Friday, June 26, 2009

Exit, Stage Left

Well, Google, Blogger, Bloogle, gogger, whatever, it's been swell. It's time, however, for In The Now to move on to happier horizons.

Thankfully, the kind people at Bisonweb Inc. have graciously agreed to host In The Now.

You can visit us at our new home.

Hope to see you there.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Possible New Revenue Streams

In The Now: Brought to you by
  • Agnostics - whether you believe it or not.
  • The Yakuza - Because your left pinkie is basically useless, anyway.
  • - you won't believe it - cynics.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Your Recommended Dose

In these times of not only economic uncertainty, but uncertainty on a moral, ethical and societal plain, it is good to know that there are people who are willing to discuss, in an open forum, weighty issues that have severe impact on the world around us.

Violent Aggression is a podcast put together by four of us:
Cliff (from Peer Pressure Works)
James (from Feelings of White)
Vlad (from the Analog Coast)
And yours truly (from here and here)

There are no set rules, no hidden agenda (the agenda is actually on the table in front of us, out in the open like a band's set list).

We tackle weighty issues, interpersonal relationships, the employment issue, drugs, the influences of technology on society, and, at one point, there's a very poignant and loving intervention, where I try to turn the tide of one young man's life from violence and hate to a more positive, loving one.

There are moments of levity - moments where we discuss television shows. It can't all be serious and weighty stuff - who'd want to listen to that? And there's certainly some levity - oh, we're comical, all right.

So come on, come give us a listen. If you do, you probably won't regret it.


I love children. I have two, and a third is coming very soon. This particular show, however, tackles issues that are for "Big Ears" and not "Little Ears". I would recommend that anyone under the age of 18 not listen to this. I know my children won't.

Also, you will probably not want to listen to this out-loud at work. There are some heavy and controversial issues that are not appropriate for a work environment.


Try it. You might just like it.

Violent Aggression

Friday, June 12, 2009

Point(less?)-form Updates

I've felt the motivation to post something here. I really have. But I've been over-employed and then under-employed, both of which serve to kill a man's best intentions.

Quick updates:
  • Baby's cookin' just fine. 36 weeks in. Projected due date is 40 weeks, so really, it could happen any time and be an okay pregnancy.
  • The "boy-name" is still Finnegan Tate. The "girl-name", which I was happy to keep as Molly Bea is now up in the air.
  • I'm working for a company called EbOWorld. I'm filling a contract they have for some Ruby on Rails application development. So far, so good. I'm liking Rails a lot.
  • Met the guy who does today. He's an Edmonton guy and a good guy. If you're using (Guth, I'm looking at you), knock it off and go to Seriously. Do it.
  • Hopped on the bike to get to work a couple of times this week. Not this morning. I was going to, but fates collided and I was up early enough to go downtown and play hockey at the YMCA. My legs were tired and sore, but the real damage was to my left shin. I'm sorry, lefty. I'll consider wearing pads from now on.
  • Big fire at the Rapid Apartment complex. For those of you Leducies, yes, that's where "George's" used to be. An institution is razed to the ground one late spring evening. Totally shocking to me.
  • I now have a facebook username. You can reach me at I don't understand the significance, but if it's anything like all the other facebook things that have come along, I'm sure that I'll wonder how I ever did without it very soon.
  • I'm thinking about a story written completely within the correspondence between two people who never actually meet. I'm sure it's been done before, but the idea has piqued my interest. The idea that you can probe people's motivations, their relationship, without ever being able to come out and say it. And talk about unreliable narrator... Everything's below the surface. Dunno, I have to get better at letter-writing, if I'm going to pursue this.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sunday Night re-dux

So, the last time I was working late on a Sunday night was because the powers-that-be asked me to work a weekend and the weekend was too full to accommodate it with day-time working.  Mostly because of a long afternoon spent with my family, my sister, and her son.

Here, we come to another weekend where they have asked me to work, and I spent the day with my family, my sister, and her son.  Today was a hot day, out in the sun, and we celebrated that heat by assembling most of the new swing set my children received as an Easter gift.

I say most of, because this thing is an unholy monster that consumes entire afternoons with no remorse.  Add to that a missing carriage bolt, a couple of misused pieces of hardware and the fact that we could not get the entire thing together in eight hours, and you have a man who has to go in to work as his children are getting ready to go to bed.

So, I figured I'd share another fun night with you.  Today, the problem is that a page with a WYSIWYG editor is not saving the data we want it to.  I need to get this done tonight so that they can test it tomorrow and demo it on Tuesday.  Will I be done?  I don't know.  Let's find out!!!


I will be participating in my first podcast on Saturday.  If any of you (who won't be participating in the same podcast) have any ideas you think would be cool, send 'em on (unless they're proprietary, or you're hoarding ideas, or charging money.  If any of those are the case, you can keep your high-fallutin' ideas).  I have some thoughts percolating in the back of my noggin but it would be nice to hear what you want to hear.  I will, of course, link to the podcast from this blog, and the main site (the completely-neglected )


The latest episode of Dollhouse, apart from being the best episode yet, completely took me by surprise.  When I heard Wash was on it, all I could think was 'Yeah, it'd be funny if he were Alpha, but Alpha didn't have those love handles.'  I didn't know he was so in-shape.  And handy with a razor, to boot.


We got the entire series of Angel off of Amazon for 57 dollars, American.  I don't know what that translated to on the day that we bought it (I don't know what it translates to now) but I know that some SEASONS of some series cost that much, so I wasn't going to quibble too much.  I love the first season for its almost Film-Noir feeling as much as I love the later seasons for their Superhero-Team feeling.  Poor Fred.  Poor Wesley.  Ah well...


