« March 2002 | Main | May 2002 »

April 26, 2002

Room For One More

I fly out tomorrow. I was feeling pretty confident until I watched the Twilight Zone last night. It was about a woman who had a recurring dream about a nurse luring her into the morgue and saying "Room for one more, honey." The woman then had to take a flight somewhere and when she was about to board the plane, the stewardess said "Room for one more, honey." The woman then screamed and ran away before the plane took off. The woman watched from the airport window as the plane took off and promptly blew up.

Not that I'm worried or anything.

00:00 | Travel

April 19, 2002

It's Over

Well another term has drawn to a close. I somehow managed to survive the onslaught of exams this week, and now I'm packing up, ready to move out this weekend. Any minute now my Internet connection is going to disappear, so any of you who have still links to the old address on your own websites, please update them.

Good bye Waterloo for another 4 months!

00:00 | School

April 15, 2002

It Begins

Today is the last day before I become reduced to a jibbering idiot as a result of the onslaught of exams, so I may not be blogging for a while. Friday I've got to pack everything up and move it either to Rick and Vanessa's place (my home in Sept) or back home to Brampton. At least I'm keeping busy.

00:00 | Stuff

Bus Stop

A funny thing happened to me while waiting for the bus today (stop me if you've heard this one). I'm sitting at the bus stop on University Ave waiting for the ol' #8 to bring me home. A girl walks up to me and practically puts her head in my lap. Now usually I'm not one to object to this sort of thing, but I soon saw her intentions were... self-serving at best. She was trying to look at my watch, apparently without disturbing me. Without a word I generously held out my arm so she could see the time without possible back strain. She nodded and sat down, never a word passing between the two of us. We didn't need words. There was only one thought on both our minds: "It's 4:17pm."

00:00 | Stuff

Redundancies I Hate

To keep this site living up to its (new) name, here's a small rant: Redundancies I Hate:

12 Noon
as opposed to "High Noon"?
Left-Hand Turn/Side
Ok, I understand "Right-Hand..." since "right" has more than one possible connotation. Whenever I hear someone say "Left-Hand Turn", I think of the joke about the blonde who wanted to go to Disneyland.
Tuna Fish
What's for lunch? Tuna sandwich. Tu... Na? Oh, you mean the fish!


00:00 | Rant

April 14, 2002

Title Goes Here

Cheers to Dav for the new title pic.

Jeers to this rusty tailgate.

00:00 | Blog

April 13, 2002

Exams Got Me Down

I think I'm starting to get burned out from exam studying. I've only written Networks so far, and I still have Vietnam on the 16th, Databases on the 17th, and UI and Greek Myth on the 18th. I've been studying everyday since last weekend and I'm a bit tired.

00:00 | School

Flight Info

I got my flight info: I'm leaving Toronto Airport at 1:15pm on Saturday April 27. I will have to switch planes at the ever-lovely Ohare Airport in Chicago before reaching Seattle.

00:00 | Job Hunting


I finally decided to rename this site. I may decide to redesign completely it tomorrow, I don't know. So for now I have a makeshift title image until Dav makes me one that's a little bigger and that actually matches my site's background colour. Not that I'm ungrateful (I am encouraging you all to visit his super-cool blog, after all. Visit it!).

00:00 | Blog

April 11, 2002

Out Of The Job?

According to this news article [expired] Microsoft is shelving the very product they hired me to work on (Hailstorm). Where's the justice?

00:00 | Work

April 9, 2002

The Fruits Of Procrastination

New Miscellaneous Rambling is done: Citizen Lyon. I hope you're all happy I sacrificed good exam-studying time to bring it to you.

00:00 | Blog

Citizen Lyon

My name is Chris and I am Canadian.

Or so I thought. It turned out when I needed to prove my citizenship, I didn't have any valid documentation.

It all started when I found out I got the summer co-op job at Microsoft in Seattle, Washington, USA. The working visa required I have a valid Canadian passport. I checked my passport only to find it expires April 30, 2002 -- my first day of work. I needed a new one.

Luckily for me, there's a Passport Office in Kitchener, so I had some passport photos taken, grabbed my old passport and headed into downtown Kitchener. Upon entering the Passport Office, I was stopped by a tall East Indian man in some sort of official-looking uniform. He asked me if I was here to apply for a new passport. I told him I was just here to renew my passport.

Him: "Ok, where is your application?"
Me: "Uh, I don't have one."
Him (handing me an application):"Ok, you need to fill out this application, get it signed by a guarantor, bring it back here along with your birth certificate, two passport photos and your chequebook. I mean credit card. Or bank card. We don't take cheques."
Me: "What about cash?"
Him: "Of course we take cash."
Me (holding up my passport):"But I just need my passport renewed. It hasn't expired yet, see?"
Him: "Oh, then bring that too."

Now I readily admit that I should have done some research first to find out exactly what was needed, but since I wasn't applying for a new passport, just to renew my still-valid one, I figured that was all I needed. Ok fine, I can come back. There's still two months before my job starts, I'll just come back later.

I filled out the application easily enough, but the whole "guarantor" thing scared me. A guarantor must have known the applicant personally for at least two years and must have one of the twenty prefessions listed on the application. Among them were doctors, engineers, notary publics and university instructors. "Ok," I thought. "I've been going to Health Services for at least two years. Surely a doctor there would sign my application." So I naively walked into Health Services asking to speak to someone who could help me. A few minutes later a nurse brought me into an exam room, opened up my file and asked me how she could help me. I explained I needed someone to sign my application. According to my file, despite the fact I've been coming here for four years, I haven't been seeing the same doctor for more than two years, so she couldn't help me. End of discussion.

