Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Technically, Is This Today or Tomorrow? (I'm Pretty Sure Its the Latter)

Note to self: when you are not accustomed to having caffeine, a mocha latte is a bad idea at nine o'clock at night. A really bad idea.

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Best wasted 17 seconds of my life.



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I have discovered that I have subjected myself to a great time waster: Google Reader. Somehow my thirst for random knowledge, current events, tech, and podcasting has caused me to load up my reader with feeds that update at a frenetic pace. And while some if it I can probably do without, some merit more attention than others. Currently my favourite time wasters are BoingBoing and io9. BoingBoing is a fun site, highlighting current events, talking literature (which makes sense since one if its contributors is sf author Cory Doctorow), and just gets points in general for being highly interesting and thought provoking. If there is one site I could suggest subscribing to, it would be BoingBoing.

On the other hand there is io9, which seems to fulfil some kind of geekish need in my soul. io9 is dedicated to science fiction, and talks movies, tv shows, literature, current scientific breakthroughs and general geeky awesomeness. Some of their tags may throw you off a little; they seem to be applying some variation of Rule 34 to their tags as many of them are often followed by the word "porn", but fear not! there is none of that to be found without the safety of an NSFW label. So check out their awesome collection of #spaceporn and objectify the amazing images from space.

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Aha, it seems that sleep is finally overtaking me. This is almost as bad as that one time in Fort Mac... mmmm, when will I learn that caffeine + late night = bad?

Off to the field of dreams with me

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Of the Approaching Cold and the Death of Heat; Also, of Life

I have a strange relationship with this time of the year. First, I hate the cold. I can stand it to a certain degree by ignoring it, but there is a limit to how much I can stand the cold as it slowly seeps into my bones. And yet I also love this time of year because of the beautiful changes it brings about. This is the time when snow reappears to recapture our imaginations (and hate, but that is not the point). The beauty of snowflakes, of the ice flowing down the river, of trees laden with snow... I love it all. And Christmas! Lights and decorations, people expressing themselves through colours in ways only seen for this one brief period of time. I feel oddly content with it all.

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Switchfoot's new album is out. <insert>Girlish squeal of delight</insert>

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Life has been a funny thing lately. Not bad per se, just funny. As if everything was blue-shifted just a bit. The last couple of months have been full of so many changes and I'm still trying to figure them all out. Right now I'm just trying to figure out how to balance all the things I have going on: school, work, church, Seana, Family, Friends, and me time to close all the open loops in my head. I think I'm still trying to figure out who I am and what my place is in the world. What my purpose is. I have hints and clues to follow, but it is a process and not one that I think will end any time soon. I don't think this kinds of journey ever really end, but it would be nice to at least find myself at a waypoint to rest for a while. And so I go on...

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I discovered Owl City through the single "Fireflies". Love this guy. Check out trax 5, 9, and 10 especially.

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"You must learn from the mistakes of others. You can't possibly live long enough to make them all yourself."
-Sam Levenson

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Wearing Off of Shiny New-ness

I don't want to say that I am burned out; that would be melodramatic to say the least. I will say, however, that Canadian Tire is starting to get to me. Its not so much that I find the work disagreeable, it is more that I find the job itself is encroaching on areas of my life it should have no part in. I'm sorry, but I cannot possibly stand thinking about Canadian Tire 24/7. And with recent change-ups in the store, and the mysterious audit around the corner, things are a little bit tense and a little bit nuts at work.

To be honest, I think that part of my problem lies in my mindset about my work. I really don't think I will ever find great satisfaction in my work at CT, for the simple reason that I have no interest in retail other than using it as the means to an end. I applaud the tenacity of the lifers simply because I could never do it. I don't think I could ever have a career in retail because it is just way too boring for my tastes. Sure, you can get some pretty cool co-workers, engage (briefly) with interesting (demanding, funny, appreciative, contrary... and a whole litany of other adjectives I really don't care to copy here) customers, even get a good work out from all sorts of heavy lifting. But the truth is that my passions, no matter how elusive they may be at the moment, lie elsewhere; and that while Canadian Tire is nice, I don't for a second believe that I will find or realize or develop those passions in that kind of an environment. It is, as I have already stated, merely the means to a monetary end.

