Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category

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Say Uncle

A lot of things have happened over the last month or so that I haven’t really mentioned, as I’ve been fairly busy, tired, lazy, or all of the above. Let me see… a (mostly) chronological bullet-point of events:

  • I went snowboarding at Cypress with my brother (Jan 23). Was awesome.

    My brother and I on the lift

    Here’s a couple videos my brother took of me snowboarding. Impressive camera work, actually! Not as impressive boarding. Notice my arms are pretty active. ๐Ÿ™‚ But not bad. Keep in mind, I think this is only my 8th time snowboarding in like 7 or 8 years? Video1 (more of a trial, 6MB), and Video2 (24MB)

  • I’m now 27 years OLD (Jan 25th). Managed to let that one slip by, somehow….
  • Went to the Ruby Barcamp in Gastown. Met Shirley and an old classmate there. Saw some Python groupies, as well, scoping the competition. (Jan 26th)
  • I also briefly went to Prince Rupert (Jan 29-31), which was interesting, in a small-town kinda way. Really beautiful looking out across a foggy Tuck Inlet at dusk. Didn’t get out and about as much as I would have liked. Funny (terrible?) method to get there (plane, bus, ferry, bus).

    Coming into Rupert on the Ferry

    Looking out across Tuck Inlet

  • Went to the Brickhouse with Jesse and his friend, John. Really cool atmosphere in a not-so-cool area. Also cemented my dominant status. Again. (Feb 8 )
  • I’m now an Uncle! … er… Biologically! At 4:20am on Feb 12th, my big brother and his girlfriend had a baby boy. He’s very tiny and cute. And tiny. Congratulations guys! Not sure how my brother will be able to use his other Cypress ticket now…. he’ll be busy!
  • On Feb 14th, I gained step-family when my dad remarried. More congratulations! The wedding was in Las Vegas , so I was there for a few days (Feb 13-16), hanging out with siblings and losing money – which was pretty fun.

    Vegas at night

    Huge Alcoholic Slushies!

    My sister and I are holding huge alcoholic slushies with extra shots that come in test tubes!
  • Failed to meet up with Shirley for the VanUE meeting. Walked around downtown for an hour with the wrong address in my head. Doh. Went to Guu with Shirley and John, after. (Feb 21)
  • Oh, and I did a day-long course on Aircraft Ditching and Underwater Egress. It’s not every day you get to be dunked in a pool with all your clothes on! Really good experience, actually. I Hope I never have to use what I practised. ๐Ÿ™‚ (Feb 18)

Anyway, it’s been a pretty crazy month. Some more pictures forthcoming. Maybe.

Dine Out Vancouver 2008

Woooh… time to start catching up with some blog entries! I’ll start with the little bit of budget fine dining I was able to experience. I went to a few nice restaurants during Dine Out Vancouver 2008 with Shirley, John, Alex, and Ben. Thanks mostly to John for picking the restaurants! I just kinda tagged along. The pictures were taken by Shirley, the official Gifu Gang photographer. The descriptions were taken verbatim from the menus. This is what I had:

The Cannery

The Cannery Appetizer
Black Bean Lemon Soup
with habanero pepper, sour cream, chorizo and herb croutons

The Cannery Main Course
Grilled Wild Pacific Salmon
sauteed Portobello mushrooms, wilted arugula and chive, in a mussel jus nectar cream sauce

The Cannery Dessert
Bitter Chocolate Tower
with a concassee of caramelized Agassiz hazelnut

Cru

Cru Appetizer
Beef tenderloin Carpaccio
with caperberries, truffle aioli and shaved parmesan

Cru Main Course
Roasted Lamb Loin
with blue cheese souffle, oven-dried tomatoes and haricots vert (green beans)

Cru Dessert
Grand Cru Chocolate Torte
with raspberry mousse and coulis

Bluewater Cafe

Bluewater Appetizer
Seafood Trio
prawn in filo with mango-chili puree, clam fritter with cumin-tomato sauce, scallop ceviche with blood orange

