famous kiters!

We’re famous! Check out the results of a video session we helped with last year at the Four Winds Kite Festival:

Steadywinds.com → Blog Archive → TVO – Planet Parent kite segment

posted at 11:00 am on Sunday, May 22, 2005 in General | Comments Off on famous kiters!

They’re Baaaack…

Apparently I never documented how much I hate raccoons. Well, they’re back. A loud clatter in the attic at 2AM made me haul out ladders and flashlights, and sure enough, there was a critter up there. I’m not sure where she got in, since there’s no externally visible holes. Based on the noise, I think she’s not sure how she got in either; she was trying to claw / eat her way out through the siding or soffets or something….

I’ll pay the animal control people to deal with it. Again.

posted at 12:00 pm on Monday, February 14, 2005 in General, Personal | Comments (1)
  1. StickHippo says:

    …or you could get the boy his first railgun, and let him take care of it… ;-)


are re-enabled. I forgot to leave a note to myself to turn them back on; Irving had to remind me :)

posted at 10:32 am on Friday, January 07, 2005 in General, Site News | Comments Off on comments


I found the problem.

Due to a typo in my .procmailrc, all of my incoming mail was being saved to the folder


Which isn’t terribly useful, is it?

posted at 7:41 am on Monday, August 16, 2004 in General | Comments (1)
  1. Reid says:

    Ha hah ah ahahahahaha…..

    *smrf* .. sorry, but thaat is way too familiar. I did something similar with all of Luisa’s email going to a folder named “spam”..

spam source

Ok, so it turns out that all (well, 125 of 126 :-) of the spam I’m getting these days is coming through my pobox.com address. The greylisting is working fine, in other words :-)

It’s been great having a portable email address, but now that I pay real money for my own domains, maybe it is time to switch over. I can do more accurate spam filtering on my personal server than they can on their shared servers Unfortunately, the massive spam volumes floating around these days are forcing us to these drastic measures. I’m beginning to believe the pessimists; e-mail is dying…

posted at 10:57 pm on Sunday, August 08, 2004 in General, Security, Site News | Comments (1)
  1. Re: oops
    So after looking at “the mail I accidentally misfiled”:http://blog.cfrq.net/chk/archives/2004/08/16/oops/ there were, in fact, about 150 spam (almost 50%).

    pobox.com has completely revamped their spam filtering service since I last looked; I can n…


Of course, since I drive to work now, I don’t have commute-time for reading anymore, so I should really get off the computer and go read one of those books I just bought. But Firestarter: Rekindled is on in two hours :-)

posted at 8:06 pm on Friday, July 23, 2004 in Books, General, Personal | Comments Off on Time

Sad But True

bq. “Journalism, like all commodities, is subject to the laws of supply and demand. As the demand for skeptical reporting dropped, the supply fell back to match it.”

– John Cassidy

(via the “Quotation of the Day”:http://members.rogers.com/quotationoftheday/index.html mailing list).

posted at 1:47 am on Sunday, July 11, 2004 in General | Comments Off on Sad But True

Sugar controversy in the news

As usual, “Chuq nails it”:http://www.plaidworks.com/chuqui/blog/001248.html:

bq. Why the US is heavily subsidizing sugar growers while artificially limiting access to global sugar to prop up prices, while at the same time planning to heavily spend on new programs to fight obesity, caused in at least way by too much sugar in the typical US diet?

This in response to a “plastic article”:http://www.plastic.com/article.html;sid=04/01/22/07233695 . It seems the WHO is trying to reduce world sugar consumption, as we learn that it is a contributor to obesity. The US response seems to be the same as their response to global warming: “There’s no evidence!”. William Steiger writes:

bq. that there is no robust evidence linking sugar consumption to rising obesity levels and that diet has to be a matter of personal choice. Steiger wrote ‘There is also an unsubstantiated focus on ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods, and a conclusion that specific foods are linked to non-communicable diseases. The assertion that the heavy marketing of energy-dense foods or fast food outlets increases the risk of obesity is supported by almost no data.’

