Friday, December 23, 2011

#Patentfun December 19 - 23

#Patentfun December 19 - 23

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Why is it so hard...

... No dirty jokes... Please.
But seriously, it's almost been 2 weeks since my last blog post. I had been doing so well keeping it up to date, and then suddenly it drops off my radar.
There's some big issues with blogger not being too well connected with the rest of google's platforms... But, I should still make the time.
I won't bore you with the trivial updates... Not much has really happened since the last post.
I'll try better next time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Last day eve of Movember [110/152]

<p>Pretty much last time I biked was last Friday. le sigh </p>
<p>anyways, so tomorrow is the last day of movember. Which it will be good to shave as I have endured some ridicule. </p>
All through it I have kept saying I'm doing it for a cause, and it was good that this year I've ended up raising more than I had in previous years (well previous year).
Not sure I'll miss the mustache... I wish I could grow it better.  Have a real moustache (see the difference? )

not liking how this wasn't rotated... grrr

Thursday, November 24, 2011

+1 MAN points [109/149]

Okay, not just 'cuz of my stylish 'stache' ...

... it is pretty manly.
[btw thanks to Sivan and Michelle for donating to my mobro cause.  Practically strangers and they've donated -- have you?]

So, the +1 Man point?  Aside from being cool-ly linked the whole G+ thing and how they like to +1 'all the things'

Heh... i love me memes.

Anyways, no - it's because I cracked out the bike today.  Woohoo.  Not finished yet.

It was only -4C when I went out, and most of the snow was gone from yesterday's melt... just a little icy here and there.  And it's supposed to get to like +12C today.  So no excuse not to!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Was this the last week? [108/145]

So as the temperature starts to drop I've been asking the question a lot about when I'll be done with the biking thing.

Temperature wasn't so much the deciding factor as I've been starting to bundle up more and more. That wasn't too bad. However, on Tuesday there was a fair bit of almost frozen dew on the ground. That made it a bit slippery... Was a little dangerous.

Then I ended up driving for the next few days. During those days it has snowed and is continuing to snow. It's made me question whether I would be able to bike again next week... Or was this it? That makes me sad.

so, not only is the ground got slippery snow on it, but it's hiding the lanes... double danger
Oh, and btw - got voted in again as pipe major.  By acclaim... but still nice to be nominated I guess...  I can't tell you how jazzed up I am about the upcoming centennial.

What gets me is that I almost want to bike on purpose... not just because, 'cmon, let's keep going.  But, at a meeting the other day and it quickly degenerated into a 'we all hate bike lanes' bitch session.  Such a negative group of people.  Like I said before -- some people just need to be high 5'd... in the face... with a chair.  So out of spite, I'd like to just keep going.


Have I mentioned that the band calendars are now out?  Only $15

A definite must have.  Excellent work Eilidh and Jarron.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The torch be yours... [106/140]

Remembrance Day

Taken in 1914, this picture is of the first group of soldiers from Fort William to be sent off to to fight in the First World War, sitting in front of the City Hall.
The text in the left hand corner reads "Fryer, Fort William" and to the bottom right of the picture is the date: "August 19th, 1914"
City of Thunder Bay Archives Series Number: 128
Accession Number: 1991-1#94
Words cannot express the admiration I have for our veterans.  Even that sentence caused me to pause and re-write, especially the 'our'.  Should we say 'the' veterans?  I say our as if you've ever talked to any one of them, they'll say they did what they did for not themselves, but for their country.

Obviously we can go over stories of people who were in WWII, and there are also those that won't say a word about what happened, but that they did what needed to be done.

There's a recounting of an 86 year old on the internet, who being surprisingly tech-savvy used a 'rage comic' to do so and he talks briefly about his stint in the war and touches on it later on about how it really affected his life.

I have an uncle who served in the Korean war and was wounded twice.  I have a friend who's served 3 tours in Afghanistan.  Equally they put themselves on the line and showed a bravery that, in all honesty, is lost on much of us today.

I don't know whether it's due to the fact that as a piper I've had the privilege to be nearer to these folks and hear these stories or what, but it pains me when others don't realize what this day really is all about.  I remember teaching trying to take one moment to impress on the class about the solemnity of the day and the ceremony we were going to watch and immediately several students groaned and complained that "my mom already tried to yak at me about this".  I had never felt like hitting a kid before.  I just couldn't fathom how the stories of the 'the boys' didn't penetrate into their consciousness for them to realize what it really meant.

As typical around this time, the discussion at band turned to the stories of those who served within our ranks.  I have an excellent video of Graham recounting the tales of "Big Don" and it got real emotional.  He's asked that that video never sees the light of day, but some day I will let it be seen.

Last night's discussion Don talked about how he had gone over in 2005 and in 2010 to Holland with a volunteer pipe band to play there.  In 2010 it was the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Holland.  Several things from his story need to be told.

First he recounted how they were walking past and an older gentleman had stopped them and asked "are you Canadian?"  When they answered they were, the man told his story:

I was 12 during the occupation of the Nazi, and soldiers would go through the town and strafe the houses with bullets [he showed Don still visible holes in some of the houses and cupboards].  The occupying forces would take all the fuel, food and clothing, leaving the townspeople with literally nothing.  Men were taken to the labour camps.  Women were taken to the soldier's camps.  Children were often shot on site, as they 'contributed nothing'.
Whole families were taking to the forest to hide.  They would dig big pits and huddle in them with boughs to cover and slowly freeze or starve to death while hiding from the occupying forces.
One day we saw soldiers running away.  They were leaving their machine guns and running fast.  Being young I decided to see what was going on.  I crept close to the city and saw more Nazi soldiers fleeing as fast as they could.  Eventually, as I got closer to the centre of town I started to hear the most god-awful sound you could imagine.  It was a lone man walking down the middle of the streets, playing an instrument so loud and horrible that it was that that I thought the Germans were running from.  He had a Canadian flag on him and I thought he was the bravest person in the world, scaring the Nazis all on his own.  I then saw the rest of the Canadian troops pushing through the village, going house to house riding us of the occupying forces.

That got me really thinking.  Wow.  We forget that often war stories are not told just by the soldiers, but by real people.  And young people.  We have that luxury of being a country that has never had to deal with that kind of hardships, so we will never know what it is like.  But all the same, when the time came, we knew we had to step up and serve our fellow man and do what was right, regardless of the cost.

Don also told about how in 2005 and in 2010 watching the veterans with their service over there [which they hold in May] and how there were over 15,000 Canadian graves there.  The Canadian cemetery is maintained immaculately, and get this, by the students of the village.  They know the value of who was buried there and to this day are still thankful for it.  He mentioned that it was sad to watch the 2000+ veterans that were there in '05 dwindle to just over 500 in '10.  However, Holland still paid its respect.  Each stone marker had a poppy and a wreath and at a point a helicopter would fly over and drop poppies on the site.

I can't tell you how much this imagery moves me.  We don't nearly honour our veterans as well as we should.

Friday, November 4, 2011 [103/135]

Not all that visually stunning... I know.  But it's for a good cause.

That was taken on Tuesday, and today it's not much different, so not sure posting another photo would help my cause or not.

But seriously, donate if you can. 


Here's my space:

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hallowe'en 2011 [101/132]

The First year Dean goes out and really trick-or-treats by himself.

He got to wear the costume first in the Mall of America [look at Mandy's facebook to see photos and video of the proud boy].

Then we tested him out by going to the Conmee Costume Party [where we got to see my friend Crystal wince in pain during contractions the entire time she was there -- Congrats on the birth of Thomas!].

Then it was a family gathering where he showed off to the Knauff side all his costume glory and raked in a large haul by the generous family.

It still wasn't Hallowe'en yet.

On Hallowe'en he got dressed and we went over to my parents.  He fell asleep on the way there, so needed some coercion to get into the spirit.  Then we went to a couple houses to warm up... still not really into it.  We went home and then I tried taking him to a couple of the nearby houses... still not having any of it.

Mandy tried it with him and they did a few blocks.  Dean came home, emptied his bags and wanted to go back out.  So he and I went and tried a few different blocks.  Or so I thought -- there might be some overlap (sorry Broadmore residents).

