Wednesday, October 31, 2001

I am besplendant in my turtleneck, sports jacket and devilish horns, handing out pink slips and stock options with an astronomical strike price, all the while deftly handling my yoyo.

Guess who I am?
Well, it's Hallowe'en, and I can't wait to reveal my costume at work today.

Tuesday, October 30, 2001

"I don't know" is an answer, too.

The fashion police caught me on the way out the door today. McMonkey told me I couldn't wear my Old Man slippers to work.

Monday, October 29, 2001

A good lesson was to be had on Sunday. I was out with Brianna when we got to feeling a bit peckish. We stopped in a small convenience store and each picked out a chocolate bar. We walked to the counter, plopped our soon-to-be-consumables onto the counter only to hear the clerk demand two dollars and twenty cents. Astounded at the price (I was expecting MAYBE a dollar each at the worst), I asked the good fellow how much they were each. "A dollar and ten cents," he replied.  I was astounded. "No thanks, I didn't think they were that much." With that, I turned and walked out. 

Afterwards, I asked Brianna if I had embarrassed her, to which she replied that I hadn't. Yes, I was shocked at the price (I'm sure that I *must* have Scottish blood in me somewhere) but more importantly, I wanted to teach my sensitive, people-pleasing, compliant daughter a lesson. Even when you are at the counter with the merchandise in front of you and the transaction almost complete, there is still time to call off a deal and walk away. 

There will be a time in her life when she will be negotiating some sort of trade, barter or compromise. She will be negotiating for something much, much more valuable than a chocolate bar. Somewhere in her head (all but drowned out by the other negotiating party and extenuating circumstances) will be the Voice of Reason meekly interjecting with "I don't think this is right." I want her to know, understand and believe that it is never, ever too late to walk away from a bad deal. 

Even after the deal is done, if the consequences of remaining in the deal are worse than the penalty, just walk away.

Joce and Colin get hitched

Last weekend, Jennifer's sister Jocelyne tied the knot with Colin, a fella that she's been engaged to for over four years. They did a quiet ceremony on a private dock in Victoria at her other sister's place (who is Sibling 8 in the series).

Colin was heard to remark during the ceremony,
"Well, I'll be McMonkey's uncle."

Congrats, you two nutty kids.
Man, you wouldn't believe what some people keep. Here's my site from 1997. This stuff is so old it has sideburns.
Seeing the new Apple iPod, looking at the price and really, really seriously considering buying something portable to play my MP3's on makes me realize what a great, great product the Creative Labs Nomad is. Now, they've come out with a 20 gigabyte version. As cool-looking and small as the iPod is, the capacity and PC-compatibility of the Nomad definitely has something going for it.

Somebody stop me before I buy something!

Sunday, October 28, 2001

Thank you, boss man in Seattle, for the Amazon gift certificate. I just traded it in for a bunch of DVDs.
(thanks to the Kentucky Headhunters, the Ennis Sisters, the Champs and the Monkeys for providing tonight's soundtrack)

Finding yourself a good book has got to be one of the few things that really can't be rushed. I was out for an afternoon stroll with Banana, and we ended up in one of our local bookstores. I chose Life's Little Instruction Book for $3.25. Hokey as it sounds, I enjoy the sappy and trite sayings in these bathroom books. The current bathroom selection includes:
  • Life's Little Instruction Book
  • Hacking Exposed, second edition
  • the February, 2001 edition of Photo District News that I swiped from work
  • Sabrina, the Teenage Witch's Magic handbook (die-cut like a left hand)
  • Something Under the Bed is Drooling (a Calvin and Hobbes compilation)
  • Calgary Herald's "Careers" section, and no, there was nothing of interest in it for me.

The Rubik's Cube has come back to haunt me. I (like many of my fellow nerds) took the challenge to heart when it came out and learned to solve it. A mental exercise in spatial relations and creating a nomenclature for three-dimentional moves, it was just something that had to be done. Oh, the days that I had nothing better to do than memorize those turns and cranks.

A few nights ago, McMonkey happened across one of my old my cubes (from where, I don't know and YES, I had more than one). She asked me what you were supposed to do with it, to which I answered "Make all the sides the same color."

