Posts Tagged ‘Photos’

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Broken Water Pipe

Had a bit of excitement on the way home, today. As I was walking home from the bus stop, after work, I noticed a lot of muddy water bubbling up from the street. A water pipe had broke. I must have just caught it in the early stages. Went home, my mom had already contacted the municipality, and went out later to check on it. The bubbling puddle had become a lake. Some neighbours were directing traffic around the hole initially, and then eventually telling people to take the long way around. We couldn’t use our water for a while, and now it’s a little brown, but at least we can use it!! Just don’t plan on drinking it for a while. Hours later, people are still working on it. Not quite sure what the status is.

Lake Strathcona

Driving across the lake

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:

Dinner: Sautéed Salmon

Sauteed Salmon and Asparagus

Eager to use some new kitchenware I bought over the weekend (a post in itself, perhaps), I made dinner last night. Along with the salmon, I stir-fried veggies & rice and attempted a simple white sauce using a white wine reduction. All things considered, it went pretty well. The biggest problem was that the salmon was too dry by the time we ate: I shouldn’t have fully cooked it, because it became a bit overcooked while staying “warm” in the oven waiting for me to finish the rest. I used a single sauté pan because I wanted the flavours of everything in the reduction/sauce – so I should have planned better. I also think I used a bit too much oil. I had never tried making a white sauce or a reduction before, but they turned out quite decent. The red onions used as garnish on top of the salmon were also sautéed in a little white wine, making them sweet. The sauce ended up compensating for the dry salmon. I had a decent lunch today. And it was pretty low carb, too! 😀

I like my new pots. And knives. Cooking’s fun. 🙂

Tuna Teasers

We have a potluck lunch in the office, tomorrow, so I did something I never do: bake. 😮 I know, I know. Anyway, I decided on these things called Tuna Teasers – I remember enjoying when my mom had made them. Then I looked at the recipe. My god, was it simple! And quick! It’s from a recipe book called Fast and Fantastic, so I guess it holds true, in this case. 🙂 Here’s the recipe:

Tuna Teasers

Ingredients

  • 1 c flour (I used whole wheat flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp onion salt (I substituted with onion flakes)
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • dash of cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 c butter
  • 1/2 c milk
  • 1 can flaked tuna fish, drained
  • 1 c shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbsp finely minced green pepper (I substituted with green onion)

Instructions

Preheat oven to 450F (230C). Combine first 5 ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles fine crumbs. Add milk and stir until blended. Add last 3 ingredients. Mix well. Drop by tablespoonfuls onto lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Makes 36 small puffs. About 15 medium sized.

Laptop’s New Life

My laptop has had its fair share of problems, mostly because it’s aging; I bought it nearly 6 years ago!! I’m actually impressed it’s aged so well! A few days ago, the display started to flicker with increasing frequency and become distorted shortly after turning it on. Here’s a video showing the problem: (Warning: contains a little bad language – woops…)

(Link to video here if embedded object doesn’t show up.)

Last night, I took it apart and tried wiggling every LCD-related wire I could find, hoping to affect the display’s output and conclude it was a fixable loose connection.

Laptop in Pieces

Nope. Fine. Who needs a screen anyway?

Screenless Laptop

I now have a very compact desktop – it even includes wireless, keyboard, mouse and speakers! It just needs a monitor. I haven’t decided whether I will make it a pseudo media PC to stream things from my desktop to the TV (a little work), or just to have it replace the family computer (almost no work!). The family usually gets my computer hand-me-downs. 🙂

Anyway, looks like I’ll need a new laptop sometime soon. I vowed to go smaller with my next laptop, but I’m not sure if a netbook would suffice. Of course, I would like it to run Linux (Ubuntu?), have long battery life, reasonable storage, support WPA2, have a built-in 1.3MP camera, and all that good stuff. Bluetooth would be nice, too. Let me know if you have any suggestions.

Flat Tire

tire_plus_nail

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

Life

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.

Geekery

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 Identi.ca. And LinkedIn….

Art

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 wordpress.com 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 wordpress.com Stats.)

Top 3 Referrers:

  1. http://live.gnome.org/RhythmboxPlugins/ThirdParty (402)
  2. live.gnome.org/Boston2008/GUIHackfest (209)
  3. siuyee.com (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 launchpad.net/desktopdrawers 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. 🙂 )

Thanks

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.

Games

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. 🙂

WordPress

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.

New Shoes x 3

I got some good deals on new shoes. I’m not one to go shopping, but I happened to be in a shoe store (Shoe Warehouse in downtown Vancouver) and decided to walk over to the clearance section. Buying 3 pairs of shoes at once is NOT normal for me. But… I needed to replace both my casual and running shoes. I got the dress shoes because… well, I really wasn’t given a choice at that price. Saving money makes me happy. 😀

Regular Price and Sale Price are highlighted

Regular Price and Sale Price are highlighted

Photo of the shoes, as requested, minus the nudity. Be thankful.

Sky

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.

🙁