Road Trip: Day 7

One last day in the car. Everyone slept well after we got home.

This was the most challenging drive so far -- there was thick, less-than-100m-visibility fog in the morning, and that was topped off with freezing mist and snow squalls just before lunch. Despite this, some drivers still insisted on going 90 miles an hour. The Forester handled this fairly well, letting me push perhaps faster than was absolutely wise, but helping me stay out of the way of faster traffic.

We made it home before 6PM, which made it a good day. Ceili clearly missed us, she spent the evening curled up next to me and wouldn't leave me alone overnight.

Overall the trip was mixed. The problem with travelling isn't the travelling, per se -- the kids do just fine in the car for the most part. The problem is the not-being-at-home part overnight and at the far destination. The kids are bored, confined, and don't have access to their stuff, so pester constantly for screentime or TV. They do better when we have activities, like the Aquarium and the Zoo, as long as we don't push them too hard. And then there's me. At the end of day four I just felt totally done with the trip. I did better with the travelling part, as I'm more engaged and take control of that part of the decisions and execution than I do with managing the family. But it was still a long week for me.

The Forester is a decent car -- not a rewarding car to drive in the same way that the Mazda is, but more comfortable. It absorbed the milage we threw at it with ease, without being wearing to drive. I doubt that I could drive the Mazda as far (even without family!) and be as willing to do it all again the next day. The Forester's behaviour in the mist and snow was exemplary, especially considering I didn't have any limit-testing experience with it -- it never felt like it was going to do something stupid on me, even if I didn't have the subconscious trust in the car like I do with the Mazda (the ability to let my subconscious drive the car briefly while I mentally do something else). It has the same vague-feeling on the centerline that my Legacy and both Imprezas that I've driven had. Jenn and I were thinking about whether or not this would be a suitable car for use while the family has the dog -- we have concerns about the long-term space (both kids are probably going to be big like my brother and Jenn's uncle, and the dog isn't small either) but we could probably make it work for a few years.

Next for us is back to Cambridge for the dog training. Then maybe Calgary in July, depending on how we do with the dog. I think that this trip has helped Jenn decide not to drive to Calgary, which is good (less time in the car) and bad (more expense). If we were to do a road trip I'd want it to be a road trip, where we did an activity then drove on to the next place. I think that might work better than staying put in one place.


Road Trip: Day 6

Alex has been waiting for this day for two years. Today, we went to the Market Parking Garage in Roanoke Virginia.

I think the pictures tell the story.

Despite two traffic jams (including a one-hour stop on the I-77) and the 90-minute detour to Roanoke, we still managed to push back all the way to Martinsburg and ended up staying in the same place as we did on the way out. Unfortunately it was Friday night, so all the restaurants were busy, so Nathan didn't get to eat at (another) Applebees'. We ended up eating at the hotel, which turned out to be adequate.


Road Trip: Day 5

Today we went to Zoo Atlanta.

Because of the weather, there were many animals off-exhibit, including many of the cats. They did have the baby pandas out, though.

For our last dinner in Atlanta, we went to an IHOP. We tried to eat at one for lunch on Wednesday, but it took too long to find an open one (one was closed, one was under renovation) and the kids were cranky so that got aborted. Now I can say I've eaten at one. It was very affordable, but not really anything special. The staff at both places were very nice, though.


Road Trip: Day 3

Today we went to the Atlanta Aquarium.

They have three whale sharks, and some of the biggest rays I've ever seen.

Dinner was at a Cheesecake Factory, which turned out to be a disappointment -- the serving sizes were big, but the food didn't really work for me. Also I was too full to try any desert.


Road Trip: Day 2

A bit later start to the day again caused us some problems at the other end -- however we'd decided to push through to Atlanta and eventually ended up there around 8PM. The biggest problem? Finding a hotel that had an indoor pool. Seems many of the hotels in Atlanta have outdoor pools, probably on the theory that they can be used through more of the year than in colder climates.

Alex had a hard time. All through Virginia they had signs every 5 to 10 miles telling you how far it was to Roanoke, and when we didn't make that turn he was very disappointed.