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How's it going? I know I had all but abandoned this space, but I've been going a little crazy lately and writing, blogging, and journaling seem to be the only way to defrag my thoughts. So, I'm back again. Heck, blogger has even gone back to being my home page so I am more likely to put something up. Sure, I'm never going to be perfect at blogging, and probably will never be a consistent poster... but I'm not really sure if anyone truly cares. This is more about me getting my thoughts out and trying to make sense of it all. If someone is out there reading along, I can only hope you're getting something out of this as well. But if not, my narcissism will keep me company ;D

Mike

Monday, June 01, 2009

... falling back into old posting habits

Well, today is June 1st which means that it has been a full month since I last posted. Laaaaammmmeeee! I've just had no/little time for the internet of late (other than the passive workings of ĀµTorrent) as I have been crazy busy of late. WITH A JOB! Exciting, I know. I have officially left the club of un-employed slobs (sorry Morgan) and have moved into the bright, shiny world of Canadian Tire! I've been working there for about three weeks now, and all I have to say is that training in the seasonal department is more of a trial by fire than anything else. Crazy customers, getting swamped with stock, getting a good workout from all the heavy lifting I am responsible for... yup, life is good. A bit painful, but good. I'm even getting tonnes of hours there, which is really nice. In the North Peterborough area? Drop by and say hi!

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I do this.

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I can't believe I missed this! Must have something to do with playing Chrono Trigger with the sound off or really low, but we have been getting Rick Roll'd for 14 years!



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Helped Seana and her room mates move into their apartment today. It went fairly smoothly, with the exception of the bunk bed for Seana and Ailin. Ailin and I started putting it together and managed to finish the bottom part no problem. Three hours, three college students and three black belts later, the top part was together. It seems that someone in the manufacturing plant where the bunk bed came from decided that all the top bunk rails needed to be 1/8" longer than the slots they were to fit into. Of course it took us over an hour to figure this out seeing as there were other obstructions as well, however it has now been decided that a hack saw and a filer should not be necessary tools to build an IKEA-esque bunk bed. Adventures galore!

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And now it is time for bed. I have an evily early morning tomorrow and have not been getting as much sleep as I require to function properly. Thus shall I leave things here. Hopefully I can get back into the game, but we shall see!

Friday, May 01, 2009

April Showers...

It appears as if spring is finally upon us. April is now behind us, and with it we leave the snow and cold that surprised us for a tick. Now, I am greeted every morning and sent off every night to the sound of frogs croaking, brought by the gentle breeze coming in through my window. And the sights! Trees starting to get leaves, flowers starting to bloom, the verdant grass... yes, spring is well and truly in the air.

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Went to go see my sister preform at the Youth for Youth concert today. It was your regular mix of acts that were simple amazing or just plain awesome and acts that you could, well, do without. Luckily, acts falling in the latter category were very few. It was really neat though - the drummer for one of the bands that played got up and did some hand drumming... on an empty propane tank. It was a bizare sight, but the tone! The timbre! It held a haunting beauty not unlike that of steel drums, and yet different at the same time. It is really something you would have to hear for yourself to appreciate.

I'm tired.

Off to bed.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Simple... Beautiful... Stunning

Has it been mentioned that the weather has been beautiful? Today was a great day; the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and I was able to finally put on my summer gear: shorts, tee-shirt and flip-flops. Although, technically I didn't actually wear my flip-flops as I couldn't find them, and my shorts are actually more like man-Capri's... but those are just details.

This weekend was pretty fabulous too. Saturday was pretty much the greatest day - weather wise - I could have asked for. Same as today, sun bright and shining and the temperature up... for the first bit at least. Then it turned to rain, wonderful rain. But not just, to use Seana's phrase, "piddly" rain, but an old-fashioned thunderstorm. Mmmmmmm, if there is one thing that I really don't like about winter storms, its the lack of thunder and lightning.

Speaking of Seana, I had the privilege of attending her (2nd) graduation from KLBC on Saturday. Don't worry though; the ceremony, pictures and reception were all over by the time the storm hit. It was a great event and I have to say that Seana was quite stunning indeed. Sure everyone else looked great as well, but I have a rather large bias in my opinion. But now it is officially on to summer with everyone, leaving behind all the stresses of the school year and filling the void, at least partially, with the stresses of summer school/job hunting. WILL THIS MADNESS NEVER END???!?

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Spot the Differences!


