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We thought it would be nice to have a little video of our campfire to watch when the days get hectic and life gets busy.

Consider this the “Brutus 60 seconds to sanity” video. Watch the one minute video and feel a little more relaxed for doing so. Only problem is that it makes me want to roast a couple of marshmellows and crack a cold one.

Feel free to make comments of “Built big to sit far away” but remember this.. the further away you sit, the less smoke in eyes 😉

Camping Weekend

May 28th, 2006
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Since the forecast was a little wet this weekend, we figured the campgrounds would be pretty much empty. We asked the in-laws if they wouldn’t mind us borrowing their trailer for the weekend, and off we went!

We went to a favorite campground of ours, Red Lodge. It is about an hour long drive from Calgary, so its not that far to head up for a weekend getaway. Here are a couple of pictures, showing a typical site, the shower house, the rec area, and the river that borders it.
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We had a fun time, and it only rained down on us twice, neither of which time we were outside. We got to go on a couple of walks, eat some good outdoor cooked food, and what is camping without the essential campfire? Basically its the reason we go. We cook over it, warm by it, and watch it for hours. We even caught the hockey game on the radio while sitting by the fire.
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A great weekend, and it was hard to come back to the city, but life must go on. Here a couple of pictures from our walks.
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FRS Radios

May 22nd, 2006
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For Christmas, my wife gave me a set of two FRS radios. These are the walkie-talkie looking devices that work over many miles instead of the 100 feet like the ones we all played with as kids.

These radios do not require a license and are freely operable here in Canada, which has made them a popular choice for many people. About a year or so ago they started dropping in price which has truly made them mass purchased and used.

This weekend we were out in the middle of nowhere, Central Alberta at a function held in an older community hall that wasn’t actually situated in any community. One of those “Turn left at the yellow barn and go down about 3 miles” kind of locations.

We had brought along the radios so that if we wished to wonder off we could stay in contact.

Now back when we had our “100 Feet if your lucky” walkie talkies, you had to accept a few givens, such as:

  • 9V batteries, stock up: they won’t last. This is how the Radioshack battery card came to be, I’m sure.
  • Learn a new language because english goes into one radio and doesn’t quite make it out the other one.
  • Interference / Crosstalk

Now that last point is actually the biggest one.

If we were running around the school with our radios and some kids a half block over were playing with theirs, we could all hear each other. Kind of a 4 way communication at this point. And what did we do about it? Nothing. What could you do? We’d either stop using ours, they would stop using theirs, or we would talk amongst each other in a real “Kid sized CB radio” kind of fashion.

15 or so years later with these FRS radios, you run into similar issues. Since the signal can travel over 2 kilometers, it doesn’t take much to end up on the same channel as someone else. So now 15 years later, how do people handle this situation?

The smart ones will do one of two things. You can either use one of the coded channels to limit how many others will have the same channel / code settings, or you can switch to a different channel. Thats my personal advice right there.

Screaming over the radios, however, such charming phrases as “who the #$^@ is on the channel” or “get the #$%# off this channel you @#$^&” is probably going to be less effective, especially since nobody Owns that channel. Furthermore, have such etiquette and be on the same channel as someone like myself, and you better expect people to amuse themselves with your antics.

I found replying with such nice and polite phrases like, “Awww come on buddy, I just want to be your bestest friend” sends a nice message of peace and goodwill.

“Sounds like somebody needs a hug” was another pleasent message that really seemed to help the troubled individual focus on any major vocabulary difficulties they may have been experiencing.

I feel sorry for any retail people that end up having to deal with people such as this. This guy is probably the guy in the restaurant who orders steak, and puts ketchup on it, lets his kids run around the restaurant freely like it was a playground, complains when a single french fry is overcooked out of his pile, and tops it off by giving the waiter a $2 tip on his $40 supper.

Buddy, maybe its time to grow up and learn how to share. The rest of us seem to be a lot happier for it.

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My only regret to canceling the G4TechTv subscription is missing Brainiac.

Here is a most excellent video showing the reaction of both Rubidium and Cesium with water, both of which are alkali metals.

Hello to all from BloodLine Empire

Calgary Comic Con 2006

May 7th, 2006
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We woke up early today, and headed down to the Comic Convention. Pretty peaceful trip down, managed to see a few people dressed up for the event. We saw catwoman, The Crow, and an Anime girl on the C-Train. I never even thought to get pictures and by the time I did think of it, it was too late. The same goes for Peter Spengler, Poison Ivy and Scarecrow (DC Comics).

We did however get a few pics of others around the event, which were mostly Star Wars themed.

The convention itself was pretty decent, although a lot more focus it seems on merchandise than anything else.

We did get to see a few artists drawing live for the crowds, and seeing Chris from the family guy come to life before your eyes is damn cool, no doubt about it.

Also talked briefly with some guys who are going to be starting a webcomic called Penciltown. Check that out here.

Hello comicbookconventions.com visitors!

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After the comic convention, we headed downtown for a bite to eat. We had no idea there was going to be a protest downtown today, but lo and behold, we were cut off by the parade. We did see two people get arrested, but we have no idea what for.

The protesters signs indicated they wanted some affordable housing, but the manifesto handed out talks about the smear campaign against the homeless/panhandlers. If I had not read the paper, we would have whole-heartedly supported their actions, especially since they were extrememly polite and law-abiding in the march.

But come on, since when is having panhandlers and/or homeless a good thing? I for one support efforts to get people to stop supporting the homeless and pandhandlers alike. I would much rather see funds diverted into social programs and work rehabilitation centers, and stronger police presence in the downtown core of Calgary.

On the train ride home, we see the hobo camps by the rivers edge, and its not affordable housing that comes to mind. I mean, we personally can’t afford a house, there is no way I’m supporting a social fund for these guys to live in one.

We are currently in an employment boom, and all’s I ever hear about is how hard it is for employers to find employees right now. That means the jobs are out there, and that people do have access to acheive the basic needs on their own. Pumping gas, McDonalds, Landscaping.. I’ve worked 10 or so terrible jobs for minimum wage that just barely got me by. The point, however; I still got by.

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Power Lines

May 6th, 2006
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This picture is actually from the last time we went Geocaching.

I don’t know what about it I like so much, I mean.. Its power lines.

I think because of the inherent paradox of such a sight. This picture is taken in the heart of Calgary, an oil-rich boom town. Neighborhoods newly built have almost all the infrastructure buried underground, and the older neighborhoods underwent some upgrading so that much of their services are also underground.

When I was younger, you would see these towering structures everywhere. I can clearly recall the half-way point to school was defined by the crossing of two such power networks. One a small country single wire run that looped downwards from pole to pole, and the other a 5 wire towering run that almost seemed at home against the wheat crop backgrounds.

I guess with our lives getting busier by the day, we don’t get out of the city enough. Maybe thats why this picture speaks to me. Right in the middle of the city, in the heart of commerce and trading, life moving a hundred miles and hour around it stands this tower.

Quiet and content, standing proud, there to remind us perhaps that the city need not strangle and hold us as much as we let it.

That, or it was too expensive to bury the lines and it was simply easier to erect this tower to cross the river below. Whatever.

Power Tower

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