Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I'm just here to blog

I heard an interview with Morris Peterson of the Raptors the other day. He was talking about the fact that Chris Bosh was injured, and how the rest of the team has to play better because of it. During the interview, it struck me -- why do basketball players always feel it necessary during interviews to remind you of what sport they play? Whenever you hear an interview, you get things like:

  • Yes, our star player is injured, so the rest of the team needs to step up and just play basketball
  • I'm not going to talk about that [some controversial issue], I just want to play basketball
  • I don't know why I was traded, I'm just here to play basketball

You never hear hockey players talk about how they "just want to play hockey" or baseball players say they are "just here to play baseball". Come to think of it, I have heard football players say stuff like that too - This weekend's game is going to be tough, but we just have to be ready and play football. Thanks for the clarification, buddy, I thought perhaps we were going to have a spelling bee instead.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Public Service Announcements

You may notice some images down the right side of my blog page - these are for some web sites that gather sponsors who donate money to specific causes for each visitor to the site, in exchange for the right to advertise on the site. These sites support causes like breast cancer research, literacy, food for the hungry, and saving the rainforest.

I came across these sites a couple of years ago, and after some due diligence to make sure it wasn't a scam, added links to our home page. Then I rewrote our page when I registered the domain, and didn't put the links on the new page -- they just don't really fit in among the pictures of my kids. I've added them to the sidebar of my blog because I have looked into them a bit, and I think they're legit, and because they support causes that I believe in. My mother, Gail's mother, and Gail's late grandmother have all been touched by breast cancer, and they all survived it. Me, Gail, and the boys have also walked in the CIBC Run for the Cure for the last couple of years, in the hopes that surviving breast cancer will be the norm, not the exception.

Please, if you could do me a favour and every now and again when reading my blog, click on one or more of these images and then click on the "Click here" button in the middle of the page you get to, that would certainly help. Thanks.

Fly, Eagle, Fly

Ed Belfour is out for the rest of the year with a back injury. His backup, Mikael Tellqvist, has been playing pretty well as a starter in the meantime, and last night, his backup, Jean-Sebastien Aubin, played in his first game as a Leaf, and was named the first star. I only watched the last 4 minutes of the game, but the Devils had a two-man advantage for most of that time because of Leaf penalties plus pulling their goalie. They had all kinds of scoring chances, but Aubin kept them all out - other than one that he missed but Tomas Kaberle scooped away just before it went in.

I wonder if Leaf management will look at the performances of Aubin and Tellqvist and finally decide to buy out Belfour's contract and let him go. It makes fiscal sense too -- they'd need to pay Tellqvist either way, but Aubin doesn't make much, so the $1.5 million it will cost to buy out Belfour plus Aubin's salary is still way cheaper than the $4.5 million they'd have to pay Belfour. Given their play over the last couple of weeks plus Belfour's less-than-stellar play over the rest of this season, and the fact that Belfour is 41, it should be a no-brainer.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Leafs gain on Montreal

I went to the Leafs game last night. Great game - the Leafs played pretty well, and Mikael Tellqvist was great in net. Brendan Bell made his NHL debut in place of new daddy Wade Belak, and I thought he played very well - some nice hits, a couple of shots on net, he looked pretty comfortable out there. Jeff O'Neill had a pretty good game as well, with two assists, and Jason Allison scored the game winner, though I thought he made a lot of sloppy passes. Mats Sundin was a non-factor once again - in the new higher-scoring NHL, Mats has only 17 goals and 36 assists.

Montreal lost last night, so the Leafs gained 2 points on them and are now only 4 back. Their next 2 games are both against Montreal, so they could be tied by Sunday; however, we also have to hope that Atlanta starts losing as well. Beating Montreal for 9th place while Atlanta takes 8th doesn't help much.

I wrote a couple of weeks ago that the worst thing to happen to the Leafs this year would be to make the playoffs, since it would give management the ability to claim that the team just needs a tweak here and there, rather than a complete overhaul. I still believe that, but as a lifelong Leafs fan, it's awfully hard to hope for them to lose.

Monday, March 20, 2006

IPv6 and Thunderbird

I've been using Microsoft Outlook at work for a few years. The company uses Lotus Notes for email, but Notes sucks rocks, so I chucked that a few years ago. Outlook is pretty good, but has one or two little things that annoy me, so I thought I'd give Mozilla Thunderbird a try, since I love Firefox so much. Well, everything was going along just swimmingly, and then I tried sending an email to someone who wasn't in my address book. It tried to connect to our LDAP server, and the whole program hung for about 5 seconds, and didn't find anything. I did some more tests, and still had no luck with LDAP. I tried to install Thunderbird a couple of years ago, and ran into the same problem, but I figured it was a bug in Thunderbird, since it was version 0.8 or something at the time. I assumed that since it's up to version 1.5 now, the bug would have been fixed.

