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Winter Sux

Posted 2010.12.14 11.49 in Pointless Blather

It’s crazy. It’s not even winter here yet. And I already hate it.

In fact it feels like I’m hating winter more and faster than I remember in previous years. It hasn’t really snowed much here yet, but don’t care so much about snow. It’s the cold. And it’s the way so many people forget how to drive when there’s white stuff blowing around.

Cold – it seems like it’s damn cold out, and in. Like, Suddenly: Deep Freeze! Yet it’s not really that cold, when you look at a thermometer. It’s only mid-December.. what am I going to feel like when we get to February and the -40’s? Actually, I don’t want to know. I want to hibernate.

Then there’s the way people drive… Oh my Gods.

We get this white shit every year. Why is it always a shock to people? Why don’t people learn to fucking drive on snow? “Oh christ there’s snow on the ground – I better go into panic mode and act like I’ve forgotten how to use a car!”

One thing I’ve made a point of doing every year since I got my license, is when we get some snowy/icy/slippy weather, I’ll find an empty road or parking-lot, and practice driving in bad conditions. It’s not magic. You can learn this stuff. It varies from car to car, and it’s good to stay in practice. All you need to do is first, learn what your vehicle feels like as it is losing traction or just starting to slide. Then you learn how to deal with it. Most of it is common sense. I’m sure there’s even places you can go, to specifically learn how to drive in poor conditions.

So here’s the deal: If driving in the snow makes you feel so scared and tense that you have to go at 10km/h with your four-way blinkers on, if you’re on the verge of panicing when another vehicle goes past you, if you can’t stop at a stop-sign that you can see 250 meters away, then stay the fuck home. If you don’t know how to drive in the winter, then just don’t do it.

Snow Tires & Thread Counts

Posted 2010.11.13 10.42 in Pointless Blather

Last month was about the toys, this month is about being all grown-up and doing responsible stuff. Well, mostly.

I’ve had a few slow-leaks in my car tires for the last couple months and it’s annoying (not to mention bad for fuel-efficiency) to be driving around on half-flat tires all the time, and having to keep refilling them. Plus, my local gas station started charging for air recently so you have to keep a bunch of quarters with you if you need to refill all your tires.

So I thought, it’s going to be winter soon. Rather than getting another set of all-seasons, I’ll get my first-ever set of winter tires. They’re all new and shiney and nubbly – big deep nubbly treads. Well ok they aren’t actually shiney. But they’re new and nubbly! Say it with me: nubbly.

Now I’m thinking, my mum has a set of winters and a set of regular tires, but only one set of rims. So twice a year she has to get them swapped out which takes time and money. And I’m no car expert person, but I have to think that it’s got to cause extra wear on the tyres and the rims to be swapped on and off every year, then they have to be rebalanced and all that mumbo-jumbo.

So my plan is to try and save up over the next 6 months or so, for a set of sexy attractive rims and tires. Then I can keep the winter ones on the original rims (which aren’t ugly but aren’t snazzy either) and in the summer, have some sexy sporty looking wheels on my car.

And finally, having a complete set of winter wheels (rims and tyres) means that swapping them out with winter/summer isn’t such a chore – just like changing a tire, quick and easy. I could even do it myself (in some bizzare alternative mirror-universe.)

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Serendipity?

Posted 2010.03.09 9.46 in Computers/Internet/Technology

After all theĀ hype last month about the winter olympics, I was contemplating maybe getting thisĀ Vancouver Olympics DS game that I had seen advertised.

I was midly interested, but not enough to plunk out the cash. So I more or less forgot about it.

Then just the other day I was over at the post office, and in the parking lot I spotted an abandoned DS cartridge! I picked it up and turned it over and surprise! It was the vancouver winter olympics cart I had been thinking of getting. Coincidence? Hmm…

Well, when I got home I popped it in my DS and then found out why it had been abandoned. It didn’t work – not recognized. Upon closer inspection, I saw that the plastic casing had a bit of damage – nothing obvious, but just a slight ‘dent’. I pried the cartridge open and pulled out the board inside, and then I could see the real problem.

The precious mask-ROM chip was cracked. Maybe the cart got slammed in a car door or something. Just enough to crack the ROM chip but not enough to really disfigure the cart or damage the circuit board.

I tried some different tools but the ROM was most-assuredly deceased. The EEPROM was still alive and accessable though, and I was able to retrieve the game saves from it. So, 222 and shadow, whoever you are, I have your game save data. The game itself though is toast.

Anyways then I was reading about the game, and found that there’s this bit where you have to try and save winter because some bad guys have stolen the snow spirits and it isn’t going to snow any more anywhere ever. The one little snow spirit who escaped is all like begging for help to save his friends so they can make it snow again…

No more snow? Yeah… see I’m kinda ok with that. Good luck though.

More Olympics Stuff

Posted 2010.02.21 11.58 in Pointless Blather, Sports

I thought I was done with olympics stuff after the other post, but it’s very pervasive – like it’s all they talk about on radio and tv at the moment. So here’s some more tidbits and commentary.

Olympic Bouquets: I heard them talking on the radio about how these bouquets that were given to the medal-winners were specially designed to represent Vancouver / British Columbia, how they were all green and so forth. Am I the only one who immediately thought the bouquets were made of pot, or at least contained some weed? I know it’s one or two olympics ago, but when I think of winter olympics, vancouver, and then you think about snowboarding, and that’s just where my mind goes. Anyhow, they probably don’t have any weed in them, but I think it would have been classic if they did.

