Gonzo blogging from the Annie Leibovitz of the software development world.

Author: Bil (Page 3 of 182)

Glamping 2009 – Day 1 – And So It Begins

Every year we head out with the fam to do some camping. Camping? Me? Geek boy extraordinaire? The guy who can’t exist being more than 50 yards from a hotspot? Yeah. That’s me. The first year V was only a few months old so she basically slept most of the way there, most of the time there, and most of the way back (except the screaming that happened as we got closer to Calgary which prompted us to take her into the Children’s Hospital where we go her reflux identified). The next year she was pretty good along the way and back and it was a great trip.

This year things are different. V is 2 years old now and has the attention span of a gnat. In addition to hauling half of our house with us (including laptops, power cords, chargers and I was tempted to bring my XBox 360 with me) we have my 16 year old son Mike with us. The good thing is he’s there to entertain her in the back seat. The bad thing is he’s there to entertain her in the back seat. Try sitting through 15 minutes of high pitched wailing followed by 2 year old laughter behind you while you’re driving and you’ll know what I mean.

Glamping Day 1

So there it is. 11 hours of car pooling with one two year old, one 16 year old, and @PrincessJenn. I’m not sure beating myself upside the head with a hot poker would be any better so I’ll make the best out of the trip. Actually it’s been quite fun so far.

We’re heading a small hole in the wall in backwoods B.C. where electricity is a four letter word. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very pretty but it’s just not the high-speed internet vacation we’ve had in the past. Luckily we’re not going the full trip the first day (only a moron would drive 12 hours with a 2 year old) so we’ve stopped over in Sicamous, B.C. (just past Revelstoke) for the night. Glamping? Oh yeah. We’re in a Best Western with a pool, a hot tub, and free wireless internet. I joked to Jenn that should we have won the Lotto-649 last night (I bought a ticket, we just haven’t checked it yet) that we would be staying at the motel for the week and send her parents a postcard and some money.

The drive was quite nice but with spotty rain along the way. It was as if someone up above was looking down and saying “Hey, that big ass truck hasn’t been rained on for 15 minutes” and then unzipped and let it pour out. We stopped at Field, B.C. (a tiny town but very tranquil nested in the middle of the mountains) which lasted all of about 10 minutes. One minute I was at the pond with V watching the droplets come down, then it was a mad dash for the car to get in before the soaking began (and let me tell you, strapping a 2 year old into a car seat under pressure is a talent I do not have). Of course 10 minutes down the road, it was bright and sunny.

Glamping Day 1

Ahh dinner. The last meal of the day. The time you sit down with your family and chow down as it were. After checking in I go directed to two different places that were “kid friendly”. Apparently “kid friendly” in Sicamous, B.C. means your kids drive Harleys or don’t care about adequate service. The first place the shiny-happy lady directed me to was a place called Moose Muligans. Hey, with a name like that I was almost half expecting to see Mooby Burger or something and a big giant ceramic beast outside the establishment greeting us like a Canadian version of Wally World. As we turned into the driveway my spider sense was tingling. I could see the sign “Liquor Store” right above the arrow pointing to the Moose. And then there it was. Moose Muligans Pub and Grill. Complete with it’s own Liquor Store right on the main floor. I guess when Mommy and Daddy have had enough of the kid, they grab a few for the road. Oy.

Strike one on the kids meal homestead. Tim Hortons (a suggestion from Jenn) was sounding better and better. Even Mike said “Tims makes good sandwiches”. Nope. No siree. My family is going to eat at a good old fashioned sit-down eatery. Departing from the Moose we drove down the road towards choice #2, Eagles Pass. It was looking pretty good and even had “Eatery” in the name and kids out on the patio. Sweet. This *must* be my redemption for the long drive today. A nice home cooked meal from a place that welcomed the little ones. Heading inside is when my little bubble started to shatter. The place was somewhat busy but there were quite a few tables available. A large set in the middle was reserved for some upcoming party so that’s cool, but even with the place devoid of customers we were told we had to wait 10 minutes. The couple that walked in the door mere seconds behind us was told to wait 20 minutes. Hmmm. Something’s not right here.

