tvordlj: (Default)
 I'm confused. We had an application that was a little broken, discovered by someone that uses it, though she'd discovered it in the testing environment before she tried to do it in the production side of things. It was related to a different change we made a month ago and didn't realize another part that would need a change with it. Points to her for raising the flat. It partly worked but partly didn't. The problem is that the code is vague and somewhat obscure and I have had a hard time following it and figuring out what it's doing. We were refreshing the test database on the weekend and then doing more testing this week. I thought I had figured out what the problem was in the application, actually quite a minor thing and I thought I deployed it to the test environment server. 

Today, we were doing testing and it still wasn't working so I dug in. Deeper and deeper. For the life of me I couldn't see where it was missing out so I added a couple of comments to be printed out on the logs to try to track down the section where I thought it might be skipping through some of the data. Made the code change for the comments, sent it over to the test server. Tried another test and it frigging well worked. I didn't make any changes to the logic, just added comments. ANd in fact the comments were not printing things properly so that was a bit useless anyway. Never mind. The only thing I can think of is that I didn't actually deploy the initial change last week though I really did think I had. I can't check now because re-deploying it overwrites it so there isn't any way to check the file date. It will show today's date now. The woman in the department that brought it up in the first place did some more testing and left me a message to say it looked good from her side. Now we just need to coordinate how we're going to deploy it in production because we're going to have to reset some data as well. 

I just wish I knew what I had or hadn't done. 
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
I've been saying it for months. Two weeks ago I finally followed through and went back to the gym. I've been paying for it all this time, well over a year since I've last been and there's been no other excuse. I've found that my cardio strength has been terrible and my back is bothering me more than it was but the cardio was the main thing that concerned me. So I did it. And it was hard. I went twice a week for the first two weeks and this week will start trying to go three times a week. I might not manage it some times but it was always thus. No trainer this time as i can't swing that. They're quite expensive and we have other things we need to reserve our funds for. I saw my old trainer yesterday, and we had a little catch up. He did offer to do a refresher session with me on Friday so I'll take that on. Gives me a bit more of a push and though I remember the kinds of exercises i was doing before, he might also come up with some good ideas.

I'm not throwing myself into it but then I never did. I would like to get myself back to where i was, though. I was able to go on the cross trainer for 20 minutes last going off. I don't run, I don't go fast and hard, but I was moving. I'm starting slowly because it will kill me if i try to push myself before my body is ready. 15 - 20 minutes on the treadmill or bike for now, plus weights and machines. After a little while, I'll start with the cross trainer, and even if i can just go 5 minutes at first, that's something that I can build on. I've set up my iPod playlists, very important. Can't do it without tunes.

Not a lot else to report. Weather's been quite good, even nicer than usual for this time of year. Municipal election last weekend. Turnout was appallingly low. I think there were 4 out of 16 council seats already acclaimed and one or two school board seats and I wonder if that's why people didn't bother to vote for other stuff, Mayor in particular. They reported that the pre-election evoting was down from last time, too but that's all probably the same issue. I'm sure there are lots of people that figure if they haven't got to vote for the councillor, they wouldn't bother voting for Mayor when the outcome was pretty much assured that the encumbent was going to win anyway. He did. I think there were about 90,000 that voted for the two candidates. There are approximately 280,000 eligible voters more or less.

This was the first time in nearly 20 year that I haven't been working on the election so i don't know the numbers exactly. They redid the election application and didn't write it in house as such. They used the Province's system and customized it for ourselves, with consultants doing the work. I wasn't involved other than information gathering at the start of the project. It also meant i didn't have to work on election night into the week hours. That was a blessed relief. I always ended up sitting here doing next to nothing untill all the results were in, then spent about 15 minutes running some scripts and reports. That's it. And by that time it was usually anywhere between 2 and 5 a.m. most times. One year they let me go home at midnight and come in on Sunday morning for 9 to do it. Every time there would be some glitch or issue and the people in charge would be in a state. There's a lot of pressure on them, from inside and from the media but as much as they wanted to blame the application or the database, it was never that which was the problem. I'm very happy it's not my part of my job anymore :) I've done my time.

I've read a book recently by an author called Ami McKay. She's born American but lives in Canada now, in Nova Scotia and her book took place near an area that I know, in the Annapolis Valley though it takes place about 100 years ago. The Birth House, it's called, and is about midwifery in the pre WWI days. I have another of her books, called The Virgin Cure and she's got a new one coming out next week. Turns out she's speaking at the Halifax Central Library next Wednesday night and I am going to go hear her. I think i'll even be able to get a copy of the book because it's released the day before according to the bookstore here. I'd like to get it signed if possible. G. said he'd go with me to keep me company. He's a good husband :) I knew it wasn't really his thing since it's not the kind of book he reads, but I wouldn't have seen him all day since it would have been very inconvenient to come home after work and turn right around and have to go out again. This way, we can get a bite to eat before the talk and head to the library. I am also hoping to meet someone that's in a Goodreads group that I follow for Canadian literature so that will be nice, as well. 
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Day two of the three day virtual course done and dusted. The instructor leaves a bit to be desired. He does have experience using the software but it feels like he's just reading the course material and it feels like he sometimes doesn't know what he's doing or telling you. Just sometimes. And sometimes he gets messing around looking for things or trying to make something work and I end up cursing. I can do that because the audio is muted so that there's no background noise from all the students. we can break in and ask a question or type a question in a chat box. I managed to ask a question this morning that had him wandering around for about 15 minutes trying to find the answer (unsuccessfully) and another question that had him again doing some digging and demonstrating. *sigh* I don't dare ask anything else complicated!!

