Tag Archives: Saint John

Holy, Months

Holy moly, I’ve not updated since last year? Preposterous! Might just as well give it ago:

The worst part of 2013’s last days was the rainstorm annex ice storm that hit parts of Ontario and NB: In our region, I recall people being out of power for over a week while temperatures dipped down to the -20s (Celsius). I tend to frequently bring up the power restoring issues when Juan hit Truro back in 2003: however, having no power nor backup heat while it’s -20 degrees out? I’d pick out Juan as my preferred ‘out-of-power’ event. Technically, I believe this Winter is going to be one of the worst I’ve seen here: Fluctuating temperatures from + 4 to -20s and way too much snow.

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it here, but since early September we decided to bring back home a puppy. Welcome to Pepper, our overlord border collie/australian something mix. Now that’s she’s also been legally fixed (‘spayed’), it’s time to get her agility training (SLYT) going.

And last but not least, forthcoming coding projects this year include a ‘diff tool’, a ‘zip tool’ and hopefully, a wrapped-up ‘SQL tool’. And some of that.

SF and other unrelated news

After having not used Sourceforge for over 10 years, I’ve decided to move some of my sources back to Sourceforge. The main reason for that is that SF still allows devs to distribute binaries as part of their projects. Google (and GitHub) have slowly moved away from this citing ‘security’ issues. From an open-source perspective, I can understand Google’s and Github’s reasoning. On the good side: SF does support Git these days and frankly, while SF’s main interface looks confusing, I didn’t have a hard time to start committing changes thru git. One major surprise: back in 2003: to start a project it had to go thru a long and elaborate approval process first. This time, setting up Convendro’s project page (and committing sources) only took an hour or so. Henceforth: Convendro’s new project page sans downloads.

I’ve slowly moved to watching videos on YouTube: surprisingly only because it allows me to watch videos I want to watch as opposed to Cable TV. I’ll discuss my subscription list at a later stage but the point of me mentioning this is this elaborate list of videos of the Russian’s point of view of the Second World War (link via MetaFilter). Mind you, it is a Russian documentary (in 18 episodes). If you can stand the patriotic undertones, it’s worth a watch: each episode is around 45 minutes.

And last but not least: I can confirm that we have not had any hurricanes this season yet. It’s almost mid-September and no torrential rains (or gutting winds) have been sighted yet. Accuweather (link to article) blames this on abnormally warm Pacific waters, which apparently have created more westerly winds:

The atmosphere over the tropics thus far has behaved more like an El Nino pattern, where abnormally warm Pacific Ocean waters create westerly winds aloft over the tropical Atlantic. The current sea surface temperature pattern over the tropical Pacific is considered to be neutral.

I guess this may mean that hurricane-related insurance premiums may go down. That is a joke.

A beach runs here

Summer’s been over now 10 or so days and looking outside, it feels like Fall (or Autumn) snapped in here before we could even think of typical Fall things, like seeing the leafs colour and/or raking them up. I believe our trees started shedding their leafs early, only because of the extremely hot temperatures back in July.

That said, this Summer we actually managed to ‘hit the road’ for a change and visit the amazing places that NB has to offer: Saint Martins, Saint Andrews and which ever places are in between these towns. The most remarkable place we ended up visiting was New River beach park: We happened to swing by it (accidentally) at low and high tide.

At one time, a while ago on this blog I complained about the fact that, when living in NS, that there were so many NB tourism commercials. Now that I’ve been living here for over 4 years, there are indeed many reasons why you’d want to check out NB during the Summer season.

Summer respite and yards

We seem to be slightly going back to normal temperatures here in SJ: that is, cooler temperatures particularly in the morning. You might say that this Summer was one of the warmest: Even Accuweather seems to be suggesting the very same. If I recall correctly, we had 2 weeks of scorching temperatures and even now, I don’t think we’re totally out of troubles yet. But yeah, the temperature changes in the morning (and the dew and our famous fog at that) are refreshing. One could say, I’m almost ready for Winter.

So, the state of the yard is so – so: This was the first year, I’ve seen brown grass patches around the yard. Partially, I blame myself for rigorously cutting the grass too low. There seems to be a good part to the story tho: We cut some of the banks and weeds so low that the wild berry bushes and thistles have been thriving which in turn attracted a lot more ‘good’ insects (bees and monarchs) to our backyard. I believe last year I mentioned I would never take down thistles as they literally serve as ‘lunch rooms’ for foraging working bees. This year the same holds true.

