Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Onward and Upward!

The weeks go by, and life moves ahead at a rapid pace. Our move date has come up quickly, and we are set to get the keys to our new place tomorrow night or Thursday. We have most of our things packed, and are using paper plates and plastic utensils now that everything is boxed up. After being a little scared about how much stuff we have, it's all boxed up and I'm pretty comfortable with how much there actually is. We definitely look forward to our move, and the additional space. I think it'll be a lot nicer for when the family comes for the holidays.

Also moving up is the Canadian dollar! It hit a 47 year record yesterday, soaring to the $1.05 USD mark. I don't know whether or not this is a good thing right now though. I heard on the radio this morning that fuel prices go up to compensate for a falling US dollar, but I fail to see the connection... just another way to grab money? That's the trend these days.

Please note that this may be the last blog post for the week, as there will be a lot happening for the move. Also, since my computer will be disconnected from the internet, the blog will take on it's minimalist look for a couple of days until my new internet connection is set up. If you are bored, I encourage you to visit all of the sites listed on the left side of the page under "Blogs" and "Keeping Informed", as well as the "While You Wait" section which has some fun games and such.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Winning The Big House

You can get money in many ways. You can inherit or be born into money. You can marry into it (only really good if you aren't marrying for the money). You can even work hard for it (truly, it works). And of course, you can win it!

For those of you checking the blog to confirm the rumor, read on. Those of you who haven't heard yet, well, you might as well hear it from the source. It is public knowledge now, and anyway, no secrets can be kept once our family and friends get ahold of it.

On Wednesday, my parents' name was drawn for the Grand Prize in the Peace Arch and Delta Hospitals Win'Fall Ocean View Lottery, or its cash equivalent.

Needless to say, we are surprised and amazed. I am especially happy for my parents as this will allow them to retire early, and spend more time doing the things they want to.

Congrats, Mom & Dad!

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China Builds Rockets Too

China has recently launched a probe that will travel to the moon, the beginnings of a multi-stage project that will take their space program to the next level. No mention of sending people to the moon. I wonder why nobody wants to do that anymore. Maybe now that it's been done, everyone realizes there's nothing more to be gained. I expect it won't be a popular destination until the International Space Station becomes big enough to be a mid-way point between earth and a station on the moon.

CNN has the full report.

China launched its first lunar probe Wednesday, the first step in an ambitious 10-year plan to send a rover to the moon and return it to earth.

The project's goal is to analyze the chemical and mineral composition of the lunar surface. The probe will use stereo cameras and X-ray spectrometers to map three-dimensional images of the surface, and to study the moon's dust.

The launch marks the first step of a three-stage moon mission. In about 2012 there will be a moon landing with a moon rover. In the third phase about five years later, another rover will land on the moon and be returned to earth with lunar soil and stone samples, Xinhua said.

In 2003, China became only the third country in the world after the United States and Russia to put its own astronauts into space.

I wonder if they make a giant oval "Made in China" sticker for such things...

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Monday, October 22, 2007

Taming Facebook

A while ago I posted an article called "Taming MSN Messenger" to help people bring that piece of software under control. Many times developers add too much to a program, making it unsafe, annoying, and possibly doing things you don't want it to.

Now Facebook has entered the picture, and while it's fun to add all your friends, post pictures, and everything else, it's beginning to raise concerns regarding privacy, as well as relationship issues with friends and significant others. This is my short-list of thing to watch out for and things you can do to make your Facebook life better and avoid some of the problems.

VISIBILITY

Always remember that anything you enter into the Facebook system is viewable by all of your friends. Don't put things on there that you don't want people to see, or that might offend or embarrass someone (yourself included).

Avoid long rants about all the bad stuff happening in your life. Everyone has problems. Share them, in person, with your friends who can help. Don't broadcast it for all to read. Do you hate your girlfriend, boyfriend, co-workers, boss, or job? Keep it to yourself! They might read it on your own profile which can create all sorts of bad feelings.

