Wednesday, 15 December 2004


Merry Christmas
I wrapped it up and sent it
With a note saying "I love you", and I meant it
Now I know what a fool I've been...

- George Michael, Last Christmas

Thursday, 2 December 2004

One Degree of Separation

Today's piece of wisdom: Never, ever update anything on your server.

I updated our Library's server to a new version of the Linux kernel, because of it's improved memory management and scheduling features, as well as some neat hardware support.

Then I noticed our Webmail program being slow, so I checked it's test page, and discovered that it couldn't see a program called gettext that it needed to work. So I reinstalled gettext. Then my website broke.

So I removed gettext, and (shock! awe!) it was still broken. This was immediately followed by me installing new kernel headers (which I'd missed), a new C library (three times :-(), Apache, MySQL, PHP (also three times), then gettext again.

It was a long night, but everything's back and working again. :-D

Lots of other things to say too, but not right now. When there's not so much work to be done, I'll get all... both of you... up to date. :razz:

Tuesday, 16 November 2004

Teh Blizzard (Quick Update)

No Internet since Saturday. :-(

No blog until it comes back.

Thursday, 11 November 2004

The Act of Remembrance

They shall grow not old, even as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun, and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Monday, 8 November 2004

Vacation Update, Part Four (Ontario, Ohio and the Rest)

In the great tradition of blogging, I'm now finishing up discussion of my exciting adventure.... Well, at least it was exciting two months ago. You know, when it happened.

I arrived on or around September 4 in the bustling metropolis of Ottawa, and enjoyed one night and two days in the company of MEAT and teh Lauren, exploring the byways of the National Capital Region - and forty degrees warmer than the last time, too!

From there, it was on to Toronto, this time, not through an ice storm, to the luxurious Indian Line Campground. It's the closest campground to downtown Toronto (if such a concept exists), located a twenty-minute drive away from the city core, nestled off Finch Avenue, just west of Highway 427, and minutes north of Pearson International Airport. Now way back in the summer of 1998, our family stayed there for a vacation. It was an interesting place, with train tracks bordering the tenting area of the campground, and a single, young sapling providing the only air of wilderness camping in the place. :-P

Yet, six years later, I felt the need to go back. Had someone, in a fit of 2AM train whistle-inspired rage, taken a brick of C4 plastic explosive and blown up the train track? Had the young saplings grown to provide something resembling shade? Could you still hear planes taking off from Pearson? These questions quickly took to the back burner, as I discovered, while setting up the tent, that I left my tent poles in Maine, three days earlier.

Thus began furtive attempts to prop up my tent using the single pole I had for my rainfly -- which didn't come with the tent, though its poles did -- and culminating in my sleeping in the car. All this happened, of course, under the watchful eye of the Peel Regional Police, who circled through the campground all night. I'm sure they thought me drunk off my rocker. Also, the ground here is made of stainless steel, and my tent pegs only of lightweight aluminum. They didn't stand a chance. :-|

Following this, I spent a quick day in Waterloo and Hamilton, dropping some stuff off at Shannon's, and visiting Steph for a while. We attempted to enjoy some of the charms of Niagara Falls, but it was quite busy, our timing was disastrous, and we ended up leaving, having caught only a glimpse of the Falls themselves. :-(

After returning Steph to Hamilton, I left promptly for Windsor/Detroit, and the Ambassador Bridge. I learned that people at Windsor Tim Horton's restaurants don't understand the difference between coffee and hot chocolate, that Detroit is a very, very dirty city, and that in some places, like the privately maintained Ambassador Bridge, charge tolls ($4.00 Canadian!) to cross into the United States.

Upon crossing, I drove for a bit, discovered that I hated Michigan, got tired, and slept (in the car again) at a truck stop in Toledo, Ohio. My goal, here: to find a postcard saying nothing but the words:

Holy, Toledo!


I was unsuccessful.

