Wednesday May 22, 2019 B r i a n   V e r k l e y not logged in

Easton's Night Time Song

So I was putting Easton to sleep and I started to sing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star when he said, "Stop." and put his hand over my mouth.
"B's" he says.  
I look at him puzzled.
"Daddy!" he shouts. "B's!"
Then he starts to sing on his own, "a blah blah blah" to the tune of ABC's.
Ah, I get it, so I start to sing ABC's and he says "Ya!" and puts his head down and goes to sleep.

That's right, Easton (1 year old still) just requested his own night time song by name.

- Brian Verkley

2013-08-25 00:21:03

Brian,
Twinkle Twinkle Little star is the same tune as the ABC's.  He recognized the tune, but thought they were the wrong words.

- cwoneil

Our New Tractor

We bought a tractor.  OK a lawn tractor technically but it has a three point hitch, hydraulics, and a 62" cutting deck.  It looks like a tractor.  It feels like a tractor.

Paul delivered it while I was out of town, so tonight was my first chance to use it.  Ohhh ya.  It has crazy power.  I cut over small trees on half throttle and it didn't even blink a headlight.  I drove it up hill while cutting and pulling a wagon and it asked for more work.  It is a tractor.

We were looking for a while and we couldn't find a used John Deere X500 series tractor anywhere in Ontario for a reasonable price.  The X500 is the smallest "ground engaging" tractor, meaning you can run a tiller, or a cultivator, or a box blade, or whatever.  It also has the frame to pull a load and the power to drive a larger than 48" deck.  Then we came across a used X700 in Listowel for a little more than we were thinking of paying for the X500.  The X700 is the big brother.  Not only can you do ground engaging but you can add an optional front loader, or hydraulic front mounted snow blower, or run a 10KW generator off the rear PTO.  Yes, it has a PTO.  We took it.  More than we need but who is complaining about extra power.

The plan for now is to cut the weeds down, pick some rocks, and hopefully plant some seedlings.  We'll need the tractor and wagon for all of that.

Seems like this machine will work and it was sure fun to drive.

- Brian Verkley

2012-04-19 22:03:32

Power steering also rocks!

- leanne

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2012-06-26 21:44:24

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- ziusernamez1

Leanne and I own some land

Roughly here: http://g.co/maps/ksf7q (google maps link including directions from 401)

It is 10 acres of ex-farmland at the end of a dead-end gravel road less than 5 min from the edge of town.  Definitely in the country, and because of the greenbelt, will remain in the country.  This is exactly what we were looking for.  I wanted something with some land so the kids could play on lawn instead of the street.  Leanne who also appreciates the space, grew up in town and wanted to be within 15 min of a grocery store.  At the edge of town (Westney and Taunton) they just built a grocery story, a bank, a McDonald's, and a Beer Store.  Perfect.  

The property doesn't have a lot of trees, just one row of trees right down the middle and some along the long disused road, but we can fix that.  The plan is to plant trees/orchard in the back 5 acres, and house/lawn (and pond?) in the front 5.  I can't wait.

The process to this point was a long one, taking many months (years?) but we couldn't be happier with our place.  We'll be working on zoning and house plans through the winter, and if all goes well, we'll start construction next spring.  I'm looking forward to having a larger living room open to the kitchen for hosting parties, and a spare bedroom for when you come to stay over.  Not to mention a place to play baseball and soccer and ride my bike.

It is much too cold to go camping tonight with our kids, so we just walked around, took a few photos, drew an initial in the dirt, and then ran back to the warmer van.  We were explaining to Hadley that this land is now ours and we asked her where we should put our house.  She said she didn't want it on the rocks, so I told here we could dig hole and get rid of the rocks.  She thought for a second and then mentioned, "I don't want our house in a hole, Dad!"  Okay Hadley, we'll move the rocks, find some dirt, and build the house on that.  Good.  There might be more to house planning that I thought!  haha.

To live in the country again... I can't wait.

- Brian Verkley

2011-11-19 16:00:26

As was pointed out to me by two different friends, yes, there will be more room for more frequent LAN parties as well.  (And maybe even a D&D party, and a board game party, skating party?  scrapbooking party, birthday party, and all the other parties you might want to have at our house.)

- brian

2011-11-19 15:59:48

Sweet! I can't wait until your place is done..... I have been looking at lots of floor plans, I want to see what yours looks like next time I visit. Today I saw two houses with double sided fireplaces, TO THE OUTSIDE! One side living room, other side, on the balcony, wow, so great! Wouldn't work for making smores, but it would look cool.

- julie

Hadley can now work with the abstract

Last night before bed, Hadley decided that we would need to have presents for Mom and Dad and Easton and Hadley.  "So," she said, "That's one," as she pointed to me, "two," as she pointed to herself, "three," as she pointed to the wall, "four." as she pointed to another place on the wall.  "That's four presents."  

She counted things that she couldn't see but she knew to exist.

- Brian Verkley

Never buy a Blackberry Torch

So I was flying down to Boston and as I passed through the cloud layer the tops of the clouds were tinged with red from the setting sun.  A unique view that you can't see from the ground.  I quickly grabbed my torch and and clicked on "camera" to grab the view for Hadley.  She loves pictures of my travels.  But instead of the camera app, I get an error message that says there is not enough memory to launch app.  WTF.
Ok, I quickly "switch app" to other open apps and click on the blackberry button to open the menu. Sometimes you have to click on close, other times exit, sometimes there is close and exit.  The option is usually in the bottom half of the scrollable list of options, but there is no consistency.  I close a few of the "big" apps and go back to launch the camera, same error.  I close or exit the rest until there are no apps left in the "switch apps" menu, and I still get the lack of memory error message.  ARGAHRAAAHAHHA.  Pull the battery, wait for the 5 min to reboot, and watch the sun set and the clouds turn to a uniform dull color.

Sorry Hadley, Blackberry hates happiness.

- Brian Verkley

The Great Googling of 2010

Some time in the afternoon on December 23rd I was working on my laptop at my desk, Leanne was sick on the couch, Easton was sleeping, and Hadley was watching "girl TV", which is what she calls any show that she likes, pretty much anything on Treehouse.

My Internet seemed to ground to a halt.  I reset the modem, no difference.  That rarely works, but it is easy to do.  I checked my /var/log/messages to see if something funny was going on in my machine.  Boy was there, a stream of "kernel: [DOS Attack/SYN Scan?]" over and over for a large variety of IP addresses.  A DDOS?  On me?  How odd.

I looked more and saw that the syn's were for destination port 80.  That is the web server.  I thought I'd check the web logs and see what is there.  A ridiculous amount of traffic was going to /Europe2002/ often referred from Google indicating their search string was "venice gondolas".  Off to Google to verify, and yes, if you search for Venice Gondolas one of the top three images resturned is my pic!

My internet was slow because literally thousands of people were downloading that picture off my server to places all over the world.

I love the picture.  I have it blown up poster sized and it is hanging over our bed.  It was taken on a film camera, before the age of digital.  It isn't even level, but it has certain something to it.  It was a very foggy day and the background buildings are kinda fuzzy yet the gondolas are clear.  I love the depth in the shot.  

It has been on my server since 2002 and I have seen about a hit a day for that page of 30 European pics ever since.  I like sharing my travels, but I also like using my internet, which at this point is saturated beyond belief.

I still have the server for Fable Island, so I moved the photo's over there.  It has lots and lots of bandwidth and it won't affect my home connection.  Whereas my home server could push about 100kbps up to the world, the Fable Island server peaked out at 4.70Mbps.  

I quickly added Google Analytics and with the help of Lisa, a Chitika ad on the top.  I might as well be making something for all this traffic I was getting.  That day there was a few thousand hits, and the next day six thousand more.  

And then, as soon as it came, it left.  Christmas day was down to 148 hits, and today is hovers around 10, only slightly more than it was generating before.  

Google tracked 10,030 hits so far on the page from 91 differnet countries.  Curiously only 8 of those hits were from Italy.  (India, the US, and Turkey are the top 3)

Interestingly, if you search for Venice Gondolas today, you still get my image, but it is now referenced from a page on mcmaster.ca.  Seems they stole my picture, without attribution, and my traffic with it.

I should write them a letter.  Perhaps this story will continue.

- Brian Verkley

Christmas Wish List

I hardly have time for a Christmas Wish List this year.  Sad.

1) Batteries. I knew kids went through batteries, but this is ridiculous.  
Not just any rechargables, Eneloop.  They can recharge a ton and don't drain as much when just sitting in the device.

http://www.ncix.com/products/?sku=30481&vpn=ECH4244&manufacture=Sanyo
and more
http://www.ncix.com/products/index.php?sku=21986&vpn=EBAA4&manufacture=Sanyo

2) Alcohol.  
Unrelated to kids and batteries, I just love those gift packs from the LCBO.  The Bavarian Alps Gift Pack or the Grolsch Gift Box or maybe just some spiced rum.  (Lisa says its the bees knees.)  I love the ones that come with glasses or mugs or openers or such.

3) A cell phone's coolest accessory ever.  ever.
ThinkGeek's Bluetooth Retro Handset
http://www.thinkgeek.com/gadgets/cellphone/8928/

4) Cool Shooters.  Ice "cube" tray that has cubes the shape of shot glasses.
http://www.thinkgeek.com/homeoffice/kitchen/986a

5) Wireless Presenter Laser Pointer.
not sexy, but I could use one.  Something like this.
http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Pointer-Wireless-Presenter-Function-Pointer/dp/B000I4YGEO/ref=dp_cp_ob_e_title_3
but that is boring.  You can do better.  Think Star Wars themed or something.

6) Other good ideas are anything travel related (but not a pillow or eye shades.  who wants to carry that around.)  More like magazine subscriptions for airplane reading, or an iPad.

7) Gift cards.  Movies / Meals / Shows / Wonderland / 7 nights in Hawaii.  I like them all.

8) Food.  I don't buy much Christmas candy for myself.  Maybe this year I'll spoil Hadley a bit and "share" with her.  Or you could gift it to us :-)

Merry Christmas everyone.

- Brian Verkley

2010-12-04 11:23:15

I am thinking one of your neighbors is experimenting with an EMP device.

- brian jackson

phew, it's over

I've heard of a run of bad luck, but this has been insane.

Sunday night I decided to upgrade the RAM in my server.  I have old RAM chips laying around all over, and although I don't _need_ the extra RAM, I have it collecting dust, so why not put it to use.  I powered down the server, grabbed some chips, and discovered none of them fit.  All different kinds and sizes, none fit.  Oh well, time to start the server and go back on with life.

I power on the server and it is dead.  I mean dead dead.  No BIOS.  I poke around a little but I know where this is going.  My main computer died in almost the exact same way (powered down to upgrade a hard disk) about a month earlier.  It is almost certainly the motherboard.

Ok, so the server holds our e-mail and our blogs.  It also stores the backup of all our photos.  Those should be fine as long as I get the computer to boot again.  It is also the link to the internet.  Troubleshooting without the internet isn't fun, and Hadley loves playing on her computer on the internet.  This can't wait forever...  Must fix now.

"No big deal," I think.  The computer that we use to play movies on the TV is almost identical.  I can just use its hardware.  We can go without downloaded shows and movies for a while.  I'd like to get a new device for that with menus and things so Hadley can drive it herself in a year or less.  

I back up everything off the server and head to bed.  Next morning I shut it down, cannibalize the motherboard, power up the new server, and, err, dead.  Dead dead.  Same as the other one.  Another fried motherboard. #2.

Time to break out the mulitmeter and check what is going on here.  Everything seems fine.  Volts and Amps out of the power bar is fine, Volts out of the power supply is fine.  What-the.  

Ok, now I have two dead computers.  I plug my work laptop in to my modem directly so I am back on the internet a little.  No game for Hadley or blogs or mail, but something.

I order some replacement parts from NCIX.  Wednesday now, I install the parts, and oh, wait, no.  I don't have RAM for this motherboard either.  sheesh.  Silly me.  I should have known everything is DDR3 now.  Back to NCIX.  Get RAM, install.

Then my work laptop dies.  Yup, "no hard disk detected".  3'rd major failure.

Phew, things happen in threes.  Should be clear now.  I'm loading a new kernel to regain control over my server late last night while Leanne is watching the TV and "POP".  There goes the bulb on our DLP TV. Dead.  Dead dead.  FML.

Today I got a new bulb, fixed the TV.  Got the new kernel (and GRUB) working on the server, and have regained access to the internet for the house!  Woo Hoo (oh ya, and blogs are back).  Finally, things are starting to move in the right direction.

Now if that odd banging sound the fridge is making could just settle down until after Christmas, I'd feel a lot better.

- Brian Verkley

Easton James Verkley

Welcome Easton.

When you have a second child, you can't help but compare the two experiences.  So much has been identical, but some parts are very different.

The lead up was different.  Choosing the names was different.  Easton's name we had as the boy name the first time around, so we just needed to pick a new girls name.  A second best name as it were, as obviously Hadley was our first choice.  Whereas with Hadley we had decided right around her due date, this time we needed to decide before I started work on Sept 7th, nearly a month before he was born.  I like leaving it to the last minute as you have no time to second guess, but obviously the stress isn't fun.

With Hadley we didn't "expect" anything until the due date, and labour began 4 days after, so we only had really 4 days of, "there is a good chance it is today."  With Easton, we had a number of signs that things may go real early.  We wouldn't have been surprised if he was born before I started work, which would have been weeks before his due date.  So there was nearly a month of, "there is a good chance it is today."  I didn't like running my life on hold like that.  

Mom came down early, on just such a day.  She was to sit with Hadley while we go to the hospital, so in a sense her life was on hold too.  We decided to err on the side of calling her too soon and invite her down early.  She agreed and spent quite a few days at our house.  Hadley loved it!  (especially Mom's new iPad).  This worked out even better than I had expected as Mom was able to baby sit at a moments notice as Leanne and I went for extra test after another extra test.  It also gave Hadley and Mom time to get into a routine together, which I'm sure made it easier on Hadley when we were gone.

The midwives were the same.  We were lucky enough to have the same primary and backup midwife as last time, only our student from last time was no longer with the practice.  Both of our midwives are remarkable people.  Not only are they prepared for every situation, their calming confidence guided us through what would otherwise be stressful chaos.  I'm so thankful they take the time to prepare us ahead of time, explain what is going on during, seek and incorporate our input, and work tirelessly to achieve a perfect ending.  Words aren't enough.  They are heroes.

The labour was eerily similar.  The only difference was the pre-labour part was 10 hours shorter.  Still, 20 hours is enough.

The two kids look so similar in their first pictures.  Compare http://ajax.verkley.com/easton with http://ajax.verkley.com/hadley

As expected, Hadley is a GREAT help when she can help.  She loves fetching pillows or blankets, shhshing or holding Easton's hand, and generally being a big sister.  She does miss having a mobile Leanne to play with her all the time though.  

Now that that the pregnancy is done, life with two kids has begun, and I'm looking forward to it.

(side note, since Easton was born my computer broke, and I haven't had the time to fix it.  More pictures may take a few days.)

- Brian Verkley

Back to School

I've had an odd feeling the last few days.  One I never thought I'd ever have again.  After a summer off with almost nothing to do and no where to go, I'm going back to school.  I mean back to work, but the feeling is identical.

School: Starts Sept 7 2010
Work: Starts Sept 7 2010

School: Back to school clothes shopping.  And tools (pencil, binders) and backpack
Work:  Clothes shopping, tools (phone) and airline carry-on luggage

School: Meet new teachers and reunite with old friends
Work: Meet new managers and reunite with old friends (at least three people from Bell work at EMC and Bell is one of my new clients)

School: Get lunch plan, class schedule, locker keys
Work, Get work credit card, training schedule, network and software logins

School:  Have to start waking up early
Work: Have to start waking up early

School:  Ride the bus to school
Work: Ride the train to work, at least the first week

I'm sure I could go on, but you see the similarity.  There is an odd euphoria and optimism about going back to school I remember.  Sure you wanted summer to last forever, but school meant you got to hang out with your friends more often.  Summer on the farm can be quite isolationist.

I feel the same way about work.  There will be new things to learn and people to meet, but mostly I look forward to working with people face to face.  That is the worst thing about working on a Facebook game alone...  Isolation.

The level of fear is about the same too.  I don't fear that I can do the work, as i didn't fear that I could do the schoolwork.  Just that I will like the work.  Or the people sitting next to me in class.  That doesn't weigh on me or stress me though.  It is just an anticipation of the unknown.

It is eerie how similar it feels.  Sitting in front of my computer, not wanting to go to bed.  Wondering if Steve is right and I should just stay up all night to "right" my sleep schedule.  Starring at the screen, alone, in the still, quiet, cool, night air.  Knowing that tomorrow is the last day, the last supper, of the summer of freedom.  And the day following will be exciting and new and busy.  And the time that follows will be work.

At least for the next 10 months.

- Brian Verkley

2010-09-06 10:07:46

Your post was at 4:13am.  I hope you turned your sleep pattern around.  :)
I am excited for you for all the stuff you are looking forward to and interested in hearing stories of all the unknown stuff you will get to explore.
Enjoy your last day of "summer" and enjoy a very exciting first week at EMC!
I love you.  

- leanne

Hadley thinks different

So at soccer class today (Hadley's first) the leader read a book at snack time.  In the book, a soccer team recruited a big grizzly bear when one of their players, dog, was out with the fleas.  In the end, the big bear, who is a giant compared to the skunk and duck and turtle and all the other players on the team, wins the game and becomes the hero.  The team wanted to pick bear up and carry him off the field in celebration but they couldn't.  The soccer leader asked us why the team couldn't pick him up.  As everyone else shouts out that bear is too big, Hadley says, "because his friends are too little."

- Brian Verkley

2010-06-14 08:44:58

:) that is cute.

- julie

Hadley the compute wiz

Hadley loves the computer.  She asks to play almost every day.  And she teaches herself most of the games.  

Today we were looking at some Facebook pictures that Wes took.  She wanted to participate, so I asked her to click on the pictures to see the next one.  That worked well at first, and then instead she wanted to click on the next button.  Yes, that tiny little word next in the top right corner.  

How did she know that that little word did the same thing?  It wasn't an accident.  Before I had asked her to click on the picture, and this time I asked her to click next, not really thinking about what I was saying.  And she said, "here daddy?" while hovering over it.

I don't get it.

- Brian Verkley

2010-05-29 16:01:55

duh, she's YOUR daughter, lol!

- Anne Marie

2010-05-30 08:19:57

She has done this with mommy before.  :)

- leanne

2010-05-30 08:21:18

She still impresses me though with how much she does learn on her own.  I can hardly believe it sometimes.  

- leanne

2010-06-04 17:47:21

Did mom really write "duh" and "lol"???
May I also mention that when she was using my iphone last time I set a timer on it and she figured out to turn it off!!!!! I thought that it must have been 5 min already but I didn't here it go off.... she shut off the timer, you better keep an eye on that one!

- julie

Hadley and the Car

After cleaning out the car with Leanne, Hadley wanted to stay in it and play.

You might expect that after 13,000 kms, she'd want to stay out of the car, but instead it became like a home I think.  The only consistent place on our journey.  Instead of something she wants to avoid, it is something she misses.

I guess she wasn't to unhappy in the back seat.

- Brian Verkley

Hadley Falling

Hadley loves to run.  Even on uneven pavement.  This combination likely leads to a fall.  Perhaps two year olds are prone to fall anyway, but this ensures it.  

The other day, running around Temple Square in Salt Lake City, she fell, and I watched it like in slow motion.

As soon as her foot caught a lip and her body was certain to hit the ground, she put both arms out with hands up.  Her elbows were stretched as wide as possible and her hands straight up about as high as her head.  Reminiscent of a sky diver trying to slow his fall in order to group up and make rings or something.

Then, at the last second, she reached her hands as far forward as possible, far above her head, and had them impact the ground first.  But instead of scraping and sliding against the pavement, they stuck firm.  Her elbows then touched down and her weight was transferred on to her arms.  As her body continued forward, her hands continued backwards toward her body, slowing her decent.  Her head comes down and her nose gently kisses the back of her hands.  Yes, that's right, the stretch and slow was perfectly timed so that her face stops on her hands instead of kissing the ground.

She immediately pops up and continues to run, with a smile on her face, as though nothing unusual just happened.  Certainly nothing she wasn't in complete control of.

I've never seen anything as graceful in my life.

- Brian Verkley

Canada and Hockey

We all squeezed the stick and we all pulled the trigger and all I remember was the crowd start to roar.

We lined up around 10am to get in to the Vogue theatre in downtown Vancouver to watch the gold medal ice hockey game of the 2010 Winter Olympics, aka, "the game".  The game didn't start until noon, and we already had guaranteed seating because we pre-ordered out tickets the day before.   Still, lining up _only_ two hours early seemed ridiculously late.  All along Granville St. there were long lines for each and every bar, pub, or restaurant.  The lines merged together and the street party had begun.

Every few minutes an american waving a flag would walk down the street, taunting the fans.  A chorus of boos followed.  Once an American lady quietly wheeled her wheelchair down the street.  The crowed didn't say a thing.  That embodies the spirit of the Canadian fans.  The rivalry in what is our sport is impassioned but it doesn't supplant our politeness.

A car waiving American flags flagrantly was followed by a police vehicle.  Coincidence?  A few times the police flashed their lights and the mob backed away from the car.  

Once inside, our seats were great and the game was better.  A first period lead held up until seconds remained in the third.  of course the gold medal game would go in to overtime.  And when Iginla passed the puck to Crosby, Canada put the puck in the net.  We willed it there.  Collectively, a few million people jumped in to the air.  

People around the country could have watched the game at home but they didn't.  Over and over they chose to watch the game with others, crowded around tv's to share in the moment.  Never before have so many Canadians focused their attention on one event.  Perhaps never before have so many dreams come true at once.

And we were there, in the heart of Vancouver, sharing our passion with the world.


- Brian Verkley

Great so far

I know I haven't been live blogging our trip.  For a while internet connectivity was more difficult than I had expected.  

I have been keeping a journal which I'll publish at some point.  We're so busy each day that I barely have an hour to watch some Olympics and jot a little down.

Everything is going great so far.
See you all soon.

- Brian Verkley

Trip Planning

This evening was trip planning.  Over the weekend we were lucky enough to talk to Cecilia and Paul and others from my extended family who have vacationed in most of the areas we will be visiting.  Some rather recently.  They lent us guide books and so we have been reading and filling out our itinerary.

There are lots of things on the west coast that I would love to do.  It will be no trouble filling our days out there, but the middle, commonly referred to as fly-over country, my plans are sparse.  Yellowstone was on the list from the beginning, and a 10 minute stop at Mt. Rushmore seems fitting, but past that?  ummmm.

So we read.  Did you know there is a corn palace in South Dakota?  Me either.  We're going.  It was one of the few things we were interested in AND open during the winter.  

We also made a list of things to pack, and a list of things to do so the things we need to pack will be ready.  Lists make me feel better, then more stressed because of all the things left to do, then more organized, then naively confident.  It is my personal four step program to preparation.  Today we added one thing to our list which is to be done after we leave home, but before we leave Toronto.  Ya, starting to cut it close, eh?

Oh, and today was Mom's birthday.  Happy birthday, Mom.

- Brian Verkley

2010-02-02 06:41:52

Are there any places along the way where maybe a favourite movie was filmed?
Is Chicago on your list of places to stop?  Theresa and I loved it there    

- Brian jackson

2010-02-02 14:09:51

Field of Dreams in Iowa, but there may not be much corn in the winter...  I think we're going anyway.

There is a Flinstones set somewhere, but closed in the winter.

There are 150 year old ruts from the real Oregon trail, but about a 5 hour drive out of our way.

Chicago is definitely on the list, and likely our last stop before retuning to Canada.  What was the highlight of your Chicago trip?  I'd like to see a Cubs home game, but I don't think they'll be there in March.

- brian

Writing and Swimming

If I'm going to drive across two of the world's largest countries, I might as well write about my adventures as well as take photos.  I've had mixed success posting my adventure stories to the 'net in the past.  Some are documented well, must most are incomplete or non-existent.  This trip though, I should have access to the internet regularly so I thought I'd try to write along the way.  Who knows if that will turn out better or worse.  And if I'm going to write then anyway, I might as well start practicing.

Today we went swimming.  The end.  How'd you like my story?  heh.

Ok, more practice.

Leanne's friend Annie invited us to go swimming at the McLean center in Ajax today.  Leanne and Hadley go reasonably often but usually during the day mid-week and so I haven't been in about a year.  It will not be a year before I go again.

Hadley is still 2 and I expected her to have a reasonable level of fear about jumping in or swimming on her own.  Nope.  She picked up toys and headed in.  Ajax has a warm water kids pool that is sloped like the sand at a beach.  Nice gentle slope down until you can't touch.

Hadley rushes in on her own, sits on the bottom and starts playing with the rubber ducks she has picked up.  After a few minutes, Leanne takes her in deeper and with only a little hesitation, Hadley jumps off the edge into Leanne's waiting arms.  Then she attempts a doggy paddle over to me! We slide a pool noodle in under her arms and she is off on her own.  Well, on her own, but never far away.  She was so happy the whole time.  Two hours flew by as we splashed around, blew bubbles, floated and talked with friends.  

I'm soo happy Hadley is willing to try new things and isn't afraid leap, suck up a little water, and then try to do better next time.  She has such a good spirit about her and I think we owe that to Leanne.  Leanne is so positive and encouraging to Hadley.  Always showing her new things.  

I love my family.

- Brian Verkley

2010-02-01 01:53:51

Ahhh, we love you too!  So glad to have had this fun night out together!

- leanne

2010-02-01 07:29:44

It looks like you won't have too much trouble writing for your trip. Well done.  :)

- Brian jackson

2010-02-02 01:03:11

Thanks, but I still need practice, and persistence.  I need to not only start a travel log, but to complete one.

- brian

zip tests

I usually keep this blog quite general purpose, but I thought I'd share this bit of tech knowledge.

