Sunday, October 30, 2005

This happens so rarely

I added a new blog to the sidebar. Ads That Suck is a very good analysis of commercials that, well, suck. It's a funny and insightful read, and the author is an advertising guy so he knows what he's talking about.

I have nothing else to say right now.

Stapler crisis

I finally got the assignment done and printed on both sides of the page, and as soona s I stapled it all together I had a major problem. Somehow the stapler pushed ut two staples, and one get stuck beneath the other on one side, but not on the other. The result was one staple through the pages, with another one under part of it but still lodged in the stapler.

My papers were attached quite firmly to the stapler, and I couldn't see the problem until I opened it up and tried to push the stuck staple through. I finally got out, and the two staples dislodged. I had to pry the one through the papers out and restaple them, but I got off pretty easy. I was afraid I'd have to reprint the assignment, or buy a new stapler. Both would have been disastrous.

I have a midterm tomorrow and laundry finishing up soon, and I really should do some dishes sometime. Maybe I'll do half of them and let my brother do the other half tomorrow. Or maybe I'll do them all like I usually do. Or maybe I'll do none of them and deny they even exist. Try out my Jedi mind trick.

Saturday, October 29, 2005


I've hit a roadblock in my project plan. I can't decide if I want to include the time estimating stuff or not. Both options seem equally good. One's easier, but the other is more complete, and my perfectionism is battling my laziness for control over my academic career.

In other news, I jumped 2 places in the hockey pool last night, from 4th to 6th. I'm predicting more good stuff tonight, and hopefully I won't be disappointed.

Time to get back to my inner battle.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Project planning. Woo.

I'm currently writing a project plan template for my document planning and management course. We're supposed to follow along with what we did for the information plan, but adapt the content into a project plan. The textbook has a 60 page block of information about project plans, most of which is completely useless. The textbook for another course has a 13 page section on the same topic, and I followed it for the entire assignment. It's a much better reference, and I honestly don't know why it's not the required book.

Regardless, I have a fair amount of the project plan done (I think), and I suddenly realized it's surprisingly short. It's currently 2 full pages shorter than the information plan, and that's after I filled in the tables with a lot of stuff I might not need. I guess it has less sections, but now I'm concerned about it.

I didn't include any of the information about how to estimate the length of the project, and I figure if anyone in actually using my template for planning a project they'll already know how to do that. I really don't want to get in to it, because that's what the bulk of that 60 page chapter is on, and even the shorter, better book has a page or two dedicated to a much simpler method of doing it.

I guess I should err on the side of caution and include a method of calculating the total time of the project by estimating the time per page. Ugh.

I do not ever want to be a project manager if the job is anything like this course has led me to believe.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


I'm considering competing in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this November. The challenege is to write a 50000 word novel in a month. There's no prize besides the sense of accomplishment, and you get your own book out of the deal. That's tough to beat.

Well, it's actually really easy to beat, but that's beside the point.

The website has a whole bunch of reasons to participate, and they all sound pretty compelling. There's just one thing holding me back, and that's school. Novemeber is my busiest month so far, with all sorts of big assignments and presentations. I think if I do participate I'll fail just because of time constraints, not because I don't have the drive or the will to complete a book.

I won't know I lack either of those until I actually get around to trying to write a book, which is a reason why I want to participate. I'm curious to see if I can stick with something right til the end and maybe make something of it.

I still have a bit of time to decide, so until the deadline (which is comically late in November) I'll keep debating it.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Splinter Cell is okay again

I beat Pandora Tomorrow earlier. Only took me a few more tries to finally get the stupid terrorists and have enough time to grab the virus. Hooray and so on.

I started Chaos Theory, and I'm already on the 4th mission. I had an idea of what to do from seeing my brother do parts, but now I'm getting into areas where I didn't see what he did, so I can start to figure it out on my own.

They completely changed the way the guns work, and I miss the old-fashioned sniping mode. Now there's a specific attachment for sniping, and I finally got to a mission where I get to use it. Hopefully I remember to, otherwise I'll just be shooting rapid fire while looking through the scope, as I did at the beginning.

