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Aug. 13th, 2009 | 10:51 am

I'm having a laughing kind of day here.

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Entirely swiped from macman47

Aug. 13th, 2009 | 09:00 am

I laughed out loud.

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Brief summer update

Aug. 10th, 2009 | 05:19 pm

Since returning from Albuquerque I've moved into a new office for work, gone on an incredible vacation with Vicky and our kids, gone on another work trip to Rochester and spent more time with my family and friends. While I was in Rochester, Vicky's 10 year old Focus decided to fall apart so we spent several days car shopping before ordering a shiny new Corolla for her.

New office is going to take getting used to. I now have to swipe my ID two times and ride an elevator up to the fourth floor to get to my desk. This makes it much harder to run out for lunch if I don't pack something (still possible though).

Vacation Highlights:
I could write a whole post on the Museum of Science and Industry. The travelling Harry Potter exhibit was pretty neat (Vicky loved it more than anyone else I think). For me, the new U-505 exhibit stole the show. Check out this video of them moving the sub to the current location. It's hard to imagine this thing weighs almost three times as much as the Statue of Liberty.



Paraj and his family met up with us at the museum and we ended up back at his place for the night. I really need to schedule more time for us to actually spend together rather than just blowing through Wisconsin on a road trip.

We met up with my sister, Pam, and her two girls on the SS Badger to cross Lake Michigan. The next three days after that were filled with sunshine and beach as we hung out at my dad's place. My mom even came up with my son so we could all enjoy the summer together. There are lots of 3d images from the trip that can be viewed by clicking on the small image here... 3d playing in the sand
Have your 3d glasses handy.

We drove down to EL and spent the night with my mom. Lunch was had at Jersey Giant with Tony, Kay, Dan and Sandy before we headed east again. We made one last stop in Frankenmuth before completing our trip and bought Christmas ornaments for the tree this year. Bronner's really is a cool store to check out if you've never been there before.

Rochester was nice but fairly uneventful. I had to deal with a nasty head cold while I was there and lots of drugs to keep me from coughing all over everyone.

Car shopping is another thing I can write a whole post about. I was torn between the Civic and Corolla but Vicky liked the interior of the Corolla better so that's what she's getting. I have been hearing lots of good things about Hyundai lately so we test drove an Elantra. I thought it was a noisy ride in a cheap vehicle. Lots of the standard safety equipment on the Corolla is optional on the Elantra. Once you add the safety equipment the price is the same so for the difference of ride quality and craftsmanship I felt the Corolla was an easy choice to make.

Back to work for me.

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Running around

Jul. 15th, 2009 | 10:51 pm

Today was the perfect day to spend riding my bike around.

I started by driving my car into the shop to have a few minor issues resolved then pulled my bike out of the back and headed out with my camera bag.

First stop was the court house to deal with paperwork. I'm feeling kinda poor after that visit but happy to know I'm another step closer to closure. The folks at the Kitchener court house are very nice people once you've shown some initiative and made an effort.

Then I checked out the Kitchener farmer's market and had some potato pancakes for breakfast. The coffee was almost undrinkable but the potato pancakes were worth a return trip.

Stopping in at the car place I found my car hadn't even been pulled into the shop yet so I headed back out on my bike. I confirmed the construction is still happening down town and should be avoided if possible. The main streets proved to be pretty much the same as when I'm driving around on them so I turned my bike into the local alleys to see what is there. Our alleys are pretty boring too.

Next stop, Woodbine, the one time home of William Lyon Mackenzie, the 10th prime minister of Canada. The estate is very pretty and humble for such an important figure in our history. This was the first time in the day I pulled my camera out of the bag.

From this point on, my photoroam kicked into high gear. I shot photos of a variety of subjects, all in 3d. Something clicked in me while I was in New Mexico and I'm really enjoying the creation of 3d images. My Albuquerque photos have already been pushed to the second page by all the new 3d images I have created since arriving home. I have over 50 pair of 3d glasses left sitting here if anyone wants a pair to better enjoy some of my photography. I'm happy to drop them off locally if needed.

