lollipop news

Wednesday 29 December 2004 at 7:09 pm

Sometimes it looks like the mainstream media have just given up, and have turned into a farce. Gleaning actual information from news sources has become less effective than running for office in a sperm whale suit.

red bell hat labs

Monday 27 December 2004 at 02:32 am

A few days ago, a company executive quoted someone who exclaimed that “Red Hat is the Bell Labs of the 21st century”. Does this image survive contact with the enemy, er, reality?

childhood wonder

Saturday 25 December 2004 at 7:09 pm

There is a school of thought that feeding a child’s sense of wonder is a good thing, even if the content of these fanciful ideas are nonsensical. I’m no expert, but I’m skeptical.

black british bile

Saturday 25 December 2004 at 01:29 am

British comedies are an old staple at the household.

few words, many insights

Friday 24 December 2004 at 09:49 am

Belmont Club blog is worth a daily read: a deep analysis of world political issues from a conservative American point of view. Their articles are hundreds to thousands of words long, but are disproportionately full of gems like this one.

politics very often consists of promising the impossible to the ignorant

hey buddy, wanna buy another car?

Thursday 23 December 2004 at 09:39 am

Almost to the day of the very last loan payment on Big Yellow Car, GMAC (General Motors’ credit arm) sent us an offer to buy another new car. How tempting … or not.

elastic reborn

Wednesday 22 December 2004 at 10:32 pm

The machine hosting elastic.org suffered a hard drive crash sometime the early morning of 2004-12-20. Being the computer-savvy individual I am, of course I did not have very recent backups.

help me Darwin, help help me Darwin

Sunday 12 December 2004 at 9:23 pm

During a bout of midnight hunger yelping, I realized that this signaling method of little humans is an evolutionary disaster. Unless constantly encircled by big smelly adults, a little screamer would foghornly identify itself a tasty target for nearby carnivores, every time it wanted a food-tank top-up or a bottom cleaning. There is an excellent chance that modern crying behavior could be curbed over time, if we permitted the unfashionable sport of baby hunting. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest that by the year 3500, babies might become relatively quiet (again?), if the human gene pool is subjected to the forces of such evolutionary progress. Let’s move bravely into the future!

no factory worker

Tuesday 07 December 2004 at 10:50 pm

Every now and then, I realize that I might starve if I could not do the white-collar work I’ve become used to.

too much ice

Saturday 04 December 2004 at 9:42 pm

This past week, yours truly captained his third and fourth Hope Air missions, this time to catch then to release a fine gentleman from Chapleau in northern Ontario, who had a medical appointment in Toronto. Winter having arrived, this trip featured entirely too much ice.

just two states

Wednesday 01 December 2004 at 9:34 pm

After nearly two weeks with the brat, I’ve come to see him as existing in only one of two states:

  • cute: when he is sleeping, fidgeting with himself: generally being quiet
  • funny: when he’s yelling (hungry), screaming (dirty), enraged (being bathed), crying in the style of a machine-gun or goat (an extension of the prior techniques): generally being noisy

adrenaline day

Monday 29 November 2004 at 9:38 pm

Sunday mixed a bit of everything in a single day. There was morning and night drama with the two home humans, and daytime delight with guns and airplanes and friends.

memories of unconsciousness

Sunday 21 November 2004 at 9:17 pm

The brat was paroled from hospital on Saturday morning, and we are spending the first night all together. The experience so far has inspired a modification of the refrain of this old song:

Little brat, little brat, let me sleep
(Not by the sounds of my screamy weep weep)

adulthood

Wednesday 17 November 2004 at 8:16 pm

Until this current episode involving the little brat, I have rarely set foot in hospitals. (Visiting Juimiin’s various prior hospital labs does not really count, as I did not experience anything other than rushing through hallways and trembling in decrepit elevators.) Now, having clocked probably 40+ hours within Toronto East General, I get a little better sense of significance of the enterprise.

tick tock, tick tock, rrRRIIINNNGG!

