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December 31, 2002

Goodbye 2002...

Well 2002, we've had some good times: completing my Operating Systems course, my short-lived career as a newspaper writer, graduating from the University of Waterloo, having dinner with Bill Gates. Good times.

Turns out I took Operating Systems in Sept 2001. I guess 2002 wasn't that special after all.

Tonight I'll celebrate at a Jungle-themed costume party Angela is dragging bringing me to. If I have to wear a loin cloth, I can guarantee I'll be drinking something a little stronger than Nog.

Speaking of Nog, I like Dav's Lord of the Nog pic. By taking the picture from below, it gives the Nog the appearance of authority is so richly deserves. Too bad it looks like the picture on the carton was taken circa 1962.

I can't help wonder what 2003 will hold... Clones? Another interview with Microsoft? Chrétien finally getting voted out? Me getting a job? Flying cars? We'll have to wait and see. Happy New Year everybody!

00:00 | Stuff

December 30, 2002

La Belle Province

I love Montréal. I had such a good time there over the last few days (sorry, nothing to rant about!). Ang, Ryan, John and I all drove down, and stayed in a suite downtown. We met up with two friends I met in Japan: Hilory, a Waterloo student who now lives there, and Guillaume, a French student who was just visiting.

We ate all the Montréal delicacies: smoked meat sandwiches from Schwartz's, Beavertails and poutine. We visited the Olympic Stadium and took several walks down Rue de St. Catherine (and gazed longingly at Club SuperSexe, among others). Yes, at some point I'll upload pics.

I was pleased to find out my French wasn't nearly as bad as I thought, and I even enjoyed several conversations with locals (they were probably just being kind and not pointing out my mistakes). I really love how Canada is bilingual and I really like what little I know of the French-Canadian culture. I'm thankful that my parents had me go to a Francophone school (more hardcore than French emersion), so I can better appreciate how diverse Canada is.

00:00 | Canada

December 26, 2002

Un Peu Rouillé

Tomorrow I'm going back to the city where I was born: Montréal, Québec. I'll be gone until December 30th. Hopefully my French hasn't gotten so rusty that the locals throw me out of their beautiful province. You'll have to get your blog fix somewhere else until I get back.

00:00 | Stuff

Boxing Day Blowout

I'm not crazy enough to brave the malls on Boxing Day this year, so I'm staying in to play with my new toys. It was a good Christmas here at the Lyon home. Unfortunately, this year my girlfriend and my mom didn't coordinate on gifts for me, so I ended up with 2 tripods and 2 camera cases. Oops. Looks like I'll be standing in the return line at Best Buy. The only thing I hate worse than lining up to buy something, is lining up to return something.

00:00 | Stuff

December 24, 2002

Twas The Night Before Christmas

I have a sinus cold thanks to my brother (I'm sleeping on the top bunk in his room) and headache from hell. Oh well, off to midnight mass.

The only thing that I hate more than Christmas music, is when rock bands do Christmas music. If I hear Aerosmith doing another Christmas carol, I'm going to scream.

Merry Christmas everybody! Try not to overdo it with the Nog!

00:00 | Stuff

December 23, 2002

Two Towers

Saw The Two Towers last night. What can I say? Good story, great special effects. I have the same opinion of the story as I did when I first read the book in grade 8: it's a necessary transition story between Fellowship and Return of the King. I really did enjoy it, but I think it will be the weakest of the three movies.

00:00 | Entertainment

Nog 24-7

I finally found time to blog in between visiting friends and family. Aren't you lucky? Saturday I went with my brother and sister to visit my grandmother in Angus, Ontario (near Barrie). We played two games of Scrabble (I beat the odds and did not come in last), then exchanged gifts. Grandma gave us each a box full of candy, tea, popcorn (and popcorn flavourings), and whatnot. At the bottom of my box was the best gift I could ever hope for: Homemade Egg Nog Mix. Now I can make my very own any day of the year, Health Canada regulations be damned.

I think I'll make up a batch of warm homemade Nog on the hottest, most humid day of the summer and treat myself a glass. Then throw I'll up all over the lawn.

