Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Hobbes' Internet Timeline v8.2

Starting with:
USSR launches Sputnik, first artificial earth satellite. In response, US forms the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the following year, within the Department of Defense (DoD) to establish US lead in science and technology applicable to the military (:amk:)

There are some funny bits along the way. Interesting none the less, at least to me.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Freezing rain crystals

Ah the prairie in winter! PU couldn't believe I was busy taking these images before sun up. The temperature was just below freezing and I knew the sun would toast these massive crystal formations the minute it was shining above the horizon and it did.

The freezing rain froze into the most dramatic crystals. I didn't manage to capture much of the drama in these shots, but in the head lamp images you can get a feel for what the larger ones looked like.

Big broad ice crystals from the freezing rain on the trunk of the car this morning before the sun came up.




Ice crystals on the head lamp lens



Thursday, December 7, 2006

Winter black bird

This poor little one has lost it's way. I doubt it will survive. It's only the very beginning of the harsh winter here. It's not straying too far from the feeder today. The temperature is -27C and the wind chill takes it down to -38C.

These images are poor. I'll hope to get some decent ones later, but without a long lens I may not have had another chance, so just did what I could to identify this character.

It's always remarkable to me how easy it is to enjoy such brilliant mornings outside. Yesterday I had the pleasure of being accompanied on the drive home by a spectacularly animated sun dog. Large flowing dogs were rippling away from the sun on either side of it. The circle was complete above the dogs and the sun was tightly stared four ways from it's centre. Some of the gifts of winter. I was wishing I had taken the camera with me, but I'm always wishing that and there are, after all, more things to do than luxuriate in imagery.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

Quiz fest / now weirded out

This makes me queezy. I almost never do these popular things. I'm not sure what's gotten into me this morning.

Your Seduction Style: Ideal Lover

You seduce people by tapping into their dreams and desires.

And because of this sensitivity, you can be the ideal lover for anyone you seek.

You are a shapeshifter - bringing romance, adventure, spirituality to relationships.

It all depends on who your with, and what their vision of a perfect relationship is.

Then this one makes me almost as uncomfortable.

You Are a Mermaid

You are a total daydreamer, and people tend to think you're flakier than you actually are.
While your head is often in the clouds, you'll always come back to earth to help someone in need.
Beyond being a caring person, you are also very intelligent and rational.
You understand the connections of the universe better than almost anyone else.

Finally, this comes as no surprise.

Your Dominant Intelligence is Linguistic Intelligence

You are excellent with words and language. You explain yourself well.
An elegant speaker, you can converse well with anyone on the fly.
You are also good at remembering information and convicing someone of your point of view.
A master of creative phrasing and unique words, you enjoy expanding your vocabulary.

You would make a fantastic poet, journalist, writer, teacher, lawyer, politician, or translator.

Spare us all...

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Network Neutrality

If you think this won't affect you, I think you're mistaken. As history makes the case, I doubt we're any more capable now to appreciate our freedom than those that let it slip before us.

In this short video network neutrality and a history lesson enlighten some. I hope others will use our ability to network and stay alert to the process of restrictions on access.

Strangely, I live in a "have not" province of Canada that actually has invested, via the private sector, in laying fibre optics on a large scale. I hope that positions us well to be less likely to choke off independent input to the Internet.

Emotional weather report - Precipitation is expected.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Fresh bread

Some days are more equal than others. I love my new scale! I can nail the hydration.

The tooth paste? Well lets just say you can always find us on the road less traveled.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

snow day, working out, kids home, scorpion mouth bits

PU just called from work to say she was heading out. A big Colorado low blew in and put down a nasty layer of freezing rain and them proceeded to dump snow on top. We've had five or ten centimeters so far, but it's not supposed to clear up until tomorrow, so we'll be getting more. It's not cold enough to be anything but lethally slippery on the roads with all that mild snow packed from the traffic.

It would be really good to see my wife again. I'm so grateful I don't have to travel in this type of weather. When I traveled for a living I used up eight of my nine lives so it feels like a good thing that I can avoid the highways on days like today.

