Sunday, March 31, 2002

I am going to bed now, dreading what Banana and McMonk have in store for me tomorrow. I'll be checking each shoe before I slip my toes in, tasting a bit of the sugar before putting it in my tea. You see, tomorrow (or probably today by the time you read this) is April Fool's Day. I haven't given any thought to what I will do to them or the nice folks at work, so I'll just have to improvise.

Saturday, March 30, 2002

In the February 22nd edition of Report on Business, a salary survey calls tech support staff "... the human punching bags of high tech." How come I never saw that on the recruiting poster?
My kingdom for a spoke wrench.

I'm getting my mountain bike all tuned up for spring (and summer and fall) commuting. I was down at MEC today to buy a new set of fenders so that I could arrive at The Treehouse in style. As flexible and accepting as folks are there, I doubt whether the mud skunk stripe would go unnoticed.

Upon installing the fenders, I decided it would be a good time to check all the other things that need checking - tire pressure, chain tension, broken cog and chainring teeth, brakes - that's when I discovered that one spot on the back rim is rubbing quite badly on the right brake. If I could find my spoke wrench, I could take care of it toot sweet, but spoke wrenches are sort of like nail clippers: you remember buying them but you can't remember where you last had them.

Tuning my bike is a labour of love - a love that I've neglected for some time. I guess I'll go dig around in the shed. Wish me luck.

Update: I found my spoke wrench, but it turned out to be more serious than just needing a tightening - the spoke was broken off at the nipple.

Friday, March 29, 2002

I'm so proud of my buddies (almost all EyeWire flotsam and jetsam) at HealthTrack. Great website and catalog you guys put together in a short time.

You continue to amaze me.

Tuesday, March 26, 2002

Remember how I said life was going to get really busy? Well, it has.

Today I had a new, new client and set up a home office network for him. I felt I did a great job, explaining everything, educating him as to what I was doing (at his request). What a nice shot in the arm for Geek and Company.
I just got back from working another bingo for the community league. Due to an additional $2.50 tax, smokes have gone up to $10.43 a pack. Other than that, everything is still the same.

I need a shower.
McMonkey? Banana? The Torpedo?

Those of you who have not have been reading No Comment right from the get-go are probably not aware of the background of certain people who are regularly mentioned in the blog (or even have the slightest clue of how I know them). I have a question for you.

Should No Comment have a Cast List that discretely gives some background on those mentioned?

Yes. Who the heck are all these people?

No, we've got it all figured out.

Let me know before I go to all that work.

Saturday, March 23, 2002

I have become accustomed - no - appreciative of the eccentricity of my friends. This weekend I spent two very different evenings. On Friday night, I enjoyed the company of past colleagues from the happy brick building where I used to work. It was a potluck dinner, where I was one of the most pedestrian of the chefs. Some of the dishes were vegetarian, some from different ethnic origins, and some were just outright inventive. The discussion topics ambled through travel destinations, changes in breast size when you are pregnant, middle-east cooking, authors I'd never heard of, the impact that blogging has had on the creativity of the great unwashed and the act of admiring musicians while playing down the fact that you're wearing a T-shirt with the musician's name and face on it. The time never flies by so fast as when I'm with these comrades.

Saturday evening was ... nice. We spent it in the company of a nice family that does ordinary things. We made pizza and watched a movie. They have well behaved and likeable kids. I didn't feel stretched. At all. Don't get me wrong - the evening was pleasant. It just didn't fill my soul like Friday did.

I love my friends.
My Saturday afternoon was spent at my first-in-a-long-time swim meet and it was just like old the old days. I had to help my small team of seven people take over a lane in the warm-up period; I watched some talented swimmers swim some great times; I played with a stopwatch to see how fast I could start and then stop the watch (0.04 seconds was my fastest); I sat around with a wet towel wrapped 'round my waist and a baggy team t-shirt on and cheered my teammates in their races; my mom and uncle came to watch; I swam three respectable times in my events and Jenn the Coach was impressed with my showing. What a trip.

It seems that I am not alone in my quest for my youthful past. I ran into three old buddies from my swim club days. We all had put on a few pounds (not swimming 30,000 metres a week will do that to you), one of us had lost some hair (I'm not telling who) and we were all glad to see each other. We weren't seventeen any more, but we could still do this.
I've been totally amused by embarrassing moments captured by bloggers. I think I need to start another list. Until I do, here's a few that I've come across.

Thursday, March 21, 2002

If you're a girl (or if you like talking to or listening to 'em), I found a website where a group of them write. If you like chick blogs with lots of content, it's worth the trip.


I gotta remember to give the rest of the gang at the treehouse a warning that I'm going to Nova Scotia at the end of August. We're going out to visit some of Jenn's University buddies and see the coast.

Wednesday, March 20, 2002

"So, Sean, it's three days before your first swim meet in 19 years. You just came from the last practice before the meet. How do you feel?"