It doesn't appear that the servlet request path is being set properly, which seems silly to me, so I'm going to change that.  That might be all that's standing in the way of actually getting this working.  Then I have to implement a little more server-side validation and I might be able to kiss this pig good night.


I'm planning a story that I really want to write, right now.  I may have mentioned this story before.  It involves a man who loses his daughter and leaves his severely-injured, and maybe-dying wife for another world.  I'm fleshing out the concepts, the high points, and the relationships.  But mostly I'm not.  I'm disappointed by how little I write, now, but I guess it's mostly part of being a full-time worker, a father, and a husband.  You take the time you can.


I plan on doing a blog post about the draft.  I don't plan on assigning any grades.  I don't watch college football.  I listen to what other people say about the college players, and I read what I can when I can.  I like to see attempts to fill holes, or find out what a guy's strengths are, after the team has drafted him.  I'll give my impressions on the Texans' picks, though.  Another day.


Half-way into my second double-double, it's seven minutes to midnight.  I've found the problem.  There is a method to let the program know if this is a save request.  The problem is, it checks the url that the page forwarded from, and the url it's checking doesn't exist in web.xml, which means that it can't ever be that value.  So, in the present case, saving is impossible.  Don't worry, I made some changes, and now I'm going to check and see if they helped.  I'll let you know how it turns out.


What happens when you're a computer programmer and you spend an entire day out in the sun without sunscreen, turning wrenches and screwdrivers?  You burn the hell out of your neck, and your hands get achey and weak.  This sucks.


Lost in the wake of the posthumous fawning over Heath Ledger is the job Aaron Eckhart did portraying Harvey Dent.  I thought he was fantastic.  And creepy-looking.


So, tonight's work ends after two hours.  I have good diagnosis of the problem, but the server has run out of memory, so I cannot work anymore.  One of these days, I'll have to figure out how to restart the server.  Can't do it yet, though, so I'm stuck.

Good night, Internet, and we'll talk to you another time.

Monday, April 20, 2009

ABC This is Me!

So, I received a survey thingie on the Book of Face, the other day.  I have an incredible weakness when it comes to survey thingies.  Thing is, if I have it on the Book of Faces, I don't generally put it here.  So, I decided to put it here, too.  One day, I'll get to the point where I only put it here, and link it to the Book of Faces, but until then, here is the dramatic second posting of my double-post:

ABCs of Liam

A – Age: I mostly prefer the Age of Apocalypse. If you want to know how old I am, I'm 100000 in binary, for the next four days.

B – Bed size: Too small. Little creatures (chilluns, puppies) are always migrating in and out, and the tiny sliver I get usually has me teetering on the brink of falling to the floor, which isn't safe, because there's usually a toy down there with sharp edges and lead paint.

C – Chore you hate: They don't call 'em chores because you love to do 'em. My least favourite would be laundry. It's not very work-intensive, as the machines do most of the work (as they should!), but you have to stay on top of it, and the machines are downstairs, the laundry is not in your face (as dishes are) and if you don't keep up, next thing, you're wearing purple-striped golf pants and an Iron Maiden tour shirt (probably Live After Death or Somewhere On Tour) because everything else is dirty, even the khakis you tried to get a couple more months out of by stitching the crotch with neon green thread, but didn't THAT turn out to be a mistake, because there was a reason they were torn in the crotch in the first place, and when that stitch stretches, it's just about the only thing anyone can see when you're sitting in front of them.

D – Dog's Name: J.D., Sasha, Jack, Caine <snif>

E – Essential Start-Your-Day items: Phone, wallet, iPod. Glasses should be on that list, and despite my best efforts, I can't get them on there. I hope that section of memory is not ROM.

F – Favourite Colour: Green. Ever since I was a little, little boy. I THINK it started out as red because my first blanket was red, but I'm a spring boy, and spring is green.

G – Gold or Silver: Gold for my medals, silver for my apparel, thank you very much.

H – Height: Just enough under six feet that Kim can give me a hard time about lying to her every time the issue of height comes up. I'm sure she'll have something to say about this when she gets around to reading it.

I – Instruments you play(ed): I played Piano through two years of lessons, and countless sessions of In The Mood. Also, I plunked around on House of the Rising Sun, which Cliff would have a good time recalling, if he were still on Facebook. I don't want to turn this into a rant, but why the hell is Cliff off Facebook, anyway?

J – Job Title: President and Grand Poobah. Systems Analyst. Director. Software Engineer. Programmer. Dad. Hey, guy, can you?.

K – Kid(s): I was going to say that I didn't believe in kids, but that's not fair, since I saw them just yesterday. I have two children, one fetus and high, high hopes for each and every one of them.

L – Living arrangements: I can't say that this makes much sense to me. We have a 1.5 storey house in Mill Woods, which we bought in 2006, shortly after I started at Intuit. All person-types live upstairs (in the half-storey), over two bedrooms. Those rooms are very big and accommodating for a family of four. We're examining options about where to put the spud when it's old enough to want its own room. We have two bathrooms, though the one upstairs is sadly underused. It's my favourite, though, because there's a gameboy for long-term stay. Our kitchen is the selling-feature of the house (it was for us, anyway). It's huge, as it incorporates kitchen and dining room into one. We have an office, where our mess winters. We have a playroom, though it's been officially renamed to “Homeschool room”. Our basement is where I play xbox and Kim has her scrapbooking stuff. Also, the laundry resides there.

M – Mom's Name: This is the stupid one. Mom's name? Who cares? My mom's name is Peggy. I don't think it's stupid because it wants to know about my mom, I think it's stupid because you should want to know more about my mom than her name. Sorry, I'm a little sensitive on this subject, lately.

N – Nicknames: Baldy, Lum, Lumpy, “Late for dinner” (aren't people just so witty?)

