BabyStuff, DeveauxStuff 4 Comments

So we have our “Millionaire’s Family” now. Funny thing is that I’d never heard that term until last Wednesday, at which point I heard it from roughly everyone. For Emilia, I’d written a bunch of blog entries about the delivery and the big mess it caused. I will do the same here, but in bullet form (and in one post instead of four):

  • Went to Mic Mac Bar & Grill in Waverley for lunch on Monday. Melissa had the famous rib steak, I had chicken and ribs. Yum yum.
  • Dropped Emilia at Nanny’s on Tuesday night, and went to Cheelin for supper. Had Yu Xiang Chicken and Spicy Crispy Ginger Beef. Yum yum.
  • Watched about half of “The Expendables”, then went to bed
  • Woke up at a brutal early time, drove to hospital for planned c-section. Got there a little after 6.
  • In the OR prep room, a Dr had a hard time finding Melissa’s veins to take a blood sample. Ended up trying 4x.
  • Went into surgery at around 8:00AM. IV : 2 attempts (but no huge bruises)
  • Spinal administered with little fuss; anaesthesiologist threw in an epidural line just in case.
  • 8:35AM: It’s a boy! We name him Aaron. He promptly pees on Mommy.
  • 6 lbs, 13 oz, bigger than Emilia. Our nurse wins the pool.
  • I got to see Melissa’s uterus. It was outside of her body for a few minutes. It was neat.
  • There are staples (can’t forget those!)
  • Off to the recovery room. Two hours of boredom. Emilia’d pooped by now, Aaron waited a day (although he poops roughly 10 times a day now).
  • Back to our private room (no messing around here either), where we called family.
  • Emilia came by to visit a little later on, with Nanny and Granddad. It was love at first sight!
  • Wireless Internet in the hospital rooms FTW!
  • Leftover mucous in the lungs == a few scary moments
  • Connections in the kitchen == free food for Daddy!
  • Had some visitors come through over the next couple of days
  • It was 35+ degrees outside, and we didn’t notice
  • Drove home in a hurricane.

Click on the “Read the rest” link below for some pictures and video!

Read the rest…

2010 Tattoo Memories

NSTattooStuff 1 Comment

I don’t write much anymore (given that this is the second thing I’ve posted this year), but I’ve been immersed in the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo for the last month. The show wrapped up yesterday, and keeping with the tradition of writing at least a few words about the show, here are my memories of this year’s spectacle and my involvement therein.

  • I was disappointed on finding out that the Queen would not be attending. While I’m not necessarily a fan of the monarchy (growing up in a country where it didn’t mean as much as it once did), I am a big fan of celebrity, and the Queen is one of the most famous people in the world. Not that I ended up going out of my way to see her while she was here, but still.
  • Finding out that this would be the Kemps’ last year being directly involved with the choir was a big thing… While I don’t know them as well as many, they’ve left their mark on the choir and the Tattoo, and will definitely be missed.
  • Initially not thinking we’d have much to do, then getting more music, and more music, and more music…
  • Nothing new at the old MC, really… It’s the same gig year after year, hurry up and wait, just with different music to sing, and different people to pass the rehearsals with. It’s always fun to chat with the “Tattoo Virgins” who are experiencing it all for the first time.
  • Flow of the show had a bit of a different feel this year… Extensive singing and dancing in the opening; pipes and drums not being introduced in the same old way; obstacle course in the 2nd act… It’s nice to freshen things up from time to time
  • Sitting down for most of the show, and then getting a new stage configuration the day before the show? WTF!
  • A plane accident delayed the parade? Really? Oh well, we still cranked out the Canada Day concert at the Citadel (albeit a shortened version)

And then from the show nights themselves, things I will remember;

