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December 27, 2002

Back from Central NL

I spent a wonderful Christmas in Norris Arm with Kerry's family. I just came into town tonight while Kerry is with family in Victoria so that I could get a start on my moving preparations. This afternoon I did some errands, paid some bills, changed some addresses, checked the car and so on. I was going to post the blog entries that I did on my laptop over the holidays, but I'm too lazy right now to get my laptop out. I'm going to go to the church family skatin in 15 minutes, so all I really have time to do is write this short update.

On an entirely unrelated note, I just read an incredibly depressing account of the state of airport security and individual freedoms in America, through shaver's blog. I echo his sentiments: it's a heartbreaking story and I can only wish it isn't true, but I'm all too afraid that it is.

December 24, 2002

Christmas Eve, 2002

I'm sitting on the couch in Norris Arm South, and Kerry's grandfather just decided to open his Christmas Eve present. It seems like everybody is opening their Christmas eve gift. Pop has a book, Nan has Vanilla Musk perfume. Kerry has a nice black blouse and pewter earring and necklace set. Kerry got me a nice little binder to organize APS film cartridges and index prints.

So, while I'm sitting here with the laptop, I guess I'll write a few posts, even if I won't publish them until next week.

December 23, 2002

2002-12-23 Monday

I had been thinking about getting some driving lights for my car for the last few weeks. The pending trip to Halifax motivated me to peruse the selections at the Walmarts and Canadian Tire stores in Grand Falls-Windsor last Saturday. I went all out and spent $30 on a kit that included lights and the wiring at Canadian Tire. So today was install the driving lights day. I figured it was a do-able DIY job, but since Kerry's dad has a friend with a pit in his garage, we decided to take advantage. It turned out to be a good idea. Without Keith and Nelson's help, it would have been a very tough job for me. Nelson took care of drilling some holes in a beam behind my grill to mount the lights. The wiring wasn't too bad once I figured out how to get through the firewall. A word to the wise: if you ever take the bumper cover off a Honda Civic, it's not hard, but remember to attach the top first when putting it back on. So now, I have driving lights!

December 22, 2002

2002-12-22 Sunday

First we went to church at the local Salvation Army church. They had a good crowd at around 45 people. In the evening, they had a kids program. Geoff, remind me to tell you about my little idea for a Christmas musical.

I had some time in the afternoon so I decided to put together the car top carrier for the big move to Halifax. Kerry's dad Keith helped me put the hinges on the carrier, and he also made up an extra bracket to hold it open. Since I bought it as a clearance item, most of the hardware was missing, but I think that with today's work I have got more than my money's worth. Keith helped me put foam around the lip to keep the water out, and he also gave me a strap to connect where there are supposed to be clips to hold it shut.

December 21, 2002

2002-12-21 Saturday

Kerry and I are in her hometown of Norris Arm South to spend Christmas with the Walker family. We drove out last night. I brought a few papers and the laptop in case I feel really industrious and want to write a few lines of code or some thesis bits. That may not happen though.

I don't know if I mentioned it in my earlier entries or not, but to make a little more space moving my things to Halifax, I bought a car top carrier. There is a variety of models to choose from in the Walmarts and Canadian Tire stores of St. John's. They start at about $130 and go up from there, but the Kenmount road CTC store had two of the $130 carriers on the clearance shelf. $20 as-is, final sale. One of the two had the critical bars on the bottom of the carrier that are used to attach the tie-down straps. I figured it could be made to work, and it will certainly be a lot cheaper than posting a few extra boxes that won't fit in the back seat.

December 18, 2002

Christmastime is busy time

A little snowfall yesterday and today makes for extra fun. After I did some work for the Bethesda radio broadcast yesterday evening, Kerry and I ventured out in the blizzard to visit Matt, Sara and Rebecca Gordon. We had an excellent evening playing Trivial Pursuit.

This morning, more shoveling and then hit the mall while the remnants of the blizzard kept the hoards away for most of the morning. Then, Kerry and I saw The Two Towers at noon; it was excellent.

After the movie we did a little more shopping. We met some friends, and one of them mentioned that they have visited my site (hi Amy!). I actually managed to get the majority of my Christmas shopping done in short order. Now a little school work before making the rounds of the Christmas parties tonight.

I didn't mention in my last entry that I made arrangements for my phone, cable and internet access last Saturday, as well. I guess I won't get around to looking into auto insurance now until after the holidays. I won't get my new phone number until I arrive in Halifax, but as soon as I do have it, I'll post it here.

December 16, 2002

Kerry is Home

I picked Kerry up at the airport yesterday afternoon, and it's so good to see her again. We enjoyed some hot and sour soup before church, and pizza after church. We also watched a movie - well, I watched a movie while Kerry fell asleep. In other words, all is well.

