Sunday, July 31, 2005

Moving Day

It's 3:22pm, Sunday afternoon. I've finished all my work with wedding invitations, and I'm on to the next job... moving. Moving day is tomorrow and I have a ton to pack up and get ready. I'm only taking the essentials, and coming back for more stuff later.

My computer and web server will be disconnected at some point in the next 12 hours, and my pictures will be available again Tuesday afternoon. Also in that time, any of my websites and websites I'm hosting will be down.

I hope to have pictures of my apartment for Tuesday once I'm moved in.

Bye for now, everyone!

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Busy Weekend

This weekend is a big one for me. Luckily it's a long weekend or I'd be in trouble. I have a bunch of stuff to do for the wedding, plus I move on Monday. Moving, and I haven't packed a single thing! It's not that bad though, because I'm moving from my parent's house, and not everything needs to move on the same day. I'll move just the basics and come back for more later.

So, it's all going to keep me busy for the next three days. It's a hot day outside but I'm inside working. I should get out tonight when it cools off, enjoy the nice weather.

When I move, my web server will be down. This blog is through, so it'll still work, but the pictures won't load. Not to worry though, it'll be back up and running by Tuesday if all goes as planned.

I may post once or twice more, if I'm lucky. Otherwise, I'll make a post once I have internet access again!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Sunset From The Train

Taking the train makes for a long commute, especially when you come from the farthest stop into town. As much as I have been unhappy with the long trip, it's provided me with some very interesting photo opportunities, such as this sunset picture.

Train Trouble

I had trouble getting to work again this morning, but this time it wasn't my fault at all. I actually got on the train a few minutes early, and promptly fell asleep for my morning nap. I woke up an hour later, and heard some announcement about delays. I think I still slept for a few minutes before waking up and realizing something wasn't quite right.

Turns out, the train ahead of us developed some kind of problem and it was holding us back as well. In the end, the train I was in had to hook up and push the train in front all the way downtown. They were speed restricted because of that, and had to stop twice at each station to let people on and off for both trains.

The two trains connected!

Took me two hours or more just for the train ride. Only two more train rides before I move! Looking forward to the 1 hour or less commute!

Interesting Cloud Formations

I took this picture from my deck a couple of weeks ago but didn't get around to posting it.

I've never seen this kind of formation, with a hole in the middle, and a star type pattern (arms going out in all directions). This one was interesting because where you see the hole, it was pouring rain from just that one spot and you can actually see the last bit of it on the right side.

When I say I've never seen it before, I mean until recently because I've seen this type of thing a couple of times at least in the past few months. Either I just didn't notice it or see it, or it's something out of the ordinary.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Return to Flight

The Space Shuttle Discovery was launched today, over two years since Shuttle Columbia crashed during landing. Hard to believe it's been that long.

Maybe someday I'll be able to see a shuttle launch, take some pictures of my own.

NASA has extensive coverage of the launch, the crew, and all kind of other information and pictures.

NASA - Return to Flight

There's also a video clip on there of President Bush talking about the space plan over the next 10 years. It sounds pretty exciting... completing the space station, trips to the moon and a permanent presence there as a launching point for future missions.

It's just like 2001: A Space Odyssey, only about 15 years late.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

July Corn Fields

July is nearly over, and the corn is growing quickly. I don't know when corn comes into full season but I expect it's sometime in the next month or two at most. Corn on the cob every day, can't wait!

Spell Checker Is My Tutor

For years I've heard people say that spell checkers are making people bad spellers. I have a feeling this is actually true since using one requires no serious thought about spelling. In fact, you can misspell a word and then get the program to give you a suggestion!

However, I've made good use of spell checker and actually improved my spelling by it. I write a number of emails a day, some quite long, and I always run the spell checker on it before sending. When I find a real misspelling, I try to remember how it's spelled for next time. Over the past year or so I've come a long ways, and recently I've had emails with no spelling mistakes at all.

So, turns out spell checker can be a good thing. I wonder if there's anything that can help me with my dependancy on a calculator!

Friday, July 22, 2005

Transit Trouble

I missed my train today, by about 10 seconds. I knew I was running a little bit late, and typically I would have made it but traffic was busy, and I caught a number of red lights that I usually don't have to worry about. When I got to the train station, I saw one guy running for his life towards the passenger bridge that goes from the parking lot, over the tracks, to the platform. At that point I knew I was in trouble, so I parked quickly, and started running. I ran all the way across the lot, up the stairs, across the bridge, and starting down the other side when the 'beep-beep-beep' that indicates the doors are closing started.