O – say can you see my eyes: Okay, this one might be dumber than Mom's Name. I can't see your eyes, it's an internet meme. I can see the screen. I can see your “i”s.

P – Pet Peeve: Stubborn ignorance, apathy, entitlement, people who criticise authors who don't put things out on a regular schedule.

Q – Quote from a movie: It's hard to come up with one that does justice to movies. Dune quotes keep coming to mind. “Are you suggesting that the king's son is an animal?” “I'm suggesting that the king's son may be something more.” ; “Tried and failed?” “Tried and died.” And of course there's the obligatory Flash Gordon quotes. “Must be some planet you men come from.” “Not too bad.”; “Gordon's ALIIIVE?!” ; “Fly, my hawkmen! Let this be known forever as Flash Gordon's day!” Which begs the question. Do they have a state holiday in Voltan's kingdom called Flash Gordon's Day? Is there a Santa Claus equivalent of Flash who brings presents to good kids and blasts bad kids to atoms?

R – Right- or left-handed: Left-handed in most that I do. Righty for hockey and baseball.

S – Siblings: Sean is my older brother. He is an electrician, but don't try to peg him down with your definitions based on employment. He's also one of the smartest guys I've ever met. Meghan is my little sister. She has a son named Preston. Meghan is the strongest person I know.

T – Time you wake up: When I wake up, I stumble out of bed and head downstairs to get ready for work, which necessitates my return upstairs as I forget my clothes, then I forget my phone, then I forget my glasses or whatever. Then I stumble out of the house and wait at the bus stop for the trip to work. I usually just see the bus before I realize whatever it is that I've forgotten (glasses, phone, wallet, backpack with the computer, whatever...)

U – Underwear: Generally, yes.

V – Vegetable you dislike: Well, there's that one turnip that was looking at me funny, last week.

W – Ways you run late: Forgetting things at home is the most usual culprit for this. Trying to drag screaming kids out the door to a place they want to be but don't actually want to go to (you'd have to be a parent to understand what I mean by this, I think) is probably second.

X – X-rays you've had: Doctor Yue (I think that was his name – he didn't have Imperial conditioning, though) once had me get my back X-rayed because he thought my back pain meant that I'd broken my back. Surprise, surprise, it wasn't.

Y – Yummy food you make: I eat yummy food.

Z – Zoo favourite: I prefer that animals stay where they are and I try to eat them. Just kidding. I was a big fan of the capybaras and the ever-peeing elephant.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

New story snippet

This is very rough. Some context: Jon's wife and daughter just died. He's found a way to look in on some fantastical world and now he wants to go there.
By some as-yet unexplained way, he's found the ability to negotiate with some form of gatekeepers.


"She's gone," Jon said, not meaning his wife. "They're both gone. I don't want to be here, any more."

"You could join us," the male voice said, doubtful.

"But you will not," said the female. "The price is far too high."

"What is the price? How can you know I will not pay?"

"Redemption is the price, Jon. You must atone for all you have done in your life."

"Come to terms." They were alternating sentences, each speaking in one ear only. It was making Jon dizzy, just listening to them.

"Accept responsibility."

"Others have accepted the burden before, but none have borne the strain."

"The strain?" Jon was getting impatient to be on with it.

"The guilt. No one is pure."

"No one."

"When confronted with the naked truth of the things they have done, all have turned away - closed their eyes to the truth."

"In doing so, they were spared the pain."

"In doing so, they were spared the guilt."

"In doing so, they died."

Jon swallowed. He only half-believed this whole thing was happening, but if it was real, it was a guarantee that he'd get to leave his life behind. Either for the Other, or for the afterlife. It was truly a case of having nothing to lose.

"I'll do it," Jon said. "I have no regrets, so this should be simple. What do I do?"

"It is simple."

"It is not easy."

"Just watch."

"Do not turn away."

"Do not close your eyes to the truth."

And then it started.

Friday, April 10, 2009


There are so many things worth saying, I know that now.  I look at other people's content (famous people) and I find it hard to believe that I censor myself so completely.

I have been feeling a need to write about my mom, lately, and I've been holding back.  It seems kind of silly, now, though, reading about a guy farting while working out.

There are so many things I want to say about mom.  So many wonderful things she's done for me, for other people. Quite a few not so wonderful things.  Let's face it, we've all got those -- we're human. 

I like to think the positives outweigh the negatives for mom.  Then again, I like to think the same for most people.

My aunt shared a memory that her son had of mom, when she was here for the funeral.  He and his sister had very sharp recollections of mom singing to them when they were younger.  It really resonated with me because mom singing was a constant throughout my childhood. 

She liked Ella FItzgerald.  She liked BIllie Holliday.  She liked the Beatles.  She liked Barbara Streisand and Melissa Manchester.  She liked Aerosmith.  She liked the Band and the Traveling Wilburies.

Through her appreciation of music and her love of singing, mom opened doors for me.  When I'm happy, I sing.  Sometimes, I have a hard time keeping a filter in place at work.  I'm sure notes have squeaked out here and there, and it's all mom's fault. 

Mom was a very protective woman.  I'll always remember how a friend of hers promised me a job and when she didn't come through, mom kinda snapped.  I won't say that it ended their friendship but it did change things.

I needed mom, a lot.  I'm sure that everyone could say that, but it doesn't make it less true.  I'm a momma's boy and I feel no shame in admitting that.

Mom was second-mom to a lot of friends.  Not just my friends, but my sister's friends and my brother's friends, too.  Simon, who lived with us for a time, was welcomed into the room with the family during the funeral and I was certainly glad to have him there.  He certainly feels like a second brother to me, sibling rivalry and all.

Since mom passed, I've been trying to plough straight ahead, as if nothing has changed.  For the most part, I've done a pretty good job of it, but I will admit that I've been feeling more temper and less patience, lately.  I'm hoping that getting all this off my chest will take some pressure off and help me be the husband and father I want - and need - to be.

