Thursday, August 31, 2006

21 More Sleeps!

When they announced they were making an american version of The Office I was a bit skeptical. I was a big fan of the UK series, and I was just doubtful it could be as good, especially when it came to creating the Tim / Dawn relationship. I was glad to see that not only were they able to recreate it, I think they have surpassed it. Sure The Office is hilarious, but I only watch to see what happens with Jim and Pam. The season two finale was written by Steve Carell, and it was 40 minutes instead of 30. In that extra ten minutes we got to see the best "cliff hanger" ever:

What does she mean by "Yeah I think I am." ?

A short clip from the season two finale (3:01).

I am really looking forward to season three:

NBC's Jim and Pam Promo for Season 3 (1:39).

P.S. This is post 199¾!

Good News!

I have to say I am extremely excited about this new Beta Blogger. It has a lot of new abilities, but it was missing some of the features of the original Blogger, including my favorite one. Yesterday they announced that they have added in that favorite part into the beta and we are now able to edit the HTML in a blog template. The sad/exciting news is what they had to say about it though:

The new template language is completely different from the old one. So even if you're used to working with classic templates, you'll need to learn some new tricks to directly edit the new templates for Layouts-enabled blogs.

I have a feeling that this weekend I'll be up to my armpits in blog templates! I can't wait! For those of you also interested, here is a link to this announcement on the beta blogger blog:

P.S. This is post 199½!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Self-fulfilling Prophecy

I had a fortune cookie today that said:

"You will be coming into a fortune."

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Rating Widget

My brother-in-law Nick is, I am proud to say, a fellow Blogspot blogger. His blog,, is a bit different than mine though in that he posts pictures instead of words (and since the former are worth a thousand of the latter I have to blog like a mad woman just to keep up). Anyway, I have seen some other photo sites where one can rate the pictures and I thought this might be a cool project to try out.

I decided to see if I could find something that could just be dropped into the blog post template, but instead I found a tutorial for a five star rating system based on CSS. This tutorial was great for making the display, but didn't come with a back end. So last night I created a database for it and wrote up a page that will save the data to the database as well as read back the average rating. I added it to my blog by adding some javascript into the blogger template. It works great for automatically adding a way to rate a blog post, but unfortunately it isn't going to work all that well for Nick's photos - unless he stores each picture in a different blog post, but his format so far doesn't fit that model. I'll see what he says, but in the meantime, try out the new rating widget on my site.

P.S. I've disabled the ability to rate any articles less than 4/5 stars. (jk)

P.P.S. This is post 198!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Quote of the &*#!@ Day

Warning! The following blog article contains coarse language intended for adult audiences. Reader discretion is advised.

Actually I'm just joking. There is coarse language in this one, but I think swearing is actually quite funny. Honestly, if you were ever to hear me swear you'd think it was so ridiculous sounding that you'd just laugh at me.

I am a computer programmer. I find it fun, but sometimes it gets to me. Programmers have to break down a process into it's tiniest bits of logic, and then use specialized computer 'code' to tell the computer to carry out those very same logical steps. These days the development environments are very good at letting you know when there was a typo in your code, but almost no good at all at letting you know when you've made a mistake in your logic.
Sometimes finding those logic errors can be very tedious work and other times it is downright, pull-your-hair-out frustrating.

Today Shaun said something that for me captures the true experience of computer programming at it's worst. It is a bit harshly worded, but it is very similar to thoughts that go through my head at times. I think most programmers out there will recognize his frustration just as I did and laugh along with me.

Last night there was an automatic update done for our software. There was a problem though that caused an unexpected result for many of the clients that ran the update. Today we received call after call after call, and I spent all morning on the phone. I used my time restoring computers to the pre-updated state, while Shaun looked in his code to find the problem. A while later he said "I found the problem."
"What was it?" I said.

Shaun's answer both shocked me and made me laugh. Just like a true programmer who just realized a simple mistake had big consequences he said, "I had a fucking 'true' instead of a goddamn motherfucking cock-sucking son of a bitch 'false'!"

