097 – Free Time and Frog Princesses

201003_19_01 - State Quarters

201003_24_01 - Tiana and Nevin

201004_03_02 - Perogies

201004_04_01 - In the Dark

201004_16_02 - Nap Time

For the first time in what feels like ever, I haven’t anything to do. Well, I have an interview to edit, a case study to complete, exam material to study, an article to write, presentations to prepare, a website to populate… but nothing that is absolutely required for today!

Friday was the final school-related presentation. It went well! Above, Sarak is ready to sleep not too long after.

Despite the slow start, it’s going to be a huge week. But for some reason, all I want to do is buy books! I’m not sure what Malcolm Gladwell did to me, but I have a number of books in my Amazon checkout (where you can get Airmiles, so I discovered) and I do want to read them. But I have to finish Blink first.

There are a few pictures I’ve rustled up from various memory cards. My American quarter set, which is nearing completion, some Disney frogs, perogies, a parking lot, and nap time.

096 – Day at the Beach and Migrating Blogs

201004_02_19 - Falling

201004_02_12 - Rocky Terrain

201004_02_11 - Against the Water

201004_02_10 - Father and Daughter

201004_02_05 - Glide

My blog has moved! There were lots of fancy terms involved, including migration, canonical, cname, and propagated, but it was all very simple to do (thanks largely to Google’s Blogger team). now instead of being at benjaminwood.net/blog, they will be at blog.benjaminwod.net. HUGE difference, am I right?

School is beginning to wind down, after some huge, but successfully completed assignments. Only one presentation to go, plus exams. Speaking of presentations, I gave one about product placement yesterday, and have made it available at on my site (www.benjaminwood.net/presentation) because it’s so cool. I basically took an iPad picture and made it interactive, included video, and made little apps to go from one slide to the next.


And I guess while I’m gushing about site-related business, I made a few minor updates, including a new picture that I use for my site’s main navigation. I can’t wait to have more time to add more content to my site. And play videogames.

Photos: I spent part of Good Friday on the beach. It was warmer then than it is now…

092 – OC Transpo Strike Started a Year Ago

200912_09_02 - Mailman

200912_09_03 - Blizzard

200912_09_04 - Crow

200911_22_01 - Wall-E CakeAlign Center

So the OC Transpo strike started a year ago. And looking back at it all, I still have these annoyed feelings about the fact that it happened, and they didn’t really get anywhere, since the reason for it ending was originally on the table as a way to prevent it. And lately, I’ve been getting more and more annoyed with the service. I actually called and made a complaint about an issue, but that doesn’t go far enough. Maybe I’ll write them a letter old-person-style, stamps and all.

That first day of the strike wasn’t unlike today – blizzardy. It felt like the first true day of winter – just in time for the Christmas season too! And only 9 more days until I’m done school for the year. Then a bit longer.

Then what? I do have some ideas, some of which (unfortunately) involve even more school. We’ll see what grows to fruition.

Speaking of school, here’s a sequence I worked on with my teammates for one of our final projects:

200911_26_01 - Gilette Man

200911_26_02 - Gillette Man Hand

200911_26_03 - Gillette Man Photoshop

Dave, our model, is part of an ad campaign for Gillette’s line of hair care products. We got a picture of him holding the bottle. While this was a start, it lacked what experts call “oomph”. To fix this, I took a close-up picture of his hand holding the bottle, and with some Photoshop magic, made his picture come to life. Maybe I’ll showcase all the ads next time.

And yes, I had a Wall-E cake for my birthday.

090 – OC Transpo gives me a headache

200907_05_08 - Wake

200907_05_11 - Fondue Fountain

200907_25_01 - LEGO Boat

200907_25_08 - Princess-Robber

200909_07_02 - Crepe and French Toast

200909_29_05 - NewCap Radio

The conference room at NewCap radio, home of Hot899 and LiVE885, have very comfy chairs.I was there yesterday with my fellow group work team for a school project. It was a wonderful experience… I secretly wanted to see the actual offices and recording areas, though, possibly to make funny faces at John Moran while he’s on the air. Or, you know, not.

