Recent Entries in Personal

  The art of server noise

Sitting in Cafe 1842, trying to calm myself down after a particularly gruesome server crash. Apparently one server in this customer's loop crashed while doing a garbage collection and running out of KVM, then all the users failed-over to the other server, which then also crashed and rebooted. Luckily, only 4 users complained out of 900 online. The servers are probably going to need some work, so I'm in for another couple of sleepless nights in the next couple of weeks.

So now I'm shakily sipping from my double short espresso, trying not to seem stressed by the whole affair. R's doing belly dancing class, so I thought I'd be able to slip in here and blog a bit before heading back.

Talked with my financial advisor today, who also is my art advisor. Quelle coincidence, n'est pas? Turns out Susan is also a watercolour painter, who's recently had her first big art show. She's given me some useful advice about selling art (i.e. you may cry after selling your favourite piece to someone) and getting your art seen (i.e. you'll likely have to pay to have it shown at a co-op gallery). We're sending little bits of info back and forth via email ... it's good to finally have someone in the art community to talk to. Here I was thinking the KW art scene was a small Machiavellian sect...

Anyway, the talk with Susan gave me a newfound respect for artists in the area, and rekindled my artistic passion. You've got to paint for yourself, not for the dubious chance of selling any of it. Anyone who's seen how much "art" litters my garage knows that to be true. Well, with any luck, I'll again get off my lazy ass and start taking some pics of art and make some slides.

I've been saving up my Valentine's Day (or Lupercalia) points with R, knowing that today isn't going to be much of a celebration of love/lust/carnal relations, etc., what with the crazy training I'm doing. We've agreed that it's a bit of a slacker's holiday -- something invented by the church to allow slackers to be mean to their lovers the rest of the year.

For dinner, I had a slice of leftover pizza and some leftover hash I made on Sunday morning. R had a slice of leftover pizza and some scrambled eggs. Sooooo romantic :)

  Easy Weekend

Hung out with C+C+J last night; we went out for some remote Viet-Thai and did some modest drinking and Trivial Pursuit playing. Once again I allied myself with the winning team, only contributing periodically. Thinking I would like to do something a bit more exciting next weekend, like a road-trip, or some more rock climbing. Actually, there was some climbing this weekend, but I missed it by about half an hour.

I'm being lazy today, because I've got this training thing this week, and I'm entirely unprepared for four days of training. I thank the "powers that be" (namely, Management) for allowing me to farm out some of the training to people who actually know it. None-the-less, I'm going to have to do a lot of shadow puppets to keep these people amused for the entire four days of training.

  Eating a baguette

R is out with her mom tonight, so I'm left here to scrounge for dinner. I stopped in at Sobey's and picked up a baguette. My dinner was basically brie on a baguette and some leftover shiraz. Ever since watching "Twin Peaks", the brie/baguette thing has been my favourite comfort food.

Werk is getting busy. I've got a 4-day presentation next week and haven't had much time to prepare. In addition, many of my big customers are having problems, or will likely have problems in the near future. We've been watching servers over time, and some of them are not heading in a good direction. So, much of this week has been playing wet nurse on critical issues, while trying to help plan a training session for corporate big-wigs.

  Grotto, then Blotto.

Went rock climbing at the Grotto in Guelph for the first time in about a year (possibly more). I figured I'd give it a try again, since I was getting back in shape and had felt a little stronger in recent weeks. It was a nice time; got to hang out with C and Thingo -- and the Grotto looks pretty cool. Looks like they revamped the inside and put in some new walls. They removed the climbing cave, and increased the surface area of the central climbing wall to make it available to more people.

Unfortunately, I've done nothing to improve my grip strength and my forearm muscles. I pretty much gave out a lot sooner than I had expected. So, I'm going to focus a little more on the hand/forearm areas in the next couple of months. See if my climbing kung fu improves any.

Afterwards, we went to the Cornerstone, a hip little joint full of musicians, post-modern hippies, and vegetarian food. Seems like a place I'd hang out if I lived in Guelph. The bean burger's pretty cool, and they've got this great cup of coffee that comes with another cup of coffee -- a shot of espresso inside. Can't beat that.

Going to start boning up on my climbing knots too. Man, there's a lot of things you can do with rope outside of the bedroom.

  Feeling Old

Got this sent to me in the mail the other day, with no description, and it took me a little less than a minute to recognize these people. First, I was amazed. I mean look at how old everyone is. Then I thought about how old I must be, since I would have been about 15 when I first saw them.

