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Monthly Archives: June 2011

Google+: A Quick Look

Published June 25, 2011 - 2 Comments

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Fusce arcu mi, volutpat eget luctus vitae, hendrerit et lacus. Phasellus tempus pulvinar lacus, vel posuere lectus fermentum sed. Suspendisse varius condimentum ligula, bibendum hendrerit lorem placerat ac. Quisque scelerisque enim non tortor accumsan at lacinia libero dignissim. Integer tincidunt lobortis elit, in placerat elit blandit in. Nunc bibendum sodales pretium. Curabitur dapibus urna arcu, a mattis risus.

Cras nec odio a quam scelerisque luctus eu vitae magna. Vestibulum in nisl in massa commodo malesuada. Vestibulum vel justo sed nunc porttitor rhoncus. Suspendisse potenti. Proin malesuada lacinia eros, condimentum tempor nisl gravida non. Suspendisse potenti. Maecenas tristique turpis a turpis euismod a interdum est aliquam. Nullam pharetra ipsum quis metus feugiat suscipit. Fusce at nunc mauris. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Integer sit amet enim mi. Nulla facilisi. Quisque id arcu libero. Donec felis turpis, sollicitudin quis sagittis ac, pretium sed tortor. Cras id nunc turpis, ultricies faucibus nulla.

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Aliquam vulputate dictum neque quis imperdiet. Morbi elementum luctus felis ut tempor. Duis sagittis gravida ipsum molestie adipiscing. Ut lobortis sagittis erat quis tempor. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Sed vitae suscipit metus. Aenean placerat erat rutrum nisi molestie eu vulputate velit consequat. Aenean id est sapien, nec mattis lacus. Etiam faucibus consequat purus, non bibendum eros viverra non. Ut non nibh nec leo dapibus pretium ut vitae nisl. Duis sollicitudin, justo nec posuere venenatis, urna nulla molestie justo, vitae placerat metus risus vel tellus.

My Visit

Published June 25, 2011 - 0 Comments

I don’t visit as often as I should. I feel guilty as hell, but I hate to see her like that. Still, it’s no excuse.

I walked into her room today and said hello. She replied, but it was obvious that she did not know me. She looked straight ahead. Never at me. Her sight is all but gone now. She appeared so weak and frail. It broke my heart to see her like that. I stepped out of the room for a moment. I had to. Although I told her, I’m not sure that she even noticed.

She began to sing softly a tune only she knew. I stood in the hall and listened.

As I returned to the room, I took her hand in mine.

“I love you”, I told her, as I kissed the top of her head. “She squeezed my hand and told me that she loved me too. It’s the only time during my visit that I felt she recognized me. My eyes began to fill with tears. And even though she could not see them, I believe that she sensed them.

For that brief moment she was my Grammy again.

Turn your office into a getaway

Published June 24, 2011 - 0 Comments

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Fusce arcu mi, volutpat eget luctus vitae, hendrerit et lacus. Phasellus tempus pulvinar lacus, vel posuere lectus fermentum sed. Suspendisse varius condimentum ligula, bibendum hendrerit lorem placerat ac. Quisque scelerisque enim non tortor accumsan at lacinia libero dignissim. Integer tincidunt lobortis elit, in placerat elit blandit in. Nunc bibendum sodales pretium. Curabitur dapibus urna arcu, a mattis risus.

Cras nec odio a quam scelerisque luctus eu vitae magna. Vestibulum in nisl in massa commodo malesuada. Vestibulum vel justo sed nunc porttitor rhoncus. Suspendisse potenti. Proin malesuada lacinia eros, condimentum tempor nisl gravida non. Suspendisse potenti. Maecenas tristique turpis a turpis euismod a interdum est aliquam. Nullam pharetra ipsum quis metus feugiat suscipit. Fusce at nunc mauris. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Integer sit amet enim mi. Nulla facilisi. Quisque id arcu libero. Donec felis turpis, sollicitudin quis sagittis ac, pretium sed tortor. Cras id nunc turpis, ultricies faucibus nulla.

