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December 29, 2003 10:09 AM PST
Well that was a cheery, and much-deserved (?) looong weekend! It was definitely nice to have 4 days off, and I'm only sorry it wasn't more. Sadly, I am back to work this week in order to try and complete my assigned tasks by the looming due date (next week).

So here I sit, mug of Ovaltine/hot chocolate mix in front of me, and writing away on a non work-related blog on one of my monitors, trying desperately (yeah right) to tear my eyes over to my other monitor that currently displays the piece of code upon which I'm supposed to be working.

[Sip]

Well, it's not easy getting back into the swing of things after such a long weekend. I haven't been at work since Wednesday evening - that's really pushing my poor memory. I rebooted my computer when I left work last week, so I really have very little idea of where I was in the code. What was I doing? Did I have a plan? Who am I? All tough questions to tackle on a Monday morning ... especially when I should, by rights, still be on vacation!

Oh well, one can only avoid work for so long, and I feel my body becoming resigned to being here, and starting to make the move towards actual work. Well, I have some news to read from my RSS feeds (link to info on RSS feeds), which I may jump into first - it's like easing yourself into a hot tub. My toes are wet and warm, now off to slide further into a work-like mode.

[Pause]

[Sip]

Hey, while I'm doing this, why not go check out my latest posting of photos? They're from yesterday, and pretty much rock, in my opinion. (3 of them taken by Sheena)

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December 24, 2003 01:33 AM PST


Home-made cheese ball
Yummy-yummy-yum-yum! I am going to treat you to an optical tour of the delightful splendours that Chelsie (and Steve) offered up last night. It turns out that Angie was invited for dinner too, and so we four had quite a wonderful meal, full of a myriad of complementary flavours.

I've set the sushi picture (shown below) as the 'wallpaper' for my laptop. This follows a blue-sky-and-cloudy shot that I took a few weeks ago, and that follows one of the first shots I took with the camera.


Stuffed mushrooms
It's really neat to be able to "create" my own wallpaper!

I am pleased to unveil the new format for photos within my blog. There may be one or two more extremely minor tweaks, but this is pretty much the format I want. And it'll be easy to format them from here on in. Of course, now I have to go back and re-do the mark-up for all the pictures from previous posts.


Bruschetta
Anyway, I have little more to say, so just let your mouth lead you through the pictures of the rest of this post.


Steve's famous sushi


Bacon-wrapped water chestnuts


Escargots-stuffed mushrooms

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December 22, 2003 04:12 PM PST

Since last Monday evening, I have been 'with flu'. This is intended to sound like "with child", for in the amount of care it needed, and its encroachment on my personal fun-time, it was much like a child.

On Tuesday, I went to work, against the wishes of my body, and on Wednesday, I capitulated and stayed home. I was back to work by Thursday afternoon, but not happy. I took it easy on the weekend - to get that monkey off me. Anyway, I'm doing much better now, save for the odd sniffle here and there.

I managed to avoid anything involving work this weekend, under the reasoning that I was "still recovering", even though the bulk of the flu/cold (I'm still not totally sure - it had aspects of both illnesses) was gone. It was nice just to sloth around the house. I delivered my roommate into the hands of the great airport on Thursday just before I went in to work, and do not expect him to be disgorged for 3 weeks.

It's rather nice to have the house to myself, but it does feel a little funny padding around the place alone night after night, ensuring that all the lights are off and the alarm is armed. No one making any noises .... except, of course, for dear old Stampy above (the one-woman, 24-hour-a-day riverdance living upstairs).

I had a good talk with Timmy last night. I went to her place for a roast beef dinner. Man, I haven't had a good roast beef in waaay too long. After dinner, I hooked up her new wheel mouse for her, and then we had a long talk. I really enjoy talking to Timmy - she has a wonderful sense of balance, and (wonder of wonders ... not) many of our weird opinions are shared.

Tonight is dinner with Steve and Chelsie, tomorrow an evening with Shannon, and Wednesday some time with Jim. Thursday evening, I believe, is dinner at Timmy's, Friday most likely with Sheena. A full week on the social calendar - I guess I should try and get that laundry I avoided this weekend done asap.

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December 15, 2003 11:27 PM PST

A contemplative evening. I have been having some good discussions with people lately, on any number of topics. Mostly quite personally-related - what people are trying to do in/with their lives, things with which they're having problems, and general, genuine, personal conversation. It's been good.

I've been coming to realize that one major thing that has been missing from my life lately is the personal interaction that I've only recently started having again. Not simply surface conversations - "what's up?" - but real 'quality time'. I fear that it has been some time since I have paid enough attention to quality.

I blame TV. Let me rephrase that: I blame my inattention to my friends, manifested by an unhealthy level of TV-watching. It's not that I really am "addicted" or whatever - I really only watch about 3 shows, and they're truly only so important to me.