He really got into it by the end - though some were still too spooky to go visit.  But he enjoyed getting to say "trick-or-treat" and did a few of the houses all by himself.

Next year's going to be crazy I think.

Hallowe'en 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

All heil the weekend [99/130]

Sucks that I couldn't crack the 100 mark this week. Ah well.

Busy week, even though I only worked half. A busy half mind you.

One thing stands out. Old people. OK, I won't generalize, but old people who can't realize the outside world.

Was at a meeting this week and a bunch of older people went off on saying how poor the younger generation's grammar is.

There was some good debate. And by good I mean nobody would listen to reason. I believe a lot of good grammar is going by the wayside, but to say that a style of communication will never change is just ludicrous. I asked them if the grammar they use today is the same 20 years ago, 50 years etc... they said no, but wouldn't relent on their facts.
Again, there is a lot of work needed these days with students and proper grammar, but to be ignorant that a language is a dynamic entity is even more absurd.

Then the conversation took a turn for the worse. They started to blame teachers. I won't get into that argument, but I felt like punching people. Felt like Mike Harris was in the room.

Anyways, its the weekend. I'm trying to relax... with $80 worth of candy shouldn't be too hard.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Basic Chemistry and Biking

How could I forget...

I complain about how hard it has been to bike... like peddling through mud.  Oi.

Then I remembered a little bit of chemistry...

the ideal gas law [simplified]

PV = nRT
P - pressure
V - volume
n - moles of gas
R - gas constant
T - temperature

the volume of the tube in the tire remains constant, and it's sealed [hopefully] so n should be the same as well.  So if I reduce T as it has been lately, then obviously P will go down too...

To increase P then would be then to either decrease volume [not possible], increase T [I wish, but I can't], R can never change, so the only way would be to increase n... i.e. put more air in the tire!!

I get home and use my compressor [because there's no such thing as free air pumps anymore] and put a few more pumps into it [the gauge on the compressor doesn't show anymore, and I didn't feel like breaking out my hand gauge] and do a lap around the block.  Much easier.

There ya go... used my chemistry knowledge once today!  I feel good now that I've spent so much on that degree.

Break out the toque [98/127]

Okay, I haven't broken out the toque yet [hard to wear under the biking helmet], but I definitely made sure to wear the warmer biking pants, mitts, neckwarmer and a 2nd shirt.

I wanted to say this is the first time I biked with a negative, but I posted the other day with it being -4 or something... ah, well.

Still cold.

Still sitting here with the sweat kinda cooling - should probably change out.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Not-a-sick Weekend - Bachelor Week [97/126]

Apparently, the last couple of Monday posts I've written how I've had a terrible weekend and was sick.

Now I won't lie and say I had the best of health, as I did feel sniffles all weekend.  But I didn't let it stop me.

Dean and I had an awesome weekend.

Soccer has been awesome for him.  He really enjoys it, and really has become the teacher's pet. Li'l Kicks gets a full recommendation from me.  It's good to see him so active and happy to run around.

That was Saturday... on Sunday we went to his swimming lessons - now I wonder a little bit about the instructor... but she gets the job done.  Dean likes swimming, maybe not the lessons, but Anna is also there.  So it's a good time for him.

After swimming we left mommy alone to finish some sewing so we went to the Hoito.  Now it wasn't Dean's first time, but it was the first time we sat at the counter together.  For good reason apparently.  Dean's just a wee bit too small for that and it was hard for him to try to lean in and not fall.

Aside from those we enjoyed some highland heritage with the MacGillivrary pipe band's annual whiskey tasting event.  Such tasty appetizers... really.  There was smoked white fish and lake trout... oyster dip, lots of crackers and cheeses... yum!  And I got to sit with some teachers and ... who knows, maybe I'll get some more supply day calls.  Here's hoping.

Well, now after all those Mandy and Dean got ready for their trip.

Mandy and Dean are tagging along with Grammy and Grandpa Moore on the trip to Minneapolis.  Mandy got a few days off and ... why not.  Especially as this Toddler Tuesday at the MoA is Hallowe'en themed.  Gets Mandy a chance to show off Dean's costume [sort of a trial run for next weekend].

Okay, back to work for me.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Friday, October 21, 2011

Now that was cold [96/125]

Cold biking today.  Not sure if it's causing an ear ache or what... but ow.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Heavy wind [95/121]

Holy smokes ,that's some crazy wind. Should have that re-thought biking today.
Not sure of you can see the wind sock there, but it is blowing straight east, and I'm at the part where I start biking west.
After a crappy weekend where I didn't feel well, biking probably wasn't the best idea; now throw in the cold and heavy wind...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Friday, October 14, 2011

Need to slow down and regroup [94/120]

Okay, that depressed me - I've dipped below 80% officially.
Ouch.  Next week I know I can't do 3 days [so that'll make it 96/125]

Anyways... needing to regroup.  Holy smokes.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Teaching... or the absence thereof

Just went for a quick pop into the mall for a mid-afternoon break and I ran into a past student of mine.
Immediately she recognized me, and said hello.  We caught up a bit and I asked her what she was doing etc...

But what really caught me was that she did say that she enjoyed my class and how I made the subject matter relevant and easy to understand.


This is just after I had learned that I wasn't a successful candidate for a teaching position.  It's really sad, to have these anecdotal evidences of how proficient I am in a job, yet cannot fully realize that option.

How to deal with that?  I dunno... it was a real kick when she said before I walked away "at least you're still teaching", and it was hard not to walk back and have that long discussion about teaching and the "profession".

Another sick weekend [90/112]

Didn't I just post about this?  Yeah... I also meant to post mid-week, but that never happened, so it seems like it just happened.

Anyways, yeah - went all week and was pretty ok.  No problems.  Then Friday night I started to have 'sniffles' and then it was a real runny nose.

Mandy, you're awesome, for not killing me - she was quite the trooper and took care of Dean the entire weekend while I just convalesced in bed.  Seriously - I was in bed all weekend, until around Sunday 3pm when she went to work.

Jarron had another photoshoot Sunday night - when these calendars come out I think y'all will be quite impressed.  And you better buy one!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sick Weekend [86/107]

So, last week and the one prior have been pretty hectic.  Like an ungodly amount.  Hopefully as the major events are out of the way it can slow down to a normal pace now.

The day after the Prosperity Northwest event I had gone to a meeting and I could feel my body losing a battle.  I had been staving off this cold for some time and now was its time for revenge.  Oi.

I went home Thursday afternoon around 1... slept until almost 6.  Went to pipes for about an hour [was a real shame turning back in those Lawries] and then came home and slept until the next day.

Friday I woke up around 11am.  Puttered for an hour or so, then went back to sleep.  Woke up at 3, up for a few hours and then back into bed.

I followed this pattern for some time.  I was really out of it.  Not flu like, just cold.  I get these wicked sinus blockages and then that makes me grind my teeth and stuff so my temples get sore and then I get major headaches.  So it was just hard to concentrate on anything.

My turn of luck was on Saturday when I got to play with the new Gingerbread features on my phone.  Something cool.

Oh, and playing with Dean.  It's always fun to play with him - despite how he says I'm the 'bad dad' and I'm "bossy" and "throw [him] on the bed".  But we had a great time.  Especially Sunday.  Just some precious lines as always.

Back at work today... biked and man it's getting cold.  Not sure if that really helps or not.  Gotta start getting some mitts for the morning [and it gets depressing watching my percentage slowly slip downwards].  I'm still a little 'overwhelmed' at the office here, but I'm doing ok, taking things in bite size portions.  Mainly trying to go through the backlog of emails etc... I have so MANY different things to do at the office that it's easy to get lost in it all.  With a head cold lingering it's not exactly making things easier.  One bit at a time.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Freaky ride yesterday [85/104]

So, I know I've had one accident this past year on my bike.  But yesterday I experienced another.  No, I didn't have an accident, but it felt like it.

I was biking a different route as I had to stop by the in-laws.  And on the way back along James [going South, on the East side] I passed another biker.  I moved onto the grass, and he moved closer to the house's side of the pavement.

