Friday, September 30, 2005

Well At Least I Can Say That I'm Undefeated In This Year's Aitken Alum Hockey Pool!

I'm not in the hockey pool. Why is that? Because tonight, I went to a retirement dinner for my father, which was planned for 6 pm, 1 hour after the scheduled start of Trooper's pool. Since pool drafts tend to drag on for as long as 2 hours or more, I could not participate.

Oh well, maybe there's a pick 20 pool I can join with my friends, if there's interest...

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Hockey Pool Season Is Here! In Other News, The Social Life Index for Males 20-34 Plunged 300 Points Today In Heavy Trading...!

I went through reams of information this morning. Nope, not for things related to my job search, but for the time-honoured tradition that has made its grand return this year: the NHL hockey pool! I downloaded a free copy of a hockey forecaster magazine (any other poolies who want in click here), printed out the top 300 skaters, and contrasted them against an injury list to avoid any unwise selections. I also shuffled around the top 25 goalies that the magazine had ranked.

So I'm ready, just have to make sure I'm on the computer for 5 pm tomorrow, and I'll be well on my way to finishing in the bottom half of the pool like I always do!

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Web Site Of The Week (or so): The Centre of The Liberal Political Universe

This week's website focuses on where I go to get my daily fix of political news: Daily Kos

It is basically the centre of the political universe for the liberal blogosphere. Its modus operandi is to help develop talking points, strategies, and grassroots action, mainly in the arena of U.S. politics. Now why am I, a Canadian interested in American affairs such as this?

For two reasons ... (1) there is alot of rhetoric, scandals, and inneudo flying around, so it basically like a soap opera, and (2) What happens down there affects what happens in the world to a large degree, as you no doubt know!

Tomorrow, I send some info to my car insurance people in Alberta to complete my policy, and I research players for my hockey pool!

The Last Two Days

I've had a busy couple of days. Yesterday, I went to Halifax with my father, grandfather, brother, and my aunt for my grandfather's heart appointment. He checked out OK, and then we went to Big Box Land (aka Bayer's Lake Business Park). Man, if you lived within a 3 minute drive of that place, you'd be set (instead of driving across town to every other place to get everything you need). My bro bought a DVD player at Future Shop. My aunt got a memory foam mattress cover!

Today, I cleared up some business. I sent in my credit card bill, another big one due to my trip home and subsequent vacation in Freddy Beach! I settled my car insurance with the Alberta insurance people ($830), and then I sent my resume and cover letter to a promising work prospect (keeping my fingers crossed there!)

That's all for now. Another post coming later tonight maybe...

Monday, September 26, 2005

Retirement: You'll Never Dread Monday Morning Again!

I've been having a somewhat busy day today. I printed out and mailed my final report to Humantech, where one of the managing consultants will sign the cover page and mail to CDS in New York. I also went over to Port Hawkesbury to get my father a card for his retirement, which began today.

Tomorrow, I will be going to Halifax with my Dad, older brother, aunt and grandfather for a doctor's appointment that my grandfather booked for his knee (I think) ...

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Scanners: Only Slightly Less Annoying Than Dot-Matrix Printers

The scanner is kinda loud, and my father is trying to sleep before his last night shift ever (he's retiring after tonight), so I'll postpone scanning the other pics until later today or tomorrow...

Have a great un-boring Sunday afternoon!

At Heather and Safia's apartment for their housewarming party in May. They had a sweet setup (AC, Satellite TV, leather couches, a fooseball table that they borrowed from Humantech), and they only paid $900 a month for the place (between the two of them, they paid $450 each). Posted by Picasa

Students inspired by the movie "Big Fish" toss pairs of perfectly good shoes tied together at the laces up onto power and phone lines. To my knowledge, those shoes have been there ever since I moved into the neighbourhood. To take them down would be extremely dangerous for ordinary people, and time-consuming for power crews, who I assume stopped doing just that after it kept happening over and over again... Posted by Picasa

I Am Bored

It's Sunday. I'm bored. So I'm gonna scan some more pictures, and put them above this post.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

When You're Unemployed, One Day Just Fades Into Another ... Hey Wait A Minute, Days Fade Into Each Other When I'm Working Too! No Fair!