If you can read any of this, it says that
my drive takes over a minute to read a 2.4 GB file (the current size of fableisland's raw db)
gzip with max compression (-9, -6 is default) is fast and good compression
bzip2 is great at compression but slow
pbzip2 really does scale (to at least two processors) wonderfully.

# ls -lah
-rw-r--r--  1 root  root  2.4G Jan  5 17:54 test.sql

# time cp test.sql /dev/null
real    1m10.412s

# time gzip -9 test.sql
real    5m15.720s
-rw-r--r--  1 root  root  237M Jan  5 16:47 test.sql.gz

# time bzip2 test.sql
real    42m19.576s
-rw-r--r--  1 root  root  175M Jan  5 16:59 test.sql.bz2

# time pbzip2 test-p.sql
real    23m25.958s
-rw-r--r--  1 root  root  175M Jan  5 17:54 test-p.sql.bz2

- Brian Verkley

It has started.... Why

It was the evening of January 1st.  Hadley was downstairs with us watching TV, sitting between us on the couch, eating pears.

It is common for us to share food.  She offers me something.  I eat it.  I offer her something.  She eats it.  We've done this since Hadley was born and I think it is nice bonding.  She often offers me the first or the last of anything, without provocation and with a smile.  And she isn't afraid to say no if she doesn't want something.

On this fateful night, Hadley offered me a slice of pear and I said no.  I don't know why I did it.  I just didn't want the pear.  It was a good pear.  Sweet and juicy but not too soft.  There was nothing wrong with the pear, I just didn't want it.  I said no.

And Hadley said, "Why?".

I nonchalantly replied that I just didn't want it, and then I placed my hand on Leanne and said, "Was that Hadley's first Why?".  

"Yes," Leanne replied thoughtfully, "I believe it was."

Kids are funny with new skills in general but language in particular.  Once a new concept has been tried successfully once, it becomes as readily available as a skill she has mastered months ago.  I think I answered "Why" like 43 times today, and Hadley was out most of the day.  But only once per topic, and not repetitively.  She simpled wanted to know why, and when I answered, she moved on.

The age of wonderment has begun.

- Brian Verkley

2010-01-06 00:25:38

Get ready for 2010!  A great start to the new year for her I would say.  January first no less!
And... you got off with only answering 43 why's today.  I lost count.  

- leanne

Toronto to Vancouver Road Trip Help

http://bit.ly/6caGLB

That url _should_ show you the path we are planning to take from Toronto to Vancouver for the Olympics.  That 4,663km trip needs many more "things to do" to add to the Canada Goose in Wawa and the world's largest coffee pot in Davidson Saskatchewan.

What shouldn't we miss on a drive across Canada?  Keep in mind it will be the winter, so camping and canoeing are out.

Hold your American suggestions for now.  I'll let you know when that part of the trip is added.

All ideas are welcome.

- Brian Verkley

2009-12-11 10:51:09

Off the top of my head, Banff is awesome.  Out of your way, but worth it (IMO).  
I went to Radium Hot Springs as a kid with my family, and it was pretty incredible.  Its something rather summer-like you can definitely enjoy in the winter. :)

Ill ask my Dad what he's been doing out there (Vancouver/Whistler) for some more tips and get back to ya.

- brian jackson

2009-12-11 12:12:06

Rogers Pass was simply awesome

- Patrick Lane

Friday?

Leanne and I were just talking in the bathroom while Hadley was in the bath.  Hadley, as she is starting to do often, repeated Leanne's words.  Hadley said, "Next Week".

So I said, "Monday" and Hadley said, "Monday", and we clapped and cheered.
Leanne said "Tuesday", and Hadley said "Tuesday" and we clapped and cheered.
Leanne said "Wednesday", and Hadley said "Wednesday" and we clapped and cheered.
Leanne said "Thursday", and Hadley said "Thursday" and we clapped and cheered.
Hadley said "Friday", and we clapped and cheered, jaws on the floor.

Notice what happened there.  We didn't say Friday first.  Hadley did.

All of these words were new to her.  I've never heard her say any days of the week.  I'm still not sure she understood the concept.  But she definitely said "Friday" before we did.

Kids, Patterns, English.  Fascinating.

- Brian Verkley

2009-09-14 13:05:19

That is very cool, so what day of the week did she say she was going to come visit Julie?

- julie

2009-09-14 16:30:16

She doesn't ask to visit you, but every time she picks up a pretend phone to call someone, it is either "somebody", "body", or "julie" she calls.

- brian

AC is not necessary...

but it is wonderful.

With this cool summer we have been having, we just left the windows open and the AC off.  It was entirely comfortable, and I've enjoyed the air.  Until this week.

Many days this week were in the 30's that felt like the 40's.  So we went to flip on the AC and cool the house down.  And.... nothing.  

The thermostat no longer had the current temp or time and wasn't able to turn on our furnace or AC.  Changing batteries did nothing.  Dead.  Old and dead.  It was likely original to the house about 25 years ago.

So we got a new one today and I was able to rewire it in (not difficult at all) and I've got to tell you, instant relief.  25 degrees (the built in default temp) is SO much more comfortable than 30.5.  Air conditioning is a marvel of modern  technology.

We bought the new thermostat at Canadian Tire and decided to cash in our decade long collection of Canadian Tire money.  $35 or so.  About a 3 inch stack of bills.  

If you don't have AC or Canadian Tire, I feel sorry for you.  

- Brian Verkley

Good-bye ICQ

About two weeks ago I upgraded kopete, my IM client.  This new version didn't come with the ICQ protocol by default.  I didn't notice for a few days.

When I did notice, I was a bit sad.  I have been on ICQ since Steve made me join back in like 1995, or maybe early '96.  That is over a decade of using the same software (protocol).  

I had repeatedly avoided moving to AIM or MSN in the past.  If people wanted to chat with me, they could find me on ICQ.  If they didn't want to, well, then they didn't want to chat, did they.  

I had started a google g-talk / jabber a while ago.  Many of my friends were on both ICQ and jabber, and I often didn't know which protocol we were actually using (my kopete would happily abstract that away for me by combining their IDs).

Having no ICQ now, I can still chat with the people I talk to most so it is time to cut the cord, let my ICQ number die, and finally declare the end of an era.  The end of the first IM client. The end of the first "social" app on the net.  At least for me.

Is anyone still on ICQ only?  Was anyone maintaining ICQ just to talk to me?  or just to talk to one other person?

- Brian Verkley

2009-08-11 19:18:12

I changed from ICQ to MSN a long time ago, and I think that you were the only person that I couldn't talk to anymore.... sorry, you are cool and all, but not enough for me to keep ICQ for you.

- julie

2009-08-11 19:40:55

When AOL bought ICQ it became pretty redundant for anyone to start using.  That said, I still use it to maintain the old connections.  There aren't many though, you were one of the last.

The end of an era indeed.

- brian jackson

2009-08-11 23:19:08

up untill about a month ago I was using a program called Trillian and it combined MSN, ICQ, and a few others that I was never on. When wipped my laptop clean I never bothered to instal it back on.

I could think of about 2-3 people who never bothered with MSN but I found once Facebook chat caught on that any of my ICQ only friends were accessible on there most of the time.

- Joe

2009-08-12 05:40:45

Digsby has basically supplanted Trillian as the de facto multi-protocol IM client.  It supports most of the same protocols (all of the major ones), as well as "social networking chat" with Facebook, Twitter, Myspace, and Linked In.

Not sure where Trillian is going with a for-pay client with Astra, as Digsby seems to be ahead of the game.

- brian jackson

2009-08-13 22:24:46

Not long after recommending Digsby, this comes out:
http://lifehacker.com/5336382/digsby-joins-the-dark-side-uses-your-pc-to-make-money

So sad.  Do not use!

- brian jackson

2009-08-14 18:35:54

too bad,  I like 1 program combining all of them rather then having like 4 chats programs opened

Thanx for the Info tho :)

- Joe

2009-08-15 00:00:02

Pidgin is still a good alternative that can communicate with all the major protocols, and there are lots plugins.
Same with Miranda IM...

- brian jackson

English and kids

The English language is fascinating.  I've only started to have a real appreciation though when Hadley started to use it.

For a while now she has had a mastery of the word "fit", as in "no fit" when she means "this block does not fit in that hole".  She uses it for a lot, like "no fit" could also mean, "my sock does not fit on your foot, dad", or "this doll is far too big for that tiny chair".

See, she understands "fit" in that object A can not fit inside object B, (or vice versa in the sock scenario).  

However, the other day we were putting toys away when she picked one up and said, "no fit".  It clearly would "fit" in the container, but it didn't belong there; it was from a different toy set.  She correctly identified that that piece was different and that it didn't belong.  And she chose to verbalize that with "no fit" in that it wasn't "fit" to belong there.  Sure, it "fits", but it wasn't "fit".  By the way, she promptly got up, went to the container for that misplaced toy, and put it there.

This isn't object A fitting inside object B, this is "the types of objects that are in object B are not similar to this object A, and therefore it does not belong".  That is a whole different meaning of the same word, and one she decided to use on her own.

The thing that fascinates me is that _she_ chose to use it.  She chose to use that word for a different meaning.  A meaning that happens to be perfectly normal English, although not used by Leanne or I much.  (we would say it doesn't belong or doesn't match instead of isn't fit)

How?  Why?  Fascinating.

- Brian Verkley

2009-08-11 13:17:34

I am glad you find all of that very fascinating. Just wait until she learns to spell more.... when teaching grade one and two I said "English is just silly sometimes" (sounds and letters don't "fit")
I am glad you wrote on your blog :)

- julie

2009-08-11 18:17:27

sounds are already silly.  When learning the letter "K" why do they use "kittens" as a picture.  Don't they know that kids will say "Cat".  Or should I say "Kat".  sheesh.

- brian

Good-bye Old Friend

I killed a friend today.  My old P166 server is finally dead.  (The move to a new server was delayed by me needing a new CPU fan.)

It is sad for me to turn off a computer for the final time, especially one that served me daily for so long.  I've learned a lot on that machine.  You come to know it by its normal delays, sounds, misc quirks, etc.    

I probably bought the machine in 1996 or 1997 while at Gateway.  I think there was some deal where we sold our old ones as used and upgraded to these 166's.  In those 12 years the machine wouldn't have been off for more than a few hours... total.  Just for hard drive upgrades or when I moved it into a rackmountable case, or when I moved to Toronto and then Ajax.  It was my main machine, then secondary toy, and then the main network workhorse at least since we moved to Ajax.  It hasn't been off for 1 second in the last 1134 days.

It has no use anymore.  You can get that much processing power in a handheld (I think the iphone has a 600+ MHz ARM processor) at FAR less power usage.  

So it is done.  It is off, and likely will stay off forever.
Good-Bye old friend.

- Brian Verkley

2009-03-29 20:04:27

Since I started dating Brian in 1996, I guess I say my farewells as well.
Good-bye.

- leanne

2009-07-28 18:32:56

Slow down on your updates!

I don't have time to read them all!

- Joe

ajax uptime

I totally missed blogging about it yesterday.  My server has been up for 3 years straight now.  By far a new record over my previous best 6 months.  That was before I had a UPS to help me live through power outages.

It won't make 4 years though.  This week I have been migrating to a new home server (this blog has already moved).  Most of the services have been shut down now, and it will officially be put to sleep sometime this month I suspect.

I will miss you, Pentium 166, my old friend.  You've served me well over the last decade.

- Brian Verkley

Another mini milestone for Fable Island

We passed 500 players today, of which about 170 play daily.  Growth has been steady except for the week around Christmas.  The server logs scroll faster now, and I'm still excited every time I see a new player join.

I'm working on a sizeable game update with a new area coming soon!  

Thanks everyone for your support!

- Brian Verkley

Hadley's First Skate

I just uploaded my first video to facebook!

We have uploaded a few to youtube in the past; this is the first to facebook.  I like in facebook I don't have to tell everyone I know that there is a new video up and where to find it.  

Has anyone else had video on the web experience?  What do you like?

- Brian Verkley

2009-01-04 18:53:17

For sharing videos family and friends are interested, I agree, it doesnt get any better than fb.  I post most of my videos there.

However for videos meant for the general public (like how to's for example), I think something like youtube or vimeo or metacafe is better.  I especially like vimeo for HD and ease of use.

Most videos are just for the fam though, so fb is where it's at.

- brian jackson

Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth

Merry Christmas !

Our year in review:

Early in the year, Hadley correctly predicted the sports upset of the
century (it has only been 7 years) by choosing the banana representing
the Giants over the banana representing the Patriots.  Cort was
especially happy as he bet with Hadley and finally won something at his
annual party.

Leanne instituted Scrapbooking Nights.  Roughly monthly, she invited
people from her mommy groups over to have a night out without kids and
get a page or two of scrapbooking done.

We took Hadley to her first Leafs game, where the Leafs won in OT 4-3.
She only cried with the Flyers scored.

In March, on her birthday, Hadley turned 1!  We had a small party,
complete with sick parents and child.  Still, there were some good cake
photos, but nothing too messy.

We took Hadley to her first Blue Jays game; the home opener.  Later in
the year we went again with Adam and Krista, again with uncle Paul,
Julie, and Joe, and again with Steve and Brent.  Leanne also joined a
slowpitch team in Whitby.  Although we did go to her first and last
game, Sunday night became Daddy Night as Hadley and I would hang out alone.

Hadley ate a pickle.

July 1st, Canada Day, in Ottawa!  Shaye had the dream and we were
excited to join her.  Dad, Patti-Jo, Patrick, and Julie joined us as
well.  The crowds were CRAZY.  From Parliament Hill in the morning to
the fireworks at night, and the sidewalk in front of the Supreme Court
in the wee hours, I'm glad we got the chance to enjoy a Canada Day in
our nation's capital.

For vacation we took a two week road trip East.  The highlight was
visiting Lisa and Jeff in Nova Scotia.  We also visited a number of
UNESCO World Heritage sites, camped in a few Canadian National Parks,
visited Joe and Pat's new PEI summer home, and took part in Quebec
City's 400th anniversary.  6000km in our little Saturn Ion.  Hadley was
great at car camping.  She didn't mind the hours in the car seat and she
seemed to like sleeping in the tent.

Leanne turned 30.  Or maybe she stopped turning 29, I'm not sure.  I
think having a kid makes you feel not young anyway, so the milestone is
less scary, but we celebrated with a nice party anyway.

One day mom was visiting and we were mentioning how "someday" we would
like to walk the waterfront trail from Ajax toward Toronto.  She
insisted to come along, and that it should be tomorrow.  So, without any
more preparation thank packing lunch and a GPS, we headed out.  17.06km
later, and very tired, we arrived at Rouge Hill Go station.  "Someday"
we'll finish the rest.  The parts that are a trail rather than a street,
really are lovely along Lake Ontario.

Congratulations to Mandy and Jason.  Their first born son, Jayden, is
Hadley's only cousin.  It was wonderful to watch Hadley care for Jayden
with soft hugs and kisses.

On a work note, I was forcefully retired from Bell.  My pension doesn't
kick in for a while though, so I've decided to write a Facebook game in
the meantime.  If you haven't already, join Facebook and give Fable
Island ( http://apps.facebook.com/fableisland/ ) a try.  I hope you like it.

And of course there were a hundred other trips to the zoo, birthday,
wedding and anniversary parties, and toddler day trips.
We hope you had a wonderful year and like us, find some time to relax
this holiday season.

Looking forward, I wonder if this will be the end of the email
tradition.  With more and more people sending Facebook messages rather
than email, blogging about their life instead of writing email, and grow
more tired of spam in the email inbox, I can see a day where being on
the internet once again doesn't necessarily mean you have a regular
email inbox.  Fear not though, as I'll just migrate to a new form as we
evolve.  The note below is in fixed width fonts with shortened lines
because that is how Pine displayed email on the screen at the time.
That was the full width of the screen too.  Times change, and yet the
tradition continues. Hadley still can't read...

Brian Verkley
Leanne Verkley
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne

Lisa Marie Verkley wrote:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 17:04:51 -0500 (EST)
From: Kaushik Aneel
To: Ben Yoskovitz
Cc: Thomas Hood ,
Mark Cecchetto ,
JAY MCDONALD ,
Laura Thompson ,
Ben'sfriend Rebecca
Subject: Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth (fwd)

Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth
by Anonymous

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 specices
of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are
insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer
which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children in the world (persons under 18). But
since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist
children, that reduces the workload by 85% of the total -leaving 378
million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average
(census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes.
One presumes there is at least one good child per house.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different
time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to
west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with good children,
Santa has 1/1000 th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down
the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under
the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney,
get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that
each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth
which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our
calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per
household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do
what most of us do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding, etc.

That means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000
times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest
man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, move at a poky 27.4
miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, at tops 15 miles per
hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming
each child gets nothing more then a medium sized lego set ( 2 pounds ),
the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is
invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can
pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting the 'flying reindeer' can
pull TEN TIMES that normal amount, we cannot the job with eight, or even
nine, We need 214,200 reindeer. This increased the payload- not even
counting the weight of the sleigh to 353,430 tons. Again for comparison
- this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth

5) 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enourmous air
resistance. This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair will
absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per second. Each. In short,
they will burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the
reindeer behind them, and creating a deafening sonic boom in their wake.
The entire reindeer team will be vaporized with 4.26 thousandths of a
second. Santa meanwhile, will be subject to centrifugal forces 17,500.06
times greater than gravity. A 250 pound Santa ( which seems ludicrously
slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by a 4,315,015 pound force.

In conclusion, If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas eve, he's
now dead.

P.S. this will be something you can tell your kids someday!

- Brian Verkley

Fable Island is growing

Fable Island passed 100 users today.  56 of which are playing at least daily.

I've had two successful updates.  If there are any Bell people reading, you may find it humourous / interesting that I basically use the Bell change process to do my changes.  test / mop / notify customers / complete and log change in a middle of the night change window / log success in a public forum.  And I approve all my own changes!  So far so good.

- Brian Verkley

2008-12-09 20:54:55

Congrats!

I take it Leanne is the one to approve the changes... ;)

- brian jackson

Fable Island is alive !

The facebook game I have been working on for the past three months is now alive.  Check out http://apps.facebook.com/fableisland/ and let me know what you think.  

As I hope for this to become a full time job, your support is GREATLY appreciated.  Please try it out, please let me know what you think (good or bad) and please, if you like it, invite your friends.

- Brian Verkley

playtime

I should have written about this a few days ago, but this week Hadley and I played in a blanket fort for the fist time.  I'm not sure which one of us had more fun.

- Brian Verkley

Music

A while ago Mom brought the old keyboard (electronic piano) we had as kids over for Hadley.  There was no power adapter, but Leanne managed to pick one up cheap at Cash Converters.  

Hadley loves it.

She sits on my lap and plays notes musically.  Different keys, with differing tempo and loudness.  The smile on her face is priceless.  Sometimes she puts my hands on the keys for me to play a bit, and then pushes them off again a short while later for her solo.  

Leanne was playing a bit today while Hadley and I danced beside her.  I was thinking that not only would Hadley's Grandma Verkley be proud, so would my Grandma Verkley.  Too bad Hadley never got to play for her.  I would have like to see that.

- Brian Verkley

2008-10-28 08:48:05

Grandma would have been clapping to the "beat" for sure!

- julie

I need a graphic artist !

If you know a graphic artist that might be interested in creating the artwork for a facebook game I am creating, please have them send me an email or add me as a friend on facebook.

Most of the required art will be outdoor scenes and animals (mostly fish).  Any portfolio or samples would be much appreciated.

- Brian Verkley

2008-10-16 14:13:28

the only ones I know either don't have the cycles, or already work for games companies.  ill still ask around though...

- brian jackson

2008-10-16 14:58:55

maybe the friends that already work for games companies have friends that may be interested?

I appreciate you passing it around.  thanks.

- brian

poo

first day of toilet training and already poo in the toilet!

- Brian Verkley

2008-09-26 12:23:21

and now pee!

- brian

2008-09-26 12:38:46

...and only 1.5 hours in.  It is going to be a long day in the washroom.

- leanne

2008-09-26 22:50:50

Go Hadley Go! (and family!)

- brian jackson

Lake Ontario Waterfront Trail

Mom is down visiting and yesterday while at Rotary Park we were looking at the waterfront trail that runs along the lake in Ajax.  There was a sign post there that showed the route and I mentioned that I'd like to walk it all the way to Toronto.  Mom said, "I'd love to do that."  So I said great, let's do it tomorrow.

http://www.waterfronttrail.org/

We checked the maps, packed the lunch, and set an early alarm.  At around 7:30am in the early morning light, the four of us left our front door heading for the big city.  We figured the whole way would be about 30km, so we'll see how our knees and feet hold up.

Well, 17.06km later we were at Rouge Hill Go station, and we called it a day.  Not nearly all the way to Toronto as the crow flies, but a 17km walk was a nice outing.  

Along the way we played on children's playgrounds, sauntered through marina's, watched the boats sail by, and enjoyed some cool grass in the warm sun.  All in all, it was a wonderful day.

Mom and I have sore knees and feet, but Leanne and Hadley seem no worse for wear.  

Perhaps someday we'll pick up where we left off and make it to the CN Tower.

- Brian Verkley

2008-09-04 21:33:25

sounds like an awesome walk, just wondering how the cool grass tasted, ahah sounded like it was a cold glass of something.

- julie

2008-09-05 10:24:50

hahah, no, just water on our trip.  we saved the cold beer for when we got home.  my did that go down easy as we soaked our feet in Hadley's pool.

- brian

Facebook App

Now that I've got some time on my hands, I've revived my old facebook app: http://apps.new.facebook.com/polltfb/

Check it out, vote in the polls, read and comment in the discussion.  Perhaps this is just a hobby, or perhaps it will lead to my next employment. Either way, I appreciate your support.

- Brian Verkley

I'm free

So as most of you have heard already, the cutbacks at Bell affected me, and I am now unemployed.  

While I wasn't expecting it, it isn't the worst thing in the world.  There is a 6 month severance, and likely EI after that.  Plus Leanne and I don't run our bank account at zero, so we'll be fine for a while.  

It is funny/odd/sad to read most peoples reaction notes.  Some of them are written as serious and sad as if their had been a death in the family.  To some people it seems this is dire, but it is really anything but.

I'd been at Bell for 9 years.  9 years.  That is longer than I had been anywhere, including grade school.  (Kindergarten was in a different school).  Every few months they'd announce 10, 20, 30 and sometimes 30+ service anniversaries, and I'd always dread the day if I hit 10.  10 years doing one thing and not changing the world seems like a lot of effort wasted.  

So if I am to move on, one would pray for this situation.  Instead of jumping ship with zero severance and no EI and looking for something new, I get lots of time to try things.  

So what is next?  I don't know.  Something different though.  Unless I'm paid a lot of money to go back and help the ailing telco, I'd like to work on something new.

I'll let you know when I know what that is.

In the mean time, I'm ok.  We're ok.  But thanks for the kind words of encouragement anyway.  They are always appreciated.

- Brian Verkley

2008-08-22 08:43:09

It's pretty awesome you guys are taking this in stride.  

There are probably a lot of reasons people act so dire.  The change, uncertainty, financial situation, ego, etc, etc.

You guys are in a great position because you're both smart and can obviously turn around and see this as an opportunity.  Not everyone is in the same boat.

Many will be glad to hear that there is something positive coming from something that is usually disturbing.  Kudos!

- brian jackson

2008-08-22 15:19:26

Hey Brian...history repeats itself, right? Well, you got your lucky lead to a job at Bell at a wedding party...maybe with 2 weddings you are attending tomorrow, you will get lucky...who knows??
Onward and upward....GOOD LUCK.

- Anne Marie

2008-08-22 17:15:17

Happy Vacation- now you can spend more time with Hadley in the day time! And you can come and visit me! Things always work out, keep looking at that glass half full Brian. I was out of a job for about 9 months, and I turned out just fine.

- julie

We're Back

We're home from our two week wonderful vacation out east.  Everything went well, pics and story to come... eventually.

We might have had some up today, only upon return home, my computer's USB ports seem to be non functional.  They power any USB device, but under Windows or Linux the end device is not detected.  

I had to dig though my cupboards to find an old ps2 style keyboard and mouse, so I am up and running, but of course the flash card readers are USB....  

Not sure if I should treat the Motherboard as defective and replace it, or just buy a PCI USB controller card. Any thoughts?

- Brian Verkley

2008-08-18 08:51:01

Welcome back!  Great to hear you had a good time.  

Do you know there is a USB header on the MB for external USB ports?  Do they work?  Maybe upgrade the BIOS for kicks?

I'd say either spring for new MB/CPU/RAM, or just get a USB controller card.  Just getting a new motherboard means getting an out-of-date one, and there are tons of MB/CPU/RAM deals out there at the usual places.  Heck, you're lucky to have a Canada Computers up the street... :)

- brian jackson

2008-08-21 21:51:07

Asus has 3 year warranty on their motherboards.  but I'd have to take it out of my computer and ship it to Indiana, then wait 10 business days for them to ship one back.  And I have to pay for the shipping to them.  

I think I'll buy a PCI USB controller.

- brian

2008-08-25 14:12:33

$9 USB controller works fine.

- brian

overheard at the playground

Mother, "Son, do you have any idea how dangerous that is!?!"
Son, "Yes, and I'm ready to take that risk."

- Brian Verkley

Hadley's First Conversation

While eating a chocolate mousie sandwich,

Hadley, "Mom?"
Leanne, "Yes?"
Hadley, "Yum."

Then we broke out in to laughter.  They couldn't have used less syllables if they tried.

- Brian Verkley

2008-07-04 16:43:57

Too too funny!

- Anne Marie

Hadley

I like to watch as she reaches new milestones and does things for the first time, but I particularly like the ones that we didn't set out to teach her.  Things she has learned on her own.

Yesterday, for the first time, she tried to defend herself while I tickled her, laughing the whole time.