Fine. I'll ask my CS Advisor. No luck there either. She stuck to the letter, if not the spirit, of the rules. Fine. So I brought it to Troy Vasiga, grad student, CS Advisor and instructor extraordinaire. He had taught me in the Fall of 1999 and was more than happy to sign the application for me. Ok, back to the passport office, with a month and a half to spare.

Back at the Passport office, I was again stopped by the tall East Indian. I showed him my completed application, passport photos and Québec birth certificate (I was born in Montréal). He seemed to find that last document very interesting. He stared at it, turned it over and fondled it for about half a minute before (quite rudely) shoving them all back into my arms. He handed me a ticket and motioned at the waiting area. Ok... I sat down and patiently awaited my ticket number to be called. About fifteen minutes later, my number was called and I confidently walked up to the counter. I laid out all my documents on the counter and told the nice lady that I wanted to renew my passport. She took one look at my birth certificate and face fell.

Her: "Oh... you have one of the old ones."
Me: "Uh, I guess so."
Her: "Sorry, we can't accept this."
Me: "Why not?"
Her: "The Québec government is no longer recognizing birth certificates issued before 1994. You'll need to apply for a new one."
Me: "What!?"
Her: "Until 1994 local parishes could issue birth and baptismal certificates, so the government never had a central database until now."
Me: "Ok, fine. But can't you just renew my old passport? I have everything else."
Her (handing me a birth certificate application): "Sorry. You'll have to fill this out and mail it in to the Québec government. Don't worry, it's in English. Come back when you've got it. Sorry."

Ok, so I filled out the application, including my credit card number and mailed it in. I even paid the extra mount to have it rushed. A month and a half before I leave...

Two weeks later, it came in the mail. A tiny, thin piece of paper bearing the provincial blue fleur-de-lis. Great! So I rushed to the Passport Office. There was a snowstorm that day, so my feet got soaked running to catch a bus (yes I missed it, thank you very much). I got into the Passport Office and found out I was the only customer there. Sweet! No lineups! The tall Indian still insisted on giving me a ticket. My number was immediately called, and the Indian thoughtfully pointed to the counter. Thanks.

Once again, I spread out my documents, making sure to point out my valid birth certificate. Ok, no problems, she told me. I asked her to rush the passport. It would cost an extra $30 on top of the $85. Fine. She had to know the reason I wanted it rushed. Could it be because I've been trying to get this passport for a month already? I told her I needed it for a working visa and I was leaving in less than a month.

Her: "Ok, that will be $85."
Me: "What about the rush?"
Her: "Oh yeah!"
Me (muttering): "urge to kill... rising..."
Her: "I'll have to cancel your current passport. I'll just throw it out..."
I must have made some sort of shocked face because she stopped in mid sentence.
Her: "...or you could keep it as a souvenir."
Sure toss it. Not like I had my travel records from visiting Europe, Japan and Korea on them.
Her (handing me my cancelled passport): "Ok, come back in a week."

And yesterday I returned. I was told to wait at Counter #1, and to not bother getting a ticket. So I walked into the office brandishing my pick-up slip. Instead of the tall Indian, there was some woman. I walked past her, clearly heading for Counter #1 when she called out:



Unfortunately the end of this story is quite anti-climactic. Less than three weeks before I have to leave, I got my passport. One and a half-months and $150 later, I can finally prove that not only was I born in this country, but that I'm also a citizen.

00:00 | Misc Rambling | Comments (1)

April 8, 2002

Sympatico No More

Since I'm canceling my Sympatico service (despite what the good people there may want) this webspace is going with it. In case you missed the large red message above, the new address will be my easy-to-remember Waterloo account: http://www.student.math.uwaterloo.ca/~cplyon/. I'll keep updating both pages until April 18 (the things I do for my loyal fans), but please update your bookmarks. After the 18th, God only knows what horrible, disgusting site Bell may decide to host at this address.

00:00 | Blog

Studying N' Stuff

On a different note, I'll be picking up my Canadian passport tomorrow, to complete the saga. I'll fill you all in soon enough. In the meantime, back to studying. Studying sucks.

00:00 | Stuff

April 7, 2002

The Danger Zone

Mark was shocked and appalled when I told him I had never seen Top Gun, so he made me sit through it at Rick and Vanessa's place. I swear that soundtrack must have only 3 songs on it. That movie was chock-full o' vaguely Soviet enemies and Tom Cruise close-ups. And homo-erotic overtones? You bet.

00:00 | Stuff

Giddy With Excitement

Final exam time is upon us, so you know what that means. Yup, I'll be blogging a lot more (and possibly re-redesigning this site) in a desperate attempt to procrastinate from studying. Sure, my marks may suffer, but damn I'll have a dozen rants written starting with my passport story and/or Spam Fun.

I'm sure you're all giddy with excitement.

00:00 | Blog

April 1, 2002

I'm Moving

Well, my time in this country is drawing to a close, so I decided to call up the friendly people at Bell Sympatico to cancel my account. The conversation went a little something like this:

Me: "I'd like to cancel my account, please"
Bell Representative: "Ok, are you sure you wouldn't prefer to suspend it?"
Me: "No, I'm moving so I need it cancelled."
Bell Representative: "Ok, and what's the reason you're canceling?"
Me: "Um, I'm moving."
Bell Representative: "Right. Are you just switching providers?"
Me: "No, I'm moving."
Bell Representative: "Ok. Well, if you decide to resubscribe, we have some new services, including up-to-the minute stock quotes.... blah blah blah"
Me: (uninterested) "Uh-huh."
Bell Representative: "... and this new game service where you can rent games for a low price instead of buying them."
Me: "That sounds cool."
Bell Representative: "Would you like to sign up for it?"
Me: "No! I want to cancel my subscription."

I guess this guy thought I was so moved by his powerful sales pitch that I would forget about my new co-op job and stay here and play rented games instead.

00:00 | Rant