Thursday, October 30, 2008

Listening to you, I get the music

Saw the Jeans and Classics band perform with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony last night, doing the show "The Who/Rolling Stones". Excellent stuff, as usual.

The first half of the show was a selection of highlights from The Who's Tommy. Particularly good were Pinball Wizard and Go to the Mirror/Listening to You.

The second half of the show was a laid-back Rolling Stones playlist. The standouts were the groovy Miss You, an extremely well-Orchestra-suited Wild Horses, and a terrific Paint it Black.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

She's a handful

Five years ago today, my little monkey was born.

Here she is, three hours old, meeting her big sister.

And a couple of years later.

And last summer.

And last fall.

And last month's school photo.

Five years has flown by. As my almost-eight-year-old said, "she's a handful, Dad. Get it? 'Cause she's five now, so if you hold up five fingers, she's a handful." Good to see my sense of humour has been passed down.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Glenn Howard visits Elmira

Glenn Howard was at the Elmira Curling Club last night, as part of a promotion for next month's Grand Slam Master's of Curling event in Waterloo.

From Glenn Howard

From Glenn Howard

He spoke for a few minutes, then went on the ice to participate in a draw to the button contest. 10 points for the pin, 5 for the button, 4 for the 4-foot, etc. Several members took up the challenge. I left before the winner was announced, but it looked like there a few who were pretty close.

From Glenn Howard

From Glenn Howard

My seven-year-old is a huge Glenn Howard fan. She watched him closely from the next sheet and when the club members were trying their draws to the button she took a few slides [she's also trying out a new pair of curling shoes].

Glenn watched her and told her she has a nice slide, and to keep it up. She blushed. He also autographed a team photo for her.

From Glenn Howard

From Glenn Howard

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Progress is addicting

Progress is addicting. It's like crack. One sniff and you're hooked.

Sad, though, that it's come to this. SuperMegaCorp now values process over progress. How we do things is more important than doing things. I have a great new feature that will make users happy, generate a ton of sales dollars, and I'm probably going to have to scale it back because I can't fit everything in. I have to follow process that slows me down. The anchor is around my neck.

I had a flash of progress yesterday, when I finally got a neat bit of functionality to work. It left me craving more. Then today, I'm crashing back to earth. I wasted an hour on a shitty code review tool. I wasted another hour reading an obsolete document on server unit test setup. Now it looks like tomorrow will be a write-off as I try to get the unit test support structure taped together. By the time all that happens, the spark is gone.

Don't get me wrong - having no process is not the answer. Having a process that helps get things done, instead of standing in the way, is the answer.

Anyone need a software developer? Lots of experience. Works fast, when equipped with the proper process.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

World Champion Glenn Howard will pay a special visit to the Elmira and District Curling Club on Wednesday, October 22 from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m.

Everyone is invited to join us next Wednesday evening as Glenn will be on hand to participate in a fun and interactive on-ice session and sign autographs.

The following is an initial agenda for Howard's appearance:

8:00 p.m. Arrive at the club
8:05 p.m. Welcome / Opening remarks by Elmira & District Curling Club
8:10 p.m. On-ice session
8:40 p.m. Autograph session
9:00 p.m. Depart from club

The evening promises to be a memorable one. So come on down, bring your camera and come meet one of curling's top skips!

Also, individual tickets to attend the Masters of Curling – the first leg of the men's Capital One Grand Slam of Curling series – at the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex are now on sale.

Individual tickets are priced as low as $15.00 for adults and $5.00 for children under the age of 18.

Scheduled from November 12-16, the Masters of Curling will feature Canada's top skips including World Champions Glenn Howard, Kevin Martin, Randy Ferbey, Wayne Middaugh, Jeff Stoughton, Kerry Burtnyk, Greg McAulay and Olympic gold medalist Brad Gushue.

Tickets for the Masters of Curling can be purchased online through TicketMaster at Members can also obtain seats to the five-day event through the Waterloo Memorial Recreation Complex box office at 519-886-2375 or through the Kitchener-Waterloo Granite Club at 1-866-406-0051.

Win, place, or show?

Well, look at me. A Bronze medal!

I overestimated the last-minute majority panic that I thought would boost the Liberals in Ontario, and I thought the Conservatives would beat out the Bloc in some Quebec ridings. Other than that, though, pretty close.

One thing I did not underestimate was voter apathy, sadly.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Election pool results

James Bow ran an election pool this year. Here's what I predicted:

Conservatives: 148
Liberals: 90
BQ: 42
NDP: 27
Green: 0
Independent: 1

Voter turnout: 58%, to be the lowest ever.

And the actual results:

Conservatives: 143
Liberals: 76
BQ: 50
NDP: 37
Green: 0
Independent: 2

Voter turnout: no final figures as of this writing, but it looks like it's just under 60%, to be the lowest ever.

