Tuesday, February 28, 2006

So Much Free Time!

Well, this is big news indeed. On the weekend, Natasha and I decided to put and end to the TV/movie watching we've been doing the past while. Not that the content has been bad, but more so that it's been taking up more and more of our time. Neither of us wants to become like some people who watch two, three, four hours a day and get nothing else done.

So, we went all out and boxed up the TV, DVD player, and everything else into a big box and are storing it for the time being. Not sure what'll happen to it, but if you're interested in a practically new 27 inch TV, let me know. =)

And now we move on to other things. There are a number of small projects we've left undone that we will make time for now. Thank-you cards! Oh my, we really need to send those out soon!

Not to mention more time doing things together. When summer comes, we'll be out and about a lot more, enjoying the weather. Yesterday we played a game of Scrabble. Natasha beat me solidly by hitting three of the "Triple Word Score" squares with words like ABORTION, AXE , and IVY. Ouch. Rematch tonight though!

As for "The Apprentice"... well, we still love you, Trump. Maybe we'll download the episodes so we can watch them on our own terms and without the commercials.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

New Pots For My Plants

If you have any potted plants and haven't upgraded their pots in the past year or two, it might be time. I've had these two plants in their pots for a long time and they were in desperate need of a change.

Here's what they looked like:


And here's what they look like now! Brand new pots from IKEA!


Be nice to your plants! Go buy some new pots and soil and give them a new home today!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Happy 1 Year Anniversary, Blog!

Today is exactly one year from the time I made my first post to this blog! I think it's come a long ways and I've had a lot of fun with it.

Hopefully everyone who has visited has enjoyed it, and I like to think there's many people who come to look every now and then.

I'd like to see how many people actually come by to look at my blog. So, if you'd like, please post a comment!

New Camera Lens: Vivitar 28-210mm

Until now I've had the standard 18-55mm lens that came with the camera, and a 50mm fixed lens that I bought. But I was still missing something for long distance shots, and I finally got it. I bought it on eBay, got a good price for it, and am very happy. This should last me for some time as far as the things I need to do with it. Someday when I'm professional or something I will need more but for now I think I've got a decent set of lenses to work with.


This is the lens attached to the camera. It's interesting how putting a different lens on a camera gives it a totally different look.

I went out on a walk at lunch yesterday, and then in the evening by a lake with Natasha, and got a few pictures:


This was down by the ocean near Stanley Park. I wanted to see if I could take a picture of a flying seagull and it be focused. Turned out pretty good!


This is a shot across the water to the north shore.


This is a lake near to where we live. We were walking just after work in the evening and the sunset was casting some really nice light on the trees and mountains. The water was some of the calmest since we've been going there, and gave this photo a really great effect.

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Friday, February 17, 2006

Chess Tournament: 2nd In Round Robin

I played my sixth game today at lunch. It was a good game, but I won fairly easily. I don't like to start thinking too much of myself, because I'll be playing the top four people soon, and they must be good so we'll see how my playing holds up.

Anyway, this win guarantees me second place in the round robin phase of the tournament, back only half a point from first place. There are others who could possibly still tie me, but I will still make it into the top four and go into the elimination round.

Watch for the eliminiation results starting sometime next month.

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Guys Who Love Video Games Too Much

If you love video games, or know someone who can't pull themselves away from the Nintendo, you have to see this video:

Guys Who Love Video Games Too Much

The first 15 seconds are a little misleading, but it gets really good, so keep watching!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Cartoon Fever

Update: Feb 15, 2006

I picked up the latest copy of the Western Standard (marked Feb 13, 2006). Turns out it's not in the current issue but the next one. So don't go running out to buy one just yet, wait until the Feb 27, 2006 issue comes out.

Feb 14, 2006

The world is buzzing over these cartoons of Muhammad that have been published in many European countries, and just lately in Canada. The Western Standard, an Alberta magazine, recently published them, causing a number of retailers (including Chapters) to not put that issue on the shelves.

Will this be the first of many publications to publish the cartoons? What kind of effect will it have?

I bought a new camera lens on eBay recently and it's on its way to me now. If there's anything going to happen (protests, rallies, signs), I hope to be able to catch a few good pictures of it!

Monday, February 13, 2006

We Made Smoke. What?

So, last night we were sitting in the living room, and caught the smell of smoke, kind of like a candle that's been blown out. We both jumped up and started looking around, and narrowed it down to the kitchen.

Well, we already know nobody is living downstairs (the guy has finally moved out for good) and we didn't think it was coming from upstairs. It wasn't immediately apparent where it was coming from, although the dishwasher smelled a bit funny.