Ever gone to Wikipedia to learn something that has a technical aspect to it, and been completely dumbfounded by the nomanclature? Well, some bright light on the Wikipedia team decided to make Simple Wikipedia; Wikipedia in natural, easy to undertand language. It's like Wikipedia with kiddie gloves on. Well, kiddie *language* gloves - content is still fair game.

Its interesting though; since the authors of the articles are trying to put the information in the most accessable language possible, grammar structure goes right out the window, leading to some rather ambiguous statements. Which my friend Brock would take immediate advantage of, much like in this comic:



Still, I admit that Simple Wikipedia will make my hunt for random information much more beneficial, especially if I want to get a rough handle on quantum mechanics or the general theory of relativity. Or other scientific-type topics. Which, for anyone who knows me, is quite likely.

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Awkward, fun diversion. Laughed to tears many times.

Also, I found this article on the future of email interesting.

And for anyone up for a good, old-fashioned game of Calvinball, I've started a game over on Facebook. Unfortunate though, it seems like no one is quite sure how to play... use your imaginations people! And if you need an idea on where to start, check out the game being played on the xkcd forums

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Watched the season finale of Chuck tonight. I will admit to being a little confused about some parts, but that is only because I've actually missed most of the season. So now I must play catch-up. Here's hoping that Chuck survives the summer and makes it back into the fall line-up; the season finale was, in a word, EPIC.

But I have once again stayed up too late. My circadian rhythm is officially messed up and I am attempting to reset it. Whether this is a good idea or not is another question, but four o'clock in the morning is not a friendly time for me to be falling asleep. And as much as I would like to watch the latest Doctor Who episode I am currently downloading as soon as it is finished, my body will soon be crying out for rest. Thus am I off to bed.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sweet Freedom!

Yes ladies and gentlemen, I am finished my exams. I am really happy that everything is done now and out of the way, and am looking forward to starting again with a clean slate. I'l be honest, first semester sucked for me, and my grades weren't all that hot. But I have learned from my mistakes, have put some new habits in place, and am equipping myself to deal with next year's challenges. Oh, and I'm doing summer school as well, but that isn't a huge issue.

But I am approaching this summer with some enthusiasm. This will be the firsst summer in a few years that I will actually be home for; not off at camp, in Quebec, or Alberta. Nope, I'm going to be home, taking summer courses, and (hopefully) working - *gasp! shock! horror!*

As for any plans this summer... well, none yet. I'm still not used to finishing in April and I am always slow to make plans. I will just have to go as things progress I guess... ;D which is a bit of a cop-out for me!

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Cool things I have discovered recently, media edition.

Xbox Media Center:
So this isn't actually new - I've been playing with it for a little while now - but I think I have a fair enough grasp on it to actually put something in writing. XBMC is a neat application that basically becomes your one-stop shop for all the media on your computer/xbox. It works similar to the way Windows Media Player and iTunes handles music, video, and photo libraries. There are a few noticable differences between these apps: 1) XBMC is an open source, extandable program, and 2) it looks a whole lot nicer, especially when you throw the Aeon or MediaStream skin over top.

Fun, good looking, and usful, XBMC has become my default media player - except when I'm online. Then I turn to GrooveShark.

I recently became very frustrated with previous favourite Deezer for the growing number of tracks in their library which are not playable. So while doing some adventuring online yesterday I sumbled across GrooveShark and swiftly fell in love with it. It is a really nice web-app with a clean interface and and huge selection of music to listen to in full for free. Plus, they also have a system where artists featured on the site actually get paid. My favourite part in the nice collection of obscure (at least in North America) artists they have in their library. I also enjoy their widgets, one of which has found its way into the sidebar. Harry Connick Jr. anybody?

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Well, it is rather late now, and I really should be getting to bed. I have been finding that I am staying up later now, which actually gives me less of a reason not to update this thing on a regular basis. Anywho, my pillows beckon. Good night!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Of Rainy Days...

Rain. Both a blessing and a curse I suppose. Blessing because it is on a mission to help the land throw off the shackles of winter's killer touch and paint the world in colour again. Curse because, well, it becomes very wet to go outside. Not that I have a problem with getting wet mind you, it is just that there is some kind of psychological blocker preventing me from enjoying the out of doors during rain. On the other hand, I have no problems at all with going puddle jumping after it has stopped raining. In fact that is a rather fun activity, and if it were not for the lateness of the hour now I would go jump in some puddles now.

The nicest thing about rain I would have to say is rainbows. And I think it would be really cool if we could have moon-rainbows.

