the official website of Kryptech a.k.a. Chris M. Sissons


y2010m12d28 @ 6:41:18 PM - Lesson Learned: Don't Make Eye-Contact! Comment on this (0 so far)

Yesterday I attended the annual Boxing Day conference hosting by Cambridge OCRC. Despite the fact that it wasn't on the 26th this year it was still profitable and fun. Usually we take a quick tour of the mall during the time allotted for dinner, which we did again this year. As we were briskly marching towards our current destination (SportChek, I think) I made the mistake of glancing towards one of the tables set up in the middle of the wide hall. The lady there pounced on my flicker of interested and called out for me to try some skin cream. I thought, "Does it look like I care about skin cream?" but I felt it would be rude to just ignore her and hustle on so I stopped. She thrust a container into my hand, something like they'd put a side of mayonnaise in at a restaurant, with the tiniest drop of some pale goo in the bottom. She looked at my hands and proclaimed that they were dry and in need of her product. As I peered down at the cream I considered asking her if it was to be taken internally. Instead I just rubbed in on and smiled politely. While I was busy with that she asked if I wanted the dead skin removed from my hands. My imagination furnished me with an scene that was painful or awkward or both and I declined, saying that I had to catch up with my pals, and took off. My hands did feel softer after the cream, though, and more watermelon-scented.


y2010m12d26 @ 9:43:15 PM - Merry Christmas! Comment on this (0 so far)

MMMMMMMMMM                                                                              MMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMM      But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son,       MMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMM  born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law,  MMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMM              that we might receive the adoption as sons. Gal. 4:4-5            MMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMM                                                                              MMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMNmdys+/:--.``                                 ``..-:/+oshdmNMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM
MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMNmdhyso+/:-..``                              `..--:/+syhdmmNMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM


y2010m07d15 @ 8:56:38 PM - Convert Writer Rich Text to BB Code Comment on this (0 so far)

I'm part of a little writing group forum. It's been a good experience to push myself to put down my ideas and also receive valuable feedback from other (more skilled) writers. I have so many ideas but I don't like to start writing something unless I'm committeed to getting it done, so this group has been a good challenge for me.

Anyway, I usually write in Writer and then share my piece as a PDF. But this session we're sharing on a forum. So if I copied and pasted my italics and any other formatting are lost. I looked for a Firefox add-on or Greasemonkey script to convert rich text to forum BB code but no dice. Sure, one could just write the [i] [/i] tags around italic text but that wouldn't require any slick conversion and thus wouldn't garner any style points.

Just now I discovered a way to use Writer's Find & Replace dialog with regular expressions to grab all italic text and wrap it in the BB tags. Like so:

  • In the Find & Replace dialog, click More Options and check Regular expressions.
  • Click Format, and select 'Italic' typeface under the Font tab. Click OK.
  • In Search for enter .+ (find one or more characters).
  • In Replace with enter [i]$0[/i] (wrap found string in tags).
  • Click Replace All to make the changes. Note that the italicized text will still be in italics.

Sweet! RegExp ftw!


y2010m05d22 @ 12:25:11 PM - StarCraft II Beta Installation Comment on this (0 so far)

On the morning of the 19th I was checking my email on my Touch Pro and saw I received an email from "SC2betaUS". ?! I'd signed up for the beta of StarCraft II but had basically given up hope (my system didn't meet the specs anyway). But sure enough, it was a bona fide invite and I so I logged into my account and downloaded the beta. The installer warned that I didn't have enough memory but didn't seem to prevent me from trying to continue anyway. I held off on the install and figured this would be a good time to reformat the 80 GB partition on my primary hard drive that currently held Ubuntu so that I'd have room to install. So that evening I mucked about with the Windows XP Pro CD and, um, managed to arrive at a point where booting Windows normally would reset the computer. Hmmm. Sounds like a good time to bite the bullet and reformat the entire primary HDD.

So the next morning I backed up  all  most of my important stuff from C: (somehow missed my Address Book and forgot about a customized Greasemonkey script), deleted all the partitions, created a new NTFS partition of 117 GB, and reinstalled Windows. By noon I had a few vital programs installed. That evening I setup some more software until it was fairly late. Then I thought about StarCraft II...

My cousin Joe had given me 3 512 MB modules of PC2700 memory when he heard about StarCraft II's memory warning (whoa - thanks heaps!). So I decided that I quickly throw them in and to my delight they worked fine and thus quadrupled my memory!! I eagerly installed StarCraft II only to find it had a gazillion patches to install. I watched for a while and then gave up and hit the sack. The next morning I quickly tried running the game and it worked but I didn't think it prudent to try a game at that point. Last night I tried again but Blizzard was making some updates or something and so I couldn't sign in. Grrr. Well, hopefully today or holiday Monday I'll have a chance to get in some game time.

Anyway, my old desktop "Hal" is definitely quicker between the clean system (with lots of free HDD space) and 4x the RAM. Windows Explorer comes up almost before I hit Windows Key + 'E'. I've had to do some maintenance on the system but in general it has served me very well. It'll be a sad day when I have to cast it out...


y2010m04d21 @ 11:53:50 PM - Ard Throws It Down on Home Turf Comment on this (0 so far)

Quite apparently I've not been doing anything on my website lately. When I do feel like addressing cyberspace I tend to just spit out a blurb on Facebook or Twitter. Anywho...

Since the fateful disappearance of our cat Buzz, years back, our cats have a curfew. No more all-night partying. Telum has mostly grown out of this, being rather of a home body in his advancing years, but Ard still has that youthful keenness for prowling the 'hood in the wee morning hours. Last night he dodged the curfew call and only dragged his furry frame inside this morning when I got up. I noticed a few tufts of loose fur sticking out so I figured he must have been throwin' it down with the local boys.

When I was heading out later in the morning I spotted what I thought were bird feathers scattered on the lawn at the edge of the driveway. When I looked closer I saw that there weren't feathers laying about, but clumps of fur. Lots of it. Enough to make another cat. Some of it was black and white (Ard is black and white) and some was differently coloured (blonde highlights?) So methinks Ard was defending his home turf against some invader feline. Judging by the fact Ard is pulling his standard swagger today I'd say he came out top cat. Oh ya, bring it!


y2010m01d12 @ 2:34:59 PM - Change of Hosting Comment on this (0 so far)

I'm moving both my domain name,, and web hosting to Cirrus Logic. Thus there may be some downtime here until everything is fully moved over.

[update - d23]
OK, so the domain name transfer finally went through and the DNS is pointing to Cirrus. I'm uploading images now but I probably won't have time to double-check everything for several days.


y2009m12d24 @ 9:42:51 PM - Merry Christmas! Comment on this (0 so far)

Twinkling star"Light of the world,
You stepped down into darkness..."

May you have a blessed Christmas
and a happy New Year.


y2009m12d16 @ 9:24:28 AM - I'm on Twitter Comment on this (0 so far)

As of August 22, 2009 I've been on Twitter. You can find me at

I originally signed up just to see what Twitter was about. I didn't intend to post regularly. In the past month or so I've been posting Tweets more frequently, focusing more on technology rather than personal news. I figure Twitter will be more for computer and tech news, while Facebook will be used for personal news. The main thing I like about Twitter is for quick review of news, both from friends but also Engadget, WMPowerUser, etc. This means I don't have to check their websites or RSS feeds. I have PockeTwit on my Touch Pro so I check that a few times a day. Very convenient.

