Saturday, February 28, 2009

Twitter & Microblogging

This post is to introduce all of my readers to Twitter! What is Twitter? In short, it's a very simple system that tracks status updates. In a way, it's like a mini blog where you can enter things of interest quickly and easily.

First, take a look at my Twitter page, which will give you an idea of how things work: http://twitter.com/trooperscoop. Next, take a look at the left column on the blog, and you will see a section called "Twitter Updates". You can use your Twitter information almost anywhere, and there are plug-ins for all kinds of systems. I try to blog every couple of days, but many of the smaller things I do, or the interesting things I come across remain unannounced. This is where Twitter comes in, creating a sort of microblog. You can now check my blog and see more frequent updates by checking the sidebar.

Or better, you could get yourself a Twitter account, click the "Follow" button on my page, and get updates directly. The statuses of those you are following show up for you to read when you log in, and there are applications for most wireless devices that allow you to use Twitter from the road.

Twitter works on the concept of "following", sort of like becoming someone's friend on Facebook. You can look up your friends, or anytime you come across a Twitter link on a website and want to keep up with whatever is being posted there, just click the Follow button and you're set. There are even a lot of businesses and organizations that are using Twitter to let their customers keep track of the latest news or product releases.

Well, that's my intro, but you'll have to try it yourself to find out if you like it or not. See you online! Tweet tweet!

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Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Foto

Charlotte & Arianna = Friends Forever :-)

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Thursday Chess Puzzle

Here's a little puzzle from a game I am currently playing. It will be over soon, as I discovered a mate-in-three after white's last move. See if you can figure it out!


Black to play, mate in 3 moves

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Does Pink Frighten Bullies?

Today is Pink Shirt Day. Everyone is being asked to wear something pink to promote the message "bullying stops here". Am I wearing pink? Not a stitch of it to be found, and for a good reason. Simply put, I don't think that wearing shirts and saying "please stop bullying" is an effective method. The bullies I knew in school wouldn't have changed. The only thing I ever saw help was when I did fight back one time, and you'd be surprised at how quickly they backed up!

Let's face it. We try to be all peaceful and stuff, but when it comes down to it, aggression makes the world go 'round. Parents make rules for their children and discipline them for bad behaviour. In school, children begin to posture themselves to see what they can get away with. In the work world, everyone has a boss who tells them what to do, and who will fire them if they don't do it. Looking even bigger, countries are wrestling with each other daily, and some escalate to wars. All of these are examples of aggression on various levels, and those who are strong defend themselves, those who are weak cry "bully".

On the other hand, wearing pink can't hurt, and if those involved actually make a difference, great. I think someone should send President Obama a pink t-shirt. Then he could wear it and send a message to the world's terrorists bullies. It'd be a lot cheaper than giving them $1 billion dollars.

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Charlotte: 9 Months Old

A big milestone today, 3/4 of a year old! We haven't taken any photos in the last few days, so Natasha dressed Charlotte up and took a few photos of her for today's post.


Charlotte at nine months old


What a cool girl

Her skills continue to advance, and she is crawling quite well, following us from place to place. Moving also works at bedtime, when she starts crying after a while and we find her sitting up in the corner of the crib. As you can see, she has enough hair to make respectable pigtails, and her collection of cool sunglasses finishes off the look perfectly. Oh, and she is starting to show definite signs of a personality, including one or two new facial expressions.

The past month has been a busy one. Charlotte was in the hospital for a day and two nights with a urinary tract infection to help get her hydrated and properly medicated. She's doing very well now and has basically returned to normal.

Earlier in the month, Natasha and Charlotte went to visit my parents and all the cousins. They had a good time (besides Natasha getting food poisoning) and all the kids enjoyed the time together.


All the cousins together

Now we look towards the next few months and Charlotte's first birthday!

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Feb 2009 Chess Tournament Round 3

Monday was Round 3 of the chess tournament I'm currently playing in. My opponent was Alexandra Botez. A quick Google search shows an impressive list of tournaments she's played in and Championships won, including the 2008 BC Womens Championship.

All that being the case, I am quite pleased with my game. At the very least, I avoided making any game-ending blunders, and held my ground through much of the game. Towards the end my position started to weaken and I lost, but I left happy with the way I played.

Below is the game score. For those interested, it can be pasted in the box on this page and played through.

