« December 2002 | Main | February 2003 »

January 31, 2003

That Baby Must Be Cold

For God's sake, it's January 31. I can understand leaving your Christmas lights up until the snow and ice have melted, but people, take down your front-lawn nativity scenes already!

00:00 | Rant

January 29, 2003

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Now that I've graduated, and am "in between jobs", I've been watching a lot of television lately, far more than I have in years. As a result, I had a dream that combined aspects from several different TV shows I watched recently.

The Sopranos:
I was the newest member of Tony's crew.
Law and Order:
Yesterday I saw an episode involving a sniper. In my dream, Tony gave me a job as a sniper.
Serta Commercial with Claymation Sheep:
My target as a sniper was a field full of sheep.
Will and Grace:
Let's just say Tony was not amused.

In the end it all worked out. I completed the job for Tony by killing my target (which he later sold in his meat shop), but Tony never looked at me the same way again.

00:00 | Stuff

January 28, 2003


Matt Goyer: "Of course I don't have a million dollars and when I do I'll probably be so bitter about my undergrad education that instead I'll donate the money to [insert name of a UW competitor here]."

Trust me Matt, unless you have $997,000 in the bank already, it won't take you that long.

00:00 | School

Damn Damn Damn

I just found out my passport went in to the washing machine with a load of darks. After all the bullshit I had to go through to get it, I am not amused.

00:00 | Stuff

January 27, 2003


My brother moved out on the weekend and I inherited his room. The room feels so much bigger now that this furniture is gone. He left the bed, but took his drawing table and bookshelf. In a desperate attempt to refurnish the room, I brought in all my old boxes from the garage and made a make-shift desk. Going though these old boxes I found a ton of semi-useless stuff:

Now I have to decide how much of this stuff to keep, what to throw out, and what to banish to the depths of Hell before my enemies get their hands on them.

00:00 | Stuff

January 26, 2003

Me Me Me

I just remembered, the waiting area in Toronto Airport's Terminal 2 is decorated with the same colours and styles as this weblog. Even down to the red horizontal borders. Maybe I was influenced more by all that travelling than I thought...

Another thanks to Ian for reminding me to update my info. It's hard to stay modest when people keep wanting to know about me.

00:00 | Blog

By Will Shetterly

The tragedy of Canada is that they had the opportunity to have French cuisine, British culture, and American technology, and instead ended up with British cuisine, American culture, and French technology.

00:00 | Quotes

January 25, 2003

Aviation and Transportation Security

My luggage arrived at my doorstep at around 10:30 last night, a little dirty, but thankfully in one piece. God only knows what horrors it has seen deep in the bowels of the O'Hare airport baggage center.

On my way to Seattle, I had locked my bag with one of those tiny useless locks the luggage came with. When I collected my bag in Seattle, the lock was gone, and the zipper fastened with a plastic tie. When I got to my hotel, I cut the tie and found a pamphlet inside, from my good friends at US Customs. It quoted Section 110(b) of the Aviation and Transportation Security Act of 2001, which gave customs inspectors the right to inspect luggage and relieved them of liability if your lock happened to get cut off in the process.

I have no problem with this law (most likely passed after Sept 11), but I can't help wonder why the inspectors had to cut the lock off. You would think they would each have a key to use, since these locks all take the same key (the lock mechanism is so simple that staring hard enough at it would cause it to pop open). They didn't even give the lock back, not that I'm that upset.

Maybe next time I go flying, I'll pack my bag full of those paper snakes you get in the fake peanut brittle cans, and give the inspectors a little treat. They'll be so pleased, they'll have a special treat for me too: a full body-cavity search!

00:00 | Travel

January 24, 2003

Math Shmath

According to the University of Waterloo's Quest site, I officially graduated with a Bachelor of Mathematics in Honours Computer Science.

That being said, I can't even help my sister with her first-year calculus course.

00:00 | Nerd

Sweet Home Chicago

The interview at Microsoft went really well, quite the contrast to my last interview. There were five one-hour technical interviews, two with Exchange, and three with the .NET CLR.

I think I aced the Exchange interviews, as well as the last CLR one. The other two are a toss up. I didn't crash and burn, but I didn't ace them either. All the interviewers asked hard questions, but I feel my preparation paid off. I should hear back from them with the results just in time for my birthday.

Thanks for all the emails of encouragement I received. It's nice to know complete strangers are pulling for me.