I'd like to add a Twitter widget to my website so that my recent tweets can show up here but it will take a bit of redesign ('cause of that 'Past News' bar already on the right).


y2009m12d05 @ 10:30:00 AM - Dollar for a Drink Challenge Comment on this (0 so far)

I'm currently enjoying my first coffee in a week. This is for a different reason then my previous "coffee break". Our church's young people group is studying Do Hard Things and after the last lesson Kate challenged us to drink only water (for beverage - we could still eat!) for a week. Then for the times we would have had something other than water we could give towards Dollar for a Drink, an organization that builds wells in Sudan where there is a great need for clean water. Here in Canada there is loads of water everywhere - we never have to worry about that. Any here in our house there is lots to drink - coffee, milk, juice, hot chocolate, even tea. So this challenge was a good reminder to be thankful for what I have.

What was it like only drinking water for a week? Not too bad. I mostly drink coffee and water so I only missed coffee. I had a mild headache for a fair bit of the first few days but it eventually faded. I found that I grew very sleepy in the afternoon so I wonder if caffeine really does help me stay more energetic during the afternoon. Hmm.


y2009m11d11 @ 11:17:38 PM - Lest We Forget Comment on this (2 so far)

This morning I attended the Remembrance Day service in Newcastle. I heard there has been a greater turn-out this year in the GTA, perhaps due to grim reminders we've been receiving all too often of the death of another soldier in Afghanistan. So our memories turn to recent events in addition to those from many years back.

I'm thankful for the freedom we have in this land of Canada, and for the sacrifices that have protected that liberty. And I'm proud that we have been able to use our freedom here to send our military forces to other countries to fight for the restoration or preservation of freedom for those peoples.

Returning to this morning's service, I was surprised at the amount of Scripture readings and Christian content. I think one has to be careful of using Bible passages and hymns dealing with triumph over enemies in a military setting, but, that said, it was good to see that secular humanism hasn't completely taken over. The Reverend also explained the sequence of playing The Last Post, the period of silence, and the playing of Reveille. Basically it represents the end of the Christian soldier's work, his death, and his awakening in the life to come.

Near the end of the service the veterans were called to stand at the front. As I watched elderly men line up, some of them moving with difficulty but yet military poise, I considered what most of them had witnessed and experienced before they were my age. I'm sure they can never forget the horrors they saw and endured first-hand. May we not forget their sacrifice nor the costly liberty they purchased.


y2009m06d24 @ 8:54:13 AM - Summer Catch-up Comment on this (2 so far)

It's pretty much been forever since I've updated anything here. In terms of photos, I have been doing some work on a new photo viewer as I dislike the user-unfriendly interface in place now. However, the new viewer is early in development and won't be live for a while. I kinda wanted to wait until that was finished before uploading more photos but...

What else has been going on? I've been using Facebook a lot this year, which my Touch Pro helps with too. Over breakfast I usually check out my top websites, including Facebook, on Opera Mobile. Facebook is also a great tool for group communication (YP, cousins). Now that Facebook offers a direct URL to a user's page, you can find me at

I'm continuing to tinker with my Touch Pro, installing software (to add functionality or fun) and making other tweaks (I've learned a little about modifying the HTC TouchFlo3D interface). I also have begun some simple application development using FBA The Creator, a free PocketPC development tool. I don't have any finished apps yet - just playing around with ideas. So much fun programming... Anyway, with PocketPCs being a big hobby for me now I'm thinking of adding a new section to this website where I can go into more depth on that front.

To end off, I'm lovin' summer! This week has boasted the hottest temperatures yet, I think. It is great to finally wear short sleeves indoors!


y2009m02d09 @ 9:26:13 AM - HTC Touch Pro Tips and Fixes Comment on this (2 so far)

(updated y2009m03d07)

As I've been using my Touch Pro Pocket PC phone with Windows Mobile 6.1 Professional, I've come across different things I'd like it to do which it doesn't do by default, or little bugs that need to be ironed out. I thought I'd post those here and add to it as necessary. Maybe if someone out there has a similar problem these notes could be a help.

[Bug] SMTP Sending Failure (added y2009m02d09)

Problem: I've got three email accounts setup on 'Nexus'. Two of them have occasional connection errors when sending email (it happens on my Desktop too). The problem was that it neither of those two accounts would want to send message at all, period. It didn't matter if I tried a whole bunch of times.

Solution: I finally searched online and learned that this was indeed a Windows Mobile 6.1 bug. The same website where I got the details on the bug also had two proposed solutions (yeah!): 1 - an unofficial registry tweak; 2 - an official Microsoft patch. I tried option 1 (using the CAB rather than editing the registry) and it worked. I probably won't try the Microsoft patch unless things stop working again. A huge thanks to the folks who put together this info and fix.

[Feature] Browsing Websites with Flash (added y2009m02d09)

Problem: Neither Opera nor Internet Explorer support Flash on websites. Loads of websites do use Flash now, for video and music. The YouTube application on the Touch Pro is kinda lame and doesn't really make up for no Flash video viewing in Opera / IE. It seems to search a much smaller pool of videos.

Solution: I found a free beta application called Skyfire, which allows for the user to view websites on his mobile device just like the websites would appear on a regular PC. Skyfire uses a setup where the pages are actually rendered on a server and than dumped to the mobile device. It isn't as nice for navigating as Opera but it is possible to listing to music on MySpace or watch videos in fairly decent quality on YouTube. I still use Opera as my main brower, but break out Skyfire when I want to watch video or listen to online music.

[feature] LED Flashlight (added y2009m03d07)

Want: The Touch Pro's camera has a bright LED light instead of a flash. It is quite powerful and casts a nice wide cone of white light. But it is a pain turning it on through the camera application. It would be more convenient to have an application dedicated to controlling the LED light.

Solution: There are two cool apps I found that fit the bill - hTorch and TorchButton. hTorch is a small application that starts the LED when opened. The clean interfaces lets you shine the LED on regular or bright levels, and turn off the front display. TorchButton is a bit different, with four applications in one: regular, bright, blink, and SOS Morse code. When either of these applications is run the starts that LED light function and disappears. When it is run again it stops the LED. hTorch suits me better and I have it in my Programs screen quick list (on the far right of the TouchFlo3D interface).


y2009m01d31 @ 9:50:13 PM - Beat Portal: Amazing Game! Comment on this (0 so far)

At Christmas I was pleasantly surprised to receive The Orange Box from Dad (thanks!). This game deal of the century includes Half-Life 2, Half-Life 2: Episodes 1 & 2, Portal, and Team Fortress 2.

I'm very fond of the Half-Life series, of which I previously purchased Half-Life Anthology (HL1, Blue Shift, Opposing Force, and Team Fortress Classic). I've also borrowed and completed Half-Life 2. The story and world of Half-Life are well-developed and very immersive. I look forward to replaying HL2 and then tackling eps 1 & 2 (assuming my computer can handle them).

At this point I could get into Team Fortress Classic and 2, which high-speed Internet have made possible. I play TF2 quite often now (my Steam ID is kryptech if you want to add me).

Now on the main news. I just completed the final mission of Portal...


What a game! First off the idea with the portal physics is unique and mind-bending. The puzzles get increasingly challenging without ever becoming maddening or tedious. I got stuck a couple times but always managed to figure it out before I dispaired. Then there is the test chamber guidance voice - fairly unhelpful, humourous, and vaguely sinister (at least at first). After zipping through most of the levels fairly quickly things toughen up and get a lot longer. And the end, what shall I say about that? Well, I'll just conclude by assuring you that you will not anticipate how the final test plays out. Awesome ending.

Oh, and the credits were the best I've ever seen in terms of creativity and humour.