I believe that swearing goes hand-in-hand with programming, and if Shaun's ability to swear means anything, I think it means he's a hell of a good programmer.

P.S. This is post 197!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Cheeses in Heaven are all Mixed Together

Last weekend I was online looking at my savings account statement and I realized that I was sick of how I spend money. I decided to get it under control so I transferred $500 of my last $550 onto my credit card. $50 sounded plenty to last a week, but just in case it wasn't, I promised myself not to draw any of that money back out of my credit card. I enforced this promise by chopping my card into two pieces.

I usually spend money on food and drink. I love to go out for lunches and especially for coffee. Strangely, these days going out for coffee costs at least as much as a meal, so you can imagine how fast money flies out my window. I figured it would be good to deny myself the urge to head to the coffee shop just so I can read a magazine, but just in case I couldn't fight it I still had the fifty bucks to see me through the week.

By Monday afternoon I had been doing well on my spending. Shaun had wanted to go for lunch, but I showed extreme will power and said I couldn't. I ended up having lunch anyway though because Shaun decided to give me my birthday lunch early. Later that day on the drive home from work the low fuel light came on. Sometimes I have inexplicable bouts of laziness, and at this particular point in time I was too lazy to go through all of the work of a left turn into the gas station. I decided to postpone filling up until the next morning because then I'd be able to make a nice easy right turn instead. Tuesday when I woke up I decided to check how much money I had left before I went to the gas station, and was I ever glad I did.

Each cheque I
put $50 into an RRSP. It comes out automatically, and the money should have come out on Friday August 11th at the stroke of midnight. I guess because of the weekend it didn't come out until Monday night. As a result my bank account was now in the negative. At first I was a little scared, but then I just realized this would be the perfect way to save money, because now I wouldn't even have the fifty bucks to spend!

I scrounged up $2.50 that was laying around under my bathroom mat, and in various purses and I went to the gas station. The attendant came out to meet my car and I sheepishly handed him a fistfull of coins and said "Don't laugh, but can I get $2.50 worth of gas?" He laughed anyway and said, "It's ok. I've seen worse."

I spent the rest of the week living as cheaply as possible, and by this I especially mean eating as cheaply as possible. I don't even have a stockpile of food at home to draw upon because I like to grocery shop every day. My philosophy is that instead of looking through my cupboards to decide what I'd like to make for supper, why not just walk through an entire grocery store? Once I figure out what to eat I only buy what is required for that meal. As a result I have a great variety of foods to choose from day to day, but should I run out of money I honestly don't have anything at home to eat.

Whatever food I did have didn't really suit itself to combinations that would make up meals. Most of it was not worth eating at all. This week my meals consisted of:
  • hamburger patties with no buns, and even worse no ketchup
  • beef liver
  • a can of sardines (all by itself, not in a sandwich)
  • frozen chopped spinach that has been in my freezer for three years,
  • celery that despite being in the 'crisper' was as soft and chewy as a handful of twizzlers,
  • a lot of raw potatoes (not because I was too cheap to cook them, I just like them raw)
  • and today I had spagetti, with a sauce made by melting Kraft Singles with some margarine and grated parmesan.

  • While they seemed to do the job of keeping me alive and feeling fed, my meals this week didn't do much in terms of satisfying my tastebuds. I get paid tomorrow, so next week's suppers promise to taste a lot better... but they will also cost more. This past week being broke was strangely kind of fun even though I didn't do anything for entertainment. I didn't buy any magazines, I didn't rent any movies, I didn't go out. In fact I hardly did anything at all, but since I also barely spent any money I feel like I really accomplished something.

    Saturday, August 19, 2006

    Blogger Beta

    I am officially switched over to the new blogger as of tonight. Things will look mostly the same around here for a while though until more of the new features show up.

    Monday, August 14, 2006

    Blogger Update!!

