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08/31/2002    -{ Tis the summer of moving }-

Well, seems everyone is moving around. The other weekend it was sending off Iambe and Engel's stuff, this weekend I helped Brad move, and probably on the 15th-ish it'll be me moving upstairs. Still not sure the best way to complete a fifty foot, one story move best. Pack and move? Move with one or two boxes or laundry baskets over a week period, then get everyone over one weekend to move the heavy stuff? Not sure.

Well, I'm just about to see Iambe and Engel off... They are heading to the airport to stay there for their flight out tomorrow. Huge farwell and big *hugs to you both, we're sure going to miss you around here. Of course, if the cost of a flight to Philly is as cheap as you say, I'm sure we'll see you before long! Now I have to find someone else to sucker into feeding the cats when we're away too :) Anyway, good luck and best wishes for the future from all here in the ArcterHousehold.

Oh yea... it looks like the folks from the Garibaldi grad '93 class (via have been talking about a get-together next June-ish, as that'll be about 10 years (gads!). Anyway, anyone from my grad class that reads this, but isn't using gradfinder (free, decent service), should be at least checking it out k?

08/30/2002    -{ I need a siesta senior! }-

Today has been a slacker, tired day so far. Started the day by not running (as I did the last two days in a row), but rather facing the dreaded task of shopping. It went well, with me yawning all the time. I have been getting sleep lately. Just had a big mug of tea, so that should help a bit. Been working with Jay to get the new userfriendly system up and going with all sorts of nifty things ported over, and neat code done. Now that that is 99% done I can start to work on the next contract.

Been doing the market research for the self employment program as well. In the process I've found at least two people who are quite seriously wanting me to do work for them... go me. Meeting with a dude from a local business next week to talk about some interesting stuff that they are doing. I have five or six surveys done now, need a few more I'm sure, so I'm going through the google directory for Abbotsford to find businesses around here that'll suit my needs. Lots of fun... yea.... easy to procrastinate on as well (see, I'm doing it now).

What else... oh yea, congrats to Silv for his run, I know from experience how hard it is to get off your ass and do it, especially the first time. Actually no, it sucks all the time... as K says, "no one runs for fun." Speaking of which, this afternoon/eve is time for the gym for me. Weeeee.... Oh, and I hope that scoobyD's ankle is better now, or at least, not worse.

Played around with SSL certificates and I actually mostly understand them now! I even got two sites going with their own certs (SSL can't work on name based virtual hosts, only IP based ones, which sucks, but oh well).

08/24/2002    -{ Need.... more.... cats..... }-

Forgot a heading yesturday.... "Freaky People at the Gym". You know how there are some people that you just can't help but stare at? There are two at the gym now. The first is this guy who is absolutely massive, freakily so. Something that I definately don't want. He looks like one of those drawings of bodybuilders, with exagerated proportions. His body is about as wide as it is tall, and his thighs are just fscking massive! They are each about the size of my chest, and I'm sure that he could crack cocanuts between them. Arms, neck, hair, all massively huge. I'm quite sure he gives his hair follicles a daily work out as well. Most people at the gym you can tell are pumped up and strong because they are in gym strip, but this guy would be hard pressed to look 'normal' in street clothes, just because of his body size. I'm sure he's a nice guy (seems to be from my observations of him anyway), but his look is just freaky-huge.

Second freaky person is the anorexic stair-master chick. I swear, she's opposite from huge dude in every way. The poor thing resembles a stick figure, and I've only seen her on the stair master, stairing away. Her arms are like sticks, she has no boobs, and while her body fat is at 0.0000000001%, there's no muscle in their either.... quite sad really. I had to stop myself from forcing a cheeseburger down her throat while screaming in my best Italian Mother voice, "Mangi , Mangi!"

08/23/2002    -{ "Those who live by the sword get shot by those who don't" }-

Yup, I'm still here, and alive and well. Circumstances have me alone tonight and vegging down. I watched Takedown on DIVX a bit ago, did some work to get some things set up and fixed up on various systems, played with ntop a bit and drank lots of water. So now I have a bit of time to go over some stuff that I haven't had the chance or inclination to over the last while.

First, the job

I did get a job offer from Edmonton, and no, I did not take it. There seemed to be a heck of a lot of talk and blog activity about this over the last while, but sadly, I don't have a lot to say. I went through a lot of roughness, with all sorts of people lending support, lending anti-support, and saying nothing, all with their hearts in the right place. This had me going from one side ("lets go!") to another ("lets stay!") approximately once an hour/minute/second for a week, leading to a lovely physical and emotional breakdown Monday morning. Oh yes, lots of fun, and something that I hope not to have to repeat.