The flight to Seattle was uneventful (with a customary stop in Chicago). Coming home was another story. My flight to Chicago was delayed, so they put me on an earlier flight. That flight got to O'Hare late, so I missed my connecting flight to Toronto, and had to go on standby for the next one. My luggage however wasn't, so it's in Chicago as I write this. I trust the good people at Air Canada will deliver it back to me sometime tonight. I don't like being without my toothbrush for too long.

Then to top it all off, they showed the same in-flight movie twice. And it wasn't even a good movie. It was Sweet Home Alabama, starring a skeletal Reese Witherspoon, who is a home-town girl who has to choose between her childhood love, and the big-city rich guy. Guess which one she picks.

00:00 | Job Hunting

January 20, 2003

Wish Me Luck

Ok, I'm off to get interviewed. Expect a brief recap on Friday. I don't know if I'll detail the entire interview again, I just may want to sweep another crushing defeat under the rug. You understand.

00:00 | Job Hunting


My sister is coming to pick me up and bring me back to my parents' house tonight. I still refer to it as my parents' house, not "home". Oh sure, it's my permanent address for legal reasons, but it doesn't feel like my home. Maybe it's because my family moved from our 15-year home in Caledon to this new place while I was away in Japan. Maybe it's because I've only spent a total of 1 month there. Maybe it's because I have no bedroom there and have to bunk with my brother.

Being in Co-op for four years, I'm used to moving around every 4 months, but I always felt that the house in Caledon was home. Now that I'm out of school, and the Caledon house inhabited by strangers, I feel like I'm freeloading; staying here and there, seemingly at random, living out of my suitcase. To quote Bella Legosi: "Home? I have no home!"

Don't get me wrong, I always feel welcome there, and I know I can stay as long as I like. Maybe now that my brother is moving out, I can take over his room. No more top-bunk for me!

00:00 | Stuff

January 19, 2003

Pet Peeve #642

Nothing is more frustrating than checking your email inbox compulsively every half hour, hoping for an interview offer, and instead finding "funny" forwards from people you know you should never have given your email address to in the first place.

00:00 | Rant

January 18, 2003

Affanculo, eh?

Ang finally caved in and rented the first 2 tapes of season 3 of the Sopranos. Man, I really love that show. I let Ryan watch a few episodes of season 1 while I was at his place, and I think I got him hooked.

Watching season 3 I noticed something (besides the fact I am hopelessly obsessed): I think one of the writers is Canadian. In at least one instance in every season, Canada was somehow mentioned:

Season 1:
Tony thinks the ducks came from Canada.
Season 2:
Toronto is mentioned on the front page of the newspaper at the Soprano house.
Season 3:
Paulie talks about Maple Walnut ice cream. Also, Janice's son is a "street person" in Montréal.

Now I know what you're thinking: "Chris, you have way too much time on your hands. Shouldn't you be working or something?"

The answer is yes.

00:00 | Entertainment

January 17, 2003

Chug-A-Lug House

My brother is finally moving out of our parents' place and into a house with some of his friends. I promised him my old futon, which has been in my friend's barn for the past year. Hopefully it hasn't become a home for a family of barn owls by now.

00:00 | Stuff

Norwalk Free

I talked to my mom today, and it appears that the Lyon household is now Norwalk Virus-free. I'll be hanging around here until Monday, just to be sure. Tuesday I fly out to Seattle, then back home on Thursday night, hopefully with a job offer in my pocket, or at the very least, a handful of Microsoft pens I swiped when the receptionist wasn't looking.

00:00 | Stuff


I've just been informed by Ian (and thankfully not a would-be employer) that my online résumé was out of date. This has been corrected, and now recruiters have no excuse not to flood my inbox with job offers.

00:00 | Job Hunting

January 16, 2003

Hotel California

I'm back in Waterloo, visiting Ang. She's all healed up now and weaned off the codeine and Ibuprofen (she still hasn't kicked that nasty Tylenol habit though). Ryan's family was nice enough to drop me off on their way to Niagara Falls to visit family, after entertaining me, an unannounced guest, for nearly a week. Yes, I have that much charm.

I had to meet Ang at the UW campus, and hung around there for a few hours until her classes were done. I holed myself up in the library and read. It's funny that even though I've graduated, I still hang around campus. It's like that line from the Eagles' Hotel California:

You can [graduate] any time you like
But you can never leave!

I'm afraid if I don't get a job soon, I won't want to leave. Maybe I'll make a fort out of the couch cushions from the Math building's comfy lounge and live there until I die from some horrible disease I caught there.

On second thought...

00:00 | School

January 14, 2003


Not much exciting has been going on here in Kincardine. It hasn't stopped snowing since I got here, discouraging me from leaving the house. I've been holed up learning computer algorithms and .NET in preparation for my upcoming interview.

