Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

Goodbye, childhood

Goodbye:

  • headache glue cracking from finger tips
  • badly-painted pilot with obvious thumb-prints
  • squint and/or torn decals
  • undercarriage installed backwards, if at all
  • spilled tin of Humbrol enamel
  • leftover sprue rattling in cardboard box with an unidentified piece still attached
  • curious v-shaped stand that never quite stood level
  • hung squintly from bedroom light by white thread until dusty wing missing from too many runins with parental heads
  • taken down for final flight whirled round head on string until dashed against clothespole or arcing up up into neighbour’s fir tree (it’s still there today)
  • when older, packed with cotton balls nicked from sister, doused with turps, crashed flaming kamikaze onto the compost heap (sorry dad, your onions never did well on paint thinner and burnt plastic)

Goodbye, Airfix

Categories
computers suck

the computer does work

Picked up the new computer from Canada Computers yesterday. High-end it isn’t, but it’s more than adequate. It’s an AMD Sempron 3000+ (on a Foxconn K8M890M2MA-RS2H motherboard), with 1GB RAM, 80GB SATA disk and a DVD±RW drive. There was change out of $400, including tax.

It’s running Ubuntu for AMD64. While there are a few things I don’t have configured, it was all installed in under an hour. It reminds me a bit of OS X. There’s one thing it does better than the Mac; it knows about duplex printers, and assumes you want to be able to print duplex. Under OS X, you have to choose two-sided every time you print. Thanks to Davey for originally putting me on to Ubuntu. My life’s too short to mess with linux configs.

Now I need to move the old hard drive over as a spare, and fit the various cards from the old machine.

Categories
fish

loaches!

We are troubled by water snails, so Mike at Finatics suggested some clown loaches. We now have four Chromobotia macracanthus zooming around, and they’re the only ones that’ll stand up to the algae eaters.

And I get to say loach again: loach!

Categories
books computers suck

Here do books lurk

Catherine has a project involving Toronto’s libraries, and so I, for no particularly good reason, compiled a geocoded list of the Toronto Public Library system: libraries.gpx
Google Earth display of all of Toronto's public libraries

You can thank MapSource for the bloated GPX file. It quadrupled in size when I changed the symbols to look like buildings.

Categories
fish

we’re talking fish

Called in at Finatics Aquarium (599 Kennedy Rd, Scarborough, ON, M1K 2B2 – 416-265-2026) yesterday. The owner, Mike Bandura, was very helpful for the complete novice fishkeeper. I think we’ll be stocking our new aquarium from there.

Categories
computers suck o canada sheesh!

… with raspberry vinaigrette!

Paul and I often talked of doing this, but I see someone’s done it for real: they hacked the GO Train scrolly LED signs to read Stephen Harper Eats Babies.

Categories
General

Sarah’s Solar Art

Sarah Hall works with glass and light, and her most recent commission for Regent College in BC combines solar photovoltaics and an LED light show into the installation. It’s a beautiful design, and I’d like to thank Sarah for inviting me to the official unveiling yesterday.

Categories
o canada

Tax Time

Phew – that’s the 2005 income taxes filed for Catherine and me, and also my GST return in. I don’t grudge paying taxes (no civilization without taxation, after all), but I hate filling out the returns. I’m also too cheap to get someone to do it for me. Sucks to be me, eh?

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

ants! Ants!! ANTS!!!

We were somewhat troubled by ants last night, but they lapped up that borax, and we don’t see them any more. It’s kind of a sick little monkey way of killing them; feed them something sweet that, when fed to their leader, kills their society.