The kids were home from school as the buses were canceled early this morning. They were not broken hearted... maybe it shows.


I haven't run in a week or so. I'm trying to scramble before month end. There is lots of work to do, but my ability to stick to it has always been challenged. Over the past few months I've tried something a little different with work. I've done business with a local jewelery store for almost twenty years and they've always been very good to me. I thought I'd like to do something for them so I offered to go in and work at the store on Friday afternoons and they thought that was a great idea.

I've been answering questions, open difficult cases and doing pending jobs in the back. It's turned out to be a good thing for everyone. They seem really happy and more and more people are coming in specifically to see me about their watches or clocks. Being there at the end of the week means that the staff are usually really light. It's a good atmosphere and I'm really enjoying my time there.

Last week I went in on Friday, Saturday then again on Monday. I used it as a time to get away from the distractions of being at my home shop. I had a big job that required an extended application of time and attention that I could do most of in the back at my bench beside the goldsmith. I'll use that more in the future as needed. It seems to work well for keeping the priorities straight. Structure is so helpful for me, but I do have a love hate relationship with it.

Today, of course, has been a complete wash out. Kids will do that, but I didn't need much encouragement. Bird cages that come with budgies will do that too. The budgies are like the proverbial boomerang. We just can't seem to get away from them. The cage was filthy. I spent more than an hour cleaning the two part base tray. I'll tackle the upper wire cage another day.

The scorpion doesn't eat very often and I had never actually seen him eat so I wasn't prepared with a camera at the ready last night. I fed him a cricket and he showed his talent for shredding his food. What a beast he is. The mouth bits below tell the tale.



Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Brock's problem

Edit: As it turns out, this wasn't funny enough for the brunt of the joke. :(

Maybe you noticed my childhood friend that joined me. The Estevan Model Engineers Show pictures are up for the 2006 effort. Brock was captured in the third shot on the front page. I dug a little deeper and found the little gem below that tells more of the story.

Brock spent quite a bit of time in Mexico in the last few years with the folks that bought Versatile manufacturing. He used to run the shop floor when it was still in Winnipeg. I had no idea that he had this thing for a hot sauce from down there. Anything with "wet fart" in the title is bound to be going bad places.

As you can see from this archive shot of the trip, once he was away from his wife it all went to hell in a hand basket. You can be grateful you missed it all. I had to room with the guy. :(
Fire in the hole!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Cyanide and Happiness

Cyanide and Happiness, a daily webcomic
Cyanide & Happiness @

Fall garlic and egg yolks

I finally retrieved the garlic from hanging in the out house, before it got any colder and froze beyond help. Today is a balmy one for weather with almost no wind. It's been impossible to stay inside! The sill on the guest house door got sealed, the spinning vent on the roof got a lube job, and the garlic got clipped, bagged an weighed.


The garlic didn't amount to much. Next year I'll have to be resolved to buy 10kg just to plant. I can never seem to keep up. After all was said and done with the canning and consumption to date, I've got 2.77kg left. Some of that came from a friend that is an avid grower and he likes to share which is the gardeners way I think. He had some really interesting varieties this year. The one that was most remarkable to look at was this really tall Russian type. The image isn't the best to show off it's height very well, but it was as tall as the door into the shop.


I brought a late delivered egg in last night when I had been out to tuck the layers into bed. It was cracked and I set it aside in the kitchen to feed to the dogs this morning. It caught Manon's attention. It was large, but at this time of year we get both extremes. The young hens sometimes lay little robins eggs for their first effort and then the elder hens sometimes come back on line after a bit of a break and theirs are enormous! Double yolks are common from those older hens, but a triple yolk is new to me. In fifteen years of keeping layers, this is the first triple yolk I've seen. Makes my sphincter tighten just thinking about passing that egg.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Best anti smoking commercial to date

I like a lot of what comes out of "The Truth" folks, but this struck me as particularly biting. Reality therapy at it's best. Will the real Marlboro man please stand up.

cute gecko images

Images of the beasts. Could these little girls be any more cute?

I can't remember what this ones name is, but it's the larger of the two.