Go! Buy Portal now. Better yet, get The Orange Box.


y2009m01d28 @ 9:47:32 PM - First Time Boarding This Winter Comment on this (0 so far)

Last night I finally got some snowboarding time in. I heard that some of the gang heads to Kirby most Tuesday evenings so I thought I'd tag along. Snow conditions weren't awesome but decent, and the weather really wasn't very cold.

During the first run of the season I always wonder how quickly I'll find my "boarding" legs. But it comes back fast. The body just knows what to do -- like riding a bike I guess.

rePete, Matt, Tim, and I spent most of the time in the terrain park, with a few runs down the Bowl and Ben's Bumps at the very end. The park had some nice jumps -- two of them almost rollers if you go slowly, but with extra kickers at the top in the center. After a couple eyeballing runs through the park and popping over the low jumps I figured I'd give one of the big guys a shot. It threw me a lot higher than I expected but the speed was right and I caught the landing smooth as butter. I landed it smoothly a few more times thereafter. Not too shabby for the first time this season.

I never fell hard once, though I scraped out a couple times. Today I don't feel sore anywhere so that's cool. Maybe it just means I didn't push myself hard enough...


y2009m01d22 @ 12:45:47 PM - Introducing "Nexus", my HTC Touch Pro phone Comment on this (0 so far)

It seems to good to be true, quite honestly.

As of last Thursday evening I'm the joyful owner of a new HTC Touch Pro phone. As per my post back in June on what I want in a smartphone, I'd been keeping my eye on the Touch Pro and its eventual arrival in our fair land of Canada. Late 2008 it came to Bell and Telus so I researched their plans. Then I was surprised at Christmas to receive a generous gift from Mom and Dad toward such a plan. So after a bunch more questions and a couple visits to Telus, I rode home with "Nexus", my new digital friend.

The device features a 2.8 inch 640x480 touchscreen. The clarity and resolution are beautiful and it responds to finger tapping and dragging better than I expected. It also has a 5 row slide-out qwerty keyboard, which was a huge selling feature. It is running Windows Mobile 6.1 on a 528 MHz process, with 512 MB ROM and 288 MB RAM. While I've not bought one yet, it does support MicroSD cards for additional storage. You can see some excellent review videos here: HTC Touch Pro Features and Software and HTC Touch Pro Hardware and further specs from HTC here.

Regarding my plan, I've got 200 local minutes and 500 MB data per month. But as I'm usually either at home or at the office I can use the built-in WiFi for most of my data needs. Opera mobile does a nice job for web surfing but neither it nor Internet Explorer can render flash. The separate YouTube application is OK for videos on that specific website but I found another program called Skyfire that can render any webpage true-to-life and dump it to the mobile device, including audio.

Anyway, just wanted to share that good, good news. Gotta run!


y2008m12d29 @ 1:24:17 PM - My YouTube Channel - TheKryptech Comment on this (0 so far)

Now that we have broadband Internet access, I visit YouTube quite frequently. Yesterday I decided to create a YouTube account and post some videos. My channel can be found at  As of this moment there are only four cat videos but over time I'll post more.


y2008m12d25 @ 1:23:06 PM - Merry Christmas! Comment on this (0 so far)


Wishing you a blessed Christmas...


Text image created at


y2008m12d19 @ 10:47:03 PM - A Dark and Stormy Knight Comment on this (0 so far)

When I was out this morning I thought "Snow in the morning, huh. Ya, sure..." But then it started snowing and didn't really let up. I went to the office early and left early. The roads were pretty snowy but the blowing snow was the greater trouble. Due to the conditions our church's Christmas Programme was cancelled and put off until Monday (22nd). So the evening was free.

This past Tuesday I got a call from Movie Gallery in Newcastle saying I'd won a free movie rental. I'd thought I'd use it to check out The Dark Knight, which I'd heard was pretty impressive and gripping and dark. So I braved the storm and picked it up. When I was heading to the truck I notice Tim Horton's and figured I'd use the gift card I'd won (at the Royal LePage Frank dinner) to grab some treats for during the movie.

Mom and Dad watched The Dark Knight too. Well, it was impressive and gripping and dark. The characters were deep and it was clever and exciting. I don't think it lived up to the hype I'd heard, though. Maybe it would have had more of an impact on me if I'd grown up with more Batman. Still, I'm glad I checked it out.


y2008m12d08 @ 9:20:12 AM - Techies and Games -- A Recipe for Success Comment on this (0 so far)

After breakfast I enjoy my coffee while reading the latest news. Not the paper, mind you. I'm talking RSS feeds in Firefox. I subscribe to PC World Latest Technology News, Engadget, and New Scientist - Online News. I was reading an article on PC World titled Techies and Games -- A Recipe for Success by Tom Kaneshige, InfoWorld. I'll post a couple paragraphs from near the end:

In "Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword," a player spends days, weeks, or maybe months shaping a civilization from the beginning of time to the modern era. The goal is to emerge as the leader, and there's not just one solution or path to success. "It's the ultimate problem-solving experience," [editorial director of GamePro, George] Jones says, "and epitomizes the mind frame of the tech worker."

Of course, many tech workers don't have weeks or even hours to solve a problem. That's where "StarCraft" comes in. In this game, you're a military leader of an alien species. The game calls for quick thinking and some serious team management during short missions.

"StarCraft" perhaps best mirrors the challenges and successes of life in IT. "'StarCraft' is firefighting," says Jones. "Things are crumbling, and you have to figure out how to fix it in 25 minutes. It's the nature of IT work." (FYI, " StarCraft II" is planned for release next year.)

True dat!


y2008m11d29 @ 12:47:07 PM - How Broadband Changed My Life Comment on this (0 so far)

We've had broadband Internet access for almost a month now. It rocks! My only complaint is that there have been occasional spots of downtime (usually not more than a few minutes) and I can't get to our router from the "cloud" via an IP address (our "modem" is a point inside Silonet's network). But for all the benefits I'm not going to gripe about it.

Some things that have changed due to broadband access:
  • I used to tape TV shows and then watch them later. Between competition for the TV, setting it up to properly tape, and our abysmal reception, it was a pain. Now I can watch most of the few shows I follow online at CTV's website or Global's website.
  • I rarely listen to my CDs (on my computer) anymore. Between streaming radio (Radio Y's The Rock is my favourite) and sample songs on artist's websites, there are loads of tunes available (legit, too!)
  • Multiplayer gaming is sweet! Way back in the day I used to play Descent 2 and StarCraft (demo) online but as broadband gained a majority no one wanted to have a dial-up user slowing the game down. I've tried Team Fortress Classic and Far Cry and have particularily enjoyed Team Fortress. I can see why it is so popular! BTW, my Steam username is "kryptech".
  • I'm using Facebook a lot more now. It was painful on dial-up but rolls along all smooth-like on broadband.
I'm so glad we have broadband!


y2008m11d20 @ 9:26:58 AM - First Good Snowfall of Winter 2008 Comment on this (0 so far)

Fresh snow in front yardYesterday and last night it snowed quite a bit and this morning I woke up to the first white landscape this winter. It isn't a practical response but seeing all the fresh snow makes me quite excited. I hope that kid in me never dies.

I'm thankful that I live in a climate that receives such a wide variety of weather. I'm also thankful I have a snowboard. ^_^


y2008m11d04 @ 12:38:44 PM - Finally: Broadband Internet Access!! w00t! Comment on this (0 so far)

We finally have broadband Internet access!!

For years we've been hoping Bell would provide DSL along our road but we'd pretty much given up hope on that. Then near the beginning of 2008 a company put underground cabling down our road, under contract to Rogers. Of course the font-line Rogers salespeople knew nothing about it. I got in touch with someone more on the planning side and he gave an estimated activation date in late fall. However, further review this fall provided a dismal outlook on this option.

