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December 31, 2007

So long, 2007, it was nice knowin' ya...

Wow, hard to believe the year is almost over. As usual it's been too long since my last update. So much going on and blogging falls to the bottom of the pile. Probably for good reason.

Continue reading "So long, 2007, it was nice knowin' ya..." »

October 08, 2007

Back in Alaska

I finally finished in Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse, and got home in time for my birthday. It was a great birthday. I had a couple of nice meals out with Krista and Kendra, and Krista got me such thoughtful gifts. The next day, however I found out I was likely headed back up north. It took a few days to finalize, but I've now been in Dutch Harbor for nearly 4 days while the ship gets repaired and resupplied. Hopefully we'll be able to get our work done quickly and get back, since weather in the Bering and Chukchi seas this time of year is crappy at best. I've got some pics on facebook, and the ship has fairly good internet access so hopefully I'll be able to stay in touch with home by email and post updates from time to time.

Save some turkey, Krista, and we'll have another thanksgiving in a few weeks time.

September 21, 2007

Sept 21

I've been in Deadhorse/Prudhoe Bay for two weeks now. When I got here it was 15 and sunny. Now on the last day of summer it's snowing. Yes, snow. And I get to go back on the water one more time this afternoon. Pics on facebook shortly...

September 14, 2007

Pictures

For those who hadn't noticed, I'm putting pictures on facebook these days. Look me up there for current pictures of the Alaska trip and other things...

September 12, 2007

Holding in Prudhoe

I'm back in northern Alaska, and there's good news and bad news. The bad news is that some bad weather delayed the crew transfer boat we need to get out to the vessel we're deploying from. The good news is that other permit and regulatory things that may have delayed us farther are looking to be all straightened out. The rest of our team arrives today, we stay one more day here in Prudhoe, and tomorrow we should be able to get started. That all means that I could still be back at home nearly on time, sometime around next weekend.

September 09, 2007

Prudhoe Bound

It's confirmed. I'm on my way back to Alaska. Less than 2 weeks this time, hopefully. 9:15 tomorrow I head via Newark and Minneapolis to Anchorage, overnight, then to Prudhoe Bay/Deadhorse where I board the research vessel and head out for 2-3 days work at sea, then back on shore with 5 days to write a report.

For the first time, I'll be in the Artic at night. The weather is still reasonably nice, highs in the low teens, overnight lows down to low single digits. Different part of the North Slope this time, and I'll be flying in and out, instead of long transits by sea. Hopefully I'll post some night pictures in a week or two.

September 08, 2007

Another brief life update

I really have to streamline my process for adding entries to this site. I don't think I'm any more busy now than I've ever been, but lately it seems so hard to find time to log in, write, add links, upload pictures.

I've got tons of pictures that I want to add. If last year in Qatar wasn't enough, this year has had plenty of excitement. A month at sea above the arctic circle. Hiking the Long Range traverse in Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. An excellent family vacation in St. John's.

I'm probably heading back to Alaska on Monday, which puts my time this weekend especially at a premium. Not to mention that I have to focus on finishing my thesis, since I'm already into overtime as far as university regulations about extensions are concerned.

Speaking of the thesis, I'm seriously into writing now. Making good progress, except today my laptop decided to start having mysterious hardware issues. Like not POSTing for 5 minutes and really freaking me out. I managed to get it to boot, and I immediately copied all of my data onto an external HD. Gotta learn to keep those backups current.

In other news, Krista started a vegetable garden in the backyard this year, and it's going really well. We had our first peas and zucchini today, with some grilled shark steaks. Yum. Krista's working late tonight so while I'm giving the laptop some TLC I'm at the office listening to The Final Countdown. Yeah, life is good.

July 06, 2007

Commuting

I kept meaning to write an entry about how I have realized in the first 6 months of being back working in Halifax that I never want to have to drive a car to work again. I started riding the bus and found it extremely convenient, not to mention relaxing to be able to read, nap, chat with Krista, daydream, and generally not car about bumper to bumper traffic on the bridge across the harbor. Then last month HRM had bike week, and gave free passage on the ferry for cyclists. I took my bike to work a few times and realized that 1) it is really easy to ride to work (as long as you are careful in a few busy traffic spots) and 2) a cyclist can get downtown faster than a car in rush hour, by a wide margin. In fact, from home to work, there is only one small section where any car can catch up an pass me on my bike, and I've gotten so far ahead everywhere else that in the end I still get to work far faster than the cars passing my house at the same time I leave.

So, either I get to relax, or get some exercise, and either way I get to work cheaper, just as fast and with less frustration with traffic and parking. The point was driven home (pardon the pun) last month when I had to drive my car to work a few times. Each time I did I repeatedly told myself how glad I was that I didn't have to do it everyday. Of course, a big part in making this possible is where you choose to live. With increasing concern about global warming, energy efficient and environmental responsibility, I think that many of us need to think carefully about where we buy houses, how we commute, and how we grow cities, but that's a whole other rant.

Anyway, that was the entry I meant to write, but now Commuting has a different meaning. I'm sitting at the airport Best Western in Anchorage, AK, waiting to go to Seward to meet the MV Norseman II. I'm heading to sea for about a month to start a major research project on whales up in the Chuchki Sea. Yeah, scary and cool at the same time. I'll post some GPS coordinates later, but for now, get yerself to Google Earth and find out where those things are. Ain't it cool?

June 03, 2007

Spring cleaning and summer plans

Just in time for summer, we have finally finished our spring cleaning. A few weeks ago we tackled the wreck that was the basement, and ended up putting most of the junk into the garage. Yesterday we finally had a yard sale and cleaned up the garage. It's so nice to feel like the house is more in order.

Work is good. Starting to get real busy. For a while it looked like I was going to Sakhalin Island in eastern Russia for 3 weeks in the wilderness monitoring the noise of offshore oil&gas work, but due to bureaucratic stuff beyond our control it now seems I won't be able to make that trip. I'm a little disappointed since it seemed like an interesting trip and the timing was great. Instead, I'm likely to be going to Alaska in July to go to sea for a month or so, deploying submerged instruments in the high arctic. Also interesting, although it may mean some slight changes to vacation plans.

Krista, Kendra and I still hope to get to Newfoundland for a week or two in August. The dates are still flexible, because of the Alaska work trip.

January 11, 2007

Peggy's Cove

Here's a little fun Krista, Kendra and I had this past Sunday. It was a beautiful sunny day, but it had been really windy Saturday night, so we went to Peggy's Cove to watch the waves and have some gingerbread at the restaurant by the lighthouse. The sun made the ocean look so bright, and the wind was blowing perpendicular to the direction of the swells, so the spray was blown away from us and we got to watch some pretty spectacular surf.

Oh, and yes- I'm back in Halifax indefinitely. While I enjoyed Qatar, I just took an exciting new job at JASCO Research, a small acoustic consulting company in Halifax. More on that in another post...

November 16, 2006

Pictures from Hong Kong

Here, finally, are pictures from my trip to Hong Kong.

October 28, 2006

Hong Kong - my new favorite city

Well, that's a slight exaggeration. Halifax is still my favorite city, but it has an unfair advantage - Krista and Kendra are there.

I just returned to Doha from my 5 day vacation in Hong Kong and I really enjoyed myself. I liked the bustle of the city, the different food and culture, the efficiency in the chaos of 14 million people. I found it easy to get along as a visitor, I guess mainly because many people speak some English and most signs have English translations. It was also more affordable than I expected, especially if you seek out the local stores and restaurants. The downtown skyline and view from Victoria Peak are both incredible. I'll post some pictures when I have time to sort and upload. Right now I have to get down to the dirty business of preparing for class tomorrow. This week passed much too quickly!

October 02, 2006

Back in Qatar

It's been a long time since I've posted. The lack of updates has been due to a combination of more important things to do (like enjoy summer vacation, and keep up with my courses now that I'm back at work), a bit of laziness, and some technical difficulties with the website. The technical difficulties have been resolved, so I'll try to post a little more often.

I'm back in Qatar, at work with CNAQ, and there are lots of things I'd like to write about. Getting engaged definitely the most significant one. I also turned 30 yesterday. I'm planning to visit Hong Kong in 3 weeks during the break for Eid Fitr (the muslim holiday following Ramadan). Most of all, I can't wait for December, when I'll get 5 weeks of holidays between semesters because of the Asian Games in Qatar. I'll be heading home as soon as school is done to spend the Christmas season in Halifax with Krista and Kendra. I can't wait.


Engaged

I would like to let everybody know that Krista and I are engaged! We got engaged on August 11, and we are really excited about getting married. No date set yet, but we'll let people know as information becomes available.

June 03, 2006

Pringles

I don't know why I even bother buying plain Pringles. Here in Qatar Pringles are about the same price as Lays chips, so I buy them more often than in Canada, but I only ever enjoy the salt&vinegar flavor. Don't know why it took several cans of regular for me to smarten up and realize that I shouldn't even bother.

In other news, I have finished tweaking the website upgrade for the time being and the rest of the site should be working ok. If you see any problems let me know.

May 29, 2006

Weblog Upgrade?

In an effort to combat increasing comment spam, I upgraded my weblog today to movable type 3.2 from 2.64. It of course took a little longer than I hoped, and there have been a few wrinkles along the way. However, the job is done, so the results include a slight change in the look of the site, since my old templates didn't suppose the features in the new version of MT. This change also messes up most of the rest of my site, and it will be a few days before I get around to fixing it. Sorry.

May 19, 2006

Privacy

With all of the talk of terrorism and new laws to catch terrorists (and whatever other brand of criminal you abhor) over the last few years, many people seem to accept the idea that it is ok to compromise a little on some basic rights and freedoms in times of crisis.

Well-known computer security expert Bruce Schneier writes:

My problem with [arguments over privacy rights] is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It's not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.

and later on

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

Read the whole article from Wired magazine.

May 13, 2006

Surprising? Not really

Turns out the world record in the 100m sprint was broken last night, just down the road from here. If I'd wanted to go, I bet the tickets we cheap or free. Anywhere else that might be bizarre, but here in Qatar, it just doesn't really surprise me.

April 18, 2006

Warming up

I haven't been noticing weather here that much. The buildings on campus are kept at a consistent 21 C or so. Now that it's getting to the end of April, though, temperatures are getting a little more noticable. It's solid mid-high 30s in the daytime, and even late at night it's warmer to go outside than inside. After ball hockey on Sunday evenings it's really uncomfortable to go outside, which is strange when I'm used to being able to go outside to cool off. Should be interesting when it starts going over 50 C in June.

Note to Self

Mango milk is like pineapple milkshake. Much better individually than together.

March 14, 2006

Phone Numbers

I intended to post my new phone numbers here, but seems I never got around to it. Here they are:

Mobile +(974)512-7449
Work +(974)495-2315
Home +(974)487-5305

Replace the + with whatever you need to do to call internationally. In North America that generally means "011". 974 is the country code for Qatar and the rest is obvious.

Just a word of warning, in Qatar all calls to a mobile phone are billed to the caller, not the recipient. If you call my mobile you may end up paying for my airtime in addition to the long distance charges from wherever you are. Having said that, I'd love to hear from friends and family anytime! :)

March 12, 2006

Dubai

I just got back from visiting Dubai for the first time. Mom and Dad have some friends there and enough Qatar Airways points for free tickets, so who was I to refuse? We went swimming on Friday, then to church, and then visited another family that mom and dad are friends with. Friday evening, our host arranged for us to get comp tickets to the closing night of the Dubai Jazz Festival. Apparently friends of friends work for Phillips, who is the main sponsor.

The Jazz Festival was a quintessential middle east experience. In a really nice park by a large fountain and pond in Dubai's Media Village, across from the CNN building was the Jazz Festival grounds. We got there just in time for the break before the headliner. When the main act finally came out, it was Roger Hudson, former lead singer for Supertramp. Yeah, I said jazz festival. He played a bunch of his old hits on guitar and piano, with just a sax player backing him up. I guess that was the jazz angle. Anyway, it was interesting just for the experience.

On Saturday we went out for Brunch, then drove by the Jamiareh beach and the Burj Al Arab (the famous 7-star hotel). Then on to Mall of the Emirates, where I went skiing. Yep, downhill skiing on snow, indoors, in the desert. I'll update this post with some pictures tomorrow. It was surprisingly good considering it was indoors in the desert.

To follow that up we went to downtown Dubai and saw just some of the Suq areas. Like Doha, Dubai has large areas of tradiitonal markets where you can get all kinds of beautiful or tacky things at very negotiable prices.

Anyway, it was a whirlwind tour, but Dubai is definitely interesting. What everybody says about traffic is true - it is truly madness. I guess it's a combination of the fast growth, lack of mass transit like rail or subway, and the culture that emphasizes status, and your car is big status symbol.

For now, back to the grind in Doha. Hopefully I'll get to go back to Dubai in a month for an education conference between the end of classes and exams.

March 04, 2006

Enjoying the weekend

I'm told it's normal for a new instructor to be swamped in their first semester, but even with that in mind, I think I've been working way too hard for the last month. This weekend for the first time since early January, I have determined to not do any school work. Now, I still ended up at the office for various reasons, and I answered a work-related email or two, but on the whole I had a fantastically enjoyable weekend. On Thursday evening I went to the Corniche and read a book in the afternoon, then went to see a movie at the mall and finally paid a social visit to some co-workers. On Friday I went skating at City Center Mall, then took my book to the pool at the family compound, where I had a nice chat with another CNAQ instructor that I hadn't met before. Mom had made turkey dinner, and after that was done, I went to the Qatar Open Tennis tournament to see Martina Hingis play Amalie Maurismo in the semi-finals. I stayed to watch some doubles from better seats after the crowd got a little smaller.

Today I came to school early to video chat with Krista on MSN. Then I cleaned up around the house a little, and went back to the Corniche to read in the shade of a palm tree in a nice park overlooking the harbor. Came back to school for ultimate frisbee, but not enough people showed, so I just came back to the office to do a little more personal email and websurfing. Now I'm headed back to the tennis club for the finals. I'm going early and bringing my book.

So, I'm finding that when I make time for it, life in Doha can be very good. Strange, but good. Actually, an experience that I heard about yesterday illustrates just how strange things are here. A couple from the college went to walk along the Corniche yesterday morning. I knew there was a triathlon happening yesterday, so I wasn't surprised when they said they walked by the finish area just in time for the end of the women's event and heard the winner announced as 'world's top-ranked female triathlete wins again today' or something like that. Then I realized that the same evening I was going to watch the top women in tennis. All for free, and just another day here. Nothing special. A month ago it was the men's tennis, or grand prix motorcycles, or jewelry exhibit, or golf open, or whatever. Like I said, that's life in Doha.

Next weekend, I'm going to Dubai, just for a change...

February 25, 2006

Driving in Doha

I finally got my residency permit this week, which allowed me to apply for and get my Qatari driver's license. So, after 2 months here, I can finally borrow dad and mom's jeep and explore a little. Today I drove across town to pay the downpayment for the tour of Jordan I'm taking in April. It's is a brilliant sunny day, and as I was driving along the Corniche (the main road along the crescent shaped bay the city is built around) I was marvelling at the color of the Persian Gulf waters and realizing that I have been spending all of my time either at work or my apartment. I really need to get out and enjoy the city, especially on the weekends.

And under the category of weird observations, at home in Halifax it would be unusual to see a vehicle like a Porsche Cayenne. Here, it's only remarkable if I see more than half a dozen in one trip across town. There are all kinds of cars on the roads, but it's just not unusual to see any type of luxury vehicle at any time.

Anyway, I don't plan to take advantage of my parents too much, but it will be nice to get out every week or two for a little drive to explore, go shopping, eat out with friends, whatever.

February 24, 2006

World Travel

Last night I went to a show at the Diplomatic Club called The Night of the AdEaters, which is a compilation of TV ads from around the world. It was mildy entertaining, but what I really took away from the evening was a renewed desire to visit places like Japan or South America. Seeing ads from all corners of the globe gave me glimpses of places that I want to see and things I'd like to so.

Rain

is a really big deal in Qatar. When we had nearly 18 hours of rain yesterday, it was out of the ordinary. Apparently it hasn't rained more than a few drops for over a year, so getting to see rain within my first two months here is unusual.

Incidentally, I also learned that the universal irrigation for grass and other greenery is not quite as wasteful as it seems at first. All of the green areas are, of course, meticulously groomed, and the clippings collected for use as feed for livestock outside the city.

February 17, 2006

Weird Observations

Of course this is to be expected, but it's still strikes me a little funny to walk around campus and see guys with lawn mowers and smell fresh cut grass. The campus has some really nice little squares with green areas and trees, but I know that 2 inches down is fine desert sand. The amount of money this country spends on irrigation is simply astounding. It was really nice to smell the fresh cut grass though.

Last week, the day after I made that observation, I had another funny experience. I was leaving the office around sundown to catch my ride home, and as I walked out of the building it was around 25 or 27 Celsius, and I thought how nice it is to walk out into pleasant warmth after the work day is done. Then I realized how backwards that seems - to leave the cold building and go outside to get warm. Haha. Such is life in Qatar...

February 07, 2006

Weekend in the Sand

Last Friday afternoon I met with a small group of other CNAQ new hires and we went on a guided desert tour. It included a 2 hour drive through the dunes in an upgraded 6-passenger SUV, a BBQ dinner, and an overnight stay at a great little camp in the desert by the ocean.

The dunes begin about 45 minutes out of town. When we get to the edge of the sand dunes, there are tons of teenage guys and families hanging out in their SUVs and quads and everything. Everybody here goes to the desert on the weekend. The tour company had about 11 Landcruisers and Nissan Patrols (slightly bigger than Pathfinders) out that day. We stopped to deflate tires for better sand traction and watched the local teenagers do wheelies on quads and show off for us.

The drive through the sand dunes was definitely the highlight of the trip. Up the sides of the dunes until it felt like we were going to tip over. Down steep slopes sliding sideways. The driver said he was bored, because the tour company wouldn't let him do any fun stuff with us, but it was still awesome. We took a winding course through the dunes until finally we got to the Inland Sea. From the top of the dunes we could look across and see Saudi Arabia.

Then we went to this cool camp to sleep overnight. They had a great bbq ready for us, and some comfy rugs, tents, and cushions. We were right by the ocean. It was a nice relaxing evening hanging around and chatting. We got up early the next morning (5:30 am) to see the sunrise over the ocean.

It's hard to capture the feeling of the drive through the dunes in a picture, but I got a few decent ones. As soon as I have some time, I'll add them to the photoalbum at cwhitt.myphotoalbum.com.

February 03, 2006

View from my apartment building

It has been cold, but today is a little warmer, so today when dad dropped me at home after church I decided to explore a little. The apartment building is only 4 or 5 stories, but I'd never gone up on the roof. I didn't even know the stairwell led up to an easy access door. It's a beautiful sunny day so when I got up there, I took a few quick pictures with my camera. It's probably hard to see detail, but in one direction is the new olympic stadiums for the Asian Games in December. The other direction is the major interchange right by the apartment, and the last is looking towards West Bay, which is the new end of the city where a dozen new skyscrapers are under construction.



