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all the misterben news you can shake a stick at

the yard - a view from the truck almost out of milk stopping for a snack coming in for some food on the porch with sun and sand he may never get down buckaroo bob rides the horse the monster in the basement all he needs is a bunch of cameras around his neck and some bermuda shorts on the chair - first thing in the morning

permanent pictures

This is one of my favorite pictures of Ben.  He is not unplugging the VCR or throwing up.  What an angel. Lorrie in Lake Superior Provincial Park.  My sweetheart. My dad.  I may be insane, but it is through no fault of my own.  It is purely genetics. My mom.  She was giving me static about not having a picture of her on the web.  This'll teach her. My Mom and Dad - after a lifetime of embarassing me as a kid, it's payback time. The Lensers (Shaney, Amy, Lenny, Niecy) - One of the nicest families around.  They are our surrogate family here in Ottawa.

insightful comments

May 31, 2002

While I am gone, entertain yourself with the penny. Who would have thought that pennies were so interesting? If pennies aren't your thing, what about dots? Or numbers? Or simply compare how big things are. It is incredible the stuff you can come up with when you are contemplating being away from your computer for 48 hours.
12:49 PM - Comments [0]
I will not be here this weekend. This page will not be updated. Please refer to the remainder of the internet for entertaining commentary. Thank you for your understanding.
11:47 AM - Comments [0]

May 30, 2002

It's no secret. We are a few small steps away from the big leap. I don't know how long this link will last. Here is an extra snapshot in the even the other link goes dead. What do you think?
9:39 AM - Comments [10]

May 28, 2002

I have come up with a revolutionary idea for the movie making industry. This is something that Hollywood would probably pay millions of dollars for. But I am going to give it away for free. It is the use of computer animation in movies. Of course, that has been done. And it had been done well. But there is an application of computer graphics in major motion pictures that has been missed for years. And it's time has finally come.

Vomit.

If there is something I hate, it is when a character leans over to hurl and all that comes out is a mouthful. It is obvious that the volume of vomit is exactly the amount that the actor could hold in their mouth when the director yells "Action!". And it bugs me every time. Whenever I have hurled (tequila induced purging in Algonquin park, Halloween party vomit in a grocery bag, every flu I can remember, etc) the volume that comes up is incredible. It is definitely more than a mouthful. So, with major motion pictures having astronomical budgets, why can't a little money be funnelled into making the vomit look realistic? I think that this is something that would be well worth the money. I can imagine myself leaving a movie saying "That movie kinda sucked, but boy did that guy HURL!".

There you go, Hollywood. Do your thing...
8:00 PM - Comments [3]
Did you remove mt-load.cgi when you installed Movable Type? I sure hope so.
7:35 AM - Comments [2]

May 27, 2002

Making the decision to buy a house is quite the thing to wrap your head around. Essentially, the bank will loan me a huge quantity of money and expect me to pay it back to them over a long period of time. And this huge lump of money is used to purchase something. Being a person who lives my life relatively debt-free, the whole concept is scary. I never run a credit card balance. I always have money in my chequing account. I am never afraid when the hydro/phone/cable bills come in, because I always have the money to pay them. Now, to get myself into a huge debt seems pretty scary. No matter how many times I do the math and try to convince myself that the payments will be acceptable, the whole thing leaves me pretty nervous. And excited. Don't forget the excited part.
10:14 AM - Comments [3]

May 24, 2002

If you get a chance, give my search box a try. As Lorrie was out late last night and Ben went to bed early, I was poking around and stumbled across MT-Search. So I spent a few hours fiddling with it, and now have it installed on my site. It is great. If you are a Movable Type user, it allows you to search within entries, comments or both. And with a bug fix I found here, now my search links take you directly to the post of interest rather than to the top of the main archive page. Development seems to have stopped on the project, but as it stands, it seems to work really well. Sorry Atomz. We have had a good run for a while, but now I am cutting you loose. Now if I could only come up with my own localized web counter, I would be able to completely untether myself from these web based applications.
8:16 AM - Comments [3]

May 23, 2002

If you are using a copy of Movable Type and you didn't pay for it, you may want to consider sending a few dollars their way. The have developed an excellent product and are now looking for a little cash.
8:48 PM - Comments [0]
Oh what the hell, most people now know already.

Lorrie and I are looking to buy a house. I know, I know. Mister "Doesn't wanna grow up" is starting to act like an adult. We have done a lot of soul searching over the last few years about what we want to do with our life. Our discussions usually bring us back to the idea that we wish we had a place to develop some hands on skills (painting, repair, mechanical work, carpentry) and a piece of green space where we could dabble in organic gardening. As well, we find that our life is getting boring and predictible. It is much easier to stick with the status quo than to try something new. But what the hell. Take a chance, buy a home, and if it doesn't work out, sell it and go back to apartment living. And if we take a bath on the resale cost, what can you do? It is better to be adventurous and fail then to live a life devoid of adventure and die with a pile of money to your name. Or at least we have convinced ourselves of that.

