Wednesday, September 13, 2006

i don't want to stand out just give me the moomoo

so the time has come in my life where my body is telling me I need to get in shape. i've seemed to maintain without any real excercise a pretty decent level of fitness. at least it is a level that i'm comfortable with. i'm able to play the sports I want to play at a reasonably competent level. come to think of it the sports i do play aren't what you would call strenous sports. i play baseball, beach volleyball, squash, mountain bike, inline skate regularly and occasionally skate board. In the winter I snowboard which rarely demands more of me than I can deliver. in each of the sports i play there is certainly room for improvement but i personally don't see any physical restraints holding me back but more mental road blocks (more on that later). for example monday night i was playing baseball and i was playing centre field which is my normal position. a ball was hit at a good clip to exactly half way between centre and left field. now earlier in the year if a ball was hit there more often then not i had the speed to get there and catch the ball. on monday however when the ball was hit i stood there and watched the ball, i'm not sure why but i didn't move, finally something in my head started screaming "wake the fuck up" so then i started moving, even then i was moving half as fast as i can move. we won the game in the end but it was silly to let that happen. again last wednesday my volleyball team was playing the playoffs and we were playing for third place and chance at first. so if we won we secured at least third place and had a chance at second or first (not quite sure how that works). we played a vastly inferior team on paper, everyone of the players on our team were better players individually then the players on the other team. we even seemed to have better team work and better offensive moves and defensive moves. for some reason i just wasn't there mentally, it's like i was there but someone was borrowing my brain to play the banjo somewhere else. what's wierd is the rest of the team picked up on this right away and we seemed to go into this chicken with its head cut off routine, it's like we totally forgot how to play. we lost in the end.

so i'm fairly certain that working out and improving my muscle strength (and mass) will not improve my sports playing capability. what i need is mental sharpness. i need stimulation to keep my mind active and alert. faster thinking will equal faster response times. my job is to blame for my mental degradation, i took this job 3 years ago and to this day i have yet to be challenged even once. everything that i am doing here i have done in one way shape or form in the past, so the most difficult thing i have to do is remember how i did it before. i rarely have to troubleshoot a new problem, research new ideas or come up with new designs. what's interesting is this is the least amount of work i have ever done both physically and mentally but it is the highest paying job i've ever had. i say all that with a grain of salt because i handle stress very poorly so i wouldn't want my job to be any more stressful but i would like to use my brain every now and then. perhaps they could introduce some life threatening element to the world of programming. i've always liked the idea of mixing ninjas and programming but have never really come up with a good solution. "here code this multi-threaded port listener while beating off twenty ninjas. have it done by noon and if there is one bug we'll have a public hanging!" but i digress.

working out and more specifically getting in shape will help but it will only get me to a certain point eventually it will become old hat too and the idea of sitting still and doing repetitive motions isn't my idead of keeping my mind sharp. but I know it will help me feel better and perhaps look better which all helps. once i'm feeling better perhaps i'll have enough energy to figure out a good way to keep my mind sharp.

Monday, September 11, 2006

it's all in a name

so dog is at the fine age of four and a half. i thought it was a good time to list some of the nick names he has accumalated in that time frame.

mr brown
blitzkrieg pup
dumb ass (rare)
e man
mr wigglesworth
chocolate (as in... who loves the chocolate?
little man
big brown stain
brown trout
brown canary
in-land beaver
pupster du (as in husker du)
brown bomber
bramalea steamer
andrew barkly
dichotomous turd
poop tard (as in "the boy just shit himself stupid)

just for the record his real name is ender

Monday, April 03, 2006

No love for a tub

So i had the exciting job of installing a tub this weekend. To cut to the short let me just say I'm a programmer not a plumber and I guess there is good reason. Now there are a lot similarities between the two jobs, programmers as well as plumbers have to deal with a lot of shit.

Anyway the weekend actually started Thursday night when I pulled the tub out of the enclossure we built for it. I started by installing the drain and the overflow, then started installing the faucet and roman filler, this is where things started going down hill. The design of the tub has a 4 inch lip going all the way around it, and when you go to put the plumbing parts in there is a shelf that was put in at the factory that needed to be removed. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but this tub has the whirlpool jets already in it and the pipes for that make using a power tool impossible, not to mention there was no room for a hand saw as well. I cannot figure for the life of me why they would put this in there knowing that it simply has to be removed in order to install the faucets. So after 3 hours and a whole lot of swearing I finally got the facuet installed and ready to go. We went to install the tub back in it's enclosure for the final time, and with the drain and overflow on it, it no longer fit in the hole. So we had to remove the drain and over flow then set the tub in place. When I went to install the drain from underneath the hole wasn't large enough to install it from underneath so that was it that's the night.