Bluewater Main Course
Arctic Char a la Plancha
stir-fried rice with shiitake mushrooms and long beans, lobster sauce

Bluewater Dessert
Chocolate Melody
dark chocolate mousse cake, madelaine, sorbet, lady finger

All three were $35 set meals. That was the order that we went, and I’d say they increased in quality: The Cannery being the least impressive (but certainly not bad, and they have a very nice view), Cru being very good (but they’ll rape you for a glass of wine, their selection of which is something they’re known for), and Bluewater Cafe being excellent (but I think Bluewater will pretty much rape you for anything). Service was great at all three. Food was generally great, as well. That lobster sauce from the Bluewater dish was pretty much the best thing ever. Both the desserts from Cru and Bluewater were absolutely delicious. Bluewater was was a little more formal and the only place which I felt I may have been under dressed – it’s also the most expensive normally, making the $35 dine-out more worthwhile.

Head over to Shirley‘s Flickr to see more pictures. John didn’t take as many, but the ones he got are also very good.

Don’t Throw Bottles!

Ticketmaster increased the cost by almost 50%

Jesse and I went to the Commodore Ballroom and saw Brian Jonestown Massacre, Saturday night. Doors opened at 8. I think we entered around 8:30, grabbed a drink and settled at a table at the front. We chatted while waiting for the opening band to come out. I think they came out around 9:30 or 9:45. The Hugs: a group of energetic kids that looked like they were still in highschool (which would make them younger than everyone in the audience) – but they were pretty decent. They finished around 10:30 maybe. We had got up for the last couple songs and decided to stay and secure a good spot for the main attraction. BJM should be coming out soon.

Some bodies meandered about the stage setting up equipment, towels, water, and a mighty stock of beer. Looked good. Any time now. Any moment… Oh wait, gotta move the guitar a little… pluck a few keys on the organ. Adjust the mic stand. Move the guitar again, maybe give it another tune. Wow, they were certainly in no rush it seemed, and most probably stoned. Finally, the lights dimmed, and almost immediately, a large portion of the audience lit up. A spooky loop (must be their entry music) was playing for what seemed forever…. and eventually, they finally came out. At this point, I’m guessing it was 11:30.

Anton, the lead singer (it’s basically his band), took a little while longer… and looked like he really didn’t want to be there. Clearly intoxicated, the first thing he said was something along the lines of, “Don’t throw anything at me. That’s the quickest way to get kicked out. We’ve hired a hundred skin heads that will kick the shit out of anyone that fucks with us. …We’re gonna play for you tonight because you really deserve it, don’t you? So just… enjoy the show.” The crowd, of course, loved them, and this behaviour is what’s expected from Anton. The music was awesome when they were playing, and I have to admit, the lead singer telling off members of the crowd and even his own band were particularly entertaining.

At one point, Frankie, one of the guitarists, started to say “You guys are the best audience we’ve ever had in Vancouver…” but he was cut off by Anton: “Frankie, sit down and shut the fuck up! I’m tuning my guitar!” I think that was the only thing any of the other band members ever said.

Requests were not being taken. People would yell out the names of their favourite song, and Anton would say, “We’re not taking requests, so fuck you.” or “I already told you we’re not doing requests! I request you shut the fuck up!”

The show was very entertaining, to say the least. It ended at 1:00. By the end, somebody from the audience did throw a bottle. I didn’t see what it hit or where it landed or what, but it’s safe to say Anton went on a bit of a rant, calling whoever threw the bottle to come up on stage so he could kick their ass. He did have a very valid point, though: “Don’t throw bottles.” Seriously people, don’t pay for tickets to see someone and throw bottles at them on stage. That’s dangerous and a good way to ruin the rest of the show for everyone else.

