Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

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Flat Tire


I biked to the pool today. Swung by the barber, but he was just closing so I carried on my merry way. I remember hearing a popping sound at some point, but disregarded it. Spent a nice, long time at the pool relaxing. I didn’t really want to bike home because I was tired, but I eventually left.

I unlock my bike, get my bag on, and routinely check my tires. Front? Good. Back? ….what’s this? Uh oh. I didn’t expect a completely flat tire. It was dark out, but I rotated the tire and found a thin metal rod lodged into it. Aah… At least they weren’t slashed.

I set off on foot… walking it would take me over an hour to get back home. After 30 minutes or so, as I was walking my bike on the sidewalk, a bus pulled up and dropped off a passenger right in front of me. This surprised me because I had looked a schedule on one of the bus stops earlier, and I wasn’t expecting any buses (plus, I had my headphones on and didn’t hear it). And… there was a bike rack on it! I skipped over to the bus driver, explained my situation (I had no bus fare), and he told me to get in. Sweet!! The bus driver was super nice, which really helped my night from being bad. Hey Mr Bus driver, you stopped to pick me up.

Thank you, kind Bus man. 🙂

2008 In Review


This year has been pretty big. Naturally following up with lots of events from last year, these are some quick memories. My nephew, Rayden, was born on Feb 12th, six weeks early! This caused the father (my brother) to be indisposed for my dad’s (2nd) marriage on Feb 14th. I got bumped up to best man (but didn’t have to do much) and had a rather empty hotel room to myself in Vegas. I attended the Open Web Vancouver conference. I went to Whistler mountain for the first time in years and plan on going again soon. I went on a fantastic road trip down the west coast of the United States, something I will never forget. I slacked off most of the summer but managed to do quite a bit of rollerblading and outdoor activity hanging out with Kurt (visiting from Brazil). My brother, now a father, married the mother of his child on August 3rd. I was best man at this wedding, as well – with more responsibilities, but they were well received and totally worth it. Our beloved cat, Sky, met an early and terribly unfortunate end. We had our first encounter with bed bugs who are now the sworn enemy of our household. Vancouver, a city that sometimes doesn’t get snow all year, had its whitest Christmas ever with 60cm (2 ft) of snow! Perhaps we should have seen snow in April as a sign….?

That reminds me: Happy Holidays for 2008! Guess I was a little late on that… Here are some pictures of our insane weather in Vancouver.


With my free time, I think I was able to really exercise my geekiness in 2008. I released a couple updates to the Rhythmbox Jump-to-Playing plugin, which led me to submit my first patch to an upstream project! Said patch was accepted and will be in the next version of Rhythmbox! Yay. 🙂 It was just for some XML UI description, but it feels nice to have helped improve (even a tiny bit) a project that will be installed on thousands of computers in the next cycle. I also released a usable proof-of-concept GNOME Panel File List Applet which has stayed on my panel and I find quite useful. And I’ve done a couple little scripts and how-to’s that fall under the “nerd” category quite nicely. Oh yeah, and significant website updates. Next website todo item is to customize the attachment page for my theme, I think…. Also, I joined Twitter. And And LinkedIn….


Not many artsy things done this year. But with the significant improvements of tablet handling in Linux, I did some random doodles and a birthday card. I may not do it very often, but I still enjoy drawing, thank goodness.

Blog Stats for 2008

My Blog is by no means high traffic, but stats are fun! (These stats were obtained using the Stats plugin, and exclude the Feed stats, because I use Feedburner for that… although, I’m thinking I should revert that, now that I mostly use Stats.)

Top 3 Referrers:

  1. (402)
  2. (209)
  3. (126)

Top 3 Posts and Pages:

  1. Pidgin 2.1 UI Ideas (1,053)
  2. 2D Game Art and the Virtual Console (580)
  3. Rhythmbox Plugin: Jump to Playing 0.2 (455)

Top 3 Search Engine Terms:

  1. rhythmbox (327)
  2. bug (174)
  3. pidgin (165)

Top 3 Clicks:

  1. Pidgin UI screenshot attached to a bug (57)
  2. Pidgin UI mockup (50) by Hylke Bons
  3. SF2 HD Ken (42)
  4. The fourth was with 38 clicks, so it’s kinda cool I helped advertise a small project a little. (A project I’ve submitted patches to, no less. 🙂 )


Thank you, everyone, for a wonderful 2008. It’s been interesting, and despite a failing economy, I’m looking positively toward 2009.

