luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (Default)
( May. 13th, 2009 09:58 am)

fiddly riding and running bits )

This mornings cycle was cool and reasonably quick.

Wildlife spotted, and other notables.
Baby goslings, one batch.
Adolescent Gophers, one pair.
Poorly painted Markiti (marketing pretending to be grafiti) 4.
Soldiers marching - One platoon.
Canada Geese - About 1/5 of a food bank full.
Mallards - enough to feed 3 families.
Red winged blackbirds - 9
Robins - many.

KMS Biked this week so far (about 90)
KMS Run This week so far 6-7

luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (baby)
( May. 4th, 2009 11:29 am)
In the news.
Black panther kitty in recovery after harrowing surgery.
Still not smoking and hanging out at bingo halls. )

Boat still for sale. Paint takes time to cure. Launch imminent.
Sometimes being watertight and bulletproof aint enough. )

Small tech company sleepwalks its way into obscurity.
and gets a flaming anchovie to the face. )

Couple watches depressing movie about end of the world.
Pretty destruction and biblical fury emits from the critic. )





This has been a fairly active week for me. Good thing, as the nearly-depression of the last couple weeks has seen my weight slip back up to around 215. Still a long way to go.  On the plus side,
Monday - HASHing , including an 8KM run.
Tuesday - Biked over 50KMs to work and back in the rain.
Wednesday - Scraped, sanded, vacummed, airblasted, wipe/washed and painted the whole top of the boat .
Today -
Well today I am working online with a customer in Southern Ontario. My awesome cat, Bagheera has been having an ordeal in the operating room. He had a large mast cell tumor removed from his chin area. Mast cells are a real bitch. They are angry cells that are full of histamines. The risk to leaving them is that he could someday itch himself and release enough of them to go into shock. The surgery removed the tumor,  but thre remaining cells are battling it out and causing his throat to swell. He is still intubated, and they are talking about doing a temporary trachiotomy to give him an airway while the antihistamine drugs reduce the swelling in his throat.

I hope it dosent come to that. Last thing I need to see is my cat with one of those oxygen carts trailing behind him. Next thing you know he will take up smoking and bingo. He is a Vanier cat now, after all.

I figure poor Bags is down to his last few lives. He has probably spent the last few gambling on the mean streets of Vanier. He definitely spent a couple in is youth altercating with allergies and cars. 

Heres hoping he recovers and bounces back enough to go to sea for some final years with his peeps.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (madscientist)
( Apr. 21st, 2009 01:21 pm)
http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2009/04/fleetcom


Brazilians have been using US military sats for their own CB system for years.

Why did nobody invite me? This sounds like awesome fun.

Damn.
Nearly everything I know about fencing, I learned personally from Darth Vader.


This is true. The grandfather of one of the kids in my Boy Scout troop was a guy named Bob Anderson. Bob was an olympic class fencer, and from time to time would come down to the school gym on thursday nights with his barrel of foils and try and teach us all something about fencing. He apparently played Darth Vader in the lightsabre duels, and was also a swordmaster on the crew of Highlander. He knew more about the art than I could ever hope to know.

I wish I had learned more from this guy. I just remember a really tall english accent guy with a lot of cool swords with buttons on the end.

Perhaps sometime I will finally get over my aversion to the mythical SCA snootiness and get back into learning to fence.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (SEAMUNCHKIN)
( Mar. 26th, 2009 11:49 am)
Things continue apace for the new boat.

The survey has been completed, and we have accepted it. The only surprise is a recommendation to replace the forstay as it is beginning to deteriorate at the top of the mast, where it is swaged. Not the simplest stay to change out, seeing there is roller furling in there, but not so bad.

I have liquidated the assets and am preparing to shift funds to make this purchase a reality. Hopefully by May sometime we can have it registered, and pop down for an inaugural visit before getting back to the grindstone and enjoying a summer in Ottawa.

The biggest stress is selling the Impertinent at this point. I have one interested party who keeps asking for more and more pictures. I guess this weekend I am doing boat work - and taking pictures.

If I can have that boat sold by start of season this year, I think I might just make it through the summer without too much stress!
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (Default)
( Mar. 10th, 2009 04:23 pm)
I think sometimes cubicle life is a lot like being the cat in the famous Shroedinger experiment.

The longer you stay there, the more uncertain you become as to whether or not the existence you have could still be called "living".
Nevertheless, there is a reluctance to take leave of the box, for you are both the cat and the observer. And the horror of discovering that you have been dead is balanced only by the fear that perhaps outside the box is vacuum.