Hoo haa the weekend is here! Well, it's not that noticable for the unemployed (such as myself) except that (a) you can't call employers, (b) my little sis is home from school and competing with me for daytime use of the computer and (c) TV programming schedules are all different from weekdays.

Tonight I'll be taking aforementioned little sister to the movies, and trying to reach a gas station before they raise the prices in the aftermath of Rita (she missed Houston, so the biggest refineries seem to have escaped any significant damage).

Hopefully anybody stuck behind to face Rita made it out OK, I'll be praying for them...

Friday, September 23, 2005

Gas Goes To $12.75 A Litre, Western Civilization Collapses ... Story At 11!

Yesterday was an interesting day. Apparently, some gas station owner "accidentally" posted a price above $2 a litre (more like opportunistic gouging) in advance of Rita's landfall in Texas. People freaked out, as a result of rumours spreading that gas was headed to $1.70, $1.80, $2.05, $2.12, even more then $3.00 a litre across Canada. Other gas stations didn't help matters, raising their prices to $1.79 in some places in Ontario, which falsely validated the mass hysteria. 70's style gas lines sprung up everywhere, especially here in NS, where we bear the highest gasoline prices in the country already!

Now I knew price hikes were coming after Rita shut down the refineries. Expecting gas to go to around $1.50 by next week, I filled my car three days ago (after going to the movies twice this week by tomorrow night, I'll be filling up again, hopefully it won't be too high). What happened yesterday was not justified by the spot price for wholesale gasoline, which only rose 4 cents to 62.5 cents per litre (Source). It was the double menace of spreading unsubstantiated rumours and exploiting the fears of the public via price gouging by greedy retailers (most of them struggle to make a profit on gas though, so don't blame this on all retailers, just the gougers) that drove yesterday's craziness.

Moral of this story: Don't repeat a claim you can't independently verify, and don't prey on people's fears, especially when it involves a product so vital to everyday life.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Hurricane Rita Now a Category 5 Hurricane!

If your reading this, and live on the gulf coast of Texas or within 100 miles of the coast, evacuate immeadiately! As for the rest of us, if you need gas, get it soon!

In other news, I'm still writing the final report that never ends. Then again, procrastination seems to be playing a hand in this as well!

To all the Texans out there, stay safe!

Radar image of Hurricane Rita... Posted by Picasa

Satellite image of Hurricane Rita northwest of Cuba, now a category 5 hurricane. Posted by Picasa

Adios Summer, See Ya in 8 Months!

It's a nice cool, breezy day here in Havre Boucher, a fitting send-off to summer, as the first day of Fall is tomorrow. I filled my gas tank yesterday evening, and so should everyone else, as Hurricane Rita will be forcing shutdowns and slowdowns of refineries in Texas in the coming days.

As for today, I will be finishing up my final report to my VISA issuer (CDS), as I have procrastinated on it for too long now!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

"People Are Starving? Hey, I Know, Let's Burn These British Food Rations!"

I started calling ergo people in Calgary today to ferret out job prospects. I talked to an independent consultant, and she didn't dismiss the possibility of requiring a contractor in the future. We'll probably meet up when I get to Calgary. The ergo community takes care of its own!

Your daily reason to get outraged: Donated British food to be incinerated

Why are they doing this? Because the beef might have Mad Cows mixed in? Never mind that mad cows have already been found in the States, we need to protect starving people from surviving! Insanity!!

Monday, September 19, 2005

(sarcasm) I Heart Insurance (/sarcasm)

Going to your insurance company is like a trip to the dentist: you don't look forward to the money you're gonna have to spend, and there may be a few nasty surprises lying in wait to catch you off guard (e.g. finding out that due to my coverage being suspended while I was in college, my rates are calculated as an inexperienced driver, and that living in Saint John, NB subjected me to some of the highest rates in the country!)

