Friday, May 14, 2004  


About two weeks before I was scheduled to leave on my cruise, I found out that I was not going to be the only SJC resident to go to Alaska in May.

My neighbour down the hall, Carolyn, was also booked for an Alaskan cruise. She leaves this Saturday. When I discovered this, we excitedly went over her ports of call. Carolyn is also going on Princess Cruise Lines and her stops include Ketchikan, the only port of call on my short four day cruise.

I thought it would be really neat if I left something in Ketchikan for her to find, retrieve, and then bring back to Vancouver.

I hadn't really thought it out very much in advance. In fact, the morning that we got into Ketchikan, I still didn't know what I'd leave, where, and how. After breakfast, I decided I'd use some Princess stationary and write her a little note. I stuffed it in a Princess envelope and left the ship.

My parents were doing a tour of Ketchikan by themselves, so I only had my sister with me. As we walked around town, we kept our eyes out for suitable locations. We certainly didn't want a place to leave the envelope where it was far away from the dock. We passed by several phone booths, information stands, public buildings and the like, but none of them seemed right.

In the meantime, I remembered I had no tape to secure the envelope to anything. We passed by a drug store and I bought a roll of Scotch tape (TM).

We looped back towards the ship and that's where I spotted a somewhat suitable place. It was this gazebo thingy with a plaque in front of it. I was going to secure the envelope underneath one of the benches in the gazebo. It was covered, so that if it rained, the envelope would stay dry.

My sister and I had to wait several minutes for some people to leave the gazebo. Time was well spent inside a souvenir store. When the location had been vacated, we sat down on the benches and I pulled out the envelope and the tape. I put several pieces of tape on the envelope and paused briefly.

How the hell could I do this without raising suspicion?

I decided I should do it quickly and without fanfare. Without missing a beat, I reached down and slapped it underneath my bench. Then I decided I didn't have enough tape on it, so I slapped a few more pieces on it and the bench.

It was done and all I could do was hope for the best. We walked away and I was really tempted to just run back, get on my knees, look underneath the bench, and just tape the hell out of that envelope. I didn't though.

Who knows what has happened to it now. Maybe someone saw me and decided to take a look. Maybe a dog ate it. Maybe the tape wasn't strong enough and it fell off. Lots of things could have happened.

I really hope it's still there. Carolyn has asked me for an intel report. I gave her one. You can read it here.


posted by Erwin | 3:06 AM

Thursday, May 13, 2004  


A few weeks ago, one of my speakers for my computer system fell off the ledge it was sitting on and hit the floor. It was the never the same again.

I shook it and didn't hear anything moving inside the enclosure. Unfortunately, while no parts had been dislodged, the speaker began to hiss static. It was most noticeable when I played my DVDs. It would drown out dialogue. HISSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

It was the right rear surround speaker in my 5.1 system. You really can't have your right rear speaker dominating every other one and hissing noise.

I decided to open up the speaker enclosure to take a look. I was hoping maybe a soldered joint had broken or something. Alas, it was not to be. All the joints I could see were solid. There were no circuit boards to speak of. The damn thing was broken and I didn't know how exactly.

I saw two, well three ways really on how I could deal with this situation. First, I could get a replacement surround speaker from Creative. I've sent them a request for pricing, but they haven't gotten back to me yet. Second, I could just get a new set of speakers. This option makes no sense whatsoever. If I were to get a new set, I definitely would get a better system. I have my eye on a set from Logitech. They are the cheapest set of THX certified speakers on the market today. 280 Watts (RMS) of sweet sonic power. I can get them for about $200. If I were to get a new set, the best thing (logically) to do would be to purchase similarly performing system. In that case, I'd be spending around $85 for a piddly 50 Watt (RMS) system. The third option would be to do nothing. Just forget about doing anything. While watching DVDs, I'd no longer hear any ambience from the right rear. While playing games, monsters could sneak up behind me on my right and I wouldn't even know it. While listening to music, I'd be down one speaker. I'd get a little less William Hung coming out of my room.

I'm still not sure what I'm going to do. In the interim, let's take a look at another speaker system.

If I had money, this is the one I'd buy. Too bad it's $650.


posted by Erwin | 2:16 AM

Wednesday, May 12, 2004  


I had a big list of things to do today. To my great surprise, I nearly got all of them done.

The one thing I wished I had done today was to go get some groceries. I need to go to Safeway bad. I cleaned out my fridge before I left for my cruise, so I have nothing to eat at home. I did make a quick stop in the Village produce store, so I have a few apples and strawberries though. It doesn't replace a full-on Safeway trip unfortunately.

I paid to use the bus today as well. After eight months of U-Pass, man did that ever feel wrong. There must be some way of getting a free bus pass... SFU students... I'm looking in your direction...

I also filed my tax return today. I'm getting a refund. I wish I could use the money to buy frivolous consumer goods, but every cent of it will go towards tuition. It's just the grown-up thing to do.

I can now (legally) drive again. I got my driver's license renewed when I was back home with my parents. It was the first time I've ever had it renewed in a shopping mall. Here's a tip if you're renewing your license: go to the ICBC Express Driver Services Centres. These places don't offer written exams nor road tests. Because of that, the line-ups are a tiny fraction of the full service centres.

Before I end this post, I'd like to mention that I'm drafting a post on my cruise as we speak. You'll find out soon enough what I thought about my vacation.


posted by Erwin | 3:35 AM

Tuesday, May 11, 2004  


Wow, I had originally planned on popping in here and making a few short comments, but upon logging into Blogger, I was floored.

Blogger has added a ton of new features and completely revamped their interface. I've spent the last 15 minutes just reading through the additions and changes. Some of the stuff you probably won't care about, but a lot of you probably will. The biggest change is that Blogger will now support comments natively. That's right, no more crappy, free commenting from Enetation. The only problem is that I haven't figured out how to keep the old comments from old posts and to have the new Blogger comments enabled in new posts.

Also, the new posting window doesn't work very well with Netscape right now, so I'm doing this in IE. If you know me, you'll realize I feel really dirty right now.

So, onto my original comments. These are kinda of stream of consciousness thoughts right now, so bear with me. I know everyone is waiting for a post about my cruise, but that's gotta wait for a bit. I have a million things to do right now.

What I will say about the cruise is that you do a lot of eating on a cruise ship. So much so that now that I'm back, I feel like I should be eating all the time. I constantly feel hungry now. Bleh.

My next totally random thought has to do with the ball hockey I play every Saturday. When I yell out, "time!" during play, that's short for "There isn't a checker around you right now, please take your time and make the right play".

It does not mean to stop playing and look up at me with wonderment. If I actually meant to stop play, I always yell out "car!" or "time out" or "stop" or "hold up".

I'm glad I was able to make that distinction. I'm going to press the "Publish" button now and see what happens.


posted by Erwin | 1:50 AM

Sunday, May 09, 2004  


I'm back on solid ground now. I have some stuff to do at my parents' place. I'll see everyone in a few days.


posted by Erwin | 2:29 AM
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