So here it is, the first salvo in my war on winter.

If this gambit pays off, I will be able to spend from December 15ish to March 15ish.
In the Caribbean.
On a yacht.
If it works out especially well, I will be able to keep working from time to time remote over the internet.
In the warm. On a boat. In the Caribbean.

If I could put internet service on Mt. Everest, I can damn well get it in St. Martin. And where there is internet, there is a living can be made.


REQUEST ID : 3313
STATUS :

PENDING
REQUEST DETAILS :

DEVON AYRES has requested Without Pay
from 1/1/2010 8:00:00 AM
to 2/28/2010 5:00:00 PM

This request has been sent to : Big Boss

Total days away : 59
Total weekdays away : 41
REASON :

This is tenative. Would likely also book vacation days final 2 weeks of december, and first 2 weeks march using combination vacation days and lieu. Would likely be available during this time to work via Webex and continue business remote. Also able to fly back to do short meetings and projects for webex based projects. Actual details negotiable and tenative at this time. Just giving advanced warning so as not to fall afoul any management or legal boundaries.



The downside is, frozen people are going to hate me.
But they can come visit and sip drinks by the beach.

Wish me luck in the negotiations that will likely come of this first foray.

luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (skelly)
( Mar. 5th, 2009 08:30 am)
Getting back into the swing of things, albeit paying for it in soreness and being constantly a little hungry and cranky.

Mon - HASH run 6Kms of freezing air and slippery pavement. But a good run.
Tue - Upper body weights and general cario of about 550cal.
Wed - swimming at plant pool, laps.

Weight loss goals for March - lose 4-8 lbs
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (beaker)
( Feb. 23rd, 2009 02:48 pm)
I wonder where the fault line exists between the real economy, and the junk economy lies?

The real economy includes food that nourishes, tools that make food for people, stuff that keeps people from freezing to death, and things that keep you from dying horribly from zombie attack.

The superfluous economy is all the rest of the crap that advertising and whimsy makes us think we need, but dont really need. The stuff that for the most part we eschew when we feel like we are about to be out of money. The sickly sweet icing on that we coat the flat top of Maslows pyramid of need. The stuff they sell us because they can convince us we need it. And because they can make it cheaply enough to profit.

Where is the line drawn? How many of us are actually living our lives contributing to the junk-food style economy rather than the real one?

Entire nations of people working as near slaves in a dystopian vision of Santas workshop. Feeding the emptiness like a banquet of cotton candy.

The world of the consumer is becoming as loud in its screaming messages to consume and as soon as "consumer confidence" reignites, the advertising will leap to levels that will compare fairly with the din of a Casino. Perhaps we are already there. Perhaps my intolerance for commercials has blinded me to that fact already.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (floatinbg)
( Feb. 19th, 2009 03:46 pm)
So Chou and I have put in an offer on another boat. This one is in St. Martin. I think the odds on the offer being accepted are about 50/50 at this point. I think my feelings about the offer being accepted are about 50/50 as well. I am sure if it is rejected I will feel both dissapointment and a lot of relief. Having a boat in the Caribbean is a logistical and financial burden, for which I am not really ready.

On the plus side, the hull of this beastie looks sound, and the rigging looks like it can go at least around the islands without too much fuss. The general condition of the gear is modest to poor. The engine is an ancient and once-overhauled ford tractor engine from England, with saltwater cooling. It might be OK for a serious sailor, but I need to earmark 15K for a replacement at some point. Much of the rest of the electronics and such are also aged. Everything. But its all functional - and theres enough space to make a nice home for a couple of anarchist wannabe sea gypsies.

Sadly, my offer was lacking a little oomph seeing as our Canuckistan Dollarette is at such a poor state. The boat is listed twice with two brokers - one english for 65KUSD and a french one for about 10K more. I offered them the lower price, but in converted canadian dollars. Perhaps it might fly, or perhaps it wont. I think I am most afraid that the 50K USD offer will become worse in CAD if our dollar gets more eaten away.

On the plus side, we may still be able to get our asses out of Canada by sometime in the next 24 months, if we can sell the impertinent for a reasonable amount. It really depends on how many sneaky must-fixes the new boat pulls.