After we had passed I heard some noise (see, my headphones don't block out sound) and I looked back and he had gone into the bushes just a bit and had fallen over.

Now I knew I didn't do anything to cause that, he clearly did it after we had passed, and I did give him ample room.  But somebody falling is nasty, so I stopped and ran over to him.  Hey, I am first-aid certified you know.

He assured me he was fine; but it was still spooky as he was just laying there for the less than minute it took me to stop and run over.

I couldn't tell if he was shaken or really hurt, but his demeanour was just odd.  He could have been just embarassed, or pissed off at me... and that part of me wanted to say "hey, this wasn't my fault you know".  But I wanted to ensure he was alright.  I offered like 5x to call an ambulance and asked if he was okay.

Just weird.

On other fronts... not much new.  Been uber stressful at work lately with newsletters and deadlines and events and shows...

Band did really well at the Miles with the Giant.  I was extremely proud of Mandy going in the 10K walk... more than I did.  The band also sounded awesome at the Scottish Rite.

The Band calendar is coming along, Jarron's working hard to put it together and get some funky shots.  Will look amazing I bet.

Can't think of much else... knew I had to write today, as I hadn't all last week.  That bugs me... but it's a sign of how busy I've been [tell my jaw to relax somebody, it's giving me headaches].

Monday, September 12, 2011

Eerie sky [83/99]

Almost at the 100 mark!
I biked today, and nearly shouldn't have. Crazy sky and looming storm prompted me to leave a little early today.
Wasn't so bad. But the storm later will be a doozy.
Worst part about biking home was all the little bits of sand and dirt floating around, and without sunglasses makes for a difficult ride.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Another week in the books [82/98]

So this week started off cold.  Man it was cold. Not freezing, but frigid.  It was 4°C when I biked to work - and that was a bit hard on the hands.  Luckily it would warm up throughout the day and I'd be fine going home.

Let's recount what happened this week:

Work?  Not much - busy as all can be with the Newsletters combining into one big massive headache [which culminated in me leaving early Thursday].  We announced the NOVAs.  Not much else, at least nothing that I should really say.

Home? We steam cleaned... that's not fun.  Means having to move EVERYTHING and if you know me, I'm nothing but wires and connectivity... plus my little bit of OCD gets all in a flitter if I have to move things about.

Band? started back up this week with our Open House.  I was able to get on ShawTV and CBC Radio for an interview for it.  That was neat.  Plus the CJ came by for a photo shoot.  Things are a-movin'.

It's been a pretty hectic week, despite how I've written very little.  I guess that's a sign of the busy-ness.  I've even wrote less this week for the blog than I usually do [ blog that is].

Really starting to wonder how much longer I'll be able to keep up the biking -- tho' today was amazingly warm - just gets chilly in the morning.  Plus as my schedule heats up I'll have more out of office stuff to get to, so less opportunity to bike.  At least I got a high of 84% before the day I missed this week.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labouring on Labour Day [79/94]


When I left work on Friday I called Mandy for reassurance.

Most weekends have been eaten up by something, so when I couldn't remember what it was we were supposed to be doing. She couldn't remember anything either.

When I got home we had our answer. Our roofers would be there in the morning. I almost forgot why we were saving some money over the summer. I even forgot they were coming,they were supposed to come at the end of the summer; I guess I forgot that it was the end of the summer.

They were pretty good at the job. They got here at 10 and were done by like 4.  Definitely why I thought we should hire out for that work.

Now it's Labour Day, and I'm working myself.  Something like 10.5 chores dome today (see my list).

That's the true meaning of labour day right? Funny story, talking about about labour and the worker's movement -- fund out the origin of the term "luddite" (which the term came up in conversation with Robin over congratulating him over getting hired).

Apparently luddites were a form of saboteurs who opposed the advancement of the industrial revolution. They didn't just new technology them they would destroy it!

79/94 is 84%!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dean's first camping in a tent [77/92]

I guess I hadn't updated in a while -- been crazy busy at work, so I'll just post about our weekend impromptu camping trip to Kakabeka Falls.

It started with Mandy somehow getting her 4 days off in a row.  It's something she had asked for in the beginning of the year, hoping we'd have a lot of great weekends instead of taking off full weeks.

So we got one of them granted, and we just didn't know what to do.. 4 days off.  Is it enough time to go really anywhere?  I still had to work the regular days - and getting out after work would have been tricky timing...

...then as it turns out it was the Westfort Days on Saturday -- and Mandy couldn't miss that.  There was a 'train' for Dean to ride; super cheap deals at Westfort Foods.  Can't turn down that.  So we woke up and went for our walk down the street [well, we drove as we thought we'd just drive out of there straight to camping].

First things first - Mandy had to go get cash, as the deals at Westfort Foods were a cash only thing.  So we went to the atm and then walked down the street.  We didn't properly plan prior as we didn't bring coinage for the grocery carts (mandy really wanted to stock up) so we had to deal with just those little hand baskets.  We grab a bunch of stuff we really didn't need - but hey it's a sale.

Then we realize that it's now a bit of a walk back to the car - we really should have grabbed a cart.  So we kill our arms carrying the bags to the car.  Loaded up it's back to the fair for Dean's train ride.  The shriners always have that little train car thing and Dean loves it.  A few minutes later we're plowing through the crowds with the toot of the horn (which Dean notices is a funny train whistle).  Dean even gets into the regality of it by waving to the passerbys/dodgers.

About now it's time for something to eat - so we had some of the Phillippean booth treats... dang good.  While eating Dean saw the pony rides - and despite it's $8 cost and tiny little lot Mandy was intrigued.  Oh well... her money (...err... wait OUR money.. crap).  See Dean wanted to go, but got on and was quiet, reserved (as per normal with strangers), and I believe was taken off early.   Ah well.

Now we were going to head out to the campsite.  Oh, wait we have to drop off our deals first... then we have to go to her parents to get Dean's sleeping bag... oh and my dad's to get my sleeping bag, thermarest and borrow their bigger tent.

NOW we're off... except we wanted to get some groceries to eat (hotdogs, milk, etc...).  So one last stop and we're off.

We're there!  Hopefully they have room... which they do ... *phew*.

We find the spot and I set to and set up the campsite.  Seeing as it's really impromptu this means just the tent, my little camping seat.  I set up the inside of the tent and it's time to explore the grounds.  We visit the falls (Dean wasn't impressed with -- or just didn't like being picked up near the guardrail).  Then it was time for a visit in Kakabeka.  We went to Odeina foods (figured we'd need more drink stuff) while Mandy got ice cream.

On the way back in we picked up wood and debated if we needed 1 or 2 [turns out they only had 1 left anyways].

I cooked up the hot dogs on my spider stove (love that little thing) and we had a nice little dinner.  Mandy and Dean went for a walk while I split some of the wood and relaxed (read a little of the new comic "Witch Doctor" -- amazing read).

Then we just hung about, and slowly but surely the lights dimmed and I started the fire.  Dean was prompted to tell a ghost story -- and wow, were we surprised.   I had video, but lost it due to a faulty card.  Mandy has one on her facebook page.

Essentially:  "once upon a time, there was a ghost stomping on the house; then the bad policemen tried to kill him; so the ghost ran away -- and never came back.  The End"

He told it about a dozen times, with slight variances (sometimes it was the police house, sometimes he did one house, than another, etc...).  No matter how we tried to convince Dean that policemen are good, he just said "no" and shook his sad (kinda sadly like).

Then it was time for bed and Dean fell asleep instantly.  Sleep sucked - I got the thermarest and tossed and turned all night.

Morning... well Dean woke up nice and early and wouldn't stay asleep so we got up.  A series of unfortunate accidents from Dean precipitated our leaving earlier than we would have liked to.  But not after introducing Dean to the wildlife (a chipmunk came into the campsite and we fed it -- yah, i know, bad me -- and it came up right close to him a couple of times).

All in all -- a nice camping vacation.  Quick, short -- nothing major planned (such a vast contrast to my usual preparation for camping -- this felt like slumming it).

Maybe we can do one more before the snow gets here.  Dean I think really enjoyed it.