[who are these people]

So I'm finally feeling a little old. Been thinking about switching to chinos and golf shirts, and buying minivans, and taking the kids to soccer practice, maybe yelling at a little-league coach or something.

  Nice dinner last night

Had a good time last night. We hosted a dinner with some friends instead of what we usually do -- go out and spend money on dinner and a night on the town. For us, it means we can have a similar fun time, without spending so much money on having someone prepare food for us. Especially good is the money saved on liquor. We got to enjoy a couple of bottles of wine, some fine quiche, a fantastic spinach and strawberry salad, and homemade apple pie. Got to give big credit to R for doing most/all of the werk on this. Next time I get to do all the cooking.

This makes the second dinner we hosted this week, but it's still a lot of fun to entertain, despite the dirty dishes. Some day, I hope to have a dishwasher for the kitchen. I still haven't considered the renovations yet, but maybe this summer we'll get that done.

The only downer was that I had to answer a couple of "emergency" pages by a customer who needed to know which processID the watchdog was. He couldn't find it, and freaked out at me, like his inability to use "ps" properly translated into a problem with our product.

  Broken glasses

Just got back from picking up my glasses -- they broke earlier this week. Just snapped in two when I was cleaning them... Luckily, the nice folks at the optical center soldered them back together and even touched them up with some black paint. These were really cool glasses that had a plastic sunglasses attachment that made them worth having on sunny days. I'd really hate to lose them.

While I was there, I saw this really cool looking pair of sports glasses, which would be great for cycling/driving/hiking etc. They might also make interesting conversation at werk. There's these little prescription inserts which fit inside the main frame. Found them on Adidas' website. Now just wondering if the company's plan will cover them.

[adidas_sunglasses.jpg]

  Feeling better now

Got a chance to sit quietly for a few short minutes before dinner tonight. Just a little time to spend with the cat in a cool, dark room. Just about everything was bugging me today -- bad drivers, annoying customers, Fire Dept. cold callers, threatening not to come to my burning house unless I made a donation, etc... It's bad enough the Police were threatening me, but come on! The Fire Dept.? They're supposed to be the heroes. Remember 9/11? (sigh)

All that changed when I got home. I had a chance to cool off, calm down, and had a nice cold pasta salad that R made up from scratch. Black beans, feta, red peppers, rotini and cilantro -- all good stuff.

  Day interrupted

Got to hang out at the gelato place on King St. Ate a veggie panini and had some coffee. Amazed that on such a nice (freezing cold) sunny day, there weren't any customers. The staff talked about closing up early. I know, why would any one go to a place that sells gelato when it's -20C outside.... Apparently Saturday (what with the big snowstorm) was a busy day for them. Go figure

Later, we went to see the Cannes advertising festival at the Princess. Stupid thing was on a DVD, and their player kept skipping, and dropping out completely, leaving a full house with uncomfortable 20 second moments of silence and blackness. We didn't even get to see the Grand Prix ad, and the DVD failed completely at that point. The audience began to filter out, grumbling, but we stayed to confront the Princess staff. Apparently no one else (out of a full theatre) mentioned anything to the staff. Typical Canadians... not that we were much better -- we didn't demand a refund or anything.

Just kicking back right now, wating for 9pm. Going to head out to the Moody Blues Café with C. R bailed on us and is taking in some bedtime reading.

  Saturday Blizzard

Sitting at home, wondering whether I can make it out in this blizzard today. It's not that its really bad out, just looks bad with all the blowing snow. We were toying with the idea of going to a Jazz concert in Elora, but the roads are probably pretty bad, and I doubt if they've done any plowing.

Looking for another book to read, since I'm house-bound. Picked up Mirror Mirror by Gregory Maguire. I liked his other books, so better get through this one before finding something else from the shelf. This book will probably help transition me back to serious reading after Undead and Unwed.

  1842 (or something)

Sitting in 1842 tonight, for lack of a better idea. Actually, I had several good ideas tonight, but didn't really feel like doing any of them (enough to actually do them). A partial list of things I was going do do is as follows:

-see a film at the Princess
-eat some pub grub (with a pint of Guinness)
-watch one of those Jackie Chan films I picked up cheap
-jam with a buddy from werk (he cancelled)
-read some more of "Maggie Cassidy"

Actually, I wasn't even going to come out to 1842 either, and at the last moment, almost took off my coat and shambled downstairs to stare at the TV (not *watch* it, mind you, just drink beer and stare at it). But I made myself leave the house and now I'm here. I even started reading "Undead and Unwed" (much to my own embarrassment., and now I can't put it down ... except to post a blog entry from a café. So now, I'm drinking another tall Americano and poking away at the Netbook just because it's cool. Also, they make a good Americano here.

