Ok, I’ve always been a nerd; a closet physics nerd at that. I love reading stories about the birth of the universe, black holes, new planets, subatomic particles… really anything to do with physics. The other night I managed to catch an episode of “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking.” To tell you the truth, I didn’t know this show even existed until I saw it. To top it all off, apparently I was watching a rerun!

The episode I managed to catch (there are three in total according to IMDB), was about the birth of the universe and continued all the way until Hawking’s predicted death of the universe. It was definitely a good watch, even if it was a little dumbed down in order to make sense to a wider viewing audience. Sure, I know about the planck length and about the strong, weak and other forces… but I shouldn’t expect everyone else to. I should applaud any effort to educate the masses since it seems so many people just don’t care, or are even scared, of scientific knowledge.

On the whole I enjoyed the episode. Professor Hawking makes wonderful and simple analogies for viewers to understand and yet doesn’t over-simplify things too much. Of course he glosses over the math and other things, but he gets the basic point across for people to understand. I do believe I will be watching more of Professor Hawking’s show, if I can find it to watch.

On another note… why have my last two posts been about TV? Apparently I’m watching too much?

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I had the pleasure ( or displeasure if I may) of watching “Chasing Mummies” this evening. I have always been a fan of documentaries, historical ones in particular, but this reality series comes off as more than a little ridiculous. The fellows in the show are more than a bit over the top, and we add to this the antics of Dr Hawass. The result is a show which is almost unbearable to sit through.

I have never been a fan of reality TV and this just seems to be another attempt to garner ratings. The drama in the show seems so artificial I want to claw my own eyes out. The crabiness of Hawass added just that much
More hate for the show.

What I would enjoy is more archaeology and less fluff. It seems after a wee bit of searching many others agree. Sadly thus type of TV seems to be more and more common. Does anyone else long for the times when channels like TLC, Discovery, and History actually showed worthwhile content?

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I’ve been a big fan of Penny Arcade for a long time, heck the name of my blog comes from one of their comics! They’ve always got some good things going on over there. I don’t any of their books, but I do buy their apparel once in a while. Actually, when Mike and Jerry started their whole Dr Raven Darktalon Blood story line ( A Whimsical God, and this ) I approached them about making a fake website for the “movie” which was in production. They were pretty cool about it, but sadly other things got in the way and all I ever finished was a “Coming Soon” page.

When the PA guys decided to start putting out their own video game I was pretty excited. Mike’s artwork is always good, and Jerry’s prose is just phenomenal. I was looking forward to getting it as soon as it came out! I didn’t actually get it as soon as it came out, I waited for it to come to the PS3… but when the second episode came out ( launched at the same time with XBOX and PC ) I did get that one right away! I swear I did!

For the last couple years I had been patiently waiting for the announcement of Episode 3. I wanted to see the game to its full conclusion. To my dismay the game was announced as cancelled a few months ago (at PAX East I believe). I was quite disappointed with the news, but the reasons were evident… The game cost too much, didn’t bring in enough revenue, and the studio they were working with was doing some other things now.

If you happened to be disappointed like I was, you can rejoice again! I just checked the newsposts on the PA site and noticed something while going back to the previous day (I do this since sometimes miss posts they make on non-comic days). Jerry is putting the rest of the series up in written form! To tell you the truth I’d rather read it than play it anyway. As I said earlier, I love the way Jerry writes. I really think he should pen a novel, if he hasn’t already, I would buy it in a moment!

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Recently I updated my iPhone 3G to use iOS4. It took hours… and the results were underwhelming to say the least. I got a new mail app (uh, woo?) and folders (not actually horrible). I understand the 3G can’t do multitasking… the memory it has available just isn’t going to cut it. But no background on the home page? Or a simple battery percentage notification? What the hell…

At this point I should note that if I was willing to actually shell out for a phone, I probably would never have picked an iPhone. I’ve never had anything but trouble with Apple products, and the device lockdown rubs me the wrong way (being a free software advocate). This phone I have at the moment is a hand-me-down from Jackie. She got a 3GS back in February, and I got her 3G with a broken screen. All told, it’s better than the cruddy Motorola phone I got from Telus and the “Pay as you go” rates from Rogers aren’t horrible.

So back to my frustrating upgrade experience. It really did irk me that the upgrade took something like 4 hours. Most of this being the copying of all my music and other data to the phone again. Oh… and since Jackie had been the last one to sync it tried to copy all of her apps over to the phone and delete mine. WTF???

At this point I was pretty pissed with all the Apple BS and decided to look into the jailbreak option. I had attempted it in the past but failed miserably with funky “Error XXXX” messages when trying to restore the custom firmware. This time it actually worked flawlessly with r3dsn0w. The only hard part is getting the phone into DFU mode since the lock button is broken and only works sporatically.  It took some fiddling, but the jailbreak process itself was very easy.

During the jailbreak process I was asked if I wanted to enable the features Apple had turned off for the 3G and I decided “why not!” The features were definitely enabled, but the performance was horrible. After about a week of dealing with a sluggish phone I had to go back and perform the jailbreak process again to turn those features off.

