Last Of The NABLOPOMO

Well, I didn't complete a blog entry EVERY day this month, but I think I did pretty well. If you take these blog entries, the ones from maple glazed kiwi, and maybe my comics at The Night Terrors, I think you could tally them all up into 30 entries for the month.

I hope that this helps get me into the habit of blogging more.

Not Much To Say

It is getting late and there isn't much to say other than it was a beautiful day, work was great and I even got another rough draft of The Night Terrors completed...not posted yet as it is just the rough draft.

Apparently I Do Windows

Spent the morning washing down the house. I was just going to do the windows, but the house was all cruddy with dirt, so I grabbed the scrub brush that attaches to the hose and spent the morning washing the house. It looks a lot better, but I was soaked to the skin.

We also finished our Xmas cards today and will be sending them out tomorrow.

I'd like to say something witty or interesting regarding today, but that wasn't the kind of day that it was.

*sigh*.

Oh, I did get another Night Terrors done today: http://thenightterrors.blogspot.com/2011/11/night-terrors-5.html

Energy and Optimism Vs The Lawn

I quickly mentioned this on Facebook today, but here is a tip for anyone who is looking for a lawn mower:
Never purchase a manual-reel mower when your your energy level, or your general optimism is high. The reason being that your energy level and your optimism can fluctuate wildly over time, but the size of the lawn stays the same!
Just like in Canada, we bought a manual-reel mower when we bought the house. And to look at our lawn, you might think that it couldn't be very hard to mow at all. It is just a long triangular strip. How hard could it be? Well either I'm getting really lazy over the last couple years, or this is one of the hardest frigging lawns that I've ever had to mow.

Actually, the right half of the lawn isn't too bad at all, and I can usually finish that half in about 10-15 minutes. The other half, which is basically like trying to mow steel fibre growing over lava rocks, is one of the hardest things I can imagine! The frigging lawn mower keeps losing it's traction due to the pits in the ground and then the grass jams the reel so that you have to pull the strands out from the wheel with pliers! That isn't a joke! I've literally had to yank the jammed grass out with needle nose pliers!

Finally, with about 3/4 of the lawn mowed, and the sweat pouring from my brow like Niagra falls, I just said *#%& it! I put the lawn mower away and completed the rest of the lawn with the electric trimmer. It only took about 10 minutes to do the remaining grass with the trimmer, so I may decide to do the whole lawn that way from now on.

Oops, I Did It Again

Missed the last thee days for blog entries. Excuse? Too lazy. Try again soon.

Time Isn't The Problem

One of the problems that I am having, now that I am trying to do one blog entry per day, isn't so much finding time in the day to complete a blog entry; if you make it short, you can easily complete a blog entry a day. The thing that I am finding challenging, is finding a topic to blog about.

I guess the underlying question is, who is this blog for? If it is just for me, then I can easily put an entry like:
Work was hell today
and then be done with it. But if the blog is to let others know about what is happening in my life, then the trick is to make it interesting. But when you really think of it, for the most part, our lives aren't that interesting. Oh sure, every now and then we have periods of trials and tribulations, or times of great joy, but generally, the day to day goings on of life are just that...the day to day goings on of life: Get up, go to bathroom, drink coffee, go to work, eat lunch...and so on. So how do you make that interesting?

I guess I could start making things up. Like the time I met President Obama.  I'll have to tell you all about it some day.

Movie Review

"But wait" you're saying.  "You forgot today's blog entry!" You cry.

"Not true!" I say in return.  "I posted a movie review on Kristie's blog: Maple Glazed Kiwi."

And as such, I'm still on par for a blog a day!

Now, Back To Our Regularly Schedule Program

Ok, I know that in my last post I said that I was going to elaborate on the short rant that I did regarding SOPA, but here's the thing: It is getting really late (almost 9:30 p.m....yeah, that is REALLY late!), so I'm just going to say that I had a good day today in that I completed two new postings of my new The Night Terrors strips! Two!!!

It isn't as impressive as I'm making it out to be as they were both being worked on simultaneously for well over a week now. But regardless, I've posted two in one day! So even though this blog doesn't have much consistency, or for that matter coherency, I still posted to a blog more than once today.

Anyway, maybe tomorrow I might be a bit more coherent....unlikely.

Hiding In Plain Site

Here is one of the things that I find interesting. In the US, you have hundreds, if not thousands, of people that believe in this covert conspiracy regarding the 9/11 attacks, and how they were covertly carried out by their own government. There are many branches of this theory, and virtually all of it has the same underlying issues that the government is hiding the evidence.