Happy New Year! (????????????????) 🙂

WiiWare and WordPress Update

It was a nice fall day a couple days ago. I really enjoyed this sight, in my backyard. 🙂 Quite overcast and dull, the last couple of days, though.


I updated my About page with my Tetris Party friend code. (Add me!!) It’s pretty fun, but I say that as someone who has never owned a Tetris game before, so I’m not a Tetris vet… (unlike Shirley and Alex, who think the DS game is far superior, apparently). My only real complaint with the game so far is the music – they could have done AWESOME things with it. I want a hoppin 8bit remix of these classic tunes… the included midi, even the classic stuff, is pretty dry and slow. Need something with a faster pace. The computer moves at seemingly impossible speeds at levels above 12, but I suspect that some people out there can play like that, as well. Scary. (Especially the top ranked in the Americas, Java AI … hmmm…) Anyway, I can’t beat level 13 yet. And I think I still like Dr Mario for VS more… so fun. … but Tetris Party offers tonnes of modes, including 4-player vs! That’s pretty cool. Maybe I’ll become a Tetris snob, yet.

While on the topic of Wii(Ware), I also got World of Goo. It’s a really great physics based puzzle title. I really love the dark and comical graphic design (reminds me of Tim Burton’s stuff). The music in Goo is epic, as well. I can’t believe everything was made by two guys (+1 for Wii optimizations); two guys in debt! They’re my heroes. Seriously. Both Tetris Party and World of Goo are the most expensive games on WiiWare ($12 US, $15 US, respectively), but I haven’t been disappointed. And with Goo especially, I don’t have any problem supporting the little guys making great stuff. That’s where I’d like to be. 🙂


I updated my wp-upgrade script to display a big warning to deactivate all your plugins before continuing (wouldn’t want to damage your database!). Then I used it to update to WordPress 2.6.3. I think that makes me largely up-to-date.

Getting Fit

Over the last few days I’ve purchased the following:

New Rollerblades

They seem good, but yesterday I went for a long ride around the Sea Wall (Stanley Park), along English Bay, and around False Creek to Science World and the work-in-progress Olympic Village (which looks nice!) and back to English Bay, then to Pender and Granville. I quickly made a rough route:

25.5km. Not bad! But I my feet and legs were quite sore, in ways they shouldn’t be.. including a couple small blisters (ew). I think I still have to find the right socks/tightness adjustment combo. The rollerblades themselves are 2007 K2 Moto Speeds. I couldn’t find this model on the K2 website, which I found a little strange…. I got them for $130. Getting 2007 vs 2008 (had to go all the way to Metrotown for my size) saved me $30 and apparently they were originally $180 or $190 or something. Oh, it sure is nice having a brake again! 🙂

Wii Fit

I tried this out for the first time, last night. I tried to document my body test, but the video on my camera isn’t that great (another thing I need to look at replacing). Unsurprisingly, it called me overweight with a BMI of 27.95 and weighed me at about 168 lbs. BMI is not a very good measurement for my obesity because I’m rather stocky (heavy for my short height – all this muscle, you know), and height and weight are the only factors. However, I could definitely stand to lose a few pounds, so I set an 8 pound goal over 1 month. It gave me an initial Wii Fit age of 41, which basically means I haven’t gotten used to the balance board yet – I’m sure I could get a better age doing the test again. So far, I’ve only tried a few games and a couple exercises, but I enjoy it! I really like how it tracks and graphs your progress.

I attempted to make a couple annotated youtube videos:

Recent Geekiness

Hmmm… I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog front. Better write something. Show some sign of life. Well, officially 2 weeks of not being gainfully employed and I’ve been making pretty good use of the time, I think! (I know, you’d expect more blog posts from someone who has more time – I’m weird). Even though I haven’t been blogging much, I *have* kept fairly active in Twitter, so if you follow that, it’s kind of like my mini-blog.

So what have I been doing? Naturally, most of my time has been spent on the computer. I finished a tool (written in Python) that I had started in the last week of employment – both for personal satisfaction and for the benefit of a (ex) colleague. I think it will be useful, and that makes me happy. 🙂

Warning: the following is quite long and geeky. Feel free to skip to the end.