The actuality of the matter is that it's just easier. I go home after a day of work, and my mind is shutting down. All I want to do is eat something and zone out. Or is this really the case? Perhaps I should take the hint from the book I'm reading (originally for work, now for myself) and postulate that I require a context shift.

Perhaps my brain is not shutting down at all, but merely rebooting - clearing out the junk from the day's work and starting fresh for 'me-time'. I moved back to Victoria so that I could be with the friends that I was constantly coming back to visit, yet here I sit, night after night, spending time with only a few people, and more with a certain mindless, cable-fed cyclops.

It's been boiling up inside me for some time, but I think the big self re-evaluation is finally coming to the surface. What are my values? What are my goals? Who (or what) is important to me? Funnily enough, I think I already have nascent answers to these questions.

For a long time now, I have been walking a knife edge between faux-negativity and true negativity. When one pretends a thing too long, one runs the danger of becoming that which he pretends to be.

As much as I hate to admit it, the "Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" (even the title makes me want to vomit) has been making me think and reflect quite a bit. Imposed upon my team by our temporary lead at work, I looked at this unpaid homework assignment as a chore as dismal as those self-help books my "crazy uncle" tried to encourage upon me in past years. The difference was, I could just ignore my uncle! ;)

However, if you look at anything the right way, you can take valuable lessons from it. In this case, it's easier because the author says pretty much the same thing in the beginning of the book! And I'm allowing the book a chance - since I'm already involved in that self-evaluation.

I find a number of things in the book reinforce new tactics I have been trying in my personal life already. The author provides less than empirical evidence for his hypotheses, but many of the ideas resonate with my current explorations, and so I will try his suggestions to reinforce my own initial stabs.

I wrote the start of a blog entry on Friday, but failed to complete it. Even now, it sits in my inbox awaiting my attention (though it will only be deleted now, since my tack has slightly changed). In it, I mentioned that I actually got angry during a chat with Timmy on Thursday evening. It surprised me because I am usually not one to take things personally. I am of the belief that when one gets angry, it is generally because one is taking things personally. And if one is taking things personally, there must be something about which one feels personally inadequate.

So, in noting my anger, I must also see that there must be some truth to what Timmy was saying - that in some way I am not living up to my own expectations. Try it out next time you get angry, and see what comes up. It can be a very interesting experience if you are open to it. Remember, before you can affect a worthwhile change, you must first see the underlying problem for what it truly is.

I am nowhere near being angry now; instead, I have a wry smile. It may be small, but at least it's a start to that upside down frown...

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December 10, 2003 11:40 PM PST

Well, it's about the normal time for writing, so here I am. I actually tried to get in early tonight, but was sidetracked by some wonderful geekiness. I got to teach Sheena about XHTML and CSS. She was trying to put some basic markup as well as a picture into her blog, and we ended up playing around with styles and stylesheets. The upshot being she's got some colour in her blog, and some good CSS classes to allow her to easily markup bits of text - poetry, etc. Oh, and some good grounding in the basics of HTML. Apparently, my teaching skills have come a long way!

Anyway, I was so engaged with that, that I forfeited my early blogging time. I have to say that it was a true pleasure teaching her some helpful hints from my trade, as well as some of the little Windows shortcuts that increase my productivity on a daily basis. That girl really gobbles up information! I caught her using a concept I'd just explained right as I finished explaining it. Ahh, a geek in love. ;)

So no pictures included with today's post. I had a bunch from last night I wanted to put up, but my computer blew up as usual. I only type now because Sheena was sweet enough to lend me her laptop for the entry, My pics, however, languish on my stupid laptop, which decides upon occasion (not so infrequently) to turn itself off. I guess "blew up" is rather an erroneous term, as it ends less with a bang than a whimper. You know, just kind of "*Yawn* I've had enough for now - good night" ... and then *poof*, it's turned itself off, and is snoring loudly.

Well, perhaps I hyperbolize slightly. The reality is that thanks to a stupid design flaw Toshiba made in my model of laptop, it has a tendency to overheat, and then, without warning, turn itself instantly complete off. Thanks, Toshiba - now I have a very expensive, out-of-warranty paperweight.

*Yawn* ... Now I'm the one getting tired. I guess I'll have to leave the story of "James the taxi" and the rant on "the BC Ferry strike and how the world is amazingly retarded" for another day ("or perhaps never", you fervantly hope).

23:40 and I'm finished writing - a new world record ... for me! ;)
Peace, I'm out.

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December 08, 2003 01:03 AM PST
Not too much to report tonight. It's 01:00 and I'm still up. *sigh* Why can't I ever just go to bed at a reasonable hour? At least I got a little work done on project "Perillica". Far less than I wanted to this weekend, but I finished the news section (public and admin) and a bunch of related work. Oh well, I took a funky pic last night (early this AM), so I'll show you that. Now stop reading and go do something useful. .: Comments (1) | PermaLink :.