I will be heading back to Waterloo this weekend, then make a quick trip home to collect my interview clothes before heading back to Redmond. Hopefully my clothes aren't virus-laden. Nothing ruins one's chances of employment more than throwing up on the interviewer.

00:00 | Nerd

January 12, 2003


I was all set to go home today. I packed up all the stuff I had brought with me to Ang's and loaded them into Ryan's car. He would bring me as far as Orangeville on his way home, and my parents would pick me up there. I managed to get half my stuff into the car when my cellphone rang.

It was my mom calling me to tell me my dad has the Norwalk virus. It seems the rest of my family had caught it during the week I was gone, and now my dad has it. I faced a decision: go home now and possibly catch Norwalk, giving up study time and hopefully be well by next week; or not go home. I chose to lam it, and go home with Ryan. I'm writing this entry from his lovely home in Kincardine.

Ang is doing well enough now to survive without me (plus she'll be going back to work and school this week), so I figured I could get more studying done for my upcoming interview with fellow former CS student and roommate Ryan. Also, being in Kincardine keeps me away from most distractions city-living offers, such as social activities and plowed roads.

00:00 | Stuff

January 11, 2003

Eninggers Have More Fun

Does a company actually expect to hire people when they advertise their job opening as "APPLICATION ENINGGERING" [sic]? Yes, that's how they spelled it. It looks like a cross between engineering and a racial slur.

Sometimes I wonder if I would have been better off taking Eninggering instead of Computer Science...

00:00 | Job Hunting

Broke Into The Old Apartment

I did two things today I never thought I'd do again: be inside the old apartment, and clean the apartment. It wasn't that dirty, although there were still several large cat-hair deposits (despite the fact that the apartment had been cat-free for 4 months). The place is now in better condition than it was when I moved in, which isn't saying very much.

00:00 | Stuff

January 10, 2003


I got an email yesterday from Rick, a friend of mine from whom I subletted my apartment. He emailed Ryan and me about how unhappy the landlord was with the condition of the place after we moved out. apparently after I had moved out, Rick and his girlfriend Vanessa moved back in. When they finally left, they left their second-hand furniture behind. The landlord wasn't too pleased and insisted the place be cleaned and emptied this weekend.

Even though I am completely blameless (as I usually am), I'll still go help out tomorrow. Yes, I'm that desperate for social interaction.

00:00 | Stuff

January 9, 2003


I went back to campus today for a seminar for job-hungry graduating students. It didn't tell me much more than I already knew. You know you're sitting in on a boring lecture when the speaker opens the talk with a Cathy comic. Of course no one laughed.

I left after 45 minutes.

00:00 | School


Ang hasn't been feeling too well lately. The codeine has been making her sick, so she has to fight the pain using only Tylenol and Advil. We rented Goodfellas (since Ang likes The Sopranos so much, and The Godfather was out) and PlayStation games, so hopefully they will distract her from the pain.

00:00 | Stuff

January 7, 2003

Referral Pain

Ang is doing ok today. She is suffering from what the medical community calls "referral pain" in her ears. apparently when the neck and throat suffer discomfort of any sort, they channel the pain into the only logical place: the ear. I can attest to this personally. A few summers ago I had back and neck pain that required me to undergo massage therapy (I love the university health plan). The pain got so bad, my neck just couldn't deal with it anymore and dumped it all on my right ear. The earaches would wake me up at night. I can only imagine what Ang is going through. She's now supplementing her codeine with ibuprofen, so I think she'll be just fine.

Thanks to all of you who have been asking about her. She appreciates it.

00:00 | Stuff

Here We Go Again

Got The Email today. On January 22, I'm going back to Redmond, Washington, USA for (yet another) interview with Microsoft. If I don't get the job this time, I'm starting my own damn software company.

00:00 | Job Hunting

January 6, 2003


Ang is doing better today. She's decided to cut back on her liquid codeine from 12 ml a dose to 10. She's also going to try venturing into the land of semi-solid foods today. We have a variety of ice cream, puddings and apple sauces for her to dine on. That's a step up from the popsicle and meal replacement drink diet she's been on for the last few days.

00:00 | Stuff

First Day Of Classes...

But not for me, although I do have to make a trip to campus to return a book to Career Services. The book is a guide to job hunting for CS grads, but has very little CS-specific material. It's just a general job-hunting guide with a few computer-related buzzwords thrown in.