00:00 | Stuff

December 21, 2002

Memories Of Southern Ontario

I've been spending most of my time visiting with the family, so I have little to blog about. I did go to Dav's Christmas party last night. It was the first time I was in downtown Toronto since August 2000 when I applied for my visa to live in Japan. It's the same as I remember it: big, dirty and something always going on. I also went up to Caledon where Dav and I grew up. It's also the same as I remember it: small, clean and nothing ever going on. I'm not sure which one I miss more.

00:00 | Canada

I Hate The Mall And Everyone In It

Christmas shopping is done as of today. I hate going to the mall on a regular day, forget about the zoo-like atmosphere of the Christmas shopping season. Of all the stores I went to, only one place actually checked my signature against the one on the back of my credit card. Now that's security.

00:00 | Rant

December 19, 2002

Last Minute

I should probably start my Christmas shopping soon.

00:00 | Stuff

December 18, 2002


Oh yeah, and my weblog is 1 year old as of Sunday. At least forgetting blog's anniversary won't result in me buying flowers for it every day for the next week. Glad I'm not the only one.

00:00 | Blog

Blue Suede Schnitzel

Last night I went out to Ang's work Christmas party, at the Black Forest Inn in Conestogo. It's a German-style restaurant, not unlike many of the more traditional Oktoberfest hauses. I had the schnitzel, Ang had the vegetarian meal that was helpfully left off the menu.

For entertainment there was a comedian Sonny Nite (it's a pun, read it out loud), and a group of musical impersonators. Nite wasn't bad (although I had heard some of his jokes elsewhere), and the impersonators certainly had their high points. The chronicled rock n' roll from the 1950s to this year. It started with a mediocre Chantilly Lace, then covered Buddy Holly and Patsy Klein before impersonator-staple Elvis. The 1960s consisted entirely of Cher and Roy Orbison. The 1970s had Donna Summer, the Village People and a great Tina Turner. The 1980s saw Michael Jackson and Madonna.

According to the impersonators, the only artist that ever recorded any music during the 1990s was Britney Spears.

There was a old gay couple sitting next to me who were singing and dancing along to Madonna and the Village People. They even did the YMCA letters with their arms. I'm glad to see some people got their $40 worth.

00:00 | Stuff

December 15, 2002

I'll Be In My Ready Room

Who needs TNN and their Friday Night Bonus Treks when I've got my cellphone? Gates McFadden never looked so good.

Picture Dr Crusher on cellphone game

00:00 | Nerd

December 14, 2002

Return To B-Town

My first night back in Brampton, Ian brought me to hang out with some of his friends, one of whom is going to Japan for a year to teach English. He thought it would be a good idea if I came with him to answer some questions for her over coffee. That was the plan, at least. Turns out her, and three of her friends decide to go to a lovely Brampton bar called the Puck n' Ball. As we were walking in, a group of big Irish men were walking out. With them was a blonde woman in her late 20s. It was 11:30 and she was already loaded. For some reason she insisted on high-fiving each of us as we walked in. When my turn came, she drunkenly tried to connect with my palm, missing my mere inches. She then grabbed my chin with one hand and remarked how I was a "cutie". Not wanting to insult her (and as a result, be turned to hamburger by her big friends), I thanked her and hurried into the bar.

It turned out that all Ian's friends are smokers, so we went into the separately-ventilated smoking area. Something I notice about being the only non-smoker in a group of smokers: no matter where I sit, that's where the cigarette smoke decides to waft. After a few minutes my eyes were burning and I stank of smoke.

We hung around for an hour or so. We decided to leave when I found out Ian's friend wasn't really interested in getting advice about moving to a completely foreign country by someone who's already done it.

All in all, it was a crappy night in a crappy bar full of strangers. At least I got my face fondled by a drunken woman, so I guess it wasn't all that bad.

00:00 | Stuff

December 13, 2002


My friend Ian of 19Day fame is coming to bring me home today. I'll be moving out of the beautiful city of Kitchener-Waterloo for the last time. For the first time in 20 years, I'm not a student. It's such a weird feeling to not have any assignments hanging over my head. And any reading I do now is strictly for entertainment purposes. Unfortunately, since I'm such a nerd, that means I'll be reading that Design Patterns book I bought last Christmas.