Photos -

btw - 77/92 means I'm up to 83.7%

Monday, August 22, 2011

1st Ever "Moore Family Reunion ...I Surved [70/85]

So, I survived -- gotta make up a t-shirt for that somehow.  The kicker is at the end the discussion was centred on "when should we do this again"... sometimes you need a cooling off period before you give constructive criticism.

I'll give you all the play by play:

Day -1 - Just a meet and greet

I thought that I'd go and pop on by and visit the old homestead on Wednesday night.  Charm and the kids had been there for a few days, and I hadn't visited yet - and Nolan and Tiff had just got in.  So might as well get some face time in before the big event.

It was nice and relaxed - the kids all running around like crazy - shades of things to come.  All until Tucker, Nolan's dog, had decided to escape.  So that was about an hour trying to locate him.  Never run in sandals.  That's what I learned.

Other than that it was time to take Dean on home as I had a busy day at the Golf Tournament and Mandy was making the cake.  Dean wanted to go back by the time we got him home, but we assured him they'd be all asleep [we just wanted to go home] - he wanted to double check by calling.

Day 1 - Chippewa

I started out the day with a lot of sun and fun on the golf course.  I'm no golfer, just staffing the putting challenge.  It was a lot of fun actually - we raised $350 for the high school chamber scholarship fund, and there was even a playout for the winner.  But this entry isn't about work.

So I get to Chippewa and I start looking for family.  I see some and ask where are we supposed to go -- I'm told cabin 3... I pray that it isn't one of the old ones.  Thankfully it wasn't.  So I go in and I was PLEASANTLY SURPRISED.  They've really made a nice cabin there at Chippewa.  Properly stained and smoothed hardwood floors... a semi room with 2 beds, a table including a fridge and microwave -- there's even a heater!  And a deck with a picnic table.  We were pleasantly impressed.

It was hard to determine what to pack as it's not really 'camping' as I figured... but I still had more than enough for what we needed.

We all hung around the main campground area while we used the kitchen facilities to have a mini-buffet.  Then we went and had our 'talent show' around the campfire.  It was sometime around then that I accidentally locked my keys in the cabin.  Grrgh... Steve showed us how it wasn't necessarily hard to be able to get in and retrieve them.

Adam eventually made it after having his mega drive [first from Seattle to Calgary, then on to Thunder Bay].

So a good night to start out.  The chaos of the kids wasn't too bad as we're outside and have a large area to allow them to roam.

Day 2 - Victoria Inn

So, we start the morning off with an early breakfast... such healthy options as persians, and fruit rollups and some assorted cereals.  As with normal in our family we all wanted to overplan the next steps, when really we should just relax.

I started out the day horribly as I had such terrible leg pains from standing around all day in sandals, and this cold / allergy thing I picked up on the trip still weren't letting me sleep.  I got to watch the sun rise it was so horrible.  And the one time I did fall asleep, Mandy woke me up as she thought Dean was walking around crying [we had to make sure we closed and locked and propped the doors from being open].  Ah fun.

So, while everybody wanted to go and do things I just wanted to sleep.  Mandy wanted to work on the cake some more, so that afforded me the opportunity to catch up on some sleep.  Meanwhile the family took Dean to River Rat Rentals to do some tubing.  I literally crashed from 11 - 4 without even blinking.

Then we checked into the hotel.  Kinda weird to go to a hotel like 5 minutes from home.  But Victoria Inn has a wicked pool area.  A quick dip with Dean for a while and it was time to go and reunite with some family.  Auntie Heather and Uncle Richard were there as well as Randy and Aunt Vi, and the surprise visit was from Aunt Linda and her daughter Roxanne, who I hadn't seen in... like... years.  So a nice little dinner and just general hanging out.

Mandy got to unveil her cake [after receiving much praise from not only family, but hotel staff -- we even left it for them as a tip].  A little more swimming after that and then it was time for bed.  A very active day so it was easy to have Dean go down.

Day 3 - Hoito and a Bridge

I knew this day was going to be 'good' judging from the way dad wanted to discuss about going to the Hoito for breakfast.  He wanted to book ahead.  Oi.  So there we were -- 17 strong trying to find a way to have a nice brunch.  Have I mentioned the chaos that is 6 kid, most under the age 10?  Yeah, it was getting to a point... reminded me I'm happy with just 1.

After we were through with the Hoito [or v.v.], we braved going out to Eagle Canyon for the suspension bridge.  I'd never been, so it promised to be interesting.  They said it was a 'good hike' to get to the first bridge -- it wasn't.  What was challenging was trying to corral all the kids and the overplanning.

I was surprised Mandy had no problem with crossing the bridge.  Turns out she figured out her fear -- it's a fear of "falling" - so in an environment where it's literally not a problem, there's no fear.  Nolan however, didn't fare as well.  I felt bad that everybody was kinda making fun of him about it - I know what it's like with some members of this family - they just like to poke the wound.  I'll admit I wasn't quite ready for that bridge - my tolerance for 'thrills' has come down some.  Not that I was 'scared', but it wasn't as easy a cake walk as you think.  Especially when you throw in kids into the mix running around - you just want to hold their hands and make sure they're safe.

Then it was time to head down the trail - which we found blueberries and raspberries and the kids enjoyed.  We watched a few zipliners, and I would have wanted to, but just couldn't justify the $60 to do so (essentially you'd be paying a $1 per second).

After that adventure [we left before anybody else as Charm and Steve lagged behind and took almost an hour to come back -- we just couldn't wait] we went back to the hotel and relaxed as we ordered pizza by the deck of the pool.  Not to get judgmental or upset but Charm and Steve kinda disappeared again leaving the kids kinda unsupervised -- well not unsupervised as we got to watch them.  And Mandy had to go and deal with the 2nd cake fiasco so that left me with Dean, Cayley and Sarah [Ian, Kait and Amanda are kinda okay on their own... but still].  Luckily dad stepped in for a bit and Adam did as well.

What was nice was once the kids were ready for bed, we shipped them all to one room to watch movies while the adults went for a nice dessert in Chicago Joe's.

Day 4 - 1/2 Day Church

So, as a special treat I went to church.  It's been a long time since I'd gone.  But it was part of the festivities so why not.  I went for the first part and Dean was okay [so long as he played "bird game"].  Then I went home to help clean up some of the house and get ready for the rest of the day as I was then informed that the day was turning into not just church and the baptism, but a dinner then a party.

2 o'clock was Kaitlin's baptism, so I got back with Dean in time for that and then rushed back home to help out with the door [we got a new screen door], the cake, etc... to make it back for 530pm for the Moore dinner.

The dinner was mom's lasagna - soo good.  And I'll admit it was nicer than trying to cram everybody at home for a dinner however much I complained about going to and from the church for the 3rd time that day.

After dinner we had the 'open house' anniversary party - and the jewel of the crown was the amazing cake that Dagwoods made.  Despite what everybody thinking that Mandy did it.  Many church members as well as a couple relatives came out.  Very informal affair as we all just sat around with some appies and punch then let the happy couple cut the cake.  40 years guys... amazing feat, especially in this day and age.

Oh, and I got to be the 'photographer' for a while.  Charm really wanted to have a family photo taken and asked me to look up photographers.  I knew I couldn't bring a professional in, not just because of the cost, but really the day wasn't going to be cut and dry for timelines, so I wasn't about to put somebody through that... so I just said I could do it.  I thought I did a good job.  It was fun, posing everybody and then doing just some couples/family shots.  Reminded me I like photography, but I still don't think I could do it for a living [not just because of a lack of a talent, but I'm not a 'demanding type' of person to really pose].

In the end poor folks like my parents and Charm's family were there at church from 10am [10:30 in Charm's case] until almost 11pm after we had all cleaned up and everything.

So, I survived -- so when's the next?  Discussion is probably 2 years [however we were thinking of going to Disney for around Dean's 5th as a Knauff Family Trip].  And also people suggested having it in Calgary or Utah... my argument is, and always will be, that Thunder Bay is HOME.  Regardless how siblings have moved away, this is still what formed us into what we are and we should celebrate that.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Shorter weeks are the busiest [69/84]

So you know how those 4 day weeks tend to be the busiest? Well the last email day week I had was all that much more jam packed.