Now, it is the confusing world of land transfer something-or-others, and insurance whatcha-ma-call-its. Mortgage options, down payments, brokers, lawyers, agents, home inspections, taxes, blah, blah, blah. It is a pain in the rear. That is why Lorrie is deciding what house we buy. I honestly couldn't care less. If she is happy, I will be happy. As long as I have a place to plug in my computer, life will be just fine.
6:12 PM - Comments [8]
I just talked to Lorrie and they are coming to meet me for lunch. But that is not the best news. They are going to be bringing me an egg-salad sandwich. I am pretty excited.
10:21 AM - Comments [7]

May 22, 2002

Friggin' junk mail. I could certainly do without it. Flyers for grocery stores I don't go to. Advertisements for restaurants I will never eat in. Propaganda from politicians that I will never vote for. Even today, I got some mail from a concrete manufacturing company sending me business cards. As if I am going to simply go out and procure their services just because they sent me their company stationary and business cards in the mail. Cripes. It fries my ham, I tells ya.
4:08 PM - Comments [5]

May 21, 2002

With the countless number of technological advancements our species has made, you would think that making the glue on envelopes taste good would be reasonably easy. I just licked a huge envelope (9 x 12") closed and the taste that it left in my mouth is disgusting. I tried eating an apple, but it tasted like a terrible, glue covered apple. Ugh.
12:53 PM - Comments [4]
10:08 AM - Comments [0]

May 20, 2002

Lorrie is home. She is currently in the bedroom cuddling with Ben. I kept her away as long as I could so that he could have his nap but I eventually relented. Now she is sleeping with a smile on her face. It is nice to have her home. Now I can get into my underwear, get a beer out of the fridge and resume my place on the couch. I hope that my butt crease is still there.
3:59 PM - Comments [2]
What do you do when you have the day off and Lorrie is away? Teach your kid to talk like Homer Simpson.
3:27 PM - Comments [5]
Today is Victoria Day, and if you live in Canada, that means a day off. So how are you spending yours? I am scooping the cat box, vacuuming the apartment, making snacks, doing the dishes, picking up the toys and entertaining Ben. I really should get outside.
10:58 AM - Comments [8]

May 17, 2002

Sorry, but you need a tattoo to be in our club.
a couple of silly sailors
2:16 PM - Comments [9]
Lorrie has gone to visit a friend for the weekend, so it is just Ben and I this weekend. It is important that I use all of my best judgement and all of my patience to ensure that I take good care of him over the weekend. I think that my first order of business should be to tear myself away from this computer and see what he is doing in the other room. He has my guitar out of the case and is playing with the myriad of guitar picks in the bottom of the case. Can guitar picks fit in a kid's throat? I should probably go check.
12:58 PM - Comments [5]

May 16, 2002

An open call to the world at large. Please stop using the phrase "it's not rocket science". Back in 1950, building a rocket and sending it into space was a major technological hurdle that human beings were grappling with, but now we have a pretty good handle on it. Therefore, rocket science is no longer rocket science. I think that we need to come up with a new phrase. "It's not brain surgery" also has quite the following as well. With the technological developments of MRI, CAT scans and specialized microsurgical techniques, brain surgery is starting to become more and more routine. So brain surgery is no longer brain surgery either. So what to choose? We need a new phrase that captures our next technological or philosophical challenge. If I am going to slag "it's not rocket science" and "it's not brain surgery", I should really have a replacement phrase. But I don't. Pretty disappointing, no?
8:47 AM - Comments [11]

May 15, 2002

I mentioned that Lorrie went out last night to mingle with some famous people. Currently R.H. Thomson is directing Art at the Great Canadian Theatre Company here in Ottawa, and they needed someone to come in and take notes. So Lorrie got to spend the evening, in the dark, sitting next to him and writing down his every word. Hey, it is the closest brush with greatness we are going to get in this city.
8:44 AM - Comments [0]

May 14, 2002

My parents gave Ben this telephone for a Christmas present. It is a nice little phone that plays music, helps kids learn to count and makes flashing lights. The only problem is that when you play it like this it sounds a lot like Tenacious D.
10:04 PM - Comments [1]
One of the possible perks of being a rock star is you may get a planet named after you. Perhaps Ian can get his band permanently tatooed on the night sky.
1:19 PM - Comments [0]

May 13, 2002

Self serving, I know. But isn't that what this entire webpage is about? Stroking my ego? Although it takes a pretty sad individual to think that being a civil servant is something to be proud of...
who's da man?
12:29 PM - Comments [14]

May 12, 2002

Happy Mother's Day to all of the Mom's that I know. We have a special Mother's Day edition of Raising Hell going on today and Lorrie had these thoughts about her special day.
3:49 PM - Comments [0]

May 11, 2002

We rented Ocean's Eleven last night, and it was excellent. All of you big budget snobs will probably pooh-pooh the movie because it featured Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Matt Damon (among others), but it was a great looking movie with a good story. Plus, the soundtrack smokes. What more can you ask for on a Friday night?
8:28 PM - Comments [6]