    I am very excited! For all of you Blogger bloggers out there who haven't read this yet, take a look at "Blogger in beta" from

    I can't wait to play with this. For now I am going to post to both this blog and the blogger beta. Check out the new blog at (I am sure it will look the same, I just want to play with it)

    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    The Fruit Walk

    Every day on my way home I drive past a crab apple tree so laden with fruit that the branches are almost bent all the way to the ground. I always think I should just pull over and eat some of those apples, but I never do - until last weekend. I was on my way to meet Jenn for coffee and that tree is right along my route as I walk to the coffee shop. So at just the right moment I casually reached over and snuck one. It was delicious! Since then I've been wanting to eat another. Last night, as I lay in bed doing my usual tossing and turning I was thinking about those apples. Eventually I reached some midstate between consciousness and dreaming and at this point those crab apples became my only topic of thought. If I was awake I was considering walking down the street to get one, and if I was dreaming, then I was already there eating one. (Normally I dream about Sasquatches, so crab apples were a welcome, and less scary, change of pace) It was some time before I fell into an actual sleep. I think what finally settled me down was that during all that tossing and turning my mind was racing and I ended up inventing a new late summer activity. I drifted into a blissful sleep right after I decided that when I woke up, I would Fruit Walk.

    The rules of a fruit walk are simple:
    1) You do not eat before a
    fruit walk.
    2) You DO NOT eat before a fruit walk.

    3) As you walk, eat fruit off people's trees.

    I set out this afternoon with a full spirit and an empty stomach. I had literally been dreaming of this walk so I planned to make the best of it. I went straight for the nearby crab apples, and I grabbed two. They were no disappointment, and I was soon to find out that these apples were to set the tone for the entire fruit walk.

    After about 20 minutes of walking I saw the biggest crab apples I've ever seen. They looked... well... they looked ripe for the pickin', so I did.
    Right next door was a more regular sized crab apple, but it was very orange in color, so I grabbed one of them as well. I noticed that this wasn't an apple at all. It was about the same shape as a plum, but smaller, and it was orange. I determined that it was a peach. After I finished the big crab apple I bit into this strange fruit. When I didn't die from it, I allowed the taste to swirl around in my mouth. It was a peach! I had no idea that peaches could even grow in Saskatoon, but was I ever happy that I'd discovered this on my very first fruit walk.

    I couldn't stop
    thinking about that peach, and so as luck would have it after 20 more minutes of walking I saw a fruit stand up ahead. I walked over and saw man inside, packing up some corn into a wooden crate. I looked at my watch and it was 5:00 so I asked "Are you still open?"
    The man turned around and said, "By Golly we sure are!"
    So I said
    "Great! How much is a peach?"
    "Peaches are 75 cents each, how many would you like?"
    and he gestured toward a bowl of things that looked an awful lot like what I had just eaten, but bigger and a lot less shiny. I looked over a bit and saw a different bowl with exactly what I was looking for in it.
    "Well, I just want one, but can I have one of those peaches?" and I pointed towards this huge shiny reddish looking peach in the other bowl.
    The man said,
    "That my dear, isn't a peach. That is a nectarine."

    "Yes, a nect-arine"
    he repeated, pausing in the middle of the word. I thought he was going to follow it with 'not-apeach'.
    "I had no idea."
    I said, feeling a little stupid.
    "Yes ma'am,"
    he said. He was old, and said stuff like "by golly" and "ma'am", "you can tell because a peach is covered in peach fuzz..."
    "oh yeah!"
    "and nectarines are not." and with that he picked up a nectarine and handed it to me. When I took it from him he smiled, nodded, and turned back to his corn.
    "Well. How much is a nectarine then?" I asked.
    He gave me a half turn that allowed me to see his full smile and he said,
    "For you: no charge."
    I offered to pay, but he wouldn't let me. So I thanked him and walked off with my shiny new nectarine. This was turning into the best Fruit Walk ever!