Stay tuned. The offer will expire in 10 business days. If I dont have a firm yes by then, then I am back to the status Quo with the impertinent.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (mug)
( Feb. 6th, 2009 10:42 am)

My employer is cleaning out its old storage rooms and just handed me a new/old toy!


http://www.worldtraxx.com/wbs/products/5-products/16-inmarsat-d

In fact, this is the very unit carried up Mt. Everest by our ill-fated expedition a few years back.

With some help, I may be able to jury rig this thing for SMS style email and tracking for the boat!

(Of course, the service side may be prohibitive in cost, in which case I will just hack it for the hell of it and see what I can make it do.)


 

I am looking for a set of research data which I am sure someone in the travel industry must have - it would be key for their management.

I am looking for a matrix of average prices for routers between all points available - over each month. It dosent need to be real time, but It would be nice if it was at least useful.  I know you can do searches of airline ticket costs from point A to point B, on different aggregator websites. Thats fine, but what I would like to do is have a CSV or something that indexes airport codes against average ticket prices so I can create an overlay over something like google earth - then one could punch in their closest airport code, and the world could show on average with color codes and symbols/$ overlays how much it typically costs to get everywhere. It would outline the travel patterns and show dead spots - but more interestingly it would show the best places to travel cheaply to-from in a given geography.

I would love a tool like this, especially if I could cross reference it against population counts and affluence, just for curiosity sake.

Anybody know where this might exist, or if the data is around for free such that I might try my hand at it myself?

The reason I am curious is that If I buy a boat in the south, knowing where to land and store it and be able to return to it cheaply is key. There are some obvious places where tourist traffic is high and presents economy of scale, but I am wondering if there are other ways the data could be mined.

I had a lot fo frustration with my winter vacation - I wanted to go anywhere cheap. But the airline systems want specific information - they need a start and end point. What if I have a start point that is fixed, but want the endpoint to be selected based on cost? How does one do that?  How can one make the airline booking system find you the cheapest escape when of the (From, To, When) variables are all open except the From one?
I got a bit of the winter blues, and so went to the grocery store for a cure.

Habanero corn chips. and Salsa. Loblaws in Vanier dosent carry the old favorite - chunky volcano hot salsa anymore. Pity.

So I go home and try the chips. Habanero my ass. Even mon_chou can eat them without ill effects. Time for some experimentation.

I take the medium salsa, and add a capfull of weapons-grade Mikes insanity sauce. Mix well. And voila. 

This salsa is HOT. It compares favorably with a beef rendang that kept me coming back (in vain) to a local malaysian restaraunt.
It compares well to a vindaloo that even the people at the Indian restaraunt admitted was too hot for them to eat.

It is so hot, I have flashbacks to getting gassed. Except thankfully this episode is limited to my mouth and nose.

It reminds me of the character Brand Hauser from the movie "War Inc." It is a great film. Watch it.

Endorphins good.
Mon_chou and I have been looking at a steel boat for sale in Toronto. I did a lot of looking,and had half talked myself into making an offer on it.

One thing was really bugging me though, and that was the hull shape. It had a single chine deep V hull. Lots of fuel storage, but I didnt know how much ballast it had. Too little ballast and the thing would be a liability on the high seas - flip it over with a wave and it might just stay that way. When upside down, ballast gives a boat negative stability - it wants always to turn right side up because of all the weight up in the air.

Well, my suspicions are confirmed - the boat has no ballast, just fuel and water tanks and a couple of bilge fins to prevent too much leeway. And my latest discovery from people who have built the boat, is that is was designed to be a power boat, not a sailboat.

That stops me dead in my tracks on that level - good sailboats are designed to be sailboats first, and stinkpotters second. You cant just take a motorboat and stick a mast on it and call it a sailboat any more than you can stick fins on a cow and call it a shark. But apparently at one point someone tried.

I guess the search goes on...
I am doing a java course through an online university.

I started the Tutor marked exercises today. A simple bit of java code. First they have you output a bunch of asterisks.
Then they have you output a different assortment of asterisks. To quote the directive

"Edit the program stars so that it prints five asterisks centered on the fourth line, three asterisks centered on the fifth line, and one asterisk cventered on the sixth line" Compile and run your program.

After giving the problem considerable thought, I started looking into importing some Java curses libraries, so that I could pull the number of columns from the active console display, divide the number in half, and either place the cursor in the right place or pad my strings with whitespace to achieve the same effect.

Which led me to the grim realization that I had just managed to turn a Java exercise of "Hello World" into bloatware.

