Time Flies When You Are Having Summer

Wow. It has been a long time since I posted here.

I have no defence. I mean summer was totally flat out busy and I have installed my operating system twice since April but that really isn't a great excuse to not write.

And I did manage to crank out my column every Tuesday morning by the deadline. I even wrote a couple of bits for Re:Fiction, a writing website.

Now it is fall. Hopefully this will allow me to get a few more words on the hard drive.


Facebook is good for one thing. Lively discussions between people with diverse viewpoints.

Recently I had a go round with an acquaintance concerning a recent report on crime in Canada and which municipalities were the worst for "dangerous" crime.

My contention was that including breaking and entering as a violent or dangerous crime and then using it as part of the dataset was disingenuous at best and intentionally misleading at worst. Surprisingly, he was more than willing to equate breaking and entering with violent crimes like homicide and sexual assault.

Is there a difference between hitting your windshield with a hammer and hitting you with a hammer? Would the violent response be commensurate with this false equivalency?

I think that there is a big difference between being the "victim" of a B&E and being the victim of an assault. The argument is that a B&E inflicts psychological violence on the victim. That violence is somehow in the mind of the beholder. That it is how we feel about the loss of our trinkets that dictates the level of violence we ascribe to the act.


Getting your house broken into sucks. You feel violated. But it is nothing like the violation you feel when someone lays you out cold. Thinking it is doesn't make it so.


I must say that having a library less than five kilometers from my house is a treat. We go every Saturday to exhange books due for new arrivals. Back in 2009, we eliminated television from our entertainment repertoire and haven't really missed it. The library has been our go to for three year old movies and entire seasons of popular shows, usually a year or so behind the current season.

And then there are the books. I spent a decade reading nothing but non-fiction. When they put me on morphine last year for the back pain (collapsed vertebrae due to multiple myeloma), there was really no point as my comprehension and retention had collapsed. So I switched to fiction and find myself gorging on a decades worth of science fiction and fantasy that is all new to me.

The library is an anchor in our community. I can't imagine not having such a resource at my fingertips.


One of my favorite things is to get up early, before anyone else is stirring, to sip my coffee and enjoy the peace and quiet. It is even better in the winter, as holing up in the office to check the news keeps me warm and able to look out the window into the piercing cold.

What is new is the puppy. She doesn't sleep in, ruining the peace and quiet part. Luckily, she is pretty smart and is learning that not much exciting goes on around here until the kids get up.

Ugh! Speed Matters.

Remember me commenting on how many things don't work on the internet without high-speed?

One thing I wasn't counting on was something as simple as file transfer.

Yesterday I was puttering around on my computer and decided to install a text editor I had read about. One of the prerequisites was QScintilla2. So using pip, I went to install it. Unfortunately, pip pulled in PyQT5 as a prerequisite for QScintilla2. And that broke my "real" text editor, the one I have been using for over a decade and had all of my automation for this blog. It also cut me off from the rest of my "in progress" writing.

So I started troubleshooting, with an eye to restoring my machine to where it was before the offending package landed. I removed it, but when I went to install the proper version, the server with the files kept timing out on the downloads. The server assumed that my computer had given up and terminated the download after a couple of minutes.

Frustration mounted, driving me to pack up the laptop, drive to the library and fix the problem.

3/4 of a gigabyte of downloading later, I had my editor (Leo) back up and running. I also updated my system and downloaded fresh code for Leo.

All is well. Maybe I will even get in some writing before daughter comes home from school.

Sippy Straw

Our internet sucks. We live on a farmlet on the wrong side of the tracks. Xplornet is our provider, and in all fairness they do a decent job. The speed isn't bad, but it isn't quite good enough for video conferencing. And the bandwidth cap (100GB/month) precludes Youtube or Netflix.

With a teenager and a preteen in the house, that bandwidth cap is regularly breached. We already pay $100 for the 100GB, the next option is a 150GB plan for an additional $50 per month. We are considering it, but with spring coming on we will likely get by as people start spending more time outside.

The part that really sucks is using the 100GB and still having six days of month left. They restrict our account once we hit the 100GB mark. We pay for 5MB/sec download speed; they cut it down to 200K/sec. It is interesting how much of the Internet becomes unusable at that speed.

I got all excited last week when they sent out a flyer offering 200GB/mo at 25MB/sec speeds for $99.00 for the first year and $149.00 after that. Turns out that we got it in our mailbox by "mistake". Part of our postal code is a bit north of our place, some more of it to the west. The promotion applies to a new satellite that is currently serving the north of the province. There is some thin hope that a similar promotion will roll here in the next couple of months...

Until then, another five days of what we call "sippy straw" internet. I guess it beats dial-up.

The Piano

This past Christmas, we got online courses from Udemy for everyone. Daughter got a drawing course, son got game programming. Samara got a singing harmony course and I chose a "Learn to Play the Piano" course.

So I started in to it. And discovered that I like playing piano. Of course I am only a couple of weeks into the program and things could change once I move past the finger exercises and start reading the music.


I don't know how you found yourself here, but welcome.

This is where I jot down what needs jotting. Don't expect much, it is pretty boring around here. Even the new puppy is sleeping, but then it is -10C outside, so I can't blame her.

Well, poke around if you must. Comment on the bits that are worth a comment if you like. Or not.