Saturday, December 05, 2009

Today's blog has been postponed due to uncontrollable circumstances... it's Saturday night and I have cleaning to do >:(


In exchange of my absence please enjoy my skull made of number signs. I call her Skully. Once, when I was on training, I made a much more impressive Skully that took me two or three days to make. She filled several printed pages and had shading... all done with # signs:

......................................# ######
.............................. #............................#
.............................#......#.....#.... #........ #

I had to replace spaces for dots in this blog because blogspot removed the repetitive spaces. Please use your imagination.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Finn and I like being at home all day. We putz around the house during the day, go for drives in the car, and check out the neighborhood. It's neat seeing his personality come out. It's a different personality than the one I only see in the evening when I come home from work.

Today we were in the basement trying to organize the junk. Personally, I like things with drawers instead of shelves. With drawers, you can just put junk in and close them. Mess is gone. But shelves, you have to organize, re-organize, and keep them organized.

So I got fed up with all the crap in the basement storage area that I've been moving around through the many moves over the past few years... but I'm mild collector of all things that are still good. Yet the basement storage area is just filled with, what would be considered otherwise as, junk.

And THEN I found a couple of these crappy "re-usable" tote shopping bags. Gosh, I hate those. These are the cloth or poly-ester bags that are supposed to convince people to help the environment and re-use their shopping bags. BUT NO!! You alway forget them at home so when you do go to the store you have to either spend 5cents (where's the cent symbol on the keyboard?) on a plastic bag or spend $1.00 on a re-usable bag. AND, companies now love to give out these shitty tote bags instead of pens, hats, jackets or laser pointers because it's showing their client that the company is "green". I like the environment too, but can I have a hat instead of a tote bag?

So when this tote bag fad is over I have a solution for you. Organize all the crap in your basement into similar piles. This is a great activity for a young kid because you have to search through all the junk and look for all the computer cables, or loose CD cases, or printed photos and negatives. It get's them involved. When all the piles are sorted out, put each pile into their own re-usable tote bag. Now take each tote bag and hang them on a nail or hook on the wall. Voilla! Instant organization and it only cost $1.00 each time you needed a bag at Ikea or where the heck else.

So for all you Environmental-Hippies that will have a hundred re-usable tote bags at the end of this global-warming crisis and don't want to throw them away because they are possibly environmentally worse than regular plastic bags (original article in New York Times "An Inconvenient Bag") I have just offered humanity a way to save ourselves.

Although I am late, please let CBC know that I have just participated in the Million Acts of Green the next time you see them.

Yet, I'm afraid someone else has already thought about this before and has posted it on their blog.

This video is only from Finn finding the camera when I was making dinner. Nothing funny here. Just move along.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Ugh, do I have to update the blog again? Didn't I just update the blog? Come to think of it, didn't I just vacuum? Didn't I just do the dishes? Didn't I just feed Finn?

Anyways, our day was fine. Finn and I went to the electronics store to get push switches for our in dash garage door opener DIY project for the Toyota Matrix. It took over 40 minutes of driving and 20 minutes of looking for the right switches. When all was said and done I should have just gone to Radio Shack. Although Radio Shack was a few dollars more expensive for the switches, I probably spent the difference on gas with the car. But Finn and I got home just before anyone had too much of the outside world.

It was warm today, 7 C, and rained most of the afternoon. It was too wet to do anything outside so Finn and I ran inside the house. Running made Finn tired. When Finn was asleep I built my in-dash garage door opener. It works pretty good. When I used it this evening to get a green pepper Finn caught on pretty quick that I was pressing something new and he had this look on him that was both proud that he noticed my new procedure with a hint of mischief. I know he was thinking about getting to the switches the next chance he gets.

And Finn and I went to our local Metro. It's the same as a neighborhood Safeway or IGA. Finn and I wanted chicken fajitas for dinner but we didn't have a green pepper to cook so we went and got one. When we were there I decided to get a fajita spice mix. We were both excited. I was going to cook a delicious, fun meal.