Which brings up the interesting question: why do humans need sleep? Sometimes I wonder why our bodies need to sleep; it seems so bizarre. I take Kerry's word on this when she says that there are some theories, but nobody really knows.

December 13, 2002

Update your address books

As of 2003-01-01 my address will be V102E - 2 Veronica Dr, Halifax, NS B3N 3A3. My cwhitt@ieee.org email address should remain the same indefinitely. I'll post a new phone number when I have it.

I probably won't get a cell phone until I have some form of income. On that topic I am considering cancelling my current cell phone today, since tomorrow is the end of my normal billing period. It would be a convenience to have the cell for the holiday, but I guess I'll learn to live without it.

10 Banana pancakes

...now that's what I call a good breakfast.

(Unfortunately, I could only finish 8)

December 12, 2002

Quote of the Day

From a post on kuro5hin (pronouced corrosion):

no, freedom of speech is not the root of terrorism. yes, maybe a terrorist could use such tricks to disguise his ways, but that's not the point. the point is that terrorism evolves from economic and social problems, which must be solved before it can end.
Amen.

December 09, 2002

Good News!

A quick trip to Canadian Tire, and it turns out that the metal spike that was kindly donated to me (by way of sticking it my car's tire) is right on the edge of the tire, in the sidewall. So, instead of dealing with messy plugs and patches, I get to buy a whole new tire! I wanted to spend $100 anyway...

When I returned home, I found a bill in the mailbox: $125 for the first installment of my grass allergy treatments for next spring. The syrum has to be prepaid before they'll ship it to me - how exciting!

Along those lines, I've decided to update my wish list. Considering the move to Halifax, the lack of employment plans, the occasional unexpected tire replacement, it seems that the ideal Christmas gift for me this year is cash. That's right, I'm making it really simple for everybody this year. Just give me cash. Well, I'm sure I'll appreciate non-cash gifts too. I'm just finding myself a little more pre-occupied with finances lately.

One note of levity to lighten my day: I was watching the technician at Canadian Tire take my old tire off the rim. I told the counter clerk that I had used an inflate and seal product on the tire, but he mustn't have communicated it to the technician. When he took the tire off the machine and threw it on the floor behind him, the remaining liquid from the tire sealant splashed out of the tire and all over his leg. I don't mean to revel in other's misery, but what was really funny was his reaction as the unexpected shower hit his coveralls. He turned around in surprise, and 20m away through the garage window I could easily read his lips when he said "What the eff?!?" I don't know why it was so amusing, but it was.

Flat tires aren't fun

Driving home from the library last night, I heard a funny clicking sound coming from my car. When I parked, sure enough, I could hear a nasty hissing coming from the rear passenger-side tire. Bummer. It appears that somebody donated a nail to me, or something equally generous. So I got lazy and used my emergency flat-repair kit. I'm heading out shortly to get the tire repaired, so we'll see if the hole was plugged enough to stay inflated overnight. If I have to jack my car up and put the spare on just to go up the street to the garage, even after using that repair kit, I'll be quite peeved.

I thought for sure I had something else interesting to say, but I guess not. YC meeting tonight, so I'm going to make a few calls and give some thought to a few YC-related items. I'm also going to call back the apartment building that I talked to on Friday to see about applying for a place for January. Plently to do, not to mention the research. The trip to the library was productive, now I just need to run some simulations to reinforce what I (think I) learned.

December 07, 2002

TheOpenCD

Cool site of the day: TheOpenCD. This is a compilation of free software that runs on windows. All of the software on the CD is also cross-platform, which means that there are versions available for other operating systems such as Mac OS X, linux, and unix.

The hope of the CD's creators is that it will be downloaded, burned and distributed widely (which is perfectly legal). As computer users are exposed to free software, they will become less dependent on MS Windows. When that happens, people once again have a choice of OS. If you care about your OS, you can stay with what you have. If (like most people, I suspect) you don't care about your OS, then you are free to go with the best (cheapest, most reliable) option, which may not be a Microsoft product. You can make that choice and not worry about having familiar software to use.

Good news all 'round

Well, the predicted 15-20cm of snow fell yesterday, making for a fun night of shovelling, with a little play fighting with the kids thrown in. The head cold that I had Thursday was completely cleared up Friday morning. There was a new episode of Firefly last night, which was fairly good. My dentist appointment this morning went very well - clean bill of health.

I must not be paying attention to when advance tickets go on sale, because the midnight and 8:00 PM shows of The Two Towers are already sold out. No worries, after the dentist I picked up a pair of tickets for the 12PM show, so mark your calendary Kerry!

December 05, 2002

Yay! Somebody else has seen my blog

(Apologies in advance to a few folks that have mentioned to be me personally that they read the site - Jeff, Steve, Jon - thanks!)

