Wednesday, September 19, 2007

New Blog!

I previously threatened to do it, and I’ve now done it: I created a blog for Deployments. It will be a “diary” of my all-night deployments, whenever they happen.

I know I say this every time I create a blog, but I’ll say it again: I’m sure nobody will ever find this interesting other than me.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Although I prefer a very clean-looking blog, and prefer to have it mostly text-based, there is a part of me that would like to put up pictures more often. (A picture is, after all, worth a thousand words.) But one of my problems is that I never remember to take pictures, when I have the chance.

For example, I was in the cafeteria today, eating a calzone. I took a bite, and some kind of juice squirted across the table, leaving a picturesque trail of… well, of juice. It was pretty gross. But it was also worthy of a picture—but I never thought of getting out my camera phone until it was too late.

So, on the one hand, you, the gentle reader, should be relieved; I didn’t put up a picture of a trail of calzone juice. But on the other hand, how many other pictures could you have seen, that I never put up, because I don’t think of taking out my camera phone as often as I should?

Monday, September 17, 2007

Blogger Photos

Blogger has introduced a new site, Blogger Play, which will bring up a photostream of photos as they’re uploaded to Blogger. (I don’t know if it’s all of them, or just a lot of them. I didn’t read it too closely.) It’s a neat site; you can leave it up, and just watch the photos go by. If you see an interesting photo, you can click it, and Blogger will bring you to the blog post where the photo was posted.

As an aside, I don’t know if all of the pictures that come up will be “safe”, so you should probably “watch” the site with caution.

Movie Review: Dreamgirls


Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stop the presses! Led Zeppelin is playing together!

On November 26th, 20,000 lucky people will get to experience something that I never will: Led Zeppelin in concert. (DVDs don’t count as “experience”.)

The three surviving band members—along with Bonham’s son, on drums—will play a one-time concert, in honour of somebody or other that I’ve never heard of. Since Led Zeppelin is my all-time favourite band—Jimmy Page pretty much taught me how to play guitar, in absentia—so I would love to be able to see them in concert.

Heck, I’d even settle for Page & Plant in concert.


People often get frustrated with people in the computer world, because we have so much slang/jargon. (Some argue that every profession has a lot of slang and/or jargon, but it seems that the geeks and nerds tend to have more. Plus, let’s not forget the constant flow of TLAs, ETLAs, and EETLAs.)

Sometimes, even I get frustrated—it seems that people like inventing new terms just for the sake of inventing them. I would argue—with little to no empirical evidence—that it’s not the true nerds or geeks who are inventing jargon for the sake of inventing it; it’s the nerd/geek wannabes.

Well, I don’t know if it’s a global thing, or just at my particular client, but they’ve done it again: They have re-purposed the word ask and made it into a noun. Instead of saying “What did the business client ask for?” people will say “What was the original ask?” I thought it was just one particular person who was using this phrase, but then I heard someone else use it, and these two people don’t work together. So either it’s becoming common, or these two people share the same boss, or have some other common colleague, who uses the term.

Right now, to me, it seems silly. If it catches on, it’ll seem commonplace, in six months.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Movie Review: The Bourne Ultimatum

I saw The Bourne Identity in the theatre, when it came out in 2002, but I wasn’t quite sure if I actually liked it. I just couldn’t make up my mind. So when I found it out was based on a book, by Robert Ludlum, I decided to check it out. It turned out that I loved it, and I ended up reading a lot of books by Ludlum—including the sequels to The Bourne Identity, which were called The Bourne Supremacy and The Bourne Ultimatum. So when I heard that The Bourne Ultimatum was coming to the theatres, I was interested. Unfortunately, I never even knew that The Bourne Supremacy had been made, until I happened to see it in Rogers Video one day. I completely missed the theatrical release. So before I went to see The Bourne Ultimatum, I wanted to do two things:

  1. Re-watch The Bourne Identity, to see if I liked it any better the second time around
  2. Watch The Bourne Supremacy, since it seemed kind of silly to have watched the first and third parts of a trilogy, and not the second.
Luckily, The Bourne Identity came on TV, and I was able to see it again—but I still wasn’t sure if I liked it or not. And I never did get a chance to see The Bourne Supremacy. (A colleague had mentioned that she might have it on DVD, so I got my hopes up, but it turned out that she didn’t.)

So really, I shouldn’t have bothered to go and see The Bourne Ultimatum in the theatre, but I did. Andrea was still away, and I was bored Friday night, so I decided to just go.