In a word ... tired. It was a hard practice, but I think that my strokes are efficient and strong, turns and starts are good and I'm sure that the adrenalin will help me move when the gun goes off. There is one problem - Jenn (the wife, not the coach) has been baking lately. Bread, buns, pull-apart loaves and (my kryptonite) chocolate chip cookies. Goodies have been appearing faster than I can come up from the basement office and eat them. I'm doing my best to make room on the counter and cooling rack for the next baked delicacy, but somehow I think it's a losing battle. And these pants are definitely starting to feel tighter.

Anybody know how I can loose 20 pounds in the next three days WITHOUT surgery?


I'm getting to be a bush-head, too. I think I'll get a haircut tomorrow.
Oh! Oh! Sony will soon be offering a new robot. It walks, it can respond to voice commands and questions, it can talk, it can carry things, and it's only two feet tall.

I could get it to walk my Aibo.

Tuesday, March 19, 2002

Thanks to my recent switch to Blogger Pro, I now have the ability to alter the blog post dates so it doesn't look like I'm staying up late.

I'll try and use my powers for good and not evil.
Gladness was had by many in the Collins Household over the past two days. Yesterday was Good Report Card Day for Banana and McMonk. Jenn aced a big, big presentation at work yesterday, proving to management that they did the Right Thing when they hired her. I attacked my "To Do" list, beating it back down below ten items. All around, it feels like the Collins family is running on all eight cylinders.

The weather is been terrible, though. We've had a cold, snowy March so far. Tomorrow is the first day of spring and we're still gripped by very un-spring-like temperatures ( -18c as a *high* today - brrrrr!). I'll be glad when it gets back to bike-riding weather again.

Tomorrow starts some infrastructure building at the Treehouse. I'm going to do hardcore planning regarding how the network will be set up and implementing some of those plans PDQ. I also had a look at some phone equipment that we may be making use of. Research and planning, research and planning ... I just can't get enough!

Monday, March 18, 2002

I've decided that small, private victories are much better than large public ones.

Go figure.
I just came back from swim practice. Every time I go to swim practice after missing one workout, I always berate myself for having missed the previous one. I felt sluggish in the water but good and tired afterwards.
I figured out how to use server-side includes today. Cool.

Sunday, March 17, 2002

In the area of temptation (and get your mind out of the gutter, there's many different types of temptation) there are three pure states:
  • those blissfully ignorant of the fun and trouble they could get into
  • those who are aware of such choices and can't help but stray down the path
  • those who are aware of the choices, but who choose not to venture onto the wild side
Which one of these categories do you think you belong to?

Which one do you belong to for real?

Friday, March 15, 2002

I was doing some recreational surfing today and found a well-written essay on being a Hacker. Not a Cracker, but a Hacker. Not very thought provoking (as I tend to agree whole-heartedly with the content), but a nice summary of my feeling on the subject.

Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Travelling in Europe Dream

I'm travelling in a European spanish-speaking country and go to park my rental car in an open-air parking lot. There is a parking attendant who directs me to drive past the section for Daily Parkers and Monthly Parkers to a group of automobiles underneath a big blue and white sign that reads, "BASTARDS". I park there, get out and head for the subway system.

For some reason (I don't question this in the dream) busses are running through the subway system. I get aboard a dilapidated bus (circa 1955) and we get moving. We proceed through the tunnel system and emerge running parallel to a river. On the river are two men wearing tweed jackets and hats in a rowing scull. An announcement comes over the P.A. system in the bus informing us that Interpol is tracking two IRA terrorists travelling along the river beside our bus. The voice continues to tell us that the two men have plans to blow up the bus and that they will be getting on at the next stop. All the passengers are asked to remain on the bus so as not to alert them to the fact that Interpol is tracking them.

"Forget that noise," I say to myself, "I'm going to pretend that I had planned to get off at the next stop anyway." I climb out the back door of the bus and come face to face with the terrorists as they are walking to the front of the bus, preparing to get on. Then I woke up.

Tuesday, March 12, 2002

As part of a totally enjoyable day off, I'm watching The Price is Right. I remember watching the show many years ago when I was a youngster and words like "youngster" were still in use. My great-grandmother was a hardcore gamer and used to watch TPiR (The Price is Right) religiously. It was broadcast early in the day, usually before lunch, so you could watch it before the afternoon bingo games started. Grandma (as she was addressed by all of our family, regardless of their actual relation to her) used to babysit me before I was old enough to go to school and I vaguely remember seeing it then.

I didn't get a chance to regularly watch it again until I was in high school. It was during these formative teen years that I was reunited with my great-grandmother. She happened to live very close to my high school. This school was across town from where I lived, but right next to the swimming pool where I trained in the mornings. Rather than hanging out at the school cafeteria during lunch, I went to Grandma's house for a bowl of hot soup. She seemed to appreciate the company. When I arrived at about 11:30, most days I found the TV on and Johnny Olsen inviting people to "Come on Down!"