This morning I received the first response to my plea. Kathy has a blog and a website of her own. Surfing outwards from there I came across Sara Coleman's journal, which reminds me that I really need to remodel my own site. It's about time I had some nice cool graphic banner for the front page layout, so now the debate is: do I take an hour or two and poke around with Paint Shop Pro, or do I get down to schoolwork?

sigh I guess schoolwork should win, but either way I won't feel too bad about today, since it's not even 11 and I've already taken my brother to work, shaved, showered, picked up a few groceries, ate breakfast, flossed, cleaned my room, done a load of laundry, talked to Kerry, checked my email, and skimmed the usual websites. Good to get back into the getting-up-early thing...

When blogger finally publishes, it'll be a doozy

What's new? Blogger still seems to only connect to my FTP server about once every 15 tries. Oh well. When I finally get this stuff published about 5 new entries will show up at once.

It's a cold and clear day today. We had about 5-10cm of snow yesterday and there's a heavy snowfall warning for tomorrow. Fortunately, the heavy snowfall warning for Tuesday turned to rain. I'd say we still have a few more snow-shovel-rain cycles before winter is here to stay. Keeps me from getting completely out of shape.

Bah! The West Wing was a re-run last night. I think I only caught the last 15 minutes of that episode when it originally aired last year, so all was not lost.

Kerry's classes finished yesterday. Today she's going in to school for her regular meeting with Dr. Phillips, and after that I think she mainly has one final and one term paper.

Geoff and Ellen had the kids from the midweek program at the church all over for subs and games. I managed to get a sub and stay out of the way for most of the evening. I finished revising my list of apartment options in Halifax. Now this morning I have to start calling to find out which ones are actually available. Big(ish) decisions coming soon...

December 04, 2002

Anti-Microsoft Rant for the Day

Just ran across this somewhere: Windows XP Shows the Direction Microsoft is Going. Despite a little hyperbole and a few minor technical inaccuracies, it covers a lot of ground and summarizes most of the reasons that computer-types dislike Microsoft.

A choice quote from the conclusion:

Human society in general is not effective at stopping abuse. People have a difficult time being clear about abusiveness, and therefore about protesting it and stopping it. It is especially difficult for the average person to feel clear about something technical like software. People tend to blame themselves rather than the software that should serve their needs.

December 03, 2002

Thinking about Kerry

I just checked Kerry's website to see if she had updated, but I guess she's really busy with term papers and so on at school these days. Here's hoping that the next two weeks go smoothly! Only 13 days until you're home!

For the gearheads out there

... or more likely just for me (considering the readership of this blog is mainly my mother and girlfriend), here's the equipment list for the lighting rig at the aforementioned Great Big Sea tour:

  • 12 blinders with color scrollers
  • 12 Mac600NT
  • 12 Source4 ellipsoidals
  • 8 Clay Paky Superscan 1200s
  • 6 Mac500s
  • 4 Mac2000s
  • 4 border lights
  • 4 striplights
  • 2 DF50s
  • 2 GrandMA consoles
The Mac 2ks really cut well, even in a large arena. This was the first time I really had a good chance to see how they perform. I also liked the look of 6 Mac500s placed on the outside of a half-circle of 18' truss, oriented vertically on ground plates. But enough gear talk...

I rarely update on weekends

A normal person would think this is a positive indication that I can live without sitting in front of a PC for at least an hour a day. Me, I think, "Boy, I should get on the ball with those updates!"

Well, a busy weekend it was. December is here and lots of plans and preparations must be made. Not to mention the continual research work and so on. I really need to get the siblings on the ball with a gift for mom and dad. No idea how reliable postal service to the middle east is. I also have to reserve the ferry crossing to Nova Scotia, have my car serviced and, perhaps most importantly, find a place to live in January.

So back to the busy weekend: I played bass in church on Sunday and also managed to catch the last show of the Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellas Mad Scravel tour after church. It was entertaining.

Saturday was the final concert of the Great Big Sea Sea of No Cares tour. Crush was opening and I went down to Mile One Stadium in the afternoon to see if I would meet anybody I knew (or wanted to know) on the crew. Turns out they were short on setup crew bodies, so I volunteered to work the show. Well, not volunteer as in no pay, but anyway...

Jaye did a great job with the lighting design, and I was impressed to meet Alex from Solotech who was the system tech for the PA (though I'm sure he won't remember me). He has done the Meyer Sim School training. I briefy watched him tune the L'Acoustic V-DOSC rig with SIA Smaart-Live before soundcheck.

I also had the good pleasure of meeting Alfred from Christie Lites Halifax office. I first talked to him regarding some extra lighting for YC 2002 and he remembered my name from those conversations. I will look forward to making contact with him again once I land in Nova Scotia.

The big lesson I learned on Saturday (besides learning to stay away from big columns of V-DOSC being rigged - maybe I'll relate that story another time) is that local crews do a lot of physical labor for not a lot of money. It's ok once or twice, but I wouldn't want to make a living that way. On the other hand, I probably would not need to go to the gym...