It really wasn't that bad, just the sense that I had already missed a day and knowing I'd be missing Friday... And to top it off Thursday was our golf tournament, so that's almost a write off... And Wednesday was the full day of our focus groups.

Each day was really packed and was really positive. So I'm not complaining.

What the topper is that the weekend entails our first ever "Moore family reunion". That is a bit of a mixed bag. Could be a good thing, could be a stressful thing.... (I'm writing this pretty much halfway through the weekend, and it's been a bit of both thus far). That will be a blog post unto itself.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Day out with Thomas 2011

...or our mini-Trip to Duluth

Let's start this out... I'm debating about letting you all view our photo album...

Day 1:

We take our time getting to get out... now I say that because The Worlds was on and I was trying to watch online [Android ftw with the flash support -- ps I called Field Marshal winning after I heard their MSR -- and after hearing I&D I should have put them in my 6].  Getting ready involves me making a dash out to Canadian Tire to get some anti-ant stuff too.

We eventually are on the road around noon, and it's a nice leisurely drive.  Dean isn't too bad.  He starts to get a little bored and resolves this by painting his nails with the markers we let him have (btw - Mandy invested in this crafts table, tha's like a lap table and it totally fits over his car seat... good job Mandy).

I'm a bit of a jerk and don't make as many stops as we could have [Temperance Falls, Lighthouse on the Rock, etc...] but we are cruising along and I just get in my groove and go.  We eventually stop in Two Harbors for a bite to eat at Culvers [where else does our family go?].  Things are going okay after it's taken forever to get our food [can't believe how busy that place is].  Dean isn't really eating and then says his tummy is sore and wants to go to the potty, in trying to get out by going under the table he emerges after he's left a sizable amount of 'sick-up' under the table.  I rush him off to the washroom to clean up while Mandy gets to inform some unlucky sap of his next 15 minutes of torture.

The next few miles are definitely fraught with a little tension as any little sound from Dean could mean an unpleasant car ride.  We decide to do something we haven't done before, but kept meaning to.  We stopped at the Sinclair before Duluth.  We've always seen the dinosaur, but never really stopped in for a photo opp.  Seeing as Dean missed out on his Culvers meal we figure it'll be a good chance for him to go potty, maybe grab a snack and then there's the photo opp as well.

Turns out Sinclair is one of those 'unmanned' gas stations ... there's barely even a port-a-potty there.  Well at least we got photos.

We get into Duluth and decide to plow on through to our hotel (who knows how long Dean's got this safe streak in him).  We do make a quick stop at the SuperOne foods for some healthier snacks.  There are some weird people in the USofA.  The conversation we heard outside the doors was particularly telling of the times.  I didn't catch much, but I caught:  police, paper. they got it wrong, gun, chasing, wanted to blow up something (or burn something down) etc...  definitely interesting.

Now here's a funny thing.  If you punch in "Black Bear Casino" into the GPS, apparently there's several options, but only shows you that exact result.  Follow it and it will take you to a reverse "Field of Dreams" as  it's a bare field hoping for people to come to it before anything's built... at least that's the joke we had in our heads.  We realize our mistake add in the "& Resort" to the GPS and we find it further up 35 than where we turned off.

Black Bear Casino & Resort - not that impressive from the perspective of a family guy... nothing 'wow' for me.  If anything a little ostentatious  for my liking.  There's only the one way to get into the hotel, through the main lobby which means the noise and the valet staff [funny story, walking in the one valet says to a person "hello son... err... I mean ma'am" and looks a little embarassed - i get into the hotel and this 'ma'am' is complaining to the staff inside pointing at the valet].

The room is really nice - I'll give it that, but the rest of the hotel is nothing exciting.  The pool was hard to find, ice machines are only every 2nd floor, very poor internet [I couldn't even watch youtube or the Worlds], etc...  And the pool.. .not that great.  Was very busy and loud and no towels.  Twice I saw a staffer walk around and pick up towels ... never brought any out.  Once brought what looked like a bin of towels, but was just an extra dirty towel bin as I guess he was getting tired of picking up the dirty ones on the ground.

Also, there were some extra crazies at this pool.  Again, the great dichotomy of the USofA.  What really did it was the horseplay of a couple of kids left un-checked -- not only by the lack of any parents for these kids whatsoever, but by the staff even.  Several times you could see the hotel security walk by but then do nothing.  When I left was when these kids would literally run full out along the pool side then slide along their knees and bash into whatever was their misfortune to be in front of them (walls, pool chairs, etc...).

After that I was ready for bed.  Read some about the Worlds results, and we looked up the next day for Thomas and ended up falling asleep [kept meaning to order the tickets, but as we had to share a bed with Dean and he took a while to fall asleep i was pretty zonked by the end myself]

Day 2

We start carting our stuff to the car and are on the road by almost 11.  Not bad.  We had ordered the Thomas tickets for 2pm, figuring that gives us plenty of time. So we go to Target.

Ah, tar-jay, as they say.  Shopping is not one of my fortes, but we go and find Dean a new shirt [after he got sick on one of them the previous day], and Mandy looks for a bathing suit [as she'd forgotten hers].   $100 later we decide to eat at the Pizza Hut that's right there before heading to Thomas [save time].  This turns out to be more interesting conversation.

As we're sitting down (a brief synopsis):

Random Stranger:  Does he like passenger trains?  Amtrak used to come through here.  This country is going to hell in a handbasket... blah blah blah

Mandy:  We're from Canada, so we wouldn't know

RS:  Canada - I hear you guys don't get as much say about your government as we do here.

Me:  We're a democracy, just like you.

RS:  What's a tablet?  Why do they have to have so many tablets, why can't they just have one tablet?

Me:  A tablet is a computer - why do they have so many different cars?

RS:  Do you know what CRT is?

RS:  Why are there so many people from Thunder Bay here?  I hear it's because of the mall.  Do they not have malls where you live?  You should build some.

Mandy:  Canada has the LARGEST mall in the world.

RS:  You should build one there in Thunder Bay then.  Maybe if everybody were to chip in a couple of dollars each you could build one.  Because it's a long drive to get to Duluth I hear.

Seriously, that synopsis does very little in shedding light on the crazy.  It was unreal.  But like most Canadians we were trying to be polite, but not engaging.  Eventually some Target staffer said something to him and he walked away "Thank you for answering my questions".

Then it was time for Thomas.  Parking was difficult, but easy in the end, just not clearly stated.  This Day out with Thomas seemed a little more 'ghetto' than the last one.  The one in Lakefield was in the middle of nowhere at a train station.  This one was right by the high way... and was all fenced in.  Weird part was you could just walk in at any time - the only time they checked your ticket was for the train ride.   Oh, and the train ride - we learned our lesson.  This time we were getting there early.  So we go and get in line properly and are like the 5th family in line.  The guy taking our ticket even says "wow, you could probably even ride right up near Thomas".  10 minutes go by and then they start waving us down to the end of the fence.  Again, we're thinking we're awesome as we're at the head of the line... 10 more minutes reveal that we're at the head of the line for the line that's at the end of the train.  Dumb move - pissed a lot of us off.  Here we are getting there early to get a good seat, but they move us on up[back] to the end of the train and those that came last got the spots near the front.  Mandy and I were steaming on the inside trying not to get spew obscenities like the one mommy we saw/heard.

Then the train left and Dean was ok this time.  Only one annoying person on the train [and it wasn't me].  Literally you could hear every word she said the entire time.  She had no 'inside voice'.

After we visited all the sections, we got our prize.  They didn't chince out this time, decent prize for doing all the stations this time.  We then went and visited the rest of the museum.  Very cool how this actually was a train museum for this event.  Got to go in old trains and see models, etc...  We did get our picture taken with Thomas this time [it was our vow] and we paid for the photo even.

I was good and tired after all the play - so it was time to find our hotel.  Dean fell asleep on the way there, and I zonked out myself.  Eventually we woke up and Dean realized he was in a different place and was upset.  Getting him out to go for dinner was a challenge.