  • Parking adjacent to Citadel High every night (no tickets this year!), and running to the Metro Centre on most nights. My stamina is better now, but MAN does that work up a sweat!
  • Never made the 6:30 call time (occasionally rolling in well after 7), but I also never missed a scene.
  • As we got on stage in our new configuration for the first time during the pre-show, Steve and I met in the middle of the back row. We both looked forward, and, to his astonishment, the mic was (as he put it) “in his mouth”, and he blurted out “What the hell?” right into said mic (which was off at the time, fortunately). I had to try my best to not laugh for the next five minutes.
  • Half-time hooch. Come hell or high-water, we got ‘er done every night, keeping the tradition alive since (apparently) 1989. Especially on the night of the El Dorado.
  • If Ashelin ever makes the big time, I can say I got loaded right behind them.
  • Cindy (from the wardrobe dept, a friend of Melissa’s since way back) came to find me on before one of the early shows. I wasn’t there yet, but she was met by Donna at the door, with a stern “You’re not Melissa!” Oh, the Posse, always looking out for me. :)
  • Crazy young sopranos
  • Crazier old basses
  • I can’t make a french braid. One of these days, though.
  • Ian’s war stories. I only heard one or two of them, and it was only on one night, but it was pretty amazing. No I don’t remember the details, and even if I did I couldn’t do it justice.
  • Wearing Dad’s clip-on bow-tie yet again, and ensuring that I stuck around at the end of Act I to clap out of respect for those who served, to honour his memory
  • I’m not winning the 50/50, regardless of whether or not I buy a ticket, and regardless of how good the odds are (you can’t beat em!)
  • Food at the MC is too expensive
  • This year had some of the best smoke/fog effects I’ve seen. On some nights, the smoke stayed on the floor instead of rising up into our faces
  • I always looked forward to Coleen’s emails after each show
  • Emilia coming to the Grand Parade for the Festival show on the 5th
  • The Keg for my wedding anniversary dinner on the 5th (missed that show)
  • I missed Milk and Cookies night too, along with Greg’s official Posse induction
  • Conversations of varying length but always of some impact with Kelli, Teresa, Heather, Donna, Art, Ed, Greg, Adrienne, Emma, Ches, Maike, Carlee, Allison, Luke, Catherine, Catherine, and Catherine. I learned a lot of different things about a lot of different people, and I hope some of you learned a thing or two about me (that didn’t necessarily involve my kid).
  • Apparently, the Frenchmen are either a) short and have bad BO, or b) smell delightfully “woodsy”, depending on who you ask (although, Carlee met some Frenchmen at last night’s bash who may or may not have altered her opinion of them, I didn’t get details ;) )
  • Maike makes awesome cookies and brownies. I assume her culinary skills go well beyond what I’ve tried, but I’m just going with what I know
  • Bill Eberts always acknowledged the choir on his way out during the Act II Finale in some way. Oddly enough it made me feel more important, even though I’m 1/100th of the choir and I’ve only spoken to Bill once, a few years ago.
  • UFC 116 at the cast party? Hells yeah.
  • Guy passed out at the cast party, allowing everyone and their dog to pose for pictures? Good times. He’s lucky nobody drew on him
  • Sitting in the sand at Crystal Crescent Beach at 3AM with Catherine, Allison, and Luke, trying to find constellations and figure out why people would want to fly kites at night
  • Racing Steve to the centre-stage mic during the load.
  • Mullet wigs don’t look good on anyone.
  • Spending the Act II Finale with the sopranos during the final performance. My ears are still ringing. I could NEVER have thrown them off! :)
  • Pictures of bums, and pipers, but not pipers’ bums
  • I apparently am unable to dress myself
  • Crispy Crunches
  • The long walk to the bathrooms in the Marriott hotel, made difficult by inaccessible pedways at 2AM
  • The Dambusters encore

This was my sixth show, and definitely not my last. The show hasn’t changed much. The music is still great, but exactly what *I* do is inconsequential… It’s that feeling of being a part of something that means so much to so many that is very rewarding. When the audience applauds the Tattoo cast, I know they aren’t applauding me, but I’m honoured to be a small part of what made their evening enjoyable, even if my presence was not explicitly noticed (tall guy with black hair in the middle of the back row of the choir? check).

My mindset for being in the choir has always been to not take anything too seriously. While I’m not advocating sloppy stage composure and off-key singing, I don’t sweat the little things. Rehearsals may be crazy, but come show time everything will be OK. If something goes wrong, there’s no need to complain, because that’s all a part of the experience, and you can reminisce about it later on at the bar or in online forums (fora? fori? forices?).