January 31, 2006

Prepping for Bryan Adams

I'm not a huge fan, but Bryan Adams is playing here in Doha tomorrow, and many of the college staff are going. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to see a real concert, an artist I recognize, get out of the house and socialize and have some fun.

In preparation, I'm playing the two CDs I have on my laptop today while I work on preparing labs and lectures. I'm looking forward to the show now, I think I'll really enjoy it.

January 30, 2006

Another cool day in Doha

I mean temperature-wise. When I was packing to come, I was a little skeptical to hear that I should pack wool socks, sweaters and a light jacket. Now I'm glad for the few warm items I have. It's winter here, and days are mid to high 20s, but overnight temperatures are more like 16-20. When it gets below 20 you start to feel somewhat chilly wearing jeans and a tshirt, especially if there is a good breeze. Since no houses here have any kind of heating, and most of them have stone or ceramic tile floor, it turns out that a pair of wool socks and a sweater is really necessary. I can tell the days are starting to feel a little warmer now that I've been here for three weeks. I look forward to Spring - it's supposed to be really nice here between February and April.

In other news, I got my medical done last week and fingerprints done this morning. That is the last thing, so if everything works smoothly I should have my residency processed in another week or two. That means I can get my driver's license, leave the country, subscribe to cable and a bunch of other exciting things.

January 28, 2006

Settling into life in Doha

The first week was busy with getting settled, and the last two weeks have been swamped with getting organized with everything at the new job - preparing lectures, finding my way around three new (to me) courses with labs, plus the regular start up administrative stuff. Throughout all of that, I've been spending a lot of my personal time trying to stay in touch with home (hi Krista and Kendra!). Technology makes it easier to stay in touch, but it doesn't stop you from missing loved ones like crazy.

So, I'm starting to feel a little more organized, and I guess I'm a little overdue for an update here. There is so much to write about the city, the culture, the whole experience. I'll try to mix in some of my general observations with the record of day to day experiences. For instance, today we had an orientation session on the culture and Islam. It was informative. Afterwards a few of us got dropped at the City Center Mall. Apparently it's the biggest mall in the middle east, with a nice skating rink in the center court. I split a cab with another new CNAQ instructor staying at the building I'm in. Taxis here are real cheap. The generic white and orange taxis are usually older subcompacts like toyota tercels or something. There are more deluxe options, but these are all over the place, and to get a ride from City Center mall to our place costs about QR 7, or $2.25 Canadian. That's about a 10km, 15 minute trip. Can't complain about that.

So, as I sit here watching an arabic-subtitled Jackie Chan movie, eating an arabian sweet that I can best describe as a cross between jello and a ju-jube with nuts and a tangy cardomam flavor, I can only start to describe all of the new and different things that I have seen already and will see over the next few years. I'm barely organized at work, but that will improve. Look for posting to become a little regular as time goes on. Oh, and the cell phone I bought when I got here is a nice little Nokia camera phone, so now and then I'll have some pictures to post.

That's all for now - it's 9pm and I'm still getting used to the early to bed early to rise schedule, but 7:30am classes makes that necessary.

January 13, 2006

Learn something new every day

A while back I wrote about learning something new every day. I think for the next while, it will be quite easy to learn more than one new thing each day.

Yesterday I learned that taxis in Doha cost twice as much after 9pm, post offices are a little harder to come by than one would like, and I like the styling of 700 series BMWs.

Today I learned how to use a front loading washing machine, and I got my new Nokia camera phone to play nice with the wireless IR link for my laptop so I can download pictures.

Missing friends and family is hard, but this Qatar thing is going to have its interesting side.

January 12, 2006

Home again

...sort of. I'm in my new apartment in Doha for the first 24 hours. Despite a few hitches, things seem to be getting worked out. The super has come by to replace some light bulbs, fix a toilet and air conditioner. Yesterday they turned on my power, phone, tv and did a cleaning as promised. When I first saw the place 2 days ago it was a little depressing, but I feel much better now. It really is fairly nice. 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, washer, dishwasher and all the normal furniture. I need to do some more deep cleaning in a few areas, but it's coming together faster than I thought.

So, for those following my progress, I'll post an address and other contact info shortly. I have a home phone, and today I'll get a mobile. On Sunday I'll have my work phone number. If by any chance anybody wants to send me regular mail, it's best to send it c/o College of the North Atlantic - Qatar, PO Box 24449 Doha Qatar. Yep that's all you need. Box 24449 Doha Qatar.

The super and his assistants are nearly finished their assault on my dripping AC unit in the living room, so shortly I'll be off to the mall to get my cell phone and a few cleaning supplies so I have something to do during the weekend while stores are closed. Work will start soon enough. More to follow.

January 07, 2006

Hop, Skip and a Jump

Well, the hardest step is done (or maybe it's yet to be taken, I don't know). Tonight I left Krista and Kendra and my new house in Halifax. I'm at my parent's house in St. John's for two days before I fly to Doha via London.

I usually choose a window seat, but for some reason when I was selecting a seat for this flight a few weeks ago, I chose an aisle seat that was near the front of the plane. I guess I was thinking of getting off quickly, but I understand a little better why some people are bored or bothered by flying. When you aren't at the window, it's really just like a big, cramped bus. Anyway, as for me, I still love to fly, especially when I'm by the window. No matter how many times, it seems, I still love to watch the scenery go by from the window of a plane.

December 27, 2005

Christmas in Belleville

I'm in Belleville for Christmas with Krista's family. It's been a really fun time with all of the kids around. Christmas day was really nice - everybody seemed to like their gifts, including me.

One thing I found really interested while we were out last minute shopping was that the stores were not actually that full on Christmas eve. We were just picking up a few small things and were pleasantly surprised that the mall was quite tolerable. On the other hand yesterday, boxing day, we went to take Kendra to use her gift cards and the mall was an absolute zoo. So we left pretty quickly.

This has definitely been a really good Christmas so far. Lots of food. It's been nice to enjoy simply resting, eating and hanging out with family.

One of my favorite gifts was the board game Settlers of Catan. Krista found it for me at the last minute and last night we played the first game with Krista's sister and father. It went really well and we all enjoyed it very much.

The time here is passing very quickly, so with only another day and a half left, I'd better go and get back to enjoying it.

December 08, 2005

Career Change

Well, today I gave my notice at ABI Productions. I have accepted a job as an instructor with College of the North Atlantic in Qatar, teaching Telecommunications Technology, starting in January. I haven't said anything publicly until now, for obvious reasons, but I'm very excited about this change. I'll also really miss Krista and Kendra, but I hope that this change will work out for the best in the long run. Now that I've given my notice, I'll post more about the new position as plans and preparations progress.

November 03, 2005

Settlers of Catan

Mark Maas invited me over to his house tonight to play Settlers of Catan with him and a roomate. It was a blast. It's a great strategy turn-based game sortof in the vein of risk, but only vaguely similar. It's nicely balanced, games aren't too long, and each game is different, so it stays challenging.

On a related note, I quickly updated my wish list for this Christmas to include Settlers of Catan and a few other things, but I'll probably update it again a few times as I think of more stuff.

October 30, 2005

Cabot Trail

At the end of the Celtic Colours week, Krista and Kendra drove up to Sydney and met me. The last show was a Saturday night, and we took Sunday to drive the Cabot Trail through Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

We had a really nice day. Rain was forecasted, but in the morning the clouds broke and the sun came out. Strong winds drove really amazing surf of the eastern side of the trail. Near the start of the drive before the national park we came across a really beautiful walking bridge across a river. About 2/3 through the park we walked in to Beolach Ban waterfall near Pleasant Bay. Coming down some of the twisty winding mountain highways, we saw two moose across in a clearing on the opposite hill. A little while later we saw a moose and her calf on the side of the road. And just as we were finishing the trail and we came around the headland on the north western part of the trail towards Cheticamp, massive rays of sun were falling through broken clouds on the stormy looking sea.

Check out some pictures at cwhitt.myphotoalbum.com.

I don't think we could have asked for a better tour of the park and the trail. My only regret was that in rushing through in one day we didn't have time to stop and do a few of the things like hike the skyline trail, but there's always next time.

Posting this late, since I've taking all the time since I got back to Cape Breton to catch up with the business of life, spend time with Krista and Kendra, and simply relax.

October 12, 2005

Milky Way

I haven't seen the milky way in a long time, and tonight on the way back from the show I stopped at the top of Kelly's Mountain and took 5 minutes to look at the stars. It was really nice. The sky cleared tonight for the first time since I've been in Cape Breton and it was definitely worth stopping to take it all in.

October 10, 2005

Celtic Colours

It's Thanksgiving Monday and I'm sitting in the Celtic Colours festival office at the Gaelic College in St. Ann, Cape Breton. I'm up here for 10 days doing lights or sound every day. The beginning and end of the week there are the opening and closing galas at the Sydney Marine Terminal. In between I'm doing sound with a small system in a different community every night. It's a decent week of work - reasonable schedules and enough variety to stay interesting, but I'll be happy to get home. Krista is planning to have a late thanksgiving dinner and I'm counting down the days.

Here's a picture of the opening gala.
CelticColours2005OpeningGala.jpg

August 18, 2005

Settling In

Today I came home from work a little early to meet the Eastlink installer. I now have my phone, cable tv, and internet access all transferred to the house. While he was working on the phone installation, I did a little unpacking. I cleared out most of the clutter except for the kitchen, and moved most boxes to where they should be. Now, I'm going to mow my lawn for the first time.

August 16, 2005

Home!

It's official. I now live at (and own) 27 Woodland Ave. I can't wait to start all the little projects. The trick will be to force myself to unpack properly and make the house mine before I start painting, taking apart, repairing, running wire and so on.

Friends are welcome anytime - come on over!

August 09, 2005

A perfect evening

I'm not sure if I've publicly posted this yet, but I've been dating Krista Beardy for a little over three months now. Last evening we drove from Halifax to Debert, to take her daughter Kendra to camp for the week. We intended to take our time on the way back and enjoy the drive, but it turned out even better than we expected.

First, just outside of Debert we saw some cars stopped on the side of the road. We got out to find a nice patch of blueberries, very nicely ripe and sweet. Next we took a detour off the 102 around Stewiacke, where we saw some nice landscapes, farms, cows and generally pretty things. Next, a freight train passed us as we were driving through some small towns. To top it off, we spotted an interesting looking restaurant in Enfield. We stopped for supper and found that Bitar's Pizza and Grill has great atmosphere, classy decor, nice prices and really, really good pasta, all surprisingly in the middle of nowhere. Just after sunset we sat at a table by the window, had Bruschetta, a penne dish with roasted peppers and olives in olive oil, a great seafood chowder, and tiramitsu for dessert. As a final bonus, the train tracks run right behind the restaurant and another train passed just as we were eating our main course (Krista and I both like big machines).

Krista is really teaching me how great plans can work out when you don't plan a thing.

August 07, 2005

Work is busy

I'm now 2/3 through the busiest part of the summer for work. There will be other things but the last two and the next weekend are the craziest. I just got back from driving a 1000km loop to northern NB, across the ferry from Saint John to Digby and back to Halifax, doing two shows in two and a half days. Lots of fun.

Today I'm starting to pack my apartment in earnest. Hard to believe that I'm closing on my house in 9 days. I can't wait. Shortly after that dad and mom are coming through Halifax on their way back to Qatar, and then I'll take a little time off work. I'm ready to get to the fall and back to a 9 to 5 schedule. Hopefully it will October before the next run out big out of town shows.

July 21, 2005

Moving!

I've officially started to pack. Not much yet, but the first week or two of August are busy at work, so this week is the time to get started.

It's hard to believe that I'll be in my own house in less than 4 weeks. I sure am excited! Choosing paint colors, buying lawnmowers, lots and lots to do...

June 29, 2005

House Hunting - Conclusion

Effective August 16, my new address will be 27 Woodland Ave, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B3A 3J6. Unless something really goes awry, the house hunting phase is over and I'm now thinking about moving and renovating. It should be really easy to move, since I'm in a bachelor apartment now, and I'll try to move asap after closing. That will give me a comfortable window of time to clean my current apartment before my lease ends.

The house inspection I had done gave me a great list of things to work on, and I'm really excited to get started. There are a few important things I need to look at sooner than later, but mostly all of the todo items are really small, fairly easy, and/or not urgent. I expect to enjoy working on my house, first getting through the list, then changing and adding here and there to suit my taste.

Of course, with owning a house there are now lots of little things I need, so it'll be easy to make a Christmas list of gift ideas for the family. I already have a pretty good list of tools and so on.

June 28, 2005

House Hunting Pt 4

Pictures will still have to wait, due to time constraints at the moment, but I'm the proud owner of a nice Bungalow at 27 Woodland Ave Dartmouth. Well maintained, nice yard, garage. I'm really excited. For the last week I've been making lists of home projects, things I need to buy and so on. More to follow soon...

June 24, 2005

House Hunting Pt 3

Well, today is the day. Last week I alluded to the fact that the house hunt was proceeding. In fact, I put an offer on a house last Friday, it was accepted, and since then I have had the house inspected and gotten my letter of insurability and my mortgage arranged! I'll be closing on August 16th and soon moving into my very own house!

Stay tuned for more details, pics, etc. I'll also be starting the process of sending out address updates in a couple weeks time.

Stanfest Coming

The George Canyon concert in Horton a few weeks ago was the first of the season, and next weekend we kick it into full swing with Stan Fest. The talk among techs who've worked it in years past is that the weather is always less than desirable and the accommodations are somewhat spartan. Still, it should be interesting, especially since this is my first time attending. I'm doing lighting, so my daytimes will be somewhat free, so if the weather cooperates I may even get to take in some of the festival.

Moon Rise

I had an easy gig tonight that kept me at work until about 11:30. It was such a clear night however, with the moon rising around midnight, that after work I had to drive home the long way through Herring Cove. I stopped for 15 or 20 minutes to go out on some rocks by the ocean a little bit away from the city and admire the stars like I haven't done for quite some time now. It's been a little too long perhaps. I think I'll have to find time this summer for a more serious star-gazing expidition. Perhaps the Perseid meteor shower around August 12 will be a good time.

June 17, 2005

House hunting continued

Today I'm making an offer on one of the places I viewed Wednesday. It's pretty exciting!

June 15, 2005

House hunting

I've been out a couple of times now to look at houses, and today I saw one in particular that seems promising. I'll post more as the process moves along...

June 13, 2005

Busy Season is here

It hit me halfway through last week that busy season has arrived. It's been building for a while, but two weeks ago I think marked the start. Plus side: income will be up for a while. Minus side: free time will be down for a while. And for some reason I've been looking forward to this summer more than any other I can remember for quite a few years. I'll have to make the most of weekends and evenings that aren't booked for work, and if I'm lucky there'll be an occasional weekday off in exchange for long weeks and work on weekends.

I apologize in advance to friends and family that I may be in contact with less frequently. The next three months look to be pretty jam packed (with occasional busy spots through the late fall). I'll be taking lots of pictures at work, so hopefully I'll make time to post some here.

Anybody going to Stanfest?

June 05, 2005

Cape Split

Yesterday, Krista and I hiked to Cape Split with Kendra and her friend Laura. The weather was great and the hike was really nice. Cape Split is a narrow peninsula dividing two parts of the Bay of Fundy, and aside from the cliffs and extremely high tides, it also has a really cool view of the ocean water rushing incredibly quickly through the narrow channel, due to said large tides. There were seagulls nesting on an isolated piece of land just off the peninsula, and along the hiking trail to the Cape there were plenty of fallen trees to clamber on, as well as lots of birds, including woodpeckers.

More pictures at cwhitt.myphotoalbum.com

June 01, 2005

Cape Breton - Again

I drove to Cape Breton and back today for work, again. For once, however, it was a really nice drive. It was too bad that the day was long and I didn't get back until late, but after three weeks of continuous overcast and rain, the sun finally came out, and the scenery was beautiful. I took a couple of pictures, and if they look any good, I'll try to remember to post them when I have some time.

May 18, 2005

House Hunting

I went out with my real estate agent tonight for the first time to look at houses. It's kind of exciting, though I don't think it's all really sunk in yet. The houses we looked at were a little more expensive than I initially hoped to spend, but perhaps that's what I have to expect to get in the areas and house condition that I want. I don't mind an older, smaller place, but I really would like a good location and something that doesn't need too much work.

I was actually surprised at how much I liked a couple of the places that I saw. Now I need to meet more seriously with some lenders to see what I can really afford. Maybe as I get more serious I'll even post some pictures.

May 17, 2005

New Smoothies

In my tradition of posting smoothie recipes when I haven't blogged for a while, here's a nice one. Two bananas, a mango, a half cup or so of orange juice, a handful of blueberries (frozen is ok), and 8 or 10 ice cubes. Blend until smooth. The orange juice and blueberries give it a nice zip.

Update: Krista reminds me that the blueberries were her idea. I can't claim sole credit for this one.

Yes, my blog is stale

I've been told recently that I should update my blog more frequently. To the person who said that (you know who you are): I've been very busy recently and haven't had much free time, but I'll be sure to place a higher priority on website updates, so stay tuned!

Also, a very happy birthday to my mom!

May 02, 2005

Pictures of Halifax

Had a small bit of time to kill this morning before picking up mom and dad at the airport, so I picked out a few of my favorite pictures of Halifax and uploaded them to my online photo album. Check them out.

April 24, 2005

Europe pictures

For all my loyal readers who've waited for weeks and weeks with bated breath, here at last are the picks of my photos from the recent Europe vacation. Head on over to my spanking new photo albums at cwhitt.myphotoalbum.com and enjoy!

April 23, 2005

Brief life update

First of all, I'd like to wish my sister a happy 26th birthday. Sorry that my gift hasn't arrived yet, sis. It's on the way, I promise.

I planned to post some pictures from my trip, but I haven't gotten to it yet. So, here's a brief life update since I haven't posted in a while.

I'm back from vacation safely - Sonya and I had a great time. The morning after I returned, I was shipped off to Cape Breton for an install, and had an unexpected overnight stay. Thankfully, I had that Friday off, and I had a really nice weekend with time to relax on Saturday and a great afternoon of riding my bike with Krista Beardy on Sunday.

This past week has been fairly busy at work, mainly occupied with the Canadian Association of Principal's conference. I did the setup overnight Tuesday, then worked Wednesday night and all day Thursday and Friday.

Next week will be even busier since I'm doing sound for eight or nine of the Halifax Comedy Fest events. It should be a good week, though, and the extra income will certainly help with the vacation bills.

Oh yeah, I have to remember to file my taxes soon. I've got the paperwork mostly done, I just need to double-check and file.

April 04, 2005

VACATION!

In a mere 8 hours I'll be taking off for a brief, but much anticipated vacation. I'm flying with my good friend Sonya Marcott to London, and from there we'll take a train to Paris. We'll have a total of 7 days split between the two cities, so we'll be packing it in each day, I'm sure. I'm really looking forward to enjoying the break from work and soaking in as much of the culture as I can.

Look for pictures in this space in about 8-10 days!

April 01, 2005

Armdale Rotary

I almost write this entry just about every day, since work has moved from downtown to Spyfield. Now my morning commute includes the Armdale Rotary. Thankfully, I'm always heading the opposite direction of the rush hour traffic, but I still get frustrated just about every time I go through there.

