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    All Aboard the NaNoWriMo Charter


    2011 - 11.30

    In a strangely similar vein to Santa Claus the NaNoWriMo Charter has just left Vancouver with Karin aboard, it’s a convenient supersonic writing jet which propels you through time zones until you reach your 50,000 words or hit the international date line…

    Hopefully Karin will cross the finish line in enough time for the jet to get her back before morning…  Fingers crossed!

    Pneumonia: Update


    2011 - 11.29

    It’s been a little while now, and I’m both a little more energetic and awake, that and it’s past time that I actually write this update as promised earlier.

    So let’s start off with: I feel better, not quite “healthy” but substantially better.

    Here’s what happened:

    • Living with Karin you get used to all sorts of little colds and illnesses because she brings them home from elementary school with her, and she’s not known for the most robust constitution (although in general she’s getting better).
    • I started to develop a bit of a fever on Tuesday night, which is odd for me, as I don’t usually get them.  It kept me up all night, or I was awake all night, the fever may not have been the reason for that
    • Wednesday I felt a little better but not actually better and then got worse in the evening, clocking a fever in the 102 range, figured I’d be better the next day.
    • Thursday, was feeling a better in the morning, but again not well.  Took a DayQuil and a shower, and even made dinner.
    • I only ate a little of dinner and felt a bit nauseated afterwards.
    • Took a bit of a nap, and felt that I was really warm, but figured that part of that might have been sleeping on the couch right near the baseboard heater.
    • First temperature reading was 105, it went down to the 103-104 range… so a little bit of it was probably the heater.
    • We called 811 and got their opinion on what we should do, the recommended Tylenol and a trip to emergency
    • We got to Burnaby General right about shift change, lots of people waiting to be seen, but no one waiting to talk to admissions or triage.
    • First temperature reading at triage was 39.5 (Celsius) (103.1 F), so less than it had been reading at home, but still a reasonably high fever.
    • Because I was feverish and had a bit of a cough I got to wear a mask while I was in the waiting room…
    • We stayed waiting for about 2.5 hours at which point Karin left and my dad came in (there was overlap)
    • By this point the Tylenol was kicking in and my temperature had gone down to 37.9 (100.22) which just barely counts as still having a fever, I was considering leaving and just medicating at home… but I knew that Karin would feel better if I actually saw a doctor.
    • Got in around 2am, and only had to wait about another 20 minutes to see a doctor.  Neither the doctor nor the nurse (from earlier) heard anything wrong with my lungs, but the doctor sent me for an X-Ray anyway.
    • It was pretty obvious from the X-Ray that I had some pneumonia in my left lung, so a prescription for antibiotics and I’m on my way.
    • Started the antibiotics Friday morning at 9am (day 1 of 10)
    I’m now on day 5 of 10, and I guess I’m getting better, I’m still not well, but there’s been no reoccurance of the fever (not at extreme level at least).  I have a bit more energy, and generally feel better.  I guess we’ll see what happens at the end of the 10 days.

    Guess who has Pneumonia?


    2011 - 11.25

    That’s right I do.  Karin’s had it before, so I guess it’s my turn.  Just back from ~4 hours in emergency, will provide more details later, but basically it’s 10 days of antibiotics to kick this thing…

    P-Day


    2011 - 11.23

    Tomorrow is the day I’ve been looking forward to for the last three months…PHONE DAY!

    My iPhone has been acting up lately: being slow, crashing out of apps, and finally the last straw: refusing to connect to Wifi, thus making me overuse my data and costs me money.  The problem is, I can’t upgrade my phone until 6 months or less from contract renewal, which is May 24 2012.  Tomorrow is November 24 2011…which means….SIX MONTHS!!!

    I’m so freaking excited.  I’ve had my iPhone at the store for the last three weeks, but I wasn’t able to pick it up.  I pre-ordered one in the middle of October and was 4000-something in line.  “Whew!” I thought.  “Plenty of time!”  The next week I was 684 in line.  Then 552.  “Ok,” I thought. “That’s going down pretty slowly.  I hope it’s not too long after the 24th that I get it!”  Then, November 1st, I received this message:

    Your Black 64GB iPhone 4S is on its way! We have shipped via UPS it to: Fido Store. It should arrive within 4 business days.  Once it gets to the store, your phone will be held for you until 11/18/2011. If you don’t pick it up by then, it may be sold to another customer.

