cram, cram, cram

I have my PPE exam today for my Professional Engineers Ontario licence. This is my first exam in 15 years (not counting citizenship, which was more of a test). I think it’s my first essay-question exam, possibly ever, certainly since school.

I never was very good at studying; last minute and aim for one point above the pass mark was more my style. I’m sure Catherine can confirm it hasn’t changed.

tasty bytes

my ibook status

I just upgraded my iBook to 1.5GB, the most it’ll take.  The CD·ROM Store took a bit of time to get the memory in, but when they did it was $50 less than I was originally quoted.

It took me four heart-stopping tries to get it installed. It went like this:

  1. black screen – eek!
  2. appeared to work, but no extra RAM recognized.
  3. black screen – double eek!
  4. works- yay!

Each tim required power off, battery out, the keyboard to come off, a fiddly little plate to be unscrewed (which was  nothing like the Apple instructions said), the SODIMM reseated, fiddly plate restored,  keyboard in, battery in, power on. My old ThinkPad was a lot easier – I once installed RAM in it on a subway train …

GO Transit, you suck!

I discovered last week that GO don’t have a central announcement system. That means that unstaffed stations like Kennedy and Exhibition always leave their passengers in the dark. Plus, the e-mail announcement system only alerts you if the train is more than 30 minutes late. I think by that time I would have gone home.

No sign of that train yet …

ack bleah

I picked up a pack of Wrigley’s Doublemint Kona Creme Coffee Flavored (as they say) Gum in Missouri last week. I strongly advise that you don’t.

To use the crude but apt expression coined by Jay Primeau to describe a badly-mixed Kahlua cocktail, it tastes like coffee flavoured ass. While chewing, it causes the gorge to rise (I think it’s the slightly minty edge of the gum base), and has an aftertaste akin to latte barf.

Canada’s own Thrills Gum may still taste like soap (as it says on the package, and they’re not lying), but this is just … eww.

in the running

Almost ‘Best of The Year’ time. In the running are:

A Hawk and a Hacksaw – The Way the Wind Blows
A.C. Newman – Souvenir of Canada – EP
Beck – The Information
Calexico – Garden Ruin
Casper & the Cookies – The Optimist’s Club
Colin Meloy – Colin Meloy Sings Shirley Collins
Eels with Strings – Live At Town Hall
Elf Power – Back To The Web
Erynn Marshall – Calico
Faun Fables – The Transit Rider
Grandaddy – Just Like The Fambly Cat
Grant-Lee Phillips – nineteeneighties
Hidden Cameras – Awoo
Joanna Newsom – Ys
Jolie Holland – Springtime Can Kill You
King Biscuit Time – Black Gold
Mayor McCa – Cue Are Es Tea You
Peter Stampfel – The Jig Is Up
Robyn Hitchcock & The Venus 3 – Olé! Tarantula
Sufjan Stevens – Songs For Christmas – Volume V: Peace
Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche – Outtakes And Extras From The Illinois Album
The Be Good Tanyas – Hello Love
The Decemberists – The Crane Wife
The Essex Green – Cannibal Sea
The Flaming Lips – At War With The Mystics
The Handsome Family – Last Days of Wonder
The Instruments – Cast A Half Shadow
The Sadies – In Concert Vol. 1
The Wailin’ Jennys – Firecracker
Thom Yorke – The Eraser
Thomas Dolby – The Sole Inhabitant
Wendy Arrowsmith – Crying Out
Yo La Tengo – I Am Not Afraid Of You And I Will Beat Your Ass

Miraculously, all of them fit on my iPod Nano, so they’ll be in heavy rotation over the next week or so while I decide.

iCaved

Yeah, I caved in and bought a 2GB iPod Nano at the weekend. I had various gift cards and cheques come in, so…

It’s a lot better than the Shuffle was. I still don’t particularly like being tethered to iTunes, but I can live with it.

Reeks of Astroturf

Either the Fair Air Association of Canada is a last-gasp attempt by Big Tobacco to overturn Canadian smoking bans, or it’s a delightful work of twisted humour. I’m unsure which.

yeah, I get this too

Every few weeks someone contacts me with a proposal for what is, in effect, a perpetual motion machine. He (for it is always a he) can demonstrate to my satisfaction that, unlike all the quacks and cranks and mountebanks I have heard about, he really has solved the problem. He has a special catalyst, or a new equation, or a hotline to God, which demonstrates what all other physicists consider impossible: that energy can be created. … My only defence against these people is to ask them for an article in a peer-reviewed journal, whereupon I never hear from them again.

