Tech Corner


2019 Archive

Dec 3
Well we're home from our Jamaican vacation!

And as I look outside, it sucks to be back. Seriously. This weather garbage couldn't have happened while we were gone? Oh well, it just makes us appreciate the great weather we enjoyed on our trip even more.

Where to start...

We were supposed to get a helicopter ride to the resort from the airport, but that got cancelled due to mechanical issues. So that sucked. The only real negative we had read on tripadvisor about the Sandals resort we were staying at was the drive from the airport. While the driver did his best to point out various sights along the way we were exhausted from travelling all night and day and were spent.

When we got there we checked in and met our butler who drove us to our room - which was the Romeo & Juliet suite. And it was a terrific room. Essentially two different buildings connected by a courtyard with a pool and hot tub. The bedroom and bathroom in one building and the living room in the other. The bar was fully stocked, although being an all inclusive where the drinks were free anyway that wasn't as big a deal as it has been say on a cruise. But the rooms were done up nice, the bed was comfy, and we got a snack plate everyday. We could also order room service whenever we wanted.

One thing I should mention is that the resort is basically two resorts in one. The first one is on the ocean, what they call Seaside, and the other is up in the hills, called Hillside. They have shuttles going back and forth every 10 minutes to transport guests and staff. At first I thought it was a little odd, but then I came to appreciate it. Each resort has a different vibe and it was nice being able to pick and choose where we wanted to hang out at any given time.

I can't even really remember what we did the first night. I'm guessing we probably had dinner and went back for a dip in our pool and crashed. The next day we started drinking at 10am and spent most of the day in the pool. We had to drag ourselves to dinner as we were having so much fun. I had a little bit to much fun and ended up feeling crappy the next day. Oh well, I figured I might as well get it out of the way in the beginning.

Normally I write a little journal whenever we're on a trip, but I didn't do so this time. Consequently, trying to remember back, the days all kind of blur together. At some point we did a Catamaran trip to Dunns River Falls. This was probably the highlight of the trip for me. Essentially you hike 1000 feet up a gorgeous waterfall. Overall it wasn't to strenuous. Everyone formed a human chain and helped the person behind them so they didn't fall. Eventually I got ahead of the group and just meandered the rest of the way up myself. Chris decided not to do it, so she followed along at various observation points.

As part of the trip we also stopped to do some snorkeling off a coral reef. So far my experiences snorkeling have been 50/50. And I'm not overly keen on open water snorkeling. But this was one of the good ones. Chris, being the fish that she is, went off with the main group but I was content to stay relatively close to the boat. We've seen better coral reefs before, but it was still pretty good and I saw lots of fish. Afterwards we went back to the Catamaran and partied hard. They unfurled the sail and warned us the ride would be choppy and it was. Of course we had a blast, but the poor girl we had chatted up previously wasn't enjoying it and spent the rest of the way back with her head in her hands.

We also did a trip into Ocho Rios one day for some shopping. We had expected we'd actually be in the local market, but sadly it was just visiting the touristy areas. It was the same experience as every other touristy place we've been to in the past. You quickly find that all the stores all sell the exact same products. But we got some souvenirs and enjoyed some jerk chicken and bevvies. Speaking of jerk chicken - we couldn't get enough of the stuff. It was by far our favourite meal. We brought home a bunch of marinades as a result. Chris even made one of the restaurants get her some from another restaurant when she found out it wasn't on the menu.

We also had a nice couples massage which Chris said was the best she's had to date.

Other than that we just spent all our time relaxing by the pool or hanging at the various bars. The food was good and sometimes great. No complaints at all. There was something always going on every night, whether it was a Butler party where all the suite guests got together with the butlers for cocktails, or a Chocolate party where the star attraction was two of the staff completely coated in chocolate. And the staff were all terrific. Our two butlers were excellent and truly made this trip special. We were constantly coming back to our room being decorated in addition to the usual towel animals. And at least twice we came back to a bucket of chilled champagne.

Here's some pix of the fun:

Overall we really enjoyed Jamaica and staying at a Sandals resort. About the only negative was that we felt that seven days wasn't long enough and any future all inclusive vacation will probably be ten days instead. We even met some nice people there and ended up hanging with them at various times. Of course Chris is now Facebook friends with them :)

Oct 30
Figured if I'm gonna be snowed in I might as well update the News.

