Anybody want a car?

October 16th, 2010, 4:26 pm PST by Greg

We’re finally going to get a new car. Our old car is worth essentially nothing as a trade-in, so if anybody wants it, speak up quickly. (Like, today or early tomorrow.)

1990 Toyota Corolla, 265000 km, automatic. No A/C, no power windows, no power locks: basically, nothing to break.

For its age, it’s in remarkably good shape. I don’t actually know much of anything about cars, but to the best of my knowledge, the engine, transmission, brakes are all good. It has passed Aircare with flying colours every year we’ve had it. (Never within a factor of 10 of any of the emission limits.) It has had proper regular maintenance its whole life.

A complete list of problems that I know about: There is a short in the brakelights that needs to be fixed so it stops blowing bulbs (and leaving you with only the rear-window light); cable to the license plate light has snapped and needs to be reattached; significant chunk of rust under the gas cap; some minor rust elsewhere at the back; there’s a seal around the top of the windshield that is coming off (that I’m pretty sure is decorative, but what do I know).

I’m not a mechanic, so I’m in no position to say that it will still be running in 6 months, but it’s doing okay for now.

We can get $550 from Aircare, so anybody else willing to pay that is welcome to it.

Olympic Summary

March 1st, 2010, 3:24 pm PST by Greg

I have avoided blogging throughout the Olympics because I just couldn’t figure out what to say. I still don’t know, but feel like I should write something. I have collected my Olympic pictures and will link as appropriate. (I have some pictures from last night that aren’t in there yet: give me a few hours.)

Here are my highlights…

Things we did

  • On the 16th, I slept in and Kat got up early to do the zipline. I wandered downtown at my leisure and sat down to watch the curling game (Martin v Norway) in Robson Square, right under the zipline tower. In the span of three minutes, Kelly zipped, Martin won the game, and Kat and Pam zipped.

    There are pictures from the zipline. Be sure to notice the movies Kat took.

  • Later that day, we went to the Mint pavilion. As much as I can’t believe I’m saying it, it was totally worth waiting for three hours.

    The Olympic medals are fundamentally just a pound of metal, but they just feel different: special and important. We don’t have many pictures from that because I mostly spent my time rolling the thing around in my hand and staring at it.

  • On the second day of the Colbert report, we went around behind the stage (based on Kat’s discovery the day before). Everybody who went on or off the stage walked within 10 feet of where we were. Pam got a signed picture.
  • Nico and Allison came to visit for a couple of days, which was great. We ran into Meredith Vieira from the View. That was exciting once Kat and Allison explained to Nico and I who that was. Also, we made pretzels.
  • We saw two women’s curling matches: the semi-finals (Canada over Switzerland and China over Sweden) and the bronze medal match (China over Switzerland). So, we saw the Chinese women win the bronze: they were obviously very excited and I got some good pictures of them celebrating (thanks to the Chinese photographer who called them over to our side of of the rink).

The Games

  • Jon Montgomery’s triumphant march through Whistler. I think this is my favourite moment of the games because it’s obvious to me that he would have done the same thing if he had come in 2nd or 6th. There might not have been a camera crew, and one of his friends would have gotten him a beer instead of some random girl handing him a pitcher, but he would have been there either way.
  • Marianne St-Gelais’ reaction to Charles Hamelin’s 500m gold. I particularly like it when she lost the coordination to jump up and down and switched to running in place.
  • Scott Moir: “We’re second… no just kidding: first!”
  • Kevin Martin’s curling gold and Cheryl Bernard’s ulcer-inducing silver.

    Kevin Martin’s dominance in this sport really cannot be overstated. If we count the biggest competitions in the sport in the last year (Brier, Canadian Olympic qualifiers, World Championships, and Olympics), Martin has lost 3 games out of 40. In a sport where a couple of missed shots can swing the game in your opponent’s favour, that’s stunning.

  • William-goddamn-Shatner in the closing ceremonies. “I’m Bill and I’m proud to be Canadian”. Really, is there anyone more full of awesome than Shatner?

I will point out that my top two there (Montgomery and St-Gelais) were the result of CTV putting a camera pointing in just the right (non-obvious) direction at the right moment. Kudos to them on solidly good coverage.

I Have The Best Job In The World

January 4th, 2010, 3:55 pm PST by Greg

… and it’s days like today that I have to say that out loud to remind myself. I am not mentally or physically prepared to be done my Christmas break or resume teaching.

I have posted some pics from Vegas. The trip was good: to give you an idea, we gambled a total of $100 between us because there was too much other stuff to do.

A warning: when going to Vegas, plan to spend $100–200 per person per day on miscellaneous stuff. By the time you have a nice dinner and go to a show, $100 is gone, and that only entertains you for the evening.

The highlight for me was probably the Gun Store (not-even-subtly-racist targets aside). When else am I going to shoot an assault rifle? I should have upgraded the package to shoot a handgun too.

Other than that, we had a good set of the standard holiday stuff (including our open house, which I haven’t done the time lapse video for yet). All of that went well, but all happened much too fast.

