Saturday, December 24, 2011

Twas the day before Christmas

Today was the first day of the Christmas break and all we did was relax. Our Christmas shopping is all done and we don't have the family reunion before next week. So today was a day to relax, sleep in, a late breakfast, an expresso or two, three, reading the news on my iPad. Finally I decided to go walking despite the fact hat it was -13 degrees celsius (9 degrees F). What decided me to go out and freeze? The sun, bright beautiful sunlight. In the winter I'm like a plant, I need sunlight, which this time of year is in short supply, The sun rises about 7:30 am and sets around 4:15 PM and a lot of the time this past month, it has been grey and cloudy. So since the sun was out, so was I. I went walking at the Cap St-Jacques, a nearby nature park that I often go to. I usually cross country ski there, but right now we only have about 2-3 cm of snow, not enough to ski on without scrapping the bottom of my skis. So today I walked 9 kilometres aroundd the park. Here are a couple of photos I took as I was walking. So in the immortal words of old Saint Nic. "Happy Christmas to all and to all a goodnight!"


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Christmas and an iPad

It's almost Christmas vacation but we still haven't had any snow yet so it seems that we'll be having a green Christmas. The kids at school are all excited none the less and we are finishing off the orals for the Christmas project and munching on Christmas cookies that they baked as a part of the project. All in all, the cookies are very good and I'll have to do a lot of walking to burn the calories since cross country skiing is out of the question for the moment. 
I've also been playing around taking pictures and using my new iPad to edit them. I bought it for traveling but I am surprised at what I can do with it to edit the pictures I take. It'll be much easier to carry around than my MacBook Pro and easier to use than my iPhone.
Here is a sample of a picture I edited with Snapseed (weird name but highly effective) I thought it gave just the right atmosphere for the Canadian Parliament since the Conservative election. ;o)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Where my roots are.

We've lived in Montréal for the last 25 years yet Québec is still the city that feels the most like home. I guess its the fact that my roots are there and my ancestors have been there since the late 17th century. So this weekend,  Mrs. BB and I went to visit my family in Québec City and it just felt like coming home. It is a strange feeling. I am an airforce brat and as I was growing up we moved around from place to place. Then, when I was a 17,  I moved to Québec City to go to college and as I got off the bus, for the first time in my life, I felt like I was coming home to where my roots were. Even today after 25 years I still, in my heart of hearts, consider Québec to be home. I'll probably never live there again since my life and family are all here in Montréal , but Québec will always be home. Here are some pictures of "Le Vieux Québec"

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Automne in Québec

The weather has been pretty sh***y these last few weeks but today was the perfect autumn day with bright sunlight and cool temperatures around 6 degrees celsius. The perfect fall day, so Mrs. BB and I decided to go walking in the Cap St-Jacques regional park and take in the nice weather while it lasts. Here are a couple of pictures that I took while walking on the trails.

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

It must be silly season

Well for we citizens of the GWN (Great White North) looking at American politics is always an interesting and rather humorous exercise as well as being somewhat frightening.

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First of all you have Michele Bachmann who said during the Republican debates that the countries that the US "liberated" should pay for their "liberation". I'm sure that the Iraqis really appreciated being liberated (read invaded) after 100000 civilians dead and four million displaced, as well as having their infrastructure destroyed and their standard of living crushed. First of all they never asked to be invaded and then occupied for the next nine years and I'm sure a lot of them that lost family and friends would love to payback the US although I'm not sure the US would like the payback. Now Ms. Bachman has a right to her opinion but there really should be an intelligence test to become President of t he United States.

Rick Perry with gun

The next person that caught my attention was Rick Perry who believes that it is the United Sates' god given right to rule the world. He also believes that the economic recession was god's punishment for not being good christians. He also doesn't believe in evolution and really believes that god talks to him. Here in the GWN we have special places for people who hear voices telling them to do weird things. What really boggles the mind is that he was elected governor, but then again Texas also elected George W. Bush. (Who, by the way, seems a real genius beside this yahoo)


Here in the GWN, we are also not exempt from political weirdness. We have the Honourable Lisa Raitt, Minister of Labour, who wants to change the labour code so that the economy becomes an essential service, which would in effect take away pretty much everyone's right to strike, letting companies pretty much do what they want…. Somehow coming from the conservatives this doesn't surprise me, but what does surprise me is that the same workers elected them in the first place.