Although the weather is crappier my mood is better than the last time I updated things...

After many long years the lawsuit is finally over.  This all started way back when the car Chris was riding in got rear ended and drove them into the vehicle in front of them. I found out from others who were at the scene that the guy who caused the accident was being a dick about things and obviously didn't give a shit about the people he caused to go to the hospital in a stretcher and was basically inconvenienced by the whole affair.

So when I heard that my blood boiled. I wanted to beat the shit out of the guy, but as I couldn't do that I decided on the spot we'd sue the hell out of him. It was an impulsive reaction born out of anger. Now that it's over I'm torn whether it was the right thing to do or not. It put us through a lot of stress, Chris especially as it felt like she was the one on trial and she had to go through all kinds of invasive and deeply personal questioning. It also unintentionally dragged our friends into it and while they've assured us it was ok we'll always feel a certain level of guilt as a result. But then I flip back to the fact that physically and emotionally she'll never be the same way again and feel that it was justified in the end.

We don't feel comfortable sharing what the settlement was. Suffice to say we're not millionaires, but the money definitely is appreciated. We're being smart about it and using most of it to either pay off debt or improve the house. However we did decide to treat ourselves and booked a trip to Jamaica. We justified it as this being the replacement for our St. Lucia vacation which we had to cancel as a result of the accident happening only a few weeks prior. We both could really use some relaxation time and just getting away from everything right now.

Last weekend was our first Halloween party in the new house. We told everyone we didn't go as crazy decorating as we had in the past, confining things to just the main floor and a bit outside - but it still took us from 8am to 8pm to finish. We had a lot of fun. Unlike past years where it was mostly our usual group of friends and family, this year we also had a lot of new people with the addition of most of our neighbors. Here's some pix of the fun:

That's it for now. Bundle up and stay safe!

Sep 30
In a crappy mood right now…

The wind is pissing me off. As soon as I get home I have to listen to the stupid stove hood fan flapping away. Flap, flap, flap! Of course we complained to the builder way back when and they shrugged and said that's the way it was. Any time we get together with the neighbors they're all bitching about it. So basically the entire neighborhood just has to live with it.

I went to Subway today to get my usual eggwhich on an English muffin only to be told 'we don't carry English muffins anymore'. To which I told them that I won't be eating there for breakfast anymore. Of course it was the only menu item which was a reasonable cost at $3 and now it's gone.

And for the past few days it seems like the most innocuous and mundane things are determined to aggravate me. Go to pick something up, and it drops, go to reach for it and it's just slightly out of reach. Put the groceries on the counter and all the apples fall out onto the floor. Go to grab something from the fridge to make dinner and we're out of whatever it was that I wanted. So I go to the grocery store, and stand forever in the Express lane because there was some kinda issue with whatever the guy in front had bought and we all had to wait for them to call someone over to go search for a replacement.

But that's all shit's 'n giggles compared to real problems….like my health.

So here is essentially what's occurred. I find out I have Atrial Fibrillation. So they put me on these toxic pills while assuring me that they're fine and they'll closely monitor me and so on. So for the past 2? 3? years for the most part I was in regular rhythm even though I constantly felt like shit, was always dizzy etc. Well it turns out those pills messed up my Thyroid. Oh but not to worry! I can take these other pills to fix that, unless of course that causes issues then I can take some other pills to fix those pills. All while taking my blood thinner pills - which according to the pharmacist and printed clearly on the label it says I'm not supposed to take with the other pills. And if the Thyroid pills don't work, well I guess there's always surgery in which they just remove it altogether and then I get to yet take more pills for the rest of my life to replace the lost hormones.

So basically I'm in the never ending circular pharmaceutical pill fuck that people much older than me usually experience, but I get to experience it now.

But even that's not really worth bitching about. I mean I could have something truly serious like cancer. Why say that? Only because my Sister-In-Law was just diagnosed with it. So while we're all hopeful and being positive - I simply can't ignore the fact that the track record for people in my life who've had it isn't so freakin great.

On to other things…

Actually no, screw it. I don't feel like saying anything else right now.

Do what you enjoy, do it with those you love. Do whatever you want, but live in the moment.