We decided on the Duluth Grill, not only as a recommendation from a friend, but it was close.  Dean only settled down after he learned he could have a peanut butter and jam sandwich.  The plate of fruit he got came with an edible flower (according to the waitress, not, however, Mandy).  Dean got to cross paths with 2 levels of law enforcement at this establishment.  He was in awe of the policemen who sat near us, but wouldn't say anything - even after they gave Dean a fancy sticker.  Then he saw some state troopers who said hi and he ran and hid.  Hoep this isn't early foreshadowing of a long history with law enforcement.

That done we decide to go grocery shopping [after a tip from Mandy's coworker that groceries are cheaper in the states].  After some fun with the GPS we decide to go to Superior to the WalMart there.  (I was tired).  Luckily it wasn't closed, but everything else was - we almost didn't go.  We found some neato things, and some interesting people for sure.  I got some s'mores cereal and my PB&J in a jar.  Then it was time for hotel.

We made it in enough time to go for a quick dip in the pool (nobody kicked us out after the family time was over and it was 'adult' time).  Then we slept.

I never sleep easy in hotels.  Something about the air - but I tossed about like crazy in this room.  My back is still sore and my legs still cramped.  Couple that with my crazy allergies I've been having all trip and I'm having a fun time.

Day 3

So we wake up and fight our way through the breakfast line to get Dean a blueberry waffle (I still am baffled at how busy those things are in the hotels - it's like nobody's had a waffle before in their life).  A few consumables and then we're off on the road.  Mandy had the brilliant idea of buying some lunchables for road.  Dean wasn't too bad on this drive either - no nap however.  Did let us know when he needed a potty break - albeit a couple were just false alarms - we're just not ready to chance it tho' [on the ride down we put him in a pull-up -- but on the ride back he refused].

And now we're home.  My head is still stuffy, jaw is sore from sniffling and legs feel cramped.  Still in the throes of unpacking - not looking forward to work tomorrow.

You know how the 4 day weeks are the busiest?  Well this is my 3 day week... it's going to be hell.

Friday, August 12, 2011

First Trip of the Summer [66/81]

So after a full week (I love weeks I can bike every day to work, great for the ratio) of work (very busy) a band executive meeting, and some home fixing issues I am so glad that our weekend is working out in our favour.

We've been wanting to get away for sometime and with the Day out with Thomas option it worked out with Mandy's days off to get to get away.

Only problem was that Duluth is notorious for no vacancy. We were able to get her employee rate for Sunday night (meaning it will cost me a vacation day, but worth it). So the plan was to go Sunday for Thomas and then drive home Monday.

But as luck would have it, turns out the boss had to cancel his reservation at black bear so we were able to snag the Saturday night there. It's close to Duluth, which means we can take our time driving to Duluth on the Saturday, sleep over to hit up Thomas and then we can sleep in Duluth and leisurely drive home.

Makes for a relaxing time. Which is what these trips are all about... Well really its about having to get Dean to have a great time. He LOVED it last year. I've got to remember to take a lot of photos this time.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Thanks Shaw [62/77]

So chalk this up in the book of awesome.

We've had our Shaw PVR since they first came out.  It's revolutionized the way I watch TV (what little of it I still watch these days).  I wouldn't go back to regular watching.  So it was disheartening when it started to act up.  Urgh... I remembered that it was out of warranty as when I went into get a replacement remote one day they said that I'd be still just under the warranty and better get it replaced soon.

Then I remembered the big fight I had back when ... I won't get into it, essentially it was that I was told I could 'trade up' down the road, and when I wanted to, they said no.

So, I was distraught... what to do?  Buy a new one?  They were expensive?  Go without a PVR?  I'd rather go without cable...

Mandy kept saying it's under a 'new warranty' as we got the Shaw phone, but that sounded kinda ludicrous.

Anyhow, one day we received a notice that we should upgrade our old terminal (we got it for free from Greg when he upgraded).  The letter said bring your old in and we'll give you a new one.  Bonus!  So one new terminal for free!  While there, Mandy inquired about the problems with the downstairs PVR.  They made an appointment and when the time came, the tech came in and looked at it... scratched his head and just went and got us a new one.  And it's a MOTOROLA again too.

So 2 new terminals now.  Yay.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Trips are done for a season [61/76]

It feels weird having a Saturday/Sunday and not being on the road or getting ready to go. I'm sitting here on a Sunday and actually had the opportunity to be somewhat productive. Feels good after the week I had. It wasn't dull... Never is at the Chamber. But there was a lot of communication outwards and then some waiting for a communication return.

Anyways, week was good and next should be as well. No more piping responsibilities for a while. And it looks like we'll be able to get away for a quick family trip this weekend. It's the Day Out With Thomas in Duluth. Just there's no cheap hotel rooms around there, so it might just be a day trip.

Not much else to report on. Need to follow up with the City for my cheque from the gig the other day. I should make it a rule, cash up front. I like when Ed was able to pay me right away on Friday. Makes it so much less awkward.

Oh, if you haven't tried yet, go get the Steak and Spuds from the Wayland on Fridays... $8 well spent.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Ready for the last parade [58/72]

Yeehaw, after the performance of on Wednesday night and a quick relaxed practice at Rory's on Thursday we are ready to rock our last gig of the summer.

The thriving metropolis of butternut won't know what to do with us,... Errr more likely vice versa.

It's been a pretty hectic season, and I can't wait to have it at my back. Just means I'll start planning the fall. There's potentially a band online competition, plans for the beer sampling, the calendar prep, etc....

It just never ends. But, that's what I love and hate about the band... Oh, there'll be new voting going on, and the ever present questions of if I should write a new book of music. Probably not.

Otherwise my world has been pretty quiet, or none of your business... Heh.

I still can't believe it's going to be August on Monday... Crazy... Summer's had I er and it feels like it hasn't even started yet.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Got my tablet in hand [55/69]

So, got my tablet... Again
it's sitting I am my lap as I type this out

I love it, just not the best to type in (will probably be full of errors). I'm using SwiftKey... Which is good, but the size is a little awkward to do a full keyboard style typing, so this split thumb typing idea is sorta working... Having to relearn a bit... Thankfully SwiftKey is really good at predicting the words.

So, I've got it, and I wanted to wait a few days before I started to talk about it, just in case of the same issues I had last time. So far none... Except for a bum microsd card and some extension usb cables that won't allow it to charge.

I bought the asus again as it just seemed the best buy. The xoom was expensive and was seemingly never to be updated (asus has already said 3.2 is around the corner), and not being able to charge over usb seemed archaic, especially so, on the sleek tab.

Plus you know me I'm afraid gadget guy, so the more jacks and peripherals availble to the asus was the way to go (the keyboard doesn't draw power away from the tablet, it doubles the battery!!!)

When I picked it up, the associate wouldn't let me open the unit to check for defects... Which concerned me. So I made an unboxing video as my proof in case I needed it. Luckily, unnecessary.

So far, so good. I love this unit. Loving honeycomb as well. There are some drawbacks, like no official skype sign video set or official facebook all (so I'm using with different paps to get all the features). All this however is livable.

What would be neat is to allow the gmail "call" feature enabled in here, but you can't have everything (and netflix incoming shortly).

My biggest concern of it not being able to play native divx files seems to be unnecessary as its worked with everything thus far.

I'm debating a screen protector as this thing is an oil magnet... But if hate to sacrifice the sensitivity. On my phone there was no change, but on Mandy's it's really noticeable.

Well, all this typing on here is taking way too long, but it's getting easier as I do it, so I'll end this entry here.

Fyi - 79.7%

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Rory & Rain's wedding [50/63]

Took 'em long enough, but finally Rory & Rain are married.

It was a great time, and I was proud to be able to play my part in it.  Rory has been instrumental (pun intended) for a lot of what the pipe band is today.

Too bad I screwed up the intro.  We set it all out, the only thing was timing - I couldn't play in sync with the band all the way over on the other side.  As soon as I had the tempo going I started to march and then I realized "I can't hear a thing" so I fumbled it a fair bit.  By the time I got to the bottom of the stairs I knew I was out... I looked to Rory and he just shook his head to say 'no'... so I fumbled a bit more and eventually got in time.  Hopefully not many other people noticed... to me it sounded horrendous.

