Shivering on the 49th Parallel
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I think it was today. Maybe it was yesterday, I'm not quite sure. The timing is good, however since I have a new affliction that I wanted to look up. I was up a little late last night and when I got up this morning my gluteus maximuses (how the hell do you pluralize gluteus maximus anyway) were a little sore.

My Wii arrived last night and I hooked it up to that sweet, sweet HP 65" DLP tv in the living room and gave it a whirl. Mario Kart, Wii Sports and Wii play. Suddenly it all made sense! Wii bowling! Taking that step as if I were actually tossing a bowling ball down the lane IS A LUNGE! I only bowled one game to try it out, so ten frames. One strike means I actually only bowled 19 virtual balls... so I suppose that works out to 1 set of 19 reps... and I can barely climb the stairs at work today.

This morning I see the Google Health link and click over there, thinking I can search on health-related things, like having a sore butt. I went to and in the search box typed "Wii butt" and didn't get any hits. At least not any SFW hits, that's for sure.

Matty & Co. are coming over after work tonight to play a little. This is the Wii that I received as a free gift back in December. It finally arrived in Miami on May 16th and I had someone who was travelling home from a business trip pick it up and mule it down for me. I connected it up and did the updates and connected it to my Wifi access point, so if you want to play Mario Kart online with me, or just connect and have my Mii show up in your games somewhere (when I get around to making one) then drop me a line and I'll add you to my WiiConnect24 address book. I think... I haven't really messed with it too much yet, but i think that's possible.

And note to any prospective Wii owners in the Cayman Islands: Make sure you check United States for residence, or NOTHING ONLINE WORKS. You just get a message (for Cayman Islands) saying "There is nothing for you here. We hope you understand." First thing I'm doing tonight when I get home is try to change that to the US and hope they aren't looking up IP addresses to determine country like Xbox Live does, or I'll be screwed for a few months until I relocate back to Vancouver.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008 11:54:43 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [1] | Cayman | Fitness | Gaming | Wireless#
Monday, May 19, 2008

Middle of May... Victoria Day in Canada, Discovery Day in the Cayman Islands and this year, my 35th birthday. Do I get a cane or something issued to me now? Fortunately I don't have the camera handy or there'd be a pretty ugly picture attached to this post.

Last night I was in the bathroom and looking in the mirror after washing my face and thinking "Hmm. I need to shave..." and no it probably did NOT have anything to do with seeing the "party in my nose" Edge Shave Gel commercial thirty times yesterday during the 6-0 bodyslamming of the Flyers by Pittsburgh.

I came out to the sitting room and said to John "I think there's something wrong with the light in the bathroom."

"Which one?"

"The big bathroom" I said.

"Why, what's wrong?"

I smiled and said "Well in that light, there's a lot of stubble in my beard that looks really light... like it's gray or white or something..."

He didn't even answer me, just flipped me the bird over his shoulder :)

This morning I slept in because duh it's a bank holiday. I logged on after brushing my teeth and Darlene IMd me:

[10:34] Darlene: HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
[10:34] Darlene: Whacha doin today?
[10:34] Mark: thanks :)
[10:34] Mark: just woke up
[10:53] Darlene: you took the day off?
[10:53] Mark: it's a holiday
[10:53] Darlene: haha which one/
[10:53] Mark: Mark's Birthday
[10:54] Mark: the Queen called and woke me up... she forgot about the time zone thing
[10:54] Mark: AGAIN
[10:54] Darlene: LOL

So back to the temperature. It's hot out there, damned hot. I went out to get a coffee at Paperman's Coffee House over at the Strand and then went into town to take care of something. When I got back, the house was hoooooooot. I opened the windows and turned on the fans and opened the doors to get some breeze going but it was sill sweaty and still.

I decided to break out a notepad and a thermometer and see how well (or how bad) the AC works in this house. At 12:30 the thermostat was reading 89f. I turned on the AC and set it for 80f. I took my digital thermometer and put it on the coffee table in the sitting room and the temperature went UP to 90.4f

at 1:30 the temp in the sitting room was down to 85 and the temp in the living room was down to 90.1f

At 2:30 (now) the temp in the sitting room is 82f and the temp in the living room is 87.4f. In other words, the AC is useless, even with two floor fans blowing the cooler sitting room air into the living room. The good part is that the ac vent is right above where my computer is set up, so it's almost chilly enough to warrant putting on a t-shirt here, but as soon as you walk through the archway into the living room... bleah.

I'm going to let it run until 3:00 and record the "final" temprature and use that as a yardstick to measure whether it's even worth the effort and electricity to run the AC in the main part of the house or whether to just retreat into the bedroom for the rest of the summer where the temps are more civilized :)

Update: I popped out for lunch at 2:45 and shut off the ac. The lowest the temperature dropped was 87.4 in the living room and 82 in the sitting room. In the one hour and fifteen minutes that I was gone, the temp in the sitting room went back up to 86 and in the living room back to 90. ugh.