The course is mainly him demo-ing different things that you can do and then us doing labs of pretty much the same thing. If I was teaching it, I'd be using some real life examples while explaining. A lot of this I know how to do but the version of the software is different so things are in new places. That alone makes it useful. It doesn't seem to be quite as powerful or customizable as the other version but it might be to an extent, I just have to dig around a bit more.

2015 books )
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Further to the death of Anne Kirkbride
There has been no official statement as to what caused her death but a few of the media reports have said it was breast cancer that spread to her brain after she stopped the chemo. I don't know for sure but it sounds like it is probably a pretty good possibility. Cancer is like that. It can be very aggressive.

Not a lot of the cast and crew of the show knew of her illness, apparently, though I do wonder if more knew than we think and just kept it quiet out of respect for her fighting the disease. One report says that Bill Roache and Bev Callard ("Ken" and "Liz") were with her along with her family at the end. He did say in a media clip that he went to say goodbye so i suppose he must have been there on that last day for sure. It really is awful, though, the questions they ask. He was asked how did he feel having to say goodbye. Credit to him for not snapping the face right off the reporter and shouting how the fuck do you think i feel? He couldn't even reply at first, you could tell he was emotional and all he said was that going to say goodbye was something he knew he had to do, he wanted to be there. As sad as I had been to hear of her death, seeing that short clip is what brought the tears and the lump in my th roat.

I've read a lot of the media stories about her over the last day or two and the love and respect of everyone that knew her just glows off the screen, and there were several articles on how iconic the character of Deirdre was. One even said she was the heart of the show, that yes, there were other iconic characters, both men and women, but Deirdre is the one we saw grow up on screen, both her character and the actor herself, to face life, make choices and grow into the woman she became. Anne Kirkbride was 17 when she started so that's true. All the others, Elsie Tanner, Ena Sharples, Rita Sullivan, Vera Duckworth and all the others, those actors were already adults in their 20s or older when first appearing on the show. Maybe you could say the same for Ken Barlow but even he as an actor was nearly 30 playing a 20 or 21 year old post-university graduate.

Another two radio clips from former actors both used terms like "mad as a box of frogs" and "eccentric" but also said she was lovely and fun and warm and welcoming. She sounds like she was a live wire and totally unlike her character. I think I remember that Marc Bayliss who played Rob Donovan said that as well, the person most unlike the character they played.

And in other news, my hump day started quietly and then my mind just bounced out of my head this afternoon trying to work out a problem with a report. Good grief. I did have help and the other person was the one that figured out where the link between the data tables needed to be to get the information we needed rather than what I had put on the report query before. So the day ended ok at least thanks to a smart lady helping me. I said to another coworker that this job does my head in at times but I couldn't imagine doing anything else. Except maybe a travel agent but then the downside of that is dealing with the public and that can be a real minefield at times. With data, logic is logic. If it goes wrong, either the data is wrong or you're not getting to it the right way. People, on the other hand, are unpredictable and "not logical, Captain".
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Note to self... you know the gym is going to be busier on a Monday after work. Why don't you wait until Tuesday? Because you're a numpty and you keep forgetting.
Not only is it busier, but the reason it's a pain in the backside is because of the knobs that sit on a machine and use it for forty thousand sets rather than get up in between and let someone else use it. I'm not aggressive enough to ask. And you know what? The women in the gym never do this. They do their two sets and get off. 5 minutes tops.  I'm left wandering around looking for a machine that I like to use to be free. I can do some things with the free weights and I do but the set up in the gym since it's moved doesn't seem to have any incline benches to do some of the other exercises that you can do instead of using a machine. Well, they may have them but they're in the back where the muscle bound heavy lifters are and very few women intrude. They don't bother you but it's still intimidating.

Goodlife decided they wouldn't build a womens' only section in the new location which sucks. I think most of the new Goodlifes don't have them though a few of the older ones still around do. Problem is not having a car, it's very inconvenient to go to one of those after work and I just won't go if i had to do that. When they were right in Scotia Square, they had a small womens' area, it had crap machines but it had a couple of treadmills, bikes and eliptical machines, a full set of weights and two benches. They expanded, moved across the street and it's a nice place, but there are two things wrong with it. One is the elimination of the womens' area and the other is the area they have for the private personal trainers and clients. It's all out in the open and just roped off. I do understand that they can now share that spot with other trainers and clients though that gets a bit too much as well if there's more than two pairs there. Before, they had a room that was closed off and you didn't have to worry about people watching you. But it could only be booked for one trainer and client at a time, the rest would have to work out with trainers out in the main gym so I *can* see their point.

Now that I"m not using a trainer it's moot. (paying for a wedding instead, y'all!) Anyway, I am still going to the gym, though it's harder to push myself there without the incentive of having to meet the trainer but i'm managing at least twice a week most weeks. There's enough of an improvement both with the stability of my lower back and a bit of an improvement with my blood pressure to provide me with reasons not to stop. We get a good rate through work with payroll deduction.

Oooh speaking of payroll deduction, did i mention that they're *finally* organizing an employee transit pass for us at a discount that we can pay through payroll and which is good for the whole year? Not having to get a new pass each month and it's still tax deductable. I think it will have a photo id or it will be a photo pass. The discount is something like 25% but the savings will be a taxable benefit. Even so, the amount taxed on the savings will still be less than the tax refund on the deduction. The government allows monthly and yearly transit passes to be used as a deduction on your income tax and it does make a difference in the refund amount though I'm not really sure how much it worked out to.  Because the transit is part of the City government which is where I work, I've been bitching for years that we should have some sort of staff discount.

