Sunday, September 27, 2009

My favourite Android Apps … (so far)

So in my search to transform my software needs from Palm to Android I’ve come across ALOT of apps in the Android Market .  Some are great, some not so.  In Canada, our Market is limited to only free apps.  So anything I want that’s paid I’d have to find alternate ways to get that .apk file and sideload it.

What I’ll cover here are some of the apps that I’ve loaded on to replace my Palm versions.

These are the most used on my Palm.

Palm Software Android version
there is an iSilo version, but I just didn’t like it compared to the way it worked on Palm, so I went with this  Works with TXT files, which is fine by me, but I’ll keep looking for something that’ll work PROPERLY with iSilo files as I have a huge database of books from my Palm.
checkbook for palm os ...

Only problem is that it can’t do automatically repeated items.  Maybe I’ll keep searching, but I love it’s simple interface.
 ... screenshot for AutoBase
Mileage (Android) screenshot 2
Browser (came preloaded)
Such an improvement!  Can’t wait for multi-touch to be allowed.
Core Player
13- برنامج core player
no such version… the video player works, but only with a small specific list of file types – I’m just waiting for VideoLan to come to Android.
Memos NoteEverything
haven’t really found anything to replace.  But then again I have my Zune to play mp3s lately.
Documents to Go
the same
Documents To Go
Your PDA toolbox!
Explorer, same name, but different obviously.
powerOne Graph 4.1 (for Palm ...
Haven’t really found a good replacement for graphing yet, but several good calculators.
The Weather Network:  Weather Eye
Mundu Messenger
it even allows me to log into Fbook chat
snapCalc unfortunately this is the one let down that I can’t have a similar program that pops up while in one program to do simple calculation.  This was indispensible on the Palm while entering some data.


Now I didn’t include any games.  Maybe I’ll do a separate review for games because there’s a lot of neat softwares out there.  Neatest thing about Market is that when you download an app and then there’s an update, it’ll tell you automatically to update.  Very cool.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Palm Loyalty

So, for the longest time I’ve been following very closely the release of the Palm Pre… and I noticed that my old cellphone and Palm TX have been starting to fail on a more regular basis.  So I just waited for the Canadian release.  I even put myself on all the mailing lists so I’d be first notified.  I probably became a pain for Bell people as I would call now and again to see if it was available.

See, I’ve been a Palm See full size image user for many years.  [PalmPilot Personal / PalmPilot Professional / Palm III / Palm m505 / Tungsten T3 / Palm TX / Treo 700w (for work) / Treo 650 (for work)]. I’ve gathered years and years of data and usage out of the many specific softwares released for palm.  So if I’m transitioning to a new phone and replacing my Palm, it’d have to be something that works with all that I’ve built up.

I’ve looked at the BlackBerries and iPhones, but nothing made go “cool” enough to ditch my legacy of Palm.  And BB’s had no touch screen… I have to be able to tap stuff nowadays.


The day finally came that Bell was able to get the Pre, so I made the call… I did my research on the types of plans etc… and it was all doable… except that Bell was unable to port my current cellphone number.  That caused a hiccup… then I debated about a whole new number… but Bell couldn’t even give me a Thunder Bay number. (I was told that if I wanted to, I could sign up for the long distance plan, that way I could call my local area without long distance charges!!!!!).

This was a major letdown.   My TX was crashing alot more, and becoming less reliable (there were days I wouldn’t even turn it on!).  So, I did some more exploring.  How was I to get a Palm… there were rumours that a GSM version MIGHT be available by Christmas time in the states, which means it would be a lot longer before it came to Canada… could my hardware keep that long?  What about if I went to Telus and got the Palm Pro… it’d be WinMo, but at least my data could be synchro’d.  It’d have Wi-Fi, GPS which is what I wanted, but a smaller screen and resistive touch (i.e. stylus) kinda had me hoping for a change.

So I did some more research.  It was then I looked at some possible alternatives with Rogers (stay with the company I was with).  And I looked at the similar options in Android.  There was the Dream , and the Magic .  The apparent difference was only the flip out keyboard.  Which to me, having the physical keyboard made sense.  However, some of the reviews said that the chin could get in the way of typing, and that the only way for it to rotate the screen was to flip out the keyboard.  Plus there wasn’t any news of a virtual keyboard for the Dream … so anytime I’d want to type even a small note I’d have to flip out out, and type.  So kind of a long process to reply “sure”.  Besides, more digging turned up the Magic had more ‘guts’ to it.  Which would mean more in the long run.  Sure, the microSD was under the battery cover, but … small sacrifice.

So I went and upgraded to my Magic.  And let me tell you, it’s been great.

Now, to get my calendar and contacts were a bit of a pain.  Nothing to sync from Palm Desktop to what it would use.  So I signed up for a gmail account and did some importing and most of it worked that way.  So I was able to keep contacts, it’ll sync my work calendar and some of my palm ones.  It’s a big upgrade in my book, with just a little learning curve.

Next I had to look for the software I used on my TX and find Android equivalents.  I couldn’t have been more surprised with the vast array of software, and most of it is FREE.  In no time I found a good accounting program, mileage, document editing, book reading, GPS navigation…  it’s been great.

So, anybody looking for a good phone, I recommend the Magic.  A little awkward using it as an actual phone as now and again I’ll smash it against my cheek bone causing it to end or something, but again, … learning curve.  But I just love the capacitive touch screen.

I’ll do some blog about my favourite apps next time.

Back to work

So, as of August 17 I’m back at work.  It’s been good.  For the first few weeks I just collected all the old information I gathered last year and did a huge email campaign to let everybody know a new school year was starting.  It started to feel a little like a telemarketer, or data miner as ended up doing like near a thousand emails.  It’s been a slow start, but it’s still a fun job.  Just a little bit of a headache this year contract/budget wise.  Nothing bad, just confusing when you have the Ministry’s point of view, the North Superior Workforce Planning Board’s (note the name change image ) and then take into consideration each of the board’s views (plus each of the boards have had some shake ups lately).

The school year started with a quick meeting with some of the board reps who told me outright that (tho’ not in the exact words) I’m not wanted by their board.  That’s always a fun start.  It’s just odd, because I didn’t get to be part of the school year start up last year.  Taking the time off in the summer has meant that I’ve got alot of catching up to do.  Several other P2Ps have surpassed my numbers over the summer.

The new year has also brought some good stuff too.  Devon’s put out the new Good Practices Manual, We’re going to have a Fall Forum in Ottawa – I’ve never been in Ottawa (as far as I can remember).  The Regional Career Fair has been moved timewise, so it’ll give me more time to figure out all aspects, and Pat’s staying on to help.

Should be a good go ‘round the whole year.

Monday, September 14, 2009

'Minni' trip [Aug 10 - 14]

still playing catch up here people... i'll try to get some new stories here, because there's some goodies!

