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Imbolc Update

Posted 2014.02.01 8.52 in Pointless Blather, Spiritual

The past six weeks, from Yule to Imbolc, have been pretty unpleasant here.

We had the ice storm, which led to damage to the house and a week-long power outage. My cats and I had to seek refuge with my sister. The house almost froze over while I was away and all my aquarium pets died.

Since the power was restored, my fridge has died, my furnace has needed work twice, the washer and dryer have needed attention, and the stairs to the cellar collapsed.

All in all, it’s been an unpleasant (and expensive) six weeks. Here’s hoping that things will improve between now and Ostara.

Looking ahead, I’m still working hard to get the update to Wicca Plus finished. It’s about a fortnight behind schedule due to the aforementioned issues, but with luck it should be completed shortly.

Imbolc

Made Me Smile

Posted 2014.01.22 16.57 in Pointless Blather

Could be...

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back

Posted 2014.01.06 14.21 in Pointless Blather

I’m still digging out of the damage and set-backs caused by the ice storm a fortnight ago. It’s slow going and stressful, and some of it is depressing.

Still, I’ve been trying to work through it, trying to keep a stiff upper lip as they say. Keep calm and carry on, and all that.

More frustrations and setbacks keep piling up though. Like the universe can’t resist kicking me while I’m down.

And I think, it seems like when my stress level reaches a certain point, it overflows and gets converted into depression.

You try and roll with the punches, try and perservere, but finally it’s too much and you realize there’s no point, whatever you accomplish will just get knocked down, so you just collapse inwards.

I was hoping 2014 would be a good year, but it’s already shaping up to be just like the rest of them.

What a let-down.

I Apologize For Badmouthing The Ice Storm

Posted 2014.01.03 20.05 in Pointless Blather

I’m sorry for dissing the ice storm.

So the morning of December 22nd, I woke up to find two big branches had come down, one on the house and the other on the shed / back yard.

Turns out, that was just the warm-up act.

That night, the freezing rain came non-stop from before dark, and carried on well into mid-day on Sunday December 23rd. I couldn’t get any sleep, from the nonstop cacaphony of frozen lumber raining down on the house.

On the 22nd, there was one big branch in the backyard. By the morning of the 23rd, all the big branches are in the backyard:

Backyard Carnage

Between 2:00 and 3:00 am, several huge branches came down right ontop of my bedroom. They sort of piled up on the roof for a while, before sliding / falling off the side of the house.

Buried Under Branches

Around 4:00am there were some huge blue electrical arcs that lit up the neighborhood. I was counting myself lucky that I still had power.

When the sun came up, I had a look outside and could see two neighbors across the road had lost power. One of them had their power line down, laying right across the road:

Power Line on the Road

At this point, I was sort of hoping that the worst was passed and that I’d managed to avoid any serious trouble. That’s when I heard a tremendous crash, and my own power went out. Right while I was writing up this entry, in fact…

I have UPS/battery backup power supplies on everything, but they’re only good for 10 or 20 minutes. Enough time for me to go round to all the servers etc. and perform orderly shutdowns.

Then I went outside to survey the damage.

What a Mess

Yep, sure enough, my home’s power line was down. Wrapped around the neighbor’s car, by the looks of it. Worse still, the ‘mast’ thing on my roof took a direct hit. A 2″ steel tube had been folded over like a plastic drinking straw, the cables snapped.

It was the worst case scenario. The neighborhood had power, so we were low priority. And since the majority of the power-line damage was to the house itself, the power company would do nothing until the ‘mast’ had been replaced and everything was up to current electrical code standards.

Folded Over

I stayed a day, but by Monday the temperature indoors was hovering around 50°F and dropping. Finally, I packed up the cats and headed to my sister’s house; she had graciously offered to take us in for the duration.

I came back on the 25th of December to check on things. No good news. The indoor temperature was down to 37°F and everything in my aquariums had died – snails, fish, froggies, all dead. It was very, very sad. In fact the whole house felt dead.