They also made the random objects that litter the levels into something you can actually use. In the other games, basically all you could do with an object was throw it to make some distracting sound. In Chaos Theory you can throw them at people's heads to knock them out, or at lights to break them. It really saves on bullets when a light has to be broken rather than switched off or disabled with the electronic jammer thingy, as you can just huck a brick into the light fixture and smash it to pieces.

I call then Nature's Bullets.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Splinter Cell makes me angry

I've been playing Splinter Cell: Pandora Tomorrow off and on for a while now. I know, I'm behind the times, but I'd really like to finish this one before I start on Chaos Theory.

Anyway, I'm on the mission inside LAX, and I'm right at the end of it. I have to kill 3 terrorists in the catwalks of the airport, and then pick up the sample of whatever the virus name is. Shouldn't be too hard, but once the terrorists know I'm there, I have a minute to kill them and get the virus. Slightly harder.

There are also 3 civilians walking around, and I can't kill them, obviously. However, if they say anything it tips off the terrorists, and they promptly kill me until I die from it.

I have a system of shooting out lights and knocking out civilians, and if I can avoid catching attention until I get up near the terrorists, good. Otherwise I die. As soon as I get near them, however, I can't kill them. Either one of them manages to shoot me from across the room (in the dark, without having anything to mark my position), or I can't see the one who's shooting me, or any possibility of it going all wrong.

I've tried every possible vantage point. I've shot them from below, I've shot them from above, I've shot them from the same level, and I can never get them. Once, and only once, I managed to kill them all but then couldn't get to the virus before time ran out. If I was an angrier person I would have thrown the controller through the TV.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Staying afloat

I got all my assignments finished and handed in, and all that's left is tomorrow's test. There was no website evaluation this week because apparently only 6 people did the last one, and the prof doesn't want to burden us with more than we already have to do. Especially not with useless crap like those website analyses were.

I tried a maple-flavoured hot chocolate today, after attempting to get regular hot chocolate twice. The machine wasn't working properly and was just pumping out water, so I tried the maple one and got a hot cup of maple-flavoured liquid. I guess I can't really call it hot chocolate since it had no chocolate in it, but nobody will know what a hot maple is. Regardless, it wasn't all that good and I think from now on I'll stick to coffee.

I just wanted a change of pace.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

All-nighter the first

This entry is coming to you from room T-232 on Algonquin College campus, Ottawa, Ontario. I'm amazed I was able to remember my Blogger user name and password because I've been automatically logging in at home for over a year.

Good thing I realized how far behind I was on this HTML assignment. I've been here in the lab since 11:30 or so, and I'm now roughly half finished. I have until 6 pm to get it down, but I'm on a bit of a roll so I may as well press on.

If I had left it until class time, like I had orignally planned, I would have been royally screwed. I'm fighting with my tendency to make paragraphs while still keeping the document interesting and readable, and it's really an uphill struggle.

I just needed a caffeine boost, and rather than walk to Tim Hortons I decided to just grab a cup from the vending machine.

Friends don't let friends drink vending machine coffee.

I'm feeling a bit ill, and I guess the cookies I ate with the coffee didn't help too much. I know I'd be feeling fine if I'd just walked to Timmy's, but I have to live with my mistakes.

I made a new random CD, and entitled it Music to Distract Idiots. I like the title, and it's doing its job. The music gives me something besides the writing to concentrate on, and that bit of distraction is enough to let me not be too much of a perfectionist. I need to learn when to accept what I have and move on. I'm getting better at it, so I guess that's good.

I just realized something. This could be the first sunrise I've seen in a computer lab in a year and a half. I can't say I've missed it too much.

Monday, October 17, 2005


The technical description is done. Finished. I never need to look at my tripod again.

I saved it onto my network drive and I'll print it at school. There are enough pictures in it to drain my poor ink cartridge dry, and they might not look so good. The school has laser printers, so it's all good. Maybe I'll go a bit early just to make sure I get to print it before the printer runs out of paper, as it seems to do.