Kitty and/or Peanut

When Imoved to Canada and married my wife almost 12 years ago, I automatically begot two pets, Katy the wonderdog and Peanut (nee Kitty). We lost Katy 2 years or so ago (previously). Last Wednesday we put down Peanut: for three of four days she had refused to eat solid food and she had lost so much weight that she could hardly stand up. During her illness, she was fairly fief tho: her last days she would never give up on purring her head off. Literally.

The death of Peanut feels like it marks the end of a an amazing set of years: Both dog Katy and cat Peanut were part of a 12 year adventure of fun, sadness, love and determination. Unsurprisingly, our cat never ceased to amaze and aggravate us and I guess, those are the stories of her that we will remember for, well, until we cease to exist ourselves.

As an atheist, I’ve never believed in a heaven or hell for humans. If there was a heaven or hell, I’m so hundred percent certain that this cat would have been a prime candidate for either place. If there was such a thing like ‘Feline History’, I’m sure her antics would have gloriously been part of that. For now, I’m glad that we were able to bury her next to her pal Katy.

Murdering the classics

I‘ve mentioned Yo La Tengo before on xsamplex (right here); as part of my ‘Past The Bridge’ series, I (slightly) proclaimed my likeness for the NJ based band.

If you’ve been on the Internet, you are probably aware of the band’s yearly “Yo La Tengo is murdering the classics”-gig, where the band takes requests for the illustrious radio station WFMU. I recorded one such session in 2008 (briefly discussed here), which was exactly right before I moved to work in SJ. Ever since then I missed the opportunity to listen, well, except for like 2 weeks ago, were a timely reminder (Metafilter, props) reminded me to get my recording gear in action.

Today’s ‘Past The Bridge’ sample is the full track of Yo La Tengo’s rendition of The Clean’s “Tally Ho” – the full track can be found in my media section. Compare that with the original, and judge for yourself (Single Youtube Link)

I have not yet sorted through the whole setlist: I recall that during a couple of songs I slightly lost connection here and there. Generally though, it was an excellent session. If only I had time to separate the tracks out for both 2008 and 2012 sessions.

Hibuscus and other tales

We bought a hibiscus (Wikipedia) the other day at the local Sobeys. They had them in assorted colours, but we opted to go for red. Again. We used to have one before when we were living in Nova Scotia and let me tell you: this is the only houseplant I’ve ever known that is so picky that you want to yell at it. However, for some reason, that makes us more persistent to get the one we bought growing as it is supposed to be. Mind the dead leaves and flowers it dropped on the carpet. Yes, I almost forgot it does that too.

I’ve slowly picked up the ‘Chronicles of Thomas Covenant’ (Wikipedia): I’ve read these before when I was a young kid and just 5 years ago, I bought the first 3 books of the series. However, SF chronicles tire me out. Not as much as George W. Bush’s “Decision Point”, tho.

Now that I got an Android Tablet (earlier), I find I spend my time more using the Tablet than my Windows PC. Interestingly, this has also resulted in me using my Linux laptop more than usual: this laptop now functions as a buffer between the Tablet and my multimedia collection (books, video and audio files). On the Tablet I use ‘ES Explorer’ (marketplace) to copy files forth and back (via SAMBA, no less). I managed to get the Tablet connected to the Linux laptop also, via the direct/USB cable: However, WIFI is so easy.

Flora and fauna

If I eliminated statistical weather data, I would say that this year’s weather is going to beat all records. First we had too much snow. When March came, we slowly went to wet weather. Which is about the same weather we have right now, and it’s the end of June. Not that it’s cold: it just appears that it has been raining now every weekend. Obviously, this is good for the grass and the weeds. As for the birds and other animals: besides the groundhog around the property, I highly doubt they love this weather.

I read that Canadian geese are not welcome in some parts of Canada. The NB town of Nackawic (Google maps) has applied for permits to cull some of these birds. According to CBC, there’s even a Facebook page dedicated to these geese. Apparently.

One of the first things that came to my mind when I came to SJ was that it was an ‘artsy city’. On top of that, I thought there were too many derelict buildings around. Take for example the former Kings Square Cinema theatre: It must have been empty for ages now. Last year, it looked like someone was doing some construction to the front and facade, but, today, the building looks like it needs to be demolished. Hopefully that will be soon.


Now that we know the Rapture has been delayed to September (previously at xsamplex), we nw have a couple of months to make sure that things are running as smooth as they used to be. Like make US Politics the laughing stock around the world: to be honest, I laughed when I heard Thatcher snubbed ms. Palin. Reportedly one of her aides said the following:

Lady Thatcher will not be seeing Sarah Palin. That would be belittling for Margaret. Sarah Palin is nuts.

You wouldn’t say so?