Monday, May 19, 2008 11:22:46 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman#
Friday, May 9, 2008
As long as I can remember, I've been looking for a way to watch tv on the go.
Three years ago I installed a Slingbox at my parents house in Vancouver and then connect to it and stream their tv channels to me down here in Cayman, or on my laptop in a hotel room when I'm on the road (of course, I make sure to check in to a hotel that has free high-speed internet) :) it works pretty good. The main reason I did it was to watch Canucks games, and it works OK for that... My parents' upstream speed is just 512kbps and I find I can get about 489kbps fairly consistently. The lower the bandwidth, the slower the refresh and the blockier the video gets. Not ideal for watching something fast like hockey, but watchable. Upgrading them to the 'extreme' cable modem speed would double their upstream to 1024kbps for $10 month more. I always meant to do that, but never got around to it. Now that I'm moving back to Vancouver it's kind of a moot point. The only drawback is that it's "live" tv. if I wanted to record or time-shift anything, I'd have to buy, set up and configure a TiVo at their house. Slingbox supports a TiVo right down to the remote, but it's another expense and another device to manage.

I've been filling in the blanks with torrents anyway. Widescreen HD streams (although they're shrunk and compressed, they still look better than regular TV) and then watching on my laptop or desktop took the place of watching stuff on TV on someone else's schedule.

Last year when I picked up an Xbox360 and then did the fall update to support XviD, we started using that to stream the tv shows over the network to the TV. Wireless just didn't have the balls to do it though, so I went with a pair of Linksys powerline ethernet devices which promise up to 480mbps throughput. Using Windows Media Connect, it worked great. The only problem that remained was watching this sweet, widescreen, pseudo-HD videos on a shitty 21" TV (at least it has component input) with a nasty overscan.

Not anymore... just after lunch today I took a swing by my US freight/mail forwarder and picked up a new bulb for the tv we got our grubby little mitts on. Tonight, we dine in HELL! OK maybe not... but tonight we watch on an HP 65" DLP HDTV! SO THAT problem is solved, that just leaves.... mobile watching.

When I picked up a PSP a couple years back I had visions of watching tv via WiFi dancing in my head. It never materialized. Sony released the Location Free TV which had a PSP client, but it was $200, and then the client for the PSP was another $30, and then the inevitable nail in the coffin was of course no one knows what the IR codes are for the WestStar custom tv boxes. If you have a learning remote, you can program it to control your WestStar box, but that's it. I went so far as to use PSPVideo9 to automatically convert and sync every video that came down to the PSP, but with a 1gb Memory Stick it filled up pretty quick. I was hoping to be able to watch a show or two on my lunch break the next day, but it never worked very well. Consequently, due to my impending departure in august, I'm selling my PSP. The details are at the previous link on eCay Trade, the free classified ad website down here.

Last year I picked up an iPod Touch and stopped using the PSP for watching video on the plane. Yes, I'm on planes enough that this was something that needed to be addressed. It's an hour and five minutes from Grand Cayman to Miami, which is about 45 minutes of time when you're allowed to use your electronic devices. As it turns out, a 60 minute tv show minus it's commercials is about 42 minutes. Coincidence??? I now had 16 times the amount of storage that I had on the PSP in a device a lot smaller and with an almost comparably sized screen. The iPod's screen is way crisper than the PSPs somewhow, even though it's .1" smaller and slightly less resolution (I think).

It turned out I still had the same issues though, I had to plan ahead and convert videos using Videora's Ipod Touch converter which takes practically real-time to convert from xvid avi to an iPod compatible MP4. As of today, that's no longer a problem. Today I read an article on Lifehacker called OrbLive Streams Live TV to your iPhone or iPod Touch. Excuse me? JACKPOT!

I clicked over to Orb's How-To page and gave it a quick once-over. It seemed easy enough, install the streaming server on your computer and then whatever clients you choose can stream your data (videos, tv tuner, webcam, photos, documents, games, music and even youtube and other online video sites) including the Xbox360, PS3, Wii, Sansa and the iPod and iPhone. They went a step further in that if you have a jailbroken iPhone or iPod you can download a native app to connect to the server rather than a web-browser based interface. Slick.

I used Remote Desktop on my lunch break to log in to my computer at home and download the server. I installed it and created a username in about five minutes and pointed it at my Incoming folder.

