Monday, March 31, 2008

Save Me From The Workday!

The rumours are true. My vacation starts today.

What's that? You hear that I'm going back to work today? Well, that's true. I meant that my vacation from the kids starts today :)

I've had lots of fun with the kids over the past three months but the frightening thing is that I kind of miss going to work and being involved in the zaniness that pervades the group home (and adult conversation... I miss adult conversation that doesn't involve babies or baby related topics).

I'm interested to see what has gone on while I've been away (probably a lot) and what has changed (probably not very much).

Today should be an interesting day as it will be Kara's first day at the babysitter's with no Mommy or Daddy around. But Garrett will be there, so I'm sure she'll adjust.

About the only thing that I wish I'd been able to do before going back to work was to read a few more books and finish Lost Odyssey. I was hoping to wrap up Lost Odyssey last night but I was too busy trying to wrap up a bunch of the sidequests over the past two nights. The upside is that I'm going to end up finishing this JRPG with almost 100% completion, which is a rarity for me when I play JRPGs. If you've got a 360 and liked games like Final Fantasy, you should do yourself a favour and play Lost Odyssey!

I also hoped to finish Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, but while I didn't, I came pretty close. I'll probably wrap it up over the next evening or two.

But I digress.

I'll probably end up spending my whole first shift just reading 3 months worth of communication book entries :P

Saturday, March 29, 2008

I Hope This Bandwagon Is A Hybrid

So, today is Earth Hour Day.

There's a new poll up to see if you're going to be turning your lights off from 8-9pm tonight.

We decided to commemorate Earth Hour early by turning all of our lights off from 2-6am this morning. Frankly, I'm thinking of going the Greenco way (the second video in the top row) tonight...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Happy Birthday James

It's James' birthday today! According to ancient Mayan calendars (which were carved to commemorate his tricentennial back in the mists of prehistory) James is slated for a day off of work to celebrate!



Unfortunately, that day isn't today. Oh well. I'll think of you while I'm enjoying (ha) my final official day of parental leave tomorrow. Sigh.

It's Not Too Late For A Birthday Present!

You know you want me to have this chair...



The scary thing is that this thing is real. I saw it on a few TV shows last week.

They May Be Evil, But HOW Evil?

Tim put a link to a story about Bell 'shaping' the download speeds for users on ISPs that lease Bell's DSL network access. While I'm not going to argue about Bell being evil (though compared to many other telecoms, they're downright saints in my book), I'm of mixed feelings about the throttling. Most of it happens during peak times and it's bittorrents that are affected for the most part. Now, there are some stories about stuff like the new CBC bittorrent service being really borked over Bell and Rogers and if that's happening in off-hour times, that's just wrong.

Most of the end-user experience won't be changed though. I kind of feel for the independant ISP who can't fulfill some of their promises to their customers but it's kind of like complaining that the fountain in the hotel lobby isn't working during the middle of a drought. Bell provides the water, so to speak, and if they need to stem the flow so that everyone can have optimal surfing/generic usage vs. several bittorrent users draining the available resource, I'm down with that.

And frankly, I'd rather deal with something like throttling, which is a little annoying some of the time than hard bandwidth caps, which are annoying ALL of the time.

I'm still surprised that independant ISPs are around these days as they seem to be going the way of the dodo... while this move won't make life easier for them, I'm sure that most of the people doing bittorrent and P2P sharing on the ISP linked in that article aren't sharing opensource/creative commons things, so they should stop their whining and be thankful that we haven't adopted the proposed Canadian DCMA that has been bandied about for a few months... yet.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Dead Fantasy 2

Remember that Dead Or Alive vs. Final Fantasy movie that was out a little while ago? Well, the second part is up now! Check it out!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Pssst... Today's The Day

Yes, you can start the party now. I've survived another trip around the sun (barely).

To commemorate this occasion, Garrett showed me his new trick... he taught himself how to pee standing up. Unfortunately, he didn't read the part in the manual that mentioned that he should aim for the toilet bowl and not my pile of Maclean's magazines. Sigh.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Speaking Of The Hulk...

The HD trailer for the new Hulk movie is up.

Bonus points if you can name the street that the showdown between The Hulk and The Abomination takes place on.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bell Good? Hulk No Smash? Oh Well...

Just a little update on my stupid Bell situation. It turned out that we were getting the long distance plan for the $9.95 that was quoted to us. It's just that due to the rather byzantine way that the Bell is laid out and the fact that some of the info, like the fact we get $5 off of the bill due to bundling, is not shown on the e-bill, it looked like we were paying more than we should when in reality everything was fine.

That little tidbit out of the way, I went on to talk to someone in the Internet department about the $20 activation fee on our bill. I was all ready to get my CSR stomping boots on and dance an Irish jig on some poor sap when they came onto the phone and said, "Oh, that activation fee shouldn't be on there. You've been credited the amount on your next bill."

I was kind of disappointed that everything went so smoothly. Ah well. It was nice to not have to play mind games with the reps, even if they did try to upsell me on call display while I was talking to them.