There are multitudinous such conspiracy theories that talk of world government take overs, mind controlling citizens, etc. And just like the 9/11 conspiracy theory, it is all done covertly.

But here is the funny thing: Right now, the US congress is trying to pass a bill written by the entertainment industry that would basically break the internet. This SOPA bill, which was pretty much hand written by the entertainment industry to make it illegal to file share...something that is already illegal under other legislation. This law would allow the entertainment industry to make ANY accusation they wish about an infriging website, and by law, the website could be taken down; regardless of there being any validity in the entertainment industry's claim of infringing content. Basically, this law would not only presume that you are guilty until proven innocent, but it wouldn't even be the law that would be your judge and jury. It would be corporations.

But here is the really funny part: The entertainment industry isn't even hiding this! There is no covert strategy. They aren't trying to get this passed under the radar. They have basically brought this into congress shouting its merits with a bullhorn! Oh, and one last funny thing about this: The American people pretty much couldn't give a rat's ass. Sure you've got the Tea Party who would rather die than have government tell them what to do, but if Warner Brothers and RCA want to take away their rights...meh.

This was kind of rushed post and I would like to talk about it in more detail tomorrow...stay tuned.

Two Toons Coming Soon

Today was a pretty good day. As per usual on Saturday, we got up early and completed a 13 KM run, which didn't feel too bad at all!  We had a really nice conversation with Kristie's parents, who are off to Jamaica with Brooke and Janelle, for Brook's wedding. We're really bummed that we can't make it, but the expense was just too much. We hope they all have a wonderful time though.

Plenty-O-Sunsine

I just wanted to do a real quick blog entry before bed. I had an incredible day off! Two beach walks, a walk into work with Kristie, got some drawing in, and a picnic on the beach!

Finally Got Some Exercise

As I'd mentioned in earlier posts, I have been run pretty ragged at work for the last couple of weeks. Generally, I will get out for a lunch hour walk to clear my head and get some exercise. Lately, I haven't left my desk due to server issues, etc. Today, while I was chained to  my desk again, as well as being up all night working on the new server, I finally got everything working! As such, I left early today to take a nap; which never happened unfortunately.

We did however get to go up Kaukau with the dogs today, and maybe it was because of the lack of exercise this week, but I had scads of energy! I was almost running up that hill. I was almost keeping up with Angus! Almost...

All I know is that it felt really good to be outside getting some fresh air and exercise again.

After Midnight

00:08 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments
Ok, I realize that I just posted my last entry a couple hours ago, but since I had a bit of a screw up in my last file upload to the new server, it is now after midnight and is no longer yesterday; it is today.  Ummm, yeah. That totally makes sense, but then again I'm really quite tired now.  So as I sit here, wearing the slanket my mom gave to Kristie and I as an xmas present, I am hereby declaring that THIS blog entry is TODAY'S blog entry. So let it be blogged about, so let it be done.

So the reason that I am up so late in the first place is due to the fact that I had virtually all the files uploaded onto the new server, but then realized that I uploaded them as root administrator, which meant that no one but me would have access to them.  Bugger!

Anyway, I'm about 1/4 of the way through doing it again, and as soon as I'm finished, I'm off to bed.

Wish me luck!

NABLOPOMO Fail

Agghhh! I forgot to do a blog entry yesterday! What is my excuse? Sadly, I wasn't saving babies from burning crocodiles, I wasn't jet packing around the milky way, alas, I was busy making muffins. *sigh*.

We had kind of a whirl wind, but fun filled weekend where Kristie had Monday off.  As such I wasn't able to do my regular duties (*giggle*...duty) that I usually do on Monday (e.g. housework, baking, etc.). So in order to ensure we still had all the food we needed for the week, we postponed muffin making until Tuesday. This ate (get it? Ate? Muffins?...*sigh) into our regular evening chores which meant that by the time bed time rolled around, I had totally forgot about blogging.

Today wasn't much better either. I had wanted to do a couple of entries today to make up for the lost one yesterday, but work was a nightmare. I spent most of the day configuring and testing a server based on linux; our peer-to-peer server has been really letting us down lately. So as I was saying, I spent most of the day installing and configuring on a test machine as I didn't want to implement a solution that wasn't going to work. By about 3:30 p.m, I had got it configured to my liking and everything, minus a few niggly bits, and was ready to install on the real server. But before I could do that, I had to drive Kristie home and go back to work, as I also had an AGM that I had to attend today!