From what I understand, the policy at the rotary is one for one. That is, in heavy traffic, cars in the rotary should yield and let one car enter the rotary ahead of them at each entrance point. This is just ludicrous. It's no wonder the rotary turns into a parking lot every afternoon and the city blocks off a part of it to keep traffic moving.

I think the rotary should operate like roundabouts elsewhere in sensible parts of the world. Once you're in the rotary, you have absolute right of way. Inner lanes have the most right of way. If Armdale operated like this, I think there would be a lot less slowdown in traffic. I've seen it in action elsewhere and it works! It's easy to enter the roundabout in the natural breaks that occur when other cars leave the roundabout, and it has the huge advantage that once you're in the roundabout, you know that you will be through the intersection promptly, because there is no backlog of cars in front of you stopping and starting to fulfill the one-for-one policy.

March 28, 2005

Website and email problems

To friends and family who have been having trouble with this website, or with reaching me by email, please drop me a line and let me know you read this blog entry. I checked into the problems over the weekend, and my service provider tells me that they did an update that should correct the problem. Everything should be ok now, but let me know if you have trouble again in the future.

March 05, 2005

New Smoothie Recipe

The last few weeks have been moderately busy - first the ECMA week, then another busy week at work, and this week more or less recovering. So, instead of a big catch-up post with lots of info on my life, I offer a new smoothie combination that I found.

A cup or so of V8 Berry Blend juice, a banana, and about 2/3 cup each of cantaloup, apple and strawberries. Blend until smooth, then add a tray of ice cubes and continue blending until crushed. Optionally, you can add two teaspoons of sugar.

I've been trying out different fruit combinations since my wisdom teeth surgery, and I've found it surprisingly hard to come up with good blends. This one joins my previous favorites of mango-banana and banana-strawberry.

February 27, 2005

Long Absence

The ECMA week was long and busy, but went well. Since then, I've worked a little extra here in town, which has left me less time than usual to keep up with the old website. Over the last few days I finally cleared out the last problems from the server transition that happened two or three weeks ago, as well as fixed a bizarre little problem that had my home PC offline for 2 days.

January 23, 2005

Pictures from the edge

I haven't posted many pictures lately, so here is a picture of the skating last night and another of the driving conditions this afternoon during the snowstorm.




What, me procrastinate?

The snowstorm today left me at home all day on a Sunday, which is exceedingly rare. Even more rare, I had all day yesterday to do errands and some shopping, so I've got most of the day-to-day life things like laundry and groceries well under control at the moment.

In light of that, it's astonishing how many things I found to do today to keep me from the couple of things I really should have done on this snow day. I like to think that all of the things I did were useful and not wasteful of my time, but I was never truly in danger of really getting down to work. I obviously need to spend more time at home. Or maybe not.

January 21, 2005

Blog update

Several people have mentioned to me that my blog is kind of stale lately. It's not that I've been too busy or that I haven't thought of things to write about. I guess I don't have a good reason, other than just not in the right place at the right time to translate blog thoughts into blog posts. Well, no work and no big commitments this weekend. So, my previous post notwithstanding, I may post a few things here in rapid succession over the next few days. Or I might not.

Hi mom and dad. Hope you're enjoying golf and sailing. It's -18 C tonight with windchill pushing -30 later on, I'm told.

Laziness: is it just me?

For some reason I feel like I should be able to reward myself with a night off this evening. I worked a normal day at the office, and it's Friday, so why not? On the other hand, when I think about it, there are many important things that I could and should do.

Continue reading "Laziness: is it just me?" »

January 04, 2005

Time Management

Last year I came up with a small saying that I've felt is very insightful for me: "It's better to make a good decision quickly, than take a long time to make the best decision possible." I always knew that the kernel of the idea wasn't mine originally, but suggested by some books and/or articles that I had read around that time. Today, I found a quote that expresses almost exactly the same concept, attributed to General George Patton:

A good plan, violently executed today, is better than a perfect plan tomorrow.

January 03, 2005

Two Degrees of Separation

You may have heard of the idea of six degrees of separation - if a friend of a friend is one degree of separation, then everybody on earth is probably separated by no more than six degrees. I am only two degrees from many people who were directly affected by the tsunami in Asia. My parents teach at a college in Qatar in the Middle East. While they came home for Christmas, some colleagues vacationed in Thailand. Here is a picture they took while driving the morning of the tsunami. Fortunately, their driver found a safe alternate route.

December 19, 2004

First Cooking, Now Reading?!

I was amazed when I wanted to make meals at home again, and today I had another shocker - I'm starting to want to read again. It's been a while since I've had the time and energy to want to read recreationally, so it's a really nice feeling to have back.

Mind you, there are a few important things that I should be doing now that I feel that my life is a little more in order, but still, this is another good sign. And for another aside, I wonder what loophole Chapters uses to get around the Sunday shopping laws in Nova Scotia?

Anyway, today after having a nice lunch at East Side Mario's with a few of my friends from church, I stopped in to the Chapter's in Bayer's Lake for a little browsing. I saw three books that interested me: Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid by Hofstadter, a nice little coffee table book called Full Moon, with pictures of the Apollo moon missions, and Reaching for the Invisible God, by Phillip Yancy. From looking at the Amazon.ca descriptions, I must have seen a smaller-sized edition of Full Moon, because chapter's price was only $12.99!

I restrained myself and just bought one, the Yancy book. I'll have to add the other two to my books list. Note to family members: if you haven't yet found the perfect gift for me, these two are quite reasonably priced!

December 12, 2004

I want to cook

In the last week or two I've had a strange desire - I'm starting to want to cook again. This is a really good sign. All summer and most of the fall I've been so busy with work and the few other activities I could maintain that the thought of preparing food just ruined my apetite. Wanting to cook again means that work is finally calming down and I've had enough time to get my apartment - and to some extent, my life - back in order again.

December 02, 2004

Toronto Visit

I've been in Toronto for the last two days for training with Yamaha on their new digital audio products - the PM5D console and the DME24N and DME64N processors. I wish I had a little more time actually, because I'm kind of enjoying the city more than expected. I haven't been here in a while and from a distance Toronto seems sort of bland, but I am an urban person, and now that I'm here in the hustle and bustle of downtown, I'd like to have a little more time to explore, see some sights, and maybe do some Christmas shopping.

Oh, well. I can't complain, since I'm not paying for the trip.

The work part of the trip has been great. It's no surprise that the PM5D is a killer mixer, and I can't wait to get my hands on one on a gig. More to the point, I can't wait until ABI buys two.

Anyway, I can blog later, but right now I have a few hours to myself before the day ends. I fly back first thing in the morning, so I'm going to go and take advantage of the time I have.

November 06, 2004

Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre

I'm leaving to return to Halifax after 3 days in Port Hawkesbury commissioning the new sound system. The arena system needed to be on for last night's opening game, but other parts of the building are still under construction, so only part of the install could be completed on this trip. Still I think I got a reasonable amount accomplished, and I'm anxious to get home to enjoy what remains of the weekend.

November 04, 2004

Stormy Weather

I'm in Port Hawkesbury for a few days to install the sound system in the new civic centre. It was really windy last night and when I crossed the Canso causeway to get gas for the truck, the wind was whipping up seawater as waves crashed into the causeway, and sending huge sheets of spray into passing vehicles. It was pretty cool.

This morning I heard on the radio that causeway is now being escorted due to winds and debris on the road.

Also, it didn't quite feel like it was freezing this morning, but it definitely wasn't rain falling either. Oh well.

November 03, 2004

Out of Town for Work (again)

The last week and a half have been a nice respite from the hectic work schedule, and I've taken advantage by spending as much time with my new group of friends as possible.

Looks like the next week and a half (or more) will be back to the madness.

At first I was supposed to go to Port Hawksbury Wednesday to Friday. Then, I was going to be on the road from Wednesday to Sunday. Now, it's back to W-F, with the possible addition of Monday to Wednesday next week.

The uncertainty makes it difficult to make plans for my few commitments outside of work, so apologies to anybody who's affected by my constantly changing plans.

Once the road trips are over I'll be plunged right into the thick of things, since we have a few shows and some large rentals happening next weekend. Some repair work and the usual packing and preparation is yet to be done, and I don't yet see how it will fit with the road trips and the Rememberance Day holiday.

I also cancelled the dial-up ISP account that I had for Celtic Colours, so I'll be sans internet until at the earlier Friday evening. Ok, enough moaning - time to get on the road.

October 20, 2004

Forgot to mention Monday

Monday: analysis of sound quality in West Kings County High School music room.

hours:8.5 kms: 260

Not much to say here. I did stuff. And things. Need sleep...

PEI Ho!

Hours: 19 kms: 750

If you visit the Charlottetown mall Bluenotes store, I installed the sound system. Yay me.

Needless to say, the install took longer than I would have liked. On the upside, I got to drive across the confederation bridge for the first time.

October 18, 2004

Weekend gig wrap up

I may get around to writing real entries later, but I had little sleep over the weekend, and I'm out of town again tomorrow for work, so I just want to write down the skeleton of the weekend's events.

Friday: Celtic Colours Day 8

hours: 18 kms:630
This day was the setup for the World's Biggest Square Dance at the Baddeck Arena. A few hijinks here that probably are best told in person and not written down in a public forum. Ate a great meal at Mother Webb's on the way to Moncton.

Saturday: George Canyon at the Moncton Colesium
hours: 19 kms: 230
I was really afraid that this show would be a nightmare, since I had been on the road, unable to pack my own lighting kit, and much of the gear was rapidly turned around from other shows and so on. It turned out that the only thing we forgot was 1 spare PAR lamp, and the local crew was excellent, so the setup went well and the show was great.

Sunday: George Canyon at Riverfront in New Glasgow
hours:18 kms: 160

This was a matinee fundraiser for a local fire department, I think. We basically drove from the Moncton colesium right to the New Glasgow show and started unloading. I counted the distance for the drive from Moncton in yesterdays total, so today's is just the return trip to Halifax. Again, a good bunch of local loaders - this time students from a new sound technology course at a local high school, I think. Oddly enough, one of them had attended YC Newfoundland last week, which I missed to do the Celtic Colours run. The show went well and I grabbed a couple of hours sleep between soundcheck and the show backstage on the KF850 speaker covers.

When I finally got back to Halifax it was great to find that some friends wanted to hang out. The made me really feel like they were glad that I was back. Thanks, guys - you know who you are.

Must run to fold laundry and get to bed. I have an early drive to PEI tomorrow.

October 15, 2004

Celtic Colours: Day 7

hours: 12 km: 140

Ok, I've officially filled my annual quota of bagpipe music. And also, it kind of bugs me when I walk to a stage to adjust a mic for a musician to introduce songs, and they push the mic away because they don't want their instrument amplified, or don't think they need it for talking. First of all, I'm a professional. The mic is off while you're playing your bagpipe. Don't worry about it. Second, you do need the mic. I'm the one in the back of the room who can tell if the back row can hear you or not.

Ok, enough griping. It was still a nice show, and the venue was really interesting. The show was called the Piper's Ceilidh, and it featured several pipers with various accompaniment. The venue was Malagawatch Church at the Nova Scotia Highland Village. The church was recently moved from across the Bras D'Or lake. That was quite a feat, and made international news. I had the pleasure of working with Decklin again (I forget his last name). He stage managed the opening gala as well as the show at the Savoy, and he's a great guy to work with.

October 14, 2004

Celtic Colours: Day 6

hours:13 kms: 380

Well, I was a little late for my load-in time, but I did make the drive through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. I have to say, I was very impressed by the scenery along the Cabot Trail, and I hope I get a chance to see it again soon.

The show tonight was in Strathespy place, which is a nice theatre. I didn't realize that the show would be taped by CBC. Dave Rankin is the house audio tech, so between CBC's Pat Martin and Dave, they had most of the patch and stage wiring figured out by the time I was set up. I was just doing monitors, which was a nice change. I think the show went really well. It was another interesting lineup, with Troy MacGillivery and a scottish girl named Anna, Dochas, Chris Norman and Slainte Math.

October 13, 2004

Celtic Colours: Day 5

hours: 13 kms: 185

Today was pianos du jour at the Boardmore playhouse at the University College of Cape Breton, in Sydney. It was a really nice venue, if a little challenging to cover evenly with a portable sound system. The house lighting tech did a really good job setting up the lights for me, and the music was really good. I took some pictures that I hope are nice, but I'm not going to take time to post them tonight, because I want to go to sleep.

I'm planning to get up a little earlier tomorrow morning so that I can drive the Cabot Trail and take the scenic route to Mabou.

Celtic Colours: Day 4

hours: 12 kms: 60

Today: Giant's Ceilidh at the Englishtown Community Hall. Another sold out show, this time for 160+ in a quaint little community hall, not far from the hotel. The short drive made the day a little less tiring, and again the dinner provided by the local volunteers was superb.

I have to say this festival is extremely well organized. For example, yesterday, to attempt to repair a broken piece of equipment belonging to the venue, I needed hydrogen peroxide and a syringe. I only had to mention it to the stage manager, and half an hour later I had it, even though we were in a rural community and most stores are closed on Sundays. Today, I asked if I could get a copy of the festival compilation CD to play before the show, and a driver came over from the festival office with one for me.

Everywhere I go things are running smoothly, with lots of volunteer support and so far no problem that couldn't be solved quickly and with very little fuss.

I have been telling people that this isn't my type of music, but I have to say that Daniel Lapp is my type of music. This show reminded me why it's so cool to see live music. I guess I've been getting a little jaded lately, but I had forgotten how neat it is to see some talented people do something interesting, energetic and unique. Who would think that a guitar, fiddle, flute and accordion ensemble could improvise something really cool - but they can, and I saw it tonight.

October 11, 2004

Celtic Colours: Day 3

hours: 12.5 kms: 200

Today was "Celtic Winners" at the Savoy in Glace Bay. Some great musicians again, including a few we saw at the Gala opening.

ABI has three small systems up here for the week, and Julien Roberge is operating one of the other two. We're sharing a hotel room, and today he did monitors and I did lighting. It was nice to travel together today, and also nice to use a house system instead of loading a whole PA in and out. Two other good bits of the day were getting a little more familiar with HogPC and learning how to clean the heating elements of a Neutron XS (the house moving light console and hazer, respectively).

The downsides were that the hazer still didn't work after I cleaned the heating element, and I didn't really have time to put in all of my own programming, so I had to use stuff that was already in the console. Of course, the stuff already in the board was a hodge-podge, but I found some things I liked, and some other things that were passable and did the best I could.

Unfortunately, I forgot to take any pictures.

Tomorrow (technically today) I'm back in Sydney at the UCCB Boardmore playhouse for an entirely piano show. Should be interesting. I'm told the room is different as well, so I'm wondering how I'll set up the PA. In a way, I like busy weeks like this, because you learn a lot, and the variety of rooms and performers challenges you to stretch and hone your skills.

Celtic Colours: Day 2

hours: 14. kms: 140

So, thiswas the first day of the festival proper. I did a show called "The Boston States" at the Breton Education Centre in New Waterford. The theme was artists with a connection to Boston, and it basically consisted of half a dozen players (piano, guitar or fiddle) each with two 10 minute sets. They usually had one of the other players with them. There was definitely a lot of history and talent there, and the show was sold out. On the down side, it went 45 minutes late, so with an hour drive to the hotel, it was a late night to bed.

October 09, 2004

Celtic Colours: Day 1

kms: 6 hours: 18

So, the opening Gala is over. For some reason I felt tense again today, but as we got to doors at 6:30 and I pulled together all the bits I had programmed throughout the day, I realized that I had enough. I think the show went very well. I was even a little bit surprised at how much I enjoyed most of the music.

It's 3:30 am so I won't take the time to post a picture now. Maybe I'll add an updated tomorrow. In any case, I think that most of the pictures I took are rather dark.

I'm looking forward to a load-in time of 1pm tomorrow...

Update: I've added two pictures.

Continue reading "Celtic Colours: Day 1" »

October 08, 2004

Celtic Colours: Day 0

kms: 6. hours: 15.5

It's never as quick or as trouble-free as you would like, but at least today we had a whole setup day, decent meals, and no pressure of a show this evening.

I still don't really know what the show will really be like, but we start sound checks and rehearsals tomorrow at 10am.

The picture is of dimmer world backstage. That's 400 amps of goodness, right there. I only have 96k and 16 movers, but it'll look nice. Yep, this is what I do for a living.

October 06, 2004

Celtic Colours: Day -1

kms: 470. hours: 13

It's finally started. All of the planning and packing trucks and sorting gear in the shop had me really stressed out. Now that we're in Sydney, I'm already feeling much better. I did the long drive from Halifax this evening, and we start setting up for the Opening Gala at Centre 200 tomorrow morning at 8 am.

Let me just say that I love cruise control. I drove a rental van from Halifax to Sydney, and cruise control made the drive much less tedious.

Oh, and Days Inn in Sydney has wireless net access. Makes me happy.

October 04, 2004

Sleeping In

It's the first time I've done this in a while, honest! Last night I set my alarm clock, but forgot to turn it on. Perhaps it was subconsciously intentional, because I was supposed to have a consultation with an oral surgeon this morning about having my last two wisdom teeth removed. The teeth are safe for another six weeks, but the downside is that I missed a morning of work for no good reason at the beginning of what promises to be a very busy week. Ugh.

October 02, 2004

Happy Birthday to me!

It was my birthday recently, and to my great surprise I had four phone calls to wish me a happy birthday! Two of them were from outside of this continent and only one was my parents. Thanks to everybody who remembered.

September 28, 2004

Old Friends, New Friends

Last week I had two fun evenings and watched two really good movies. First, last Thursday I saw Hero with Marina Fleming. Marina is a nurse who just moved to the city for work, and who attends Faith. I'm not sure if Marina genuinely wanted to see a Kung Fu fantasy movie or not, but I know I really enjoyed it.

Second, Saturday evening I had a pleasantly unexpected phone call from Angela Hayward. Angela went to high school with me and over the years we've stayed in touch. She just moved to Halifax to do her internship in Dietetics. I coerced her into watching Vanity Fair with me. Again, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie.

Thanks Marina and Angela, for helping me enjoy some much-needed time away from work.

Meet the neighbors

Yesterday I met Julia and Elka. They're my neighbors whose balcony faces mine. They turned out to be really nice people who helped me out by taking some of the leftover items from Kerry's apartment. Just a little kick-start motivated me to start a little cleaning. Still lots of cleaning to do, but the apartment is a small step closer to being livable again.

Thanks guys. You made my evening a lot brighter!

I still don't know many of the people on my floor by name, but evening know a few is way more than I knew last year.

September 15, 2004

Stargazing yearning

I left work lamentably late today, but as I left the office I was rewarded with the sight of the beautiful, clear evening sky, full of stars. I guess it was just the mood I was in, but it really made me want to go out stargazing again. The sky was clear, with no moon, crisp clear air, and now I'm mildly depressed that I really need to stay home tonight to eat, do laundry and get to bed early for the long weekend of work.

Oh well, c'est la vie.

September 14, 2004

Hiatus

Ok, this blog was never really cool, but it's gotten downright stale lately. It's not just that I'm busy (though it has been a fairly busy summer) but when I have some time to write I either don't think about it, or have nothing witty to say. Story of my life. I was going to rant about the Armdale rotary, and rave about the Nova Scotia Airshow, but right now is one of those times when I don't have time to write, so maybe later...

