Pat's Log
Wed, 28 Sep 2005

Gainfully Employed
20050927 The contract is signed. I start working full-time on Monday. I get decent pay, excellent benefits, and copious amounts of vacation time. The work is relatively exciting (though I probably won't say so a few weeks into the job). I'm looking forward to getting into the nine-to-five habit, as it will regulate my lifestyle a whole lot more than unemployment, or even more, the unpredictable time requirements of school.

I've also decided that the Dupli-Color is as good, or better, than the Plastikote, if only because of availability. So I went ahead and painted the main body of the phaser. It's amazing how a little bit of spray paint can transform dull Krylon Grey Primer into something that looks high-tech. The colour of this paint and the way this paint reflects light are beautiful. I should have the prop done some time this weekend.

[] | posted @ 02:43 | link
Tue, 27 Sep 2005

My New Friend: Mr. Dell MacCrack
20050926 I finally got to installing the "modified" x86 OSX on an old laptop hard drive. I slapped it into my Dell and it actually booted! Very bizarre having MacOS natively on something not Apple.

Most things seem to work: network is fine, USB is flaky, some video glitches exist, and there are stability issues with some programs. Wireless does not work (as expected), but I was surprised that the volume buttons did. Very good, considering it's not the hardware it was designed for. I'm also quite impressed with the speed.

Nevertheless, I will stick with Linux, which is still more useful to me on the laptop (I like my wireless). It was, however, a worthwhile experiment.

[] | posted @ 03:08 | link
Mon, 26 Sep 2005

The Weekend...
The weekend was completely relaxing and uneventful. It started with the latest Battlestar Galactica. The guest was Michelle Forbes, previously Ro Laren on The Next Generation. I was right, Number Six did have a "new look" in this show, all beaten up. Ron Moore is a the cliffhanger artist: the cliffhanger is intense, even for his style, and will have to last until January. In his podcast about the episode, he ends by saying smugly: "and that's how you do a cliffhanger, boys and girls."

I spent a great deal of time searching for phaser-paint this week. The original props on the show were done with a Plastikote shade that is rare in the States, and non-existant in Canada. Today, the search concluded, when I confirmed that the Dupli-Color bought at Canadian Tire last week is actually the correct match.

Lastly, I started thinking about adding DBus support to wpa_supplicant. If this could be done before the Gnome Summit maybe a NetworkManager hacking session could be provoked.

[] | posted @ 03:40 | link
Mon, 19 Sep 2005

New Site
20050918-2 Last night's BSG goodness motivated me to finally finish the site I set out to make when planning the Vancouver trip earlier this summer.

The new site, titled Battlestar Galactica - Season 1 Locations Guide, is a compilation of all of the locations I managed to find from the first season, along with links to their positions in Google Maps for satellite view. It's a fun read for any BSG fan, and already has reviews such as "neat," "cool," "nice," and "that's pretty sweet."

Adding this page to my site has necessitated the addition of a new area, which I've named Filmography. At some point in the near future (hopefully), it will also have the results from all of the work I've put in on a Star Trek history page.

It's good to scratch projects off of the list.

Winning some awards in CAPCON last week has also encouraged me to get going on the Enterprise-D, my oldest unbuilt model Trek model. I spent some cash and got a bunch of accurizing and lighting parts from Don Matthys. Should be one hell of a model when finished, though I'm still not looking forward to drilling the other half of the windows out, nor filling them in with smelly resin. Other than masking all of those windows for painting, the rest should be fun...

[] | posted @ 02:34 | link
Sun, 18 Sep 2005

Flight of the Phoenix
20050918 Flight of the Phoenix/Blackbird, the BSG episode whose Act Four I saw being filmed at Vancouver Film Studios, finally aired this week. The episode was every bit as good as I expected it to be, though besides changing the Phoenix to the Blackbird (same reasons as Firefox?), the Fourth (last) Act differed somewhat in order from the script I have.