Continuing toward home, I passed through:

  • Cleveland, which I thought was a very nice city

  • northern Pennsylvania, along the coast of Lake Erie, which was also quite nice, though I didn't get off I-90 'cept for gas

  • upstate New York, through Buffalo and Rochester to Syracuse, Schenectady and Albany, down I-87 to Hudson, NY

  • through western and northern Massachusetts, including Worcester and Springfield

  • into southern New Hampshire, through the small town of Seabrook, through to the border with Maine

where, having driven for nearly twenty-one hours since that last break at Toledo, I pulled over near Kittery, Maine, at a rest stop and took a nap.

A few short hours later, it was off to Winthrop to retrieve my errant tent poles, and be on my way home. All in all, a good trip. I have pictures, but they're all analogue, and my scanner is non-existent. I'll scan 'em eventually - the good ones, anyway.

Here endeth the trip. Sorry it took so long.

Monday, 11 October 2004

Lots to Be Thankful For; With This Ring

Today is Thanksgiving, and I have a lot to be thankful for.

I'm thankful for my family, even though some of the younger, sillier iterations of it beat me up during long car drives. I'm thankful for my friends, who have to put up with everything that is me, and who still remain my friends for reasons I haven't quite figured out. I'm thankful for my job -- even though it sometimes drives me batty, I'm not sure if there's another office anywhere that would feel quite so much like home. And I'm thankful for my grandmother's Thanksgiving dinner, because there just isn't another one quite like it.

This weekend also saw happy occasions. Saturday afternoon, as most of you know, Darrell and Joanna were married in Wolfville, in an absolutely beautiful ceremony. And contrary to Ross' assertion, Nancy is not the only person who cried. I did too.

It was a privilege to have been present as they started their lives together, and there aren't really words to talk about all the rest. It's all good, and congratulations, and all that.

Right some good.

Happy Turkey Day.

PS: Final Updates on the Ontario and Midwest Adventure will follow soon. Stay tuned.

Monday, 20 September 2004

Vacation Update, Part Three (Vermont)

There is no Governor Howard Dean. There is no State of Vermont. There is no nineteenth third part to this vacation series of blogs. Sorry.

Monday, 13 September 2004

Vacation Update, Part Two (New Hampshire)

As though Maine weren't fun enough all by itself.

So there we were, sitting in Maine, behaving ourselves and being generally polite little Canadians, when all the other New England states start to taunt us. Come visit now, they say, or Deleware's getting a One of our other brilliant new ideas was to attempt a tour of a Ben and Jerry's ice cream plant. Now, as you might expect, Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream (Vermont's Finest™) is actually made in Vermont.

Now, quick history lesson. Vermont is a bastian of independant thought and creative government in the United States. It's brought us such people as former president Calvin Coolidge, America's last great, lost, hope, Howard Dean, and Rep. Bernard Sanders, the only socialist politician to ever hold office in the United States. For those of you who slept through your PoliSci intro class, the word socialist is best defomed as Not George W. Bush.

Back to Vermont, though. Vermont, I discovered, is a lot like the speed of light. One can travel as close to it as they like, but to actually get there requires an infinite amount of energy (time). So after trouping toward this statistical impossibililty for several hours, and reaching the New Hampshire border doing so, we thought it wise to give up on our foolish adventure, and turn south through the beautiful mountains of the Granite State. Our ultimate destination: the Mall of New Hampshire, in beautiful Manchester, and immediately following that, a meandering drive to the Massachusetts border, only to immediately return to New Hampshire, to the Wendy's restaurant in the border town of Seabrook, bringing us to this trip's note of sadness. Chili-cheese nachoes: only in Canada.

Pity. Also, Wal-Mart is closed here.

Other New Hampshire highlights: the absolutely beautiful scenery of the Franconia region, the frequent highway-side tax-free liquor and lottery ticket stores (or as I dubbed them, Vice Centers -- I counted six), and mind-numbingly awkward hour-long trip to Victoria's Secretin Manchester, where comfortable, proper-fitting, well-made underwear, also tax free, was purchased for all. Except you.