Aug 4
Having a spot of tea and thought I'd do an update…

I can't believe how few updates I've done this year. It's definitely not for lack of things to discuss. There's a bunch of Tech stuff I want to talk about, but it's all in process and I want to wait until everything is done. There's also lots of stuff that's been pissing me off I could write about in Commentary, but I find it hard to really get worked up when it's Summer. And as for News, between being really busy, and being really sick I just haven't gotten around to it.

I haven't lost my desire for maintaining this site, far from it, but I feel guilty for neglecting it as I have.

The house is almost complete. In fact, we just sent out the invite for our official house warming party next month. They finished the stucco not long ago and did the downspouts yesterday. All that's left is to do a final paint of the trim and garage doors. Inside almost all the doors need adjusting as the house shifting has messed them up. And last night we found moisture inside the vapour barrier under the basement windows. How the hell do you get leaking problems in a bloody walk-out basement??? But so far they've been good at getting all the issues addressed.

In the next couple weeks all our audio visual stuff should be done and we'll finally be able to enjoy the bonus room. We'll be able to watch TV or movies on any TV in the house and listen to music both off iTunes and XM radio in any room that has ceiling speakers - and all the equipment will be centralized in a rack in the basement. Also, in the next few weeks the desk in the office should be finished. I can't wait for that as I won't have to continue doing these updates sitting on the basement floor with keyboard in lap and monitor perched precariously on a TV tray. I'll also be able to get back to gaming again.

I can't believe what began as a Sold sign in front of a dumpster is now our dream home...

Casa La Costalot

Casa La Costalot

Health wise things have been up and down. I've lost almost 50 pounds - 20 in the past month or so. Some of it due to exercise and eating better, but a lot of it due to a thyroid problem I was just diagnosed with. So add that to the list of my issues. I've been on blood thinners the past month and am going to try getting back in rhythm tonight by taking an overdose of my heart pills. Hopefully it works and I don't have a stroke in the process.

Despite all that, the past few weeks have been enjoyable. We went up to Edmonton last weekend and spent time with friends and family. I helped my mom get a new flatscreen TV and replace the tube behemoth she was using. So she's now enjoying the wonderful world of high definition :) This long weekend has also been good with time spent relaxing and hanging with friends. And last night over bevies we figured out where our next trip will be. Funny how our trips are usually decided that way.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend everyone!

Jun 29
Well we're back! We had a great time and while it was nice to sleep in our own bed again, going back to the daily grind really sucks.

We heard about all the flooding while we were away and I was expecting to come back to our place being full of water, but thankfully it was fine. We had them come and try and fix our leaky roof three times previously, I guess this time they finally fixed it. I'll still keep an eye on it though.

It's the long weekend! Yay! Well kinda, sorta I guess. Both Chris and I will be really busy going to numerous appointments. Me for my health issues, and her as part of her ongoing lawsuit. So it'll be a busy few days.

Details of our trip can be found here.

May 26
Just got back from a lovely walk with the wife. What's awesome is she's never been able to go with me on one of my walks before as I usually go for almost an hour. But she's all healthy now and working hard at eating better and exercising - and she's lost almost 50 pounds. I'm very proud of her.

I'm a good mood today, but the weekend started off poorly. In the first big test of the rainy season our house failed miserably. I went downstairs Friday night and there was water all over the floor. I traced where it was coming from by ripping down the vapour barrier and insulation and found it coming from a nail that had been punched through the main floor above. So we mopped up all the water and put a bucket underneath and called the builder. They came out and scratched their heads and said someone would look at it on Monday.

Which pisses me off as had I known that I wouldn't have rescheduled our weekend visit with Jay and Betty. That said, it felt like I was in a hurricane Friday night and I had a hard time sleeping with all the rain pelting against the window. So Chris and I had a little pity party for ourselves. Just lots of frustration with how slow things are going with the house. That said, all our window coverings are finally up and we love our sheers and the shutters. Soon we'll have the office and bonus room done and it'll start looking like a completed home.

We had hoped we'd be celebrating the end of Chris' lawsuit and would be able to start planning on getting the basement finished, but sadly all that's on hold once again. We were told that all of this was going to be settled last week, but the other side were being dicks and in the words of our lawyer 'not being fair to her'. On her advice Chris decided not to settle and is going to get some more supporting documentation before meeting again.