Anyways, here's the recap of the Minni trip

The idea was to leave early and head on out spending the whole day to travel to Minni, taking our time and stopping where we can with Dean.  On the way home last time he was pretty unpleasant.  Unfortunately, his passport wasn't ready on Friday to pick up, so we delayed a bit in the day so that we could go to the post office to pick it up.  Now, we know we didn't NEED it, as he's under 2, but if we paid for it, and it's in, we're going to use it.
Turns out as Mandy came back from Shopper's they said "come back after 9am" ... to which we looked at the clock and it said 9:15, so she goes back in PISSED.  See on Friday the piece came in saying "pick up at the location anytime after 5", but they close at 430... so how are we supposed to get it.  We went before 5 (as I've been able to pick up items before previously) and they said not until Monday... anyways, long and short of it is that we were told alot of stories from the people at Shoppers that just didn't seem to coalesce with other stories and we left Thunder Bay without Dean's passport.
Getting on the road was good, Dean held out pretty good.  We were able to make some pretty good time.  We stopped at a couple places, but didn't need to stay too long at many.  We were making good time until we came near Minni, where there's some road work doing.  It was a long long long wait.  And I hate how those long lines are 2 lanes, but compress to one.  Now, that's not too bad, but they tell you to merge, well before you actually have to.  So, as a good driver you merge and make your way slowly through the queue and then some jerk-arse comes rolling along the 'closed lane' and then merges way ahead of you.  Grrr...

Well we finally get into Minneapolis and suddenly the GPS decides to say we're in the water.  It really gives us a headache.  So we start on the suggestion of Mandy's dad and start going on 'faith'.  Mandy recognizes a few of the landmarks and assumes we're on the right path.  Well... she remembered places, but not so much as 'remembered this is the right way to go' and we end up taking farthest route possible to get us to the hotel.  Once there we find out that their computers are down and therefore we can't check in.  Just par for the course we figure for the day.  So we head over to the Kolstad's for dinner.  It was a good visit, leaving them with a copy of "One Week" for their watching (we loved it, and it's Canadiana, which typically they're a fan of).

The next day we start out with some brekkie and get ready to head out to visit the mall of america and do the underwater world thing.  We have a slow start out to the day as Mandy now can't find her wallet... this is a real concern actually?  We recalled having it the previous night, but after breakfast it's missing.  Almost an hour later we do find it and we head out to the mall.  We buy the pass for the day and have a quick viewing of the aquarium.  Dean just loves it again.   After which we head to Mandy's grandmother's place and stop in for a visit.  Dean is the hit of the place as he plays with his legos during lunch.  I have my pipes in the car, but the agreement we made is that if anybody asks I can bring them out, if not I can just leave them there.  She eventually does ask, but I'm saved by suggesting the next day.  So I get pencilled into their activities for the next day.  We head back to the mall (or the hotel for a nap) and spend the rest of the evening there.  We get Cold Stone Creamery ice cream, Dean gets to play in LegoLand (wow, he loved it), we eat in Tony Roma's (where Dean meets a girl and discovers he loves ice cubes by themselves), do another tour of the Aquarium and head back to the hotel after a full day.

Now the plan for the Wednesday was to get up and go to this park, but realizing it's been so hot lately we decide to just relax at the hotel and Dean and I go for a swim.  Really fun!  Eventually we get back into motion and decide to go to Mandy's grandma's for my 'concert'.  We thought, before we go, we should have dinner... and Mandy's suggested Sonic... and we spend a near hour looking for it (Mandy swore she knew where it was), as the GPS had older data and it's a new location.  We give up and go to Culvers and then put on my concert.  man that was a hot day... even in the shade!  On the way home we get some more Cold Stone Creamery... mmm

Thursday - heading for home.  We get all packed back up and start streaming for home.  I figure I can make it just before band practice.  Not too bad through the construction.  Mandy decides to sit in the back with Dean for a bit.  Eventually we reach Duluth and decide for another stop in the island.  Dean's out solid tho'.  So we get some ice cream (yes, more Cold Stone Creamery) and he slowly comes to and starts to enjoy the sights and sounds of the downtown area.  There's even a 'spring' of water in the middle of an area where he can play with water jets.  We decide to head back to the car, when I start to realize how the other cars have parked and a lady giving out tickets... hrmm... I'm sure I parked in a space that said "2 hour parking".  As it turns out, I did... however it said "maximum 2 hour parking, please buy your tickets over at the station".  So, sure enough I have a parking ticket.  Luckily you can pay it on line, so I'll do that when I get home.

We get back in the car and keep driving.  Not bad, making good time!  We finally make it to the border, and there's a huge line up... still should JUST make it to band practice tho'.  That is, until somebody comes up to us and points out that my rear tire is so low, that the rim is almost touching the ground.  Argh!!!  So I pull off to the side of the road and pull out the inflator for the truck.  Man it takes forever.  It even attracts the attention of some guards who come by to check us out.  We eventually get back home, but the tire is really hissing... so I'm constantly stopping to fill it up.  I was late for band, luckily it's summer so not many people are there for it... so no great sin.  But what a trip... fun fun fun!

Check out the pictures in the gallery!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Quetico Canoe Trip - August 5 - 7

So, here is the opportunity I've been waiting for all summer.  I swore up and down that during my break from work I'd be doing all sorts of leisure activities.  Thus far, I have had none (aside from band trips).

Day 1
Dad and I planned to jump into Quetico around Stanton Bay and do a little day tripping around that area (as we had done the last trip with the guys).  The problem was as we were getting packed the truck (my aztek) decides to have problems with the oil change light.  I thought it was messed up... because we had JUST had the oil changed.  However, what had happened (as I assumed) was that the oil place didn't reset the oil counter thingie... and it takes me a long time to figure it out.  Turns out that when you do the reset, you shouldn't IMMEDIATELY turn the car back on, but wait 10 seconds... who knew?  So we get all ready to go and had the car all packed [note... when we do the canoe next year, remind ourselves that we tie down the bow end, then only on the body through the car -- not on the stern as well -- although it was SUPER tight and didn't move, I'm concerned about the gunwales].
So we get to Quetico main camp and check in.  Turns out that the road to Stanton has been washed out and is impassable.  Oh, well... French it is.  Quick little setup and paddle and we get our way to the Pines.  Always gorgeous at the Pines.  Plus, as we saw TONS of vehicles in the interior parking lot, there was NOBODY camped.  So we decide to stake a claim and hang out for a bit, besides... the wind was really picking up.
We have the tent setup and we scour for some wood [admiring the funny drawing somebody has etched into the sand -- kinda funny].  I decide next trip I'm getting a foldingsaw, my hatchet is brutally slow.  We decide to hop into the canoe and do a bit of fishing before the wind/rain gets worse (it had showered intermittently and very lightly).  Lo' and behold, I prove my wilderness worth by actually catching a fish!  Nice ~3-4 lb pickerel.  So, tricky part here is that I've not brought a fillet knife.  Hmm... this makes it a bit messy to get the fillets.  But we make do with my regular hunting knife.
We head back to the site and start to cook up my catch (we do so on a fire I started myself).  We happened to have some aluminum foil and cook it in the skin... it wasn't half bad.  Then we meet our new neighbours and they decide to let us have their left over fish breading... dang it.
So the wind gets that bad, that we jump into the tents and wait out the rain.  The rest of the night is pretty uneventful.  Dad goes to bed way early... well at least it feels way early.  The stars don't even start to come out until super late... but it's nice just relaxing in front of the fire.
Day 2
This day dad has it in his brain he hasn't paddled nearly enough for his new heart and wants to go check out Stanton Bay... so we head out (after I've slept in a bit) and paddle the roughly 2 hours out that way.  Dad mistakes a couple of islands, but we eventually make it there.  Nice little area, and when we walk up where the launch is, it's clear I've forgotten how nice that trail is.  Plus the landing/parking area has picnic tables and everything.  Too bad the road was gone.  I try some more fishing (unsuccessfully) and then we decide that we should head back.
Going back there's some wind... which we hoped there would be, however, instead of the hoped 'at our back' wind, it's almost a perfect cross wind.  Which makes it a) hard to steer, b) extra tiring.  By the time we reach the tent, we're exhausted.  But dad's not too exhausted to get exasperated at all the new arrivals to the Pines... almost to the point of rude.  We're all visiting here anyways, share and share alike.  He even has to go over to the tent 2 sites over and complains about the noise... sheesh.  So this night ends pretty much like the first ... we just relax and then dad goes to bed and then I play with the fire.

