Thursday, December 23, 2004

Site overhaul on the way

I finally figured out how to kludge categories in a convincing, and effective way, so I am going to overhaul the crap out of this place once I finish working the kinks out in my dev region. I think you will observe little or no difference style wise but I will be adding categories to the right hand nav, and you will see posts with [something] in their titles. These [] will be their categories, and you will be able to use the left hand nav to view the current posts from those categories, or to view archives of a specific category. Here's hoping it all works out!


Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Character Encoding in Java

Usually I wouldn't comment on work, but this is so generic, and so weird I had to. I have had a problem where a java byte array was converted to a String and then back to a byte array, and in the process changed. I thought this was strange, and it was causing a problem with my application, so I investigated. For those kids with computers at home you can follow along with this code sample.


public class TestBuffers {
public static void main(String[] args) {
byte[] bytes = new byte[256];

for (int i = 0; i < bytes.length; i++) {
bytes[i] = (byte) i;
try {
String s1 = new String(bytes, "IBM-037");
byte[] b1 = s1.getBytes();
byte[] b2 = s1.getBytes("IBM-037");

for (int i = 0; i < b2.length; i++) {
String temp =
+ " "
+ Integer.toHexString(bytes[i])
+ " "
+ Integer.toHexString(b2[i]);

if (bytes[i] != b2[i]) {
System.out.print(" different");
} catch (UnsupportedEncodingException e) {
// TODO Auto-generated catch block

So if you run this what do you see? Well it is pretty normal except for IBM-037 0x25, which magially becomes IBM-037 0x15.

Essentailly the first conversion turns an EBCDIC LF to a Unicode LF, then the second coversion turns the Unicode LF into a EBCDIC NL, weird eh?

The Last Christmas

Those great guys over at PA have done it again, other then bringing in a wallop of toys and cash for kids at children's hospitals all over the States ( They have also crafted a timeless Christmas tale for a new generation. Beware, it includes Cthulhu. They have posted the first few pages, and the rest are forthcoming, presumably it will also be published in a physical format. I think this just proves me right, that terrifying and horrible things are great topics for children's books. I originally wanted these guys (in my imagination) to illustrate my stupid Spinal Fairy story, which still makes me chuckle (worry about my sanity, but chuckle.) I mean this is raw fairy tail material, dating right back to those crazy Brother Grim who fed Grandma to the wolf, and stuffed a bunch of fat Hungarian children into the oven. Over time these tales got toned down as kids got wussy, but at their heart they were bizarre and strange.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

Don't Panic

I give you this friendly and helpful recommendation because it is pertinent, and topical. First of all this post is about the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy,

In fact, it was probably the most remarkable book ever to come out of the great publishing corporations of Ursa Minor--of which no Earthman had ever heard of either.
Not only is it a wholly remarkable book, but it is a highly successful one--more popular than the Celestial Home Care Omnibus, better selling than Fifty-Three More Things to Do in Zero Gravity, and more controversial than Oolon Colupbid's trilogy of philosophical blockbusters, Where God Went Wrong, Some More of God's Great Mistakes, and Who Is This God Person Anyway?
In many of the more relaxed civilizations on the Outer Eastern Rim of the Galaxy, the Hitchhiker's Guide has already supplanted the great Encyclopedia Galactica as the standard repository of all knowledge and wisdom, for though it is inaccurate, it scores over the older, more pedestrian work in two important respects.

and like the last post it is about a book that is being turned into a movie that is very different from the book. If you look here you can watch the trailer for the new movie, whose tagline is something along the lines of "Go on the greatest adventure in the universe, that starts after the world ends." Then if you dig around on that site some more, you can get all sorts of news about the movie, including that the screenplay was mostly written by that mostly harmless fellow Douglas Adams, premortem. Further more the story is supposed to be from a whole new angle, with new characters, new plot elements, and apparently Zaphod's second head is up his nose! So here is hoping its good, I know I'll go watch it.

Now the endearing and heart warming part of this story is that my younger brother Alex, who is one hip and groovy frood saw the trailer in the theater and cheered (alone.) Thus giving lie to his hip and groovy froodness and asserting his inner nerd. There is hope for him yet.