The place is actually starting to get busy, and a lineup has formed by the counter. Looks like a class got out or something. Maybe a movie just finished up. Or possibly, like myself, everyone else managed to get off their asses and get out to the café. It would be funny to see them all pull out laptops and start blogging. No ... that would be kind of scary.

Was actually going to see "Kinsey" tonight at the Princess, but R wants to see it too. This is one of the few movies she wants to see, so I don't want to go by myself, when there are so many other films I can see without her. I was considering seeing "What the Bleep Do We Know," since a guys at werk said it was the worst movie ever. I pointed out a few others for comparison, including "The Pirate Movie" and "I Spit on Your Grave," but he shrugged these off. "Go see this," he said. "It's the absolute worst film I've ever seen." So, of course, I was interested. I love a challenge. Unfortunately, it's not playing anymore, so it was either "Ray" or "Kinsey", and I didn't really want to see "Ray".

  Chilli 1842 painting

Blogging from Cafe 1842 tonight. Drinking a tall double Americano and reading the Princess schedule. Was thinking of going to see "The Machinist," but I figure I'll catch it later. Apparently Christian Bale drops down to 98 pounds for this film... pretty intense filmmaking at work. I haven't been to the Princess Twin yet, but it looks a little too clean and new for me -- I'm a little uneasy walking around it. Also, there were some rumours of how the owner is pushing people around and beeing generally disagreeable in the Waterloo business community. So here I am, furthering such rumours without actually validating their content. In fact, these things apparently happened to a friend of a friend of mine, so it *must* be true.

The servers at 1842 are really getting to know me, it seems. I now get a "Hey, how's it going," now instead of the usual "Hi, how can I help you," which is nice. All they need are some nice desserts, and I might hang around more often. I had lunch here a little while back, and found the sandwich to be pretty good. Apparently, you can get a "build your own" deli sandwich, which they make upstairs, but I got the grilled vegetable sandwich on a ciabatta bun. It was good. Not spectacular, or anything, but good. I don't think I've found any kind of "spectacular sandwhich" in this town, but I'm still looking.

Going to make some chilli tonight when I get home. I've already eaten (cream of tomato soup and toast), but I want to have some chilli for lunch tomorrow. R wants it relatively unspicy, but wants me to use up the rest of the jalapenos in the fridge. This will be a difficult task, since those guys are pretty spicy. I think I might be able to pull it off if I cook the peppers beforehand, and remove the seeds. This might work -- and will make one tasty bowl of chilli.

Going to see if I can get some painting done as well tonight. The chilli's going into the slow cooker, so there's not much that needs to be done there. I have a painting on the go, and I want to get it finished up, if possible. I've got some other cool ideas and want to get to them ASAP, but the workbench is only so big. I'm currently using some foam piping to form a relief pattern, rather than using the expensive gel that I used in a previous painting. If this works, I'll get the same desired effect, for much less money. I've been sketching out painting ideas in my Kyocera, on its little colour doodle app in the memopad. This is a great way to test out an idea with colour while I'm waiting in the dentist's office, for example. Maybe I'll try out one of those ideas on a masonite board....

  Neat New Years

Had a neat, but quiet New Years Eve at C + J's. There was some drinking, some exotic cheeses, a really spicy tapenade from Vincenzo's. We finished up around 1:00am and headed back home for a rest before picking it up again on Jan 01 at C + J's for brunch. Some nice cardamom bread pudding and strong coffee. Then we moved it over to my place for a late lunch, and an even later dinner. Played some Pop-culture Trivial Pursuit (R and I won by a hair), and took some neat photos. Not too bad a time, if one had to usher in the new year without any huzzah.

[bunch_of_us_nerds.JPG]

[wwn_fan.JPG]

Got about 5 different options for New Years, ranging from dinner at Concordia Club, to the Flying Dog, Revolution, Starlight, and even just hanging at the Huether/Barley Works. Then there's a couple of parties I could attend, the most promising of which is the one at C + J's place, but it doesn't sound like there will be a lot of folks there. Strangely, it's also slated for 4pm, which makes me wonder about how long it will go.

