Posts Tagged ‘Family’

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Mother’s Day Lunch and Knife 4 Life

I made a late lunch for my mom on Mother’s Day.

Yup. There’s that omelet again! My mom wasn’t here when I made it last weekend, so naturally, I had to make it again. 🙂

I stuffed these with a lot of onion and mushroom. Not a bad thing, at all, but it certainly prevented them from being sealed. 🙂

And I think I’ve finally found the right pans. It’s funny, I kept trying to do it on non-stick pans, and low heat. Well, it works much better on buttered steel pans, over high heat. (Bit-a-butter-makes-it-better?) Plus, it’s way quicker! You just have to be careful not to burn it, or overcook it.

Also on the weekend, I got myself a new chef’s knife. I will have this knife for the rest of my life. Using it is an absolute pleasure.

New Digital Camera: Canon PowerShot D10

(photos below)

My beloved Canon IXY (ELPH) digital camera has finally (mostly) died, thanks to me putting it in a bag that had falsely secure liquids. (It got beer on it and now it behaves very strange and lacks some features, such as playback.) Oops. Anyway, I don’t like having to be so careful with my camera; it interferes with my lifestyle. So, a logical choice for my next camera would be… a waterproof camera? 🙂 And since I know I like Canon cameras already, a waterproof Canon would be great! Luckily, Canon released their first waterproof camera, this year.

I’ve had the Canon PowerShot D10 (youtube, dpreview, dpreview group test) for 2 weeks now and taken over 100 photos. The interface and features are a nice refinement over my old Canon camera, but there are a few notable things that irritate me. It’s a little larger and heavier than I would like for a point-and-shoot; most importantly, I can’t put it in my pocket. 🙁 It lacks HD video, which I would love and is common for digital cameras this size and price point. It seems to select a rather high ISO setting, compared to my IXY, when on Auto and in lower-light situations – I’m not sure if that’s a bad thing or not, but I have to get used to it. And, of course, making a camera waterproof puts some restrictions on the physical interface: no sliders, no knobs or dials… just buttons. But overall, I have tested it indoors and outdoors in different lighting, in the pool, the ocean, and the rain, and it seems to work pretty good. It turns on really quickly, and the battery life is fantastic (it’s just started flashing for the first time, and I’ve taken a lot of video, as well). In addition to being waterproof to 10 metres, it’s shock resistant and cold-resistant, so I will definitely be using it on the mountain, this ski season. It’s certainly not perfect, but I think I’m going to keep it. 🙂

Here are a selection of photos taken with it:

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! (????????????????) 🙂

A Guide to Email for that Forward-Loving Family Member

Dear Dad,

I’m happy to read something written by you. Really, I am.

However, I’m tired of reading reams of forwarded drivel. (But please do not think you are responsible for this.) Being one of these “modern generation” kiddies (and especially in my case) I spend a lot of time on the computer already. I have to learn to skip through huge amounts of junk to find small morsels of information. This is a rather typical characteristic of anyone that has an office-like job (or lifestyle, in my case….). …Unless they’re in the HR department… my god, I can only imagine.


When I open my email inbox, I always look at my unread emails. First, I look at who sent it – you get bonus points here, since you’re my dad. 🙂 Then, I look at the subject of the email and mentally assign an importance value to it. All forwarded email has “FWD” or “FW” (or something equivalent) in the subject and is almost immediately classified as optional, in my mind. (In the past, I’ve even automated this process by creating email filters that sort all forwards into an ‘unimportant’ folder I can browse later.) I scan the rest of the subject and decide if it interests me enough to open it. If not, I delete it.


If it gets this far, I’ve opened it and I’m scanning the first few sentences. If I’m then assaulted by multicoloured, size 64 text, I click “Delete.” If I’m told to read to the bottom, I click “Delete.” If some generic text telling me the person sending this email cares about me and warns me that if I don’t send it to five more of my friends then I’m a horrible person… yup, I click “Delete” – but faster, this time. If I actually read the forwarded email (not incredibly likely), it might be something I find a little amusing and it may even make me smile. It’s true, sometimes I smile. Then I’ll click “Delete.” In fact, the ultimate location for all forwards will most likely be the Trash. They’re generally trivial monologues that don’t yield discussion and I don’t care to pass them on.

Nothing Personal

99% of the email you send me are forwards. No questions directed at me. Rarely information about you. And I’m one of many recipients, so it couldn’t have been that important.

If you’re going to attach personal commentary to FWDs, I really recommend putting it at the top to maximize the possibility that it is seen. Please do not get upset if I didn’t read that hilarious joke about the fisherman and the hunter, or I missed the 20 unbelievable factoids about pears and the 10-step guide to common sense and self-betterment. They probably ended up in the trash, along with the others. This is typical of email forwards and, just like forwards themselves, nothing personal.

