Thursday, November 15, 2007

Yup, it's official Winter's here.

This one week early turning the clocks back kinda frazzles most of us. Pretty brutal for the first little while until you numb up to it. Riding into work in the dark in the AM, the early evening darkness that suddenly appears trying to convince you that it is much later than it actually is. Then tag on the rain, GAAK! Ah well just waiting on the nicer days that I am sure will be here as well.

Well this week they released the Taser attack that took place at YVR and resulted in a Man's death (yet another). The 10 plus minute video, which was very clear showed what I can only describe as a perfect example of what is wrong with our National Police Force (RCMP) and with so many other complaints against them recently there is now a clear video of what might be occurring.
  1. Man cleared customs 6 hours previously yet was left unattended for that period in a secure area.
  2. After the event the RCMP announced that 3 officers were involved in this attack, yet the video clearly shows four uniformed officers
  3. Watch the approach of the officers to the man as he stands in the doorway, at this point there is no threat to anyone. The officers are clearly heard to be told "he does not speak English..." A tense situation like this, the officers walk quick-paced towards the door, aggressively vault over the low barrier, en mass. There is no threat to anyone at this time, would it not have been part of their training to slowly approach, perhaps 1 officer only? or even better talk across the room to the Man trying to both calm him and ascertain the situation.
  4. Why were the officers, speaking of using Tasers before even understanding the situation?
  5. Initially the officers surround the man, point to the counter and tell him to get against it, The man raises his hands (just below his shoulders) and follows directions to back against the counter, then the officers taser him. What was the reason for the attack by the officers.
  6. What happened to the Professionally trained RCMP officers? Ones who went into these situations with the thought of resolving a situation using both their intelligence and training to defuse the situation, not to go in and bully an obviously troubled and distraught person. What happened to the creed, Protect and Serve. Who were they protecting (The man was a threat to no one at this time as he was in a secure room with 4 Police officers?) Who were they serving, neither the public nor the man were served, seemed more like they wanted it done and over with so they could get back to ... hmm what is it they do at the Airport if not to serve the public?
  7. What happened to the Pepper spray they carry, if they felt so threatened by this unarmed individual? The RCMP said after the fact (before the video was retrieved) that they could not use pepper spray due to the amount of citizens around the situation who may have been inadvertently sprayed, there were no members of the public in the sealed off room the event occured in.
I think it is long overdue that the investigation of these events need to be done by an independent body, as past investigations have been the Police investigating themselves. I do feel that if this was to occur much could be learned and then applied to repair short-comings in training or guidelines of when weapons could be used. It seems that the Police have lost the ability, (or will) to control situations they are in, guess it is just easier to pull the 'Zar.

A sad situation for his Mum who also just emigrated to Canada.

Just wrapped 3000 Km's on the KLR, took it back up to Jordan Meadows last weekend. From Shawnigan Lake we then drove the Main Forestry road to Port Renfrew. It was a great ride, very wet though and a lot of fun. There are a ton of off-shoots up there that should keep me busy exploring for a long time to come. As I was riding , with a sheer drop-off into a deep Valley on one side, I really came to understand exactly how much enjoyment I could get out of this Dual sport Bike, doing what I already love to do, explore the backwoods. Time to do the front brakes on the Bike and I am upgrading the front rotor to the oversized 320 MM unit, then installing replacement Braided Steel Hoses, EZBleeders (front and rear). It should seriously improve the front braking abilities of the KLR.

Picked up Call of Duty 4 and Enemy Territory:Quake Wars. COD4 (Charlie Oscar Delta 4) is incredible!! If you liked any of the previous releases, this is another one to add to the set, if you have not picked this one up then go out and check it out and I am sure you will rush back and get the previous ones... Quake wars on the other hand reminded my of the previous BattleField type releases... it's alright but save your coins kiddies, wait for the price drops on it. Unreal Tournament III comes out on the 19th and promises to live up to the Unreal namesakes. Damn you gotta love this time of Year.. when all the new shooters come out. Oh yeah still hooked on Rainbow 6:Vegas and Medal of Honor: Airborne.