One more thing to say, and then I'll leave off this morose piece of text:

Kyle and Erron, I don't talk about her much, because it's sure to bring tears to my eyes, but I need you guys to know that Katie is never far from my thoughts.  All I need to do is to look at the light in NIck and Lilly's eyes and know how lucky I am to have them. 

I want to extend to the both of you my love, my admiration, and my condolences.  Also, I want to congratulate you on your upcoming move.  Hopefully, we won't have to wait so long between visits, any more.

Okay, that's all.  I'm done for now.  Until more later on.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Monday Musings

I'm working again, tonight.  I figured it would be good to keep up what I started last night.

I'm trying to lower a different kind of complexity in the same class I was working on last night.  Basically, the thing kicks your ass for having too much in one class.  I'm making progress, but this thing is mucky.  I've factored it out, so far, into two new, specialized classes, two utility classes, and it looks like I'm going to create another specialized class - or maybe a util for the specialization.


I've been pretty lucky with the Tim Horton's contest.  I'd say about a third of my coffee purchases have borne additional fruit, by way of free coffees and donuts.


Trying not to get distracted by the lure of taking a break.  Really.  I'm trying, progress is happening, albeit very slowly, but the siren call of Jarome Iginla and the fantasy world of pucks and sticks calls me.


Why, oh why, is there a method in the User dao where all it does is call a method from a different Dao?  How does that help anything?  Especially me?


I tried a new way of drinking tea, tonight.  I frothed up a milk/sugar combo and then poured the tea into that.  It was some tasty vanilla green tea.


I have finished my refactorings.  Now I need to get them into Eclipse, make sure all my files are green, make sure the project still works as expected, and likely update unit tests.

Good night.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Sunday Night Waits

I'm in at work on a Sunday night, spending most of it trying to debug search functionality that won't work. 

Actually, I'm spending most of the time waiting for my code to deploy on the application server.  Seemed like a good time (five minutes or so at a pop) to update the ol' bloggeroo.  This entry is likely to be very scattered, very unfocused, and, probably, something that Dylan would call "Not very good."  Fortunately, there have been bad blog posts on this site before and the internet hasn't burned my blog down yet.


A father, on his death-bed, tries to make his child understand that he's done terrible things.

"I'm no angel," he says to the young adult.

"That's all right, dad.  They don't have balls.  Anyway, last I heard, one of them was running Hell.  Who'd want someone like that for a father?"


Fictional writing has been a luxury I cannot afford so much, lately.  It's been work, work, work, without much time for anything.  Unfortunately, writing is usually the first thing to go.  It's so much easier to turn on the tube, turn off my brain and lose myself in someone else's creation.


I have started a contract where my work was to be mainly in design.  From there, there was to be an opportunity to construct code from the beginning of a project all the way through.  Instead, I find myself at work, at 11:41pm on a Sunday, wading through thousands of lines of code, trying to find a place where I went wrong. 


It's getting to a point, tonight, where coffee isn't enough.  I'll have to make more, to keep myself going, but there comes a point where you just have to shut off and go to sleep, doesn't there?  Maybe not.  Maybe I just don't like waiting.


Mom bowled in a league.  People who don't know my mom can say, "Oh yeah?" and not really mean it.  People are in bowling leagues.  They bowl with friends and it's no big deal. 

You can definitely tell the people who know the kind of person my mom was by how they react when I tell them about the bowling.  Their eyes pop and I'm met with incredulity.  I think Auntie Anne was the most surprised. 


The thing that reminds me most about my mom is the feeling of warm glasses on my face.  When I first got my glasses, mom would always wash them in warm water before I left for school.  I could feel the warmth coming off of them and that was relaxing on my eyes.  Feels like love to me.


12:30am, and I've finally managed to pinpoint the location of the problem.  Unfortunately, fixing it put the complexity of my favourite piece-of-crap method over the top for complexity again.  So, I've refactored some more, and I am once again waiting for my application to deploy. 


Nick has the best sense of humour in the world.  I don't have to look at him and say, "D'you get it?" I just know he does. 


Remember, no drinking this week.  It's dry week, leading up to Easter.  It's so that we can know what it was like for Jesus and the other prisoners up on the crucifixes.  I wanted to use crucifices, but LiveWriter assures me it's not a word.


Apparently, two of the top linebackers, heading into the NFL draft, have tested positive for steroids.  Their management firms vehemently deny it, and no official word has come out about it.  Linebackers.  Hm.... do you think that maybe some team that needs a linebacker, but doesn't draft early enough to get one of these guys, maybe spread word (subtly, of course) in the hopes that one of the dudes would fall to them?  Shades of Warren Sapp are clouding this entire situation.


The code works.  It's 1am.  Earned myself a tidy sum for the weekend's work.  Off I go, to jot down my hours, and then head home.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Dissection of a Job-Change

Two and a half weeks ago, or the day of my last blog post, I was working overtime (work out!), trying to finish off testing a section of the project I was hired to work on.  The next day, all motivation was punched out of me when they let all of the contractors, save George, know that the contract with the Department of Defense had been canceled and they would no longer be needing our pricey services.

No reason was given for the ending of the project.  Certainly, it wasn't the work we were doing.  That was what our project manager said, and I believe and hope that it is true.  Regardless of the reason, we were given notice and told that, if everything worked out, we would be on for another two months, transitioning out of the project.  What does that mean?  It's not entirely clear, but it meant that I likely had until May 15 to find another job.

Initially, I was angry.  But they said... But it wasn't supposed...  It wasn't until I changed my mind-set that I was okay with it. 

'I'm a contractor,' I would tell myself.  'Contracts are canceled or end all the time.'  So I got back to work - the work of looking for a job.