Bottom Line

I’m not asking you to stop sending forwards. Reducing the quantity certainly couldn’t hurt, I suppose…. But please try to understand the value of a forward to someone like me. I would value one short sentence written for me, lacking punctuation, within an email that has no subject much more than any forward (with or without supplementary commentary). Tell ya what, I’ll even reply. 😉

Love always,

Your geeky son, Steven.


Things have not been so good around here, recently. But I’ve managed without any real incident, with the exception of last Tuesday night. Over the course of a couple weeks, it was determined that one of our home-stay student’s bedrooms had bedbugs. (Since they hitch rides on luggage, they are most common in places with high turnover rates of guests. We’re guessing, and the time-line kind of supports it, that it came from a visitor we had from the Philippines.) My sister was staying in this for a few days while we had no students and she developed spots. We had no idea what these were, but they were apparently very itchy. It turns out that they were bedbug bites. Wow, I can’t believe I had never seen them before. But we hadn’t discovered this yet. My sister went back to her house in Squamish and a new Korean home-stay student moved in. After her first night sleeping here (poor girl) she woke with the same types of bites my sister had! After she asked around, people suggested bedbugs.

Anyway, to get rid of these nasty predators is very difficult. Everything was taken out of the room in question, transported in garbage bags, gone through by hand outside, then put in different garbage bags. Many seams were painfully combed. Books were baked in the oven for a brief period. And we had an exterminator come over to fumigate the infected and neighbouring rooms. Fumigation must be done three times over three-week intervals to account for any unhatched eggs the previous time. While the fumigation is being done, all people and their pets must leave the house. We were all in a rush that day, picking students up from the bus stop and taking them to my aunt and uncle’s house for dinner that night.

Sky, our cat, had recently been enjoying going outside on our deck. Normally, she doesn’t go outside. We could leave the door open and she would just curiously peek outside, but when we were closing the door, she would quickly run back inside. Anyway, she had recently been interested and comfortable in coming out onto our deck and enjoying the breeze while threateningly staring down squirrels and birds. She rarely strayed from our deck and not far when she did. We put Sky outside on the deck, put a wooden barricade up at the gate, and left some food and water out with her because we would be gone for a while.

We were away for maybe five or six hours. When we came back, Sky wasn’t on the deck and the wooden barricade we had put up was down. I didn’t think much of it and figured she would return soon. My mom later came to my room and told me she had found Sky sitting under a neighbour’s car across the street. She looked injured. Oh no….

I went outside to help my mom retrieve our cat and saw Sky sitting near the wheel. As I approached, I heard a very low growl. I paused and asked if there was a dog in the back of that car. “No, I’m pretty sure that’s Sky,” my mom replied. I had never heard Sky make such a low sound before; nothing even close. I approached more cautiously, not sure of what state she was in. Using a flashlight, I was able to see some blood on her hind feet and many tufts of fur around the car; her white, fluffy fur. But it was difficult to see much else. I lay down at the back of the car and tried to get Sky to come out from underneath. We did not want to reach in to get her. My mom went inside to get some towels. Sky was constantly looking around her. She looked terrified. I just lay there, trying to comfort her by gently talking to her. She eventually made a couple weak, steps towards me, and sat down again. Half-way there. Her back legs, both of them, were definitely injured as she couldn’t put much weight on them. My mom came out with the towels and I put them down, giving sky more space to sit on the towel. After a little more patient waiting and gentle reassurance, Sky hobbled the rest of the short distance out from under the car and onto the towel we had laid out.

We carefully wrapped Sky in the towels and took her inside the house to the bathroom to take a closer look at her. She had some puncture wounds on her stomach and her rear end, and her back legs were bleeding quite badly. We tried cleaning her a little but it was obvious that she needed to go to the 24 hour emergency vet, downtown. Poor cat. I had to wake up and work in a few hours, so I didn’t go. My mom and my younger sister went. I had a sinking feeling that would be the last time I would see Sky….

The vet said that the wounds were typical of a raccoon attack. Maybe they were attracted to the food? Sky was the most harmless creature, and after inspection it looks as if she may have initially been attacked on our deck, and then again at the car across the street where she obviously fled. She didn’t have any experience outside, and she really, really did not deserve this! I didn’t get any sleep that night, and it hasn’t been the best couple of weeks, to be honest. We didn’t have to leave Sky outside on the deck. We could have easily put her in a cage and taken her with us. If we didn’t have these bedbugs brought into our house, this would never have happened to begin with…. But, beating yourself up over things you have no control over rarely does any good. At 3am, Wednesday, September 17th, Sky was put to sleep. She was only 7 years old.

I miss her.



“Netbooks” are a fairly recent thing; smaller and more affordable than a regular notebook PC… What’s not to like about that?! 🙂 Asus first tapped into this market with their Eee PC and it has since gone through its second (I think) generation. Eee PC’s generally get great reviews with the one complaint being their keyboards are a little small for adult hands. Acer recently introduced their AspireOne. I picked up one of these for my mom, who was considering a cheap notebook. For what she does (email, browse the Internet, write documents, and print things), this is perfect. For myself, I installed a few extra applications on it (emacs, ssh-clients), keep some information on a USB key and I borrow it sometimes because it’s just so portable. I chose this over the Eee PC because it seemed to be a better value and has a bit larger of a keyboard (though the bilingual keyboard is kind of annoying).