I thought there would be enough of a majority-fear to swing those extra NDP seats to the Liberals.

You have to be trusted by the people that you lie to

Should Stephen Harper worry for his job?

This majority was gift wrapped. With a big bow on top. And he still fucked it up.

He's never going to get a better chance than Stéphane Dion and the Green Shift. If Harper can't deliver a majority against that opposition, how can he hope to win against a real leader, with a realistic platform?

This loss may just be the best news the Liberals have had in a while.

Friday, October 10, 2008

A ball is all I am

There are lots of born-again Christians around (I know this because I can't seem to get away from them).

Are there born-again assholes too?

Do they think we're THAT stupid? Yes, they do

Canada's mission in Afghanistan is costing more than double what the government claimed recently.

This means that either the government has no idea how they're spending all this money, or they're lying to us. Or both.

I don't know about you, but I'm getting tired of being mistaken for a moron all the time.

Monday, October 06, 2008

100 skills every man [and woman] should know

Graeme points us to Popular Mechanics, which has a list of 100 skills every man [and woman] should know. Here goes - bold means I can do it.


1. Handle a blowout
2. Drive in snow
3. Check trouble codes
4. Replace fan belt
5. Wax a car
6. Conquer an off-road obstacle. Hey, I drive a Jeep (when my wife lets me).
7. Use a stick welder
8. Hitch up a trailer. Yup - and here's the beast.
9. Jump start a car. And I think I'll claim bonus points since I can pop-start a standard.

Handling Emergencies

10. Perform the Heimlich. Never had to do it, but I think I know how.
11. Reverse hypothermia
12. Perform hands-only CPR. Never had to do it, but I know how.
13. Escape a sinking car. Never had to do it, but I think I know how.


14. Carve a turkey. Several times a year.
15. Use a sewing machine
16. Put out a fire. Campfire, or house fire? :)
17. Home brew beer
18. Remove bloodstains from fabric. If you've got bloodstains on your shirt, maybe laundry isn't your biggest problem.
19. Move heavy stuff. I just wish I could STOP moving furniture.
20. Grow food. Does basil count?
21. Read an electric meter
22. Shovel the right way
23. Solder wire. But it's been a long time since I've done it.
24. Tape drywall. Isn't that what brothers-in-law are for?
25. Split firewood. My wife gave me an axe for my birthday.
26. Replace a faucet washer
27. Mix concrete. Isn't that what brothers-in-law are for?
28. Paint a straight line
29. Use a French knife. I guess if I don't know what this is, I can't claim to know how to do it.
30. Prune bushes and small trees
31. Iron a shirt
32. Fix a toilet tank flapper
33. Change a single-pole switch
34. Fell a tree. Sadly, yes.
35. Replace a broken windowpane. But it's been a while. I was practicing my short game when I chipped a golf ball right into the shed window. Sorry, Dad.
36. Set up a ladder, safely. Even though safety is for the weak.
37. Fix a faucet cartridge
38. Sweat copper tubing
39. Change a diaper. Hell, yeah. Blindfolded. With one arm behind my back. But, I'm out of practice, and that's a good thing.
40. Grill with charcoal. But it's been a long time.
41. Sew a button on a shirt
42. Fold a flag

Medical Myths

43. Treat frostbite
44. Treat a burn
45. Help a seizure victim. My dog is a seizure expert.
46. Treat a snakebite
47. Remove a tick. I've camped at Long Point a couple of times. They tell you this in the park tabloid.

Military Know-How

48. Shine shoes. I was an Air Cadet.
49. Make a drum-tight bed. I was an Air Cadet.
50. Drop and give the perfect push up. I was an Air Cadet.


51. Run rapids in a canoe
52. Hang food in the wild
53. Skipper a boat
54. Shoot straight
55. Tackle steep drops on a mountain bike
56. Escape a rip current

Primitive Skills

57. Build a fire in the wilderness
58. Build a shelter
59. Find potable water

Surviving Extremes

60. Floods. Wouldn't "swim" be high on the list?
61. Tornadoes. I'd hide in the basement, does that count?
62. Cold
63. Heat
64. Lightning

Teach Your Kids

65. Cast a line
66. Lend a hand. My kids are in Girl Guides - excellent program for teaching community service.
67. Change a tire
68. Throw a spiral
69. Fly a stunt kite
70. Drive a stick shift
71. Parallel park
72. Tie a bowline
73. Tie a necktie
74. Whittle
75. Ride a bike


76. Install a graphics card
77. Take the perfect portrait
78. Calibrate HDTV settings
79. Shoot a home movie
80. Ditch your hard drive. Why?