- Brian Verkley

Accepted

The CEP members at Bell have voted to accept the most recent offer!  No strike.

Now I can finally plan my (long overdue) vacation.  

- Brian Verkley

2008-06-04 14:41:08

Nice!

- Joe

blogs vs facebook vs twitter vs me

I love blogging.  Well, I should say I love reading my families blogs and keeping in touch.  Not to be confused with the rest of the "blogosphere" which I'm not as keen on.  

Facebook is useful, but I find my news feed is most busy with people I don't care to read about, as least not that often.  I find I check it less because it doesn't provide enough value to time spent.

I don't twitter, but Lisa does now and it is nice to keep up that way.  Although I find it tough to reply back when not near IM.  And even then it is only one on one.

What does all this have in common?  I'd like to write more, but none of the above seem right.  My blog posts, if you haven't noticed, are a bit involved. I think that is the advantage of blogs.  I can muse and mutter and you can read and comment.  Most of my updates like "Hadley just had a mousie (mousey? mousee?) sandwich and loved it", I have no outlet for.

I _know_ that is what twitter is for, but really want to enable comments that everyone can read.  I _know_ I could make short blog posts, but, eh, it doesn't _feel_ right.

Maybe I should mash a tweet blog that has auto facebook posts.  ick.  Better than having another place for people to read about me though.  

I'm interested in your thoughts on the topic, if anyone still reads this.

- Brian Verkley

2008-05-06 07:17:14

Everyone can read everyone's comments if you use Twitter. Just go to their Twitter page. Only direct messages are private.  I use Twirl to Twitter. I can watch the on-going dialog between everyone that I follow.

- Lisa Verkley

2008-05-06 12:42:30

Lisa, is it Twhirl you use? http://www.twhirl.org/ AIR is fascinating.

If youre on Windows, I highly recommend Digsby, as it unifies basically every IM platform.  Even Facebook.  Linux and OSX are coming soon.

Brian, IMO you should stick with the blog.  I say that it's my opinion because personally I like to have the control and ownership of my content.  While I upload photos and import my site into Facebook, the original content is on my machines and not on someone else's.
It may seem a little paranoid, and for microblogging a little unecessary, but 10,20,30 years from now I don't know where Facebook, Twitter, or any other service will be.

- brian jackson

2008-05-06 19:13:32

Yes I love Twhirl.
True about content - Blogs posts that are one sentence long are just fine, and you own the content.  
I like the mix of both I have going now.

- Lisa Verkley

2008-05-06 20:21:24

Lisa,
I know there is a form of conversations on twitter amongst twitterers, but signing up to twitter or using an app seems to be a high barrier to entry.  I'll bet mom comments on your blog but doesn't participate in a twitter thread with you.

everyone seems to like short blogs though. hmmm.  

- brian

Happy Days !

I was going to write about how Julie picked three winning horses in a row at Woodbine Racetrack (and we only bet on three races) but today Hadley started regularly making "dad dad dad dad" sounds!

She isn't exactly using it as my name, but she has the sound right.  We're so happy.

- Brian Verkley

Stairs

For days now, whenever we were all downstairs and Leanne headed up for something, Hadley would want to follow.  I would hold her hand and we'd walk all the way to the bottom of the stairs, and then she'd lose interest and we'd walk back to the coffee table.  

Today she didn't lose interest.

She looked up the stairs, bellied up, then lifted one foot up to the next step.  She pulled her self up, smiled, and continued on.  Right foot up on the next step, then pull, smile and perhaps a giggle.

She made it up six stairs with me right behind her until she  got sooo tired and I had to save her.

Perhaps we should practice safely moving down stairs :-)

- Brian Verkley

Leafs game

We went to the leafs game last night.  Leanne has a friend that has seasons tickets and couldn't make use of them.  For a while I thought that we shouldn't go, but then we decided to take advantage of our luck.  I'm so glad we did.  I'm glad we don't stop doing things and instead choose to expose Hadley to a great variety.  

The game was great.  If you are following the Leafs at all you'll know that it would be a miracle if they make the playoffs and for any chance to do that they would have to beat the Flyers last night.  The Leafs carried the play most of the game, but early in the third period they were down 3-0.  Then they turned it around.  With a few minutes left, they tied it up and _then_ pulled their goalie to try for a win in regulation time.  It wasn't to be, but they did end the thriller with a goal in overtime.  Great game.

Hadley was quite good most of the game.  She only cried when the Flyers scored.(honestly)  And the fans around us were better than I expected.  We were up in the purples where the real fans are but everyone seemed happy to see a little kid at the game.  

Leanne insisted we buy her Leafs PJ's which we changed her in to for the car ride home.  


- Brian Verkley

uptime

ajax ~ # uptime
up 731 days,  1:16

that's two years.

yes, my kernel is horribly unpatched.  I don't care.  Two years without so much as a reboot is crazy.  Also, it has been exactly two years since I bought a UPS.  

I'm not sure I'll get to three years.  There is a good chance I improve my home storage solution sometime this year, and that may include a server upgrade.

- Brian Verkley

Second Step

Hadley has, minutes ago, taken her first second step.  She has been walking all over the house recently, exploring anything she can, which means anything that has a handrail.  Around the table, transfer to using the couch, around the table, along the bookshelf, around the table, along the fishtank.  If she can hold on, she'll walk along it.  

Lots of times in the past month she has taken one step without holding on.  Either one step to mom, or one step to the couch.  Usually followed immediately by a fall and a bumped head.  

Today for the first time she took a second step on her way to falling into Leanne's arms.  

While that may not seem like much, it is a huge step (haha, funny pun).  She now seems to realize that putting another foot forward can help to maintain balance.  Before only her arms balanced her.  It is amazing to watch her learn.

- Brian Verkley

Happy New Year

We had new years at our house last night.  ShawnB, Delena, ShawnK, and Shaye were over to help celebrate.  ShawnB brought some board and wii games, so it was a night fun competition.  

In case you were wondering, both ShawnB and I (and Delena) won our first game of 2008.  We were on the same team :-)  I'm sure there will be more competitions including an upcoming lan party.  Also, I'm not so good on my 80's music trivia, but, I am smarter than a 5th grader !

We also watched Dick Clark and the ball drop.  I will always remember what it was like being there in person with literally one ton of paper being dropped like confetti.  

Hadley fell asleep way before midnight and slept pretty well right though our party.  We were quite pleased.  

Thank-you all for helping start our new year off right!






- Brian Verkley

Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth

Merry Christmas !

Clearly this was the year of Hadley Marie Verkley.  On March 20, 2007 our lives changed; we became a family of three.

http://ajax.verkley.com/hadley
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne/sid/182

It has been great watching her learn and grow.   Her first laughs, her first fruits and vegetables, the first time she sat on her own, the first time she stood on her own, her first snow, etc. etc.  I'm sure I've smiled more this year even if we've slept less.

On 07/07/07 my dad married Patti-Jo.  A very auspicious date apparently.  It was a nice outdoor wedding with pavilion reception in which I was the best man.  It was nice to be the best man once in my life and I was honored to be a part of the wedding.

Our vacation was a very quiet and relaxing week at the cottage.  Next year we'll likely take Hadley further from home, and maybe not in our cramped little car.

December 22 my sister Lisa married Jeff Schuyler in a lovely afternoon winter wedding.  They picked me as their MC and I was honored to be a part of their day.  I've now been a ring bearer, usher, groom, best man and MC.  Unless I get ordained, I've now played every role a guy can play in a wedding.  I've lived a fortunate life to be sure.

Christmas has been crazy.  Everyone has spoiled Hadley and it has been fun to watch her tearing the wrapping paper off her gifts.

Leanne and I wish you a Merry Christmas.  We hope your holidays are filled with smiles and laughter with your family near.  Please take the time to rest and relax this season and maybe send a few email and facebook notes to your friends.  We look forward to hearing from you soon.

The tradition continues.  Hadley can't read yet...

Brian Verkley
Leanne Verkley
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne

Lisa Marie Verkley wrote:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 17:04:51 -0500 (EST)
From: Kaushik Aneel
To: Ben Yoskovitz
Cc: Thomas Hood ,
Mark Cecchetto ,
JAY MCDONALD ,
Laura Thompson ,
Ben'sfriend Rebecca
Subject: Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth (fwd)

Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth
by Anonymous

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 specices
of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are
insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer
which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children in the world (persons under 18). But
since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist
children, that reduces the workload by 85% of the total -leaving 378
million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average
(census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes.
One presumes there is at least one good child per house.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different
time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to
west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with good children,
Santa has 1/1000 th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down
the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under
the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney,
get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that
each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth
which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our
calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per
household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do
what most of us do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding, etc.

That means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000
times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest
man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, move at a poky 27.4
miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, at tops 15 miles per
hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming
each child gets nothing more then a medium sized lego set ( 2 pounds ),
the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is
invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can
pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting the 'flying reindeer' can
pull TEN TIMES that normal amount, we cannot the job with eight, or even
nine, We need 214,200 reindeer. This increased the payload- not even
counting the weight of the sleigh to 353,430 tons. Again for comparison
- this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth

5) 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enourmous air
resistance. This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair will
absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per second. Each. In short,
they will burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the
reindeer behind them, and creating a deafening sonic boom in their wake.
The entire reindeer team will be vaporized with 4.26 thousandths of a
second. Santa meanwhile, will be subject to centrifugal forces 17,500.06
times greater than gravity. A 250 pound Santa ( which seems ludicrously
slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by a 4,315,015 pound force.

In conclusion, If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas eve, he's
now dead.

P.S. this will be something you can tell your kids someday!


- Brian Verkley

Snow Day

Today it snowed for the first time this year, so naturally we took Hadley out in the snow.  We weren't out for long, but she seemed to have a good time throwing snowballs and making snow angels.  Maybe if we get more snow we'll make a fort.





- Brian Verkley

2007-11-23 11:08:15

That is really cute!

- julie

Leanne

If you don't read Leanne's blog, (http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne) you really should.  Especially the one posted on Nov 14th about Hadley standing.

http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne/sid/281

- Brian Verkley

2007-11-15 21:40:23

Nice.  Hey, if you need a good butcher (as Leanne mentioned youd go to at some point) try Food Plus Company.  Iffy name, but the family that runs it are great people, and their stuff is seriously top notch.  We go there all the time, and it's all the way in Pickering!  :)

(905) 427-4202

- brian jackson

2007-11-15 23:13:16

Ahhh thanks hun.

- leanne

2007-11-15 23:14:01

Oh and good tip on the butcher. Thanks!

- leanne

My Grandpa, Peter Verkley, has passed away

He had been sick for so long.

I'm sad that Hadley, or any of her future siblings or cousins, won't be able to know Grandma and Grandpa Verkley.  They were such an inspiration.  They were such a team.  It is hard to think about one without the other.  If you were welcomed by a hug from Grandma as you came in the door, you knew Grandpa was right next to her with his own tight and loving hug.  They would always think about each other, look out for each other, dance together, play music together, and care for each other.  That is just the way they were.  

I can't imagine living in Grandpa's time or living his life.  Growing up in Holland and then having his life threatened and forever changed by WWII.  Moving to a new country where you don't speak the local language and then raising eleven kids.  As long as I'd known him though he smiled.  He took life as it came and never stopped learning and trying new things.  As his children began to run the farm, he took up woodworking.

While Grandpa hasn't done woodworking in a while, it is still difficult to think that the numerous pieces we have is all there will ever be. He had particular knack for making common everyday things like coffee tables or kitchen tables or clocks, that had very uncommon designs.  I'll be forever thankful that I have the coffee table he made with the map of Canada inlaid in the top.  As Hadley grows up and makes  forts under the same table I did as a child, I'll know she'll have that opportunity because of Grandpa's hard work.

I love my Grandpa.  I'm so happy I had the opportunity to know him and spend time with him as a child, including all the time we spent sitting silently side by side in the P truck.  I will forever miss him.

- Brian Verkley

2007-10-17 08:00:52

My condolences Brian.  :(

- brian jackson

2007-10-19 10:00:02

I still don't know how you scored the Canada table- but I am sure you will make pieces of paper with the provinces, territories, and capital cities on them and Hadley will have to put them in the right place, just as I did as a child. Nunavut might be a problem though.

- julie

2007-10-19 22:38:39

I remember doing that with you.  I had forgotten until you mentioned it.

I'm not sure what to do about Nunavut.  I don't want to draw a line on, but maybe I could tape a black paper line to the table during the geography lesson.

- brian

A New Friend

Monday I was standing on the platform at the Ajax Go station.  A man came up to me and asked how he knew which track was the train to Union Station.  Try as I might, I couldn't find a number anywhere.  I pointed to which track it would be and said I know because, well, that is where it always comes.  Some lady was nice enough to point out a number one directly above my head. Seems they _are_ labeled.  Cool.  He said he needed to learn the system because today was his first day in Canada.  

I stood there silently waiting for the train for a minute.  First day in a new country.  I wonder what that must be like.  I consider ignoring the chance encounter and either reading my magazine or writing on my laptop as I had planned to do.  No, I thought.  How often do you get the chance to talk to a new Canadian?

I asked him where he was from.  He instantly light up and seemed happy to share.  "Guess", he said.  "And don't guess China".  So hard to tell.  Clearly he was Asian, but he spoke English well, and didn't seem to have a British accent.  "Somewhere in Europe," I guessed.  "No," he laughs.  "Malaysia.  Do you know where that is?" he asks, clearly preparing to explain to me.

"Yes, I do, are you from the city Kuala Lumpur or out in the country?" I ask.  I think he was surprised I not only knew the country but could name its largest city.  He was from the city.

The train came and we sat next to each other.  We chatted the whole way about his life and Canadiana.  Turns out he was in telecommunication back in Malaysia.  He was in Ajax seeking a job at a supplier he used to work with.  Small world.

He spoke the language very well.  He had some funny stories about local terms though.  Like when the customs agent told him he was "All Set" and he asked what he was set for, or what it was that was set.

He was amazed at the multicultural nature of Toronto, even compared to his brothers home town of Chicago.  He was surprised to overhear his native language on his first day.

He was interested in what Canadians do for past times, what areas of the city are better to live in and which are good to stay away from.  He and his family decided to rent for a  year before they decided where to buy a house.  He wasn't happy about the recent rise in value of the Canadian dollar. :-)

At the end of a most enjoyable Go train ride, he passed me a home made business card, and invited me to stop by if I was ever in the area.  What a nice guy.  

Some days a train ride is just a commute, and sometimes you meet a new friend from half way around the world.  I love Toronto.

- Brian Verkley

Food !

Squash to be exact.  Today is Hadley's 6 month birthday and to mark the occasion we started her on some solid foods.

And to make it more special, I got to feed her.  Well, allow her to have a taste anyway.  The first baby spoonful she grabbed with both hands and pulled it in to her mouth.  She chewed on the spongy baby spoon while drooling squash all over the place.  

We gave her a few tastes and she seemed to like it, although she clearly doesn't have the hang of swallowing all of her food :-)  Kinda cute really.

I'm so happy to finally start feeding her.

- Brian Verkley

June Pictures Posted

As you can see in the sidebar on the left, our pictures from June, mostly of Hadley, are now posted.  I am so behind.

- Brian Verkley

Facebook part 2

part 1 : http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/index.cgi?sid=193

Well I got the 10 invites (11 actually) and so I joined.  Then I got about 10 more the next day.  Friends of friends that saw me join added me to their friend list.

First impression:  I like it.  I have reacquainted with a few members of our kili climb that I would like to cross paths with again.  I can communicate easier and more often with a variety of friends that I wouldn't have sent an individual email to before.  Nothing earth shattering about it though.  I don't really have a compelling reason for someone else to join.

The facebook platform and its potential really impresses me though. For example, search engines like Google typically give you the most popular page in the world for any given search term.  The facebook engine (which for now just searches people and groups on facebook) gives you the most relevant result for you.  For instance, if I looked up John Smith, there would be hundreds of results.  The top on my list though would be any John Smith that is a friend of one of my friends.  Following that would be any John Smith that is listed as working at Bell or living in Toronto, etc.  Those John Smiths are much more likely to be the person I am looking for than some popular John Smith in LA or London England.  

I'm not sure what other type of social network information will be of use to me in the future, but with the open facebook platform that allows anyone to write add on applications, I'm sure facebook is more likely to provide it to me than anywhere else on the net, including the net as a  whole.  

It is young and arguably useful, but I believe its future potential is bright.  I'm looking forward to it.

- Brian Verkley

2007-08-30 08:08:58

Can't argue with that!  Especially seeing how much it's worth now...

One of the things that impresses me about Facebook is not only that they allow one to right apps for it, but that they allow external use of information contained within facebook (within reason).  In my opinion they have handled the privacy issues quite well, and hopefully that continues.

- brian jackson

We finished the change table

I know, you didn't expect that eh?  I mean not only the fact that I am writing a blog entry, but the fact that we finished that table before Hadley could swing a hammer and lend a hand.  I don't know what the next project is, but hopefully it will take less than 6 months to build.

- Brian Verkley

2007-08-05 21:57:09

whooo hooo
Congratulations Hadley, your daddy is finally done your change table! Looks wonderful...the Verkley name continues Brian, your Grandpa would be so proud of you and of course your Dad and the uncles!

- Anne Marie

Hadley and I

Clearly we look nothing alike.

- Brian Verkley

2007-06-30 09:52:33

What a great photo.

- John Verkley

Life is good

I haven't heard Hadley cry in 2 weeks.  And I haven't been working out of town or anything!

Ok, so that isn't quite true, but we can remedy her cry in a min or two now that we know what she needs.  Not only do we now know how often she eats or needs a diaper change, her cries really do sound different.

She is also getting quite good at sucking her thumb, which solves nearly all of the "fussy" time.  We try to substitute it with the soother, but she is so darned cute.  It is a constant battle as she clearly prefers her thumb.

We started to stain Hadley's change table/dresser today.  We will finish it before she is walking!

And finally, here is a photo to show how nice the weather is in Ajax.  We have been outside and bbq'ing a lot.  Life is good.

- Brian Verkley

2007-06-11 20:29:12

Nice shirts girls!

- Lisa Verkley

New Photos Up

We have started new "monthly" photo albums for Hadley.  Some of the ones in the "2007 - 04 - Hadley" album you have already seen.

Pictures from the new camera are not yet uploaded, so expect those albums to grow.  I'm not sure what we are going to do with the movies, but I know I'm going to need some cool editing software.

- Brian Verkley

6 weeks old

Hadley is not a newborn anymore.  Her features are becoming more defined.  She smiles more often.  This morning she laughed for the first time.  She laughed at me.  Ha!

On a side note, Leanne and Hadley both wore orange yesterday, and they didn't even know it was Queen's Day!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Koninginnedag

- Brian Verkley

2007-05-02 18:32:40

I remember the first time we got a belly laugh out of Kaitlin, it was so funny and so cute it brought tears to our eye's

- Donna

Facebook

This Facebook thing is getting crazy.  Everywhere I look someone is reading it or talking about it.  Two days ago, I thought it was the most popular pointless site out there.

Then I was thinking, when Blatchford first got ICQ, I said that was pointless, unless pretty much everyone was on it.   Then everyone was on it.  Facebook, speaking as a complete non-user, seems like persistent instant messages.  Back in my day we had a name for that; e-mail.  

Maybe that is the point though.  Facebook has managed to fix the two biggest problems with e-mail, likely accidentally.  I say accidentally, because they seemed to fix the second biggest problem first, which of course no one would plan to do.

The first biggest problem in email of course is the spam.  Not having used Facebook, I'd be surprised if there was never a spam message, but certainly it would be far down from the 100+ I get per day in my regular e-mail accounts.  I'd suggest that spam would be so low that it would be unnoticeable.  

The second biggest problem, is finding out other peoples e-mail addresses, especially if it is a long lost friend.  There is no functioning 411 for e-mail, and in fact most people try to hide their address to save the spam.  This is what Facebook excels at.  Seemingly every day, Leanne finds a new person she knows in real life to communicate with online.  Doing the same in the normal web/e-mail world is impossible.  Even finding others blogs can be endless searching and you almost never stumble across someone you know when you weren't looking for them.

I've heard people say that they pretty much never use email, they just use Facebook.  All of their friends are on there anyway.  So is that it?  Is that the point of Facebook?  Junk that old SMTP and the spammers that go with it and wrap my communication in a pretty little web-gui?  Oh, and toss it a little picture sharing blogging action for fun?

But is everyone on it or is it hype.  Are they one time hookups or a real means of communication.  Can I junk e-mail for non instant communication with people I know in real life.

Time for a bounty.  If 10 different people I know send me an invite to Facebook that will prove to me that it is more than just fun to look at and that others really do want to use it to communicate. I have 3 so far.  I'll let you know how it goes.

- Brian Verkley

2007-04-29 21:14:53

There is no spam, and I haven't heard of any.  Unless your friends are spamming you, and then they arent really friends, are they?  The closest thing to Facebook spam that I can see is your more annoying friends posting stupid and pointless notes that show up on your "News Feed".  The beauty of this though is that there are slider bars for almost everything in facebook, and you can turn them all way down.  Perfect.

I hear you on the whole "if no one is on it, whats the point?" bit.  I checked it out a long time ago, and since no one was on it, left not caring.  Since most people I know are on it now though, its convenient.

Quick question;  Is it the fact that it may be just be a fad the thing that is stopping you from signing up?  It can't exactly hurt to sign up, once the fad dies the account dies and you've lost nothing (except pride maybe?).  I mean, at least it doesn't have the cheezyness of myspace, or the annoying/immature comments like Flickr, YouTube, or any internet forum.

No doubt it doesn't replace email or IM (yet), but it can be fun, and the photo sharing is very well done.

- brian jackson

2007-04-29 22:39:29

Why not sign up?  Time.

First potential time waster is just signing up and entering all my info and who my friends are and such.  If I sign up then don't use it one month later, then I wasted my time.

Second potential time waster is if all the information amounts to is, "hey, I know you, cool".  Really, I don't care for that, and it could take a lot of time to weed through pointless conversation.

There was a time when I would spend hours investigating new web pages (now web apps or web 2.0 sites), new games, etc. etc.  Now I'd prefer filtered content.  I have less time or inclination to spend on stuff I'll toss away.

- brian

2007-04-30 13:51:18

Holy smokes Brian, you wasted more time pondering something you've never tried and convincing everyone to waste their time to talk you into signing up, than you would have wasted if you had just signed up and tried it out yourself in the first place.

I love FaceBook. It replaces nothing for me, it's just another social networking tool. I've reunited with some old friends. One old friend in particular who've I've never been able to track down any other way. We've since taken our conversations to MSN but Facebook brought us back together after 13+ years.

- Lisa Verkley

2007-05-01 21:56:44

Hrm.. I caved in a joined the Face book craze.   I have gotted 1 spam message a week from random people in the middle of nowhere who try to add me as a friend.  (more of an inconvience to decide if you accually know this person or not as people change last names)                                                                                    I personally only go on Face book when I get an e-mail about something so in no way had it or will it ever replace regular e-mail.  My personal feel is if I had never signed up I would not realy care.                                        I will admit that finding long lost friends is kind of cool..  but to be honest,  that usually results in 1 or 2 messages back and forth before it dies out.    I would not recomend Face book to others.

- Joe

2007-05-01 21:58:13

Wow the formating on that realy sucks..  go go me!

- Joe

Hadley pics

More pictures are added to the "Hadley Marie Verkley" album.  I particularly like this one.  No tricks involved.  She really does sit like this.


- Brian Verkley

Bell Walk for Kids Help Phone

Leanne and I usually walk in the Bell Walk for Kids Help Phone and this year should be no different.  There is a walk in Ajax  on May 6th starting at nearby Rotary Park.  

Check out our pledge request page:
https://secure.e2rm.com/registrant/StartUp.aspx?SID=1429786

- Brian Verkley

2007-04-24 19:30:06

None?  No one has even $5 to donate to a worthy cause?!?

- brian

Her first word.

Our daughter said her first word today.  Dad.  And I know it wasn't just an accident, because she said it again when she wanted me to change her diaper.  Man I wish I had a video camera.

- Brian Verkley

2007-04-01 15:46:09

lol lol

- Anne Marie

2007-04-02 19:29:05

ya, i love april fools.  

did you fall for it? even for a second?

- brian

Pictures

I have been sick.  Like lie down and keep the Kleenex close, sick.  Sick sucks.  As I'm feeling better enough to sit up today, I have finally got around to putting some pictures up.  Just click on her name in the Albums section on the side.

Just a word on her progress.  Hadley was born at 8 lbs then, as is normal, she dropped to 7 lbs, 5 oz on the 22nd.  On the 24th she was up to 7 lbs, 7 oz., and by the 27th, she was 7 lbs 8 oz.  Tomorrow we go to the midwifes clinic for another checkup and weigh-in.  

She sleeps and feeds well, but her longest awake-and-crying time seems to be when we want her to go to bed in her crib.  Oh well.

- Brian Verkley

2007-03-28 21:33:12

Thanks for the pictures Brian, sorry to hear you have been sick, just let me know if you need me to come down again and help out :)

- julie

First few days

The first few days of being a dad have been wonderful.  So many people have helped us adjust to our new life.  I wish there were words for how much I appreciate the continuing support of the midwifes.  They have been unbelievable.  

All of our parents (now newly grandparents) have come by as well as other friends and siblings.  More will be coming in the next few days.  Each have taken the time to help us out a bit, as well as oogle over Hadley.  Especially my Mom who has been sooo helpful cooking and cleaning while Leanne and I feed and rest.  I want to thank you all as well.

More pictures will be coming as I find a few minutes upload them.  Sorry if I haven't responded to your e-mail, as I really haven't checked it in days.  More important things to look at you see.  :-)

- Brian Verkley

Hadley Marie Verkley

Hadley was born yesterday, and today she has a website.  See http://ajax.verkley.com/hadley

Everyone is home now and doing wonderfully.  More soon.