That Electronic Starting Gun: Appearantly I’m not the only one who thought it was wierd, there was a newspaper article about it. And it wasn’t brought about because Canadians are wimps about firearms — no, this time it’s the terrorists we have to blame! Yeah, normal starting guns can’t get through airport security any more so they had to come up with something else.

Winter Special Olympics: They do exist but they call it the Winter Paralympics. They happen next month. However, they don’t get to do luge, bobsled, skeleton, or any of those fun/crazy/dangerous sports. No snowboarding either, I think. They just get hockey, skiing (downhill & crosscountry) and curling. Oh but they do get biathlon! Hurtling down a concrete-and-ice chute is too dangerous, but rifles are ok, appearantly.

Biathlon: Speaking of which, I confirmed that they do still use real (.22 cal) rifles in this sport. So for now at least, no zappy laser-tag guns. Though I wonder, if biathletes can get their (real) rifles on and off airplans, how come those gee-whiz-guys at Omega can’t get their (blank-firing-only) starter pistols through? I’m suspicious.

Medals: I came across this which I thought was cool. The medals are among the largest/heaviest ever used in an olympics, weighing over a half-kilogram (more than a full pound) each. I found a neat little video on how they were made. Each medal is actually unique, so that no two are alike. If you put them all together though they form some very cool artwork. I heard the gold ones cost over $200 each to make. I wonder what it’d cost to buy something like that. They should have knockoffs for sale in the e-store. Though I shudder to think what that’d cost – I mean $40 for a cowbell? Sheesh!

The round ones are for the olympics, the square ones are the paralympics. I think. And hopefully the ribbon bit is really well-attached – give that a few swings and you could seriously brain someone.. a pound of metal on the end of 18 inches of nylon? Good luck getting that through airport security.

Ground Hog Day?

Posted 2010.02.02 9.12 in Pointless Blather, Spiritual

I know there’s ground beef, and then there’s ground turkey, but do they make ground hog? I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that.

Another thing I don’t know is what ground hogs have to do with February 2nd. I’m curious as to how this whole thing came about. It’s a pagan holiday, of course. Imbolc. One of the major sabbats, one of the crossed quarters, falling between Yule and the Vernal Equinox. A festival of light, bonfires, celebrating the turning point of winter..

But how ground hogs came into play, escapes me.

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Random Updates

Posted 2009.12.16 14.31 in Aquaria, Pointless Blather, Work

So much going on, but aside from the occasional rant, I’m not focused enough to make complete topics of anything in particular. So, point form.

  • Snail babies – lots of them. Clutches number one, two, and four all had a whole lotta babies in them. Clutch number three was mostly a dud. However, I’m not finding myself overrun with baby snails so I assume that the die-off rate has been high after all. I’ve only seen 4 or 5 snails that are larger than a BB and 3 of them are definately from the second clutch. I don’t know if there’s actually a thousand million baby snails hiding under the gravel where I can’t see them, but I figure if they were, they’d have to be getting bigger and I’d start seeing them…
  • Winter crazies – as the end of the year approaches, the days get shorter, the dark gets darker, I’m filled with an overarching sense of running out of time. Projects are coming due, crisiis are looming, and stress is building. Monday I was having a panic-attack or anxiety-attack or something, and stopped functioning completely for a few hours. Then there was the insomnia and general lack of restful sleep. By Tuesday the panic/anxiety had subsided a bit, but it’s starting to build up again now.
  • Work hazies – part and parcel with the above. Not sure which is the cause and which is the effect. Work deadlines lead to stress, stress leads to crazies, crazies lead to malfunctions, malfunctions lead to missed deadlines, and it’s all this big spiral of confusion and discombobulation.
  • Tax mazes – one of the companies I work for is getting a tax audit. I just made the connection, the audit is starting on the 21st – the winter solstace. Also known as The Darkest Day Of The Year. Seems appropriate. And I promise never to say the word ‘nitwits‘ while filling out tax forms, ever again.
  • X-mas lazies – not the right word, but I’m running out of things that rhyme. I don’t wanna x-mas. Bah humbug! Hah bumhug! I don’t mind buying gifts for folks, but I don’t have time to shop and don’t know / can’t remember what people want. And I don’t want anything tangible (though I’d really like More Time.) I just want to cancel the holiday this year. The only part of the tradition I care to maintain is the Ice-Cold-Beer-on-a-Hot-Xmas-Morning. And maybe some hors-d’oveurs from M&M.

That’s about it for now. No pics or illustrations, no time.

Winter, Night, Photography

Posted 2009.12.13 11.22 in Photography

There’s something about night-time and snow. Dark sky, light ground. Quiet, cold. Still. It has a very particular feel to it.

A few nights ago, I took a few photos after everything was dark and quiet. I’m pleased with how they came out.

Looking out the front of the house, at the old church across the street…

Winter Night 1

Then out the back of the house, at my backyard…

Winter Night 2

Technical details: The camera was my 60 year old Zeiss Ikon Nettar, using GP3 Pan film at ISO 100. Processed for 7 minutes in TMax 1:4 developer.