End of Summer


After the big event that kick-started the summer, the rest of July and August went by fast and without much excitement. We are busy preparing for next year's wedding and tightening up our chequebook. I went to OSCON in Portland, Oregon for a couple of days which was a great experience and Tressa went to Rocky Mountain House for a family visit. That is about it though in terms of travel.

Tressa is back at school teaching and enjoying it very much. I just finished a technical review of the upcoming Apress book Foundation HTML 5 Animation with JavaScript.

We are trying to get the most out of the beautiful weather while it lasts, going for some nice "strolls" in the evening and discussing houses along the way that we would hypothetically buy.

 

"Pro PHP Programming" Published


The Apress book, Pro PHP Programming, which I coauthored is available for eBook and print order now and will be in stores in a few days.
Apress
Amazon
Chapters/Indigo

 

I have written seven chapters:
3 - Mobile PHP
4 - Social Media
10 - Libraries
11 - Security
13 - Refactoring, Unit Testing and Continuous Integration
14 - XML
15 - JSON and Ajax

The Full Table of Chapters of the Book is:

  1. Object Orientation
  2. Exceptions and References
  3. Mobile PHP
  4. Social Media
  5. Cutting Edge
  6. Form Design and Management
  7. Database Interaction I
  8. Database Interaction II
  9. Database Interaction III
  10. Libraries
  11. Security
  12. Agile Development with Zend Studio for Eclipse, Bugzilla, Mylyn, and Subversion
  13. Refactoring, Unit Testing, and Continuous Intergration
  14. XML
  15. JSON and AJAX
  16. Conclusions

Appendix - Regular Expressions

 

Engaged!


Engaged!

I am now engaged to my caring, beautiful, cute, smart and funny girlfriend of the past two years, Tressa Kirstein. If you know Tressa, then you know that she has a heart "two sizes too big", the opposite of the Grinch. I love her quirkiness as it matches my own nature.

And now the story of the engagement:

We have been living together for almost a year and a half. Though she is a bit of a neat freak, and I am more of a night owl, for the most part it works very well. We both bring out the best in each other.

Tressa has not so subtly hinted at marriage ; ) before. Several months ago we were in a mall and she joked that we should see some rings in a jewelry store. I think I shocked her when I said "ok" as her arm was shaking and hand sweating. All we came home with that occasion was a ring measurement and a somewhat flustered woman ; )

I know it frustrates Tressa sometimes that I am quite aggressive in some matters, while quite slow and cautious in other decisions. One evening at open mic night, watching my brother Robert and his wife Lisa perform some songs, I finally came to a decision, saying to Robert while Tressa went to the washroom "I think I am finally ready Robert. I'm ready to ask Tressa to marry me.". 

(As a side note, you should know that I have a history of not always keeping surprises. So the fact that only Robert knew before hand, and no one knew the exact date is impressive.)

Tressa finished working at the school at the end of June. July 2nd-3rd we were in Lloydminster visiting my sister's family along with my parents - it is my dad's birthday. Tressa's friend Ashley was in town and stayed overnight Tuesday. Another friend of Tressa's, Angie, was supposed to be visiting on Wednesday. Starting Friday, Tressa and her mom were to travel to Alberta for a week. So I told Tressa I would make supper for her on Thursday without trying to make too big a deal of things - as this was the date I decided to pop the question.

As it turned out, Angie had to cancel for Wednesday, and Tressa wanted me to make supper Wednesday instead. Her and her mom were to leave Thursday now. Previously in the day I had bought tickets to Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan for Thursday. I told Tressa that I would rather not as I had made plans for Thursday night...this almost ruined things as Tressa knew something was up. Humorously, she thought I had booked a hot air balloon - which actually would be awesome! Maybe as a wedding present from someone...haha.hint. I did my best to downplay things and rescheduled for Wednesday.

Wednesday, July 6th after work I cooked Tressa chicken alfredo - the first meal she ever cooked for me. Then I told her that we were going to Shakespeare on the Saskatchewan - "Love's Labour Lost", but not before singing her two songs. The play was pretty good but it was styfling hot. My plan was to propose at intermission, but I thought it was longer than it actually was (15 minutes). I did not know exactly where to go, but we went for a little walk along the river and at a spot I deemed ok, I went down on one knee and asked Tressa to marry me. I got her by surprise! And she got emotional and then said, "Yes, I will!". The second half of the play was tough to take in - Tressa was grinning ear to ear. Also it was Shakespeare...so unless you know what is going on or an old English major, you're lost.

We got home, phoned our immediate families, and texted our wedding parties (it was fairly late) then went to the Yard and Flagon for a pint of beer and an appetizer.

The aftermath:

After the proposal, Tressa and her mom delayed the trip until Monday which was nice. But I have not seen her since. She is actually twenty minutes outside of the city now, so yay!

We are shooting for a summer 2012 wedding, though the exact date is not finalized yet.

Beyond marriage..I hope to be able to travel with Tressa and hopefully have some children... but let's not get too ahead of things. 