- Brian Verkley

2007-03-21 10:57:22

Welcome Hadley, and congrats Brian & Leanne!

Happy to hear everyone is healthy.  Take it easy, and enjoy getting to know the little one. :)

- brian jackson

2007-03-21 10:58:18

Almost forgot, if you need anything, let us know.

- brian jackson

2007-03-21 17:09:59

Thanks Brian.  Just pass the word around.  It will take us a while to talk to all of the people we know.  Visitors welcome, but just call first so we don't have too many at once.

- brian

2007-03-21 17:23:34

Congratulations! Well done Leanne and Brian.

- Pat Lane

2007-03-21 19:12:59

As if she has her own website! That spoiled girl.... i love it!

- julie

2007-03-22 13:52:46

Congrats to the Happy parents I can't wait to see the new arrival in the Verkley family!!

- Tina Green

the day

We are getting close to it now, and everyone is asking us to call them after our child is born.  The list is getting so long, we are going to have to start a phone list.  I'm sure everyone has used them for something, but I remember them from sports.  The coach called 5 parents if there was a rain-out or the like, and those 5 called a few, who in turn called a few.  Within minutes the word got out to everyone who wanted to know.

So, post here if you want a call.  If anyone is willing to call others in turn, please state that as well.  If you aren't sure that we have your phone number, or if you want to pass along cell, pager, fax, or carrier pigeon coordinates, feel free to email them to Leanne or Brian.

Car seats in, hospital bags packed, camera always ready... which day will be "the day".

- Brian Verkley

2007-03-12 19:19:09

pffft, just be sure to post it here, and the word will spread that way (for the internet savvy users).

I can let the Bell people know if you like, but I am sure they all read your page already anyways. ;)

- brian jackson

2007-03-13 19:31:51

If there is a baby pool somewhere..  I pick sunday!

- Joe

2007-03-13 20:17:19

A baby pool is a good idea.  I'm not offering any prize, unless you want to change a diaper maybe, heh, but ya, toss some picks out !

I'll go with tomorrow, but, sadly, I don't have any inside information.

- brian

2007-03-14 08:47:44

In case you missed it the first dozen times, I want to be called!
--snip - edited by Brian at request from author--
Baby pool eh? That sounds like fun. I'll bring my swimming suit.

- Megan Selinger

youtube

I've been playing around with you tube lately, and I find it fascinating.  The amount of quality, legitimately free stuff you can find would surprises even me.  For example.

re: Your Brains

- Brian Verkley

2007-03-08 19:49:12

hmmmmm, this sounds familiar.... ;-)

- brian jackson

2007-03-08 19:54:08

yup.  :-)

embedded works now too.

- brian

2007-03-10 18:16:39

heh  nice find!

- Joe

2007-03-19 13:42:05

lmao... That is awesome! World of Warcraft.. I love that game, play it all the time.

- Christine Legault

Leanne Is Crazy

I came down to my computer all groggy eyed this morning when to my surprise there was a vase full of red roses and a dish of cinnamon heart candies.  Leanne brought them home last night, hid them, then put them on display this morning while I was sleeping.

She is too good.

- Brian Verkley

2007-02-16 12:15:56

Brian is equally crazy with roses sent to my office from "my family".  :)  One rose for me, one from him and one from the baby.  Plus a night out at the movies.  :)

- leanne

Hockey Night

The other day Leanne and I were discussing how lucky we were to get tickets to the Leafs games over the years and how that would likely end during her maternity leave.  We likely won't be going to see a lot of sports games with a few month old.  Nope, we had seen our last live Leafs action for a while.

A day or so later Leanne came home with two tickets to last night's Leafs-Habs game.  3rd row Platinum with lounge.  As it turns out, it was only called the 3rd row, because the Leafs coaches were in the 2nd, and the players were rinkside.

I mean talk about the best game experience you can get.  The lounge served us beer and hot food before the game, then delivered beer and popcorn and ice cream to our seats whenever there was a stoppage in play.  And when we were lamenting the fact that we didn't bring our camera, our hostess lent us her digital to take a few photos, promising to e-mail them to us later.

It was really interesting to see the players come off he ice, the look on their faces, and how they acted on the bench.  Some guys like Sundin and McCabe never took their eyes off the play, while others stretched injured joints, or hung their head in exhaustion.

You get a different impression of how fast the game is too.  The defenceman playing the far side sprints the width of the ice after jumping over the boards, regardless of where the play is.  It is imperative he gets over there quickly as it doesn't take them long to move the puck up ice.  When you are level with the players, you can also see how if three line up along the blue line, there is nowhere to skate between them with their outstretched sticks.

To top it all off, the Leafs clobbered the Habs 4-1, to the delight of 70% of the crowd.  It was an amazing time and one I won't soon forget.

- Brian Verkley

2007-01-31 09:26:18

Well I didn't get to see you on TV.  You called during Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants so I didn't have many opportunities to flip back to see you. Did anyone else spot you guys on their TV?

- Lisa Verkley

2007-02-02 15:14:15

you called julie and not us shame brian

- Scott

The Baby Grows

As the baby grows, it is definitely changing.  At one time the "kicks" where soft and quick, kinda like if you've ever gotten kicked under water.  Now, the kicks are more often stretches, kinda like if you're in a sleeping bag, and the guy next to you has an undersized sleeping bag he is trying to make bigger.  A limb will protrude, search around for a bit, then recede.

- Brian Verkley

2007-01-18 22:13:23

I'm pretty sure these kicks don't actually exist but it's part of a large and widespread conspiracy theory. Kinda like the easter bunny.
No one, especially the baby has been able to prove me otherwise.

- Megan Selinger

2007-01-19 12:37:41

It is sometimes like a tidal wave in my stomach!  I FEEL IT!  I definitely feel it!

- leanne

2007-01-19 18:46:35

At one time you had to feel the kick.  Now you can see it !

- brian

2007-01-23 09:22:50

The first time around, feeling the baby kick was when it became real for me.  Definitely the first special thing to experience as a father-to-be.  Well, that and the ultrasound(s). :)

It's getting exciting, eh?!?!

- brian jackson

movies

heh, I accidentally made it quite difficult to add movies.  sorry.  fixed.  now you can go to the movie blog and log in and it should present you an add box top center.  sorry.

oh, and go see Children of Men.  

- Brian Verkley

more on Phase 3

I still think there is a new computing trend starting.  Well, technically it started back in 2001 or so, but no one has noticed.  I call it phase 3.  Phase 1 was computing on the mainframe.  Phase 2 was a personal computers on the desktop.  Phase 3 is computing without the computer, which often means mobile, but doesn't require mobility.  I started predicting this a long time ago at http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/sid/22

I also predicted at the time that Apple would lead the way, and be the Microsoft of Phase 2, or the IBM of Phase 1.  Today, I think Apple has shown us the first device that will be world recognizable as _the_ device of early Phase 3.  The iPhone ... http://www.apple.com/iphone The iPod, which everyone knows of if not owns, woke Apple to this coming trend and the iPhone is Apple teaching the rest of the industry and the world.  

I could go on and on about this device which is really a phone and ipod in one, but also includes blackberry functionality as a core feature.  Not to mention that it runs OSX, the same OS that runs on the iMac desktop computer.  There are some real features here that aren't found in other devices.  Widescreen portable video, portable usable internet, and most of all, only one button.

No PDA stylus either.  _Everything_ is controlled with the tip of your finger.  When texting a virtual keyboard pops up.  When dialing the phone, you get a phone keypad.  When surfing the internet, your finger scrolls.  No more too-tiny-to-push buttons for every crazy feature that these "smart" phones pack in.  "Point and click" becomes "touch".  What could be easier?

I'm not suggesting that this device is the one and only device of Phase 3.  I'm just pointing at it and saying this is a significant step forward, Apple is leading the way, and Computers won't dominate the computing world in years to come.  Oh, and Apple Computer Inc. agrees with me.  They dropped the "Computer" from their name today.

- Brian Verkley

2007-01-10 08:07:45

I applaud them for taking a stab at phones and TV (and really wished Cisco would sue them for the use of "iPhone"), but this new phone is silly.  They compare it to other smartphones, which do well because of the corporations that embrace them (outlook/exchange support).  The iPhone is restricted in many ways:

Via Engadget:

    *  No 3G. We know you know, but still, it hurts man.
    * No over the air iTunes Store downloads or WiFi syncing to your host machine.
    * No expandable memory.
    * No removable battery.
    * No Exchange or Office support.

And $600 for an 8GB phone with a 2 year (Cingular only) contract?  Yeah right.

Again, I give them praise for innovating, and pushing the envelope, but a lot of this is just marketing and hype.  Great for the stocks (which I hope you own Brian, since you seem so confident in them ;) ), but not really showing us anything new.  But hey, it looks cool.

Ill keep my HTC 8535 thanks. :P

- brian jackson

2007-01-10 08:14:10

A little further explanation of my second last paragraph.  
Where Apple really innovates is in packaging existing products in a nice and "gooey" way.  Their marketing and the way they get people fired up is really great (since Jobs has returned).  I just think that people need to be smarter when they consider buying an Apple product.
I would love to have a Mac Pro.  Not because it looks cool, or is the fastest (because neither are true), but because of what it can do functionally.  I mean, I see people using their MacBook boxes as carrying cases for crying out loud!
Oh well.  Time to go buy some stock in RIM (which is down like ~$10, even though the iPhone isn't a competitor... weird).

- brian jackson

2007-01-10 22:18:03

Brian, you are right that the iPhone is missing features that we will certainly see on similar devices in the future, but it can be said that the iPod doesn't have the largest memory available on MP3 players, or expandable memory, or wireless sync, or, etc. etc. and nobody cares.  No one.

Say it with me now, people don't buy technology.  They buy functionality and experience.

The iPod works, is crazy easy to use, and doesn't look like a portable computer.

I agree that it isn't a blackberry replacement for the vast majority of businesses though. It won't hurt RIM much at all as it doesn't compete in the same market. The iPhone is the smartphone for personal use and non geeks.

- brian

2007-01-11 10:07:35

I believe people buy the iPod because other people buy the iPod.  Not that the iPod isn't very good.  It just isn't the best.  They got a huge jump on the competition, relatively early in the game, and they are reaping the rewards of that now.

Apple is now great at taking existing technologies, and innovating in terms of design to make it desirable to people.  Other devices out there already have features the iPhone doesn't.  

As usual, if Apple can make money from this (hopefully they do), I am all for it!  And anytime there is more competition, I am also for it.

I watched the keynote and got a little annoyed with their comparisons is all.  Now making a few comparisons to the PSP would have been interesting (music, movies, photos), and probably much more effective.

- brian jackson

more blog updates

there is a new archive link in the sidebar that you can use to find old stuff we write.  also, you'll see leanne and i linking to stuff like http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/sid/137 rather than http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/index.cgi?sid=137 just easier for us, no change for you.  

have a lovely day.

- Brian Verkley

Movies Plus !

The old "movies" section is ... changed.  

Now there is a movies blog http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/movies/ or you can click the link in the sidebar.

Right now, there is better searching and a nifty top 10 list.  Next up (eventually) is comments without rating; movie discussion if you will.  I haven't decided exactly how yet.  I don't know if I want ratings and discussion separate or just mash it all together.  Comments and suggestions welcome.

- Brian Verkley

2007-01-02 19:57:35

most commented movies also listed now...

- brian

Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth

Merry Christmas !

The year started off with New Years in New York's Times Square. A crazy event to be sure and one in which we had quite a bit of fun, but something I think we only need to do once. We still haven't fully thanked Gerrit Stoffer for his hospitality. http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/index.cgi?sid=47

Next it was off to Vegas/Grand Canyon/The Price Is Right in mid February. The Price Is Right was amazing. While we didn't get to be contestants, just being in the audience and getting a chance to experience Bob Barkers quick-witted live question-and-answer banter with the audience was special.

As for the Grand Canyon, you can view our pictures at: http://tinyurl.com/y7fa2y

And what happens in Vegas... http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/index.cgi?sid=51 but go. Just go.

By July, the year of the weddings was in full swing. With many showers and parties already behind us, the first wedding was between Stacey and Sherwin who had a lovely culture filled reception. Next we hosted a "friends" wedding shower for Lindsay and Jamie; so much fun. Then we attended Christine and Tim's wedding in London.... Canada. Cort and Sherri-Lyn took their turn next, which was the first wedding of the year that Leanne was in. Leanne's Mom married Pat later the same month, making Leanne a bridesmaid for the third time in her life. Don't worry, Leanne has already been a bride as well. And lastly, but in no way least, Lindsay Cole and Jamie Duncan tied the knot in beautiful movie star fashion. Leanne, again a bridesmaid in the final wedding, and I were honored to be a part of everyone's special day this year.

Late in the year Grandma Verkley and Grandma Vere passed away. Both were central pillars in their families and will be missed deeply.

This Christmas we have already been spoiled with iPods, a trip to the Bill's game, and so much more. We are very thankful for all the family we can enjoy it with.

Next year will certainly be different. With a baby on the way in March there is bound to be new adventures in store for us. The bottom part of this note for instance will be tough to explain to a child.

Leanne and I wish you the Merry-ist of Christmases this year. Remember to take a minute to smile and enjoy life. Raise a glass to those friends and family you are thankful for, and have a Happy New Year !

As is tradition, I hope this fun story brings a smile to your face.

Brian & Leanne Verkley
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian
http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/leanne

Lisa Marie Verkley wrote:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 17:04:51 -0500 (EST)
From: Kaushik Aneel
To: Ben Yoskovitz
Cc: Thomas Hood ,
Mark Cecchetto ,
JAY MCDONALD ,
Laura Thompson ,
Ben'sfriend Rebecca
Subject: Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth (fwd)

Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth
by Anonymous

1) No known species of reindeer can fly. But there are 300,000 specices
of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are
insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer
which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children in the world (persons under 18). But
since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist
children, that reduces the workload by 85% of the total -leaving 378
million according to the Population Reference Bureau. At an average
(census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes.
One presumes there is at least one good child per house.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different
time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to
west (which seems logical). This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with good children,
Santa has 1/1000 th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down
the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under
the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney,
get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house. Assuming that
each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth
which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our
calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per
household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do
what most of us do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding, etc.

That means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000
times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest
man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, move at a poky 27.4
miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, at tops 15 miles per
hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming
each child gets nothing more then a medium sized lego set ( 2 pounds ),
the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is
invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can
pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting the 'flying reindeer' can
pull TEN TIMES that normal amount, we cannot the job with eight, or even
nine, We need 214,200 reindeer. This increased the payload- not even
counting the weight of the sleigh to 353,430 tons. Again for comparison
- this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth

5) 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enourmous air
resistance. This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair will
absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per second. Each. In short,
they will burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the
reindeer behind them, and creating a deafening sonic boom in their wake.
The entire reindeer team will be vaporized with 4.26 thousandths of a
second. Santa meanwhile, will be subject to centrifugal forces 17,500.06
times greater than gravity. A 250 pound Santa ( which seems ludicrously
slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by a 4,315,015 pound force.

In conclusion, If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas eve, he's
now dead.

P.S. this will be something you can tell your kids someday!

- Brian Verkley

The Amazing Race 10


Spoiler Warning

Ah, I love blogs.  Blogs allow you to share your thoughts with the world.  How you are feeling, or thinking, or acting, or -predicting the future-, at a given point in history.  Oh, and they have the lovely side effect of being checked for accuracy.

please read: http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/index.cgi?sid=87

yup, the Addicts won. Oh, and the other side predictions of a multi-episode race leg or an extra elimination was true too, only technically both came true and I thought only one would, so I don't know if you can count that.

I'm not sure I loved the final episode, as none of the "tasks" took more than location finding skills, but all in all it was a good season.

Still my favourite "reality" TV show.

- Brian Verkley

2006-12-18 11:56:51

I was cheering for the single moms. It was pretty disappointing they were pretty much eliminated from the game because of a booked plane. How unfortunate.

Survivor ended last night. It was pretty much a dud season in my opinion.

Rumour has it the next Amazing Race is going to be an All Stars version.

- Lisa Verkley

bureaucracy

Why is it that large systems can't hold it together?

please read all three articles linked from this slashdot story, then return.
http://developers.slashdot.org/developers/06/11/27/1728231.shtml

back so soon?  
Anyway, it drives me insane to see large systems not work simply because they are large.  All the moving parts start to demand more glue between themselves and the next part, both for protection and to help them stick together.  Next that glue needs maintenance and more glue is added to support the glue.  Suddenly there is more glue than moving parts, and we all know how fast glue moves.

It isn't that the glue invents itself.  The moving parts literally demand the glue even if it doesn't perform the function that they originally intended.  We as people seem to prefer having glue rather than trusting that the other individual part won't destroy them.

Does nature work that way?  Is the reason that the same DNA is in my fingernail as my heart that every piece needs to know what the others are doing?  Is the "junk" in the DNA simply communication protocol glue between genes?  

I don't know.  The point is that I too have seen that as the number of people grow, the sum of the output can decrease, which is definitely counter-intuitive.  I'm convinced it doesn't have to be this way, but I am baffled why so many people see it, then ask for more glue.

It will be interesting to see if Microsoft can pull out of this funk and if Google jumps in to it.

- Brian Verkley

2006-11-28 08:35:45

Try working for the Government.  It takes a lot of people to cover everyone's collective ass and make sure everything is done right, that now we have so many people covering our asses, there is no one left working on the science that we were created for in the first place.

- Lisa Verkley

We've got a crib !

No, MTV didn't come calling, I mean a baby crib.  
Leanne's Dad took us out shopping in KW Saturday where we decided on our favourite stroller, car seat, etc, and crib.  Bill then bought us this wonderful solid wood convertible crib.  We are truly blessed.

Convertible means that you can remove the side rails some time in the future and make the front and back into a head and foot boards of a double bed.  I think the crib will stay a crib as long as there is a need for one, but it is nice to know that after that we can make a nice bed out of it.

He also splurged on a sheet set.  It has pictures of lions and zebra and such.  We love animals.

I wish I could find a picture of it online to show you all.  Right now it is in a box at my mom's house because it was too large to fit in our car.  It made a trip to Listowel in Bill's work truck where we will have to make arrangements to get that thing to Ajax.

I want to thank Leanne's Dad again for this wonderful gift.  Very generous.

- Brian Verkley

2006-11-27 11:09:03

One step closer to ready-for-baby time!

- Lisa Verkley

Firefox 2

Add Firefox 2 to your list of essential apps.

Auto "red-underline" spell check in every online text box (like this one).  It simply doesn't get better than that.

- Brian Verkley

2006-11-25 22:27:50

I love it as well.  My only complaint is that some of the changes to make it more "mass market friendly" cannot be changed back to the way they were in 1.5 without going to about:config.  Kind of annoying.

It's also worth noting that IE7 is a marked improvement over 6. I think it's worth the upgrade for anyone not wanting to bother with Firefox or any other alternative.  It's especially more palatable if the corporation you work for has many IE-only sites. ;)

- brian jackson

2006-11-27 00:06:55

I went to upgrade to IE7 on my new computer, but it seems you need at least Windows XP for that.  So, as long as I'm trying to stick to my "Win2k is the last windows I'll use" silliness, I'm stuck at IE6.  Not that I mind.

- brian

burnt.... chips?

Downstairs this morning while logging in to work, I noticed it was quiet... too quiet.  Something was missing.  The fishtank was still making its low rumble with slight waterfall noise.  My stereo was off, as is normal for that time of day.  The furnace was quiet, but it didn't feel cold.  I moved the mouse on my main computer to wake it up from sleep mode.  Nothing.  The monitor is on, the power is good, ah, the whrirr of my computer fan.  Do you hear it?  Nope, me either.  That is what was missing.

I walked in to the laundry room (where the computer actually is... long story) to see if I could determine the source of this dire issue.  My nose was the first to report back findings.  There is no smell quite like that of fried electronics.  Instantly recognizeable from a distance, perhaps even hours after the actual fizzle.

A year (or two?) ago a very similar morning (or mourning?) ocurred.  Then, after some investigation, I replaced the power supply with a much older, but still functioning power supply scavanged from the pile of electronics also found in the laundry room.  I suspect this one has now met the same fate.

I wasn't planning on updating my PC until late winter.  I'm not sure if I'll buy another power supply now to tide me through the winter season, or if I'll show up at the next LAN party sporting a fancy new machine.  For now, Leanne may not be on MSN from home as much, as we learn to share one TV/computer.

- Brian Verkley

2006-11-04 22:34:46

There has got to be someone out there with an extra PSU lying around.

Although, those new Intel Quad Core CPU's are out, and this could be a great excuse to, like you said, update your system. ;)

- brian jackson

2006-11-06 14:33:40

Fess up. You poured water in that power supply so you can get a new computer for Christmas didn't you.
We went to Futureshop's opening here on the weekend.  I forgot to check out that keyboard you have your eye on, the 21 inch monitors had me mesmerized.

- Lisa Verkley

2006-11-24 18:08:43

Nope, going without my own computer for nearly two weeks hurt.  In case you were wondering, I did buy a new one.  Shipped in from NCIX in Vancouver.  Typing on it now.  Love it.

- brian

Gezina Verkley, Grandma, has passed away.

A few days ago Grandma suffered an intestinal infection, and although surgery was able to remove the infection, her 84 year old body wasn't able to recover. Yesterday, with all 11 children by her side, she died.

The memorial announcement reads:

Quietly at the Strathroy Middlesex General Hospital on Wednesday, October 25th, 2006 with all of her children by her side, Gezina Maria Verkley (nee Stokman) in her 85th year, went to be with her Lord. Survived by her husband Peter and eleven children John (Patti-Jo), and daughter-in-law Anne-Marie, Joe, Paul, Frank (Dorothy), Cecilia, Maria Green (Don), Philip (Doreen), Edward (Nora), Tom (Cathy), David (Patricia) and Jeff (Teresa) and twenty three grandchildren; Lisa, Brian (Leanne), Julie, Sara, Amy, Stephanie, Greg, Chris, Wesley, Tina, Jesse, Kiana, Adam, Steven, Mark, Ben, Patrick, Leahanne, Christian, Scott, Alex, Joshua and seven great-grandchildren; Liam, Faith, Victoria, Brooke, Victoria, Lucas, Justin and many nieces and nephews. Sisters-in-law Truus, Agnes, Caecilia (Holland), Cok (Holland) and brother-in-law John (Meip) and sisters Cecilia Captien (California), Nell (Holland) and predeceased by ten siblings. Gezina lived her life with a kind word for everyone that she met, and always provided a warm welcome to all who came to their home. A loving mother, a devoted wife and a loyal friend. Her warm hugs will be missed by everyone. Visitation will be held at the Denning Bros. Funeral Home in Strathroy on Friday, October 27th, 2006 from 2-4 and 7-9 pm with Parish Prayers at 6:30 pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be Celebrated from All Saints Catholic Parish on Saturday, October 28th, 2006 at 11 am. Interment to follow at All Saints Catholic Cemetery. Donations to the Alzheimer Society or the VON would be greatly appreciated by the family. A tree will be planted as a living memorial to Gezina.

I don't ever remember seeing Grandma with anything other than a smile on her face. And I didn't just see her at happy times like birthdays and Christmas. I used to spend a week at a time there on summer vacation. She'd prepare lunch for everybody, do hours of laundry, tend to her ducks or swans or kittens, and play the piano. Her life must have been hard; born in the early 1920's in Holland, living through WWII, moving to Canada without knowing English, raising eleven kids, and working on a farm. Yet her attitude, like other Dutch people I know, always remained positive.

It was this happy friendly personality that touched so many lives. All of her children-in-law thought of her as

- Brian Verkley

Kilimanjaro, one year on

I can't believe it was one year ago today that Leanne and I, along with some wonderful new friends, were standing on the top of the highest mountain in Africa!

It's funny how at the time, I used to say that I wouldn't climb it again, unless maybe one of my children wanted me to join them.  It was a grueling climb and an accomplishment completed.  Now, I think my body forgets, as I'd go again for sure.  I miss the people and I loved the scenery.

Thank-you again to all the people that helped us get to the top.  Guides, fellow climbers, and friends and family back home, we couldn't have done it without you.

click here : http://ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian/index.cgi?sid=35 to read my post days after reaching the summit.



- Brian Verkley

It's Official -- Leanne and Brian are going to be Parents !



The little one, pictured here, is due mid-March 2007.  If you can read an ultrasound, don't say a thing, we don't want to know the gender.  There are more photos in the album linked on the left.  I had no idea they moved around so much in there.  At the ultrasound it kept spinning and kicking and stretching.  You could easily make out the head and limbs.

The publication ban is lifted.  Send this link to everyone you think might be interested.  Thank-you for all the well wishes we've received so far.

It's hard to believe one year ago we were climbing a mountain.  It will be interesting to see what life holds one year from now...

- Brian Verkley

2006-10-17 07:19:23

Congrats again guys.  You'll both make fantastic parents.

I've never climbed a mountain, so I can't exactly compare.  However having children is very rewarding and fulfilling and I am sure you will soon agree.  :)

Also, I am pretty sure the part where you tell the sex is out of view on that ultrasound.  No worries. ;)

- brian jackson

2006-10-17 07:58:26

The little child's grandpa say it looks wonderful.

- John Verkley

2006-10-17 09:14:51

A Beautiful Baby :) I'm so very excited for you two :) I know you will make wonderful parents, especially if you take (almost) none of my baby names into consideration.

- Megan Selinger

2006-10-17 18:46:12

What a wonderful first picture!  I can't wait for its first words to be, "I love my aunt Julie"!  You better get a bigger house because I think that you will have lots of people over, oh wait, never mind, the baby will cry a lot a night, i will splurge for a hotel ahah, i will be over for the happy times.  :)

- julie

I miss September...

September (at least this year) is the perfect temperature.  We had our windows open day and night for likely three weeks and we were never too hot or too cold.

Now the evenings are chilly and we are changing the furnace filter.  Oh well.  Hockey starts soon :-)

I wonder if Lisa or Julie have had to start up their furnace yet..