Personally I think she should have settled, because I doubt the other side is going to be more reasonable six months from now. I want to think our lawyer has her best interests at heart, but the cynic in me is thinking they're just continuing to drag this out so that they get to charge more in expenses. I guess when you charge $20 for every email sent and piece of paper printed I'd do the same.

Oh well, enough dwelling on that - the day is nice and I'm going to go and enjoy it.

May 5
This was the first weekend of the year that was really nice and we finally got to enjoy hanging out on our deck without feeling like we were in a wind tunnel.

On Friday we went to the lawyers and were told it was a mediation and that everything would finally be settled. Well it turns out the other lawyers just wanted to chat and see if they could settle things without going to mediation and they didn't want us in the room while they were talking. So basically I took a day off work for nothing. In the end they didn't see eye to eye and essentially didn't want to give Chris anything. So in a few weeks it'll all go before a judge and be decided. We're pretty pissed off at our lawyers because there's a bunch of stuff Chris should have done that they, who we are paying as our advisors, never told us until it was to late. We just want it over with.

So that night instead of celebrating we were feeling pretty down. We went down to the local pub for dinner and met up with friends and family. Chris' disposition brightened up but I wasn't into it so I went home. I just had a bath, was feeling relaxed, and looking forward to a quiet night when I got a knock at the door. It was Michael, Roger, and James. So they came in and we had a few drinks. Then Chris and Alpha came back and then our neighbor showed up. Then we went across the street to the other neighbors and an impromptu block party broke out. I left Chris there sometime after 2am as I was done. It was a lot of fun finally getting to meet everyone and getting the tour of the neighbor's house. I also found out that I'm surrounded by people who really, really, really like to drink. Wow. You know it's bad when I was the voice of moderation.

Then on Saturday, Jamie, Kim, and Olivia as well as Kim and Hailey came over to help me celebrate my birthday a few days after the fact. We had a lovely BBQ and enjoyed hanging on the deck and watching the sun set. We also had lots of fun firing up all the arcade and pinball machines. Hailey even beat my high score in Galaga but I think she cheated….and Michael and Lisa showed up later. So it was a lot of fun. Do I feel old? Ya, I do. But on the bright side I'll never be as old as Kim is.

Today Chris and I did a bunch of shopping. We went into a store we'd never heard of before and came away with a bunch of cool things. Sadly, we're having a hard time finding the things we really need - such as a chair for the great room and end tables for me. We've looked at so much, but nothing has jumped out at us. But we're slowly getting our house in order. We recently had our 30 day walkthrough and it went well. Compared to some of the horror stories of those around us I think we lucked out actually.

Our trip to Bermuda is coming up fast and is just over a month away. I'm really looking forward to it as it feels like it's been forever since I've had a vacation. The girls have been doing lots of research into everything and trying to decide what we're going to do, but at this point I don't really care. I just need to get away. Of course this is also the time of year when I get the bug to start figuring out what we're going to do the following year. We know we'll be going to Europe, the question is when and where. I really want to do the Transatlantic cruise we had to cancel when we bought the house last summer, but Chris wants to go to Greece. We're also toying with possibly doing a river cruise, there's an interesting looking one which goes from Amsterdam to Basel, Switzerland.

But tomorrow it's back to work as sadly I need to somehow afford to pay for all these trips.

Apr 8
Well, we're in our new home.

Although we're far from settled. As I type this I'm sitting on the basement floor, looking up to my monitor which is perched upon a fold-up table. The ethernet cable to the PC is strung up and going through the joists into the next room where it's attached to my router. So, some things are very much in a temporary state. But we're in, and that's the main thing.

Overall we're very happy, but we're both exhausted. I figure I need a week of doing absolutely nothing to recover, but it's not going to happen. There's a never ending string of things we still have to do and things that still need to be fixed. And despite us getting rid of what I thought was a lot of stuff before the move it seemed like there was always something still at the old house we had to go and bring back.

The actual move went pretty well. They guys we hired did a great job, other than damaging my beloved bookshelf. But the damage is mostly at the back so I'll probably just suck it up for now. Sadly I can't replace it as Ikea doesn't make that style anymore. Speaking of Ikea, a couple days ago we went and grabbed a funky looking sofa for the living room. Until then Chris and I would alternate between sitting on our old love seat and a kitchen chair. Now we can watch TV comfortably.