So I am continuing to "Bach" it, still another 3 plus weeks to go... just really glad I have the dogs here as well as the ongoing things that need to be done.

Hey Happy Thanksgiving to my American Buddies, this week. Damn how many more shopping days till Christmas? ;-)


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fast Approaching Winter

I purchased a new ride last month, a 2003 Kawasaki KLR650. Got a great deal on it (I felt) and it is a real change from my usual type of ride. I love my FJ, the available performance (never did find out the top end, great to have a ride that controlled the Speed freak in me. I was amazed at how fast I did go - obvious not commenting on that here.) the look and just the whole attitude. I have posted it on a few sites for sale. The KLR has got so many good points going for it though, more economic to operate, tons of aftermarket parts (things like the Corbin seat I have received), the ability to tour on-road or off. It is light enough that I will be able put it on a trailer hitch tray to bring it with us when we head out camping or touring. I took it out to the Jordan Meadows west of Shawnigan to bang up off-road for a while. What a blast! In a little over a month I have racked up over 2000 Kms, not bad for such a bad weather month. I think I am going to be very pleased with this bike and where it will take me.

We got our Volkswagen Westy back (I also refer to it as the four wheeled money pit) after it failed us, yet again, on our way to our long awaited camping trip. Made it as far as Nanaimo before we had to pull into the local VW dealer. Long story short... Blew the engine, damaged coolant system = Lots of $$$$$. It had a 1.9 liter engine which is no longer available so it had to be fitted with a 2.1 Liter. Seemed to be running good, although have not had a lot of time to test it, (please see previous paragraph) so took it today and the Damn thing failed me yet again, thought it might be either alternator (I replaced this beginning of September) or Battery going flat. Alternator tested ok, Multimeter on the battery looked right. Next step Starter...unreal. Buying a new van one piece at a time. LOL

Some brilliant games out now, the obvious Halo 3. Picked up Medal of Honor: Airborne and Rainbow 6:Vegas. Hugely addictive. Over the next few weeks Call of Duty 4 and Unreal Tournament 3 are coming out. Love this time of year.

I was given a Cisco 2950-12 Switch, Have been spending a lot of time working with both telnet and web-interface for the switch. Been interesting to work at configuring it then monitoring or attempting to circumvent it. Or to launch an attack and then monitor the network for signs or pointers, or to configure the alarms to detect the attacks. Way too much fun.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Exploring the South Island

I went out looking for a decent camping spot, somewhere off the beaten path (as usual for me) somewhere Old Andre and myself can just kick and relax like we used to at Kalum. Me with a few brews in hand and him just happy to be off leash and exploring. Yesterday I went out to a site that was near East Sooke Regional park and was not surprised to find it was not suitable for what I wanted but it paid off in another respect and allowed me to try out the new lens I bought for the Canon Xti. I bought a Canon EF-s 10-22mm Ultrawide Zoom, after much reading it seems to be one of the best for a wide-angle Lens. Posted them here.

It was a really nice park , previously I had hiked in from Pike road to cabin Point but this was the first time I came from this direction. Some great family beaches, something to keep in mind for the next time we have visitors. Something about being here for four years still so much to get out and discover. Always very cool to find these spots and then to be able to share them.

Today I went on the hunt, west of Lake Shawnigan along the Old Port Renfrew forestry road then further down West Jordan Main. Some incredible spots, very similar to other forestry road I have traveled throughout the Province. A little different doing it in the Westy instead of the 3/4ton Ford, had to be a little more gentle...  LOL. None of these spots are great places to break down if you know what I mean although at least the risk of crossing path with Mr Griz does not exist still be a long walk out. I was able to update the BC Off-roads map book with some details, what really surprised me though was the amount of Trespassing Warning Signs stating certain roads were restricted access only, as these all were on on Crown Lands I was a little confused as to how Land that belongs to everyone in BC could be restricted. I will go to the Forestry and Ministry of Parks and lands to verify access to these spots, besides I would like to pick their brains about possible secluded spots or rec sites, (not that it really stopped me from driving on). No pictures this time as most of the time was just spent driving.