Just in case you have a job and are not able to watch daytime TV, I thought I'd bring you up to speed.
  • Bob Barker is still hosting the show but he's looking old. He's got all his hair but he's getting a little senile. He called one of the conestants by a wrong name twice. He isn't as frisky with the pretty young girlie contestants as he used to be.
  • I think the games are getting too easy. All six contestants won today.
  • the contestants and the audience still go nuts when the announcer is describing the prize and it turns out to be A NEW CAR!
  • they still use the Cliffhanger Game. I love that little yodel ditty. I can't count the number of times I went back for afternoon classes and had it running through my head.
  • it's no longer a Mark Goodson, Bill Todson production. It's now a Mark Goodson Production. Did Bill and Mark have a fight?

Hey, I just saw a teaser for Oprah at 4 pm. Did I have anything else I was supposed to do today?

Monday, March 11, 2002

If you have to drive during the day, don't do it between 10 and 11 o'clock in the morning. That's when all the old folks and nervous nellies are on the road.
It's true. I'm a night owl.

As much as I've tried to fight it, I come alive and feel the most productive and alert after 4 pm. You wouldn't believe all the stuff I've accomplished in the last four hours.

Sunday, March 10, 2002

This weekend's swim meet didn't happen, due to Jennifer the Coach's inability to get my entry in before the deadline. Poop.

I'm assured that I am IN for the March 23rd meet, though.

Thursday, March 07, 2002

Wednesday, March 06, 2002

Tickety boo, back to work. I learned a new thing today. What a pleasure.

Monday, March 04, 2002

My first day as an official semi-regular at The Treehouse. It's nice to be part of the gang. It was also swim practice day.

Last week Coach Jennifer talked me into signing up for a swim meet. The meet is this weekend and I am SO glad I haven't been thinking far enough ahead to get the jitters. I'm sure the time up to the meet will fly by, I'll quickly dispense of my four events and I'll be left to enjoy some camaraderie with my fellow old folks. I'm sure Coach Jennifer will be putting together a relay. I love relays. It's a chance to shine and have your hard effort tangibly benefit others. For some reason, it just suits my personality to be a relay team member and I always put in a good showing.

The Torpedo (one of the biggest, strongest, best-est swimmers on the team) is back after a serious car accident where he was badly hurt, including having his elbow shattered. He's a real tough guy and has been working hard to get back into form. I was swimming in a lane beside him and ended up doing a set of ten 50 metre swims next to him, leaving on the same interval. I noticed that he really doesn't like to finish behind anyone, even in practice. As I noticed this after the second fifty, I felt the competitive me saunter up to the controls and push my body to stay ahead of him, fifty after fifty. I'd like to say I let him beat me on the last five 50's, but truth be known, he's one strong bull. I wasn't alone in noticing this - one of the Two Broads remarked after the set, "Jesus, he's still kicking our asses. I wish someone would crush my elbow."

One of the places where I still have The Torpedo beat is in the turn. I don't often brag, but I have to tell you, I have beautiful, efficient turns. I can usually gain about two metres on my turn, which is substantial in a 50 metre race. The meet on Saturday is a short course meet, meaning that it is swum in a 25 metre pool. This gives me one turn in my 50 metre races and three turns in the 100 metre race. I'll let you know how things go.
The fact that I am here to write these words is a credit to the engineers that design the tread pattern on tires.

Yesterday, I did a 300 km drive from Fernie back to Calgary. During the course of the day, weather conditions took a bad turn. In the morning and early afternoon, a clear, sunny day heated the bare pavement of the highway above that of the fields of powdery snow. Later in the afternoon, winds blowing the snow from the fields across the highway picked up, followed by a quick and sharp drop in temperature that froze the melting snow on the road into a thick, smooth sheet of ice. This caused a fifty kilometre stretch of road halfway through my trip (the southernmost part of Highway 22) to become one of the most treacherous stretches that I have ever driven. The road was totally covered with ice, and there was terrible crosswind and blowing snow that more often than not obscured every hint of where the road was. On a highway that is normally travelled at 100 km/hour, it felt dangerous to be going over 40.

In spite of these terrible conditions, there were still people that passed me at 20 - 30 km/hour faster than I was going. We passed one accident where a car and truck (apparently approaching each other) had collided and spun off into the ditch. We were about the twelfth or thirteenth vehicle on the scene, so I didn't think it was necessary to stop and lend assistance. I couldn't tell who was at fault, but I could see that the car (having less mass) had taken the brunt of the punishment. As it was minus 20 celcius and there was a strong wind blowing through the smashed glass of their vehicles, I couldn't help but pity both drivers as they waited for the tow trucks to arrive.

It also occurred to me that, travelling on a highway in frightening road conditions like those, no matter how cautious a driver you are, you are only as safe as the other morons on the road - in front, behind and oncoming. What a sobering thought.

Sunday, March 03, 2002

I'm enjoying a relaxing weekend at Fernie, BC. We are accompanying some teammates of Banana's to their condo, where we've been skiing, hot tubbing and enjoying some lazy times. It's amazing how quickly a hot tub can drain you of energy.

We're heading home this afternoon and we plan to stop at the town of Frank, where there was a massive rockslide that buried the town 80 years ago. Should be fun.