Most importantly, I love the choir mechanics. It’s like a big family! There’s squabbling, in-fighting, criticizing, reprimanding, but these are complemented by love, respect, friendship, and loyalty. Taking all of this in is a part of the Tattoo experience, and it really doesn’t matter what we do, what matters is that we do it together, and try to have as much fun while we’re doing it.

The Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo Cast Experience. I get it. Hopefully I’ll get to see some of you throughout the year, and to the others, see you in 2011 (or 2012, depending on how the new baby is next year)!

(for anyone reading this who hasn’t seen this site before, I have pictures and stuff from most of the old Tattoos I was in, as far back as 2005. Feel free to pass this around and to comment on it. If you want to insult me and rip up my shit, remember that I will have wasted your time twice: the time it took to read this, and the time it took you to respond, so regardless of what you have to say, I win)

Christmas, New Years, and other stuff

DeveauxStuff, PhotoStuff No Comments

How time flies! It’s twenty-ten, now (it’s also twenty-TO-ten; thanks Emilia for going to sleep before 11 and not letting me fall asleep for once that I can get stuff done), and it’s time to reflect on the previous year and to offer some insight as to what’s ahead for the coming decade. All things considered, it was a good year for us, namely because we’re all still here and nobody killed anybody yet. Our family got a little bigger with the arrival of Jonathan and Jolene’s daughter Madison, coming in the baby-filled month of September (2009 featured no fewer than 6 friends/family members having babies, 3 of which came in September), it got a little zippier with our new Matrix (bye-bye to the Esteem after over 6 years), and it got a little more spread out with David and Jackie moving to Ontario. We didn’t finish painting our deck yet, but Emilia’s soon-to-be new room (whenever we finally pull the trigger on moving her in there) was painted a bright blue and green, and we did have a hole in our kitchen ceiling for about 2 months (caused by a strange leak in the roof, unrelated to the painting).

Emilia kept us pretty close to home this year, but we managed to hit the beach a few times this summer, and to record a considerable amount of home movies that Emilia insists on watching all the time. That is, when she’s not watching Finding Nemo, A Dog Year, or her latest obsession, The Iron Giant (one of my favorite movies). To be fair, she doesn’t spend all her time watching TV… She spends a lot of time running laps around the main floor of the house, coloring on her coloring table (or on anything else), not eating (although she’s getting better at that one), calling people “garbage trucks”, and talking on the phone (especially to Nanny Veaux Nanny).

Christmas and New Years were quite nice… Emilia got a kitchen from Santa, and a little shopping cart and lots of play food, which is pretty much strewn about our entire house at any given time. She loves her kitchen. :) Also, we ended up having people over to ring in the New Year… We hadn’t expected people to actually stay until midnight, but we were thrilled that they did and that a good time was had by all, and not much cleaning up was required. (Which is always nice). This video is from Christmas morning, featuring Emilia (of course) crashing around with her new shopping cart and serving up some BBQ in her kitchen, as well as opening her gift from Uncle Mike (video is ~11mins).

So what’s in store for 2010? Lots of new adventures, I’m sure… Emilia will be turning 2 soon, and next thing you know it’ll be summer vacation again, and then Christmas and New Years once more! And, I’m sure there’ll be other shit mixed in there too. Can’t wait! :)

Cliché’d, I know…

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Flight: $300
Rental car: $(paid for by work :) )
Dinner: $20
Tickets: $100
Shirts: $140
Sleep: 5.5 hours in the last two days
Getting to see Metallica live last night in Toronto: you know it.

I didn’t take pictures, but YouTube has tons of videos.

Summer of Emilia!

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Lots of concerts in Halifax this summer, but I didn’t go to any of them, partly because of the $$$, and partly because I really didn’t care that much (although there’s an outside chance that I’ll be catching Metallica in concert in October, which would be pretty awesome). Tall ships were here, totally missed that one. Buskers is on now, and I doubt we’ll make it…

All in all, despite the many opportunities, our summer has been pretty uneventful, with pretty much just a bunch of rain, me working, Melissa taking Stats, and Emilia not eating, but we’re working on fixing the latter with KFC fries and other nonsense. Thankfully, I had last week off which allowed us to go to PEI and to the beach a few times, and I also got to hit the ol’ Seaport Beerfest, both of which contributed to making this whole ordeal actually feel a little bit more like summer.

