose. I think at one point I was almost asleep but a knock on the door (in a dream or somewhere faintly in the building) brought me from that "I'm about ready to sleep" stage to "lying in bed wide awake." So now I'm here, typing like mad and sipping on a glass of warm milk. I'm wondering if the T3s' caffiene (to counteract the codine but which never really works properly as I've seen) was working properly, or maybe the Chai (or however it's spelt) tea at the Indian food place was highly caffinated. Or maybe it's the spices, which I've never had a problem with before, and I didn't have anything really spicy anyway.

I'm in the M's of my music though.

Aside: When I came out here I thought to myself "I wonder if Firefly put away the stuff I put on the porch while unloading the car?" Apparently she thought I did, and I thought she did, because not only was it all out there still, the doggy bag full of Indian food destined to be my lunch tomorrow was ripped open and investigated by some animal of some sort. That sucks.