I finally backed up my Disney photos to a dvd, so that I could finally delete them off my memory cards. I didn’t want to risk losing them to technological snafus, even thought they are on two different hard drives. I did have a hard drive die on me, after all. But I bet losing all those pictures would give me a great reason to head back! Supposedly, Halloween is pretty fun ’round those parts, and then the next day, like magic, it’s Christmas.

The other pictures, above, are various ones from the summer. Yes, I finally had breakfast at Cora’s! It was quite delicious, and so big that it was worth my while to take the rest home.

Now I’m craving pancakes.

I read three OC Transpo-related articles today: One, Two, Three. I can’t believe that deep into all these transit plans (that I personally think are taking far too long), the city never really got any formal approval from the NCC to expand on their land, especially given that the next leg of the transitway to be built kinda needs it. And the new bit that just opened to help save time and traffic actually uses up more time? Makes sense to me! And there won’t be a Quickie at the new Baseline station. Silliness.

This city is so ineffective at getting anything done it scare me. Maybe everyone should go and learn how to make a plan and do research. I guess they should be in my classes!

088 – TV in 10 syllables

School + work + work is starting to get very crazy in those proportions. School + work + work + new tv season… I don’t know how I’m still alive! I wonder if I can summarize what I think of the following shows in 10 syllables:

Bryan Fuller put great things in motion.

How I Met Your Mother
Soft start to a funny season, I hope.

Less murder, more Beckett… ok for now.

Bored to Death
Have to see more to see where it will go.

Strong pilot, funny could live, or could die.

Big Bang Theory
Oh no they didn’t! Plus Star Trek spoilers!

Season 19 started off pretty great.

I probably won’t watch survivor anymore though because it gets boring after 2 eps. I’ll need to watch Dollhouse everntually, too. Most of these shows I might have to just watch all at once in the winter, though, because school is going to be tonnns of work.

The Source, in my opinion, has the best mobile internet stick deal. You get the stick for $0 on a 1-year term. I wouldn’t get a 2-year term (where it is everywhere else)… so I got it! We’ll see how much I get to use it, probably lots because of all the downtime I seem to have when I’m going to work, or just after when I need to wait for the bus. Suddenly, the netbook just got a bit more valuable. However, The Source people told me they had the 21mbps stuck when the one I got was only 7.2mbps. Meanies.

082 – Transition

I never did catch up on the rest of my Disney trip blogs. I meant to, I just haven’t yet found the time. Over the past month and a half (has it been that long?!), I’ve talked to many people about it, and I’m pretty sure I lit up each time, except where I talk about missing Carl and Russel (Up characters) by 6 days. Up, by the way, is fantastic. Go see it now if you haven’t yet.

Time won’t be an issue soon, so I’ll catch up on all kinds of pictures. My last class for the summer is tomorrow. My last shift at Disney is Friday. It was a month ago I found out that the store is closing, and each day since then has been increasingly difficult. I may have only been with the company for two years – one of which was actually with Disney (the first year, the Store were owned and operated by The Children’s Place), but in that time, I’ve felt I’ve found somewhere I belong. It’s a company that I would love to continue working with, certainly in a position at an office if not in the field at a store level. The people have been fantastic, especially co-cast members, and especially the guests that I’ve come to know over time.

Thank you to everyone for being a family and for allowing me to enjoy being at work. For enjoying retail. It’s mind boggling that I came so close to not accepting the job when Sharlene called me back about it. I’ve learned so much from everyone would do it all again in a heartbeat – even if it means hearing Hannah Montana’s “Life’s What You Make It” 30 times a day.

I once learned from a mediocre Disney movie to “keep moving forward” (clearly not Wall-E, or Up. Those are fantastic. Go see Up). As I look forward to the summer and fall, I have a new year of school (a last one, I hope… for now), a new job, a new position at CFFN, and a new Web site that I’ve gone back to creating. My life is a deck of cards, and someone is shuffling!

