Someday I'll get around to writing for fun again.

I just wanted to drop a note to say that I haven't forgotten about the blog entirely, rather I've been swept up into school in a big way. Five classes, two jobs, a wife, and a cat... plus I try to see my friends once in a while too.

Life is great right now, just very busy.


Thank You Big Media

At the best of times I find that the mainstream media is lazy, hypocritical, and low-brow, however this past couple of weeks has really taken the cake. After listening to CBC Radio 1 begin their hourly 5-minute news segment with a full minute and a half all about Michael Jackson's funeral followed by about 15 seconds on a helicopter crash which killed two Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, I nearly lost it. This is about as coherent as my ranting can be at the moment.

Thank you all (CTV, CNN, CBC, NBC, etc.) for dropping all of the rest of the going ons in the world for the last two weeks to keep us all in the loop that Michael Jackson is still dead. I don't know what I would do with my life if it weren't for you. Oh, I'd probably be informed.

Did you know that there is a revolt happening in Iran? Did you know that there are civilians being shot and killed by police and the army in China this very moment? You'd never know it given the news networks' coverage.
Oh, and FYI, there are still two major wars going on. Iraq and Afghanistan ring a bell? Yeah, I hear a couple of brave Canadian soldiers lost their lives yesterday in a helicopter crash.


Intelligent Waterloo? HA!

Warning, a rant that many have heard from me before follows. Tune out if you don't want to hear me bitch about stupid drivers and stupid city officials.


Waterloo bills itself as one of the smartest (if not the smartest) city in Canada. I would contend that this is an outright lie.
Newsflash, Waterloo-ians : when you have 15 centimeters of snow on your car - CLEAN IT OFF! No, not just the front windshield (with your wipers), no not the windshield and back window, NO not the windshield and front door windows.
Clean the hood. Clean the windshield. Clean the rear window. Clean ALL of the side windows. Clean the roof of your car. Clean the headlights. Clean the tail-lights! And lastly (not that I care, but the police might) clean off your license plates!

Why do I care so passionately about this, you might ask? I don't want to die because you are too damned lazy to take two minutes and clear off your car. Not only are you a danger on the road because you can't see anything, but I can't see the oncoming traffic because there's a blizzard blowing off your car into the oncoming lanes.

Point number two regarding the "Intelligent City".
It has been snowing since at least 7:30 this morning when I drove to work. It's a 45 minute drive in this weather to my job. It took 50 minutes to get back home. I drove to school this evening and it took me another 45 minutes. So far today I have been on the road for 2 hours, 20 minutes. How many municipal snowplows have I seen today? Zero. Zip. Zilch. NONE. I think I may have seen a section of the expressway that was scraped once, but other than that I haven't seen evidence of snowplows being on the roads either. All the city streets have 4-5 inches of slippery dirty snow on them. In some spots it's actually track-bare, but in the middle there's still enough snow that I can hear it rubbing on the underparts of my car (ooo! underparts!).

Guess what folks. We live in Canada. The Great White North. It snows in the winter. It happens every year. Deal with it, and learn to leave a few extra minutes to clean off your car. And to the cities of Kitchener, Waterloo, and Guelph. You have snowplow drivers who you are either not using properly and having them on the roads in daylight hours, or they are not doing their job. FIX IT.


A little bit of Nerdity

I just thought I'd share a bit of the nerdiness that occupies my mind.
As anyone who has ridden in my car knows, I keep track of the mileage of my car along with the cost of each fill-up of the gas tank in a little book in my glove compartment.

What you may not know is that I take that data and play with it!
A year or so ago, I found a website called Swivel which will take your data and make all sorts of fun graphs and charts with it. I've been keeping this spreadsheet since I bought the car, so I can call it fairly complete data. It shows me things such as the cost (in gas-cents) to run my car per kilometre (averaging 8.3 cents per kilometre),
the number of litres of gas that I use per 100 km (average 8.49 L/100 km),
L/ 100km
and with the graphs and charts, I can see how this changes over time, and see trends - i.e. my mileage is decreasing, so there may be something wrong with the engine, or I can follow the gas prices over long time periods. If you look at the gas price chart particularly, you can see the slump in prices that began this fall preceded by the inflationary bubble prior to that.

All from my own data!

Obviously there are some spikes in the data and it can be a bit lumpy, but for viewing general trends it works really well. For all the time it takes to write this stuff down, it sure gives me something to chew on when I enter the data into my spreadsheet!

Check it out the full data here: http://www.swivel.com/data_sets/show/1011726


New Year

I suppose I should make some sort of update!

Life was a bit overwhelming for the last month of 2008... final exams, final papers, working... it just all seemed to come together in a mass... and then it was over!

I passed everything, with fairly decent marks and I'm pleased with the results.

Between the finish of exams and Christmas, I worked full-time at my job, which helped to refill the coffers a bit, and it definitely kept me active for the time before Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, I made the journey home to my family's home (and Vanessa). We had a great Christmas gathering with all the usual suspects in attendance. Two days later, Vanessa's family gathered at V's parents' and we had Christmas Dinner part II (The Revenge of the Cranberries). It was a nice get-together, and I really do think that I'm going to fit into the family quite comfortably.

Oh yeah, I'm getting married in four months. Less than. May 2. I guess we'd better get that guest list finalised. I'm constantly torn with who I can invite because, unfortunately, the hall where we're having the reception (my church) isn't overly large, and we're limited to 180 or so people... which really isn't very many when you take into account the large size of both our families, and our copious amount of friends. Do any etiquette experts have any thoughts on how to gracefully approach this? perhaps posting this thought on my blog is a bad / good idea...? I'm in a bind, either way... the church where we're having the wedding would probably hold everyone we'd like to invite, but the reception hall is just too small. Blah. And no, changing the reception hall location is not an option...

Today on my way home from school i was considering the irony of having ads for car dealerships on the side of public transit buses... advertising on the competition. Genius.

I was thinking about the railway today as well. In Canada there's a strong affection for the railway because it was this "iron ribbon" that brought Canada together in Confederation... it's what made it possible. When someone rides VIA Rail these days the trains are (not irregularly) delayed by freight trains passing especially if the passenger train was behind schedule. Apparently passenger trains are a second priority on the rails. So anyways, this thought ran through my mind and suddenly it clicked that the rail line that is so revered in Canadian history wasn't built to move people across the continent as I'd often assumed... it was built to move goods. Trees. Ores. Coal. How disillusioning to think that this symbol of Canadiana is simply a tool for business... maybe I'm just naive, but that realisation disappoints me greatly.

Sorry for the randomness... just had to get those thoughts out!