  • First shot of finished ship (with panels)
  • Starbuck launches, disappears, found
  • Christening with President (cuts only to signing)
  • People congratulate Helo
  • Roslin and Adama talk about Sharon
  • Tyrol sees Sharon, no talk


  • First shot of finished ship (with panels)
  • Christening with President (cuts to signing and Doc Cottle looking over Roslin's medical file, "she has guts")
  • Roslin and Adama talk about Sharon
  • Starbuck launches, disappears, found
  • People congratulate Helo
  • Tyrol sees Sharon, there is talk
  • Deck cleared after party, Tyrol satisfied

The major difference is that the christening and flight switched order. They also cut the Chief's talk with Sharon and his state of satisfaction, perhaps they moved it to the next episode.

Another change is that Number Six was completely cut from the episode. Originally she was over Baltar's shoulder when he, Adama, and Gaeta are discussing killing the Cylon virus. On the bright side, Six is on the call sheet for after-wrap wardrobe fitting and make-up tests. Perhaps she will have a new look in the next episode?

An interesting observation is that throughout the show, the actors use slightly different wording than what is written. This sort of improvisation indicates more leeway for the actors than on some other shows.

This whole opportunity with being able to see an episode on paper, being filmed, and the final product has me feeling satisfied with the whole experience. I wish I could work in production on a show of this quality; I simply have no idea where to start. I also wish I could thank the kind person who let me on the set that day. In front of me there is a whole sheetful of phone numbers and contact information, but I do not consider it wise to abuse it just to say give my regards; it would be sort of contradictive.

[] | posted @ 06:15 | link
Fri, 16 Sep 2005

And So Freedom Comes To An End
This summer has been amazing. I've traveled all over this great country of ours, saw the sights, heard the sounds, smelled the smells. Now it is time for reality to kick in. I've been offered a position at Xandros taking on a very large project. It will, no doubt, be tedious and nerve-racking. But it should pay handsomely, allow me to get on with life.

Tomorrow is Battlestar Galactica's season 2, episode 9, Flight of the Phoenix. That's the episode I saw being filmed while on the set. I am really looking forward to it, maybe even following along in parts of the script, if they haven't been cut.

As an afterthought, maybe there is still time for a quick trip to Europe before settling in at work?

[] | posted @ 03:49 | link
Tue, 13 Sep 2005

Test Driving
Now that school has started and there is free time, it's time to test the newest and greatest road machines. I took my Mommy along so that I wouldn't do anything stupid like accidentally buying one.

Nissan Murano: I started with this one because my Mom's been dreaming about it for a while. Sure, it looks cute, but for an engine over 200hp it really doesn't drive well at all; the acceleration is pitiful. A neat feature it has is a continuous transmission. There are no "gears."

Toyota Prius: This car was chosen for its technical innovation. Indeed, the hybrid technology it uses makes for a great ride. It is the only car I've ever seen that has larger gas usage on highway than in city conditions. It's really neat how the motor turns itself off often for a very quiet ride. It's neat how they reuse inertia expended upon brakes to charge the system. It's awesome how they have a big fat power button in the car. I would recommend this car to anyone and everyone. However, I am looking for something with a clutch for now.

Mazda 3: I have a 1994 Mazda Protege. I love it. This new car is even sweeter, the price is right, it drives beautifully on all counts, and it has a clutch. My only disappointment is that the rear seats no longer fold down flat: not so great for sleeping.

BMW 325: This is the extreme end of my list. I went to the BMW dealership and they treated me much better than the others. I took over an hour of the dealer's time, and he explained everything. The features in the 2006 line is astonishing. Things I would never think of, technology that other makers haven't though of either. They've made it significantly more efficient. However, I don't like the new stylings very much; they redesigned the interior such that the window controls had to be moved from the middle console onto the door like every other car. Driving it, on the other hand: WOAH. The sales agent also let me go down the road behind the airport and even encouraged me to do some really fast turns, donuts, and "test" the acceleration to my desire. There is hardly a part in that car where they didn't pose the question: "how can we make this part better than the other car designers?" This vehicle is definitely on the top of my list, more than ever.