The Bourne Identity, Robert Ludlum

Wow, what a book, I haven't been grabbed so tightly and taken for such a ride by a book in a while, mostly because I am reading Ed Greenwood, and his work has really gone down the crapper, but enough about Ed. From my book slump I decided it was time to branch into something new and random, or buy a bunch of hard covers. My pocket book being empty I opted for something in the new, random, and cheap pile. So I went to the library (cheapest pile of all.) Well almost cheapest, I had almost $10.00 worth of fines on my account, but they were mostly from my brother, I digress.

Since my usual fare is Sci-fi and Fantasy, I thought a little bit of cloak and dagger would be a nice change. Little did I know that the cloak and dagger / spy genre was actually the SUPPPPPPPPPER THRILLLLLLLLER genre! I actually discovered this much later, (in fact after I finished reading the book, I read the 'about the author' section, and discovered that Robert Ludlum was a master of the super thriller genre.

To insure an easy first step into this world, I figured go with what you know. Having recently watch the movie of The Bourne Identity, and enjoyed it, I figured the original novel was a good candidate. So off to the library I went, paid some fines, and carried away the book, much like a k-9 follows a command obediently for promise of a treat.

Since then I have been quite enamored with the book, it is a well written, interesting, and exciting book (much more so then that bland review of it.) What amazed me was that in spite having seen the movie I pretty much only knew one secret that the book had to reveal, and that was the main characters name was Jason Bourne (sort of,) but I mean the cover gives half of that away anyways.

Like I know books often get lost in translation, and a good book often doesn't always equate to a good movie, but to have a good book, and a good movie based on it, and then realize that the two of them are about as different as night and day was startling.

So in conclusion, if you liked the movie, you should like the book, but if you have seen the movie, you haven't spoiled the book, so go read it!

"I'm Listening" and mostly to myself

I've always enjoyed the show Frasier for a long time, I've always had a sort of kinship with the main character, and I don't think I have ever realized why until last night / today. It all started with an episode, that I watched last night, where Frasier finally realizes why he is so unlucky in love. The rational is because subconsciously he compares every woman he has ever dated with the next one, and he pushes away those who would be good with him, or picks ones who he can find flaws in. The reason being that he makes sure it's easy to reject them before he gets rejected, stemming from all the women who have left him in the past, (three wives and his mother.) The root is that he over analyses everything as a defense mechanism.

In a way I think this is my problem with a lot of things, mostly likely my contentment, I am generally not all that content a person, I in fact have an inexplicable power to discontent myself with anything and everything, and I think it is because my mind works at about a mile a minute, and that's on a slow day. It's strange, but when I am disappointed (at anything) I can focus my mind in such a way as to turn all possible causes on myself, and further my melancholy. I can really over emphasize any emotion by just thinking myself into it, but it seems easier with the broody-moody ones. The quandary of it all is that stress is both the cause and the cure. When times are stressful it gets worse, but when times are REALLY REALLY stressful, when there is hardly time to breath, let alone think, I am fine. When my focus is at its strongest on a problem that needs solving I am on my game, but when the pressure eases back, and fatigue sets in, BOOM I'm right back in it. I just wish there was a less stressful ways to filter and focus the old noggin, because it has a nasty habit of spoiling things for me, not the least of which is my mood.

So really what I am saying is the some days, I really piss me off, and I'm not even schizophrenic.


Darkness shrouds the city; rain dusts the streets and muffles the sounds of morning. Orange beacons of light are quenched by the gloom, and here I am, awake, waiting. The rain slicks off my trench coat, rivulets of water form between the folds in the cloth. The wide brim of my fedora catches most of what rain was headed for my face, but still water beads across my lens, giving what light remains a twinkling appearance. Cold in my hand is my revolver, the steel bites at my hand sucking out the warmth, as if draining the very life from me. The gun gleams, proclaiming to the world, I shall take a life tonight.

As a rule, I don't like to kill, but my quarry has made it clear he has no such qualms with that particular deed. The cold icy rain is juxtaposition to the hot life the poured out of my partner's chest. I liked that dame, and there wasn't a damn thing she did to deserve those to slugs, and I was going to make sure they got back to their owner.