In the meantime, we took a bunch of pictures and video. Pictures are here (including beach pics from Aug15), video will be around later.

Tattoo 2009 in the Can

NSTattooStuff 1 Comment

That was quick, wasn’t it? No sooner did the Tattoo start, it was over. As usually, I’m a little sad to see it go, but because I’m working during the day it’s not as all-consuming for me as it was in the early year. Melissa is glad that I’m home in the evenings, though, and it’s good to see Emilia again for more than 1 hour at a time.

By and large, it was a good show for the choir… The music was wonderful, to be sure… My favorite scene this year was easily the “Band of Brothers” scene (the NATO anniversary/Highway of Heroes military tribute), mainly because we had a pronounced presence, and also because it was the only scene to give me chills every night (the pipes usually do too, but that wears off after the first few nights). As for least favorite, I’d have to go with the “Songs to Remember” scene with “Somewhere Out There”, which required us to sing ridiculously high notes that effectively served to accent the soloists’ performance. Generally speaking, though, the good outweighed the bad mediocre, as it usually does in this sort of thing.

The last night was DEFINITELY a night of surprises, with some as-yet unseen faces popping up all over the place (particularly in the choir, where we had at least two “honorary members” - one of the Middlesex County Volunteers Fifes & Drums girls in our alto section, as well as one of our stage assistants, who is an interesting story in and of himself: a member of a Swiss group that was in the Tattoo in the past, he came over from Switzerland on his own dime to volunteer in the show this year. The show graciously took care of his room & board). Some people were concerned about the whole H1N1 thing, but as usual it was the media and other nervous nellies that blew the whole thing out of proportion (although I did hear one person was denied access on their flight back to Europe, I don’t know how true that is).

The parties were thin this year for me… Once to Boomer’s for the Piper party, then at the Fleet club for the Cast party, and finally at the Dome for the Wrap party ($2.50 beers? Check. On the dance floor for over one hour straight? Check. Skankalicious riff-raff being allowed in after 1AM? Double-check and Lysol-wiped). Maybe I’m getting old, or perhaps it’s that maybe I just don’t need the partying as much as I did back in the day. Who’s to say? The main thing is that I enjoyed myself.

All in all, it was good times. Thanks to my cronies in the choir (my flanks Greg and Alan, the Half-Time Hooch crew, the Posse, Luke and Catherine, the boys in the back, the Old Guard, all those crazy young girls, and of course Walter, Valda, Coleen and the rest of the choir wranglers) for making this year’s show one for the ages. Hopefully we’ll see each other again before 2010 (or 2011)!

Oh yeah… No pictures yet this year, but I’ve linked to some YouTube videos. I really hope nobody complains about these being on YouTube because there are TONS of them, and they make for great grassroots promotional material, as well as souvenirs for those who went to or were in the show (and who really couldn’t see it properly).

Read the rest…

Tattoo 2009 (is this thing still on?)

NSTattooStuff 1 Comment

Tattoo time again, folks. That time of year when Melissa becomes a Tattoo Widow (and Emilia a Tattoo Orphan) while Daddy goes off to the Metro Centre for a week to sing for a few minutes and frak around for a few hours. The main difference this year is that I’m not taking any pictures since our camera’s on the fritz.

Unlike past years, I’m not writing about everything, mainly because I don’t have the time. Mom and Melissa’s only complaint about the show was that there weren’t really any kid-oriented or straight-out comedy acts to keep the young’uns entertained in between the bands and gymnasts. What’s there is good, though, especially if you like bands, and pipes, and more bands. The choir is singing some Robbie Burns, some Beethoven, and… Michael Kamen? An eclectic mix, I suppose… Choir’s a good size, too, with lots of new faces, which is always cool. Good seeing my old choir buddies again and having long conversations about everything from the myth of talent to poop.

Is it different this year? I think so, but then again it’s different every year, all while managing to stay the same… It never really gets old, though, despite the fact that I don’t have the urge to go out dancing every night like back in the first few years. I’ll keep on doing it until I’m old and gray. Or at least until we have another kid and it’s too much for Mommy to bear to be home alone for a week with two balls of energy.