Day 3
So we wake up nice and early and I decide that if we can, I'd like to head back to town soon, thus relieving Mandy.  Dad then hears something you don't normally hear in Quetico -- a motor.  Weird.  So we pack up and head on out back through French and then we see the boat.  It's a Quetico worker... apparently they're doing a lot of work down by the dam area and they need to get alot of equipment in and out... she slowed down for all the canoes, being very gracious in that aspect, and expressed her disdain for the 'stinky' machine out here in Quetico.
We eventually get back in and check out.  Dad finds some blueberries around the main building (after going in and complaining about all the campers at the Pines) and we head on home.
First thing I do is check out the distance from the Pines to Stanton... 12km (dad thought roughly 6-8).

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Piping Parades - alot in July

We had a lot of gigs to do this summer... what was kind of nice was that some of them were 'multiples'.  So we really only had to leave town for 3 weekends, but we got like 7gigs done!

There was Hibbing at the end of June; Minocqua which consisted of Rhinelander, Three Lakes, Lake Tomahawk and Minocqua; Coleraine and Butternut.

Plus we had some grads and the summer in the parks to do too...

Minocqua was amazingly great as always.  They treat us right there... i mean it's the only parade we get to stay in a hotel for!!  And there's huge fireworks at night.  I can tell I'm getting old tho', as we went to the one bar and it got packed I started getting 'antsy' and annoyed.  I nearly started a fight trying to push my way out.

Coleraine and Butternut were funny... It was also Andrew's first band trip -- and I even had him play in the ranks!
Coleraine is where Lefty's from and that guy can throw a heck of a party, insanse! Funny part about that night is that after the street parade, Peter and the boys came back and were ready to party still.  Pete loves his new car's stereo and had it blasting at like 330am... it came to a point where I had to just go and turn it off.  I got up, walked outside, grabbed his keys out of the ignition (debated about just throwing them, but thought better) and walked inside with them.  The next morning Peter came up to me and said "thanks for being the voice of reason Ryan, I'm sorry"... however I believe this was before he looked at his vehicle.  See, he left all his windows open... and it rained alot last night.  Woops... felt bad, but he could have gotten the keys easily (just inside) and closed the windows himself before going to bed.
Butternut I ended up trapping my own keys in the car.  Shouldn't do that in a small hick town.  Nobody to help you out... eventually I was able to find some people.  Thank you the FD of Butternut.  Still have to send them something.  We ended up having to use Deb's car antennae to push the button to unlock the doors (she was surprised to hear that they came off... and went back on... I was somewhat surprised too).


MooseJaw/Regina - May 16-17

Finally... after a while of not competing I was drawn to put myself up against some others...  the main reason I went was that we were able to convince Andrew to go and give it a shot.  This is usually very good for a new piper to get enthused in the art, so in order to get him to want to go more I said I'd go.  And somehow my saying I'd compete also meant I'd go up a grade as well... see, if you look at the bottom of this 'space' I put up a list of all my competitions ... and with the exception of like 2, I've competed in Grade III forever.  So it probably was time for me to go up.  Grade II... yoiks.


It was a good trip, stopped in Winnipeg on the Thursday night, drove to MooseJaw Friday, rested up and competed Saturday morning.  We went to the park and wandered around for a while... only to find that they had moved it to the school a few blocks away... not cool.  Once we got settled tho' it was kinda cool, get the adrenaline rush going... we all had to compete pretty early.  But I got to watch Andrew compete and took some pictures.  I then competed for my first time in Grade II for the Hornpipe/Jig.  It was good.. thought I made a few blubs while playing.  The judge was very cool after and we talked for a bit on how to improve etc... and then I heard the guy after me.  He was good.  We went down later to catch the score sheets and I saw that Andrew had gotten a bronze.  Good for him!  I then looked at my sheet... what's this 1st place?? No way!!  I think I swore kinda loudly at that point.  Awesome.  Didn't do so well on my MSR, but can't win them all.


Next day at the Regina Games was also cool... I did the same in my MSR, but got all the way to the end of my Jig of the Hornpipe/Jig and missed half the bar and ended up getting a 'breakdown'.  Crap... Andrew pulled out a 3rd place again for himself.


Just so you don't think I'm making this up, here's the official results.


It was a great weekend, and I really needed that injection of enthusisasm for piping again.  Thanks to Deb for arranging it all.

P2P Events - May 6th / May 21-22 / May 27th

I had 2 major events take place this year for Passport to Prosperity:

 - Success-Certified - May 6th - I planned this one based on how they had done it last year and I think it was a great success.  Students got to choose from 11 different courses and I got Jeffy to come and do an on-site report and I even got to be interviewed the next day.  See the Employer Registry facebook page for more pictures.

 - Regional Career Fair - May 21-22 - this really wasn't P2P's but I helped out in the meetings etc... and it was a big showcase for the program.

 - Multi-Workplace Tour - May 27th - not really a major event, but a good one.  I was able to arrange 2 tours for coop teachers to go and see some workplaces.  We toured GRK Fasteners and the city's Bare Point Water Treatment centre


For all the info on these see the Facebook page or go to the new Employer Registry local site.  Part of my job now is to maintain that page and ensure there's local content on there.

OCEA Conference -- April 26-28

The near culmination of the P2P year is at OCEA where we get to mingle elbow to elbow with many coop teachers from the province and learn what they learn.

This year was great as there was a chance for the new Employer Registry to 'unveil' itself on a large scale.  This is where the video that they came to Thunder Bay to shoot with me came to light.  My segment was shown just before some Ministry big wig (I could have told you a few months ago, but I forget now).  It was cool and embarassing at the same time as from that point on I became known as the "guy from the video".  The other videos didn't showcase specifically on the coordinator like mine did.

