Sunday, November 30, 2003

The Computer Understands Me

I've been typing my mission Journal as you may or may not know. To date, I have 45,862 words transcribed. That's a lot of words. I didn't even think I knew that many words. I guess there are lot repeats though.

Today, I started using a voice recognition program called via voice. It took about 30 minutes to do the initial training, (although it's an ongoing process depending on your vocabulary) and I have put down 6,234 words through dictation. That's 25,098 key strokes not including the spacebar. I think that dictating to the computer is about the same speed for me right now as typing, because of having to correct the mistakes. I can already see the number of mistakes dropping rapidly, and soon it will be way faster than typing. It's all a matter of the computer learning my vocabulary and voice. As it stands, it will be saving me a lot of key strokes. After only a few pages of typing, my wrists and fingers start to ache.

I may have my journal completely transcribed before Christmas, but it most likely will not be laid out and ready for printing by then. Maybe a manuscript, but not a final copy. I'm planning on scanning enough photos to put one on every other page, and there are 77 pages so far, with 4.5 months left in the journal. To put it in perspective that 4.5 months is about 50 hand written pages, which is about 18,000 words or 70,000 keystrokes not including the space bar.

I'm getting excited because this little project of mine has been taking so long.

-Gary Milner, Transcriber and Dictater

Friday, November 28, 2003

Taken to the Cleaners

I dropped my suit off to be cleaned the other day and when I went in to pick it up this morning, the debit machine wouldn't read my debit card or my credit card. I said I would go to the bank, and get some cash. Unfortunately, there was no CIBC around, so I had to go to the Bank of Montreal. I knew there would be a $1.50 fee, so I decided to take out more than I normally would and selected $50. Little did I know that their stupid ATMs give $50. I was in too much of a hurry to stand in line at one of the tellers to make change, so I just went back to the cleaners.
I figured that they would have $30 for change. What I didn't realize was that I misheard her because of her accent. She has said $8 not $18, and she did not have change. Since I was in a hurry, I said that I would leave the $50 and come back with a smaller bill later.
When I came back later this afternoon, she recognized me right away, and had change for me. She was very apologetic about her machine's malfunctions and not having change.

-Gary Milner, wearing a clean suit

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

That's Just SIC

SIC is the club for Students In Communications. Daorcey is one of the bosses in the club, and he also frequents the Gauntlet. In September, he was putting the hard sell on memberships in SIC, explaining all the great and wonderful things that will happen to you if you join. (It was not unlike a lot of spam I receive). I politely declined the $5 membership stating that I probably wouldn't benefit from being in the club anyway. He profusely explained that I would have copious benefits. Still I declined.

A while ago, I was requested by Daorcey to take some photos for the SIC newsletter. Just some quick pics of a booth in the campus radio station. I did, and Daorcey was quite pleased with the photos. As a joke, I suggested that I should get a free membership in his club.
I'm not sure he knew if I was joking or not, but he declined the idea and said, "You wouldn't really get any benefit from being a member anyway."
I replied, "See how fast this canary changes his tune!"
I think he knew it didn't really matter, but that he probably shouldn't have said there was no benefit, even if he was just joking. Especially after putting the hard sell on memberships for all of September and October.

-Gary Milner

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

DEER HUNTING

I went deer hunting with Norman Meyer yesterday. We didn't get any though because Norman will only shoot one if the deer is big enough to be registered in a record book called the Boon and Crocket record book. This is fine with me because I don't want to witness another murder. I've been finding out bits of information about hunting while I've been out there. One thing I found out is that right now it's rutting season. This shows how much some people can get hooked on hunting. They like hunting so much that they're willing be out there looking for deer when they could be home enjoying some premium rutting.

Christmas Arrives at #30 Country Hills Rise

We went to see Pirates of the Carribean at the University last night. Both shows were sold out, I think that they need to add another theather in the room next door if only for the popular shows. Maybe it wou too hard to get another copy of the movie. Any way, after the movie, we set up our Christmas tree. It looks quite good.
Now all we need is to get some presents. It looks like we might be getting big boxes of air this year. Without the boxes.
-Gary Milner, looking for the food bank.