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Aliquam vulputate dictum neque quis imperdiet. Morbi elementum luctus felis ut tempor. Duis sagittis gravida ipsum molestie adipiscing. Ut lobortis sagittis erat quis tempor. Pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus et netus et malesuada fames ac turpis egestas. Sed vitae suscipit metus. Aenean placerat erat rutrum nisi molestie eu vulputate velit consequat. Aenean id est sapien, nec mattis lacus. Etiam faucibus consequat purus, non bibendum eros viverra non. Ut non nibh nec leo dapibus pretium ut vitae nisl. Duis sollicitudin, justo nec posuere venenatis, urna nulla molestie justo, vitae placerat metus risus vel tellus.

 

No Update

Published June 16, 2011 - 0 Comments

Thank you to everyone who took the time to comment on my last post, either here or in private. Tyson was part of the family, and I miss him, but time heals all wounds and it’s getting better.

I know that some people have been looking here for another update. It’s unusual for me to go too long without blogging, and it’s not for from a lack of things to write about. I still have posts from my vacation that I want to write, and all sorts of stuff going on in the world… Stanley Cup playoffs, a couple of major strikes disrupting things, summer, my separation stuff… So why haven’t I written?

I’ve been on vacation from my day job for the week and I promised myself that I wanted to focus on my dream job this week an that I was not going to do another post here until I reached one of my major milestones in the business. Unfortunately I haven’t been in front of the computer nearly as much as I had hoped, so my productivity is way down. That milestone remains unreached at this point. My resolution still stands though. I will concentrate on Write-Click Media until I reach that milestone and only then will I come back to the blog.

Hopefully you will hear from me shortly!

Goodbye Tyson…

Published June 7, 2011 - 15 Comments

TysonMy life in 2002 was considerably different than my life now.  My wife was pregnant with our first child.  We moved into a brand new home.  We had a new kitten.  The future looked bright.

I made the mistake of letting my wife go alone into the pet supply store, in search of a toy for the kitten.  Instead of a toy, she decided that he needed a big brother.  The store had a young male cat from the Animal Rescue League there.  I didn’t want another cat.  The kitten was enough for me… not to mention a soon-to-arrive baby.  But after she came out saying that I needed to see this cat I agreed to go back in with her… and there he was…

His name was Tyson.  Maybe it was just a coincidence that he was all black, with extra toes on his front paws that made him look like he had gloves.  Boxing gloves.  He was about 2-3 years old, and had been a stray.  Now he had full reign of the store, and was looking for a new home.  Our home.

Tyson loved people.  He would climb onto your lap and purr while kneading his extra claws into your chest.  At night he would curl up against you and try to suck all the body heat from you.  He was a people cat.  When it came to other animals, he could be a bit of a bully.  There was never any doubt who was boss.  But with people, he was very affectionate.

Animals display unique characteristics, just as people do.  Tyson was quirky.  He wouldn’t simply drink from his water dish… he had to bat it around with his paws to make the water move.  He loved drinking from a running tap.  There was something about the moving water.  It didn’t matter how big of a water bowl I used, he would find a way to splash it around, sending water everywhere.  If you left water in a glass, he would knock it over with his paw.  He would attack your feet if they moved under the covers.  He would sit patiently and wait for you to finish your steak so he could have a taste.

Two years after we brought Tyson home, he developed a urinary problem.  It’s not uncommon in cats, especially male ones.  I was not working at the time, due to an ongoing labour dispute.  Money was more than tight.  It was non-existent.  When the vet told me that the cause of Tyson’s problems were a combination of the cheap food we were feeding the cats, and stress… I laughed.  Stress?  I looked at the vet bill… $1200 to get him better… If you think Tyson was stressed, just imagine what my nerves were like!  But I felt responsible because we had been advised to switch the food prior to the troubles.  Would it have made a difference?  We’ll never know for sure, but I couldn’t not help Tyson because of something that I had done.  People always said “$1200?!?  Do you know how many cats you could have gotten for $1200?!?”  I understand where they’re coming from… but I suspect that they don’t understand it from my perspective.  Tyson was a member of our family, and we were reasonably sure that once we cleared up the problems, that he would be OK.  And he was.

Over the next few years any time Tyson would do something I didn’t like I’d remind him how lucky he was that his owner was a big softie.