Friday i started right after work, I cut the hole larger and installed the drain, I then cut and run the drain pipe and tied it into the existing drain, piece of cake. Did a drain test and leak test, all works great. Moved on to the cold water tap, I tied into the basement sink and then ran the ipex pipe and attached it to the tub. Turned on house water again, did a leak test, no leaks ok try the tap, tried the tap and started getting soaked. Somethings wrong but I can't find out what, so the answer was cut a hole in the (newly finished) wall of my bedroom to see if I can get at it without removing the tub. Nope can't see where it is leaking except that I can feel it's coming out of the main faucet.

Saturday, No choice, disconnect drain and plumbing and pull the tub. When we pulled the tub 3 tiles let go and popped off, the tiles were held together with a mesh and they had too much glue on them so the cement couldn't get to the tile just to the mesh. So looking at the leak I noticed everything was hooked up right with teflon, and tight but couldn't see an obvious place for the leak so I had to jimmy a hook to the water line while the tub was out so I could see the leak. It turns out one of the feeder lines to the main faucet was a quarter turn loose, re-tighten and leak fixed. So tile needed to re-set in place, then I took the dogs for a walk, come back to put some grout in place, to find the tiles on the floor, Lucy found it rather entertaining to pop the tiles off again before they set. So clean out the cement and mix up a new batch of cement and re-set them. This time block every hole into the bathroom. 2 hours later slap some grout in and clean up and re-install tub. Hook up drain and plumbing, then do a leak test, shit the drain started leaking. Gotta pull the drain and change washers, when I went to remove the drain the cross pieces at the bottom of the drain shattered and now I couldn't remove the drain. Remember how I said I tied it into the basement sink? Well that line has a shutoff value that has to be original to the house, so when I closed it to do the work it developed a tremendous leak, so I had to cut it out and put in a new valve. Once the new valve was in place the cold water tap started leaking again. I removed the tap and realised the new valve increased the pressure which burst the gasket in the tap, so I had to remove that and replace it. I'm calling it a night.

Sunday, spend the morning looking a for a tool called a "Drain Key" that is used for removing drains that don't have the cross pieces. Not one big box store carries it, I cannot be the first person to run into this. So defeated I went home to figure out a way of removing the drain without damaging the tub. I finally got it by widdling a piece of wood down to the size of the drain then stuffed it in the opening then screwed some screws into the wood which caused it to crack and expand as well as digging into the other side of the drain then used channel locks to twist the wood. Ok back on track, I put the new drain in, did another leak test on everything, all was perfect, no leaks anywhere, so let's fill it up for the first time. Success! finally, ok it's full let's try the whirlpool, ready, set, nothing. WTF, check everything again, nothing completely dead, check everything again that is accessible from the access panel, which is everything but the switch, nothing works. This means I probably have disconnect everything and pull the tub and check the connections on the switch and put in a service call. DOG FUCK THAT IS A HUGE PAIN IN THE ASS.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Renovations, what would I know about renovations?

Our first house we bought together was in a cookie cutter neighbourhood. We actually hate these types of neighbourhoods as a matter of fact our working name for the 'hood was "post modernist trailer park". We decided to buy the house because it was our first house and wanted a "safe" (meaning mostly maintenance free) purchase and more importantly we were buying it from plans and it would be built to our tastes, or at least we thought. We chose the model of house based upon it's simple design and its complete lack of house behind garage looks that are so prevelant in the area we were buying in. The builder woooed us into believing that we were getting a premium flat lot for free and that they had the best options available for customizing the house the way we wanted it. Oh and did I mention the real reason we were buying a house? We wanted a dog and basically having a house meant having a dog. So we lined up a breeder, bought a pup from an unborn litter, put a down payment on the house and then went on a trip to Jamaica, exciting times indeed.