They want to encourage people to take the bus, it would make sense to start at their own doorstep and finally now they are. They've been offering students a ridiculously cheap student pass that is good for the university year (Sept. to May) and is mandatory and part of their tuition now. It's something stupid like $150 for the student year. Consider that buying a student pass currently costs $70 a month (adult passes are $78) and you can see how good a deal that is. I"m sure some students bitch that they won't use the pass so why are they being charged for it and I'm sure Transit makes a bucket load of money because of the thousands of students in this city at universities, I'm betting probably half of them won't use it at all or very little because parking is still a pain in the butt at the universities and staff don't get the discount, I don't think.  (Halifax has two big universities, one smaller one that's affiliated with one of the bigger ones, a medium sized one,  an art college and several campuses of the Nova Scotia Community College). I'm pretty sure the universities are on the bus pass system but not sure that the colleges are.

I believe they'll be setting up for the staff passes this month, making dates and times for the photo ids to be created,  and I expect the first payroll deductions will be taken off in January when I think is when the passes take effect.
tvordlj: (Queen Logo)
Three days. Three long days.
Some years ago we at work adopted a framework for delivering IT services to the rest of the corporation. It's called ITIL. We didn't implement much of it but are pushing more towards it these days. It's all processes and "best practices" and all the other buzzwords you don't want to know. More buzzwords and acronyms than you *ever* want to know. We had a course and had to write an exam.

Now, we've all had to upgrade to a newer version of it. Those of us that had certification in the old version had to sit through a three day course. Those that had been certified in the current version will only need a one day refresher. It's probably the worst course I've ever had to sit through in that they bombard you with information and definitions and a few examples, but mostly you absorb what you can, memorize what you can and hope for the best on the exam. Two and a half days to plow through 300 pages of the manual, less than that really because there are exercises and two practice exams so you might as well say it's only two days of "learning".

The exam is multiple choice but the wording can be very tricky. The practice exams are supposed to be old retired exams. They weren't too bad. I did ok on those. If they truly were exams in the past,  I think they were retired because they were too easy. The actual exam was worse. However, I apparently passed. We've got preliminary emails with a pass/fail. We will later get the actual results and an e-certificate which sucks. For the amount of money it probably costs them to put this on, you'd think they'd insist on proper certificates printed on proper certificate paper. Why should I spend my money to have it printed on nice paper? Anyway I don't care what my actual score was (you have to have 65% or 26 out of 40 questions to pass). With any luck they won't change the versions again before I retire!

Still no actual wedding date because there isn't a venue booked yet. I have a feeling we could do it on a Sunday rather than a Saturday which is ok because it's not an evening dinner/dance thing anyway. I'm going to meet someone at one of the local hotels on Saturday to chat and see their facilities. That's the first one. I've sent a couple other emails out and nobody's got back to me. I don't understand why they would be so offhanded about potential business. I sent the emails a week ago using the contact information on the websites. If that's incorrect, then they've very likely missed out a lot of business.

25 Sleeps until the Queen concert in Montreal!!! Can i just say how excited i am? (!!!!) They are my all time favourite. My only regret is never seeing them when Freddie was alive but Adam Lambert does a very good job. But i know Brian May's guitar is going to burst my heart right out of my chest. as much as I loved Freddie, it was always Brian's playing and sound that lifted me. We're going to be on the floor near the stage, well... the stage is going to have a ramp or catwalk out away from it and that's what we're going to be near. There are seats but I expect we'll be on our feet for most of it and it's going to be 3 hours, no opening band, no intermission. At least I'll have a chair to sit in if my legs or back get too tired. I'm going with a coworker and another friend and the coworker saw them in London two summers ago. She said it was the same then, long show, no intermission, no opening act. I'm so stoked!
tvordlj: (Bus)
Note to Ms. Bus Driver.
When it's cold outside, and you've let your passengers off/on at the stop/terminal, could you please close the doors if you're just going to sit there for more than a minute? Thanks.

I'm all for having a cheerful driver who greets me pleasantly. Even better if he/she drives the speed limit and doesn't work the brakes for all they're worth. But come on. The driver has personal heating where they sit but I think they forget about the rest of us. The heating is on and it's nice and cozy and then we get to the terminal. Even if there's only a few minutes' wait until they have to leave, once everyone is off or boarded, there's no need to chill out the rest of the bus and let the wind whistle through. You can always open the door again if someone wants on or off. Sheesh. When will winter end? This part of Canada, it won't be for weeks yet. Other parts have a proper spring with weather starting to warm up by now or by the middle of March. What do we get? A day here and there that fools you into thinking Spring might just be on the way and then whammo with the snow or the sub zero temps again. At least now, it's more likely the snow will turn to rain or rain away within a few days. That's something.

Ok, weather whinge over.

Social media sure has it's positive side as much as some of it can be a pain in the butt. Endless photo shares, banal tweets, advertising. Twitter isn't quite so bad as Facebook because you don't seem to get quite as many repeat posts with half your friends sharing and re-posting the same cartoons and photos. Twitter isn't just about following celebrities either. I have a few that i follow, mostly Corrie actors but a couple others, there are people I know either in person or through the corrie community, a couple of local news and traffic feeds, and then there are things related to my interests of history, travel and photography. One of them came up trumps on the weekend. The BBC History magazine posted a notice about an upcoming exhibition at the British Museum about Vikings. Oooooh! We both like things like that. Quick-surf to the B.M. site and sure enough it's going to be on while we're there so I scored a couple of tickets. They have timed entry for things like this with a limited number of tickets for each time, in this case, on the half hour. It keeps the exhibit from getting too crowded and keeps the flow of people reasonable.