I was in there today to renew my policy, which expires before I my planned departure to Alberta. My agent actually was already processing my renewal when I arrived, so I just got her to quote me my cost here in Nova Scotia. It was better than last year, but still a little high. However, I will have to pro-rate my policy when I get out to Calgary. Hopefully, the rates will be decent, perhaps cheaper. Because Calgary is a big city though, I'm prepared to actually pay more. Oh well, that's the price you pay for living there...

Tomorrow, I'm heading back over to town to fill up my car before gas prices spike due to Rita, and also to replace the brews I've drank since I came home. These replacement beers will be drunk mostly by me. Even if I drink half the case, most of the other half will still be here when I come home for Christmas. Bet on it!

Sunday, September 18, 2005

I Am Definitely Not The Big Lebowski!

Man, I'm gonna be sore tomorrow! Today, my little sister joined a youth bowling league in Port Hawkesbury, and I took her over to the bowling alley, as my Dad was working and my Mom was resting for her night shift. I get there, Meghan goes to register for the league, so I decide to ask the guy behind the counter if there were any free lanes. It turns out there was 2 open lanes, so paid $5 for one hour of bowling.

Bowling here in Atlantic Canada is primarily candlepin, which means the pins are skinnier, and the ball is much smaller than a typical bowling ball (it fits in the palm of your hand, mine at least!). This makes it harder to knock over large numbers of pins, even when you hit the kingpin (they even give you 3 attempts at the pins, rather then 2 ... I suck).

I managed to bowl 6 strings, as I was all by myself. I overextended myself on one bowl, and manged to pull a muscle in my leg. I'm not feeling it much right now, probably because I just had a beer not too long ago.

Tomorrow, I mail out a check that's super duper late, to pay for my share of the electric bill at my old place in Ann Arbor during August. I am also going to finish that final report for CDS that I'm having trouble putting words together due to a bad case of writer's block, but that's what happens when you don't write regularly (i.e. neglecting the blog over the summer).

Night all.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Ophelia dies and becomes extratropical just south of Cape Breton at approximately 8:45 PM ADT. Posted by Picasa

Ophelia tracking across the Scotian Slope at 5:15 pm ADT. Posted by Picasa

StormBlog Update: RIP Ophelia!

Well, it's past Midnight, at the time when Ophelia was supposed to bring the worst of her weather our way. What's it like outside right now? Moderate rain, winds at approximately 20 MPH, with occasional 30 MPH gusts in squall lines. In other words, tamer than most Nor'Easters.

So what happened? Well, it turns out that the ocean water was quite cold near the NS coast this year. Add that to the fact that Ophelia charged up the Scotian Shelf and hit land near Yarmouth instead of clinging to the Gulf Stream until the last minute (which is what Juan did in 2003), and you get a storm that disintigrated into an extratropical system almost instantly after landfall. This explains the lack of sustained high winds, with no organized thunderstorm activity within the system.

Our area wasn't totally untouched however, as my brother called an hour ago to tell us that his power went out. It seems like an isolated incident however, so he should have it back shortly!

If any other developments occur within the next couple of hours, I will update the blog ASAP.

This is Stormblogger James Shannon reporting from Havre Boucher, NS!

Radar image as 2:25 pm ADT over NE Nova Scotia and Cape Breton Island. Posted by Picasa

Position of Ophelia as of 2:25 pm ADT Posted by Picasa

Calm Before The (Tropical) Storm: Enter Ophelia

Tropical storm Ophelia is about to hit us later this afternoon, and into this evening. It's probably just going to be alot of rain and wind by the time it gets to the northern reaches for the province, as we get winter storms around here that have winds that blow harder than 90 km/h (55 MPH).

After Juan though, everyone is a little jittery here in Nova Scotia, so here's hoping that it is just like a typical fall storm...

Storm blogging will continue throughout the day...!

UPDATE 2:33 PM: I am located in the northeast section of the province of Nova Scotia, before the island of Cape Breton for those visiting from Mr. Foot's blog. Conditions right now: Light rain, gentle wind (10 MPH or less). Calm is over, things should get more stormy as the afternoon progresses...