Eventually, I was led to DevFacto, a company owned by my friend David.  He knew of a company, Accenture, who had a need for a Java Developer (or more, as it turns out).  Wednesday, this week, I interviewed for the position, was an acceptable candidate, and worked out a contract, basically on the same day. 

Thursday, this week, I learned that my (now) former employers were not able to negotiate a transitioning-out contract with the DoD and that, had I not found my current contract, today would be my last day at Haemonetics. 

I start at Accenture today and I imagine it is going to be a little hectic, between trying to get up to speed company-wise, social-wise and project-wise.

It's nice to be relevant again.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This Week in The Biggest Loser -- or -- Ron Culls the Flock


I wanted to like Ron.  He's a father, he's a straight shooter, he doesn't make excuses, and he seemed to be coming from the right place when it came to his place on the show.

However, last night's show gave me a little insight into what papa bear's really trying to accomplish. 

The first challenge was to decide who would face off against whom in head-to-head weigh-ins. 

tara mandi

In usual fashion, it came down to Tara for the black team and Mandi for the blue team.  In usual fashion, Tara eked out the victory.  It was up to her to set the lineup for the weigh-in.

Immediately after, they shifted to some voice-overs and interviews from the blue team perspective, saying how frustrating it is to be constantly losing these challenges.  (For those of you scoring at home, since they mixed things up and went blue/black, Bob's Blue Bombers haven't won a goddamn thing.)

Then there was another challenge that involved teamwork.  The prize: luxury.  24 hours at a luxury resort, getting massages (presumably without happy endings), hot tubs, the whole gamut.

Shock of all shocks, black team won it.  Ron had a "haird taim" in the pool, moving medicine balls from one end to the other but that was all that he could contribute.  It looked like he *did* try, even though he took almost half-again as long as it took the Terrible Tongan, Filipe.


Mandi did some good work, gaining some ground against Tara, though there was basically no chance once the balls were in her court, so to speak.  Aubrey did her damnedest to catch up to Helen.  In the end, though, it seems that, once again, Ron held them back juuuuuuuust enough for them to fail.  Again.

Luxury to the black team.

 tara laurasionehelen   mike filipe

Advantage... blue team?!

That's right.  24 hours of luxury is 24 hours away from Jillian and 24 hours of excess.  They went whole-hog that night.  Between the six of them, there were something like 12,900 calories consumed in the span of four hours.

Speaking of Filipe, the day before the luxury, Jillian completely ignored him, choosing to work out the others, one-on-one.  Oops.

After the black team got back to the Ranch, Jillian tore a strip off of them.  Let me be clear if you haven't watched the show:  Jillian is not a nice person.  She likes causing pain, she likes hurting your feelings because she will break you down to a gibbering pile of guts if that's what it takes to get past your emotional crap and get you on track to losing weight.

Have you ever seen a 290-pound temper-tantrum?  If you didn't watch last night, I'm guessing probably not.  At least not a 290-pound Tongan temper-tantrum.  Filipe was slamming his hand on the table, walking around and yelling at Jillian about the day before when she didn't take time for him.  Then he went to the gym and asked Bob to train him again.  His compadre Sione went along. 


In a later aside, Sione came up with some bullshit about how he agreed with Filipe and wanted Jillian to know that he felt the same way.  This, despite the fact that Jillian has taken Sione aside, trained him one-on-one, and made him a priority.  Bob, his goony-eyes popping, agreed to train the pair of them, and even had them facing off against their head-to-head competition.  "Sione, beat Mandi.  Mandi, beat Sione."  Stuff like that.  Bob is very funny and he did, I guess, the best he could with a difficult situation.

NOTE:  I can understand the frustration that Filipe felt.  It's not nice to be singled out, whether on purpose or not, and any time you feel sorry for yourself, it's certainly not going to help your motivation.  When you're 290 pounds, you let off steam the same way you do anything else: really big.  So I can kind of understand why he fell off the weight-loss wagon during his luxury 24 hours.  Still, to whine and complain about his horrible lot in life, having to suffer under Jillian, slamming his hand on the table, shrieking in petulant rage, before storming off to Bob's Blue Bombers, begging to be let in because of the unfairness of it all, shows me the character of the man, and lets me understand how, despite an amazing athleticism and work ethic, he managed to reach 300+ pounds.  When everything's going well for Filipe, he's boisterous, laughing, shouting his joy to the world.  He loves everything and everybody.  When something goes wrong, he can't blame himself or move past it.  The world's over, and it's time to eat.  I know this because I'm the same way.  It's helpful to see that behaviour in someone else because it makes it easier to look at myself and see when I'm doing the same thing.  It's also frustrating to see it because he needs to suck it up (his pride), sack it up (be a man), sock it up (his whiney pie-hole) and back it up (his big talk about how he could eat a pound of chicken tenders and still win weigh-in).  After the Dane marathon lies that we were told, I have to wonder how much of this show is real, but if any/most of it is real -- particularly the parts about the weight-loss journeys -- then there are two things that need to happen:  Sione needs to kick his cousin's ass back to Jillian, and Filipe needs to take his hat in his hand, swallow his pride, toe the line, pull his weight and all the other cliches that mean he's contrite and willing to accept responsibility for the choices he made while he was off the Ranch.  Whoo - long note.

