Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bug On A Log

Over the last while I haven't been able to put much time into photography, but after a few of us at work started a very informal club (consisting mainly of sharing one interesting photo each week), I've started to take an interest again.

I used to post more photos on the blog as well, and will start to do so a little more. Here's the first, hope you like it. This photo was taken just behind where I live in a wooded area. Hand held at 210mm, f/6.3 aperature, and ISO 800.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Albert Griffiths: One Year Memorial

Today is one year since Albert Griffiths passed away after being struck by a car while crossing a street and spending 25 days in hospital. He was a great father to Natasha, and I appreciate even the short time I knew him.

One year has come and gone, and we look back to remember his life and how he touched each of us. Victor, Natasha's eldest brother, found a poem which is being printed in a local newspaper, and we wanted it here as well:

God saw you getting tired
And a cure was not to be
So he put his arms around you
And whispered, "come to me"

A golden heart stopped beating,
Hard working hands at rest
He broke our hearts
To prove to us
He only takes the best

To read all of the related posts, click here.


Friday, November 23, 2007

Chess Puzzle

I reached this position in a game recently where I discovered a very interesting combination. It's white to play. This is not a mate-in-three type of puzzle, but rather a move that brings White into a winning position with a mate in as few as 6 moves, and almost inevitably within about 10.

White to play, for winning position

Think you know the answer? Click here to find out.


Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving, USA!

Today is the day turkeys fear the most, as tables across the country will be laden with a wide spread of tasty food with a baked turkey at the center. I've also heard that deep fried turkeys are popular but have never tried it... sounds tasty.

Last month, Natasha and I went on a last minute "hunt" for a turkey. Safeway was sold out of anything that resembled a bird, but Save On Foods still had a few frozen ones which worked fine for us. If you saw our Thankgviging post, you'll have seen that the turkey was pretty big, and we had enough turkey for numerous meals, plus we froze three regular freezer bags full of turkey for use in soups or whatever else.

Anyway, the point is, the number of turkeys, chickens, and other birds sold right around Thanksgiving must be very impressive indeed.

To all my American friends, family, and readers, I hope you have a great Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Anniversary, Mom & Dad

Yesterday was my parent's 31st anniversary, and we celebrated by going out to Boston Pizza along with my Aunt Elsie and Uncle Bob.

Mom & Dad: 31 years together

Afterwards we went back to our place for coffee, cream rolls, and a couple games of Sculptorades.

Starbucks coffee and Cream Rolls

The top photo shows the Purdy's chocolates from all of the kids. Only the tastiest selection of chocolate covered macadamias, dark chocolate covered cashews, mint melties, chocolate daisies, and snowballs.

Uncle Bob & Auntie Elsie

Andrew & Natasha

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Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Dangers Of Flying Rocks

Last week a rock so big I could actually see whacked my windshield, leaving quite a large crack (larger than a Toonie).

It's not chipped, but due to its size, I don't know how it will hold up. This kind of crack is not fixable, and if it was, it would probably cost the same or more than replacing the entire window.

Insurance in BC requires windshield coverage, so it is a moderately small deductible to replace. Still, I'm going to wait a few months to see if it cracks further in the cold. It's way down low and not in my view, so for the time being it's just fine.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Second Trimester

Natasha is now into her second trimester. We're trying to keep tabs on the time and take photos to mark the progress, so here is an update.

Natasha at 14 weeks

Whoa, baby! The latest email update from Baby Center states that the baby is the size of a lemon. We make a nickname out of it each week. Limey, Shrimpy, etc, but we can't come up with anything for this one.

Last week we went for Natasha's first obstetrics appointment. We got to hear the baby's heartbeat which was really neat. Otherwise it was uneventful (although informative). No ultrasound... that one's coming up in a while, and if possible we will get a photo online (along with Magic Eye instructions).

Time is flying!


Sunday, November 11, 2007

Remembrance Day 2007

Once a year we pause to remember those who have served and died fighting in wars over the last century. Remembrance Day was actually started to commemorate the end of World War I, although most veterans you see these days will be from World War II as there are only a very few survivors of the first war still living.

I wonder how more recent war veterans will fit into Remembrance Day. While I think they are very important and have great respect for them, I don't think they will be seen in the same light as soldiers from the world wars. This might partly be due to the controversy over the conflicts themselves, but I think more than that is the conditions under which they fought. Wars these days are technologically advanced and often fought at a distance. Years ago it was much closer, and there were many more casualties. That's how the photos make it seem, anyway. Perhaps the years ahead will provide photos and video of what is happening today and we will have a better frame of reference.