I got to learn quite a few things (and they were helpful in me attaining my AQ course for coop) -- namely not to leave my power cord behind.  I was without email the ENTIRE time... very saddening and maddening.


Part of the trip however was great as Mandy and Dean and I all went down and visited with Kelly and Adam and visited the zoo and other touristy things (had an Apache burger!).  Dean got to visit Lenny, I got a new camera (finally traded in the old Elan II) and it was a good time had by all.

Wedding for Lefty's daughter -- April 4th(?) or 3rd

{just catching up on some posts}


So a guy we met in Hibbing or elsewhere, had seen us and hired us to play in Taconite, which was a great gig.  Then he asked a few of us to play for his daughter's wedding and I nabbed a few players to come on down for the trip (Rob, Steve, Graham, Donny and myself).


There's no words to describe this event.  Think of the best barbecue party you ever went to, make it indoors and that's the wedding... but multiply it by 10x.  It was huge.  There was a sushi bar in the middle, 2 bars, plus a bar in the foyer, many many different grab foods all around and a barbecue on one end.  It was like endless buffets, with just endless mingling.  The best part was that I screwed up the wedding... a little...  I marched down the groom and the mom, and then the mini-band marched down the bride and Lefty.  Then we were to play to march them back out... but I missed the cue and called it early.  Everybody laughed as we were signalled to end (I got us to strike up on "I now pronounce" instead of after "you may now kiss").  I had to apologize to him later and say "I hope that's the only thing premature tonight!"  I thought it was funny.


Still an amazing party, absolutely unreal.  Pictures are not ready as Lefty's not the most email savvy...

After the wedding we went over to the Eagles (kinda like the Elks, or Moose back home) and hung out with a band and some more lively people there.  At the end we all tottered back to the hotel and Lefty's girlfriend (r.i.p. Cindy) brought back Donny's drum and thought it'd be funny to hide it on him.  I took it and hid it in my room and then found Donny and asked him where the drum went.  He said he didn't know and went back to the bar to find it... which he couldn't. He didn't seem phased, so I had to show him.


All in all... Lefty can throw a party.  Which was evident in Coleraine later on in the summer... just need to get the photos from him to prove to you all the phenomenon that was this party!

April 1 - August 16 = 137 days ... sorry

Okay, so you would think that with 137 days in between postings, that my life would be pretty bland.  Sure, it did have a bit of a hum drum drone to it for a while, but really I was busy busy busy.  So much has happened that this fell lower in priority that I hardly thought about it, except to say "man, I haven't posted in a while."
So what has happened... alot really.

April - I did that wedding in Grand Rapids, the OCEA conference
May - Folklore Festival, Success-Certified, MooseJaw/Regina games, Career Fair
June - beginning of many many piping gigs, ending of my contract
July - start hanging out with Dean EVERY DAY, more band trips, 5th anniversary, starting to collect music for book, I pick up a new toy
August - Quetico trip with Dad, family trip to Minneapolis, the Pre debacle...

and probably alot more that I have just plain forgotten about.  I should probably talk about some of them, and I will.  Some in more depth than others probably.  But part of me just wants to pick up from here on in.  But that wouldn't be right to leave those stories untold.  I just know that from here on in I'll have less time.  I start work officially tomorrow again... and I'll totally miss being able to hang out with my boy.  I can't tell you what a remarkable summer it has been purely for that reason.  It was great to watch him day in and day out and really see his personality explode and take form.  It's been trying at times too, but I'll miss it immensely.
Going back to work also fills me with a bit of dread as I know that there's a lot to do ... and I'll probably have to start DIVING IN... there's the gearing up for Fall Forum, the S-C day 2010 to start working on (will it be regional, or local, or both... how will I fund it)... there's a project I want to start, there's going to be the Career Fair 2010 to start looking at... plus it looks like I might have App Search thrown into the mix for giggles... I'll find out on Monday how this year will look... kinda not looking forward to it, but at the same time I think I'm about ready to return.

Pictures and full blog reports forthcoming...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Keepin' y'all up to date

So, I know, it's been a while... seems to be my opening line on this thing for way too long.

Anyhoo... what's been up?



I've added another 'title' to my ever growing list on my resume.  I'm now on the occasional list for the Lakehead Adult Education Centre.  Which is cool, as I think my days at Scholars are done... haven't had a call in forever.  I think they've written me off.  Oh, well.  So we'll see if this could be a good thing or not.  I mean I do need to keep my 5 days in order to keep my name on the list.

What else... band is getting more and more demoralizing.  Less and less commitment coming from the members, and to top it off my work is starting to ask me to attend things on Thursdays, so it looks even worse when I'm not there.  There hasn't been any real 'netting' from the recruitment drives.  That's kinda died off as a whole venture as well.  *sigh*

The jackets are ready for ordering -- maybe that'll help.  That and the appreciation night coming up.

Work is getting cool.  Did the first trip to the region -- Pic River.  There was a career fair that I was asked to attend.  It was good.  Very cute as grade 1s came around and some 'interviewed' us.  Dave came with me and he did his LU stuff... made for a good trip.  Except for the speeding ticket in Marathon.  Oh, well... I was speeding, can't fault the officer for that.  And the chinese food was good.  Met a couple of the employers, we'll see if anything comes of it.

Outside of that, my 'future' there is starting to take a little better form.  I'm becoming a bit of a celebrity - they sent a camera crew up to do a 'day in the life of' kind of shooting for a video that'll be shown at the conference at the end of the month, and one of the employers I nominated won an award, and so they sent up another film crew to make a video for their award ceremony, and the employer wanted me to be a part of it.  So I'm getting to see these free-lance film producers.

Ben had his 1st birthday over at Gammondale's farm, so Dean and I had a chance to go and hang together there.  I tempted fate and didn't take any allergy medication and I'm still paying for it.  Guess I am allergic to horses.

For an April fools joke, mother nature has decided to bless us with more snow.  We were having amazing days lately.  I almost ditched all winter apparel.  But here and there it would snow... we had some really bad ice days (when I went to Marathon and passed by Schreiber all their hydro poles were iced over.  Awesome-- deadly, knowing they lost power for almost 2 days --but awesome).  So it was warm weather the past few days, and then last night it started to snow a little.  I woke up to barely being able to open the door.  It was apparently a single day dumping record since 96 or something.   Anyways, I knew it was worth getting the snow blower out for.  Got it started all by myself and my lovely wife decided to put up photos.  Over an hour of blowing to get the path free, and then the car was still stuck getting out of the driveway.  I'm sooo stiff right now... I could use a bath.  Made for a long day at work.

Dean survived his first real 'injury'.  He apparently fell today and Mandy took him to the hospital.  He's fine, just bleeding a little.  He's got some scrapes and a heck of a bruise... but chicks'll dig it.  :)  On the topic of chicks... he had his first real hurt from a girl.  "Bully-anna" is going through her 'mine' phase and as such when Dean wanted to play with her toys, she subsequently pushed him, which he didn't take too well.  Get used to it boy!