That being said, it was my decision to make and I made it. I went over everything a hundred times, and then everything again another hundred times (see aformentioned mental explosion). Again, I appreciate everyone's help, but in the end, I gotta make my own decision, stupid or not. Of course, I've done some pretty stupid things in the past, but I plan to continue doing that well into my 90's (when my focus will change to becoming a burden to my children and grandchildren). Oh, and to the people involved in various little cryptic blog wars, ignore for a second that I was doing the same thing not long ago, and talk to each other like sane people please, I've had enough of trying to deal with being a sounding board for one set of peoples bitches about another, and vice versa lately thankyouverymuch.

Ok, enough about that. So much for a quick little note as to not aggrivate things any more :) Like I said, bad decisions... Course, being greeted at the gym by people I know but not real well with "I'm not going to lecture you about not going to edmonton, but I'm dissapointed," certainly doesn't "help".

Ok, I'm done now, back to real life.

The old half naked man in the sun

A while back, mid summer like, I was riding up the windy steep road from the railroad tracks to the college and I passed by an older, portly man, standing in the middle of the grass beside the road, reading a newspaper, naked to the waist. That was one of the stranger things I've seen (next to the couple with the dog with sunglasses downtown).

The Self Employment program

In real life what I want to do is get on the self employment program put on by Community Futures. Basically what happens is you submit a reasonable (but not complete) business plan and enough market research to convince a panel that your idea for a business wasn't made up by a crack monkey, and they put you on the program. While on it, you still get your EI, but don't have to claim anything you make to them (so you aren't penalized if you make money), and aren't obliged to search for work anymore. You also get access to councilers and advisors to help you do pretty much anything you need to. It's very cool. To help with this, I'll be moving upstairs to Iambe and Engel's old apartment, which is a two bedroom, which will give me *drum roll* an office!

And there was much rejoicing.

Because of the way they are making the moving and rent, I only have to pay the cost of rent in my place for next month, even though halfway through the month I'll be moving into a bigger (and slightly more expensive) place. Hmm... seems that my home size goes up, but the size of the bathrooms in the places that I move into keeps getting smaller....


The game Battlefield 1942 is awsome. I heartily recommend it to any FPS, driving, or flying game fan. Short description is that it's a first person shooter, in (go figure) 1942, where you get to jump into pretty much any vehicle, be it a plane (pilot or gunner), jeep, tank, half track, boat, carrier, gun emplacement, etc. Very cool. Oh, and silv, the massive online multiplayer star wars game you want is "space and beyond" according to Dave. I'll forward a link when I get one.

Bed Time

It's a running morning, so I'm heading off now. Night!

08/13/2002    -{ Sympathy for the devil }-

Ah, the promised (and much overhyped) rant on prices is as follows. While at the airport waiting to go to Edmonton last week I was hungry. It was 6:00am and I hadn't eaten yet, and had just spent an hour on the road. In short: "me need food." I was through the gate and past the (closed) legit places to eat, and all I had left was the little vendor right there in front of me, amidst the WestJet gates. I picked up the following:

Grand total? Over $12.00!!! I believe that the bun was $5.50, and the mars bar was over $2.00. I guess that's just YVR's way of saying "please bend over and spread 'em."

Been working on the project for UserFriendly lately. The last two days have been the only time I've had to completely dedicate myself to it with everything else going on. A meeting with the self-employment dude (hopefully I didn't shoot myself in the foot by registring myself for business already... if so I can plead ignorance), and various other things. Still no word from Edmonton, but I hear through Tig to "hold tight." Apparently things are in the hands of HR, and I know of at least one reference check that has gone out (lie for me lie! lie!).

Oh yea... someone on the news (CNN anyway) said that there were some rumblings that Dubya's plan to make CEO and CFOs personally responsible for the numbers that they report is, (wait for it)... not a real solution but just polictical handwaving. My god, they should be shot for such un-american speach... next thing you know people will be able to say that the wonderful president looks like a monkey! But those people will be sent to the Ministry Of Truth to be brainwashed, so don't worry about it.

A very ballsy female senator from from somewhere is apparently claiming that the September 11th attacks were orchistrated by Bush! I have no idea how you could get away with saying something like that. I have no evidence to back this up of course, only that I saw it on TV yesturday morning.

08/09/2002    -{ Home, home on the raaaaange }-

Home now... flight was uneventful, caught the shuttle bus back to extended parking just as it was leaving. Watch this space for a rant tomorrow about price gouging at YVR. Sleep now.

08/08/2002    -{ So there I was... }-

Well, the interview is over. I'll start from the beginning though...

You know how sometimes you'll sleep for a few hours, but not really well, till some early AM, get up, have a drink of water, go to the bathroom, roll over, whatever, and then go back to sleep and actually do the good deep part of your nights sleep? Well, when I woke up and rolled over it was 4am and my alarm was about to go off. I left lots of time, anticipating traffic, delays getting a shuttle bus from long term parking to the terminal, etc. Turns out there is pretty much no traffic at 4am, and I arrived and was sitting waiting for my flight an hour and a half early. grrrr..... oh well, will know next time.