Oh yeah, a special “hi” goes out to our friends Mark & Cindy’s daughter Laura, who is the “girl in the front” of the wedge of girls-in-white-dresses-with-”candles” in the middle of the military tribute scene at the end of act 1. I’d go backstage and say hi in person if it didn’t come across as very creepy. :)

Insert update HERE

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Quick update (I mean on writing a bunch of stuff, but I can never get around to it): Emilia does not crawl anymore, it’s all walking, all the time (except when she’s running, sitting, or clinging to Mommy/Daddy). She’s also spouting out a bunch of “words” (e.g., “beh-but” for belly button, “Meh-ee” for cat, “ma-na” for banana, and “pe-ka” for just about everything else). She had a haircut last week, and she’s sleeping in a big-girl bed! (when she’s not awake or howling about something or other). Here are pictures.

We shouldn’t be walking with stuff in our mouth.

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It’s safe to say that Emilia is comfortable walking around now. Barring the occasional crash n’ burn, she can pretty much get around on her own. Observe (~2 mins):


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BBQ season is upon us yet again. We bought a grill from Melissa’s brother Mike as he was moving to Calgary and had no room for it. It was dirty as hell, but it was in good shape (and ours had seen better days). It was christened (yes, it was) on Sunday, but I’m definitely going to have to get used to it… Here’s the thing. I’m used to grills with charcoal (or ceramic) bricks in them. Our old BBQ had them. You heated it up, and thing stayed warm for a week. Most new grills don’t have bricks in them, and as such, they seem to lose their heat in a hurry (unless you rig some way to hang bricks on the deflectors inside the grill). As such, you need to leave the fire on high pretty much the entire time to keep things toasty in there, a design “feature” which suggests a conspiracy between grill manufacturers and propane companies to boost gas consumption. On the other hand, the design also suggests that flareups (and truly blackened steaks) might be a thing of the past, which may or may not be a good thing (I love me a good flareup, especially in the BBQ). Time will tell, but the much larger grilling surface will definitely lend itself well to parties.

We also got a new TV for the living room, a 32″ Samsung LCD from Costco. I had lots of extra cables lying around (HDMI, DVI, component, optical audio; how I got these I don’t know), so we got the TV pimped out with HD yesterday night, and the difference in picture quality is quite impressive. Eastlink has apparently come a long way with its HD offering, both in terms of the number of channels as well as the stability of its PVR boxes and its feeds, so I don’t mind dropping an extra $5 for that (I’m not bothering with the specialty HD channels for now). Some spare component cables allowed me to improve the picture quality of our DVD player as well, which serves me well on those nights where Emilia doesn’t go to sleep until 11:45PM. Like last night. Ugh.

Deveaux’s in Action (very new and somewhat old)

DeveauxStuff, PhotoStuff No Comments

Instead of uploading videos to the likes of YouTube or Facebook (whereby I would undoubtedly lose ownership of the file), I’m hosting my own videos (which probably means it’s going to go slow). I post two now: The first is of Emilia walking around (yes, she is walking now, although primarily between people). It also shows her doing the walking/crawling hybrid thing that she does (upright crawling on her knees). (~5 mins)

The second is a VHS-rip from a family gathering at the Heritage Inn in Tignish on New Year’s Day 2002, and features Dad singing part of two French songs (that I always associated with my uncle Daniel when I was a kid). The videographer (my cousin Sarah, I think) cut off the tape halfway into each song, so what I have here is what there is (generally speaking, there is precious little video of Dad, so I take what I can get). Melissa and I are in this video (I’m playing guitar!), as are David, Jackie, Mom, my Nanny (Mom’s mom), and numerous other family members. Much younger, of course. (~3 mins)

Emilia’s Birthday Party!

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So. We had a birthday party for Emilia today, and it definitely lived up to the promise of being mental… Lots of kids, not enough food, and a giant caterpillar (no pics of that, but take our word for it). Thanks to everyone who came out to wish Emilia a happy birthday, in particular the Mingo family (coming from Truro for two hours? hardcore.), Charlie and Angie (who bravely faced a kid-filled world without kids of their own), and Wendy and Vinnie (for being gracious enough to let us know that Tristan was a little sick before coming over). Big thanks to Aunt Jackie for taking most of the party pictures, and Mommy for making the cake (4 hours of frosting)!