"Can you do it?" she asked , and then stood expectantly and waited for me to solve it before her eyes. The more elementary of the series of moves came immediately back to me and I started to spin and twist the cube. I was able to complete two of the levels before the mental well began to burp air. "Hmmm," I remarked, "I used to be able to finish this."

"Oh." Mackenzie answers. She toddles off, having given a puzzle-solver a momentum-building push down the hill of challenge. Now I had to solve it. Now, there are multiple ways of completing it, varying in approaches from using the fewest moves to following a long, drawn-out regimented series of moves. I turned to my old buddy, the Internet and my favorite search engine to find my a method that sparked a memory or, at least, wouldn't be too hard to memorize again.

I found my instructions, printed them out and then threw away 45 minutes of my life yesterday to re-acquaint myself with that talent of very limted value. I'm a cuber again.

Friday, October 26, 2001

I like Madonna's song "Ray of Light." I hope I still do after the Windows XP advertising campaign is done with it. I spent Thursday morning at the official rollout of Microsoft's newest product. Nothing special, really, just a big media hype. I *did* get a free copy of Windows XP, which bugged the heck out of one of my hardcore-windows acquaintences. Due to the way it handles licencing and mandatory registration with Microsoft, you cannot just share it around - one licence key, one registration.

I also spent Thursday afternoon in a outplacement workshop at work. The mothership is trying to prepare us for the outside world be giving us job-search workshops and resume writing classes. This afternoon, we critiqued each other's resumes. ... and what was the most common comment?

"What font is this?"

I hope the real world is ready for us.


I am having to crack the whip at work to get all of the disposal duties happening. I am having trouble motivating my team, including myself. This stuff has to get done soon, or it will be just me with three man-months of work to do by myself. In one month. That would really suck.


Today's fashion faux pas - black shoes and white sports socks. How far do I have to go to get attention?

Wednesday, October 24, 2001

Shhh - my deviant dressing experiment has begun.

Today, I clash. Green shirt, tan pants, black shoes. I'm sure I will go unnoticed.
I went to buy some bread this morning at the local gas station/convenience store. I couldn't find the bread and so I asked the lady behind the counter (a woman in her late forties) where their bread was. She pointed me to the location of the very last loaf of bread. She apologized for the lack of selection by saying, "We never know when the bakery guy is gonna bring us more. He's very erotic."

Being so early, her comment caught me off guard. I paused for a moment, smiled slightly and then fought back the urge to say in my best deep, breathless voice, "Oooohhhh, so what does he wear?"


Well, *I* thought it was funny.
Hey, Bryce, don't you wish you were me, too?

Now I'm jealous.

Tuesday, October 23, 2001

With any luck, I'll be spending a good portion of February here. Eat your hearts out, gainfully employed people.
Tick tick tick - November 3rd is next weekend. Let me know if you're coming.

Sunday, October 21, 2001

Do animated GIFs ever get tired?
I spent the majority of the day out in the yard raking leaves, taking down the siderails and the ropeladder on the treehouse, cleaning out flowerbeds and putting everything to bed before winter moves in. The fresh air did my spirit good. I also spent some time talking to my semi-retired neighbor. He's the nicest guy but he does have one quirk - he's a Serial Talker.

"What's that?", you may well ask. Go on, ask.

OK, I'll tell you. A Serial Talker is one who dominates a conversation with a steady, unending stream of conciousness, never letting you add to what is supposed to be a dialog. Practiced serial talkers can keep a monologue going (without even apparent pauses for an intake of breath) for upwards of twenty minutes. Next time you are having a conversation with someone, note that there are occasional pauses where the speaker finishes a contained thought and a natural break will occur in their speech. At this point, you will normally:
  1. make some sort of affirmative noise, encouraging them to go on, or
  2. insert a question to pull more information out of the speaker, or
  3. take your turn at adding to the dialog, or
  4. end the conversation and go back to what you were doing before you started talking to that person.

With a Serial Talker, this natural pause, this volley of the conversational tennis ball of control and focus never occurs. They hang onto the ball ... and run.

This morning, I was clearing the table and needed to shake off the tablecloth. I gathered it up, went out the front door and was spotted. The serial talker had me in his sights and innocuously lured me over.

"Hear about the water ban?" he coyly asks.