I love Tressa! xo

 

the arts


A couple of weeks ago I watched my brother Robert and his wife Lisa perform at an open mic night at Lydia's in town. They sounded good, and I have always wanted to get the skill/nerve to perform in public.

The open mic at Lydia's is very cool too. There are many different genres of music and everyone gets around four or five songs to sing, so the setlists entice you if enjoy the performer and give your ears a break if you do not.

I decided that I would like to play at an open mic night in the future - maybe in a month or two. I figure I can pull off a solid set of four or five songs. I hope to play a couple of original songs, a couple of obscure covers and maybe one well known cover - possibly an instrumental version.

I have been playing more guitar recently and bought myself a classical music book, which is challenging but fun.

When it comes to movies and music, I am on a retro kick. I figure that there are a lot of bad present day movies and a limited amount of time on this earth. So I am starting to watch proven classic films from the AFI 100 years, 100 movies list and listen to some albums from Top 100 Canadian Albums (legally and for free at grooveshark).

So far, I have watched Casablanca and the Graduate for the first time...and heard some Neil Young tracks that are great and I had not heard yet..."here's lookin at you kid"

 

Another niece, off to Jamaica


My sister Karen gave birth to her second daughter, Scarlett Eileen Code on April 18th. Congratulations Karen (and Lanny)! This is my third niece, and they amazingly all have their birthdays within five days of each other! Berlyn is turning the big three on April 22nd and Piper is turning one on April 23rd.

I have finished writing the initial drafts of seven chapters for a book I am coauthoring. Tomorrow night, Tressa and I are leaving on vacation for Jamaica! So we are really excited and ready to relax.

 

 

First Round Prediction: Habs in Six


As a lifelong Montreal Canadiens fan, I am terribly biased that they will upset the Boston Bruins. However, I have also witnessed several first round upsets over the last ten years by Montrael. Going back to the Bruins teams that Joe Thornton and Sergei Samsonov were a part of, Montreal upset Boston as an 8th seed in 2002 and as a 7th seed in 2004. Who can forget last year, when Montreal eliminated the 1st and 2nd seeds Washington and Pittsburgh, as a lowly 8th seed.

This year the Canadiens are a 6th seed. Their season record against Boston was 4 wins and 2 losses. I think the one lopsided loss (7-0) and the Zdeno Chara-Max Pacioretty incident have left a skewed memory and expectation in people's minds.

[[{"type":"media","view_mode":"media_large","fid":"861","attributes":{"alt":"Price Thomas to battle again","class":"media-image bordered-margin-right"}}]]

NHL.com recently showcased a computer simulation that predicted that Boston would win the Stanley Cup. They also had the highest predicted first round winning percentage of any simulated matchup, at something around 98%. What was even more incredible was that Montreal was given a 0.001% (that's of one percent) chance of winning the Stanley Cup. That is absolutely ridiculous. I am not saying that they will win the cup (it would be nice). However, I would give them much higher odds. Maybe off the top of my head, 1 in 20 or 1 in 25. So 4 to 5%. That is 4000-5000x times higher than the simulation.

To get a grasp at how awful I find that prediction, look at it the following way: If you bet $1 on Montreal to win the cup and they did, you would win $100,000. No bookie in the world would offer that up, so I think the simulation has some obvious flaws. As a sports fan, I know that nothing is ever written in stone. Recently the local WHL franchise, the Saskatoon Blades had their best season ever and were first in the league in the regular season. Yet, they got swept in the second round yesterday.

What was even more surprising to me was how many respectable hockey analysts are in complete agreement that Boston will win the series. Yes Boston are a bigger team physically, but that alone does not determine a series.

Here are some components and who I think has the edge:

Speed: Montreal.

Size: Boston.

Special Teams: Montreal. Kirk Muller's guidance over the last few years has made the Canadiens phenomenal penalty killers.  PK Subban, Mike Cammellari, Brian Gionta pack a punch. Zdeno Chara's shot and some big Boston forwards are also dangerous on the PP.

Forwards: Boston (slightly). Milan Lucic was the top scorer for the Bruins, but only 39th overall in the league with 62 pts. Tomas Plekanec was the Canadiens top scorer, but only 58th overall with 57pts. Boston has more offensive depth, but Montreal has Cammellari, Gionta and Scott Gomez who have the potential to have key goals. Boston does also boast Nathan Horton, Patrice Bergeron and the veteran Mark Recchi.

Defense: Montreal (slightly). Boston has Chara and Tomas Kaberle. But I am impressed with Montreal's defensive depth. They have a solid combination of skill and experience. Jaroslav Spacek had a great first round series last year against Alexander Ovechkin. Subban is a smooth, gifted skater. Pickups James Wisniewski and Brent Sopel have an offensive side, while Roman Hamrlik and Hal Gill are hulking physical bodies. If Andrei Markov and Josh Gorges can come back later down the road, that would give Montreal a very, very strong defense in my opinion.