Our first surprise came when we realised the "customizations" that we could make to our house came in basically two choices, do you like this crappy tile or this crappy tile? We walked away being really disappointed in the whole experience, and i think we were still excited to get the house but I think this planted a seed in us, a seed that would blossoom in a couple of years. We felt a little alienated from this new house because it felt like a series of compromises. Once we took possession the neighbourhood was still under construction and we didn't get our next surprise until 6 months later when they came to grade our very small backyard. Once grading was complete we had a huge ditch that ran through our yard. To add insult to injury the rest of the yard that wasn't ditch was on a massive slope leading into the ditch. Basically the yard was almost completely unusable by our standards, we couldn't build a patio without affecting grading we couldn't put lawn furniture out, we could barely throw a ball in the backyard for the dog. This sealed the deal for us, we officially didn't like this house despite having many other good characteristics, such as really good neighbours.

After only a year and half in the house we began looking for different houses. Our criteria? Something with a real backyard, a neighbourhood with trees ( I cannot tell you how depressing it is to live in an area without trees) , a little character and a pool. We looked at a couple of houses we could afford and nothing came to mind and our new (remember maintenance free) house needed a lot of work before it would be ready to be sold. So we stopped looking and put life on cruise control.

But life of cruise control sucks, it sucks really bad, it's mind numbing. I decided if I'm going to be paying for something, anything for that matter I have to make sure it is exactly what I want and not a compromise. I hate working, I detest, spending the majority of my life doing stuff I do not like to do so that I can pay for things that I do not care to own. I would rather quit my job and own nothing, I would be infinitely more happy.

So the decision was made, house has to go, but will only go if I get a house I want to own, which means working a job I don't like to work so that I can afford it. If I can't find one I like, then not owning a house seems like a better idea. Although I was confident that we could find one that we would like (notice how I change from I to we there?).

We started looking again and one evening we arranged to view multiple houses that had the criteria we were looking for in our price range. We walked in the first house that night and BOOM, I don't know what it was exactly but both of us felt it immediately and strongly, this was the house. My first question to our estate agent Roger was, "How do we buy this house?" To which he promptly replied "Well we have 3 other houses to see tonight, after seeing them, we can check other listings then see them after that you can ask to have a second viewing and if all is well put in an offer." Sound advice but silly agent, I want to buy this house, not after looking at 3 or more other dumps I want to buy this house now! I felt such an immediate sense of urgency out of nowwhere, here's the house I want to buy and I don't want anyone else to buy before I can. We found the house and I wanted it, Roger was blathering on about seeing the rest of house or having an inspection or something like that, i don't know I wasn't listening. Roger is a very skilled agent and beyond that he has many years experience under his belt and he was constantly issuing advice of caution, he even very subtly tried to disuade us from buying this house. You see this house we wanted so bad was a complete fixer upper. (perhaps that's a warning sign in some language, perhaps even english but i don't know the language that well yet ;)

Roger reminded us that in order to buy this house we had to sell ours, which means fixing everything that needed fixing and painting the house (it was still builder white), so we spent 2 straight weeks fixing our house up, put it on the market and within 10 days sold our house. That's a long story for another day. Once our house was sold we bought the house we wanted.

Sorry about the long back story but I think it's necessary to get you to the current situation, I am neck deep in bathroom renovations. You see pretty much the house needs renovating, despite it being a very well put together house. It is starting to show it's age a little bit. We started last may 24 weekend ripping out the existing kitchen, then spent the next 3 months installing a new kitchen. We then took some breathing time off and had a new furnance and central air installed. This left the entire basment bathroom completely gutted and unusable. So january was spent rebuilding the basement bathroom, basically putting it back the way it was. Next comes the upstairs bathroom, it's tiny, really tiny, it has some practicality though, it is divided into two seperate rooms so that one person can be using the toilet while another is using the sink, and it has a seperate entrace into the master bedroom making it almost like an ensuite. But it is small and the lacks many of the modern facilities we have gotten used to. So rip down the adjoining wall with the closet from the bedroom and make it into a large a bathroom and add a full soaker tub, with seperate stand alone shower. Making this reno difficult is that all through this the bathroom has to be completly useable. And that's where I am at, the tub is almost in, after that the rest of the bathroom will be demolished and in six weeks I might be finished.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Teaching and documenting

Technically they are the same thing, whenever you are documenting something you are teaching a future student something. I haven't given that last sentence a great deal of thought so I cannot say for sure if it holds true in all situations however I firmly believe it to be true. Whenever I write documenation I think about the future person reading my document. I choose the language in the document based on who I think will most benefit from the document. I take documentation writing very seriously because documentaion should at it's very least transfer some knowledge from the author(teacher) to the reader (student). Many people including myself hate doing documenation for various reasons that run the gammit from ego (I'm a programmer not a document writer) to blank page syndrome (Where do I begin?). Because of the hate for the work I'm sure little or no effort ever goes into producing documentation properly.