If you take digital pictures, and you want to share them securely with family and friends without the hassle of them signing up to the various photo sites, try out PicMe not only is it straightforward to configure and index you can also choose which online resource can be shared with, but the best is how it lays out all of your sets on the desk, very intuitive, very visual makes you wish for a giant LCD display (64 OR BIGGER). It has several levels from the free version which would work for most folks to the higher storage and performance of the paid version.


Sunday, June 17, 2007


Well nearly 6 month after the trip, and dealing with a catastrophic Hard Drive failure I was able to restore the majority of my pictures to my new drive. That was a nail biter.... I have posted some of them up to my flickr site here. For those of you who have been asking , thanks for your patience and enjoy.

Speaking of pictures if you cruise through my Set`s you will also see some of the Spare room transformation from 1970`s (Ugh!!!) textured white, sort of , walls to the bright colours that we choose to paint with. The tiling really came through in this room with those colours. We are looking forward to get the rest of the walls in the house finished in the fall (unless our weather keeps going like it has, has not been really conducive to working outdoors.), focusing on outside stuff right now. As we have discussed expanding our house by building off the front of the house on the present computer room and changing it into a very large and light Master Bedroom. Also building off the back of the house off the current Master Bedroom, changing it to a Sunroom and computer room. Figure this could ad about 400 square feet to our present small house, which would be welcome. Would need to be a mix of Professional contractor work due to both insurance and inspections, plus work that we could do ourselves.

Anyways enjoy the pictures....


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Sun is back, things are good

Pleased to announce our youngest dog pulled through a very tough time, (for her and us) believed to be caused by an unknown immune disorder. We spent a lot of time worrying over her, worrying over the very serious drugs that we needed to give her, but so happy that she was able to fight her way out. She is about 95%, and due to the prednosone has gained a substantial and unhealthy weight. We have swapped all three dogs food over to a low calorie diet boosted with Glucosamine, (great for our Oldest Andre with the joint issues he has). It's been rough on them being hungry all the time, then we are also limited on walk time, A is done to less than 20 minutes and but as he enjoys being around me so much I thought better to pop him in our Westy and drive him to the beach, which he loves. E due to both her weight and body recovering is also limited but we have her up to 30+ minutes,  then of course there is "Bighead" he walks but the heat gets to him...and then he just lays down and thats it... so the diet is the only way to go.

It was determined that our oldest A had a cancerous tumor, which thankfully turned out to be benign. Of he has some joint issues and is getting on, but at 5 am everyday when I get up he is right there beside me and still has his "puppy" moments. So all in all great news for the hounds and for us!

Our spare room came together nicely, just in time for a visit from our Friend from Prince, MoB was here for a week and it was fantastic (as always) to visit with her. Does not seem to matter what mood I am in she can always get me to laugh... a great gift to be able to get others to smile and laugh.  Anyways the visit went well and I will get some pictures up of both the visit and the toned down room.

Well The Soprano's is down to 2 episodes left, withdrawal symptoms have already started, you know reaching for your dvd copies of Good Fellas, the Godfather series, Casino etc..ah forget'bout it.  ;-) I have enjoyed all the characters including the ones you hate, the twists and turns, wondering who would get bumped in this episode. Wish Big Pussy had stuck around for a few seasons further than he did.  Not sure what the next TV show is for me, still have a few others that I have to sit down and catch up on, Battlestar Galactica brilliant but requires an investment almost as much of one as 24...House MD, Sleeper Cell, and of course my old favorite Law and Order... is there and hour of the day a rerun is not on? Still going to miss the 'Bing

Down to less than 3 boxes of tile left, no more tiling until we decide on the expansion. So now down to the next projects. We have bought a littler Nissan pu for doing these tasks. An older one but in really good shape. It will be nice to have access to a a vehicle that we can use for transporting of everything we need, really missed my truck. We planted two Plum trees, yeah got our own little orchid, no acreage but got the fruit trees.. so nice to see our plants and things come in after such a long and awful winter.