Today also has two other special meanings for my family. My grandfather on my Mom's side died on November 11, 1978. And my grandmother on my Dad's side has her birthday today!

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Thursday, November 08, 2007

500th Blog Post!

This is the 500th post to this blog! It's come along way since it started, with some new graphics, a new layout, and a lot of content, photos, stories, and more. And there's more to come, as I have some interesting features to add when I have some time.

Thanks to all of you who read my blog on a regular basis, or even once a month. It makes it a lot more fun when you find out people are visiting, and when they post comments.

Another 500 posts, coming right up!


Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Yet Another Milestone

Another 365 days have passed, and that means one step closer to 30 for me! I had a bit of a scare yesterday when I couldn't remember if I was turning 28 or 29, but after some quick math, it was the lower of the two. Not that it's that big of a difference, they're just years between the nice round numbers like 25 and 30, but I'm happy to still have two years between me and the next decade.

Yum! Apple strudel was a nice surprise.

It's been 10 years since I graduated from high school. Many things haven't turned out as I thought they would. Some have, just a bit later than I thought. Other things are yet to happen. I suppose the exciting part of life is that you just never know what's going to happen next.

This morning, I was woken up bright and early by a rousing birthday song from my parents, sisters, and their children (all connected via conference call). My aunt, grandma, and cousin (and kids) called shortly after to wish me a happy birthday as well.

Now let's talk about gifts for a minute. I realized this year that I'm getting a bit older because I don't know what I want, and I seem to be a bit harder to buy for. Still, things worked out well, and for future reference, if you can't think of anything else to buy me, Purdy's is always great.

The gifts I received this year are quite nice, however. Natasha bought me two expansions to one of our favorite games, Carcassonne. She also bought me a camera tripod which I am excited to use for a lot more creative photography. Since we plan on buying a video camera before the baby is born, this will also come in handy for that as well. My parents bought me a nice navy blue sweater, a black shirt and a black tie (with snowflakes), plus a Burnt Almond dark chocolate bar, and Sculptorades, a tiny spin-off game from the original, Cranium. And Natasha's Mom sent me an HBC gift card which I will likely use to buy something nice to wear to work.

This is the tripod Natasha bought for me.

Now that it's dark outside even earlier than before, there's a lot more opportunity for long-exposure photography. As soon as I get the chance, I'm going to try a few night shots to see how they turn out.

Traders and Builders: Carcassonne expansion

The River II: Carcassonne expansion

These expansions will really boost the size and length of the game, and make things more interesting.

Sculptorades! Like pictionary, only molding clay!

I think we're going to have a Sculptorades competition when the family is here. Having the original Cranium game as well, it will give us even more sculptorades cards to play with.

Black shirt and snowflake tie

This one was from my parents. They also bought me a blue sweater, and a matching one for our baby. Very cute.

Thanks to all of you who bought me something, sent me a card, called me on the phone, emailed, or sent me a Facebook message. It's all very appreciated. I now begin my 730 day journey towards being 30 years old. I hope that I will get to spend lots of time with all my friends and family, enjoying life to the fullest wherever possible.

Sorry, no photos of me yet. We'll be back into the swing of things soon and there will be more people pictures to share.

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Monday, November 05, 2007

Move Complete, Welcome To November

We completed our move on Saturday, and so far have a living space cleared out but there are a lot of boxes and things to re-assemble, unpack, etc. Our internet has been back online since Sunday, but as always, I had some trouble getting the blog back up and running fully, although this time was the fastest yet.

Tonight I replaced the locks on the front door. I'd never done that before, and it was lucky I actually have a chisel set because I had to chisel out a space for the bracket. The existing locks were likely made for the door and frame, and didn't have the usual brackets on either side.

We haven't had a chance to take any photos or do much else, but once we get settled in, the photos will start up again. It's been pretty bare on here lately, I know. I always pride myself in the number of photos I post, but I just haven't been able to do that over the past few weeks.

Anyway, we're all moved in now, and trying to get settled in and get everything ready for the holidays. We might even squeeze in a game night (or two!) before the end of the year. I have a couple of new games I want to try, in addition to the usuals.


Friday, November 02, 2007

Going Offline For The Move

We're signing off for a couple of days as we move all of our stuff to our new place and get things set up again. Last night we made one trip with our clothes, plants, and small kitchen appliances. Tonight, a second trip for food and any other miscellaneous items that are unpacked.

And tomorrow is the big move. We will be back online on Sunday, and will have a report and possibly some photos to share as well.

Over and out!