When my marriage ended, we decided that Tyson would come with me.    He was great for this old farm house… regularly bringing me mice from the garage… and even a bat.  His natural killer instinct was strong…  He would even attack Buddy, the little poodle who desperately just wanted to be friends.  Tyson was a people cat.  He wasn’t interested in making friends.

About a week ago I said to Tyson jokingly that it looked like he was on a diet.  I thought he had lost a little weight, but it wasn’t anything to be concerned about.  It never occurred to me at all that he might not be feeling well.  Even when he was vomiting, it wasn’t unusual for him to rush through his food, and end up bringing some of it back up.  But this was different.  There wasn’t any food in what he was bringing up.  I should have realized that he wasn’t eating, but I assumed that Paul was refilling the cat dish when he was here to move more of his things.  It’s only when I noticed the bloody diarrhea and that I could feel Tyson’s spine when I ran my hand over him that I became concerned.  From that point, he seemed to go downhill quickly.  I informed my ex that I was worried about him, and would be taking him to the vet for them to have a look at him.  We both understood what that meant.

When I called the local vet and tried to make an appointment, the receptionist told me that I would have to take him to the animal hospital.  That didn’t sound good.

We sat outside on the deck.  He wanted to get away, but I wouldn’t let him.  We sat there, and I tried to get him to eat some of the Temptation cat treats that he normally gulps down, but he wasn’t interested in those.  That wasn’t a good sign either.

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I stayed in the room and pet him…  I know that, for some people, it’s too hard… I understand that, but I had to.  For me.  For him.  He just laid there and let me rub his head and pet him.  Not once did he purr.  I was actually thankful for that.  Earlier in the day he purred while I held him, but in that room… he was calm, but he wasn’t going to purr.  The vet had a horrible time finding a vein, something he said was an indication of how dehydrated Tyson was.  It took a few minutes…   and then he was gone…

I like to imagine Kitty Heaven being a place filled with big fat mice and lots of running water…

I’ll miss you…

 

Apple Store Madness

Published June 6, 2011 - 5 Comments

One of the great things about going to a city the size of Toronto is that they have a lot more selection of everything!  Granted, very often it’s more of the same… but still, doesn’t matter what you’re looking for, chances are good that you’re going to find it somewhere.

I’m not a big shopper, but we went to Yorkdale Shopping Centre a few times (mainly because that’s where we parked the car to get on the subway) so of course I walked around a little.  After going through the map “You are HERE” I noticed something that excited me… an Apple Store!  Yes, a store completely dedicated to Apple products… a mecca for Apple fanboys everywhere… a virtual shrine to Steve Jobs!  I had to see it!  I had to bask in the glory of all that is Apple!

With giddy excitement I wound my way through the crowds toward my ultimate destination.  And then I stopped.

I’ve never seen anything like it before.  Not the store… but the people in the store!  It was beyond overcrowded!  It was packed full of people standing at tables, playing with all the Apple toys available.  I don’t know if anyone was actually buying anything.  Hell, I don’t know if there’s even a cash register in the store!  Why don’t I know this?  Because I didn’t even bother to go through the door!  I couldn’t believe the size of the mob in there, and I wasn’t about to become part of it.

I’m told that it’s like that every day in the Apple store.  It has nothing to do with any particular promotion.  It’s just people wanting to play with the toys.  No thanks!  I’ll stick to ordering mine through the internet.  It may not be as chic as getting it from the Apple Store… but it’s a hell of a lot more enjoyable an experience than fighting for an inch of elbow room!

Movie Time! Fast 5

Published June 5, 2011 - 0 Comments

Hard to believe that I only watched the first of the Fast & Furious series about a month or two ago!  I had seen a preview for Fast 5 and thought that it looked interesting… but I needed to catch up and watch the first four movies first!  I’d say that they were all pretty good for the most part… although I ended up turning off the second one when they were preparing to torture someone and pulled a rat out… that was enough for me!

But back to the 5th installment… Paul and I went last week to check it out, and I have to say… I quite enjoyed it!  It has the typical mix of beautiful cars, and even more beautiful women… and somehow manages to bring back characters from all 4 previous movies under one roof.  And if you’ve ever wondered who would win a fight between Vin Diesel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson… your wait is long over.  It takes a lot to make Vin Diesel look small, but The Rock does just that.  Don’t let that sway your imagination… it was a pretty even fight!