It's Still Two Days Away!

An open letter to the world:

Dear World,

Thank you for once again throwing me a big party for my birthday. I just wanted to point out a few tiny mistakes with the current plan:

1) My birthday is not on March 17th. It's March 19th. This happens EVERY year.

2) My favourite colour is not green. I'm a little more partial to red, purple and blue, though I do love a cool phosphorescent green.

3) Why do I never get invited to any of these big parties? I keep seeing people out and about every March 17th, but my invitation has never arrived. What's up? You can't have an early birthday party for me if I'm not there!

4) I like to consider myself a nice guy and all that, but I think calling me a saint is going a bit far. There are also a few issues with the myth that has been started about me and my alleged sainthood that I would like to address:

(a) Error 1: I like snakes.
(b) Error 2: I am not dead, which I think is prerequisite for sainthood.
(c) Error 3: My name is not Patrick.

I think that's about it. Hopefully this will make its way up the chain of command to whomever is in charge of these things and next year we'll see my birthday celebrations happening on the right day.

That said, whoever thought it was a good idea to serve lots of Guinness today deserves a medal. Mmm... Guinness.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It's Still Worth The Drive To Acton

After swimming today, Garrett & I stopped in at that most venerable of Acton institutions, Tim Horton's.

But before we did that, we stopped at The Olde Hide House... or The Hide House... or The "We Used To Sell Leather Before We Went Bankrupt" House. I picked up a new pair of leather gloves for next winter and had a look at some of the furniture. It's sad that a leather chair, even with the cheaper price and 40% discount, will still cost upwards of $800-1200. Yeesh.

I asked about what the status of the store is and the word is that they are definately closing the Toronto and Vaughn stores and depending on how the sales go over the next 6 weeks, they'll hopefully reopen the Acton store with a smaller selection. Oh well. If you're looking for a new leather coat, they're on sale for 40-60% off, but they're still pretty pricey.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

BELL!!!!

If anyone from Bell ever calls to change your various plans around, for the love of all that is good and holy, document EVERYTHING.

We got a call early February and both upgraded our Sympatico and changed our long-distance plan so that we'd be on a new plan that cost us $9.95/month for unlimited anytime calling in Ontario instead of the hobbled $7.95 first-rate plan that we could only use in the evenings and weekends.

I get the bill today and they've charged us $14.95 for that plan! GRR!! They also charged us a $20 activation fee for the upgrade to our internet service that wasn't mentioned at all during our conversation with the agent.

What irks me is that I asked for a follow-up e-mail or letter from Bell about these changes and to this date they still haven't sent me anything. I kind of wish that someone had been in the billing center today because I've been in such a foul mood about everything that I was hoping I could vent on some poor sap in their office. Oh well. I'll have to wait for Monday to resolve but heaven help me if they try to stonewall me.

I had a problem with Bell a loooong time ago due to someone on the phone telling me one thing and the billing department charging me for something else and there is no way I am letting them slide this time around.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

How To Rationalize



The frightening thing is that I was THIS close to grabbing one of the 360 HD-DVD drives at Wal-Mart on Tuesday as it's only $50. Unfortunately, the free movie deal is done, otherwise it'd be more than worth getting.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Last Cylon



That has got to be the most awesome picture in the history of the internet.

GIANT BUNNIES FROM MARS!

I took the kids down to Georgetown Mall to see Max & Ruby. I didn't expect it to be quite as insane, crowd-wise, and should have probably aimed to arrive earlier than 10 minutes before those big creepy bunnies took the stage.



As it was, I ended up putting Garrett up on my shoulders and held Kara in my arms while trying to take pictures with the camera from behind a wall of adults who didn't seem to understand that it was a show for LITTLE KIDS. I was telling some of the other parents (who were telling their kids that they'd have to just listen to the music) to just send the kids up to the front and elbow the adults out of the way. Thankfully one mom did just that and her brood opened up an area that had enough room for Garrett to watch the show. I saw this grandmother sitting right at the edge of the stage area with a shopping cart taking up spots that could have fit about 5 kids, easy, just so her granddaughter could sit in the little seat at the top. Unfortunately, I didn't notice the fact that the shopping cart was there until after the show when people were clearing out. Sigh.



It was a fun little show and Kara loved it. Garrett seemed to like it but he kept complaining about the fact that Max and Ruby didn't talk to him.

One thing I did learn was that there is no way I'm going back to the mall for the other events that are going on this week. There's a science show and display tomorrow that I'd love to go to but it was just too chaotic. I'll just take the kids down to Mountsberg for the annual trip to the sugar bush. Mmm... Maple syrup!

One Of These Things Is Not Like The Others

A fabulous No-Prize for the person who can identify the item that doesn't belong in this picture.

An even fancier No-Prize for the person who comes up with the funniest caption to explain why it's there.

PicLens

I found this cool plug-in via Buttonmashing and I have to say, I'm very impressed.

Piclens is a plug-in for your browser (it autodetects which browser you are using... it was seamless on Firefox) and basically turns photo sites into 3D-image walls. It's pretty sweet.