I always thought that this is exactly the kind of thing that governments should be meddling in. Sadly, people do need to be protected from themselves (with education, if nothing else), and goverments are in a unique position to do that. And, after all, the same governments tax revenue is paying all the health costs of obesity, so you think there’d be a bottom-line incentive too. (Well, ok, there is, but it involves re-election, not tax dollars.)

I guess I’d make a lousy libertarian :-)

posted at 2:49 pm on Sunday, January 25, 2004 in General | Comments Off on Sugar controversy in the news

Christmas Ornaments

I never did get my christmas tree ornament reflection picture. Michaéla got some good ones, though; I may post a couple later.

In the meantime, here is a _really good_ “ornament reflection”:http://www.meccapixel.com/archives/000053.php for you to enjoy…

posted at 1:41 am on Saturday, December 27, 2003 in General | Comments Off on Christmas Ornaments

Natural Choice USA

Today in the paper mail I received an invitation from “Natural Choice USA”:http://edumacation.com/NaturalChoice to attend a “free, no-obligation demonstration of a proven, money-making business opportunity”.

Thanks to “Google”:http://www.google.ca/, I now know “a lot more”:http://www.forbes.com/global/1999/0614/0212099a_print.html about these guys than they probably want me to.

What is it about get rich quick schemes that is so appealing? How is it that people get sucked in, decade after decade? I just don’t get it; I guess I should thank the person or people who taught me to be a skeptic!

Off to the blue box they go…

posted at 8:52 pm on Wednesday, September 24, 2003 in General | Comments (1)
  1. jok says:

    Investment of time or money is about the only way to get ahead of the game, that’s why it’s appealing. It’s good to be skeptical in all things though because everyone’s in it for themselves, so if they come to you with an idea, guess who they’re planning to make rich?

DNS issues?

Some of my regular visitors recently complained that my site was down. Well, actually, it is up, but I’m having strange DNS issues.

I used to have three nameservers, in three separate physical locations; one of them is even on a separate ISP. However, two of my three nameservers are down. ns1.cfrq.net is now in my basement (switched off) due to the upcoming acquisition, and ns3.cfrq.net is down while the host site deals with floods etc. after the blackout.

This would normally be ok, since I still have one functioning nameserver. There was a bit of confusion between myself and the InterNIC over it’s _address_, but that has been cleared up. However, it seems that several places (notably both sympatico and rogers@home) can’t seem to contact the one remaining namserver (ns2.cfrq.net,, even though the glue records for the zone (in the GTLD servers) are correct, and the machine is up and running. I’d appreciate it if anyone could enlighten me (FWIW, I’m probably missing something obvious :-).

For now, I’ve reprogrammed the local firewall to a) answer to ns1.cfrq.net’s address, and b) redirect DNS queries to ns2.cfrq.net. This is the power of linux with iptables at work; bi-directional NAT is four lines of my firewall script :-). I won’t be able to do this forever, but with any luck ns3.cfrq.net will be in service again shortly, and I’ll figure out what’s wrong with the ISP nameservers.

In the meantime, I’m still looking for a home for ns1.cfrq.net, but that’s another story…

posted at 9:01 am on Thursday, August 21, 2003 in General | Comments Off on DNS issues?

Out of the mouths of babes…

[ Talking about Advent at breakfast this morning. ]

M: What are we waiting for?
C: Jesus’ birthday?
M: Do you know why?
C: No…
M: Why do we celebrate Jesus’ birthday and not Elvis’ birthday?
C: (with “the look”) because Elvis is an alien!

Much laughter and giggling ensued…

posted at 9:27 am on Tuesday, December 03, 2002 in General | Comments (2)
  1. Debbie says:

    This is great!!

    By the way, I keep meaning to congratulate you on your weight loss. Very impressive!

  2. Michaela says:

    My “devout catholic” mother was less impressed with the rest of the story. There is a beauty of a punchline at the end. It went like this.

    Me (Michaela/Mother/Wife) “Okay, you’re right, that is what makes Elvis special. Why is Jesus special?”

    Gareth “Because he is God”
    Charlotte (the echo child) “Because he is God.”

    Me “Charlotte, what is God?”

    Charlotte “I don’t know”

    Me “Gareth, do you know what God is?”

    Gareth “He is a spirit.”

    Me “Do spirits get born and have mummy’s”

    Gareth “Yes”

    Me “okay, you are right. Do spirits wear diapers?”