"Why, no." I niavely answer. "Is there one?" At this point, I have wandered out of the house and into full view. It is a brisk spring morning and I am wearing slippers (thank God) but no socks, jeans and a light t-shirt. I am in full view, with no one else to protect or distract me. My serial talker neighbor seems especially adept at luring me into his grasp when I am busy, distracted or (as is the case now) in some sort of physical discomfort - I will soon be freezing to death. The conversation banters back and forth for a few seconds, and then it starts. The serial talker's amblings cut a zig-zag path through present and past experiences, with various relavant bits of city and world events thrown in as I try (in vain) to enter the conversation again. Only those who have dealt with seasoned serial talkers know the frustration felt by the thought, quip or anecdote that watches the conversation's course weave towards it's getting-out point, only to have the train of thought continue on without so much as a toot of the whistle. The thought can only settle back in it's seat and forelornly watch it's stop quickly fade into the distance. No combination of insertions, monosylabic exclaimations, facial expressions or body language seems to put the dedicated Serial Talker off.

By now, I've spent about ten minutes outside listening to the serial talker. I have goosebumps and am visibly shivering when he remarks "... but I don't want to go on boring you - you must be freezing in just a t-shirt and look at me, with my down-filled parka."

At this point, I don't dare give him any tidbit of answer to continue on from, so I blurt out "Yeah," smile slightly, wave a hand in a terse "goodbye", and physically back away. I head for the house before hypothermia sets in.

Later in the day, I ended up out in the yard with a sweater and proper shoes and socks, ready now in case I should be cornered or lured over again. I did end up talking to him later in the day, only to be rescued by Jenn. That's what wives are for - getting their husbands out of awkward social situations.

Don't get me wrong, he's a nice guy, but, jeez, I wish he'd let me get a word in edgewise.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

The new Aibos are available but they are a BIG letdown from the original, cool dogs. They look like an anime-inspired, transgender undefinable-species thing. I personally wouldn't want to pay $850 US for something that is going to further the biggest cross-media child-targeted ad campaign the world has ever seen. Those things are butt-ugly.

When I blow my, ... I mean, *IF* I were to blow some of my Getty "get lost" money on an Aibo, it would be on a sleek, silver model 210. Robots are supposed to be silver or gold, not Latte, of all things.

If someone calls you a peach, maybe it's because you're hairy and have a heart of stone.

Wednesday, October 17, 2001

Today, two different people have asked me if I'm happy with my life. Am I giving off restless vibes, or am I just being overly sensitive?
Jon's winking eye gives me the creeps, yet I sat and stared at it for about 30 seconds.

What's with that?
Hildur says that North Americans are exposed to 2000 - 3000 advertisements every day.
Work's been extremely nutty these days. We are working to get most of our responsibilities transferred to the mother ship before we are left behind. Now I know what the descent module on the Apollo missions felt like.
I am having way too much fun with my digital video camera, my G3 and iMovie! I can't wait to be an unemployed bum!

Saturday, October 13, 2001

Hear, hear, Jane.
Faith, in terms of belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence, is a good thing to have.

I have faith that all of this paranoia about terrorist attacks will pass. Although more people are likely to be killed, I also have faith that my family and friends will be spared. I can't spend my whole life in fear. There is a difference between taking precautions and being irrationally overprotective. I've heard that some people in our corporate office refuse to drink anything but bottled water and they are opening mail using gloves. At that point, I think the terrorists have won.

Friday, October 12, 2001

Blogaversary Party

It's been a year of writing and I'm still OK. If fact, I'm better than you can imagine. Blogging has really helped me vent, remember, pass on wisdom, and distract myself from other craziness that I've experienced in the past year. I've enjoyed it so much that I want to have a drink in celebration and I've decided that you, gentle reader, should be here with me to enjoy it.

I appreciate that you've been reading and sharing my observations of my life. Some of you I know through e-mails (or personal contact) regarding blog entries. Some of you I know through links to and from my blogs. As we have shared little bits of each other, I thought it would be nice to get together and meet, face to face.

The anonymity of the web may prove this to be a bad idea, but I'm going to give it a try. If you are interested in stopping by in person or by phone (we'll see if I can get a webcam rigged up for the event) AND you plan to be in Calgary on November 3rd after 7 pm, you gotta let me know. Include:
  • how many people you are bringing
  • what you prefer to drink
  • how you plan to attend (in person, via phone or web browser)
  • if you're really a nutcase that plans to physically attack me for something I've alluded to or you've imagined in one of my posts

I'll send you the address (or phone number or IP address) and make sure to put a beverage of your choice in the fridge. You can look forward to talking with others who read or keep blogs, too.