    After I had finished the nectarine I was really quite full. I had eaten a lot of fruit, but the real reason was
    that I maybe broke a little bit of both rules 1 and 2 of a fruit walk. Even so, this was a fruit walk, so I kept my eyes peeled for more fruit. I didn't think I'd come close to repeating the nectarine (or peach) discovery, but I at least wanted to find some good apple trees for next time. I walked over to inspect some apples to find they were all shaped like lightbulbs (the non-energy-efficient kind). I realized lightning had struck twice on the same fruit walk. To my double-surpise I had found a pear tree! (no partridge jokes)

    I couldn't resist, I plucked one from it's branch. It was quite tiny for a pear and I noticed it was very hard. It was far from ready to eat, but who knows if pears grown in Saskatoon would ever be ready, so I bit into it. It was so sour I had to spit it right out, but I wasn't disappointed. If those pears ever do ripen you can bet I'll be there on a future Fruit Walk to eat one.

    Friday, August 11, 2006

    Ben & Nat's Wedding Part III

    The Location
    I was really impressed with this wedding, especially the location. I told all my friends about it when I got home and I have to say I got some strange reactions. I was saying the wedding was held in the "Cecil Green house at UBC" and everyone thought I was saying "Cecil greenhouse". No, the place was not a greenhouse, it was an amazing house with incredible grounds overlooking the ocean. I can't think of a better place to get married in.

    I told Ben that his was the best wedding I'd ever been to.
    He replied "I a

    The Ceremony & Reception
    I didn't really know what was going on for most of the wedding. I haven't been to many weddings, but I knew enough about them to expect a somewhat strict timetable and a carefully arranged seating plan. I was curious to see who Ben thought I should sit with, but I didn't get to find out because despite the suits and dresses people were wearing this turned out to be a very casual wedding. As far as I could tell the only reason Nat walked down the aisle when she did was because that just happened to be when most people were sitting down. I didn't really get to see her walk down the aisle because I was way off to one side, but as you can see from the picture she was beautiful.

    This wedding didn't have a religious aspect to it. I was really glad for that because not only am I not religious at all, but I have real trouble with the concept. Even though there wasn't a church
    and there wasn't a minister, this wedding felt just as ceremonious as any wedding I've been to, and thankfully I didn't feel uncomfortable and like I didn't belong

    The Meal

    Later on when it came time for the meal the casual arrangement continued. I was sitting at a table chatting with some friends I had made, and behind me the food was brought out. Ben came over and sa
    id "you're the closest, go eat!". I turned around to see that I was closest to the food and I instantly felt like I was sitting at the wrong table. I asked if I was, and Ben said that nobody had any specific table. I didn't know if I believed him or not but at his urging I went to get some food. I didn't hear an announcement that dinner was served, so I am not sure, but I think Ben may have personally told everyone to "Go eat!"

    The Best Part
    After my table and I went up for some food Ben and Nat surprised us by coming to sit at our table for a while. I could tell by the expressions of everyone else at my table that they all felt the same as I did - completely honoured. They sat with us and chatted for a while and then picked up their plates and moved on. I didn't see their every move, but think they probably visited all the tables during the meal. From the tables I did see them visit I saw that same expression on everyone's face of just being really honoured to have them there.

    I told Ben that this was the best wedding I'd ever been to, and I meant it. I enjoyed that things were being done just a little different. I shouldn't have been surprised because, well, Ben has always been a little different. I mean that in an entirely good way*. His uniqueness is probably why I wanted to be his friend in the first place. Believe it or not I used to keep a blog almost 20 years ago. It was on an ancient Radio Shack TRS-80 computer. There was no internet, there were only two colours (if you count the black background as one colour), I was the only one that read it, and the word 'blog' hadn't even been invented yet. I guess for those reasons it wasn't a blog at all, it was more like a Doogie Howser journal. Anyway, in one of those entries I had written about my four best friends. When I wrote about Ben I thought that he would be best man at my wedding one day. Well... that isn't going to happen, so I am just glad I got to see him get married.

    * One reason why Ben is a little different: