Installation Failure – When Up-Dates Go Wrong

The unthinkable happened on Wednesday, going through a routine software update, when all-of-a-sudden my power went out half way through it. The result, the drivers for my graphics card got miss-configured and now I can only see a blank screen after I log on using that drive. Okay, sure, no big deal, just reinstall everything and all should be well, right? Nope…, the Boot Loader was screwed in the process too, and accessing the file system has been a two day event because it got screwed also. All there is left to do is try to mount the drive and recovered what files I can, and because of the size of the drive, and high encryption, I am looking at another day of transferring data into a new drive I just bought.

So no emails, loss of bookmarks for my work on my browser, and several letters and documents that I need, are sitting tucked away inside my broken hard drive. These last few days have been a disaster. on top of working at my day job, or night job, I have averaged out about four hours of sleep each night now. I am tired and cranky.

For now, I have installed a new copy of the OS on my new hard drive, a 1TB for about $60.00.  This will have to do for now until I can sort out my much needed files on the old drive. So far I have managed to find most of my emails from the last week on my ISP web mail service, and some of my book marks I was able to find again through a search engine. As for my documents, tough luck until I can retrieve them from the old drive.

Talk about a living hell. It is moments like this that I really hate computers, the Internet, and e-documents.

A Friend Just Told Me, “My Life Is a Country Song”

A couple of days ago I ran into an old friend, a former co-worker, (back in the days when we were working for “The Big Box Store”) and we got caught up on each other’s latest news in life. He belted out this phrase, “My life is like a country song,” and I just about had to walk away from laughing so hard. He told me where he got it from, Aqua’s 2000 album called Aquarius, track three: Freaky Friday. So, naturally, I just had to have a copy of it.

Anyway, after talking to my friend Danny for about a half hour, I realized that he is just another person I now know of who is going through same hard times that everyone else is going through as Canada’s economy continues to “tank.” He has just been laid off from his job, (he quit “The Big Box Store” shortly after I did back in 2006), and his wife took a huge pay cut in her job to keep her position.  The huge difference is, he is taking it in strides, kind of thinking positive about what is going on around him, and he has a contingency plan, which saved his bacon.

As most people were doing what they were told to do, putting money away in various saving schemes at Banks, Danny was one of the first people I met who bought gold coins. Since he started buying, his investments have nearly tripled in value, and him and wife decided to pay off the remainder of their mortgage, about ten years worth to end there debts. He told me that now was the time to rid themselves of their debt load as he sees Bank interest rates ready to shoot upward.

So Danny is now one of three people that I know of that just recently has been laid-off. He was working for one of the big Telco’s in Vancouver, BC, and had been their for nearly ten years, and was let go with a Buy-Out package, if he left the next day. He took the Buy-Out, and decided that that was the perfect time to go on a vacation.

“Everything is gone, my life is a country song….”

As for my other two friends who were also just laid-off from their jobs, time has not been so good for them. Both have started their E.I. claims while they start their job searches. Both will have to do a lot of cutting to make due on their now limited incomes.

As for myself–damn happy that at least I am working, albeit far below to what I am accustomed to, but I keep reminding myself, we do live in the Harper era, and “cuts” is now a fundamental staple in most lives.  I have lowered my standard of living, and I am sure the numbers of other Canadians are as well, or we are just racking on the debt.

But anyway, I like this album by Aqua. The female vocals are weird sounding, yet fun to listen to. But what can I say, my tastes are becoming more weird by the day regardless–but I am always open to new stuff, as long as it is good.

“This is hard core 10-4…”

The Upcoming Long Weekend – Should I Go?

Well, it is that time of the year once again. Next Monday, the 18th, will be “May Day,” a statutory holiday for us folks here in British Columbia. In Fort Langley, we of course will be having our May Day Parade, the big event that will shut down the down town area for the afternoon while the parade marches through it, a huge family affair for all. Among all of the perpetrations, the town’s infrastructure is also going through a major upgrade, as most of the streets have coloured markings as to where water, sewer and electrical systems appear to be poised to be dug up and replaced in the near future. All this, while construction on a large building project is still under-way in the heart of Fort Langley.

Last week I thought I was going to have to work through the holiday as my work is open almost every day throughout the year. Because of my cross training, one of the department that I work in just so happens to have one of its senior workers off, so I was called in to replace him while he enjoys a week long holiday out of town. The switch means that after these two days of time off, I will get another two days off, plus the statutory holiday, then working my friend’s shift of four days, then off again for another two day (the normal weekend time period), then finishing his shift off for next week. A very laid back shift if I say so. So, the only thing holding me back from going to the parade next weekend is the weather.

I am happy about the long weekend, but with so many things on the go, I maybe too busy to enjoy it to its fullest. Unlike last year, where I was “between jobs,” this year seems to be “full throttle” forward, as I have so many things on the go. So, like always, I will be playing it all by ear, meaning that if I am having fun, or I have the time and I am not tired, then I will partake–but I am not making serious plans.

Six Photos From the Garden Today!

Yes, a photoblog post! Today was really awesome as the Sun was unobstructed from any clouds, and the temperature hit almost 18C, making the garden really vibrant and teaming with life. Instead of using my regular lens to photograph the experience with, I slapped on my favourite 30mm Macro lens and did some of my “funky” close-up shots. SO, without further ado…

Here are six photos that I picked out from the morning shoot:

May 7 2015 Weblog Image 01

May 7 2015 Weblog Image 02

May 7 2015 Weblog Image 03

May 7 2015 Weblog Image 04

May 7 2015 Weblog Image 05

May 7 2015 Weblog Image 06

Let me know what you think of these photos?

Flowers in the Sunlight

Okay, I have been neglecting the blog lately. It is to be expected as I work nights, and still in the grips of this flu/cold that I have lived with now for just over a week. I still have the stuffed up nose, and cough, and feel the congestion from within my chest. Oh, yes, I have a fever sometimes too. Overall, the flu bug is slowing running its course, and I am slowly feeling better, plus having a full weekend (Wednesday and Thursday) will help too with the healing  process.

So this morning just before I went to sleep (remember that I work nights) I went for a short walk outside, and took my camera with me. The Sun was up over the horizon, and I managed to get a couple of good shots of some wild flowers. I use the term “wild” as in these flowers seem to have found homes that were not intended by human intervention. Poppies, as I think, are not native to this part of Canada. Now, these could have been planted from long ago too, so anything is possible, as I only lived here for just over two years now.

Morning Poppies May 7 2015 Weblog Image

Anyway, it has been a while since I posted photos here on the webblog. It needed some photos to brighten things up around here. I hope you like it.

The Alberta Election

I was at work when the election results were final. I remember switching on my tablet and logging onto the local wifi and browsing my sews feed. It was at that moment when I red the head line, “NDP will a Majority Government in Alberta,” that my chin dropped in disbelief. “A NDP government, in Alberta…, no way,” I thought to myself.

Yes, it is true. Just when I thought Canada could not get any weirder, Alberta throws a left hook right out of nowhere and changes what most thought was unspeakable change, it happens. From forty-four years of right-wing governments, to a sudden shift to the left. Wow. What happened?

Well, it just so happens that I have family living in Alberta, and they tell me it has more to do with being insulated by the current P.C. government  than anything else. The willingness to try something else as far as a new government goes, seems to have risen out of discontent from a stale old political party that mocked its people rather than deal with the market crises of falling oil prices. I guess people like what the new NDP leader had to say, and her platform seems to have hit that right note that Albertain’s want to hear.

Since I live in British Columbia, I wonder what kind of message this sends to the rest of Canada, especially Ottawa, as we have an upcoming Federal election this fall. Should the Federal Cons be worried?

I wish Alberta well, and I will be keeping an eye on how the NDP functions there as they enter their political term. If Mr. Spock was living in Vulcan, Alberta I am sure he would say, “Live long and Prosper!”

Oh Yes, a Plugged Nose Knows.

I am laying in bed, typing this out on my tablet because my body is just too sore to sit up at my desk. My sinuses are infected, my head and throat hurts, and my eyes itch like a thousand mosquito bites–yes it is the same flu bug–still lingering inside my body. This is how I am ushering in the month of May 2015.

On the bright side, I managed to get some time off from work, as part of my unscheduled weekend. Taking today off is making the difference in my healing process of overcoming this flu bug. Still, I can see myself fighting this bug a little while longer. Oh well; c’est la vie. Within the last two days I have eased up on most of the coughing, and my nose has stopped most of its post nasal dripping–which was by far the most annoying part of this experience. Sleeping with a dripping nose is awful!

Combined with working nights, and staying in bed on my time off, I am missing on all the spring flowers. The brief trip I took outside today, I seen the poppies and other flowers growing away in the flower beds. I was far to tired to go back and grab my camera to capture that moment, so no photos this time–this time.

The air outside was the first thing that I noticed. The smell of spring–the flowers, grass and trees, all giving off their perfumes and fragrances as the wind moved the newly budded leaves on the branches of the maple trees. It is that same wind that whips up those fragrances of pollen that also gives me my second round of nasal torture–allergies.  So my flu bug buddies could be long gone, and I may never know it as the trees, flowers and weeds, spread their procreation across the landscape. I will still be dripping and itching away.

Excuse me, need to blow some nasel-run-off out of my nose…

Okay, done. Where was I?

Oh, yes, May, 2015. Yay, it is here! I am so happy. green everywhere, the day are warm, but the nights are still cool. I think with the awesome weather today, my body seems to be healing faster. This is a good thing, but I would rather be outside working, than laying inside with a piece of tissue wiping my nostrils every five seconds.

I Got Something?

I am not sure if it is a flu, or just a cold, perhaps allergies which I get this time of year, but I sure got bit. I started feeling it yesterday while at work. Of course everyone at my work is suffering from at lest one ailment or another, so it was just matter of time until I caught one of them. I have the runny noise, and the itchy eyes, and I can sort of feel it in my chest too. I am not taking anything for the symptoms yet, but if push comes to shove, I may have to if I want to keep working.