Road Trip: Day 1

Day 1 was our first long slog in the car. We borrowed Jenn's parents' Subaru Forester, which turns out to be a reasonable car for this kind of use. The kids did fairly well, all things considered. We had a later-than-expected start, and a few longer-than-expected starts, and finally stopped at 6PM, which might have been a bit early all things considered. With all that going on we didn't make the distance we wanted to on the first day. We overnighted in Martinsburg.


I Love Subreddit Simulator


95% Of The Internet


Dog, Prelude

We travelled up to Cambridge for the first meeting with the National Service Dogs people. We stayed overnight Friday in Cambridge so as to avoid having to rush up Saturday morning.  The trip up was very good, I thought we'd see far more traffic on the 7 and 115 on a Friday afternoon/evening but there was not too much and we were mostly unopposed travelling up -- I was able to pick my own speed without hounding slower traffic or being hounded by faster traffic. 

This was an information session and an evaluation session. The trainers were evaluating us to see how we dealt with dogs who were less than perfect, so we got to do some exercises with younger, not-fully-trained dogs. Then they did a questionnaire and brief interview about our home lives and Alex's temperment. They have a number of dogs graduating right now, and this was all about shortlisting some matches so that when we go for our week-long training they know which dogs to try us with.

One thing that surprised me was that when we were doing the introductions with the other parents, we were clearly the veterans in the Autism world -- most of the other parents only had three or four years in, as opposed to our decade. Also, we were the only ones to show pictures of our kid, and that really surprised me. I mean, this is my son, I'm proud of him, I want to show him off. I'm surprised the other families didn't show the same thing.

After the three-hour meeting, we got back in the car and drove back to Ottawa. Again I went up the 115 and 7, and again I was shocked at how little traffic there was on that road. There were long periods of time where there was no traffic running with us and five or ten minutes stretches where there was no oncoming traffic, either. We only saw one police cruiser in "speed trap" mode, but apparently either he was just faking or I wasn't fast enough to be worth chasing. Overall it was a good trip.

In the next while we'll be off for a whole week of training, and when we come home, we'll have the dog.


Fourth CTO Award

I'm also Corporate Vision's CTO Of The Month.



Product Placement

For some reason Nathan insisted on having his picture taken in this faux winter cabin in Canadian Tire.



Annoying The Cat


Wrong Decision

Defense: Due to the congestion of the courts system, the Supreme Court has ruled in the Jordan Decision that delays in excess of thirty months are unconstitutional. We've been waiting for five years, move to dismiss.

Crown: We couldn't possibly move any faster because the courts system is so congested.

Judge: Sounds plausible, the Decision that applies to court congestion doesn't apply here because of court congestion. Motion to dismiss denied, wah wah.

(Original Article)


My Work Has Not Gone Unnoticed

I have been selected as Acquisition International's CTO of the Month from Canada -- for, I presume, Feburary 2017: 

This is my second CTO of the Month award, and it follows on from last year's CTO of the Year award.

Now all I have to do is get a job as a CTO somewhere.


John Wick Chapter 2

Well, I still don't see why this movie needed to be made. It was more than a bit hung up on the fact that there is very obviously a Chapter 3 coming. The first one was focused, sincere, and knew exactly what it was. This one tries to be more, and fails. I mean -- it's clearly more, but it isn't more, if you follow me. I'm not sure I need to see this one again.


xXx: The Return Of Xander Cage

Not terrible. The opening sequence is the best because you have no idea what the stakes are; after that, once you know what the stakes are, the action seems somewhat contrived. And frankly that's the only really nice thing I can say about it; however it isn't worth saying anything bad about.

Maybe It Should Have Been A Snow Day

This was after Alex had been outside for less than five minutes. His transport was 20 minutes late -- I had actually put him in the car and was going to drive him in myself when his van showed up. Traffic was terrible, and one thinks that maybe it should have been a snow day, especially after some of the beautifully clear and warm "snow days" that the board has called.


Zamboni Ride II

Alex and Nathan got to wish the Senators good luck on their way out to the warm up. Both boys really seemed to enjoy the opportunity. But the main event:

Nathan got his ride on the zamboni at first intermission. He seemed more interested in watching the big screen at times, but overall he was well engaged with everything going on.

(Previously: 12, and the Zamboni label)

From My Valentine


Bus Ride

Alex didn't get his bus ride during the school outing yesterday, so today he and I went exploring the new route 63. It seems that our level of service from the 93 is to become a fond memory -- the replacement bus is much more noodly and takes longer to get anywhere. Alex doesn't mind, of course, but I wonder how long the peak hour commuters are going to put up with it.