Finally we got in and ordered. I thought this was going to work. I *hoped* this was going to work. They delivered an appetizer first (steaming hot potatoe skins) but it was at least another 10 minutes (felt more like 20) before the orders came. After dropping our plates on the table there was a “Okay, great, there you go” from the waitress. Missing from the entourage was our daughters kids fish and chips, which frankly should have been delivered first. Pretty much any other place we’ve been to they bring out the kids meal first, which is also usually not boiling hot. Nope, Eagles Pass finest decided to bring out a nice scalding plate of hot fish. It seems in the missing order of fish, they hastily tossed something in the deep fryer and then brought it out without even cooking (if deep frying can be called cooking) long enough. Scalding hot mushy fish is what my daughter ate tonight on our first day of Glamping. Where is Timmy when I need him?

Glamping Day 1

The kicker to the meal (not to mention that we had to ask for refills of our “bottomless” drinks as the waitress basically ignored us for the entire meal) is that when I paid we were told “Oh, you get a free ice cream cone with that kids meal”. Oh really? Another thing they conveniently *missed*, much like the $0 tip I left them. Now V can’t have ice cream but that’s not point (and they didn’t know that until after they told us we should have got the ice cream).

In any case, other than the horrible meal the day was good and the drive was fun. So if you’re in Sicamous, B.C. be sure to avoid Eagles Pass Eatery. Maybe we were “special” but it didn’t seem that many other patrons were enjoying their meal either.

You can follow the flickr set for this trip here.

Personal Blog Reboot Version 8.1

No, this isn't me. Not yet anyways.Meanwhile, back at the farm…

Back again after several. No wait, many. No, that’s not right. Countless. Yeah, that’s the ticket.

Where was I?

Oh yeah, here I am with my personal blog after countless re-starts. My technical blog, Fear and Loathing, is humming along swimmingly. Posts come once a week or two as they usually take me a few hours to put together (screen shots, sometimes I even have to write code for them). However this is my space. For me. To vent. To bitch. To complain. To generally get peeved at the world and wonder why are we here and what’s life all about?

Welcome to my personal blog. A place where I can stand up on my vanity soapbox and tell the world what’s wrong with it (or what’s wrong with me, which will be more likely the case). Like everyone, I need a place to vent and blow off steam and I need to keep the Evil Bil side of things living here and somewhat under control, rather than bleeding all over at Fear and Loathing (although Evil Bil does creep into posts over there too). That’s the place to learn crap (or hear me vent for entirely different reasons, mostly related to Microsoft). This is the place where Bil 2.0 hangs his hat.

My partner in crime has rebooted her personal blog as well over at Princess Prose. She’s already been doing a great job with posts and content and I’m already jealous. Of course now it’s not a race to see who has the most content but who ends up with coolest WordPress Plugins.


bilblogI am a geek, not a nerd. Let’s get that straight. I identify a difference between the two. Geeks are the guys who know stupid stuff, have blogs, work in the industry (but usually not too deep into it), and while we do tend to look at normal mundane Life 1.0 things with a twinkle in our automated eye we don’t show up to Star Trek conventions decked out in full authentic Klingon gear.

Nerds are the other guys.

These are the ones that you do see dressed up to the nines at any given convention (and sometimes just dressed up for the hell of it, like because it’s a Sunday). Nerds are the ones that work in think tanks or technical places so secret you need a retinal scan to get into the bathrooms. Nerds are the ones who have never kissed a girl (not counting virtual worlds) and their biggest life long accomplishment is a level 90 Death Mage (is there such a thing?) in World of Warcraft.

I started life in the art space then sometime in the mid 80s moved into technology. That in itself is a journey to be shared another day. I still find ways today to bridge the gaps but my artistic side has dwindled to a dim shadow of what it once was due to lack of care and feeding. Someday I will return to it. In the meantime I consider myself an amateur photographer who just like taking pics (mostly of my daughter Vista) and a guy who writes software. You can check out my pics on my Flickr page which fills up with pictures of V and other stuff as fast as humanly possible.

My day job is with technology and SharePoint (which is the general cause of my angst on my technical blog and the occasional headaches at night). I also come up with at least 1 new project idea every week and furiously create some code then shelve the idea for a long time (sometimes forever). This is my ADD shining through, although I’ve never been diagnosed with it officially, you just know it’s there. Waiting. Watching. Hoping to rear it’s ugly head and create a new folder full of ideas and then just as quickly as it appeared, it moves on. Watch for a projects page to appear here sometimes in the near future with links to all the goings on around the wub-wub-wub that I’ve created and continue to breathe life into. There’s a bunch of them and sometimes I can’t even keep track of them all.