The US Election: Pokémon Style

Saw this on one of the boards I visit and thought it was pretty cool. Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Garrett: Snow Ninja



Garrett got all bundled up yesterday to allegedly help me shovel out the cars but in reality, he just wanted to have fun in the snow. Kids these days.



How deep was the snow? That deep. You can see that the snow basically filled our front yard to the top of the fences which are a good 3 1/2 - 4 feet tall. The backyard isn't much better. I think the snow is up to the top of our BBQ.



Here's a little video of Garrett trying to make his way around the yard. And no, he doesn't have a cheese fetish. He hasn't quite figured out that our camera does video.

Princess PEACH... Or How Garrett Became A Gamer

Garrett has fiddled with my old Gameboy Advance SP off and on for a little while now but sometime over the last couple weeks he seemed to adopt it as his new best friend.


Sadly, Garrett asked me to take a picture of him and his gameboy. Sigh.


All he liked to do at first was get Mario up on Yoshi and then run them both into a pit and laugh at them. Then, one day about a week ago, my boy done made me proud. I was sitting at the computer, likely working on yet another blog post, when I hear a familiar sound in the background. It was the Level Complete song from Super Mario World!

Garrett had finished a level all by himself! WOO!

Ever since then, it has been a rare day when Garrett hasn't spent a bit of time playing HIS Mario game. This is the kid who used to tell me to turn off the video games.

So yesterday, after digging ourselves out of the giant pile of snow in our driveway, Garrett and I drove down to EB to pick up Super Smash Bros. Brawl for the Wii. We had a blast playing it when we got home but I noticed a trend. When we fired up the game, Garrett was playing as Yoshi, which was fine as he loves that little green dude.



Then something started to happen. Garrett played a match as Princess Peach and then she became his go-to character for the rest of the afternoon. What made this particularly funny was the fact that I had a couple of friends over yesterday afternoon (who shall remain nameless) and Garrett kicked their butts TWICE IN A ROW... WITH PRINCESS PEACH! A 3 3/4 year old beat two 30-somethings WITH PRINCESS PEACH!


(That's why they're remaining nameless.)


What's really sad is that Garrett was trying to say he was feeling sick today so he didn't have to go to the babysitter (he goes every Monday). Why was he sick? He wanted to stay home to play more Smash Brothers with me. He's 3 3/4 years old and he's already trying to fake being sick to stay home to play videogames!

THAT'S MY BOY!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

It's A-Me!

Scott over at ExtraLife is doing a series of geeks.

I thought this one was rather fitting.

Puters In The Joker Cave

Pictures From The Timeshare

We went up to the timeshare in Thornbury last weekend (Sun-Tues) and while the weather was less than spectacular, we still had a great time swimming in the pool and relaxing. Plus there is a great little coffee place in town. They import coffee from their plantation in Zimbabwe and roast it in Thornbury and man, is it ever good.

Anyway... On with the pictures!


Sadly, this is probably the best picture of Julie & Kara that I took. Sigh.


Ok, this one wasn't taken at the timeshare, but it does show how well Kara is standing these days. I'm sure she'll be walking before I head back to work.


Garrett & Kara liked to look out at Georgian Bay. There were a few army helicopters that flew back and forth during the day on Monday and it was always a game to try to see if we could find them before they zipped past.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I Think It Captures My Good Side

A Step Towards Madness And Fame

I found a site a few days ago that lets you make comics without having to have a lick of artistic talent.

Here's my first creation!

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

We've Got Gas

When we got home from the timeshare this afternoon, we noticed a guy walking from house to house doing the Direct Energy thing. Thankfully he didn't bug us as we were busy unloading the car and hauling the kids in and we figured that was that.

So about 2-3 minutes ago, the doorbell rings. Who is it?

A DIFFERENT guy from Direct Energy. At 8:45pm.

I didn't even give him a chance to do his spiel. I just said that we'd already seen a guy in the parking lot and told him we were ok.

"Oh, that was John. He didn't cross you off the list."

"That's ok. We're already on a plan."

"Oh... Who with?"

"I don't know. I just know we're on a plan."

"What's your rate?"

"I. DON'T. KNOW. We're ok though. Thanks."

"But I have been helping out your neighbours and..."

"We're on a plan. We're ok. Thanks."

He just sort of gave me this funny look and his eye got kind of twitchy. I thought he was going to try to punch me or stab me with his pen or something, but he finally seemed to get the hint and say, "Ok then," and walk away into the inky blackness...

Sigh.

I felt bad for the guy this afternoon as most of the people were at work. This guy tonight though...

This Is Your Brain On Patapon

I am very glad that I have headphones or else I think this could be my fate.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Taxonomic Trouble

I was talking with someone from church last week and they were telling me about someone they knew who was a vegetarian.

Here's the catch:

They don't eat vegetables.

What do you call a vegetarian who doesn't eat vegetables? I think they only eat fruit and potatoes.

It's like a super vegan or something...