Other than that - it was hot... very hot.  You would think in those cases it was best to dress coolly... not so for Rory or the priest.  And then the priest didn't let anything back in terms of the ceremony. That was one long ceremony, but full of cool appropriate rites and whatnot.

After the ceremony I piped them back up and and we all rushed into the hall for some A/C.  We mingled and talked etc... for some time, as in typical Bain fashion, it was delayed.  But we enjoyed it nonetheless.  Dean, who we thought was over-cooked from the heat, really enjoyed it as he danced and ran around.

Then at some point in the evening, the A/C stopped working.  And man was it hot.  Sticky hot.  You could either stick outside and get eaten by the bugs, or stay inside and sweat.  Oddly enough, nobody complained, we just trudged along and enjoyed the company and the speeches and the food.  Did I mention haggis?  Rory never said what 'haggis lite' was  tho', but it was good.

Dean really enjoyed himself.  He really wanted to dance and jump around.  He was dancing with Anna a bit, and then after a while she tired of it, but he still wanted to... it was like that annoying non-social guy who kept asking but kept getting shut down.  Kinda felt bad for Dean, and wondered when Anna was going to slap on the restraining order.  Aah, youth.  Eventually he just played with the other kids at the party - he had a blast.  [and slept in until 9 this morning]  Even better was he got so hot, we took off his shirt, and left him in his 'wife beater'.  People found this most histerical, the kilted kid in a wife beater who was just hitting on all the girls ... he even had a pretty good shot of taking Brandy's date home with him [you the man, cool guy]

All joking and everything else aside - it was a majestic day for Rory and Rain - and I was glad to be a part of it!

[And congrats to Mark and Allison - nobody reads these anyways, so I'm telling their secret]

Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Quest for a Tablet

*sigh*  So I know my issues are never the 'worst out there', and no matter how I say it, somebody will say "there are those with X disease having to go without Y necessity".  But still, can't a guy get some luck?

Anyway, I bit the bullet, and ordered myself a tablet.  I debated long and hard over which to get.  There's literally thousands of blogs and videos to sort through and digest to understand the playing field out there.  It had boiled down to the Tab, the eeePad or the Xoom.

I eventually decided on the eeePad.  Chance for a keyboard dock, more battery, SD slot, etc.. etc.. etc..  This is not the point of my writing today.


Starts out with me placing the order on Futureshop.  They had me, they kept saying "only X number left", then it was "only (X-4) left", etc... until I just had to order it.  So I do and it takes a while before it says 'shipped'.

Now I knew going in, that it was over the July 1st weekend, so there would be some delays.  That wasn't my issue.  On the receipt it says "Purolator" and gives a tracking code.  When you click on the button that says "track this shipment" it gives you an error.  Futureshop's customer service agent was literally dumbfounded when I pointed it out.  He had no clue.  It was as if this was the first time he had ever seen an error message in his life.

What he suggested was call Purolator.  I call, wait forever on their automated system [these days there are no options to 'talk to a representative' as apparent as they use to be - you have to hunt for them], eventually somebody comes on and I give them the tracking number and I could literally hear their eyes roll as they say "that's a UPS shipment number, call them".  Thus ended that conversation.

So I check the number with UPS's website, and lo' and behold, it shows up.  Callooh Callay!

Eventually the day of shipment is upon me.  I was overjoyed as I saw that it was "out for shipment".  I could taste the honeycomb now.  [for those of you that don't know, Android OS uses a nickname of a dessert for their major release, each subsequent release uses the next alphabetical letter to pick a dessert:  cupcake, donut, eclair, froyo, gingerbread, honeycomb.  Next is ice cream sandwich].

I call UPS realizing that today nobody would be at the house for delivery.  I try UPS's customer service line... an eternity passes.  It's so disconcerting when there's no hold music.  Eventually I get somebody who says they try all day and I may not even be delivered to until the end of the day anyways.

So I wait... then I call the local store.  Figuring, maybe they know the driver, maybe he could detour to my office to drop it off.  Never know.  She then tells me a unique thing ... in Thunder Bay, apparently UPS has no trucks, so they use Purolator.

Follow this:

  • I order from future shop

  • they say purolator's shipping, but give a UPS number

  • UPS doesn't actually ship within town, but uses Purolator

I feel like a moebius strip here... of craziness.

The nice gal on the phone re-iterates the same thing that, maybe they will deliver after work, and if not, I could get the slip they left behind to go to the Puro depot to pick it up.

I feel better... somewhat.

I get home, there's no slip... so I just have to wait right?  They haven't delivered, so they'll be around shortly.  Just to be on the safe side I call Puro... no local number, and a bazillion minutes on the phone waiting I get anxious and hang up - call the UPS store again.  A new girl now tells me that the Puro trucks finish all runs at like 2pm.  So they must have come by... but there's no slip.

Only one way to find out - drive down.

At the depot, it's like they never expect customers to walk in ... ever.  I'm met with somewhat curious stares.  I had thought this would be easy.  Good lord no...

Eventually as they're talking and mash some buttons on a computer they come up with "that truck is just coming in now" and find my package.


I had a ball playing with it.  It was literally what I expected.  So much fun.

Until I noticed the dead pixel.  I could have lived with it, but it woulda just stared at me like the tell tale heart everytime I used it.  But, then there were 2... then 3 and 4.

Now I was in a conundrum.  Futureshop no longer listed the item on their site, so I couldn't order a replacement.  What to do?  The Galaxy Tabs were now backordered until mid-August... and the Xoom was $100 more.

Eventually I determined that Staples carried them in the store, so I returned it to Futureshop.  That was an ordeal.  I brought everything I had.  Apparently I missed something... the receipt.  I tried telling them that that was everything I got, but they didn't believe me.  I even brought the bubble wrap!!  I tried bringing up the order on my phone, but it was giving me an error.  Eventually they let me use their demo mac computer [seems wrong that the only thing that has gone right in this story happened on a Mac... ptoo!] to bring up the receipt.  Eventually I'm able to get my refund.   Oi.

So I go to Staples [right next door] to get my new one.  Eventually they bring out my 32GB and I ask if I can open it first to check it for defects.  While he starts doing that he mentions the warranty and I sorta get cajoled into it, so I say "get the 16GB instead, so that way I'll get the warranty".  He gets it... it has already been opened.  There's no packing material [you know, that film around it etc..], there's greasy fingerprints on it... but it's fine.  Hrmm...  While getting it, he finds that they have a dock too.  So he brings it out and we fiddle with it [it too has been previously opened].gallery_left

So, I'm leery, but good to go.  While he's ringing it up, he starts talking about the warranty - where I find it's not what I was expecting, nor how it was sold to me originally - so I have him remove the warranty option, and bring back the 32GB.  There's some raised eyebrows [apparently reneging on purchasing the optional warranty is a faux pas], but I muscle through the stares and take my purchase and leave.


It's then I realized I DIDN'T CHECK THE 32GB MODEL... but they're closing now, and besides - I'm sure it's fine.  Upon getting to my parents' for dinner I open it up... it's not fine.  There's 4 scuff marks on the glass panel inside.


No luck for me.

Tomorrow I will bring it back to Staples for a straight refund.  I'll have had it for less than 24hrs, so hopefully it shouldn't be an issue - however, I know Staples, there'll be blood, but I'll get my refund.

The question is... now what?  Get the 16GB that I know is fine, then get the warranty?  It's the Tablet I wanted.   Do I return it and preorder the Galaxy?

So fraught with mixed emotions here..

Friday, July 8, 2011

Minocqua "weekend" [46/58]

So, what a "weekend".  I say it with the rabbit ears as it wasn't really a Saturday/Sunday ordeal, but a Monday/Tuesday one.

Anyways, nice little drive down.  What was really nice was that this year we decided to have all the cars meet up at one place first, and THEN drive down.  Caravan it for all of us.