I was as taut as the cables on the Golden Gate Bridge, and I felt like I was carrying just as much weight. I felt the slightest move and I might shatter into a million pieces. Every out of place sound seemed to rake on my nerves, until all I noticed were the little things, and not the big black car that drove past. Unfortunately, the car noticed me. With squealing tires, the car came about.

I had found my man; the problem was he had found me first. Like a jack rabbit, I leapt out of the way, and rolled through a deep puddle. Standing up, I bolted as the driver once more skidded around to bear down on me. I ran, behind me the demon eyes of his black Cadillac. With a spryness not seen since my youth I fled, up the sidewalk. Risking a glance over my shoulder, I cocked my revolver and let fly hot lead. The recoil shook my soul, hammering home the choice I made; it was my life, or his.

The bullet did not find its mark, but left one in his grill, in my head I counted 'one.' Realizing the limit of my chances; the size of a man's head behind the wheel of a monstrous car; and the unsteadiness of my hand I had come too the only rational conclusion I could: get him out of the car.

In the distance, my solution, a parked dump truck whose brute like girth stoically waiting in the dark of night. With keen incite I cultivated my plan, timing would have to be perfect, and time I was running out of. Quickly I redirected my path towards the rear of the truck, and with reckless abandon opened fire on my pursuer.


The cacophony of death, muted by gloom that held the city in its thrall, rang from my hand. Each bullet ripped through the air with unlikely precision, as if my hand guided by Athena, and my enemy's heel exposed. Each one found its mark, and that mark was the radiator of my foe's chariot.

Banshees of steam erupted from beneath the hood, screaming with a fury that could curdle your blood. With his vision blocked my hunter lost control of his car. He quickly discovered that he was now holding his sword by the blade. His fate sealed I dived out of the way as his car careened into the waiting truck. Steel on Steel they tested each others mettle, but his car was no David, and so Goliath won.

From the smoking wreckage, I heard a noise, it was almost a whimper, almost a moan, but it meant he was alive, at least for now. I moved quickly to his window and made to shatter it with the butt of my gun, but the crash has already done that job for me.

With one hand holding, a now steady, aim on his head, the other reached into his pocket and removed the small, unassuming, statue that had cause such carnage. His body seemed to relax as it the falcon statue had weighed greatly on him. His ease lasted only moments as I cocked my revolver. His eyes widened, his pupils dilated, he stammered out,
"You got what you came for. Now go!"

I paused, not to consider my next action, but to let him suffer in the moment. Dangling hope and mercy that he would never have given me, and then I let him know as much.
"Oh, the falcon bought your life, but now you have to pay for hers."

Once more into the cold I set out, this time the revolver was warm in my hand, contented to not leach away my life, as it was sated with the one it had ended. Dawn was coming, the dawn after the storm, it would still be gray, it's always gray, but it would be lighter, and so would the burden I carry.

Next Post

The next post I am about to make is a story I wrote a few weeks back, but never finished. It doesn't come from any darker part of me, so people who might be worried don't be, I just wrote something that would let me do a few things. The first was let be abuse the English language, I wield some literary devices around like a neural surgeon with a baseball bat. The second was to amuse myself, I always have had a quirky thing for cliche's and detective stories, so I thought something in that genre might be fun. The third was because the morning I started it was raining, the city was muted, and my glasses were all speckled with water, so I was inspired.
I write a lot of things like this, that is randomly inspired oddments, and most of them end up getting deleted, but I tripped over it at lunch and figured it only required a little bit of work to be serviceable. So I serviced it and now here it is.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Soooo cold

cold, originally uploaded by gcpeart.

Well the mercury says it all, today is a cold one. Hell the car barely started, and took a while to warm up enough that it would drive. I hope it warms up soon, I would hate to spend a week commuting at these temperatures.

Saturday, December 18, 2004

House n'Stuff

Well there are the weekly pictures of the house, and it is doing pretty good. We also had a chance to meet some of our neighbors down the street and like us they are a young couple, who could, but can't affoard to close early. I think their names were Andrea and Adam, but I could be wrong. In any case they seemed like nice people, and about our age, which will be cool.

In other news I am now a Sun Certified J2SE Programmer. I wrote the test on Friday, and have been studying for a quite a while. I'm glad I wrote it both to cement my knowledge, and to shore up my resume. Next up Sun Certified J2EE Business Component Developer!