Monday, November 24, 2003

Back In The Hat

Tracie and I went to Medicine Hat to see our new niece Eva. While 90% of 5 day old babies look pretty much exactly the same. I think I'm being honest when I say she is pretty cute. She didn't have a cone shaped head like a lot of other babies, so that's a plus. I'm a big fan of round headed babies. Eva slept most of the time we were there. When she woke up, she was still tired. After only 5 days, she's pretty much mastered the life of a cat. Pretty soon though, she'll get a pair of lungs and start the life of a dog, and just howl all day long.

We went to the mall, that was a bit of an adventure. In Medicine Hat, there is only one mall. Therefore everyone who wants to go to the mall ends up at the same place. Now, I'm not saying that 'Hatters' aren't nice people, but, there are a lot of misfits in Medicine Hat, and it seems like they like the mall. Like the guy who wants to be a cop. By wants to be a cop, I mean pretends to be a cop. He looks kind of like Jim Carrey in "Me, Myself, and Irene". He loves to talk to the "Wackenhuts" at the entrance of the Safeway. I guess they are one step closer to being real police than he is.

Jeff had a swimmeet there just by a pure coincidence. He doesn't post here anymore, or I'm sure that you would have already known that. He probably would have posted a link to the Canadian standings. It hasn't been updated yet, but his time for the 50free was 25.01, which moves him from 50th in Canada to 33th. If he gets down to 23.98 or so, he'll be headed to the nationals. He's the fastest 50free at the U of L by a little over a second.

It's getting late, and I'll just have to write more in the morning.
-Gary Milner

Thursday, November 20, 2003

I See a Light and it's at the End of the Tunnel

I had my last MGIS 333 test today, there is no final exam in that class. I hand in my take home exam for MGIS 463 on Monday. I have only one final exam this year, in OPMA 401. I have 3 group papers left, and then I am done.

I'm really happy that it's ending. REALLY HAPPY. I don't really know what I am going to be doing in January, (besides looking for a job) but what ever it is, it will be better than school by a mile. Not that I don't enjoy school. It provides some structure to what would otherwise be a boring day.

Friday is not going to be a boring day. At 8:00, I'm photographing a model at the Southcenter Mall, for a fashion article that's going to be running in the Gauntlet. At 10:00 I have a meeting to work on a group project. At 11:00 I have another meeting to work on another group project. At 12:00 I have the photo meeting, where I will be bossing around a bunch of volunteers. After the photo meeting and before 1:00 I'm going to see the University surplus sales. Ben hasn't been in a month, and I said that I would go with him, but we would have to be fast. At 1:00 we will be doing the post mortem of this weeks paper. Last week wasn't pretty, on editor got their feelings hurt (but we know going in that post mortem isn't a happy meeting.) At 3:00 we have the staff meeting. At 7:30 we are going to Medicine Hat to see my new niece Eva. She was 7 lbs 8 oz. I don't really know how long she is, but as soon as I find out I'll be posting it.

I don't know where we will be staying, Friday night, but you can bet that Tracie and I will be expected at both of our parents houses.

-Gary Milner, going to have a busy day

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

Crushed to death

Here's a sad story if you haven't already heard it. Yesterday at the UFA coop store a guys hat blew off and went under a semi trailer truck loaded with concrete pipes. He could see that the truck was moving but he must have thought he could be in and out before the truck could get him. He was wrong. Maybe he slipped on some ice. Both sets of tires on the rear of the trailer ran over his chest. They took the truck driver to the hospital in an ambulance. Oh and I forgot to mention the guy who was killed was from Lethbridge.

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

Killing A Bear

B.C. resident, John Hirsch, came face to face with a bear. Thinking quickly he used his trusty 3 1/2-inch knife to dispatch it.

"It was like a knife fight that you'd see in an old-time Western," he said.

The best part, Three stabs to the bear's chest and one to its neck finally did the bruin in.