We replaced our smaller camera (Sureshot 110 ) with a new Canon PowerShot a560 , a long story on the why but it was a great upgrade. This new one's zoom in shots are much clearer than the old one. Speaking of camera's learning lot's about our Rebel XTi and about Photoshop CS2. I bought a new pack for the camera, a Lowe Slingshot 200, just an awesome carrier, you can have your camera in hand in seconds from your back. It has lots of adjustable pockets for all the lens and filters as well as holding then Gorillapod. It's good to go! I think I would like to take a trip up to Mt Washington or even Port Hardy for a "photoshoot".

OK a quick update...:-)


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Rough week or so...

Been a hard last little while, between vehicle maintenance issues with our Westy in for some major repairs (all little things but a whole page of them), my motorcycle required new tires then found that the front forks were bleeding a little, so had them rebuild and reseal the forks. Unfortunately the only the upper bushings were available from the dealer (no I am not crazy the work is being done by Victoria Motorcycle Salvage on David Street, but the parts were only available via the dealer) but the lower bushings were not available from them. Yahoo's FJ1200 Club to the rescue! A company called Race-tech manufacturers after market suspension for my 86 FJ1200. They are also reasonably priced. So basically as far as the vehicles are going, we are down to the Tercel, and of course A's Honda Rebel, but with no insurance.

Then this past Friday things got a bit worse and more serious, as our youngest dog collapsed. I had just come home on Friday evening, and found her dazed, barely standing but not moving, she was staring straight ahead at the wall, then fell over. She stayed that way for a few minutes in a daze. Later that evening she seemed fine, but of course I kept a close eye on her. The next morning when I returned from a quick chore outside, she could not raise herself from the couch, and was in that "1000 Yard Stare" again. So I decided to take her to the Vet. After the exam the Blood work was run, this showed a very high escalation of White blood cells as well as a slight drop in Red Cells, the obvious assumption was an infection as the physical exam showed nothing out of place. A prescription of the Antibiotics and Steroids was recommended, as well as a close monitoring over the weekend. She seemed quite fine over both days with the exception of sleeping lots, I put this down to both the escalating fight her body was going through as well as the meds. Monday morning blood work was not positive though. It showed a startling climb in her White cells to nearly three time what they should be, again the Red cells had fallen substantially. Blood sugar levels had also shown a significant rise above the normal, as well as high levels of sugar in her urine. We had proceeded with Abdominal and chest cavity X-rays. A large mass was seen near the now enlarged spleen, but could not be identified as its proximity to the spleen made it hard, and the mass has pushed many of the organs away. So this Thursday we have a Ultrasound booked to try to ascertain our next steps to get her back to health, as well as an additional blood work this AM to keep an eye on things. As you can imagine we are both feeling quite upset and just hoping that we can get her all fixed up and back to full health.

Back up, Back up, back up! No I am not practicing to be a sign-person, or driving instructor. I am speaking about a catastrophic Hard Disk failure that took out a 200 GB Maxtor Drive, which unfortunately had the partition with all my documents as well as over 5 years worth of my Digital Pictures. Those of you asking when I was going to post my Vegas Pictures, may now see why the delay. Thankfully I had a back up of all pictures pre-Canon XTi, as well as all the ones since the XTi on separate discs. You can imagine the panic though, questioning whether I had backed it up or "just meant to"! Pretty much tore my Computer room apart in the search to find the safely stored DVD's or one of the copies. I had tried every trick known to me in order to resurrect the Drive, using everything from the freezer to all my utilities. OK don't laugh but when the drive is plugged in in makes a ringing sound like an old cell phone, then it almost sounds like a dial tone until it clicks off.. yes I found it on the web so it's not just me losing my mind. I have order a replacement Board for the drive, as this may bring it back so I can get any other data off of it, (although the pictures were the big thing,). I have ordered a replacement drive for this unit as it is out of warranty (figures). Do we have time to go into my Hauppage PVR, which at this moment should have arrived in Hauppage, NY for repair/replacement. It's OK, get all of these little negatives out of the way this month, then the rest of the year will be positive :-)

OK on a more positive note, when in Vegas I saw these little replica of the "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas, Nevada" signs. Well I thought I have to get one of those for my computer desk. They have the chase lights running around the sign as well as the multi-colored flashing star. The issue was getting it back via airline luggage from Vegas to San Francisco then to Vancouver and finally Victoria (I figured it would be in many pieces by then). While in Vegas I went on eBay and sure enough they had them listed there. Well it arrived yesterday and it looks very cool, almost like being there ;-) Now just waiting for "The Deuce" "Ride the Deuce, Have fun!"
Wish I was back there now.


Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Onward (or there is always next year)

Well a disappointing finish to an exciting Superbowl. I can not understand why they would not have pulled Grossman, anything thrown over 10 yards was picked off by the Colts defense. The Bears offense was non-existent as the running game on every play gets a little predictable. The Bears Defense though was fantastic but tired in the end, not a real surprise since they were on the field a lot more than they, or any other defense should be. Ah well, they made it to the Bowl and even though they did not walk away with the shiny rings, they still did pretty awesome. Look forward to next season.

Still working on the editing and ordering of the Photo's from our Las Vegas trip. I have had a few ask me about them, their coming honest. I have a bunch printed off, as well as starting to go through them to choose some of the best without turning it into a Borefest, you know like the old slide shows of the guy who travels to some backwater place and then forces his friends to watch slide after slide....

Check this out...

Visited Tattoo Zoo here in Victoria after work yesterday, had the Artist Colin Wiley do this tribute to one of my favourite dark games. It was a weird one to get though, the back of the neck with all the nerves, it was not exactly pain I felt. At times when a nerve was hit my left temple developed a sharp pain, as soon as the needle moved from the spot on my neck the pain stopped. The upper portions when done would send a chill through me causing goosebumps, very different. :-)

Had quite the start to the day yesterday though, first lost my collection on my iPOD, (this is the second time as it also occurred on the Flight down to San Francisco) I was able to recover although it concerned me that the unit was making a little noise. I will need to get a call into them I suppose. Then go to start the company van, and it also makes weird noises and refuses to start, ended up having to get a tow in. For a day that I intended to start early I really ended up behind. So waiting to hear back from the Dodge dealer for an ETA.


Saturday, January 27, 2007

Living the High Life in Las Vegas.

Well it's been a terrific time so far. Landed in Vegas at 13:20 on Sunday and since then it has been go go go, in a very good way. The weather here has been terrific, we even broke the record for January 24 at 64 Degrees. We were out there at the concrete show watch the guys building a brick wall in competition. I thought it was going to be a hard thing to watch, but it was really enjoyable hard to believe how hard those guys worked.

The show itself was very interesting as well, I spent a lot of my time wandering, exploring on my own. I also was invited to attend a seminar on the overall view of the past and present " World Of Concrete show". It was a great event to be able to attend as many of the participants had vast experience in the industry. They were very forthcoming about their Industry experiences as well as the the trade show, I really learned much during this very short even, and had wished that I could have spent much more time with this group and been able to enquire further about their thoughts on how the industry has changed and where it would be going with the deep introduction of Technology in their day to day operations.

We also took the time to check out several of the venues that I had found on the net or had been advised by others to check out while here. Ellis Island is a MUST for anyone who enjoys fantastic food, brilliant beer, and most likely some of the friendliest folks running an establishment in the area. The food is of the highest quality yet the menu prices seem to have been stuck in the early 80's. The  "off menu" streak special does actually exist and is hard to beat at $4.95, the Prime Rib Steak at $9 is unbelievable, and not only is it done to perfection but even comes with a beer. BTW - buy your glass of beer at the bar for $1 as it is $2 in the restaurant (although it is worth far more in the glut of Miller and Budweiser bars. ;-) ). The breakfast's and lunch's really can not be beat, Huge portions, reasonable prices, it is no wonder that it is such a local haunt. As I will be back in August I am hoping to get a package that includes this one.

A buddy of mine recommended checking out the Las Vegas Distribution mall, (take the Deuce south past Mccarran Airport on Las Vegas Blvd to the Bus Hub, swap to the Mall connector. this will drop you there.). Everything from Adias, Nike,Royal Dalton , jean stores, show stores, all redistribution outlets. Great selection and prices, Wish I had more time when I got out there. What you have to check out though is West Coast Cycle's store hats and shirts from less than $1 to a heavy motorcycle (ladies) jacket for less than $50. Good quality, limited size worth a look. Another reason to go? Fry's Electronics, while the prices are nothing great compared to home the selection itself is unbelievable, a place I could spend days wandering.... I did pick up some interesting things including a camera connector for my iPod and save $20 over home. So there are some deals just gotta be careful.