Thursday 11 November 2004 at 9:30 pm

Eric Dreman Eigler was born today. Juimiin is okay; the little guy is suffering from a problem but should be fine in a few days.

close elections don't really matter

Tuesday 02 November 2004 at 9:40 pm

I believe there is a simple but paradoxical tendency for elections to matter less when they are as passionate and competitive as today’s US federal elections. When the populace is divided into such large camps, the winner cannot afford to really piss off the disappointed near-50% that voted for someone else. With so many people in opposition, a conciliatory status-quo-conserving approach is almost certain. Winning with a huge majority mandate, on the other hand, would permit the winner to act more dismissively toward the minority voters’ concerns. After all, there are so few of them.

she's a hottie, but she's only twelve

Wednesday 27 October 2004 at 1:41 pm

An odd set of advertisement posters have popped up in Toronto lately. Mattel apparently decided to let someone else take a turn at whacking the money piñata as that are families of Barbie brand product addicts.

IQAir air filters

Monday 25 October 2004 at 9:27 pm

Our home has had a dust problem for quite some time. It’s an old place with radiator heating (producing little airflow), two dirty animals roving around (and that excludes the two dirty people also roving around), lots of tables and shelves to breed dust bunnies, and a lack of 1950s-style slave woman to dust daily. Persistent sneezing and stale pet smells just get old over time.

mortality in movies

Thursday 21 October 2004 at 8:24 pm

Two movies I’ve seen in the last few years have stood out as good material to keep away from depressed teenagers. They are Don McKellar’s Last Night and Hirokazu Koreeda’s After Life. Both deal with death, and intelligent peoples’ response to it. They both do it with a haunting character-focused style, without the Hollywood flash, and with that unity of vision particular to solo writer/director efforts. And man, the catharsis resulting from taking in one of these films takes days to leave.

Note to self. Find a way of investing in Rhombus Media, a local company that produced Last Night, The Red Violin, Slings and Arrows, and other wonderful films.

fire emergency equipment

Monday 18 October 2004 at 9:11 pm The office building housing Red Hat's Toronto office has been undergoing a minor renovation to the internal fire warning systems. Basically a whole new electrical side (switches, bells, conduits, panels) has been installed over the last two months.

It looks pretty sweet - sturdy conductors enclosed in sturdier conduits, obviously designed to operate even with a fire raging nearby. However, one little installation quirk caught my eye. This is an unretouched photograph of the top of a wall in the basement. The sprinkler head and the electrical junction box behind the bell are about one foot apart. The electrical box is not sealed or waterproof (I saw it before the bell was mounted). Er ... will the sprinkler avoid bathing its live electrical circuit neighbour out of sheer politeness?

Danner boots

Sunday 17 October 2004 at 8:46 pm

Almost exactly four years ago, I bought myself a new pair of Danner boots at LeBaron’s, a sporting goods store where we also bought some of our firearms and many other goodies. The boots cost me $240, the most I’ve ever paid for footwear, but I hoped the sturdy-looking bad boys would last a long time. And they did. After wearing them for nearly a thousand days over the next four years, dreaming constantly of stomping out the proletariat and their champagne-sipping shills, the boots hung in there. Now the soles are worn flat, and there is a crack or two in the leather that cost them their waterproofness. But still they are the most comfortable shoes I possess. They are heavy, warm, soft, and built to last.

Today I bought a new pair of the exact same model. I regret that the price increased slightly, but if the new pair also gives me four more years of service, it will have been a better deal than you find in an ordinary shoe store. Besides, the old pair is still fine for dry days.

delivery advice

Tuesday 12 October 2004 at 8:27 pm

As the days before parenthood are ticking away, received advice changes
from trickle to torrent. An experienced male cow-orker made this astute
but insensitive suggestion about being present at delivery:

Don’t put your head down there. If you do, you won’t want to go back.

Team America

Saturday 09 October 2004 at 8:33 pm

Tonight we saw a “sneak preview” of the new movie from the screwball guys behind South Park. They have an bravely heartless sense of absurd humour, and their political leanings are sensible (”[they] hate conservatives, but [they] really fucking hate liberals”). They did not disappoint.

