Friday, August 31, 2001

I heard something very disturbing this morning. As I lay awake listening to the news on the clock radio, a story was aired about Robert Piche, an Air Transat pilot that recently piloted a crippled airplane safely to the ground and was hailed as a hero shortly afterwards. The news story I heard was not news, it was a character slam. Some researcher brought to light that the pilot had been convicted of a criminal offence (drug trafficing) in 1983. I was appalled that this was brought to light, considering that this man had served his time, and had gone on to be a productive member of society.

Why was this newsworthy? Absolutely no good came from me finding out about this. My day wasn't any better. The people from Flight TS236 are alive because of his actions, regardless of what debts he has paid back in the past. We all have skeletons in our closet. This wasn't even a skeleton - it was the ghost of a skeleton. How far would someone have to dig into your past to find yours?

It's not news, it's gossip. Shame on you, media folks.

Ed has finally got MP3's. I'm going to sleep now.
This week looks to end on a cheerful note. Outside of work, I've found a friend who needs a hand setting up and tweaking some networking stuff. I'm having a blast creating, fixing, advising, adding, ... you know, growing stuff. Sticking around and shutting down the office has been harder than I could have imagined (psychologically), but I just can't leave, due to financial and moral reasons (I promised I'd stay). This extracurricular challenge outside of work is really tickling my fancy, though. I wonder if any of my workmates notice the spring in my step.

My buddy's network is built around Windows 2000, so I am fine tuning my skills to properly give him a hand. I'm having a blast learning (and re-learning) about the grassroots of it and all the bells and whistles that come included. It has the potential to do some neat stuff. I am also putting in a lot of time on my home network, kicking Things One and Two off their computers so I can experiment. The bottomless trough of Microsoft software that I have at work (solely for evaluation and testing purposes, I assure you) is coming in very handy.


It was Jennifer's birthday yesterday. She was feeling old, so I got her a shawl and a rocking chair. She loves me anyway.

Thursday, August 30, 2001

I can't believe how busy things got all of a sudden. It must be that September-back-to-school-back-to-work attitude. Things are jumpin' at work, at home, everywhere.

By the way, we didn't get the property in Victoria. The present owners couldn't come to an agreement with us regarding the price. Too, bad, as it was a nice place. We have another 15 years or so to look around though.

Monday, August 27, 2001

Wow. IBM had come out with a 1 gigabyte hard drive that is the size of a small pack of matches. I love and hate this industry because of the speed that things change within it.

If you ask a woman how old she is and she won't tell you, she's over thirty. Trust me.

Guess I can stop buying french fries now.

No wonder I never got that Park Place game piece.

Friday, August 24, 2001

Just in case you were wondering where computer storage is going,
1000 megabytes = 1 gigabyte
1000 gigabytes = 1 terabyte
1000 terabytes = 1 petabyte
1000 petabytes = 1 exabyte
1000 exabytes = 1 zettabyte
1000 zettabytes = 1 yottabyte

Would I kid you about something like that?

Thursday, August 23, 2001

... and the winner of the departing emloyee e-mail tagline is ....


with his winning entry of:

Getty? Never heard of them.
I know for a fact that our office contains at least the following:
  • a 250 foot long by three foot wide roll of bubble wrap
  • 5 dozen bottles of beer
  • several open bottles of hard liquor (vodka, sambucca)
  • 3 full cans of Nutri-Whip spray-on whipped cream
  • private change facilities

Is it just me, or does anyone else sense a party waiting to happen?

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

The e-mail signature police have nailed their agenda to the door.

e-mail nazis

Great way to foster creativity amongst the masses. What's next - uniforms?

Monday, August 20, 2001

On Thursday, I resisted something very tempting that had dire consequences. Don't bother asking what it was - it's not important. The big deal is that I did what I knew was right. I'm very proud of myself.
Most of the fun and interesting people have left our formerly happy company, and everyone is chomping at the bit to get out. Don't take offense, you fellow hangers-on; we're interesting too. I'm just missing some of the more unusual characters that we loved and worked with. I went for a walk around the office this afternoon and really noticed the increase in empty desks that once held happy coworkers.

Poop. What am I still doing here?