    Me “So Jesus was God and a person. That is what makes him so special. And *that* is why we celebrate his birthday”

    Gareth “Yeah, just like Hercules!!!”

Origami Boulders

Still looking for something interesting for that special person who has everything?

Try the Origami Boulder.

(Thanks to Karen Murphy for the link.)

posted at 10:01 am on Monday, December 02, 2002 in General | Comments (3)
  1. Debbie says:

    Cute. :) I’ve heard of origami boulders before, but never thought anyone would SELL them.

  2. joel says:

    its quite the site isn’t it. cracks me up everytime. still haven’t bought anything though :-)

  3. Sharper says:

    Origami Boulders are great! Easy and yet fun to do. I can knock out a dozen in about 10 seconds.

    Check out the Origami ideas at:

    …now to convince my wife that all of her “messups” when writing are really art…


A humourous little tidbit from the Quote Of The Day mailing list:

[In regard to the varying effectiveness of different kinds of placebos], capsules containing colored beads are more effective than colored tablets, which are superior to white tablets with corners, which are better than round white tablets. Beyond this, intramuscular saline injections are superior to any tablet but inferior to intravenous injections. Tablets taken from a bottle labeled with a well-known brand name are superior to the same tablets taken from a bottle with a typed label. My favorite is a doctor who always handled placebo tablets with forceps, assuring the patient that they were too powerful to be touched by hand.”

— British physiologist Patrick Wall, one of the world’s leading experts on the use of the placebo. (From “The Science of Consciousness”, edited by Max Velmans, p. 168.)

I believe in magic and the power of conciousness, and yet it still sometimes amazes me that this works

posted at 4:16 pm on Saturday, November 30, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Placebos

There are strange things done

Turn of a Friendly Die is fun, but I was looking for other Rolemaster related websites, and for various reasons tripped over:

  • The Complete Guide to Unlawful Carnal Knowledge for Fantasy Role-Playing Games. Our current rolemaster campaign happens to have a soon-to-be-pregnant character, so I suppose some of this could come in handy. Still, this smacks of munchkinism; real role players would just, well, role-play
  • Google results for “rolemaster blog” gives my weblog as the first hit. Very strange.
  • I found an answer to Ginger’s WISH #20 by HWRNMNBSOL particularly amusing:

    NIGHTOWL: Nodonn! how many orcs are coming from your direction?
    NODONN: Four.
    NIGHTOWL: Er….a big four or a small four?
    NODONN: Four.

    Go read the whole page; the entries below are thoughtful and amusing also.

    1. Stay Alert!
    2. Trust No-one!
    3. Keep your Laser Handy!

posted at 5:30 pm on Friday, November 29, 2002 in General | Comments Off on There are strange things done

Toronto Island Airport

So Toronto City Council voted last night to allow a bridge between the Toronto Island Airport and the mainland. Existing access is via a ferry across the western gap; a (possibly small and vocal) group has been arguing for at least 20 years that building a bridge would improve utilisation of the airport and revitalise our city.

Personally, I’m skeptical on that particular rationalisation. This only works if you can fly to other downtown airports in nearby cities; so far that’s New York, Boston, and Chicago (Ottawa and Montreal don’t really have downtown airports, but I guess we could count them too.

The Toronto Board of Trade apparently surveyed their members on this topic, and concluded that they don’t really care about the Island Airport; what they want is fast access to Pearson International Airport (preferrably via train from downtown). I think this is the right answer; many other international cities have direct rail links from outlying airports to downtown; in my experience that’s a wonderful way to travel.

But that’s not really why I’m ranting this morning. The part of the debate that makes me gag is this:

The anti-airport faction is mostly downtown residents, who are annoyed by the noise and pollution caused by the airport. I’m sorry, but the airport was there long before most of the residents involved moved in. They knew the airport was there, and they bought houses and condominiums downtown (and especially on the waterfront) anyway. At the time that most of those condo towers were under construction, airport traffic was about five times what it is now (400,000 passengers per year vs. 80,000 today).