That's just too cool!

Are you kiddin me? Lizards are worth the effort. I want a bearded dragon. Meite does too... lol

What a little sweetie

ice, wind and snow

Lulled into a sense of safety and comfort through the warm half of the year I was only partially prepared to be slapped tonight.

I had headed out to help a friend get some kinks out of a new computer and I just casually grabbed my parka off the hook on my way out. No extra socks, no mitts, just a couple of neck tubes, toque, work gloves and a pull over. We had a great visit after the computer questions were quickly set right. I think it's interesting how many women seem to be interested in Linux. Anyway, that's another one safely up and running.

Sitting in the kitchen drinking some wild bit of roasted nut coffee I was increasingly distracted with what I thought was a mouse chewing at the base of her front door. When I got up to check, it wasn't a mouse at all. It was freezing rain pellets. My car was covered in a pebbled sheet of ice more akin to a curling rink surface than a windshield.

I was in such a rush to begin the crawl home that I left the jar of home made sauerkraut behind! Dang! Laura is a biologist. She is one of two curators of a tall grass prairie preserve close to us. I can always be sure to be fed something interesting when visiting Laura's kitchen.

On the way home I was reminded of all the reasons one must be awake to the hazards of rural life. The population is very sparse here and at ten o'clock on a weeknight when the weather is bad, people tend to stay home. It was a slow and very lonely drive home on a sheet of ice tonight. Summer is over, and the sharp consequences of winter are at hand.

I've been distracted by the news from the west coast and forgot to pay attention to our local conditions. Mum and Dad sent some short video clips from Qualicum that showed some nasty weather. I hope they have the fire on to stay warm. I have a number of acquaintances on the west coast, some of which have dropped out of sight today. I expect the power supply must be tenuous at best. Then tonight Laura mentioned that Nova Scotia was baking in warm summer weather. Ah the power of nature. It's oddly comforting to know we don't have last rock.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Leopard geckos

Our zoo continues to grow. A friend offered me these leopard geckos at a good price so I spurged on the setup.

Leopard gecko enclosure - darkish


Leopard gecko peeking out, close - darkish

Leopard gecko peeking out, close - lightish

Leopard gecko panned back peeking out - darkish

dog gone

Like teens, one has to take their pound of flesh when one sees the opportunity. This dog continues to wind herself through more of my heart strings.

Rose with her tongue out looking stupid

Tuesday, November 7, 2006

Little man model and Conservative innovation

I posted an image of this model and a link to more images sometime recently, but I had no idea who the guy was that had done such extraordinary work. Now I know!

Mark Ho's animatronic human sculpture in bronze and stainless steel is featured on the craftsmanship museum site.

Mark's site is about what I expected. Clean and to the point. I want to feel that model move. I bet it's camera smooth.

And now for something completely different. From the desk of Michael Geist.

It's difficult for me to not be cynical when I read things like this from our conserative religious right Canadian style government.


Tuesday November 07, 2006
The Hill Times this week features a special section on Canadian innovation policy that includes an email question and answer session with Industry Minister Maxime Bernier. The answers to some critical innovation questions are instructive:

You are said to take a 'consumer-first' approach to your department. If you agree with this, how does it apply to innovation policy?

[No answer.]

Do you believe the government should do less internal research and rely more on outside contracting or academics for research?

[No answer.]

Your government has terminated the Law Commission of Canada. Will this harm research and innovation in Canada?

[No answer.]

The Telecommunications Policy Review Panel report this year noted that Canada has a lack of research expertise on telecommunications policy. Do you agree?

[No answer.]

In a speech before the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on Oct. 18, Telus CEO Darren Entwistle said that copyright law permits us to copy music to cassettes, but not necessariliy to mp3 players. He said that 'the ambitions of those who would like to expand services to consumers are stymied by a murky legal landscape.' He concluded that, with respect to copyright, 'innovation is being held up.' Do you agree.

[No answer.]

Do you view the World Intellectual Property Organization's Broadcast Treaty as good or bad for competitiveness and innovation in Canada?

[No answer.]

