Monday, November 14, 2005

My name is Jason and I'm a Warcraholic.

This made me a little teary-eyed. I miss the days of really, REALLY good computer games like Monkey Island (1 thru 4, you pick), Sam and Max hit the road, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, or pretty much ANY of the LucasArts (née LucasFilm Games) adventures.

Although I'm lacking in the adventure game department these days, the times they are a-changin', and I'm hooked pretty hard to World of Warcraft.

Justin selected me as his bait for the 10-day free trial that Blizzard armed him with, and by gar it worked. It's just so... so damn addictive. The 10 enjoyable days ended as predictably as the sun rising in the east, and I handed over my credit card with mouth wide open when the trial expired.

I'm playing a Night-Elf hunter on Kael'Thas, and I'm loving the crap out of it. December 12 is when my initial month runs out and as of RIGHT NOW... it's an easy decision whether I'll be renewing or not. I hate that I'm committed to paying for a 'game subscription' but honestly, now that I'm fully submerged in the joy-batter.... It's worth every penny.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Monday, October 17, 2005

Hankerin' more of the same


Well, Poker Night went really well. We had 2 newcomers to our game. Tim, a friend of Pat's (Pat didn't come) and Dave, a guy I met a good year or so back at an XBOX party my boss (now my director) threw. I remembered he loved poker so I figured he'd be a good game-hungry player to invite. They both had great attitudes and came for the fun, poker, and free drinks (courtesy of emily) and I believe a good time was had by all.

We had a relatively quick $10 tournament which, although scheduled to end around 12:00, actually ended closer to 10:30, with Justin in 3rd winning back his buy-in, Jordan taking 2nd place and $20, and newcomer Dave winning and taking the lion's share of the prize pool, a whopping $30. Not bad going.

After that was all done we played a $20 max buy-in .10/.20 ring game and it went on until the wee hours of the morning. At the end of the night, some were down, some were up, and some were even, but I think we all agreed that we'd all raked plenty of entertainment out of the night. It went so well I think I'm going to try to make it a bi-weekly affair. There are enough new folks interested that I don't think I'd have any trouble filling a 10-man tourney.


Anyways... good poker always leaves me hankerin' more of the same. I just need about 5 more people on 1 hour's notice and another $20 bill :)

Friday, October 14, 2005

P.S.

Oh yeah... and I finished the tiling project. I'm not one to 'toot my own horn' but honestly, I did a fucking bang-up job. There. I said it.

Poker night

Tonight is poker night at my place. I think I may try to take some pics of the 'event' and share them on the blog. Then again, I may be too consumed with trying to run a fair establishment to be focused on taking pics :)

6 players tonight, provided everyone who says they'd show up shows up. I think about 18 people were originally invited... the poker crew I run with tends to err on the side of flaky if they respond at all, so I'm doing all I can to beef up the group; 'flakeBuffer++' if you will.

Usually a good time is had by all at such engagements, whether money is made or lost. Hopefully tonight will not disappoint.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Buckling under the [Peer] Pressure

ok, ok... I'll post something. I'll take time out of my BUSY BUSY day (I've been using my brain since 9am.. thinking about going home uses a lot of energy) to stop and post some arbitrary nuggets of trivia about what's currently going on around me and in my life. Let's see, where was I...

Well, Rowan has been officially diagnosed as having ADHD.

Now that we have an official diagnosis, the school system is, all of a sudden, able to provide us with additional assistance. They can actually NOW start to work with us to make Rowan's school life more productive and useful. Seems to me that the overstretched and underfunded school system we have at our disposal in this fine country can't really do anything to work through problems like ours without first getting some much needed funds. Diagnosing kids with ADHD seems like a ticket to receiving those funds... I can see why this might be becoming a disturbing trend. I have to battle my feelings about the whole funding issue because underneath it all I know that it's an accurate diagnosis of Rowan's condition. We've done all the things we're supposed to do, we've seen multiple psychologists, and we're simply not seeing the long-term improvements that need to happen. I could see, however, cases of kids with dyslexia, boredom, or just not being very smart, being misdiagnosed as ADHD just because the school kind of needs the additional assistance.