Eulogy for a Shirt

I remember when I first saw you, all fresh and bright, smiling up at me from the box on that sunny June day. A short-sleeved front-button shirt, made of cotton in a nice summer weave. Your button-down collar was the finishing touch - for some reason I've always been partial to your type. Your colors were pleasant, too; white with thin vertical navy and harvest gold stripes. The fact that you were a gift from my mother-in-law also spoke volumes ... you were most likely from one of the better stores where Ralph and Calvin are common names.

I took you out of the box and held you up for a full look. I rushed to try you on, delighted with the way that you hung fom my shoulders (which seemed slightly accentuated due to your starching). I immediately knew that you would be special.

I gave you top status in my closet, using one of the thick plastic hangers I had purchased rather than the wire ones that I get for free from the dry cleaners and my parents' house. We would see many days together, all of them warm and breezy (as dictated my your cut and weight). You travelled with me, compressed in the suitcase until it was your turn to come out and breathe the warm, moist atmosphere of Mexico, Brazil, Hawaii. You endured food and beverage spills, dirt and sweat, you even protected my gentle epidermis from harsh bite of the sun.

Then, things began to change between us. I began to notice (through no fault of yours) that your colors weren't as bright as they used to be. The many trips through the wash had begun to take their toll on you. The think, strong weave of your fabric had also changed, due to the many fibers that you had given up over time. I now had to take care to wear an undershirt lest I get cold and something unsightly show through. You no longer held your once-fine cut on my frame - you tended to hang limply rather than steadfastly keeping your shape. I have to admit that I have changed, too. As you had begun to stretch, so had I (although not in the same ways).

This morning as I took you from the clean laundry hamper, I somehow seemed to view you through fresh eyes. I realized your zest for life was clearly gone and your time had come. There seemed only one thing to do - gracefully, gently put you to rest. No, you won't go to the Goodwill or Value Village - my heart would break to see you on the back of some derelect or other person of questionable character. I don't want to subject your remains to cremation - I'm sure that you would want to return to your original, plant-based origins. I think burial is the best, and I wish I could do better than the landfill for a final resting place. I'm sure that you'll meet other clothes there and find final peace.

So, this is a final thank you for your warmth, your protection and your comfort. You've worn well, my old friend.

Saturday, August 18, 2001

I am writing this post about six hours after arriving at John (Jenn's brother) and Bonnie's place, where our kids have been waiting for us while we were in Seattle. When it was time for bed, Mackenzie wanted to cuddle in with Jenn (in MY SPOT!) and there she lies now, asleep about fifteen feet behind me. I didn't realize how much I missed my kids until I saw them this afternoon. They (along with their four cousins) are very entertaining and energy-draining at the same time. All the same, it is nice to see that they missed us and enjoy being in close proximity to us even when they want to sleep.
One of the things that I struggle with is treading lightly when I use other people's computers. The term "treading lightly" came out of backwoods hiking, where you leave the trail in exactly the same shape as when you came in. During this trip, I have used computers of friends, relatives and some semi-public use (bed and breakfast) computers. The temptation to fix things that I feel are askew is always there. It's all I can do to resist downloading and installing an upgrade; fix monitors that are set to display only sixteen colours; to remove the three or four autoloading, memory-hogging, virus-like messaging programs; empty caches that are full; organize bookmarks/favorites that are stored in one continuous, long list ....

I've decided that I will only fiddle with the knobs (so to speak) if requested. If the owner is two or less relative-levels away (aunt, brother-in-law, etc.) I will inquire if they are aware of the issue. If they aren't, I'll offer to fix. It's the least I can do, and also the most (if you catch my drift).


When I landed at my brother-in-law's place, my eleven-year-old nephew set upon me almost as soon as I had come through the door.

"Uncle Sean, can you help us get the Internet? We got Shaw, but it doesn't work."

He is the heaviest computer user in the family and they had moved into this new house about two weeks ago. He has been dying to get his Internet connection working, and after a full system clean, a missing operating system CD, several re-installs, opening the system box for a look to see what was physically there and then searching for and loading drivers from my trusty laptop, I think I have it working (obviously, if you can read this blog entry).