Brian Wilson in Toronto

Wednesday 06 October 2004 at 9:33 pm

My interest piqued by an article over at the Powerline blog, Juimiin and I attended most of Brian Wilson’s concert in Toronto. I suppose the word “most” gives away a hint of my disappointment. The problems were severe enough that we ducked out at intermission, 70 minutes into the show.

second Hope Air trip

Monday 04 October 2004 at 1:00 pm

Actually, this should have been the third flight, but Hope Air administrative delays and other factors blocked its last-minute arrangement. Our second completed flight was to Elliot Lake, again co-piloted by Nathan Myers.

CND4 fly-in

Sunday 03 October 2004 at 10:06 pm

This afternoon, on an airplane-shaped lark, we flew to Haliburton/Stanhope for their annual “fall colour” fly-in.

political debates

Saturday 02 October 2004 at 9:07 pm

It’s been a few days since the first Bush/Kerry debate in the States. I didn’t see it, but did read the transcript. Neither guy seemed to be very strong or very weak, though I gather Kerry displayed better showmanship. The airwaves were abuzz with speculation and analysis the moment the show ended. Oooh aah, this guy scored points; that guy’d hair looked funny, this guy made faces, that guy pounded the table.

how to jaywalk

Thursday 30 September 2004 at 8:56 pm

Driving in a busy city governed by a car-hostile left-wing council is fun, but usually only after 11 PM when all the normal people are off the street. During daylight hours, the experience varies between boredom, stress, and terror, with the mood vigorously swinging between these extremes. I’ve already written about the joys of suicidal bike riders. Today I am inclined to comment about pedestrians.

hachoo leads to more hachoo

Tuesday 28 September 2004 at 9:21 pm

Many homes have lousy indoor air. At least that’s the conclusion one would draw, upon seeing the entire volume of fine particles flying around inside, when lit up by a sharp beam of sunlight. A lucky coincidence may allow one to observe that, when taking a sheet of paper tissue from the usual box dispenser, a thick cloud of fine paper dust flies up into the air.

buying computers

Tuesday 28 September 2004 at 9:20 pm

Known to be working in the computer industry, acquaintances still regularly ask me about buying computers. My generic advice over the last few years has been to spend no more than 5-800 bucks and avoid high-end machines. Clearly even low-end computers nowadays are perfectly adequate for most ordinary uses.

first Hope Air trip

Monday 27 September 2004 at 9:10 pm

This afternoon I completed my first Hope Air mission. It consisted of a two-hour flight to Sault Ste. Marie, pickup of two people, and immediately returning to Toronto. The clients were not familiar with little airplanes, but put an unconvincingly brave face on. I and my co-pilot (Nathan Myers, old flight instructor) tried to soothe their nerves on the ground during our brief stopover.

too much green

Sunday 26 September 2004 at 9:13 pm

Today Juimiin and I went off flying north to do some leaf peeping in the south Georgian Bay area. After some low-altitude orbiting, we found the spot – also on google map – where the formerly annual CottageFestTM event took place (a late-summer gettogether by Red Hat cow-orkers, hosted by Dave Brolley’s parents). To our disappointment, most of the land was still green, at least where it wasn’t water- or stone- or road- or house-coloured. Most of the darned trees still held on to their foliage.

This will not do. We will revisit the area until the colours have well and truly changed.

how many pilots does it take to change a light bulb

Friday 24 September 2004 at 1:13 pm

Airplanes have lots of lights. Some coloured bulbs on the wingtips, some strobe bulbs all over, lots of little lights inside the cockpit to keep instruments lit at night, plus a taxi light and a landing light. The landing light is an unusually large and powerful bulb because its purpose is to illuminate the ground/runway when landing at night. Therefore, it puts out a lot of juice (250W on GXRP), and not-coincidentally has a relatively short lifespan (20-50 hours).