Mom, I know you're one of the few people that regularly read the blog. Sorry I haven't called in a while - everything is more or less fine here, and I'll email or call soon, I promise!

August 31, 2004

The summer ain't over yet

I've been looking at a few other blogs that I read regularly and wondering why the authors are not updating anymore. Of course, I haven't blogged in about forever, so I guess I'm not the only one having a busy summer. I'm sure mom is missing my entries, so I should make a little more effort to post.

Continue reading "The summer ain't over yet" »

August 09, 2004

Busker Festival

Meant to post this last week...

Thursday, after finally getting home from work at a decent hour (for the first time in weeks it seemed), I decided to enjoy the beautiful weather and walk down along the waterfront. I bought fish and chips for supper and I took in a few of the buskers at the festival going on this week. I have to say that I don't spend enough time appreciating all that Halifax has to offer. It's a beautiful city, with lots to see and do.

Mortgages

I've been thinking for a while that I'd like to stop renting, so I've finally got around to looking into mortgages. I think I'd probably like to get a condo, to minimize the cost and upkeep, as well as hopefully get a better location on my budget.

After reading a little and browsing some bank websites, I think I can probably afford somewhere between 115,000 and 150,000, depending on how long I amortize. I'd like to keep to the lower end and amortize for 15 years, but I haven't actually talked to anyone yet, much less applied for a mortgage, so who knows if I can really afford that much.

Any friends or family with advice are welcome to email me...

And in other news, apparently you can browse MLS listings online at mls.ca. You don't need to track down the book to browse, which is really nice.

July 17, 2004

A short break in the busy season

It's busy time at work, hence the lack of entries. I've been doing a fair number of out of town gigs, usually PA teching, sometimes mixing FOH or operating lights. Right now, however, I'm in St. John's NL for 5 days to visit mom and dad while they're home from the middle east for the summer. They're only here for about a month, actually, and they're planning a lot of renovations to our old house on Holbrook Ave, so it turns out this will be a working vacation. Still, I'll enjoy it.

June 24, 2004

For Steve C

I just got a gmail account... nyah, nyah! :P :)

June 20, 2004

Coincidence

Yesterday I didn't have to work until around 7, so I slept in, went shopping and got some groceries. I went to the Sobey's on Mumford Road, which is unusual for me, and I had the strangest thing happen to me. I ran into Dr. Moloney, my thesis supervisor. Apparently she is on vacation at the end of a sabbatical, and she is visiting family here in Nova Scotia. Really wierd. Turned out to be a good thing, though, since I had a few questions that she could answer on the spot.

June 18, 2004

Summer is here

Well, not officially for another three days, but I've been busy working long hours and going from one show to the next, so it's summer time for me. I did sound for Buddy Wasisname and the Other Fellas on Monday, then two days setting up power and sound systems for the Multicultural Festival. Yesterday I set up a sound system for Foster and Allen at the Casino. Today and tomorrow I'm mixing the Inkspots at the Casino, a doo-wop band that has been around since the forties or fifties.

The weather has been great this week, and one night after I was done setting up at the Multicultural Festival, I took a great picture of downtown Halifax from across the harbor. I've posted it below.

Continue reading "Summer is here" »

June 05, 2004

Small World

A couple of hours ago I was driving through downtown Halifax when I heard somebody yell my name. In a car coming towards me was my cousin Clouston. Apparently, he's stationed in Nova Scotia for the summer with the military, and he's in town with friends for the weekend. We exchanged phone numbers, so hopefully we'll hook up sometime over the summer. Maybe if I have a few days off some week in July I'll drive up to the valley where he's stationed and take a day to go to a beach or go golfing.

Hey Andrew, are you listening? Fly up here sometime and maybe you can convince me to play a round with you...

May 18, 2004

Why not mention one more good thing?

I think I've already posted months ago about Video Difference. It's a great independent store here in town that I really should make the effort to patronize more frequently. They have great atmosphere, excellent service and a selection that simply puts Blockbuster to shame. On top of that, I just got a postcard for a free rental, I guess since I haven't rented there in a while. It worked - I went there again for the first time in months tonight.

Of course, it was a good thing the movie was free, because I probably wouldn't have paid money to rent Johnny English. Some funny slapstick moments, especially near the end, but I should know better - it was a little too silly-stupid for my tastes.

May 17, 2004

More Stuff I Like

I seem to be on a positive trend lately, so to continue it...

  • Halifax - one of the first cruise ships of the season was in port today, as well as a US Navy helicopter carrier (perhaps it was the Marines). They both just reminded me that Halifax is a really nice city, with lots of things to see and do.
  • Comfy Corner Cafe - across from my building on Hollis street is this little cafe that I had never eaten at until the guys from work started going there last week for lunch. A relaxed atmosphere and spacious with great service and food that really seems more like homemade. I particularly recommend the strawberry-rhubard pie. I'm told the apple pie is exceptional as well.

May 16, 2004

More good stuff

I've rarely had a hot and sour soup anywhere that compares with The Magic Wok in St. John's. However, I just had the hot and sour from China Classic on Quinpool road across from McDonalds. It's not bad.

When I got home I just happened to turn on the comedy network. I don't often watch that channel, but a rerun of Wayne and Shuster was on. I remember watching that show before Hockey Night in Canada, back when I was in elementary school. I gotta say, I like some of that classic schtick.

May 15, 2004

Things that make me happy

To balance my last entry, here are some things that I'm really happy about. Things that I have noticed myself thinking were above and beyond expectations, but that I rarely take the time to share about with others.

Continue reading "Things that make me happy" »

May 13, 2004

Recent gigs

Since I'm awake early, here's what I've been up to for the last few days: more comedy shows, if you can believe it. Tuesday was a dinner for some public utilities conference at Pier 22 with Tony Quinn doing comedy and some maritime guitar and fiddle dinner music by Dave McIssac and another fellow. Last night I did a comedy show at another local restaurant, again for Volvo, as on Monday night. One more of those tomorrow. Today, I'm doing lighting for a corporate event at the trade and convention centre. Today will probably be the longest day of the week.

I was getting up anyway

Well, for the second time this year, I've huddled on the sidewalk with the 60 or 70 people who live in my building, while the fire department came to check on an alarm. For some reason I was half awake anyway when it went off at 5:57 AM, and I knew just what it was, so I calmly got up, got dressed and went downstairs. Of course, I forgot a jacket and my camera.

Continue reading "I was getting up anyway" »

May 11, 2004

Bike riding

My bike hasn't been in riding condition for a while - even before I packed up for the moves, it need a tune up and wheels trued. Finally last week I took it to Cyclesmith on Quinpool Road, and today I'm supposed to pick it up. I can't wait to have my bike around again.

Continue reading "Bike riding" »

April 30, 2004

Springtime!

The weather forecast keeping being revised upwards: now today's high is predicted to reach 24 C (I would guess that would be about now, and oops, I just checked current conditions and whaddyaknow? 25 C).

April 29, 2004

Patriotic Fervor

I'm really proud to be a Canadian. No particular reason for saying so.

Oh, and in unrelated news, the latest revision of tomorrow's forcast is calling for sunny and 21 C. Woot!

A Canadian General's Perspective

Last night I had a really good gig. I was system tech for a PA and light rig for the Halifax Chamber of Commerce. The call was short and the main A/V contractor Advanced Systems ran all the equipment. They were just subcontracting the stage lighting and PA to us, so I just had to make sure the system was set up and operating properly and nothing went wrong. That wasn't the only reason it was a good show, though.

Continue reading "A Canadian General's Perspective" »

April 27, 2004

Home for a day

Last Sunday I visited St. John's. The occasion was mom's visit on her way back to Qatar from a conference in the USA. I went out to lunch with mom, nan, pop, Christiane, Andrew, Rich and Danielle. I went out for coffee with Steve Clarke, then caught the evening service at Bethesda. After church, I went out to Pizza Delight, with the family and about a dozen of the old LYM leadership crew. After that, I went to Pradeep Bobby's apartment to catch the end of the Toronto Maple Leafs playoff game, and visit with some of the young adult/chi alpha crowd. It was great to see everybody again.

Thanks, Dad, for flying me home for the visit - I had a great time.

April 19, 2004

Harddrive repartitioning madness

(This one's going to be boring, so go ahead and skip it...)

Since I upgraded to my current PC configuration about three years ago, I've had a 30GB HD split into two 10 GB partitions with 10 GB left over. I've disliked this almost from the beginning, but never got around to fixing it, and I sure wasn't going to shell out money for Partition Magic (I have legitimate reasons for not simply reinstalling my OS).

Yesterday, I finally fixed the problem and repartitioned by drive into one 30GB partition, without having to backup my data to CD or reinstall Windows, thanks to a linux boot CD and GNU's partition editor, parted.

Continue reading "Harddrive repartitioning madness" »

April 12, 2004

PC Stability

I think I've finally fixed the subtle, but persistent stability problems I've had with my computer since I upgraded to an Athlon XP 1600+ a few years ago.

Continue reading "PC Stability" »

April 09, 2004

Return trip from Cleveland

(Written Sunday April 4)

The trip is almost over. I'll be back in Canada in a few hours, but while I'm
here at Cleveland airport, I have a little time to write a little about the last
few days.

(pictures follow)

Continue reading "Return trip from Cleveland" »

April 05, 2004

Home Safely

Sorry, mom. I meant to post this last night, but I was lazy and didn't do much after I got home.

However, I am home safely, despite the fog delays at Halifax airport. It is kind of ironic, since I spent a bit of time in Toronto learning how to get my checked bags put on hold so that I could be placed on standby for an earlier flight. I was supposed to fly at 3:15, but I got on the 1:30 flight. Because of the fog, the 1:30 flight circled Halifax for 30 minutes, and then finally landed in Saint John, NB. We waited on the ground, in the airplane, since the Saint John airport is small and didn't have the capacity to easily re-check us all through security, nor handle the baggage containers from our aircraft. The pilot wanted to be able to quickly take off when the weather in Halifax cleared. We finally arrived at 7:33, but the later flight that I was supposed to be on had delayed in Toronto, and then landed without diverting to another airport - 7 minutes earlier.

I have some pictures to post and a few blog entried that I wrote on my laptop while travelling, but right now, I'm just going to lounge around the house a little more.

March 25, 2004

Grace CMA

The project that I'm working on with MGA for this two week trip is Grace Christian and Missionary Alliance Chuch. Grace CMA's new building will seat around 1500. Because we're waiting on some key areas to be drywalled and painted, we left a little early today, but we've typically been starting around 2 pm and working until around 2 am. The other guys say that next week we'll be starting later and working later, in order to get it all finished. We've been slightly held up in a lot of areas since the whole project has been just slightly behind schedule (or so it seems to me).

Monday to Wednesday were mostly filled with pulling cable in conduit. Today we had a shorter day pulling some easier intercom lines, and starting to assemble some racks.

Aside from the actual work itself, one aspect of this trip that I didn't quite expect (though it should have been obvious in hindsight) has been the food. We've been eating at a different restaurant for every meal. The other guys are so used to it that nobody cares any more so it's a chore just to pick a place and go. MGA provides a decent per diem, so thankfully we stay away from fast food for the most part. I'm sure eating out will get old for me too, but for now it's nice to have a lot of variety.

March 22, 2004

Cleveland Ho!

Well, after a long, tedious day yesterday at Toronto's Pearson airport, I'm in Cleveland finally. Work permit taken care of, I'm off to the Social Security office sometime this morning to get a US SSN. Days for the MGA install crew seem to start late and end really late, and even more so today since we're still waiting on other trades to finish up work in key areas of the building before some of the main tasks can start.

The hotel we're staying in isn't fancy, but there's nothing wrong with it. That I have to go to an "interview center" above the main lobby to get high-speed internet access is a minor inconvenience. I guess I should look at it the other way around: I'm grateful that I can just walk down the hall, plug my laptop in and get online as if I were at home.

March 17, 2004

Comment Spam

I haven't yet been hit badly by comment spam, so I've been lazy and manually cleaned up the few spams I have received. I decided to get off my metaphorical behind this evening and install MT Blacklist. True to the author's word, the installation was ridiculously easy. Thanks Jay Allen!

March 16, 2004

Heavy Snowfall warning?!

Since when does 5cm tonight and maybe 10cm tomorrow warrant a heavy snowfall warning?! People around Halifax always seemed to exaggerate and be paranoid about the weather (like the schools that were closed last week because of freezing rain that was forcasted to start that evening - after school was out - and in fact actually became boring, ordinary, harmless rain), but what I'm talking about is Environment Canada issuing these warning!

I'm not joking, right now it is a bright, sunny sky, with no trace of precipitation expected for nearly 12 hours, and even then only enough to wet your boots, and we're under a heavy snowfall warning!

March 15, 2004

A Deepness in the Sky (II)

I guess I should confess that the night after reading the first half of the book, I finished it. Yes, I enjoyed it, and no I should't have read in two consecutive evenings. It wasn't good for my sleep schedule at all. To the author's credit, he kept a plot twist hidden until almost after it was revealed. I was impressed by that. Not only did I not see it coming, but once I realized the twist, I could look back and see that it was subtly revealed earlier than the point at which my mind made the connection.

So that doesn't say anything about the quality of the plot or writing, but since it's Monday morning and I have to go to work, that's all I'm going to say about that.

Oh, I'd appreciate any suggestions for some other good sci-fi or general fiction books. I now need to buy something for the upcoming travel. A few that I have in mind are: something by Larry Niven or Isaac Asimov that I haven't read yet, or perhaps Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon. Any other ideas?

March 11, 2004

Deepness in the Sky

I was trying to save this for my flight to Cleveland, but last night I made the mistake of reading the first chapter of Vernor Vinge's A Deepness in the Sky. Now it's half read, and I didn't get as much sleep as I should have. I read and really enjoyed A Fire Upon the Deep a few weeks back.

Oh, and Steve: this one is holding up just as well so far.

March 10, 2004

Rice Krispy cookies

I think I've hit the jackpot. Normal rice krispies: 3 tablespoons margarine, 1/2 tablespoon vanilla (optional), 4 cups of miniature marshmellows, 6 cups of rice krispies. Just add about a 1/2 teaspoon of banana extract, and then you have magic!

March 09, 2004

Cleveland Rocks

I haven't posted much lately, so here's a quick update: I've been in touch with MGA again, and I'm going to Cleveland on March 20 to work on a church installation until April 4 or so. Depending on how that turns out (as well as details such as work visas and so on) I may be taking a full time position with MGA and eventually moving to Fresno, California.

In the meantime, there have been a few events of minor notability around here, but I'll post some more entries later.

February 20, 2004

Curfew!

Don't get caught on the streets of Halifax tonight, or else you'll get fined $1000.
(Globe and Mail) (CBC)

What's really cool, though, is that I heard about this on metafilter! We're famous! Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be anybody commenting who is actually from this area. I thought HRM was more like 350,000+, not 150,000. If I had an account, I would post from more info, like these pictures that I found today from a discussion on halifax.general.

Color in Light, and LaTeX

Learn something new every day, I say. So, if the use of LaTeX's color support is your thing, then it's good to know that old style files using expressions like
\global\setbox\@currbox\vbox\bgroup should have an additional level of grouping added, as in

\global\setbox\@currbox
\color@vbox \normalcolor
\vbox\bgroup

On the other hand, if you didn't absolutely need to know that, as I did this morning, then perhaps this NRC website about full spectrum lighting and SAD will be interesting. I particularly found the paper entitled Is Full-Spectrum Lighting Special(PDF) interesting. The take-home lesson is that while the benefits of elevated lighting levels are well-established, many of those benefits can be obtained with a variety of light sources, including a family of flourescent lights as well as other conventional lighting types.

(I came across this while randomly browsing the sci.engr.lighting newsgroup. Yes, I'm a geek)

I guess no work today either

Haligonians tend to be parnoid about weather in my experience, but for once (sorry, make that twice, Juan) the storm seems to have exceeded expectations. The original forcast was for 25cm Wed pm and 15-25cm Thursday. As of 7AM Friday, the weather network was reporting 95cm accumulation for Halifax. It's beautiful and sunny this morning, but I'm not surprised there are no traffic sounds. I expect it will be a while before the equipment gets around to remove the snow. For now there is no place else to plow it. I have a few pics that I may post, but to start with, here is my balcony this morning:

The balcony was clear on Wednesday evening.

February 13, 2004

Congratulations Kerry!

(NST) Don't have much time to write, since I have to be at work shortly, but I found out yesterday that my best friend Kerry was just awarded the Rothermere Fellowship from Memorial University (our Alma Mater). That means that she has full funding to do her PhD in the UK, and coincidentally, she's already been accepted and found a supervisor at -- yes, no joke -- Oxford. I'm really proud of you Kerry, and I know that you're going to really enjoy it!

February 10, 2004

Dinner at the Winsors

Pastor Gary Winsor is the pastor of my old church in Newfoundland. He and his family used to live in Tiawan. Since I'm only here in Newfoundland for a week or so, I was invited to dinner at their house (my brother is dating their daughter, and our families have known each other for years). Because of their time in Tiawan, they cook good, authentic chinese cuisine. We had a pork curry, beef stirfry and some boiled pork dumplings that I can't spell the name of. It was a fantastic meal.

Thanks Mrs. Winsor for the great dinner last evening.

February 07, 2004

Text Messaging

Family and friends - don't forget that you can still send text messages to my phone via email (or via your own SMS phone) while I'm in Newfoundland.

February 06, 2004

Rent and Rebates

Due to an irritating technical foul-up, my rent check was returned this month, so this morning I had to quickly arrange to pay my rent in cash. The extra fees amounted to thirty dollars and change, but it was the hassle of having to deal with the whole situation that was the most irritating. The consolation prize was in the mail. I didn't expect to ever see the rebate check for the DVD/CD-Burner, so it was great that it covered the loss on the rent fiasco, even if it was money that was mine all along.

January 23, 2004

Work and life

Mom was worried that I was having problems with my computer, since I haven't written in such a long time.

Work is going well. For the last two weeks I've been splitting my time between setting up some digital processors for our PA systems, and doing some installation work. Working with the PA stuff has been fun and the install work pays really well.

It looks like the plans are made for me to be one of the crew heading to St. John's for the ECMAs. I'll be flying on Saturday Feb 7 returning Monday Feb 16. We don't actually starting setting up until Wednesday the 11th, so I have three days to spend with family and friends. Christiane, I meant to call you last night and ask if I can stay with you for those three days (Saturday night to Monday night). If you don't read this first, I will call you tonight!

Kerry has lots of activity happening in her life right now. She's in Calgary working on her research now, and she's also starting to hear back from some of her PhD applications. I'm sure this winter will fly by quickly.

This weekend I'm doing lighting for the Foodlink telethon on Eastlink television, so I'll spend today packing and tomorrow setting up for that. I guess I should call Phil and tell him I won't be able to play bass on Sunday.

January 03, 2004

New Music

I just got home from my Christmas vacation (yes, we all made it safely, Mom), and I had thought about writing a bit about the trip. Turns out what motivated me to write was the batch of CDs waiting for me in the mail.