Then the other day I was browsing and saw they had a tower just north of our place, on a silo we can see from our back steps! So I called them up, and before noon today we were connected!

The system uses 2.4GHz radio waves to communicate with our antenna. reported a download speed of 1,988 kbps and an upload speed of 776 kbps. There is no monthly bandwidth cap so that is cool.

It is weird always being connected. The phone rang while I was surfing. I'm always thinking that I should be either using the Internet connection or otherwise disconnecting. The first "broadband" type thing I did was stream Movin' by Group 1 Crew from their website. I think some of the lyrics say it well:

If you really wanna move you got to get moviní, got to get moviní,
nothin' left to do except to just do it, got to just do it,

if you want it want it go and go and get it get it,
you donít have to wait anymore


y2008m10d23 @ 10:09:26 AM - Telum Takes a Lickin' and Keeps on Tickin' Comment on this (2 so far)

Back on October 9 the eldest feline in the household, Telum, dragged himself inside after sundown looking rather beat up, introspective, and a tad sheepish. The fur under his neck was tore up, he had some puncture on the top of his head, and his ear had blood splatters in it. He leaked a bit on the kitchen linoleum. All in all it looked like he'd been through the ringer in a bad way.

Over the next few days we determined that he didn't seem to be injured anyway else and could still get around OK. However, he had definitely been chewed up some around his neck and head. The thick fur made it hard to see the injuries themselves but Dad figured by the placement that perhaps he'd been bit by a bigger animal, thus an injury on the top of his head and some underneath. It is hard to say. Telum had pain if he opened his mouth much or chewed hard so we gave him "cereal" -- soggy kibble. He laid around most of the day (more than usually, that is) and seemed to be contemplating his own mortality.

Eventually the right side of his face swelled up making him look rather silly. Then the swelling diminished only to be replaced by a smaller, but harder, abscess. Mom and I soaked it with a hot, wet towel. The ministrations appeared to work as the next day the abscess drained. That marked a turning point with the dear beast. He started moving around more and "speaking" and generally being his old self. Whew!

Not long after the fur finally gave up trying and fell out from around the injured area, revealing a couple holes and rips. Very ugly! Thankfully it hasn't got infected and has been scabbing up (despite Telum "itching" the scab off a few times). So almost two weeks after the incident Telum is basically back to his normal energy level. I'm sure it will take a bit for the injuries to fully heal and the fur to grow in but he should be good as new in time.

Tsk, tsk, Telum! You're getting too old to just charge into battle. You've got to remember that old age and treachery beat out youth and vigour every time. Change the rules, pull a fast one, or better yet, send Ard. Ard's head


y2008m09d08 @ 10:04:34 AM - Saving YouTube Videos Comment on this (4 so far)

I found that it is actually very easy to save YouTube videos as files, using Internet Explorer 7. This is particularily helpful for dial-up users since loading up YouTube each time you want to replay a certain video is a pain. Here are instructions for the process:

  • When you've got a good chunk of available Internet time (like overnight), open Internet Explorer 7 and go to YouTube. Load up any videos you want to keep. You can do more than one at a time. Then mute the volume and leave it to download the whole video.
  • Once the entire video has been played, from the 'Tools' menu click 'Internet Options'.
  • Under the 'General' tab under the 'Browsing history' heading, click the 'Settings' button.
  • Click the 'View Files' button. A list of files will come up.
  • At the top there should be column headings (Name, Internet Address, Size, etc). Usually videos are the largest files so click on the 'Size' column heading to sort by file size. Depending on the sort order the video files should be at the top or bottom of the list.
  • Right-click on the video file (with the name something like "") and click 'Copy' from the popup menu.
  • Bring up the folder where you want the file saved (e.g. Desktop, or My Videos) and right-click in an empty area. Click 'Paste' from the menu. The file will be called "get_video[1]" and won't be recognized as a video file. Right-click on it and click 'Rename' from the popup menu. Type in an appropriate name followed by ".avi" and press Enter (e.g. "Lord of the Rings theatrical trailer.avi"). Note - if you've downloaded several YouTube videos at once you will likely have to watch them to determine which is which. In that case you could temporarily name them "1.avi", "2.avi", and so on, then rename them one at a time after you've watched them.
  • Once the file has an ".avi" ending you can double-click the file to open it in your default video player. Note - I'm not sure exactly what format the videos are in. On my Windows XP Pro the extensions avi, mpg, and flv all allow the file to be opened and played in the associated video players. My thought is that the video-type extension just allows the file to be easily passed to the video player, then the video player determines the actual video type from the file content itself (like some header info).

Of course this saving bit should only be done with content where obtaining your own offline copy is legitimate.


y2008m08d02 @ 11:09:12 PM - July Recap and webcamFLV Comment on this (1 so far)

July was wet. And pretty busy for me. I'm not sure if August will be wet (I sure hope it is dry for at least two weeks) but I know I'll be even busier. Various July highlights:
  • Prompted by some hard disk drive errors I disassembled Hal, blew the dust out, and plugged him back together. The problem ended up being a bad cable but now the case has got a single air intake with a filter so hopefully the dust buildup will sharply decline.
  • I'm working through the last three books of the Star Wars: Legacy of the Force series. Gripping and grim - I'm enjoying it and wondering how the conclusion will find Jacen Solo...
  • Our basement flooded multiple times, once several inches deep. Uncool. Not much of my stuff was damaged but the water did ruin other items and created loads of unwelcome work in clearing out and cleaning.
A cool thing I did today was test out webcamFLV from the library. Dad's old .3 (that is point three) megapixel camera is hooked up to Hal and I use it as a webcam. I found webcamFLV the other day, which is a free open source software that encodes streaming video and sound to be shown live on a webpage via Flash. To test it from another location I ran a looping music video of Bitter Taste by Spoken, positioned the camera to film that part of the screen, then opened webcamFLV and started capturing. From a library computer I opened my test page on and put in Hal's IP address. Sure enough, I could see Spoken rocking on Hal's screen at home! It was about .04 fps, granted, but that is dial-up for you. I'll definitely have to play more with this come broadband.

About that, I'm hoping (desperately) that we'll have Rogers cable mid fall. It looks like it might be a possibility. Please, please, please, please, please...


y2008m06d25 @ 12:28:52 PM - What I Want in a Smartphone Comment on this (2 so far)

In the last month or so I've found myself becoming increasingly interested in getting a smartphone. At the real estate office I've had the opportunity to work with Palm Treos quite a bit over the years and, more recently, a variety of Blackberries too. There is nothing like unwrapping a fresh Blackberry to make one ponder what features would be nice to have in one's own smartphone. What I am looking for is a device that can:
  • Keep me connected wherever I go through voice calls, text messaging, and email (for my convenience, not so I'm always available to be pestered)
  • Act as a portable calendar and address book
  • Be used like a light PC (e.g. web browsing, media player, document editor, third-party application)

Ideally I'd like a HTC Touch Pro, but running Android instead of Windows Mobile. It is nice to dream. Seriously though, I would want:
  • QWERTY hard-keyboard
  • WiFi
  • Bluetooth

Anyway, we'll see what happens. I'll be continuing my research and sometime down the road maybe I'll get that perfect smartphone to be a faithful digital companion at my side.


y2008m05d27 @ 11:05:01 PM - Dental Delights Comment on this (0 so far)

I got my first ever tooth filling today. Due to my cheap nature and lack of dental pain I'd stretched it pretty long since my last checkup. Like a decade or so. But over the last year I'd begun to experience infrequent twinges. Something evil was stirring back in molarville. It was time to face the ugly truth. I gathered up my credit card and headed for the dentist.