Dinner tonight started out so well. First, I baked the chicken breast instead of frying it. The chicken was so tender and juicy when I pulled it out of the oven. I should have stopped there and just ate the chicken breast with Finn. But I wanted fajitas. Allow me to bullet list my mistakes:
  • I bought a fajita spice mix. Everything else relates to my first mistake.
  • Instead of mixing the fajita spice mix with oil or water before putting the chicken in the mix I put the chicken in a pan and spread the dry mix over the chicken. No matter how much water, oil, or stirring I just couldn't get all of the mix spread. There were clumps of salty fajita mix all over the chicken.
  • Because of my screwing around with the mix I over cooked the chicken. My juicy, tender chicken turned into salty slivers of wood.
  • I went to Metro for a green pepper and left with a green pepper and fajita mix. I should have left with sour cream, salsa, green onions, lettuce, salad dressing, bacon bits and croĆ»tons. At home I had nothing to make dinner with. Now I know this for tomorrow.
  • Because I did not have sour cream, I substituted mayonnaise. That was a mistake. Enough said.
It is an understatement to say that my fajita was the most disgusting fajita I have ever had. I would even say that it was the worst meal that I have ever made for myself. I feel so bad I served this to Finn for dinner. In the end, I gave Finn left-over pasta from last night and would have gave him all the candy he wanted if he asked for it to make up for being a terrible cook. We should have either gone out for dinner when I saw we had nothing to make or just eat Fruit Loops. Although it tasted really bad, the worst cooking I have ever had gave me heart burn for days at a time and I really did resort to eating Fruit Loops for dinner.

Also, while cooking my fajita I knew we had onions so I didn't buy onions. In the kitchen I looked for the onion in our bottom cupboard. The onion bag had fallen behind a box of canned Tonic Water. I moved the box of Tonic Water and I found, what I think was, two onions. I would have taken a picture but our camera's flash will not go off so I couldn't take a picture. Instead, I drew a picture of the onions.

MS Paint doesn't do it justice. The onion's are a much darker shade of brown and the goo around them is much more sticky than represented in the picture. They are still in the cupboards. I may need them some day.

Anything else? I don't think so. Gross day. Gross meal. Oh wait!! I was thinking about it earlier today about how great it is being a single dad. Let me bullet list the things that I was thinking were so great:
  • Waking up in the morning and not having to go to work.
  • Staying up late and watching movies.
  • Eating processed chicken nuggets and fries at 12:30am (Don't panic, I made them at home. I did not take Finn to McDonalds at 12:30am.)
  • Going for a walk whenever Finn and I feel like it.
  • Feeling guilt free when I pee with the door open. Surprisingly, I only poo with the door closed.
But yet, with all these things that make me feel like a young and single dad if only for a week, my fajita incident has reminded me of one thing; I need Jenn and Rose. It has been less than three days and I'm already tired, hungry and bored. I suspect Finn feels the same, but hungry is at the top of his list.

And now Finn is asleep. I hope he sleeps well with tonights dinner and all. I suspect we'll just go out for dinner every other night now.

Heck, I may not be able to make a simple fajita dinner, but at least I can open the garage door with the push of a button on my Matrix's dashboard.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

1. Introduction

Jennifer is away for the week and has me maintaining the blog. So here I am; maintaining.

2. Prerequisites

I don't know how you do things in Blog-o-land, so how about I just bring my own world into your world?

3. Special Notes

You will not find a "funny" theme in my post, nor witty observations about the world. I am strictly here to inform you, the reader, about how my day went. If you do not like my posts then feel free to say so. If this sounds like something I would publish at work, well, you have your answer. I have been publishing technical documents since I arrived in Ottawa so do not expect ironic essays that explains something profound about something that I learned today. You will not learn anything profound. Except that Radio Shack stinks... but we will get to that later. And if you are surprised then I am sorry. Radio Shack stinks.

4. Description

First, Finn and I went to "Toddler Time" at the library. We could not find one book, the one about the "Edmontonosaurous", so we had to go without it. At the library group, we sang songs and sat on small primary colored mats. Finn sat mostly on me. When it was near the end, Finn finally got into the groove of things and was dancing, singing, and clapping. It is fun watching this shy little boy come out of his shell, even if it is painfully slow sometimes.

At craft time we had to decorate mitts. Finn kept putting stickers on his hand. It started to annoy me, but, I let Finn do it anyways. When it was time to go, Finn quickly took the stickers off of his hands and put them on the mitts. It was almost like he was trying the stickers on himself before he put them on his art project. Cute. (Figure 1 source - Image with digital scanner)

Figure 1 - Decorated Mitts

All morning, though, I kept telling Finn that we were going to get books. But when Toddler Time was over Finn did not want to look for books at the library. He wanted to look for books in the garbage. I can explain. For the past couple weeks I have been throwing garbage in dumpsters behind our house. The dumpsters are for an elementary school and, for the past few weeks, they have been throwing out old books in the dumpsters that Finn and I have reclaimed. Today there were no books in the dumpsters, nor did we get any books from the library. I guess we will keep searching for the book about the "Edmontonosaurous." See Figure 2.