This week ahead is looking kind of crazy, between work and Christmas shopping, it's going to be a busy one. At least it will end in vacation!

Until next time!

This is the upstairs hallway, it is actually the only picture from upstairs that actually worked out, on the right is the master bedroom, on the left is knee wall seperating the stairs, and in the middle is the bathroom (which also has a second entrance from the master bedroom that you can clearly see.)

The mystery crack, I am actually mildly woried about this and I am waiting on an email response form the builder. Hopefully it is nothing serious, and they will just fill it.

Natural gas water heater, I can just taste the cost savings of this over electric, mmmm savings.

And here is said monster that dwells in the basement, breathing fire! Actually it is a temporary gas heater to keep the place warm. It just looked cool.

The stairs down into the basement OooOooOOooO scary moster dwelling location.

Here is the bathroom as its getting finished, you can tell the different water proof dry wall is in here around the tub.

Here are the stairs up, everything is really put into perspective now with the walls nearing compleation, and it's a perspective I like.

Here is the drywall for the kitchen.

Here is the great room, I was having camera issues because of the light, but you can see the drywall is well way. They of course have some finishing to do on it, but all the walls are drywalled up nice.

Good morning everyone, here is our house this weekend, the siding is going in, I expect the exterior will be done by the end of the weekend. What you can't see is the garage door is actually in place, but its a nice one with windows, and multiple sections that are hinged.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Teaching Style

Trevor and I were discussing teaching style, and learning style the other day, and it made us reminisce about a particular teacher. He thought with a the shotgun of knowledge, each day blasting your head full of more stuff, until one day he blasts your head right off. I always considered him a fair teacher, in that he only tested what he taught, but dear god did he teach a lot!

On the other side you have the nambie pambie teachers who would girlie up lessons, and hold your hand to go to the bathroom, and you just didn't get anything out of those classes. For some reason I always found the courses taught by such teachers were also the courses with the easiest content, so I had wished for the shotgun of knowledge, or at least the shotgun of excitement.

Then you had the third tier of teachers, who regardless of their actual teaching style, had a testing style from hell. Enter the exam, your pumped, you know your shit, you sit down, open the book, look at the first page, second page, .... n-1 page, n page, then you go all the way back to the first page and check the course code and say "shit this is my test." They are the kind of teachers who don't actually teach what they test, only a micro subset of it, and then fail everyone, bell the grade, and leaving everyone feeling like and actual shotgun had punched a whole through their heads, or at least their egos. (I don't mean to say that super egos shouldn't be deflated, but everyone needs a little bit of self worth to get through the day, but these teachers ask you to check it at the door.)

Anyways, that's my university pigeonholing exercise for the day, I'm sure everyone has a story like this, why not post it in a comment. No names please.


Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Expecting fathers test (please note I am not an expecting father, this just amused me.)

Situation, your partner is pregnant and about to give birth. In a panic you drive her to the hospital, not in a totally logical frame of mind. As you approach, lets say the Trillium Hospital, you see a sign, which indicates level of urgency or important, a sign. On the sign are three arrows, with textual labels. One reads ?Emergency?, the next reads ?Main Entrance?, and the third reads ?Deliveries?. The question at hand is this, in your current state do you a) take your partner to the emergency room, b) check in at the main entrance, or c) Take your partner to deliveries to deliver her baby?

If unsure, the following question might help you decide.

Does UPS stand for United Pediatric Services?

If so, then your choice is clear.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

What a day!

Phew, a day that should have been pretty routine, ended up going 13-14 hours, ZOWE! Thats all I can say, hopefully tommorrow is a little smoother, and a little more relaxed, then I can get back to my bloging.


Friday, December 10, 2004

Well I've run out of interesting things to say, so here is the house exterior in its most recent state. The only thing missing is the garage door and the siding. What is new is that the smal roof over the porch now has its pillars in place. What is great is that according to dave the house will be done in about 7 - 9 weeks. Within the next week the he said the furnace would be full installed and heat would be turned on in the house. I this will keep it warm for the workers, but it will also insure that nothing gets damaged by the weather. Well I'm really excited, but at a loss for more words.