The worst part is, I haven't narrowed down the selection to, say, 1 or 2 options. Time is running out -- not much year left. Just in case, I bought a bottle of Champagne, and it's cooling down in the fridge right now. If any of these things falls flat, I'll be able to drag some hangers-on and we'll toast the new year at my place.

  Painted Saturday

Just finished cleaning up the house, cause you know, it's a Saturday, and these things must be done on days like this. Also, some friends are coming down (L+R) and I wanted to get all the clothes off the floor and maybe sweep up a bit. I don't mind living in filth, but I don't want people to think I like it.

Also got a painting done (first one in quite a while ... since I moved in, I think). Unfortunately, I accidentally bought some soft gel instead of the regular medium or heavy stuff I buy. As a result, there's globs of gel and paint all over the place, thanks to my big, sweeping strokes with the palette knife. But at least I'm painting again. Must be a special day.

"To divide one's life by years is of course to tumble into a trap set by our own arithmetic. The calendar consents to carry on its dull wall-existence by the arbitrary timetables we have drawn up in consultation with those permanent commuters, Earth and Sun. But we, unlike trees, need grow no annual rings."
--Cliff Fadiman

  Futurama stuff

Hung out with Deco/Ecogrrls and clvrmnky last night. Cewl people. Kicked back with some booze, watched a few seasons of Futurama, and basically did all that stuff we were going to do. By the end, someone had finished off a whole bottle of Trapiche. Think I got half a glass out of it.

  Paid!

Got paid today. Yeah. Finally getting some money back into the account after the new house, new furniture, new appliances, Australia boondoggle, etc. Been acting pretty frugally this past month, not doing too many things that would cost money (Montreal trip and parties aside). I'm hoping that this trend will continue, and no unexpected expenses will show up. One possible exception is the body work on my car. Got a quote about fixing the scratches and broken taillight on my car yesterday and it wasn't too bad.

I'd like to do something interesting tonight, like get hammered and hit the Starlight (I know ... I'm such a classy guy). Orange Monkey guy is DJ'ing and he'll probably be playing more disco tunes. Ah, we'll see what's going down after werk.

Cleaned out the garage last night, and sorted all the junk in there. Got a make-shift studio setup at the back, so I can get back into painting. Been spending all day today working on the holes in the floor (there was a lot of concrete which was crumbling). Someone must have been storing a car in there over the winter (as I type this, I'm smacking myself in the head -- it IS a garage you idiot). But there was a lot of work to be done on the floor, and I'm really getting into this whole "working with concrete" thing... Looks like I have a new medium to be artistic with. I managed to get half of the garage done, and just need to make some finishing touches, let it dry, then move everything over, and get to work on the other side. This is phase 1 of my whole refinishing plan.

  Car troubles (again)

Had my car looked at, and it turned out to be a loose screw (heh). This was a caliper bolt which was so rusty, it sheared clean through in two places, and started rubbing against something. They pretty much took the whole day to get this done, and removed it at a cost of $3 for the bolt, and $118 for service. Hey, at least it wasn't a grand or something crazy like that. I just had the brakes done, and I sure didn't need to pay for them again.

[brake_troubles.jpg]

  Setting things in stone

Finally got a couple of dry days to work on the driveway. I'm no mason, but this concrete work's pretty fun once you get into it. I'm really no good at this, but maybe I can fix it in the mix, so to speak. When I moved in, there were these loose chunks of the side barrier that needed repairing. The previous owner had the downspout from the garage run right into the barrier, so it began to crumble. There were some sizeable chunks missing, so I've been trying to replace them on sunny days. I think I'll end up replacing the whole thing next year, but in the meantime, I'm trying to patch things up.

concrete_work.jpg

Great, now my car's making some kind of strange noise. That's just perfect. It sounds like the brakes too, the part I just had fixed. Sounds like a caliper's rubbing or something. It's usually pretty good, until I need to brake. Then there's this large "clunk," and it starts making noise until I start to brake again...

(sigh) I guess I'll have to get that looked at....

  No golfing

Didn't get a chance for any golf lessons yesterday, but we did end up getting a free bucket of range balls (probably for coming all that way, and for buying beers). It looked like it was going to rain pretty hard, and it threatened a little with some slight spray, but it never rained. At least not while I was on the golf course. I'm glad for that, since I hate the idea of golfing in the rain; that whole swinging a highly conductive piece of metal above your head in an open field. Not the greatest way to avoid lightning strikes.

But it really rained last night. Probably going to rain again tonight. It's raining a little as I write this.

[not_raining.jpg]


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