Don't know what else to say right now... enjoy some of the pics; check out; watch the band at Folklore Festival... oh, that's right.  Speaking of band... been doing a great amount of piping gigs lately.  Did a funeral in Grand Marais for some easy US coin, did a SIMPLE gig at Naxo's for a bday party and heading out this weekend for a wedding in Coleraine (well, Grand Rapids really).  Wish it meant that I was rolling in the bank, but it's not.


Since we're on the topic of 'bank' I do have some $ coming in slightly... so I could splurge.  I haven't in a while.  Bell was offering the Palm Treo Pro for only $50 for slightly less a month than what Rogers is charging me.  Almost did it... but I'd hate to sink into the Pro for 3 years with the Pre coming out shortly... sure maybe a year or 2... but then I wouldn't be able to get it until my contract was up.  Hrmm... decisions decisions.  Back to scouring ebay maybe.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Win one for me!!

Yay, trouble with the phone is over... I guess.


For those who aren't here, I bought another phone off of eBay to use for work.  This time a Treo 650.  Amazing actually, for dirt cheap it came with the gps unit, all the car accessories, bt headset and a VERY good shape phone.  Only snag was that it was previously setup on Telus.  I figured since it was also a CDMA phone, that it should be no problem to hook up onto TBayTel.  I figured wrong.  Telus swore up and down that it would NOT work seeing as they have the lock on the ESN of the phone.  Took several phone calls for me to finally realize that it was a dead end.  They weren't giving up the leash on that phone.


So I explored options of porting my number to Telus... but I'm always hesitant... Telus isn't that big here.  But it seemed good as it used both Rogers' roaming capability and TBayTel's towers... so it seemed the best of both worlds, however the price was alot more (and Telus said if I had a PDA I would HAVE to have a digital plan or the phone wouldn't work).


So I almost switched... then I thought I'd give trying to crack the phone one more chance (earlier google searches led to nothing), and I was reluctant to as the last phone I did something like that to I ended up bricking the thing.  So I cautiously did some more research and thought I'd try something, and within seconds I had the MSL for the phone.  SWEET.  I couldn't believe it was that easy.  [i'll talk about what i did below]


Next phase was to see if TBayTel would accept it on the line.  So I went to the store, said "hook this up on the plan" and they looked at me curiously, but when I said here's the MSL code, they went straight to the back.  Ran into an old friend there who works for the company and said "they should have no problem doing this... it'll even better when they switch to GSM" (tuck that little bit of info away for later).  Anyhow, they came back in a few saying the code wasn't working (which it was.. I tried it earlier) and to which I had to point out that they use a #*# coding instead of ##.  2 minutes more and it was working!!  Score one for me.  I have a sweet Palm Phone now... now just if it'll tide me over until either the Pro or Pre come to Rogers.

So here's what I did.  I went to the palm site and found the FIRMWARE update for Sprint for the 650.

I ran the program up until it says "Sync phone" at which point I pause and check out the "Install" folder of the phone and found the file:

CDMA Updater.prc

I copied that file somewhere else handy, and delete the rest.  Then go back and cancel the installation.

Put the Updater file on the SD card and load it onto the palm.  Run the updater, but from the Debug menu I click everything off except "Backup NV" (or something like that).  Then run the update.  Essentially it's just making a backup of the ROM.

Once that's over with search around in the ROM (use RESCO EXPLORER... GREAT program) and find the file CDMA BACKUP and use a hex editor to view it.

Search around for any 6 digit number and one of them should be the MSL.  I found a bunch and tried them all.

To test, go to the phone and punch in #*#MSL_NUMBER#

If it's the right number you then get a new screen showing the phone number and the ESN.  Sweet.

Good luck to anybody else if you want to try.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Forgot the best part!

Forgot the best ending for the long weekend: my chocolate chip cookie dip... mmmm. Nothing says relaxing weekend like eating sweet dip and cookies late at night.

Here's the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 pkg cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup icing (confectioner's) sugar
  • chocolate chips (or nuts, etc...)

  1. Melt the butter and brown sugar together, stirring until it just about boils... do it slowly
  2. While it's melting beat together the icing sugar and cream cheese for a few minutes
  3. take the butter and brown sugar off the heat when done and whisk in the vanilla
  4. pour this over the cream cheese and icing sugar
  5. continue to beat the mixture together and add in as much chocolate chips as you think necessary
  6. Let it chill in the fridge to firm up.

it's oooh so good.  Take it out for a few minutes to get it to a nice consistency and use those cookie wafers...

mmm... so sweet tho'

Monday, February 16, 2009

Family Day Long Weekend at the Moore's house

So, after surviving the many birthdays week (Dean's, Margaret's, Mandy's, Greg's... sheesh these Knauffs and February... what happens in May?) we settled down and tried to resume the normal course.  Which was hard as Mandy's now back to work and that means extra shuffling about to get Dean to the various 'daycare' centres (i.e. grand parents homes).



Well a week or so of that and it was time for the first long weekend since Mandy's been back to work.  A new holiday which has taken on extra meaning for me.  See, last year they brought it in, and it was the first time that we were a real family, so it was really special.  This year was pretty cool too.  Here' s how the weekend went:


Friday at work, I spent the day making Mandy a Valentine's day card.  I picked up some popcorn and ... can't remember what else.  I got Mandy's Valentine's gift the other day (funny story on that:  I bought Mandy Raving Rabids 2... I wanted to get 1, but they were out of stock, so I grabbed 2 instead... turns out, that's what Mandy got me... so it worked itself out in the end).


Saturday (Valentines) - Mandy had to drive her dad to the airport at 5am, and then works at 7 and I tutor, so I get Dean off to my folks and then when I finish up I do some shopping around (still didn't find anything that made me go 'wow') and then Dean 'n I played at the house for a bit and I got it all cleaned up so Mandy could have a good 'me time' when she got home from work.  Turns out she didn't want to relax, so I ended up sleeping the evening away.  [so I used part of my wife's gift for Valentine's Day].


Sunday - Mandy worked again in the am, and I went to church with the li'l guy.  When we got home we cleaned up some more, so that this time Mandy could take her nap.  It wasn't the intention at first, but then she did nap and was out for a few hours.  When she woke up it was like 3 hours later and I had pancakes ready for her.  We stayed up that night to watch GET SMART.  Not bad... not GREAT either.


Monday (Family Day) - we woke up late and enjoyed some breakfast (made by yours truly).  Then Mandy had the idea to make handprints out of that salt-flour-dough stuff.  Turned out not too bad (See the pics).  Though it was hard to put Dean's hands in, and he started to cry, so his aren't nearly 'indented' as ours are.  Mandy had to go to work, and then I started on my first ever pot roast.  Not too bad I must say.  However... I missed where it said how much water was needed so I just used how much the onion soup mix needed... luckily I misread the 4L for 4cups... and then the recipe said I only needed 1/2 cup... so I overshot... but not by that much.