Don’t you hate when I go on and on with my preamble, before I ever get to the point of my post? Well, I’m getting there now.

I really liked Ultimatum. Of course, it’s nothing like the book, but that wasn’t too surprising. They had two problems: One, they’d already deviated from the story in The Bourne Identity—they’d had to simplify it, because the plot in the book is very complex, and you just couldn’t cover it in a two hour movie—so, therefore, they had to follow the plot they’d already been using for the first (and presumably second) movies. Second, just like the first book, the plot in The Bourne Ultimatum would be much too complex to cover in a movie, so even if they hadn’t deviated in the first movie, they’d still have to simplify it anyway. And this is good news; it means that you can read the books and watch the movies, and not have things spoiled for you. (The Bourne Identity is at least similar, while The Bourne Ultimatum is nothing like the book.)

When I read Stuart Klawans’ review of Ultimatum in The Nation, I wasn’t quite sure if he liked it or not. (I’m often left in that predicament, after reading Klawans’ reviews of “popular” movies; when he reviews foreign movies, I can feel his love of movies, and it always makes me want to see them, but when he reviews the Hollywood blockbusters, I can never quite tell his opinion.) I think, though, that he’s saying Ultimatum is the best of the trilogy, and I think he’s right. It’s a great movie, that I can recommend.

If you like it, I would also recommend the books, by Ludlum. The story is richer, deeper, and wider, and, if you like action, Ludlum doesn’t disappoint; his books are always fast-paced.

Of course, you probably don’t want to make my mistake; I’m assuming that you’ll enjoy The Bourne Ultimatum more if you’ve seen The Bourne Identity and The Bourne Supremacy first.

Friday, September 07, 2007


With great self control, I managed to simply title this post “Writing”, instead of “Writing Redux”.

As I had previously mentioned, Andrea was away this week. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any writing while she was gone. Not a single word.

Maybe I’ll do some tonight. Or, as is more likely, maybe I’ll go home and watch 007 movies, and do my vegetable imitation. (I’m getting pretty good at it—you almost can’t tell me apart from a real potato.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Psychosomatic/Psychophysiologic Illness

From Wikipedia:

Psychosomatic disorder, now more commonly referred to as psychophysiologic illness, is an illness whose symptoms are caused by mental processes of the sufferer rather than immediate physiological causes. If a medical examination can find no physical or organic cause, or if an illness appears to result from emotional conditions such as anger, anxiety, depression or guilt, then it might be classified as psychosomatic.
In other words, if you get stomach pains, but doctors can’t find any physical causes for those stomach pains—an ulcer, or cancer, or a knife sticking in it—then it might be psychosomatic. Maybe it’s a manifestation of stress, for example.

Since at least… oh… I don’t know, October or November of 2006, I’ve been writing on my blog that I’ve been fighting off a cold. (I don’t write about it every day, but there have been numerous posts, I’m sure, since that timeframe, when I’ve mentioned that I’m fighting off a cold.) I now have a new theory: I think it’s psychosomatic. I don’t think I’m fighting off a cold at all; I think it’s stress-related. I think work is so stressful that it’s manifesting itself as cold-like symptoms. (Sore-ish throat; aches and pains; headaches, etc.)

The symptoms only really manifest themselves during the day, when I’m at work. And the more stressful things get, the worse the symptoms get. I don’t know why I didn’t notice the pattern before; maybe there have been times when I was at home, but thinking about work, and the symptoms appeared, and that’s why the penny didn’t drop sooner. If I’d thought about it, I was probably also thinking that I was feeling better because I was getting a chance to rest; so that would explain why I’d feel much better Sunday night than I would Friday morning. In fact, I’m sure I’ve chalked my cold symptoms up to being “run down” on numerous occasions—which, I guess, is fairly accurate, if it really is psychosomatic.

I know what some of you are thinking. And I agree.

Monday, September 03, 2007

A week of bachelorhood! All right! I’m… I’m going to waste it.

Andre’s gone, for a week, to visit relatives in the States. Which leaves me a week all by myself. What am I going to do with my “freedom”, you ask? Well… not much. It’s not like there are a lot of things I’d like to do and can’t, when Andrea is around. So I’ll probably have a steak dinner one night (or maybe two), and I’ll probably watch a lot of 007 movies. That’s about it.

And what did I do today, since I had the whole day to myself? Well… I cleaned the house. Not even all of it; I just did a really good job with the upstairs.