On the whole, I’m impressed with the Cydia package manager. It’s using dpkg for all of the package management work (Go Debian!), and it works pretty damn good. My only complaint is that Cydia itself is a little slow, even after turning off all of the 3GS/4G features I had on originally. I love that I have a basic terminal on the phone now… I can SSH without a computer to any of my boxes at home. I also like Winterboard and the cool themes. In particular I’ve got one theme installed called Glassillumine which is very slick.

All told, I enjoy this phone much more now that I have the ability to put more on it than the things that are approved by Apple!

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We’re going to Vegas, baby! At least my brother Aaron, his friends Norm and Mark, and I. He’s getting married in less than a month now (July 17th). I’m proud to be the best man, so even if the trip is expensive I’m going. My other brother, Sean , won’t be able to make it so I’m going to have to try to be the conscience.

Should be a good trip!!

June 30th here we come!

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Always gives me shivers when I listen to this song:

I wake up
Beside you, in mom’s car
I try to get you out,
You’re strapped to the backseat
I am too.

The car is rolling down to water.
Why are we
Strapped to our seats,
What did we do?
I cleaned my room just as she asked me to.

Filling up, dirty water,
My chin’s up, going under.
You’re still asleep, baby brother.
I’ll wake you up when this is over.

The car is rolling down to water.
Why are we
Strapped to our seats,
What did we do?
I brushed my teeth just as she asked me to.

This is it, baby brother,
One more breath togther
We’re almost underwater
Where is mom?
I miss her.

The car has rolled into the water.
Why are we dying in this way,
What did we do?
I was nice to him,
Her boyfriend, this is stupid
When people come to search the lake
We’ll be found in our pajamas
They will see
A big mistake is all that this must be

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Last night Jackie and I were watching Glee which was guest starring Neil Patrick Harris. This gave me the opportunity to introduce Jackie to Dr Horrible’s Sing-along Blog. She had never seen it before!

Her reaction was fairly positive, but she did ask “where do you find this crazy stuff?” In reply I chuckled and said “the Internet, silly.” Overall a good experience, even if it did keep us up too late.

Anyway, if you’ve never heard of Dr Horible, I recommend checking it out: http://www.drhorrible.com.

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Just a quick update from the nerd side of me:


The formation of new stars as viewed by the Planck satellite. Pretty cool photos.

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Well, we’re four months into a new year and I haven’t posted a single thing yet. Funny… That’s just like me to neglect stuff like this.

Well, let’s see what’s happened in oh… the last six months:

  • I had surgery in November to fix some problems with my bottom (I am not getting into details :) )
  • HighJump Software layed off > 50% of its staff in the delivery division on my birthday (not me though).
  • My boss told me he was quitting the very same day (which is also HIS birthday).
  • Christmas came and went… I got lots of new video games (and a new awesome toy!)
    • Dragon Age : Origins (Spectacular!!!)
    • Uncharted 2 ( Another spectacular game )
    • Assassins Creed 2 ( Good, but easier than the original IMHO)
    • Heavy Rain (Very Good)
      • This actually came a few weeks ago, but I’m too lazy to create another game section.
    • Dinovo Mini + PS3 Adaptor for Harmony Remote
      • Sooooo awesome… everything works with my remote, and I have a full wireless KB for the ps3 now.
  • January was a flurry of job interviews as I looked to flee a sinking ship (aka HighJump Waterloo )
  • February I landed a new job at Moxy Media, starting March 1st
  • February was also a flurry of school work as I completed my degree on the 25th & 26th with my final two exams.
  • March I started the new job. What a change from working on windows mobile devices to doing work for an advertising agency!
  • I also got my grades for school… Passed with flying colours. Just waiting on the degree in the mail now.
  • My little brother, Aaron, announced to the family he’s getting married in July… Of this year! Insanity is soon to commence.
  • Since school is finished, I’ve started writing software on my own time again. I’m starting to feel the love once more! :)
  • I remade the whole http://zenwerx.com website with a new wordpress look in mid-April.

I think that’s about it… It’s been fairly busy. Lots of stuff going on, and lot’s more to come.

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While outside the other week I noticed a small piece of fluff floating in the wind. It spiraled around in the air currents for a while and eventually landed close to where I was standing. The fluff was actually the seed from a milkweed plant, a pest that I have viciously cut down in my own gardens on many occasions. This time it was different, and I really do not know why. Rather than the usual loathing of a plant that I am unable to kill, a flood of childhood memories came back to me. One in particular sticks out more than the others.

I remember finding a caterpillar on a milkweed plant when I was a child. Being curious I captured the young monarch butterfly larvae with a piece of the plant and placed it in a jar with some holes poked in the top. Over the next few weeks I continued to feed the small caterpillar by finding new milkweed and adding it to the jar. Eventually it hung itself upside down from one of the leaves and created a cocoon. Being quite proud of this “accomplishment” I took the jar in to school to show all my friends.

Now, at some point along the way something bad happened to this poor butterfly I was trying to raise. I can not remember if my mother would not allow the jar in the house, or if I just forgot it outside on the picnic table one night. No matter what the reasoning was, it happened to rain that night and the poor jar was flooded when I found it the next morning. I emptied the water from the jar and dried out the cocoon, but it was too late. I never did get to see the butterfly emerge…

It seems odd, and yet exciting at the same time, how something as simple as a small seed floating on the wind can bring back memories like this. Thank you, milkweed, for helping me remember.

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