If I'd had about 10 more seconds I would have been at the bottom of the stairs and could have made a flying leap onto the train before the doors closed, but I was too far. Back to my car I went, and drove downtown. Made it here in decent time but I'm not happy with having to spend the extra money for parking. My own fault I guess.

But the day is starting to turn around! The parking lot had an 'early bird' special... $7.00 if you get in before 9am, so that saved me a few bucks. Also, we have an off-site meeting from 2:30pm - 4:00pm at a nearby restaurant... so it's going to be a nice, short Friday.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

More Bombings In London

Well, more bombings. I wouldn't have expected it so soon, and that's likely what everyone there is thinking as well.

It's not a matter of if, but when similar things will start to take place in North America. And I mean Canada too. My camera is with me at all times, and when it does happen, I'll be out on the streets getting the photos and they'll be posted on here.

Wednesday Night Sky

I caught the sunset on these clouds off the back patio last night...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Google Moon

Google has satellite maps of the earth (well, some places on it at least) and they have a map of the moon too!

If you zoom in all the way, you'll discover the truth about the moon's surface!

"Scotty" From Star Trek Dies at 85

I guess Star Trek was being recorded before I was born. Kind of weird since they are still played now and I've seen many of the old episodes and movies. Hard to believe thye were recorded so long ago that some of the cast are getting to be in their 80's! Well, here's to one of the best Starfleet engineers!

More info on CNN page on James Doohan

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Uke on the Beach

I went down to the beach tonight and played and sang with the Ukulele club. What an interesting looking group we made, but it sure drew a crowd at times.

Here is a picture of me and my Fluke

The Rumor Mill

So, I got a call from a friend today. He'd heard a rumor that I had been engaged once before. I didn't ask for specifics, all I know is a few people were talking about me and it came up.

While I am rather curious as to who said it, and who they thought I was engaged to, I think perhaps I'd just as well not know. Besides, this isn't the first time people have thought me to be engaged. At least one time in the past, another Andrew got engaged and a bunch of people thought it was me. Also, my last girlfriend and I were quite serious and although we never did get engaged, I can understand how people might have come to that conclusion.

Many thanks to my friend for calling me to find out more before passing on this scandelous rumor. Okay, okay, it's not scandelous at all. If I were a celebrity this would somehow make me more money. Being the peon that I am, however, it won't do a thing for me.

And now I go back to work...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Curious Transit Behaviour

I ride transit on a daily basis and being the people-watching type of person I am, I notice some very odd behaviour.

The one thing that really interests me is at what point people go towards the doors as their stop approaches. Typically, I would expect people to stand up and walk to a door when their stop is perhaps about 30 seconds away.

However, I see people who are getting off at Station B actually stand up and go to the door while the train is still stopped at Station A! It hasn't even started moving towards Station B yet!

Why do they do this? I've come up with a few theories:

1) They like standing - Perhaps they just like to stand longer than they have to.

2) They want to save time - Being first out the door means you get to your car about 10 seconds sooner than everyone else... unless someone walks faster than you.

3) Transit Stress - I also believe there is a certain amount of stress that comes with taking transit, especially in high traffic areas. Unlike driving in a car, people on a bus or train are packed into confined areas with complete strangers. It's definitely not relaxing at all, and I think waiting at the door is one symptom displayed by those most affected.

Even I noticed a tendancy to move towards the door too quickly and forced myself to sit until the train came to a complete stop. It now feels much more natural and relaxing, and sometimes I even take my time getting off the train.

Hey, I'm paying big bucks for this "ride", I'm going to enjoy every minute of it!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Leaving My Mark On The World

Update: You can leave your mark too!

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

I Say 'Taco', You Say 'Taco'

I have an ongoing debate with co-workers, my fiance, and others, regarding how to say the word 'taco'. How should the 'a' be said?

1) Like the 'a' in awesome (Taww-co)

2) Like the 'a' in tack (Tack-o)

I know the dictionary has it one way, but I'm not looking for the technical aspect here, I just want to know how people say it.

Vote now, for choice 1 or choice 2! (Post a comment)

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Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Gas Prices - Could This Be?

If you've filled your car with gas recently, you've probably seen a sticker on the pump that looks something like this:

But have you really thought about what this is saying versus the actual price of gas and the frequent fluctuations?

I think what the gas companies are trying to show by this sign is that they make only 2% profit on the gas that is sold. This no doubt makes the consumer a little less upset with the companies.

However, at least where I live, the price of gas can change as much as 10 cents per litre during the course of a day.

We will assume for now that the gas company makes 2% profit. The taxes don't change daily either so they're fixed. This leaves 'Crude Costs' and 'Refining and Marketing Costs' as the sources of the changes. Oil prices go up and down on a daily basis just like other markets. I'd say that's the answer, except that years ago the price remained very constant. Refining and Marketing costs? I can't see how either of those could go up and down on a daily basis with such precision.