I just finished my Columbia House committment, and in the last order (buy 1 get 3 free, yay) I got (in no particular order):

  • Boston - Greatest Hits
  • Phil Collin ...Hits
  • The Best of Weather Report
  • The Very Best of The Manhattan Transfer
  • The Best of The Doobie Brothers Live

(If you're curious about the math, Kerry got 3 others CDs, to make 8. We paid for one each, since we halved the Columbia House membership, but she only picked out two "free" albums, so I got four in addition to the one I paid for)

Anyway, I'm very much enjoying my choices, recognizing songs that I've heard for years but never known, and generally expanding my pathetic knowledge of popular music.

December 24, 2003

Christmas Eve

It's hard to believe that it's Christmas Eve, especially with the 25 C weather and strolling by the pool and so on.

I had intended to post a journal of our activities this past week, but I've been too busy, well, doing things.

I've taken advantage of the new digital camera as well, and maybe I'll get around to putting up a photoblog, but for now I'll just wish everybody a Merry Christmas.

December 18, 2003

Day 2 in the Middle East

I'm taking lots of pics and I'll get around to posting some soon. This morning I had to catch up on some email.

Yesterday was a nice first day and a relaxing intro to Qatar. In the morning, Richard, Andrew and I went to a saloon to get a hair cut and massage. We picked up some chicken wrap things for lunch from a stall downtown and then took a dip in the pool at the compound. When mom came home from school, she dropped us at the local mall while she went to a practice. We had a nice dinner and then browsed the upscale stores. In the evening we went to a Christmas gathering at the home of another family on the compound. Finally, we went back to the airport to pick up Richard's suitcase, which was delayed from London.

Plans for today include a visit to the souq's - the traditional barter marketplaces in Doha, followed by a visit to the college where mom teaches. I think there's another Christmas event tonight.

December 17, 2003

Arrived in Doha

Kerry and I have safely arrived in Doha. There were a few flight delays, but nothing too complicated. It's great to see the whole family again, and we should have a great time here for the next two weeks. I'm going to post some pictures of the trip and mom and dad's place in Qatar, but right now I'm going swimming...

Note: the post times are still Atlantic Time (UTC -4) but I'm actually in UTC +3 time now, so it's 3 in the afternoon.

November 30, 2003

Fire Alarm

Just after work on Friday evening I was at home, planning to pick Kerry up from school, when the fire alarm went off in our building. It turns out that somebody accidentally knocked one of the sprinkler heads in an apartment just around the corner from me, activating the sprinklers and the building alarm. It was tense for a few minutes, but more than anything I'm reminded to check my insurance policy for protection against water damage. When I moved from a basement to a fourth-floor apartment, I took the extended water damage and sewer overflow coverage off my tenant's insurance, but perhaps I'll second guess that.

When I picked Kerry up and told her what happened, she was a little worried that sprinklers may have gone off in her apartment. We didn't know until after we got back here that it was only the one apartment, but when we found out, Kerry was really relieved.

November 24, 2003

I'm mobile again

Took Kerry to Future Shop today, and while I was there I found out that Rogers AT&T has a good deal on cell phones right now, so I finally have a cell phone again. The number is (902)449-2647. I can receive SMS messages for free, and Rogers provides a convenient www-SMS gateway. Messages can be up to 125 characters, so friends and family from far away head on over to the Rogers Send a wireless message page and let me know that you've read this! Do it now! Just say hi and don't forget to sign your name...

November 15, 2003

A Saturday Night Out

For a change I wasn't working on a Saturday night, so Kerry and I joined the youth adults from Faith Tabernacle at a Halifax Mooseheads game. There were a lot of penalties in the second period, and the home team lost on a late goal in the third, but it was still fun.

Before the game we had a decent (though not exceptional) meal at The Argyle Restaurant, and caught a little bit of the Santa Claus parade. I think it's the same one that will be televised tomorrow on ATV.

Tomorrow, Monday and Tuesday I'm working on the TIANS awards. It should be a fairly enjoyable run.

Maybe I'll watch Rocky before I go to bed. I've never seen it...

October 16, 2003

YC Wrap-up

Family and friends know that last weekend I was in Corner Brook for YC Newfoundland. Overall the weekend was excellent, but I'll post more later, hopefully. Right now I just want to thank the bands for being so good to work with. Thanks Corey and One Reason, Cal and One Rich Fool, Andrew Burns and Jeff Deyo, and especially Todd Cromwell, Stephen Fee and Charlie Hall Band.

Charlie Hall couldn't attend because of a death in the family. Stephen Fee took Charlie's place, and did a fantastic job on short notice. As well, Todd dealt with our soundcheck delays and technical complications very professionally. I think that this YC was technically the best yet, but it wouldn't have been possible without the excellent co-operation from all of the musical guests and their techs.

I hope to work with you all again soon!

October 07, 2003

Thanks UPS

I have to say thanks to the nice woman at UPS that I dealt with this morning. I need to get something shipped from Montreal to Corner Brook Real Soon Now, and of course, I need to be out picking up a truck and getting ready to drive to Corner Brook myself as I type this, so I can't afford to wait until 10 when the store in Montreal opens, to see if they'll pay the shipping. No, I need an account number right now, so I can schedule this pickup and get out of here.

I applied for a UPS account online last night, but I hadn't received the email yet this morning, which isn't surprising. I explained this situation to the person on the phone, and she took my information for opening an account and went directly to the person responsible for online requests. It hadn't yet gone through, so she went ahead and opened an account for me on the spot.

Perhaps this is normal for the shipping business. I just know that in a lot of industries, trying to get something done with pressure on can be a lot of hassle and frustration, but this morning my problem got solved with very little running around.

Oh, and see you all at YC (and thank UPS that Jeff Deyo has a keyboard)!

October 05, 2003

Juan was more serious than I first realized

So, I guess I underestimated the damage from Juan at first. There are still people in the city without power, and there are 800 Army personel in HRM helping clear debris (mostly downed trees and branches). People in surrounding rural areas may be without power for many more days still, which is especially difficult for those who rely on wells with electric pumps for their water supply.

Several of the historic ships on the waterfront were damaged, including at least one or two sunk. A navy vessel broke its moorings and was loose in the harbor for a while. News reports earlier this week estimated that 1 in 3 houses or businesses in the area has some kind of damage, ranging from a few missing roof tiles to huge downed oak trees crushing them.

Things are slowly getting back to normal. Most schools and universities should re-open tomorrow. Many shops are open today, since the government has made a special exception to the Sunday shopping laws.

Hurricane Kate looks like it will pass east of Newfoundland on Tuesday, thankfully. I'm hoping that my drive to Corner Brook for YC will go smoothly. I'm taking some equipment in a cube van across the gulf on Tuesday night.

I had a few days work this week, which was welcome. The Matchbox 20 concert at the metro centre was Friday. I'll try to post a gig report on that shortly. Once YC is over, I'm really going to make an effort to restart my thesis in earnest.

September 29, 2003

Current Status in Halifax

Kerry's here chatting on Yahoo and doing schoolwork. I'm catching up on email and listening to Evanescence.

The RCMP and metro police are requesting people to stay at home, via radio announcements, to keep roads clear for repair crews and emergency vehicles.

Continue reading "Current Status in Halifax" »

Juan's Aftermath

Here's a little bit that I wrote earlier today, before I got back phone and cable.

First of all, Kerry and I are fine, our building is fine, and as far I can tell
there's no major damage in our area of the city.

There doesn't seem to be much major damage in our area of the city, but there's lots of minor damage. Many streets downtown were closed this morning and this afternoon. In residential areas, lots of streets look like their lined with hedges, but really it's just the broken branches from trees on the ground. There are a fair number of large trees uprooted, especially in parks and cemetaries. Office buildings here and there may have a window broken, or damage to roofs and siding.

Continue reading "Juan's Aftermath" »

September 28, 2003

Hi Juan

So, right now we're nearing the middle of Hurricane Juan. Evidently the center of the storm is going to pass almost directly over Halifax. It's only a small storm, I imagine, on the scale of storms, still it's a little windier outside that I expected. Of course, where does Kerry want to be right now? On my fourth floor balcony, enjoying a free shower. Yes, she's nuts.

Well, the lights are flickering every-so-slightly here, so I'd better hurry and save this. I'll archive some weather imagery here, too, just for fun: recent radar image and east coast IR satellite image. The satellite animation on Environment Canada's website (from NOAA) is quite interesting too, but I don't want to bother to copy the javascript animation or stitch the images together into some sort of stand alone animation.

Update Monday evening the power failed last night as I was writing this. I'm posting this now and I'll upload the weather images shortly.

Second update the radar and satellite pics should be working now.

September 07, 2003

Air Show

This weekend boasts the Nova Scotia International Air Show here in Shearwater, at the old air force base. This year they tried a new add-on to the show - Bruce Guthro in concert, in the afternoon during the breaks in the performances.

Continue reading "Air Show" »

September 02, 2003

Website update

I've finally made a new template for the rest of my website, and transferred most of it over to whitt.ca. A lot of the stuff was old and broken before, and there are probably more broken links now, but it's all here. Maybe later I'll clean it all up right pretty.

Labor Day holiday

Last night Kerry and I watched The Recruit with a new friend, Lyn Tomc. Lyn invited us to watch the movie at her place and we had frozen pizza for supper. The movie was decent, and we had a nice evening. Thanks, Lyn.

August 30, 2003

Magic Mountain

No, not the other one. Yesterday Kerry and I went to Moncton, New Brunswick to hang out with some friends from Newfoundland at the Magic Mountain water park. We had a really nice day even though it wasn't as hot as we would have wanted. Thanks Chris, Crystal, Greg and Pam.

August 20, 2003

Peaches

Kerry I and dropped by the grocery store yesterday to get some ingredients from dinner. While we were there I noticed 3 l baskets of peaches on sale for $3. Seemed like a good price so I bought a basket. Downside: now I have to east a basket of peaches before they go bad.

Mom is visiting tomorrow on her way back to Qatar. Hopefully she liked peaches. Reminds me, I should try to clean up the mess around here...

August 17, 2003

The X Roller Coaster

I've been trying to cover the various highlights of July in reverse order, which means my working weekend at the New Glasgow Jubilee should be next, but I'm going to skip that (I'll write about it soon, honest, Tommy) and go right to our last day in California.

After doing the job interview thing, and the school hunting thing, we had a day left to do the we're-in-California-let's-have-some-fun thing. I didn't know this before, but Kerry is really into thrill rides. What a lady! Sci-fi, Risk, computers, and roller coasters, too? So, with the freedom to spend the day shopping in LA, in Hollywood, at the beach or just about anything else, we both preferred to visit Six Flags: Magic Mountain. Of all the roller coasters we rode, the new X coaster was certainly a world apart. Like no other roller coaster I've ever been on, it was certainly worth the two hour lineup.

Continue reading "The X Roller Coaster" »

August 16, 2003

Thanks Phil and Doretta

Kerry and I have had a wonderful evening. Phil and Doretta Zinck invited us over for dinner. We had a great meal of lasagna and then spent the evening chatting about church, life, jobs, relationships, and everything. We really enjoyed it. Thanks, guys.

August 13, 2003

Family update

Now that I've finally spent some time in my new apartment, after my weeks of travel and work are over, I've spent a little too much time on the net, evident in my blog entries lately. I had intended to blog about the various events during the travels in July, but now I've got more recent family events that have gone un-blogged.

Continue reading "Family update" »

August 11, 2003

Help with Canon ELPH Repairs?

So, does anybody out there know of a friendly, competent and economical camera repair shop in Halifax?

A few years ago, my parents gave me a Canon ELPH as a birthday gift. It was a complete surprise, and I have loved it ever since. It takes great pictures (as far APS goes), is well built and especially great for travelling.

Last month, I was in California for a job interview. On the way home, I unfortunately packed my camera face up in the front pocket of my carry on, which the desk attendant in LA strongly urged me to check. I don't like checking bags, but I thought we weren't on a particularly tight itinerary, and baggage claims in Halifax is usually pretty convenient. So I checked my bag.

The camera has a soft case, and it can be accidentally turned on so that the lens extends out of the camera body, while in the case. This happened somewhere between our rental car in LA and picking up the bag in Toronto. Then, the bag must have been either dropped, or packed beneath some heavier bags, because the zoom lens was forced out of alignment. It's now jammed, and the camera can't turn on or off.

Air Canada explicity disclaims any liability for electronic items packed in checked bags, including cameras, so I expect my only recourse is a (costly) repair. Just in case there was some way the problem could be fixed from the inside, I took the camera apart tonight. It was a very interesting exercise. I'm not to only one who's disassembled an ELPH, although I went farther than that guy did. I didn't desolder the LCD to get at the viewfinder optics. Rather, I removed the 4 screws that hold down the circuit board on the back of the fil compartment so that I could see the back of the lens. I tried to force the lens back into place, both pushing from the inside and pulling from the outside, but it won't budge.

Just in case anybody else out there wants to take apart their ELPH, here are some of my notes.

Continue reading "Help with Canon ELPH Repairs?" »

August 07, 2003

Taking a breather

I've been incommunicado with many people for a while now, and I know that a few of them occasionally check this blog, so here's a quick update.

Everything is going well for the moment. Last weekend I was ABI's lighting tech for the New Glasgow Riverfront Jubilee. That was a lot of fun, with a few interesting stories thrown in. More on that later. On Monday I did the union call for the Def Leppard show at the Metro Centre. That was also fun. Tuesday I slept in and Wednesday I started setting up power for the Busker's festival running from now until next weekend.

I'll make a few posts over the next few days to have a record of some of the events of the past month, including my trip with Kerry to Newfoundland, my job interview in California, and the recent gigs. Stay tuned...

July 28, 2003

HTTP/1.1 301 Moved Permanently

From now on, this blog has a new home HERE at whitt.ca. Come on over to visit! Family fun, excitement for everyone, door prizes and more!!

I've been procrastinating on this announcement, because I wanted to have time to overhaul the website and relaunch it with a big splash. Over the last two months it's become obvious that I'll be waiting forever if I wait until I can redo the whole site. Back in the spring Steve Clarke offered to host my blog on his server with Movable Type which provides RSS feeds, comments, pingbacks and other goodies. I registered the domain and had the site up and running, but Steve still hasn't been able to read my blog via the RSS feed since I've been procrasting on the permanent switch-over.

Well, here it is. I've transferred my blog archives, and all future blog entries will occur at whitt.ca/mycorner/ and over time I'll move over all the other content and update it as appropriate.

Cue the confetti parade and balloons...

July 06, 2003

Moving and Vacation

In case I didn't already post this before, my new address is 401-1338 Hollis St, Halifax NS, B3J 1T9. I'll get around to updating that in a few places on the site soon, honest.

Kerry and I leave in a couple of hours for the marathon drive to St. John's NL. We're taking the midnight ferry and then doing the cross-island drive tomorrow. We'll probably stop in Corner Brook so that I can sate my curiousity about a few technical details of the Canada Games Centre arena, for YC Newfoundland this October. Kerry's grandparents are making cooked dinner for us in Norris Arm, so I should have enough breaks to stay awake.

I worked 'til 4 am last night doing lights for the Brookfield truck lotto draw in Brookfield. It was ok, though I had to learn a new board: the ETC Insight 2x (with the Moving Light Controller add-on, but still). Sigh, one of these days, I'll get to use Grand MAs all the time, but until then...

Must go and finish packing... oh, remind me to post about Eastlink Cable - I was really impressed with their customer service this week. If you need to reach me, I'll be able to check phone messages, but email is almost always the most convenient.

July 01, 2003

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Happy Birthday, Canada!

Hard to believe that I actually have the day off. I guess with lighting techs not being needed so much for outdoor events in the daytime... but boy was it a busy weekend. I think I worked mostly 12 or 14 hour days since last Tuesday. The hectic schedule started before that, though.

Moving

There have been a few adventures in moving this week, but I'm mostly there now. Last Saturday I rented a UHaul truck and in 6 hours Kerry and I loaded it at my old place and unloaded it at my new place. My new superintendants are very helpful and since the apartment was vacant they let me move my stuff in before the lease officially started. That was essential in order for me to work through this weekend.

On Monday, I had my power, cable, phone and internet transferred. On Tuesday, I worked at the Christie shop, finishing the cleanup from Drum the previous weekend. Christie did the lighting for the concert on the hill, but that was Nickelback's touring rig out of the Toronto shop. The Halifax shop did the Casino Nova Scotia Canada Day weekend lighting, with TTE on audio. That was Trooper, Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, Farmer's Daughter and maybe some other acts that I don't know. After finishing at the shop, I took Kerry to meet some girls from the church for a girl's night at the movies. I think they sawAlex and Emma. Kerry saw The Italian Job while in St. John's, so now that's two movies I haven't seen. Anyway, while she was at the movies, I packed up my refridgerated goods, the last odds and ends, and then I cleaned the old apartment. Wash the shower, toilet, fridge, walls, and all that other fun. Ugh.

June 12, 2003

Apartment Hunting Blues, Vol III

Well, I'm singing the blues no longer. I admit I was a little stressed about the apartment situation last week, but it seems to have all worked itself out now. My landlord left a message today to say that they have approved my sublet, and they have also approved my application to move into 401-1338 Hollis St. It's a nice bachelor right downtown, with a balcony, a little sliver of a view of the ocean, and a dishwasher. I'll have underground parking in a nice building. Oh, and yeah, it's the same building Kerry is in. Woo hoo! No more daily driving back and forth! The cost, of course, is that I will have to do Kerry's dishes in my dishwasher.

June 11, 2003

Apartment Hunting Blues, Vol II

Well, not exactly blues. I've seen 7 or 8 apartments since Monday, and I have 4 possibilities that are within a 2 minute walk of Kerry's place. I'm just waiting now for my sublet to be approved, before I put money down on a new place. The front runners are a high ceiling one bedroom for $640ish including parking, a newly renovated bachelor in a heritage building that's $650ish and a little closer to Kerry. For some reason, however, I didn't bother to check the website of the company that owns Kerry's (and my) building. Turns out there's a bachelor on Kerry's floor that's vacant right now. It would be a little more expensive and a less cozy than the other bachelor I'm thinking about, but the advantage of not having to go outside to visit Kerry... ugh, I hate making big decisions under pressure. I need to take some time to think this over, but I can't afford to wait too long, for fear of the apartments being rented to somebody else.

In other news, I'm doing a little work for TTE this week, at least a few hours every day. That'll keep the bills off my back, which is good. I'm also trying to track down Jason Windsor to be my guarantor so I can get my passport renewed. Speaking of which, I must get going and get that passport picture taken.

June 08, 2003

Thanks

First, thanks to the guy who called my super looking for an apartment on Friday. When I got home from work the apartment was all but taken care of - all I need to do is send some paperwork to the landlord and hope the sublet tenant gets approved.

Second, thanks to Phil. I'll follow up with a post on the show I did yesterday (which went reasonably well) but suffice to say that I went to bed dangerously close to sunrise. Phil agreed to switch bass duties at church so that I played this morning instead of tonight. I'm now free to pick up Kerry at the airport tonight and try to get some rest.

Apartment hunting to begin tomorrow!