Stigma aside, it is what it is. It actually feels good to finally be getting some real, honest-to-goodness help from SOMEWHERE. We feel validated after 4 hard years of feeling frustrated and guilty about our parenting skills. We feel relief from the assistance that we're now getting. We feel hopeful that we'll be able to succeed in raising Rowan now we're getting the help of others.

Hillary Clinton was onto something when she coined the old saying 'It takes a village to raise a child'. Honestly, without getting the help we're starting to get now, I don't know how we could ever hope to be successful in raising Rowan.

So, 'behavior plans' are being created and disseminated, assistance from the school is coming (these things still take time), and evaluation of actions and progress will begin very soon. Medication may well be in the not-so-distant future, my opinions around which will be reserved for another post.

In other news, I'm currently tiling our laundry room. Matching existing tile in your home is tricky. Don't shop around, Don't try to find something that is close. Just find the manufacturer, call them, and order it no matter what the cost. Trust me on this one.

I should be done with the tiling project by Sunday. I'm hoping that we can adorn our new floor with a spunky new washer and dryer, since our washing machine reminds me, on a weekly basis, of the Simpsons episode "Brother, Can You Spare Two Dimes?" where the Simpson's old washer and dryer race against each other, vibrating across the floor in Moe's tavern at the end of the episode. This is not a new 'want' of mine; our washing machine has been this way for close to a year now. I think we got our money's worth out of it. However the only way I think I'll be able to convince the wife that this medium-sized investment is, indeed, a necessity at this time in our lives (I'm getting tired of taking turns to hold it down during the spin cycle) - is to... well, to "lose" the washing machine in a freak "I was just moving the washing machine when it dropped from an 8ft height, and now I'm trying to repair it with this mallet" accident.

If you only watch one piece of 'internet trash' this week, make sure it's the GI Joe episode "Give him the stick" from this collection. Enjoy.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Playing Catchup

I've just been so busy lately; for some reason I have more desire these days to actually achieve some of the goals on the neverending list of domestic to-do's than ever before.

From installing attic fans to landscaping projects, self-servicing automobiles and painting old furniture, to tying off loose ends and selling "one day I'll do something with it" domain names.

Maybe it's my increasing dissatisfaction with work (which generally this last week went a lot better, albeit still painstakingly unsatisfying) that motivates me to be more successful and productive at home. Or maybe I'm just doing this stuff to avoid reality and procrastinate on decisions like "should my child be medicated for his impulsiveness which is blocking his ability to progress in school or should we 'wait it out' or try YET another parenting methodology"

Who knows. The good thing is, a lot of stuff is getting done.

The bad thing is, it seems this productiveness needs to be fuelled by a state of perpetual malcontent in other aspects of my life.

My wife and I, on the other hand, have been getting along very well for the past few weeks. Maybe it's related to the volume of crap I'm getting done at home :)

Friday, August 05, 2005

On The Beautiful, Blue Danube

I know it sounds strange, but go ahead and try it, I think you'll like it.

When it's down to the final 3 on a tournament table, play Strauss' "On the Beautiful Blue Danube" on a pair of headphones nice and loud. It makes raking in the chips and taking out the other two guys THAT much more satisfying.

I always picture a movie where I'm playing at a circular poker table, with the Blue Danube playing very loudly on the soundtrack (no other audio) as the camera spins around the perimiter of the table, pointing toward the middle, and every time I come into shot I'm raking in chips, a big cigar drooping out of an uncontrolled smile, with the synchronized cymbal clashes celebrating each win.

I know, I'm over-dramatizing but hey you gotta get your kicks somewhere right? Online poker is boring :)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Death by Lethargic Injection

The past three nights, maybe more, I've been getting home and going to bed at literally 8:45pm. Not by choice. I'm not talking about sitting there thinking "Hmmm I think I'll have an early night". I'm talking about my fate being dictated.