So in between the installation setup screens, I would run down to the AGM and listen to a few things here and there as well as voting on motions, and then I would rush back up stairs to complete the installation. And then the installation failed!  Gah!!!! And then I installed it again, and it failed again!  Finally, I took the machine home to see if I could configure it properly here.  Thankfully, it worked when I got home...maybe I had some strange crappy connection at work that kept crapping out. Regardless, I finally got it configured, and am uploading the backup files to it while I write this blog entry. And, since the upload just ended, I will bring this entry to a close.

Loooong Weekend Behind Us

This was a four day weekend for me, and a three day weekend for Kristie. We got to go see two movies, and spent a tonne of time outside this weekend! Yes I hurt my back, but for the most part, this was a wonderful weekend!

Although this is a very short blog entry, I also did a blog entry on the movies we saw this weekend if you want to check them out on Kristie's blog.

Early To Rise

Kristie and I have been getting up really early lately, even on weekends.  Generally during the week we will get up at 5:00 a.m. while on weekends we'll generally get up between 5:00 a.m. and 5:45 a.m. On weekdays, the reason to get up early is to ensure we have enough time to exercise before work. That could mean going for a run, going to the swimming pool, or simply walking into work.

Weekends are pretty much the same thing, only after the exercise, we like to either go out with the dogs, or if a Sunday, go to the farmers' market and then grocery shopping for the week and then home for a nap.

We've noticed that getting up this early seems to make the weekend quite a bit longer. Even if we take a nap, we are generally up and out again before 1:00 p.m.

I think I may have blogged about this before, but so what!  I love these long weekends!

Lets All Go To The Lobby

Tonight Kristie and I are going to one of the first movies we've seen in three weeks.  There has been a couple reasons for this.

Number 1: There was virtually nothing worth seeing out there.

Number 2: We're totally broke! November/December is when we get hit with all of our bills: House insurance, content insurance, vehicle insurance, car registration, life insurance, annual veterinarian bills, etc. For two months straight, we're pretty much just paying bills and surviving by eating the receipts. It generally isn't as horrible as it sounds until you tack on the fact that we also paid for our trip back to Canada as well.

One good thing for this year is the fact that Kristie's family will not be exchanging xmas gifts this year as everyone will be pretty stretched for cash as they will all be going to Brooke's wedding in Jamaica. Not exchanging gifts should give us all a bit of a break this year.

Even the movie that we're going to see tonight is free as I received a couple of movie passes from my boss as a thank you for the work I do...No salary, but I did get a couple movie passes! ;-)

So look for the next movie review coming very soon to Maple Glazed Kiwi.

A Body At Rest

For one reason or another, Kristie and I haven't had as much exercise this week as we generally do. So we woke up this morning with the strong resolve to go for our morning run, and to our credit, we started out really strong. But about 1/4 of the way into the run, I got hit with wicked back spasms!

The first one hit me, and it kind of knocked the wind out of me, but it didn't last long.  I hunched over and for a second or two and then it seemed to be gone. Kristie asked if I wanted to go home, and I thought that we should continue on with the run. A little further in, and I got hit with another one that doubled me over, and this one took a lot longer to subside. We decided to turn around at this point and simply walk home. During most of the walk I could feel the spasms getting more and more consistent.  Luckily we made it home without too much trouble and I rested up for about a 1/2 hour and took some Voltaren (muscle relaxant).

The good thing was that I had the day off, so I didn't have to worry about going into work and exacerbating my back, but I did have to do some house work. While Kristie was in the shower  and blow drying her hair, I started (gingerly) to do my housework, and all was going pretty well until I got hammered with a huge back spasm again.  This one doubled me over again and took my breath away (and not in a good way)! I was stuck hunched over for about five or six minutes and nearly collapsed a couple times, but I knew that if I hit the floor, there was no way I was going to make it back up, so I held onto a door frame until I could get fully erect again. (*giggle*...fully erect.)

After driving Kristie into work, I took it easy for about two hours and the spasms seemed to subside. Needless to say, I didn't get too much exercise today either.

Ubuntu Away!

Today I worked from home again (I love this job). I got to focus on setting up a new network using Ubuntu server. Now I'm not a network administrator, so there are a lot of things that I don't know about setting up a real network. There are also a lot of things that I don't know about quantum physics, but it doesn't keep me from learning about them...unless the wave function collapses, and I am in one universe where I know about physics, or am in one universe that doesn't know about physics. (Trust me, it is funny to a physicist.)

Anywho, I learned a lot today, but I don't think that I will be deploying the network until I learn quite a bit more.  Maybe by tomorrow :-)

By a strange coincidence, do you notice that the Ubuntu logo kind of looks like an atom? See! Physics and Network Management, they're virtually one in the same!