June 06, 2003

Apartment hunting blues, Vol 1

So my plan with the apartment is this: I want to move into a spot closer to Kerry, to reduce the hassle and the driving back and forth. Now is the ideal time since there are lots of apartments available down in the university area over the summer. Unfortunately, it's going to be a hassle in itself to move.

Example: this morning I had an 1100 appointment to visit an apartment. I also was thinking of putting an ad for my place in the paper. I call my super to ask a question and I am told they had somebody interested in a 1 bedroom and they're coming at 1200. I rearrange my afternoon plans to be free at 1200, I clean up my apartment in record time, and then I head out to see the place downtown. The super there is a no-show, so I think "no problem, I'll just pick up my paycheck at Tour Tech and be home before 1200". I'm here at 1150, fine, but it's now 1225 and no sign of the prospective tenant. So, I'm blogging. Oh well. There'll be more in this saga... at least my apartment is tidy.

Background developments

My life right now is an odd juxtaposition. There are many major things brewing in the background, but I'm not really doing anything huge at the moment. Well, I'm working this afternoon and tomorrow, and I'm trying to sublet my apartment.

Incidentally, my landlord was thoughtful enough to send me a letter to congratulate me on their acceptance of my request to terminate my lease. I don't think they exactly used the word 'congratulate', but I thought it was rather strange.

In other news, I've switched to Firebird 0.6 from the main Mozilla suite for my web browser. I still have the moz suite around for mail, but sometime in the next few months, I'll have to archive all that mail and then try Thunderbird...

Oh yeah, and I picked up a used Ikea floor lamp for $5 this week. The apartment is just going to look habitable by the time I move out...

June 03, 2003

Livin' the vida loca

Well, Kerry just left this morning for her conference in Victoria. The good news is I inherited all the perishables in her refridgerator, and toast makes a better ham and cheese sandwich than plain bread. The bad news is that she's only back for about 12 hours on Sunday before she heads to St. John's for Charlotte's wedding.

So now that I'm on my own, boy do I have big plans... big plans. But first, I think I'll go out and fix the licence plate and windsheild wipers on my car.

May 27, 2003

Cooking success

Finally, cooking is starting to come together a little more consistently for me. Not like I'm doing hard stuff, but last Friday's chili was good, and on Saturday I did a half decent Teriyaki stirfy chicken with bean sprouts and cabbage.

I did a couple of days work last week and I also started on the software contract for Dr. Phillip's lab over the weekend. I've put in two days on it so far, so it's taking a little longer than I expected, but it won't take much longer. Pays better than doing sound, though.

I have to give notice to my landlord by the end of the month if I'm planning to renew my lease in September or not. That's a bit of a pain. I'd like to be in a building with more flexible lease options, not to mention closer to Kerry. We'll see what happens. I'm also suffering a little today, since I'm on week 7 of my grass allergy injections. This week I bumped up to 0.1 ml of 5000ppu from 0.3ml of 500ppu, so my arm is really itching where I had the injection.

To end on a slightly more interesting note: Kerry was a subject in a sleep deprivation experiment over the weekend. It paid $75, but she really did it because she had to have two MRIs done for the experiment. She got to keep one of the films so she now has a scan of her very own brain. Now we're looking for a cheap way to display it. It requires a transparent frame since the film needs to be backlit. Anyway, to celebrate and spend her earnings, I took her to the MicMac mall in Dartmouth this afternoon. I sat in the food court and worked on the software project on Kerry's iBook, and she bought herself an nice dress for her trip to BC and Charlotte's wedding.

May 21, 2003

Why do you have feet?

That was the cutest thing Kerry and I saw on Sunday afternoon when we took a walk in Point Pleasant Park. A little girl walked over to us and asked Kerry that very inquisitively. I don't know what she really wanted to ask, but she sure was sweet.

As Kerry mentions in her weblog, we've had a weekend of excellent weather here. Sunny and mid-20s temperatures. Not only did we enjoy a walk on Sunday, but we also went to Sir Sanford Fleming Park on Monday afternoon, right before we indulged in our second viewing of The Matrix Reloaded. The first was last Thursday, opening night.

My theory of what's happening in the Matrix is pretty well summarized by Dave Hyatt, but be warned that this discussion contains plot spoilers so don't bother unless you've already seen the movie.

Tommy brought it to my attention that I haven't been faithful with the gig updates. I was pretty busy for a while a couple of weeks ago, so I didn't write much about the shows in that span of time. Two weeks later I can't remember much memorable stuff, except perhaps for the WWE shows. I'll try to post a separate entry later, but to summarize: 13 trailers! I'm heading out to a little job now, so I must conclude.

May 17, 2003

Flailing

Yesterday I did a load in and load out for an aboriginal awards banquet at the WTCC. The band and the client didn't show up until 4ish, and doors were at 5:15, so needless to say there was some last minute flailing. I didn't work the show, but it took the whole day to do the setup, so I got a fair number of hours.

In the break between setup and tear down, I invited Kerry over to my place. We indulged in Pizza Hut breadsticks with cheese and potato skins from Kempster's. We also watched the movie About a Boy. We usually like Hugh Grant's movies and Kerry always likes british accents, but we were still surprised at how much we enjoyed this film. It wasn't typically Hollywood. Several times I found myself expecting an irritating plot turn as a result of some stupid thing the protagonist does, but the writers managed to resolve the tension in ways that were enjoyable. The cliche I hate is "lead character does something incredibly stupid that could damage the relationship with the love interest, the error is revealed in the most embarrassing way, several misunderstandings compound the hurt feelings, the love interest turns to hate, and finally the protagonist is humbled, and does something very sweet or very humiliating to win back the love interest, and all is well again." I confess that I expected some variation on that theme, and thought I saw it coming several times, but this movie avoids the usual trap by, well, being about the boy. Not Hugh Grant, but the young protagonist. Well, sort of about him.

Anyway, enough about that. I have to go and watch the Senators game. Happily, they just tied the game at 1 with 15 seconds left in the first period. I'm going to try and get a little work done on my MATLAB project, too.

May 07, 2003

Time passes quickly

I had a little bit to say about the Mike Mangini drum clinic I went to last Friday, the WWE setup at the Metro Centre on Monday, the ridiculous state of auto insurance in Nova Scotia, plus a few other things. I've just been busy working and keeping up with life. I can't even take long to post this. I'm working all day today (that's a good thing) so maybe tomorrow I'll take a little time to blog. I'm also still working behind the scenes on the major change I mentioned a while back. All will be unveiled soon...

May 02, 2003

Trip to NB

I'll post more about this week later, but the trip to Saint John was quite enjoyable. Since I decided to avoid complications and do it all in one day, Kerry came along for the ride. In the afternoon between work things, I had time to explore the downtown a little with Kerry. We discovered the really nice City Market. Recommended when visiting Saint John.

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.

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...

March 19, 2003

Morbid fascination

I said I would stop with Iraq, and I can't. Two more articles found via other people's weblogs: The Urge to Help, the Obligation Not To is a fascinating opinion piece by an exiled Chiliean peace activist, and See No Evil, a somewhat balancing view that examines the foundations, evolution and possible weaknesses of views in the political left that supports most of the anti-war sentiment. (salon.com requires that you watch a 15-second ad to read the article)

update: That salon.com article turns out to be one of the more persuasive and thoughtful articles that I have read on the subject. Some choice quotes:

... here is the paradox: Bush is insincere and untrustworthy, but at least he's talking about stopping torture and repression.
On the left, none of these arguments frames the war issue as an issue of freedom (or even relative freedom) vs. totalitarianism...None of the arguments above offers a plan for ending torture, ending suppression, and protecting human rights and civil liberties.
In a moment of moral urgency, the arguments against war instead urge preservation of the status quo. They are, in a word, conservative.
The implicit assumption of the post-Vietnam culture is that pacifism always holds the moral high ground. But in the Iraq conundrum, there is no high ground, no moral purity. If you argue for war, on humanitarian grounds, you are saying: We must risk thousands of casualties not only among soldiers, but among children and civilians, so that Saddam's weapons can be destroyed and his murderous system of repression can be dismantled. If you argue that war is to be avoided because of those potential casualties, then you are arguing that Saddam's system of repression -- the political murders, the torture chambers, the slow death of the soul that comes from living under such tyranny -- must be endured.
In the chaos of the moment, we must remember that we are living in the crucible of our era. The Cold War is over. The Vietnam paradigm no longer holds. History is tipping on a fulcrum. For fear of military intervention, the world failed to stop the Rwandan genocide of 1994, but since then, the U.S. and the U.N. have engaged in three invasions with significant humanitarian impact: Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan. Whatever the intentions of the Bush administration, Iraq is a similar test, and though it is far more extreme in its requirements, and far more uncertain in its justification, it is part of a growing momentum in which world leaders can join to use military force to resolve humanitarian emergencies.

March 18, 2003

Weekend of sloth

Ok, perhaps the weekend wasn't worthy of being called a deadly sin but it sure was relaxing. Kerry was suffering from a cold, and she was very fatigued. Both Saturday and Sunday I brought her over to my apartment and we rested, did a little work, browsed the web, and watched movies on TBS Superstation. I think we'll have to try that again some time when she isn't sick. It really was quite nice.

I'm never using a drink machine again

The resolve will fade in a few weeks, I'm sure, but after last night, I'm pretty peeved at those stupid beverage dispensers. I don't know if they aren't made like they used to be, or what else could be the explanation for my frustration. I just know that I was frustrated last night.

Continue reading "I'm never using a drink machine again" »

This is ridiculous

Fans turn on the Dixie Chicks?! In my mind, the essence of freedom of speech is defending the right of others to say things that you disagree with. Ok, I know this isn't the same thing, this is individuals, not the government, but it just shows how little Americans appreciate true freedom.

March 11, 2003

Mega update

Two weekends ago I was out of town working, and this past weekend, I occupied myself with a mild cold and lots of cleaning up around the house, so here's a big update to make up for my absence.

Today, finally a cooking experience that succeeded. I made mom's simple pork chop bake and it turned out great. The last few attempts at cooking hadn't been so satisfying. I used to think that I had a little knack for cooking, but I've gotten over that. Earlier today I cleaned out the burnt chili from three weeks ago - that was a nice science experiment. My last two attempts at stirfry have been mediocre, as well.

Next, I'll recap my work last week, and then I'll end off with a few tidbits from the web.

February 24, 2003

Lytehouse Youth Ministries

Front view of the stage during LYM's Winter 2003 kickoff

Maybe it's a little presumptous to think of this as my legacy, but I just took a look at lytehouse.com, the website of the youth group at my old church in St. John's, NL. The site is up to date, with the calender showing Capstone there in concert tonight, and 7 young people on the tech crew for each regular Friday Night Live service. Makes me really proud to see them carrying on. Guys, if there's ever anything I can do to help, let me know!

Special kudos to Deborah Q for taking the reigns while Jon A is on a work term in Ontario. I knew you could do it! I'd also like to congratulate the team responsible for the Winter 2003 kickoff. I've linked a couple pics here at right, but to see the whole lot head over to lytehouse.com, select Media and then scroll down to Winter Kickoff 2003. I really like the creative use of the stands to get different heights with the PARs. Guys, I know how limited that lighting rig is, and you make it look good! closeup view of the stage during LYM's Winter 2003 kickoff

Anyway, I just want to post this to say to all the folks back home that I haven't forgotten you. Keep up the good work, and I hope to visit soon!

Monday

Kerry and I had a nice relaxing weekend. We celebrated Kerry's birthday on Saturday with a few gifts, a visit to the AGNS, a snack at a waterfront grill, and a romantic movie. I have to say that I enjoyed the day, and the movie. Yesterday Kerry and I blew off the afternoon and watched the movie Dune on TV. Now we have to find ourselved a way to see the 2000 TV mini-series version.

One of the things that I enjoy about my apartment is that when I occasionally open my ground-floor patio curtains, I get to watch the squirrels climb down the tall spruce trees and forage on the snow.

I'm working on Thursday in Saint John, NB, then attending the Genesis retreat on Friday and Saturday, and finally working again in Liverpool NS on Sunday-Tuesday. So, I am really going to try and get some schoolwork done in the next three days.

February 19, 2003

Recovery

I was at the arena until 1:30 AM Monday morning, and then back at 10AM for all day to tear down. There was at least 1 trailer, 1 10-ton and 2 5-ton loads of gear sent to the Tour Tech shop yesterday, and more than another 10-ton load of bulky items like truss and motors left in a corner at the Metro centre. Fun Fun.

When the IATSE crew finished at 7 PM on Monday, I walked to Kerry's house and found a wonderful Valentine's dinner. Kerry cooked a really nice pesto chicken and mushroom with linguine. She also made a wonderful dessert called Bananas Foster. When she was shopping for the meal, she also found Valentine's candy on sale at Sobey's, and she bought me a really obscene amount for some ridiculously low price.

Yesterday, I slept in until noon. After I finally got up, I picked Kerry up and went with her to Dal to check on some things at the library. Then we came to my house for a late lunch. We went grocery shopping and I really stocked up. I guess I'm a little more inclined to spend money now that I've earned some. We had a second Valentine's dinner, this time my treat at a great Greek place on Quinpool Road called the Athens Restaurant. Good food and reasonable prices. To finish the night off we went to see How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days. It was good. Much funnier than I expected, and overall quite enjoyable. Recommended.

February 10, 2003

Monday

In the last 24 hours, I've done a load of dishes, five loads of laundry, some general apartment tidying, some schoolwork, and eaten two meals of leftovers. Ah, the bachelor life.

This is how dry my building is: a set of double bed sheets, out of the washing machine around 2pm, hung over the shower curtain rod in the bathroom, is practically dry at 5 pm.

I've noticed that the phrase "like a river needs and ocean" is overused in popular song lyrics. Well, I know of at least two songs that use it, and it always struck me a poor simile.

A few items from last week that I haven't really mentioned yet: I worked last Wednesday at Tour Tech East, putting up a grid in their main studio for the movie that will be shooting there over the next couple of months. I think it's an NBC movie of the week or something. A day's pay is always good.

On Saturday I did a introductory workshop on operating sound systems at Faith Tabernacle. I think it went fairly well, and will have a definite positive impact on the sound quality at the church. The next step is to help them with upgrading their sound system. I'm not sure yet what my role will be in that process, if I'm involved at all. If your church is in Atlantic Canada and you would like to invest in training your technical volunteers, email me.

Finally, the last tidbit of news: I'll be working with Tour Tech on the setup for the main awards gala for the East Coast Music Awards at the Halifax Metro Centre. I'm on the audio setup crew, and I'm looking forward to it. It should be interesting. Confidential to Tommy: I was looking at the plot over at the shop last week while I was hanging with Roy and learning WYSIWYG. It's pretty cool, with lots of curved truss, four stages and that whole "in the round" concept. 53 motors for the lighting rig, plus the CBC set pieces and PA. All the TTE 2ks are going out (60) plus PALs and a mess of other stuff. They're motoring four dimmer racks up to the catwalk. The designer is a french guy, Jean Renaud. The programmer/ops are also french, two guys Norm and I forget the other one's name. They're using Hogs, and doing two stages each.

February 06, 2003

All you ever wanted to know...

...about Energia and Buran at Buran-Energia website apparently run by some Australian web designers who are fans of the Russian launch system and shuttle.

January 28, 2003

Halifax: week 3

Switch Linux - you've seen the Apple ads, now enjoy the linux alternative (you probably need to be a computer geek to find this amusing).

Another long spell with no blogging. Kerry is really putting me to shame. This week sees me finally start to feel settled here. I'm putting away odds and ends now, not big stuff. The cupboards are looking half-stocked. I've done several loads of laundry and cleaned the toilet. Yay.

Noteworthy items:

  • Last Saturday Kerry and I went on an outing with Genesis, the young adult group from Faith Tabernacle. We had a sleigh ride out to a cabin on a farm, followed by games and hot chocolate. Then we went back to the church and played blitz and four on the couch. A full, fun day.
  • Kerry came with me to see Star Trek Nemesis last week. Enjoyable, but I can certainly see the point of those who might critisize it. We also watched an old Robin Williams movie together on Friday night: Awakenings. It was very different and enjoyable.
  • Watched the SuperBowl after church on Sunday. The staff at Faith Tabernacle set up a video projector upstairs in their little balcony area and we saw the game on the "big screen". What's with those American's insistence on referring to the SuperBowl as the world championship?! I wasn't aware of any non-US teams eligible to compete...
  • Yesterday I took the day to go in to school with Kerry. I didn't do a whole lot of actual research work, but it felt good to be out of the house for a day. I investigated the library, and I found out what services I have available to me as a visiting student from Memorial.

I'm sure there were other significant events in the last week, but they escape me now. Another brief update to the wishlist today.

January 21, 2003

Wishlist update

Just quickly updated the wishlist today to reflect a few new wants and a few items received over the holidays. We now return you to your regular programming...

Boring or busy?

I haven't posted much in the last week and I'll leave it up to you to decide if my life here is boring or busy. All I know is that Kerry is putting me to shame. Her blog is much more interesting than mine lately.

More trivia: I have finally got the auto insurance straightened out, now it's on to more mundane things like AES and APEGN membership renewals, Columbia house CD orders, and allergy medication for the spring.

I am getting down to schoolwork, just slowly. Last week felt like a very worthwhile investment in terms of getting to know people in the local production industry.

January 16, 2003

Party Time

Every year around this time Tour Tech East has a trade show and party. It's partially a schmooze-fest, and partially and AIDS fundraiser, and local techs volunteer for the setup at the Tour Tech studios. That works out great for me, since I get to volunteer and meet many of the local production folks. I also spent most of Monday at the Christie Lites shop chatting with Alfred and brushing up on the GrandMA Lite. Along more mundane lines, I'm also finalizing my auto insurance, cancelling my Newfoundland driver's license, plates, and doing a little housecleaning.

In other news, I finally posted the blog entries for Dec 21-24, that I wrote on my laptop over Christmas:

January 12, 2003

For widest possible distribution

September 11 Redux by the Guerilla News Network. "Either we will learn to bury the animosities of our ethnocentric, militant traditions ... or we will sustain this cycle of violence and revenge until humanity is returned to the status of primitivity." (hi-res quicktime movie, lo-res version available)

January 10, 2003

Tales from Apt 102

I think the person or family living above me in 202E is obsessive-compulsive. I'm sure I've heard the vacuum 4 out of the 6 days that I've been here. I don't even have a vacuum yet, for crying out loud.

Just for kicks I thought I'd write a little about my new home. The initial disappointment is wearing off (it was mostly related to the lumpy mattress I bought second-hand from the super anyway). The place really is kindof nice, in an economy class sort of way. I'm already appreciating the dishwasher, even if it is a basic model. The walls will be sparse for a while until Kerry helps me put up some of my posters and maps. When I earn some money I may even indulge in a bookself. Being on the ground floor has disadvantages, such as having to keep the patio curtain closed most of the time, but I won't have to worry about neighbors below me complaining when I finally get my bass amp and stereo back from Kerry's place.

Deja Vu

Guess when this was written:

The virus, which generally arrives as an email attachment, can infect any PC running Microsoft's Windows operating system. Moreover, computers that haven't been updated in the last two years with the patch for an old Windows problem could be infected automatically, without the user doing anything but viewing the email message. Computers running the Macintosh operating system and Linux are not affected.
It was written today in CNet's article on the new Livra virus, but it could have been any number of virus notices for the last four or five years.