On December 28th, electrical contracters sent by my insurance company had arrived and were working at rebuilding the powerline mast…

Repairs

At long last, on Sunday December 29th, the power was finally reconnected and I could return home.

The ordeal is far from over, though. I still have a lot of branches on my roof, and the backyard is positively full of branches. I had to throw out all the food in my fridge and freezer. I have to file a claim with the insurance company. I have a lot of clean-up to do. And I am worried that my freezer has died; since the power came back on it doesn’t freeze any more. Not to mention all the stress of having my entire business shut-down and off-line for a full week.

It was certainly a Yule to remember, and an x-mas to forget. I’ve decided not to replace the snails / fish / frogs. I miss them, but it’s time to move on. It’s also been a wake-up call about emergency preparedness… once upon a time I was very prepared. Now I am not. I think that needs to be addressed.

Overall though, the cats and I survived our experience as ‘refugees’, and while it wasn’t fun, it wasn’t the end of the world.

Ice Storms Suck.

Posted 2013.12.21 9.36 in Pointless Blather

In between my 2nd and 3rd coffees of the morning, and my eyes are finally de-blearified enough to perceive the world around me, and I think to myself, Huh, I don’t remember being able to see tree branches out this window before.

So I poke my head out the back door to look in the back yard.

From Here to the Shed

Yeah. No. That wasn’t there before.

So I put on some shoes and go outside to get a closer look.

Dammit!

Pow! Right in the Roof

I don’t remember hearing any bangs or thuds last night so maybe it just sort of only gently settled on the roof.

While I was snapping pictures, more tree-bits came crashing down in the next yard, so I concluded my investigation and retreated back to the safety indoors.

And there’s another whole day of this ice storm shenanigans coming, according to Environment Canada.

Chippy the Squirrel

Posted 2013.11.29 9.55 in Pointless Blather

Chippy

He’s had his fill of the leftover pasta, and now he’s nibbling on… some blue plastic? I have no idea what that is.

All the stale bread and uneaten pasta and limp vegetables tend to go out into the backyard. It’s got to the point now where just opening the backdoor frequently attracts 3 or 4 squirrels into the yard.

This one is chilling out on a shelving unit that’s temporarily stored on the back porch – here, he can enjoy his pasta (or plastic) in the shade, out of the elements.

I just can’t tell…

Is he cute?

Or is he plotting?

Plotting

Sixes and Nines

Posted 2013.11.09 10.01 in iphone, Pointless Blather

So last Sunday, I sent up a new iPhone app for Apple’s approval. Still waiting to hear back from them on it. It’s a calendar replacement.

After iOS7 came out in September, I found they’d crippled their built-in calendar app by eliminating or neutering the two features I used most. List view, they eliminated completely, and Month view, they left in but totally borked.

After a week of frustration, it dawned on me to just go ahead and create the calendar app I wanted. And maybe other people would like it too.

It was a bit slow in coming out, as I first had to finish up Wicca Plus, then I had to learn the whole Event Kit framework as I’d never done any calendar stuff before. Anyhow, to learn more about it, you can see its product page here. I’m still waiting to hear back from Apple re. approval. Hopefully in the next few days it’ll hit the app store.

So with that out of the way, I’m now kind of unsure about where to go next. I have ideas for two more new apps, but I need to do more learning before tackling either of them. Or I could go back and start working on upgrades to existing apps.

I have almost a dozen new features to add to Wicca Plus… probably two months’ worth of work in there, actually.

But… I’ve sort of been working on iOS stuff non-stop since May, and I’m kind of starting to feel a bit of burn-out. Maybe I need a little break.

Then there’s my regular day-jobs, they still need attention too.

So, I’m not really sure what to do right now. Feels like a bit of a crossroads with no definite pull in any particular direction. Or equal amounts of pull in every direction.

As my mum would say, I’m at “sixes and nines.