Signing out this book reminded me that in my 5 years at university, I've never signed a book out of the library. Not a single one. Math and CS courses require little research (usually the course textbook more than suffices), and my electives have been, well, electives. I didn't want to take an arts course whose workload would overshadow my required courses. The jaws of arts students hit the floor when I tell them this fact. How could you go through university without taking out books? I'd be dead without books!. Like I said, in most courses we don't even cover the whole textbook, and unlike some people, I don't have time to read books on relational database management or self-repairing neural networks for fun, especially when I have assignments due. Hell, I'm still not finished Tropic of Cancer by Henry Miller that I started reading in August, because of assignments.

Now that I have no assignments due, I should go use my $40 Chapters gift certificate this week. That should buy me half a computer reference book.

00:00 | School

January 4, 2003

The Big O

There's a new banner today. Please refresh if you don't see it. It's the Centre de medicine sportive in Montréal, at the base of the Olympic Stadium. I love the quasi-futuristic architecture of the stadium, the centre and the Biodome. Too bad it wasn't built with longevity in mind; the stadium's roof has a nasty habit of collapsing. Good thing the Expos don't bring in a huge crowd, or someone could get hurt.

Speaking of Montréal, I forgot to mention that I saw a group of Raelians (a Québec-based cult that believes human beings are descendants of alien clones) outside the Centre Eaton when I was there last weekend. It was the same day Clonaid announced a successful human clone. I can't even begin to express my disgust at the irresponsibility of cloning a human being, considering the poor success rate (there were over 250 failed attempts before Dolly the sheep was born) and physical problems in adult clones. Talk about putting freedom of religion to the test.

00:00 | Canada

Centre De Medicine Sportive

Centre De Medicine Sportive Thumbnail This is the Centre de medicine sportive at the base of the Olympic Stadium in Montréal, Québec. I took this picture on our trip after Christmas 2002. Go Expos!

00:00 | Banners

Mirror For You

Saw Star Trek Nemesis the other night. I'm sorry, but all the android makeup in the world won't hide Brent Spiner's flabby neck. Who knew androids got fat with age? Besides that, I liked it. I love a good Star Trek movie. Sometimes I'm disgusted by my own nerdiness.

00:00 | Entertainment

January 3, 2003

Uvulopalatoplasty & Adenoidectomy

Spent six hours in St Mary's Hospital while Angela recovered from her operation. You should all be glad to hear that all went well, and Ang is now enjoying a codeine-induced sleep. Without the codeine, swallowing water feels like razorblades. I hate to see her in so much pain. I remember what it was like to rely on codeine to sleep. Every four hours I would be awake from the dull ache in my jaw where they stole my wisdom teeth. Let me tell you, it works better than any alarm clock.

00:00 | Stuff

January 2, 2003

Woke Up This Morning

For Christmas this year my brother got the entire first season of The Sopranos on tape. My whole family has been hooked on it since the second season. Before Christmas day, I've never seen a single episode. I watched the whole thing, 13 episodes, in 3 days. I realize I'm jumping on this bandwagon about 3 years too late, but I'm totally hooked. During my week-long stay at the Hotel Angela I plan to rent the other three seasons, and I intend to watch them all.

Now don't think I'm neglecting my patient. My brother was good enough to lend Ang the set while she recovers. That was yesterday. Ang is watching episode 9 as I type this.

And if anyone sends me email telling me what happens to Pussy or Uncle Junior before I get to watch it, I'll let my Italian roots show.

00:00 | Entertainment

By Livia Soprano

Then kill me now. Go on, go, go into the ham, and take the carving knife. And stab me here, here! Now!

00:00 | Quotes | Comments (1)

January 1, 2003

...Hello 2003!

The jungle-themed New Year's party Ang brought me to went a lot better than I made it out to be. Ang went as a zebra and I went as some sort of hunter. I used my sister's fake tiger-skin rug as my kill, and wore her leopard print cowboy hat, so I ended up looking like a pimp with a fur fetish. Ang polished off nearly 2 bottles of wine, and I had about 7 beers before we called it a night (no, I'm not hung-over as I write this; I know how to hold my liquor, thank you very much).

I'll be spending the next week in Waterloo at Ang's place. On Friday she's going for some minor surgery to remove her freakishly large tonsils and adenoids, so I'll be here playing the role of nursemaid. I'll also be spending the time studying nerdy CS stuff, in the hopes that I'll get a job interview soon.

If anything exciting is going on in Waterloo sometime this week, drop me a line and let me know. Just because I've graduated, doesn't mean I'm too good to hang out with students. Or the employed. Or anyone else for that matter.

00:00 | Stuff