thank you, Timmins

Thursday 23 September 2004 at 9:22 pm

It appears that whiny big city governments are at some point soon going to get even more subsidies from provincial and federal governments, supposedly for running things like the local transit system. So, on one hand there are claims that cities like Toronto are the “economic engines”, and on the other hand, it needs subsidies from residents of Timmins so locals can ride the bus. Hello??! If Toronto politicians proclaim their city’s importance and power, have they no shame when the next moment they limp around begging for subsidies from outside?

death of clear language

Monday 20 September 2004 at 9:29 pm

One of the ways politicians bend a population to their wills is by changing the language of discourse. By associating new meanings with old terms, or inventing new terms, they hope to misuse existing connotations or induce confusion – the very opposite of clear communication. Of course advertisements use the same tricks. They are everywhere.

visiting Sporty's

Saturday 18 September 2004 at 9:08 pm

Sporty’s is a mail order retailer in Ohio, selling among other things, aviation goodies. Their selection is limited to end-user accessories, and unlike Aircraft Spruce, excludes airplane parts. But I didn’t know that this morning, when I and two Hongs set out at 9 AM to visit them.

night (bike) rider

Saturday 18 September 2004 at 9:01 pm

You scare the bejeezus out of me. I hope you die.

You must hope you die too, for doing such stupid, suicidal things as riding in pitch black darkness on a bicycle without illumination, frequently in such flagrant disobeyance of the rules that drivers can’t anticipate your presence, making it is a miracle you’re not mowed down right away.

I hope you wisen up before you die.

I hope never to have to provide the Final Lesson on this to you personally, but I’m ready. If it ever comes to choosing whether to (a) perform emergency evasive maneuvers that would endanger myself, passengers, or other drivers, versus (b) Darwinize some suicidal night bike rider, I will know which way to steer.

roads

Friday 17 September 2004 at 8:10 pm

I hate turbulence. Or at least, I thought I did, back during two long flights on big passenger jets, where the winds were seeming to tear at the airplane. It was not hazardous of course, just uncomfortable. Even now, after ample turbulent flying in little airplanes, I still feel melancholy when planning the next flight. Yet, invariably the anticipation is worse than eventual reality.

nothing

Wednesday 15 September 2004 at 8:22 pm

no blog is good blog

curing the walk for the cure

Tuesday 14 September 2004 at 9:41 pm

People are familiar with a popular style of fundraising, where people walking, running, biking, or just otherwise sweating for a given interval of time is connected somehow to an influx of cash toward a worthy cause.

air cadets & guns

Monday 13 September 2004 at 9:36 pm

Yesterday at CYQS another interesting event took place. A local Air Cadets chapter had a display and an instructor (captain-ranked uniform) offering pamphlets and information about the program. They also had two air rifles lying on the table, as an additional teaser of the toys one gets to play with. All seemingly good stuff.

CYQS fly-in

Sunday 12 September 2004 at 10:07 pm

That was fun! About three dozen airplanes, about a hundred people, came and were fed and entertained.

military history

Saturday 11 September 2004 at 9:09 pm

Tom Hanks produced two series of excellent documentary miniseries following hit films. The latter, Band of Brothers, deals with WWII. While searching for information about the actual battles, I came across this site at the US Army. They have entire books online on military history. Awesome reading.

the CBS memos

Saturday 11 September 2004 at 8:44 pm

As groklaw and other groups show, the internet blog user population has been producing more rapid and insightful criticism than mainstream media. It’s a beatiful thing to see. Powerline’s initial analysis of the suspicious CBS memos began a torrent that threatens to bring down the honour of a news network, even as opposing groups try to present contrary findings. Amongst the noise of “me toos”, there is an aggregation of deep thought that I considered the sole domain of Usenet in its heyday.

reminder

Friday 10 September 2004 at 9:18 pm

Articles like this one remind me of why I like flying so much. It’s great buzzing around solo, but it’s even better to have someone else there who appreciates the experience.

baa-aaa

Friday 10 September 2004 at 10:28 am

I’m joining the herd with a toy blog of my own.