  • All of Brian Jonestown Massacre’s albums are available for free download on their website. I thought that was pretty damn cool and that’s one reason I decided to go when Jesse made the suggestion.
  • There’s an interview with Anton Newcombe that provides a little background and is a pretty interesting read.
  • A poor quality video on youtube of some clips from the night. At about 3:50 is some dialogue between Anton and the crowd that must have been after Jesse and I had left. In the description, it says the band was held up at the border. Shame. I’m sure some better quality videos will appear later.
  • A review in the Georgia Straight of a previous show in Vancouver. Sounds similar…. The “holy wall of noise” happened a couple times, where the band was just banging out the same piece of music letting it grow in loudness and intensity. This lasted for minutes at a time. It was very trance-like and very awesome.

Listening to both bands has reassured me of one thing: I should acquire a drum set when I obtain the means. For some reason, I think I’d really enjoy them. Maybe I just like the idea hitting things….

holy crap, I have a blog!

Ah right. Forgot about this. Okay fine, I knowingly neglected it. Not completely, though… I had a partially written post from a few months ago, but it never made the transition from Tomboy to WP. Things to report:

First thing’s first. January has come and gone (along with a few other months…):
me.age++;

I got a pretty sweet blazer from my brother. It’s a little big, and almost too warm to wear now, but I like it. Saw Children of Men with Kurt and Jesse. Great movie. Longest, craziest takes ever! Have also since been to a restaurant called the Foundation (on 6th and Main, I think). I had an awesome dish of beans and rice with papaya and lime sauce… so good, I must go again and try making it myself. We also went to an Ethiopian restaurant on Commercial and stuffed ourselves silly with our bare hands. Like men are meant to do. Food and service were really good. Price, ironically, was a little steep. Oh yeah, and now Kurt is in Brazil….

Speaking of travelling. I will not be going to Japan. I did not get accepted into JET. I had a bad feeling after the interview in February, so I’m not terribly surprised, but I am disappointed. I was looking forward to going to Japan again… even if I got stuck in some remote place. But more importantly, I must now decide what I will do. Do I look for a job? In Vancouver? ๐Ÿ˜ฎ

I don’t really have any plans, at the moment, aside from enjoying my summer and learning up some computer stuff (in preparation for job interviews, i guess). I just finished my History exam, last night, so school’s pretty much behind me. Have a couple meetings left and that’s it! Felt kind of elated on the bus home, last night – I guess I’m happy to finally be finishing school. ๐Ÿ˜‰ I plan on lots of rollerblading. Too bad the seawall will be closed. Really… that sucks. ๐Ÿ™ I’ll have to go back and forth in English Bay or something.

I also meant to apply for Google’s Summer of Code. And, on the very last day, I had an idea and figured, “sure. why not?” So I put together an application as fast as I could not expecting to be chosen, and I wasn’t. My idea was really “out there” too. ๐Ÿ™‚ Still, like JET, disappointed. That woulda been awesome. I’ll see if I can put together my idea for another post… and I may work on it anyways, this summer.

For some cheap amusement in Wii Weather channel, zoom into the Turks and Caicos Islands, to the north-east of Cuba. ๐Ÿ™‚

Snowboarding

Finally went snowboarding this year! Needless to say, it was awesome. I’ve never been to Grouse Mountain before so I was quite impressed with the view when coming down “The Cut.” Especially as the sky cleared up and the lights of Vancouver started to light up in the evening.

Don’t worry, I know I need smaller posts…

School

Holy crap, school has already started! Luckily, my schedule isn’t too intense (read: class starts at 2pm every day). heh. But… No more vacation!!!!! :'( I’m taking two computer courses, Advanced Software Engineering (CPSC 410) and Distributed Systems (CPSC 416), 20th Century Wolrd History (HIST 103), as well as the English Grammar course I’m doing through distance ed. My history class has an unheard of EIGHT required texts (four per term)! They’re not as expensive as computer texts, but they’re not cheap, either. I did some pricing, and if I get all eight of the history books NEW, then it’ll set me back about 300 bucks. Ew…

Anyways, I got a lot of stuff I’ve been meaning to blog about.

K2

Got new (old) rollerblades: K2 Ascent Softboots. They’re in really good condition and were only $30! Wooooh! Way better than my old Bauer pair. Discovered later that they’re women’s rollerblades. … Hmmm… Oh well. They’re comfortable and they’re not pink, so I don’t mind. But wow, rollerblading is just so much more enjoyable with a decent pair of boots.