 — from Heat, by George Monbiot.

the computer does not work

My 4 year old Athlon XP box finally gave up this week. It had been acting ropily for a few months, and now it won’t even boot. Don’t really need to replace it with anything powerful; maybe just a cheapo Sempron box. We’ll see what Canada Computers has to offer.

gone with the wind

I see that Americas Wind Energy updated their website to replace the site I wrote for them a couple of years back. It’s purty, but:

  • The page URL sometimes inexplicably switches to d3095932.ejt86.ejtechinternational.com from awe-wind.com.
  • The product page for the AWE 52-750 shows a bunch of non-operational turbines.
  • The AWE 52-900 page also has a picture of a parked turbine, and it looks a lot like Tallon Energy’s 52-750 at Pincher Creek.
  • More parked turbines on the 54-900 page, and occasionally a completely different machine is shown.

Oh wait, I get it – it’s a random turbine image for each page. Hmm.

Danish Modern in Ringkøbing

I’m currently checked into a hotel which reeks of 70s Danish modern — blonde wood, bare brick, smoked glass surfaces — and, like many places in Denmark, cigarette smoke. Being in the presence of an authentic Beocom phone makes up for it though:

Beocom Phone

Also, there’s a cute little wind farm outside; a few Vestas V27s (or smaller) on lattice towers at 56° 7′ 22.11″ N, 8° 13′ 48.94″ E:
Little wind farm near Ringkøbing, Denmark

Hwy86 Turbine

AOC 15/50 near Listowel

I think it’s an AOC 15/50; note the downwind design and prominent blade tips.

It’s near Mornington, which is SE of Listowel on Hwy 86. Catherine and I spent the weekend in Goderich, and we came home the scenic route through Wingham and St Jacobs.

now that’s what I call shoulder pads

Rather too busy gardening and stuff this weekend to blog. I did see this rather unusual flying thing in the garden; a T-shaped bug.

T-Shaped Bug

It’s a plume moth, say the good folks at What’s That Bug?

I’m going in a field …

… To survey.

It’s lovely weather for it. Just a few weeks ago, it was bitter up here.

Strange coincidence: one of the surveyors, Joy, knows our friends the Bowyers.

Free the Laserjet 4!

I love the HP LaserJet 4+. Built like a tank, good print quality, and now available used/refurb for pennies. Sure, they weight about as much as a Sherman, and suck power like there was no tomorrow, but one of my 4+s has nearly a million on the page count, yet prints crisp and clean.

Last weekend I scored a 4+ with built in duplexer from eBay for very little. It didn’t want to print at first (giving a cryptic 13 PAPER JAM error), but removing the rather beat-up full-ream paper tray fixed that. It may need a new cartridge (at almost twice what I paid for the printer), but I’m happy.

Wonder if I can direct-connect one of them to the ethernet port on Catherine’s eMac? I know my router won’t talk AppleTalk, so we can’t network just one printer.

mailbox fool

Can you believe the Outlook mailbox limit at work? 60MB. Yup. I’ve been forced to tidy up every week.
I can’y believe a program as widely used as Outlook has so many critical limitations. Storing mail in binary archive files of limited size? Please; so 1989.

Chicken Payback

I had the misfortune to have a Swiss Chalet lunch near an argument. It was actually more of a harangue since it was very one-sided, and I was on the verge of getting up to tell the antagonist to shut up.

I don’t know the relationship, but it was an older guy and a younger woman, possibly his daughter. He was going on and on about how she was cutting work to go to the gym, how she was being paid for working 37.5 hours a week but was only working 35, did she feel good about stealing from the company, it didn’t matter if she got the work dones, she was paid to be there, her a manager too, etc, etc.

What was particularly pathetic was that he only ever gave her a couple of seconds to answer before launching another tirade. I think she maybe said about 10 words in a fifteen minute period.

I suspect he thought he was making a good point, but he was just coming across as a complete dork. And he was putting me off my food, too.

The week of shaving carefully

So how did my first week of shaving with a plain safety razor go? Pretty well, I think.

I’ve discovered that Weleda shaving cream and after-shave balm work well for me. They have a muted, natural scent, and are very soothing.

What didn’t work for me was Lush Prince shaving cream. This heavy, waxy preparation clogs up the blade, it smells too strongly of neroli, and is a horror to rinse off. I also cut myself the only time I used it. Styptic pencil owies resulted.

Catherine has remarked on the closer shave (I suspect ‘cos I’m spending more time on it). It’s strange, but the stubble seems sharper. I wonder if multiple blades smoothed the razor-cut ends of the hairs, and thus gave an impression of a smoother, longer-lasting shave?

I like my Merkur. Using it for a year will end up cheaper than any cartridge razor, and result in far less trash.