The last time I was in London during a major exhibit was for the Terra Cotta Warriors from China. We didn't manage to get tickets online before and when we went there in person we couldn't get in either. I'm sure they do keep some tickets aside for walk-ins. Anyway, that was over an Easter weekend the same as this upcoming visit will be so I didn't want to risk missing out this time. I snapped up the tickets before even talking to Graham but I knew he'd be cool with it and he was. We're going to that in the late afternoon on the Saturday and then to The Mousetrap that evening. Sunday we're going to the Tower of London and I"m hoping to catch up with any of you Londoners free on the Sunday afternoon. I'll get that coordinated through [livejournal.com profile] naturalbornkaos closer to the date as far as finding a suitable pub and letting people know.

The weekend was very nice. My sister and I took Mom out to lunch for a belated birthday meal because last weekend the weather didn't coorperate, or we thought it wasn't going to so we cancelled. It wasn't great but it wasn't as bad as forecast so we might have been able to go but anyway, we didn't. I also went shopping and replaced all of my bras! All at once! The only thing i've noticed is that the bottom edge of the piece that the hooks are on is scratchy against my back so i've had to undo the bottom hook. I suppose that will soften over time with washings. Picked up a few tops as well that were on sale plus another 30% including a hoodie that is made from sweatshirt fleece. I am finding it really hard to get sweatshirts in that material anymore and I don't know why. It's nice and warm and soft and all cotton. Sometimes you can get it but it's got polyester in it or something, it's not quite as stretchy as cotton and thus doesn't wear and age as nicely.

Our new manager seems to be working out so far, settling in, nice guy. I think this is the first time i've had a manager that was younger than me, though. The last one was but only by a few years and all the others have been older or close to my age as well. This man is a good 10 years younger, maybe a little more and looks it. Not a gray hair on his head nor wrinkle on his face. I know he's over 40 but he looks about 30. I feel old. ;)
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Been a decent week at work, was working on trying to built a difficult report and i was determined it would submit to my will. It looks like i have triumped but I'm now waiting for someone else to do some data work before I can add the last bits to it and give it a thorough testing. This is different than trying to debug something or fix something that's broke or just dealing with something that's being a pain in the ass. This is more of a challenge, knowing there *has* to be a way of finessing it and getting *this* close and knowing it's going to be just some little thing that's going to click. Which it did. I felt like doing a victor lap around the work station! I probably shouldn't count my chickens just yet but I think it's doing what it should be now. It will need testing and refining and a few minor cosmetic fixes but as far as i can tell at this point, the brain busting work is done. *knock on wood*

Booked the rental car for Manchester. I didn't use Autoeurope this time, and I can't remember why. I think it wasn't giving me the options or the price i wanted and I had a coupon code from Aeroplan to book and get some extra miles and a bit of a discount, though, with the added on extra insurances, it brought it back up to what it usually costs anyway. I know i can get those insurances through my credit card but when i'm out of country, i prefer to use the rental company's insurances just to cover everything and I think if anything should ever happen, it's a lot more straight forward just contacting the rental company than trying to get hold of the credit card company  and dealing with that from overseas. Plus, an added bonus, booking directly through the rental company I didn't have to prepay like i do with Autoeurope though there was that option. It didn't make it any cheaper so why would you?

Prepaying things like cars or hotels often does give you a very good discount but the downside is there's no getting any money back if you have to cancel unless you have cancellation insurance. That will add onto the cost of the purchase or a separate policy. I've got a policy i bought with the air fare and I can probably add onto that for the rest of the stuff that I do have prepaid or the bits that are cancellation fees and things. The both hotels are free cancellation but though they say "free" it means they'll still charge you one night's stay and the travel agent's booking company also charges a small fee. For a two night's stay, that's most of the cost but for the five nights in Paris, it's better. I should add up my cancellation fees and prepaid stuff to see how much more that policy needs to cover. If i can't add on to that one, i can get another one through the travel agency. That might be just as easy. I'll see what the difference in cost is.

So all the major things are booked and most of them are prepaid aside from the car. I think we are going to stay at an airport hotel in Manchester overnight before going to Paris because the flight to Paris is really early. And while the hotel costs more than the taxi to the airport, we might not have to get up *quite* so early. There's a couple of cheap hotels right at the airport with a free shuttle to and from the terminals. We can drop the car off after checking in and getting rid of the luggage first, in fact we could check in in the afternoon, dump the bags, go find a nice pub somewhere first before dropping off the car and getting the shuttle back to the hotel.

44 Sleeps! Yes i am pathetic and have a countdown widget on my phone! :))) Oh why not!

When Graham comes over at the end of August for my niece's wedding, we are thinking we might do a road trip down to Boston though probably stay at Salem. They have a catamaran ferry that will take you into the city so you can avoid driving there. Probably just as cheap when you think of the gas and parking costs for a day.
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Yesterday at the gym, the personal training area was a bit busy so I suggested to D. that we work on the circuit machines as a change. Good Grief, it didn't take long before my leg muscles were objecting strenuously! Ow! Never mind, it's good for me. right? I'm not as sore today as i thought i would be, though.

