Skip to main content


Showing posts from November, 2008

Major life event update: We made an offer

Just back from Starbucks, where we sat down with our agents and put an offer in on a home in Timberlea. We should hear back by early tomorrow afternoon, providing the seller's agent can find the seller and present the offer.

Fingers crossed and uncomfortably full of donair pizza. (Xtreme Pizza in Halifax -- gotta try it some time if you live here. Best donair pizza we've had, although tonight the crust smelled as much like donuts as donairs, which isn't necessarily a bad thing...although our tummies would disagree right now.)

Surprise: 'skewiff' is a real word

I had a weird moment today when morning editor Ruth used the word "skewiff". I had only ever, ever, ever heard that word used by Amanda and her family. I thought it was one of those in-a-family funny mispronounced words that gets passed down through the generations.

But no! Ruth uses it too. The connection is their families' British ancestry, I guess.

I find "skewiff" in the Online Dictionary of Playground Slang, defined as "awry; out of alignment".

So now we have the definition of skewiff, its origin, and multiple independent usages. Of course, just putting into Google turns up use of skewiff all over the place, so I'm no genius or trailblazer for realizing this.

This realization is similar, though not of the same magnitude, as the first time I went to St. John's, NL. My girlfriend at the time used to call me "m'love" in a Newfie accent, and I found it charming and sweet. So we go to a diner and the waitress walks up and says, "…

Barger's Law redux

I told you last summer about Jorn Barger's "Inverse Law of Usenet Bandwidth" that states: "The more interesting your life becomes, the less you post... and vice versa."

I was reminded of this today when I noticed that there've been no posts here since last week's Fun Friday.

So, what's new?

I think we've pretty much locked in the wedding date for October 10, 2009 at the Saraguay Club on Halifax's Northwest Arm.

And we've been home-shopping. We have an agent and a mortgage broker hustling to get us a kick-ass rate (currently looking at about 5.55% -- is that good?).

We're in for a nasty snowstorm tonight. About a foot of snow, lots of wind, bleh ick gross.

Not to build expectations, but I'm doing the gym thing again. Weights and cardio, lifting and running, sweating and glowing. Amanda's at it, too. I'm on indefinite hiatus from taekwondo, as I've lost my mojo, my membership was up, I can't afford it, and any other…

Big Ass Fun Friday #6: Cat riding Roomba

More evidence to support the theory that my cat has been playing with the Roomba. The folks at the Roomba forum suggest if it keeps happening, I could tape cardboard over the buttons.

BTW, this week Amanda spotted her Kitty laying on top of the living room Roomba. I grabbed the remote and tried to start it up, but it was plugged in, so we lost the moment.

Napoleon Dynamite at karaoke

Friday night ... Lion's Head in Halifax ... farewell to a coworker who's changing stations ... BigAssSuperstar performing Fly By Night/In The Mood by Rush ... accompanied by a fella who enthusiastically danced with a blend of air guitar, air drums and air microphone, with a generous helping of overall interpretive dance on the side. The consensus of the group was that he needs to make me famous by appearing in a future Big Ass Superstar music video.

Dressing up the Roomba

I saw an ad on this here web page (eg. that made me believe in the power of targeted Google ads.

It sent me to -- a place that sells costumes for the Roomba.


The site describes itself as "is a profitable, privately owned company started by kids, built by kids, and run by kids". Kids who make costumes for robot vacuums.

I wish 'em all the best! I feel like my Roomba vacuums are fragile enough that wrapping them in fabric would be tempting disaster, but it would be quite a hoot to have something looking less sci-fi running around after the cats.

Well, that, and my kitty would no longer be able to see the buttons and turn on the vacuum in the middle of the night!

If you ever see an ad for this place, you may want to investigate further.

More than a thousand ways to save money

Given that this is not a full-time personal finance blog (although I'd love it if some of you personal finance bloggers would put me on your blogroll, hint hint hint J-Money hint hint), I'm not the kind of guy who writes posts along the lines of "Top ten ways to save money on your cat" or "How to be frugal with your nachos" or "Make your own grapes from floor scraps" ...

... so, thank heavens for David at My Two Dollars. He rounded up giant steaming piles of those kinds of posts into a single mega-link post called The Big List: 1,019 Different Ways To Save Money.

One commenter ups the list to 1020: "don't print this list".

Cutting cell phone costs by 50 per cent

After having a look at some bills, I decided my $100/month+ BlackBerry bill was ridiculous.

My first step was to kill the $11 extras package. That means no more voice mail or caller-ID. Fine with me, since Amanda's about the only who calls me on my BlackBerry.

Next up was the voice-data plan. I've been on the $90/month voice & data plan for about three years. Crazy.

So I called Rogers, and they told me about a $35 plan with 300 daytime minutes and 500 megabytes of data, plus a selection of other bonuses. Bingo!

But the employee discount office* told me there was no such plan, so I'd have to settle for the $50 voice & data plan with 150 anytime minutes, 500 megabytes of data and unlimited Rogers-to-Rogers calling. Sounds good!

So, I've cut my $100+ bill down to $50. The * refers to the employee discount -- since I'm in the Rogers family, I get a discount that makes this plan very easy to stomach.

My first Carnival entry!

An article I wrote last week, Taking another shot at Quicken, has been selected for inclusion in the 'election day' edition of the Carnival of Money Stories at SimplyForties.

Very cool. Thanks for having me!

I read several of the money-related Carnivals on a weekly basis -- the Festival of Frugality, the Carnival of Personal Finance, and of course, the Carnival of Money Stories. Quite a treat to be included in one for the first time!

Robots are a threat to sleep

The robot revolution was supposed to let we humans sleep more and sleep better, but that wasn't the case last night.

Twice this morning, in the early early morning when Amanda and I both wanted to sleep deeply, the Roomba in the dungeon (the spare bedroom/office/BigAssStudios) woke up and went on a mission. I didn't hear it the first time until it had made its way to the bathroom and my mate was shoving me awake.

Perhaps the Roomba has developed some sentience.

But I think the likely explanation is that my cat has figured out how to turn it on. If she can't wake us (me) up by shouting, we're utterly doomed if she starts sending the robot vaccum cleaner out to wake us up.


In searching the web to see if anyone else has had this problem, I found a devilishly fun idea -- tape a laser pointer to the top of the Roomba and let the cats go crazy.

This week in creepy crawly produce

As a follow-up to last week's Bug in my broccoli article, here's another creature found in produce from the Barrington Market Atlantic Superstore. This fuzzy fellow was discovered this evening in a bag of organic grapes. Oh, yum. It appears to be some kind of spider, maybe, although a pulsing, twitchy thingy on its ass-end gives it the aura of a scorpion.

Here's another shot, taken with a flash:

Y'know, the border guards seized some gifts I brought home from Cuba on the chance that they *might* contain foreign creatures. Yet I bring home produce from my local superstore that invites interesting species right into my home.

I'll keep y'all abreast of any new surprises from the produce section. Meantime -- WTF are these bugs in our food? Any amateur entomologists in the crowd? I almost wish I found a bee in my ice cream or something, so Sandra could give me a science lesson on it!

Click the images above to go to the originals on Flickr if you want an even closer l…