Distributions and Open Source 3D

I’ve done a lot of poking around with my computer, fixing lots of problems (and creating a few others). The most serious of these problems was my wireless connection, which appeared to die somewhat suddenly. I ended up trying multiple other Linux distributions over the course of resolving it. OpenSUSE had a nice polish to it, but I found the interface kind of cluttered. They seem to use their YaST back-end for everything configuration-related. Fedora 9 was really well organized and pretty, I was generally very impressed. But the best thing about Fedora 9? 3D acceleration worked when I booted it up! Even on the live CD! Not only that, but because of Fedora’s “Free” motto, this was the open source (ATI Radeon) driver! WHAT?! I couldn’t even get the proprietary (Catalyst) driver to work on Ubuntu!

Obviously, I had to do some more research. I found out that Fedora runs a lot of software that hasn’t been released as “stable” quite yet. Well guess what I’m running on my Ubuntu now? That same software. I’ve noticed my computer crash a few times when I leave certain other experimental software running for a while, but other than that, it’s stable enough for me to keep and enjoy the perks of 3D every now and then. But I certainly can’t advise it unless you’re willing to suffer the consequences – of which, there could definitely be. (I can’t use the closed source drivers, they somehow break my computer.) You could make a bootable thumb drive to test it out first. I did. Start here.

Performance, Games, and Screencasting

I guess I should talk about that. I read someone say the performance of the open source driver (radeon) is about 40% of the closed source driver (fglrx). 3D effects on the desktop work pretty good, but I can’t play FPSs (First Person Shooters) like Sauerbraten – an open source Quake-like game. In fact, I can barely play “Extreme Tux Racer.” Kinda sad. 🙁 But I can play Neverball and CriticalMass! 🙂 Oh, and I can kind of play Frets on Fire, an open source Guitar Hero clone (has a pretty funny tutorial). So the open source drivers aren’t as feature complete or as high performance as the closed source ones, but since AMD/ATI have become more open, releasing documentation and helping out the community, the open source drivers have been quickly closing the gap. This is very exciting for me. 🙂

Anyway, enough of that.. I spent a lot of time playing around with 3d and getting my wireless to work again. And the primary solution to my wireless problem? Turning the wireless router upside down. It still cuts out every now and then, but it’s mostly solid now (although maybe a bit slower, due to some buggy drivers). yay. No Internet makes Steven cry. (I really wish I could run a cable to my room….)

I resolved connection problems with my printer (yet again). Oh, and I also set up mic recording and tested making screencasts. I want to use Istanbul, but it seems to have more problems and fewer options than gtk-recordMyDesktop. I was considering making screencasts, as video tutorials for introducing people to GNOME or other simple things. I’ve written down a few ideas, but I’m not sure where that will go. I would like to do it as a kind of mini series with a bit of polish, but I’d have to look into the somewhat shady world of Linux video editing.


For some reason (perhaps I’m a bit of a masochist) I decided to learn about Debian packaging (creating those lovely .deb files that us Ubuntu users find so handy). My pain was further enhanced by choosing to package a library (Clutter), rather than a normal application. I found the documentation available to be overly verbose and not particularly plentiful – I suppose I wanted something concise and never found it. When I had finally produced two packages (the lib binary and the accompanying dev package) I could install on my system, I didn’t bother because a few other libs depended on the library I was updating, and I was tired of packaging. And I didn’t really want to create an even more unstable system. ^.^ But even though I didn’t use my packages (which I’m sure were far from “Debian” standards) I found the whole thing quite educational and I’m glad I went through it. I have a new respect for package maintainers and perhaps I can now package my own software (if I get around to writing something worth packaging). 🙂

The non (less?) Geeky

Aside from all that geeky stuff, I’ve been spending a bit of time with friends and family, and doing lots of rollerblading. Played RockBand at Jeremy’s birthday on 360. Sung til everyone’s ears bled. Drums are fun. That game is seriously fun. It just came out for Wii, but I think I will wait for the next Guitar Hero which promises even more and should be out in Fall. More is better, right? I like more. Oh and I still have to push out that blog post about my roadtrip….

Road Trip

In less than three days, (this Monday) I will pick up Maki at the Vancouver airport. The following day we will be leaving, southbound, for California. The plan is fairly free-form, but places I want to hit are Florence (do the Oregon sand dunes with dune-buggies!), the Oregon Coast (obviously), San Francisco, Monterey (supposedly hosts a really good aquarium! – hells ya!), and Santa Monica for the sweet sweet beach. I have reserved a Pontiac G6 (The Bravery does the theme music??? – sweet) and got some maps and a “TripTik” through BCAA. I figured (and heard) a GPS navigator would be very useful on a road trip, but renting one for two weeks is simply not worth it – you might as well buy one. If I had a car, I probably would. But I don’t. Jeremy and his wife, Leanne, were kind enough to lend me theirs (though I did kind of beg). 😛 So last night, I headed out to Richmond and visited and picked up their GPS. Sweet. Things are coming together, but I still got lots of stuff to do. Pack. Clean my room (long overdue). Um… some more planning stuff.