Now, sleep. Well, first UFC, THEN sleep. :)

(PS: pictures are behind the “Read the rest” link)

Read the rest…

Happy Birthday, Emilia!

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Yes, it’s been exactly one year (well, 366 days), and Emilia is still around, causing us grief and not going to bed. Today was her first birthday! We started the day off by getting up REAL EARLY (so Mommy could take Emilia to Nanny’s, as usual)… You can see the evidence of the “early” in the first few pictures. After a long, hard day of doing baby toddler things, we came home to a dinner of somethingorother, followed by dessert, consisting of orange cake that Daddy made! Of course, a few nibbles of cake went a long way towards fuelling this child (thankfully, she didn’t care for Mommy’s ultra-rich icing, otherwise I’d still be chasing her around), leading me to only really be able to get her down at around 9:30pm, which is not long after her actual birth time (9:10pm).

In any event, it was a good day in Emilialand. I can only imagine what her little “birthday party” will be like. I figure it will be something on the side of “mental”.

I have nothing to say.

BabyStuff, PhotoStuff 1 Comment

Clearly. One of these days, I’ll write about something interesting I’m doing at work in codingland (I’m on the fringe of a GP project right now, we’ll see if it turns into one). Or maybe I’ll go on about how awesome it is that KISS is coming to Halifax (granted, most of their songs are pretty bad, but I’ll probably end up going because I’ve invested a lot of time in Gene Simmons through his reality show that I figure he owes me a good time; that, and KISS is awesome live, with the fire and blood and the loud, loud music). Or I could talk politics, but everybody does that.

Oh well. Another time. For this post, some Emilia pictures. FYI, not quite walking yet, but she has three “offices” in the house where she does all her work (pantry, lazy-Susan cupboard under the sink, and linen closet); she has either 10 or 11 teeth now (depending on who you ask), and eats entire bananas in a single gulp. She’s also turning 1 next week. Shit.

Merry Christmas from Emilia (and her parents)!

BabyStuff, PhotoStuff 2 Comments

Yes, Christmas has come and gone, and we now have a pile of more stuff to pick up. Emilia gave us a few gifts too: she cut her 7th tooth today, and she learned to climb stairs. This last bit goes very nicely with her crawling all over the place, pulling herself up to a standing position on everything she can get her hands on, and wanting to walk whenever she gets a chance. It looks very likely that she’ll be walking before her 1st birthday. Ugh.

Anyway, here are a few pictures from the past few months!

I said BOOT, dammit!

TechStuff 1 Comment

Server’s been down the past few days, since my computer is old and cranky and needs a new set of spectacles to see where its kernel is.

Apparently, older BIOS machines couldn’t access a hard drive with more than 1023 cylinders (most modern hard drives have more; mine has 30401 I think). Usually, this isn’t an issue since the operating system takes care of everything once the drive has booted, as long as the stuff that actually boots the OS is within the first 1023 cylinders of the drive. Initially, everything was fine, but Ubuntu recently downloaded a new kernel (to some spot on the drive that was beyond the first 1023), and when it tried to boot with said kernel, I got an “Error 18: Selected cylinder exceeds maximum supported by BIOS”, and the computer refused to boot. (I had initially attributed this problem to a power outage we had that morning; little did I know that it would have happened the next time I tried to reboot anyway)

The solution to the problem was to create a new partition at the beginning of the drive, throw the boot images on there, and have the OS only reference this “boot partition” when booting. I’m pretty sketchy when it comes to partitioning (my drive only has the main partition, and a small swap partition), and the experiences that I’ve had with partitioning usually involved drives being wiped during the process. Fortunately, I came across some wonderful software called GParted (Gnome Partition Editor) that allowed me to re-partition my drive — get this — without affecting my data. Of course, the partitioning process (which involved resizing my main partition, moving it down the disk, creating a new partition at the front of the disk, then re-sizing the main partition again to fill up the remaining space) took approximately 17 hours of processing time.

After that, all I had to do (after booting with a boot disk; I used the GParted LiveCD) was mount the partition locally, copy the kernel image files over to this new partition, update /etc/fstab to recognize the new partition as /boot (and learning about device UUIDs in the process), and install grub to the MBR (this one had me for a while, since I was installing grub to the new boot partition instead of the MBR of the entire drive, and getting an Error 15 and crashing). Simple! (so simple I just HAD to drag the process out over two days)

Obviously, this post isn’t meant to be a walkthrough solution for this problem, so here are some references in case someone stumbled upon this and has a similar problem:

(and for those in my class that happen upon this site, the stuff I’m supposed to be marking was on my server)

Where Have You Been All My Life?