First Night Terrors Up

Today I posted the first of the new Night Terrors strip.  I need to make a few changes for the next ones such as  using a dedicated font rather than hand written, but I'm pretty happy with it!

Night Terrors 1

19:51 Posted by Leo Saumure 0 comments

Don't Come In Early

I like to get into work early, because I want to get a lot of work done before everyone else gets in.  Well, that is the theory anyway.  My boss generally gets in about 15 minutes after I do, so I generally don't get a lot of work on the system completed on a daily basis. Yesterday however, after setting up the three new computers, I wanted to dedicate a bit of early time to taking the server off line and doing some maintenance as well as setting up a new network printer and a new wireless router.

So in order to do this work, I had asked the boss if it was possible not to come into work as early.  She agreed, and said she wouldn't be in until 10:30 a.m.  Score!  That should have given me plenty of time to complete the maintenance before the regular office staff showed up. Unfortunately, nobody told me that the training manager was coming in early or the office administrator.  When Daniel showed up at 7:30 a.m., I thought:
"Oh...This is unusual."
I told him that he wouldn't be able to access anything off the server.  He could surf the internet if he wished, but productivity was not in the cards for him today.  Then when the office administrator came in I thought:
"Oh, come on!"
I gave her the same information and wanted to know if there was any way around this. To which I replied a resounding no.

I've told the staff that if they wanted to have fewer computer related issues during the day, they have to give me some time in the morning for maintenance.  I can understand their need for wanting to be productive early, but I already get up at 5:00 a.m., and I still have hardly any time to get everything I want completed. So, again I say: Please don't come in early.  Nobody listens.

Busy Day

Spent most of the work day configuring three new computers. I didn't even have time for a lunch time walk. Tomorrow I will set up the new network printer.
Luckily dinner was easy and yummy. I even had time for a bit of drawing.

Weekend Catch Up

Yesterday I managed to post about a sentence before going to bed, so I thought I should follow up.

We got up quite early yesterday and went for a swim at Thordon pool.  We manged to get a free lane and didn't have to fight off others until we left; it was starting to get a bit busy by then. After the swim we took the pups up Kaukau with us, and went up the ridge route, which is quite a bit longer, but also much more scenic. Afterwards, we had a nice chat with Kristie's parents for about an hour, and then went down for a nap.

When we woke up, we futzed around for a while and then started cooking dinner, which was a fantastic new Mac & Cheese recipe we found. If anyone is reading this blog, and that is a big IF, you must try this recipe! We kind of got interrupted half way through cooking it by a Skype call with Shauna, Jason, Rod and Huey. We were kind of expecting the call, but we never got confirmation, so we just went about our daily routine. Anyway, after a couple hours of chatting over Skype, we finished cooking the dinner, and then ate. We finished off the evening by baking up a batch of fudge brownies, which also turned out great.

Today, we got up early again, but not as early as yesterday, and went for a 13 KM run, which took a lot out of me!  I was pretty frigging pooped afterwards!  Before coming home after the run, we stopped off at the grocery store to pick up this week's groceries.  When we arrived home, we put the groceries away and headed down for a nap.

Both of us felt much better after the nap and proceeded to get a few chores done around the house; I mowed the lawn and Kristie put away laundry and made a batch of our granola bars.  Afterwards we made a lunch of spinach and feta egg sandwiches, which were pretty good, but not great.  I thought they were a bit dry...strange.

Finally, after lunch, we took the dogs for a nice leisurely walk in the Ngaio gorge, where they met up with a whole bunch of other pups.

Later on, we're going to make a dinner of mushroom risotto, and then call it an early night.

This was a great, and jam packed weekend!

Almost Forgot To Post

Just a really quick post to say it was a wonderful day!

A Crappy End to a Crap Week

Legacy Systems
Today actually started out fairly promising.  We had walked into work on a sunny, if windy, day.  I was on track to getting some things finished at work.  Had some productive conversations with the boss, and the BAM, one of the staff computers buys the farm.  To make matters worse, her computer was the networked conduit to the printer for about three people in the office.  As I may have mentioned, being a small, not-for-profit, our IT budget is pretty much on par with our budget for Kleenex.  As such, some of our equipment is quite old, like our print server.

The print server is incompatable with Windows 7, which is what our file server is on.  This meant that for anyone with a newer computer, they couldn't print directly through the file server and instead had to gain access through one of the older computers.  Which older computer?  Good question me!  Well the one that bough the farm of course!  So not only did our office administrator loose her computer, but many people also lost access to the printer.