A checkup revealed an excellent set of choppers, aside from one large cavity, another little patch of decay, and plaque. Only the big cavity needed filling and I got that done this morning. It wasn't nearly as excruciating as I'd expected. I wouldn't even call it painful. At least during the procedure.

The freezing had completely worn off when I was at the office this afternoon. I was computing away nicely and out of the blue a wild shock of pain shot through my newly refurbished molar. Then over the next couple hours I receive various random jolts of attention-getting anguish. I discovered that this was actually to be expected. I'm not sure if that helped or not...

Anyway, things seemed to have settled down back there now so that's cool. And you know what? In the long run I saved lots of money by waiting this long to get my teeth looked at. Even with the filling I probably saved over $500. He, he!


y2008m04d30 @ 10:46:02 PM - Fair Thee Well, Wavy Locks Comment on this (0 so far)

There is something a tad scary about getting your hair cut by a stranger without your glasses. The reflection in the mirror is so blurry that the hairdresser (correct term?) could be trimming your hair up to match her neighbour's shrub and you wouldn't have a clue.

As I'm to be a groom's man in Peter and Celina's wedding this Saturday I thought I might get a professional job on my hair. It had grown to hitherto unseen lengths and, while I had begun to enjoy the prospect of a tight fro, it was getting pretty crazy wild. It was my first time going to a barber shop. But it went quickly and painlessly and was pretty cheap too. And best of all I don't look like a freak. Dad doesn't like the cut but I can't say I notice a big difference from how Mom usually trims it.

I tipped the nice lady. Like a guy said on one forum, "if someone can spit in my food or make me look like a retard for a month I tip them".


y2008m04d14 @ 9:03:24 AM - First Coffee in a Week Comment on this (0 so far)

It is no secret; I drink a lot of coffee. However, it wasn't until a week ago Sunday evening that I realized that I might be drinking too much (I'd never really thought that was possible). It wouldn't be rare for me to have five mugs a day of the java juice. "Self," I said to myself, "let's see if you can lay off the coffee for one whole week. Hey, maybe you'll feel more rested and healthy." So on Monday I didn't have even a drop of coffee. Same deal on Tuesday and all the way through till last night. When I wanted a hot drink I had hot chocolate or tea (the latter is a very sorry substitute for the True Brew). Most days of the week I had a mild headache at some point but I made it through. I didn't sleep any better (worse, if anything) and didn't feel even a little more healthy.

This morning I dumped out the old coffee loitering in the pot and brewed up a steaming new batch. I just finished my first coffee in a week, and boy was it good! I've proved I can easily quit and now I'm back on the Bean.


y2008m03d01 @ 10:58:45 PM - Boarding at Kirby Comment on this (3 so far)

Pete and I went snowboarding at Kirby tonight. It was only my second time this season and my first time to Kirby. Shameful! Conditions were pretty good, thanks to a dump of snow yesterday. Though it was a bit windy at times overall the temperature wasn't bad. Part way through the evening we met the other Pete unexpectedly. And a bit later there was Matt! So that was cool too. We mostly rode the park and The Bowl / Ben's Bumps. The park had a few jumps, one of which was pretty big. We eyed it and discussed it but never tried it. I got some decent air off the smallest one, though.

Anyway, it was a good night. We'll have to do that again.


y2008m02d14 @ 8:47:04 PM - Valentine's Day Comment on this (2 so far)

Happy Valentine's Day to you all, especially those with significant others. I myself do not fall in that category but I thought I would instead share a few things that I love, a few moments that fill me with joy.

  • Getting up a bit earlier than normal on a Saturday morning and enjoying a couple bowls of Shreddies and Kellogg's Frosted Flakes while the house is still quiet.
  • Driving home from Durham Christian Book Store with a new CD (one I'd ordered in ahead of time) laying on the passenger seat, still wrapped in cellophane.
  • Buying a Hot Fudge Sundae with Rachel at the McDonalds down the road.
  • Playing air-guitar to favourite nu-metal song pounding out of the speakers at high volume, when no one else is home.
  • After freshly formatting a partition typing "dir" at the Command Prompt and seeing "0 File(s)     0 bytes".
  • Eating home-made pizza (with Coke) over a DVD together with my family.
  • Reading a Star Wars novel in bed, with the electric blanket on, while eating Toblerone chocolate.


y2008m02d01 @ 9:50:57 AM - Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords Comment on this (0 so far)

Back on December 1 of last year I went out game-hunting. I was hoping to pick up a Half-Life 1 and 2 bundle for cheap so I wandered into Game Power in Bowmanville and inquired. They didn't have that sort of package so I walked over to the small display of PC games to see if any other titles caught my eye. One did - Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: Sith Lords (hence forth referenced as KotOR 2). It was a trade-in so the price was reduced. I originally thought it was an action game but when I installed it and began playing I realized that it was really an RPG. I've not played many RPGs, really just Goldrush, SpaceQuest, and Pokemon, and I'd never played anything quite as complicated. Just as I was beginning the second "level" of the game, I invited Rachel to check it out, not really expecting she'd be all the interested. It turned out she was quite interested and consequently we've played the rest of the game together. It isn't a two-player game and I usually controlled the character, but Rachel gave input on where we go, what dialog choices should be made, what items to use, and she kept an eye on the characters' health in battles. Last night we finally completed the saga.

The game was well done and fun to play though there were a few flaws. One of them is that the ending really doesn't tie things up very well and the last section of the game feels like it looses some quality. From what I've read the developers were rushed to complete the game so that could explain it. Even so I look forward to replaying KorOR 2 again from the start as a different character and different choices to see how my decisions effect the mechanics this time through.


y2008m01d26 @ 9:43:52 AM - The Past Week Comment on this (0 so far)

A few things of interest for this past week...

On Tuesday I received a parcel containing the Star Wars: Dark Nest trilogy, which I'd ordered with my Chapters gift card (thanks, Mom!) I'm currently working through the Star Wars books of have (some on loan) in chronological order. I'm actually part way through the Legacy of the Force series and received the latest book, Fury, for Christmas, but I find I get pulled out of the continuing story when I hop to other Star Wars books between the Legacy of the Force releases. Also that series refers to events that occurred in the Dark Nest trilogy so I hope to complete that series to gain better perspective and then finish the Legacy of the Force series back-to-back.

On Thursday we had our Grand Re-Opening of the real estate office at 40A King Ave. E. I put together a slideshow of old photos, and pictures of the burnt building, its demolition, and the construction of the new office. I set it to loop on all the monitors. We had lots of visitors come by, most strangers to me but a few familiar faces. I'm not much of the mingling type and felt more inclined to sit at a computer but I think I still enjoyed it. The food was excellent!

Yesterday I picked up my glasses with new and much improved lenses. The perscription was rather overdue. It is wonderful to see such road signs with such crisp clarity now!

Also on Friday, at our Young People meeting Pete invited us to come skating on their rink which is very nice this year. Some of us did and played a brisk game of hockey until it was nigh unto midnight. I have no illusions that I possess many hockey skills but I still like playing. Good times!

That's all for now.


y2008m01d16 @ 7:21:59 PM - 1st Anniversary of Comment on this (0 so far)

A whois lookup on "" will reveal that it was created on Jan 16, 2007. Happy first birthday! This site didn't go live until around a month later, but that original order of and hosting space was the all-important first step. I've really enjoyed having my own site and sharing some of my interests with whatever visitors might come by.


y2007m12d30 @ 2:04:13 PM - 'Tis the Season Comment on this (2 so far)

Blessed Christmas to you all!

