Tuesday, March 31, 2009

April Chess Tounament: Round 1

Last night was round one of the April chess club tournament. I was paired with Hugh Long, the club President and past club champion, who is currently rated 500 points above me. We played a solid and tough game, and with mere minutes left, agreed to a draw.

Overall, I am very happy with this result, as it sets the stage well for the tournament, gives me half a point, and contributes well to my goal of increasing my rating to the place where I am no longer the lowest rated player in the club.

Current score: 0.5 / 1


Monday, March 30, 2009

Look Who We Bumped Into Last Week

R2D2 and C3PO!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chess Rating: 1258

After the last tournament I played in, my over-the-board rating (not to be confused with my online rating) increased 64 points to 1258. This still leaves me as the lowest rated player in the club, but I'm hoping that my upward trend will continue and I will start moving up the ladder.

The next tournament starts on Monday, so we'll see what happens.


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Charlotte: 10 Months Old

Charlotte is 5/6 of a year old today, and we are having a blast.

Charlotte, turning into a big girl...

... and having a lot of fun doing it!

Lately Charlotte has been standing beside most furniture, and making attempts at shuffling her feet. A week ago she even made it up to the second step on the stairs.

Also, today we saw a definite wave from Charlotte.

Lastly, but most interesting, is that she is starting to become more verbal, with some more pronounced da-da-da's, ma-ma-ma's, and O-yo's (this is her clearest word, although we have no idea what it means).

Two months until the big one year celebration!


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trip To The Park

We woke this morning to a chilly yet sunny day which quickly turned warm, and we went on a walk to explore a new area where Natasha thought she'd seen a green space. As it turns out, it's a nice large park with a gravel playground, swings, a slide, and more. We let Charlotte try out a few things (with our help) and she really seemed to enjoy it.

Charlotte's first trip down a slide

Charlotte's first swing... she loved it

The fresh air did its job, and when we got home, she had an extra long nap while we made and ate our BBQ steak dinner.

It's been a relaxing Saturday, and we're going to settle in for the evening with a few snacks, and a little play time with Charlotte.

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Friday, March 20, 2009

Spring 2009

This post is set to automatically show up at 4:44am PST, the official start of Spring. The weather has been pretty dismal lately. Cloudy, rainy, and a bit of snow over the past few weeks, although nothing compared to some places in Canada.

We look forward to this weekend, with a forecast of 9 degrees Celsius, and sunny. I hope it's the beginning of a trend towards warmer days.

It's going to be an interesting spring and summer this year as Charlotte is standing up and likely walking soon, and we will be getting in a lot of outdoor time.

Have a good Spring, everyone!

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Sashimi Feast

This is a photo from our recent trip to Top Gun Sushi, where we ordered 60 pieces of sashimi (40 salmon, 15 tuna, 5 red snapper) plus tons of other stuff. Nothing beats all you can eat!

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Saturday, March 14, 2009

February Slideshow

The February 2008 slideshow is available now by clicking here, or in the Photo Albums section in the sidebar. It's a mega-album, with 75 photos for your viewing enjoyment. We also added a number of photos to Charlotte's Corner, which now has over 70 photos. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Charlotte Stands

Charlotte is advancing quickly, having already mastered crawling and moving on to standing. It's been happening for a few days, so Natasha caught it on video to share with everyone.

This has resulted in numerous falls and a fair share of crying, but she's getting a lot more stable, and the last time she fell, she didn't give more than a small whine before moving on to her next activity.

Soon to come: Charlotte Walks.

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Monday, March 09, 2009

Creating Your Own Phone Number Blocker

Over the past few weeks, I've received a few unwanted phone calls, something that hasn't happened much at all in the many years I've had my number. My iPhone has improved contact management compared to my old Nokia phone, and it occurred to me that I could create my own "block" list right on the phone itself. This same concept could be applied to any phone that allows you to attach multiple numbers to a single contact name.

First, make a list of the numbers you do not want to receive calls from. Phone spammers, your crazy ex, or people you just don't want to answer the phone for. Even if you only have one (the phone spammer who just called you) you're ready to begin.

Create a new contact and give it a name like "Do Not Answer" or whatever fits best on your phone. Then add the numbers from your list.

You might even be able to select a custom ringtone to make it even more obvious who's calling (a silent ringtone perhaps).

In the future, every time you get another number you don't want to answer calls from, edit the contact, and add the new number.

From then on, when these numbers call you, you'll see right away that it's one of your blocked numbers and can easily decline it.

As a side note, use the Who Calls Me? website to look up unknown numbers to see if others have reported calls from the number as well.

Happy blocking!


