On Our Way To Play

Inspecting a sign on the way to play with Icon in the afternoon. Alex likes to go to one of the soccer fields and throw a deflated ball for Icon to chase (because he's a service dog he isn't permitted to chase real balls, so this deflated ball is a unique toy that signals to him that it is OK to chase and play with), and Icon really likes it too. It was pretty hot, though, and Icon seemed to be laboring a bit, so I called a halt to the game early.


Sign Inspector Again

Alex is volunteering to go walk the dog with me in the mornings on the weekends. I think he likes being out with the dog. I've been letting him have exclusive control of the dog with only a traffic leash, and while he's still hauling the dog around a bit, the dog doesn't seem to mind too much and it is going pretty well.


Riding The Rails

Riding the Via train to Montreal for the Friday Grand Prix practice sessions. It was an early day that turned into a long day (we almost missed our train because the access bridge between the two islands was closed for an hour because of a "situation") but we made it home on time in the end. Nathan seemed to have fun and was enthusiastic about the idea of going again next year.


This Time It IS A Hole

This one is a hole, rather than a cavern -- it is only 13x7 blocks, but it goes down from the upper hillside down to bedrock.

...and at the bottom, I've encased the lava formation in glass.

Again, it didn't take nearly as long to dig as I'd thought it would. Maybe I should dig a more ambitious hole next time. Or a more ambitious cavern?


ubx32.dll: Success

So a long time ago, like 1998 long ago, we were running on these Windows NT 4.0 workstations that were joined to the local windows domain. Terrifically crude stuff by today's standards, sure, but it is what we had and we liked it.

One of the things you could do back then (as today) was to set a pre-password dialog box on the computer. Presumably this was for the critically useful "thou shalt not log in to this computer if thou be unauthorizedeth" messages. But this dialog is customizable. So on my co-worker's computer, I set the pre-login prompt to have a title of "ubx32.dll" and a message of "Success!" It looked just like a pseudo-error box that every other application would pop up, and "ubx32.dll" seemed like a plausibly anonymous name of a NT application dll.

So every time he pressed Ctrl-Alt-Del to log in, his computer would show him this dialog, complete with an OK button, which he'd have to clear before he could log in.

And then I forgot about it.

A year later, I happened to be at his desk, and he has a little yellow sticky on his monitor, with "ubx32.dll??" written on it. And I laughed, because I suddenly remembered about the prank. And of course I had to let him off the hook at that point.

He said that over the year it had been appearing he'd probably wasted about half a day on googling around trying to figure out what the hell was happening to his computer.


Sign Inspector

Alex likes to stop and inspect the street signs that we pass -- the school crossing signs are singled out for special attention. He has Icon sit and then he peers up at them.

Today I did something different -- I let Alex hold Icon on the short leash without having my longer leash on the dog as a back-up. I took over during the poop-and-inspect phase of the walk, as well as when we passed other dogs, but other than that Alex did very well holding Icon.


Icon Walking His Boy

Jenn is away this weekend, so Alex has to come with me in the morning on the dog walks. Both Icon and Alex seem to really like being out together.


Domestic Life

Everyone playing in the back yard after supper.


Sleepy Camper

Nathan came back from Cub camp all tired out. He couldn't even stay awake for TV.


2017 ECF Game 7 Tonight

So here we are just hours away from game 7 of 2017's Eastern Conference Final, and Your Ottawa Senators are still in it. I have to admit, I was one of the doubters at the beginning of the season -- the team just didn't look fundamentally different from that team that failed to get into the playoffs last year. Nobody seriously thought that this team had it in them. And yet, here we are.

I've said on more than one occasion that I think in the current parity league, the gap between the best and the worst in the NHL is much, much smaller than it ever has been in the past, and that on any given night, any given team could beat any other given team. It means that, in the absence of a massive differential, randomness plays a much bigger role than it would have in the past.

I am by no means a hockey fan any more -- if, indeed, I ever really was a "real" hockey fan, but I'm still interested in the Senators' progress. It still bothers me to watch the team play Playoff Hockey, with the meat-grinder play and wheel-o-randomness officiating. I've actually watched more of the west's games because I have nothing invested in the outcome, so I can just watch hockey.

It will be interesting to see what this season does for the relationship between Ottawa and the Senators. The city has been abandoning the team to a certain extent. Certainly nobody expected there to be tickets going unsold for playoff games of any round. I am sure that Phoenix and the flood are factors, as is the fact that the arena is in the middle of nowhere. Jacking up the playoff ticket prices and boosting the parking pricing doesn't help either. Fundamentally though this team never looked like deep playoff team, and the Ottawa fan base isn't deep enough to sell out routine, grinder games. Ottawa likes a winner, and we are unlikely to see that in today's league of parity.