It’s generally a good thing for airports to reduce their noise and pollution, but
I don’t believe that people have a right to move into an area with an existing, functioning airport, and then start complaining about that airport. People have been buying houses near airports and then complaining about it for decades. There is a reason those houses are cheap! Don’t buy a residence near an operating airport, you morons!

posted at 12:02 pm on Friday, November 29, 2002 in General | Comments (1)
  1. Mike says:

    As you may know our Mayor, Saddam Daley, recently shut down our lake front airport, Meigs, by attacking at night with bulldozers which have ripped large “X’s” into the concrete runway.

Oooh! Canadian Controversy!

But George bush is a moron

I find it fascinating that the story was originally reported in the National Post, owned by the Asper family, who are Paul Martin supporters and have been actively trying to discredit Jean Chrétien.

Puts a whole new spin on the story, doesn’t it?

posted at 9:26 am on Wednesday, November 27, 2002 in General | Comments (1)
  1. michaela says:

    Unfortunately we need to be more careful about sharing our opinions in front of the kids. Now, everytime Gareth hears the words “George Bush” he shouts “But George Bush IS a moron” at whomever or whatever said his name.

    One of the late night talk shows in Florida was discussing this issue and an Ex-Patriate Canuck asked “Why is it Canada’s fault that American’s elected a President who is so ignorant of the world around him?” When the host challenged her by saying that “W” is one of the most popular presidents in history she countered with “I didn’t comment on his popularity. My comment was about his intelligence.”

    For a different spin: How many Canadians would have repeated the comment with as much relish if Francie had said “Al Gore is a moron.”

    Poor Al. Won the popular vote, is intelligent, yet still NOT President.

    As far as the ethics of the National Post reporter who broke the story – He had a choice to make and he made it.

    AND given the restrictions of civil liberties that have been facing our southern neighbours since 9-11 – I think that Francie held this opionion, spoke this opinion and our Prime Minister stood by her right to both is marvellous. Regardless of his motivation, that reporter sparked discussions on the television, radio and in coffee shops that made Canadians speak their minds. Hip Hip


Sunday was my birthday.

On Saturday, several friends came over, and we had a fajitas party. 9 people; a large bowl of chicken; a smaller one of beef; two large bowls of veggies; about a pound of cheese; a half litre each of sour cream and salsa; and almost a half-litre of guacamole. Some wine and lots of candles to complete the mix.

Wow, that was fun. We stayed up until almost 2 in the morning drinking (various combinations of scotch, brandy, grand marnier, martinis, and other liver-damaging substances), and watching the candles burn out one by one.

We really have to do this more often :-)

[ I’ve been busy the last couple of days setting up the rolemaster website for the campaign I’m in. Movable Type is good for more than just weblogs!!! ]

posted at 3:06 pm on Tuesday, November 26, 2002 in General | Comments (1)
  1. Debbie says:

    Sorry I missed your birthday!

    The fajitas party sounds like fun.


The Ultimate Boy Scout

Here is a story about The human Swiss Army Knife. He’s got the ultimate presentation of the Boy Scout motto “Be Prepared”. He carries 12 kg of stuff around with him in various pockets and folds. He’s even got the Guinness record; 1300 different items!

I carry a MagLite, Leatherman, cell phone, and pedomter on my belt. This guy definitely out-geeks me. (Interestingly, he ditched his pedometer…)

[ Thanks to both David and Terry Labach for the link! ]

posted at 12:21 pm on Saturday, November 23, 2002 in General | Comments Off on The Ultimate Boy Scout


Earlier this week I linked to a story about a 72 mile WLAN link run by SDSC. There’s been an update (the quote is from Edupage):


A story in Computerworld prompted complaints that the High Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN) was operating an illegal configuration on its 72-mile WLAN link between the San Diego Supercomputer Center and San Clemente Island. In response, HPWREN reduced a power amplifier it uses from 1 watt to 250 milliwatts to stay within Federal Communications Commission regulations for power levels on the 2.4-GHz band. HPWREN principal investigator Hans Werner-Braun said any violation of the power limits was unintentional. Data throughput has dropped to about 300 kilobits per second, but the link has been maintained at the reduced power level.

That was a minor oops. I guess there is such thing as “bad press”…

posted at 10:26 am on Friday, November 22, 2002 in General | Comments Off on Oops!
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