This really is one of my favourite times of year (perhaps second to Rock Sands Cottage). I've been enjoying some days of relative relaxation (at least from regular work). Yesterday afternoon we kicked off the Vogel Christmas gathering. Sadly Mel and Chad were grievously delayed and didn't make it in time and Chris can't come until today but it was great to have the other young couples there. The cousins' White Elephant gift exchange is always good. Often we write some poem to go along with the gift. This year I went for an unrhymed poem. That isn't really my natural style (I prefer fairly strict rhyme and meter) but it was fun to write something more free. The gift I ended up with had a number of components, several of which I traded after. Of note was an old VHS tape starring Richard Simmons titled Sweatin' to the Oldies. I can feel the pounds melting away just by reading the back of the case.

Anyway, we're heading for church shortly after which we're up to Grandma's for Christmas dinner (the second one there, actually). This time the other Sissons family and Mom will be there, so that's cool.


y2007m12d12 @ 10:30:57 PM - Office Outing Comment on this (2 so far)

I got the day off work, but I still had to be at the office at 9:00. You see, today we had our office Christmas outing. It was a pretty sweet deal, really. Our team has been growing over the last year and we've moved around a few times and are now ending the year settled back into the recently rebuilt office on King Ave. Anyway, Masood proposed we do something together.

So this morning a limo came by the office a bit after 9:00 to pick us up and then the eight of headed out to the T-dot. It was my first time riding in a limo and it was quite nice. We all fit in quite well. We arrived at the Eatons Centre at around 11:00 and split up to do shopping. Masood gave a Christmas bonus which I intended to make use of. I had brought along my family's wish lists and planned on mostly buying gift for them rather than spending too much money on myself. Being a rather inexperienced shopper it took me a while to find the stores I wanted. I ended up buying only two items at only one store. I had a Star Wars book in my hand at Chapters but when I saw the checkout line I returned the book with sorrow. I didn't figure I'd be able to buy it and still make our lunch regrouping at noon. Bummer... I also wanted to get a watch but never found a store selling "el cheapo" watches.

We ate at Greenjeans. The only down side to my milkshake and grilled BBQ chicken sandwich was that I didn't have room to finish the fries.

After lunch we walked over to the Canon theater and watched a play there. I'm not a huge play fan and it did have some sketchy parts but it was well done. It contained some humourous pop-culture references along with setting elements from The Matrix.

Then it was back home in the limo. I do enjoy being part of our team. We all get along well and it was fun to be able to spend a day together in a different environment. Thanks, Masood!


y2007m10d13 @ 1:38:39 AM - A Desktop and a Prodigal Cat Comment on this (0 so far)

It's been a busy day and what seemed like a busy week though when I look back I find it hard to point out what exactly made it feel busy... I guess one item was setting up a desktop for Aunt Beth. There are a bunch of old PCs scattered about in the basement (Mom's patience is surprising -- thanks Mom!) I found one that seemed about the best, a Pentium II MMX @ ~ 350MHz with a 6.02 GB HDD. One definitely won't be playing Far Cry on there but it was the best I had around (better than Mom's computer, I think). I got it pretty much ready to roll so it can ship out with Grandma and Aunt Beth tomorrow.

We had some concerns about Ard this week. We didn't see him after 4:00 AM on Wednesday (when Dad let him out). Our neighbours reported seeing him later that day, I believe, but we called and called and by Thursday evening he was still missing. We thought coyotes might have, er, bumped into him but when I called our neighbours they said he'd been around that evening. However, he didn't turn up here until close to midnight. He looks like he's feeling rough but hopefully that is just due to excessive partying and nothing serious. We're beginning to wonder if he likes it better at the neighbours' -- he's friends with Patches who has a fun barn and across the road he's got moist cat food. And at home Telum beats up on him. Hmm...

[EDIT: y2007m10d16] Ard is very much on the mend and is nearly back to his good old self. He is quite a bit more affectionate and we hope that will stick with him. Maybe a brush with his own mortality made him appreciated the loved ones in his short life more...?


y2007m10d06 @ 11:37:03 PM - The Logical Choice Comment on this (0 so far)

I was checking out the newest posts on Christian Anime Alliance and noticed a thread 'SUPER cheap DVD's at Right Stuf'. I'd been to Right Stuf before when shopping around for anime but hadn't bought anything from them. When I checked out the sale "SUPER cheap" was right. I bought Last Exile vols 1, 3, and 4 at 75% discount! (I already have vol 2.) Normally I'm not an impulse buyer, though I suppose this wasn't really impulse. I mean, I was planning to buy the series eventually anyway so it makes logical sense to purchase the DVDs when they are available for the best price. And it doesn't get much better than 75% off! I don't know how long those spanking new DVDs will take to get here but it'll be great to add a few new volumes to my meager anime collection.


y2007m10d03 @ 8:36:47 AM - Rolling with Ubuntu Comment on this (0 so far)

I'm posting this in Ubuntu, while listening to Becoming the Archetype from Rhythmbox Music Box (still getting used to it). Yep, I've got my modem working. It is a bit different editing text files to change settings instead of clicking checkboxes like in Windows. I learned how to edit the boot menu in GRUB too, so now Hal boots to Windows XP Pro automatically after 10 seconds and if I choose Ubuntu the additional boot options are included (I need "acpi=off noapic pnpbios=off"). I've got a couple things to try next -- playing DVDs and setting up an email client.

It is really fun learning a new OS!


y2007m09d24 @ 11:33:30 PM - Fun with Operating Systems Comment on this (2 so far)

Ever since seeing Ubuntu (a Linux OS based on Debian) running on Ryan's laptop, I've wanted to try installing it on my own machine. I got a Ubuntu 7.04 Live CD and tried that a while back but it kept locking up. A week back my Ubuntu 7.04 alternate install finished downloading. I moved all my data over from the second 80 GB partition on my master HDD to the slave HDD and restarted Hal with the Ubuntu CD in the drive. A while later Ububtu was froze up at the login screen. I did some digging on the Ububtu support forums and added a few extra items to the boot lines. That seemed to clear the freeze problem.

It's been a while since I've enjoyed the experience of racing around a new OS with childish curiosity and glee. It reminds me of staying at a different house (the best I can come up with, since I've never moved). You know, like if you're staying at Grandma's cottage for three nights while you're parents are away. The more you explore the place, the more little rooms you come across. It feels unfamiliar but that's OK 'cause it is so exciting. (Well, until you get home-sick...)

I was a little bummed out that I couldn't figure out how to connect to the Internet. I thought that would be fairly easy. It seems like updating drivers isn't quite as similar as it is with Windows. I had some sound issues too. But I love the Desktop Effects, with the jelly windows and cubic desktops. Rachel and I enjoyed the games too. Sadly, a few days later Ubuntu broke. It would keep hanging before it reached the login screen. I waded through the support forums again but ended up more confused than enlightened. In the end I reinstalled.

As though it were taking misbehavior cues from its Open Source rival, Windows XP Professional decided to throw a tantrum on Sunday. All of the sudden when any program tried to authorize a connection with a server, the program would begin eating 100% of the CPU cycles and hang. Firefox, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, Filezilla -- all of them where out of commission. I tried a few things on Sunday and then gave up. This morning I finally backed up a couple things, restarted with the Windows XP Pro CD in the drive, and reinstalled. It was time. The OS was getting slower, especially getting Windows full up and running. It is nice to have a clean system again. I've install most of my main software so I'm totally rolling again. I'll just install the remaining non-critical software (including games) when I find I need them.