While I was at Jeremy’s, we ate tacos (delicious) and played some XBOX 360. (His two daughters are becoming bigger and much more talkative.) Now, this may sound strange, but I’ve never actually really played an XBOX 360 before. We did some Guitar Hero 3 (which I have played before, and is great), Bioshock, Ghost Recon 2 (I think), and Call of Duty 3. Aside from GH3, the rest are all first-person-shooters. The graphics on the 360 are obviously way better than Wii, but I do find myself missing the Wii remote for FPS controls. The games are still fun, and I do like the 360 controller, but it’s not the best suited for FPS – which is ironic since those are the most popular.

Anyway, I gotta get back to cleaning and stuff.

This trip will be awesome and I’m really looking forward to seeing Maki again! 🙂


Been to Whistler? Check. (It’s about time!) And I must say, it was absolutely amazing…. I wasn’t prepared for the size of it – I knew it was big, but it is massive. I guess it’s hard to realize without actually being there. I must return many more times, next year. 🙂 If anybody else is interested, we should get an Edge card together and make it affordable. I went by myself because my friends are lame. Yeah, that’s right, you heard me. 😛

Snowboarding Mount Seymour

Last week, I spent Wednesday at Mount Seymour. Man, that mountain has changed over the last… six years!? Half of it seems divided into free style. It’s pretty cool! But the chairs are still dead slow and the runs fairly short, so you spend a while on the chair in between runs. The weather was awesome except for a fog that was hanging around Mystery Chair until after lunch. But then it lifted and the afternoon sun had its way with the snow and provided for a VERY nice ride. I’ve never been up a mountain totally solo before. It can get pretty lonely, but I think I got some good practice in and it was still enjoyable. I’m still kinda sore.

I need to decide when I will use my Cypress (with my bro?) and Whistler tickets…. Hmmmm… Soon.

Some photos:

Lodge Chair
Lodge Chair. You can see the free style section to the right.

Proof I was there.

Foggy Mystery Chair
Mid-week is the best time to go. There was practically nobody there! Never waited for more than one or 2 people in the lines!

Rising above the fog
The fog hung mostly around the middle of Mystery Chair. This is taken on the chairlift, near the top, just as I’m entering beautiful blue sky. Then my camera died.


After a nice brunch with Ben and Mayu (and Emachan!) in the Cove, today, I went and picked up Smash Brothers: Brawl. I called EB and asked, “Do you have lots of copies of Brawl in?” They replied, “Yep!” So I said, “Great!” and went to pick up a copy. When I get there, they say unless I reserved a copy, they’re sold out. Wha…? They had 170 reserved copies and got 24 extra, so they sold out of the 24 extra, but not everyone had picked up their reserved copy yet. Anyway, the trip wasn’t totally in vain, as I signed up for a tournament. (Yes, 10 year olds will hand my ass to me.) Luckily, Superstore (which received 88 copies), was on my way back and had a few left. Whoooot!!

Find me online! Here’s my friend code: 2964-8264-9474. I’m not great. Yet.


I’ve mentioned previously that one of my favourite games on my Amiga computer was Turrican II. Frantic. Platform. Awesomeness. Hard as hell, but awesome. (The difficulty could have had something to do with the fact that I was playing it with joystick meant for flight simulations….) Also, the music is phenomenal. Anyway, I was reminded again of this classic with this week’s release of Super Turrican for the SNES Virtual Console. I had tried Super Turrican due to my fondness of Turrican II, but I remember feeling a little disappointed, so I won’t bother getting it for VC. But Super Turrican II looks a little better, and I might consider that if it comes out. And, if you have a Windows PC, I really recommend checking out this fan-made game, Hurrican. It gets awesome reviews and it looks really sweet. You can get a level editor for it, too! Free. Go get it. Now. While you’re waiting for it to download, you can watch Street Fighter: the Later Years.

Hmm.. While I’m mentioning classic Amiga games that have been remade for Windows, I should also mention Warblade (Shareware), a modern take on Deluxe Galaga.

Less than a week until Brawl (May 9th, 2008)… Yum.