The flight itself was uneventful, and when I got there Tig was already there waiting for me, and took me home (like a lost puppy). I vegged out for a bit and watched the rental they had, Thirteen Ghosts. I'd say that watching it at someone else's house is how this film should be viewed.... let others get it, watch and ridicule, then go home. Anyway, when the time came I dressed up with my best "sexy nice hirable alan" look, and headed out, escorted by K. We returned about ten minutes later, collected my wallet so that I could afford the LRT ticket, and left again. I arrived exactly 4 minutes late, to which I blame the fact that I thought you could get to the 12-19th floor elevators from the top of the 1-11th floor ones. My mistake. You gotta get on the right ones to start. I also jammed my thumb trying to push a pull door, and broke the skin under the nail. Luckily I didn't bleed on anyone.

Eventually met with Colleen (HR) and Mark (development) and had about an hour long interview. They had many questions for me, and I think it went quite well. Of course afterwards you think "I shouldn't have stammered so much, just answer the question and shut up... don't answer it if you have to dig, just say no I don't know about X, Y, or Zed, etc." My interviewing probably needs some work (hopefully not after this though). I wish I knew the "right" answers when it comes to questions like "what do you expect to make?" and "what are you weaknesses... erhm... areas in need of development?" There wasn't a skill test really, unless I missed it. I did get to put in my thoughts on a hypothetical data gathering senario, but I'm not sure if that was to see how I thought, how I worked at thinking, what the end result I came up with was, or what. No idea if there was a "right" answer or if I gave it, but it felt right. It was easy once I ignored Mark (sorry dude), and closed my eyes and just imagined that I was in charge of setting it up, what would I do. I had to do some translating from "put in a mysql or postgres database" to "put in a database of some kind" (I have no idea what windows-speak for some things are :)

At the end they asked if I had any questions and of course I did not, until I got outside the building and was heading back to Tig and K's...

It seems like a nice place, the non-manager types have cubes, and the managers (Mark included) have awsome views out over Edmonton from the 18th floor. They have a nest, a lunch room, and some good benifits and so forth. Tig works there and hasn't gone postal yet, so it can't be that bad. They said I'd find out this coming week.

I discovered making my way back that I need better non-everyday shoes. The ones I have are ok looking, typical loafer type shoes that one would have for weddings and dressing up occasions, but after a 20 minute walk my feet were killing me... I was almost limping. It was hot out as well, so it was nice to get into shorts and a t-shirt!

Rumor has it we might be meeting up with Pommie for dinner tonight, which is cool. Until then I plan to sit on the couch or surf, and maybe even do a little work :)

08/07/2002    -{ ... to increase shareholder value ... }-

Phew, been a busy couple of days. I've been getting ready for the big interview tomorrow, getting all my proverbial ducks in something that looks like a row. Resumes are printing out, I'm researching all the nifty stuff that this company does, and I'm repeating their name to myself all the time, so I don't go in there and say "so what do you do here at... erhm.... errr....." If I can just remember "Matrikon delivers industrial IT solutions that optimize and streamline plant operations for maximum agility and profitability." I'm sure I'll be fine.

In along with all of this suddenly I've got work falling into my lap! Seems Silv threw my name to some people and they called up yesturday to say how they want to work with me to implement some nifty stuff on some of their clients sites. Seems relatively easy... ehrmm.. I mean, yea, it's really hard stuff, will take weeks and weeks and weeks! Of course, I can't really concentrate / commit to anything until after tomorrow. This means of course, that if it needs to be done right now, and I have to spend the next couple of weeks moving my life to another province (depending on if they want me, how much they'll pay me, if I want them, and how soon they want me) that there may be little time to work on any projects immediately. More of those "have to see"s though :\

Speaking of tomorrow, send out some good vibes for me k? Especially because I was too silly to ask them to book a flight out of abbotsford, which means I depart at 7am from Vancouver. I don't know if I have to factor in traffic or if it's too early, but still, it'll be an early day.

Speaking ofSilv, congrats on getting your OEM deal, hope that this is a good sign of things to come! I found this out last night actually at Silv's place where a few people watched Lord of the Rings on DVD via a projector onto a big, white wall. Great theatre experience :)

Anyway, I'm off to learn more about ISAPI, and how it will make my life complete :)

08/05/2002    -{ Monkishness }-

Most of today was spent working on the project from hell. A greatly amusing rant on why .net sucks, how it's stupid, and what people should do with it was made by Yohimbe. I still haven't found two people who can completely agree on just what .net really is. Anyway, lots of work, with Brad doing most of the looking, as he is the one who seems to have the most percentage of clue for this stuff. I did a lot of looking, and listening to cries of "what the hell did he do here... oh, I see... argh! why did he do that!" In the end was pizza, and some work was accomplished.