Could it truly be that the price is moved up and down daily, and right around holidays, to better take advantage of spending patterns of drivers?

I can't say for sure, but I have a feeling that might be the case...

Oh for the days of 60 cent/litre gas!


Freezies - My Color Selection

In our company kitchen, there's a stock of freezies in the freezer. I guess the weather has been too cold for many people to eat them but it hasn't stopped me. I've eaten all the good ones and am working my way down. I got to discussing this with a few co-workers and I came up with a list of freezie colors in order of preference (1 being the best, 6 being the worst):
  1. Pink
  2. Orange
  3. Purple
  4. Red
  5. Yellow
  6. Blue
Which is your favorite color?

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Flying The Coop x 2

I'm flying the coop again, and this time for good. I came back home once in order to go to school. This time, I'm getting married, so there will be no moving back home.

I just got an apartment, will move in on August 1st. I just finalized the agreement for this today, so you'll hear more in a few weeks once August rolls around.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

June Trip Report

It's one thing to travel somewhere, but sometimes a trip can be just as good when you have someone coming to see you! After my trip out to the East coast to see Natasha, we decided that another trip was in order and we booked a flight for her to come out to the West for a week.

I picked her up at the airport on Tuesday, and after getting the luggage, we headed off to Stanley Park for a picnic lunch. Many thanks to my Mom for making the potato salad and buying the mini cheesecakes... very tasty. We found a nice spot on the grass under some big trees and spent our first few hours together talking, eating, and enjoying the view. A seagull and crow joined us for lunch and we shared a few bread crumbs and pieces of tomato with them.

On our way home we stopped by IKEA and T&T, and had BBQ Chicken at home for supper, followed by a nice walk down by a small lake near to the house.

Wednesday morning was kind of cloudy but the weather was decent. Our plan was to do things in the area that day. We hit three main places: Minter Gardens, Bridal Falls, and Harrison Hot Springs.

Minter Gardens

Minter Gardens is really an amazing place. There are many paths you can take through the park, some of them are paved trails, and others are nature trails that wind back and forth across the paved paths. There are also special areas such as the Rose Garden which specialize in a certain flower or look. And there's even a place to hold a covered outdoor wedding! If you're ever in the area, I highly recommend this as a place to see.

Bridal Falls turned out to be interesting. It's only a short hike up to the falls, at most 15 minutes. Once you get there though, it's quite impressive. Different than any falls I've seen, and "Bridal Veil Falls" really describes it well.

Harrison Hot Springs is a lovely town with a nice hotel and the main strip right along the lake. The view is really nice especially when the weather is good. We came back to Harrison later in our trip, which I will tell more about later.

We went to church on Wednesday night, and I was able to introduce Natasha to a bunch of people. Later that evening we tried going to a 50's Diner but they were closed early. We'll save that one for later this year.

Thursday was the big trip into the city, and the first stop was Granville Island. We met up with Natasha's cousin, walked around the market, had a bite to eat. This was Natasha's first experience with Sushi. She did really well for the first time, and enjoyed it for the most part... although she did say she hit her limit. In any case she did better than me. I didn't try sushi again for two years after my first meal.

'How do I eat this stuff?'

Our plans for the rest of Thursday had been changed just before the trip, and as Thursday progressed, I had a feeling that they'd change again. We had to cancel out our trip to an amusement park to ride the rollercoasters (that's for another time too). However, this opened up the possibility for us to make an important purchase...

That's right, we went and bought our wedding rings and the engagement ring! We actually saw them on Tuesday, went back to look again on Wednesday, and fully decided to go ahead with it on Thursday.

Friday was a big day, as we planned to drive into the interior of BC to see some relatives of Natasha. Her last living Grandma lives there, as well as an uncle and aunt. It's only a 3.5 hour drive so we packed up at a reasonable hour and headed out. I'd been doing a lot of driving and my knee was hurting a bit so I got Natasha to drive on the way there.

Natasha looks great in any situation!

Here we are in Kamloops!

The interior of BC is really beautiful, and some places have a desert type look with really interesting plants, tumbleweed, etc. It's a good area for growing grapes and other crops that require lots of sun.

The first thing we did when we got there was go on a horseback ride. We were out for about three hours and we had bruises and soreness to prove it!

Giddy Up!

After the trip around the bush with the horses, we came back for dinner with a bunch of relatives. A few of them pulled out some guitars and started playing some good old country tunes. I even played a song on my Ukulele for them.