All things considered, a good day, but nowhere near as much fun as Maine.

Vacation Update, Part One (Maine)

None of my pictures yet, I'm sorry to say. All analog, I'm afraid to say, and I haven't had any free time with a scanner yet. When I do, I promise you'll see la cr??me de la cr??me here. Branflakes Dot Not - you may not see it here first, or even the best, but you... will... eventually. Really.

I was lucky enough to spend another afternoon at Popham Beach State Park. The weather was absolutely magnificent; sunny and warm, with not a cloud in the sky. The water -- perilously icy, for some reason. Being Maine, that's to be expected, I guess. Regardless, Nancy was able to coax (bully) me into the water, though not enough for her satisfaction.

The astute among you may have noticed that the name of this webpage, never particularly static, has changed again. Two incarnations ago, this page was Branflakes' House of Pancakes, then it briefly became got branflakes? I suppose my reasons for playing with these names in the first place center around my insatiable punctuation fetish. That's right - a link for punctuation fetish. Bask in it, I tells ya.

Right. Now about this punctuation fetish name changing phenomenon, you notice I've now changed it back to the slightly modified punc International House of Branflakes. Because I've decided that question marks and apostrophes no longer get me off. :-P Also, I felt less guilty using a name that rips off the trademark of the International House of Pancakes, now that I've eaten there. Twice.

Oh, and did I mention? Delicious. Every staff person I've ever met is a completely a doll, including the burly kitchen staff (all men!), who were able to produce pancakes like nobody's business. Okay, so they were more... action figure-ish, I guess. But still, awesome. Go eat there. iHOB. Ummm... iHOP. Yeah.

Back from the realm of new traditions to old ones. Like Wal-Mart. Now in the United States, at least in large populated areas, Wal-Mart does this thing where they never close, so crazies can get their always low prices, you know, always. Crazies, like two sleep-deprived Canadians who like to get their beer in big-box superstores, and their cookies, all-American. With instant artery-clogging icing. You have never lived (or died, according to my description) without having inhaled one of these cookies. My. God.

Other highlights of Maine include my introduction to the world's best board game, Cranium, and Chinese food, available in those little boxes if you wanted them. Nancy and I opted out of boxes this time, though. Rah.

Coming up next time: that other state. Ummm... New Hampshire.

Saturday, 28 August 2004

On Hiatus

Not like you'd actually notice, but I'm leaving for vacation.... now. =)

I'll be back September 8, and might try to update if I find a hotspot somewhere on my route. Otherwise, I'll see you then.

If the need to reach me is urgent. The address is:

9025292783 [at] pcs [dot] rogers [dot] com.

See you all soon.

Tuesday, 24 August 2004

The Update of Implied Melodrama (Update)

It's been drawn to my attention that I neglected to consider statistical anomalies. The first statement should read "99% of people, ±1%, nineteen times out of twenty."

The Update of Implied Melodrama

Well, I had initially considered making this a melodramatic diatribe on how everybody hates me, but, really, I know that's not true. It's only 99% of people who hate me.


Honestly. It's just a phase. The phase of despondency. This phase comes and goes like the phases of the moon -- darkness and light -- except more often, with less reflected sunlight, and no impact on the Earth's tides.

I can see that my previous update struck a nerve with everyone, specifically, the Not Commenting Anymore nerve. This brings me sadness, because, as you know, my commenters are my only friends.

The last two weeks have been filled with time spent on the Bookmobile, a time in which I've come to appreciate the importance of local library service to isolated communities as well the work that those who provide that service do, as well as a new-found admiration of the 14.4K modem, which would have seemed unnaturally fast in those rural communities.

Had Swiss Chalet yesterday with The Bra-Shopping Dynamic Duo. Delicious, the food. Less awkward than expected, the bra shopping. Note: looks better in green. I, myself, bought no bras on the expedition, since La Senza seemed to be out of my size, 42-double-nothing.