- Brian Verkley

2006-10-03 21:36:52

Nope, no furnace yet.  
I have to crawl under my house to change my furnace filter.  Maybe someone will buy my house quick so I don't have to crawl down there again.

- Lisa Verkley

2006-10-05 10:19:07

I hope the Leafs can turn things around and get into the playoffs this year.  Last night's game was very sad.  :(

- leanne

2006-10-05 22:21:13

A 6-0 win tonight for the Leafs against the Sens sure does help.

- leanne

2006-10-11 09:51:06

There is snow in the forecast for the rest of the week.  I might have to cave in and turn on the furnace!

- Lisa Verkley

2006-10-13 10:22:37

Furnace went on last night!

- Lisa Verkley

2006-10-13 18:40:19

ha !  Leanne wanted to, but i said no.  then this afternoon i caved :-)  

living in the basement where it is 2 deg colder is great... in the summer.

- brian

Extra Hands make Light Work

Friday night / Saturday morning I helped Shawn Bender pack and move from his basement apartment at his parents place to a new basement apartment in Conestogo.  The new place is great.  It is walk-out at the back, so lots of light for a basement apt., great layout.  Nice sized kitchen and dining room.  Beautiful lawn.  I like it.

He will be living with his girlfriend Delena.  I'm happy for the both of them.  I hope they love their new place.

It was good that we got to take some breaks to play xbox360 (especially on his 65" HDTV).  My forearms didn't hurt too much on Sunday.

I didn't have my camera, so no pics of the place.  We'll have to wait for Shawn to post some.

- Brian Verkley

The Amazing Race

i pick the addicts.

spoiler from here on !

it was interesting to see how they tried to add some "culture" to the show with a pair of muslims and a couple with an indian heritage.  too bad they were both eliminated the first episode.

since they eliminated some before a pit stop, i expect to see either an additional non-elimination round, or more likely, a multi-episode race leg.

still, good stuff.  best reality tv show imnsho.

- Brian Verkley

2006-09-20 09:43:18

The addicts all the way!
Great stuff!
BTW, what is imnsho?

- leanne

2006-09-20 13:47:54

imnsho = in my not so humble opinion.

I caught Amazing Race too - since it wasn't on past my bedtime this time. Not just the ethnicity additions, it is interesting how they work a one legged person in there too. Big Brother tried that too and he won!

Hey how big is your aquarium again? We are looking at fish tank possibilities but to feed our egos we don't want a tank much smaller than yours ;-) Was it 80 gallons?

- Lisa Verkley

2006-09-20 17:26:53

not sure exactly, as we got it from a friend.  He said it was 65 gallon.
in inches, it measures 48x18x18.  i'm sure someone can work out that math to come up with gallons.

- brian

2006-09-20 21:55:42

according to those dimensions you have a 67 gallon tank

- Joe

2006-09-21 09:05:00

i knew someone would take up the math challenge.  thanks.  

- brian

2006-09-23 23:17:38

I try very hard not to watch those "reality TV shows" as they take roles away from thespians such as my self. However, since nothing else seems to be on (unless you want to watch old Star Trek episodes - and I

- Megan Selinger

8000 page views

we got to nearly 8000 page views since April 5th last year.  crazy.
i just reset the stats so that leanne and mine are now separate.  sure, she blogs more, but we'll see who gets read more :-)

- Brian Verkley

2006-09-12 19:01:21

You are a cheater.  You update the pages and get page counts.

- leanne

2006-09-13 17:03:37

well, yeah.  the 8000 didn't give that way?   did you think i had 16 people a day, every day, read this blog?  especially when there is rss? and there isn't exactly an update a day here.  I'd bet half (or more) is me. testing and such.

- brian

Leanne is a Blogger !

In case anyone was wondering why I was making all these updates, here it is.  Leanne is now a blogger !

check out her page at http://ajax.verkley.com/leanne/blog

The backend system is the same, so your login id works on both, the movie db is the same on both, etc. etc.  Go drop a comment and welcome her to the "blogosphere".  hahaha

- Brian Verkley

2006-08-30 07:28:03

Sweet.  Is there a link for combined RSS feeds?

- brian jackson

2006-08-30 19:06:44

Not yet. There was some discussion, and internal monolog, and a confused look.  I'd like to have a combined system, which is doable since they have the same backend, but how to do it and have it be clear...

some day.  i'll keep you posted.

- brian

2006-09-01 07:59:35

Cool.

Also, here is a wiki app that uses perl.  Not sure how good it is, but I know youre a perl fan. ;)

http://sourceforge.net/projects/doxwiki

- brian jackson

Third (and maybe final for now) Major Site Update

so, now the code is under version control (using subversion, aka svn).  This is something I should have done a _long_ time ago.  Virtually every other programmer in the world uses a similar system to keep their code in control.  I have now joined this century.  (css and svn.  crazy.  now for ajax :-)

There is technically now a new url.  ajax.verkley.com/blog/brian (instead of brian/blog) but both should work (symlinks).  you shouldn't need to adjust your rss feed either, if i did it right.

As always, let me know if there is any quirkyness.
thanks.

- Brian Verkley

Picture Update

The pics I took at Christine and Tim's Wedding are now online (check the left sidebar) as well as some shots of Our 2nd anniversary holiday trip to Tobomory and area.

- Brian Verkley

Second Major Site Update

everything is moved to CSS now.  I'm sure it won't validate, but trust me, there is a huge update from my old 1999 technology.  The site should look mostly the same, only slightly... cleaner.  I much prefer the current albums layout on the left sidebar.

Again it is not well tested, so please comment on any fixes or suggestions.

There is a point to all this work, trust me.

- Brian Verkley

2006-08-08 19:16:04

RSS, now CSS.  What's next? A full on Web 2.0, AJAX & Ruby mashup?  :)

I apologize for all the buzz words.  The site looks great!

- brian jackson

2006-08-08 19:23:17

I know almost nothing about Ruby so don't expect that.  Drag and drop AJAX boxes or expanding AJAX comments?  Perhaps, but not this week, or even month. :-)

- brian

2006-08-08 20:09:44

i just added a new sidebar box for recent movie comments as well.  Does anyone feel that they would use an RSS feed for the same? or is reading it here just fine?

- brian

2006-08-08 20:56:57

It depends.  Do you watch a lot of movies?  If so, it might be worthwhile to see what Brian et al think of the latest and greatest.

I am content with looking at them when I read the latest and greatest post. :)

- brian jackson

Movies

the Movie DB is alive.  Click on the movies link on the sidebar.  Some of the site has been rewritten, but not CSS yet...

You should be able to add movies and rate/comment if you are logged in.  Please comment here if anthing (movies or blog) seems ... funny.  It is not well tested.

- Brian Verkley

2006-07-31 09:08:15

I like the MD, however, I have noticed a few things.  1. after logging in and going to the Movies link I think it would be good if you are selecting a previously rated movie that you would like to comment on to have the movie name already filled in for you instead of a blank title space.  2. After being on this page if you click back on the Main Page link on the right it logs you out for some reason.

- leanne

2006-07-31 17:39:15

1. the "title" is to be the title of your comment, not the movie.  should another name be better?  or should i remove the need for a comment title altogether.
2. the main page link should not log you out anymore.

- brian

2006-08-01 17:17:18

Looks cool.. I woudl say there is not a need to put a titel on a comment about a movie tho.

- Joe

2006-08-02 17:16:35

I like your little graph for the ratings.  It gives me a few ideas for my list:
http://jacksonian.ca/brian/index.php/Movie_List

Not as detailed, but at least I can remember what I have seen and whether it was garbage or not (though I am very picky on what I choose to watch).

- brian jackson

2006-08-08 19:12:01

comment title for movies is now gone.

- brian

2006-08-24 15:54:29

Brian, in the movie section the script isn't remembering that I'm logged in because it's losing the space in the url between the two words of my username and truncating it when it hits the space.

- Lisa Verkley

2006-08-25 10:15:50

ah, i am missing quotes.... somewhere.  can you be specific on which click drops it? or is it all over?

- brian

2006-08-28 20:19:48

Clicking on 'Movies' in the sidebar loses my logged-in-ed-ness

- Lisa Verkley

2006-08-29 19:26:23

fixed.  i was _sure_ i used $user in quotes every time, and i did.... except i didn't have my href in quotes !

oh well.  should work now.

- brian

so behind... so behind.

Blogging is great, and it is easy to do, but one does need to .make. some time to do it.  With baseball and parties, and such, I know it sounds like a cliche, but we are really never home.  Not complaining though.

Last, last Friday, Saturday, Sunday morning - Bender Lan Party.  
Another great party.  I think this one had the most people we've ever had.  I don't know if the competition is getting tougher or we are just out of practice, but there wasn't the domination we often see.  All the games were quite close.  Little sleep, but lots of fun.  I'm already looking forward to next years.

Last, last Sunday afternoon - Cole-Duncan Wedding Shower.
We hosted a guy-girl wedding shower for Lindsay and Jamie at our house.  Who knew we could put 28 peple in our dining room for gifts and games while it rained outside!  Thankfully the rain was short lived, and we could get out for a BBQ later in the afternoon.  We had a great time.  It was certainly the biggest party we had ever hosted, but it think it went well. There was lots of food, fresh tree-picked plums, and sufficient beer.  I'm not going to say it wasn't work, but it was _really_ nice to have the honor of hosting their Toronto shower.  The smile on their face at the end of the day made it all worth while.  

Last week, two baseball games ending in a loss.  One more game to go.  If we don't win it, the season is over, early, and out of the playoffs.  At least there will be more time for blogging...

- Brian Verkley

We still live at 168 Rands Road

... thankfully.

I was winding down one midnight after Leanne and I cut all the wood for our new picnic table.  Leanne went to bed, but I turned on the tele to watch some Tour de France recast, when from below the tv I saw a spark... and the UPS clicked in to battery mode for a second.

I thought, "ha ha.  I think i just killed a spider."  A min or two later, another spark.  Then another.  Time to investigate further.  The cord from the wall to the UPS was hot, quite hot, but only near the plug.  I touched the faceplate screw and nearly burnt my finger.  Another spark, this time in full view.  The wood paneling was hot to the touch, as was the tv stand.  I pulled the plug, turned off the tube, and decided to let things cool down.  

After half an hour, I checked the temp again with my ever accurate finger to the screw test.  Hot.  Still hot.  The unplugged cord is now cool though.  No more sparks, but since this plug is connected in series, I suspect current from some other outlet is keeping this one hot.

Time to throw the mostly unlabeled breakers one at a time and test the outlet.  You have no idea how long this takes by yourself, especially when you have to get down on you back to reach the outlet.  Perhaps I should have just plugged in a lamp and turned out other lights so I could see if it was the right one from the breaker room, but this was past 1:00am, and I clearly wasn't thinking straight.  Oh, and the breaker was the last one it could be, assuming the outlets didn't share with the AC or furnace.  The breaker was labeled "washer", which it also controls by the way.

Great, I have the power off to the firestarter now, but my other computers (including the one that serves this blog) and the fish tank are also affected.  I grab some extension cords from the garage and get the computers some power from upstairs and the fish heater some power from another working outlet in the basement.  Time for bed, I'm tired.

I accidently wake Leanne as I come to bed and tell her the whole story.  Laying awake thinking that the power is off but I didn't really "fix" anything, I decide it would be a good idea to test the fire alarms.  They all work well, but while testing the one downstairs, the test button sticks and it takes me 30 sec to bust open the alarm (in the dark I might add) to stop the test.  The tester is still good, but now it complains of a weak battery.  I have no spare.  I scour other electronics until I finally find one (stud finder) with a 9volt.  They aren't as common as they used to be!  This battery was even weaker, so I put the other battery back in, and gave up for the evening.  It'll work for one night.

Next day I buy a new battery, outlet, etc. and fix the whole thing. I even learned to use my multimeter.  Here is a pic of the junk I threw out.


Large Size at: http://ajax.verkley.com/brian/blog/pics/burnt_outlet-2.jpg

Maybe it is good that I wind down watching tv at midnight...

- Brian Verkley

2006-07-22 06:14:49

Holy hannah, no kidding...you are soooooo lucky and I am so relieved. TAKE CARE, LOVE you both.

- Anne Marie

2006-07-22 18:06:27

Why did that happen?

- Lisa Verkley

2006-07-24 19:13:51

I don't know exactly what caused it.  You can see the insulation on the wire is melted a ways back.  

I wish some electrician would read this and comment...

- brian

2006-07-25 02:27:17

ask your Uncle Jeff, he is an electrician now, got his papers recently.....

- Anne Marie

Blog Update

I tried to resurrect the old movies database.  I have it, but the comments are stored by userid instead of actual names.  I don't have the old userid table, so I have no idea who posted which comments.  I can't believe I wrote that thing back in February of 1999.  Anyone remember what they first thought of edtv?  Anyone else remember that movie?

To integrate it (or anything like it) into this site is requiring a major rewrite.  I wrote this blog engine very quickly, and while the backend works well, the html gui is awful to work with.  Not customizeable at all, not that that was an original design criteria though.  

I should move to css.  We'll see if that happens.  At the very least it will be more modular which should allow some new features without new headache.

I'm developing in a second directory, so this site should work in the meantime.  Please ignore any dust, and please watch for rusty nails.

- Brian Verkley

2006-07-19 20:49:03

Ouch - Nail.
Double Ouch - Sliver.

- Megan Selinger

2006-07-19 22:13:01

she's back !
i told you to be careful.

say, when we're you in Etobicoke.  I saw spray-painted in big bold letters on the back of a school - BBB

I didn't know you were starting an advertising campaign.

- brian

2006-07-20 19:11:18

I was never gone - just hovering in the backdrop. I can be quiet and shy too :P

I was wondering you didn't mention the advertising sooner. I have visited numerous schools with my trusty spray cans. (Except they get the colours all over my hands!) My intent is to get people to visit your site, so they can subsequently boycott it.

- Megan Selinger

V for Vendetta

I should likely set up the movie rating system I created back at northperth.net.  Lisa and I write from time to time about what we see, and it would be good to store those in one place.  Another thing on the old todo.

Anyway, I thought this movie was great.  Dad would love it (even though it is based on a comic).  You are never quite sure what is going to happen, right up to the end.

It is also a good story for people to hear too, but that is just my opinion.

- Brian Verkley

2006-07-11 08:23:54

So why don't you put that movie rating system up.

- John Verkley

2006-07-11 09:41:50

Must say I loved the movie also!

altho I must correct you here.. The V for Vendetta that people here are familiar with is based on a Graphic Novel.  (yes there is a difference)   Altho it did make its first appearances in a Briish Comic book called "Warrior"

- Joe

2006-07-11 09:52:06

For those wondering the difference..  Graphic Novels are usually about twice as long, dont have a monthly scheduled release, do not have any adds in them.   A fair  Comparison  to the difference between the two would be comparing a Movie to a Weekely TV show.

- Joe

2006-07-11 23:22:54

right, thanks for the clarification.  To be honest, I had never heard of the characters before, I just know it was written (published?) by DC, which  as you know is a big name in comics.  

Have you read the graphic novel? is it good?

- brian

2006-07-12 14:47:49

Yea the graphic novel was pretty good.  altho I must admit I became more of a fan when I saw the movie..  

- Joe

Napoleon Vs. The Turk

We went to see Jamie's new play this evening, Napoleon Vs. The Turk ( http://www.theturk.ca ) showing at the Toronto Fringe festival ( http://www.fringetoronto.com/ ).

It was really quite good, and Jamie was amazing.  Playing Napoleon, he doesn't show up until the second half, but what an entrance.  

I've said this before, but we really don't get out to enough shows, which is really a shame since we live in one of the theatre capitals of the world.  It was an hour long, ten bucks, and worth every penny.  

Afterward the cast, cast significant others, and Leanne and I went to the Wheat Sheath for a pint.  

If you are in the city, the festival is on for a while, go catch a show.  You'll be glad you did.

- Brian Verkley

Partial East Ender

We had a partial east ender tonight.  Too bad Jacksons and Kohlsmith couldn't make it, but we still had a great time with Legaults and Kendalls.

I think we are getting good at this BBQ thing.  Between 5:40 and 6:35 I bought the food from the grocery store, then Leanne prepared it.  BBQ shrimp, burgers, hot dogs, leftover cottage role, salads, veggies.  We even had ice cream and strawberries.  I thought it was all quite tasty.

The kids were good too.  Too bad Gracie had her needles that night, so she was a bit cranky, but still crazy cute.  Mathew was happy the whole evening though.

I enjoy havin' friends over.  I know life is crazy busy but hangin' out on the deck with friends is great.

Can't wait for the next one.

- Brian Verkley

Metro News - Kilimanjaro

There was a full page article about our Kilimanjaro climb in the Metro today. I suspect it should show up at http://www.metronews.ca/travel and or at http://www.metronews.ca/uploadedFiles/Metro_Toronto_0705_2006.pdf at some point.  The Metro is the "commuter" newspaper.  Small page size and just the right length for the GO Train.  Nearly everyone who rides Toronto transit to work reads it.

Jamie Duncan's cousin Brian Towie writes for the Metro.  He interviewed us a while ago, and the story ran today.

Kinda neat being in the paper again. I don't think I'll get recognized on the street though, as Leanne didn't even get recognized on the GO train with others reading the article right beside her. :-)

I'm so glad we went on that climb.  I know I had a great time.  Those memories will last forever.

- Brian Verkley

2006-07-05 23:33:07

I just checked and there are 18.5 million Metro readers per day in 93 cities in 21 countries.  I don't know if our story ran in more than the Toronto distribution but still interesting figures.

- leanne

2006-07-05 23:33:49

Oh and you are so right.  I loved every minute of our adventure.  I would love to go back to Africa!

- leanne

2006-07-06 09:31:24

it is up at http://www.metronews.ca/story.aspx?id=442

or page 18 of http://www.metronews.ca/uploadedFiles/PDFs/Metro_Toronto_0705_2006.pdf

- brian

2006-07-06 09:34:19

Yeah, the old PDF doesn't work.  Be sure to download and save that. :)
You guys are famous!
Rob Downey (from work) was reading the Metro and stumbled upon the article.  We were surprised to see you guys in the paper, to say the least.  Good times.

- brian jackson

2006-07-06 11:13:28

Very cool! Famous is fun!

- Lisa Verkley

2006-07-06 23:27:50

Famous is cool... Infamous is pretty cool too... you should work on that one next :D

- Megan Selinger

Canada Day - Cole Cottage

Pictures are up in the sidebar.

Great time as usual.  The Cole's are too good to us.

I'm impressed with quite a few of the pictures.  Feel free to vote some up or down as you see fit.  Also remember you can change from thumbnail to medium or large at the top.

- Brian Verkley

Easter

Easter pictures up.

what? behind? me?

well, there was this problem.  it is still there really, and i don't want to get in to it.  far too many hours were spent trying to fix it.  i don't want to admit defeat, so let's just say it is still broken, for now.  I think the fix needs a new kernel, which would totally ruin my 131 day uptime, so... i am stubborn.

anyway, i have a work around (thanks steve) and now we can add new photos.

Enjoy Easter.

- Brian Verkley

2006-07-01 10:44:44

hmm..  somehow I had already seen these pics.   were they up before..  or did I see them at your house maybe?

- Joe

2006-07-04 06:56:04

Wow - I have a very strange craving for chocolate now. No idea how or why.

- Megan Selinger

Happy Birthday Megan !

So, tell us what it is like to no longer be a teenager.  

- Brian Verkley

2006-06-28 09:16:54

Happy Birthday Megan!

- Lisa Verkley

2006-06-28 15:46:08

Happy Birthday Megan!  I know I said it to you yesterday but Happy Birthday online!

- leanne

2006-06-28 20:22:50

Happy Birthday

- Joe

2006-06-29 22:16:33

Wow - I have my own entry!
Thanks for all the birthday wishes!

Hmmm: What It's Like To No Longer Be A Teenager - By Megan Selinger:

Although I can no longer use the line "But I'm a teenager!, (not that it would work regardless), I have so far found 20 to be roughly the same as 19, except people take you somewhat more serious. That is, they take me more serious until they get to know me, realise that nothing I'm saying could be in the least serious, and then treat me as a teenager once again. But in conclusion, I feel that I am going to enjoy 20 just as much as I have every year - Live life to the fullest kids - as I am no longer your "little cuz" in the sense of the "teenager type" but your little cuz in the "younger than I but still old enough to be in (as Tolkien would put it) my "Tweens".
Cheerio and goodnight :D

- Megan Selinger

Cars

Cars is the best movie since.... since..
I don't know, okay, it is just the best movie.

I mean, Lord of the Rings as a full set might... ah, heck
There was that Star Wars movie...

There was actual cheering and applause in the theater, and not just from the 8 year old kids!  I can't remember the last time I had so much _fun_ watching a movie.

I don't care what time of day or night it is; get your bumper in that theatre!

- Brian Verkley

2006-06-23 23:33:48

YEAH! Brian is ALIVE!
Okay what is Cars. I've never heard of it. Oh I'm so out of the loop. Let me Google. Be right back...
K, I'm back. I've never seen a preview for this movie! Sign me up, let's go see it! Who's coming with?

- Lisa Verkley

2006-06-24 10:18:09

It is a Pixar annimation movie.  Pixar made the Incredibles and Toy Story and much more.  I think the advertising has been aimed at kids, because I haven't seen much either.
Drag J. with you.  You'll thank me.

- brian

2006-06-25 22:10:17

I havent been very psyched for this movie just cuz I didnt think the previews looked that good. That being said - I thought the exact same thing for Finding Nemo and that went over spectacular for me, and was also a Pixar (Disney) Movie. So yes, in short Cars is on my list. P

Oh and yeah good to hear from you Brian. Glad to see you still care about your adoring public... although I'm still on BBB until I find your fully dedicated to us once again.

- Megan Selinger

2006-06-29 22:16:53

Saw cars - loved it

- Megan Selinger

2006-06-30 17:08:35

of course you loved it.  it is the best.  everyone loves it.  especially the tractors.

- brian

Blossoms

Our tree blossomed this year.  We were so happy.  It only lasts for about a week, but since it didn't blossom at all for the past two years, it was particularly special.

- Brian Verkley

2006-05-12 18:17:25

I blame this update on Megan!!!!!!

I mean nice picture :)

- Joe

2006-05-15 23:37:09

How wonderfully interesting ... My new blog shall be up presently :P Unfortuantly i dont believe my blog will be quite as enthralling as this latest post

- Megan Selinger

2006-05-16 23:30:42

I quite like the flower power blog.  :)
Also to note: birthday pictures made it to the side menu!  Thanks Brian for posting them.

- leanne

2006-05-19 18:28:24

Time for the 125th reunion update???

I know it sucked  but I am curious to see how you word it on here :)

- Joe

2006-05-25 17:51:40

not going to happen.  even though we were out 10 years already, there were like 5 people from my grade.  and i was with 3 of them (including myself), and the other two helped co-ordinate the event.  there was a better turnout for those that were out 20 or more years.  sad.

- brian

2006-05-25 22:30:53

This is "Listowel" I may remind you. I donno about you Ltown fans but I was just happy to get out of the place, after 2ish years I'm certainly not ready to go back for hugs and cookies...ask me in 15 more.

- Megan Selinger

2006-05-29 11:57:05

Boycott Brian's Blog!!!

- Lisa Verkley

2006-05-29 21:30:22

BBB THE REVIVAL!

- Megan Selinger

2006-06-07 14:24:14

I'm still Boycotting Brian's Blog.

- Lisa Verkley

2006-06-14 12:20:55

Last update was over a month ago now..  I am officially joining the BBB!

- Joe

2006-06-15 09:21:22

Good move Joe.  You won't regret it!
BOYCOTT BRIAN'S BLOG!!!

- Lisa Verkley

2006-06-15 14:36:34

ok me too  BBB
His anniversary came and went and nary a word!
Maybe some day he and we will return?!

- Anne Marie

2006-06-16 09:46:17

Not me, I never come here anymore. I'm boycotting it, for real!

Happy Belated Anniversary.

- Lisa Verkley

2006-06-18 14:46:40

Hmmm BBB, should I join?

- leanne

2006-06-19 23:33:25

Jeeze, it's been so long it took me ten minutes to remember my sign in name. Wow it turns out I really was boycotting the blog... since I havent been here in over a couple weeks. Not that I missed anything...

- Megan Selinger

2006-06-23 08:56:12

I'm going to take a brief moment away from boycotting Brian blog to ask if any one has any verification that infact Brian is still alive?  He hasn't blogged, and no one I've talked to him has heard from him.  I called there to verify his life status the other night, but there was no answer. Should we check the morgues?

- Lisa Verkley

2006-06-23 12:42:51

good idea Lisa...and I did......and I can confirm that he is not in Listowel's morgue.  Can someone check in Toronto?

- Anne Marie

Risk weekend

Last weekend I went up to the Kendall cottage near Haliburton to open it up and toss my hat in the ring for the Risk championship.  I'm not sure what information i should make public, and what i should leave to mystery and long tales.

I was not the Risk Champ.  I was put out just narrowly missing the final board.  Good times though, and I'd try again next time.  Andrew Kendall took home the belt.  Lucky .

There was a keg.  It died early early Saturday.  I had backup beer, thankfully.  I think I'll let you all imagine what a guy could do with all that beer.  

I should add a special thank-you to the cooks.  We had AMAZING food all weekend.  I was expecting a lot of chips and hotdogs.  Instead we ate smoked chicken and pulled pork.  Unbelievable.

I lost some money at poker, and some pride at Rummoli, but apart from that i had an amazing time all weekend long.

The Kendall's do it up right.

- Brian Verkley

2006-04-26 12:02:21

Did you seriously just say "do it up right" - pssst Brian you're showing your Listowel area background

- Megan Selinger

2006-04-26 13:39:53

What ever do you mean Megan?

Anywho!!!  Lets Get'r done!

