Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ category

RAM it

August 28, 2008

I’ve got a 15″ macbook pro.  It’s got 2gb of RAM which does not cut it a lot of the time when I’m at work.  About a month ago I went in the Apple store in Pacific Center and asked how much it would cost for an upgrade to 4gb of RAM.  They said $200.  I thought that was a reasonable price at the time as I was busy and didn’t want to worry about anything.  I just wanted it done.  I went back a couple days ago to undergo the surgery.  They guy came out with the RAM and said it would cost $400.  I said WTF?  He said “well, it’s a $200 upgrade for new laptop purchases”.  I said screw you.  I then went to futureshop, picked up 2x2gb for a total of $70 and had it installed with no issues in about 6 minutes (it took me 5 minutes to find my small philips scewdriver).

Apple: You make cool shit, but why you trying to screw me?  You charge almost 6 times the price of the RAM.  Even if you charged $100 for the 2 minutes of labour, you’re still overcharging by about $230.

Yay to a fast laptop again 🙂

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Renaissance Man #1: Splitting firewood

June 15, 2008

I aspire to be a renaissance man.  When I was young my Mom encouraged me to try out as many different things as I could.  At that time, it was mainly focused on sports.  She was trying to ensure I would have a basic understanding of many different subjects when I was older.  She wanted to make sure I didn’t look like an idiot if years later someone asked me to join their soccer team.  Since I hated soccer, it didn’t really work out they way she had planned.  However, I know her secondary goal was to allow me to discover the things I liked, and that which I did not.  That goal succeeded.

Hopefully this post doesn’t come off sounding like I’m an immodest prick.  The key word in the first sentence was ASPIRE 🙂

I’ve learned some interesting things in my journey through life so far.  I thought it would be interesting to chronicle some of them.  This post explains some of the tricks I have learned about splitting firewood.  It may seem rather trivial, but most people don’t know the first thing about it.  Nowadays most people don’t NEED to know the first thing about it.  I’m going to share what I know nevertheless.  As a side note, the majority of what I learned was from my grandfather.  He grew up during the depression and spent a large part of his teens splitting and selling firewood to help the family pay for food.

Rule #1: Look for weakness.  Like everything else in this world, wood has a fatal weakness.  No, it’s not kryptonite.  Wood is very strong across its grain, but much weaker when going with the grain.  This is the reason you always stand a log on end when you split it with an axe.  If you have ever tried to cut accross a log with an axe, you know what I mean.  There’s a reason it’s an event in lumberjack tournaments.  The real trick I want to share, is that 95% of the time, a piece of wood will tell you exactly where the axe needs to strike it.  If you hit a piece of wood where it tells you to, you can’t loose.

BeforeTo the right is a picture of a piece of wood I split last Sunday.  I cut 2 piles of wood at my cabin, each pile about 3m in diameter and 1m high.  It was a lot of chopping!  What is this piece of wood telling you?  It says “I’m cracking in half already”.  Notice the cracks that have naturally developed in the wood.  This piece has a Y shaped crack.  Splitting a piece of wood on an already existing crack is one of the most important parts of chopping wood.  The crack is telling you exactly where this log is weakest.  Strike at the weakest point, it will make your life significantly easier.

AfterYou can see from this picture that I managed to strike the log with the axe right on the main part of the crack.  It split cleanly, right through, with minimal effort.  I didn’t have to use all my muscle or weight.  I didn’t have to throw out my back.  I didn’t have to swing the axe in a wild, dangerous way.

Rule #2: Keep the axe inline with your body.  It’s great to figure out that you need to strike a log right on a crack line, but that’s easier said than done.  My trick, which I learned from pitching a baseball, is to keep your entire body in line with your target.  If you are right handed, don’t lift the axe over your right shoulder.  Lift it directly over your head.  Baseball pitchers that throw sidearm often have very powerful, fast pitches, but they often also have very inaccurate, wild pitches.  Keeping your shoulders square to the target give you much more accuracy.  Obviously being able to hit a crack in a log square on with an axe requires a bit of practice, but it’s far easier when you keep your body lined up.

Rule #3: Go for dry, soft wood.  Cedar is a very soft wood with a large, stringy grain.  That makes it very easy to split.  Alder is a very hard wood with a tightly packed grain.  That makes it a lot more difficult to split.  There’s a lot more “glue” holding it all together.  Dry wood splits far easier than wet wood.  I tried splitting some Willow on the weekend that had been sitting outside in the rain.  Willow loves water and sucks it up like a sponge.  It was very difficult to split.  Much of it took multiple swings.

Rule #4: Knots suck.  If you are splitting wood with a lot of knots, it is very important to follow Rule #1.  If your log is shaped like a Y with the main trunk at the bottom, and two branches coming out the top, try to spit each branch as if it was separate.  Never try to split the log down the center of the Y as that is where the grain runs in multiple directions.

Rule #5: It’s not a competition.  The winner is not the one that splits the log with one blow.  The winner is the one who splits the log in as many blows as it takes and comes out with all his fingers and toes.  Ironically this is the most important rule, and also the most ignored rule.