Friday, September 16, 2005

Web Sites Of The Week (or so): Got Oil? -- Balanced news page, forum populated by a disproportionate amount of doomers and survivalists. -- WARNING: If you don't like being scared out of your wits, don't click on this link. Matt Savinar hits the mark on the urgency of the Peak Oil problem, and the worst case scenario possibilities he raises should give us incentives to work towards not making them come true. Don't look for solutions on this site though, he basically says (A) Pray (B) Build your bomb shelter today, and don't come out until the End Times have arrived. Hardly practical advice. -- Despite the title, JD attempts to defuse Peak Oil hysteria, and offers potential mitigation strategies to help weather the tough parts of Peak Oil. Fuzzy math in spots, but his heart is definitely in the right place!

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Wordperfect = F-

Argh, why is it that computers and I get along as well as oil and water? Today, I was tweaking my resume, and the style sheets and formatting were being a bitch! I had to clear all the formatting from entire thing, and build it back from the ground up! I just finished mastering Word at work, and now I come home to Wordperfect on this computer, the word processor that about 2% of the world uses these days (how the mighty have fallen!), and I am utterly clueless on how to work the formatting.

I muddled through that B.S. though, so now I gotta tackle my final report for CDS (exchange visa company) to close out the Ann Arbor chapter of my life...

Also later today, I will finally transfer my money to my Canadian account, as my final pay has been entered into my U.S. account. Money money money!

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Road Trippin': Livonia and Frankenmuth

As time passed by during my stay in Ann Arbor, I got sick of confining myself to that city. I wanted to see the surrounding area. I wanted to venture into Metro Detroit to see what it was really like out there. Livonia, as with the other outer ring burbs, is largely an endless sea of houses, apartments, condos, and strip malls. Yawn.

Frankenmuth, on the other hand, was rather unique. It has harnessed its German heritage for its tourist properties, ranking currently as one of the most popular destinations in all of Michigan.

My photos of these journeys (mostly Frankenmuth) lie below...

These are common throughout rural America. I drove 2 miles off the route I was taking to get a good shot of this happy face water tower. Not visible due to tree cover is a tie on the upper neck of the tower!  Posted by Picasa

Lights and ornaments dazzle the eyes inside Bronner's, one of the world's largest Christmas stores!  Posted by Picasa

A picture of the Frankenmuth River from the covered bridge. Note the incoming storm clouds. I got caught up in it when driving south through Davison (hometown of Michael Moore!). It looked like the clouds like might spawn a tornado, but fortunately, blinding downpours were the worst that came of it! Posted by Picasa

The Frankenmuth brewery on the north side of town. I had to get back to Ann Arbor to drink with my housemates (this was during Memorial Day Weekend), so I did not have time to do the tour, unfortunately... Posted by Picasa

A picture of the Bravarian Inn, in downtown Frankenmuth. Frankenmuth is a touristy German village located 30 minutes north of Flint, and an hour and a half north of Ann Arbor.  Posted by Picasa

My first trip into Metro Detroit. This picture was taken in Livonia, a suburb of about 100,000 people.  Posted by Picasa

Stupid Friggin' Internet!

Blogger had an error and ate my post! ERRR!!

The dead post in summary:

Money Transfer ~ Called Humantech ~ Direct Deposit Receipt instead of Cheque ~ Waiting until Sept 15 to Cash Out USD$$$ ~ Reviewing Calgary Ergo Links (Thanks Janet!)

I hate random internet errors!

UPDATE 8:01 PM: It turns out that the error was Blogger's server crashing at a rather inconvenient time. That's my luck for ya!

Michigan Baseball: First Doubleheader of the Season, Late March 2005

These are photos from a baseball doubleheader between Oakland University (MI) and the University of Michigan, taken on a Saturday in late March, 2005. In summary, it was bloody cold, but it allowed me to watch both games right by the dugout, and I got to meet a couple of the players (along with one of their grandparents). I was sore from standing 5 hours, but it was 5 hours of some solid baseball!

