Pat's Log
Sun, 28 Aug 2005

How To Piss Pat Off
20050827 The following is a step-by-step guide to the correct way to piss me off, if you're a thirteen-year-old boy:

  1. Wake up before nine on a Saturday.
  2. Start an argument with your younger sister.
  3. Start laughing and jumping up and down hysterically. Make sure you run up and down the stairs and make as many unusual noises as possible.
  4. Ignore cease and decist shouts from your recently awakened older brother.
  5. Continue for 15 minutes.
  6. When said brother comes after you with rage in his eyes, lock yourself in your room.

Naturally, this causes me to knock furiously on the door -- perhaps a little too hard. On the bright side, he loses his lock; actually, his whole door. We get to split the cost on a new door.

The funny thing out of this is that we all got grounded. When I thought this over, I started laughing hysterically myself... grounded. My hand went through a door! And I'm grounded! And I'm laughing! What a day!

On a completely unrelated note, this is what running too many BitTorrent sessions on a NetWinder can do:

22:29:06 up 7 days, 13:21, 10 users, load average: 8.87, 7.82, 6.63

[] | posted @ 03:57 | link
Fri, 26 Aug 2005

20050825 Having not blogged in a while, things on the list to write about have accumulated.

The washroom renovations are all done except for finding and installing a new lighting fixture. I like the one that is there now (generic 8-bulb washroom fixture) but everyone else wants something more extravagant. Anyway, the floor looks good, the new paint on everything does wonders, and having the toilet back where it belongs is great.

A few days this week have been devoted to actually learning some OpenGL first-hand. I decided to do the tutorials at They're simple, overdocumented, and generally get the point across. Even though I'm only on Lesson #8, I can now appreciate what everyone's been telling me is the natural order of OpenGL functions. They are certainly intuitive, even if writing useful code is complex.

Celestia has sparked interest again, as in trying the latest Gnome LiveCD, a repackaged Ubuntu Live, it became clear that Ubuntu has done a great job of packaging Celestia and putting it in their package manager. I feel some need to develop it again. I'm starting by refactoring the >4000 line gtkmain.cpp into many little files. I've also started making artwork that could become the art for the Gnome LiveCD. It's not terribly inspired at the moment, so I will give it time to sink in. Either way, it's the best LiveCD I've encountered to date.

Shooting is fun! After a recent discussion at Tim Horton's about an acquaintance getting his BB gun from the States taken away at the border, it was time to look up if my own Crosman revolver is still legal under current laws. Yes, with a legal limit of 495ft/s, my 300ft/s gun most certainly is. So I went out to shoot it. Target: Tim Horton's can @ 15m. Fun times.

Finally, today marks the fifth anniversary of mine and Markus' partnership, We haven't had any cashflow in three years, but it's still nice to recognize simpler times...

[] | posted @ 03:56 | link
Sun, 21 Aug 2005

The Rest of the Trip
20050820-1 (this will be in lab report format minus personal pronouns).

Yesterday marked my arrival back to Ottawa after a very packed, busy trip. The best part about traveling must be returning home. I didn't have any time to keep up the travel log, but some of the interesting items will be mentioned.

First off, there are two things that I loved about the coastal provinces:

  1. My cell phone worked everywhere. Much better than 5 minutes out of Kanata.
  2. A sky so not light polluted that you can see the most intricate features of the milky way. Amazingly beautiful.

Day three in New Brunswick was the Acadian festival in Caraquet. Loud and proud, the festival was bustling. While they did not turn me into an Acadian music fan, the local band playing, called 1755, put on a good show. Their fiddler was very talented. Their drummer was also interesting: at one point everyone left the stage in the middle of a song and he continued it with a nine-minute solo. Everyone came back for the last four-or-so bars.

The following morning, the real sight-seeing started. I rented a car in Miramichi and took it on a 36-hour trip through New Brunswick to P.E.I., then down to Halifax in Nova Scotia, stopping every now and then along the way. Confederation bridge is more imposing than expected.

Figure 1: The New Brunswick end of the Confederation Bridge.

Prince Edward Island was astonishing, with its red sand against lush grass. Since I didn't have too much time before sunset, I made the most driving around the island parks and countryside. There were many panoramic views that would be ideal for paintings. Charlottetown itself was not nearly as interesting.

Having left Charlottetown after 10pm, I arrived in Halifax at almost 3. I decided to scout out what I wanted to see while there was less traffic. The way the city is organized (or not), that took nearly an hour. Sleeping in the car was uncomfortable. Toyota Echoes are not recommended for sleeping.

That following day involved much walking around the city. The day began with a visit to the Maritime Museum, which included an enjoyable tour of the C.S.S. Acadia, a ship of the same vintage as the Titanic. They did a great job preserving it, and even have a cat on board, though they call him the "Senior Pest Officer." After the museum, I went on the obligatory Alexander Keith's Brewery tour. It wasn't what I expected, though it was undeniably fun, and included sampling of several of their brews I did not know existed. The last big attraction was the Halifax Citadel, where I caught a tour as well.

Halifax was departed at around 6pm, the goal being to get to Moncton before sun-down. Shortly after leaving the city, the largest rainbow I've ever seen appeared over the highway. At the New Brunswick-Nova Scotia border, I had to stop to get a photo of this neat wires-everywhere setup:

Figure 2: CBC Transmitting Station at NB-NS border.

Moncton did not seem terribly interesting, but I stopped at the famous Pour House to try some blueberry ale and get some food. I also bought a six-pack of the ale. I was back in Pointe-Sapin shortly after midnight, very sore from all of the walking around Halifax. But wait, there is more...