I'm finding in the evening I simply cannot function; I get home, eat with the family, bathe kids, hang with them for an hour or so, do some playing or what have you, and put them to bed shortly after 8:30. Normally that's the time I get to do my own thing but of late I put them to bed, walk down the stairs, and stumble into my bedroom, collapsing on the bed.

I liken my evenings to the image of the running-out-of-gas car that just manages to sputter into the gas station, engine spluttering and backfiring, finally cutting off right as it enters the boundary of the gas station, only to have to be pushed the remaining 10 feet to the pump. It's like, I'm able to stay awake JUST long enough to perform my fatherly duties, and then it's all over. I may or may not have time to disrobe before passing out. Somehow in the past week, I've gone from my lifelong ability of being able to get 3 hours of sleep per night and still do OK, to getting almost 12 hours per night and still not being able to make it thru the day. What changed?

I think in some bizarro world somewhere, my alter ego did something very bad in the last week, and as a result they tried to sentence him to death by way of lethal injection. The only problem is, someone picked up the wrong syringe; The one they used said "Lethargy" on it instead of "Lethal". I wonder how long it'll take before it wears off?

So... tired...

Monday, July 11, 2005

Family > All

Right now my grandmother, "Granny" as she's known to me, is in the hospital. It's nothing terminal or anything, she's receiving treatment for an arthritic hip. She was at home watching TV and she found herself unable to get out of her chair.

Granny is and always has been a go-getter. She's always in the garden tending to her beautiful flowers, and only recently delegated the task of mowing her own lawn (a large one at that) to someone else. She's in her mid-eighties, lives on her own in a large two story house which she cleans herself, she still is very very independent. Recently her vision has started to deteriorate and she recently had cataract surgery, and lately her knee has been hurting from arthritis and she's been waiting for a knee replacement. I'm making her sound like a bit of a basket-case but she's never missed a beat, she's (up until this point) been very active.

I have nothing but fond memories of both of my grandparents - my grandfather, Austral, died when I was 9 or so I think. I remember his loss very vividly. He was a great man, and a fantastic grandfather aka "Grandad" or "Grandee". I remember playing cricket with him on their front lawn - the same lawn that Granny has tended all these years. We'd go on walks and picnics in the woods, climb million-foot ladders to the tops of gigantic trees, play with an assortment of random trinkets in his tool shed, from tools and toys, to things that he'd found on one of his walks and taken home. It was always an adventure. Probably one of the reasons I gave my first child his name. Rowan Austral Hobbs. I wanted a reminder of the adventures which it will now be my paternal duty to provide for my children - and I'm sure one day, their children too.

The loss of my Grandad was my first experience losing an immediate family member and affected me a great deal. I've since lost Uncles and Great Aunts, and Grandmother-in-laws, none of whom I've been particularly close to, and only one of which was in the same country as I am currently.

Granny, like Grandad, I also have nothing but fond memories of. She'd join in with the cricket games, she was always a provider of candy, tea, and fantastic dinners. She was always there with us on our rambles across country, helping us climb the ladders, stashing bags of conkers to give to us before all the other kids could get to them; and she always had a way of making us behave without having to shout or spank us. Not only did we WANT to behave for Granny, but we were just so busy having a good time that we didn't really have time to think about misbehaving.

So back to my point... Granny is now in hospital and has been for a couple of weeks. She will remain there for a couple more weeks, receiving physiotherapy, pain killer, soon the originally-planned knee replacement, followed by more physio and rehabilitation. They'll let her go home when she shows she's again able to climb the stairs and walk around freely without too much assistance - Although she'll now receive regular home-help. Knowing Granny that recovery time won't be long. Also knowing her lust for independence and activity I know it's really hard for her being cooped up in a hosptial ward. She wants to be at home, making her OWN cup of tea when she wants it, not having someone else make one for her when they think she should have one. She wants to sit outside and chat with her neighbors about the local gossip. She wants to feed her canary and watch the shows she likes on TV. She wants to do her own thing. She's probably sitting around thinking about all the things that need doing at home, being left undone.