Master Key Workshop Tools

81. Drill driver
82. Grease gun
83. Coolant hydrometer
84. Socket wrench
85. Test light
86. Brick trowel
87. Framing hammer
88. Wood chisel
89. Spade bit
90. Circular saw
91. Sledge hammer
92. Hacksaw
93. Torque wrench
94. Air wrench
95. Infrared thermometer
96. Sand blaster
97. Crosscut saw
98. Hand plane
99. Multimeter
100. Feeler gauges

56 out of 100. Not bad. I suck at the "home handyman" stuff. And what's up with "throw a spiral" and "fly a kite" ? How about "draw the button"? That I could do.

What did you call me, boy?

There's a story in the Globe and Mail today about the Canadian-themed Canadian Oxford Dictionary. It has, among others, the terms "double-double", "depanneur", "pogey" and "homo milk".

That reminded me of the time I was nearly beaten to death in Bar Harbor, Maine. Here's a tip for Canadians travelling to the United States. Don't go into a convenience store late at night and ask for "homo milk". In Canada, you're ok. In the US, you'd better run. Ask for "whole milk" instead. Totally different thing down there.

What a weekend

I'm happy to be back at work, where I can rest up a little. Spent most of the day Saturday moving furniture around the basement, then went to London for a birthday party.

Up early on Sunday for the CIBC Run for the Cure. My almost-eight-year-old alternated between jogging and walking, and the almost-five-year-old walked about half the 5km, and rode on my shoulders the rest of the way.

Zipped back home for a quick lunch, then out to the curling club where almost-eight-year-old threw rocks for an hour and a half with five other little rockers. Pretty good turnout of junior curlers for the adult open-house.

I wanted to sweep a few rocks before the season-opener tomorrow night, so one of the other junior coaches tossed a few for me. He had five in a row stop back-12. At least I didn't sweep any of those. Finally he hit the four foot, with sweeping. I think the ice was a little faster than he believed. We'll see if it's the same tomorrow.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

"Forward," he cried

I have a user control that I'm hosting in a ComponentOne flexgrid. I want to be able to click on the user control, and have the click processed by the flexgrid.

Tricky, I thought. Then I tripped over this:
private const int WM_NCHITTEST = 0x0084;
private const int HTTRANSPARENT = -1;

protected override void WndProc(ref Message m)
if (m.Msg == WM_NCHITTEST)
m.Result = (IntPtr) HTTRANSPARENT;
base.WndProc(ref m);
This catches a mouse event and forwards it to the control underneath the control that was clicked. Problem solved!

The sun can't shine everyday

From "The Turner Report".

(Also here, if you don't see the embedded version below).

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Signs of the times

The Liberals must be buying really cheap election signs. I can't imagine any other reason that so many of them are lying in pieces at the side of the road.

They were only put up a few days ago, and now some have smashed legs. Others have a big dent in the middle, kind of like they would if some neanderthal, knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing asshole kicked them in.

But even the assholes wouldn't stoop to that, would they?

Night and day

My almost-eight-year-old is a fashionista. She watches "What Not to Wear" every Friday night. She advises my wife on her wardrobe choices (but knows better than to waste time on me). She is frequently found in her aunt's closet, picking out an outfit for her. She spends quite a bit of time every morning deciding what to wear, and even longer combing her hair just so. She matches earrings and shoes to her clothes.

My almost-five-year old is the total opposite. She might as well get dressed in the dark every day. She picks one item of clothing from the top drawer, one from the middle, and one from the bottom. Sometimes she remembers to wear underwear. She rarely brushes her hair. She could live without a mirror. She has mastered the "pulled through a hedge backwards" look.

And yet, the almost-five-year-old has a secret girly-girl obsession. Japanese Cherry Blossom bubble bath, and hand soap, from Bath and Body Works. She will linger in the bathtub for hours, until the water is ice cold, if it has Japanese Cherry Blossom bubbles in it.

The Conservative Party's 2008 election platform

There's been lots of traffic coming here from folks searching for the Conservative Party's 2008 election platform. Beats me what that could be.

We know they're not running on their record of telling the truth, after breaking their own fixed election date law.

They can't be running on their record of honesty, after the massive electoral fraud in the last election.

They can't be running on trustworthiness, after they stole a speech. It wasn't even a good one!

They can't be running on ethics, since they offered to buy a dying MP's vote.

They can't be running on their economic prowess, after pissing away a $12 billion surplus.

They can't be running on their morals. Have you seen the "not a leader" ads? Sure you have. What bullshit.

Do you really want more of this?

52% of Canadians say they're anxious about the prospect of a Harper majority, but 81% of those people say they won't change their vote to prevent it. Just remember that next year, when things go south. This is what you voted for - don't act surprised.