I think this testing gave me a better appreciation for new cars and their associated technologies. In the end, I will probably settle on one of the latter two. The driving differences between the Mazda and BMW are actually less significant than I imagined. But the BMW is the most refined vehicle I have ever driven.

[] | posted @ 03:59 | link
Sun, 11 Sep 2005

CAPCON and Car Chase
20050911 I spent most of yesterday at the Nepean Sportsplex for CAPCON. There were thousands of models throughout 69 categories, though only six were science fiction. Nonetheless, the category I submitted my two models to, Science Fiction - Space Vehicles, was packed with about 15 models. There were some absolutely amazing build-ups. Some of the non-science-fiction stuff was even more impressively done; a well-built and -weathered tank gets my attention as much as an equivalent TIE Fighter.

With all the amazing models, I was happy to win Third Place in my category for the Shuttlecraft Galileo, especially considering the skill level of some of the other contestants I got to know. I was rather shocked when the same model got the "Best of" award in Sci-Fi. More surprise came when I got back to pick up the model and found an invitation card: FineScale Modeler wanted my model photographed for their magazine. It was good to win on my first show ever. It was also good to talk to other modelers, share ideas, and have those "yeah, well in that episode..."-type discussions. Next time I'll have to come up with an even nicer model.

On the way home, I picked up Markus and Nathan to play some hardcore board games at Raf's. Markus seems to like to invent new ways of not boring himself every time we drive somewhere. This time, as it was dark outside, he decided to take flash photography of other drivers as we passed by. One guy (and his girlfriend) in a silver Civic got very angry and started tailgating up the Kanata hill. I swerved and took the March offramp hoping he would give it up. He followed and went ahead a little. I thought maybe I could still lose him by taking a sudden right onto March. He managed to follow. I went fast and zig-zagged through traffic down March, and took a sudden right at Herzberg. He followed, though with some distance. The light at Carling was red, and the only car in sight was directly across, waiting for the light to change. I stopped (more-or-less), turned right, looked in my mirrors, and saw the Civic hadn't rounded the corner yet. A sudden U-turn would lose him after he rounded the corner, I thought. However, unlike me, the idiot didn't at all slow down rounding the corner, and as I was at 45-degrees in the turn, I saw him coming up fast in my peripheral vision, followed by seemingly-endless screeching (I was just waiting for the BAM). It never came, though he was momentarily dazed. The light was just changing at this point, and I ran through it before it changed for the aforementioned bystander. Civic was forced to stop. Turned left down Richardson, and parked in the ex-Nortel parking lot, thinking he would go by. Unfortunately, I did it right under a light, and he spotted me, though he had to take the next exit into the lot. This gave me time to exit via my exit, turn right on March, and lose him through the Home-Hardware parking lot. This was all very dangerous, but very exhilarating. The nerve someone would have to chase us like that for a simple photo? Maybe he was just trying to be macho for his girl? As Nathan pointed out: now his ego's broken and he ain't gettin' any.

Today was the last day of EngFrosh 2005. The boat race had both the fastest and slowest designs I've ever seen. Good times...

[] | posted @ 19:55 | link
Sat, 10 Sep 2005

School Has Started...
20050909 ... and for the first time in my life, I don't have to care about it. The thing is, I do care about it. It was always nice to go back and share stories, get back into a routine, and so on. This is also the first year in many that I am not participating in EngFrosh. Unrelated: the photo is a tiny frog sitting on my hand, from last week's excursion to Luskville.