In my daily job I am called upon to read and interpret other people's documentation as well as write my own documentation. What I have learned is that documentation, well to put it blatantly, sucks in general. I get so frustrated with so many document writers because they write the documentation from their own perspective. The author already understands the subject at hand and makes many assumptions about the reader's understanding of the subject. My personal expierence tells me; make no assumptions. I will avoid any tacky clichés here but you can understand why.

I'm currently working my way through a rather large and boring set of technical documents for interfacing disparate systems together over the internet. This is old hat stuff for me I have interfaced systems together with the best of them. The problem with this set of documents is that they completely leave out any form of examples and simply give reference information only. I will make another statement, if a picture is worth a thousand words, then an example is worth 40 hours of boring trial and error interface coding. Now this documentation will work great for me once I figure out the basic skeleton of the communication structure. Give me the basic or minimum structure necessary so that I can at least make basic connections then let me know how to tweak the options so that I get the output I am looking for. What frustrates me more is when I call the authors of the documentation and ask questions I simply get "It's printed in the documentation". I'm sure all of the data is there but because of the poor structure and lack of examples, it is simply data and not information.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Satire = Terrorism

Just look at what satire can do to you If you use satire you're a terrorist! Plain and simple.

It's a little long but worth the read.


Ever gone to a movie, expecting to see something, then after the movie thinking "that was completely different then I thought it would be". Well chances are good you have been lured to a movie with a cleverly crafted trailer. Studio houses put a lot of time and money into trailers because they know they sell movies, even when the movie isn't worth selling. Well I came across a trailer today, you can download it here . I would like to see people's faces when they see the shining after seeing this trailer. This is creative ability at its best. So seeing how one can piece together a narrative with some clips from a movie and build an illusion of a completely different movie, are you really going to trust movie trailers?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Say what?

It appears that lakes can explode. That's 'splode' to the brown dogs in the audience. I'm not making it up, you can read it here . From the article, there are a couple of lakes in Africa that have a large amount of carbon dioxide trapped in the water at the bottom of the lake. The lakes are over volcanic sites, it appears there was a landslide under the water that caused the water from the bottom to be pushed up. Causing the carbon dioxide to be released from the water which ended up soffocating more then 1700 people. After reading the how and the why, and after doing some research it makes perfect sense as to how this can happen. I find it interesting because several years ago I got my SCUBA diving certification and in the process they teach you the (limited) science of how fluids can hold air under pressure and how that air can be released when the pressure is decreased rapidly. The rapid release of air is what causes the 'bends' or decompression sickness. It works just like a bottle of pop. If you get a bottle of coke from the store and look at it, it appears to be just a black liquid. But if you shake the bottle and increase the pressure, then open the lid quickly, you'll see bubbles appear. When you scuba dive, the pressure causes your blood to become nitrogen rich. So you should avoid any rapid ascents so that your body can obsorb the nitrogen before it forms into bubbles.

Back to the article, more then 1700 people lost their lives from this 'explosion'. That is a major loss of life and is perfectly explainable from a cause and effect point of view or more specifically from a scientific point of view. Now that we have a better understanding of how this can happen we can take proactive actions to mitigate this kind of disaster in the future. However if science was left out of this many people would probably assume that 'God' was punishing them for some misdimeanor or whatever. Which leads me to the question, if you claim 'God' is punishing you for something how do you know what that something is? Perhaps you jumped to the wrong conclusion, perhaps you were being punished for wearing those shoes with those pants and not for screwing your neighbour's wife?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Belief in politics

I read the weekly commentary over at and I find it amusing to hear how absurd some people's beliefs are. On this weeks commentary there is an article about a canadian ex-cabinet minister. I'm not sure if federal or provincial. However he believes that UFOs are real and governments are covering it up. You can read the article here . How is someones full belief in UFOs anymore nonsense then one's belief in any form of religion? If you believe in something, you're not rationalizing or producing logical conclusions based on facts or evidence. I find it amusing that people can be scared that a politician can be "in charge of the nation" and yet believe in stupidity like UFOs yet people en mass don't bat an eye at the fact that they (the politicians) also believe in equally stupid ideas such as God, or Jesus, or Allah. It's kind of like saying your imaginary friend is sillier then my imaginary friend.