A Vegas Christmas

December 7th, 2009, 12:59 am PST by Greg

A few weeks ago, I got to thinking about our Christmas plans…

I haven’t gone back to see my family for a while: it’s much nicer to go back (and deal with flying to Ontario) in the summer. Kat’s family does Christmas eve, not Christmas day. For the last few years, we have spent Christmas day with friends, which has always been a lot of fun, but this year all of the friends are scattering to the four corners of the world.

So I thought to myself: What’s keeping us in Vancouver? After Christmas eve with Kat’s family, we’re pretty much done with the holiday. But, anywhere we could go after that would be closed for the holiday, with one exception:


So, on Christmas day we’re flying from YVR to Vegas and spending four days at the MGM Grand. On the menu this time:

  • We want to shoot some guns (just like Angelica did). I’ve got to shoot a Kalashnikov.
  • Fremont Street.
  • Seinfeld is in Vegas around then: that would be awesome.
  • I have wanted to see Penn & Teller for a while and they’re performing through Christmas.
  • We have never eaten the food of Thomas Keller, so Bouchon is a distinct possibility.
  • Boxing day outlet shopping.
  • I want to see if I can find somewhere to make a prop bet and bet on something crazy.

As an added bonus, our friend Suyoko (and her mom) are going to be in Vegas for Christmas. That means (among other things) that I don’t actually have to wait through the outlet shopping: they can go and leave me behind.

Anybody want a desk?

September 5th, 2009, 9:34 pm PST by Greg

As a result of watching Hoarders and an ongoing effort to clean up our office (which has never been quite right since we moved in), we have a desk to get rid of:

desk closed desk open

It’s an Ikea corner-unit desk that folds open/closed. It actually holds a fair amount of stuff. It just doesn’t fit right into our office, so it’s time to let it go.

Free, but we have no vehicle to move it, so once it’s down the elevator here, it’s your problem.


July 25th, 2009, 9:41 pm PST by Greg

While the aforementioned ice cream sandwiches were being made, this is what was going on outside:

Lightning Big lightning Lightning

Click the thumbnails for the full images. I managed to get some nice pictures with a tripod, one second exposures, and some persistence. As the storm passed and the sun set, this happened:


Edit 07/26: Katkam (no relation) pwned me due to vantage point: sunset, fireworks.

What I’ve been doing lately

July 24th, 2009, 11:59 pm PST by Kat

This has been what I’ve been staring for the past month – almost constantly for last two weeks. I’ll be glad when I can get back to the lab full-time.

Mobile photo blogging

July 21st, 2009, 10:50 am PST by Kat

I’ve been a little lax in blogging lately, and I realized it was because I always gel like I don’t have enough to say to merit a blog post. Then in a fit of procrastination I signed up for Twitter. It seems as though the short character limit and ability to quickly post a picture are right in lone with the amount of info I feel like sharing on a day to day basis. However, because a lot of people who read this blog seem to be allergic to social networking (you know who you are), my tweets aren’t reaching very many people.
So to remedy thus situation I found an app that wil enable me to mobile blog and quickly add a picture, and I did it all by myself! (Greg is now probably rolling his eyes.) Anyways, here is my first mobile blog. If you’re reading this then that means it worked! I’m attaching a picture just to see whether that works too.


April 5th, 2009, 11:44 pm PST by Greg

As some of you know, but we haven’t mentioned here yet… Kat and I are heading to China for a vacation. It’s the first travelling Kat and I have done together for a long time: all of our travels for the last few years were to-and-from North Carolina.

We’re leaving April 13 and starting the trip with three days in Hangzhou, which is where Zhejiang University is: the home of our Dual Degree Program. Janice is there, as are a bunch of students I know from CMPT 120. It will be nice to see them.

But mostly, after a thousand meetings talking about the DDP as an abstract concept, I want to see the damn place. Hangzhou is supposed to be one of the places Chinese people go on vacation in China, so I have a good feeling about getting to hang out there for a few days.

Then, we’re going back to Beijing and joining a tour, “Yangtze Interlude”. Our tour has day 1 == April 16, so you can do the math if you really want to figure out exactly where we are on each day.

The tour is pretty much “tourist highlights of China”. Since I have never been to China, that seems appropriate. I have also never been on a package tour. I suspect that somewhere around day 13, I’ll hear myself say something like “we already saw three ancient temples; why the hell would I want to see another one?”

Anyway, several of the hotels on our itinerary claim to have Internet access, so I’m hoping we’ll at least be able to post updates here and perhaps some pictures.

I’m a Sick Baby

February 6th, 2009, 12:20 pm PST by Greg

Okay, let’s start with the facts: I have a cold. Now, a cold isn’t that big a deal. It’s not like I have a touch of the hanta virus or something.

But, I hate it. It’s never going to be bad enough that I can properly complain about it, or even take time away from work with a clear conscience. I’m just going to be vaguely annoyed for the next week.

I wish I could take the whole cold and pack it into 24 miserable hours rather than have it drag on.

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