Then on my iPod I went to the installer app, updated the sources list and then from Multimedia selected OrbLive. It downloaded the 1.8mb package and then installed it and restarted. After that I had a new OrbLive icon on my screen. I clicked it, entered my username and password as I had set up on my server and... it connected! I clicked Video, and then Folders and there it was: E:\Incoming-BT I clicked that and it brought up a list of the videos in that folder! Slick! I clicked on jPod S01E10 and after a few seconds of Connecting... and Buffering... there it was! it was streaming the video from my computer, over the internet to my iPod via Wifi! SWEEEEEEEEEEEEET! Everton and I then went to get a bite to eat at Cimboco and where we were sitting was within range of one of the C&W Hotspots of which I now have a working username and password. I tried streaming from there and while it worked, it was kinda chunky and stopped to buffer a lot. It was kind of like trying to watch ANYTHING on Real Player (buffering...) I switched to Photos and clicked through the stack of photos to some baby pictures of my brothers and I that Steve had going on a loop at the guestbook table at his wedding. Nice.

If I had a TV tuner and an input going into my computer I could stream Live TV to my Ipod or watch recorded TV in addition to everything else! In addition to the cool-as-shit iPod/iPhone app, the web interface is pretty cool, too. It looks like MediaMonkey and allows you to stream anything you've set to stream to another computer via the web interface, which then invokes your default players when you click play on something. And for some reason it's all free? It would be worth it at TWICE the price!

Friday, May 9, 2008 1:34:51 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [2] | Gadgets | Gaming | Wireless | WWW#
Monday, May 5, 2008
A few minutes ago, Giles sent me this link to Perez Hilton's site which explains the website outage at CayCompass. "The Digg Effect" as it were.
Monday, May 5, 2008 2:02:42 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman | Links#
I've been winding myself up and trying to think of some clever words to write about a gay man who was arrested detained for having the audacity to kiss another man while dancing with him, but I received this copy of a press release through two separate Facebook groups practically simultaneously a few minutes ago. I'm just going to paste it in here, and I can't really even think of anything to say at this point other than I hope they find out who the low-life cock smokers were who did it.

It hasn't hit the National Trust' website yet, but I'm sure it will be there shortly.

Update #1: Here's a link to the Recovery Program's Website with the press release.
Update #2: After a few conversations about what a suitable punishment might be (casting aside the obvious) I came up with the following idea, should the douchebag(s) be caught: A pole erected in front of the Royal Water Cruise Terminal, formerly the site of Historic Fort George. Tie the sum'bitch to the pole and have a public stoning... ok maybe not stones, but at least rotten fruit and veg in the noonday sun. And because I'm not a CRUEL person and I realize you can get dehydrated in this environment, hose him(or her) down with a firehose every now and then.

5th May, 2008. For immediate release.


Six critically endangered Grand Cayman Blue Iguanas were killed by unknown persons late on Saturday evening, in the QE II Botanic Park. The crime was discovered by volunteers with the National Trust’s Blue Iguana Recovery Programme, shortly after 9am on Sunday morning.

The iguanas appeared to have massive internal injuries, as if they had been stamped on violently and repeatedly. Some were also cut and partially dismembered. Three were found dead inside their breeding pens, two had been carried out of their pens and left in the tour area outside. The body of the sixth is still missing, but entrails on the trail outside his pen are a grim sign of his fate.

Department of Environment enforcement officer Carl Edwards was on the scene almost immediately, fast followed by the Royal Cayman Islands Police who began forensic work and have commenced an investigation. Dr. Colin Wakelin from the Department of Agriculture closed a large gash in one of the surviving victims and began making arrangements for an autopsy to confirm the causes of death, which will probably take place later today.

Dead on Sunday morning were the adult breeding males “Yellow” (sponsored by Caribbean Publishers), “Pedro” (sponsored by Websters Tours), “Digger” (sponsored by Simon Hicks), and “Eldemire” (christened by Kent Eldemire). The grand matriarch of the captive facility, “Sara”, was also dead. “Jessica” had been thrown out of the neighboring pen and was in shock, but still moving. Both females had been preparing to lay eggs.

The effort to save Jessica’s life went on into the night, but despite specialist advice by telephone from the Wildlife Conservation Society and Dr. Wakelin’s resourceful and determined attempts to stabilize her, she passed away during the night.

The persons responsible may have broken into the Park after closing hours, and found a way into the fenced-in captive breeding facility. No motive is known for this act of extreme violence against these unique and much-loved symbols of Cayman’s natural heritage. Anyone with relevant information is asked to contact the Royal Cayman Islands Police.

Monday, May 5, 2008 9:20:15 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [3] | Cayman | Links#
Friday, May 2, 2008
The whole reason I've brought this up is of course my impending departure in August or September. I'm going to have to re-learn all the little nuances and rules of recycling and what goes where. Compared to remembering to drive on the right, I think it just might be the one hardest thing I have to re-adapt to!
Friday, May 2, 2008 8:45:33 AM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) | Comments [0] | Cayman#
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