Friday, September 23, 2005

"Your file is too big for me" - ASP.NET and Request Length

I had a strange problem appear the other day, i have an form that allows users to upload images of broken down machines in the field. This program worked great until someone tried uploading a 5MB file. Turns out the errors given by IE and FF are pretty much useless to try and figure out what is causing this, both browsers give a generic "fuck you" error message. The IIS logs just add a little insult to injury too. But it turns out its a simple parameter in machine.config the parameter is "MAXREQUESTLENGTH" by default this value is 4096K (4MB), changing this bad boy to anything above that and 5MB image upload works like a champ. Although set the setting too high and people will abuse. Also anybody out there buying a "58,000 megapixel " digital camera to take a picture of a flat tire, do yourself and everybody else a favour and set the damn picture size (I purposfully avoided the term "Quality" because picture size and quality are too different animals) down to a reasonable size. For your average picture, that you will be emailing to friends setting your camera's resultion down to 400 x284 pixels by 24 million colours will result in a good picture quality (although you won't get good enlargement capabilities) and good physical file size, that is good for email and web use.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

forget the pod

being that i'm one of the few poeple on this planet, that has no love for the iPod or any of it's variants. I'm also one of the few that think the iPod's make is certainly most un-cool, and have a complete distaste for all of their products. I find this article rather amusing . Not that Apple copied their design from anywhere, just amusing that's all.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

developer toolbar for IE

check out the developer toolbar for IE if you do any web development, very handy tool.

been a while

it's been a while. and for some good reasons. since february 16th of this year i have been working almost constantly on getting a new home. it started by realising that I wanted a house with a pool, and also realising that i didn't really care for my current house. so I hooked up with a real estate agent and started the search for a new pen. i never knew how much work it is to find a house you want to buy. roger my real estate agent would setup roughly two house walk throughs a night each one lasting roughly an hour a piece. we started looking in a smallish town north of toronto called Bolton, that on the surface seemed like a good idea, it was roughly half way between my work and chuck's. but once we actually started driving there to look at houses we realised it might as well be on the other side of the earth, it took almost 45 minutes for either of us to get there from brampton, and that's in non rush hour traffic. we also noticed that the houses in bolton typically cost $20 to $30k more then a similar house in brampton. the other off putting about bolton was the severe lack of houses with pools, while looking not one house with a pool was on the market, south of $700k. so I focused more on brampton, however this time looking in an older part of brampton. I was shocked when I found many houses that fit my criteria and matched the price I was willing to pay. so long story short, we found a house we liked, but needed some major renovations, like new kitchen, two new bathrooms, new furnace/air conditioner, basement. But never one to shy away from a bad thing we bought it and began a summer long work marathon renovating the house. I touched my computer roughly twice the whole summer outside of checking email. so now that summer is over and there is an almost complete working kitchen time to start writing again, not that anyone reads these.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

This comb over really makes me hot! Keep your hands to yourselves ladies

Ok I am completely certain that patents are totally fucked. Perhaps you have heard of the Amazon one click patent? Or perhaps heard about the guy who patented hyperlinks? Well I just got wind that some dude actually and successfully patented the comb over! I am speechless. One of my favorite past times is wandering through the grocery store with my girlfriend Chuck laughing our asses off at the bad (aren't they all) comb overs. Hell we even have code words worked out so that we can bring attention to these clever (now patented) works of hair stlying art without embarassing... wait a minute [why the fuck should we work to not embarass the dumb ass motherfucker who decided to go out in public in a fucking comb over? ] You can check the patent here Just a question but who do you sue when the wind messes up your patented hair style? I sure hope this was done simply as an act to demonstrate how out of touch with reality the US patent office is. Dog help us if this is serious.

I personally want to patent the Bitch Slap™, or perhaps one of the other various pimping techniques I employ on a daily basis.

Monday, March 07, 2005

Clean up your damn break points, bitch.

Just a quick note about slow debugging in visual 2003. This was driving me nuts, I was ready to bring my uzi to work. When debugging everytime I would step through one line of code, say a variable assigment it would take nearly a second and a half! However I found that having many break points set, especially in modules that can not be evaluated causes this. If you clear the break points except for the few that could be hit in the current debug context the performance comes back to where you expect it to be. Also having fewer variables in the watch window seems to improve on debug performance as well.

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