It never came to light how many times Bruce Symington had to stab the pitbulls, but I'd bet it was more than 4. I would have posted a link to the pitbull story but those losers at the Medicine Hat News charge for you to get content from their archives.

Charging for Content
$2.95 a story is too much. It only costs $0.50 to buy the stupid paper. Have you seen the Medicine Hat News website? I didn't think so. It is quite possibly the worst website I have ever seen. You can't actually see any stories on the front page, and there are 10 ugly ads. I feel sorry for the advertisers, they have been fooled into thinking that the internet is a good place to advertise, and they are advertising on quite possibly the worst site in the entire world.
What the paper fails to realize is that it wouldn't cost them anything above what they have already spent to give the stories away free. Many more people would visit the site, and they would be able to charge advertisers more. They might even be able to sell a few more subscriptions. As it is they're: making very little money, not providing information to the public, and making themselves look stupid by having a crappy website. If few people go to the website, advertisers are just wasting their money advertising.

-Gary

Monday, November 17, 2003

MP3 Guilt

Are you feeling guilty about the way you have been downloading MP3's? Do you feel like you should somehow make amends? If you had stolen a pack of gum, you could go to the store and give it back. I suggest that you send your MP3s back to the RIAA. Obviously you can send them as email attachments or burn them on a CD and then mail them to the RIAA. Either way, your guilt will leave you.
If you are Canadian, here is an article that you might be interested in, it discusses the legality of having and using MP3s. The act that is discussed, made it legal to copy sound recordings for private use (ie. MP3s) but also imposed a tax on blank recordable media to help the poor artists whose work is being copied.

-Gary

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Calgary Herald

It seems that every time I decide to make a posting, it's when I'm feeling especially angry or frustrated about something. I wonder why that is. I've been reading Dr Phil's new weight loss book and I think that he would say that too much of my self-talk is negative and that I should spend more time seeking out the good side of situations. Well, I say there's nothing good about telemarketers.

This week it's been the Calgary Herald. They have called twice and someone has come to our door once trying to sell us the paper. It drives me mad. If I wanted to have the paper, I would already have it. They post it for free on the internet for heaven's sake. Anyway, this last phone harassment was particularly disturbing to me. I'll give you a brief recount:

Me: Hello?

Him: Hi, I'm calling from the Calgary Herald. We have a fantastic offer- if you sign up for the paper right now, you'll get the first three months for only......blah, blah, blah,blah......

Me: I'm not interested.

Him: Can I ask why not?

Me: Because I just don't want it.

Him: That's not a good reason.

Me: That's a very good reason. And it's all the reason you need.

After that phone call, I think I was upset all afternoon. I was replaying the situation in my head just thinking of all of the things I could have said to him. Everything about it bugged me. What did he mean, "not a good reason"? The only better reason there is is if I had said I was blind....or illiterate.

In-Laws Visit

Tracie's parents came to visit this weekend. They brought us their old couch. The living room looks a lot better, and so does the basement. Tracie was coming down the stair from the kitchen when she shouted, "We have my parents living room! We have their couch, piano, and my Mom made the curtains!"
It's true, our living room was designed by Gail. It looks really nice too.
The basement is a lot better too. We won't be sitting on the floor to watch TV any more. We put the sections of the couch, on either side of the stairs, with a little path in the middle. We exchanged the computer's places, the desk is now by the bedroom and the other computer is by the door to the batcave.
I got a router, so now I have a two computer LAN, and both of them can access the internet. It will be very handy for when Tracie is doing homework.
All in all, the basement is a lot more cozy now. It is a lot more hospitable for people who want to play the NES, watch TV or watch videos/DVD's.
On Thursday, we will be having the remodeled basement grand opening consisting of a clothing optional Survivor party. In case any of you are getting any ideas, (James) I'm sorry, it's by invitation only.

-Gary Milner, Living a little more comfortably

Ps. The blog spell checker says that "Milner" should be "Millionaire".

Thursday, November 13, 2003

What's Worse Than A Dentist?

A Dentist who smokes. I have never had a dentist who smokes, and I haven't been to the dentist in five months, but it just occured to me. I already have a hard time breathing with some guy's hand in my mouth, if the guy was also a smoker, it would be way worse.
What's worse than a dentist who smokes? Nothing.