I'll try to keep updating over the holidays, but my parents don't have high speed Internet so I'll try to manage somehow. I'm working on another rant for you, all about my 5+ years at good ole UW. Expect much bitterness and sarcasm.

00:00 | Stuff

December 12, 2002

Clean and Succa

Apartment is now clean. Empty beer bottles which totalled $5.40 have been returned (did we really drink that much beer this term?). Now I'm left to struggle with the boredom of having nothing to study, and no car to go buy Christmas presents.

The new server I'm using has some weird web stat tools. According to them, my site has received over 500 hits in the last two days. I only wish I got that many hits. I'm sure something is wrong about that. Even Matt Goyer isn't that popular... or is he?

I remember before I headed out to Seattle, the most popular blog in the UW ring was the now-defunct Succaland, by Nick Taylor. Everyone kept talking about how funny and witty his site was, and how mine was a poor excuse for a web presence. So what happened? Well, Nick forgot to renew his domain, so it was taken away. My theory is Matt Goyer bought Succaland in order to steal the limelight. Now Matt's is the blog to visit (mine still being a poor excuse for a web presence).

Well, now Nick has a new blog, and I fear that leaves Matt with only one recourse: to kill Nick Taylor.

00:00 | Blog

December 11, 2002

And Now...

Exams are done. University is done. Now what?

I've postponed the drunken revelry until tonight when my roommate Ryan is done his last exam. Then we're all going over to Ang's place (who is now done for the term. She's going for her second degree now. I guess she doesn't share the loathing of academia I now have) for wine and beer and movies.

Now I've got some serious guilt-free free time on my hands. I started it off by moving this site to a new server (please let me know of any problems). You can now contact me at chris@cplyon.ca.

I'm thinking of moving the site over to Movable Type, so I can use comments, and stuff. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

I think my free-time priority should be to clean this place up. Chores have been neglected due to exams, and I think a raccoon has built its home in our overflowing recycling bin. Ang has threatened to call Health Canada on us, so I think I should get a-cleanin'.

00:00 | Stuff

December 10, 2002

Last Exam

Tonight is my last exam, after which I will be reduced to a drunken mess. It's interesting how not stressed out I am this term, compared to my last few terms. It could be because during both my last two terms I was taking 3 CS courses, and this term I'm taking 1.

I remember waking up in a panic two terms ago, after having two consecutive nightmares about failing an exam. The exam was CS 341: Algorithms Algorithms Everywhere and I was terrified. I dreamt that I slept through the exam and had to beg the prof to let me write it. She agreed, and I proceeded to get 30% on it (because in dreamland they mark your exam in front of you as soon as you write it).

But this time is different. Last night I dreamt I was writing my Japanese exam, and I wasn't failing it. The funny thing is, I already wrote that exam, and I think I did fine on it.

Stupid brain. Now to try to concentrate on that one last exam.

00:00 | School

December 9, 2002

Spit Or Swallow?

Today Lileks described his adventure in the hospital after he suspected his daughter of swallowing a toothpick. That reminds me of a funny story.

I have a friend who used to work part-time at Health Services on campus. She told me about some crazy things students would come in for. There was one guy in 4th year who came to see a doctor about a stomach ache. Once in the doctor's office, the guy explained how he had been watching a movie at home when he accidentally ate a guitar pick. I guess it was in a bowl of popcorn or something. The doctor told him that of all the patients he had ever treated for swallowing foreign objects, he was the oldest by about 20 years. The doctor told him to wait a few days for it to pass, then laughed him out of the office.

The guy didn't come back, and presumably passed the pick. How would you like that to be the way you leave your mark on university?

00:00 | Stuff

December 8, 2002

Blog Bets On Better Browser

The Phoenix 0.5 web browser is out. Go get it. You won't be missing anything here; I'll just be sitting here reading this university textbook. Go now!

00:00 | Blog

December 7, 2002

Halfway Done

Just finished my Japanese exam. No problems. It was a 3 hour exam, and I left after an hour and half, and wasn't the first person to leave. He left after only 45 minutes. I always wondered about the people who leave exams at the earliest possible time. Do they know the material so well that they've already answered everything, with no need to double check, or are they so clueless with regard to the material that aside from their name and the date, they didn't get much else correct? I think the latter.

