Saturday, September 29, 2007

On my Way...

As I write this, I'm sitting at the Montreal airport waiting for my flight to Vancouver to board, YAY!

It's been a heck of a week. Lots of family and friends, lots of figuring out what goes first and what I can live without for a while.

So I'll make this post short, and just post up some pictures of this week. Don't worry, I'll catch up once I'm in my new hometown of Vancouver, BC.

My Nephew wanted a piggy-back ride (don't mind my coffee tongue, just finished one):

Apparently my back is a good place to sleep:

John-Douglas watching Cars while playing with his Lego Mack and Lightning McQueen toys:

Never more angelic than while watching Cars, lol:

On his way to Nanny's house (my Nanny, lol):

I played with this as a kid and just had to prove that I'm not lying when I say that when I was a kid my parents gave me blocks of wood to play with. Best part is it's actually Fisher Price, lol:

That's it for now, more once I'm in my new time-zone!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Planes and the Bows of the Rains :)

Wow. What a week that was. Between wrapping up the old job and getting ready to move, it really hasn't stopped for a second!

The good news is I'm all ready to go and as soon as the FedEx truck shows up with my check (Dang them for not holding it at the center!), I'm off to Montreal. My brother drove here on Saturday and went back home yesterday with most of my stuff, so I'm only a check, a tank of gas, and a few Tim Hortons coffees away from Montreal at this point.

What better thing to do while waiting for my check than to update my blog?

Well, let's see. I finally managed to get up on the roof at work with my camera last week. I didn't have my tripod, and only managed to get up there for about a half-hour, but it was still enough time to get a few decent photos and some video.

Here's a slideshow of the better of the pictures (lots more, but these came out the best).

I also took three seperate videos:

Let's see, I also managed to score evidence that MACs do indeed bluescreen.

The only significant difference I can see if the screen goes transparent rather than blue (Ooooo), and that a MAC apparently bluescreens in four languages. I also found it funny that it is called "Kernel Panic". At least my PC never panics when it runs into a problem, it just calmly freezes and needs a restart. Then again, I haven't restarted my PC in three months as I write this...

I also had to get my own cell phone plan for the first time in 5 years. It was quite easy, and they threw in a new phone which is now oficially my backup phone. Nothing too fancy, just your run-of-the mill RAZR V3T. It only took me about 15 minutes once I got it home to hack it, unlock it and start the process of making it my own. Here's the progress thus far...

Main screen. Skinned it to a "Windows Vista" menu scheme and added my own wallpaper:

Outside LCD with phone closed. Added the image :)

Outside LCD with phone open (I couldn't help it) :

These pictures really don't do it justice, but on the before-last day at my job, I went outside to be greeted by a full rainbow right out front of the building. There was the beginning of a second rainbow on the left-hand side, and from the angle I was at, it almost looked like the rainbow ended at the building I've worked in for the last year. Hrmph, all that time and I never spotted a pot of gold!


Single Rainbow but brighter:

Into the building (that's my old work):

Well, that's about it for now. Getting ready for the drive to Montreal as soon as FedEx gets here to drop off one last package delivered to this address. I'll surely be updating this a lot more often this week, and of course next week as I start off my Vancouver adventuring! I'm told that we're going hang-gliding my second weekend in BC, I can't wait!

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Leaving on a Jet Plane...

It most certainly has been an eventful week in Transfrmrland.

Let's start with a brief summary:
Monday - Labour day
Tuesday - 12 hours of work
Wednesday - Resignation day
Thursday - Counter-offer day
Friday - 10 hours of work

Those of you who are paying attention may have gasped when you got to Wednesday on that list, do I'll give you a moment to recover and start with Monday :)

Monday being Labour Day, I had job-related duties to perform. Instead, I spent a good part of the day playing Bioshock. I managed to finish the game before the day came to a close, and am quite happy with it overall. Sure, there are a few things that I'd change if I could, but that can be said for pretty much any game out there. In general the game was wonderfully difficult, and followed a well-planned storyline. They even threw in an unexpected twist towards the end that I enjoyed quite a bit.

On to Tuesday, just a regular day of job-related toil. Early morning and late night and all that jazz. Not really anything in particular that stands out in my memory, so let's go on to Wednesday.

Some of you probably skipped right down here looking for the juicy tidbits. Well, I'll try not to leave you wanting :P I received a job offer late last week that I spent much of last weekend mulling over. It is a good offer, but involves a wee bit of relocation on my part. I've worked for my present company for about five years now, and have quite a good position, but this offer has a few perks that really had me thinking. By the end of the day Tuesday, I had made up my mind to accept the offer, and so on Wednesday September 5th, I submitted my resignation to my employer giving them two and a half weeks notice, and offering to help with the transition(I'm just that kind of guy...).

I think it really took the company by surprise, although it probably shouldn't have. I really do enjoy my job, but a large part of that comes from the people I work with. Over the last few months, one-by-one, these people have been leaving. All have gone on to accept wonderful positions with other companies and continue their own personal growth, but it left me wondering if maybe I should be doing the same. When this "limited-time offer" arose, I took it as a sign that it was, indeed time to move on.

On Thursday, much as I expected, my company decided to provide a "counter-offer". This is basically when they really don't want, or can't afford to see you go, and so throw money at the problem. I have to say that the offer was quite flattering, but I had to turn it down. I know that they haven't given up alltogether, and expect to have several more meetings over the next two weeks, but I really don't believe that any of it will change my mind at this point.