Happy Father’s Day!

Mullets, Buck Teeth, and Cougars

May 13, 2008

OK, here’s the highlights from one of the craziest nights I’ve had in awhile. A couple friends and I went up to my cabin in Hope this past Friday to check out the Trooper concert. Cause I’m a nice guy, the friends will remain anonymous, although if you’re reading this blog, you probably know who they are already.

The concert was at the Hope skating rink. I’m guessing there was between 500-1000 in attendance, but I don’t think I stopped laughing long enough to figure out an accurate estimate.

The show started around 8:30pm with the first opening band. I have no idea who they were, some kind of crazy Finnish band that kept singing about cocaine in their bedroom…very strange! I’d give them a pretty high score on the suckage meter. They made fun of the “fans” sitting in the stands which was pretty amusing.

Next up was Helix who weren’t too bad. Definitely old. The lead singer’s skin looked like he had been sitting in a hot tub for 2 hours before getting on stage.

Lastly Trooper took the stage. They were good, but by then I wasn’t really paying much attention to the music anyway.

Alright, now to explain about the “crazy” parts. Firstly, having been around Vancouver my whole life, I haven’t been able to experience the small town scene much. This was my first real foray into the small town life style. Before I go any further, I’d just like to say I have nothing against small towns. They are generally full of very kind, helpful people. However, that’s not going to stop me from poking a little fun at a few folks. Concerts can often make a night fairly crazy. Here’s a timeline of stuff that pushed this particular concert a little bit further than most:

  • We parked the car at the end of the parking lot which was almost full. In the 20 years I’ve been frequenting Hope, I have NEVER seen more than a handful of cars in the lot. We got to the front door. I had a Will Call ticket, so I asked the bouncer where to go. He pointed at the 2 ladies selling tickets inside. I told the first lady I had a Will Call ticket and she said “ah, you must be Scott?”. I started laughing and asked if I was the only one with a Will Call ticket. She told me there was one other guy that had one, but he already picked his up.
  • We only had 1 beer each before getting to the concert, so we wanted to get beer in our hands as soon as possible. We discovered there was a beer garden in the back of the rink. We grabbed some drink tickets and commenced laughing our asses off at all the “interesting” folks. We watched an old dude molesting some 20 year old girl for awhile. She was into it. It was funny, but she might have been his daughter…tough to say.
  • We did 3 rounds of beers, and then it was my turn to buy more tickets. I went up to the back of the line, and was in a great mood, so I thought I’d try to strike up a conversation with the guy in front of me. I said something like “Hi there, I assume this is the back of the beer ticket line?”. The guys turned around and flipped out on me “You’re damn F#$*ing right you’re at the back of the line! If you want to do something about it we can take this outside”…blah, blah, blah. He went on a rant for a bit, but I couldn’t stop laughing. Even the dude behind me started laughing.
  • I got to the front of the line, asked for three tickets, and then started pulling out a $20. The girl said “Whoa, what are you doing, you’ve already paid!” Well, I hadn’t paid yet, I can guarantee that due to the fact I was dealing with the guy in front of me wanting to “take it outside”. I told her I was pretty sure I hadn’t paid yet, but she insisted and said “Man, you must be pretty drunk already!”. I took the free tickets and got the hell out of there. I came back later that night and she remembered me as the guy who tried to pay twice. Maybe she wanted me to take her outback? I need to learn how to speak hick.
  • After the first band finished, we were hanging out at the front of the stage, and this chick came up and started dancing. She said she was “Charlotte, you know, like Charlotte’s web”. She said she was 42 and a grandma. That was cougar #1.
  • Cougar #2 took a shine to friend #1. Every time I looked at this chick she’d grab me by the shoulder, pointed at friend #1 and would say “This guys is SO awesome!”. Yup, he’s pretty awesome! Later some guy grabbed friend #1 and lipped him off saying “Stay the F#*K away from my wife!”. Friend #2 and I almost had to bash some skullz. It was awesome. I later told Cougar #2 to stay the hell away from us as she was still making eyes.
  • Cougar #3 started hitting on me. We got into a whistling duel. My whistles were louder, so I won. I should add that to my normal cougar pickup repertoire.
  • We eventually got out of the concert, all pretty wasted. There was a road block outside the rec center, and we weren’t about to drive home, so I went out to the cop and said “Hey, we’re drunk as skunks, can you get us a taxi?”. He said OK and told us to wait on the side of the road. A couple minutes later all the cops got in their cars and drove off. WTF!?
  • We walked the 4ish KMs back to my cabin. I have absolutely no idea how long it took, but I’m pretty sure it was the main reason I didn’t have a gigantic hang over. I remember walking along the railing of a bridge we had to cross. That probably wasn’t a great idea.

If friends #1 or #2 remember anything I missed, let me know 🙂

PS Just found out you can book Trooper for your own concerts 😛

PPS Friend #2 is married and therefore was carrying anti-cougar-spray 😉