Heading off to New England and Ontario on the weekend. It's gonna be awesome!

That is all. Ta. :-)

Tuesday, 17 August 2004

The Update of Design

Which is really the update of banner.
Which is really the update of being too lazy to write content.

Which isn't true, really. Today, however, my update will take the form of a series of metaphors based on the Star Trek: TNG episode, Darmok.

Lauren (non-link to left), in Lunenburg County. Branflakes, on the Bookmobile. Shaka, when the walls fell.

Branflakes, his car fuelled up. The Library, their calendar marked off. Branflakes and Chameleon at Winthrop. The Dyers, their arms open! Ottawa, on Canada Day!

That is all. More later, folks.

Tuesday, 3 August 2004

The Update of Pictures

I've never had an update of pictures, before, but I have to admit the concept of updates without me having to develop witty content is entirely too appealing to possibly be healthy.

The times, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, they are not like they used to be.

Branflakesmobile I: A New Hope
It was a sad day yesterday, when Branflakesmobile I: A New Hope finally entered the last stages of its retirement, and left, on the back of a wrecking truck, for that big auto salvage in the sky Chelsea. It was not the greatest car, but what it lacked in fuel economy, it made up with gawdy wood panelling and a mediocre sound system.

...oh, the obsessions of mine that car saw... ;-)

Seriously though, good memories. It made the first of the vaunted Trips to Maine with That Hot Chick. I think it still had good time left in it before That Incident With the Deer, and That Incident Where the Cops Ran Into Me.

Fare thee well, Branflakesmobile I. I hope you're in a better place now.

...and from A New Hope to Hope For Us All.

Durl and Jo - Congratulations!

I've always held to the firm belief that once you see something in the newspaper, it must be true. Just think of Iraq's weapons of mass destr.... damn.

Anyway, I was perusing the online edition of The Bridgewater Bulletin (and the Progress Enterprise), and came across the picture you see above. Today's lesson -- marriage: it could happen to you. I mean, if it could happen to this guy, it could happen to anybody. Even me. Scary, isn't it?

Seriously, though, I watched and was thoroughly interested by Mr. Darrell's Masters defense, immediately following which I got to see the absolutely beautiful matching engagement rings they have. Congratulations, Durl and Jo.

In response to people who have been asking me how the church service I led went, thank you for your concern. I was not smote on the spot, so I guess I didn't do that badly. For any who want to know what I talked about, the complete order of service is available here in PDF format. An MP3, courtesy of FM 98.1, CKBW and The Eggman will be available here shortly.

Oh, and Tiffy's moving to BC tomorrow morning. Have a safe trip, Tiffy; Nova Scotia won't be the same without you. :-(

That's all. Send your comments this way.

Thursday, 22 July 2004

Branflakesmobilengr??ven:TNG — 1994-2004

That's right, boys and girls. Branflakesmobile: TNG, which brought you such great trips as That Trip to Wolfville, Those Trips to Maine, and That Trip to Maine, through Quebec, Ontario, upstate New York and New England, has, at 378780 km. entered her long deserved retirement. Hopefully, a new owner can be found for her who will treat her with the respect she deserves.

But without further ado, let me introduces Branflakesmobile III: The Search for Branflakes. A very sleek, svelte, 2004 Toyota Echo in piercing navy blue, with 704 km. on the odometer. In short, an incredibly sexy car. With a second gear that's about as easy to get into as a Chevette. :-/

In other news, I'm preaching this Sunday at Bridgewater United Church, 10:00AM, which will be broadcast at 11:00 AM on FM 98.1, CKBW. Worship resources, including the pastoral prayer, and sermon, to be posted here when they're ready.

Aside from that, I've recently developed a fondness for orchestral and piano arrangements of music from Final Fantasy. Some of the most amazing and profoundly moving instrumental music I've heard in a long time. Search for 'Final Fantasy music' on Google for samples.