During the process of deleting the first partition on the master HDD, I've lost GRUB so I can't boot to Ubuntu anymore. Ah well, I'm going to try a fresh install of the 64bit version and see if that works better. (I'd forgotten that my CPU is an Athlon 64 -- my old one was an XP 2600...) Hopefully both Windows XP Professional and Ubuntu 7.04 can peacefully coexist on Hal in the near future.


y2007m09d16 @ 5:46:34 PM - Fall Family Conference Comment on this (2 so far)

The second annual Family Fall Conference kicked off this past Friday evening. I was there, the lone representative of the Sissons family. My ride-bumming skills fell short so after an oil change and quick checkup the CRV was available for the ~1.9 hour trek.

Like last year, the event was held at the Upper Canada Camp in Palgrave. They'd done a major renovation in the main lodge and also constructed several new cabins. (Though "cabin" might be too humble of a word.) The one I bunked in was quite nice. Of course I took a top bunk; I always do. It is more exciting since I always sleep on the bottom bunk at home (only because I don't have a top bunk).

Anyway, the crowds grew think Saturday morning for the seminar on the unchanging God in a changing world. A good message - it made me think again about how God's eternality, His filling all time, relates to His other incommunicable attributes.

The afternoon was spent with organized games. I traded teams with Ami B...... (I'm not going attempt the spelling) so that she could hang out with Abby. The sports were pretty good although baseball got a little nasty with cold, blowing drizzle for a while my team was outfield. Brrr! And we played basketball, which I know almost nothing about. I did run around a fair bit and jumped sometimes but I don't think I contributed beyond that. It was good to see some other YP there and I enjoyed a game of Dutch Blitz with a bunch of them before dinner.

The drive home didn't find me as sleepy as I'd expected. I had 100.3 cranked for a while and also stopped in at Timmy's for a large English Toffee. I got home at a very decent hour too.

Good times.


y2007m08d27 @ 11:49:48 PM - Out and About Comment on this (0 so far)

August has been good.

First we had our annual week at the cottage with the Vogel clan. It was probably the most relaxed year for me. I didn't get much accomplished there but that wasn't my intention. I had thought I might be inspired to write another poem while I was there (I was the last two years) but not so. However, I did get a little more done on my one short story. It was great that most of the family could make it for at least some of the time. We welcomed the newcomers Steve and Chad, though in Steve's case "welcome" took on a new meaning.

I got less than a week to jump back into work before heading out to Cornwall for Mel and Chad's wedding. I wish it hadn't been that soon after the cottage as I had lots to do but hey, the wedding had to be sometime. The Brinks kindly opened their home to Pete, Ben, and I and we welcomed the opportunity to hang with Jason, Shannon, Ryan, Kev, and the gang. Actually, the house was remarkably quiet on Friday morning before the wedding. The whole program ran quite smoothly. On Saturday we got to spend some time with Jason before he left and then with Ryan after work (we re-watched the Bourne Ultimatum). We topped everything off with some cliff jumping on Sunday afternoon.

A thought:
It would be awesome to include "Mood Rings" and "Must Have Done Something Right" from Relient K in a wedding reception playlist.


y2007m08d01 @ 9:52:53 PM - Variety Pac Comment on this (0 so far)

There hasn't been any one big news item lately but I suppose there are a few little things I could compile into one entry. So, in rough chronological order:

I was at BlockBuster on July 14th and saw Chaos Theory in the bargain bin. I thought it would probably be worth $9.98 and so I picked it up. I beat it yesterday. Pretty cool. You've got a decent amount of gadgets and the game rewards maximizing your gear to slip unnoticed behind the backs of guards. Stealth is the name of the game. The rough language is unfortunate though.

We've been caring for the Vogel's toy poodle, Sadie, for a little while now. She is an easy dog to look after. For the most part she is calm and quiet and makes very little fuss. She and the cats keep a bit of distance but don't seem very concerned with the arrangement. Sadie definitely likes Dad in particular.

Last Saturday I bought BarlowGirl's latest CD. It is good stuff but didn't click with me the same as Another Journal Entry. But now I'm getting into it more. I'm finding that some of the tracks are playing, unbidden, in my head during the day. In a good way.

Pete and I have been working on our Project lately and he's been talking lots about LEGO. The other day we played with LEGO Digital Designer. It's making me feel like pulling out all our old pirate sets and having a good old-fashioned battle on the high seas. Arrrg! Really though, Digital Designer is pretty cool. There is room for improvement (more bricks, please!) but it is a fun start. Plus you can order the sets you build - megasweet!

I'd started a short story back around the beginning of the year but kinda fell out of it. I did a bit more when I was out in BC in the spring. Then again recently I've gotten into it and find myself looking forward to typing more when I get home from work. There is still a decent amount left though. And no promises that it'll ever make it up on this site.

Sister is coming home tomorrow night. That's a good thing!

It is really hot and sticky tonight. Yes, even I am sweating. How barbaric! I needed something really cold, wet, and refreshing. I found some cucumber salad in the fridge - just the thing. That stuff sure goes down good on a day like this.


y2007m07d14 @ 3:13:17 AM - Caffine is Your Friend Comment on this (2 so far)

Question for you - which is larger? $1,133.55 or $1,224.23? This had me going up the wall for a while the other day, 'cause I was sure the smaller one was larger. Right now I feel like Neo when he finally saw the world as Matrix code, except I don't understand it. Ya, I've been putting in some early mornings and late nights on this website project. I think I've drank more coffee in the last week than I have in the last 3 months. Anyway, I determined that I'd complete all the major items on the site and upload them before I hit the sack tonight. And I did! I think I'll sleep in tomorrow morning...

Other stuff:
  • I picked up "The Healing of Harms" by Fireflight a week or two back. Awesome CD - get yourself a copy or borrow mine.
  • The YP hosted a church baseball game last Friday evening. There was a good turnout, hardly anyone got hurt, and we even raised some funds. Thanks heaps to those who came out and to those who worked to make the event happen.
  • Last Saturday some of the YP (including yours truly) went up to help the Hope Centre again (see the last time we went). It went well and on Tuesday Brian reported 70 kids had attended that day!
  • We're looking after the Overgaauw's dog until Monday (since yesterday). He is perky and interested in the cats. The cats are also interested in him. Not a whole lot of love in the equation, I don't think. We don't know the dog's name so I call him "Cypher".
'Night. I'm going to bed.


y2007m06d28 @ 8:46:59 PM - Debug Hero Comment on this (2 so far)

We've had another office shuffle. I'm now working with most of the rest of the office team out of a nice little house in town. The move was surprisingly uneventful (that is a good thing). However, we're working on setting up two new servers, a Linux box for the phones and a Windows 2003 Server for programs and data, so I'm sure they will generate some problems. Ŗ-)

Some people seem to be beset by computer woes more frequently than others, not necessarily through any fault of their own. (I have a certain person at the office in mind when I say this, as well as my sister). So I thought to myself, "Self, you should make a stress relief game about fixing computers." And I listened. The result is Debug Hero. To make things more interesting, I added a few different faces to the character. For example my mom, or myself. (I wanted to add my sis, but her hair is such a pain for cropping...)

You can't win the game, but I think that adds to the never-ending desperation of real-world technology troubleshooting. I've got some improvement idea but feel free to comment on this news with your own ideas. Maybe I'll including them when I get around to the next version.

Anyway, go ahead and bash up a high score.


y2007m06d18 @ 8:47:51 PM - Weekend in Montreal Comment on this (2 so far)

I had a great weekend. Mom, Dad, and I went over to Montreal to visit Aunt Beth and Grandma. Aunt Beth is back in the hospital undergoing the next step in her treatment. I'm really glad that I could finally go see her, and it was great to spend some more time with Grandma too. Montreal sure has some beautiful buildings! The hospital looks more like a castle then a hospital - lots of stone and the occational turret.