My first major assignment of the year is done, and I'm mostly proud of it. I think that's a good sign.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The truth about shootouts

As everyone knows, the NHL is using a shootout to decide games that end in ties. What you might not know, however, is that the shootout is a ploy to stack the odds in favour of a certain few teams. It's not a specific list of teams, but rather a category of teams.

Teams with European goalies are incapable of losing shootouts. So far this season, whenever a European goalie has faced a North American goalie in a shootout, the European has won every time. Tonight's game in which Washington defeated Tampa Bay in a shootout is further proof. Olaf Kolzig defeated Sean Burke, and to make it even more unfair, all of Washington's shooters were European as well. All of Tampa Bay's shooters were Canadian, and we all know what happens to Canadians in a shootout.

As long as the shootout continues, the European goalies can be assured victory. this is good news for people who cheer for teams with European starters, and bad news for those who don't.

As for North American goalies meeting North American goalies and European goalies meeting European goalies, the European Shootout Supremacy Theory does not have enough data to form conclusive subtheories. Presumably the team with more European shooters will have the edge, but further observation will need to be made.


The information plan template is finished. I figured out some nifty field stuff and set it up for duplex printing with page numbers on the outside and section breaks in all the right places. It looks remarkably slick, I must say.

Now I just need to figure out how my printer feeds the paper so I can print it properly.

After getting that done and going to my grandma's for dinner, I took the rest of the night off. I played some Guild Wars (for the first time in weeks, I think) and really took some time to relax. I think I could have spent more time on the technical description, but then I'd get stressed out about it, and I think I'm in the phase of the assignment where I need to be calm. I'm editing and revising, and I don't want to do that while thinking about too much other stuff.

Tomorrow I'll finish that. I hope.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Microsoft Word machete

I'm making progress through my tangle of assignments. I've written all (or at least the vast majority) of what I need for my information plan template, and all I have left on it is fiddling with making it a template and then sprucing it up. In addition, I've written a lot for the technical description and quickly edited it once, so it should be finished by sunday at the latest. I've hacked through the tangle of assignments using Word as my machete.

With those two out of the way, I just have to concentrate on a RoboHelp assignment that's due on Tuesday. I have to convert my resume into an HTML help file, and until now I've been floundering with it. When I hear "HTML" I think "webpage", which implies paragraphs and explanation. This is still supposed to be a resume, which means bullet points and short sentences. I have to find some way to reconcile these two conflicting thought processes, and fast. I have all of class on Tuesday to do it, and I actually meant to cobble together some nifty pictures. Guess I'll do that Monday.

Although it's a resume, it's also supposed to demonstrate that we know RoboHelp, and to do that we have to include all kinds of stuff. tables, images, links, popups, text-only popups, DHTML expanding text effects, style sheets, etc. I have all my sections planned out, so I just need to make images and figure out where to put them. Also, I need to decide just where to use expanding and drop-down text. I have som ideas, but nothing concrete yet. I better get cracking.

After that there's a PowerPoint UI assignment due on Wednesday, but I'm already finished. I can see the value of making a prototype UI, but PowerPoint isn't a very easy program to use for it. I can't suggest a better one, and that actually might be my natural hatred of PowerPoint talking.

To round out the week from hell, I have a test on Thursday in my document design class. It covers the first two sections of the course, and is therefore mostly about gestalt principles of design and verbal-visual cognates. Plus some stuff about kerning and typefaces. I don't think it'll be too bad, but I'll still be taking Tuesday and Wednesday nights to study it.

I think there's a website analysis due on Thursday as well, but I'll have to check that. I'm fairly sure we have a speaker coming in, and that means a short one page paper that should only take a half hour but always takes more because a lot of websites make it tough to find the stuff we need. You'd think the writers would realize that other writers need to summarize that info, but I guess not.