I sent an email around to the department, asking if anyone else was using Thunderbird, and several people are, none of whom are having the same LDAP problems. Out of the blue, I suddenly wondered if IPv6 was related, since it seemed to be a networking issue, and I am probably one of the only people in engineering with IPv6 installed. I went to my second machine, which also had Thunderbird installed, and I saw the same problem. I uninstalled IPv6, rebooted the machine, and the problem vanished. I did another search on BugZilla, this time including IPv6 in the search criteria, and found the problem -- LDAP doesn't work if IPv6 is installed.

I briefly thought about downloading the Thunderbird source and development environment and attempting to find and fix the bug, but I don't know when the hell I'd have time to do it. I'll just have to stick with Outlook until the bug is fixed.


A few weeks ago, Ryan found a coupon on a box of Rice Krispies for a free Tengamo toy. And not just any Tengamo -- a Tengamo six-pack! I had no idea what it was, and I don't think he did either, but he figured it was a toy and it's free, so how can anything be better than that? He insisted we cut the coupon out and save it. So we cut it out, and stuck it on the fridge. At least once or twice a week since, Ryan has asked when we're going to go and get our free "Ten-can-gamo". (I have no idea where the extra "can" syllable came from, but that's what he and Nicholas have been calling it.)

Yesterday, we went to Wal-Mart to get the boys some new shoes, so we grabbed the coupon and told them we'd pick up their free toy. Naturally, they got all excited. When we got to the toy section, we started looking for Tengamo stuff, and when we found it, Gail and I had a good laugh. This toy, for which the boys had been waiting patiently for several weeks, cost all of $0.97. We decided that having only one would cause more problems than not having it at all, so we splurged and bought a second one for Nicholas. Then we got to the counter, and there was a problem with the coupon, so the cashier had to call the supervisor over, and everyone in our line had to wait for several minutes while they figured out how to enter the coupon. All this for a coupon that didn't even save us enough to buy a large tea at Tim Hortons, and gets our kids a toy that will make it into the junk drawer within a few days and will probably never been played with again.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Cool names

I found out today that one of the people I work with has the middle name "Quiet", which I've never heard of as a name before. I asked her where the name came from and she said simply "<shrug> child of the sixties." I also work with someone whose first name is Dove, which is also kind of neat.

The name "Graeme" is not nearly as uncommon in Britain as it is here. I know that because when I'm over there, I only have to spell my name once - to them, it's just another one of the spellings. Over here, I have to spell it slowly, and usually twice. I'm sure people have just assumed my parents were drunk when they filled out the birth certificate form. I've even had people ask me "Are you sure?" when I spell my name. Yes, I usually get it right. In high school, there were three of us in the same year - one Graeme, one Graham, and one Grahame. One year in math class, we all sat in the same corner of the room, which cause the teacher no end of confusion, but was fun for us.

When I was at Western, I knew a guy whose first name was "A" (he went by his middle name, Warren) -- his brother's first name was "B". Them some mean parents.

There was a Judy Garland at my high school, and my sister knew a guy named Todd Sweeney. A friend of mine whose last name is White swore he was going to call his daughter Vanna. Luckily, he had 2 sons.

Gail's stepmother's name is Jackie, short for Jacqueline. Her first husband's surname was Smith, making her Jacqueline Smith.

Update: Fixed link.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Let me tell you about my kids

The other day, Ryan wrote himself a couple of todo lists and posted them on the kitchen window. He wrote the whole thing himself without asking how to spell anything. This is exactly how he wrote it:

I have to bo this in the mornen

  • breakfast
  • get drest
  • teeth
  • hair
  • then you can play
I have to do this in the evnen
  • homework
  • eat dinner
  • then you can play
  • have storys
  • go to bed

Some other little things about my kids that I don't want to forget as they get older:

  • When Ryan was just learning to speak, he said his own name "yaya". When Nicholas was learning to speak, he called himself "nick-is" and pronounced Ryan "I-yan".
  • When Ryan was about 2, we got a babysitter for him so that Gail and I could go out. The girl next door, Lindsay, arrived as Ryan was finishing his dinner. She sat down beside him and said hi. He stopped eating, looked at her for a few seconds, and then told her matter-of-factly "You don't have a penis". Without blinking an eye, she confirmed his suspicions, and he continued with his dinner, apparently satisfied.
  • When both the boys were babies, they would sit in their high chair with their legs crossed.
  • When Gail was pregnant with Nicholas, we narrowed the list of boys names down to two - Eric and Nicholas. We asked Ryan to make the final decision, and he chose Nicholas. We picked Sean as a middle name just because we liked it. The girls name we had chosen (before Ryan was born) was Amy Catherine.
  • When we first brought Nicholas home from the hospital, Ryan kept forgetting his name, and called him "that guy" for a day or two.
  • The word that took the longest to say correctly was "garbage". Ryan always said "gar-jib", and when Nicholas was learning to talk, he learned to say "gar-jib" too. Ryan started saying it correctly just a few weeks later, but Nicholas kept saying it incorrectly for another year and a half.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Wil Wheaton Dot Net

Wil Wheaton* has one of the most widely-read blogs on the 'net. I've been reading it for about a year and a half - I started reading it because I'm a huge Star Trek: The Next Generation fan, and of course Wil played Wesley Crusher on that show for 5 years. After a while, however, I came to realize that he's a damn good writer, and now I read his blog because I enjoy what he writes, and the Star Trek angle is secondary, especially since he doesn't write about Star Trek all that often.