Earlier this month, Saint John’s Sea Dogs won the (Junior) Memorial Cup, which is a kinda big deal in Canada. The city organized a parade for the winning team, from Kings Square right down to Market Square. I was there also, shooting pictures (my set). I’m not a fan of hockey or something: I was surprised to see a lot of people lining up to catch a glimp of the hockey team. Only in Canada these kind of events go by without any incident, that is, unless you’re talking about those funny blue guys running down the street before the parade started.

As you’ve noticed, I’ve not been writing much the last couple of weeks: this is mainly due to the obligations around the house (yes, it’s fairly sunny these days). Additionally, I found out that I prefer to browse around on my tablet, which is unfortunately less keyboard-inclined than the laptops that are laying around. On the good side, soon it will be time to write a review of this tablet. Soon-ish.

March. Break.

Today, we finally hit +7 degrees Celsius temperatures and, with that, obviously, rain. I happened to look outside a couple of times and I noticed that the ground is finally getting bare, that is at spots were we shoveled. This was a pretty bad Winter, actually one of the worst I’ve seen in my Canadian life: 2 storms in December (total of 54 cms), 3 in January (total of 64 cms), 4 in February (total of 97cms) (the stats, starting with January, are here).

Four or five weeks, I bet with someone that Winter was over: I lost of course and I got beaten up because of that. Today, I believe that this is the end of this dreaded Winter. I guess, the only part to be done is break up the snow and restore the damage that was done to our pretty gravel driveway.

On the other hand, someone said that the Almanac claimed that Winter was going to keep going on until April: if that’s the case, I plan to dig out my weather altering machine. Really. I got one in my shed.

Old. Very old.

A couple of years ago, we were staying right in town for a couple of months: For our groceries we drove to the Sobey’s at McAllister’s. We always took our dog with us, which meant that one of us went inside the store and the other hung around with our 17 year old dog.

On one Saturday morning it was my turn to stay behind and I decided to sit down on the sidewalk. Suddenly, we were approached by a young fellow, who carefully and gently approached the dog, let her sniff his hand. He looked at me and then said that ‘he loved dogs’ and that he could tell right off the bat that this dog was extremely old. I told him he was close and that she was almost 17 or so, as we were never really sure if she was 16 or 18. Upon my question, how he could tell she was old, he said of her ‘composure’ (shoulders down) and her lack of interest of anything happening around. After a brief chit-chat, the youngster patted our dog for one last time, waved and walked away.

I only mention this story as the situation was a sort of surreal: me and the dog, relaxing on the sidewalk and an (obvious) dog-loving person paying his respects to our dog. You don’t see that all too often.

It’s a plane…

It’s a plane, it’s a bird, no, it’s a new Canadian citizen.

So on October 20th of 2010 (20-10-2010, which is a highly remarkable set of numbers if I might say so), I became a Canadian citizen after having been living here now for 10 years. To celebrate that, I was featured on the CBC as well, a story you’ll find around here. Pay attention fooks because now you’ll finally discover what real Dutch people look like. Oh, wait, I already revealed that on the right here…

The event in Saint John was officially hosted by the CBC and despite the fact that it was a fairly underexposed event, it was attended by heavy-weights like the mayor of Saint John, Ivan Court (who had an excellent straight-forward speech about the economical value of immigrants), NB’s own Harry Forestell and an RCMP constable in full ceremonial dress. There were a host of other media people present, I saw the people from the regional newspaper around (I missed an opportunity to make a photo of one of the photographers). But mostly, this was about the immigrants who became Canadians: there were 62 of us from the different continents and countries.

As a new Canadian to fellow Canadians, stop drinking that Molson and drink real beer like, uh, Moosehead or something. Additionally, from now on, I won’t call your favourite sport ‘ice-hockey’ but just ‘hockey’.

A silver lining

This Saturday, we ended up in Uptown SJ to look at the cruiseship, Silver Whisper (Silversea Cruises). Compared to ships that normally sail in, the Silver Whisper is a small ship and appears to be a fairly luxury cruise-liner. From the number of people that got off the boat, I could only tell that it didn’t seem to be full.

That reminds me that it was windy and bitter cold at the harbour: it was so cold, it felt like my knees were freezing up. According to fellow bus passengers, the forecast for Winter 2010 is going to be, well, Winter-like. More snow and colder: as I mentioned earlier, I don’t care if it’s going to be worse than last Winter as long as the water table stays constant.

And talking about water: there was a boiling order in effect in SJ this Thanksgiving weekend. It was just lifted yesterday. At the local Montana’s we were advised not to order hot beverages and that: Surprisingly, one had to pay extra for bottled water. The silver lining? It was awfully quiet.