[Event "Langley Chess Tournament Feb 2009"]
[Site "Langley, BC, Canada"]
[Round "3"]
[White "Hoyer, Andrew"]
[Black "Botez, Alexandra"]
[Result "0-1"]

1. e4 c6 2. d4 d5 3. Nc3 dxe4 4. Nxe4 Bf5 5. Ng3 Bg6 6. Nf3 Nf6 7. Be2 e6 8. Nh4 Nbd7 9. Nxg6 hxg6 10. Bg5 Be7 11. Qd2 Qb6 12. c3 0-0-0 13. 0-0 c5 14. Rac1 Bd6 15. Bf4 Bxf4 16. Qxf4 Qc7 17. Qxc7+ Kxc7 18. dxc5 Nxc5 19. Rcd1 a6 20. f3 Nfd5 21. Rfe1 Ne3 22. Rxd8 Rxd8 23. Kf2 Nf5 24. Nxf5 gxf5 25. Ke3 g5 26. g3 Rh8 27. Rh1 b5 28. Kd4 Kb6 29. h4 gxh4 30. gxh4 f6 31. c4 e5+ 32. Ke3 f4+ 33. Kd2 Rh5 34. cxb5 axb5 35. Ke1 f5 36. b4 Ne6 37. Kf2 Nd4 38. Bd1 Kc6 39. Kg2 Kd5 40. Kh3 Rh6 41. Rg1 e4 42. Bb3+ Nxb3 43. fxe4+ fxe4 44. axb3 Kd4 45. Re1 f3 46. Kg3 Kd3 47. Kf2 Rxh4 48. Re3+ Kd4 49. Re1 Rh2+ 50. Kg3 Rg2+ 0-1

Two more rounds to go!

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Happy 4th Birthday, Blog!

Another milestone! The TrooperScoop blog is four years old today with over 670 posts full of valuable and interesting information, and a ton of great photos. We hope you've enjoyed reading about our day-to-day adventures over the past year. Do you have a favorite post or photo from the last year, or have suggestions on what you'd like to see coming up? Post a comment to let us know.

Last year, the day after the 3rd birthday of the blog, my web server crashed, leaving all of the previous posts without photos (not to mention a lot of lost data and configuration). But I have some good news! I have moved to a hosted solution which has allowed me to load most of those old photos going back to the start (most of 2007's photos are still missing). Click on the icon beside "Archives" on the left hand side to see the past four years of blog history. I also hope to add some really neat features to the blog itself using the additional functionality I will now have.

As always, thanks to all our readers, and we hope you continue to check in with us often.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Charlotte Back At Home

We are happy to announce that Charlotte was released from the hospital this morning around 9am. She had a short ultrasound done to check her kidneys, etc and after that we packed up and brought her back home. She had a bath, a bit of food, and then for a nap in her own, more comfortable crib.

Overall she is back into good shape and eating well. She'll still be taking antibiotics to make sure the infection is totally clear, but she's in much better shape to cope with it now.

Watch for a photo album from this hospital trip in the sidebar!

Update: Photo Album

See the hospital visit album here.

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Charlotte's Hospital Visit: Day 2

Charlotte spent her first full day in the hospital today. She is much improved from Saturday and is doing a fair bit of smiling and "talking". She is eating fairly well and for the most part seems to be on the mend.

The plan right now is for Charlotte to be released in the morning unless something else comes up. We will post when this happens to let everyone know. Also, we have taken a number of photos of this adventure and will likely create an album which will be posted in the sidebar.

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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Charlotte In The Hospital

After getting a fever and acting strangely on Wednesday, Natasha took Charlotte to the doctor and then the Emergency Room (ER) at the hospital. The result of a few tests which we were informed of yesterday indicated a Urinary Tract Infection, possibly the bladder or kidneys.

Today, despite having started some medication, we took her to the ER again, fearing she was throwing most of it up and not getting enough to eat. The doctor said they would keep her overnight, do some IV antibiotics and get her hydrated.

Natasha is staying overnight with her, and I am at home for the night. She has the iPhone, so she can still receive any emails you send to her and comments on the blog.

Before I left, I got a quick photo of Charlotte and her IV setup.


Charlotte with her IV. Her favorite, "Piggy" (top left), is visiting.

She must be really tired because she was asleep before I went home, and she is unable to suck her thumb well, if at all, something very important to her around bedtime.

Overall, Charlotte is handling it quite well besides the parts where she gets poked. She got quite a few comments from other patients and staff about how good she was behaving. We even coaxed a single smile from her around supper time.

