Monthly Archives: December 2008

Water Is Life, But Hot Water Is Living

Broken hot water tank

I have no hot water.

In the mid­dle of the week­end, my hot water tank broke down. I called the ener­gy com­pa­ny and was on hold for almost two hours. When I final­ly got through to some­one to trou­bleshoot my prob­lem, all he told me to do was unplug the tank and plug it back in again. Then he told me to wait an hour and call back to make an appoint­ment with a tech­ni­cian if it did­n’t work. I refused to do this (after being on hold for so long already), so I made an appoint­ment right there.

The tech­ni­cian came today and told me that the pipes were leak­ing water, and the black area under at the bot­tom sig­ni­fied a car­bon monox­ide leak1. The entire hot water tank has to be replaced.

The good news is that my hot water tank is rent­ed, so any repairs or replace­ments are cov­ered by the ener­gy com­pa­ny. The bad news is that the ven­ti­la­tion pipe that con­nects the tank to the out­side of the house is no longer up to code, and needs to be replaced before the hot water tank is replaced. The worse news is that my ceil­ing is fin­ished, so it needs to be ripped open for the new pip­ing to be installed then patched up again when it’s done, by an out­side con­struc­tion com­pa­ny. The cher­ry on top is that nei­ther the pipe instal­la­tion or the destruction/construction is cov­ered by my con­do or the ener­gy com­pa­ny, so I’ll have to shell out more mon­ey at a time I can’t afford it.

Until then, I can’t show­er2, I can’t shave, I can’t do my dish­es, I can’t do my laun­dry, I can’t rinse my mouth with­out using painful­ly cold ice water.

I can hon­est­ly say that I took hot water for grant­ed.

But I won’t after this.

  1. Thankfully low enough that the two car­bon monox­ide detec­tors did­n’t go off []
  2. which is one of my favourite ways to unwind at the end of the day []

A Blogger Passes On

Many years ago, I received an e‑mail from a read­er named Winston Rand, look­ing for some blog­ging advice:


I have been to your equiv­o­cal­i­ty site numer­ous times over the last cou­ple of months and always come away impressed. Having vis­it­ed many oth­er “blogs” — God how I’ve come to hate that term — I keep com­ing back to yours as my gold stan­dard. Been think­ing of start­ing my own, even have 2 domain names paid for, but being an engi­neer and an IT pro, I’m too hes­i­tant to start until most of the answers are quite clear. That is a strength as well as a fail­ing…

In my quest, I’ve looked at many dif­fer­ent blog­ging tools, host­ing sites, etc., and am still not sure which route to take. My temp­ta­tion is to say to hell with all of them and just post my stuff using sta­t­ic html pages (Dreamweaver) since I’m not real­ly inter­est­ed in feed­back or com­ments that much. But I do like the abil­i­ty to eas­i­ly inte­grate cal­en­dar, archives, and oth­er fea­tures that most of the blog pack­ages seem to include by default. And who knows, one of these days I may care what oth­er peo­ple think of my work.

Among the pop­u­lar pack­ages, I’ve got it nar­rowed down to WordPress, Moveable Type, and SquareSpace, but I’m wide open to sug­ges­tions and rec­om­men­da­tions.

Could you share your thoughts on what you use and rec­om­mend? Any advice will be great­ly appre­ci­at­ed.

Keep up your excel­lent work! I look for­ward to see­ing more of it.

I steered Winston towards WordPress, and soon after, he start­ed his own blog at Over time, he devel­oped a sig­nif­i­cant read­er­ship, as he would write quite lucid­ly about pol­i­tics, humour, and the occas­sion­al geek talk.

Although our blogs cov­ered dif­fer­ent things in a dif­fer­ent style (Winston called it “[spin­ning] in a slight­ly off­set par­al­lel uni­verse” when describ­ing my blog in his one-year anniver­sary post), we would check up on each oth­er now and then.

During one of my last vis­its, I found out that Winston has died after a 38-hour ill­ness and 3 surg­eries. While I nev­er real­ly knew him in per­son, I still feel like some­one close is gone.

And I wish I could explain why.

At the Ontario Science Centre

Back in the sum­mer, ____ and I went to the Ontario Science Centre. The plan­e­tar­i­um was up-and-run­ning, so we got to view the lat­est Mars land­scape pic­tures in 360 degrees. We also arrived at the Science Arcade just in time to see a girl on the stage with her hand on the big Van de graaff, one of those mys­ti­cal flag­ship images you often see in their adver­tise­ments.

We had­n’t been there since we were lit­tle kids, but the inter­ac­tive tests and exper­i­ments are always fun, even when you’re old­er.

The Measure of a Man

I’m still not sure if I feel like a man.

I always imag­ined that it’s a mind­set you sud­den­ly devel­op (or a way peo­ple view you) once you have kids, or pass 30, whichev­er one comes first. There’s this idea stuck in my head that adults are these peo­ple who don’t have fun. They don’t watch (and enjoy) stu­pid movies, or play Warcraft, or talk on the phone for hours. It’s prob­a­bly from grow­ing up with my par­ents, who nev­er did any­thing that made them laugh or smile. Or maybe I’m hav­ing too much fun and free­dom to real­ly feel like I’m grown-up.

There was def­i­nite­ly some point between get­ting my first job and house, and now, that I start­ed to feel like an adult. It was nev­er a dis­tinct line though.

It’s still for­eign for me to say that I date women, as opposed to girls. To think I’ll ever grow out of say­ing that is very strange.

For now, the only thing I do that makes me feel like I’m a man is when I’m pay­ing and fil­ing my bills.