Sunday, May 29, 2005

The Countdown Begins

Only five days after we parted ways, Natasha and I decided that waiting 'till September was far too long for a second visit. So, we organized holiday time, booked a flight, and she'll be here in a month.


Andrew and Natasha at 'The Diplomat'

This is a picture taken of us at a restaurant in Fredericton.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

Trip to the Maritimes: Overview

If you've been checking my weblog, you may have noticed that I didn't really post a whole lot while I was gone on vacation. This was due to a couple of factors, including the fact that I didn't have much internet access for the first half of the trip. But once I reached Fredericton, things got really busy and I even took considerably less photographs than I usually do.

My trip started out in Halifax where I stayed for 4 days. I stayed in a hostel which was a new experience for me, one which worked out well. It's a nice way to travel when you're alone because there's always somewhere to go back to where there will be people.


The Hostel


Halifax is a nice city, just the right size. It's a university town, so there are tons of young people all over the place. Most of the buildings are old, and many are marked as historic buildings... but the East coast of Canada was the first to be settled so it's no surprise.

The city also has a military feel to it. Signal posts here and there, and Citadel Hill up in the center of town, used years ago during the war to defend the harbour.

I rented a car, and took a drive along the Lighthouse Trail. The best place was Peggy's Cove which is a very beautiful town. I got a couple of really nice shots of the lighthouse.


Peggy's Cove


The day I went to Peggy's Cove was beautiful as you can see (although windy), but the rest of the time it was cloudy, breezy, and at times rainy. I decided to settle in for the rest of my trip and spent the rest of it relaxing at the hostel, going to the library, exploring the town, and generally just enjoying my time before the second half of my trip.

When Wednesday rolled around, I was up by 5:30am, packed up my stuff, and headed for the bus station. That took me from Halifax to Fredericton in about six hours. I was met by a very good friend of mine who I have known for years. You will read more about her in a little bit.

I spent the afternoon exploring Fredericton. I couldn't help but stop in at the library for a bit of time on the internet. ;o)


The New Brunswick Legistlature


Right, now a bit about my friend! Her name is Natasha, and we've known each other for about six years. She spent a few days in Edmonton back then and we spent some time together. It never worked out until now for me to travel out East, but the plans were finally made and I came out to see her. She lives out of the city a ways, on a nice bit of land with her parents and brothers and their families.


Natasha's House


New Brunswick seems to have many of the largest things in the world. I hear they have the largest potato in the world, and the largest lobster. And this:


World's Largest Ax


Do you see me in the picture?

Natasha organized a canoe trip with a few other couple's which turned out to be an excellent time. It's probably the funnest outing I've ever been on, and it really brought us all together as friends. There are more pictures which I may post at a later time, but here's one of me:


Andrew in a canoe


In fact, the day only got better, as Natasha and I had a talk on the drive home and decided we'd take a leap and take our friendship to the next level. I'm proud to say that my very good friend is now my girlfriend.


Andrew and Natasha


Doesn't she look good in a Tilley hat?! This was taken while on a walk at the Bay of Fundy, on the south end of New Brunswick.

Well, that's the trip overview. I will post more later, so keep checking back!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Internet by the Minute

Travelling and relying on the library and/or internet cafe reminds me of the days when I had dial-up and a certain number of minutes per month. Seriously, our children are going to laugh their heads off when we tell them we had to watch how many minutes we had left online...

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Web Server down

If you don't see any pictures, it's because something is wrong with my web server. Don't know what it is yet, but I'll try to find out. What bad timing for something to go wrong while I'm out travelling! Bear with me, and check back tomorrow.

UPDATE


Looks like the connection was down for a short period of time... nothing wrong with the web server.

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Peggy's Cove

I went to Peggy's Cove on Sunday. It was a nice drive down there, and the lighthouse was nice to see. I got lucky and had some pretty decent weather... sunny at least, although windy and cool. However, because of the blue sky and interesting clouds, I ended up with some pretty decent pictures. I got a few of them printed at a local photo shop and they look great.

Peggy's Cove is a town of about 60 people, where every house is some bright color... red, green, yellow, blue, and there's all kinds of fishing stuff lying around. Their gift shop is great, and there's a restaurant too. A week from now, they open up the post office inside the lighthouse... too bad I missed that one.

I'll add pictures of Peggy's Cove when I have a chance to size them and upload them to my site.

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Monday, May 16, 2005

Halifax

I've been in Halifax for two days now, this is my third. It's a nice city, pretty quiet. I find it interesting that there are not a ton of cars driving around, although perhaps other parts of the city are busier. The roads are narrow which is another strange thing, and sometimes you have to drive over the yellow line because the parked cars take up most of the lane.

I have a rental car, a PT Cruiser. Funny little car, but it works.

The buildings around here are all very old, and many of them have signs marking them as historical buildings. The churches are massive, and great works of architecture, and there is one on almost every corner. The graveyards are interesting too... at least the old ones. Every plot has an upright stone, and quite large. Something you don't see much of in other large cities, at least not right in the middle of town.

