An evening with the crew of the Starship Enterprise

Calgary's awesomely geeky Mayor, Naheed Nenshi

Calgary’s Comic Convention seems to be growing by leaps and bounds every year. While I’ve never been, I’d heard how Leonard Nimoy had been scooped a couple of years ago (they even managed to take him out to Vulcan — no joke). Last year’s event was the biggest, ever. This year? Well, “record-setting” isn’t the right term, really. When the Fire Marshall has to tell people to disperse, you’ve got a number of problems — good and bad — to work yourself through.

But in particular, this year was important, because they’d somehow managed to arrange for the first-ever complete reunion (and the first gathering in celebration of the 25th anniversary year) of the complete (original) cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. And for one night only, they’d all be on the same stage in an event called “Star Trek: TNG Exposed“.

Like I wasn’t going to go…

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TV is dead. Long live the internet!

I feel like an old man. I can now look at my kids, and say with far too much vigour: “When I was your age…” I refer to, of course, having to get off my ass, walking over to the cathode ray tube-based television set, change the dial to UHF, and move the oversized dial that changed the direction of the UHF antenna…

I’ve lost you, haven’t I? I shudder to think how few of you have an inkling¬†of what I’m talking about. Yeah, that’s how old I am. I remember when there were only a handful of channels, when almost all of the content was on ABC, NBC, CBS, CBC, CTV, Global, and a few independent stations (such as the awesome CityTV and the the extremely nacent Fox). I remember the introduction of cable. I remember having to wait for the summer reruns because I missed that crucial episode of The A Team that everyone was talking about in class the next morning. I remember when the season debuts were a big thing. I remember when missing a live televised event was significant, because it was gone forever.

It seems somehow just as bizarre a concept as the Spanish Inquisition.

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Can we get rid of timezones now, please?

For over 100 years, we’ve had a rough international agreement about at what point the sun is directly overhead, because this is when we assign an arbitrary time known as “noon”. We’ve divided the world into “zones”, which for some reason makes sense.

Like most international agreements, it’s not perfect, and many governments have gone well out of their way to thoroughly botch and/or screw around with the implementation — so much so that, in some cases, the concept of a time zone really makes no sense at all. Given the rise of the internet, the massive synchronisation between continents in real-time, and the presence of global companies, it’s frankly a wonder why we even think time zones are a good idea anymore.

So let’s get rid of them!

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Renovation update: no, we’re not done yet

So the fun continues. Still. Things aren’t done, though our kitchen it, at least, mostly functional. (Except for the mechanical dishwasher. The backup dishwasher works fine, mind you it’s hard to type after washing all those dishes.)

The new doors are hung, but without handles it’s a little hard (read: painful) to open closet doors, and we can’t actually close any other doors since … well, there’s no handles. The kitchen cabinets are still missing a couple of doors, which are hopefully going in soon, and some drywall is still needed around the new closet door framing.

But at least we can live in the place…

That’s the key thing, really. Live. It’s not perfect live, yet, since we’re also painting. (And that’s “we” as in Alex and I, not the contractor.) The painting is a bit of a sticky point at the moment, since we’re having issues choosing a paint colour, and matching other colours. We need/want something good, and we’ve got a wall we rather like. Alex has already done the ensuite, and the main bathroom will get its update once all the other painting is done.

Left on the list? Living room, what’s remaining of the kitchen walls (not many), all the baseboards, the new doors, and touch-ups here and there. And then, hopefully, the reno will be done, done, done and live officially continues as it did back when all this mayhem started.

Which would be nice. Because mayhem isn’t remotely as fun as it sounds…

The kitchen reno may yet kill me…

Ensuite

So here we are on Day Whatever-I’ve-Stopped-Counting, and we’re still going. As you may imagine, I’m a tad stressed. Things just seem to … keep not going the way I want them to go. (Notably in the fact that what should take very short periods of time — in my mind — goes undone for days.)

Today just added more salt to the wound, with things that didn’t necessarily go wrong so much as things that went unexpected. I like surprises, don’t get me wrong, but there’s a world of difference between people leaping out from behind a couch, and having your hopes dashed by a change.

It would be nice for this to all be over…

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How to really succeed in (any) business

Recently, if you’ve been following this blog, you know my family has been going through a kitchen renovation. It’s not quite done, but it’s turning out very nicely, and we really, really, really cannot wait for it to be all over and done. It’s not that it’s been particularly frustrating — inconvenient for day-to-day life, maybe — it’s just that it’s extra stress that I really do not want.

The entire process has really reinforced my belief that if you want to succeed in business, you need to do two things well: Communicate, and set expectations. If you do nothing else right, these two will save your ass, not to mention help you get out of the mess you got yourself into.

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Royalties on Alberta Oil Sands

For those of you who haven’t caught wind of this, Alberta’s in an election again. It’s a fairly depressing event, as I’m realising that I’m actually having to consider the Less of Two Evils and lean towards the incumbent PC just to avoid the potential idiocy of the upstart Wildrose.

Anyway, one topic that’s come up a few times is the issue of royalty rates that companies pay to extract oil from the oil sands. The NDP (who’ll never see office in this province) want to raise the rates, the Liberals waffle, and both the PC and the Wildrose are adamant that the rates not change. It got me to wondering: are our rates even remotely fair?

To paraphrase Adam West’s Batman: To the internet!

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Renovating: a word on LED lighting

For our renovation project, one thing we decided to do was take the leap to using LED-only lighting. This is a trend we started a couple of years ago, just as commercial LED bulbs were really coming available. It’s something we strongly believe in, and something I think everyone should consider.

Are they cheap? No. A standard incandescent bulb is easily 10-50x cheaper. A compact fluorescent (CFM) bulb at least 10x cheaper. Halogen (usually) gives off more light. And you’re still a little limited on options in terms of dimming and colours, and so forth.

So why do it? Because you should.

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Kitchen reno, day 22

Backsplash detail

I’d like to say the end is in sight. I really would. But I’m still struggling with little things that just aren’t getting done. The “finisher” has been MIA for over a week now (I keep expecting Mr. Wolfe to show up at my door), which would help get the cabinets get past the “merely installed” state. The lights are in, but the basement lights are still out for some inexplicable reasons. The wood flooring still isn’t all done. Doors were supposed to be hung Saturday, and only now our contractor’s realised that they’re odd sizes and it’s not that easy…

Yep, it’s a typical renovation, alright!

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Home, half-assembled home

Well, our time out of the house has finally come to pass, and we’re back under a mostly-familiar roof. The roof itself is intact, and save for a taped-over vent hole (no longer in use) — it’s the inside that’s still in disarray.

The renos are still on-going, and while we might be quite a ways further a long than when we moved out three week ago, we’re still a ways from having our house complete, functional, and dust-free.

But at least it’s our house.

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