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May 28, 2002

Fat Ass

I bought some climbing gear last weekend. I got a pair of climbing shoes and a harness kit that were on sale. When I asked the store clerk about which harness would best fit me, he looked at my waist and decided a large would be most appropriate. Ok. He looked around, but couldn't find a large, so I tried on the medium. It fit ok, but the clerk looked unconvinced. He was standing with his hands about a foot apart palms facing each other. "You're not planning on gaining weight anytime soon, are you?" while he asked, he slowly moved his hands away from each other, implying my ass was about to double in size before his very eyes. I curtly thanked him for his help and bought the medium.

00:00 | Stuff

May 20, 2002

Clones Clones Everywhere

This morning my team took the morning off and went to see Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones. The movie was both entertaining and visually stunning. But there was something that disturbed me as I sat in the dark theatre (something besides the guy sitting next to me who made snoring noises during the romantic scenes). What disturbed me happened even before the movie got started. It was one of the previews.

The preview was for a movie called Like Mike, starring Lil' Bow Wow, who plays an impoverished young boy who climbs up a telephone pole to rescue a ratty pair of sneakers hanging from the power lines. As a result of a several-thousand-volt shock, Lil' Bow Wow gains super basketball abilities and becomes an NBA All-Star. This movie disturbs me for two reasons:

  1. It teaches kids that as well as not killing you, touching high voltage wires gives you magical basketball powers that quickly lead to fame and fortune.
  2. It encourages kids to start rapping at a very early age.

I for one plan to boycott this movie in the hopes that others will follow my lead. If Elmer the Safety Elephant has taught me anything, it's that hydro wires are deadly, even to seemingly unstoppable pre-teen rappers.

00:00 | Entertainment

May 17, 2002

Hungry Hungry ATM

Yesterday after work I went to the bank to deposit my paycheck. Since the bank was closed, I used the ATM with my Debit/ATM/Visa Check Card. After logging in, and specifying I wished to deposit a sum of money into my checking account, it then verified my PIN. "Incorrect PIN. Please try again." Ok, I must have made a mistake. I reentered the PIN, and got the same message. Well, I had other PINs for other bank accounts, maybe I should try one of them. After the third "incorrect PIN" message, the machine spat out a receipt telling me that due to the number of incorrect PIN attempts, it has retained my card. Great, it's not like I need my bank card for anything. The only form of American currency I had was the $17 in my wallet and my endorsed paycheck.

I went back this morning and spoke to a bank representative. He told me that the PIN I had entered was my online banking PIN, not my ATM PIN. Oh! How could I be so stupid? He issued me a new ATM card, and told me the new check card would be sent in a week. I asked him what my PIN was for the old Check Card, and he said it gets mailed a few days after the card, for security purposes. Wouldn't it make more sense to send the PIN first? I've got a lot to learn about this country.

00:00 | Rant

May 13, 2002

Rantless In Seattle

I realize I haven't written much lately. That's probably because I haven't had much to rant about. I've been sleeping at least 8 hours a night, so I've been in a cheery mood. I've been getting exercise, riding my bike, and doing various other activities, so I'm feeling good, not my usual raving self. We've even been having good weather, although it still takes me a while to figure out if 70°F is good or bad weather. And best of all, I get paid this week (eyes pop out of head making cash register noise).

I guess the only bad thing is that it's raining right now, and I have a 20 minute bike ride ahead of me. Life is so unfair.

00:00 | Seattle

May 8, 2002

The Jazz Music

Last night was a "morale event" for our team. We were treated to food, drinks and music at Jazz Alley in downtown Seattle. We saw the Ray Brown Trio, a jazz band led by bass player Ray Brown. It was the first time I had seen live jazz and it was fantastic. They played some of their own stuff, some Dizzy Gillespie and even a jazz version of "You Are My Sunshine". Then they brought out guest violinist Regina Carter and I wept. I never thought of the violin as a jazz instrument, but this woman made it work. It was a good time had by all, and my morale has definitely been raised.

00:00 | Entertainment

May 6, 2002

The Reverse-Midas Touch

Today I was praised by one of my superiors for finding a deep-rooted bug in our product. This was about the third time my office was full of developers, all prodding at my computer, wondering what the hell the intern did to break their precious product. One of the founders of the product put his hand on my shoulder and told me I had the Reverse-Midas Touch. Instead of gold, everything I touch turns to shit. In the world of software testing, that's a compliment.

I wonder if he'll say the same thing when he sees me program.

00:00 | Work

May 3, 2002

First Week

My first week of work is over. I've had 4 meetings, 1 team change and lots of work done. The atmosphere here is really laid-back (there's a couch in my office. Yes, I said office, not cubicle). I'm going to venture out and try to get home via public transportation, so don't be surprised if I get lost and end up on the other side of town. Again.

Ok fine, I'll tell you the story. It was the fall of 1998. I was on a work term at Corel in Ottawa. I took the bus to the beautiful Rideau Centre to buy a new pair of glasses. One hour later, I picked them up and tried them on. I nearly fell over. This was the first time my prescription had changed in 6 years. I stumbled out of the store and dizzily made my way out of the mall. I jumped on the first bus I saw. It was the #16, which would drop me off in front of my apartment. I was the only one on the bus, which I found odd. As soon as the bus started driving, I heard a strange, mechanical sound. I thought it best to ignore it and concentrate on my new glasses. The bus eventually came to a stop. "End of the line!" the bus driver called out. I stumbled out, confused. Where the hell was I? A large sign informed me I was at Carleton Univeristy, the complete opposite side of town. I squinted up at the bus as it drove away. The number had changed from 16 to something else, something strange like pi/2 or something. That's what the mechanical noise must have been: the number changing! Putting on my old glasses, I looked at the bus schedule. I didn't recognize any of the buses that would be coming this way.

Crossing my fingers, I hopped on the next bus, and eventually found my way home... three hours later.

Well, wish me luck. At least I don't have any new glasses.

00:00 | Stuff

May 2, 2002

Go West

Well, despite Rod Serling's warning, I arrived safely in Seattle. I'm living in a sweet 3 bedroom apartment in beautiful Redmond, Washington. Flying over the mountains was one of the most beautiful sites I had ever seen. Because of the near-constant rainfall around here, everything is so green. Small parks and wildlife preserves pepper the landscape with lots of winding hiking/biking trails connecting them. I'll have to take some pictures.

So far work has just been introductions and setting up, but I'm sure next week will be busy. As noted earlier, my original team (Hailstorm) is gone, so now I'm working on Notifications. I would fill you all in on exactly what I'm doing, but I'm afraid that would bore most of you into a catatonic state. Email me if you're really curious.

I'll try to keep blogging as much as I can, but I'm not making any guarantees. I'll try to write down all the silly things Americans do around here to keep you all entertained.

00:00 | Work