To make an already-long story shorter, somehow, black team managed to pull a win out.  I say somehow but, really, Tara did an amazing job of setting the matchups. 

helen vs. ron

Putting Helen against Ron was genius.  Helen lost very little, but Ron would have had to basically double that in order to win the matchup.  He didn't. 

mike vs. cathy

Mikey was probably the only one off-Ranch who didn't totally lose control.  He lost 8 lbs and secured another point for his team.

laura vs. aubrey

This is an interesting matchup since they both had to do work at home.  Laura, however, nearly drowned in tequilla and mashed taters off-Ranch, while the light seems to be finally coming on for Aubrey.  Laura gained weight (I believe) while Aubrey had a fairly solid number.

filipe vs. kristin 

There was some good smack-talk leading up to this matchup.  I don't know if they genuinely don't like each other or if they both just have big mouths, but Filipe's loss of control led to some deep-fried chicken tenders, some alcohol, some kobe sliders, and a minimal weight-loss.  Kristin continued her solid performance, putting Filipe to rest.  After the weigh-in, Filipe said something along the lines of, "I can't believe I let my trainer affect me this much," showing me that he has some miles to go before he gets it.  Dude, you just got your butt kicked by a girl.  :)

sione vs. mandi

I'll admit, Mandi was my dark horse for the biggest loser title.  The camera didn't really follow Sione too much during the off-Ranch lux-fest, so it's my conjecture that he really didn't let himself go that far (kinda like Mikey).  Still, Sione's just about a hundred pounds heavier than Mandi, so when he lost six pounds, it was up to Mandi to lose five.  Deet - deet - deet, she gained two.  Oops.

At the elimination discussion, Ron says, "It's Mandi's time to go home." As if he wasn't the guy begging not to be sent home two weeks ago.  But now he's got his ladies to vote his bidding and he can just make pronouncements from the throne.

It's really interesting to see the disintegration of a team like this.  It will be Aubrey next week, it will be Ron the week after that, and then Cathy and Kristin will have to make the horrible mother-or-daughter decision that Helen and her daughter had to make.

And it's all Aubrey's fault.

Two weeks ago, Aubrey had a chance to send Ron packing.  She held the swing vote.  Dane and Mandi did their jobs, voting for Ron.  Ron and his ladies voted for Dane (because Dane was the most able to do it at home).  Aubrey, apparently under some illusion that it would be her fault, couldn't vote Ron home and effectively sent Dane away.  That shifted the balance of power to Bob's original Blue Bombers and sealed her fate as well as that of her sister. 

That act of nonsense conscience cost her and Mandi the Biggest Loser cup, I think.  Add to that all the little goodie packages that come from winning the mini-challenges and all that leaves is the real reason we're here.  I hope the light truly came on for her and she loses lots of weight - enough to keep her immune until they restructure or whatever - or enough for her to make the switch, because I don't truly think she's ready to go home and be healthy, yet.

Which brings us all the way back to Ron's evil plan.  I truly believe that when they split up Ron and Mikey, Ron stopped caring about his team.  He's there for his son, he wants his son to be on the show - he's said that enough times - and he will burn Bob's Blue Bombers all the way to Hell if that's what it takes to keep Mikey there.  Thus, he gets his ladies to vote off the strongest performers under the guise of them "being ready to do it at home" and Mikey's team wins all the challenges, gets all the advantages and, since basically all the athletes are on Jillian's team, they can take a day off, eat two days' worth of calories, and still win the weigh-in.  Congratulations, papa, you've done your son proud.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

My funny wife - or - that big red mark on my head

My wife is funny. Sometimes, she is funnier than she is nice. I don't have a problem saying things like that because when I tell her she is doing something mean, she acts hurt and responds by saying things like: "But it's funny!"

So when she hacked my facebook account and put a picture up of my forehead hickey, I accepted it.

I will explain. My children received approximately four-hundred dollar-store toys at a Family-Day carnival on the weekend. One of these things was one of those popping half-spherical pieces of rubber. I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. You turn it inside out, put it on the table and, seconds later, it pops up in the air, driven by the force of its return to its original shape.

Lilly and I were playing around with it, and I stuck it to my head. Pulling it off broke some surface blood vessels which resulted in a near-perfect circular hickey on my forehead.

Kim, being easily-amused, decided while I was reading, to take some oh-so-funny pictures of my injury, log in to facebook with my credentials, and post a new profile picture along with a funny status update.

I won't keep you in suspense anymore. Here is the picture:

Kim will probably make some plea to your sensitivities, telling you that she's some poor pregnant woman, and that her horrible, mean, and stick-in-the-mud husband is just being mean to her, never letting her have any fun. Don't let her do that. She is funny. There is no way to deny that. She's just not always nice.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

2008 in Review - Part One

It is tradition for me to take New Year's Eve to reflect on the past year. This year, it didn't happen. That's why you are seeing this at the beginning of February. To that end, in the spirit of getting on with things, here is the first part of my 2008 review.

2008 in Review

2008, on the surface, looks a bit like 2006, only flipped on its head. I moved on from a company to start something new.. 2006 saw me depart from Halliburton three months into the year. 2008 saw me leave Intuit three months before the end of the year. A couple of months before 2006 started, we had a baby. A couple of months after 2008, we will have another baby.

A pretty superficial comparison, I know. We didn't move in 2008 or do a lot of other things either but it seemed like a good place to start. This is, too:


2008 came in much like any other year. It was cold. We've spent as much time in this house as we did in the condo and it has become apparent to me that when we moved, it was a significant trade-off of insulation for square footage. I have never faced more fully the heat of the summer or the winter chill.

Despite a scare with Intuit and our fickle budget the previous July, I was flush with employment. The company went as far as to help my productivity by providing a laptop for me to work at home.


Then they took away any need for me to work overtime by canceling our project. This was the beginning of the end at Intuit.

On the way to Beaver Camp, we were rear-ended. Not hard enough to hurt anyone. Not hard enough, even, to break the eggs in the trunk. Hard enough to bust up the bumper, though. A bust-up that wouldn't be repaired until the end of summer.


Being cast adrift from my project at Intuit was, at first, a little liberating. The prospect of a new project was daunting but who knew? Maybe the project I moved to would be able to catch some of the lightning in a bottle that BCM (the newly-ended project) had. However, I always thing it's best to cover my bases, so I had my first job interview as an employee of Intuit.