Really loving these four day weeks. Have been using up vacation days on Fridays. I work Monday and Tuesday morning and then am off until Jan. 6 though on call on the 27th. That's really just checking emails to make sure nothing's blown up. *makes note* make sure the Service Desk has my phone number, too. We get an hour's stand by pay for it. Obviously, if i had to actually work i would get overtime but Dec. 27 and the days before New Year's are pretty quiet in here. Skeleton staff.

Did I mention that i'm now in a position to take my work pension and run if i wanted to? I reached the "rule of 80" at the beginning of December. I have 25 years in which only means a pension of 50% of my gross salary, however, so that's really not enough. If i have to get a job to make ends meet, there isn't much point in retiring. It's nice to know I have that option, though. I'll probably go another 5 years when i will have 30 years and a 60% pension. Most people go that far and what they end up with is about what you get after all the extra deductions you have to pay while working. Plus that's 5 more years for my salary to increase with the contract yearly raises. If you take the average of about 2% a year raise which is what we've been getting lately, that's another 10% or a tad more than what I'm making now (due to compounding the raise).  I also have a bit of money in my RRSP to top me up as well. Canada Pension can kick in at age 60 if i want and my old age pension at 65 or 66. I think they've changed the age and i can apply for that about 6 months after i turn 65. Every year here that I work is another 2% pension. At the recent service awards, there was a guy that has been working 45 years. It's probably the only job he's ever had. Most of the people I've seen that stay 40 or more years are the men that work on the outside crews, the road crews, the guys that drive the snow removal and the landscaping crews, the traffic and right of way, all that sort of thing.

I've only seen one person who works as office staff stay that long. She works in the Finance department. Not sure how long she's been with the city but she's in her 70s. I can't imagine working full time in my 70s and i'm sure it's because she wants to not because she has to. When you have built up a good pension at work and can also get Canada Pension and your old age pension, you will be as well off as you are when working. Ok, Working full time and drawing those other two pensions will make you even more comfortable but really, it must be getting harder and harder getting up and ready for work and slogging through that commute, especially on blustery winter days like these past few.
2013 books )
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Into my third week back to work. Seem to be doing ok, though still feeling twinges of scar tissue pulling. I had a flu shot through work this morning and as nobody was waiting behind me, chatted to the nurse a few minutes about the op etc. She did say that scar tissue shrinks over time so it might pull and massage might indeed help. I'm getting a bit of pulling at the bottom of the incision too, and I figured the scar tissue was healing and doing this shrinking thing so I've been putting vitamin E oil on it every night. That should help. Never mind, it's all part of the process and it's not that painful, just a bit of discomfort or twinge and I know it takes quite some time to go away. I am going to start having massage in the area soon.

I don't find i get overly tired by night, but i do find i'm yawning a bit more so maybe i'm more tired than i think. I never think i'm that tired unless my eyes are crossing and closing or are burning and tired but i suppose the yawning should tell me otherwise. I"m back to the gym 2 - 3 times a week and that's going fine as well.

Looking forward to my next holiday. Yes, I know, I just got finished many weeks off for the sick leave and with Graham's visit but this next one will be a proper holiday with travel. We're going to go to Paris, basing ourselves there and doing some day trips. That means we probably won't see as much of Paris as we'd like but I will try to make sure we have at least 2 days. We are going to go to Giverny to Monet's home and gardens, to Rouen and to Bayeux as they are all short train journeys from the city, no more than an hour and a half. Giverny can be done as a half day and maybe i'll compare whether we might do an organized tour with transportation or do it on our own. Sometimes it's worth the extra to have the bus and the guide. I've also seen Giverny combined with Versailles for a full day out. More expensive but we'll see.

On the way back, we'll Eurostar to London and have a couple of nights there. I'll put the call out to see if anyone wants or is able to meet up. It will be over the Easter weekend, that much I do know. Now I just have to decide how to get to Paris. I'll have my large suitcase as i will be leaving for home straight out of London so I don't want to haul that around too much. Do we fly to CDG, get the train into Gare du Nord and a taxi to the hotel? (because schlepping the suitcase on the Metro or further trains will be a pain in the ass) or do we take the train to London, probably Euston, probably taxi to the Eurostar nearby, and take that into Paris, Gare du Nord and taxi to the hotel. I don't suppose there's going to be much difference cost wise either way and time wise, due to having to get to the airport early, and then later, customs, and waiting for luggage and taking the train, there might not be all that much difference either way. Both involve a lot of messing around. There's plenty of time to figure it all out at this point.
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
I noticed in the news today that a Second Cup cafe on Spring Garden Road is closing at the end of the year. SGR is one of the main shopping streets in downtown and Second Cup is a Canadian answer to Starbucks. I'm not a regular coffee drinker, I prefer tea but Second Cup does do very good coffee, better than Starbucks as far as that goes. Starbucks coffee tends to be harsher and stronger though I do like their lattes and flavoured fancy drinks as much as SC's. Second Cup was pushed out of Scotia Square where I work not long after Starbucks moved in but Tim Horton's claimed that space and a few others in the same spot to expand.

Back to SGR. Starbucks moved in across the street from SC a couple of years ago and I figured that would really eat into their profits. Mind you, within a few blocks there are coffee shops upon coffee shops. SC, Starbucks, Tim's, Just Us, and one in the back of the magazine store plus there's McDonald's, food courts in Spring Garden Place and Park Lane and you can get a coffee at the lunch counter in Pete's Frootique. That doesn't even count all the restaurants along that road as well. The competition is fierce.