May 10, 2002

There must be something in the water. Today I started working on a PowerPoint presentation for a co-worker and needed to fill a bunch of text fields with dummy text. Yesterday I saw a reference to "lorem ipsum" on another site and did a quick google search to figure out where I could obtain some lorem ipsum text. I ended up copying and pasting a bunch of text from this site. At the same time, Dan posted last night about a site that will automatically generate text for you. Very strange coincidence indeed.
6:38 PM - Comments [2]
Oh man but this rules.
:: kudos to Marq for the link ::
7:48 AM - Comments [4]

May 9, 2002

If you use a recent version of Internet Explorer, you can now have the Merriam Webster toolbar that will allow you to use their dictionary, thesaurus and Word of the Day in a flash. Very cool indeed.
:: thanks to Ian for the link ::
11:52 AM - Comments [0]
I was going to get some Winnie the Pooh books for Ben, but I am afraid of exposing him to the mental deficiencies of these poor little characters.
8:01 AM - Comments [1]

May 8, 2002

1:01 PM - Comments [1]
And speaking of the D, some silly person actually submitted the tab for the One Note Song. I think that I probably could have figured that one out. But the bendy part might be a little harder to recreate...
12:38 PM - Comments [5]
Number one position for cleaveland steamer. Is this something I should be ashamed of or something that I should be proud of?
12:13 PM - Comments [1]

May 7, 2002

Over the last four months we had a co-op student working in our lab, and he left a little over a week ago. Before he went, he left me with a cool gift that I have taken pictures of below. Click on each of the figurines to hear a special sound.
abe speaks!homer speaks!sideshow bob speaks!apu speaks!marge speaks!krusty speaks!mister burns speaks!homer speaks!bart speaks!maggie speaks!lisa speaks!bart speaks!
8:18 PM - Comments [5]

May 6, 2002

Who knew? Apparently I am fascinating or unusual or interesting.
10:18 PM - Comments [2]
Sorry that the posts have been less than frequent these last few days. Lorrie, Ben and I made a road trip down to see my folks and I don't like to advertise that my apartment will be empty when I am gone. During the drive home, our conversation covered a variety of topics, but I think that these were the most important questions we came up with:

We have often discussed the usual North American dream (birth, school, work, home, material possessions, death) with scorn. Is it possible that the reason that people strive for the job and then the home is not simply because that is the North American dream? Is it possible that after millions of years sculpting and shaping the direction of our society, that the natural evolution of human societal existence is to get a job and buy a home? Is it possible that buying a home and calling it your own feeds a basic, evolutionary need that is difficult to escape? Or do we buy homes simply because "everyone else is doing it"?

In the time between when the average house is constructed and when a house is demolished, how much money do the banks make in interest from the selling and reselling of the same building?

What are the names of Milhouse's parents?
8:17 PM - Comments [4]

May 5, 2002

Hey! Don't stop reading my page! I'm at a secret location for a few days and will return shortly. Please come back. My sitemeter will feel so neglected if you don't...
7:55 AM - Comments [8]

May 2, 2002

Yesterday word got around that Matt Groening was thinking of pulling the plug on the Simpsons but later Matt Groening stated that the Simpsons will be around for years and years. Even a loyal fan as myself cannot see the Simpsons lasting years and years. Hell, the Sunday night Simpsons episodes are getting worse all the time. I think it would be better to pack it in on a high note, rather than run it into the ground.
7:27 AM - Comments [4]

May 1, 2002

So, who do I believe? The RIAA or a bunch of geeks?
8:12 AM - Comments [0]
yummy pieI was chatting recently with amy about Lorrie's ability to make apple pie, and specifically her experiences with pie crust. I have at least two other friends who have enjoyed Lorrie's pies, but had questions and concerns regarding the preparation of pie crust. I asked her about it tonight. And she gave me some words of advice when praparing pie dough:

- use Tenderflake lard.
- follow the recipe on the box.
- make the entire recipe. don't try to make a half batch.
- use all the liquid that the recipe suggests. this recipe (and others) state that you should only add enough liquid to make the dough cling together. using too little water makes the dough crumbly and dry.
- many recipes state that the dough should not be worked too much, or it will become tough. make sure that when gathering all the ingredients into the dough, all flour should be combined. mixing too little is just as bad as mixing too much. it is important to ensure all ingredients are mixed into the dough.
- cold water is important.
- after you form a dough, split the ball into 6 portions, flatten the unused portions into discs, wrap in plastic wrap and put in freezer. take out approx. 1 hour prior to rolling.

perfect pieOnce you get the hang of the recipe and get a feel for what the dough turns out like with different amounts of kneading/mixing, you will be making pie dough that your grandmother would be proud of. Of course, I personally have never attempted this, nor do I plan to. But hopefully this will be helpful for you.
6:10 AM - Comments [2]