Saturday, March 07, 2009

Spring Forward, 2009

Daylight Savings Time (DST) is upon us again, and comes into effect for Canada and the USA (with a few exceptions) on Sunday, March 8 at 2am. See the World Time Zone site to see when DST starts for your region.

If you are joining us in this move to lengthy summer evenings, don't forget to move your clocks one hour ahead before you go to sleep tonight.

BBQ season, here we come!

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Friday, March 06, 2009

Carcassonne: The Big Box

On Saturday night, we had some friends over for a game of Carcassonne. We own the basic game and many of the expansions, but have never played with them all together. This game was a six player game, using the basic Carcassonne game, plus the following expansions: Inns & Cathederals, Traders & Builders, The Princess & The Dragon, and The Tower.

The game took about three hours, but at least 30 - 60 minutes was taken up with setup, rule examination (to see how all of the expansions worked), and a few delays in between. Overall, playing with all the expansions was less of a problem than we expected it to be. Sure, there was a lot more going on, but as each person takes their turn, there are still a limited number of things they can do, so the game is still fairly simple.

The board at the end of the game

The one thing that really changed is the aggressiveness of play, and how the board is constantly changing with meeples being captured by towers, and the roaming dragon gobbling them up as well. As you can see from the photo above, the board is largely devoid of meeples, especially near the center where you would normally expect farmers.

Everyone's favorite, the meeple-eating Dragon

I think this game renewed our interest in Carcassonne after quite a while without playing it. I'm hoping to play another "Big Box" game with the addition of a second Dragon and expansion tiles to make things even more exciting.

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

Two Teeth

Charlotte has had a fever ever since Monday. With the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) she had a few weeks ago she is now likely more susceptible to them. The only way to tell if she has one is by her getting a fever. I had been worried she was getting another one and we had been to the Doctor where they obtained a urine sample, and it is at the lab growing it's bacteria (a culture).

This morning when Charlotte got up her fever was gone. I was so happy about that. Later when she was crying (the only time I get to see inside her mouth), I found a happy surprise and the cause of her fever all week...

Another tooth! She now has her two bottom teeth through and I'm so happy it's not another UTI!

Below is a picture of the two new teeth (one on Monday, March 2nd, and one today!)

Oh the joys of parenthood :D


Wednesday, March 04, 2009

This Is Why You're Fat

Here is something to add a little entertainment to your Wednesday. Introducing This Is Why You're Fat, a website featuring pages of photos of the tastiest, greasiest, sweetest, saltiest, and most artery clogging, mouth watering, pound packing, amazing food you'll find anywhere.

To give you a taste (figuratively) of what you'll find on the site, here are a couple of my favorites.

Ham 'n 11 egg yolk sandwich

The McD's Tower

Bacon shell tacos

Post a comment and vote for your favorite entry on the site!

Disclaimer: We are not responsible for any broken diets due to viewing this site.

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Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Charlotte's First Tooth

Charlotte's first tooth popped through yesterday. It is the bottom left of the two middle teeth. Pictures to follow when it's all the way through, right now just a razor-sharp edge is through :).


February Chess Tournament: Round 5

Round 5 of the chess tournament was played yesterday. My opponent was a young guy, rated a few hundred points above me. Coming into the game I felt confident due to the previous two tournament games I played. I had the black pieces and opted for the Pirc defence. For a little while I thought I had a good game, but as the opening requires fairly accurate play, I may have made a few mistakes and lost the game in the end. No major blunders perhaps, but generally not a really solid game on my part.

From this tournament I take at least a couple of quality games, one which was a win. That brings my win percentage in tournament games to 10%. Not great, but based on the amount of time I spend playing Chess, I think it's pretty decent. Overall my game has improved a lot over the past year, and I hope to start winning a few more games. At the least, I hope to bring up my rating so I'm no longer the lowest rated player in the club.

If anyone is interested in playing correspondence chess with me online, I have a great site to recommend. Click here, sign up for free, and post your chosen nickname in a comment. I will then be able to start up a couple of games with you.


Monday, March 02, 2009

Who Calls Me?

Have you ever got a call from a number where nobody was on the other end, you can't figure out who it's coming from, or want to know more about a company that you actually talked to? Try this site: Who Calls Me?

It's simple. When you get a problem phone call, go to this website and enter the number. If there are past reports on it, you will see the history of complaints / comments by other people. If it's a new one, you can add the first entry.

I've used this so far on two numbers to my phone and both of them had previous records. For example, I got a call from this number today, and it has nearly 80 entries from other people who have also received calls.

I'm putting a link to it in my "Links" section so if you ever need it, you can find it easily, and if you've already checked it out, add it to your bookmarks.

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