Overall, Bernier refused to answer 12 of 19 questions.

Rose's lament, or, shut up already!

That red nose pitbull is a heart breaker. She's a rescue dog, as I think I mentioned, so the jury was out while we assessed the merits of keeping this dog.

Over the past two weeks we've set out to kennel train her so we can leave her alone inside more easily. Bonnie has learnt her first few words of "dog"! We began by restricting her movement in the house. I have a floor anchor in the kitchen that we can attach a leash too for just this purpose. My wife is a patient and tolerant woman. :D

It took Rose a few nights to decide that it was more comfortable in the kennel than on the hard polished flooring, but she did, and now we're working on closing the kennel door. The benefits of beginning this process have been wonderful and many! Yesterday I was able to leave her loose in my shop for two hours unattended. No ripped up this or that, no scratches on the door, not cords suffering from a good teething. ;^)

We have two dogs just now. One is a black lab cross (Tommy) and is all lab in temperament. Last weekend Bonnie (17 and president of everything) and I were sitting in the living room remarking on what a heart breaker Rose is. I wondered aloud about what it was that drew me to bond up so tightly with these dogs. As we were getting distracted talking about the changes we had witnessed over the last couple of weeks, Bonnie figured out what it is that's so attractive about the relationships we've had with, now two pitbulls.

She said that "Tommy love can be yours in two minutes, but Rosie love takes months." That sums it up very well indeed.

She displays affection (submission to her role in the pack) in increasingly interesting ways. One quirk I find amusing is her interest in finding a man sized log to cart around for my approval. She's both and inside dog and an outside dog. On coming outside, I usually call her to ensure that she's close and she comes to welcome me, then promptly heads off to find a big chunk from the wood pile. For what? I really don't know, but it appears as if that terrier energy just has to do something to demonstrate drive! :D It's a hoot.

Her tremendously strong jaws make the size and weight of the chosen log less of an issue than it might for some other dogs. Eventually I'll get a video of her doing her routine with some ridiculously large hunk of firewood.

She is a heart breaker for sure. I've got a love hate relationship with these dogs and, truth be told with many of the working and fighting breeds. The smart ones anyway. So many are very poorly bred and cared for. Too many dogs of all kinds never learn that the humans in their lives are supposed to be the dominant ones, it brings me to despair in weaker moments for it's implications in other aspects of the human condition. Read Adam's Task!

I've had one other dog that's taken my heart in a manner similar to this one has and losing the first one stung for a long time. My melancholy surrounding this dog is due to knowing that it's likely I'll live longer than she will and I'm going to ball like a baby when she's gone. She's full of character. Her enthusiasm is unbridled, honest and as pure a celebration of life's best attributes as I can imagine. Her bond is of the same quality as my first beloved pitbull and that always taints my feelings for this dog, because I know the cost of loving a great dog to be significant. She's no bully and very secure within herself.

I'm uncertain as to why I appreciate this type of relationship so deeply, but I do. The fact that I still mourn the loss of my first pitbull I suppose simply demonstrates that life isn't a dress rehearsal and that some of the gifts are beyond recovery when lost. < insert = "dog is metaphore for everything" > ;^)

I struggle to find the willingness to celebrate the positive things in life when I'm surrounded by so much that I see as negative. I always have struggled this way, but I have made strides toward a more positive outlook. gleefulfish@lj and others, help me to remain grateful. When I'm with my immediate family I notice just how far along I've come. As can be seen by looking anywhere in our culture, conflict and negative press is very popular. Positive solutions and a willingness to embrace more insightful positive action is scarce.

I think I'm going to put up with Rose's heat cycles and one day seek out a dog for her. It's in our off spring that there is greatest hope. Mum? Is this true?
Romantic to the core - Ian


Manon's Student of the Month in French class

Manon got another "student of the month" award.

Hard to imagine the changes that have gone on for her in the last 18 months or so. Every time I see her make strides toward something positive, I wonder what my life might have been like if I'd had a little dex to get my adhd self through the day.

It's great fun to watch her gain some ground.