Let me explain…

On Friday, Andrea finally decided that she would be joining her family, when they went to the States. (Before that, she wasn’t really sure if she’d be free to take the time off work.) Which meant that Saturday would be our last day together; “we should do something fun!” I thought. The thing is, Andrea had a lot of things she needed to do, Saturday, before she left. So we compromised: What if we just go to St. Jacobs Market? It’s only about an hour away, which would leave plenty of time to do all of the things she wanted to do.

Except that… we got lost. In our defense, the directions from Google Maps weren’t that clear; there was a particular street we were on, which was called Highway 85 on all of the street signs, but Google Maps referred to it as “Conestoga Parkway”. So we took a wrong turn, and the trip which should have been an hour ended up taking two. The market itself was great; we bought more than we usually do, when we go somewhere like that. (Part of my “week of bachelorhood” will include fresh corn on the cob. It will also involve those candies made out of pure maple sugar, and way too much fudge, for my liking.) Then, on the way out, traffic trying to get out of the parking lot was insane. And so was traffic on the way back into Toronto. “Oh yeah,” I thought, “it’s a long weekend! That explains it!”

So we finally got home, and we were worried, because Andrea wouldn’t get to do all that she wanted to do. And one of the things she wanted to do was clean, because our house is a mess. (Well, it was a mess. Now it’s a mess downstairs, and nice upstairs.) I told her to forget about the cleaning, and I’d do it this week, while she’s gone. Frankly, I felt guilty; I was the one who was pushing for us to do something fun on Saturday; I would have felt really bad for her to stay up half the night trying to clean, just because I had pushed us to go somewhere.

Wow, that was a long post, to explain something very trivial. Why do you even bother to read this foolishness?!? Don’t you have something better to do with your time? Or did you just keep reading in the hopes that there would be a point buried in all of this, only to be disappointed once again?

Incidentally, this is my 750th post. I’m three quarters of the way to 1,000. One of these days, the people at Blogger are going to come and see me, and personally demand that I pay them back for all of the bandwidth I’ve wasted.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Movie Review: Live Free or Die Hard

Note: In honour of all of the hacking I saw in this movie, I decided to write this review in Ubuntu, instead of using HTML-Kit in Windows. I know, I know. I know exactly what all of the hackers out there are thinking—assuming any read my blog, which is a ridiculous assumption to make: “That’s what he calls being a hacker?!? Using gedit?!? What a luser! He’s even using the wussiest version of Linux!” And all I can say to that is this: It’s worse than you think, geeks: I’ve even got Beryl installed, so that I get all the pretty pictures. Wee! Look at my Desktop spin! I may never use the keyboard again!

Anyway, on with the movie review…

Let me just say, to begin, that I like the Die Hard series of movies. I can’t say that I love the series, because I don’t like them all equally; I sort of like them better as they go along. And I like them for the same reason that everyone else who likes them likes them: Because of the John McClane character. John is supposed to be just a normal guy; the “reluctant hero”, who doesn’t really want to be a hero, but when nobody else is around to do it, he does it. In fact, there is a scene between John and Thomas, in this movie, when John explicitly explains this. This doesn’t necessarily mean that I want to be John McClane, or that I want to emulate him, or even that I’d want to be his friend, in real life. But in a movie, it’s a great character, and I do enjoy watching the Die Hard movies for that reason.

So, now that I’ve gotten not one but two preambles out of the way, what did I think of the movie? I loved it. I think it was the best of the series. Were the stunts completely over the top and unbelievable? Yes, yes they were. But that was half the fun of watching the movie; I got a good laugh, at some points, because some of the stunts were so over the top that they were actually silly. That being said, it was definitely a feast for the eyes.

Also, let me say this: The camera work for this movie was beautiful. Yes, you heard me: I used the word “beautiful” for the camera work in an action movie. But it really was; you have to see the movie to believe it.

Finally, since it was a movie that heavily involved computers and hacking, I’ll also say this: They did a pretty good job with the computer details. As a computer nerd, it’s almost always frustrating to watch a movie that involves a lot of computers, but they didn’t do a bad job, on this one. I mean yeah, sure, some of the stuff might have been a bit over the top, but why should I treat their use of computers in a more critical way than I treat the stunts? Everything in this movie is over the top. If anything, the use of computers was more realistic than the stunts.

If you like action movies, and especially if you like the Die Hard series of movies, check out Live Free or Die Hard. I very much enjoyed it, and recommend it.