PHOTOS

Facebook is one of the world's largest site in terms of photo uploads. If I'm not mistaken, it might even have more uploads than Flickr.com. Adding your photos is a great way to share them with your friends. However, Facebook adds a whole new dimension.

You see, Facebook allows photos to be tagged. Clicking on a tag leads back to that person's profile, where you can find another link that lets you see all photos that have been tagged as having that person in them. Where before, you'd have to view a lot of pages to see pictures of people, this allows you to see all of them at a click of the mouse.

And what's worse is that other people can upload a picture with you in it, tag it with your name, and everyone can see it without you even knowing it's there. If you never get your picture taken in which you don't want to be seen, you're all good. But I've seen a few of people at a company dinner or whatever else that was probably harmless, but could give the wrong impression if viewed on its own.

Check often to see what photos have been tagged with your name!

APPLICATIONS

Anyone with a Facebook account knows just how many times you can get requests to add a vast array of applications to your page. Some are interesting, most are useless, and some are outright dangerous. I can't stress it enough... IF YOU PUT AN APPLICATION ON YOUR PROFILE PAGE, MONITOR IT CLOSELY. Just today, we were browsing through some profiles, and came across one user who added the "Fun Wall". Someone had posted a photo which was completely disturbing and the owner of the profile surely did not want such a thing displayed. We sent off a short note, and hopefully it will be removed before it goes too far.

The real problem is that some applications allow other people to add things to your profile page without you knowing. If you choose to use them, monitor it closely. If you don't use it on a daily basis, your best bet is to remove any applications which could pose this type of problem.

FRIENDS

The structure of Facebook revolves around friends connecting with friends. Don't add people to your friends list who are not your friends. This degrades the whole purpose of the program, and exposes your information and potentially that of your friends to people who have no real connection with you. Don't feel bad ignoring a friend request. If you're not sure who someone is, send them a message to ask!

PRIVACY

Log into your Facebook account and click the PRIVACY button at the top right of the page. This is your key to controlling what others see from your profile and actions. Go through each section, adjusting as you see fit. Pay special attention to the "News Feed and Mini-Feed" link. That area allows you to choose what actions will be published in the News Feeds of your friends. Don't want everyone to see when you upload a photo, make a comment on someone's wall, or change your relationship status? Uncheck those boxes!

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Friday, October 19, 2007

October 2007 Update

As it's been 11 days since my last post, I thought I'd better put together a few updates! The last week and a half has been busy, very busy. We had our anniversary and Thanksgiving last week which was really nice. After eating a big meal, and a few lunches and supper's each, I still packed away four ZipLock™ bags full of turkey meat for use later in a stew, soup, or whatever else we need it for.

Last Friday, I came into work at 10:30pm to help with our server move. I'm not all that experienced in terms of networking or server setup, but there's a lot of heavy lifting and moving to be done, and I got to learn more about how everything is hooked up. I left somewhere around 3:30am, so it was a long night (although some of the other guys were there until 8am getting the final setup done).

On Saturday we went out to my parent's house for supper and to visit with Shelley and the boys, and Auntie Erna. For more information on their adventures, click the Eijbersen's link under "Blogs".

This week has been no less busy. On Monday evening, we drove to Chilliwack after work to see the Palmetto State Quartet, and The Pfeiffers. This was a fantastic concert, with a lot of great singing, and some really great displays of talent. We tried to promote it to people we know who might be interested, but in the end, it was only us who were there. All I can say is, you missed out big time, although I understand that it was a bad day for a concert, and rather far for most people to travel. Palmetto State re-confirmed their spot in my top favorite Southern Gospel groups, and the Pfeiffers really impressed although their style was quite different.

We now have fifteen days before our move. Have we been working hard every available evening? No, actually. We got a really good head start in our first packing session and have just been waiting until it gets closer before we pack more of our day to day stuff. We have two weekends left which we will use to do most of what we have left. Dishes and such can start to be packed, and with a couple packing sessions we should be ready to go.

