Category Archives: Life

Death by Coke

The AP recently ran an article about a New Zealand woman’s “death by Coke”, which a number of sites (from my local newspaper, to TIME) have picked up and republished. A woman drank two gallons (~7.6 L) of Coca-Cola a day, and an investigation concluded this led to her fatal heart-attack. The world needs a little more common-sense — seven and change bottles a day is just little much, a bottle or two a week might be better.

Links for the week of August 23, 2010

If you plan on graduating from Wabash College, in Indiana, you’ll need to have played the game “Portal”.

Ommwriter – Plaintext editing, zen style.

How to read without distraction.

Dieter Rams, a major inspiration for design at Apple.

Safari Reader Mod, makes things a bit nicer.

Miniature Pencil Art, carved in the lead/graphite of pencils.

I guess Android development rakes in the cash after all.

Fighter jets and Russian bombers, in Canada:

My Reading System


I first started reading fanfiction around 1999, and ever since, I’ve kept coming back to it – some might even say that I’m addicted to it. What are fanfiction stories? Fanfiction stories are stories about the characters or world of some pre-existing fiction (be it a movie, book, game, TV show, etc.), by unofficial authors (i.e. it’s “fiction”, written by “fans”, thus the term “fanfiction”. Throughout most of the time I’ve been reading, I’ve done so on a site called “” – one of the largest fanfiction repositories for English language “fics” (a slang term used to refer to fanfiction stories).

Having read thousands of fics, I like to think I’ve somewhat refined my reading habits, and perhaps even streamlined the process somewhat. So, I’m writing a description of my insanity, and plan to focus on three main areas: finding stories, reading stories, and bookmarking/returning to stories.

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Wisdom Teeth. Yay.

So, I had a bit of an “interesting” dental experience. Apparently, my dentist cut an artery in my mouth while removing the two lower wisdom teeth. This -of course- caused a bit of an event. A few bloody photos to follow, don’t click if you’re haemophilic.

Everything started not this most recent Wednesday, but the one previous to it, when I went in for the extraction. The procedure seemed to go smoothly, and as I left the dental office everything was all smiles. The surgical site seemed to be bleeding rather heavily (i.e. the I have to keep swallowing my own blood kind of heavy). However, the bleeding seemed to subside and be healing well, at least that night and the next day.

The status on Thursday.

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Other People

I was just skimming an article by Robert Scoble, and made a weird little link. I hear a lot of fanfiction writers that talk about being burned out by having too many reviews telling them what to do with their stories (obviously not all), and there are fields that this applies to as well (as you’ll see the blockquote that I’m about to share). The gist of what Scoble says, is that the advice of the masses usually isn’t that great. You see messages like this a lot in stories as well, the noble leader to gets many different pieces of what appear to be sound advice, from his advisors, but knows that his “gut hunch” “instinct” etc. is correct, the path that he plots and not that of others – and usually, because most stories are predictable in this manner, it ends up being the right decision. In any event, the quote (full article is a good read as well, if you’re into FaceBook and the internet “scene”).

Scoble Source

My former boss, Jim Fawcette, used to say that if you asked a group of Porsche owners what they wanted they’d tell you things like “smoother ride, more trunk space, more leg room, etc.” He’d then say “well, they just designed a Volvo.”

His words were meant to get us out of letting the customers run our business mode we often found ourselves falling into.

So yeah, do your thing, take other people into consideration, but do your thing. Letting others bring FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt) into your dream/goal/endgame can prevent you from ever attaining it.

Five University Tips

The following tips are five things I’ve learned after my first term of university, at Carleton University. Hopefully they’ll be of some use.

  1. Vending machine madness. If your campus has plentiful vending machines, and you like pop, prepare to be shelling out a lot of change for drinks. The best way to avoid this is simply not to carry around loose change, or buy cans of your favoured pop in bulk (e.g. get a large case from Costco/Sam’s Club and carry around a few everyday in your bag).
  2. Coffee shops. Don’t buy coffee at the name-brand stores. On my local campus we have a couple name-brand coffee shops (Tim Horton’s, the Dunkin’ Donuts of Canada, and Starbuck’s), but we also have some smaller independent places. These independent shops give a portion of their profits to the local students association, so it’s good to help support them (a medium coffee is only 2¢ more here, and the variety/quality of the java is a lot better as well!).
  3. Type your notes up the day take them. If you don’t, they’ll sit collecting dust and taking up space on your desk. From just three courses I have about a hundred or more pages of notes that I never got around to typing up, and probably never will. Typing them up the night of the lecture also helps reinforce the material in your mind.
  4. Home lunches/meals. Make your meals at home and bring them in if you can – you can make large pots of things like chili, soup or bean salad that are tasty, cheap, and will last you a while. You’ll usually end up saving money compared to buying meals at your schools cafeteria and you can put the money you save towards something fun (like movies, games, gifts, dates, and so-on).
  5. Find a quiet place on campus where you can relax. If you’re on campus between classes, find quiet places where you can sit down and do your readings, or work on assignments. These can be lounges, the library, empty classrooms, and so-on. Finding a place away from the large congregational areas to do your work will help you focus on what you’re supposed to be doing.