It's times like these I wish I was there, just to pop in and say Hi. Just to brighten her day and give her my support. Is it wrong to feel so guilty for not being there? I'm at work trying to find some suitable flowers to send to her, knowing that they'll make her really happy when she gets them, but also knowing that it's just not enough. I want to go and see her more than anything. She hasn't met my youngest child yet. I know she'd love to see him. I'd love for them to meet.

I NEED to see my family.

Not everyone will understand it as a "need". Everyone is different when it comes to relationships, especially with family. But to me, my family is right up there on the scale of "important things" and "reasons for living". It tears me apart knowing that I can't just see them whenever I want to.

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Dharma & Greg

You know as a general rule, especially as this stage in my life, I kind of detest the TV. Movies I can handle to a certain degree but the TV is such an abuse of my time. There's just no value that comes from it these days.

Last night, however, I watched Dharma & Greg with my wife. You know, it felt good to laugh out loud for once. I seem to be so 'into' all the BS and negative shit in my life right now that I have been neglecting to laugh. I always thought Dharma & Greg was kind of a lame show but damn it, it's just funny. Thanks Dharma & Greg, for showing me the way. You may have won your way into my nightly schedule. (If I'm not fast asleep or playing Battlefield 2)

That is perhaps the MOST shallow post I plan on making - like, ever.

But that's just kind of how I'm feeling today.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Once a smoker, always a smoker

I'll assume you as the lowly reader of my blog (I dunno, maybe it's just me who will read this, and that's ok too) don't know me. There was a time in my life when I was a smoker. Nay, an AVID smoker. I'd say a pack a day probably qualified me as 'avid', although I realize some people smoke way more than that, and still not feel like they smoke that much.

Shortly before my wife and I decided to have a baby, I managed to kick the addiction. I remember being really very proud of myself. It was not the first time I'd tried to quit. This time I bought the gum and I really think that helped me a lot, although it was still incredibly difficult to kick the non-chemical addiction. The feeling of the perfectly engineered round cylinder of love in between my fingers, the familiar satisfaction of taking a draw on the cigarette, the playful pastime of ejecting the smoke from my mouth in ever-more-creative ways.

It's now been over 5 years since I considered myself as a smoker, but in the past two weeks, I find that my desire to become a regular smoker again is getting greater and greater by the day. I can, however, think of nothing more repulsive than my children being around a smoking father, or the thought of me getting home in the evening, reeking like a wet ashtray and hugging them. Those mental images are my primary incentive to not completely break down and regress. I have no problem keeping those negative thoughts alive in my mind and for that reason alone I'm sure I can succeed in this particular battle against desire.

Great.

Well...

Just lately I've been finding it 'acceptable' to smoke the occasional cigarette at home, on the driveway... after the kids are asleep and safe in their beds. A cigarette followed by a quick shower, no-one is any the wiser, apart from my laundry pile. That's OK, right? I know it's not. I can say now that I know it's NOT ok, but I just want to put this in writing so I can look back on it in the coming weeks and months. It's NOT ok.

Right now I'm using it as a crutch to get through a very stressful period in my life. I shouldn't be. I hope that I can either be strong enough to walk alone, or that the stressful period won't last much longer than this pack of cigarettes will last. (which gives me approximately another 17 days of stress)

Social smoking I can deal with, although I also realize that THAT is unacceptable too. However it's this new occasional 'comfort injection' I need to focus on now. I know it's got to stop. I can't venture down this path again.

Calm and Collected, but not Cool

They turn off the AC at night here at work. Coming in at 8am means you're going to be dripping wet by 9. Nice.

...But it IS good for the company.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hypocrisy

Nothing pisses me off more than hypocrisy. If you mandate something to me that you feel is important, I am happy to oblige. I'm a nice person, I can make comprimises in the interest of a relationship.