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Rain did help my weekend of study become more of an adventure though. I suppose it would be more classified as a misadventure more than anything, and it wasn't really that fun or exciting of an even, however it is my turn to tell a story.

So Saturday is this gloomy day with dark coulds promising rain all day and nothing ahead of me for the day aside for some major studying for my exams Monday (today?) and Tuesday. The air and the need to focus on studying was oppressive enough that I only came out of my room maybe four times all day: to eat, to use the lavatory, and to take my brother into town. This is where the adventure begins. You see, I was driving Chris in to a friend's house for the evening when the van beins to pull to the right as I am driving. Stupidly not thinking much of it, I continue on my to merry way thinking that I can just check out the tire and maybe put some air in it after I drop Chris off. Fat chance. I get to the Shell across from Chapters and take a look at the tire and can tell fairly quickly that it is a) flat, and b) probably destroyed due to the ammount of driving I must have done on it.

Up to this point the clouds had refrained from releasing their harvest. However, as soon as I make a phone call and my dad made his way over to supervise my changing of the tire, they decided that they'd had enough and it began to rain. Having rushed out of the house and forgotten my jacket along with my cell phone, I proceeded to get very wet and muddy from the dirt on my hands becoming wet with rain. It was not a pleasant experience. Nor was it pleasant to discover that the spare tire on the van was flat as well. To cut a long story short(er), we were not able to resolve the issue completely that day, but we were able to patch it temporarily. There was a silver lining to the rain clouds of being stuck in town for a couple of hours; I got to spend some quality time with my parent, which was nice.

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On another personal note, tomorrow I write my last exam for this semester. As much as I would like to say that it shall be my last exam of first year, it is not to be; I shall be attending summer school to make up for a credit I dropped in the fall. Hopefully I should be working around the same time as well. Speaking of work, I got a nice text today from my significant other (no, we are not married or engaged - seemingly to the astonishment of some around us - however I would like to point out that it is still a correct form to use for a girlfriend. That would be you Seana XD ) letting me know that she now has a job just in time for summer, which is good news indeed. Hopefully I can join this group soon as well...

And now it is late. Much too late for me to be up seeing as I have an exam tomorrow. Sleep time!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Marshmallows and Chocolate Galore!

Beautiful day in the pdot today. The sun was shining and it felt like summer with the warm temperature and me walking around in a tee shirt. Just wonderful. I was just happy to get out and enjoy some of it.

Meanwhile, the quest of the day with the search for the mysterious "JOB". Put in applications here, there and everywhere; though it looks as if my dream work location is not doing any summer hiring, which once again crushes my dream of ever working in a locale surrounded completely by books. The upside is that during my questing I ran into Seana and crew before her interview at Canadian Tire and found out all sorts of good news... which I would have found out anyways as we were going to be spending some old fashioned couple time together later (in the form of continuing out steady plod through the Doctor Who episodes). However, hearing all this good news earlier gave me one more reason over a longer period of time to enjoy the day.

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Found this while reading through the comments on an NPR article on willpower. Its an interesting look at temptation and willpower, and the preacher in the video makes some pretty good connections as well. RadioLab has an interesting programme on this where they speak with the psychologist who originally carried out the study. They also highlight some further, unforeseen relationships between the initial results and how the kids grow up. NPR also has another nice text/radio programme on this.

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... *sigh*
It's too bad I was in this writing funk, because I missed out on a pretty cool opportunity. I was listening to CBC the other day and only then heard about the "Canada Writes" competition that they were holding on Go!, which is a shame because while I probably would not have made it on the actual show I could have at least participated in the online competition they were holding as well... I'm just going to have to spend the time I have now practicing for next year ;D

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Parlez-vous le Francais?

Well, today was an adventure: I wrote my French exam. I realize that may not seem like much of an adventure - though I suppose that it might be for someone who doesn't speak French - however I classify it as an adventure not so much because of what it was but more so because of what was on it. Or, to be more specific, the confusion I and many in my class felt at not having a clue as to what we needed to study for. For sure, I had some idea, after all I was at every lecture this year in French (with the exception of the lecture the day after I had my health incident), however parts of the exam remained one big question mark. So it was with some apprehension that I went into the exam. And it turned out to be pretty ok, for the first part anyway. The second part, well, lets just say that my essay for the long answer question was epic in the amount of BS I got in there.