Figure 2 - Finn's Book Source

Next for the day was to winterize the house. Each week I try to do a little bit so that when the snow finally comes I will not be in a panic, nor will I have to do it all at once. Yesterday, Finn and I organized the garage enough to put he car in it. Today, Finn and I put a tarp over our patio chairs in the back yard. Figure 3 and 4 illustrate the process from Finn's point of view.

Figure 3 - Winterizing the Patio Furniture

Figure 4 - Finn Is Helping

After naps, snacks, and computer fixing, Finn and I went to the mall near our house. Finn went to see Santa. Finn does not like many things new and he is fairly shy with most new people he meets. Apparently, there is no exception to Santa. Well, first there was an Oriental lady who wanted us to use "Purell". I told her that I did not "believe" in Purell so would not allow her to give it to my son. I told her that if she wanted us to go to the washroom and wash our hands with soap and water we would, but we would not use Purell.

She won the argument. We had to use Purell if we wanted to get near Santa. (If I had my own blog I would rant about the excessive use of Purell and some conspiracy linked to it... but this is not my blog.)

Next up were trains. First there was a "Fantasy Island" (I think they called it) and it was filled with model trains. There was even a Thomas the Train. This "Island" was filled with all these decorative homes and town buildings people love to bring out at Christmas time, my grandparents included. It was neat to see, but Finn needed a second look before he started to enjoy it. The first time he said he was scared and we had to leave.

The main reason to go to the mall was to play with the Thomas the Train set a store has on display. Yes, Finn and I play with toys on display at the store. What? Do you think we are made of money? We can't afford:
1) A Thomas the Train set, and
2) A good digital camera.
Figure 5 illustrates the two things I cannot afford.

Figure 5 - Toyless In A Toy Store
It is incredible how happy Finn is when he plays with the train set at the toy store. See Figure 6 to get an idea of Finn's current train set that he plays with at home.

Figure 6 - The End Of Finn's Day

As you can see from Figure 6, Finn needs a better train set for Christmas, and Dylan needs a better digital camera.

5. Other activities

So that was Finn's and my first full day without Jenn and Rosemary. What was not illustrated are:
  • I ran cable through the basement ceiling so that Finn and Rosemary can watch movies on the TV that are played on the computer. Finn was very helpful getting tools and eating lollipops.
  • Finn was very helpful but afraid of the soldering iron when I was making the TV cables. (The soldering iron did not get hot enough to melt the solder fast enough so the process took too long and Finn got scared. Don't worry Finn, cold solder joints are scary.)
  • In cleaning out the garage Finn and I took back $7.90 worth of beer bottles to deposit. I felt good that I was teaching Finn that recycling and taking beer bottles for your deposit is good because it helps the environment and puts money back in your pocket. I feel bad because I showed Finn that any gain you do for the environment comes from drinking. That, and I know exactly what I got back from the deposit, but I don't know how much I spent tonight on beer. Shhh. Don't tell Jenn.

6. Conclusion

Being a single dad won't be so bad if I didn't have to go back to work next Wednesday. Until then, I will sleep in late, drink coffee all day, not clean anything until the last hour Jenn comes home and say I was too busy making sure Finn didn't stick a knife in his eye or something like that.

Oh yes, and Radio Shack does stink. I went there looking for cable connectors and power switches so I can do some wizardry with:
a) The computer video/audio; and
b) A garage door opener for the car but built into the dashboard console. (See Figure 7)

Figure 7 - Built In Garage Door Opener With Master Switch

(Figure 7 is an illustration using MS Paint after I have had 4 beers trying to "maintain" this blog. Please do not e-mail me that the switch positions are backwards. If you are smart enough to notice that, you are smart enough to figure it out for yourself.)

Finn and I went to look for switches at Radio Shack but they were $4.99-$6.99 for ONE switch. You can get electronic parts from digikey that you can AND cannot get from Radio Shack. I've seen that you can get close to two dozen parts from digikey for the price of one at Radio Shack. So if you want something ordered in terms of electronics and want to build something but don't know how or don't know where to get the parts, just let me know and I will try to help. Also, check out Mouser. I haven't ordered from them yet but I've seen a lot of specialty items that you cannot get on digikey.

7. Summary


8. Authorization

Authorized by D.L. in lieu of J.L. Contact D.L. for questions, comments, or complaints. I'm going to get a beer.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Hey all you Dylan-watchers out there, this week is your chance to get a glimpse into the man, the mind, and the myth behind the chaos, the mess, and the laughter we call the Leite household. I am away, and The Dada is in charge. He promises to keep our online world up-to-date.

"Hmm, should I post cute pictures of Finn and I? Think of snappy captions? Relate a heartwarming and sweet story? Awww, fuck it, Finn. Let's go bowling."Psst, when in doubt, Dylan, click here.