I'm interested to see who turns up.
As my time at eyewire draws to a close (77 working days by my count), I feel compelled to start planning more seriously for my future. I've got an idea for a business, and I am investigating its (it's?) feasability. I guess I'm more of a planner than I originally thought. The business is service-based, 'cause service is something I know. If the numbers work out (meaning it would eventually make money), I might fill you in with the details.

Thursday, October 11, 2001

cheaper and cheaper rates

Some trends in junk mail are good. I would have been some kind of angry if I had just sent in the application from the first offer and then had the second (or third!) land on my doorstep.

Wednesday, October 10, 2001

I wish I had more time to blog and tinker with my site and my equipment and and and and ....

(Annie Lennox and Alanis Morrisette are taking turns crooning to me right now)
It's about time for a party and you're all invited.

How does November 3rd sound?

Details to follow. Soon.

Tuesday, October 09, 2001

Two different parts of me are struggling with how to deal with my youngest daughter. The uptight, conservative, orderly part of me wants her to keep her room tidy, not make messes, damage walls and furniture in our house, leave half-finished projects everywhere, stay up late coloring, reading and dressing her Barbies. Another part of me recognizes that she has a creative energy that would be a tragedy to have stifled, and I should smother her in hugs for being such an interesting child.

I need to remember that the clutter in her room is only a problem to me. She is perfectly fine with it.
It's looking more and more like I will really be the last one at the office, throwing out coffee cups and sheets of paper.

Will that ever be a crummy job.
Lots to be thankful for these days.

Friday, October 05, 2001

Fun Things to Tell a Temp (from Dilbert's List of the Day):

The boss just had breast augmentation surgery and is very proud of them. Be sure and compliment her.

Thursday, October 04, 2001

Quick Updates:

The temperature changes in this office are one of the things I WON’T miss.

I talked to a recently laid-off ex-eyewirite and they noted that they were still just as busy, but now they weren’t being paid. I could see myself easily falling into that same trap.

I am bewildered by the air of importance that people that wear suits seem to put forward. Nobody’s job could be that critical.

I’m really tired and grumpy today, so don’t come looking for anything. I’d rather be anyplace else.

Wednesday, October 03, 2001

Part of my misspent youth included some vandalism. When I was in university in Edmonton, I rode by a big temporary roadside sign every day. One fall morning they were advertising ADVENT CALENDARS for $3.99.

When I rode home late that night, I couldn't resist shuffling a few letters. For the next 24 hours, Colonial Meats sold CADAVERS for $3.99.

That kept me amused for the rest of the term.
If it gets any hotter around here, I'm gonna have to strip down to my skivvies.

Tuesday, October 02, 2001

To IP or not to IP; that is the question ...

I am toying with the idea of getting a static IP address at my home office.

Don't I have enough complication in my life? I could end up spending 12 hours a day just tweaking my HOME system! There's definitely no money in that - I know I can't afford myself.

Just think of the possibilities, though ...
  • my own web server, with almost unlimited gigabytes of downlaodable goodies for the five or six people that visit
  • my own mail server to build, maintain, patch, prop up, virus scan, clean out and occasionally rebuild
  • my own DNS server, 'cuz heaven knows I wouldn't trust a professional ISP to provide a service THAT important
  • new, increased monthly expenses from our local telco for my wife to get excited about
  • never mind the extra power consumption, the noise of whirring fans, floor and shelf space to be taken up, etc.

What could be better?


By the way, my home office is now permanently tri-platform. I am running Linux RedHat 5.2, Windows 98 (soon to become Windows 2000 Professional when I get 4 spare hours) and Mac OS 9.2.1 running on a recently acquired G3. I forgot how bonehead-friendly Macs are - it only took two hours of next-next-next-next-reboot's until I had things the way I wanted them. I still need to get printer sharing set up on the Linux box (disguising itself as a file and print server, no less). If tinkering is a sin, I'm going straight to hell.

See what happens when my wife heads out of town? No one is around to shoo me off to bed at a decent time.

Monday, October 01, 2001

Tonight, my swim coach moved me into the fast lane. I'm a speedster again!