So, we take off and about 7-8 hours later we arrive in Minocqua.  Such a nice little town. Fair number of places to choose from to eat for such a small town.  I enjoyed having played for a quick little wedding celebration the night before we left, so I ended up having some coin.

The trip also forced me to clean up the car and ensure I had room for a cooler so that I could grab some breakfast.  Apparently it's becoming predictable at these trips that I'll have yogurt and blueberries for breakfast.

Well, the first night was a good time with the gang.  Just enjoying the comraderie of a band.  We ended up using google's talk/dialer to call Brandy and sing her the "towlie" song [gotta be careful how I word it, once Live refused to post the actual name of the song].  We also "pamela'd" Erin... tho' she didn't pick up the phone, so I'm sure she chuckled in the morning to her voicemail.  We even made it to a local shop to enjoy the last few minutes of the night downtown.  I played in the streets for a little bit before the police reminded me of the time, then gave me a reprieve of 30 seconds to play one last bit.

Then it was the day of the parades.

We did 4 that day.  It's nice to get a lot in one day to make the most out of the trip... but man, by the last parade I was starting to feel a little funny.  Eric had to step out of one too.  Graham I think enjoyed it, as he had lent Peter his uniform (because as Pete tells it, Carole forgot to pack it for him). We've had guys forget pieces, even kilts before, but never a full uniform.

That night we played only a little bit as most had to return to work the next day so it was pretty subdued; however, we did have a great time (despite someone attempting to steal a set of pipes).

All in all... AWESOME weekend. Tiring, but awesome.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's all about the connections... [43/54]

This past weekend I had a great opportunity to support a great programme and as I see it, a cause.

Pierre held his 10th Annual Canadian Celtic Celebration, and after some previous work with him he had asked that I participate.  It's always been part of my hope to build a sort of "Highland Heritage Society" in town.  So often we all work individually, but rarely as a concerted group.  There are plenty of Italian societies, Finn, First Nation and whatnot, but nothing for the celts.

Well, I think Pierre has done an awesome thing in bringing a bunch of great musicians together with the sole purpose of sharing.  Our own pipe band has made it a near centure [next year, 2012, marks our official centennial] only because of the fact that we 'share' it as much as possible.  Our free instruction I think is a testament to that.  However, we're still not as open as we need to be.

Part of the weekend involved a concert and it was nice, although limited, for me to make some other contacts with the people I performed with - I want to find ways for us to all work collaboratively together more often, and I'd like to thank Pierre for that opportunity and give us a glimpse of what that could look like.

Additionally, I was pretty nervous performing.  I've competed before, and played at the Auditorium, but never as a 'solo' in front of such a crowd.  That lineup of musicians was absolutely stellar, and I can't believe I was allowed to even be considered to be a part of it.

It's just ironic how in the past few years my work life has centred on the community partnership models, and it's not something that has really sunk in for the organization I've been in for almost 2 decades.

And... it's kinda sad that the vision wasn't caught much by others in my 'community'.  As a person related to me, don't be so surprised that less and less people come out to our fundraising events if we can't also support our fellow groups.

And for those of you keeping count it's 43 biked days out of a possible 54 = 79.6%

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

It's been a week? [38/49]

Just realized it had been a week since I last posted on here.  Figure I should post 'cuz I like to keep track of my biking at least, and tomorrow I might not be able to [going to go and meet the new p2p and/or it'll rain]

Had a great last after business, good food - and it's nice to have it off the shoulders for a while.

Finished up our busier season of some gigs.  Got eaten alive at the Relay For Life.  Next year we'll be re-evaluating how we're going to do that gig.  Too often it feels as though they are trying to 'fit us in' and do us a favour by letting us play.  Well, we'll talk next year.

Had a nice father's day [oh and birthday].  My mom had a huge dinner for us.  Those oreo truffles were really good.  [and to top it off our favourite German chocolate fairy dropped off more chocolate - I'll donate these to you mom]

Other than that... not much on the major horizon - which is good.  I have the Canadian Celtic Celebration this weekend I should finish working on my curriculum for it [probably way over thinking it as my handout so far is 26 pages].

I have Minocqua coming up, which should be a great treat for us.  4 parades in one day will help the coffers out a lot, meaning we won't have to do as many.  Rory wants to go a day early to go shopping, but I just realized I said I'd play a wedding.  Hmm... go shopping, or earn some cash.  I do want that eeePad.

38/49 = 77%

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Mark it, 33 days without an accident, there goes my streak [34/44]

So here I sit with a cold pack on my elbow... I made it 33 days without an accident... Probably a lot more, as I can't remember the last time I crashed on my bike.
I had just gone past a spa for you and somehow I flipped.
I bet it would have been hilarious to watch. I think I used one hand to hit the brake, and it was the front wheel (lesson for next time) and some how it skidded, then turned the wheel and I remember a vaulting motion, then I was tangled up in my bike.
Nothing hurt but the ego, thankfully. Scraped off the part on the shifter where it indicated which gear you were in, but I'll manage.
Bound to happen sooner or later right?


Monday, June 13, 2011

Judge's Coment Kicks in the Stones [33/43]

So, I knew, after listening to the recording the other day over at Al's, that my recording was definitely not my best one.

However, the comments were quite the veritable ego slasher.  He didn't really pick on the areas I knew I needed to polish up for next time [apparently in the fall], but it did fall in line with what I think Rory was asking about (a doubling on E, vs. no embellishment).  He did NOT like my ending in the Strathspey, "...some might say you didn't finish the tune ???"  ouch.  And even commented later that about setting is what is acceptable ("or not").

So, all adds up to a non-placing.  Oh, well.  More prep time for next time then.


On the biking front, I'm at 33 out of 43 today [provided I bike home].  76%... keeping above my 75 average ... however, missing one day really can chop the % down quickly (whereas biking everyday is only a bit of a gain).

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sore day... Couple that with some piping results [31/41]

Wow, that was a sore bike ride - my calves are still throbbing.  I guess it has been a fair bit cooler... but still.  Gotta start stretching more I guess.

Only a bit of wind today, but still was like pedalling on flat tires.  Funny, I just had it tuned up the other day and it rode like butter.  Ah well.

So, to add some 'insult' to 'injury' got my 2nd result from the piping competition.  If I hadn't mentioned it already - I got 6th place for my Hornpipe / Jig.  Which I'm okay with ... I guess.  Always hard to take criticism.  But some good solid points were made on the judging sheet which really makes it worthwhile.

Today I got my piobaireachd results.  It doesn't list a 'placing'.  But in another spot says I played "appropriately" for my grade level.  Fooled them.  I didn't expect anything in this competition as really... it'd been 12 years since I last competed with a piobaireachd... and don't tell nobody - but I cheated on the memorization.  And I only did a couple run throughs before recording.  Okay, now it sounds like I'm making excuses.  In actuality I enjoyed learning and playing - just I need to do so with more appropriate prep work in the future.  Again, the comments were really good [they didn't notice my error in playing some wrong notes], and that's what I appreciate the most.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A couple parades down - many more to go [29/38]

Yay, I avoided the apparent storm we were possibly going to get.  And it was a great bike home - not only did I find it a nice easy ride (was able to climb to the top of the gears), but I now fit the new riding underwear I bought.  I bought ones that were at one point uncomfortably tight (couldn't read the size when I bought them), but I put them on today and they were just fine.  Maybe this is working!  29/38 = 76%

Anyways - we've started our busy season for the pipe band.  We had 2 parades this past week (Westgate and then Hammarskjold graduations).  I was pleasantly surprised by how well we played.  Okay, not 'surprised', but we really didn't have any issues (besides tardiness... and the fact that I forgot both belts on the first day => punch myself in the throat).   But on the 2nd day we sounded even better.  Pleased to no end.

Definitely my reed needs to be changed, gotta step up the 'transfer' process.  Few more gigs to do, so I'll get through those first before switching.

We have the Shelter House Relay tomorrow morning, and then there's the Library's ribbon cutting, another grad, Relay For Life, then several out of town parades.  Gonna get some good TLC time with my pipes - which I'm loving after playing them so much for that competition (which I'll hopefully have the results for by Monday).