December 05, 2003 12:06 AM PST
Oh, this bloody "season". I hate malls at the best of times, but during the lead-up to Christmas, they become a nest of ravening beasts. I know this topic has been done to death, but ... well, too bad. I spent a nasty half-hour or so in the midst of these wild animals while trying to obtain a specific (non-Christmas) gift. It should have been just a quick in and out, but those slathering beasts (shoppers) and mindless zombies (store clerks) were in full effect. It was horrible; I was almost gored (and/or bored) countless times! And now I feel I must inflict my suffering upon others.

I don't celebrate Christmas or my birthday anymore - haven't for years. I like things this way. I don't want presents from my friends and family, rather would just like to enjoy them. I can get my own presents, thank-you very much, and I'm really the best judge of what I want. Take the camera for instance - and I didn't have to wait until Dec 25!

I'm not completely against the giving of presents, just the overblown hoopla around certain specific dates. I don't like the idea of certain times when people "have" to buy me things. It is just that date-centric-ness that causes the utter pandemonium around this time of year.

Rushing to find a present doesn't really put you in the best space to find exactly the right thing for those you care about. Having to deal with others of the braying pack who are also clamouring and gouging for the last item on the shelf helps nary a whit. The pressure to find something great, and the expectation (let's be realistic here) of what goodies you might receive do little to promote the intentions of this tradition, started so many years ago.

Many people call for a summer-time yule in an attempt to combat the baser problems of Christmas. I see this as more of a shifting of the time when the hysteria occurs, rather than a way to alleviate the root causes.

I prefer the philosophy of keeping my eyes (and brain) open year-round. Instead of everyone focussing on just a few specific days per year to aim for good-will and prezzies, why not spread things out a bit? While out in January, grazing for items in the countless "inventory blow-out" sales, why not pick up something for someone else (if it catches your eye)? I mean, you're getting a good deal! Or maybe in March, just invite someone special over and make them a fabulous meal. Or drop by a friend's place unexpectedly and offer a massage.

This idea keeps your loved ones continually surprised when gifts and signs of affection arrive. And I think it really shows far more caring when you give someone a card on a non-"significant" day, just because you wanted to show your appreciation, and not because it's a socially and traditionally driven date for doing so.

On that note, thanks for reading and have a very merry December 5th! I know I will; I'm cooking dinner for a few friends ... just 'cos.

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December 02, 2003 12:13 PM PST
Today was a slow day. Yesterday was a slow day. I really seem to like slow days. Actually, yesterday was much ado about cooking - starting with a leisurely breakfast of eggs benedict at 3pm, after a relaxing couple of hours of talking in bed. Dinner (chicken a la king) was created at 7pm, and there was much rejoicing. Sunday is definitely the day to do cooking. There's almost no other day when I'm willing to go to that much effort!
The between-meal time was filled with work (I on a website, and Sheena on homework), and more talk, and the requisite Sunday afternoon Simpsons.

Quite a good day, really. Saturday was more work-oriented. Much more time spent on RV. I wonder if the current flurry of activity will actually amount to something this time? This is at least the third time I have seriously embarked upon this particular set of coding work. Well, we'll just have to see how it goes; speculation, in this case at least, helps no one.

Saturday night brought good times (pics 1 and 2), great people (pics 3 and 4) and some good, good beer (pics 5 and 6). The images I've posted present merely a whiff of the nights festivities. Suffice to say that after I put away my computer at 8:30pm, I set about enjoying my evening with such fervour that I was perfectly justified in sleeping in until noon on Sunday. Yeah, that's right, baby!
The evening and night presented me with a number of rather large hints as to why it is so important to keep close to your friends. I hadn't seen Jessi (one of my best friends, pictured right) for months, and even my Kenzie-girl (who lives in Victoria, mere blocks from my house, photo above) seems to have dropped off the radar!
If seeing those two wasn't enough to get me thinking about the importance of my friends, I also had a dream about a really good friend of mine who lives in LA. In the dream, which was one of those truly vivid ones, I, Steve, and someone else went to visit Kye in LA. I am particularly terrible at remembering my dreams (no worries there - they're mostly pretty crazy and disturbing), but this dream has stuck in my head ever since. And accompanying it is the image of Kye on the night I met him, completely enraptured by the absolutely amazing sight and reality of a temporary city in the desert.
Looks like I should write a certain someone an email to let them know I'm thinking of them!

Okay, well, it's after midnight, and again I'm going to be furious with myself tomorrow morning, when I have to get up after less than 7 hours sleep. Alright, last call everyone - who needs one more beer before bed?

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