    AUGH!  Note the date!  So, anyway, I phoned and made sure that they would hold it for me, and I went in a week ago to try and sweet talk my way into getting it early (no dice).  I did ensure that it will be held for me until tomorrow…so here’s hoping!

    Everytime I hear someone talk about Siri or see an ad for the 4s, I get even more excited.

    Also, my students are evil.  They’re trying to convince me that the iPhone 5 has been announced, and it has a HOLOGRAPHIC KEYBOARD!  And LASERS!  And it DISPENSES COKE ZERO!  My kids rule, but they give me such a bad time sometimes. Hehe.

    Most Important Sale of the Year


    2011 - 11.22

    Sure it’s almost American Thanksgiving with its associated sales and shopping hoopla, but there’s an even better sale on right now at Costco!  Martinelli’s Sparking Apple Juice (4 pack) is currently $2 off, which makes it about $6.69 (plus deposit and such), which virtually makes it 4 for the price of 1 (anywhere but Costco).  So stock up, because it’s super delicious, and much better for you than a cheap flatscreen TV.

    If you’re feeling adventurous you can check out some recipe suggestions from their website too.

    Inversely Proportional


    2011 - 11.21

    This is actually probably a good thing, but the amount of room remaining on our PVR seems to be inversely proportional to how many projects Karin has on the go… with NaNoWriMo and GISHWHES very little TV is being watched.  Which might mean that we’ll still have something new to watch when we start running into the holiday reruns…

    Craft Project: Guitar Picks


    2011 - 11.20

    This craft project was actually from Thursday night.  Karin has many superpowers, this particular one has been used lately: the ability to lose guitar picks.

    We did a quick check at the mall to see if anyone happened to have guitar picks, we didn’t find any.  Before we started scouring all the stores however, it occurred to me that guitar picks don’t appear to be fundamentally complex items.  I could be wrong, and maybe there is a significant difference in how they are made in terms of an impact to your playing, but if there is I’m blissfully ignorant of it, and either so is Karin, or she hasn’t noticed that difference in her playing yet.  Regardless, we decided that we’d try to make our own and see how that worked.

    I did a quick search to see if this was something that other people were doing, and there’s lots of hints and videos and such out there for how to do it yourself.  At the mall I was thinking of using used gift cards, and the internet suggests that as well as used CDs (which we haven’t tried yet).  Overall the process is pretty simple, although you’ll find that the vast majority of the instructions out there are not necessarily helpful if you’re starting from a “have not” situation.

    The reason they aren’t helpful is that they instruct you to trace an existing guitar pick onto your chosen medium.  But I don’t have a guitar pick, which is why I am trying to make some you observe.

    “We can’t help you then”

    “Huh, there must be some other way!”

    So grabbing an image of a guitar pick from a location which allows you to order custom artwork on guitar picks, past it into a document, print it on card stock and now I have a template that I can use to trace a guitar pick like shape onto the gift cards.

    I was able to get 5-6 guitar picks per card, depending on how tightly you group them, and how big your need them your experience may vary.  So it’s just a matter of tracing, then cutting them out with good scissors, sanding or filing down the edges so that they are smooth, repeat.

    For anyone who wants to try this themselves you’re welcome to use the Guitar Picks Template (pdf) that I did, enjoy.

    November Projects


    2011 - 11.19

    Since I don’t have enough projects over the last while (The 100 Book Project, NaNoWriMo…etc) I decided to enter another one.

    This is The Greatest International Scavenger Hunt The World Has Ever Seen, aka GISHWHES.  I am competing in it as one of 10 people on my team.  There are over 6000 of us signed up, and it’s sponsored/run by Misha Collins from CW’s Supernatural.

    If you think you might be able to help out with one or some of the 219 (!!!) items, please drop me a line.

    The World Illuminated Through a Windshield


    2011 - 11.17

    Regrettably today consisted largely of replacing bulbs, which was way more difficult that in needed to be in my opinion.  Replacing the taillight it was really simple to get it out, more difficult to put back in than it should have been.  Simple four petal design that you turn counterclockwise to remove and turn clockwise to lock back in place.  What they neglect to mention in the manual is that there is one specific petal which needs to match up with one particular gap.  Seems needlessly complex, but is easy enough to deal with once you’re aware that you need to line things up.