On Friday I'm going to sink into a coma and stay there until the end of the world.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

I will not celebrate meaningless milestones

Last week was my one year anniversary of keeping this blog.

My first post wasn't much to read, but I think I compensated.

1 year and 1 week. 373 days (because it was a leap year). I'm too lazy to calculate the minutes and hours.

And there isn't even a cake.

Stereotypical post

In this entry, I complain about not having enough time to to keep up with the blog.

With school going again, I've suddenly become re-acquainted with homework and assignments. I knew they'd come back, but I forgot about my work ethic. The same one that can produce nuggets of brilliance can also see me staring at a page, with an idea of what to write, but unable to type any of it. It hasn't been like that too badly yet, until now.

I have two large assignments due next Monday. The technical description you know about, but I also have an information plan template due in another class. I don't think it'll really be that tough to get done, but it's boring and hard to force myself to work on. The technical description is the one I'm more worried about, but I can't make myself work on it either. It's slightly less boring, but not interesting enough to make me want to sink my teeth into it and get it done.

I think that lack of passion is what's missing. I don't feel like doing things, so I stare at them until I decide I'm probably not going to be too productive and go do something else. Usually this something else is going to bed, because it's highly likely that I decide to give up around 3 in the morning when I have to get up in the morning.

This has caused me to slack on the blog, because I usually write in here when there's nothing else going on. When I'm staying up half the night trying to work, I'm not thinking of blogging, or even of anything that happened recently that I could write about. Instead, I'm thinking about what I want to say and how I should say, without ever saying it. The technical description has to be 4 pages. I don't even have a half yet. I have a fairly decent idea of what to do and an increasingly clear picture of how to do it, and yet it doesn't get done. There's no passion for it. I don't want to do it. So it lingers and occupies all my time, even though nothing's getting done.

Where can I find the passion I need? I honestly don't know. A more interesting assignment will probably bring it out. Recently there was an assignment in the editing class to write a "dark and stormy night" sentence, with the point being to break all the rules on wordiness and sentence structure. I wrote an almost 500 word sentence that went off on a huge number of tangents, some of which interconnected, and I pounded it out in maybe 20 minutes. It was the most fun I'd had writing in some time, and I loved every minute of it.

The time will free itself when I want to finish the assignment, and I guess I have to accept that. You can't fake passion, so I have to try to pump it up.

I have to make myself care.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Hockey makes me happy

Senators 3 - Maple Leafs 2

Sure it was a shootout win, which I admit is kind of weak, but it's still a win. Matt can commence trying to convince me that the winning team is inferior, but I'll pull an old football trick and just say "Scoreboard".

Besides, it wouldn't have gone to a shootout if the goal judge had seen the puck cross the line before Belfour swatted it out in the first period. The TSN guys calling the game all agreed it should have been a goal, and I'll trust some of them before I'll trust most other people. Except if it's Pierre McGuire, that guy's a douchebag.

Sundin getting hit in the eye with the puck was one of the most wince-inducing things I've seen on TV, and I don't even like the guy. I hope he's back in the lineup before too long, because that's a bad way to get injured. Really any way is a bad way to get injured, but damn. I won't even gloat about it, even though I probably could.

Enough about hockey for now, except to add that Luongo got me a shutout in my hockey pool. Awww yeah.

School is still going on. I found a topic for my big description assignment, and the deadline got pushed back a week. That's a significant relief, even though it's now due the same day as another big assignment. I'll start working on them tomorrow, possibly.

If you're curious, I'll be writing about a little tripod I got with my digital camera. It fits the assignment parameters (actually with four parts, but three of them are the same) and won't be nearly as complicated to divide into sections as my electric razor idea would have been. Also, I like the idea of taking pictures of a tripod, for some bizarre reason.

Monday, October 03, 2005

This is inconvenient

I have nothing due this week except for an analysis of a presentation we had today. Hooray.

Starting next week I have at least 1 large assignment due per week until the end of October, then a presentation, and then 2 or more assignments a week until exams.

Who came up with this schedule?