Tomorrow I am off to the gym for my early morning run, and then to a self employment seminar/information session at the Mission community futures. I think that that is the place where you find out if you can make money while on EI. Now I just need to get my business plan going. Wish Openoffice would work nicely for me... it seems to like to get to the point of showing the main window, then crashing. Bah, bah bah. Of course, now that I type that and run it under a debugger, it works. Slow as hell, but not crashing.

After I get back from the self employment thing I'm going to start researching the heck out of the company I'll be interviewing with on Thursday, and the technologies that they use (or the best I can figure anyway). I really don't want to get flown out there and then make an ass of myself ya know?

One of the smarter things I've done lately is pick myself up a little two console KVM switchbox. This allows me to run two computers off of one set of Keyboard, Video, and Mouse. Meaning I gain back the lost deskspace from my second box, use my nice big monitor and not my spare 15", and have my nice keyboard and mouse when using either box. Especially seeing as working with Visual Studio .NET pretty much requires > 1024x768 resolution.

Oh, and the gentoo thing, it does seem like there is some improvement in speed. Not huge, but noticable in some cases, which is cool. The only thing they are really suffering from (IMHO) is an ebuild of an XFT enabled mozilla. So I've been bombarding one of their developers with links to patches, hoping that they'll appease me :)

08/03/2002    -{ Attack of the Crazy Cat Men }-

So while I'm waiting for WhtDragon to arrive to go over to Yohimbe's to work on this VB project from hell (which I'm told, was eventually "fixed" by saying "screw the vb" and writing it in Perl), I take the garbage out. On the way out I hear cat yowls, and find, not to much surprise, a kitten up a tree.

Just to give a bit of history here, I first met this kitten ( <1 year old, black and white, cute little black spot on the nose) a few days ago, while vegging out in the sun, up a similar tree. After I determined where the noises were coming from, which took some doing, as I thought at first they were coming from the kids across the street, I located (via triangulation I might add) a kitten up a tree. I managed to lure it low enough that I could get a paw on the scruff of it's neck, and pulled it down to safety. We hung out for a bit, and the kitten was very friendly, and relatively well fed. We rolled around on the grass a bit, and chased leaves togeather. The kitten was very at home with people and very happy to chase bugs, attack grass, or leap upon random nothings that suited it's fancy. A while later she went up the same tree again, and I went back inside. I checked a bit later up the tree but didn't see anything, and assumed that the cat had found it's way out and home. Later that night the same yowling was to be heard, and there I went again, sticking my head up the tree and trying to get the stupid cat to get down. Eventually it did and this time I told it to only play in trees it knows for sure that it can get down.

So this morning, same kitten, different tree. I'm about this -< >- (not to scale) close to just bringing the thing inside. I have no idea if it's a runaway, abandoned, or just has a wide range of area that it plays in. Like I said, it's friendly, and comfortable with people (let me pick it up the first time I met it), so it's not a street cat (or at least, an abused street cat... it could still be one of those street cats that loves people cause that's where it gets its food and water). Right now all three of mine are lying by the patio door like a triplet of bookends staring outside at this kitten who is curled up in an empty litter container (one of those square plastic ones) that was left outside for mom to use as a planter. I put food and water out, but I have no idea where this tail will end.

08/02/2002    -{ Naked and 195, wh00p! }-

Well, my system is now a gentoo box. It's a pretty sweet system, though I don't feel any huge speed increase. It's nice to be cutting edge though, using devfs, tmpfs, grub, and a bunch of other neat technologies, simply "there" for you. Compiling everything, and getting it all working nicely did take a couple of days, but I'm back where I was, only loosing one partition of data (not important). There are still some issues, some things won't compile, hotkeys (for the extra buttons on my keyboard) wants to access the cdrom for some reason, and I don't know where it's gotten to in /dev (how the hell does devfs deal with the generic scsi module?), my X fonts are... interesting (still) and the ebuild of gabber is fux0red, but other than that, things are nice and smooth. Like I did in debian I have done my best to keep things done "properly" for the distro as much as possible. I could just do it all myself, but I want to give the way it's supposed to work a chance first. The ebuild system is pretty cool, there are things I didn't know, like in /usr/portage/*/* there are .ebuild files for each version of the package. So if you want to build an older version of blah/foo, you'd just find the version in /usr/portage/blah/foo/*.ebuild, and run emerge <path/to/ebuild>.ebuild. Their rc-update system is pretty funky too, it fulfills Yohimbe's requirements for adding and deleting things from runlevels easily (rc-update add|del programfoo default).

I got a nice little contract working with the aformentioned Yohimbe on a project for which will be nice. It's not huge, but fun, and will keep the money wolfs at bay a while longer. As soon as these last couple of little issues are gone, work will begin!