I also stopped by to visit with Keren and Grace. They were in the process of cutting Miriam's hair. Miriam decided that a chelsie style cut would be best for her and she posed for me briefly.
3d Miriam holding hair

After I got my car back, I picked up a bike carrier that will handle 4 bikes for the back of the car. I assembled it and discovered that I would need some padlocks to prevent the bikes from being stolen (really cool design for the security). This is when I packed up my stuff, placed my portable Slacker radio on the roof of the car and drove to get some padlocks. Placing the radio on the roof was not intentional and ended with sadness. I watched the radio bouncing on the pavement behind me until a car that had been following ran it over... then it stopped bouncing. I have the pieces but doubt my mad fixit skills can put it back together. I should be able to afford one again some time in the future. Until then, I will continue listening to my music collection.

When Vicky got home, we took Emily for a bike ride in Victoria Park. The bike carrier works very well and is easy to load and unload. I expect many more bike rides will happen as the year continues.

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Independance Day continued

Jul. 8th, 2009 | 11:26 am

After climbing around the Lava Flats for a while, Randy and I climbed back into the car and continued our drive back to Albuquerque as the sun continued to set. I let out an actual gasp as we turned the corner and saw the light from the end of the day across the front of some cliffs. Pulling the car over to the side quickly, I pulled out my camera and we spent the last moments of daylight snapping pictures at the entrance to The Narrows (there is a place a little further up the road where they filmed lots of westerns and the road is REALLY narrow).
Entering the Narrows

Arriving back in Albuquerque after a long day of driving, we were treated to the spectacle of the city being lit up by multiple fireworks displays across the city. I could make out at least five different major displays and then a number of smaller ones that might have been private groups. I wish that I had the energy to pull over and snap some photos of the city but I was toast at that point and just wanted a shower and bed.

Sunday, I experienced a southwestern flea market for the first time. There were odd foods available at some of the stalls (some of which I recognized from Bad Candy.com), assorted native arts, cheap jewelry, cheaply made toys (that look a lot like the junk toys available at Ontario flea markets) and an amazing amount of clothes designed to show off women with large bottoms. The mannequins in this mall are all built more like your average woman than the Kate Moss imitations that I'm used to seeing. I posted a photo of them to my Facebook mobile uploads just because they were so different than usual.

Now I'm wrapping things up as my visit comes to an end. I've made a few good friends but I'm looking forward to being home with family and friends again.

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Independance Day

Jul. 5th, 2009 | 11:29 pm

Randy and I hit the road right after the Java Station opened their doors for 4th of July celebrations. It's approximately two hours from Albuquerque to Magdelina which is the last habitation before getting to the Very Large Array so we stopped for a bite to eat and to make sure we were heading the right direction. The lady who runs Bear Mountain is a wonderful hostess and fed us some an assortment of hummouses, a pair of great sandwiches and fantastic shakes while telling us of travellers and all there is to see in the area surrounding Magdelina.

After our early lunch, we pressed on to the Very Large Array. By design, this scientific marvel is a long ways from civilization and shielded from cellular signals by the surrounding mountains. I could do an entire post about what the VLA is and how much impact it has had on modern astronomy but I'll let you search for the wikipedia entry. Know that the VLA is an awe inspiring achievement of technology that is certainly worth the drive.
Forgive us our trespass

From there we drove onwards to Pie Town, New Mexico which is a popular spot for travellers to stop and grab a slice of pie. Apparently, most travellers pass through Pie Town before 4pm because that's what time they close the doors.
Pie Town

At this point, the computer built into the car was telling us that we had approximately 90 miles worth of gas left in the car which was just enough to get us back to Socorro. Of course, we pressed onwards figuring that we find a gas station before the car ran dry. Fortunately, it was only another 30 miles to a gas station so we hadn't even started to worry yet.

Then we turned north towards Grants and eventually, Albuquerque. As we were cruising through the desert a sign caught my eye and prompted me to slam on the brakes. We had nearly passed the entrance to the Lava Flats. This park is exactly what the name says it is. It's an old lava flow that has very rugged plants growing all over it. Randy and I spent quite some time climbing around and taking pictures and I even spent a little time building an inukshuk for Vicky.
Lava Flats Fissure

There is more to yesterday's adventure and lots more photos (as per usual, you can click on any of these images to go straight to my Flickr account). I will update tomorrow after work with as many images as I can work on including some 3d images that look to be promising. Now I need to sleep so I can be ready to work in 7.5 hours.