I'm staying in a hostel which is a new experience for me. It's actually good since I'm traveling alone, there are people to talk to if nothing else is going on. The range of people who stay there is vast. Some people practically live there, some are just on their way through, and others have a year or so in Canada and Halifax is just one of their many stops along the way.

I'm in an internet cafe, paying as much for 1 hour of time as about 1/4 of my regular monthly internet bill back home. What can you do when you're out traveling, cut off from the internet world!

More posts and pictures when I get to my next destination. =o)

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Friday, May 13, 2005

The East Coast Trip

Hello readers,

I am leaving for a trip to the East coast of Canada this morning. In all my life, I've never been east of Saskatchewan (in Canada) so this is an adventure for me... all new places to see!

I am flying into Halifax where I will spend a few days touring and sightseeing, hopefully getting some great photos. Then I take the bus to Fredericton where I will meet with a long lost friend, and do many more interesting and fun things including canoeing, biking, playing Cranium, and perhaps even seeing Star Wars III.

Keep checking back every few days. I'll have internet access most of my trip, and I might even get a few pictures uploaded!

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New Lens: Canon EF 50mm f1.8

I wanted to get something a little different than the lens the camera came with, and instead of buying a pricey zoom lens, I decided to go with the ever popular and useful 50mm.



It has a fast aperture of 1.8 which will allow for some easier indoor photography, and in other low light situations. Also I'll be able to do a lot more in the way of portrait pictures, and other photographs that require more flexibility when it comes to depth of field.

I'm taking it on my trip to Eastern Canada, and will find out how it compares to my regular lens after some good use.

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Trooper

I was talking to a good friend of mine recently, and there was some discussion about cars (and their drivers) and I mentioned the Trooper. Wow, they named a vehicle after me! Anyway, I found out they didn't know what a Trooper was, so when I saw one on the road today I couldn't resist taking a picture:



Trooper!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Advance Voting

We have a provincial election here in British Columbia on May 17th. I'll be away on vacation so I went to an advance voting station today to make sure I get my say. There are actually two parts to the voting procedure this time around. The first is for the candidate which represents the party. The second is a referendum regarding changes to the voting system itself.

There's a party running in some ridings of the province that call themselves the 'Work Less Party'. They have no chance of winning anything, but I think they have some good ideas. Personally I think having a few extra holidays a year would be nice, or maybe even going as far as creating the 4 day work week. I'd have so much less stress!

As for the referendum... I don't truly understand the proposed changes enough to make an informed decision. I suppose I could have voted 'No' to keep things the way they are. But I opted to take a route I've never taken before... the spoiled ballot. I checked both Yes and No. Oh well...

Get out and vote, people!

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Monday, May 09, 2005

Compact Flash: 1GB

I got my new Compact Flash memory card today! My supplier said I was like a kid in a candy store when I was opening it up. I had it out and in my camera within minutes of getting the package!



This will allow me to take on average about 280 pictures at full resolution. Not too bad. And just in time for my trip where I intend to take many pictures.

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No More MSN

Citing security issues as the main reason, our company has blocked the use of instant messaging programs in the office. Well, they've disabled MSN and Yahoo Messengers anyway.

I've escaped the problem 'till today by not restarting my computer (once you restart, the change comes into effect) but it was inevitable and today I had to reboot because of other problems.

Some people have moved to Web Messenger (http://webmessenger.msn.com/) and that seems to work okay but it's not as user friendly. There are other options that might work as well but I haven't looked into them.

Maybe I'll see how life is without instant messaging for a few days. Who knows, I might even be more productive, imagine that!

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Geek Stuff: Meeting with Stas Bekman

Our team at work was able to get Stas Bekman to come spend a few hours with us, talk about some new technologies and how we can improve the things we currently do and things to think about for future upgrades.

Stas is a software developer and teacher who is heavily involved in the mod_perl project. In fact, he is the author of one of the O'Reilly books, Practical mod_perl.






Stas gave a short talk on Perl Handlers


Related links:

Monday, May 02, 2005

The Banana Phone!



My cellular, bananular phone! (Taken from 'Banana Phone' by Raffi)

The Importance of Backups

So, everyone recommends backing up your data regularly, but how many people actually do it? Well, not me, at least not enough. And it nearly cost me much of my data. About a week and a half ago I had some hardware failure and my computer with all my data shut down. It's taken me this long to get some replacement parts, recover my data, and set up my computer and web server from scratch.

I was lucky though, and was able to recover most of my data. I think I lost a few of my pictures, but almost everything else was saved.

So I've said all that to say this... backup your files to a separate hard drive at the least, and save your images and other important files to CD, every month at least if not more often. Don't have a CD burner? They are inexpensive, as little as $30, and will save you in the long run.

I'm back online, so keep visiting as I have a lot to post!