-Gary Milner, doesn't like dentists who smoke

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Reading Days

Well fall term reading days have come and gone, and I didn't get a whole lot of reading done. Please, at the very least, try to act surprised. I guess that this year that's less of a problem than before. Two of my classes don't have textbooks at all, and the third is just a bunch of photocopies. To be fair, one of the classes that doesn't have a book, do have articles posted on the internet for us to read. But still, it's not a lot of reading.

Future Plans

All my future plans are protected by FOIP. For those of you wondering what we will be doing between now and 2004, take it up with FOIP.

-Gary Milner

Monday, November 10, 2003

RRSPs

Tracie and I decided that we are going to take out her RRSPs from the bank. She telephoned in to inquire how this was done. The fellow on the phone really didn't want her to close her RRSP account. He kept offering solutions to how she could get the money and then pay it back over the next 5 years to avoid incurring the tax wrath of the CCRA. (the Canadian IRS) She said, but I'm not going to have to pay taxes, I'm not making enough money. He suggested that she leave some of the money in the account just to keep it open. That way when she is working full time again, she won't have to fill out all those forms again. She said, "It was only one form, besides if it's that bad, you people should make the forms more user friendly." He continued his attempt to persuade her not to close her account, but finally she just said, "You know how there are no stupid questions?" He said, "Yes." She said, "Well there are stupid reasons for me to keep the account open. I just want to get my money." Apparently he could have transferred her to someone who could do an electronic transfer to our account, but we will just be taking a void check into our branch for them to do the deposit for us.

-Gary Milner, still glad not to be a banker

Saturday, November 08, 2003

BIG MAC

This will be old news to some but there was a picture in the news today of a supercomputer at Virginia Tech. It was made of a cluster of off-the-shelf Mac desktops. It was built at a cost of seven million dollars which is a fraction of the price of a typical super-computer. This computer is called "Big Mac" and it already ranks as one of the worlds fastest computers churning out 10.3 trillion operations a second.

Friday, November 07, 2003

THE JESSICA LYNCH STORY

Jessica Lynch was the female soldier that was supposedly rescued in a big commando raid on a hospital in Iraq. The way it was portrayed on cnn. , the only reason they were able to rescue her was because they had an Iraqi informant who gave them details of the layout and security at the hospital. The imformant told them that he had been moved to act because he saw people at the hospital brutalizing Jessica. The truth was that there was no soldiers at the hospital at all. Jessica said the only person taking care of her was a female nurse and this nurse even sang to her and treated her good. Jessica says if she was brutalized or raped at any time she has no memory of it. She also said that she did not go down in a blaze of glory like the story said. She said she did not fire a single shot because her firearm jammed.
The whole story was baloney from start to finish.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

Calgary Transit's Biggest Problems

1. Highschool aged riders. (If you have to ask why, you won't understand.)
2. Drivers that have a hard time accelerating/decelerating at a nice even rate.
3. Drivers that have a hard time going straight. (Bulimics consider these to be features of Calgary Transit, not problems.)
4. Seats that don't allow for sleeping or even just leaning on something.
5. Poor service to neighbourhoods on the edge of town.
6. Highschool aged riders. (Yes, they are that bad.)

Overheard On The Bus Today

Two girls, Misty and Hanna. I would guess that they are 15 years old.

Misty said, "We don't have school on Tuesday."
Hanna said, "There's no school Monday either."
Misty said, "That's like, a 5 day weekend!" (imagine Misty's head, like totally, bobbing side to side)
Hanna said, "Misty, that's only 4 days."

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

When Will You Have The Time...

...to really enjoy life? When will you be able to stop and smell the roses.

The answer, my friend, is after your first heart attack. You will have a whole new outlook on life. Everyday will be another chance to fill yourself with wonder and excitement. Every icecream cone will be as if it were your first and last all at once. Watching tv will be even more a waste of time and being outdoors will be a nicer way to spend the day.

They say you never forget your first heart attack.