Wednesday, 7 July 2004


For the few, the proud, the brave, the... deaf, who haven't heard me complain about it yet, it's been an exciting week at work so far. Overnight on Monday, a thief or thieves broke into the library and stole more than $10K worth of laptops, leaving a trail of broken glass and blood behind them on their adventure through the building.

Three comments to the thieves:

(1) Don't bother coming back. We don't have any more technology left that's worth stealing. ;-)
(2) Bleed on my requests, will ya? Not on my shift. Be prepared to be... deregistered.
(3) I hope you get found, and get sentenced. More than likely to poorly-enforced probation, especially if you are (quite probably) a young offender.

In the realm of good news, one of the laptops was recovered today. we don't know where, or in what condition, but that can't be bad news. :-)

To break into our building, they smashed a window in one of our doors with their fists. In honour of this, I've decided to call the scars from the resulting injury the "steal-mata", after the stigmata, or marks resembling those of the crucified Christ.

Sacrilcious, I know. But so very funny. :-D

Saturday, 26 June 2004

Here Endeth the First Design

Branflakes' Box of Rants and Raves is no more.

Fear not, brave readers. You will still find incisive and witty rants (and raves) here, but I thought it time for a new name, and new and thoroughly boring) banner, and ultimately a redesign of the pages layout. That having been said, I'm only one man, and I'm working on a shoestring budget here, all while trying to sell my car, and join the proud legion of Toyota Echo owners.

In other news, the job opportunity I applied for in Regina did not pan out the way I'd hoped, so I am still here in Nova Scotia, for the time being. Don't get me wrong: I love my job, but it is still not guaranteed to be a permanent one, and the pay, while great for rural Nova Scotia, is at least slightly below the class average, if you know what I mean.

On a sad note, MEAT, the only other uncultured, rural, redneck UNIX Hick I've ever met, is now MEAT, the Cosmopolitan Pirate Who Does Classified Stuff in Ottawa. Farewell, MEAT, and tell none of your secrets while drunk in Gatineau bars with French chicks. Even if they ask nicely. :-)

It looks like I may not be able to do the Maine trip in September after all due to lack of time off. This displeases me greatly, but, *shrug*. What can you do, eh?

That's all, folks. Stay tuned for weather and sports, after this commerical break, as well as the new website design. Coming soon to an XHTML-compliant web browser near you.

Thursday, 17 June 2004

Spread Far and Yon

It seems that, with each passing day, my network spreads further and further asunder.

By this, I mean my computer network. For many, many days and months, it remained static at one computer. Sitting. Alone in isolation. In a dusty, cold, downstairs bedroom.... it ends tonight. Tomorrow morning, my computer joins the Eastlink high-speed network, and the Auburndale Crossroad joins the broadband revolution. And the poor little computer, sitting there all beige-like, will no longer be alone. No longer will it solitarily play The Sims and be disgusted with how slothenly my Sims are.


By this, I also mean my network of friends. In the six weeks since I've graduated, I, of course, have come back to Bridgewater, and many of my other friends have gone to their home places. As the summer approaches, and the job-finding season approaches its climatic peak, I'm watching my friends spread to Ottawa, Hamilton, and as far away as Korea, as well as points between; this ignoring the ones who are already far away.

I must confess, I'm not innocent in this endeavour: I'm looking at one job, for which I'm a perfect fit, that would take me to Regina. The Land of the Flat. Perhaps whatever gravitational force reduced Saskatchewan to a flattened wasteland (apologies to Saskatoon) could reduce me to a healthy weight, without the need for exercise or diet. ;-)

Had a great visit last weekend with That Hot Chick in CS. It will happen against, and next time, we should try to take The Accountant (no website) with us. It would be lots of fun.

Might try to make it to Wolfville again this weekend; tough to say, really.

That is all.