So I did the right thing. I commented in that I was making assumptions about the number of columns, and then commented in a suggestion as to how to make the display always work using curses libraries.

But it still remains - I managed to bloat "Hello world"
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (beaker)
( Dec. 8th, 2008 10:11 am)
I am happy to be back in Ottawa, hopefully for the rest of the year.
I have a couple of days of work for a government department instaling a reporting tool, and then likely will be left to my own devces until my vacations kick in on the 15th.

The weekend was deliciously slack. I played Civilization III, cooked a little of this and that, and generally did very little of account. It was wonderful. I am considerably less stressed now. Things may be going sour again in Toronto, but I think it is unlikely that I will be pulled into the fray again on account of bugs. Likely that will settle out with the support end of things. I hope anyhow.

I got the propeller shaft dropped off at the machinist. Hopefully I will have a new one done by sometime January (Thaw?) time and be able to finish repacking the stuffing gland (sounds dirty, dosent it?) and get the engine back into its lair before spring starts to sprung. I have had a couple idle nibbles on the boat sale front. But am not really holding out any hope on an offer until I repaint the cabin top and do some other prettying up of the beast - engine placement among them.

We managed to get a hold of one of the builders of the bigger boat I have been interested in trading up to. Up until now I had been doubtful of its seaworthiness because I was starting to wonder if it had any ballast in it besides the 1000Gal of fuel and 250Gal of water it kept in integral tanks below. The guy we talked to who built the hull didnt install the ballast, but he figured on it having 14K of lead installed by the owner they sold it to, by virtue of design. This encourages me a bit. Aside from a definitely deep displacement V hull which is little resembling the wineglass beauty of Impertinent - she is a boat that seems to have been made for long distance cruising.  My only issues now are really cabin layout - too much space allocated to open areas - not enough to cabin space for rugrats. But that is the sort of thing that can be amended as time goes on.

I still wouldnt mind a decent Roberts 43 popping onto the market for me - but seeing as the nice ones are all asking over 125K - this seems unlikely.  

At least under the present situation, If I keep Impertinent - we can leave this summer. I might need to install a couple more bolt on toys. But one way or another - we have the means. Now we just have to decide if the mode is sufficient for our plans.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (Default)
( Dec. 3rd, 2008 07:46 am)
I am conflicted about the whole latest turn in politics.

On one hand, I would like to see the NDP get some cabinet-time to help battle their stigma of being a bunch of lefties not able to grasp the concept of centrism. On the other hand, the liberals are a mess. Dion is already a lame-duck leader, the next batch of liberal leaders are now running around and trying to look like they had nothing to do with it all. 

Harper has a point - people and polls dont like Dion very much. The green tax fell flat, and with it so did he. Perhaps it is worth it if this merely puts parliament in stasis while the conservatives eat Harper alive. I would like to believe that Harper is the most rabid theocrat in the bunch, and by getting rid of him the party might moderate into a more open minded conservative party. But it just aint so. It is Harper who is keeping the crazy Xian part of the party muzzled in the interest of gaining power. Most of the red tories crossed the floor ages ago. So even without harper, the party is scary.

And then theres the bloq.  Making any kind of deal with those devils, instead of trying them for treason is just stupid. When a kid tries to burn your house down with a can of gasoline every few months, you put him in prison. You hang him and make an example. You dont invite him to supper because mom wont make your favourite casserole. It sends a mixed message. This is going to bite Canada and the price will be more horrible than the economic one we are looking at in the next couple years.

Sadly, I think we have to go this another way. Stop squabbling and stop petting the rabid dog. Its high time we took the dog out of the house and shot it too. Quebec will miss old yeller, but thems the breaks when you get conquered and dont get around to winning back your status before the age of useful violence has expired. Then again, perhaps the age of boorishly quashing minority subcultures in a federation is well and over too. 

But it still dosent justify giving an inch to the Bloq. And this coallition is a freaking plank they will beat us with for years to come.
luckytroll: Wearing my old fave hat (eelattacklife)
( Nov. 24th, 2008 08:20 pm)
Sometimes I get the best insight from my geologist wife.


I have been remote fighting fires at a customer site today. 

I meandered into the bedroom where mon_chou was working and watching TV.

Troll: This software is horrible, I feel guilty for having anything to do with it! It is bad software but I didnt write it!
Troll: It is like polishing a turd!  You just cant polish a turd!

[livejournal.com profile] mon_chou : Yes, you can! You can if its a coprolite!




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