Dean's in bed now... finally (as much as I've enjoyed my weekend with him... he's been really whiny lately).  Mandy's not home for a few more hours.  Get a few minutes in on the Wii... and then it's the short week for me!  What sucks is that the short weeks feel like the longest ever!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Sunday, January 25, 2009

...and it goes back

So it was fun while it lasted.

I played with Win7 for a bit o the computer, but I just didn't have the space on the hard drive to work it. Then I went and played with getting it on my laptop.  It took some real playing around to get it ghosted on.  Then there was problems with the touchpad, the vga driver etc... I got it worked out - so if you're trying to get se7en on a netbook, email me and I can help you.

I played around with it for a while, and it was working well.  Then against better judgement (I had read something on the forums against this) I installed messenger.  Hrmm... I tried to boot it into safe mode to uninstall it, but it wouldn't let me.  I couldn't boot into normal mode 'cuz it crashes with msn.

So here I am with XP again.  It works, I know it inside and out... I'll wait to get a hard drive for playing with seven on my desktop.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lately I don't get along with electronics

So I've been putting a big push on lately to 'digitize' my work.  I've started to use OneNote to assemble items for projects and reports.  Google Docs for collaboration and sharing docs.  Access to track etc... I like to make things efficient.  If possible.


One way lately was that the phone I was given was pretty basic.  I'm used to my PDA... and I didn't want to fill up my palm with all work stuff AND my own.  It'd be too bloated.  I should find one just for work... and if it was a phone as well... I've never used a Treo, but I think I'd like to try.


So I do what most people like me do when they want something but are too cheap... they eBay.  I found a Treo700w.  And it wasn't a bad price so I get it home and play with it.  Not bad... since there was no Wifi on it, I try getting the BT part to work... no dice... well not easily.  And without a sync cable it's even harder.  Eventually I get it to workable condition.  I go to TBayTel to see if they'll switch the phone over.  Luckily they say they can't without a lock code and I'll need that to do it.  So I go home to find it and in my curiosity I decide to go and play around with the BT update... and as it turns out it bricks the phone.


Almost a full hour on the phone with Palm tech support leads me to believe that nobody at Palm understands what people ask.  Palm keeps saying that:

  1. we won't replace it
  2. we don't recommend that you do the upgrades we put on our site
  3. we won't replace it
  4. we don't fix phones either
  5. headquarters doesn't have a 1-800 number
  6. we won't replace it

After I've said to them that I didn't want it replaced they kept harping on the point that they wouldn't replace it... ugh.  What really gets me is that they said "we don't recommend you do the updates".  I mean... there was nothing on the site saying "don't do this IF"... in fact it was quite the opposite.

Oh, well... hopefully this guy in Ottawa can fix it.  I'd still like to try it out.  Windows Mobile does look kinda neat.

My next foray into something drastic is to try to find a way to get Windows 7 on my laptop.  I've tried it on the computer... and it's wicked... then I screwed something up and had to take it off... but I think I did it in the wrong way and now there's a folder on my one drive I can't get to...

Well digging on the eeePC forums I found a way to 'ghost' the files onto the laptop.  But this time I'm being smart.  I'm ghosting the image of the laptop as a backup... so I can 're-ghost' if I foul things up severely... hopefully.

25 minutes of backing up the old hard drive... 42 to go... so that means in roughly 2 hours I should have se7en on my eeePC.  i'm such a geek about it!

Wii life

I swear I had written this up already, but I guess not.


So we did get the Wii.  I was told by the Future Shop people that they would be in stock on the Friday an that they'd be open at 10am.  I asked if I would be allowed to reserve one they said "no, just show up".  So I had a breakfast appointment to make for 830 and I'd be able to make it no problem.


The breakfast appointment was for Churchill's co-op employer's appreciation.  Free meal!  And I got to mingle with some of the employers in town.  Not a bad deal.

I finished up around 915 or so.  So I had time to kill.  I went to Starbuck's and hung out on the free Wifi... seeing as I had time and there was no need to rush.  I didn't want to be "that guy" standing at the doors of the shop waiting for it to be open.


Finally I go to the shop and park the car in the lot.  There's a few cars around... and a few people in the little 'foyer' of the shop (it was bitterly cold).  I still held my ground.  I don't want to be one of the 'rushers'.  So I wait a bit longer as they still haven't opened the doors.  Then I start to see that they are handing bits of paper to the people in the lobby.  Hrmm...  I better investigate.


I get into the lobby at 10:05 and it's packed.  I ask somebody what the deal with the paper is and they say it's to reserve your Wii... CRAP CRAP CRAP.


So I see some official looking guy and ask if there's any left, as they start to open the doors and the flood of people go in.  He says there is but disappears.  Now people are lining up.  Now I'm a bit concerned... hrmm...  I start to look about and finally the dude gets me #41.  Yeehaw, now to go sit in line.




Essentially it's people who, like me, had no realization that this would be as it was.  That it was going to be a limited supply or such a demand for it.  As I'm standing in line I'm explaining what I know about Wiis to other people who are just about willing to pay the extra $100 to have somebody install it (it's 3 wires... really!?) when I notice that off to the side there is a stack of like 100.  So I grab the dude who gave me #41 and ask him why I needed this piece of paper if there's obviously a large pallet over there.  He rushes an answer of "it guaranteed you one".  And then I see the light.  Not too bad a system.  Were there not any numbers, people would have mad dashed in and just scrambled over them.  Much like that Russian store that was selling cheap laptops.  This prevented it.  Good job FS.


So we have it now... and it's not too bad.  I've been playing Sports for a while and doing the fitness test.  When we first did it, I had like 60+ and that was weird.  I got it to like 50 or so.  Then dad comes over and scores like 46.  Pfft...  I think I'm 37 today according to it.  It really goes back and forth alot.  I've had as low as like 25 or something.  Just so long as I don't have to do boxing for my test.  I absolutely HATE boxing.  It makes no sense.  Stupid sensors.


So, I need some games to get.  We got the 2nd remote now... and I'm struggling with getting an actual game game, or just get these challenge type games.  If I were to get a GAME game, I'd probably just play it way too often.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Our newest purchase (to be)

So... we have a few gift certificates to burn up.  My hope was for one of those big USB drives... that way I can start to save space on my hard drives and install Windows 7 permanently.

But in pondering which one to buy I had a couple of other options swim through my head and in a silly move I decided to voice one of these options... ever since Mandy now punctuates her sentences with:

I love you... but I'd love you more if we had the Wii

So... I've had to do some searching for a console in town.  Well I say searching; what I mean is looking through the flyers to find the best deal in town on one and then see if Future Shop will meet it and if they have any in stock (btw - not until Friday).

We'll be Wii people... not sure exactly how I feel about it, but I do think it's cool.

So what should we get?  Mandy wants the Fit... we'll grab the Wii Play as it's essentially a cheap spare remote... Kelly has a bunch of suggestions; what's yours?