The trend with netbooks seems to be that the lower end, cheaper models run some form of Linux and if you want Windows XP, then you’ll have to purchase a higher end model. What I don’t like is that sometimes it appears you can’t get the higher end models with Linux. I doubt you could get a Windows rebate for these PCs….

Just today, Dell has released their Inspiron Mini 9 and it seems to compete quite directly in terms of value with the AspireOne. It’s interesting if you compare Dell’s US offering with their Canadian offering of essentially the same thing (I hope those links work). First of all, Canadians don’t yet have the option of selecting Ubuntu Linux as the operating system, nor a model with 512MB or RAM, so I’m comparing the $400 models. (Right off the bat, Americans have the option of going with Ubuntu and 512MB for $350.) Canadians get 1GB RAM in this model whereas that will cost Americans another $25. But if we Canadians want a 0.3MP or 1.3MP web camera, we will have to pay $20 or $40 extra. The American model comes with a 0.3MP and can be upgraded to a 1.3MP for a mere $10. Also, upgrading from 8GB to 16GB will cost Canadians an extra $10 ($50 compared to $40 for US). But the funniest difference: Americans will have to pay $25 more if they want white, but we here in the Great White North don’t incur that penalty. Huh. I wonder what logic compelled these differences.

I might consider the Inspiron Mini 9 over the AspireOne for myself if I had the option of Ubuntu. Wonder when it will be available to us northern folk.


Update: Added a couple photos. 🙂

My Big Brother, Aryk, is now officially married to his wife, Heather! The wedding was Sunday, August 3rd and it went extremely well. I had the honour of being best man which meant a lot to me. I even got to wear a kilt! (Along with my brother, their baby, the officiant, and the piper.) I don’t have any pictures at the moment, but I’m sure I’ll get some eventually.

me in my man skirt, testing the volume and holding my speech in left hand

I helped my sister out with creating a DVD slideshow with music to present at the wedding (via rented projector) and give to them as a gift. My sister was behind all the creative and organizational efforts, I was just needed to put it together. It turned out really great, and it was definitely worth going with the more expensive projector. But the thing I was most nervous about was the “often most anticipated” (according to various sources on the Internet) speech of the evening – the Best Man’s Speech. I was brainstorming bits here and there for quite a while, but I worked on it pretty intensely the last couple days trying to make it flow and deciding what to keep. I was even making changes 1 minute prior to getting up and doing it! ^.^ Anyway, the speech went really well – better than I could have imagined. It’s amazing; the feeling you get when you have an auditorium full of people under your control, laughing when you want them to laugh. People throughout the night kept telling me how good it was. I think I’m still floating on that high.

But what’s most important is that Aryk and Heather loved it – that makes me feel great – that I was able to contribute a little bit of success to their fantastic wedding.

Had a bit of a nasty hangover the following day… and I was incredibly tired. But it was all worth it! Again, Congratulations guys! 🙂

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. 🙂 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. 🙂 (Feb 18)

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

2007 in Brief

Despite no grand plans of getting pleasantly inebriated tonight, 2007 was actually a very eventful year. I finally finished up my undergrad in May; something that was long overdue. After, I enjoyed some free time in Vancouver’s fantastic summer (and then Fall), and I just recently started making a much needed dollar. (I got Jesse to thank for hooking me up with that.) My big brother and his girlfriend of six(?) years announced their engagement AND that they were expecting a little one. My dad announced his (2nd) engagement. My cousins are expecting their first and second kids. One of my best friends, Kurtis (who I’ve known since forever), moved to Brazil and got married! Alex married Dez. Ben and Mayu had a baby (whom I’ve still yet to meet).

But one person in particular made this year very memorable for me: you know who you are. 🙂 Thank you.

And to all my friends and family, Thank you! And Happy New Year!


2008 will be interesting, I’m sure. ??????

Update: I went to the local watering hole for a drink and some chat with our homestay student, who also had no plans. We even got champagne! 🙂

Love is in the air…

Two of my friends got married on August 25th, 2007. Congratulations to Kurtis and Nubia in São Paulo (sorry, I wasn’t able to attend), and Alex and Desiree in Vancouver (it was a very nice wedding). I’m happy for everyone! 😀 Also, within the same week, my big brother announced that he popped the question to his girlfriend of 6 (?) years and she said yes! The wedding will be next year. Not only that, but they’re gonna be parents! (I wanted to wait a little while before posting that bit.) This is pretty big news in my family! 😀 On that topic, Ben and Mayu should be daddy and mammy very soon… Happy times. 🙂

Hmmm… ‘Guess I’d better start swimmin’, or I’ll sink like a stone, For the times, they are a-changin’. 😛