Later that evening we went down to the water for the fireworks display (Canada Day). For a small town it was pretty decent, and I was impressed right up until the end... when they simply stopped and didn't continue. No grand finale! Could be something went wrong, or they fired them off in the wrong order. There was one part in the middle that had a ton of fireworks going on, and that might have been meant as the end. In any case, it was nice to sit out by the water at night and watch the display.

On Saturday we got up early but didn't leave until 9:30am because we decided to go for breakfast with Natasha's aunt and uncle. The drive home went quickly, just a small amount of rain, and no stops.

Okay back to the rings... you see, I was planning on asking Natasha to marry me, but I wasn't exactly sure when. Saturday seemed like a good time since we had planned to spend the evening together in town, but I didn't want to leave that as my only option. So, I had actually brought the ring everywhere with me after buying it, just in case. And here we were, Saturday, and I still hadn't asked.

Once we got home, we hung out a bit, spent some time getting ready, decided on a new plan for the evening, and headed out. We chose to go back to Harrison again because it was really nice, and there was a German restaurant we wanted to go to.

At the German Restaurant

It's kind of funny going out for German food, much of which I have at home now and then, but it was a really nice place and it's something different. Natasha had the Schnitzel, and I had Roulade. Being a tourist town, there were many tourist type people, and I'm pretty sure we were near to the best dressed people there.

After dinner, we went out walking along the path that goes around Harrison Lake. We saw the hot springs, and some of the nature trail that runs along the main path. We sat down at the far end of the path for a while but this proved to be too rocky so we moved on. We found another spot right on the beach and sat down there.

The view from our spot on the beach

And this is where I proposed to Natasha. She said 'Yes' (phew!) and after only a few minutes she was too excited to stay any longer. Part of the reason I delayed slightly in asking was that it was really quite nice and I thought perhaps if I asked, we'd decide to leave right away. If you want more details on the proposal, etc, etc, please talk to Natasha. I prefer to keep these things to myself but she will be happy to fill you in, especially if you're a girl and are really interested in all the details! =o)

But we had a lot of people to tell, so off we went, back home. Oh wait, before that, there was a lady sitting on a bench and we got her to take a picture of us.

Andrew and Natasha - Just Engaged

Back at home the phoning began. Friends, family, everyone. I think many people had given up hope that we'd actually do it, as they were phoning the house to ask if there was any "big news" yet! But we didn't let them down. There's no way I could have let her go home without asking.

The Engagement Cake!

Mom was nice enough to make a cake for us, and we took a number of pictures. Natasha has arranged to have our photo in their local newspaper and I look forward to getting a copy of it sometime.

So, that's the trip report. There are so many more details, and we took over 300 pictures, so this is only a small portion, but it covers the important stuff. We'd be happy to share more details and show pictures if there's ever a chance.

Thanks again to all of you for your support!

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When Words Come Back To Bite

My post yesterday asked the question "What does one buy the President of the United States for his birthday?". I got a number of responses but one sticks out, especially in the wake of today's bombings in London:

A Bible so he can can read the scripture: LOVE YOUR ENEMIES !! (don't kill them)

Now we really see who's doing the killing, and it's against civilians going to work...

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Happy Birthday, W!

It's George W. Bush's 59th birthday today! has a great compilation of information on him: Wikipedia - George Bush

What does one buy the President of the United States for his birthday? Post a comment!


Sunday, July 03, 2005

Andrew's Getting Married

UPDATE - July 6, 2005

Thanks to everyone who posted comments with their support. Natasha and I both greatly appreciate all of you. Keep the blog in your favorites and check back often as there will be much more to come.

I have known Natasha now for about 6 years, if you count from the first time we met. We started talking on the internet a short while before that. During our very first visit, I took her around town for a couple of days, showed her the sights, took her to church, went to the mall, IMAX, etc. At the time we were still teenagers and both a little immature, and even though there were feelings at that time nothing came of it, and indeed if it would have, it's likely it wouldn't have worked.

Over the space of six years, we kept in touch with an email every six months or so, always going back to a long period of silence. A year ago another email was sent by one of us, but it didn't stop. Instead, we kept emailing back and forth, even making a few phone calls, and really came to realize how much we enjoyed each others' friendship.

Each time we'd email, I'd suggest she come visit me out on the west coast where I'd moved to. Her reply was always that she'd already been to see me and that it was my turn. Well, this time around I couldn't pass up the opportunity, and I took a trip out to the east coast.

There are too many details to put right here, but the short story is that we really hit it off during those few days. Another trip was scheduled a month later...

... and now we're engaged!

We've both come to realize that falling in love with your best friend is one of the best things that can happen to a person.

I'm working on a full trip report which will be posted in the next few days.