The worst part of this was that for an entire week we couldn't have a shower. The doors we had ordered way back when were 'back ordered'. And even if they had been installed we still couldn't have showered as we had no hot water for a few days. When our concrete guy came in to do the floor he had to turn off the in-floor heating which was controlled by our boiler. When he was done he turned the boiler back on, but we noticed the next day it was flashing an error on the screen. I cracked open the manual, did some Googling and so on, but couldn't get it working. So we called the plumber's emergency number to come out. Turns out the condensation hose had been tied up when the floor was worked on and I missed it. Once the water drained out it was good.

In addition to the main move, on the day before we had to be out of the old house all my pinball and arcade games got moved over. For me this was the most stressful part of all this, as they are my babies. There was no way in hell I was going to get regular movers do it, so I hired a local contact who specializes in fixing pinball machines. Jay and his crew did a fabulous job and went above and beyond.

So between our fancy new floor and all my games, the basement is looking pretty sweet. My man cave is slowly coming to fruition! Of course it'll be awhile until we can get it finished as our little nest egg that paid for all of this is rapidly diminishing. That's just the way it goes. Still, I'm already way ahead of where I was at our old place - it's actually comfortable down here. Here's a picture of my new playground:

Man Cave

My Man Cave

We'll probably take a bit of a breather until summer to catch our breath and to save up some more money. There's still a bunch we want to do over the next few years. In addition to finishing the basement, getting the garage done as well as the back yard. But for now we're going to kick back and enjoy our forever house. Finally, a big thank you to everyone who helped us through this process. Both Chris and I appreciate it greatly!

Mar 27
I figure I'd update the website now as I might not get the chance for awhile. Right now our whole world revolves around getting ready to move into our new house.

Last Friday we had our walkthrough. That's where we go through with the builder and identify any defects or things that need to be touched up. I have to say I was pretty impressed. They identified way more things than what Chris and I noticed on our own. In addition they're fixing some things that I just assumed would be too much of a pain in the ass to do.

Yesterday we met with the lawyers and my hand got a workout from signing legal document after document. Our lawyer fees are going to be about a thousand less than I expected so that was cool. There's always a chance something could get messed up between now and when we take possession Thursday morning, but our lawyer assured us that everything should go smoothly.

While we have a week overlap between when we move in and have to move out of our current house in some ways it's more a curse than blessing. There's so much we have to coordinate. It's not like a van just shows up one day and we move all our stuff. A bunch of things have to be coordinated and there's an order to everything that must get done.

We're getting the concrete in our basement finished. At first we were going to get it acid stained as I really like the look, but we met the guy from the concrete company and he talked us into getting an epoxy floor. As soon as I heard epoxy I thought of the typical garage floors you see with all the flakes, but the process has evolved to where you can have pretty much any color, combination of colors, metallic's which change colour depending on the light, veining which can make it look like granite or marble etc. It's a pretty neat process, but one where you basically cross your fingers and hope to hell you like the end result. And this will take several days and has to be done before another company comes to move all my arcade games and pinball machines. And they need to be out of our current house before the carpet company comes to steam clean the carpets.

It's funny, I look back and there were definitely times where I thought we might have made a mistake. But the last few weeks when we've gone to visit the new house we didn't want to leave. It felt like home. I want to give a big thanks to Chris' mom who came down and helped Chris pack up most of the house. Sadly, with our health issues we find that we tire out pretty quickly. For me that's extremely frustrating.

Tomorrow is my last day at work for several days and I know it's going to feel like forever before the day is done.

You might have noticed a new menu bar on the website. In the past there's been a couple times where I'd have links on the top and people didn't even realize they were there. So the new menu bar hopefully is more obvious. It'll show updates for the past six years in all the various categories (Commentary, News, Reviews, Tech Corner). In addition, I've bought a new camera so the Livecam page will now show two. One will end up in the basement of the new house and the other will be on the main floor.

Unfortunately, I haven't had time to go through the entire website - there's a number of areas that have spacing issues that I've partially fixed and I haven't gone through all the older pages and updated them with the new menu bar format. Basically the entire site is a rats nest that needs to be cleaned up. But it'll have to wait until we get settled in our new place!