Five hours later (just past 0500), Peter and I woke up to go lobster fishing with a local group of fishermen. Even in my tiredness it was a good time. The captain of the boat was a prankster and he brought up one of his buddies' lobster cages and filled it to the brim with sea urchins. It was good to get fresh air before the long ride back home.

The ride home was fairly good. I finally got to go on a train. It was an overnight ride, but in my excitement, I didn't get much sleep. That made for three sleepless nights.

The conclusion of the experiment is that the east coast is not, in fact, like the west. However, I did see one Lamborghini.

What's wrong with Ottawa? Where are the Lamborghinis?

[] | posted @ 02:38 | link
Mon, 15 Aug 2005

East Coast - Day 2
20050814 This was Day #2 in Pointe-Sapin. The day started off with mass at the local church. Then, halfway through the morning, it felt like beer time. But then there's that whole beer-before-noon thing. Moreover, I have a personal rule that says you actually have to do something useful to deserve a beer. So, said I, "I will mow the lawn." I expected this to be exhausting, considering the size of the lawn. Then I got given the keys to a lawn tractor. Rather than exhausting, it was fun. After that, I had beer anyway.

The afternoon was spent walking a few kilometres along the beach as well as planning exactly what the remainder of my trip will entail. Even got some croquet in there.

Excerpt of an interesting (paraphrased) discussion prior to arriving here:

  • Kyle: Don't expect the East to be the same as the West.
  • Pat: You're right. I saw four Lamborghinis on the West Coast. I expect to see at least 8 in the East.
  • Charles: If by Lamborghinis you mean rusted-out K-cars...

[] | posted @ 03:08 | link
Fri, 12 Aug 2005

From Coast to Coast
20050811 Next destination: New Brunswick. Having been to the west coast, now it's time for the east. Alas, sunset-over-the-ocean photos will be impossible. Sunrise, however, could be spectacular... if I get up early enough. I don't know exactly what to expect, but there will be many hours in the car to figure that out. While far less planned than the west coast trip, doing this on-the-fly should prove to be fun.

In ongoing open-source news, Gnome 2.12 beta 2 has just been released. This news, as I have finally gotten beta 1 working more-or-less correctly. The screenshot is of my first attempt to run it: there was some buggy code that Cairo managed to trigger. In general, this next release is far slower on my laptop, mostly because of GTK using Cairo. Cairo is functional, but it is rather sluggish at the moment. I hope it is optimized before the final release.

The floor was finished this afternoon, as I applied grout between the tiles. It turned out fairly well, a very educational project. Now, to start packing...

[] | posted @ 03:36 | link
Tue, 09 Aug 2005

Busy Week
20050808 The vacationing spirit has finally worn off a little and I decided to do some work around the house. What started out last week as fixing a crack in the bathroom door and then repainting it has turned into a full-fledged reworking of said bathroom. Along the way, I also started reading the new Harry Potter book.

Basically, the washroom, after fifteen years of constant use, has definitely succumbed to serious wear and tear. Major damage includes water damage on the wall and ceiling drywall from a roof leak a few years back. Minor damage includes a well-worn a lifted vinyl floor. The wall has been ripped and patched up. I painted the ceiling today. The walls will be painted when the floor is done and the borders are re-applied.

The floor initiative is a much more interesting experience, as I'm approaching it from learn-as-you-go method. Based on what I had heard about other houses, I'm surprised how easily the vinyl came off; easier than many price tags. The subflooring cement was messy, though the resulting orange floor is nice and level, yet allows for some surface movement. We bought tiles and a tile cutter today. It went terribly until we realized that we were using the wrong blade and the laser guide was majorly out of calibration. Then it went well, but it was getting dark. The remainder of the evening was spent cutting 12x12 inch newpaper pieces and figuring out how to cut the more complex tile shapes. That's what I'll be doing all of tomorrow.

It's remarkable how refreshing a little project like this is.

On a sidenote, this week's Battlestar Galactica was awesome. The Old Man is back on his feet as things get worse and worse for everyone. My only concern is that while they've upped the drama and the tension quite a bit this season, they really shouldn't try to push it further. There is such a thing as overdoing it, and many shows have been hurt by something overdone. The occasional high-tension episode is great, but it would suck if the show fell into something overdone like the two-parter habit that bit Voyager in the behind.

[] | posted @ 03:50 | link
Mon, 01 Aug 2005

Hamilton, Ontario

Peter took me on a trip to Hamilton today. The goal was to visit HMCS Toronto, which was docked there this weekend. Recently, the HMCS Haida was moved from Toronto to Hamilton as well, and the two ships were right next to each other. Walking around both vessels, a very stark contrast becomes apparent, simply due to the fifty year age gap between the two. While the Toronto is clearly superior in every possible way, Haida has "character" that no modern military vessel could possibly match.

Hungry stomachs protesting, we set out to explore Hamilton to find food. At this point, it is worth mentioning that Hamilton is a very strange place. This photo should explain better than words ever could:


That was one of the relatively few buildings that actually had windows and not particle board covers. The city was practically deserted. After looking around for a pub for approximately 20 minutes, I asked a local for a pub. Until I mentioned that we were looking for an "Irish pub" that has both food and beer, he assumed Peter and I were together, and was leading us to the local queer bar.

In conclusion, Hamilton was ugly, devoid of life, not friendly to tourists, and just plain weird. It is on my do-not-approach list.

[] | posted @ 03:59 | link

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