- Joe

2006-04-26 16:51:03

...

- Megan Selinger

2006-04-26 17:17:54

i thought get'r'done was a texan term.  at least i used it a lot when there.  

alrighty then.  time to make like a tree and take off, eh.

- brian

2006-04-27 11:37:32

Like nails on a chalkboard gentlemen

- Megan Selinger

2006-04-30 12:14:22

Bahhhh!

- leanne

2006-05-08 21:20:51

I should start a blog - and you should all come visit it - Apparently Brian no longer has an interesting life. Or he just doesn't want to share it with us *sniff sniff - cries

- Megan Selinger

2006-05-09 19:06:34

Cut him some slack...  I Am sure he has done absolutly nothing since Apr. 25th.   I am sure he will add a blog for the reunion that is coming up!

- Joe

2006-05-11 22:45:35

yes, you should start a blog.  i'd read it. and even comment from time to time.

I should write more, it is true, but i don't want to make boring posts.  i don't intend to write "i watched edmonton win in triple over time. it was good".  i mean, really, if you cared about the oilers fate, you'd already know.  and very few should care that i stayed up until 2:47am watching that game.  

anyway, i'm glad you enjoy, i'll post when i can, and let me know your blog url.

- brian

2006-05-11 22:46:02

oh, and buy a BBB shirt or hat.  i'd could use the cash.

- brian

Cup o' Milo

This morning Leanne and I had a hot cup of Milo.  Perhaps only Dad and Cecilia could really appreciate that.

Milo is this combination Hot Chocolate and Energy Drink. It takes mostly like ho cho, but it apparently has the power of Gaterade.  Most mornings on the mountain we enjoyed a Milo in bed, and then another at breakfast.

It is amazing how taste and smell can bring memories back.   I can still remember how excited we all felt (especially Michael and Michael and myself) about this rather uninteresting tasting drink.  Ah, the little joys.

- Brian Verkley

2006-04-14 11:26:43

I drank a Pepsi today!

- Joe

2006-04-20 00:55:31

Only one Pepsi? That doesn't seem very likely.. I drank quite a few pepsis.

- Megan Selinger

2006-04-25 00:06:30

where is the update on the RISK weekend?

- Joe

2006-04-25 21:51:56

i blog in streaks, don't i.

- brian

Jays Home Opener

Leanne and I took Dad and Patrick to the Blue Jay's home opener last night.  It was a GREAT time.  i love the openers.  lots of festivities before hand and it is always a packed house.  

The seats were pretty good... field level on the third base side, three quarters of the way to the fence.  The crowd was really in to this one.  an early twins lead didn't dampen the spirits.  jays came back and the whole house was rockin'.  the 9th inning was a standing ovation thoughout.

the new recruits did well.  molina hit a towering home run to the 5th deck.  the biggest cheer was for BJ Ryan though.  He didn't disappoint either, finishing the side 3 straight.

As the crowd spilt out on to the street it was crazier than new years. (well, not in NYC, but, you know.)  Singing, cheering, yankee hating (even though we just beat the twins).  

great great great time.

who's comin' to town next?  let's go to a game !

- Brian Verkley

2006-04-07 10:16:31

I guess you should have went to their second game too - they didn't do so well without you cheering them on!

- Lisa Verkley

forecastfox

weather in firefox.

if you use firefox (and you should) click on tools then extentions.  a new window should open, then click get more extentions.  search for forcastfox and install it.

i set my display to ajax.  in the botom corner of firefox i get a current and forecasted weather.  nice.

- Brian Verkley

2006-03-30 01:35:50

apparently you are going to be in my weather climate friday

- Megan Selinger

2006-03-30 20:25:07

yup.  7:15 am Friday I'm playing at York C rink.  Two more games on Friday and one on Saturday, but I don't know the times.

- brian

2006-03-31 01:39:58

... a..m.... am... hmm well i planned to come watch..but not at that time... that time doesnt even exist does it?
Maybe ill catch a sat game

- Megan Selinger

2006-04-05 22:59:59

crazy college kids.

recap.  3 games on friday.  we won one.  one game early saturday morning, we lost in a shootout.

i had fun.  crazy tiring though.  can't wait till next year.

- brian

and i have updates too !

too many late (near midnight) nights at work lately.  and gaming parties all weekend long.  and paddyfest beer.  come to think of it, i haven't been home in a while.  

anyway.
We hung our wedding photos recently.  they look real nice too.  i mean the big poster sized ones.  you signed the matting at the wedding, remember? ya, that one.  well both (engagement and wedding) are now up on the wall as you head up the stairs.  quick, everyone come see!

thanks to ryan for hosting the LAN party last weekend.  sorry you didn't win the marathon civ 4 game.
thanks to the coles, and mom, and paul, for paddyfest the weekend before. paul left ireland for canada just in time for st patricks day.   strange but true.
thanks to derek for hosting the DnD party the weekend before that.  even though we played more munchkin than DnD, i had a good time.  

ok, no more 3 week summaries, time for quick posts.

- Brian Verkley

Present Weekend

The weekend past was present weekend.  

Saturday Night we watched Hockey Night in Canada while munching on jalapeno popcorn.  Thanks Lisa.  The popcorn was great.  Just the right amount of spice so that you could finish the whole bag, but by the end it was quite spicy.

Sunday we went skiing at Blue Mountain.  Thanks Joe.  The weather and snow was perfect.  A great day for skiing.  As it was our first time out this season, today I have the predictable stiff calves.  Leanne is in better shape.  

Sunday night we had pizza slopeside.  Thanks Julie.  Nothing like beer and a pizza after a workout.

Tonight (not technically the the weekend, but hey) we had Montana's.  Thanks Joe.  A lovely steak meal in one of my favourite restaurants.

All in all it was a wonderful, fun packed, and cheap for us, weekend.  Thank-you again all !

- Brian Verkley

2006-03-07 11:24:34

You're welcome.

- Lisa Verkley

2006-03-07 19:34:33

Glad you had fun  :)

- Joe

2006-03-09 21:13:32

You're welcome Brian, nothing like a family to make you eat lots for your birthday. Glad you had fun, hope to see you next week sometime.

- julie

2006-03-24 11:24:35

No new updates in like forever dude.
Don't make me boycott your blog again. That got a little ugly last time.

- Lisa Verkley

2006-03-27 19:13:51

Jeeze, yeah I'm still boycotting it.

- Megan Selinger

Grand Canyon

Their is no way to describe the Grand Canyon justly, and the pictures don't tell the whole picture.

Grand Canyon album up.  Don't forget to use the menu at the top of the album so that you can see larger thumbnails.  You may have to adjust the number of columns as well.

- Brian Verkley

2006-03-05 15:55:36

That seems a lot smaller then the amount of pictures you really took....  Mind you there was like 6 of what I would consider the same picture heh

- Joe

2006-03-06 10:16:31

Thank-you Brian for all the work you do to post our photos online.  I know that naming the files, picking, choosing and posting the best of the millions that we take is a lot of work.

- leanne

2006-03-06 18:15:16

true.  There are hundreds.  You have copies :-)

i selected only the "good" ones to add.  If there is one i missed that you want added, let me know !

- brian

Duncan Engagement Party

If you haven't heard, Lindsay Cole and Jamie Duncan are getting married !
YEAH !!!

Last night was their engagement party at this cool pub in Markham called the Thistle Inn.  Pictures are in the album linked on the left.

- Brian Verkley

2006-02-28 13:30:57

Very nice pictures!   Congrats to both Lindsay and Jamie!

- Joe

Las Vegas

I can't talk about Las Vegas.  Haven't you heard?  What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.

Sheesh.

- Brian Verkley

2006-02-27 14:39:50

... what about what happens in Africa.. still don't have THOSE pictures and info

- Megan Selinger

2006-02-28 13:33:17

Vegas is like doing 8 trips in one!   I did Africa, PAris, New York, and a couple others!   Dont waste your time going elsewhere!  Vegas is where it is at!

- Joe

2006-03-01 09:14:55

You're right Megan. I bet they never left their house. Brian just likes to tease us with all these vacations.  I've had enough. It's time to stand up!  I call for a complete boycott of Brian's blog starting right now. Who's with me? Let's meet here later to discuss.

- Lisa Verkley

2006-03-01 14:47:16

I'm totally with you! We can call our cause the Brian Blog Boycott or the triple B for short. I'll check back later for your response!

- Megan Selinger

2006-03-01 16:16:08

Okay the Triple B mission has been accepted!!  I'm still boycotting Brian's blog, you?

- Lisa Verkley

2006-03-01 17:44:59

Totally boycotting it. And won't come back until my demands of Africa pictures are met!!

- Megan Selinger

2006-03-03 07:48:45

This boycotting club is so much fun! We should get shirts made!
I love boycotting Brian's blog.

- Lisa Verkley

2006-03-03 13:47:15

ooo shirts and hats. Oh! and those pins that you can hand out to other people so THEY can join the club too!

- Megan Selinger

2006-03-03 23:42:08

shirts
http://customink.com/cink/r.jsp?E=brian%40verkley.com&F=bbb

and hats
http://customink.com/cink/r.jsp?E=brian%40verkley.com&F=bbbhat

are available.   pins coming soon.

- brian

The Price is Right

We're on the Price is Right today.  I have no way to tape it, and I won't be home to watch it, sadly.

From the camera's point of view, we are on the left side of the theatre, about half way up, in the center section.  Leanne in yellow, Brian in blue.

- Brian Verkley

2006-02-24 14:31:39

WHAT!?!?! No WAy! You went to the Price is Right!?! That is amazing!
When are you going to tell us about this trip anyway?

- Lisa Verkley

2006-02-24 14:31:56

Iwill be taping it.

- Joe

2006-02-24 15:03:15

After all that wait we get one little comment!!!?? I want details!

- Megan Selinger

2006-02-24 15:25:58

We are on TV a couple times..   Jason gets the most since he was sitting on an Isle seat.

- Joe

More Hockey

This morning we headed back to the rink, this time with me wearing a knee brace.  Yup, that is right, i said we.  Leanne came too.

After a bit of skating (and for Leanne, stopping practice) we started a little three on three game.  There was only one Goalie, so it was like half court basketball.  I had a great time.  Knee held up fine, and the weather was perfect.  A crisp, near windless, minus 12.

- Brian Verkley

2006-01-15 20:32:32

This was so much fun!  I can now officially "kinda" stop...to one side.  The game was good.  I still have a lot of work to do to polish my stopping skills.  Plus I should attempt some backwards skating.  But I am happy about the day!  I must also mention that I am impressed by the outdoor ice ~ not at all choppy!

- leanne

2006-01-16 11:03:53

sounds kinda fun.  I have not skated since I was like 12 and even then I could never sake backwards and stopping.. do they have boards outside?

- Joe

2006-01-17 23:07:55

ya, it is like a regular rink.  zamboni, regular boards.  instead of glass above the boards it is a chain fence, but when you are playing it feels just like an arena, only a bit colder, and with the occasional sun glare.

- brian

2006-02-06 22:39:22

This posting seems old. Perhaps thats because there hasnt been any new updates in oh-so-long. And you shall be leaving soon. And still no pictures of this "mythical africa trip"

- Megan Selinger

2006-02-20 02:21:25

so...no vegas update yet? hurry up!

- Joe

2006-02-21 15:31:19

Brian, where are you, we are all in serious withdrawls having no knowledge of your life anymore. You need to blog man, just blog!

- Lisa Verkley

Sunday Morning Hockey

Today was the first time I got to Free Sunday morning outdoor hockey at Regent Park.  Michael from our floor hockey team goes regularly and invitied me.  The goalies were missing today, so there was just 5 of us skating around having a great time.  15 wonderful minutes of hockey.

right until i dislocated my kneecap again.  

don't worry.  i put it back in, sat on the bench for 10 minutes, then returned to some hockey.  Another 10 min of skating and i felt my knee was a little weak, so i chose to go home and rest it.  I got home and dug out my brace.  Guess i'll be wearing that for a few days.

oh, how fun hockey was, even if it was just for a few min.

- Brian Verkley

2006-01-09 00:49:42

That will teach you to do physical activities!   Back to Video Games!

- Joe

2006-01-09 10:56:20

This proves how evil hockey is in general - Quit hockey while you still can!

- Megan Selinger

2006-01-10 18:20:00

give up hockey? never.

for those worried about me (hi mom) the knee is much better today.  the swelling is down, and i can walk up and down stairs normally.  

- brian

2006-01-11 06:30:27

thanks for the update Brian,,,,you know me well!
Be careful! Getting laid up is no treat!
Mom

- Anne Marie

NYE in NYC !!!

We did it, and we survived.

Leanne, Julie and I flew down to New York City for New Years at Times Square !  We wanted to make sure we had a good spot for this once in a lifetime experience, so we arrived at Times Square at 2:30 pm.  The streets weren't blocked off yet, but there were so many people on the sidewalk that the crowd had a mind of its own.  You went where the crowd wanted, period.

We had a huge feast at Virgils BBQ house then took up our spot at 44th and Broadway just after 4:00.  They had just blocked the streets and were setting the pens up.  By 5:00 you couldn't get in to Times Square anymore.  If you weren't already there, you were watching WAY down the road.

The first hour was the longest, and the second was even longer.   It rained, it snowed, it rained some more.  Around the freezing mark and now we were all wet.  They raised the itty bitty little ball to the top of the pole at 6:00, and then finally the wait began.  Every once in a while there would be live band rehersals, Regis talking and singing, and lots of free swag handouts.  Every hour we did a video update on Julie's camera.  Maybe I'll figure out some way to get those online.

No one in Times Square was actually from New York.  No one we met in New York had ever been to Times Square for New Years.  Everyone around was very nice though.  Even though we were packed, everyone was happy and dancing and singing and taking pictures.

I was surprised by how little they catered to the crowd there.  The "show" was only for TV, and we were "extras".  The stage for the musical guests was stories above the ground so that no one could see.  We had a decent view of the screens showing the bands, but most didn't.  There were large breaks of nothing, and some "announced" guests like the Donald didn't even appear (although I assume he did on TV).  The show wasn't for those on site, until the last 20 seconds that is.

They'd count off each hour and yell Happy New Year to someone somewhere in the world, starting at 9:00.  Each one got bigger, but for midnight, the entire crowd was shouting, the screens flashing, 3, 2, 1, HAPPY NEW YEAR!  One Ton of confetti was dropped from the buildings above.  Never have I seen such as site.  It was amazing.  Best part of the experience.

From there we visited New York.  All was good.  I could go on, but I should really go work on pictures.  I have much to do.

A special Thank-you to Gerrit Stoffer who let us stay at his place even though he was out of town.  There really is no way to thank-you.  We owe ya big time.

- Brian Verkley

2006-01-08 04:05:53

I truly enjoy your adventures. The New Years Eve in New York City In New York State if we want to get really crazy NYE IN NYC IN NYS! sounds amazing yet holds a trait in common with your mountain climbing. Amazing experience, incredible but i dont quite think im "there" on the lets do that now thing. The rain and cold and general sniffleness isnt my style - now New Years at Disney... that sounds more my flavour lol. Oh and thanks for the teaser.. could have gotten that Africa picture anywhere thou as your google Golden Fleece pictures show:P

- Megan Selinger


- Brian Verkley

2006-01-06 10:36:06

So I've decided these Africa pictures are a myth, similar to Greek or Roman in their coolness, but still, searching for the golden fleece isnt going to do anyone any good now is it?

- Megan Selinger

2006-01-06 11:05:18

I am still searching for hr Golden Fleece!

- Joe

2006-01-06 17:29:37

The Pictures Do Exist !  I can give you another teaser if you like.  Check out http://ajax.verkley.com/album/brian/photos/2210.orig.jpg

oh, and if you are looking for Golden Fleece, you'll find it
here : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_fleece
and pictures here: http://tinyurl.com/cbwsw ( Google Image Search )

- brian

Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth

Merry Christmas!

Although this Chrismas was particuarly busy, the tradition does not die at
10 years.

2005 may not have been as busy a year as 2004 was, but we didn't sit still
either.  We saved all of our vacation days and used them at once for our Africa trip.  I can't say enough about Africa.  The safaris were amazing, the climb was unbelievable, and we _still_ haven't got all of our pictures organized online.  They are coming though.

I'm sure you all know what has been going on though, with the creation of the blog this year (http://ajax.verkley.com/brian/blog).  I'm glad some find it interesting and please do comment from time to time.

There have been a couple of new babies this year (Merry Christmas Kiana, Cooper, and Mathew), a few noteworthy anniversaries (our 1st wedding, Mandy & Jason's 5th wedding, and Cole's Cottage 10th), and finally, after many many seasons, a floor hockey championship!!!

On a sad note, my sister's Golden Retreivers, Winger and Surf, passed
away this year.  They have left a void that can never be filled.  Lisa has a new puppy now, Monty.  He is a new ball of energy that brings a smile to everyone's face.

Now we're off to New York with Juile for New Year's Eve.  Life never stops.
Enjoy Christmas and stop by if you ever pass through Ajax.


Lisa Marie Verkley wrote:

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 14 Nov 1994 17:04:51 -0500 (EST)
From: Kaushik Aneel
To: Ben Yoskovitz
Cc: Thomas Hood ,
     Mark Cecchetto ,
     JAY MCDONALD ,
     Laura Thompson ,
     Ben'sfriend Rebecca
Subject: Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth (fwd)

Santa Claus: The Brutal Truth
by Anonymous

1) No known species of reindeer can fly.  But there are 300,000 specices
of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are
insects and germs, this does not COMPLETELY rule out flying reindeer
which only Santa has ever seen.

2) There are 2 billion children in the world (persons under 18).  But
since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist
children, that reduces the workload by 85% of the total -leaving 378
million according to the Population Reference Bureau.  At an average
(census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes.
One presumes there is at least one good child per house.

3) Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different
time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to
west (which seems logical).  This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with good children,
Santa has 1/1000 th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down
the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under
the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney,
get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.  Assuming that
each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the earth
which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our
calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per
household, a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting stops to do
what most of us do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding, etc.

That means that Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3000
times the speed of sound.  For purposes of comparison, the fastest
man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, move at a poky 27.4
miles per second - a conventional reindeer can run, at tops 15 miles per
hour.

4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element.  Assuming
each child gets nothing more then a medium sized lego set ( 2 pounds ),
the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is
invariably described as overweight.  On land, conventional reindeer can
pull no more than 300 pounds.  Even granting the 'flying reindeer' can
pull TEN TIMES that normal amount, we cannot the job with eight, or even
nine,  We need 214,200 reindeer.  This increased the payload- not even
counting the weight of the sleigh to 353,430 tons.  Again for comparison
- this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth

5) 353,000 tons travelling at 650 miles per second creates enourmous air
resistance.  This will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as
spacecrafts re-entering the earth's atmosphere.  The lead pair will
absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy per second.  Each.  In short,
they will burst into flames almost instantaneously,  exposing the
reindeer behind them, and creating a deafening sonic boom in their wake.
The entire reindeer team will be vaporized with 4.26 thousandths of a
second.  Santa meanwhile, will be subject to centrifugal forces 17,500.06
times greater than gravity.  A 250 pound Santa ( which seems ludicrously
slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by a 4,315,015 pound force.

In conclusion,  If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas eve, he's
now dead.

P.S. this will be something you can tell your kids someday!

- Brian Verkley

2005-12-26 15:47:06

Wait a second!  Didn't I get e-mailed this entire blog?   what a rip!  I was hoping to read a new adventure!

- Joe

2005-12-27 13:21:01

lol - good point Joe. I was totally like - Woah deja vu!

- Megan Selinger

summary

i think i posted more when i was in africa ! sheesh.  /slaps_wrist

it's gone.  i now look more like the guy "sleeping" on the left.

we won.  for the first time ever, ggof floor hockey is the champs.  woot.  first overall.  /dance

africa pictures are _close_ to being up.  they exist online now, i just need to vote them up / down so that you don't have to look at 1500+

our christmas tree is up, but naked.  we had a small (3 foot) tree last year because we were in florida until just before the big day.  (which was great, man we should travel / get together with Shawn and Delena more often)  anyway, the little tree only had a small set of lights, which we have located.  our long chain of multiflashers haven't been used in two years now, and i have NO idea where they are.  if we loaned them to you, i think you now own them.  i just _can't_ decorate a tree without lights, so, the tree is naked... for now.

i hope you are getting in the christmas spririt.  christmas tunes on here!

- Brian Verkley

2005-12-15 20:08:37

No Beard!! Great relief as with Chistmas dinner coming up, I now know I wont have to fear the Yeti, with superhuman intelligence.

- Megan Selinger

christmas list -- part 2

perhaps i should make a separate page and keep updating it.  this is getting quite long...

movies.  I would love the Lord of the Rings set, extended editions, widescreen of course.

as far as we know, leanne has never seen Indiana Jones.  The box set, widescreen as well would be good.

- Brian Verkley

2005-12-04 16:43:07

Leanne has most definitely seen Indiana Jones!  She is just forgetful

- Joe

2005-12-04 18:30:06

Okay, so if this is like...I had seen Princess Bride...then maybe you had it on when I walked through the room.  But I haven't seen Indiana in entirety.  Remember I am also queen of the sleep when it comes movies.  If you get this Brian, we will have to watch them mid-day!  :)

- leanne

2005-12-04 22:14:00

Why havent you seen indiana jones? WHY OH WHY LEANNE!! Now this is just foolishness.. Okay i can honestly say the second one sucks... honestly tho... But the first and the third are just plain golden! totally amazing!

- Megan Selinger

2005-12-12 09:39:56

Not part of your Christmas list blog entry, but is there a way to view old blog write ups.  I tried to see the one from when we were in Africa and can't seem to pull it up?
Is this possible?

- leanne

2005-12-14 22:39:42

well, sorta.  not really.
in the menu on the right there is a "View All Entries" button.  that gives you ever comment i've added.  

if your location bar has a "sid=xx" that is a pointer to a particular story.  if you knew the number, you could fake it an add it there, but i don't expect people to actually do that.  It works kinda by default, and so that people can bookmark an entry if they wanted to.

best for now is to view all and scroll.

- brian

The Beard

People have been begging for a picture, so here it is.

- Brian Verkley

2005-12-04 17:35:16

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!

- Lisa Verkley

2005-12-04 22:14:29

SCARY MOUNTAIN MAN!! RUN AWAY RUN AWAY!!!!

- Megan Selinger

2006-01-06 05:21:39

NICE!  This is a picture I think I should share wiht the rest of Bell :)  Can you send this to me in high res so I can print it and post it on the wall?  PLEASE :)

- rlegault

Christmas

We are getting close to christmas, and it is time to publish my list.

indoor/outdoor thermometer. ours died (unless it really was 73C outside today...  for an extra bonus, you could splurge for a "weather station" that has barometric pressure and such.  for extra extra bonus points you could get one that recieves a satellite forecast, or hooks up wirelessly to the pc for forecast or historical weather recording

universal _touchscreen_ remote control.  we have three remotes now, and i'd love to reduce that to one.  they range from about $50 to $250 from best buy.    i'd love one that is programable enough to turn all the devices on at one touch of a button

logitech gamepad rumblepad 2 - non cordless.  futureshop has it on crazy sale right now. i'd buy it if is wasn't so close to christmas.  i'd be great for NHL06

new air popcorn maker.  The last one worked great ! but now it overheats after one scoop of popcorn, and i like to make three at a time.

...
well, that is it for now... i'll add more as i think about it.

- Brian Verkley

2005-11-28 18:01:40

So is it just me, or is there no pictures of you with a beard on this site, you keep talking about it, but for those of us who live far away, we would like to see it.
About the Christmas list... do i have to inform  Leanne what I am getting you so you don't get 5 of the same thing,I wouldn't want you to have 5 remotes that cost $250 each.

- julie

2005-11-29 21:10:16

we haven't taken any pictures of the beard yet.  maybe tomorrow.

as for telling leanne, if you like.  i wouldn't mind 5 $250 remotes though, as long as they came with gift reciepts :-)

- brian

2005-11-29 23:05:04

THREE scoops?

- Lisa Verkley

2005-12-02 19:19:17

two additions, one subtraction.

i "fixed" the thermometer.  who knew when the battery was low it would give wierd temps rather than just shut off.  odd.  anyway, i would still enjoy one of those fancy ones, if you already bought it :-)

and i would also like:  a lens-pen.  it is a pen shapped object that contains a soft brush for wiping dust off of camera lenses.  We used Cecilia's in Africa and I almost bought one after that, 'cept i remembered it is soo close to christmas :-)

self leveling laser level with stud finder.  not sure if one exists with all of those features, but if so i covet it.  we hung a new shelf yesterday (built by us of course) for the speakers, and it would have come in handy.  don't worry, you can't tell it isn't level...

- brian

2005-12-02 19:20:32

oh, and Lisa, yes. three.  two for me and one for leanne, all mixed in with spray on butter (surprisingly good) and yummy sea salt.  how can you watch a home movie without popcorn?

- brian

2005-12-03 14:48:15

one more addition

google earth plus.  it is google earth, but i can import the gps data and print pretty pictures.  I just about bought it today, but then i thought about christmas.  It is $20 (USD i suspect) but you can't buy the software for me as it is an upgrade key, so cash in a card is nice enough.

- brian

2005-12-04 07:53:22

Spray on butter?

- Lisa Verkley

2005-12-04 12:35:12

yes, i was skeptical at first as well.  it is actually Becel.  0 calories it says. I think it is made for cooked vegetables and spraying in pans, but i think it is perfect for popcorn.  Try it.

- brian

i'm back

so last weekend we had a bit of a LAN party at my house.  The new game was Civilization 4, and we started it Friday night.  We played that one single game _all_ weekend, finishing Sunday morning.  Shawn Bender won with a space victory on the VERY LAST TURN.  He would have won with a time/score victory next turn anyway, but still, last turn, arg.  Good game.  Good times.  I love those gaming weekends.  