I never did finish up the entries for my trip

I found myself with a moment or so at work with nothing to do (which is insane as this week is nuts for meetings).  So I peruse my own blog (yes, I know I need more photos up soon) and noticed that I had blogged 2 days of my trip, but not the 3rd.  Well I"ll catch you up on that right now.

So the day started out a bit earlier than I liked as I stated earlier that there were hockey players at the hotel and if I wanted anything for breakfast (ahh, the continental breakfast) I would have to get up fairly early.  So I did.. got my hard boiled eggs and then I promptly went back to bed seeing as my appointment with HIEC wasn't until 930 and they were just down the road.

When it was time to get up and checkout of the hotel I got in my rental and drove just down the road to my appointment.  Which would be normally quite simple, however, the building they were in was a weird conglomeration of many businesses and I couldn't find their entrance.   So I circled a few more times before calling them up and asking.

As I said earlier, the guy I was to meet was sick so that cut out alot of what I was to meet with them about.  It was a good meeting had some good talks about what we do and some of the suggestions how to make it better.  All in all, a good session.  I opened my mouth and I think I might have volunteered myself for something more than I wanted... we'll see.  But really worthwhile trip.

When we were done I stole some internet and headed on out.  I was getting ready to head into Toronto when I glanced at my clock and it said it was only like noon.  My flight wasnt until 9pm so I wasn't going to wait that long.  Anybody I knew in TO was probably working so I couldn't do any visiting...

So I decided to drive on down to Barrie... brutal roads on the way there.  Really dry and windy so it would  blow across the highway limiting visibility.  But I made it to Burnett's & Struth and looked about the shop.  Mandy wanted some tartan for a quilt... and they had $6 scrap bags... but I wanted MacAlpine - but at $80/meter it was't to be.  So I just bought another MacAlpine scarf (for $30) and headed back to TO.  I get to Pearson and find the drop off for the car; which is  cool system in itself.  Some guy just comes out, loks over the car, prints you off a receipt and you walk away.

The receipt for the rental was a bit ower than I expected and as I got my gear ready to get ito te airport I noticed it was barely 3... hmm 6 hours to kill.  So I call Kelly, just to say I did.  I knew she was working and wouldn't be able to come out and visit, and if I could have stayed, I woulda gone into town for like 5 o'clockish and then have to be back for like 7... so that woulda been impossible if I was to use public transit... and had I kept the rental it woulda been a bitch to find parking and etc... still woulda been a tough feat to make it.

To help pass the time I check in with the airline and and check my baggage.  Turns out that my suitbag wasn't the heaviest bit of my luggage.  That laptop of work's is HUGE... and the charger is big as well.  Maybe I'm just used to my eeePC, and maybe it was the combo of both laptops ... but that bag got heavy quick.

I missed lunch on the trip out to Barrie so I thought I'd get some at the airport.  There was a Swiss Chalet which wasn't too bad.  I hoped it would chew up 2 hours... but when it was not even 1 hour and I was almost done I got concerned.  But as luck would have it te waitress practically inored me for almost an hour and so by the time the bill was paid I had killed 2 hours there... only 4 more before the flight.  What next... well I walked around... alot.

I eventually found some bench where I sat and plugged i and remembered that I had brought some videos on my keys (I did watch UFC 93 in the hotel the previous night... AWESOME AWESOME AWESOME).  I watched almost all 4 hours of Kevin Smith's Threevening.  I coulda watched all of it, but I needed to get up and walk about.

Doing nothing is absolutely insanely boring and tiring I must say.

The flight home was pretty uneventful... thankfully Mandy had the foresight to talk to my dad about picking me up.  Something I had totally forgot about.  By the time I got home, unpacked it was like after 1pm... ugh.  I slept in the next day a little.

Funny post story - in my absolute sleep deprived brain I thought that I slept in for work and it was Monday... Monday was to be a busy day... how could I be sleeping in for it.  I got up and ran to get to work...  I was almost out the door before I realized it was just Friday...  I had all weekend to procrastinate getting rady for the next week.

Okay... when Mandy's off the computer, I'll post some of the pictures of Dean on my space.


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Training Day - part 1

So the morning started around 6am... uh.  I hit snooze a few times, and in typical Ryan fashion I hit it a few more and somehow figured out how to turn it off... still woke up before 7 luckily so I could get a shower and breakfast in (WHAT... NO EGGS... argh... best part of continental breakfasts).  I check out and read some of the National Post - and this caught my eye.

Why do I always find myself living in the wrong city... ah well.

So I'm picked up and head to the city's Chamber of Commerce speaker meeting... not sure exactly what it was for, but their P2P guy was involved, so I shadowed.  Spent alot of time seeing if I could get on the wi-fi, and when I coudn't I updated contacts on my palm (still waiting for my treo... grr... stupid ebay).

At the office after we hung out and chatted a little until the other coordinator had a meeting to make, so I tagged along.  Very neat as it was a local guitar manufacturer (no website as of yet... but it's RED MAPLE GUITARS)... very cool.  Awesome guitar sound.  We met with somebody else, but it wasn't as fruitful.

The afternoon was pretty well near over and I headed back to their office and chatted a bit more before heading out.  Stopped off at Chapters for some books (found a sweet one for Dean... I''m growing to be a real softy lately about him) and then on to Future Shop (still haven't used up that card and it's burning a hole in my pocket).

The ride from London to Burlington was not cool... very sleety like snow... slippery and several cars in a ditch... not something to set me at ease.  the hotel was easy to find (thanks to the GPS) and it turns out they have a hockey team staying there so they're advising people to get breakfast early... CRAP.  And since the guy I'm to train with tomorrow is very sick, I'm just going to have less to do tomorrow so they said I can sleep in... early breakfast and then go bak to sleep?  totally a possibility for me.

I'll let you know tomorrow how it goes.  I dread if I finish the day too soon tomorrow as I'll havea  huge gap before my flight home... ugh.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

GPS's will be our downfall

So, here I am in southern Ontario... London to be exact.  I'm here to meet with other offices and see how they do things... sort of my training.

So the flight isn't too bad, a little delayed... and cramped.    But the real fun comes in when I'm sitting in YYZ waiting for my bags.  Well I say bags, but I mean bag... I'm travelling light.  I hate waiting, plus I'm so finding that I hate 'crowd mentality'.  Like when we're to board the plane, everybody rushes to get seated... you know what?  The plane won't leave until e're all on, we all get the spot regardless.

So I get to Pearson and I go looking for the rental booth... took some searching, but I got it.  It's a neat Ford Escape (Nolan, you've got this as well?  cool choice).  It's got usb plus audio in and sirius ... and of course I had to get the GPS unit.