So what does this mean? Well, it means quite a bit to do in a very short time. The new job is not in Toronto, as a matter of fact, it isn't even in Ontario. I will be relocating to Vancouver, British Columbia before this month is through, and will be starting my new job on the first of October. Short timeline is an understatement.

I'll definitely miss all the people I have met in Toronto over the last year and a half. Can't really say that much for the city itself. It's not absolutely evil, but it sure as heck is no Montreal. I'll have access to much better skiing in BC, something that I have missed dearly in TO. My family was a big part of the decision since they live in Montreal. Visiting them was only a 6 hour drive and I tended to go back at least once a month for a weekend. From BC, that just won't be possible, although I will definitely have to plan some extended visits over the next year. I spoke to them before making up my mind, and they urged me to do this, which played a big part in my decision to "go for it".

So now, over the next two weeks I will be simultaneously wrapping up my role for my present company, and preparing for a move accross the country. I won't be bringing a lot of my belongings with me, but will rather be storing them in Montreal until I have found a place to live, and settled in some. Even my car is remaining behind for the first bit. I'm sure that you can all picture just what such a quick transition involves, so I will spare you the boring details, and just leave it at that.

I plan to spend the last week of September in Montreal, with my family, and fly out to BC from there. I'll be having several "going-away" parties, one for Toronto, one for friends in Montreal, and one for family there. Hopefully I'll have time for all of these.

So there it is. In less than a week, my life has changed radically. In three weeks, it will change even more radically as I migrate clear across the country to the West Coast. I'm already tired, and stressign about every minute detail, but decided to take today to take it somewhat easy and handle some of the more mundane logistics. Tomorrow, I start the packing (I hate moving...).

On that note, I'll leave off, but rest-assured that I'll be sure to share my trials, tribulations and triumphs over the next few weeks with you all.

Hope you like the new soundtrack :) I thought it was rather appropriate.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Frosty Mugs and Code Battles

Yay for long weekends! Double-yay for long weekends that cross the Canada-US border. It's nice to not have to go into work tomorrow, especially with the hours that I've been putting in lately.

So, what did I spend my weekend doing? Let's see.

First I finally managed to get Bioshock working to my satisfaction. It's still not perfect, there is still a slight bug in the audio, but it is much more tolerable now. In my searches for fixes to the problem, I found that there is apparently a known audio bug in the PC version and an update (patch) to fix it should be out shortly. Lets hope so. After all the struggle to get it working, I haven't really played it much. I'll probably start it up and put in an hour or so once I'm done with this post.

Next on the list was cleaning and laundry. Oh, so exciting, and yet so satisfying once done. Truthfully I did leave some laundry to be finished up tomorrow, but why not, I do after all have an extra day of weeekend :)

I must say that I am quite enjoying the frosty mugs that I have acquired. A frosty mug is a mug that contains some sort of freezable liquid within its walls. I suspect the ones I won now are merely filled with water, but those I had as a kid were likely something more sinister and toxic. I like my beverages as cold as they can be, and the perfect way to do this without watering them down with ice, is the frosty mug. We had a set of these when I was a kid, and just about every day when I came home from school I would go through a ritual that was practically down to a science. First add whatever the beverage of the day (usually juice of some sort) to the frosty mug, then stick the frosty mug back into the freezer for exactly an hour (which usually was equal to two cartoons). After an hour, the juice would have frozen around the outsides of the mug, with the center being wonderfully chilled juicyness. The next hour would be spent sipping the chilled juice as I shaved frozen juice off the side of the mug with a spoon, pure heaven.

I definitely enjoyed the frostyness of my drinks today as I fought the evil code-monsters trying to embed music into my blog. Not just any music mind you, but a playlist of my choosing. Also imperative was allowing anyone viewing the blog to pause, stop, or change tracks at will. My first attempt was using a flash-based mp3 player I found at It allowed multiple Mp3 files, was compact and customizable to fit the page's color scheme, and scrolled the track titles. I was pretty happy with it until... it didnt work. Well, small correction, it worked fin on my main system, but not for others, after some testing I found it just wouldn't work with Firefox, nor with my laptop's IE7, even though it still worked just fine on my main system under the same browser. Oh well, no problem, I'll just find a media player that I know will work. After looking around, I settled on WMP. I figured out the coding to play from an online playlist so that I could line up multiple tracks, and even managed to get it colored to match the blog better. Then I tried Firefox and was shot down. See, that's what I like about IE, it is so forgiving to deprecated code, whereas Firfox balked at the simplicity of my embed tag. Ok, no problem, Google will surely help me find a bit of universal code to solve my woes! Finally, I managed to get it working, but can't skin it the way I can for IE, so it's a contrasting gray when viewed in Firefox (too bad Mozillanites!). Still, it works, and autoplays. Of course it doesn't show the track names the way I'd like but I can live with that. Hopefully people will hang around long enough to get to the various tracks that I have loaded into the playlist, but I suppose I can just change the playlist up from time to time too.

If you don't like what's playing, you can stop it or jump to the next track, it's all up to you.

Here's what's loaded in it to start:
1) Eminem vs. Dukes of Dixieland
2) Beatnic vs. Loitumé (Leekspin)
3) Dreadful Children - Pink Elephants on Parade

The Eminem mix is just plain fun, so far everyone I have played it for finds it quite amusing. Beatnic vx. Loitumé is an awesome breakbeat mix I found of the song some of you will recognize from Dreadful Children is a punk/ska band from Seattle and their cover of PEOP is a lot of fun. You can find more tracks by the Dreadul Children on their MySpace page.

Now, I'm going to play a bit of Bioshock :)