    Replacing the two headlights was a much more difficult ordeal, they really leave less than the minimum required amount of space to replace the bulb.  Probably took half an hour to replace both bulbs.  Hopefully it would be faster in the future, but much of it is fiddly rather than “difficult”.  The first main problem was that the manual didn’t actually explain how to release the metal bulb holding clip.  For the record: when you’re facing the car, push on the left hand side of the clip, push towards the front of the vehicle and then down to release the clip.  I don’t know if that’s unique to my car (2003 Pontiac Vibe AWD) or to the bulb type (9003).  With the amount of space available and the lack of visibility into what you’re actually doing, it was way more difficult to do than it felt like it should be, but in the end I was able to do it, despite bouts of doubt and frustration.

    Despite all of that, it wasn’t all bad.  I bought my dual pack of GE 9003 Nighthawk Platinum bulbs at Lordco where they were on sale for $38.99 (seems that regular there is $67.97 according to the invoice; regular price at Canadian Tire is $59.99).  In addition to being on sale, there’s also a $10 mail in rebate on them (at Lordco only) until the end of January, which means I’ll have got them for less than half their regular Canadian Tire price… so pretty pleased with that.  Canadian Tire however was about $4.25 cheaper for the taillight, so that’s where I got those, and installed all the bulbs in their parkade.

    We went out to the mall later to return some clothes and have dinner.  While we were there there was some kind of incident which involved someone being handcuffed.  It happened in the main atrium area while we were eating, Karin took a look.  When we went past later I saw that it was an older guy (rather than a young punk like I assumed it would be).

    Leaving the mall we went to the library to pick up the next half dozen books Karin needs to read in the 100 Book Challenge, some of which are even short.  I picked up Brandon Sanderson’s first book: Elantris.

    Leaving the library we decided to go for a bit of a drive up SFU to test out the new headlights… it’s kind of hard to tell how good the headlights are when you’re driving on streets with headlights.  It was snowing a little bit, but not enough to concern us at all.  Got up to the main intersection and there were some cars essentially blocking the straight through route that takes you to UniverCity that I’d planned to take, so we turned left and headed towards the main campus.  After the first turn we saw a traffic jam which involved a bunch of cars and a couple of buses, none of which were moving forward.  It wasn’t clear what the actual problem (aside from snow) was, so we turned around and headed back the way we came.  Snow 1; Headlight Testing 0.  On the bright side, the all wheel drive and all seasons are still really effective in the snow.

    Those are some nice headlights…


    2011 - 11.16

    As anyone who read yesterday’s post is aware, I went to Costco yesterday.  Left out of yesterday’s post is the fact that upon my return I noticed that I now have two burnt out headlights.  Not nearly as dangerous as it might sound since I still at least have fog lights, but still, a situation which I need to address before doing any more driving while the sun’s not out.

    Normally, I’d just get it done at the dealer, but trying to be frugal here, so I decided to look into it a bit more.  Turns out that you can spend a crazy amount of money on bulbs for your headlights, it’s pretty easy to spend $60+ (at least there’s lots of bulbs which appear to sell for that amount or more).  I still haven’t actually bought replacement bulbs yet, as the variety and relative price disparity of the various bulbs caused me to spend way more time doing research than I had allocated.

    Tomorrow I’ll hit Lordco and/or Canadian Tire and fix the problem.  Better hope I think of something better before tomorrow (or that Karin decides to post), otherwise you’ll end up with a post tomorrow “let there be light”.

    One thing that I didn’t realize before doing all this research was all the strange rules and regulations which applied to “headlamps” over the years, and I also didn’t realize that the low beam shape is different in countries where you drive on the right versus those where you drive on the left.  Having never given it that much thought I just assumed that the reason that high beams cause so much glare is because they are brighter and throw their light farther.  Turns out that it’s also because of the regulated shape of the low beams.  If you’re interested you can read all about it on Wikipedia (like I did).  The one thing that really stands out though is that despite all this regulation and thought that has gone into this, it’s still possible to improperly aim your headlamps… that seems like it should be a totally solvable engineering problem, maybe if someone mentioned it to the Dyson guy using cyclonic technology to suck the bulb into proper alignment…