Like I said, I’m a geek not a nerd. And damn proud of it.


BSOD anyone?This blog is now the amalgamation of several other blogs and hopefully my last stands on personal blogs. My technical blog has been going on for nearly six years now and personal content here has been migrated from the past ten. Hopefully I’ll stick to this, keep track of the data files, and not create yet-another-unmaintainable-mess of a blog. My original bilsimser.org site has posts (dating back to 1999) which have been moved here; CDX posts, a library for C++ DirectX Game Programming that I wrote a book on back in 2000 on are scattered here (mostly around the release and the book); My Sims (the EA game) posts from when I wrote a whack of tools in the early 2000’s are all here (mostly with broken links and shattered images); and a few other projects thrown in for good measure.

So there’s content here but be warned. Some of it is contextual to when it was written (and where) and there are plenty of broken or missing image links (even though the text will refer to “see image below”). Also most of the imported (all?) is not categorized. I’ll find time over the next few years to try to pull it into categories and hopefully that dismal empty excuse of a tag cloud can take some shape.

BTW, doing a quick scan there’s a lot of weird content. Weird as in “What the Hell was I drinking when I wrote it?”. Like an idea for a zombie FPS game back in 2004. And various rants about social media, SharePoint, Scrum, and other Micrsosoft technologies before they were what they are today.

Look and Feel

This is the bare bones theme for the sight and I’m good with that. I keep trying out different themes (mostly from the very awesome Free WP Themes site).I’m happy with bare bones for now but be warned. I’ll get into a mood and try out themes so objects may change as you’re viewing them. If they do, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

As with everything I do there are evolutions. I try things out, I swish things around, and land on something I like until the next best thing shows up. Jenn did craft me up a custom background for my twitter page to which I’ve received several comments on it. Maybe I’ll hunt her down to get me to build a custom theme, although this one is working for me now.

Going Forward

First Steps

They say a journey starts with the first step. This isn’t my first step and frankly I don’t even know where we’re going or what direction I’m even facing right now. All I know is this is where I am and welcome you to stroll alongside me as we discovery the universe and all it has to offer. Good, bad, and ugly.

Welcome to the desert of the real.

Wrapping up the blog

Hi guys,

Just wanted to say that I’m going to be wrapping up the blogging on this site shortly (but not the site itself). Unfortunately I don’t have enough time to blog on a regular basis so I’m just going to turn the news here into a static page. I do have a list of things that I’m going to get to someday on this site and the software here. Namely:

  • Updates to the current tools with the latest expansion packs
  • Whatever little Sims 2 capabilities I can add in (probably only to SimExplorer, not looking to build any new tools)
  • Add whatever technical specs that are not available on the Sims 1 formats that I can

I don’t have time for any Sims 2 tools, but from what I’ve seen out there, there are plenty of smart guys doing great stuff with this right now. These days my focus is now on doing some work with Microsoft products (and some public speaking at user groups and events across the country) and some new game development. I’ll still plug away at the Sims stuff as I can find time but can’t commit to any schedules or tools these days. In the meantime, enjoy what’s here and keep on Simming!

Happy Birthday Internet!

The CBC is reporting that the Internet turned 35 today (Man, I’d swear it only looked 29!). The story talks about the less-than-prophetic beginnings of the net: ‘In order to log in to the two-computer network, which was then called ARPANET, programmers at UCLA were to type in ‘log’, and Stanford would reply ‘in’. The UCLA programmers only got as far as ‘lo’ before the Stanford machine crashed.

And hey, it’s my birthday today! What a coinky-dink. 35 is the perfect age. It’s not so old that it can’t attract younger users, but it has enough experience to satisfy even the most advance user. Based on the numbers above though, I’m older than the Internet by a few years although there are some that say the Internet isn’t 35.

According to this article, the internet just turned 20 last year. Here’s one that said it turned 35 last month. Here’s yet another one at a reputable site that has it as 20 years ago, but this was Dec 31, 2002.

Any reason to celebrate, I guess. Happy Birthday to us… and thanks for all the porn!

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