056 – Day 36

200901_11_01 - Bucattini DS

200901_14_01 - Cold Trek

200901_14_03 - Bus Stop

200901_14_04 - There's a Path Here, Somewhere

It’s been cold walking to school, today in particular. Lauren Stone of Live 885 warned me at 6:45 this morning that it was -39C with the Windchill. Skin can freeze with 10 minutes of exposure at that temperature. As I snuggled the warmth of my bed, I wondered if it was really worth it to walk to school, a trek that could freeze my skin five times over. “Damned bus strike.” Reluctantly, I pulled myself out of bed and spent the next half hour deciding exactly how to dress. Before stepping out the door, I had the following:

I learned this morning that I have as much experience wearing scarves effectively as I do tying a Windsor knot, possibly because I never wear the darned things (both ties and scarves). Despite this, the scarf was instrumental in keeping me warm for my 50-minute journey.

All that preparation made me late leaving the house, effectively making me late for class. I was also slowed down by my inability to think ahead. Wind usually blows snow around, even though it wasn’t snowing, the path that I described in an earlier post was partially snowed-in in some places. The one time I don’t bring my snowshoes…

In other news, I’m really starting to like Clive Doucet. He’s a city councillor for the Capital ward, central Ottawa. He speaks his mind, and usually his mind is on the people whom he represents. He thinks the 15ish million saved from the bus strike so far, and what they’ll continue to save, should be funnelled back into making OC Transpo free for as long as possible once service resumes. This is probably the most brilliant thing the city can do to gain as many riders as possible. I’d also like to have $40 put in my pocket for the unused December pass I have at home (they cost just over $60 for students… a reasonable request considering I was only able to use it for a third of a month), but I’d settle for $20 February passes. $30 even. At least, this strike better not last beyond the confines of January!

I recently bought Nintendo’s Personal Trainer: Cooking game – and I use the word “game” loosely. It’s more of an interactive cookbook. I finally used it to make bucatini with tomato and pancetta, even though I substituted bucatini with linguine, pancetta with a mix of bacon and pepperoni, and romano cheese with medium cheddar. The result was actually pretty good. Many gamers complain about DLC (downloadable content) and how it can increase the overall cost of a game if you aren’t too careful. I bought Cooking for $20, and spent another $20 gathering the necessary ingredients! And that was for one recipe. How’s that for hidden game costs?! I use the word “hidden” loosely as well, even though there’s no label on the front of the box saying you have to buy food to get the best use out of the software.

I bet I could sue Nintendo for that one. I’ll keep my receipts!

055 – Day 30

Over the years, my wallet and my bus pass have developed a great relationship where they stick together. This help me, since I always know where my bus pass is (unless of course, I don’t know where my wallet is, which happens on occasion). It also helps my wallet and bus pass, since the two of them can talk and cuddle in my pocket.

I’ve only recently decided to split the two up, if only to protect the pass from accidental loss or cold-related fracturing. Plus people make fun of me when they see it! Turns out that my leaving it behind wasn’t premature – Transit workers voted to reject the city’s offer. I’ve had an inkling since the beginning that this strike would last a while, but I’m really starting to get scared at how long it may be before all is well.

To add to my troubles, my laptop needs to be sent away for servicing. Supposedly, my laptop has a fan, and that fan is not spinning at the speed that it’s supposed to be. As a result, my computer can become a makeshift hotplate when needed – and it just turns off sporadically. I’ve already been in the middle of videos or trying to burn disks or in the middle of fun conversations when it has just turned off without as much as a cough. I would hate to be in the middle of an assignment, or online quiz, or presentation.

On a somewhat related note, I must say that I’m impressed with the phone support that I’ve had to deal with of late – with Dell and with TD – the former in dealing with my computer issue, and the latter with a work-related issue. Top notch, helpful bunches of oats those guys are. Perhaps that isn’t exciting as some of the hellish stories you can read about incompetent, rude, unhelpful joes servicing you needs from who knows where, but it’s still very important to praise the good guys when they help.

Now, city and transit unions, please help me to get buses back. Or pay for driving lessons and car insurance.