If there is a lesson to be learned from all this, it is that nobody really understands hockey. Ottawa was 50:1 at the beginning of the season to win the Stanley Cup. But they avoided injuries, played their system, got the bounces and the calls that all add up to tonight -- one single chance to beat Pittsburgh to go to the final. And the team has shown that they can win on the road and -- specifically -- that they can win in the Penguin's arena. So it is possible, even if it is, in the long run, unlikely.

I probably won't be watching tonight. But I still hope they win.


The Fate Of The Furious

A finale. Part one of... oh, let's say three.

It is the fate of the furious to be poorly acted, cliche-written, and ridiculously choreographed. I am disappointed that the trailers effectively showed us all the "action porn" from the movie. Story wise, much was concealed, which is... ok, I guess. Probably the best option currently out; but I'm probably not going to remember it or want to see it again.

...oh yeah, the triple-X we saw in February was both better and more memorable, if only for the triple-X opening sequence.


I Dug A Big Hole

I dug a 20x30 square hole that's about 30 blocks deep. The base of it is like 10 blocks off of the bedrock, so it is really more of a big empty cavern than a "hole" per se. Took quite a while, although not nearly as long as I thought it would. Digging like this doesn't yield enough iron to keep paying for the pick axes that you go through, you either need stone ones (which burn out really fast) or you need an iron stash previously prepared.


New Hat

Alex got his own Tilly hat for his birthday. Same size and color as Daddy's, although it is a lot less beat up. Here he's rocking it on the way to Dairy Queen.


Pay It Forward

Went to Toys'R'Us Kanata today, and there was (finally!) a new dump bin. Someone had gone through it and left a Treasure Hunt hanging on the display like that. Nice gesture. I left it since it isn't a car type that I am interested in.


Lava Light Element

Ringing a 3x3 tunnel with a lava/glass element. Looks kinda cool, even if it was a pain to build.

Dog Progress

The dog is helping Alex with his puzzle. This is good progress on both of their ends.


New Dryer Fail

New appliance time! The old one wasn't drying properly, even though it had been cleaned and the duct outside cleaned all the way through. Then it started running for only 10 minutes at a time. It is 15 years old, so we decided to buy a new one.

When it arrived, I was sent a message at work that the existing duct connector wasn't salvageable, so they wouldn't do the install -- fair enough. However, when I got home to do the installation, I turned it around and found this:

Kinda looks like it's been dropped.

Update: I called the customer service line, and a nice lady told me to complete the installation and if the dryer worked and we were willing to keep it, they'd refund us some money. So we'll run it over the weekend and see how that works.

A Teenager -- How Did That Happen?

McDonalds Ice Cream for Birthday Breakfast

Happy Birthday kiddo


Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2

As derivative as you'd expect. The music was better in the first one. I also wonder if special effects are getting worse -- many of the blatantly computer-generated objects in the movie looked blatantly computer generated, like some shader or texture pass had been skipped -- for example, the Milano ploughing through the forest. Maybe my meds are wearing off but I'm not enjoying these the way I used to.

What Month Is It

It's snowing again. Maybe that's better than rain.


Birthday Boy

Birthday Breakfast Cake

Ten years. Amazing that it's (only) been that long.



Zero for four, fortune cookie. That's impressive.


The Ghost In The Shell (2017)

So one can't talk about The Ghost In The Shell without touching on cultural appropriation. Personally I have a hard time with that, what with being a principal member of the White Male Hegemony (but more on that another time). Actually we'll talk about the whole cultural appropriation thing another time.

For this movie, I thought for the most part it was gorgeous environment, many of the effects lovingly done. I didn't like the vocabulary -- the way they used "ghost" would be better in english as "spirit" or "soul" -- but that's probably a legacy thing from the original transations. Story wise it kind of avoided what it was trying to talk about, and it wasn't uneven in the way that North American audiences like. So I understand why it wasn't a "success". I'd like to watch it again, maybe.


Rail Fan

Nathan went to visit Mr. Carter's train layout again.


Hey, At Least Someone's Team Won This Weekend

The office guy's teams -- Boston and Chicago -- both lost this weekend, so I sent this picture to them as well as my favorite Habs fan.


Wet Dog

It was raining when we went out walking!


Socialization Is Boring

I will be taking the dog into the office periodically so that he gets jacket and socialization time. In practice it means he has to sit under my desk and be ignored by everyone.


Service Dog


Back On Track

He's had a rough go of it lately, and I have not been the one chosen to go with him when he succeeds; but we're back on track. For some reason Dairy Queen is in favor at the moment.


Dry Humor

Nathan gets static electricity in his hair.


Wonderland Collapse

The neighbour's shed out the back has collapsed at some point over the winter. The snow makes the scene look pretty, though.


Back To Winter

Kicking The Fresh Snow


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.