April: Time really didn't breeze by as quickly as it seems as I'm writing this. Time actually dragged right out. I jumped around to a couple of project ideas during this time: a webmail thing; an RSS thing; my eventual landing spot, Customer Central; even a small stint on the project that replaced BCM: Quicken Online. None of them really stuck and minds were changed until I found Customer Central. I knew some others who had also landed there, however briefly and it seemed as good a place as any.


Nick returned to soccer and I helped out as the head coach again. This year worked out to be a bit better as I had an assistant coach and, let's face it, more than enough time on my hands. I also started playing soccer again, though I can't remember the specific month when I started, so it makes sense for me to put in in there with Nick's. This is also the month that the rest of the family went to Chicago and I went... to Chicago. I went to study Java and Kim and the kids went to visit with the Andersons who abandoned us to the frozen wastelands went south in search of new opportunities in the wake of Kyle's graduation.

Kim has told me of her experiences in Chicago. Driving, sight-seeing, scrapbooking, laughing, driving...

My experience was nothing like that. Twelve hours per day over six days, I sat in a stuffy classroom and listened to a Philadelphia guy talking about all the pleasant features, details and pitfalls of the Java programming language and all the tricky, nasty, evil things that would be on the test to try and trip me up. Professionally, the trip was a success, despite only seeing Kim for a couple of hours after the test. This, even though we tried to get together for lunch one day.


As far as I've been able to pull out of the hole in my brain, nothing major happened in June. Life had settled into a fairly predictable routing. Soccer for Nick and I, running for Kim, continued insanity for Lilly. Work started to mean less and less as I struggled to find any motivation at all. I should have walked away then and there and I likely would have if it weren't for the bonus in August. Hindsight being what it is, I should have left anyway. Happiness and job satisfaction are worth more than 10% of my annual salary.


I spent a significant amount of July on vacation. The four of us and Kim's family – her parents and her brother's family – went to Salmon Arm, B.C. For a camping vacation. I have learned to fear summer vacations. The year previous, I came back from Vancouver to discover that my job was in jeopardy. This year, when I returned from vacation, DING, you guessed it. My job was in jeopardy. Intuit laid off 575 people in July, including my friend Marius. This was the middle of the end for my time at Intuit.

That's it for now. Next up, August through December. Big changes ABOUND.

Stay tuned,


Sunday, February 01, 2009


While I will not pretend to never have delved into it on this site, it has never been my focus to dwell on my own emotions.  Instead, I've been focused on things that I'm doing, goals I'm working toward.  In the now, even.

Every once in awhile, though, the pot will bubble over and I'll let something slip, giving the reader some small glimpse into my feelings.

I don't know if the pot's bubbled over or if the soup is done but buckle in, kiddies, because it's sharing time.

In the months that led up to the completion of my university career, my mom was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  My first memory of things turning down that road was when her eyesight started not being so great.  I remember one eye test she had that left her pupils frighteningly large and unfocused enough so I had to drive her there and back.  Meghan reminded me the other day of another episode, quite a bit before mom was diagnosed, when she had a Bell's Palsy attack. 

Funny story.  Not really, but - yeah, really.

I'm in my room, playing NHL hockey.  Mom comes in and says something about supper or something like that.  I notice she's kinda talking funny.

"Hey mom, what's with your face?  You're talking a bit weird."

"Oh, that.  I think I had a stroke."

Jesus fucking Christ.

"What?!  What did the doctor say?"

"I didn't go see the doctor," (well, duh, the sarcastic part of me thought at this point, just a stroke).  "It was just a small one."

I've always thought of these things as being binary conditions.  Either you had a stroke or you didn't.  If you did, you go see a doctor.  How there's a decision there, based on the size of the stroke, I don't even know. 

Still, mom got in to the doctor and they told her it was Bell's Palsy.  Meghan, most likely correctly, figures that it was the first-ish sign of MS.

Mom kept working through a good portion of her MS, until it became ...  I don't know, too much?  Too bad?  Too dangerous?  How does a woman who shuns the doctor over a stroke decide it's time to hang it up?  Anyway, she stopped working.

Fast forward a couple of years.  Mom's been at home for awhile.  I spend my time trying not to think about it.  (She's retired, I tell myself.  She's earned it.)  I've got a young family, Meghan has a young child, dad's in business for himself and Sean is finally out of truck driving, working as an electrician. 

A couple more years, and mom can't walk anymore.  (It's probably for the best, I tell myself.  She's not on the pain medication she was on before.)

Then she gets this bed sore and winds up in the hospital.  I don't think any of us knew just how serious the bed sore was but it got infected.  The infection tried sneaking around a corner and succeeded to a certain extent but she got into the hospital and got it under control. 

In the hospital, my mom suffered some pretty bad depression, fighting the boredom, the hopelessness and the displacement.  She wanted to go home and would alternate between anger and sadness; between trying to make sure we felt okay when we went there and needing us to know that she wanted to go home.

She went home.  And nearly died.  Quick action on Meghan's part saved mom's life but she was different.  It almost seemed like part of her was gone and the one night we went out to visit, when it was time to say goodnight, nothing the kids or I said would elicit a response. 

Then mom got another bedsore.  The mattress that dad got her was not good enough.  They caught this sore in time, though, and she went back into the hospital.  Thank goodness for this, since they found pneumonia in her lungs.  They caught this early enough, too, that they were able to take it down with antibiotics.  I spent the night with Meghan and mom at the hospital, then went back with Meghan to her house.  We talked for awhile and then it became apparent that I was going to have to drive home eventually and I didn't want to fall asleep on the way home. 

