This morning, my dad passed away after a long battle with gall bladder disease, pancreatitiis, and the complications that arose from both. He was well cared for in the hospital, first for about a month in the Sturgeon and then for another month in the Royal Alexandra. The staff at both hospitals were professional and compassionate, and treated our father with the utmost respect, and my family is most grateful.
I need to write an obituary, but I’m struggling to keep it as an obituary and not a eulogy. I’m somewhat long-winded and there’s a lot that could be said about my dad. There’s a lot about his honesty, trustiness, steadiness, his hard work for the RCMP for 40 years, and his friends who all call each other by their surnames, a habit picked up in the force. There’s also the bum steer he got with his health, and the hard work he put in every day in staying fit and trim in order to keep himself alive. If it hadn’t been for his discipline, he would have died ten years ago, and never known any of his grandchildren.
The most compelling thing for me is that he was the kind of father that I aspire to be for my kids. When my kids have grown, if they think they had nearly as good a dad as I had, I will consider my life successful indeed. His highest priorities at all times were his family, my mother, my sister and me, and then later his grandchildren. He loved my kids so much, it was a delight to see him with them. Recently at Mack’s school, I read a little bit of his journal, that he writes in as an exercise in french writing class. He was asked by his teacher to write his favorite things to do. In addition to the expected “playing gameboy” and “playing waterpolo” it said “spending time with my grandfather”. To me, that says a lot about what’s important about my dad.
My sister is on her way from down east, and arrives tonight. She’s disappointed that she didn’t get to see dad one last time, but over the past weeks when I’ve visited him in the ICU, I often talked to him about all his family who wanted to be there with him. I think the thing that will really hurt later is that her daughter barely knew dad and is too young to remember it later, and her new baby, expected in the fall, will miss out on knowing a wonderful grandpa.
My mom’s sister got here last night, and her brother is on the way. My dad’s niece Terry and his sister-in-law, Aunt Dorlene have told me they’re coming for dad’s memorial.
Dad’s golf buddies were all shocked and saddened, and will miss his company on the fairway this summer. RCMP guys seem to have close ties, and stay lifelong buddies in a way that I can understand because it’s similar to the loose but close competitive swimming family I’ll always be a part of.
If any of our family or friends reads this and are considering sending flowers, we thank you for your kind wishes, but please reconsider, and instead redirect your much-appreciated well-wishes in a donation to the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation in memory of Ron Flowers instead. During dad’s many visits to doctors and hospitals in the past few years, he particularly sympathized with he sick children he saw, and was very moved by their suffering and that of their families. We thought it would be a fitting tribute to his love of his family and of children to support the Stollery, which does such important work for kids in our region.
That’s right, I bought a 20-inch iMac for myself a couple of weeks ago. I’m still getting acclimatized to the Apple way of doing things. Don’t worry, I haven’t entirely lost my senses. I still have my lovely Sun Ultra 20 M2 Workstation OpenSuse Linux desktop at work which I do all my daily stuff on, including managing a couple of dozen production virtual machines and testing and experimenting with all our new IT initiatives at work. I just couldn’t face updating Jenn’s aging Windows XP workstation with a Vista one, nor the kids, so we’ve become a Mac household. Jenn’s got an iBook, and the kids have an iMac too.
It was a pretty serious switchover. My old FreeBSD workstation retains it’s role as home server and backup disk repository, and the kids old Windows XP machine becomes the dedicated guitar amplifier and effects processor / recording machine, (software stack to be decided). Jenn’s old machine has already been disk-wiped and consigned to the computer recycle depot.
I’ve been working with the Mac for a couple of weeks. In addition to the included software for photo and music management, plus Apple’s nice X11 implementation for connectivity to my FreeBSD box and my work Linux machines, I’ve added a bunch of software to make the machine feel like home to me.
- Firefox (Safari just feels wrong to me, since I’m so used to Firefox)
- Chicken of the VNC
- BitRocket for bittorrenting
- Democracy Player for rss video feeds
- VMware Fusion Beta for virtual machine stuff
- HP’s printer stuff for my Photosmart 7350 (which you have to slightly hack to get working)
- Gimp, of course
- A Gmail monitor applet called Gmail Status
- Palm Desktop so I can sync my Palm TX to iCal with iSync
- NeoOffice (MacOSX Native OpenOffice)
- TextWrangler (programmer’s text editor, though it has no keyboard macro recording so I may pull out the trusty Emacs)
Other than that, I’m still missing a virtual desktop manager, and I’ve been half-heartedly looking for a desktop blogging tool, but the WordPress web interface is generally good enough for me. Apparently the next OSX iteration will have virtual desktop management called “Spaces”, which has caused the programmer of the apparently popular open source virtual desktop manager software VirtuaDesktop to quit development. I haven’t found another one yet.
Having a Mac is not going to turn me away from being a Linux user at work. The thing that might do that is if VMware releases VMware Server for Solaris. That would make me strongly consider moving to OpenSolaris for my desktop at work. However, one thing I can definitely say is that it sure is nice to have all the multimedia stuff just work out of the box on the Mac.
I’ve been at work most of the day and didn’t hear about this until just now. There has been a shooting spree at Virginia Tech today in which 31 people have died, including the shooter and many students.
I went to McGill University in Montréal, and was a student there in 1989 during the incident when Marc Lépine murdered 14 women at École Polytechnique. There are many ties between the engineering schools at McGill and École Polytechnique, and many of my friends and classmates were friends with one or more of the victims. It was a devastating event that affected everyone I knew there.
I can sympathize with the shock and horror of what has happened today in Virginia. I hope that anyone still trying to reach their family members there is successful, and my deepest condolences go out to those who have lost loved ones.
I don’t know if it was me or Emily discovering the fun of tremolo on my iAxe or what, but the whammy bar busted off in the bridge block. I don’t know if the threads are damaged or not, but hopefully if I take it into a shop and get the broken end of the whammy bar removed, the threads will still be ok and I’ll be able to get a replacement whammy bar.