Here is Erin measuring the post that seperates the kitchen from the great room, and let me tell you its a great room.

Okay I know what this is, this is the wiring on the wall of the master bedroom.

Hey everyone, as I mentioned, Erin and I went out to the house today. Dave, our builder, was really nice and gave us a good run down of everyroom. He let us know some stuff that I will save to the last post since everything gets scrolled off the page if I am not careful. So this picture is of the some wiring, but I actually can't tell what room.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Excuse me I appear to be drooling on my keyboard

look here

I will say no more

Classic Blunders

"You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The best known of course is, 'Never get involved in a land war in Asia!' But, only slightly less well known is this: 'Never go in against a Sicilian, when death is on the line!'" and only slightly less well known is this: 'Never bet on java class casting rules with a J2SE certified programmer when coffee is on the line.'

Ah The Princess Bride, so full of good things, did you know Mandy Patinkin who played Inigo Montoya has gone on to an awesome role on Dead Like Me.

Anyways free coffee here I come.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

More on Mattamy Hawthorne Village

Here is a link to a article about Hawthorne Village

Mattamy Homes

I'm not sure if I have said this before, but I really respect my home builder, and so I am going to give them a little free PR to whomever reads this site.

First off my the builder of my home is Mattamy Homes. They have been around since about 1970, and if you want their canned history looked here. We got turned on to Mattamy by Erin's parents. The last two homes they have owned were both Mattamy's, and in both cases they have been extremely satisfied with the quality, and in the case of the latter house I strongly agree. I, of course, never saw the first, and Erin was too young to care or notice the finer details of home construction at that time. Suffice it to say that they were so satisfied it motivated a second purchase. So given our already high confidence in the builder they were the first place we looked. We did check out other builders, but were honestly frightened away by sketchiness which I will not enumerate here.

We started with Mattamy, and I am so glad we ended with Mattamy, but still they are not 100% rosy, so here is the negatives, and I am giving them first because they are few, and I want to get them out of the way. Really my only complaint was the 18 month timeline. Really its not the hugest complaint, it just says there are a whole lot of other people who agree with my belief that a Mattamy home is a good investment. So on the 18th of October, 2003 Erin an I put our stake in the ground, and our money on the table and put the down payment on the first big purchase of our relationship. We didn't do it alone I might add, being young an naive we brought our parents with us to get their approval. Sure I consider myself an adult, but I would consider myself a foolish adult if I did something as big as this without the support of people who have more experience in the matter then myself. We took care of the details, but it made us a whole lot more confident with the support of our families.

So young, excited, and with 18 seemingly endless months ahead of us, we tempered our enthusiasm and returned to our regularly scheduled lives. Since then I must say I have been taken by surprise. Where the sales pitch stopped the service began, and it has been phenomenal. We have received phone calls keeping us informed of the various things we needed to take care of like the design centre. The designed centre itself was a great experience, and the staff really helped us make good choices. They offered Mattamy University, which is a one evening program where you get introduced to all their support and building staff, as well as your neighbors. They take you through the details of the construction of your home, and answer any of your questions. Then through out the building processes they are completely open, you can schedule visits to your site (or covertly visit on the weekends.) They offer a guided inspection with your builder (he is the guy in charge of all the tradesmen who to the construction, he is usually an older skilled tradesman himself, with additional education. He oversees and inspects all the houses he is responsible for and assures that the highest quality is being maintained.) Our builder is Dave, and he was the one who called to book an appointment, if we wanted to come out and see the house with him, before the dry wall goes up. I thought GREAT! Now I can take my camera, and get an exact map of every wire and pipe in the house, in case I want to renovate later, I know where to find everything I am looking for. He will answer all our questions, and let us know how things are progressing, and where they go from here. At this point, he said, that our house is two months ahead of schedule. We actually can't afford it two months ahead, but we don't have to take it until our closing date, we are just happy to hear that it will be done on time! We have heard horror stories about other builders who are off by weeks, or even months, and with our wedding just around the corner from the house, we can't have those kind of delays.

So this is where we are now, and we still have a pre-delivery inspection, and a delivery inspection, and years of happy home ownership backed by Mattamy's warranty and quality. So I am very satisfied with Mattamy, and I recommend them to anyone looking at buying a new, or even used home! If anyone has any questions about my experience or details I would be happy to answer them.