"Justice" "System"

A few self-indulgent thoughts on the topic of the week...
  • Everyone's getting up in arms about long-delayed cases getting dismissed instead of processed because things didn't happen in a "reasonable amount of time", which the Supreme Court has now codified as being "no more than 30 months". That's two and a half years. What people are forgetting is that the "justice" "system" isn't about revenge, or the victim, or the victim's families, or even about justice -- it is about ensuring that the primary values of society are being upheld. And the most important societal value enshrined in the "justice" "system" is that it is better that a hundred or more guilty men go free than a single innocent person be convicted. And to that end, the "system" is burdened with very specific rules that the state has to follow, from investigation through to final arguments, that protect the rights and privileges of citizens from potentially over-zealous prosecution or even persecution. The burden is such that the rules of the "system" state that should the crown fail to abide by these rules, the prosecution can be dismissed. And now one of those rules is the "reasonable amount of time" rule. And therefore, here we are. This is the "system" working to protect the rights of the accused who, like it or not, are presumed innocent of the charges they face, and even if thousands of them go free, there are still cases where the innocent are convicted.
  • The thing about law and order is that it costs money. And that money is controlled by the government, through the elected representatives of the people, who give those representatives direction on how much money to collect and how to spend it. And like it or not, the priority of the voters has been: money is more important than paying for more of the "law" side of the law and order coin. For some reason the public is more willing to pay for cops on the beat to generate more criminal cases, but not willing to pay for the lawyers, judges, and courtrooms to process them, nor to pay for the correctional facilities to house said convicts. This, again, is the democratic system working.
  • The other thing that popped up this week is that most of the people currently incarcerated in jails are there on remand -- ie they have been charged, but not yet convicted, of a crime. This is presented as an argument, but is in fact a rational response to the incentive -- if you serve pre-conviction time, it counts some multiplier -- double in some cases -- against post conviction sentences. So if you know you did the crime you are charged with AND you know that you have a high probability of being convicted, serving time to get double credit is just rational thinking. Personally I don't really understand the concept of extra credit for time served -- it is supposed to be compensation for being willing to be incarcerated prior to conviction, when the system is perhaps set up to let you be free before being possibly convicted -- but should someone be found not guilty or have the case dismissed, is there any compensation for incarceration prior to such a result? Those, not the actually convictable, are the ones with the best case to argue for compensation -- I wasn't actually guilty, therefore you owe me something for the time I spent in remand.


The Debaters

Overlooking the sound guy's perch for The Debaters at Centerpoint. It was a fantastic show, as always -- this is our third year going.


Update: Dell Power Edge 1950 G3 Power Consumption

So I re-arranged things in my basement and have powered off the Dell P/E 1950. Network services either have been, or will be, moved to the SunFire X2200M2. The Dell will either go to the colo or will be sold, have not decided.

But more to the point: with the Dell gone, my Kill-A-Watt is showing 145 Watts being drawn, down from 480. (Interesting: when the power supplies were plugged in but the computer wasn't running, it was still drawing 30W -- presumably to run the iDRAC or baseboard manager thing.)

Which means! The 1950 running draws 350W. Which gives you a per-day cost (at $0.10/kWh) of $0.84, or $25.20 per month for 51 kWh of electricity.

(I have gone back and forth on using the Sunfire instead of a SRX210 that I have kicking around. The fact of the matter is that I like having a device that can record netflows, network usage, and other statistics.)

Back On Track?

After a long hiatus, Alex earned another ice cream. Just to be different, he decided that we were going to Dairy Queen instead of McDonald's. Let's hope this marks the return to more normal levels of achievement.


Lego Galaxy Squad

Nathan helped me put together my Christmas present. And by "helped", I mean I actually got to assemble a few pieces of it.

I'd never heard of this series before, seems to be quasi-mecha-like. Of course you can't have mecha without enemies, so the kit provides you with a couple of giant insects to fight. I don't know why we have to portray humans fighting any alien life they happen to come across, so I asked Nathan why we couldn't say the humans and the insects were working together on something. Nathan looked vaguely horrified at the idea -- I guess it's too strange a concept for a nine year old.