While I was at the consignment store, I was thinking of armour… knee pads, elbow pads, and wrist guards. Well, probably don’t need elbow pads, I can’t remember ever hurting my elbows in a wipe-out. Knee pads? Nope, never land on my knees! I’ll probably get wrist guards later and continue skating without a helmet. It’s not like I’m not doing aggressive inline, or something.

Well, looks like I’ll get knee pads, after all…. for when I want to practise jumping off speedbumps. ๐Ÿ™ But, it only took about a day before I was back on ’em! I’ve since done a nice skate starting at Stanley Park and ending at Science World. Many times! Totally awesome. According to gmap pedometer, it’s about 13 or 14 kilometres, so it’s a pretty good workout, too. Last time I did it, I did it in 50 minutes. Whooo.

Note: I’ve actually messed my leg up a second time in the same spot. This time, it wasn’t so dramatic, either. I basically stood up, rolled across the street, and fell over. Doh. How to look a fool….

Network Manager

Spent a day tinkering w/NetworkManager on both my desktop and laptop, trying to get it to work. Discovered the rt2500 (http://rt2x00.serialmonkey.com/) wireless drivers are not (yet) compatible with NetworkManager, so I gave up on the desktop – not really useful on the desktop, anyways. The laptop, however, should have been working with it’s orinoco_cs card. Decided I’d try a more recent version before filing a bug report. Plus, I thought this would actually increase the utility of my laptop, if I could get it to work. Somehow, I came to the conclusion that I might as well try out the unstable Ubuntu (Edgy), while I’m at it. It was interesting seeing some changes, and I should note that NetworkManager 0.6.3 works fine with orinoco_cs. At least, I don’t have to file that bug report! However, I ended up backing up my data and reinstalling Dapper. Fresh & clean. eheh. >.< I’ll stay away from Edgy until it’s closer to the release date – a while yet.

Linux USB Troubleshooting

After I tried inserting two cards, at the same, time into my USB2.0 card reader, my USB 2.0 devices started crapping out. This failure was present even after a complete reboot! dmesg reported that the devices were not accepting addresses.


[4308240.499000] usb 4-3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 11
[4308240.602000] usb 4-3: device descriptor read/64, error -32
[4308240.806000] usb 4-3: device descriptor read/64, error -32
[4308241.009000] usb 4-3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 12
[4308241.112000] usb 4-3: device descriptor read/64, error -32
[4308241.316000] usb 4-3: device descriptor read/64, error -32
[4308241.519000] usb 4-3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 13
[4308241.921000] usb 4-3: device not accepting address 13, error -32
[4308242.023000] usb 4-3: new high speed USB device using ehci_hcd and address 14
[4308242.425000] usb 4-3: device not accepting address 14, error -32

Some googling led me to linux-usb.org. Not sure why, exactly, but removing the module and forcing it to start again when inserting the USB mass storage device (again) seemed to work:

sudo rmmod ehci-hcd

Yay! Now, for some reason, I have to do this every time I start the computer, before any of my mass storage USB2 devices will work… >.< Oh well, on with life.

rsync

I’ve heard rsync referred to many times before, but never got around to actually spending a few minutes trying it out. This is almost exactly what I need for keeping data between my laptop and my desktop in sync. I currently have a text file on my laptop that contains a couple of rsync commands that I’ve found useful. I start with them as a template and customize them a little each time I do it, depending on what I’m doing. I’ll have to search a bit to see if there’s a graphical app that wraps it up more nicely.

BarCamp Vancouver

OMG, this looks like it was so good! I wasn’t able to attend (and I didn’t have anything to present), but thanks to the online content, anyone that’s interested can take a look. I’ve been slowly sponging. The introductions are entertaining; they had free (not Free) beer!