Also you can look here and here for another recent Mattamy Purchaser from Hawthorne Village, and the Hawthorne Village forum respectively.


Upcoming picture storm

This is a broadcast of the emergency blog warning system. This Friday marks the completion of the major structural and internal build on my house. This means I will be participating in a frame walk to become aquatinted with said internal structure, and for those things I forget, my camera will remember for me. As such, this Friday will see increase in house related posts. Do not be alarmed by long down load times as the throngs of interested people, that is those I force to, flock to this site to view this key milestone in house completion. After this post one can expect a different kind of picture post from the house, no longer will there be just studs and saw dust. Adding to this will be insulation, drywall, and fixtures, and dare I say it, cabinets! So consider thy selves warned, and enjoy! I know I will.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Running Man

Well I set a goal, as I saw it, it was an ambitious goal. 5km in less then 30 minutes. Sure I could have done it a few weeks ago in with more time, but the time limit was set by my gyms tread mill rules. So 5km, and 30 minutes, that's the goal.

As of last week I have been going to the gym about three times a week. I don't usually get any exercise on the weekend, and I usually see a set back first day back in the next week. Last week I peeked out at 4.25 km. Which was a new high. I guess those who have been following, or read the archive know I started this a few months back, and I was blogging in pretty religiously at first, but that just because tedious. I was off to a really slow start at first, I could barely run a half a kilometer, on a good day. Then I had some serious problems with my feet and legs, then inserts for my shoes, then problems with my inserts, then progress. Progress has been good.

Like I was saying, I peeked at about 4.25 km last week, and coming back this week I was certain Monday I wasn't going to get more then a 2 - 3 km warm up. So I started off slowly, then it looked like I was doing okay, so I started bringing up the speed, and then bringing it up some more, and then some more. Before I knew it my 30 minutes were up, and I had jogged 4.501km (I didn't think my time was going to make it, but I rolled past 4.5 milliseconds before the clock flashed that my time was up.)

Then today, I was cold and tired when I walked into that gym, but my first few strides felt good, so I set my starting speed to 10.1 km / h. Basically the speed I would need to maintain if I wanted to make the 5km. At the 10 minute mark I pushed the speed higher. Somewhere around 18 minutes I accidentally knocked the safety catch off resetting the speed to zero. To make up time (not that I really lost that much) I cranked the speed up some more. At about 23 minutes, at roughly 4.3 km, I had a stich in my side. So I rolled the speed down. With about 3 -4 minutes left, and some bad math I thought, hey I can still make it. So I rammed the speed back up high, and pushed on for the last few minutes. At about 29:20 I hit the 5 km mark I hit my goal and earned my rest, so I hit the cool down button, and relaxed my way though to 30 minutes, and then did my full minute of cool down after.

So Yeah ME! I hit that goal, I really thought it was a January goal, and here I am mid-December. So I am going to focus the next few weeks on making 5km the norm, not an exceptional push. I have a week and a bit holiday at the cottage which I am sure will be a bit of a set back, but this is awesome. I just got to keep pushing myself, because every time I do, I find myself giving more. Damn now I sound like a self-help guru or something.

Anyways, in spite of my achievement I am now TIRED! I am going to get some healing rest, I just thought this was something good I could share.

Next goal, climb Everest, well maybe not!

Night all.

Thursday, December 02, 2004


Originally uploaded by gcpeart.
I know this photo is in the page already, I just wanted to test flickr

David Usher Sign's with Maplemusic Recordings

Just a quick note here, David Usher has just signed for his forth solo album with Maplemusic Recordings. By 'just signed' I mean he signed about 2 months ago, but I don't keep up on these things. I really dig his tunes, they always hit the right level of angst with me. Arguably that is more of a Moist thing then a David Usher thing, but I really dig his work as well.
Its funny, I never really considered myself a fan of Canadian music specifically, but if you look in my CD binder, taking note of the original discs more then the burned ones, they are pretty much exclusivly Canadian: David Usher, Moist, Bare Naked Ladies, and the Arrogant Worms. The only other serious non-Canadian contender for room is Weird Al.

Oh well.