In other news, this morning I had my car inspected, so now my trusty Honda Civic is fully Nova Scotian, new plates, registration and all.

January 08, 2003

My trip to Halifax

Thanks to Pastor Dean and Kelly for putting us up for the night on our way here. The last week or two have been predictably interesting. Pastor Gary had a few nice sentences to say when I was given the usual parting gift from Bethesda. Thanks as well to Jon Anderson and everybody who signed the card that he gave me on New Year's Eve. I'll miss you all.

Kerry and I left St. John's on New Year's Day and drove to Norris Arm South. The highway was snow-covered for at least the first half, so average speeds were around 70 km/h. Leaving Norris Arm is always sad for Kerry's grandparents. We considered getting up early on Thursday the 2nd and trying to catch a half day of skiing at Marble but I decided that it would be too tiring. We stopped in Springdale and visiting my grandmother, which was really nice. When we arrived in Corner Brook, Kerry and I passed the evening with dinner at Jungle Jim's and a movie (Two Weeks Notice was entertaining at the time, but in hindsight it's fairly fluffy).

Getting up early on the morning of the 3rd we tried our best not to wake up the four girls (sorry Dean and Kelly!). The ferry ride wasn't too bad, but I did get a little motion sick, and my travel medicine was buried in my car. We arrived in North Sydney earlier than I expected though, and the roads to Halifax were in good condition, so we made great time. We arrived at 9:30 PM and I went straight to my apartment. The landlords told us there was a snow storm in the forecast, so Kerry helped me unload the car right away. Saturday turned out to be not too bad, but I was still glad to have it done.

We got groceries on Friday night, and went to Wal-Mart on Saturday afternoon. We had a nice visit with Mark, Pauline, Glen and their parents Saturday evening. Sunday morning we went to the City Church. It was ok, but we still have a lot of church shopping to do (kinda sounds bad when I put it that way, doesn't it?). Sunday evening Kerry and I watched the World Junior Hockey championship on TV here at my place.

Kerry worked on her take-home exam for the last three days, which usually meant I was up late to take her home. Consequently, I haven't yet gotten into the morning routine that I'd like to start, but at least I'm staying rested. The apartment is starting to get sorted, slowly. I have to take care of my car registration, permit, and insurance soon.

I think that's all for now. Friends, family, feel free to call from whenever you like. To recap, my new address is: 2E Veronica Dr, Apt 102, Halifax, B3N 3A3, (902)444-2647. I'll get around to updating some of the other pages on the site soon (the resume should be first, I imagine).

January 04, 2003

Home again, home again

It's not much, but it's mine. I've arrived in Halifax and now I have to start trying to make this place into a home. The one bedroom apartment is spacious with lots of storage and a dishwasher, but it's very plain looking right now.

I have some blog entries on my laptop and I'll probably want to write a little about the trip. For now, though, I'll just mentioned my new phone number for friends and family that are listening: (902)444-2647

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.

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

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 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!

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...

November 26, 2002

A pleasant end to a productive day

Kerry, I'm sorry that our phone conversation wasn't as cheerful as it should have been. I hope you have a great night's sleep. I love you.

After a productive day's school work, I took the late evening to enjoy Die Another Day, which - I'm happy to say - does justice to the Bond tradition.

On the way home, I tuned in to a little of After Hours, to round out the evening. I was treated to a great track by Mark Isham. I hadn't heard of him before, but he is apparently a quite successful film composer in addition to being a jazz trumpeter. I think I'll have to add Miles Remembered: The Silent Way Project to my wish list.

November 24, 2002

Pictures and Moving Pictures

Friday night Christiane and Richard invited me and Laura-Dawn to their house. We watched Insomnia. Despite the fair amount of vulgar language, I thought the movie was good. Intriguing and not too shallow.

Kerry Walker Standing in front of the Arts and Admin building on the campus of Dalhousie University

Saturday I did a little browsing for Christmas gifts. While I was out I had my latest roll of pictures developed. Some nice shots of YC and me jumping on the cousins' trampoline in my suit. As well, some nice pictures of my visit to Halifax in October, including the picture of Kerry at Dalhousie that I've included here. I'm particularly fond on that one.

November 22, 2002

Guilty as Charged

Erin Bursey accused me of being "the kind of person that wears out a new song" when I first heard the Luna Halo CD last Friday. At the time I denied it, but now I have to confess, you were right Erin. I can't stop listening to Wait For You. I'll get sick of it in a while, I guess, but until then...

The Singularity

I've heard of the singularity before, but I never really paid attention until today. It started with this story on slashdot, which had several interesting comments 1 2 3. This, in turn, leads to me some new additions to my wishlist.

In more mundane news, I've decided to try shave every second day, but not trying to shave as close as possible, instead of shaving really well every third day. I expect this new game to yield many minutes of excitement.

...and on the work front: in my inbox this morning a link to Volker Holtmeyer's thesis translated into english. He was apparently working on line array modelling with the company that produces Ulysses, an acoustics modelling program. While this thesis doesn't really overlap any of my research, it does give a very readable and current overview of state-of-the-art industrial use of line array technology.

November 21, 2002

Blah

I'm not sure what's wrong with me, but I don't really want to post anything today. For posterity...

Yesterday I transferred the majority of my RRSP to an AGF mutual fund managed by Primerica. I can't help thinking that Nortel is going to rebound, but I'm really not managing my investment carefully enough, so time to put the responsibility in somebody else's hand. Perhaps if I have a little disposable income in the new year I'll take another stab at self-directed investing. Yeah, that's what I'll tell myself.

I discovered Luna Halo when Michael Burton brought a CD to FNL last Friday and it was playing afterwards during the social time. I must say, I'm really enjoying the Shimmer album. It's a little tough to choose what to link to since there seem to be about 5 semi-official web sites. I think lunahalo.com is the most recent, though.

I also updated my wish list again today. Just adding a few small things as I think of them.

November 17, 2002

Sorry

I have been posting this week (as you can see below) but blogger is still having trouble connecting to my ftp server, so I only succeed in publishing my blog once in a while.

November 14, 2002

Wish list

Just as a service to friends and family who from time to time wish to buy me gifts, I am adding a wish list to the site. I'll try to keep it up to date, and of course, I never want anybody to feel obligated to give gifts, or use the wish list. I provide it merely as a convenience and source of ideas. I'll probably use it for myself as well, to keep track of things I'd like but I'm not planning to buy right away.

November 09, 2002

Pictures from Qatar

A collegue of my mother posted some pictures from Qatar in some MSN photo albums for anybody interested:

I would have preferred a photo album service that made it easier to download the pictures, but hey... beggars, choosers and all that.

November 07, 2002

Updating is becoming annoying

Blogger has been mostly trouble for me these past few weeks. Every time I post something I have to publish half a dozen times before blogger's server can successfully connect to my FTP server at the university. One of these days I'll be all l33t and c001 and have my own weblog software and webserver running on my own computer, but for now I'll try to keep motivated enough to post with blogger.

On a better note, Kerry is having a great time in Orlando. I had a nice long chat on Tuesday. The conference is over today and she'll be back in Halifax tomorrow. Kerry, I hope catching up with schoolwork isn't too stressful!

Mom and dad emailed some more pictures, of dad relaxing on the apartment balcony as well as of their camping and snorkling trip last weekend.

Pastor Mark asked me to provide lighting for the 3:16 anniversary service on Monday Nov 18. That should be fun.

Now back to working on my paper presentation for NECEC 2002.

November 04, 2002

Monday, 2002-11-04

My long lost bag of cables has been found! Jon and Mark, you will get your guitar stands and pedals asap. Now if I could only track down that drum stool...

My parents said that I could take whatever I wanted from the kitchen, since most of it will be stored for the next three years anyway. That's going to be a big help to me in January, to not have to worry about pots, dishes and small kitchen appliances. I think I'll extend their offer to include towels and some other odds and ends, too.

On the home front, Uncle Geoff and his family are settling in. An amazing number of packing boxes have disappeared, yet a scary number remain. My cousins were registered for school today and uncle Geoff is over at the church today setting up his office.

I was called to sub for Wade Tetford last night at church. I hadn't played bass since well before YC, so even though one service was not really enough to satisfy my craving, it was quite fun.

Tonight I'm going to the library to pick up a few more papers for my research and thesis. Progress is slowly picking up, though I wish I had done more reading a few months ago. Not that I have so much to do now, but it would have been good to have read earlier some of the things I'm reading now.

There was one other interesting thing that happened this weekend: I saw the dress rehearsal of the SK8 with Elvis Stjoko tour kickoff show at Mile One Stadium. Tommy called me down to see if I could get in to see the lighting rig, and boy was it worthwhile. Production was by Fourth Phase, although I think the gear came from their Toronto location, which I heard they acquired by buying Westsun. The rigging was really nice and neat, and that was impressive in itself, but the rig was even more impressive. Four rectangles above the ice, each facing a different side of the bowl, each with a white cyc in the middle and tilted up so that the cyc faced the audience. There was a little circle with a cyc over the DJ at one end of the arena. There were something like 88 Studio Colors and 20 or more Mac2000s. Most were scattered around the truss, but there were pairs of Studios and Macs at intervals on both sides of the ice. I didn't get close enough to ID the lights on the circle truss, but there were also 8 racks of ACLs with scrollers on the sides of the ice surface. All in all, a very nice rig, and the LD put it to very good use. He didn't overuse anything, but had a very tasteful cuelist programmed. With all those wash lights, he could entirely cover the ice surface with a grid of lights (for cool effects like each row in the grid changing color to give the effect of a lit dance floor) and still have all of the 2ks left to blast the audience with a nice rotating gobo/prism look. Nice to see some different gear once in a while...

November 01, 2002

A picture is worth a thousand words

...and I don't have a digital camera to grab some quick pics of the scene here today. The moving truck finally arrived and my uncle and his family are trying to unload a house full of stuff in this already (still) mostly full house. I'm going to have to go to school to work or something for the next few days, but I feel sorry for them trying to unpack all of their stuff and get our stuff out of their way.

On the other side of the coin, I had a great time making banana pancakes this morning. Amy and Emily helped.

Kerry should be enjoying her first day in Orlando right now, relaxing in 25 C weather. I miss you, Kerry.

October 30, 2002

Life on the Persian Gulf

My mom writes:

We attended the Bob Fitts Christian concert last night. I didn't know that he wrote "Blessed be the Lord God Almighty". Do you know any of his other music? There were close to a thousand people there and it was really fantastic. [...] We are going with Melvin Matthew and a few teachers from the college for an overnight camping trip in the desert on Thursday. The location is right on the Arabian Gulf so we hope to do snorkling and fishing too. Of course, I have to fit schoolwork in so I will make up my exam tonight for Sunday. Dad and I are going golfing after school with Max and May Keats. It will be my first time ever. Dad also made his decision on a new computer and we should be able to pick it up tomorrow...
Good to know that they are surviving the hardship of moving away from home.

October 28, 2002

Home again, Home again, Jiggity-Jig

I'm back at home in my favorite chair, and ready to do schoolwork. Unfortunately, I have to check my email, pay my cell bill, make my bed, unpack and do laundry. Good intentions, at least...

Kerry and I had a nice day yesterday, attending church and taking Mark and Pauline out to lunch. We went to a nice Mexican place on Spring Garden.

I always enjoy flying in to St. John's in the daytime, because the usual approach takes you right over the city. I still haven't gotten tired of aerial views, and I don't know if I will anytime soon. I got a window seat, so I was able to fully enjoy the view of Red Cliff, by Torbay, on the final approach to the airport. If I had a digital camera, I would have some lovely pictures to post.

Looks like Uncle Geoff will be a day late, since the TCH is closed on the west coast because of the winds and 15 cm snowfall. As well, the gulf ferries were not running yesterday, also because of the wind.

Off now to check the email... by the way, if you were a drummer at YC and happen to have a Musicstop drum stool, or a Musicstop cymbal, please let me know...

October 26, 2002

A weekend in Halifax

Earlier I alluded to the fact the I am currently in Halifax. I have had a wonderful weekend visiting Kerry. I visited her lab at Dalhousie Univeristy and attempted to do a little schoolwork on Thursday and Friday. Thursday evening we went to dinner at Il Mercato with Dr. Phillips and Susan Hall. On Friday I rented a car from Enterprise, taking advantage of their surprisingly affordable weekend special. A Hyndai Accent is no great shakes but for $9.99/day I'm not complaining.

We went to see My Big Fat Greek Wedding at the Bayers Lake Studio18 cinemas Friday night, making good use of two movie passes we got months ago at Fog City in St. John's. We both enjoyed the movie very much. Today we took advantage of the car to stock up on heavy grocery items as well as go shopping at the Mic Mac Mall in Dartmouth. Kerry got a swimsuit for her trip to Orlando next week, as well as several amazing deals on end-of-summer sale items. I read two full papers while we were at the mall, which was astonishing as well. All in all a good day. I'm not sitting in Kerry's lab again, while Kerry does a little homework. We will hopefully top the night off by renting a movie.

Tomorrow we'll go to church, and after take Mark and Pauline out to lunch. If the weather cooperates we might take a Sunday afternoon Drive to the Annapolis Valley, or failing that, perhaps Mahone Bay. Monday at lunchtime I'll be on my way back to Newfoundland.

I mentioned that Kerry is going to Orlando next week. She's actually going to a Neuroscience convention to present the results of the experiments she worked on for the past few summers as a research assistant at Memorial.

October 24, 2002

May I recommend...

For fine Greek cuisine in Halifax, try Opa! I'm visiting Kerry in Halifax, and for dinner last night that's where we went, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. Great food and a very nice atmosphere.

October 18, 2002

Blogger trouble

I didn't realize that my posts have been published anyway after a delay. Oh well, at least it doesn't look like I've been gone for three weeks.

I know lots of the secular crew at YC really like Paul Oakley's more straight ahead rock-n-roll sound, but I have to say that I am really enjoying Phatfish's Heavenbound album. Great job, Nath, Lou, Luke, Mic and Alan (if you ever read this). Be sure to let me know when you release your next album. And I was serious about coming over to visit. It may not be soon, but sometime...

October 16, 2002

YC is here and gone...

I'm finally caught up with sleep after the weekend of YC. I still have a mess in my room, and laundry that needs to be done, and rental equipment that needs to be returned, but things are coming along.

The priority right now is writing a paper for NECEC. I have a bug in my most recent simulations, so I need to track that down today and get some sensible results so that I can include them in the paper.

I have been sparse with the blog updates lately for a combination of reasons: blogger.com seems to have lots of Error 503: Unable to load template file problems recently, and of course last week I was incredibly busy preparing for YC, and then I was out of town all weekend. Hopefully life will settle down, and I'll also get some good pics of the weekend to post too...

October 07, 2002

Living on my own

My dad's plane for Qatar (via Halifax and London) left about 5 minutes ago, so I guess I'm officially on my own. Woohoo, independent living, here I come...

October 01, 2002

String Quartet goodness

Wierdest thing. Today I was in the Village mall getting a few odds and ends, and in centre court there was a string quartet of Memorial University music school professors playing. Very cool, but odd!

Other updates from the past week

I didn't get around to posting these, but 9:25 a week ago today, the Honda Civic officially became mine. Fully paid and insured and in my name only. Yay.

Summer is over, Fall is here. I started wearing wool socks again yesterday. 'Nuff said.

Note that I wrote this Oct 1, but couldn't publish it because of blogger.com trouble.

Happy Birthday to me

Yes, I'm old. Exactly how old you'll have to find out for yourself. Thanks to Kerry and Dad and Mom for the wonderful gifts and cards.

I hardly know what to do with myself this morning. I'm actually doing schoolwork. Unbelievable.

September 30, 2002

On IRC this morning

cwhitt: I can't wait for YC, but it's really hurting my schedule right now
Kerry: Yeah, the weekend is great, but it's the months of free slave labor leading up to it that hurt.

Hi, I'm a technical ministries consultant

That's what I'd like to be able to say at some point in the future. I really would like to apply all that I have learned in audio, lighting, video, and computers to improving the use of media and technology in churches. Yesterday was a small step towards that. Victory Christian Centre hired me for a short consultation on their sound system.

I'd like to thank Steve Clarke and Victory for hiring me. I hope that they feel I was worth their money. I really appreciate that Steve recognized that the value I provide him is not just my time, but also all the time and effort that went into learning what I know. I'm afraid that will be an uncommon experience among churches that want to spend the minimum possible to eliminate technical complaints. I'm all for good stewardship, but striving for technical excellence is not equivalent to minimum effort to eliminate technical complaints.

So anyway, thanks again to Steve and Victory for offering to pay me more than I would have asked for on my first paid consulting job.

September 28, 2002

Kerry is smart

I'm really proud of Kerry. Yesterday she was awarded a scholarship. I'll probably get the details wrong but it is something like the most promising new research in the Dalhousie Psych department or something. The Hebb Award. Apparently it's a big deal to win this. Congratulations, Kerry!

Hello from the Middle East

Mom sent me an email from Qatar for the first time today. Seems like things over there are going very well, so I'm happy for my parents.

12 days to YC!

Get those last minute registrations in! As of yesterday I think there were 1843 registered, which is about 12 away from our total 2001 registration. I think we're going to approach 2000 attendees this year, and maybe more. The Gander Community Centre can only hold a little more than 2000, so if you're registering on site, get there early!

The last few days have been totally absorbed with YC preparations. Despite a few technical glitches, I'm feeling very excited about this year! My area, technical production is shaping up well. Our guest speakers and musical lineup is excellent! This YC is going to be better than ever, so if you can be there, watching the webcast at ycnewfoundland.org is the next best thing.

Interesting side note: the YC committee was recently contacted by the principal of a Christian high school in the US. Apparently this man wants to come to YC and volunteer. I don't know if there is a connection with Gander hosting Americans stranded on 2001-Sept-11, but whatever the reason, I think it's pretty cool that this guy wants to help!

Thesis? What thesis?

Thesis work has been at a crawl in the last week, I hate to admit. Not a standstill, but next door. The unexpected YC troubles on Thursday postponed my 'get back to schoolwork' date until today, but I think I do have a little room to put YC prep on the back burner for the next few days. Last Wednesday I also took a day to help my sister and brother-in-law paint their basement to have it ready to rent on Oct 1...

Oh, yeah, I'm getting old...

...speaking of Oct 1. 26 years. Sheesh. This past year has evaporated. I can't believe 26 is only 3 days away. At least I'll get some gifts. Kerry's already arrived in the mail and I can't wait to open it!

September 17, 2002

Ain't technology great? My Mom

My Mom just called from Doha, Qatar, where it is approximately 7:15 PM (I think) to say that she arrived safely and had a good trip. She hadn't even taken her shoes off after arriving from the airport.

September 16, 2002

Well, YC is getting

Well, YC is getting closer, time is getting short on my research and thesis, and my mother leaves for Qatar today. I intend to start updating this a little more regularly just in case mom remembers how to find my website.

While I'm at it, if anybody out there knows of a cheap source for plexiglass, I'll be forever in your debt.