After a little bit of WolfET with Shawn Kohlsmith, i started a single player game.  Every night i played that game from one minute after work until after 3 am.  Friday night i finally won it.  47 hours and 3 min of game time later.  

i think that makes up for all the time i didn't play computer games in africa :-)

- Brian Verkley

2005-11-30 15:21:36

Thats amazing. Ive been so busy lately that i havent had time to get on Lineage let alone log in hours, but soon, soon i will return to the world of simulated amusment.

- Megan Selinger

the beard is still on

it has been a month now.  well, i can't say i've been bearded for a month.  I haven't shaved in a month though.

and now the question is, how long will it last.  I'm not really sure.  I think i've decided that i'm not a beard guy though.  It is not that i miss shaving, certainly, but, well, i now have this buffer around my face, you see.  Like, i remember the feeling of laying down on a soft, slightly cool pillow. Now, it is slightly cool... on my nose.  Not the same at all.

So, shave it off then, you say.  Well not quite yet.

I might as well find out what it is like to have a beard, since it is unlikely i would go a month of beard growing just to find this out some time in the future. (besides, it would be grey then anyway).

Time for an analogy.  Let's use swimming.
Many times i've had some scruffyness.  This is like dipping your toe in before swimming.  Sure, you know what the water is like, but you can't say you have been swimming.  You can't say you know what it is like.  And besides, when you jump in, the water rarely feels the same.  Dipping your toe is hardly like swimming.  Scruffy is not bearded.

Now that i can say i officially have a beard (you can't see skin through most of it) i am fully in the pool.  But jumping in and jumping back out is hardly swimming either.  

But how long must you splash around successfully before you can be said to have swam?  I'm not sure.  I haven't decided yet.

I highly doubt i'll be beard trimming though, so odds are i'll look more like an elf than Santa at Christmas.

- Brian Verkley

2005-11-08 17:58:45

Interesting... I cant say i can relate to any of this personally considering i would never want to grow a beard, regardless of my capability on the matter which i hope is nil. But i found your account and metaphor/analogy quite amusing to say the least lol

- Megan Selinger

2005-11-08 18:38:33

Some times dipping your toe in can be more enjoyable then accually swimming.  No?

- Joe

2005-11-12 19:24:19

Brian, you put WAY too much thought into groing a beard.  I've done the beard thing back in college,  I think you should defenitly try it for a month or so, but I'm sure you'll shave it off in the end.  Have fun with it.  Remember the Cheers episode when then tested how much beer you can hold in a beard? :)

- rlegault

2005-11-22 15:53:44

Don't listen to them Brian.  Beards are the way to go.  Or if you get board, you could shave it all but the moustache and look 10 years older... Think of the posibilities!  

Haven't seen you on WoW lately, but judging by the date you last posted, you must be busy.

- Ryan

A photo from the Summit

There are 1274 digital photos, and 5 rolls of film.  I can't thank enough the people that loaned us their compact flash, or Dad who let me offload on to his laptop during our trip.It will take us some time to reduce that down to a displayable number, but here is a taste...

- Brian Verkley

2005-10-31 13:33:52

Nice Picture! Are you holding up the sign or vice versa?  hehe

- Lisa Verkley

2005-10-31 22:20:39

Wow im so excited. This picture is great and i wanna see sooo many more

- Megan Selinger

2005-11-01 09:25:59

It is so nice to see you in a coat Brian! I am glad that you two made it back from the top, and can't wait to find some time to come down south to see your pictures..should i book a whole week off work to see them all? :P
So for Halloween, did you dress up as mountain climbers?

- julie

2005-11-02 16:44:01

All I can say is:

Impressive young MountainWalkers, Most Impressive!

- Joe

2005-11-02 17:11:47

lisa: notice that everyone who isn't sitting is holding the sign.  coincidence? i doubt it.

julie: are you ever home?  anyway, no, no dressing up this year.  but i dress up as a mountain climber every day now. (the beard is still on)

- brian

2005-11-02 18:51:09

Joe: im starting a slow clap right now for your last post.. really...really though?
No, not really, I can't back that up.
lol

- Megan Selinger

We're Home !

We just got home.  All of our fish survived !

I'll type more tomorrow, and maybe even add some pictures and such.  For now, sleep I think.  My body is 6 hours ahead of schedule.

- Brian Verkley

2005-10-30 19:49:19

WHAT?!?! you just left your poor fish...poor poor fish.
Sleep and then i cant wait to hear about the trip

- Megan Selinger

twende

Time for Amsterdam.

The last safari was quite good, but not as scenic as Tarangire.  We did see a chetah and a leapord though, so we're happy about that.  Male lions as well.  The Serengeti sure is flat !  

Our camp was at Olduvai.  That is the location where the Leakey's found some very old fossils, and the oldest footprints known (3.6 million years old).  I think we took nearly 100 sunset and sunrise pictures from our few days here.  Beautiful.

Anyway, it is time for us to leave the southern hemisphere.  We have 3 hours to kill here at the airport.  We'll arrive there in the morning.  We'll check in from Holland if we can.

Thanks again for the comments, and see you all soon !

- Brian Verkley

2005-10-27 09:50:37

Say Hello to Amsterdam for me!
I hope you are putting on a slide show of photos for us at Christmas.
How are you ever going to go back to work after this? Eww, don't even think about that.

- Lisa Verkley

2005-10-27 10:25:47

Brian make sure you put the cheatah back before you leave. Spots (what a terrible name) is not a souvenieer. Im so excited that I will finally get to see pictures and hear tales and random other information. I look forward to your welcome home to TDot. Until then!

- Megan Selinger

Alive and Well

I couldn't possibly explain the climb in sufficient detail in one blog post.  We were in a group of 12 very pleasant people, from the UK, Ireland, and Holland.

Kilimanjaro is an incredibly difficult climb; one that can not easily be conveyed in text.  Simply getting off the mountain healthy is a feat.  Unfortunatly, two of our group had to go down early on day 4, due to Altitude Sickness.  They recovered fine and we met them at the hotel last night.  The rest of us made it to the last camp, to start the final long push to the summit.

The first six days we hiked for 4-9 hours, but the summit push we left camp at midnight for a 7 hour climb, followed by a 3 hour decent, lunch, and then a another 3 hour decent.  

Unfortunatly Cecilia had to drop out early in to the summit push, reaching an altitude of over 4600 metres.  Dad couldn't keep up with the gruelling pace, but we could see his distinct red head lamp ever following us.  He watched the sun rise at 5520 metres.

Of the 10 that remained, 7 of us reached Uhuru Peak at 5895 metres, including both Leanne and I.  We didn't quite make Stella Point at 5735 metres (the crater rim) by sunrise.  We were merely 50 metres below. The sunrise was an amazing display of colour and beauty.  However, I was so cold and tired, I couldn't pull my camera from my pack to take a single picture.  Leanne snapped some from the disposable she had in her pocket.  I hope Dad's will be nice.

Our guide continued to encourge us and assist us with a helpful hand.  I thought there was very little hope of us making the last 50 metres.  Each step caused heavy breathing and some dizzyness.  The last ten metres Leanne and I held hands and perservered to the top.  As we were about to collapse, we fell in to hugs from our chief guide and fellow climbers.  We toasted with some warm tea that our guide had carried with him.

With barely any energy regained, we assumed this would be our peak, as Uhuru was another hour plus along the way.  Restus, the chief guide, however, gave us no choice.  He grabbed my pack and said get going.

The seven us of staggered for 45 min, finally reaching the sign post marking the highest point in Africa.  We took a few pictures (including a rugby jersey and Devon flag), attached our Canadian flag sticker to the post, and started our decent.

I can't say enough about the quality of the guide and porter team from The African Walking Company.  Without their knowledge, experience, and total commitment to our success, we could not have made it.

We'll fill in the details and show photo's when we can.  For now, a rest day before another safari.

Asante (Thank-you) so much for all the comments.  We'll write again when we can.  See you all soon,

- Brian Verkley

2005-10-23 08:36:34

YES! You all survived! I can't wait to hear all the details and see the pictures.  You still sound exhausted!

- Lisa Verkley

2005-10-23 11:13:22

Wow!  Sounds like an experience of a lifetime!   Glad to know you were able to accomplish such an amazing task.

- Joe

2005-10-23 13:29:39

It sounds amazing and an experience you can carry and hold on to throughout your lifetime. Every small hill in your life will have nothing on the mountain you climbed that day. Your amazing accomplishment is truly an inspiration! The part where you and Leanne held hands to bring your last little strength together is truly a testiment of your life together. Best wishes and lots of love

- Megan Selinger

2005-10-23 21:27:48

I am soooo glad to hear that you all are alive, Guess giving up coffee and drinks was well worth it! It sounds like it was a much harder hike then you thought. Not even pulling out your camera Brian? Can't wait to hear more about your adventures!

- julie

2005-10-25 17:57:10

Hi guys am so glad to hear you guys are alright and still healthy. I miss you both and can't wait to see ya and see all your pics. I agree with brians sister all other mountains will be small potatoes . Well am looking forward to the end of Oct. You will ber home love ya mom

- jannet

hello again

sorry for the double post last time.  I told you things were a little wierd over here.  heh.  Thanks for all the replies though.

Yesterday we went to Arusha National Park and saw lots of monkeys and baboons, and of course quite a few new birds.  It is on the side of Mount Meru, so we got a quick taste of some altitude and forest.  The coolest things were the hippos that came out to see us, and a lake filled with thousands of noisy pink flamingos !

anyway, today is our off day.  Leanne is getting her hair braided by the pool now, while dad and i update you folks on our adventure so far.  Between us 4 i think we have nearly 2000 photos already :-)  ah, don't you love digital.

We have a metting at 5 this aft with our climb guides, then one more good night sleep in a bed, with a shower in the morning.  after that, it is up up up.

Different lodge when we come down, so who knows if the internet will be better or worse.  Power isn't very reliable here.

Anyway, talk to you all in a week, and please do write here so we can read all the postings later !

- Brian Verkley

2005-10-14 06:34:26

Thanks for the updates! Enjoy your last night's sleep in a bed!  How on earth are you storing 2000 digital photos? Or did Dad really bring his laptop?

- Lisa Verkley

2005-10-14 19:42:55

Ok, now you have made me jealous! You asked me if I wanted to climb a mountain with you guys, but I didn

- julie

2005-10-15 16:53:33

Blue monkey huh? Im not so sure about the family resemblance there Bri. Wow im jealous of the amazing time you guys are having!! Sigh i guess ill just have to be content with seeing these animals in a zoo like enviroment till i can find my way to their native land. Cant wait to hear more ~ as my multiple visits and posts imply!
Zola (my African for the day)

- Megan Selinger

2005-10-16 12:19:22

This is from Nancy (under Megan's name)
Home from Europe and now im a changed person! Canada is such a baby. Ive seen tasted and smelled as well as captured on video and photo so much history. I will share stories with you when you come back. I had many andventures beginning with almost missing the plane in Toronto. Be Safe Have Fun
Love Aunt Nancy

- Megan Selinger

2005-10-20 17:31:21

WOW, I can't wait to see all those pictures.  Sounds like a great time up there :)  Hope you're still having fun with not too many blisters.

BTW as for the storing of the pictures, I beleve Brian bought a little portable picture storage device (harddrive based)

- rlegault

2005-10-22 15:27:52

Waiting patiently for an exciting update.
Hope all 4 of you saw a spectacular sunrise from the summit or that you are all at least satisfied with your efforts and have many experiences to relate. All well here! Looking forward to your tales and hopefully soon a wee note to touch base with all of us in Canada following your itinerary from home.
Love and best wishes for all you desire this trip to accomplish individually and together!

- Anne Marie

hello from africa

We're alive and well.  Four days of safari in Tarangire National Park.  Lots and lots of wild animals and birds (elephant, zebra, giraffe, etc., oh, and LIONS!)

we have a few free days of birding and adventuring set now, and then we will begin our climb.  Can't wait.

we'll write again when we can as internet access is sparse.
ttyl.

- Brian Verkley

2005-10-12 12:47:51

lol that second one was much better!! LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS OH MY. well the first animal of course. Im so excited. I think im gong to tac up on my wall a printed out picture of Mount Kilimanjaro and then a little Bri and Leanne. Then i shall move the little Bri and Leanne slowly up the mountain day by day for my own amusment. Or maybe not. lol maybe i should just stick to my homework and not prorastinate! But im excited for more updates pictures and storytelling.

- Megan Selinger

2005-10-12 19:48:41

Megan is silly!

- Joe

2005-10-12 21:22:51

This should have been an obvious point, Joe. I'm a very silly 12 year old girl... oh wait thats right I'm 19 now. hehe but still just as silly :D

- Megan Selinger

2005-10-13 19:04:03

- jannet

2005-10-13 19:08:38

Hi Brian and Leanne , I hope you guys are haveing a great time and safe .  I'm so sorry i missed talking to you when you called on friday Leanne .I will explain when you get home why  
just wanted to let you guys know i'm thinking of you always and love ya
God bless you both . Make sure u bring home lots of memorys after all i hear it's paradice In Africa . They say thats when the eath began . Try looking for the garden of Edon If you get time
hugs and kisses  mom

- jannet

2005-10-14 04:37:58

Megan is silly?  Jannet has a post with no words, oh, wait, sigh.  

no tigers and bears in this part of the world, that i know of.  I found Megan's relatives though, look up "blue monkey".  :-)

- brian

hello from

- Brian Verkley

2005-10-12 12:19:32

lol best update ever!

- Megan Selinger

Kilimanjaro

Well, i think we are ready.

sing it with me now,
our bags are packed, we're ready to go...  heh

If you are looking for us, we are kinda hard to get ahold of. We'll post here if there is an internet cafe, and you all can add your comments to this story if you want to talk amongst yourselves.

contact info:  
contact office in Arusha - Petra
telephone: 0744 470 429
Tanzania only

contact head office in London
telephone: 44 1306 880 770
email: help@africatravelresource.com

other than that, the basic plan is to fly on the 7th, arrive on the 8th.
safari 1 -- oct 9-12
free time -- oct 13-14
climb -- oct 15-22
free time -- oct 23
safari 2 -- oct 24-27, fly to Amsterdam
Amsterdam oct 28-30, fly home

then crash on the 31st, work on the 1st.

well, don't check the time this was posted, and see you when we get back !

- Brian Verkley

2005-10-07 09:38:58

well I wish you a fantastric trip and I have now learned how to get on this website it only took me a few tries to post this message I think that is particularly good.  Have a great trip and we will see you in a few weeks.
Love ya
Mandy

- msproat

2005-10-07 12:28:51

I Hope you have a wonderful trip Bri and Luppy. You two are in my thoughts! And im oh so jealous of you two getting to go on a safari! I cant wait to see the pictures. AMAZING. They will put our zoo ones to shame. Now Brian no trying to steal a cheetah while your there. We all know TIGERS are the best cats around lol.
LOVE HUGS AND KISSES

- Megan Selinger

2005-10-07 17:54:39

still singing...I'm leaving on a jet plane...
Your journey is just about to begin...enjoy every minute..... there are so many people waiting to see your photos and hear those stories! Be well, be safe, be healthy. Blog when you can...please! ~Mom

- Anne Marie

2005-10-09 10:47:20

I put their detailed itinerary on http://SpruceNeedle.com if you want to see what they are doing each day.  There are articles there on their prep work too, and why they wanted to do this trip.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

- Lisa Verkley

Leanne Rocks

I used to think that Cecilia was the luckiest person on earth, what with her winning trips and goods at least once a year it seems, but now I'm convinced she has some competition in Leanne, and that is good news for me.

Yesterday a supplier called her and offered her two tickets to a Leafs - Sabers pre-season game. Just got home from the game. Amazing.

The Leafs lost 5-2, but we had a good time.  Third row greens (front of the upper deck) in the neutral zone.  You can see the play develop from there even better than our closer first row reds we had last year.  If these weren't better seats, they certainly weren't any worse.

The Leafs looked terrible.  No jump, bad passes, missed passes, etc. etc.  At this quality they would never make the playoffs.  Bright spots were Chad Kilgar and Matt Stajan.  I know, with all those old stars, the best guys on  the ice weren't even regulars last year.  

Even though the game was decided in regulation, there was a shoot-out.  They are having one at the end of each pre-season game to demonstrate the format.  Personally, I love it.  No more yucky ties.  I wouldn't want it in the playoffs, but there are no ties there anyway.  It was fun, and very tense.  After about 8 skaters on each side without getting a single goal, Tie Domi ended it.  Yes, Tie. Yes, the guy whose name anagrams to Me Idiot.  I love Tie.  The place went wild.

Anyway, to sum it up:
1) Leanne and I are very lucky
2) Hockey is still fun to watch
3) Hockey will return in good shape.

- Brian Verkley

2005-09-28 23:19:12

First of all...the Leafs Rock!  Second of all...I-AM the luckiest!  I went to a work function after work tonight and won $50 at the Gap!  New pants, here I come!

- leanne

2005-09-30 10:18:52

Am I ever glad Leanne is climbing Kilimanjaro with us. We are sure to see sunrise on the summit!
John Verkley

- John Verkley

2005-10-02 12:20:12

Well I'm not sure I'm oh so super excited about hockey returning, what with my all-sports-are-stupid stance. But I do love free exciting stuff and free tickets to anything just sounds like a recipe for smiles. Yes yes, I got tired of just reading the blog and decided to sign up just to participate by replying. Although its possible ill blog it up with my own life, its also not very likely. Hugs and Kisses to you both

- Megan Selinger

2005-10-02 23:33:51

ahhhh Megan gave you both hugs and kisses that is soo sweet!

- Joe

2005-10-05 19:46:46

you know, i'd like to make some inspired response welcoming Megan to this blog, but Joe did such a nice job :-)

oh, and HOCKEY's BACK !  woot !  ha ha ha.

- brian

Winger, my sister Lisa's dog, has passed on.

Back in 1998 when her life was full of uncertainty and she lived so very far from home, Lisa adopted a dog.  I say adopted because it was much more than just picking out a pet; Winger became part of her family.  She had a dependent now.  Winger needed her to be there for him every day, to provide food and to make time to go for walks and play.  I think Lisa needed him too.

Now, I'm not a dog guy.  I'm  not really a pet person, although I enjoy my fish, and someday will name that bunny that keeps eating my clover, but you couldn't help but love Winger.  He always had that face with his head slightly tilted to the side, one eyebrow raised, an a small smile that seemed to say,

- Brian Verkley

2005-09-23 16:08:20

Ahhh sniff sniff thanks Brian.  Made me cry at work. Not like I haven't already today ;-) He always was very expressive with his eyebrows wasn't he.

- Lisa Verkley

2005-09-23 17:20:30

aw, sorry about that.  i suppose i should have said NSFW in the title.

- brian

2005-10-02 20:10:03

oh dear, here I go again...sniff sniff sniff
Brian, what a brother for Lisa...to understand her heart and then to share your feelings and thoughts..you are a treasure. Winger lives on in our many memories with him. Miss him forever.
MOM

- Anne Marie

Julie's Blog !!!

julie's back online.  yeah !  /cheer /dance  woot !

there is a link in my sidebar if you are looking for it.

now, to get the parents online... or leanne even.  
/me crosses fingers.

- Brian Verkley

2005-09-18 08:25:53

She just posted again!! Quick! Go look!

- Lisa Verkley

Labor Day Long Weekend Album UP !

three in a row... wow.

so Leanne and I bought a new lens for our camera a little while back; a Nikon 70-300G.  used from Henry's for like $130ish.  This weekend was our first opportunity to try it out.  you'll see from the album that we were keen on close-ups :-)

again, set the threshold to 1 if you're short on time; there are quite a few pics in there.  also, if you click on a photo, you get some detail in the side panel.  click on the pic in the side panel, and you get the "original" size.  you may want to do that for some of the bird shots.

we don't have a tripod yet, so each of these shots were freehand.

i see some people have voted up some pics from Grandma's Birthday Party, high enough that they are showing up in the random photo section on the right of this page.  Thanks for picking the ones you like the best.  That is what the voting system is for !

- Brian Verkley

another album up

this one of Grandma's Birthday Party at Paul's House.  There are a lot of photo's in this album, so if you are short for time, or only want to see the best of, be sure to use the "threshold" option at the top.

Kiana is soo cute.

- Brian Verkley

too long

way too long since an update.  

i've had some issues with my server that have prevented new photos, and so i've been very backed up.  i suspect you'll see some nice albums showing up now.  I just got the Aug 1st long weekend up.  more to come...

- Brian Verkley

shots and disappointment

first the sad news.  we lost our baseball playoff game tonight, which ends our season.  Summer hockey is done, baseball ended WAY too early, and fall hockey doesn't start until the end of September... looks like we are sports free for a while.  i guess we should have no excuse for training walks.

and now, on to the shots.
the travel clinic was great.  really nice doctor.
1) hepatitis A and B.  leanne had her hep B from school, she only need a one shot hep A.  i had neither, so i need a 4 shot cycle.  twinrix.  one shot, then another in a week, another in a month, and a final in 6 months.  you are covered 100% for a year after the 3rd.  the forth shot makes it lifetime.  i suppose we could have opted out, but this is a common disease, so we got the shot.

2) yellow fever.  there is no current known outbreak of yellow fever, making this optional for tanzania.  some countries, like kenya, require a yellow fever immunization record.  this shot gives us more options should our plans turn sour.  we both got it.

3) typhoid.  we didn't talk about this much. doc says get it.  we said ok.
leanne got hers now, i'll get mine later, as i need to have 3 visits anyway.

4) Tetanus, Diphtheria and Polio in one big super shot.  all are relatively low risk, but they are covered  by OHIP, ie, free, so why not.  i'm here.  well, leanne got hers, and i'll get mine in a month.

5) Meningococcal Meningitis.  deadly, but super rare.  you only get it from people, and that is very unlikely that our guides or other travelers would be infected, as you often die a few days after you get it.  we chose to skip it.

6) Ecoli.  we have a prescription for Dukoral that is a 50% protection from ecoli.  i'm not sure whether we are going to take it.

7) Malaria.  we have a prescription for Malarone which is a daily Malaria pill.  we'll take those.  

8) Altitude Sickness.  we have a prescription for Diamox.  Although it has unproven effectivness, i haven't read or heard (nor has our doctor) a good reason _not_ to take it.  the side effect is a possible headache (which you will get from altitude anyway) and carbonated drinks taste funny.  i'm ok with that.  i think we'll take it.

9) catchall. we also have a prescription for cipro. just in case we get some other bug that we want some help fighting.

whew, that is it. i feel sick.

- Brian Verkley

2005-08-24 11:24:56

I just noticed that your apt. card said Wed. August 25th.  Well, that can't be as Thurs. is the 25th.  I hope you were able to get your shots this morning.

- leanne

GREEN DAY

that was an AMAZING concert.  best i've seen?  i don't know... it would be close.  The Summersault concert with Our Lady Peace and The Smashing Pumpkins was the previous runaway leader, but i thought nothing would come close to that.  

They started out with their title song from the latest record, American Idiot.  They crowd went crazy and stayed that way until the end of the show.  At most concerts only the few crazies in the front bounce and wave for every song, but i'd say 80% of the some 30 thousand people were active.  The band _really_ worked the crowd too.  They often had the crowd chanting and cheering between songs.

At one point they picked 3 people from the audience: a drummer, a bass player, and a guitarist.  These guys were awesome !  They picked the drummer fist, who was ok on drums.  then they got a bass player who totally got in to it.  next he picked some 17 year old from the crowd.  this guy was sooo excited.  when they gave him the guitar, he played.  the two new frontmen walked out the mini runway while Billie Joe from Green Day sang the song.  Billie Joe let the guitarist keep the guitar.  He went nuts.  The band then mumbled somthing about how that was the best impromptu band they have ever put together.

(Green Day has been around for 16.5 years.  must be strange for them to have such a wide range of fans.  we saw lots of kids with parents there, and both were singing along)

No matter if Green Day played new stuff, old stuff, or covers, the crowd went nuts song after song.

The set was great too.  big flags, lights, signs, and FIREWORKS !  Can't do those just anywhere.  

Sorry to Ed Verkley and Mandy Sproat.  They both called in the middle of the concert and we let them hear a little bit of the music, as clearly we couldn't chat on the cell.

Anyway, it is 2 in the morning, and i'm sure i'm rambling.  suffice to say that we had a great time, and i should write blogs when i'm more awake :-)

- Brian Verkley

2005-08-13 12:26:40

Did you see any traffic in the south bound lanes when you were entering Barrie?  Check my blog.

- Lisa Verkley

phase 3

so now that i have this blog, it is high time i start using it to record my thoughts.  I have known for a long time that i should write down my predictions.  You can't see the error of your ways, the sillyness of youth, or past perfection (if that occurs) if you don't write it down.  heh, anyway.

in 1995 i said that "in 2005, Microsoft will not be the dominant force it is now".  I think i was refering to the PC and desktop, which clearly would make me wrong, but if you look at computing in general, like web servers/browsers, and portable electronics (think ipod and blackberry), i think i could make a case.

thinking about this brought me to a revelation.  here is what i think.

phase 1: computing for business backoffice
the first real use for computers was in the backoffice of business.  they were used to keep records, crunch large numbers, etc. etc.  they weren't on everyones desk yet, as they were much too big, but they became critical to business.  IBM owned this era.  a near monopoly, totally dominant.

phase 2: computing for office / school
the computer is now small enough to be a desktop.  think of the power of letting everyone use the machine to create there own spreadsheets and essays.  sure you can play games on it, but most will be on office desks and in student's dorms.  Microsoft owned this era.  a near monopoly, totally dominant

phase 3: beyond productivity
next year apple will make more money selling ipods than all their other computer products combined.  the xbox and ps3 have nothing to do with productivity, and everything to do with entertainment.  you can watch tv on your cell phone now.  you can access your same gmail "program" from any internet capable device, even your blackberry.

now when phase 2 started, phase 1 didn't really end.  There is still a large need for backoffice computing, and IBM still holds a large chunk of that business, but IBM stopped being the market heavyweight. There was a new player that dictated the rules.

as phase 3 is starting, i don't expect microsoft to suddenly loose importance or disapear on the desktop, well, not _because_ of phase 3 anyway.  but there will be a new player that will dictate the rules.  Perhaps this time it will be a number of companies rather than just one as before, but only time will tell.  

i know you all want to hear it, so who do i think is in the best position to be the phase 3 leader... Apple.  

and i have my reasons... more about that later.