-Gary Milner

Monday, November 03, 2003

Getting A Reduced Fine

I read an interesting article today on cleavland.com. It was about the cost of overtime incurred by police officers there because of people fighting traffic tickets.

"We've created a monster and we can't deal with it now," said one officer who earns lots of overtime in Municipal Court.
People who don't pay their fines and court costs in advance are supposed to attend a hearing soon after a ticket is issued. If they plead not guilty, a trial is scheduled and the officer who wrote the ticket is automatically summoned to court - usually on overtime.
To avoid the further expense of a trial in such cases, it's not unusual for prosecutors to reduce speeding charges to lesser violations that don't result in driver's-license points.
That, in turn, encourages violators to contest their tickets in hopes of getting a better deal. And that drives up the number of police subpoenas and the costs of court overtime.


That's why I advocate going in and fighting your ticket. They (the prosecutors) will probably give you a deal, because it costs them more to prosecute you for the ticket than the value of the ticket. It's worth it, especially if you are a student and don't have a job, but do have a lot of extra time to go in.

-Gary Milner, future ticket fighter

Sunday, November 02, 2003

Intolerable Cruelty

On Halloween night, it was my job to hand out the candy. I decide that it would be funny to open the door fast and scare the kids. It worked really well on the first group of kids. They were all about 13 or so, and were really intently watching the door in preparation for their candy. I did it to a mom and a little girl dressed up in a bunny suit. The bunny wasn't really paying much attention, but I got the mom pretty well. I would say we got 15-20 kids. There sure weren't very many.

On Saturday, we went to see the movie Intolerable Cruelty. George Clooney plays Miles Massey, the best divorce lawyer in the entire world. I recommend this movie it was very funny. Some lady and I were laughing out loud through the entire movie. It was like the time Dad laughed at all the Joker's jokes in Batman, only the at least the theater wasn't full. I'm pretty sure Tracie wasn't as embarrassed about my laughing as I was of Dad's. I think that now, I would probably just laugh right along with him.

I've been typing my mission jounal up. I'm done a little over a year and a half now. When it's all done, I may print it up and add a few pics and stuff.

-Gary Milner, Scary Guy

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Halloween

Yesterday was Halloween, and I must admit that I was very excited to stay home and hand out candy. In fact, I had been excited about it for days. This is the first year that we haven't lived in an appartment, so I was really looking forward to the trick-or-treaters...to seeing all of the kids in their cute little costumes. We even passed up a party to stay home.

I don't think it was worth it. We only got about 10 kids total, so unfortunately (fortunately?) for us, we were left with a ton of mini chocolate bars. I did carve a pumpkin though and that was fun. Here is a picture of my pumpkin. I decided to carve stars into it.



Gary was going to carve one too, but the other one we bought was kind of moldy and soft, and when we stabbed the knife into it, the most horrible smell you could imagine escaped from it. We immediately threw it out.

We bought that pumpkin at the IGA down the street. A few weeks ago, I bought some beautiful looking apples from the same store. The next day at work, I was sitting down, about to feast on my juicy golden delicious apple, when I noticed a small hole in the bottom of it. I asked one of my co-workers "Does it look like something's living in there?" She offered me her knife to cut it, and lo and behold, there were horrible little black creatures wriggling around in there. To this day I don't forget to give thanks in my prayers for spotting that hole before biting in. From now on I will always examine apples before eating them.

I may boycott IGA's produce department. Too bad they're the only grocery store that's remotely close to us.

EAR LOBES

Another thing wrong with me is that I have huge ear lobes. My wife says that thats not nessessarily a bad thing though. She says that if I ever get a severe burn anywhere else on my body and I need to have a skin graft, they would be able to find lots of excess skin on my ear lobes. Who else could make a claim like that?

Sick as a Dog: Not, Free as a Bird

Hello all, I'm very sick today. I'm typing with one hand with a blanket wrapped around me. The hand that is typing is cold. I was debating to go to the doctor or not. I decided not to. I don't know if that is the best coice or not. Anyway, I think I'm going to go lay down now. Have a good day!