00:00 | School

December 5, 2002

Show Me, Show You

People often ask me if I encountered culture shock when I lived in Japan. Now I finally have a way to Show You.

By the way, Shou yu is Japanese for soya sauce. It's a pun. Get it?

Thanks to my brother Matt for the link.

00:00 | Stuff

December 4, 2002

Political Digression

I know I shouldn't spend my studying time bitching to you all about my political views, but this made me so mad: Ottawa hid huge costs of gun plan, audit finds. Now I'm neither for, or against the gun registry in Canada. Unlike our neighbours to the south, it's not our God-given right as Canadians to have a small anti-aircraft arsenal in our basements, so the gun registry doesn't rate very high on my politica-meter. But what does make me mad, is that this is just the latest (and won't be the last) in a series of bunglings the Liberals have done that cost tax payers hundreds of millions of dollars. And here's the clincher:

The Liberals will be re-elected.

Don't you see? It doesn't matter how many scandals (HRDC, Shawinnigan, patronage, gun registry, etc) the Liberals are responsible for, we keep voting for them, in the hopes that Chrétien will retire. Everyone is hoping that Paul Martin is going to save the day, without knowing anything about him, except that he's not Chrétien.

You're probably now asking yourself: "Ok Chris, great rant, but who then should we vote for? The right-wing Alliance? The left-wing NDP? The last-runners-up PCs? Le Bloc? Some wing-nut fringe party? What?"

I have no idea. I really don't. But the nice thing is, we have choice. The bad thing is, this choice almost guarantees us another term with the Liberals. All I'm saying is, remember these scandals come next election. And for my American readers: make sure the safety on your AK-47 is on.

00:00 | Canada , Politics

Last Assignment

I just received my mark for my last CS assignment ever: 95%. I am the man.

Now for a fun-filled day of studying. Wait a minute, that's not fun... That's not fun at all!

I did end up going to Larry Smith's lecture last night. I almost wish I had another term at UW so I could take ECON 102 with him. I would also take the final Japanese course (and deal with sensei one last time), and the sequel to the creative writing course I took this term. Oh, and I guess I should fit some CS in there too. It is my major, after all.

00:00 | School

December 3, 2002


Lectures are now over, and I have one of my last four exams under my belt. I'm still going to my economics class tonight, only because Larry Smith is the greatest lecturer the earth has ever known. No other class would I even consider trekking 20 minutes in the -10°C weather during exams to go to a lecture of non-exam material...

Um... maybe I'll stay in after all.

00:00 | School

December 2, 2002

Thirty Sweet Noggy Days

You know it's Christmastime when stores start stocking the Nog. I love the Nog. I drink it every day in December. I would use it to cream my coffee if the thought of coffee and eggs together didn't make me violently ill.

It seems wherever I live, I'm the only one in the house who drinks the Nog. Ang won't touch the stuff, and my family only buys it for my benefit. I was impressed last year when my roommate Jen also proclaimed her love for the Nog, and the two of us partook in this lactic holiday tradition.

00:00 | Stuff

By Homer Simpson

We only get thirty sweet noggy days. Then the government takes it away again.

00:00 | Quotes

December 1, 2002

Rainier Over Stadia

Rainier Over Stadia Thumbnail This is a picture taken off a balcony in Seattle, Washington. That's Mount Rainier in the background, and Seattle's baseball and football stadia. In Toronto, the Skydome houses both baseball and football games, but I guess the Americans like their variety.

00:00 | Banners

Welcome to the New Rant

Don't panic, you've still reached Chris Lyon's page o' rants! In my exam procrastination I decided to give the page a facelift. Let me know of any bugs or browser issues you discover. The banner image was taken during my co-op term in Seattle. That's Mount Rainier overlooking Seattle's Seahawks Stadium (white) and Safeco Stadium (black). I'll be switching up the banner every so often to keep you all entertained.

For those of you who prefer the old look, I'll be adding a skin switcher, similar to Dav's. But that will have to wait until after exams.

Speaking of exams, I have one on Monday, Saturday, the following Monday and Tuesday. Anyone who wants to join me after Tuesday for some serious drinking, drop me a line. The beer's on me.

00:00 | Blog