I got Season One of TOS (The Original Series of Star Trek, for you younguns) for my birthday earlier this year. The series was made before the studios cheaped out and invented “Reality TV” so there are a glorious 29 episodes instead of the modern less-than-20 studios make nowadays, if they even bother to make dramatic series instead of home redecorating shows.
I like to stick one on in the kitchen while we make supper. Lately the kids have come running when they hear the Enterprise bridge noises from the DVD menu, and they sit enthralled by the adventures of Kirk, Spock and McCoy (and Mr Scott of course). It’s fun to see them enjoying one of the things I really got into when I was a kid. It’s also fun re-living the excitement I felt watching these shows the first time.
Last night we watched “This Side of Paradise” where everyone is hypnotized by the alien plant spores and mutinies and abandons Enterprise except Kirk. Spock gets to express repressed love for a woman he knew. Jenn got to roll her eyes when the woman asked Spock if he had any other name, and I said, right on cue, “You couldn’t pronounce it.” Yeah, I’m a geek, get over it.
Saturday was the Stony Plain meet. It was a scorcher at over 30 degrees in the outdoor pool. I think by the end of the day Jennifer and I were more tired than the kids. At least they got to get into the pool and cool off (and swim a race) now and then. Emily swam 50 free, 200 free, 25 fly and 50 back. She won all but the 200, which was a 12 & Under event. She was second in that and did her best time by a few tenths. Mack swam 50 free, 25 free, 25 back and 25 fly. He won all of them and both kids won the gold aggregate in their age group. Some of the other 8 & Under boys were complaining to Mack that he always wins everything. He said “No I don’t! I got one silver this year!”
The season’s going well, and we’re down to two meets left: Regionals and Provincials. Then we’re on vacation until school starts again.
We want to go into the USA during our summer vacation this year. We don’t need passports to go into the USA yet from Canada by a land terminal, but we wanted to have them just to make things easier. Jenn took the completed applications in to the passport office on July 16, and they arrived by mail today. My only conclusion must be that they were mailed to us by Passport Canada six weeks from now, and accidentally got caught in that time warp thing that Canada Post has that makes mail arrive slower the closer the destination is from the sender, and sent back in time. There’s no other explanation for how the passports could have arrived in only ten days.
I though this was interesting, despite the fact that I think comparing religion and science is not really fundamentally possible, because religion is a belief system and science is a method of understanding the world around us. I saw this comment here attached to a talk by Michael Shermer on why people believe strange things:
“The problem with science, as far as religion sees it, is that it can’t instantly explain everything. The problem with religion as science sees it, is that it can’t definitely explain anything whatsoever.”
Religious apologists think that since science can’t explain everything then there is something wrong with it. They miss the point of science entirely. It’s point is to find something we don’t understand, formulate ideas about what could explain it, and then try to disprove the ideas, until an idea comes along that explains things sufficiently to predict the behavior of those things. The point of science is that it is always looking to improve it’s explanations of everything. The point of religion is to continue to believe the same things, regardless of evidence to the contrary.
I have been using a Blackberry for about a year or so. I never could get to like the damn thing. Before I started using it, I used Palm organizers for about six years and I really like the Palm devices. I also used to use nice simple Motorola phones, like the Startac and it’s descendants. They just work. I switched to the Blackberry about a year ago and never got to like it because it was a crap organizer compared to the Palm, and it was a crap phone. About half the time I got a call, I’d accidentally hang up on the caller instead of answering because the stupid answer thing required you to push the wheel in, and half the time the act of pushing it also rolled the dialog box selection from “Answer” to “Ignore”.
Yesterday I got a nice simple LG 245 or something. It has a little camera, and a phone. It works great and I’m so much happier. I have my Palm T|X for an organizer (and e-book reader) and everything is right with the world. I feel positively cave-mannish with my non-smart phone, considering all the iPhone coverage on teh interwebs lately. The only thing good I can say about the Blackberry is that one day I misplaced it and my daughter found it two days later on the deck, where it had been sitting in overnight thunderstorms two nights in a row. After sitting and drying out for a few hours, and a good recharge, it still worked.
This summer’s round of upgrades, patches and hardware replacement pretty much devastated my Novell Identity Manager configurations. Between changing single-node servers to two node clusters, SSL security patches that changed the certificate authorities, and standardization of eDirectory tree names, pretty much every IDM driver set needed to be touched to get it working again. I’ve just finished the last one, so our users should now have up-to-date synchronized data across all our connected systems.
The kids have been having a good season in summer swimming again this year. It’s their fourth year swimming, and both of them are becoming old veterans of the swimming scene. Emily takes it a bit more seriously than Mack at this point, being a bit more focussed on what she wants to achieve. Mack, despite having a shorter attention span than his sister, still manages to work hard every practice. He’s not motivated by any grand goals or anything, he just wants to finish everything first.
This year Mack has a strong competitor in our region for the first time. A little guy from Drayton Valley has been giving Mack some good races through the season, and has handed Mack his hat a couple of times in the IM. Hopefully this will help Mack be a bit more focussed. He works hard in practice, but he doesn’t always put a lot of thought into his technique and such. It helps that his coach is very good at working with him on technique. Thanks to her help he’s become more of a breast-stroke swimmer than I ever was, although admittedly that’s not a particularly impressive feat.
Emily has been dominating her age group in our region all season. She qualified for year-round-swimming’s summer provincials in the very first meet of the year this year, instead of at the last possible meet like last year. At year-round provincials, she won 50 free, got 3rd in 50 fly and 4th in 100 free. She was seventh in 50 back and the ASSA all stars got a bronze medal on the 4×50 free relay. Emily also broke two ASSA all star records, which are basically summer swimming’s long-course records. She broke the 100 free and 50 fly records. She was pretty proud of herself, and so were we. Mack was even impressed watching.
One of the most fun parts of the meet for me was getting Emily to meet my coach from the ’80s at Keyano, Dave Johnson. Dave was the National Team coach for several years, and has returned to his roots (and what he does best, I think) coaching at the club head coach level at Calgary Cascade Swim Club. I also introduced Emily to another coach that I’ve known for many years, Tom Ponting. Tom was a three time Olympian for Canada, and was the best butterfly swimmer in Canada for many years. I don’t know if Emily was impressed or not. At the end of the meet, Dave offered one of his typical backhanded compliments for Emily. He said to me “I watched your daughter swim. She could be good. You just have to get her to kick.” Typical Dave.