Monthly Archives: October 2009

Princess and Zombies

Nefarious got sooooo much candy for Halloween. Luckily she’s not feelin’ chocolate these days so she shared lots with me. You can see in this photo by the way how long Caitlin’s hair (totally real of course) has gotten… I really love it, even if it makes my beard seem less impressive. I’m very lucky to be with someone so pretty!


The Pumpkinmobile

To get my “new” 1973 Saab Sonett III certified, I had to do some really minor repairs — taking a rat’s nest out of the defrost blower motor and replacing the windshield sprayer pump, and adjusting the rear brakes. Nothing much. The little Swedish car’s odometer says 3,500 km, but that can’t possibly be correct… Either way, it’s here at it’s new home now, and I got it just in time to grab it before school ended. Insurance had a little hiccup because the car is rare enough not to be in my insurance company’s standard database of cars they cover!



It’s such a cute little car… I’m so happy with it. In part I got it as a present for Caitlin because she likes little cars like this, but for me, the only driver until she finishes her license, I sure do enjoy driving small cars with small engines (this has a 55HP V4). The last thing I drove like this was the dune buggy in Mexico, and before that, my Aztec 7 kitcar, which was my first car (bought with BME’s very first “real” profits back in the nineties) and thus remembered very fondly. The engine has a really fun bumblebee hum, and it’s so tiny and low that you feel like you’re in a go-kart. The last cars I bought for Caitlin, or with Caitlin in mind, were my two Corvettes (also cars from the seventies that romantically reminded me of her — and since she badly burned and scarred her leg on the sidepipes of the first, they are forever linked), which while they share the fact of being relatively small two-seater sportscars, respectively they had a 450hp V8 and a 650hp supercharged V8, both on sidepipes, so I they made a distinctly different vibration when you gave them gas that my little pumpkin-coloured cutie!



It’s parked outside right now but I’ll move it indoors when the weather changes for the worse. I probably won’t drive it during the winter, as much as I’d like to. I don’t really enjoy driving an underpowered manual (it’s a four-speed, with nice gearing that should give it long legs at speed) in city traffic, but I can’t wait to have a chance to take it out for a drive on the highway with Caitlin for some road-trip date.

Other than that, yesterday I had — after many, many delays — a pain clinic appointment in my ongoing battle with bureaucracy. The problem is that I am — or was — stuck in this crack where I had surgery but then no follow-up, so they basically cut me up for nothing. There’s no point in having a muscle biopsy done if no one is going to interpret the results…! So my pain clinic doctor is helping with that since my potential “hobby practice” family doctor doesn’t seem to be, as well as trying to get me into a new painkiller study that’ll mean, among other things, that I get the medication for free, which is always good because these things do add up and I don’t have insurance (prescriptions aren’t covered under Ontario healthcare). That said, my goal, assuming the muscle problem can be solved, is to get off medication altogether and I am optimistic that this goal is getting closer all the time.

Nefarious was home from school the day of the appointment so she came along with me (playing her DS in the waiting room), so instead of taking the first parking spot that I found we drove all the way up and parked on the roof so she could have that small thrill.


I’d like to note that medication is far from my only path. Especially because I do not trust doctors to solve my problems, I am doing what I can to have good nutrition and stay as generally healthy and happy as possible. Yesterday Nefarious and I were lazy and ate cannelloni and watched Old Yeller, but the day before she helped me (that’s her little hand cutting broccoli with my Kershaw spring-assisted folder)* cook a mouth-watering meal of rice with chick peas and broccoli along with large teriyaki salmon fillets. Soooooo delicious. Not sure what I’m going to cook today. I suppose it ought to be something healthy to off-set the mountain of candy that she’ll reap with tomorrow’s Halloween door-to-door pillaging.



Oh, and I watched Orphan today, which I enjoyed a lot. Great twist. In theory it was on in the background as I did some work for the Dallas Police Department on a project they asked me to assist with (software for tracking stolen property, not bodmod related), but it ended up taking up my attention and I got only the most minimal work done.

* BTW, some people think that kids and knives should be kept far apart, but I’m of the opposite opinion. I think being able to use a “dangerously” sharp knife — especially as a part of the equally important skill of preparing food — and not some dumbed-down dull baby butter knife is an important — nay, essential — skill. Nefarious has a small hobby knife (a F.A.S.T. Gerber Presto), and takes the responsibility very seriously and it’s better taken care of than any other possession she has — so it’s not just being dexterously comfortable with a knife, it’s also accepting responsibility, which is a big part of growing up. I also think shooting is an important skill, and an important part of Canadian heritage that’s being lost very quickly. That’s why Nefarious has been shooting guns since she was three years old — and having gun safety drilled into her over and over and over, even when it’s just a BB gun. On all these things, safety is paramount!