Funny how just last week I posted about employees using their sick time, and how employers are discouraging them from taking time off. This must be karma, or something like that. LOL.

Building and Refurbishing That Old PC

This week I undertook two small jobs, one for my dear mother who desperately needed her PC upgraded so that she can once again enjoy surfing the web and happily keeping in touch with everyone through email, and then a new server for a friend whose business has switched from a walk-in to on-line retail. While working full-time with my day job (actually it is a night job) I built these two machines during my off-time. Both machines had their challenges.

First, my mother’s machine, a simple P.C. tower (Micro ATX form factor) had a problem where after I stalled a new upgraded main board into it, I lost power. I used a faster CPU and a fresh stick of DDR3 RAM (4Gs) as part of the upgrade, but when I initially started the machine, nothing happened. It took about four hours of trouble shooting to fix and repair the problem. It turned out that the back support on the tower had a slight bend, just enough to just touch the back of the main board causing a short. This was the first time that I have ever encountered such a problem. But my trouble shooting techniques paid off, because I know many who would have taken the circuit board back for a refund, and just given up on it. Once the main board was fixed, the tower and operating system was finished in just a few hours after that.

Second, the server for my friend’s business went flawless. This machine took a little more time to build, and of course, a lot more money went into it. The total cost of his system, was just under $2k, and about 6 hours of labour on my part. Had he retailed this unit, he would be easily looking at a bill of around $6k for a completed system of this size. I had no issues ounce I put all of the components together. Only the integration onto his network is where I ran into trouble. This where I charge huge amounts of money for. He wanted a lot of work done on it, more or less all of his office software patched into it, plus a multitude of sales, CAD, web software on broad and running locally. I discouraged him from asking me when I presented my hourly rate–I really did not have the time–and he wanted it done cheap. I just promised him a running server–that was all–nothing more.

Both my mother and my friend saved a lot of money on their hardware. I estimated that my mother saved about $600.00 for her upgraded system with just three new parts replaced and installed, and my friend’s saving to about $3k had he bought a boxed unit.

So You’re Sick; Deal With It, But Don’t Miss Any Work

Finally some time to sit down and type. I really wanted to jump on this news story when it first broke, but I was too busy working, and I do mean that in the positive way.  I think just about everyone has caught a flu or cold bug. For many who work, or for that matter, have had taken some time off from their regular routines becuase they caught the community bug going around, and had to miss productive time while they are stuck in bed with a fever, coughing up blood, flem and dinner, wishing that they would just die and get it over with, have had to make that phone call to the boss: this sucks. I have, on numerous occasions throughout my working careers. Most of those times, my boss was forgiving, and I took enough time to heal and then returned back with no questioning or grievance. But one such employer I worked for, the “sick time” off was strictly questioned, and an elaborate bureaucracy was set up to deter employees from phoning in sick and taking time off from their shifts. Simply put, you went to work sick, unless you were on your death-bed in the hospital.

On April 2nd, of this year, CBC News posted a news article on their website that followed a complaint made by an employee who was asked to produce a Doctor’s note authenticating that he/she was undoubtedly sick, and needs to stay home for a few days. The Physician, no doubt frustrated at this waste of time, and the concerns on the public at large for spreading cold and flu bugs, responded to the employee’s request regarding the employer’s polices of a “Doctor’s Note,” by  a letter that went along the lines of “…(the employer is) wasting his time and tax dollars” (CBCnews, April 2, 2015). For something as common as the flu or the cold, people should stay at home and get better, and above all else, keep the germ/bug to them selves, and not spread it among the population. The Doctor was brilliant, his letter was right to the point, and smacked the problem (Employer’s curbing missed hours by their employees) right in the butt.

Now for my story. Back in 2004, I was catching the cold like crazy. It seemed I was getting them at least five times that year. Each time the symptoms would be worse. And I noticed that other’s at my work were getting them too. When you work among sixty people, the flu enters the population often, and with lighting speed. You are bound to pick it up, catching it from one worker who has it, or from an object that was contaminated by a flu/cold carrier. Each time that I had phone in sick, when I came back within two days, but a call to the manger’s office once back to work was the norm. I would get called into the office for the “questioning” period to explain myself why I let the business down by missing work from being sick. Though I never exceeded the three day limit, which meant that under their policy I would have to contact the medical insurance provider, SunLife, so I never really used it.  Side note: if we did not phone in during that time period, it would constitute job abandonment. I challenged my employer of the “retardedness” of having to draw on medical insurance, or using extended medical to cover my sick-time off for having a cold or flu. So I called them on that. Gone went the policy; gone went the threat of job termination; gone went the stereotyping when I produced a Doctor’s Note, saying almost the same as what was said in the news article. I remember telling my boss that “from now on I will make sure that when I catch a flu or cold, I will take it to work, no matter how sick I am, and I will hope that not only does it spread throughout the hourly paid employees on the work floor, but that it is caught by everyone.”  If an employer is so greedy to put their employees through these measures, worrying about lost production, then they deserve the same flu and cold bugs too. Shame on you.


Doctor calls medical note to patient’s employer a waste of time” CBCNEWS, April 2 2015.