On the way back we dropped in at Brinks and also got to see their new house. Over the course of the trip I polished off three of the four books I brought. Ŗ-) I up to date in Fullmetal Alchemist now and finally finished Can We Rock the Gospel. The latter is thought provoking. I don't agree with all the arguments but I can see a number of dangers in using rock music in corporate worship / evangelism.

P.S. Lately Ard has taken to yowling loudly and incessantly for no apparent reason. Highly vexing, especially during the night. It might be different if his voice was mild and soothing but no, it is boisterous and varies in volume, pitch, and duration. Maybe it is some sort of new feline emo vocal style - I dunno...


y2007m06d10 @ 5:43:48 PM - Brockville Conference Comment on this (0 so far)

I just returned from a weekend young people conference hosted by the Brockville URC. It was really good - I'm glad I went. At around three hours driving distance it was a bit of a hike but worth it. The speaker, Rev. Jeremy Veldman, gave three messages on "Running the Race" and really developed the image Paul gave of the Christian life as a race or a boxing match.

On Saturday we hiked through the woods and scrambled over tumbled rocks to reach the rocky summit which provided a beautiful view of a massive area of woods and lakes. The rest of the afternoon we spent relaxing on the property of one of the congregation's families (at least I relaxed - some of the guys beat themselves up playing football). The weather was totally harmonic with the weekend.

Fun times, but it is good to be back (I left at about 4:30 on Friday and returned somewhere around there today). I missed my music... I bought "Safe Haven" just the other day from iTunes and I intend to listen to that once I've finished this news. Ŗ-) Plus I skipped two daily episodes of WHR (I'm trying to watch six episodes a week)! No big deal really...


y2007m05d06 @ 3:24:49 PM - BC Was Fun Comment on this (0 so far)

Normally I'd be at church right now but the good old Teal Squeal seems to have gone on vacation. Or at least the starter... So instead I'll take this oportunity to let you know I am indeed safely back again in ON. We arrived after midnight, so about 00:40 this morning. The trip was heaps o' fun! I'm sad it is over - vacation time is nice.

Rachel graduated with great distinction (magna cum laude, if you speak Latin). That means she got this cool little gold rope. Of course I wasn't surprised. She is pretty clever.

The folks out in BC were really hospitable to us! You guys made our trip so convenient and wonderful - thanks so much! And, as an older borther, I appreciate your looking after my sis during her time out there.

Hopefully I can get the webmaster of this site to post some photos this week.


y2007m04d20 @ 9:05:50 AM - The Grand Finale Comment on this (1 so far)

On Tuesday the 24th I'm flying off into the sunset. Well, at least in that direction...

I'm heading to BC for my little sister's graduation. The grand finale of what, 6, 7 years of mental and emotional torture? OK, maybe that is exaggerating a bit, but  they were a challenging 3 years and my dear sis worked like a trooper.

BC is cool. I'm looking forward to hanging out there - seeing Jason and Shannon, second cousins, and other relatives. Oh, and BC has real live mountains too!

Naturally lots of little projects are popping up this week right before I have to leave. I don't think any of them are too major but I do hope I don't spend all of Monday frantically tying up loose ends. I should have some internet access out west so I should be able to keep an eye on things from there. Oh, may technology run smoothly in my absence! (Crumb - did I say that out loud...?)


y2007m04d09 @ 9:52:18 AM - Good Friday and Following Comment on this (4 so far)

He is risen.

Yes, last Friday was Good Friday, followed closely by Easter Sunday. It was good to again focus on the monumental events that these days celebrate, events that shook all of history and haven't diminished after two millenniums.

It is traditional that after the Good Friday morning church service, those of the congregation who are interested go on a hike following an old railway bed from around Port Hope to Bethany. Anyone is welcome to go 10 miles to a pickup point, while only the guys can continue to camp (it's a guy bonding thing). After sleeping (?!) over at camp, the survivors stumble along for another 15 miles to the conclusion.

As I squirmed around in my sleeping bag wearing two sweatshirts, two pants, and longjohns and still feeling the frozen ground sapping my meager body heat, I pondered in my mind why exactly I was there rather than under my electric blanket at home. I'm not sure I came up with a good answer...

We were pretty late starting in the morning, but after seeing "Fritters ahead" written in the snow we surged forward to the oasis of Millbrook where Unc and Joe were waiting with delicious fritters and hot coffee.

The hours and miles marched on and by about 13:00 on Saturday my mental activity had been reduced to "left, right, left, right". At last the goalposts were in sight and I lurched over the finish line. The ride home was surprisingly brief. A long, hot shower... Pizza at Oma's place... A footrub by my wonderful mom... I think they made the whole thing worthwhile. I think...


y2007m03d23 @ 9:40:15 PM - Have Your Say ----> Comment on this (5 so far)

I'm pleased to announce that is now more interactive. No more am I the only one talking. Hey, you guys have things to say too, right? Has anything here piqued your interest, sparked a question, or sorely vexed you? Then lemme know!

Just look for the ?!* beside the title or thumbnail image of the item of interest. Hover your cursor over it to see how many comments it's already received. Click on it to pop up a window where you can enter your own comments. You can comment on quite a few areas: news, photos, artwork, writings, rants, and links.

Go ahead, click the ?!* to the right of "Have Your Say ---->" above and give it a whirl.


y2007m03d18 @ 1:54:32 PM - Glancing Back from This Moment Comment on this (0 so far)

The time between Sunday services seems almost suspended. It feels good today.

Last week found me pretty busy. There was lots to do at the office, as we're off to a rocky start with the new contact management software we've switched to, plus we moved the phone system and some of the computers on Thursday. I got home pretty close to midnight that evening...

And then there was some grim news concerning my aunt, and my parents were gone for a couple days to visit her. I didn't mind being on my own though. A little more peacefully, I suppose, and I could eat whatever, whenever, wherever. "Wherever" actually means in front of the computer or the TV...

I watched a movie from BlockBuster twice last week. I rarely rewatch a movie that soon but the depth of this movie, an anime work titled "Jin-Roh", warranted a second viewing in order to get a better grasp on the plot. It had some violent parts but otherwise was very clean. It was definately not a cheery movie and not enjoyable, per say. "Thought-provoking" and "stirring" would be more apt labels. I'm glad I finally got around to watching it.


y2007m03d11 @ 12:22:55 AM - Hope Centre Outing Comment on this (0 so far)

It's been a busy day, which makes the reheated blackberry pie and cold milk go down even better.

It started early (for a Saturday, at least) when I went into the office to setup some stuff for the switch-over of our main contact management / scheduler program. I stayed late Friday night working on that too. I would have liked to stick around for the morning until the new system was up and running but I had to leave for Etobicoke at 10:30. Five other YP went with me to help distribute flyers for a March Break VBS that the Hope Centre is running next week. In several hours our group along with other YP had distributed all the flyers and the Hope Centre had already received a few calls from parents! Following our pavement plodding we enjoyed games and pizza at the Zekveld's. One of the games was new to me and pretty cool. Each person would write a narrative sentence and pass on the sheet to the next person who would add their own sentence. However, each person could only see the previous sentence. Once the sheets were full they were read. Talk about unexpected plot twists! Crazy stuff...

Anyway, I've got to get to bed. Rotten time change tonight too...


y2007m03d07 @ 6:50:52 PM - Hello World! Comment on this (0 so far)

I thought it would be nice to have news items on here. After experimenting with 1&1's easyRSS I decided to hand-code the news feature instead. easyRSS just wasn't flexible enough for my liking. So there you have it!
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