If immediately after our agreement is made, you show a blatant disregard for your own mandate, then fuck you. The contract previously established has been nullified.

Excuse the language.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Definition du jour

job rape (jŏb rāp) n.

an unwanted or forced change in vocation perpetrated by one's superiors.

Getting things done

Seems like this is a week for getting things done that have been outstanding for a while in my world. I've been fixing things and installing things and catching up on things that have just taken a back seat for a while. Maybe I'm 'nesting' in preperation for this 'new' job. Among others, I finally added some pictures to my website. The last time I'd added any was after Camden's first birthday back in 2004. He's about to be 2 on July 31st so I figured this might be a good time to fill in the gaps. I know I suck. Of course it having been so long since I used my gallery, nothing worked properly, so fixing that added to the laundry list.

How badass is it that you can order parts for pretty much anything you've every purchased from Sears? We've had an elliptical machine for probably close to 2 years now which has been noisy from day one, with play in the pedals. I guess that should have been a sign that it wouldn't last too long because, well... it didn't. I took it apart this weekend when the newly-developed squeaking became unbearable, only to find that the bearings that surround the main axle have worn a sizeable groove in the axle itself. Judging by the size of the groove, I'd say those bearings never worked. Piece of crap. Anyways, $100 later parts are on their way and in all honesty, as much as I hate that damn thing, I'll feel pretty good if I get it all back together and it works like it should, all silent and 'tight'. I just wish I could be as optimistic at the chances of our washing machine being repaired. Maybe I should just bolt that fucking thing to the floor. That'd stop it moving halfway across the room during the spin cycle.

Migraines, Stress, Allergies, and Bluescreens. This is the life.

I've been nursing an insanely bad migraine for most of the day. One of those "every movement hurts" migraines where by the end of the day I can't even open one eye because the pain is too great.

Maybe running out of my allergy medicine last week is a contributing factor. Maybe it's due to the fact that I was essentially laid-off-but-not-really some time last week. Maybe it's the fact that I have quite a bit to do before I move into my new job and the pressure is getting to me. Maybe I just had a bad headache. When there are so many possibilities all at once, none of which can be immediately removed, how do you diagnose which one is responsible by the traditional process of elimination? Beer. That's how. Beer and huge-ass horse pills of ibuprofen.

Speaking of the process of elimination, I was finally able to play a solid 2 hours of Battlefield 2 this weekend without the dreaded bluescreen of death that I've been getting. I probably should have been more slow and deliberate in my elimination of possible causes but I wound up disabling DEP on my machine, disabling unused SATA channels, slowing my memory settings from 1T to 2T, disabling my unused serial port, and disabling my unused Floppy Disk Controller in the BIOS (hoping to free up some IRQ channels in case what I was experiencing was an IRQ conflict). One or all of those seemed to do the trick but I suspect the new 2T memory settings are having a detrimental effect on gameplay, with the occasional stutter when switching from zoomed to non-zoomed mode when using the anti-tank missile for example. I guess since I wasn't slow and deliberate in my elimination process I'll have to be slow and deliberate in my re-introduction process, changing at least the memory settings back before trying again.

...Of course, knowing my luck, it'll bluescreen just fine even with all those things removed.

Incidentally, a really useful toolset I found for analyzing memory dumps after a bluescreen was Debugging Tools for Windows from MS themselves ( I guess they throw us a bone every now and then ) with pretty good 101-level instructions here.

Oh yeah, and today is Ed's birthday. What a great guy. One of the most charitable and generous people you'd care to meet. Even though he's a freak. He's our freak and we love him.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Can You Hear Me Now

I guess the fact that I can post from my phone will enable me to be COMPLETELY spontaneous and even more random that I might be normally inclined to be.
This could be a bad thing.
...Of course, 255 characters doesn't leave much room for spontaneity.

First Post

Here it is, the obligatory "is it working" post. As you can see, it most certainly is. I guess I'll try to post something semi-regularly but I'm really a very forgetful and ill-organized person. Meh.