My new Saab Sonett III

I bid on this car on eBay while I was in Costa Rica, and I was happy to see that I won the auction — being the only bidder. It’s a 1973 Saab Sonett III, a really fun, rare, odd little car. I should have it plated and on the road some time next week. The picture doesn’t do it (or me) justice… it’s really cute. I actually saw this exact car years ago at the Carlisle import and replica show, so I was surprised to see it turn up here in Toronto.


Today’s Experiment

No, I don’t mean the one we did with yeast, detergent, and hydrogen peroxide, because that one was a bit of a let down because my peroxide was too weak. I mean the continued chess fun. I made some simple pieces out of Fimo-type polyclay and spray painted them to make a little more cohesive looking set. Today we experimented with “freezers” (which cause all opposing pieces within a square to be frozen in place as long as the freezer is there — the freezer can’t capture, but it can lock down and block), “cannons” (which can move one square at a time — and capture while doing so — and can also shoot their cannonball as far as they want, including leaping, although the cannonball — or an opponent’s cannonball — has to be fetched to fire again), as well as “jokers” and “archbishops” that I mentioned in the previous entry. We played with eight additional pieces on the board as well, so it was a hectic game. It was very close, and I thought it was going to be a draw, but Nefarious got me at the very end with a clever application of the freezer piece.

Other than that, I’m still getting adjusted to the banging pipes here, which are completely nuts and sound like someone is literally hitting the pipes at full force with a sledgehammer every fifteen minutes — or more. This has made me tired to the point of delirium, a free and legal high that is both miserable and mind-expanding. So sorry if over the next few days my entries here devolve into nonsensical drivel until I adjust to the local aural environment. The noise really is deafening. I’m not exaggerating in the least. It’s really shocking. When it first happened, I thought they were jackhammering in the place next door. It doesn’t help that one of the high pressure pipes in our washroom has a leak, and is venting steam into our washroom from time to time. On one hand it’s kind of cool because we have a big whirlpool tub so adding a sauna to the mix is kind of exotic… On the other hand… NOT.

Lucky I didn’t get hassled by a security guard like Caitlin because my response would not have been as polite or rational or grammatically correct as hers… Fingers crossed that anything I’ve done today makes sense.


Oh, and I got a real laugh out of this exercise scam… The one month duration before-and-after is too much. You’d have to be dumb beyond dumb to believe that you could put on this much muscle mass in a month, and the part that cracks me up is that not only did dude put on a ton of muscle and cut a lot of fat, but he also seems to have gained a sleeve and other tattoos. Haha. The comments on the page are full of more fake before and afters from “customers”. And as if you’re going to get HGH/roids type changes from acai berries, which is what they’re selling. Silly. They seem to be spending a mountain of money on online ads, so I assume there are plenty of dead-stupid suckers out there giving them money.


Fairy Chess Experiments


I’ve been working on (implementing and modifying other people’s concepts mostly) some new chess variants for Nefarious and I to play (like Chesskers that I mentioned a while back) — she loves chess already (and often chooses to play it over normal video games), but these modifications are tons of extra fun for her. Today we started playing Fairy Chess, which is a catch-all term for chess variants that are often differentiated by having new types of pieces but other than that usually having the same rules. We started today by using a “joker”, which is a piece that takes on the properties of whatever piece your opponent has just moved, giving it a really fascinating effect on strategy. We also changed the bishops into archbishops, of the sort that can “reflect” when they hit the edge of the board. One of the reasons I picked these two is that the joker becomes less powerful as the game progresses, and the archbishop becomes more powerful as the board clears, in addition to their other interesting qualities. Nefarious had no problem picking up how to use the new pieces and quickly trounced me. She’s quite sharp at chess when she’s paying good attention, whereas I admit that I am not as bright as I would like to be.

I have two other variants on chess that I’m going to fiddle with. First, I want to play with a two-phase chess game in which there’s a set-up phase where you both put your pieces on the board one-by-one, back-and-forth, and, more interestingly, select from a pool of fairy chess pieces, so there’s a strategy involved in how you lay out your formations, and also what pieces you choose specifically to compete with those your opponent goes with. This is sort of inspired by Bobby Fisher’s chess variant in which the back row is randomized, done in order to stop people from relying on memorized openings. The other idea I want to play with, and I think it will take some experimenting to make it fun, is a variant I call “war in heaven”. The game is played with two boards (either simultaneously, or in phases… I’m not sure), and when you take a chess piece, instead of being discarded, it goes to “heaven” (the other board), and wages a second battle there. The capturing player presumably gets to play the pieces they take. It might work.

I’m always interested in hearing about other people’s chess-like experiments.

Anyway, today we’d planned on going to the Science Centre to see Body Worlds but unfortunately when we got there it was sold out, so after getting a refund for our parking (and warned a bunch of other visitors to turn around), we headed down to T&T supermarket near Cherry Beach — which is across the street from the loud-music-emitting Cirque Du Soleil Ovo tents, which we have front-row tickets for next weekend, woo woo! — and picked up some sushi and Japanese candies and then went to the park to eat our late lunch and play before coming back and doing everyone’s lice treatments.