New Stuff

I got a few new things before going on holiday: 256MB of RAM for my laptop (now totalling 512), a printer/scanner/fax/copier (brother MFC-420CN), and an audio player (Cowon iAUDIO U2). The audio player is awesome. It has an FM Radio, voice recorder, and also plays WMA and, more importantly, OGG files. It’s also super small (like a pack of gum), has a decent amount of storage (1GB), has a great menu system and interface with tonnes of features, and is even reasonably sexy. One thing I found surprisingly useful was the loop feature. While testing some Japanese audio material (in OGG format), I had trouble making out what the voice said. So I scanned back a bit before the piece in question, set a mark by pressing the REC button, let it play a while until the section I wanted to listen to was over and I pushed the REC button again to mark the end of the section. It would then loop on this section until I pressed the REC button a third time, causing it to continue, as normal. Very useful!

I bought the printer because I hate our existing printer, and I hate having to walk upstairs to use it. It has this really annoying habit of mindlessly feeding paper through instead of actually printing on it… and not just a single sheet, but huge clumps at a time! Then it has the nerve to run out of paper and stop printing. Die! This way I also get a scanner & copier in my room. It was cheap, gets good reviews, has an ethernet port, and brother provides drivers for Linux. It’s also got extensive fax features, which I will probably never use. So far, I’ve only gotten around to setting up printing, and I’ve done that with a crossover cable, sadly.

I bought the RAM simply because it was time… and I was buying other stuff.

Cowpoke ‘n Family Folk

I’ve fallen behind my blogging, again. Been busy playing w/Python and acquiring new toys: rollerblades, printer, audio player, extra ram for my notebook. Details on those and their related hardships, later. Just wanted to say I’ll be going to the Flying U to ride some horsies with my family. I haven’t been there for a long time, but I’m sure it will be awesome, just like the other times! And it will be yet-another-thing to blog about. I’ll be back by September 1st. (Holy shit, school’s a comin fast.) ๐Ÿ˜

Now, where’d I put d’em cowboy boots?

Cramming the Snake

Yesterday, I had a nice time relaxing. Went for a bit of a bike ride to the park, played on the swings for a while (I friggin love swings!), got a venti coffee Frappuccino, took a look at Myung-Jin’s new camera (she is one of our current homestay students), did some blogging, and made hamburgers. And ate ’em! MMM MMmmm. Today, I got up late and went for a hike/jog up Quarry Rock in Deep Cove.

  • 10 minute jog from my house to the trail entrance, in Deep Cove
  • 18 minute jog/hike to the lookout point on Quarry Rock
  • It was SO NICE (as usual) up there, that I stayed for a long time. Took off my shirt and let the strong sea breeze cool me off. I didn’t want to leave!
  • 15 minute jog/hike back down to the trail entrance
  • and I mostly walked back, stretching and enjoying the scenery (well, I was mostly just tired)

I’ve since hydrated and showered myself. Now, I have to learn whatever I can of Python, as I’ll be going to the Vancouver Python Workshop. I’m looking forward to it!

I think I’ll have one of those tasty burgers for a late-lunch/early-dinner.

Catching Up

The presentation clogged up my blog buffer.

*flush*

Making Money

Spent a few days power-washing a rather large driveway. I put on super strong sunscreen but I still got a little toasted. I’ll consider it nicely tanned. ๐Ÿ™‚ The job will probably be the only paid labour I do all summer, which I’m fine with. I should have enough $ in the bank to last my school year and maybe even buy a couple geeky toys and enjoy myself once in a while. (Yay, for co-op.) I’ll still have my student loan, of course.

And I came home one day to find out a neighbour had called me twice. Someone I never usually talk to over the phone. They had just bought a router and were having trouble setting it up. “Yah, sure. I’ll take a look at it, tonight.” I walked across the street, spent 30 minutes leisurely setting stuff up, and said don’t worry about any form of payment. I emphasized it. A day or two late, the husband came over and gave me $30. I’m available for work. My new rate is $1/minute. ๐Ÿ™‚

Rails and the Ruby that’s on it

Went to a Ruby-on-Rails workshop at UBC, last night on July 26. Met Shirley and her friend, KC, there. The presenter obviously knew his Ruby. And his Rails. But there was so much covered in 90 minutes that it was impossible to move along with the presenter. After being told to setup and bring a laptop to do exactly that, I found it a little strange. I was doing ok, until I encountered a problem. He even went over how to solve my problem (on OSX), but I didn’t catch what he said and he alt-tabbed away from the solution (jumping into the next step) before I could spot it. A video was made, and I think it will be a better resource as a video – with pause and scan.