Categories
sheesh!

misfiled, maybe

In the humour section at Chapters: George W Bush & his Family Paper Dolls book…

Categories
General

a wee corner of Scotland at Ellesmere & McCowan

Serendipity: took a wrong turn coming out of the
federal building, and found ourselves in Scottish culinary heaven (which is not an oxymoron, I assure you). At the corner of Ellesmere & McCowan is The But ‘n’ Ben Butchers; they sell all sort of quality Scottish foods. So far, we’ve sampled and can approve their butcher’s pies, plain bread and empire biscuits. They’ve also got a supply of UK Heinz Beans, which knock the gummy North American beans into a cocked hat.
Next door but one is St Andrews Fish & Chips. They’re amazing. I think the chips (hand cut, of course) are deep fried in some unhealthy, but tasty, animal byproduct. And they have Irn Bru, too …

Categories
o canada

In Edmonton, but no thanks to WorstJet

Edmonton: view from my hotel

Jet lag, lack of sleep, and a whole day of company orientation isn’t doing much for my clarity of thought right now. What I need is steak and beer.

Last night’s flight was supposed to get in at 10:30, but what with WestJet‘s faffing around, we got in well after midnight. It was about 1am (or 03:00, Toronto time) before I got settled in the hotel room.

I’ve never been in a city with trolley buses before. Guess I can’t say that any more. It’s also the furthest west I’ve ever been.
I wonder if the snow drawing below (as seen from my hotel window) is supposed to be a hometown homage to Bob The Angry Flower?

hometown homage to Bob?

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

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.

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

don’t mess with my childhood

Why is the Canadian release of The Magic Roundabout called Doogal? Surely everyone knows he’s Dougal (unless you know him as the francophone Pollux)? Sheesh.

It’ll suck. Since there’s no Eric Thompson, and no mention of sugar cubes for recreational purposes, it’ll be v.poor.

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

mandibled

I was bitten by a spider today, but I have yet to develop superpowers.

Categories
o canada

mec sled dog

There was a very cute malamute in MEC today. She wasn’t too keen on shopping, so she’d lie down for a bit every now and again, anchoring her owner to the spot.

Categories
cars suck o canada WAGDAIYF

“The clean air choice of Earth Day Canada.”

So, what would you think would be “The clean air choice of Earth Day Canada“? A bicycle, perhaps? Some kind of renewable energy? Some really brilliant Canadian enviro-social development, like a biodegradeable donut?

Nope, a car; the Toyota Prius. Last time I checked, it still used petroleum (with its high environmental and geopolitical toxicity). It still causes gridlock; I see Priuses (Prii? Your moon-pie eye!) inching along the Gardiner from the GO train with all the other wretched junkers. The way I see it, it’s not looking like part of the solution. It’s a bit like having an official assault rifle for the the International Day of Peace.

Toyota also give out $5000 Toyota Earth Day Scholarships. I mean, that’s nice and all, but it’s hardly giving back. If you look at all the scholarship materials, it’s carefully arranged so it looks like the event is called Toyota Earth Day, with the ‘scholarship’ on the next line. Nice cooption. Good greenwash.

Categories
o canada

Toronto Subway Station GPS Locations

After seeing the various nifty web-enabled transit maps, I realised I had the data handy to get things started. A while back, I georeferenced the TTC Ride Guide, and digitized all the station locations. I cleaned them up today, and in the hope of being useful, here are the files:

These are simple three-column CSV files, stating latitude, longitude, and station name. They should be in order of stations. Locations are probably within about 50m of real life, but don’t bank on it.

I’ll get these into more useful formats soon, like GPX and KML. For now though, if you can use ’em, go ahead and do something.

Categories
goatee-stroking musing, or something

I (heart) languagehat

languagehat, on begging the question:

This is one of those issues that is catnip to the adolescent language-lover but which a sensible person grows out of. I too used to enjoy tormenting people with the “truth” about the phrase, but I eventually realized that, whatever its origins … I had never seen or heard the phrase used “correctly” except by people making a point of doing so (cf. “hoi polloi”); in current English usage, “beg the question” means ‘raise the question,’ and that’s that. I got over it …
[T]his … is a sign that the language has sailed on, leaving wistful archaists treading water and clutching at the stern.

Categories
computers suck

the disgruntled cyclops in your computer

this perl operator is really a disgruntled cyclops

You might see this in Perl if, for instance, $data were a reference to an array of arrays, and so @{ $data[$#data] } would represent the last row of data in the array. You don’t see it that often; probably more frequently than a real disgruntled cyclops, though …