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Eat at Joe's

Jul. 3rd, 2009 | 11:37 pm

In addition to having a great time catching up on what's happened in the past 15 years, Jason also gave me a copy of the final episode of Eat at Joe's while I was visiting. The video quality isn't great and YouTube will only let me post video in 10 minute segments (which actually works out pretty good for the show) but this is the first time I've seen this since 1992 when we wrapped up Eat at Joe's.

It starts out with the "I'm Joe" opening that Jason put together for the show. Fank Allison gets the opening spot followed by Mystic Shake, then Piss at Midnight (who I really don't remember), followed by Bad Oskar (who let me play drums for some reason) and then Wally Pleasant who leads into Sixth With Violet (later reaching some fame as Calliope) with Ad Hoc Troubador wrapping up the show.

Watching this show brought back lots of memories for me and reminded me of how many great friends I've had over the years. Thanks to everyone who helped out.


There are 20 parts on YouTube if you want to see 1992 again.

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The end of mix CDs?

Jun. 30th, 2009 | 10:02 am

I can remember reading buzz online about Slacker a few years ago and how they were going to revolutionize radio. The idea is that you can type in the name of an artist or a song that you like and they will build a playlist of music that you might like around that selection. Slacker has also assembled some stations that address just about every mainstream genre you could ask for (I've really been enjoying the hits of the 40s station). Once you pick a station you like you can further fine tune it by logging onto the web site and picking favourite associated artists or songs and whether you would like it to go deeper into an artist's library or just play the hits or play recent or older tunes. Without going to the web site you can either favourite or ban any song that plays so you hear more like that song or never hear that song again.

Unfortunately, due to licensing, this service is only available in the US currently.
Fortunately, it's only a few dollars a month to get a US IP address.

Slacker has been providing me with hours of music from some of the more obscure artists I enjoy as well as lots of music I've never heard before that I like a lot. When I do hear a song that grates on me all I do is hit the ban button and I keep moving knowing that I will never hear that song again.

Best of all, aside from the fact that I plan on using the service outside of the US, this is completely legal. With the G2 portable radio, you can carry up to 25 different custom station, each with approximately 8 hours of music. The G2 needs to be connected to the Slacker network at least once every 30 days to renew the licensing and update the ads that support the service (less than 5 minutes out of every hour). For less than $5/mth you can pay for the premium service that allows you to listen to the music free from commercials and request as many specific songs as you like.

I only have two minor complaints about Slacker. The first is that the explicit lyric content control is a global filter rather than based on the radio stations you create. The other is that the sound quality is a notch below CD quality (but it still sounds better than radio).

For years, I have been downloading any music I want from the internet and only buying a small selection of rare and odd tunes. Now that I have a legitimate (at least in the US) means of getting new music I am much less likely to be feeding my ever expanding collection of pirated music. This also means that I'm much less likely to be making mix CDs to share. I already have a good start on the 2009 Christmas disc but I doubt that I will be able to put one together for 2010.

It makes me feel good to see that business models are being developed that are proving to be profitable that use the internet for distribution of media. The days of "Napster Bad" are behind us, iTunes has proven to be a financial success, and news of Pirate Bay turning into a legitimate site indicates that the internet might be growing up. The idea that everything can be had for free is absurd and reasonable distribution methods of media are being developed. It will be interesting to see where the next few years take us and how the public reacts to the changes.

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Photoroaming in New Mexico

Jun. 29th, 2009 | 06:25 pm

With oodles of free time and no social obligations down here, I’ve been playing the role of tourist in my spare time. I just grab my camera bag and head off in the direction of something that has been recommended to me by people.

My first weekend here was the big road trip to visit friends in Las Vegas. While it was great seeing my friends again, that much time alone on the road can wear on a guy if he’s only got 2 cds of music to listen to.

A number of people told me that I need to see Santa Fe while I’m here. It’s a city steeped in history and tradition and should be observed while I’m nearby. So I hopped in my car and drove up to check things out.Collapse )

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Anaglyph videos

Jun. 29th, 2009 | 07:52 am

It turns out that YouTube is filled with 3d movies for use with red/cyan glasses.
I have a case of glasses (200 pair) and I'm happy to ship out a pair to anyone who wants to view my 3d images or videos like the following one from YouTube.

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