- Brian Verkley

2005-08-12 12:19:32

My prediction is also apple.  But who knows.  There could be something coming out tomorrow that far exceeds them! New technology is so fast these days.

- leanne

2005-08-18 01:33:42

apple eh?  interesting.  they have the design, but I find their lack of "open-ness" and willingness to sue at the drop of a hat is disturbing.  sure, they have a pretty interface (for their BSD OS)... but do they have what it take to be the next dominant force in the computing industry... not so sure.

especially as powers like china and india forge new ground (with and without help from us north americans).  they dont want fuzz and fluff, they want something cheap and for the masses.

me? I am a convergence guy, but who knows though... care to wager? ;)

- brian jackson

let the official training begin

we did our first training walk in Ajax last night.  There are some GREAT trails around our neighborhood.  we walked at a reasonably brisk pace (enough to break a sweat) and covered just shy of 4 km in about 2 hours.  The nice thing was that we could walk most of it on grass and uneven ground, rather than walking on boring pavement at other places.  today, no ill effects.  Leanne is not bad either.

we've cut out alcohol and caffeine from our diets as well.  They are dehydrants, and being dehydrated can increase your altitude sickness symptoms.  

Hopefully we can walk again on Saturday morning.  Twice a week would be nice.

- Brian Verkley

2005-08-12 12:34:32

I love Ajax.  We are so blessed with our surroundings.  I can't wait to walk again.  Maybe we shall try a new trail???
Maybe we can get one of those ice cream treats again!  They were good!

- leanne

2005-08-13 12:27:23

No beer tomorrow at the party?  Wow!

- Lisa Verkley

they're home !

i just got some pictures from China !  she is soo cute.

i couldn't be happier.
i can't wait to see her.

- Brian Verkley

2005-08-08 13:03:50

She = Kiana Verkley, Phil and Doreen's new baby girl!  We are so excited for them!
Brian, maybe you should put a link on here to the pictures you received?

- leanne

via rail

i love the train.

on a return trip from Montreal this week i purchased the last seat.  i joined 3 lovely senior citizens in the "group" seat, where four seats face each other, with a table in the middle.  

Molly, who sat beside me, was visiting from York, England.  Her brother, and brothers wife, who sat across from us, were acting as tour guide.  Molly's brother has lived in Montreal for 30 years, his wife is Canadian.

We talked about their planned trip (to Niagara, St.Jacob's and Stratford), about my traveles, Molly's international adventures, the skunks in Montreal, badgers in York, my wedding, Molly's great nephews wedding, hans island, london bombings, kilimanjaro, etc. etc.  great time.

we were at the end of the train (or carriage as they called it), and so we got our choice of meal last.  Funny funny story, at least at the time, but the long and short of it was that we wanted fish, and they were out, we wanted duck, and they were out, we wanted beef (the 3rd and final hot meal) and they said sure, but then came back and said i'd be getting beef, but the rest would get a coldplate (salmon).  Molly's brother wasn't very keen on the cold plate, so i offered to give him my beef.  After some convincing, he happily agreed.  (as it turned out, the cold salmon was better i think :-)  We all drank wine like fish of course, since it was included with the fare.

Molly thought it was soo funny they kept blowing the horn as we crossed each "level crossing".  Apparently the horn sounds quite differnet in England.  The trains go much faster there too.

Anyway, you never know who you are going to meet on the train, but it is always a good time.  

Good luck in your travels Molly and family,  I had a lovely time.

- Brian Verkley

WoW

it is rare that we have two open saturday's in a row.  in the summer, it NEVER happens.  well, our plans this weekend were cancelled at late notice, so the impossible came true.  

Leanne filled her Saturday by joining her family (Dad and brother) at Canada's Wonderland.  I opted out because we had already gone once this year with Shawn and Delena, and we are planning on going again with the East End Dinner folks before the year is out.  Sounds like she had a good time.

For me, it was WoW.  World of Warcraft.  This is the online computer game that I got late last year (i know, it has been that long) and have been playing from time to time since.  Leanne got a copy too so we can play together when our stars align.  Yesterday I logged on after the Tour de France ended (around noon) and didn't get off until 2am !  Man, it was like i was 17 on summer vacation again.  sweet.

Julie is coming down the first weekend in August, and we are going to see a Blue Jay game (on either the Saturday or Sunday).  I think New York is in town.  If anyone is interested in joining us, let us know.  We'll likely be buying tickets by the end of this week.

- Brian Verkley

East End Dinner

Tonight we went over to Kendall's for our "once every couple of months" east end dinner party.  I really enjoy it.  It is good to get out with some local friends.  Most couples are recently married and having / had their first child.  Lots of baby talk and story swaps.  All of the guys know each other from Bell, so there was some shop / tech / geek talk too.  I'm sure we kept the hosts up too late, but whatrya gonna do.  If anyone of you are reading this, thanks for a great evening, and I look forward to doing it all again soon.

- Brian Verkley

Lazy Saturday

We hooked up with Shawn Kohlsmith last night to see Batman Begins.  I quite enjoyed it.

Today was a lovely day.  First weekend home with "nothing" to do in a long long time.  Leanne took charge cleaning out the garage.  It isn't ready for a car yet, but quite usable for our construction projects now.  I vacuumed a bit and spent some time organizing photos.  I almost forgot what it was like to relax at home not caring what time of the day it was.

Tomorrow we are going to have a baseball practice in the morning, and then another relaxing day.  I can't wait !

- Brian Verkley

2005-07-17 14:09:17

What a lovely weekend!  Thanks for dinner and a movie.  We definitely have to go back to the Mongolian Grill!

There is something about having your things organized that utimately helps you to relax.  Sure it took almost all day to sort through everything, but it will be worthwhile this winter!  To be noted, Brian put together the flow-and-go shelf and the work bench in the garage, both of which were previously in boxes!  Thanks for the help!  Now I just can't wait to get rid of the garbage!

Baseball was cancelled due to rain, so bring on the relaxation!

- leanne

2005-07-17 21:26:23

Rain, what is rain? It's a parched desert outside here in the Sault!

- Lisa Verkley

blog update

i've added "current albums" to the left sidebar.  I've been a little slow, but i have been getting my pics in to albums now.  at least people can see them.   LOTS of people have checked out the Tryssenaar Wedding album.

Canada Day in Sault Ste. Marie was good.  check out those pics why don't cha.  

- Brian Verkley

2005-07-11 18:46:43

while i'm at it (updating blog features that is) i decided to limit the default view to 6 entries.  then i added a menu, which only has one item right now, which is to view all entries, should you wish to.

let me know if you think 6 is overly large or small

- brian

2005-07-11 19:08:39

more updates.  the rss feed now has a nicer date, and in brackets at the end, how many comments have been left.

if you aren't using the rss feed, you should be .  give me a call and i can help you out.

- brian

2005-07-11 20:03:34

one of the things i've always liked about Lisa's blog was the nice pictures.  mines been, uh, kinda plain.  

now, on the right, there is a "random" picture from one of my albums, with a score of +2 or higher. right now, there are only 3 photos of +2 or higher.

anyone can vote from the album (there is an up and down link below each picture).  i may switch it to +1 or higher, but we'll see.  sometime when i have lots of photos, maybe it will have to be +3 or higher.  

- brian

2005-07-14 11:06:49

Nice improvements!  I am seeing Leannio with a big glass of beer!
Maybe you should add a link to the blogs of your sisters, although one of them seems to have fallen way behind in her blogging.
Your rss feed still doesn't update through bloglines.  Wonder why.

- Lisa Verkley

2005-07-15 18:18:10

yup, that was at the pub on our first anniversary.  good fun.  

a link to your blog is added.  should i ever see another posting from julie, i'll add it.  still waiting to see mom or dad's blog :-)

- brian

i'm back

tryssenaar's wedding (great time), father's day, district conference in kingston, golf, floor hockey, and baseball, have all kept me away from my computer.  i haven't seen it in a over a week.  man did i have e-mail.

looks like i just fixed my binutils (remember never to break that again), installed the new (well new to me) WoW patch, and fixed this clicky link thing.  i can compute again.

the lawn got cut this evening too.  

i know, summer vacation would rock.  where do i sign up?

- Brian Verkley

2005-06-25 13:32:31

Let me know where you sign up for that summer vacation. I wouldn't mind a few days

- John Verkley

2005-06-25 22:25:15

do you remember the two month long summer vacation?  what would that do to your life now.  crazy eh?

- brian

2005-06-25 22:31:32

It would make me giddy with excitement.  Damn I should have been a teacher.

- Lisa Verkley

2005-06-25 22:43:54

Let's see.  I would be very tanned, the lawn would get cut and watered more often, the flowerbeds would actually have colourful flowers, as I would be at home often enough to water them, so I wouldn't mind spending money on flowers.  The laundry would be caught up, plus I could finish the 4 books I have on the go.  It is a good thing I enjoy what I do, otherwise, I would have to investigate that teacher thing.  Julie...

- leanne

and the streak ends

i'm no longer batting 1.000.

my last at bat of the game, i dribbled out to the second basemen.
remember, you can always follow along at http://ggofsoftball.swampillai.com/

- Brian Verkley

2005-06-17 01:10:06

to do: make links hot links.  ie, clickable.  next time i have 4 hours with nothing to do i'll add more features i guess.  I suspect november.

- brian

2005-06-17 12:55:51

Here, this one line will hotlink any http:// string in your message post.
$_=~ s!(http://[^\s]+)!$1!gi;

- Lisa Verkley

2005-06-25 01:37:31

in case anyone was reading this, that like doesn't actually do it, but lisa and I just worked it out.  

$entry[1]=~s!(http://[^\s]+)!$1!gi;

Lisa Rocks.

- brian

2005-06-25 01:38:57

well, that is not it either... heh, lets see if this works

$entry[1]=~s!(http://[^\s]+)!$1!gi;

if not , i give up.  e-mail me for details :-)

- brian

2005-06-25 22:30:32

It's cutting out the html part of that line of code when trying to display what we are cutting nad pasting. Anyway, one of the websites with the code on it is: http://www.perlmonks.org/?node=145404

- Lisa Verkley

2005-06-25 22:31:56

uh oh, you aren't making the links in the comments clickable! haha

- Lisa Verkley

2005-06-26 00:32:16

looks like i wasn't allowing empty lines or double spaces either.  fixed.

that really messes up what we cut'n'pasted now though eh?  :-P

- brian

2005-06-26 09:48:06

Yes, yes it does. haha.

- Lisa Verkley

1st anniversary

wow, seems like i only blog once a week, and on sunday night after the weekend.  i must be busy during the week, or tired.  sorry.

This weekend was Leanne and my First Anniversary !

Grandma Stock gave us a buy one get one free ViaRail ticket, which we decided to put to good use.  Quebec City was our first thought, but it was a little far.  The train takes all day to get there, and since this wasn't a long weekend (we're saving our vacation days for the Africa trip), Quebec City was out.

Ottawa seemed like the next logical choice.  We booked our ticket and off we went.  Friday night we wandered past the Parliament, saw a demo of the upcoming light show on Parliament Hill, and partied (and drank and drank) at Highlanders Pub in the Bytown market.  Highlander's is always good.  I've been there a few times.  Live music and good beer on a patio with a "no cars" street.  We stayed in the Marriott using up points I had collected travelling with work.

Saturday we walk down Sparks Street, and the Parliament again, before checking in to the Chateau Laurier.  Nice hotel.  Grand lobbies and magnificent woodwork.  Chateau Laurier and the Royal York are both owned by the Fairmont.  We stayed at the Royal York the night of our wedding, so how fitting to stay in another grand old railway luxury hotel on the night of our first anniversary.  Oh, and the Royal York opened on June 11, 1929 and Leanne stayed in it the night before the wedding, June 11th, 2004, the Royal York's 75th anniversary.  The Chateau Laurier opened on June 12, 1912.  Interesting.

After we checked in, we sat by the locks for a bit and read about the history of the canal.  I love the locks, but I'm not sure why.  It seems like high tech engineering, but it is 150 years old, and has never needed an update.  Unlike high tech gadgets that eat through power (batteries) this is man and water powered, and very powerful.  Anyway, sit by a set of locks for a while if you never have.  I recommend the ones at the start of the Rideau.

Next up was the National Gallery of Canada.  We spent most of our time at the temporary exhibit featuring artists from the Renaissance in Florence.  Most of it was quite amazing work as they attempted to draw and sculpt the human form as lifelike as possible.  We walked through the "modern art" section (really, is that art? I can draw a red square on a wall. sheesh) to see Tom Thompson and the Group of Seven.  I saw quite a few paitings in the gallery I wouldn't mind having hang on my wall.

After the Gallery, we walked back through the bytown market, ate at the Hard Rock Cafe, and went for a swim at the Chateau.  The pool was cool.  Indoor, but completely enclosed, antique bronze heat lamps on the pool side chairs and a 2nd level mezanine.  Built in the early twenty's I think, and then never touched up, and we had it all to ourselves.  Creepy, but cool.  Nothing like it.  I've never seen a pool atmosphere like it.  Aparently it thunderstormed out side while we swam.  I had no idea.

Later we decided to see a movie, and I let Leanne talk me in to The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.  I'm not sure what to say.  I think I was the only guy in the theatre though.  Off for another beer or two with live music in the market, then we retired to the hotel.

Sunday we decided to work-in our backpacking boots.  We took our backpacks as luggage so we even looked like trekers.  We walked all over the parks and along the canal.  We saw the statues, baked in the sun, and eventually ended up back at the locks.  Some of the paths we had walked the day before in sandles, and I know there should be no comparison, but I was surprised by how much easier it was to climb up hills and such in the boots, and now I was wearing a backpack! Definitely a good investment for the mountain.

An uneventful train ride home, and then, the wedding cake.  Have you ever eaten year old cake?  I mean exactly one year old?  umm, why do people do this?  The "cake" part, was actually quite good.  I mean, it wasn't give-me-another-slice good, but it was edible.  The top/side icing was ok.  Cold, and crunchy, but tasted fine.  The center icing?  Like eating butter.  Straight.  Would you like a hunk of butter in your cake?  I hope it wasn't like that a year ago when we served it.  If it was, my deepest apologies.

What do we do with the rest of it?  I know we were "supposed" to eat a slice, but what are we "supposed" to do with the rest of it?  If I don't hear any good ideas soon, I'm inviting you all over to try some yourself :-)

All in all, a very good First Anniversary.  
Thanks to the power of perl scripting, the album is already up at http://ajax.verkley.com/brian/albums/ .  I don't think there is anything stunning there, but it is online anyway.

- Brian Verkley

2005-06-13 11:48:30

Sounds like a wonderful weekend for an anniversary..I passed on the news to Grandma Stock who was thrilled you used the coupon!

- Anne Marie

2005-06-15 19:28:36

Is the movie really that bad?  I was looking forward to it coming out!

- Lisa Verkley

2005-06-17 01:05:52

i don't know if i would say _bad_.  it certainly wasn't my kind of movie.

- brian

Brian on Blogging

Echo in here, I want to here your thoughts.

I'm not really sure why I'm blogging.  It just seems like the right thing to do.  I've read this guys blog : http://www.michaelhanscom.com/eclecticism/ for over a year now, and really enjoy it, even though I have no other contact with him and have little in common.  I like the writting style, I'm interested in his alternative lifestyle, and he just posts cool stuff that often makes me think.

Julie (although she's been quite for a while) and now Lisa are blogging, and I enjoy reading those as well.  Good to know what they are up to, as we don't communicate via other means regularly.  So I guess I wanted to return the favor.

Where am I going with this?  What should I blog about, and who is it really for?  Is it a "journal" substitue, which is either designed to record your thoughts for future reference, or as a method of making you analyze thoughts?  Is it a "report" on Brian's life, to keep other family/friends in the loop?  Is it a "scratchpad" where I add my crazy daily ancedotes to the world wide web for the entertainment of strangers?

All of the above leads to different writing styles (such as the use of capitalization) and different topics to post and avoid.

I guess for now, I am going to continue to experiment.  Write different types and styles and topics, until I find one I like, or prove this whole blogging thing a waste of time, whichever comes first.

If you read this, let me know your thoughts.  Would you prefer to read the journal, the report, or the scratchpad?

- Brian Verkley

2005-06-06 16:09:08

Whoa, I gotta come here more often.  I like you having a blog so I can know what you are up to.  I'm going to redo my blogs into just one I think, so I can blog about more than just my camera.  Got a new massive site in the works too. Stay tuned for details. As to your format? Just keep writing about whatever you want.  We'll catch up.  

- Lisa Verkley

2005-06-06 17:34:06

You are my favorite writer!  I don't think you can narrow it down to one format since it is about life, and life changes all the time.  Yes, you should keep a record of happenings, yes, I hope you analyze what you actually do, and realize that you are quite an amazing person, yes it keeps family and friends in the loop, as you aren't the type to pick up the phone without real reason, and yes, as you document, I am sure strangers will see the craziness that you call life, and be happy to have met you even if not in person.  Kind of like the other blog that you read.  :)  Keep writing.

- leanne

2005-06-06 22:47:33

i guess that was leanne's vote to forget about punctuation or "proper english".  at least you added commmas so that i could take a breath :-)

jk leanne, thanks for the thoughts guys.  glad you like it.

- brian

2005-06-07 15:44:28

I think "Zany" is the right word Brian...meaning a "character"..not the  silly or foolish meaning. You are YOU and we love you and it looks like we love reading all about you.
Keep it up! Just happy those aliens brought you back in time for your FIRST anniversary!!!  BE HAPPY B and L

- Anne Marie

The Weekend

Ryan Tryssenaar's bachelor party was a GREAT time.  I won't go into many details, to protect those involved you understand, but party at the Johnston pond Saturday night, Sir Bill's and golf in the morning.
I'm sure there were more than a few drunk mosquitoes and that golf lemonaide girl is going to be rich by the time she is 10.

Switching gears totally, Rob and Christine Legault had a baby shower Sunday evening.  They are due in early August.  We arrived late (due to the longest 9 holes in history) but just in time for gifts.  The 9 and 6? month olds, Jillian and Owen had to leave shortly after, which is too bad as we would have loved to spend more time with them, and their parents too.  We stayed late, as we usually do, and talked with Rob and Christine well in to the night.

- Brian Verkley

Aliens Exist

I know, because I was abducted by them.

Monday night we played floor hockey AND baseball.  Neither were overly rough, but I played hard.  I was tired Monday night, but that was too be expected.  Tuesday morning, I awoke VERY sore, much more than normal, and with bruises on my bicepts and legs.  Not overly large ones, but painful ones.  Around the area you would get a bruise if you broke restraining straps.

I don't mind being abducted, but I wish they would at least give me a tour before they returned me.

- Brian Verkley

Lan Party Weekend

Busy weekend.

Friday night:
I played 18 holes of golf, went home and packed up my computer and headed off to Michael Omand's house for a lan party.  Shawn Bender, Mike, and I played Empire Earth II past the wee hours of the morning.  

Saturday:  
Shawn Kohlsmith joined us.  The day was filled with Empire Earth II, chips, Far Cry Coop, chips, Burnout 3, chips, Burger King, chips, Moosehead, and more Empire Earth II.  After Shawn left, and Mike went to bed, Bender and I played more Burnout 3 to unlock new cars, pass the wee hours of the morning.  Ya, it was a healthy day.  

Sunday:
Galactica and more Burnout 3, and then a quiet drive home in the afternoon.  I love lan parties.  Good friends, good food, and some healthy competition.  We really should learn to gang up on Bender from the start though.  This was the first lan party a Michael's apt; he and Jessica did a great job as hosts.    

Sunday evening:
Since my computer was disassembled anyway, I might as well cut a hole in the wall and finally finish that rack.  Leanne and I built and rebuilt the rack until we got it right for my computer.  We need KVM extension cables to finish the job because now the monitor and such is much further from where we need to plug them in.  We will leave the rest of the job for later in the week.  

So let's recap.  Golf, computer assisted sleep deprivation, and building something cool with my wife.  And it wasn't even a long weekend.  

- Brian Verkley

Jays Game

We saw the Jays game last night against Boston.  A baseball game is always fun in person.  I love going to the game.  We got these tickets for free because of the home opener deal (buy a ticket for the home opener, see another game before end of May for free)

Beer and peanuts were too expensive as always, but both were pretty good.  

The Blue Jays won, but to be more accurate you could say that the Red Sox lost, because much of the scoring was due to Boston errors.  hehe, funny Red Sox.  

Anytime Boston Rob wants to come up and see a Boston game in Toronto, give me a call.  I'll go with ya.

- Brian Verkley

2005-05-27 15:10:27

So if they play in the Roger's Centre now, does that mean no more ticket deals for you?

- Lisa Verkley

2005-05-27 15:12:16

btw, where the heck is that picture taken?  At first I thought it was your web cam feed, but if so, you sleep way too much.

- Lisa Verkley

2005-06-02 23:31:35

Leanne took that picture of me at the cottage.  I like it. She has asked me a few times to add more photos, which I suppose I will eventually.  A web cam is a neat idea, but I'm afaid you'd see more fish than me, as I'm rarely home.

- brian

May 2-4 Long Weekend

Another successful Long Weekend in the books.

Friday night was "Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith".  ooohh, so good.  I should have blogged separately about that.  So much to say.  Acting, eh, Story, oh ya.  

Then on to Mom's to see Mom, Grandma, and Juile !  It seems that we have been seeing Grandma on a regular basis lately, but Juile, now that is a treat !  Thanks for putting that Spongebob Squarepants song in to our head Julie; it brightened up the rest of the weekend.

Saturday we were off to the Cole cottage as we do for the first and last long weekends of each summer.  Saturday was relaxing, then some Karaoke, then hot tub, and a late night swim in the lake.  Sunday was recovering, relaxing, badminton, cards, hot tub, and a late night swim. Monday was recovering, cleaning, a walk for garbage tags while breaking in our new hiking boots, and a long long drive home.

The cottage is always a good time.  Lots of people there this year, some of which I have some interesting photos of.  I should post them somewhere.... anonymously.  :-)  Too bad Jamie couldn't be there this year.  

All in all, I give it 22 empty beer bottles out of 24.

- Brian Verkley

Baseball

last night was the season opener for GGOF baseball.  we lost, 11 - 10.   ick.
Leanne asked me to blog about it but i'm not sure why.  something about my two hommers is suspect.

after a catch or two leanne began to look comfortable with her new glove.  She had her old glove "since she was 13" as i have heard many times over the years.  By contrast my "new" white glove i've had since i was 13.  i still use the old black one often.  How old was i when i got that i wonder.  (you can still barely see my name written on it in white-out.)  i can empathize with the loss.

there will be a writeup on the game some day at http://ggofsoftball.swampillai.com/.   player profiles are up now.

- Brian Verkley

2005-05-23 00:22:57

Dude, you gotta get your RSS feed updating so I know to check here!  I can share the script I wrote if you want.

- Lisa Verkley

2005-05-24 10:00:55

where is it not updating?  seems to work through live bookmarks (in firefox) to me.

e-mail me the script if you like though.  i'd be happy to take a look.

- brian

2005-05-24 20:48:14

It just updated. I follow it in bloglines.  But it only has a link to your blog and your photo album.

- Lisa Verkley

Saturday

After shopping for patio furniture and a baseball glove for leanne (both successfully, although we didn't order any furniture yet) we decided to have dinner at Montana's.  There was a 25 min wait for a table, but the patio was available immediately.  We took the patio.  There wasn't another person on it.  Sure, it was 12 degrees, and raining, but there nothing quite like sitting on a quiet patio having a beer.

not your typical night out, but i thought it was very enjoyable.

- Brian Verkley

2005-05-16 16:29:00

you crack me up!
definitely one of a kind, love you, don't ever change!

- Anne Marie

2005-05-19 19:24:00

i'm glad i could make you smile ;-)

- brian

life is good

i started this because i was reading others and thought i might enjoy the same thing.  the first two posts were both "events" and so cleary worthy of updates.  since then, no events, but why have a blog if you don't toss up everyday life from time to time?  

so, i won my season opener ball hockey game tonight.  i know, not as exciting as the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy or the bell walk for kids, but that is life.  ball hockey on a full sized iced rink is one heck of a workout, and crazy fun.

- Brian Verkley

Bell Walk for Kids

We participated in the 10km Bell Walk for Kids in support of the Kids Help Phone this morning in downtown Toronto.  10 km is a long way.  The sprint to the finish put me ahead by a nose in just over an hour and a half.  I need new shoes.

Speaking of which, we then went to MEC where I bought some "backpacking" hiking boots in preparation for the Kilimanjaro trip.  It will be good to wear them in over the summer so I don't blister on the hill.

- Brian Verkley

2005-05-11 19:44:55

so that Kilimanjaro trip is still on? I hadn't heard any of you mention it in months.

- Lisa Verkley

2005-05-12 23:35:42

yup, sure is.  trying to get dates final this week.

- brian

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

If you have ever wanted your side to hurt and tears to roll down your cheek while you listen to the ramblings of a few second old whale, I suggest you take the time to watch this movie.

Leanne, Joe Vinen, Cecilia Verkley and I quite enjoyed ourselves last evening.  The theatre was packed for opening night, but it was well worth it.

Go see it.  You won't be disapointed.

- Brian Verkley

2005-04-30 23:35:49

Hey Bro, I went to see it today.  I didn't laugh as much as you apparently did but thought it was a good closeness to the books and enjoyed myself.  My favorite part was when they were all yarn. hehe that was awesome.

- Lisa Verkley

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