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April 23, 2003

Life News

I have a string of work coming up from tomorrow until next Wednesday, which is really great because I haven't made enough money yet to cover April's bills. This should almost do it. May is already looking good for work.

This weekend I'm also heading to Saint John NB for a day to help with PAOC's maritime youth convention, MYC03, and to promo YC Newfoundland. I can't stay for the whole weekend because I need to be back here for work, but it should be a nice break.

Blog news

I'm working behind-the-scenes on a potential major change to my weblog and perhaps my whole website. This change could take place in a few days, or it may take a few weeks, but it will be cool when it happens, so stay tuned...

Swindlers

Monday past Kerry and I were minding our own business, peacefully entering our car on Hollis St when we were accosted by a swindler. When I say accosted, don't be alarmed. He only lied to us and tried to persuade us to give him a toonie ($2 coin for the non-Canadian reader). At the time, I thought he was suspicious, but I really didn't want to believe that he was dishonest. He said that he was visiting from out of town with his wife, and his car ran out of gas. He went to a nearby gas station and found that he was $2 short of enough money to buy a gas can. Since I have a small gas can in my trunk for just such an emergency, I offered to lend it to him, if he would just wait 5 minutes for me to drive Kerry up the road to school and drop her off. He politely said that he didn't want to impose on us. I insisted, saying that I wasn't busy at the moment and I would be happy to help him out. He replied that he could probably get $2 from somebody else along this street more quickly than I could take Kerry to school. I finished the conversation by agreeing to let him do whatever he felt best for him and his wife, and he walked away.

I think Kerry was convinced of his dishonest motives on the spot, but I wanted to believe him. Still, I couldn't think of any nearby gas station in the direction he was coming from. Nor was I sure that his story about where his wife and out-of-gas car were waiting made sense. The icing on the cake was when Kerry observed yesterday that if he had only been short money for the gas can, he could have simply bought less gas. Thinking about it now, he could have skipped coffee at the expensive coffee shop that he claimed his wife was in, and he would have saved enough for a gas can and fuel besides.

Overall, a depressing reminder that some people are actively looking to take advantage of other people's goodwill.

Browser Bashing

People that know me know that I have a not-so-secret bias against things Microsoft. In my defense, this has grown up over years of experience with computers, and is rooted in real issues such as buggy, insecure software, annoying interfaces, and exhorbitant prices - not to mention questionable corporate ethics. I probably am too polemic about it, but whatever. To back up my claims just a little, Hixie writes about the sad state of IE6's non-standards compliance. He should know, he's on the W3C's CSS working group.

April 17, 2003

Spring is here (almost)

Halifax has had a few almost nice days lately, with temperatures reach 10 or 11 degrees. Nights have still been a bit cold, but that's ok.

Today is another ordinary day around the house: 5 loads of laundry, cleaned the toilet and started writing my thesis. Ok, not a whole lot on the thesis, but it's something.

Some family members heard me say something about computer trouble last weekend. Here's the story: my monitor died. It happened Saturday evening. I had known it was on the way out for a long time. I had it repaired about two years ago, and again last year. It had been fairly stable for the last year or so, but the technician told me the last time it was in the shop that the part that was failing was notorious for short life in that model of monitor, so it may not be worth continuing to replace it. Well, I had hoped the monitor would hold out for longer than it did, but that's life. Of course, I can't do much work without a computer monitor. I use my PC for schoolwork, TV, email, professional work and relaxation. I hated to have to spend money unexpected, but I went out and picked up a 17" Daewoo at Wal-Mart for $190 ($220 tax in). I did this in a rush since stores are closed here on Sundays. I was working that night and when I got home at 2 AM, I plugged in my new monitor - and saw nothing. The Daewoo was dead out of the box. So I took out my laptop and did a little hunting. I found a small computer shop downtown that had a KDS 17" for $169, and Monday morning I returned the Daewoo to Wal-Mart and picked up the KDS. So, I have a working monitor and a lovely bill for $185 (the $25 savings was a nice surprise).

After the KC and the Sunshine Gang show, I also setup and torn down a booth at a trade show, and I did the setup and strike for the Stars on Ice show at the Metro Centre. A decent week of work more or less, but I really need another week to pay the bills. Looks like the next week will be free for thesis work, then I'll head to MYC for the weekend of the 26th, and maybe pick up two more days of work on the 28 and 29.

April 10, 2003

Hiatus?

It's not that I've been away, nor that I've been lazy - I've been here, and (sometimes) being quite productive. There have been blog-worthy moments, but never when I've been in a blog-mood. So here's the latest...

I just got off the phone with Andrew and he's starting flight school at home. Had his first flight today. Good for him. Christiane should be back from her two week rural medicine session (not really an internship, by medical standards). I talked to Mom and Dad on the phone twice in the last week or two, and they're doing well. They should be home for the summer on July 1, with a potential stopover here in Halifax.

Kerry is finishing her courses in the next few weeks. I did a little work last week with CorpAV and hopefully I'll do some more freelance work with them in the future. I'm working with Tour Tech tonight, tomorrow and Saturday, setting up and being spot op for KC and the Sunshine Gang at Casino Nova Scotia, as well as doing a corporate booth at the Home Show out at Exhibition Park

I'm also thinking hard about a lot of life and career decisions right now. The freelance worker's lack of a steady income is a bit of a stress factor at the moment as my debts have piled up over the winter slow season. Speaking of seasons, I have to find some money for a new set of tires for my car soon.

I'll probably end up going to the PAOC's maritime youth convention "MYC '03" in Saint John at the end of the month to promo YC Newfoundland so that may be a nice diversion. Hopefully I'll hear from the organizers soon if they want some technical assistance as well.

I still haven't forgotten about schoolwork, and the motivation is building, but now the issue is (and will be over the summer) finding blocks of quality time. Yeah, lots of people told me so - the situation I'm in is no surprise to lots of people, myself included, but I'm here, so it's no point complaining about it. I've decided to start writing the thesis asap, and pick up the remaining research as needed. I was putting off writing to keep momentum in research, but since that was sapped after the move to Halifax, hopefully starting to write my thesis will get me moving again.

I think that's about all for now. I sure hope work picks up soon, because I enjoy it, I look forward to learning new things, and I sure need the money...