I had a great trip to Halifax last week. Kerry's apartment is very nice, and I thoroughly enjoyed the Halifax International Air Show. Thanks to Kerry for coming with me on our last full day together.

I also highly recommend the Argentia ferry route for communting to St. John's from the North American mainland. I'll gladly pay an extra $60 to swap a 10 hour day of driving for lounging, watching four movies and doing a bit of schoolwork on my laptop.

August 24, 2002

Here's to flat-rate long distance

I guess Kerry taking a week in Norris Arm with her grandparents is like a trial run for this fall when she'll be in Halifax and I'll be in St. John's. She borrowed my laptop and is getting on the net by dialing in to the university modem pool long-distance. That's where the flat-rate long distance comes in.

Anyway, tonight was a fun diversion. She learned how to use IRC (using the Chatzilla client included in mozilla) and then I helped her update her blog over IRC.

August 23, 2002

More news on the home front

I meant to post this yesterday, but the time just flies...

My mom heard from the school board yesterday morning that she has been granted her leave. The move to Qatar is finalized. I can't wait to go visit. The college over there is providing just about everything my parents need, including a 3 bedroom condo, so all I have to do is save up some money, and I'll finally get to do that Mediterranean tour while I'm in the neighborhood. Assuming Kerry wants to go as well...

It's actually a really good opportunity for my mother, but a crossroads for my family. My sister is just moving home and this week is the last week we'll all be together. Next week Christiane is moving into her new house. In three or four weeks mom leaves for the middle east. In two or three months dad will join her and I'll get moving to Halifax.

August 19, 2002

Busy week

Wow, I don't believe it's been five days since I posted. A few days of schoolwork, then went out with some friends from Chi Alpha on Friday. Slept in Saturday and helped Kerry get some odds and ends wrapped up before she leaves. Friday was Kerry's last day at work, Saturday night we played a last game of Risk 2210, and yesterday she went home to Norris Arm South for a week. After Kerry left yesterday I went to the drive in service at Bethesda, and then went for a walk and some food with Glen, Adele and Tonya. Today I slept in again, and stayed around the house doing little bits of things related to YC, school, preparing to move and general house-cleaning.

Yesterday, several people asked about Kerry and our plans for the fall. She's starting her M.Sc. at Dal in a few weeks. I'll be driving her to Halifax and helping her move in to her apartment. I'll be in St. John's for Sept and Oct. I hope that by the time my thesis draft is finished I'll have a job ready and I'll head to Halifax myself.

August 14, 2002

Life update

Looking over the last few weeks posts I see that my website is devolving into a op-ed column. I promise for my two faithful readers that I'll move the political stuff back to the soapbox where it belongs soon. So, in real life, in the last few weeks I've seen my sister get accepted to med school, my parents buy a house and a second vehicle and then get offered a job in Qatar. Kerry is finishing work this week, and packing to move to Nova Scotia. Me, I'm left to watch the house while my parents are gone to Missouri to help my sister move back here.

The research is progressing slowly but surely.

I'm planning to take a 10 day break to help Kerry move at the end of the month. On Wednesday the 28th we leave St. John's with the Uhaul trailer, stopping overnight in Norris Arm and Corner Brook. We take the 0900 ferry crossing on Friday the 30th and arrive in Halifax about 1900 that evening. Ideally, we'll have everything unloaded that night. Counting a few days to unpack and settle in, we should have at least 3 or 4 days left over to relax a little, see the city, and maybe do some job hunting or apartment hunting myself. I am thinking of bringing a few papers to read, but you know how that usually goes...

August 08, 2002

Change is in the wind

It's been a busy month since my sister was accepted to med school. I didn't post much about it last week, but my parents found a bought a house for my sister last week, on the same day that they bought a 1993 Pathfinder. My parents and my brother are leaving tomorrow in the Pathfinder to tow a Uhaul trailer to Missouri, pack up my sister's belongings and drive back in time for Med School orientation on the 21st. There is some other fun stuff going to too, with various family members applying for new jobs and contemplating changes. I'll wait until some of that stuff develops more fully before reporting here...

Along similar lines, I reserved space for Kerry and me to cross the ferry to Nova Scotia on Aug 30. I'll stay in Halifax for a week or so to help her settle in and get a feel for the city. If things are moving along especially well, I may even scout for apartments and jobs myself. Kerry only has three weeks left as a Newfoundland resident. I'll be sulking around here for at least another month or two trying to pick up the pace on my thesis draft.

August 02, 2002

On a non-political note...

I'm allergic to grass. So says the result of my allergy test earlier this week. Fortunately, I don't seem to have multiple allergies, so there is hope that after a few years of immunotherapy, including allergy injections, I may be 'cured'.

I've noticed that my blogging has more closely resembled what my soapbox used to be lately. I'll have to make a bit more effort to stay up to date, and keep the op-ed pieces for the soapbox.

July 23, 2002

Blogging Blues

It's easy to let the blogging slide when you've got a lot of things going on. It would be a little more fun keeping up with it if I had a digital camera, or at least some more cool graphs from my research to post. Oh well.

Apartment-hunting Blues

Kerry had a disappointing setback with her moving plans yesterday. She had a great apartment lined up and in the bag (so we thought) but because of various problems associated with apartment hunting long distance, the apartment was rented to somebody else before she could let the landlord know about her decision. Now we're back to square one, so if you know of any apartment leads in Halifax, let me know. We would love to know about any affordable 1-bedroom or bachelor apartments near Dal. We would appreciate being hooked up with anybody in the metro area who could offer advice or recommendations. Kerry is a clean, quiet, non-smoking, non-drinking, graduate student with no pets - an ideal tenant. She only needs basic appliances (fridge, stove, laundry), but no furnishings, parking or extras like cable are required. If emailing me isn't quick enough for you, call my cell at (709)682-7414 anytime and leave a message.

July 18, 2002

Movie madness

Crocodile Hunter was an enjoyable break on Tuesday, and last night was a good game of Risk 2210. This morning I ran some very long calculations in MATLAB, and while that was running I added IMdB links to all the movies on my movies page. It was surprisingly easy with a fast network connection and a good text editor. I also found out that there are sequels planned to X-Men, Shrek, Indiana Jones, in addition to the sequels that I was already aware of: LoTR, Star wars, the Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions.

Last evening my dad had a mini-family reunion: all 5 of his brothers and sisters are visiting my grandfather on the occasion of his 80th birthday, and we all went out to dinner. I have almost finished another 40-exposure roll of film, so maybe I'll post some pictures again soon.

Tonight is going to be a full evening as well, so I've got to make the most of the school day. My mother is hosting an open house for the aforementioned 80th birthday party, which Kerry and I'll will drop in on in the late afternoon. Early this evening, Lynette Winsor is have some people over for a barbeque.

July 16, 2002

A little music

I did bring a few CDs to school to put on my computer here so I'd have some tunes to work to. Somehow I now have 56 albums on this computer. I guess I could probably take that list and put it on my 'favorite music' webpage. Maybe later.

I just ripped 2 albums that I recorded myself, too. One was the demo I did in 2000 for RDP, a local Christian band, and the other was a live recording of a concert at my church. Just after YC 2000, Capstone was around town and we did a spur of the moment concert. Just for kicks, I recorded it, and it turned out surprisingly well. It's interesting listening to that stuff after a few years.

Nothing much new

Just trying to keep productive at school, and stay rested otherwise.

July 12, 2002

Congratulations, Christiane!

My sister just received the call this afternoon: she's been accepted into Med School, here at Memorial.

I'm really happy for her, and I know she was really hoping for this. Med school starts around 21 August, so I guess she's going to have to get packed to move back to St. John's real soon.

July 11, 2002

Education can be humbling

A graph out speaker array model output

Well, at least I learned something today. The sad part is that I had to do it by discovering that I didn't understand something as well as I thought I did. The suspicion I alluded to earlier was right: the model I've been using to simulate loudspeaker arrays has had an error in it since the beginning. I'm so embarassed I'm not going to say what the error was, but it's fixed now. This graph proves that the results are right, or at least that they match previously published results. Double yay!

This still doesn't mean it's correct

symmetrical 3d graph

Yay! As you can see, I found the cause of the asymmetry in my research results that I talked about yesterday. This doesn't mean that the graph shown here is actually the correct result, but at least it's symmetrical when it should be. It'll still take me some careful thought and maybe a few pencil sketches of some array geometries to convince myself that what I have now is actually correct.

July 10, 2002

Grrr

Ok, here's the problem. Does this look symmetrical to you?

A simple three dimensional graph

If so, try this reverse angle view of the same graph:

A reverse angle of the preceeding graph

This side view of the graph clearly shows that one side is curve up, the other is curve down. Now to find out why, and where I made my sign error...

Another angle showing the assymetry of the preceeding graph

Brain exercise is good for you

A complicated three dimensional graph This graph is proof that I'm working my research, but I'm not even going to try to explain it. It's enough to say that it should be symmetrical, but it isn't. I was really proud of myself for vectorizing my MATLAB code, but now I'm learning that I find it hard to debug vectorized code. Specifically, I find it very hard to visualize the physical signifance of intermediate variables. Especially when those intermediate variables are large matrices. Which way is up? Should it be symmetrical or antisymmetrical along that axis?

Perhaps my code isn't as well written as I'd like to think, or maybe I just don't understand my problem well enough. All I know is the afternoon has flown by and now my brain hurts.

blogChalking

Someday soon I'll have to go through the trouble of blogChalking my site. On second thought, perhaps I should hold off until after I finish my degree and get a job (which will likely be in Halifax).

July 09, 2002

I gotta start real backups...

Yeah, I'm a computer engineer and I should know better. I have two hard drives in my computer and I keep a duplicate copy of all my files on the older, smaller of the two drives. I've just not wanted to spend the money on a CD burner so I could make proper backups.

Well, last night while I was trying to update those duplicate files and remove some redundant or out of date files, I accidentally deleted the only current copy of my music folder (a gig or two of MP3s). It would have only taken a few hours to rip them all from the original CDs again, but it was still a stupid operator error.

Of course, being a minor cheapskate, I didn't want to fork out $30 or more for a shareware file recovery program, so I went hunting a found Drive Rescue, a freeware undelete package for win32. It's not that stable, but it saved my pride, and the hassle of re-encoding a couple gigs of music. Lesson learned and all that... I'm saving my pennies for that nice CDRW/DVD combo drive soon!

July 04, 2002

Learn something new everyday...

Since I've started this weblog, and since my girlfriend makes fun of me for spending so much time on the net, I've been thinking of ways to make my time spent on line more clearly useful. I mean, I think it's useful, it's just not obvious to others that it is.

So, my proposed solution is a game: everyday think of some useful, but perhaps obscure thing that you don't know, and find the answer online.

Up until now, I haven't often done this intentionally. Usually I just follow my nose and read whatever I find that's interesting, starting for a few familiar starting points like slashdot or dmoz. I've also started reading a few other weblogs lately that I find clue me in to some interesting online tidbits.

This all fits in to my pet theory of the internet as the new form of encyclopedia. Not very accurate, I know, but maybe a useful metaphor for some. The post yesterday about surviving bear attacks is my first entry in the game. It occurred to me when Kerry and I saw the bear by the road on Saturday how often I say to myself "I'd like to know that - I should look it up online".

Today's entry: Everything you ever wanted to know about RAID. Jon A, are you listening? I actually already knew a fair bit of that from some of my undergrad computer engineering courses, but it was a good refresher. The author is really thorough, so readers that just want the conclusions can look at the summary table.

If you happen to have a weblog and want to partake in my little game, email me and I'll mention your site here. More likely than not I'll also follow your progress and then I'll be learning two things everyday.

For now, it's back to (school-)work...

July 03, 2002

Happy (belated) Canada Day

A while since my last update. The wedding was very nice. On the way back to St. John's we saw a bald Eagle, a black bear and a moose along the highway. If I had a digital camera I would probably be able to post some cool, blurry, through-the-car-window pics, but I don't so I can't.

All weekend there was a series of concerts for Canada Day. Tommy Dunphy did the lighting design and programming and I hung out with him and got to see most of the shows, which was fun. I also worked for a couple of hours yesterday on the Tragically Hip concert at Mile One Stadium. I could have stayed for the show, but I left and took Kerry to see Minority Report instead. I very much enjoyed the movie.

June 27, 2002

Weather radar

I'm driving 400km to Lewisporte this afternoon for a friend's wedding. The forecast calls for rain today, so I put together a quick page with the radar images for Newfoundland. Then I realized that the Environment Canada website provides an Eastern Canada composite image in addition to the individual stations.

I'll be back from the wedding Saturday evening. Congratulations Kirk and Ann-Marie!

June 26, 2002

8 down, 2192 to go...

The first 8 registrations for YC2002 in Gander were received this week. This came up at the regular committee meeting last night. The early registration deadline is still a month away, so I think there should be a prize for those folks.

I referred to YC in an earlier entry. I guess I didn't mention that I've been on the committee from the start, so I'm pretty involved with the organization of this event. I think technically I shouldn't say anything about our meeting, but I don't think I'll get in trouble for this one.

By the way, we haven't yet decided what the sell-out number will be, but it will definitely be between 2000 and 2400, probably closer to 2000 (I just picked 2200 for my title arbitrarily). The Gander Community Centre is pretty small so it's going to be packed. If you're out there and thinking of going, I would recommend that you try your best to be registered by the second deadline, at the latest. You wouldn't want to be disappointed...

While I'm on the topic of YC, here's a request for all (three of) my regular readers: if you or anybody you know in Eastern Newfoundland has a Laney VC30, Trace Elliot Mesa Boogie, Fender Hotrod, or Vox AC30 all-tube electric guitar amp, please email me.

June 25, 2002

Website updates

I have added a small page on my research. Along with this I've also freshened the template of the site and a few other minor cleanup things.

Pictures from the CERL Hike

Thanks to Cheng Li and Reza, the CERL website now has pictures of the hike that I missed on Saturday. I knew I would regret not being able to go...

June 24, 2002

Weekend update

On Friday I did sound for the AYM end-of-school park party for the high school crowd. Jon Anderson did most of the organization and we took Bethesda's portable PA. I was pleasantly surprised with the amphitheatre in Bowring Park, Prince Edward Plaza. There seemed to be some resonances in the 300 Hz region, but other than that fairly well behaved for sound. I thought that the Bethesda portable system performed really well in the low end, too.

Saturday morning I was supposed to go on a light hike on the North Head Trail around Signal Hill with the folks from my lab - CERL - but I wasn't up to it because of a slightly sore back and allergy symptoms that I blame on Friday night's outdoor work.

Yesterday we had the first of the farewell events for the youth pastor at Bethesda. There were a few presentations at the end of the PM service, then there was a social time and BBQ at Sunshine Camp. It was really great to have so many people from the church hanging out together in one spot. It was sad that it had to be on the occasion of Pastor Dean and Kelly's resignation. You know that we will all miss you, Pastor Dean. Pics to follow later - I have 29 of 40 shots taken now, so I'll get to develop that roll soon.

June 18, 2002

Minor Updates

I added PDF and Microsoft Word versions of my resume. I also updated my main bass page to have current info and to match the new site look. Yay. Also have found a link to pictures of my custom 6-string fretless bass at the website of the shop that finished it for me. I have a bunch of my own pictures of that bass that I hope to post here as well, shortly.

June 17, 2002

Dad's Retirement Party

Saturday evening my parents hosted a party for 40-50 of their friends from church and work, in celebration of my dad's approaching retirement. The party was a blast, and the fruit salad was great. Thanks for the help Kerry. If I had a digital camera I would have already posted some pics, but alas, I have 20+ exposures left on the APS roll in my camera, so it'll be a while...

June 14, 2002

more randomness...

Just to be complete, while I said a few days ago that MATLAB likes their new random number generator, some people take issue with lagged Fibonacci generators and their ilk. Which is understandable. And the answer is 42.

June 13, 2002

Sight-seeing

For the raving masses clamouring for a pic of my stunning girlfriend, here is a picture we took last fall. Yeah, that's me with the receeding hairline. Yeah, that's the city we live in with the beautiful ocean view. Yeah, I scored a hot girl. Aren't you jealous?

June 11, 2002

...and just in case you were wondering

MATLAB uses a combination of a lagged Fibonacci generator with a shift register random number generator. Apparently, they think it's pretty good.

Randomness...

Not simply a stream of simply unconnected posts in a generic weblog, but an investigation into the quality of the pseudo-random number generator in MATLAB. Donald Knuths's Seminumerical Algorithms devotes 170 pages to PRNs , and apparently I should "stop reading right now, run to the nearest bookstore, and buy it." Oh, and I'm going to smarten up and start using headlines for my posts.

June 10, 2002

So the great bookmark cleanup

So the great bookmark cleanup is done, and now I have only 1300 or so badly categorized bookmarks. Back to schoolwork...

In cleaning up my bookmarks,

In cleaning up my bookmarks, I found Dr. Dennis Phillip's webpage. He is a Neuroscience researcher at Dalhousie University in Halifax, NS. My girlfriend Kerry is going to start her MSc under his supervision this September.

I'm not the only one

I'm not the only one who accumulates tons of bookmarks. Over the weekend I did clean up and bring the total down to 1450, and I still haven't trimmed all the dead or boring links yet.

Finally updated my resume yesterday.

Finally updated my resume yesterday. Now to start the serious job hunting...

Enoch 8, the worship band from Master's College and Seminary was at my church yesterday morning. They were good.

Turbosound TCS-12M. We finally have new monitor wedges, and new Turbosound amps, too. A vast improvement over the Peavey 12" wedges we used to depend on. Those old ones get passed on to our portable sound system.

On Friday I decided to run a link checking tool on my Mozilla bookmarks file. I had no idea that I had 1750 bookmarks. That file has been accumulating since I started using the internet in 1995 or earlier.

June 05, 2002

Old site bits

Ok, the old parts of my site are now linked here. They are nearly all horrendously out of date and badly written HTML. My most current interests are hardly represented, if at all. Working on a thesis is a higher priority than updating the website (theoretically).

Fav links

Later I'll decide where to post prominent, permanent links to a few other site I think are cool, but for now:

the mozilla project and associated sites mozdev, mozillazine, and a whole bunch of blogs by people working on the project.

my number one time waster and occasional source of interesting information.

Newfoundland doesn't exist

For some reason Blogger has a complete listing of time zones, including GMT-330 Newfoundland, but it won't store that setting. So all the times listed on these entries are ahead by 30 minutes until they fix the problem with timezone settings. Of course, all of my old website contents are still on the site. I finally have a motivation to get a new homepage design done. I'll add the links to the major sections here soon, and then I'll try to rework each section over the summer to be up to date and look fresh.

...and I promptly screw it up.

While setting up this whole blog thing, I made a small typo, and blew away my old homepage. Since I haven't been updating it regularly, my backups are probably years old. Oh well, I should have an automated backup system anyway. My fault. Live and learn. It was time for it to die anyway...

June 04, 2002

Well, I'm late to it,

Well, I'm late to it, but here I come. My first ever weblog entry. In five years I'm sure I'll look back and think about how lame this was, but it can't be any worse than the way my website looks now. I should be updating my resume right now, or at least working on my thesis, but for heaven's sake, I don't even have anything to link to for more info on my thesis. Hopefully this will change things a little...