Mar 3
Seeing as we're snowed in today, figured I'd give an update on the new house.

In less than a month we'll be moving in, and it's crazy how much progress has been made and how far it's come from when it was just an empty lot. Never having built before, this was a very cool experience seeing everything come together.

We went and popped in a couple days ago and the only things left to do are the light fixtures, all the faucets, the appliances, and to put the carpet in. It's almost finished. We'll probably have to wait a few months until the weather improves until the stucco is put on and the driveway poured, but that'll be it.

Of course now we only have a few weeks left to get everything packed up, and make all the arrangements that are still outstanding - book the movers, switch over the utilities etc. Thankfully we got rid of so much stuff over the past while that there's really not a lot to move. If it wasn't for the hassle of moving the sofa's and mattresses we'd probably just move everything ourselves. And of course no one is touching my TV's and computers - I'm personally taking care of that.

Here is what will likely be the last pictures before we move in:

We were talking with Hailey last night and she asked if we'll miss our current house. A few months ago there were times where I thought we had made a mistake in moving, but now that it's almost done I can't wait. There's definitely a few things about our current house that I prefer - the office, the vaulted ceiling, and the garage that I designed. But there's so much more about the new place that I will love.

Chris asked Hailey if she'll be sad when we move out and she somewhat surprised us when she said that she would as she felt like she grew up here. And it was here that we had celebrated most of the important dates in her life. And I guess that's what we'll remember - all the memories. Looking back there were a lot of great times - and some of the worst days of my life as well. So yes, we will indeed miss this house.

Feb 11
Holy crap! What happened to January?

I can't believe how fast this year is flying by. Obviously I've been super busy and as a result haven't had time to update the news. The downside to not doing the news until now is the events of last month are pretty hazy. Christmas was good....I think. We had a blast at New Years....I think. I really can't remember.

Strike that, it's slowly coming back now. Christmas actually sucked as I had to drop everything and fly back home to deal with yet another disaster at work. Up until that point I was having a great time. December and January were horrible months. Easily the most stress I've been under in my professional career. It was as if a lifetime of shit decided to happen all at the same time. Thankfully I was finally able to get everything stabilized.

Part of me thinks that all the stress I was under has seriously messed me up inside. Literally. I've been having issues off and on all year, but I had a real scare last week and was in a lot of pain. I searched online and according to Dr. Google it could be anything from indigestion to pancreatic cancer. I decided to get an expert opinion and went to my doctor and she's ordered a battery of tests for me. But worst of all, while examining me she determined that I'm out of rhythm again. Which is beyond frustrating. I was really hoping I'd be able to reduce my medication to the point where I could stop taking it all together. I'm guessing the stress is what made me relapse.

I told my Doctor I'd just take another massive dose and get myself back to normal and it horrified her that I was so casual about it. She warned me that doing so could cause a stroke as I've likely had an irregular heartbeat for who knows how long - it really pisses me off that I have such a hard time telling if I'm in Atrial Fib or not. She wants me to go on Aspirin and get an ultrasound to see if there's a clot - and it's like piss off. I'm done caring anymore.

I just want to move into our new house without finding I have a terminal illness, without any tragedy befalling our friends, without anyone being in an accident etc. etc. At least let me enjoy the first few days of living in our new place without the cares of the world weighing me down.

We listed our current house a few weeks ago and after roughly a dozen showings got an offer which we accepted. It was a bit less than I hoped for, although still at the high end for our neighborhood. Like I told Chris I think it's stupid when sellers dick around over a few thousand dollars. We could have waited for a better offer, but for me it was worth it having everything done and not having to worry as the days went by. We also got the date we wanted so we'll now have a week overlap between when we take possession of our new house and have to move out of this one.

Sold Sign

Our House Is Sold!

We've been checking in on our new place about twice a week and it's amazing how much its progressed from the beginning. In fact it's a bit anti-climatic in that everything is almost done - it's now mostly just cosmetic stuff. The last two major things to be done are installing the quartz countertops and putting the tile and hardwood in. I have to say that despite the problems we had initially, Calbridge has been pretty good lately responding to issues we've found and addressing them.

As Chris said, the next few weeks are going to go by quick and then we'll be in our new home. I can't wait.