So mom's been in the hospital since then but they say that her lungs are clear, her sore is cleared up and dad ponied up for the good bed and when it arrives and is set up she can go home.


See what I did there?  I did what I always do with mom's situation.  I managed to go through the entire thing in 14 or so paragraphs and I managed to skirt the issue of how I felt at any point, other than incredulity. 

How did I feel?  How the fuck should I feel?  I dealt with it.  I got from one day to the next, not thinking about it.  It pisses me off that I wasted so much time trying to avoid how I felt instead of actually fucking feeling it.  I've seen my mom in such extremes of pain and despair and what fucking good is it doing me to pretend it hasn't happened - that I haven't seen or felt the things that have happened?  What honour does it do to my mom, the woman who made me the man that I am today, to push her hurts, her sadness to the side because it makes me fucking sad?  How fucking full of shit am I to preach to my kids about compassion for each other when I spend every day denying my mother my compassion because I'm not emotionally equipped to deal with it?  How fucking hypocritical is it of me to cry at a movie or a piece on the news when I shove the emotions down about something that is really happening and has bearing on my life?  Even now, I am hiding a big part of it from myself.  Why?  What the fuck am I waiting for?  It's pushing me around right now, this feeling, whatever the fuck it is.  It's exacting its revenge for six-plus years of denial.  I don't sleep.  I eat until I'm full and then I keep going because I need something to fill me up.  I vacillate between playing NHL hockey real late and staring at the computer screen, refreshing Facebook and Twitter in some savant-like compulsion, praying for something to distract me from whatever moment I'm in.  Things pass me by.  I find the biggest joys in life - Nick and Lilly - to be my biggest annoyances.  I apologize to them right here and now for the way I've acted.  I've been impatient, unforgiving and downright insulting to the people to whom I should be the exact opposite.  I want to say that things are going to change.  I want to say that I'm going to work my way out of this.  I'm a guy who solves problems.  I want to say that I can just come up with a plan, put tab A into slot B and everything's going to be better but there's no guarantee of that. 

I ask again, what am I waiting for?  Kim has told me I'm good at falling apart after whatever crisis it is has passed.  Is that what this is?  Can I not glory in the life gave me mine now?  Can I not mourn what is lost, what is being lost before it is gone?  Is it pride?  Is that what it is?  Am I so worried about how people will feel about me that I can't let go of whatever it is I'm holding on to?  I don't fucking know.  But I need to let go.  I need to allow myself my grief.  I need to let my kids see that it's all right to be sad and not hold everything in.  If not, I do myself, my kids and my mom a disservice.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

I'm Still a Child

In high school, I would sit through interminable lectures and make them seem to go faster by doodling, taking notes that were part real and part ridiculous. Apparently, this defense mechanism has not gone away.

Yesterday, after only two and a half months on the job, I got my new hire orientation. For three hours. How, oh how, do you suppose that a grown-up who owns his own business and hopes to reach continually higher by standing on the ever expanding mount of his own achievement and reputation would grasp this opportunity to better familiarize himself with the company he has hitched his professional wagon - NO - chariot to? Would he become a master of product knowledge? Would he make every effort to familiarize himself with the ins, outs and processes of said company?

You know me better.

So here, with no further rambles, are some of the choicer tidbits from the note-taking extravaganza that is my new hire training:

The first bit concerns a program called LOGIC:

-510k device
-Data warehousing solution for plasma
-Foundation for thought and argument
-Only 2 customers use LOGIC
-Help Desk Bastardizes LOGIC (they actually said this)
-LOGIC keeps bad units from being shipped
-LOGIC pools
-LOGIC has tools
-LOGIC team - two members shy of a full load (talking about some employee turnover recently)
-LOGIC - available on Windows and Linux but not OSX. (funny, I thought it would have excluded one of the other ones instead)

The next set of notes is about a project called EQue. Doesn't seem really all that legal, until you realize they're talking about a questionnaire program. A note about the following bullet points - I only wrote down what they said in the meeting.

-Electronic Questionnaire
-Does the hustle-Bang away at EQue
-Plays for the other team too
-Donors like banging away at EQue
-Especially repeat customers
-Donors are more truthful to EQue than people
-EQue is selling fast
-The underlying architecture is not robust and has people clamouring for EQue.

There was mention of an ATM program where they give the donor a chit and he goes to an on-site ATM which provides him with money. Apparently, the big canvas sack with dollar signs printed on it was a security risk somehow.

Anyway, that's how I spent three hours yesterday, compiling notes like the ones above. I'm such a child.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I Found It - The Essential Mel Torme

A million years ago - or eleven, if you're using decimal notation - I went looking for something new.  I'd started down a path looking at swing music with Glen Miller and delved a little deeper into Jazz with Dave Brubeck.  Eventually, I returned to one of the artists I grew up listening to.  Ella Fitzgerald singing How High the Moon and Don't Fence Me In is burned into my consciousness.  It was her scat singing that led me to Mel Torme.  In my first year of university, I was having an argument with a fellow student about who was better, Ella Fitzgerald or Mel Torme.  My familial loyalties fell behind Ella, but I have to admit that his vehemence led me to look closer at Mel. 

The Essential Mel Torme was the first CD of his that I bought, hoping it would have lots of scat singing, fast-paced music and excitement.  Much to my disappointment, it had none.  That's right, not a single bop skoobie doo ba baa. 

Later in university, I sold a car with that CD in the player.  Ever since, I've been obsessed with replacing it. 

Thank you, EPL.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year

Brief. It's bedtime and I have to work in the morning.

Didn't get a chance to do my usual year-in-review last night. I put Lilly to bed and was out for the night. Hopefully this weekend I'll get the chance.

I got NHL 09 on Tuesday but I still haven't played it. Haven't had time. I will make time this weekend.

That is all.