But that is in the past now and nothing can be done about it. It is all in the hands of the markers now. Deep breaths... and launch into studying for my last two exams.

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Some more interesting things found on the interwebs:

New webcomic! I got bored of studying and then OS fanboys on LifeHacker and after a long series of jumping between various web pages by following links I ended up on the webcomic xkcd and then due to its insane funniness and geekiness spent WAY too much time there.

What xkcd Means
Online Communities
Listen to Yourself
Regarding Mussolini

For those not in the know, Godwin's Law aka Godwin's Rule of Nazi Analogies deals with reductio ad Hitlerum arguments, basically saying that the longer an online discussion gets the probability of a comparison involving Hitler pr Nazis approaches 1. I can personally testify to the truth of that...

Anonymous Exposed

Came across this. Brought back good memories of grade 12 and learning about Scientology and the Anonymous protests... oh Tom Cruise; you and your silly, harmful beliefs make such good fodder on the interwebs when you take yourself so seriously. Its too bad the the Anonymous counter site anonymousexposed.org isn't up anymore because it was a great rickroll... but I digress. For a frame of reference, wiki Project Chanology.

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Operation JobFind is on for tomorrow, right after I drop by and say hi to my placement class. And now, I think my pillow is beckoning.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Two Posts in One Day?! *Gasp!

I was perusing the interwebs today in between studying for my French exam tomorrow and in the process of reading one of my webcomics came across Tweenbots: a neat little social experiment involving cute little robots.


And now that we have finished with this distraction, its time to get back to studying!

Voila!

Got bored while studying for exams today and decided to take the time to change the blog layout. FUN! I'm a fan of it. Bright colours and a nifty background (which also happens to be my wallpaper). Also put together the logo up top. The name "Eclipse" doesn't really mean anything deep, I was just playing around with the graphic (which I made myself) and the word eclipse just came to mind as a description.

So there you go.

Oh, and the wallpaper is Skywards by Dennern. I poked around and didn't find anything to say I couldn't use it here, so I'm giving credit where credit is due and if the artist want me to take it down, just ask!

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

It's been a while...

Its been a while since I last put up a half-decent post. To tell the truth, the lack of posting is partially due to laziness, partially due to business with school and partially because I've been in a writing funk for a while now. While I'm only trying to get back into writing, I have at least found some new-ness to amuse myself with. I have discovered a love of web comics and believe that they are far superior to their print cousins. I've read Ctrl+Alt+Del for a while now, but have recently come across or have had suggested to me some other wonderful comics:

Hark! A Vagrant
Instant Classic
Genrezvous Point
Thinkin' Lincoln

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Some other interesting things:

While I haven't been updating my blog, that doesn't mean that my blog life has been totally dead. I check LifeHacker pretty religiously for my techy goodness, and I have started following Neil Gaiman's blog as well. Neil is one of my favourite authors and the writer of Stardust, Anansi Boys, Coraline, et al. He's also been blogging pretty much for as long as blogging has been around, which is pretty neat. Add to that the fact that he is writer and you have a pretty good formula for some interesting and informative posts.

I'm also on Twitter now (@vydramike). I'm still working on making regular posts there as well, but I'm also trying to figure out how to make interesting posts fit in 140 characters, and when I can't even post here regularly you can see why that may be a challenge. You'd think that since I can post to Twitter from my cell phone that this wouldn't be as much of an issue, but meh.

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School is almost done for the year (with the exception of some summer courses) and I really couldn't be happier. Two exams down, and three to go. Yays! Now, to get a job...



Edit: I've also taken a look at the blog's current layout and decided that there are some issues with it, some things I don't like, so I'll probably make some changes to it, to make it a little more light in its colouring... when I find the time ;D

Monday, February 02, 2009

Species at Risk!

A species vital to our survival is disappearing at an alarming rate, and only you can help! Yes, every year hundreds of WORDS disappear from the dictionary from under-use. But you can change that! Simply head over to SaveTheWords.org where you can find an at risk word, or pick one of your old favourites, and pledge to keep that word alive!


I've made my pledge, how about you?

Mike

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Fun Times in Psych

I'm going to try - and actually try this time - to get back into a more normal pattern of updating, ie. every day. For now, tide yourself over with another amusing clip. (Edit: Apparently it is only a link to the deviant art site, though I bet you all figured that out, lol)


Animator vs. Animation by *alanbecker on deviantART


Mike