Just Us does organic fair trade coffee and they had a cafe on Barrington Street that's closing down soon as well. Still one on Spring Garden but I think that's a little further up the road now that I think of it. There's a lot of little lunch joints, sandwich shops and small restaurants but then there's a lot of office buildings and businesses and people need to be fed. That was one thing I noticed in London in the "City" area, the oldest part of London where now all the towers are. I'd never seen so many places to get a quick bite to eat but there are thousands upon ten thousands of people that stream into the area to work every day. They don't all bring a brown bag lunch with them.

I should do that more myself, though. Bring a lunch. I do now and then but usually buy it and then i complain because i'm bored with the choices in the food court! Ah well. My own worst enemy.

Friday I'm off but I just realized I'd forgotten I had to go to a function. My employer is holding the Long Service awards and I'm getting recognition for 25 years. At my 20th, they were still giving everyone the same gifts. Each level got something different and I got a desk caddy for pens and things and it had a little digital clock on it with a place also for a photo. This time, we get to choose what we want from a website. There's more choice although not a lot of it really appealed. I decided on a small sculpture of a polar bear holding a fish and he's stood on a little marble base. It's highly polished aluminum so it kind of looks like silver. Close enough for my silver anniversary here. They do a lunch as well. I must call my mother to see if i can borrow the car. Makes it easier to get around. They're having it in a hotel not all that far from me and I probably could get there by bus if i need to.
tvordlj: (Default)
What a different day this was! I got to work as usual at 7:30 to find the whole Scotia Square complex dark. No power. None in the mall and none in the towers. That means we can't get to the office because the doors are locked from the stairwells. We can get out but not back in. Apparently the security scan doors were working but what was the point if all the lights were off and all the computers dead? The servers and probably the one the security system runs on have a separate power source apparently which is fine, it keeps the servers from crashing but does nothing for the rest of the staff in the building. AT least staff in other locations could continue to work i guess.

I went across the street to the hotel there as they have a coffee shop with Starbucks coffee and tea and had myself some brew. Called a coworker to get my manager's phone number. He said might as well go home and work from home though most of that would just be self-education since my laptop was in the office. Never mind. I did that. Took the bus home and when i got in, i went to the puter to check the work email. Guess what? Power was back on! And being dedicated, i saw i had 6 minutes to get back outside and catch the bus to go back. I did it.

Yes i did.
Because...
We had a training session at 10 which i still would have dumped if that was the only thing to think about but I had some things I wanted to transfer to production before someone else went on his vacation and i really did need to bring the laptop home for some testing on Sunday. So yes, i went in and i'm glad i did. The training was ok but then I ran into a problem with one of the things i was doing and i worked through lunch to fix that. When that was pushed to production, it didn't work though it did in the test side of things. Wha????

Turns out the report ID was different on the production server than on the test server. Duh. Switched the code out and it worked. Time to get a sandwich (it's 1:30 now!) There was a little do to see off a coworker so I went there. Still had one or two things to iron out and got all that done before i left for the day so it turned out quite productive in spite of the frantic start.

2013 books )
tvordlj: (Default)
Sorted out that problem. One of the webby guys mentioned that it looked like the url was trying to access an application on Server a. I was under the impression it was on server B but apparently there's a version on A as well. Ahhhhh..... Light goes on. Send me the webserver configuration file.
Yep, there it is.
Several months ago a database was moved to a new server and we had to change the pointer to the new server. This was done and tested on the servers that we thought were the ones where the applications were. Did not know about this other server so it's been pointing to a non -existent database since early february. The request said they used this application on a daily basis. Well some of your staff might but whoever was using that particular url couldn't possibly be because it hasn't worked since early February.

I was able to get to the server and change the setting but i couldn't restart the web server bit so had to wait for an administrator with access to do that. Badda bing badda boom and we're in business again. On both servers. The server we'd been familiar with is a testing server ("QA" for those of you that know the lingo) and I did wonder why they were running an application on that but that's what I was told so that's what we fixed back then. The server that "broke" yesterday is the Live environment server. That makes more sense. Now apparently we'll have people using it on both but both are pointing to a Live database not a QA one so it's ok for now. These are applications written by a former employee from when the web eservices programming was done from a different department, not our IT Developer team. That programmer left and the rest of us are mystified most of the time as to what the apps do and how to fix them if something goes wrong. We'll end up rewriting them in the new technology we're learning now though.

Bring on vacation! I'm off now and G. arrives on Saturday! Woot!
tvordlj: (Meez avatar)
Gosh, i didn't realize i hadn't posted yet this month! Over the weekend there wasn't much to say as i didn't do much anyway. This week at work has been busy as we had an implementation over the weekend and have been putting out little fires that inevitably blaze up as a result. We have another implementation this weekend as well for a database upgrade. I am hoping to take Friday off but may not be able to. If i can, i might get my hair done, depending on the weather. We're supposed to get quite a lot of snow between Friday and Saturday but that can change so quickly.

Been taking some training on Mondays. Had two already and it will run until Easter. We're learning html5, css3, php programming and a few other related things. Lots of hands on so far and a bonus, we got to install Photoshop and Fireworks for free!