Thanks for all your emails, messages, and prayers. This hospital visit should be seen as a positive thing, as it is the path to a quick recovery as opposed to many days at home with uncertainty. If all goes well, she should be out sometime in the next few days.

Check back for updates which will likely happen about once a day in the late evenings, and definitely a post once we're all back at home.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

2010 Olympics, One Year Away

The Winter Olympics of 2010 are only one year away from today. I can't say I am excited about it, or looking forward to it. I have no tickets to events, so I won't be seeing any live action, and I probably won't be getting involved in any of the festivities, whatever they may be.

What I will get to experience is the increased traffic for the two weeks of the Olympics (plus the increased traffic before and after the Olympics due to setup and the Paralympics to follow). Maybe I'll take some vacation during that time, work from home, or work slightly off the normal schedule to avoid rush hour.

After seeing many Olympics on TV, I thought I would be more excited to have them local, but now that they're around the corner, they don't seem such a big deal. I might catch a few events on TV or the internet, but whether they are 20km away or 2000km away, it won't make a whole lot of difference to me.

If anyone out there has a spare ticket or two and wants to invite me along, you'll probably change my mind about the whole Olympic thing!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Another Chess Victory

I'm playing in a Monday night tournament, and round two was played last night. My opponent was a really good player, rated about 500 points above me. It was a long and hard battle, about 2.5 hours, and I finally won with a rather clever mate. It wasn't a perfect game, in fact we both made errors, but perhaps in this game I made slightly fewer and was able to take advantage of it. Probably the key to my success was that I came up with a plan based on my analysis at the start of the game, stuck with it, and was finally able to take it through for a win.

This brings my average win percentage to about 1 in 10 games. Not good, but my wins have been big ones and drastically affect my rating. Hopefully with added experience I'll be able to increase the number of games I win. I'm tired of being the lowest rated member of the club.

Below is the PGN of the game. You can play through the game by clicking here, then copying and pasting the text into the box on the right-hand side of the page that loads.

[Event "Langley Chess Tournament Feb 2009"]
[Site "Langley, BC, Canada"]
[Round "2"]
[White "H, Andrew"]
[Black "S, Brian"]
[Result "1-0"]

1. e4 c5 2. Nf3 d6 3. Nc3 Nc6 4. d4 cxd4 5. Nxd4 Bd7 6. Be3 Nf6 7. Be2 g6 8. Qd2 Bg7 9. h4 h6 10. O-O-O Qa5 11. Nb3 Qd8 12. f3 Rc8 13. g4 Be6 14. Nd5 Bxd5 15. exd5 Ne5 16. g5 Nh5 17. Rh3 Qd7 18. Rdh1 Nc4 19. Qb4 Bxb2 20. Kb1 Ba3 21. Qc3 Bb2 22. Qb4 b5 23. f4 Ba3 24. Qc3 O-O 25. Bxh5 gxh5 26. gxh6 f6 27. Rg3 Kh8 28. Rg7 Bb2 29. Qd3 f5 30. Bd4 Ne5 31. fxe5 Bxd4 32. Qxd4 Rc4 33. Qb2 dxe5 34. Qxe5 Re4 35. Rh7 1-0

Three more games to go!

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Friday, February 06, 2009

Ice Storm In Arkansas

Stephanie, one of my sisters, lives in Arkansas and recently experienced first hand the devastating effects of an ice storm. After the storm, they went out to survey the damage, clear the roads, and take photos. Here are just a few of the amazing pictures.


Trees everywhere are bent and broken


Power is seriously affected, and might be out for a month in some areas


Thick ice on a skinny branch. No wonder they break.

For a more detailed report and more pictures, see Two Kids And A Baby: Ice Crisis. This blog belongs to my other sister, Susanna, who helped post the photos and report.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Chevy Farm

I spent the first 19 years of my life in Edmonton, and have good memories of the places and people I knew, things I saw, and things I heard. There's a jingle I heard time and again on the radio, "The Legend of the Chevy Farm" for Westgate Chevrolet and every now and again it comes to mind.


More recently, I've been working for a company that has ties to the automotive industry, and Westgate Chevrolet came up in a list of dealers. I thought it would be worth doing a search to see if I could find the song online, and as it turns out, it's right on their own website.

So for those of you who are from Edmonton, or those who used to and will remember it, click here. For those who know nothing about it, check it out anyway to see how an excellent jingle can be remembered for years, and decades.

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