I had pretty much convinced myself that they were using this movie to tie things up, and close the franchise… or at least retire the main characters.  I still think that’s the case, but they did leave a little room open there for another…  although where they’re going to store the babyseat I have no idea.  Those cars don’t have back seats!  Oops… did I give something away?  Not likely.

This is one of those movies that I didn’t have to see in the theatre.  It was nice.  I won’t deny that the theatre experience is far superior to watching it on my 40″ LCD… but some movies I have to see in the theatre… this was not one of them.

At least it wasn’t in 3D!

My Latest iPad App: LogMeIn Ignition

Published June 5, 2011 - 3 Comments

If you do any amount of remote troubleshooting at all, chances are you may have already heard of a great little service called LogMeIn.  LogMeIn is a free remote connection tool that allows you to connect to any computer to see what that user is seeing, and troubleshoot from the comfort of your own home or office.  They do offer a Pro version of their software, but I’ve found the free version to be quite capable for my needs.  I have a few family members’ computers loaded with LogMeIn, which makes it easy to help them from home if they have a problem.  I can also login to my Mac at home if I’m at work, and have it run programs or download for me.  It’s a great tool, and totally free!

Well they also offer an app for the iPhone/iPad that does cost $29.99 that I’ve been wondering about for awhile.  That is quite a bit more than any other app that I’ve purchased, and I was a little wary that they don’t offer a trial version, especially at that price.  But I love LogMeIn so much that I decided to go for it… and I have no regrets at all!

LogMeIn Ignition (as the app is called) allows you to remote control any computer with a really slick interface.  I was curious how it would work since you don’t have a mouse to point and click with, but they’ve solved that by super-imposing a little virtual mouse on the screen that you move around with your finger.  Through that you can click, right click, double click, as seamlessly as if you were using a mouse.  You can zoom in to get a better look, or zoom out to see the entire desktop.  The app works in both iPhone and iPad resolution, and you only have to purchase it once.  I have not tried it on my iPhone yet (as it is still broken) so I can’t comment on how well it works there, but it’s definitely great on the iPad.

Another neat feature of LogMeIn Ignition is the ability to copy files between your linked computers, making it even easier to troubleshoot.

So far I haven’t run across any issue too big not to be resolved through LogMeIn.  Whether you just need to see what the other person is seeing (we all know how hard it is sometimes to get a good grasp of what the user is trying to explain) or you need to take control and fix something in a few clicks… LogMeIn is great.  You don’t need to spend $29.99 on the iPhone/iPad app, but if you do, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

If anyone else has used LogMeIn or any other software you think would be great to share with the blog, please leave a comment.  As usual, all comments are appreciated, and I do my best to reply to them, so feel free!

Small Modifications to the Blog

Published June 4, 2011 - 1 Comment

You might have noticed a couple of small modifications to the blog in the last couple of weeks.

  • Related posts: If you open a blog post, at the bottom you will now (usually) find a list of related posts that you can click on to explore the blog further.  There are several plugins that will do this automatically, but I’ve gone with one that I add the related posts manually, so I have greater control over it.  That means that the older posts do not  yet have related posts, but I hope to go back and add to those.  The idea behind the related posts is that I continue to pick up new readers, and no one realistically expects them to go back and start reading from the beginning… but if they read something interesting now, they will see a list of related posts which may also interest them as well.
  • Things to come: The SOUP (Show Off Upcoming Posts) plugin is a tool that allows you to put a little teaser of posts that are scheduled in the future.  If you see something listed under Things to Come on the right side, then you know that there are scheduled posts.  If you don’t see anything, that doesn’t mean that I’m not posting anything… it just means that I haven’t lined anything up in the queue.
  • What am I Reading?: I thought that it would be fun to put something on the blog with my current reading project.  I’ve seen plugins that allow a reader to click that graphic and have it take them to Amazon’s site, where if they purchase the book, you get a referral fee.  I can’t get those plugins to work.  🙁   So, instead if you click on it, it will take you to Google’s book site.  There’s not much to do there.  I just thought that this might motivate me to read more, because I used to read a ton… but have gotten lazy over the years.
  • Archived Posts:  I have not made this change yet, but I’m thinking about it.  I read a post on SEO design that really trashed the idea of archiving your posts by date because it isn’t intuitive for readers, nor is is how search engines work.  Relevancy has nothing to do with chronological dates.  And it’s true…  I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a reader go back and start at the beginning (except me), or say “Hmm… I wonder what Stephen wrote for the month of November 2009?”  It just doesn’t happen.  So I may very well remove that section, which will free up some space on that side of the blog, and probably force me to move something from the left so it appears more balanced.