Who says computer guys can't be superheroes? I'll bet he carries me around on his shoulders tomorrow morning.
We are on the road again, headed back to Calgary after a week of somewhat busy work for the Seattle head office. Spending the week down there was nice and everyone was pleasant, although I felt like a freshly diagnosed cancer patient when they asked what my fate would be "after, you know ..." (and their voices would trail off). I would take a bit of glee in finishing their sentences with "You mean, 'after Getty closes the office and fires us all?' Well, I'm not sure." It was a bit of mean fun, making them squirm a bit, but it is true - I DON'T know what I'm going to do after the lights go out in our happy brick building for the last time.

The Seattle Crew are a well meaning bunch, and in a year a two I'm sure they will get their act together and finally get the company to show a profit, but first they have to turn into BigCo. I don't want to be around for that. I get little panic flutters every once in a while when I think of being unemployed, but when I listen to my heart, I know that I don't belong there.


One of the fun things that I did in Seattle was to rent a tandem bicycle. It was a hoot - Jenn and I went for rides after work (seeing the Lake union area) and I took it to work by myself. As I rode along Westlake Avenue, empty seat trailing along behind me, I hoped above all hopes to find a hitchhiker.

Thursday, August 16, 2001

Being busy and having a specific task to do is a real treat. I'm in Seattle helping pack up my coworker's stuff and move it to a new building.

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

Mid-Life career change, anyone?
Things I Learned About Being In Charge, Part One:
You know you've hired the right people for the job if they make it look so easy, you are convinced that you could have done it yourself.

Monday, August 13, 2001

How many euphemisms can you think of to replace



Laid off, let go, repurposed, downsized, rightsized, transitioned, and now ... RIF'fed! (or, Reduction In Force).

Things are just getting stupider and stupider.
I know I'm in the United States when I go into a gas station, glance over at the Road Food / Tasty Treats section and see "Pigglett's Deep Fried Pork Skins". Yum.


Boy am I ever glad that that vacation is over, and that I get to reacquaint myself to working life by spending a week in Seattle at corporate headquarters ...



Today we were inconvienienced by having to wait for the State Troopers to clear an accident on a bridge that I wanted to cross on my way to Seattle. After waiting for a while, I found out from another motorist (who had turned around and was heading for an alternate route) that the delay was due to a fatality. I then realized that waiting for a hour was way, way better than the fate that the poor Joe met on the bridge. Suddenly, my wait didn't seem like such a bad thing.

Think about that next time you are stuck in traffic and are getting impatient.

Friday, August 10, 2001

Cool, I'm blonde now. I love being out in the sun.


I'm now in Errington, BC, enjoying the hospitality of my aunt and uncle. We've been down to the beach at Parksville for the last three days (the sandcastle competition starts tomorrow), and today will include a drive to one of my all-time favorite relaxing places - Cathedral Grove. This is my church, and though my body doesn't get here all that often, my spirit goes every chance it gets.

Wednesday, August 08, 2001

Strange Dream:

I am living in a city where all people are controlled by some dark, devil-like force. The only way that we (the citizens of this community) can free ourselves of this strange occupation is by collecting a certain series of bottlecap liners. However, drinking the drink contained in these bottles is the thing that keeps all of us under the spell of the evil, controlling force. I suddenly realize this and pretend to find the winning bottlecap liner. I am running through the streets shouting, "I found it, I found it!" and people everywhere stop consuming the "controlling" drink.

The residents have a big festival (with a midway and carnival-type rides) to celebrate the end of the controlling force, and I get on a log flume ride in between two very attractive women from work. We are joking around, enjoying ourselves and having a great time until the end of the ride, at which point we exit the car and go into separate changerooms, as if in a swimming pool. It turns out to be the big competition swimming pool where I spent a good portion of my youth (in Edmonton), and my brother-in-law is in the locker room. He accuses me of flirting with the women on the log flume ride, and I lay him out. Knocking him cold with just one punch was so satisfying (must be that testosterone thing) I deck another guy who comes up and tries to intervene.