No Mum, it's not your fault! :P


Monday, November 6, 2006

Humming birds on a Texas Sage

Paul has been out again. Actually there is a steady stream, but I don't post it all. These are a bit grainy, but low light and fast shutter speeds will do that to a guy.

To think that there are blooms! Although mild today, we've had snow on the ground for a week. heh I got all the flax straw bales tucked in around the house yesterday.

It's one of those rare quiet introspective days outside. Not a breath of wind, heavily overcast with temperatures hovering around the freezing mark. The humidity is close to 100%. It is extraordinarily quiet this morning. That's a good enough excuse for a run. :D

Humming Birds on Texas Sage

Sunday, November 5, 2006

another insect macro image archive of note

This is another brilliant little collection of macro imaging.

Clicking on the image will take you to the many other prizes in this archive. I have only seen a few of these previously. The mantids are so wild!

Friday, November 3, 2006

Commentary on Income Trust Changes (funny)

This from a friend this (Canadacentric)

Commentary on Income Trust Changes (funny)

Thu Nov 2, 2006 8:08 am (PST)

... at the Globe and Mail site today, far and away my favourite, as follows:

"I've been softly weeping all day. You see, I voted for the Conservatives because I don't care about anyone but myself. All that matters to me is being first and having more. Now, I won't be able to cash in on the plans I made when I helped to elect them. I'm so disillusioned. When you only care about yourself, and you get screwed by other people who only care about themselves, it HURTS, you know?

I feel so sad. So sad. Boo hoo. Sniff sniff."

Thursday, November 2, 2006

Incredible Little Mech Sculpture

A most remarkable work of art from a machinist.

Click on the image to take you to a lot more poses of this sculpture

Wednesday, November 1, 2006

jumping spiders and black holes

Jumping spiders and black holes. Can I do that? :P

Jumping spider ready to pounce!

Love the headlights on these critters.

Then this crossed my desk.

"What exactly is a black hole, anyway? Listen in as 11 top physicists and astronomers take on the challenge of describing the strangest entities in the universe."

They had one minute to describe black holes in layman's terms. I couldn't resist!

Oh and we had two sets of kids stop by last night! Yeah! The last two years we hadn't see a single soul. Yes I live in the sticks. :P


Gmail spam trick

What a sweet little tidbit this is. For those that enjoy gmail, this might help stem the flow of crap.

I haven't gone through the source of this very closely.

Receiving E-Mails without giving your real address
Sometimes you want to use your GMail address on a website, but you fear you will get a lot of SPAM afterwards coming from that website.
So instead of creating another address just for those kind of websites, you can very easily alter your address.
if your address is, enter on the website We will still receive every e-mail, but if the website do send you a lot of SPAMs, you can create a filter for every message sent to this address ( to go directly in the trash !

* You can create as many alternative addresses as you want
* It is preferable to create one address per website :, ...
* There is no need to create the alternative address before using it. Everything you put after the "+" won't be taken in consideration by GMail. So just give it on a website and it will work !

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Pumpkin carving tools and ideas

OK! That was quick. I love this library called the Internet. Here's an early find on the search for what the good tools might look like.
A dry wall saw might be a little course, but it's quite possible that a decent old fashioned hardware store might yield some tools appropriate for the job in a better quality than some of the over priced low quality kits I've seen.

Paul's people mural and parrots of Telegraph Hill

Paul's posted some images of the parrots of Telegraph Hill and the surrounding area.
The first in the series is the wall mural below. I love everything about this mural.

There is a fellow that tends to the birds there. I had missed seeing a film about the parrots and this homeless man, earlier this year. Has anyone seen it?

Clicking on the image below will take you to the first series of images on Paul's site.

Jack-O-lantern 2006

The girls had some fun tonight carving out our pumpkins. We often aren't able to grow our own, but this year was a breeze with all the heat we had. I can only imagine what it might have been like if we had all the water they might have used to grow bigger.

Halloween pumpkin jack-O-lantern with Bonnie and Manon

Bonnie's in the hard light of day

Bonnie's and Manon's in the hard light of day

Manon's in the dark

Both in the dark