Goaltending: Montreal (ever so slightly). Both goalies are extremly good and have had tremendous seasons. We all remember what Jaroslav Halak did for Montreal last year. Conversely, Price has struggled his last couple of playoff series. However, Price is a goalie bred for greatness. The winning goalie for a World Junior championship team and later an AHL championship, he may have some off seasons, but he is no flash in the pan. 

A goalie can singlehandedly win a series. I remember several years ago Patrick Lalime having three shutouts in a playoff series. Lalime was an ok, but not great goalie. But both Price and Tim Thomas are playing great this season and are key factors in who moves on to the next round.

I have a gut feeling that Price will win the series for Montreal. I like Thomas, but he is an emotional player. If frustration starts, combined with last years playoffs horrific collapse to Philadelphia, expect bandwagon jumpers to come back to the Canadiens side.

Conclusion:

As you can see, I think the series is fairly evenly matched and will be fun to watch. My prediction is that like the regular season, look for Montreal to go 4-2.

Canadiens in six!

 

so much that has happened!


Many big events over the last few weeks. The biggest of which is my brother Robert and his fiance Lisa eloping on Saturday, March 19th! It was a very small ceremony and I was privileged enough to be a witness to it. Congratulations Robert and Lisa!

Also this month, Tressa went to Las Vegas with her mother, Robert and I went to a very good Plants and Animals show, I went on a road trip with Vince, Nick and Kendra to Edmonton for a late "Happy 30th" bash for Brad, and I am just about done my portion of the writing for the PHP book I am co-authoring.

Oh, and Cuba is not available during Tressa and I's upcoming holiday dates, but we have Ocho Rios, Jamaica booked at the end of April and are looking forward to some holiday time!

 

 

Very busy, but in a good way


Hello all, I will write quickly as I am very busy right now. Outside of my normal work I was doing a technical review for an upcoming Apress book [the plug]. Long story short, I am writing several chapters for it now, which is very exciting but also, of course, more work than normal for me.

Recap of some events of late: Tressa won the door prize of $100 in Mary K cosmetics/manicure from our Valentine's day dinner at The Ivy. We went to a wedding in Hudson Bay this weekend. It was a fun time, but ungodly cold -35 celsius without windchill when we left. Tressa and her mom left today for Las Vegas for a week (T's graduation gift from her mom). Meanwhile, I am holding the fort in town and getting my work done, braving the cold and probably returning to my night owl bad habits for awhile.

 

music, music all around - martin sexton show and upcoming releases


Tressa and I saw John Martyn Martin Sexton play in Saskatoon on February 3rd. It was a good show. I only knew the songs Glory Bound and parts of Black Sheep beforehand, but was impressed. Sexton was much bluesier that I had previously thought and a very solid guitarist. He also has a really good voice...like...you don't even know how good, Vince. You don't even know ; )

It was a fun outing and we discovered that Tressa needs a wagon for her purse. So I welded her one ; )

Looking at the list of upcoming albums, three have piqued my interest in the next month.
February 15th:

  • PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
    has had rave reviews. Interested in what this will sound like
  • Bright Eyes - The People's Key
    latest from the Nebraska band of Conor Oberst, Mike Mogis, and Nate Walcott

March 3rd:

  • Fleet Foxes - Helplessness blues
    Long await sequel to there great first album. Really looking forward to this one!

 

Easing into the work day through classical music


Recently, I've discovered a classical music program, tempo, on CBC radio 2 (105.5FM locally) that coincides with my drive to work. When it is -30 Celsius outside and I can barely open my eyes, it is a nice transition between sleep and dreams and the real world.

classical music image

I have always liked classical music - in limited doses - so ten or fifteen minutes a day of increased exposure is perfect : )

Plus I get to find out all kinds of useless trivia arcana. Example: Apparently Mozart liked to sign his letters as Trazom - his name backwards.

 

Words of Wisdom

When one teaches, two learn.

Robert Half

More Quotes & Lyrics

Spotlight Album

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!!

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Dig!!! Lazarus Dig!!! (2008)

This album has been a staple of my music collection since it's release in 2008. I think it is one of Nick Cave's best albums. The album is moody and full of lyrical imagery. Dark, trancy at times such as on the track "Night of the Lotus eaters". The lyrics of this album are very strong and is what draws me back to it time and again. The track "Midnight Man" is an absolute gem:

Hold that chrysalis in your palm See it split and change It won't do you any harm It's just trying to rearrange

It was born to live a day Now it flies up from your hand It's beautiful It's the one they call your ever loving man

Wolves have carried your babies away Oh, your kids drip from their teeth The nights are long and the day Is bitter cold beyond belief...

...Close your eyes, sleep in him Dream of your lost sons and daughters Me, I'll raise up my dorsal fin And glide up and down the waters

The closing track "More news from nowhere" though just under eight minutes could go sixteen and I would be quite happy to listen to it all.


nick cave-midnight man

View More Spotlight Albums

Favourite Albums of 2017