As I'm leaving the locker room, some of the mentally challenged athletes are in the stands, and they start playfully splashing water at me. I ask them not to, and they agree only if I take them all to Dairy Queen for ice cream. I give in, so we all (about twenty of us) go out to the parking lot where a big yellow schoolbus is waiting for us. I start the bus up and pilot through the Edmonton river valley to the nearest Dairy Queen. As I'm pulling out of the parking lot, the dream changes to third person perspective, some sappy, heart-warming music starts to play and my view is looking down on the bus, and it starts to pull away, just like the crane shots at the end of a made-for-TV movie.

Hey, let me know if these are getting too bizarre for you.
My list of First Thoughts as You Open Your Eyes is growing (for the better, I'd say) and it's never to late to add yours.

Tuesday, August 07, 2001

Good gravy, this could just turn into the most expensive vacation ever - we're considering buying a little chunk of the forest on Vancouver Island. Somebody stop me!

I must be a nutcase. I've traded the stress of sitting on my hands in the office for the stress of possibly making a big real estate purchase. It's a big one, too. It would one day be the spot where I would watch the sunset on a deck as my teeth soak in a glass beside me. I've got ties to the Island from my past ... relatives (two aunt 'n uncles, a sister- and brother-in-law) and I used to live out here as a kid. Jenn's got the plan of someday living by the water and figures now would be the time to buy. She reasons that as the baby boomers get older, they will likely head for a temperate place to retire. I'm so distraght, I'm writing run-on sentences.

My head is just swimming with alarming thoughts.
  • am I stretching my finances too thin? I will be unemployed soon.
  • am I sure that I want to be on the coast? What's wrong with Calgary?
  • is this just a whim? This hasn't been a lifelong goal.
  • is the property I'm looking at really a good deal? Am I getting taken?
  • what if this place turns out to be a money pit? Have I got deep enough pockets to keep it going?
  • how much work is having two places (Calgary and Vancouver Island) going to be?
  • who is going to take care of the Vancouver Island place?
    This all came to a head in the last two days. Jenn and I had been talking about getting some property in abstract terms for the last half-year. When we planned this summer's trip, we decided to look at some places we had found on Vancouver Island. After actually being out here and driving a few, we found one we thought was a good price, arranged to view and then toured the inside, and are now thinking of putting in an offer when we swing back through the area (Willis Point, near Victoria) on our way home.

    I'm petrified that we might buy it.
  • Wednesday, August 01, 2001

    Welcome to August!

    I'm certainly having fun. My stomach is full of pancakes and bacon, I have a hot cup of tea, and I get to sit down and blog uninterrupted for a half hour. We are on (what I remember from my youth as) a traditional vacation, driving from Alberta to Vancouver Island to spend some time at the beach. We are holed up in Merritt, at a nice little bed and breakfast (we're leaving at noon). It's bright, sunny, has a very relaxed atmosphere and has a computer that is available for use. McMonkey is exploring the house, and Banana is scratching and massaging the cat, building up buckets of good karma .

    The past few days we were tenting. I use the word "tenting" deliberately, because it is very different from "camping". Camping is a catch-all phrase that everyone seems to use when they sleep somewhere other than their own house. Tenting, caravaning, tent-trailering, R.V.-ing and stuff like that fall into this category. For all of you that are waiting for the first edition of my dictionary to come out, here's a clarification of what is not camping.
    • if you have children with you that didn't carry anything with them except a stuffed toy, you're probably not camping
    • if you are sleeping less than 50 feet from your vehicle, you are not camping
    • if you are pulling something bigger than your garage behind your vehicle, you are not camping
    • if microwave popcorn is an option for your evening snack, you are not camping
    • if you can't sleep because Brittney Spears is singing too loud, you are not camping

    For now, this is a good introduction to living outdoors for my kids. Once they show an interest in it, I'll introduce them to the crack cocaine of the travelling set - hostelling.

    Once we get to Vancouver Island, we will be staying with Jenn's sister and her husband in their immaculate, child-free house on the waterfront. They are nice people, but I'm sure our visits are stressful. I hope to learn a few tricks on sea-kayaking from Brad, who goes out for a paddle in his own kayak most mornings. I want to do some sea-kayaking in the Tofino area. Good thing I know how to eskimo roll. I've heard that the whales should be out and about this time of year.