* - Wil's site was, but he started having problems with that site last fall, and so he temporarily moved his blog over to Typepad. Six months later, he's still on Typepad, but I think he plans on fixing up his own site and re-launching it sometime soon.

Recently he started podcasting - basically recording himself talking rather than just typing stuff, and then releasing the recording as episodes of "Radio Free Burrito". People started sending him questions that he would answer on his podcasts, and I sent him one asking about his least favourite episodes of ST:TNG. Today, he answered my question - a couple of episodes during the first season called Angel One and Code of Honor, which were, indeed, quite bad. He also mentioned a particular conversation that Wesley had with Tasha Yar talking about drugs, and how embarassing the lines were to say. Wesley asked Tasha why people did drugs, and Tasha told him it made them feel good. Wesley said that it was artificial, Tasha says that it doesn't feel artificial at the time, and Wesley says he still doesn't understand, to which Tasha replies "Wesley, I hope you never do". I wondered how Wil felt about that conversation - it was a very thinly-disguised attempt at a public service announcement. Luckily, they stopped short of having the characters turn directly to the camera and say "Kids! Don't do drugs! And stay in school!", but it wasn't far short.

Anyway, it was cool to have some famous person say my name (and not even mispronounce it!). Last year, I got on the radio, and now this. My big break is coming soon, I just know it...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

I'm a star!

Thanks to my work on attempting to get CC certification for ASA, I was given an "iAnywhere Solutions Star Performer" award yesterday. I got a plastic star "trophy" thing (which actually looks cooler than it sounds), as well as a nice monetary bonus. Once we get this certification (should be later this month), it will allow us to sell ASA to various sectors within the US government, which requires this level of certification before they are allowed to purchase any software product. John yesterday congratulated me on my award and called me "a god among men", which I think might be a bit of a stretch, but it is certainly nice to have my efforts recognized.

On an unrelated note, the sports headlines yesterday read "Barry Bonds Steroid Shocker". Two guys in the know wrote a book stating that Barry Bonds used lots of steroids over the last few years. Question: "shocker"? Is anyone actually shocked?

Update: Fixed the CC link. Thanks Daniel!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Time to gut the Leafs

We need to blow up the Leafs. Now and again, every team has to go through the pain of "rebuilding", and I think it's the Leafs' time. A friend of mine said recently that the worst thing that could happen to the Leafs this season is to make the playoffs, and I agree. It might give management the false belief that the team is just fine as it is, and just needs a bit of tweaking - it doesn't. It needs a complete overhaul. The economics of the NHL has changed dramatically, and the Leafs old style of throwing money at over-the-hill veterans (and in some cases trading away draft picks and prospects to get them) simply will not work anymore. Look at Brian Leetch, Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts, Eric Lindros, Shane Corson, Ron Francis, even Ed Belfour. All veterans past their prime when they were acquired, and except for Roberts and (to some extent) Belfour, none really contributed much of anything.

I say we buy Belfour out and let him go, get rid of fan-favourite Tie Domi, who is a hard worker but is vastly overpaid, and get rid of Allison, O'Neill, Lindros, Czerkawski (who never plays anyway), Belak, Berg, and Antropov. We've already signed Kaberle (that's good), and if we can afford to sign McCabe do it, otherwise trade him now while his trade value is high. I'm not even averse to trading Sundin if we can get some good prospects in return. Start over with a core of Colaiacovo, Ponikarovsky, Stajan, Steen, Tellqvist, and Wellwood, and keep Darcy Tucker (who's playing really well this year), Sundin if not traded, and maybe Ken Klee cause we'll need some veterans. Yes, the team will suck for four or five years, but if we get some good prospects and early draft picks in return for the old guys listed above, the Leafs might win a Cup before my kids hit university. If they keep trying to use the old Leafs style, my grandkids will be blogging about "no Leafs Cup wins in 75 years".

Update: Oh yeah, and fire Pat Quinn.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Who does that?

I saw the weirdest thing this morning. I was looking out of my office window (3rd floor, facing the parking lot), while talking to Gail on the phone. I saw a black car drive in and park in the far corner of the parking lot. The driver got out of the car, went around to the other side (so the car was between him and the building), and peed into the snowbank. Then he got back in his car and drove off. I immediately called reception, though we don't have any security people here, and by the time I called, he was already driving away, so it's not like they could have done anything anyway. I'm not entirely sure why I called reception - I felt like it was my civic duty to tell someone, as if I had witnessed a robbery or something. I sent an email to the people in my department with offices facing the parking lot, but I'm sure this was an isolated incident - it's not like the guy's thinking "Hey, it's Thursday! Better run over to iAnywhere and pee in the parking lot!" He didn't even wash his hands! Eeeewwwwwwwwww....