Michigan ended up sweeping both games of the doubleheader by big scores (I forget what they are now). This photo was taken a couple of minutes after the 2nd game ended. Posted by Picasa

Michigan ballplayers take the field for the 2nd game of the doubleheader... Posted by Picasa

Michigan players entering the dugout. Seeing how this was the first weekend of the baseball season, it was cold (6c), so was able to stand right next to the dugout, along with the grandfather of one of the players. He really knew his baseball, which made for an interesting conversation. Posted by Picasa

Michigan hits a homer as the Oakland players show with their dejected body language... Posted by Picasa

The pitcher for Oakland University delivers a fastball to the plate, as the batter for Michigan attempts a bunt in the first game of the doubleheader. Posted by Picasa

Michigan Hockey Playoff Game: March 12, 2005 vs. Notre Dame

Here are some of the pics that I promised a long time ago, but couldn't post because I was bogged down with work. This set is from the Michigan 1st round playoff game I attended back in the winter.

Scroll to the bottom picture below, and enjoy!

And it's over! Michigan 10, Notre Dame 1! Hearing 7,000 fans chant "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 ... WE WANT MORRRRRRE GOALS! SIEVE SIEVE SIEVE SIEVE SIEVVVE! IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT, IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT, IT'S ALL YOUR FAULT!" was priceless!  Posted by Picasa

Zambonis! Posted by Picasa

Michigan scores to make it 2-1. Many more would follow in this game. Michigan fans are vicious, chanting "sieve" at the ND goalie, and using a barrage of swear words at penalized players. The atmosphere was absolutely electric! Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

This was the opening face-off between Notre Dame and Michigan in the first round of the CCHA playoffs (the conference of the NCAA that Michigan hockey plays in) Posted by Picasa

Margo Fraser and Fortune Cookies Can't Be Wrong: Calgary it is!

So I've decided that I will be moving to Calgary at the start of October. I am both nervous and excited to start this new chapter in my life. I'm nervous because I don't know how hard it will be to find something ergo-related out West, but excited because Calgary has been the hub of economic activity in Canada ever since the price of crude oil made the oilsands a wildy profitable venture. It's also interesting to note that the head office of ACE (The Association of Canadian Ergonomists) has moved out to Cowtown. I guess it's just another positive omen, just like the fortune cookie that I got with my lunch last Friday in Fredericton that said I would be highly successful in my upcoming business ventures!

Tonight, I'm gonna scan some pics that I've taken over the past 8 months (some of you have already seen them, but others have not) and put them on my blog for all to see!

Random Letters Kill Spam Dead!

Word of advice to all those using Blogger: use the new word verification feature located in the comments tab of the Dashboard blog manager. It will keep spam bots from infecting your comment threads with pyramid schemes or advertisements for penis pills.

Gotta write a check to myself at the bank today (to transfer money in my U.S. bank account to my account here), then I will be heading out to Antigonowhere with my Mom and sister!

Monday, September 12, 2005

I Hate Windows

I had a big long post ready to go on here, then I went to delete some spyware, which caused a fatal error in IE for some reason, thus causing the loss of the 5 paragraphs of comedy gold that I worked feverishly on for 25 minutes!


Summary of the lost post is as follows:

Windy ~ Credit Union ~ Transfer money ~ DENIED! ~ Make out check to yourself to bypass doing wire transfer in 3 weeks ~ Windy ~ Almost lost hat! ~ Unpacked car ~ Sore ~ Windows sucks ass!

Good night.

Back in the Groove

Here it is, back to the daily posting routine now that I'm back at home, at least until the end of the month. After that, I take off for Calgary with my soon-to-be-retired Dad, where I will be looking for work in the ergonomics community out there!

I gotta run to the bank to transfer my American dollahs to my Credit Union account, see all y'all (proper Southern slang, as I learned during my time at Humantech) later!

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Home Sweet Home

Well, I'm back in Nova Scotia. It's late and I'm tired, so a full post will come tomorrow. America was great, but I love Canada more now than I ever have!