Yesterday, after talking with my grandparents on the phone for over an hour, I thought it might be nice to write a letter; not much else to do, after all. It explains my "B. Eng" status, as they are quite confused, since the word "Engineer" in Polish is an education level, where "Engineer" is to "Masters" as "Bachelor" is to the same. The letter explains these things nicely, with the kind of historical sidenotes they often place in their letters to me. I also thought I'd go buy The Sting soundtrack in CD format; it's my grandfather's favourite, and he is quite excited about the portable CD player I got him a few years back. I wish it were a simpler matter to meet up with them, I truly do.

Also yesterday, I dropped in on the EngFrosh movie night. I found it hard to stay away. Meeting up with people I hadn't seen in four months or longer (those last few weeks of university were insanely busy) was necessary. EngFrosh seems to be going well, despite a little setback a few days ago. It is my intention to drop in during boat building as well as the boat race itself. Feels strange being on the outside.

Spent the evening getting ready for tomorrow's model show. I have to wake up early in the morning and get to the Sportsplex. I am interested to see how I do as a participant of one of the country's biggest model contests.

Last, but not least, there is a good chance my vacation will soon be over as of this upcoming Wednesday. As unfortunate as it is, it will allow me to get on with life. Interestingly, a full-time occupation begins the week after frosh week. Maybe things do not change?

[] | posted @ 03:55 | link
Tue, 06 Sep 2005

Algonquin Park
This weekend's trip was to Algonquin Park, Whitefish Lake to be precise. Despite forecasts of potential rain from the remnants of Hurricane Katrina, two-dozen-or-so Polish families still decided the trip would be fun. I've never been to the park before, and thought it was, as advertised, a perfect example of the Ontario forest. Activities included canoeing/kayaking, volleyball, and drinking beer. Volleyball was much more fun than I ever remember it being; maybe I should get into it more. While this is a yearly tradition, I have never gone; I feel compelled to go from now on.

The rest of this Labour Day weekend was spent bugtracking before the upcoming Gnome 2.12 release. I found some interesting ones between Gnome and Cairo and the latest snapshot. I also discovered one with Gstreamer and All of them seem to be based on the latest RC, so they are not considered Gnome showstoppers. Surprisingly, bouncing between the projects is easy when you know enough people.

[] | posted @ 03:40 | link
Fri, 02 Sep 2005


This week's trip was a visit to Justin's house in Waterloo. I got there Monday evening and left Thursday morning. The first order of business was to go out drinking (of course).

Tuesday, we took Justin's new inflatable boat out for a spin. The whole day was spent tinkering with the motor. By the end of the day, it was finally running properly. Right about then, an awesome sunset illuminated the entire lake in bright orange-pink.

Wednesday's plan was to do Justin's business rounds with him, the main meeting being at a media company to create a new promotional video. All the driving would give us time to catch up. For about ten minutes down highway 407, an OPP cruiser was following the car, making us both rather uneasy. Eventually he did pull us over, noting that the license sticker was expired and the insurance was no better. I learned that this results in a court visit that in turn results (most likely) in a five thousand dollar fine. Driving the car anywhere was completely out of the question. However, the officer was very kind, and dropped us off at the closest exit, which coincidentally was right in front of ATI headquarters. I decided to use this opportunity to meet the Linux driver team, whom I previously met online and at OLS. I was told they are interested in getting involved in making certain that any hardware-accelerated goodies the GTK and Gnome projects start using in the near future work as well as they should using their drivers. The arrangement would be just like it is when I find an issue in the way Celestia runs on their drivers. We continued chatting while waiting for a taxi to arrive to take us to the (very patient) media company. While the day did not go smoothly, it was definitely eventful.

The way back was a convenient way for Markus to get back from Milton to Ottawa, so he accompanied me back. The entire trip was just over 1100km. I discovered that my car is significantly more efficient at 115km/h than at 125km/h. The slower speed allowed me to travel from Milton to my house starting at a full 45L tank and ending a millimeter below the half-mark; and that's with Markus and the entire contents of his bedroom!

It is hard to believe that it is September already.

[] | posted @ 03:37 | link

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