Anyway… that’s what I’ve been up to.  No major changes, but I always like to tweak it here and there.  If anyone has any strong feelings for or against anything on the blog… fire me a comment or contact me through the contact form!  I’m still learning all this stuff, so I don’t mind at all if someone questions me or tells me that something looks like crap!

Thanks for reading!

Memorable Edibles

Published June 4, 2011 - 1 Comment

I’ve talked about this in other posts, but when I go away somewhere I prefer to eat someplace that I can’t normally eat at when I’m home.  It doesn’t have to be any place fancy.  I just want to experience something new… which when you think about it, is a little uncharacteristic of me… but, that’s how I am.

Being in Ontario for a week provided me with plenty of opportunity to check out some places that I can’t eat at here.  Some of them, like Kelsey’s, were places that I have eaten at in the past… but it’s been a very long time.  I used to love Kelsey’s when I worked in Kingston many moons ago.  I have fond memories of Murph stuffing his trench coat with the occasional Kelsey’s glass… until we had an entire set!  I don’t know what ever happened to those glasses, but when Karen and I stopped at Kelsey’s on our first night, I asked our waitress if they had the same kind or not.  Turns out that their glasses don’t look the same as they used to, but the waitress was kind enough to give me one, so I didn’t have to steal it.  🙂

We went to a couple of other restaurant chains while we were in Ontario too.  I remember Chili’s from when I was in San Diego, but it was much better than how I remembered it.  I was worried that everything was going to be too spicy, but that wasn’t the case.  I guess that my tastes are maturing.

The Keg is one of those places that I’ve never eaten at, and wish that we had one around here.  After eating there, I don’t know if I could afford to frequent their establishment if they had a local one!  I had a great steak, but I also paid dearly for it.  But hey, I was on vacation, and that’s part of it.  At most of the meals, we made sure to try an appetizer, but we also skipped dessert.  It still adds up, though.  No regrets!

Applebee’s was another of those places that I’ve seen on TV, but had never been to.  Somewhere I have a pile of receipts, and wish that I could remember what I had ordered here… but I can’t.  It was good though!  I really never had a meal that I wasn’t happy with at any of these places.

Baton Rouge was one of the fancier places that we had eaten at (until my birthday dinner at the top of the Skylon Tower in Niagara Falls).  It’s one of Karen’s favourites, and someplace I’d never been to.  We decided to go there just before going to see The Lion King.  I was a little worried that we weren’t going to get to eat, because we didn’t have reservations, and this seemed like the kind of place that you would want to have a reservation… but the hostess asked if we were seeing a show afterward and what time that was… I think that helped us get in.

The Old Spaghetti Factory is a restaurant I’d never even heard of until going to Toronto.  I assumed that it was a local thing, but after a little searching, I see that it’s part of a chain of restaurants that started on the west coast.  Ah well… I think I liked the idea of it being a local thing more.  It was an interesting place to eat.  And how can you go to a place called The Old Spaghetti Factory and not try the spaghetti?  You can’t!  I was a little skeptical that I wasn’t going to feel full because I normally don’t order spaghetti in a restaurant,  but it filled me up quite well!  Or maybe it was all the free bread that our waiter kept bringing us.  As a side note… when a waiter calls you “bro”… it’s annoying.

I am sure that there were other places that we ate that should also be included in this post, and at some point I am going to think of more… but I think you get the idea…  I don’t like going somewhere and eating at McDonalds, even though I risk eating a fantastic meal that I might never be able to experience again…  or worse, pick something horrible from the menu… that’s not likely to happen since I stick to the same types of food, even if they are prepared somewhat differently.

Case in point… I don’t know how many different kinds of spinach dip appetizer that I tried, but there were several… each one was a little different from the last, and all equally good!