School

Got my graduation checklist reviewed. All they did was add check-marks to all my credit tallies. After spending so long verifying everything and then waiting a month for a review, six red check-marks is somewhat of a disappointment – even though, it’s a good thing. But, as it turns out, I don’t need all the courses I’m registered for; I could drop a 400 level comp-sci, if I want. So I probably will. It’s nice, because it makes my last terms fairly manageable. Also, I’m taking world history to fill my arts requirements, so that should be interesting.

It’s funny, though. I was thinking I would be one upper level elective short. I was going to try and weasel my way in to a Directed Studies, because I thought that would be an awesome experience. But I’d have to find something I want to work on, talk to various professors, and write up a proposal… it would be a lot of work just to get into it. I still think it would be an awesome experience, but since I actually have an excess of credits, I probably won’t do this. Lazy, I know. Hi, my name’s Steve. ๐Ÿ™‚

Spending Money

Futureshop is selling Casio Exilim S500’s for $200 (reg $350) and refurbished Canon ELPH SD400’s for $250 (reg $350). These have been tempting me for a long time. Well, over the last few hours, at least. I love my Canon IXY Digital 400 (or ELPH S400). The primary reasons why I would want another camera would be for pocketability, and more capable video. Both of these cameras would satisfy those desires, I think. The SD400 is about 5 mm thinner than my S400, and the Casio is about 5 mm thinner than the SD400 (1cm thinner than my S400). But the SD400 has better video and produces better quality images. However, neither of the cameras will work with my underwater housing (which I’m not ready to part with), so either way, if I got one of them, I’d still have my S400. This makes me lean towards the Casio. But I might just let this impulse slide by… then, of course, there’s the DSLite… hmmm.

Anniversaries

Congrats to Ben! I hear he’s officially old. Just kidding, Ben. ๐Ÿ™‚ Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the party. :'( We shall meet soon….

And congratulations to Ben & Juliette! This Ben’s a neighbour of mine (not the router one). It’s so neighbourly, around here! I attended their wedding on July 29th.

Tofino Fishing, Link Dump

Tofino

Alright, so I’ve returned from my fishing trip. Actually, I returned like a week ago. ^_^ I went to Tofino with my Dad, his girlfriend, and my brother. I caught the biggest fish both of the trip (my dad hooked it, I reeled it in), and of my life: a 22.5 pound Spring Salmon.

Altogether, we kept 13 fish. A good variety of Halibut, Rock Cod, Spring and Coho Salmon.

Tofino is also a well-known surfer hangout. I’d never been to Long Beach before, and it was really beautiful. After seeing so many people enjoying surfing, I think I’d really like it. Anyone up for a surfing trip? I’m 25 now, so I can finally rent a car. We could camp on the beach, rent a couple snowboards and wetsuits, and we’d be set! Aw yeah! ๐Ÿ™‚ Seriously, let me know if this strikes your fancy.

More photos.

Links

Software

Great UI stuff, if you haven’t seen ’em!

IEs 4 Linux. Amazing. Scary, but amazing. Good for testing websites.

Blog of Adobe guy (team?) working on Macromedia Flash player 9 for Linux. (What isn’t odd with that sentence?) Here.

Games! Total Annihilation Reborn! Twice! Here and here.

Videos (not related to software)

Kids in the Hall Classics

Colbert Roasts Bush (entire conference also available via… google)

Funniest commercial. I LOL’d.

The next big conspiracy movie. Looks good.

Other

The VPL hold music! Yes!

Update

Almost forgot! Happy Canada Day! Woooh! Now, I must go celebrate by punishing my liver. I suggest you do the same. ๐Ÿ™‚