Sunday, October 09, 2011

Indian summer

Up here in the Great White North we are having Thanksgiving weekend... yeah I know it's really early but what can we do. It also happens to be the last hurrah of summer, Indian summer, with beautiful sunny warm days that are almost 10 degrees celsius above normal. I've been getting in as much biking as I can while it lasts because after this weekend biking will be pretty much finished unless I dress up like an eskimo. As I was biking I took a couple of pictures around the West Island (the western end of Montreal Island is always called the West Island. It's the suburbs mixed with some woodlands and fields. Rather strange when you consider that the rest of the island is high density city. )


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Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Macintosh and Steve remembered

I am writing this on my current Mac a Macbook Pro, which is my seventh Mac dating back to the 80's and the first Mac 512K I owned. I still remember the wonder as I played with MacPaint and MacWrite on the first Macintosh 128K at a Montreal computer store. I was seduced, I could finally make up my teaching notes with diagrams without cutting and pasting the diagrams onto the printed page. In those days cut 'n paste meant just that, you printed out the text leaving enough room for the diagram (a pain in the ass since the text on the screen was really not WYSIWYG so it was very hit or miss), then photocopied the diagram, then cut it out with scissors and pasted it with a pot of glue. Finally you photocopied the resulting mess. If you had a diagram heavy page such an algebra exam, well, let's just say it was labour intensive. When I finally got together the wherewithall to buy a computer, I went off and got myself one of the first 512K Macs. (I'll always remember the first time I opened the case of my first Mac and saw the autographs of all the people who had worked on the project etched into the inside of the case, now that's pride.) I've never looked back since then and I have always used Apple products, never regretting it. Who do I have to thank for that? Well, in a large measure, Steve Jobs. He was the man behind the dream and he made it happen.Todays computers, be they Macs or PC's can thank him for it, for without his dream of a computer for the rest of us, I'm pretty sure that Windows, mice and the GUI would probably not exist or would be much less sophisticated than they are today.

Steve Jobs was a man that had a dream and he wasn't afraid to follow his dream wherever it lead him. He was a visionary who changed how modern computing and communications work in our world and he probably had great fun doing it. Here is what he said at the 2005 Stanford Commencement. I think it pretty much sums it up.

Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Read more:

In 1987 Steve said that he wanted to put a ding in the universe. Well Steve I think that you finally put more than a ding, more like a bloody big dent... RIP and my condolences to the family you loved.

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Saturday, October 01, 2011

Oops, Beijing we have a problem.

Oops... Beijing, we have a problem...

File this one under "Major Fail".

The Chinese Central Television's telecast of the launch of the Tiangong-1 space station was impeccably done except for one small flaw. The launch was backed up with the stirring music of... wait for it... America The Beautiful. Hmmm I think I know where the producers of this show will be spending their next vacations...

The link is for the article on the The Guardians web site  and it includes a video clip of the blunder...

Rocket's red glaring error: China sets space launch to America the Beautiful | Science | The Guardian: ""


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Summer happenings Part 2

Here is the second part of our summer vacations. Enjoy. 2011 08 04 Voyage France Abbaye Royal de Fontevraud2011 08 04 Voyage France 251Les tombes d Éleanor d Aquitaine et son époux Henri II d Angleterre Se sont les parents de Richard2011 08 04 Voyage France 2792011 08 04 Voyage France 272
2011 08 04 Voyage France  Cathédrale St Gatien2011 08 04 Voyage France 2942011 08 04 Voyage France 3032011 08 04 Voyage France La ville de Tours2011 08 05 Voyage France 3412011 08 05 Voyage France 3212011 08 05 Voyage France 325Le Château Royal d Amboise Il en reste que le 10ième de l originalPont d'AmboiseLe Château de BloisDes décorations sculptés qui furent sauvées lors des rénovationsSculptuers from the castleSculptures from the castleSculptures from the castleSculptures from the castleLady with rebicSculptures from the castleLe Chateau de ChambordThe light source in the cemtral staicase.Le Chateau de Chambord Entrance hallNotre Dame de ChartesNotre Dame de Chartes Notre Dame de ChartesNotre Dame de ChartesNotre Dame de ChartesNotre Dame de ChartesNotre dame de Chartes