Speaking of which, i need to get something like that on my laptop. I have a bought copy of Paintshop Pro but i can't even download another copy of that from the website anymore as they've gone up three versions since the one i have. I think i did try awhile back  and it wouldn't take my registration key, i thought i'd have to call them to verify that i just want to reinstall it on a new machine. I think i should buy an external dvd writer and maybe i can install it from my cd using that, providing the code will work. If it won't i will call or contact them. If it's hopeless, i have a cousin that can get things. ;) I don't want to have to buy a brand new copy until i exhaust all the options. It will be Paintshop though, not photoshop as it's much cheaper and i'm used to it and it does just as good a job.

2013 books )
tvordlj: (Pissedoff)
I couldn't write this earlier tonight. I would have worn out my F key.
I filled out a form for the new rental management agency in July for the automatic rent payment.
It's STILL not processed. Backlog my arse.
I've had to leave work early a few times now to go to the rental office to pay the rent. Sometimes getting there too late.
There are signs all over the building with office hours now, and I know it closes at 5. Last time i tried, the busses were all late and though i left early, i *still* got there too late.
Tonight I tried again because December's rent didn't come out on time so i know it still isn't sorted. I got there about 4:30
There's a sign on the door. Closed tonight at 4 for the staff Christmas party. FUCK.
No signs in the buildings. No that's too easy
Walked back across the street cursing and watched all three busses drive by before i was even near the stop.
Great.
And it's cold
And there's a mother with a whinging, crying child in the bus shelter so i stood out in the cold away from it so i wouldn't hear it so loud.
I got home and called the superintendant so i could bring over a cheque for them to take to the office tomorrow. They don't live in my building, they are in the one next door. Not the one i went to and waited in the doorway for them. Oh no. They're in the one on the other side. I knew that was the building but i had a brain fart and got the numbers of the buildings crossed in my head. Got to the right place, was talking to them. They knew about the party. They're going. That means they knew about it ahead of time. I don't know why there were no notices up anywhere but I made sure to mention it.
I also gave them a post-dated cheque for January 1. Just in case.
And work was frustrating too. Couldn't find a bug in a program and the weird shit doesn't seem to have any logic behind it at all. And some of my passwords aren't working. I think i'll bring my work laptop home on the weekend just to see how much it doesn't work from here. Then i can see if i can knock heads together next week so it will and i can sometimes work from home. Eventually.
tvordlj: (Sleepy lazy cats)
Saturday night was a long one. It got to Scotia Square by about 5:30 pm before Starbucks closed and picked up my caffiene hit. Then I realized I'd forgotten my security pass. I thought I would either have to camp out by the office doors or go all the way back home to get it. Luckily i saw the project manager heading for Starbucks too so i was able to get into the office. There ended up being about 5 of us for a little while and just three of us for the long run into the night.

I left about 3:45 and got home by 4. No traffic that time of the wee hours. That's 7 hours overtime at time and a half and 3 at double time. It's only once every 4 years. After an initial flurry of activity there was only a few periodic checks of numbers to make sure it was all updating properly and then a lot of doing nothing while waiting as usual. I am sure I didn't need to stay as long as i did but I can't go until they say. Didn't have to go in yesterday though which is nice. I'll do the rest of the stuff i need to this afternoon to produce their official results reports. There's going to be a recount in one district. Don't know how long it takes to do that but if it's being done this morning that's all good.

I probably didn't fall asleep until closer to 5 and woke up at 9:30. Since i knew there was a Corrie ping on Sunday that i did think i'd go to though planned to be therer a bit later, i decided to get up then. Your brain starts waking up and though i probably could fall back to sleep i figured i should just stay  up and could go to bed early last night which i did. Got to the ping, had a nice time, got the car back to Mom who drove me back home. Chatted to my sweetie and went to bed.

Thus was my weekend.
11 sleeps.
tvordlj: (Default)
I wish i could say i'm glad it's the weekend but as i have to work tomorrow night, it's going to take a chunk out of it. I also have to get up early tomorrow because someone is picking up some stuff from me for the Corrie ping on Sunday. I thought i have to go in again Sunday morning to work so made arrangements but it is possible i may not have to now. I would be quite pleased if it works out that way. It would only be for about 2 hours at the very most and it turns out the official reports don't have to be presented until Tuesday anyway so what the burning need to have them first thing Sunday morning has been in the past, I don't know.

The electronic advance voting went very well by all accounts. 22.5% of the eligible voters cast an electronic vote either on the internet or by phone. In the last election 4 years ago, the total voter turnout was about 37% and I think that even if some of those advance voters are people that would have voted anyway on the day, it is almost certainly that we gained more voters because of the convenience. Another reason is that none of the candidates for Mayor is an encumbent. The Mayor we have now has been in office since 2000 and decided not to re-offer this time. He's been embroiled in a few scandals over the past couple of years, one professional and one personal and the general consensus is that he's cutting his losses. All new candidates probably pushes up the interest in the election, too.

So i'm working tomorrow night mainly because of the application used to enter the results. I wrote it, I'm pretty much the only one left that can fix it if something happens. I'm there "just in case". In past elections there have been some questions but for the most part, all has been quiet. There will be a couple others so I'll have company while we watch the results come in and I do have other stuff i can do to pass the time as well if I'm not needed.

Fired up my new work laptop today and got a couple of things set up but most of the stuff i want to do i can't because I haven't got the adminstration side set up yet. It's very frustrating. I did at least transfer a lot of my documents both personal (photos etc) and work and got the email up and working. I expect next week will be more fussing.

