Saturday, August 23, 2008

Birthday post for 2008

Another year older, I suppose. I can't say that I am one who is overly concerned with my calendar age as I firmly believe that both my physical and emotional ages are significantly lower. Some would say especially so to the latter, to which I might be inclined to agree.

I took these two photos on my way into the office this morning, after my wife and I grabbed breakfast at Denny's. It's a little tradition we started a few years back have but it had an unintended side effect of having to get up earlier than usual, in order to make it into the office on time.

As you can see, it was fairly peaceful this morning. We had a major release on the weekend and I was happy to find that things were still peaceful in the office this morning too. (If the release was of poor quality, we tend to hear about it from our customer pretty quickly. While it is too early to rule this one a success, it is a good sign that there are no early complaints.)

Noel continued my tradition of free food on my birthday by treating me to lunch, which was also quite nice. The Sweet Basil Cafe makes a super tasty clubhouse sandwich that can be a challenge to eat if you aren't able to dislocate your jaw. The sandwich is just that thick and the cafe is just a couple blocks from the office.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to help make the day better than normal for me. At this point my day is barely half over so I am sure there are more surprises in store for me still, but I have to say that year thirty nine is off to a great start.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bikes Named After Beer

There is a local bike shop in town called Rain City Bikes that happens to be located close to where I work. They happen to sell bikes named after beer, which blends two things I really like.

Naturally, I had to go take a look.

SE Bikes is a BMX bike manufacturer that has come out with a new line of single speed bikes designed for urban riding. The model names are Draft, Lager, Premium Brew and Stout. But it's not as simple as picking your favorite type of beer to select your ride - the bikes vary quite a bit. For example, the Stout is more of a mountain bike, with 29" tires - it reminds me of a trials bike without the serious brakes.

The two models I really liked were the Lager and the Premium. These are the two road bike models. The Premium has a very nice lugged steel frame in 'Irish Green' that looks very nice, especially when matched up with the saddle, bars and cranks, all in a light tan scheme. Where it goes wrong (in my mind) is with the yellowish gold rims.

The Lager is very similar except the steel frame is welded instead of lugged and it is painted in a medium brown (beer colour!) One of the coolest parts on this bike has to be the bull horn handlebars which are very comfortable. Another added feature is that it does not have the unfortunately coloured wheels of the Premium. I know that's the style these days, but I think it looks gaudy. And well, Lager is apparently cheaper than Premium brew too, by several hundred dollars. It's interesting to see how new bikes are being made to look like old ones.

In a perfect world I guess I would like to have a Premium bike with the handlebars and wheels from the Lager. Either that, or a Lager with the saddle from the Premium, just because I liked the colour combination. Most bike dealers, this one included, are more than willing to mix and match a bit to get things just right. But alas, it is near the end of the cycling season and stock is hard to come by. This shop no longer has my size of frame in stock. Still, it's nice to know that there is a local shop that sells reasonably priced bikes that I am interested in, given how particular I can be about these things.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Self Directed Blogging

I have resigned myself to the fact that of the two blogs I maintain, the one for my dog is immensely more popular. There are many reasons for this I suppose, including the fact that the dog blog topic is just more accessible to people as compared to the less frequent posts I make here on whatever comes to mind.

That is okay, because I have realized that I'm not blogging for others, but for my own benefit. I guess I have still been thinking of the Spark interview that Derek gave a while back concerning digital executors. While I may not feel I need an executor yet, just knowing that I have a few year's worth of photos and thoughts has a similar value to me as I suppose a diary would have for someone in the previous generation. I mean, do people still keep diaries in the traditional sense? While I don't keep a physical book I am making dated entries on a web page which amounts to basically the same thing.

While Derek had posthumous concerns, mine are more immediate: I don't have a really sharp memory. I admit that this is more due to laziness than any pre-disposition to mental failing, but the fact remains that I don't recall a lot that has happened in my life, so having a record like this is something I place value in having. Just knowing it is there and that I can look it up is reassuring. As an example, when I discovered that Blogger uses Picasaweb to handle the photos uploaded here, and that I could see all the photos in one easy spot, I was ecstatic. I spent an hour or two right then just looking at the various photos I uploaded, enjoying the memories that came with each one. Suddenly the power of flickr faded as the photos there were often not related to the 'diary' of the blog posts. They still have their place but I think that because they were always searchable and available, the novelty wasn't there.

Anyway, if you find yourself in the habit of reading my blog, congratulations. You're sneaking a peek into my diary and I hope you enjoy it. I certainly don't mind you reading (I'd have made it private if I did) but I've realized that the focus behind the writing is more directed at recording my thoughts and collecting my photos in an online scrapbook.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Movie Rain!

I once saw a site that showed budding young film directors how to make a machine that created 'movie rain.' This machine was needed because real rain was notorious for not showing up on film.

While this photo doesn't prove things to be otherwise, it does show that it's not an absolute. If it rains hard enough, it will show up, as can be seen if you view the larger version of this photo.

Anyway, I was just surprised to see the raindrops. Nothing else special about it I guess.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


As I continue to play with my camera, I find all sorts of things that are different from the broken Kodak. For example, the Nikon will offer a panorama assist mode for taking photos, but will not actually stitch them together. Bundled software was provided to do this on my computer though, which does get around the problem. The camera does offer a semi-transparent layer on the LCD viewfinder to help with lining up the shots though, which is a nice touch. The Kodak though, would automatically stitch the photos together and save them as one file right on the camera. I suspect that the results were less sophisticated, but it was nice to have it done at the time the photo was taken.
Having said that, you can see by the included photo that even more sophisticated stitching algorithms aren't perfect. Note the extra ripples in the water below Olympic Village. But still, the overall photo is a smoother match than what I used to get on the Kodak.