Now as I foud out last time we drove to Minneapolis when we used Greg's GPS I found I was much more anxious as I relied wholly on the unit and didn't even look at a map hardly.  But it's Minneapolis... I know Minneapolis.  For some reason I didn't take this lesson to hear when I got to Toronto.  I pop the unit on and start driving.  It wasn't until I got out of the parkade that I went "I don't know which way to go" and I say this to myself as I stare at teh "ACQUIRING SIGNAL" screen... it continued to do that for about 10 minutes.  So fo 10 minutes I just drove around aimlessly near Pearson... when it finally gets going I find that I have been going in the wrong direction and criscrossed the toll high way a few times as I tried to get back on track (any body know if the 427 'collector' is the toll highway?) and the thing starts beeping "LOW BATTERY"... so I'm faced with the threat of it dying and me not having a clue where to go.  So I struggle trying to get the charger on and finally start my trek to London.  So it went well... turns out that I didn't have the thing plugged and dies; so while on the 427W I really have to mess with the unit to get it plugged in (luckily it didn't lose the destination).  To top it off... the mout kept falling off the glass... ugh.  Like 5 times in the trip.

I think I'm going to enjoy the trip from here on in.  I had a baconator... I have free breakfast coming to me... and I get to shadow people for the few days.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

A new year - a new entry

It feels like it's been ages since I've written anything on this thing.  Heck, it's been weeks since I've even turned on this laptop.  How can I even remember where I left off...  I better go to the site to check it out... please wait.

I know there's no time passing for you, but for me, this is taking forever.  My new job is only aiding my low attention span as I'm constantly flipping gears for different projects.  In finding my blog I'm doing a set up for FireFox, checking my computer's work for a partition I mean for windows 7 (ooh, it's probably done now, I should see what I can do for it now), and watching "Lady in the Water".

Okay, found it... I think what I'll do is work backwards in time... makes more sense when you'll read this anyways.

So most recently... today we got a crapload of snow.  Almost as much as that time last year.  This year, we have Mandy's nanny's snow blower, but there's always been a catch tho'.  It just barely fit in the shed, so I've never used it, as to use it, it meant shovelling out all that area behind the shed, using the snow blower to get down the lane, down the side road, up the sidewalk and then use it for the little curb area, as we can't use it on the driveway due to the gravel.  Well, I never bothered to use it previously because it just seemed a bigger hassle to use it than to just shovel.

Well, today it snowed alot and I figured it was time to give it a shot.  Within minutes of my shovelling to the back shed, Greg was over.  Which was good, as he knew how to get it working.  After some playing with it, it eventually turned over.  And, as you would have it, we found out that it would fit through the side door of the shed, and then the side lane gate as well... double bonus!  So we got to play with the snow blower and it was really cool.  It really did throw the gravel if it was on any, so when I was near the drive I had to be careful where I was aiming the chute.

What previously... well Dean's been getting bigger.  He's really starting to crawl and furniture walk, and getting ready to just stand and walk.  Awesome.  Really cool to watch him turn into a person as he gets more and more of a personality.  There are still some days that he wakes up in the middle of the night that frustrates me, but all part of being a dad.

New Years - we had some discussion and we decided eventually that we'd ship Dean off to the grandparents (the Knauffs; my parents still had my sister's kids all about - so they had their hands full)and we went to the Family Frolic at Old Fort William (I guess I should call it Fort William Historical Park as it is officially known).  So, kidless, we went with Adam, Kelly, Kris and Greg.  It wasn't too bad actually.  We went on a sleigh ride (Adam's first ever), and to Bouche's Tavern to have some hot dogs.  To get to there we had to go the round about way, and it is a bit of a distance from the Fort that people wondered where I was leading them, but eventually we got there.  It was nice and secluded, apparently nobody else was going there.  We enjoyed roasting the dogs over the fire.  I just so can't wait until summer to go camping.

The night ended at 10pm with an amazing fireworks display.  Really!  It was something you wouldn't expect at New Years.  As it turned out, we were watching the fireworks only a few feet away from Charm and Steve and the kids.  Neat.

After getting home quickly we went to Kris and Greg's for some typical New Year's eve events: word games and Wii and even a round or 2 of "the Newlyweds".  (We lost one game and tied another).  Next thing you know, it's 5am and time to head home.  The 'morning', we had agreed to go online and post our status on MSN so that we'd know who was awake and could call when we decided to go for breakfast.  This time, the adventure breakfast was quite short as we went to Chicago Joe's.

We picked Dean up and headed to home and some minor holiday cleaning.  Charm and Steve said they'd like to come over and we said that we needed to get ready and that we were heading out to a family dinner, so they could come over between 2 and 4... this meant they came over at 345 and stayed until 445... I'm so turning into my dad, as it agitated me some amount.

Dinner at Sandi's was good.  The chicken was spectacular..., Dean however was less than enthused.  He had only an hour nap and missed his 2nd nap of the day so when we went, he had only a few minutes of a nap which made him extra cranky.  He ultimately made my decision to take him home early while Mandy stayed for another round of Family Feud.

Christmas was a great time.  Dean didn't really get the whole opening gifts thing, but I think he really enjoyed all the family attention and the new play things.  He really had a good haul this year.  He enjoys all the gifts the family gave him, even the boxes they came in.  It was great how he was excited and was ready to play, everytime we went to take a picture of him, he had this really sad and unenthused look on his face.  I'll post pictures soon, but there's just one hilarious one where we put this cap on him that said "Noel 2008" and he was just so 'unimpressed' over it.  Classic pic... hopefully not the sign of things to come from him.

The family get togethers and meals were just great... since leaving retail I really really enjoy the family stuff.  Amanda and Iain are just getting to be big kids now... crazy how time marches on, especially when you aren't looking.

What else there to talk about?  My new job is great.  I had an amazing time at the Job Fair that the chamber of commerce put on.  It was a "home for the holidays" and more idea... so I went around and talked to the employers about my role and program.  Really in some ways my job is amazing.  I get to network all day long essentially.  I got my travel arrangements completed.  Leaving in a few days to go to London and then Burlington.  Too bad it's a too short a trip to do any travelling or visiting, but it'll be good to see how other centres work.  Next trip (April for OCEA) I'll try to get some visiting in... maybe I'll even get to Henry's and trade in my camera... maybe.  I did find a Treo 700w on eBay which I'll use for the job while I'm there.  Kinda excited to test out some WinMo.

Oh, can't forget about the sleigh ride.  Mandy and Kelly truly had a great idea this year.  For a gift for the family they decided that they should host a sleigh ride.  A chance for all the family to come out, enjoy a nice horse drawn sleigh ride, some hanging out in a chalet with hot chocolate, and some good food.  Made shopping really easy.  Too bad more people couldn't make it, but it was great.  Greg and his brothers had some fun knocking each other off the ride... they had an amazing apple cider/drink ... and we did a nativitiy/activity where Dean got to be the baby Jesus.  So much fun.  It'll definitely become an annual event.  Sue from Gammondale's did a great job of entertaining us all; would have been ideal if there were more kids, which I think she expected there was, but it was still a great night.  Kelly has some video to work with and maybe I'll post links for that (I really should put more on my soapbox page).

Well, I think I've caught everything up.  Going to go check on the Win7 installation... stoked to try it out!  Reviews have been good... I can hear Dean waking up too... I should take him while Mandy gets dinner ready.

Hopefully it on't be another month before I write something on here.