Two weeks from tonight! I have most of the odds and ends I am going to take with me. Gotta wrap Christmas and birthday pressies, get some cards written up and ready to send. I'm bringing my Xmas cards for my UK friends with me and stamping them over there. It cost nearly 2 dollars per international stamp these days from Canada. It's half that to send them in-country.
tvordlj: (Camera Neon)
What's really frustrating is when people request something and then go on vacation straight after. How on earth can i get them to test the results if they're not here? Why didn't they wait until they got back to put in the request? I'm sitting here with 5 different things that either need testing or need a consult with someone and none of them are here. This is prime vacation time but i never take summer holidays, preferring to travel in the spring and fall.

Thinking of replacing my camera. Nothing wrong with the old one but as Graham says, "you change your cameras like other people change their socks". I am not going to a DSLR though and i'm not sure i want to go to a micro 2/3 or any other kind of compact with changeable lenses but maybe something that looks like that but has a fixed lense. They have longer zoom on them but still small. Only thing is, they aren't going to fit in a pocket or small carrier/purse, it would need either it's own little camera case or i'd have to carry it in my regular purse (handbag). It would then make the purse a bit heavier. If i got a new camera, i probably wouldn't keep the one i have now, i'd probably give it to my mother. Another nuisance is fewer of the cameras use AA batteries which can be convenient. I'd have to find somewhere to buy a spare battery pack. You would think the shops would carry them but they all seem to have to order them or you'd get them off ebay or something. Just inconvenient but it's definitely worth having a spare. Never mind. I go drooling over these things every now and then and stick with what i have after that. This too shall pass. Maybe.
tvordlj: (Default)
Work is busy which is good. It makes the days go by but it also makes it harder to get to the gym early enough to do cardio before i meet the trainer on those days. Inevitably someone will come to my desk about 3:30 or i'll be in the middle of something. I meet the trainer at 4 some days and like to try to get there to do at least 15 minutes on a bike or a treadmill. If i am meeting him at 4:30 it's ok most of the time.

note to self, get a lottery ticket for tomorrow night. Dad asked me to buy a ticket on his birthday every year though he's not sent that little winning magic down from wherever he is to grant me more than the occasional free ticket win yet. I actually bought a Bingo scratch ticket the other day, won $3 on it so i got another one and am sitting here with a $6 win on that one. I will use the proceeds of that to get the Lotto Max for tomorrow night. I don't regularly buy lottery tickets or scratch tickets, just once in awhile. The most i ever won was about 100$ on a Max ticket "twist" option (where random numbers over three lines are "circled" so you don't have to get the numbers all on one line)

Good friends of mine got married this morning in Manchester. Nobody knew! Or very few people in the online world of friends at least and we're in contact on an almost daily basis so i'm surprised he didn't let it slip! He did say they were taking some holiday time but not that it was a honeymoon.  It would have been a Registry Office do with just their immediate family and a few close friends I assume. I would have liked to have known so i could have sent a card that would have got there about now rather than 2 weeks later but i wasn't the only one that didn't know so i don't feel left out ;)))  I did know they were engaged, just not when they planned to do the deed. I'm really pleased for them, they're a really nice couple and very good people.
tvordlj: (Default)

Just another manic mondayyyyyy .....
Well it should be less manic than last monday which was rife with mystery and confusion. We know what the problem is now, and we already have a pretty good plan of action. Just need to nail down the details.

Saw Brave yesterday. I'm not sure if i've ever gone to see an animated movie at the theatres before. I must have but if so, it's been a very long time. Of course the place was filled with kids and parents but they were all really good. One or two smaller ones were led out by a comforting hand when the bear in the movie was kind of scary. Some may wonder why kids' movies have scary stuff in them. Have you actually *read* classic fairytales lately? Brutal stuff.

Brave is by Pixar and has the excellence of animation you expect. Lots of fun too. They make the faces on the people and the animals very expressive, in fact i often find the animal faces even more so because you don't expect them to have human-like expressions when they often do in animated movies. Even in real life sometimes. I'd like to know how many times a cat has glanced up at me with that "Seriously????" look.

So yes. Brave. A story about a girl with wild red hair who grows up as a princess and is instructed on the proper behaviour as such by her mother all her life, when all she really wants to do is ride her horse and shoot arrows and be a bit of a tomboy or a warrior if she'd been allowed to be. Her father has survived a legendary battle with a huge bear though lost his leg to it and the bear still survives. He's spent all the intervening years either hunting for it or tediously retelling the tale of the battle. The time has come for a suitor to be picked for his daughter, Merida, and the winner of a competition between the sons of three neighbouring clans will be the one chosen. Not her own decision, mind you and she strenuously objects to that. The only input she gets is what the contest will be and she chooses archery.

One lad is tall, skinny, and vain. Kind of a rock star attitude. Also tempermental. One is a big beefy lad like his father but when he talks, the accent is so strong nobody can understand a word. (must be from Glasgow! ;) The third is a short, weedy, clumsy, goofy looking chinless wonder. But Merida can out shoot them all and does. Her mother is furious with her and in the midst of a gigantic row, Merida slashes a tapestry depicting herself, mother and father and she runs off. She finds a witch in the forest and is given a spell to change her mother so that she won't insist on the marraige. Of course she gets what she asks for but what she gets isn't what she expected. Mama turns into a bear. You can see the complications that can cause.

It all comes out ok in the end of course, with a mighty battle and a change of heart. Billy Connolly voices the king, Kelly MacDonald is Merida and Emma Thompson is the queen, Eleanor (whom i thought was called Helena through most of the movie!)

Also saw a good trailer for an animated movie called Hotel Transylvannia. Definitely one i want to see.

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