Turns out, Natasha found the lid to a small plastic container that had fallen to the bottom of the dishwasher and was half melted by the element during the dry cycle. Oops. Oh well, no serious damage done, just an interesting story.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

PhotoLife

Natasha bought me a one year subscription to Photolife magazine for Christmas. The first issue arrived recently:


I really enjoy this magazine as it's largely Canadian, and has a lot of interesting articles and features.

I have a link on the left side of the page to the PhotoLife website.

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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Chess: Game Five

Lost my fifth game today at lunch. It was a good game, but I didn't hold on to my advantage, and ended up getting trapped. Can't win them all I guess. I have enough points to put me into the top four, or with a win it'll put me 1st or 2nd for sure.

My last game of the round robin is on Tuesday...

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Chess: Game Four

Winning game four today put me back on top of the tournament standings. The tournament is shaping up nicely, my only concern is that we'll have too many people at the top and I'll have to figure out some way to determine who gets what. Guess we'll have to wait and see...

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Taking The Train

After five months of taking the bus and skytrain, I've gone back to the passenger train that runs into downtown but is somewhat higher class than regular transit. It's faster and more direct, has comfy seats (high back with leather headrests), coffee shop on board, bathrooms in each car, and the people you ride with are mostly business type people.

The major benefit is that it will save between 30 and 60 minutes a day off my commute. That's a savings of at least 10 hours a month. Not too shabby, considering the extra cost is a mere $20 more.

I actually have a post from March 2005 that has pictures of the inside of the train:

West Coast Express

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Don't Feed The Rats

There's a park and lake nearby which we recently discovered and took a walk there a few days ago. They have some funny signs about feeding the animals, as opposed to the stern warnings you usually see:

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Friday, February 03, 2006

Chess: Third Win

I played my third game in the tournament round robin today. My opponent was good and played well. I played a solid game and outmaneuvered him in the end, bringing me to three points. This means I can still take first place, providing I don't lose any of my last three games, because the other top player will likely get 5.5 out of 6 points.

Even if I get second place, I think I have great chances of making into the final four to move into the elimination round.

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Guy Downstairs: It Continues

Update February 3, 2006 7:04PM

Wow this is going too far! Not only is the guy still here, but he's staying a few more days and causing more trouble. We got a call from the landlord today saying that he'd be staying a few days and that the guy downstairs is considering trying to get money for moving expenses, etc. Our landlord said he's going to counter that by charging him for damages and extra days spent here.

This is all wildy beyond where we ever thought this would go. After 3 weeks of relative peace, we actually thought the guy might be livable, but he's proven yet again in the last couple of days that it's just not the case.

Today he's been moving his stuff out, and smoking while he's doing it. He's slamming doors constantly... in fact, it knocked three of our smaller pictures right off the wall. And he had his car partly in his garage and partly blocking the alley.

Oh, and did I mention he put up a sign by OUR parking space that says "MOVING DO NOT PARK"?

Keep checking back, I'm sure there will be more...

Update February 3, 2006

Wow, more action last night. About 10:30pm last night, we started to hear this low bass sound, kind of an on and off rumble. I listened outside, didn't hear anything, and eventually we figured out it was coming from inside the house, almost for sure from downstairs. It was actually loud enough that we could feel the vibrations on the floor.

The sound continued for some time, and when we got to bed, we thought maybe it was a problem with the furnace. So, I grabbed my big flashlight, and we both went down the stairs to see what was up. Turns out, the guy above us was also being disturbed by these noises (although I can hardly believe he waited that long) and was downstairs before us, pounding on the door to the basement suite.

What was the noise, you ask? I'm not totally sure but it was some kind of loud movie or music. Kind of like in big battle scenes in movies where there's lots of rumbling and symphonies in the background. After much pounding and no response, we all went back to bed and soon to sleep.

What can we do? Not much... he's moving out, just being a rude, inconsiderate jerk for a few days.

Update February 2, 2006

Got a call from the landlord with good news. The guy downstairs is just around for a few extra days to move his stuff. The good news is that the landlord himself is moving into the basement suite. We get along with him quite well, and it will be nice to have someone around when things go wrong, as before he was at least 45 minutes away.

Anyway, we're quite pleased with the end result of this situation...

Update February 1, 2006

Spoke too soon. The truck was back this morning. We're going to wait a day or two to see what happens. Perhaps he's just back to move more of his stuff. Since nobody is moving in, maybe the landlord gave him a few extra days to move his stuff out.

Updates to follow if anything happens.

January 31, 2006

After all the problems with the guy downstairs smoking, and him blocking our car in, and taking over our parking spot... we're finally rid of him. There was a big truck outside yesterday and today his truck is gone, so we think and hope that this is the last we'll see from him.

Not that we don't like people, the guy upstairs is a complainer and what not, but this guy was a real problem.

Yay!