MusicStuff 3 Comments

Despite the fact that I spent the last post extolling the virtues of Death Magnetic and Chinese Democracy, I’ve spent the past few days listening rocking out to Iron Maiden’s The Number of the Beast. Now THAT’S a metal album: 40 minutes of sheer headbanging awesomeness, really pushing home the point that metal (as a genre)’s best days were arguably the mid-80’s.

It’s funny, though… I’ve always known that Iron Maiden was awesome, but I’d never actually sat down to listen to an album of theirs until now, and was only familiar with a few of their songs. Now, I’m going to devote my life to all things Maiden, and to spreading the word of their majesty and mastery of heavy metal.

Or not. I’m pretty busy these days. :)

Up next: Emilia crawls! Film at 11! (or whenever I get around to posting it)

Hell Must Have Frozen Over

MusicStuff 3 Comments

I just finished listening to Chinese Democracy by Guns ‘n Roses Axl and friends. I never thought I’d actually be able to say that. And you know what? It’s pretty damned good. I’d have to say that it’s what should be considered a natural progression from where GnR was just after the Use Your Illusion albums (which I still listen to regularly, even after 17 years), with a bit of the industrial touches that Axl liked from the mid-90’s, as well as some samples and drum loops. The attitude of the musicians has definitely changed over the years - gone is Appetite for Destruction’s raw energy, but it’s been replaced with some epic arrangements and production values that reflect the fact that this thing took nearly 15 years to make.

Of course, many people will be disappointed that this is not another “Appetite”, but then I don’t know why people always expect musicians to try to recapture their past glories in their new work. Metallica’s Death Magnetic is another great example: the band’s critics wanted another Master of Puppets, but what we got in the new album is so much more than that. I’ve only recently begun listening to Metallica’s older work… To be honest, I don’t care for Kill ‘Em All that much (there’s only so far speed and aggression can take you), and I find …And Justice for All drawn out and kinda boring (well, there is some awesome buried in there), but Ride the Lightening and (especially) Master of Puppets show musical maturity beyond those guys’ ages (at the time). The new album captured some of the aggression from the older albums and infused it with the more melodic touches from their Load/Reload work, culminating in what I believe is Metallica’s most *complete* album, with a little something for all fans, showing us that Metallica still knows what they’re doing, and that they still haven’t finished growing as musicians.

In short, Rock ‘n Roll lives, and as long as albums like Chinese Democracy and Death Magnetic keep on being made, we don’t have to worry about having to get your RnR fix from the latest Nickelback.


(that’s me throwing the horns)

Post-AJAX JavaScript calls

CodeStuff 4 Comments

Not too often I post development stuff here, but this is one that’s been bugging me for a few years. For those unfamiliar with it, AJAX is a web technique that involves using a JavaScript call to refresh part of a web page with new content instead of the entire page. The technique is intended to transfer “XML” data (hence the ‘X’ in AJAX), but most times people just use it to move raw HTML markup around. I’ve been wanting to embed JavaScript function calls in the content that I dynamically load on a page, but the AJAX loading technique does not execute any JavaScript in the HTML.

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Apple Picking in the Valley

DeveauxStuff, PhotoStuff 2 Comments

It’s nice to get out every once in a while, especially in the fall when the colours are so bright and diverse. Sonja invited us to go apple picking in Windsor today, so we bundled up the tadpole and drove on down the 101 to the edge of the Annapolis Valley (somewhat; don’t get into semantics, please). The terrain was too treacherous for strollers, so we busted out the Snugli and carried her around. The girls (Sonja, Mia, Zoe, Melissa and Emilia) all enjoyed themselves, as did I (although being the only guy I had to keep the crude comments to a minimum). We are now all appled up and should be stocked in pies and crisps and cobblers until the spring. Or until we run out of apples. We ended up taking the scenic route on the way home (Highway 1 through Windsor down to Mt. Uniacke) to enjoy more of the fall colours.

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