We took a trip to Walmart on the 3400 block of Tropicana Blvd, back off the strip into the real Las Vegas folks turf. The people here are awesome, I am sure we stick out as tourists, damn barely understand Spanish, but the folks are just like all working folks are everywhere you go I guess. I felt safer in a general threat feeling in these areas than I ever would on the strip. Just regular folks trying to make their way in a tourist heavy town.

What the heck is with the distances here? Everything looks so close then you walk and walk and walk and... well you get my meaning. it really is huge. I bet there are very few folks that do this and put weight on.

Got something outta my system today. Brother-in-law (friend) and I dragged the women along to go and shoot some guns. They stayed outside of the gun shop But V and I went in and had a great time. I choose the AR/15 - M16 full auto as well as the FN-F2000 (damn ya gotta see this Duke would be proud of me), V took the semi and did a hell of great job of grouping on the Saddam target. :-) The instructor I had on the FN just absolutely loves her job, who wouldn't. They have more ammo used than the local Marine base and use their feedback to get up to speed on the ups and downs of the weapons. Pictures to follow.

Ok may right some more in the AM, last full day tomorrow. I think the general plan is to head to Fremont St tomorrow. Then Sunday AM back to reality unfortunately.. until August.


Saturday, January 20, 2007

Friday, January 19, 2007

Something to break the winter up with

Just a few days away from a mini vacation to Las Vegas (Lost Wages). We are really looking forward to this, and to taking a break at this time of year, makes February and March a little easier to bear. We are heading down for a full week, in the past we have just headed for the 4 day packages so this will be a treat. I have spent the past few weeks researching off-strip things I want to do/see and came across this brilliant websites.


It list a great selection of on-strip, off-strip and old Vegas (Fremont St) areas. It covers all aspects of the different hotels, from room quality , Gambling, eats, drinks freebies etc.. (heck even what shampoo bottles you get in your Hotel room. A buddy works down there and really recommends Ellis Island (just behind Ballys) in searching it out I came across Cheapovegas. I am looking at the possibility of going down there again in August for Defcon, so all this little sites I find may help out.


A great user review site of both brewpubs and beer bars (they serve either locally produced microbrew or imports). many of these are off-strip, but look very interesting. I will be checking them out, oh I mean investing my own time researching in minute detail in order to properly provide accurate reviews, don't want to mislead any other who use this site to plan out their vacations. ;-). Yeah its hard work.

A couple of people I know told me about these guys, they said it is a fun place to shop for electronics. So I am looking forward to experiencing them as well as seeing what kind of set-up they have to see how different it is from what we have here.

Well, rent a SMG from the .223 minimi , AK-47, M-16 etc... Handguns too... what more do you have to say?

Oh and for those who do not know, check out Jubilee travel for last minute deals to everywhere, (eg. all inclusives to Cuba or Mexico less than $900 for a week!)

With all the new rules in place for traveling and border crossing I needed to ensure that all my gadgets were registered before I cross over the border, just to make it easer to come back. I needed to get a temporary export form, I thought it was going to be comlicated and might even cost some dough, typical expectations when dealing with any Gov't Agency but was really surprised to see how easy and painless it was. Just walked into the Canadian Border Services office on Government Street with all my gadgets, the officer took the serial # and details down, entered them on a card and within 10 minutes I was on my way. It is a permanent card so as long as the electronics do not change I am good to go. walked the passport office on the way back, all those poor buggers who have waited till the last minute to try to beat this January 23, 2007 change to entering the US that requires all people flying to the USA to have a valid passport. What I do not get is why leave it till this point, after 911, everyone should have had one, it should have been a learning point, to remember how quickly Air and land traffic was closed. I imagine that you will soon require a passport to drive across the border too, I wonder if that will create another stampede for passports? Anyways as I will have my electronics I intend to find some nice internet coffee shops, off strip.