Sadly, our landlords have become a problem in the last few weeks. There's a lot more noise coming from above us, and a loud TV or radio until 10:30pm or later. Who ever heard of banging the wall on your landlord? One would reason that they'd be the best tenants in the house. But no, and we have banged, many times. The thing is, they must care because they turn it down right away. It's just that they're not smart enough to make the connection from one day to the next, which is the most frustrating thing of all. I want to have respect for someone who is my landlord, boss, or whatever, but when there is not even the smallest respect coming back... well, it's just not right.

We've also seen the weather change to much cooler and rainier, and many trees have changed colors and are losing leaves. The days are getting shorter, and we do not look forward to the time change when mornings will be cast into complete darkness. On the positive side, as things turn bad outside, we can turn to indoor activities, and some game nights will be in order!

And that's the story for the last while. I doubt it will be any less busy over the next three weeks or more with the move and all. Check back once a week or so though, see if I've managed to post anything. Until next time!

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Monday, October 08, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving 2007!!


Today is Thanksgiving in Canada! To everyone in Canada, hope you have a great holiday. Our American friends will celebrate in a month or so, and will likely have just as much fun (and probably more food).

As you can see from the photo above, autumn has arrived, and all the leaves are changing colors and falling to the ground. Today was a beautiful day, sunny, moderate, and a great day for a holiday.

Natasha and I are just doing the final work for our thanksgiving dinner. Below are a few photos from today.

Thanksgiving Photos


Andrew wrestling with the Turkey


Natasha took over with stuffing and rubbing
the salt and spices on the turkey


Turkey ready for the oven. The thermometer was useless.
Natasha's Tip: For a moist turkey breast, cook with the breast down.


After a long day of preparations, we enjoyed the meal.
Mashed potatoes, stuffing, carrots, brocolli, and cranberry sauce.


Home made pumpkin pie in the toaster oven.


The finished pumpkin pie... to be enjoyed a little later.

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Second Anniversary

Today is our second anniversary. As it is also Thanksgiving weekend, it means we will always have a long weekend, which is nice. And this year, we took Friday off as well for a four day break.

We're spending the day together; making turkey dinner (for two, with a turkey big enough for six), pumpkin pie, and maybe going for a walk in the afternoon. We will have some photos up later tonight to show off our culinary creations.

Thanks to our family and friends who have spent time with us over the last two years. We greatly appreciate everything you've done for us.

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Move Countdown: 31 days

We now have 31 days to go until our move. Over the last few evenings, we've made a decent amount of progress. We both went through our closet and took out things we no longer wear but are in good condition. They will be shipped off to Siberia, the Philippines, or wherever else our church may be shipping supplies to next. I also went through 6 years of filing and combined it into about one tenth the space (for a total of two garbage bags full of compact paper shredding).

And we've managed to pack up a few boxes. Six so far. And we're keeping a computerized list of boxes and contents so if we need to find anything after the move, it might make it easier. Natasha did this with her move out here, and it came in really handy.

Overall, I think we're in good shape. I was a bit overwhelmed at first, but now that things are being taken apart and packed, it already seems much more under control. If we can keep the same progress rate over then next 30 days as we have over the last few, we'll be in great shape for the move.

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Monday, October 01, 2007

September 2007 Overview

I don't think it would be a stretch to say that September has been one of the most eventful months for us since Natasha and I got married. It started off with Natasha making her week-long trip to Pennsylvania and New York City, and me participating in my first rated chess tournament.

Later in the month, my second nephew, Elliott, was born, and not too long after, we announced that we'd be having one of our own in the spring of 2008!

And to top it all off, we found out we'd have to move, spent a week looking around, and finally got the place we were looking for. We have 33 days to do all our packing, clean up, and move, and I'm pretty confident we'll get through it without any problems. I've already been sifting through tons of filing, and Natasha has four boxes packed, so we're off to a good start.

The little summer we had this year seems to be long past and it's been cool and rainy for the past while. Too bad. Even our tomatoes produced very little this year and I had to pick off the green ones in hope of ripening them indoors.

Less than 3 months until Christmas, and we look forward to having the family here to visit with us over the holidays!

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