I purchased a couple eMachines today, one to replace the one that went all blue screen of deathy, and one to replace our training manager's computer which is so old, it is powered by steam! Powered by steam.  Hello?  Is this thing on?  Anyway, I didn't get finished configuring the first computer yet, so I will be going in to work next Monday to finish it all off.  I will also be picking up a new duplex network printer to avoid these legacy issues from now on.

I am so glad that this week is done!

Night Terrors

As virtually anyone who owns a dog knows, there will be, throughout the course of their lives, many occasions where you will be woken from a sound sleep with the dog's request to go outside to go pee or poop.  Having more than one dog will increase the chances of this in direct proportion to the number of dogs you have...funny how that works.  And while I do resent being woken up from a sound sleep, I much prefer that option to the inevitable outcome that would result from ignoring their requests.

Over the last little while, I have been imagining the various imaginary conversations that I have with Walnut and Angus during these nocturnal urinary requests, and posting them on Facebook.  They seemed to generate a lot of interest for all of my followers, so I thought that I might start posting them as cartoons on the blog entitled Night Terrors.  I would then share the blog entry on facebook as virtually nobody reads my blog...bitter? Oh, a tad.

In producing the strips (*giggle*...strips), I was introduced to a new method of getting the drawings digitized. I was watching a YouTube video of Scott Johnson, a web cartoonist, demonstrate how he produces his strips. Basically, he will do a rough draft on paper, and then import a scanned copy of the draft into a graphics program as a bottom layer.  He then sizes it to the predetermined size, and then adds another transparent layer on top of the draft, that he uses to sketch out the final copy; in effect, he uses the digital equivalent of tracing! It would be such a time saver!

Below is a single panel of the rough draft of my first strip.

Occupy Movement - Part 1

I have been giving a lot of thought to the Occupy movement lately.  Not specifically the occupy walls street movement, but the occupy movement as a whole.  These are people who are saying that this system is inherently flawed, and we've got to fix it! Which system?  Virtually all of them.  Over the next little while, I would like to write a bit about some of the problems I see in the system.  Here is part one.

Who Writes the Laws
Right now (and for a long time now), in virtually every democratic country, the laws of the land are not being written by elected officials, they are literally being written by corporate interests who's sole design is to make the playing field work to their advantage. A perfect example of this are the many laws that were either written or heavily influenced by ACTA.  In almost every democratic country, if you commit a crime, or are accused of committing a crime, you are usually innocent until proven guilty.  That means that the burden of proof is on your accusers to show that you did indeed commit the crime, but this gets all turned around with ACTA laws.  Throughout many countries, they are implementing these laws to say that if you are accused, you are guilty!

This is only one example of the many abuses that are being perpetrated by corporate interests.  Others include tipping the balance of power to favor the dominant player in the market, using government to prop up out dated business models, etc. And don't get me started on privatizing state services.

Then there is the problem of gaining access to the politicians.  Lobby groups have the connections, and the money to not only gain access to politicians, but also to influence the politician's vote.  It isn't controversial to say that unless you have tonnes of money, you haven't got a chance in hell of raising your concerns directly to a politician.  Don't believe me?  Try booking an appointment with your MP, or MLA, or even your city/district Counselor.  Without clout, without connections and without money, it will rarely happen.

These are just a couple of the things that the occupy movement wants to address, and instead of being seen as people who want to make things better for everyone (except big business), they are accosted and insulted. I just don't get it.  Does Fox News own every media outlet in the world now?  What the hell is going on?

Anyway, that is today's rant.  I hope to continue posting more about this topic as long as I'm not busy choking down the bile coming up every time I think about these things.

Focused Like A Laser...Oooo Something Shiny

For today's blog entry, I had envisioned a well thought out, well argued and supported discussion about the Occupy Wall Street movement.  However, as I got totally side tracked during work, I am now going to talk about how life will take your best intentions and wad them up into a little ball, throw them in the bin, and then pee on them after eating a full meal of asparagus!

I'm pretty sure that everyone I know, goes into work with ideas about what projects they will work on, which tasks will be completed, and genuinely go in with an optimistic attitude that they will be productive and accomplished.  What I don't think they realize (and by they, I include myself), is that in order to do the things they want to do, it will, more often than not, cut into someone else's productivity.  For instance, my boss, wanting to get information for a report she is working on, approaches me to produce some statistics for her.  Some other examples are the fact that our network went down and needed to be fixed, the printer stopped working for some reason, a staff member's mouse broke, the phone system upgrade needs attention, etc.

So as it appears, regardless of how focused you want to be, you are still at the mercy of the world as a whole.