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February 28, 2003


It's been brought to my attention that the right side of the weblog entries gets overlapped by the right column on this site, but only when using Internet Explorer 6 on Windows 98. It works fine using IE 6 on Windows XP.

I really don't know what to do about that, since I don't have Windows 98 to test on, and in theory, the same version of IE should work the same on different versions of Windows. In theory. I guess I'll have to have a word with the IE team once I get to Redmond.

00:00 | Blog


Last night I went to Ian's place and hung out. We decided to put a movie on in the background while we talked, and desperately tried to get some writing done. Ian put on Baraka, and we turned to our notebooks. For a movie with no spoken words, I was totally captivated. The movie opened with a monkey warming itself in a hot spring in familiar Nagano, Japan, and from there showed scenes from the most third-world of countries to New York City and Tokyo.

We became so engrossed in the movie, that we didn't get much writing done. I highly recommend this movie to anyone with an interest in world music, and a love for film as an art form.

00:00 | Entertainment

February 27, 2003

Retail Sucks

Today I went to Staples to fax some documents to Redmond for my visa application. They wanted a copy of my passport and immigration papers, and since these papers wouldn't fit very easily into a fax machine, I went to use the self-service photocopiers. There was a sign on one of the copiers with a list of documents that Staples does not allow one to photocopy. This list included passports and immigration documents.

I looked around, saw no one was watching me, then photocopied them anyway. I'm reckless, I know.

I gave the copies to the girl at the copy centre, and asked her to fax them for me. I gave her the phone number, and she asked if it was long distance. I pointed out the 425 area code and said that I thought so. After successfully faxing, I gave her the copies to be shredded and was about to walk away, when she asked me if I needed a bag. "A bag for what?" I wondered and declined. I guess it was force of habit to always ask customers that question. It looked that this part-time job in retail had sucked the will to live out of this poor girl.

I made a promise to myself in my first year of university, that when I quit my job at Burger King, it would be my last part-time job ever. So far, I've made good on that promise.

00:00 | Stuff

February 26, 2003

So Very Cold

Usually Zoë loves to go for walks. You can't put on your coat without her running to your side begging to come with you. You'd think we never let the dog out of the house the way she gets so wound up.

Last night I decided to take her out for a quick walk, and on the way back, stop and pick up the mail (we have one of those central mailboxes for the whole street). I put on my coat, toque, gloves and boots, and immediately Zoë was at the front door, whining and nudging the leash with her nose. I put the leash on her and took her out.

Anyone who was in Southern Ontario last night knows that it was cold. Very cold. -25°C without the wind-chill. At first, Zoë was happy to be outside, but after a few minutes, it became obvious she wanted to go home. She kept nuzzling against me, and trying to walk on three legs, always alternating one paw in the air, presumably because it was frozen.

This was the first time I have ever seen her try to pull me back home before getting to the park where I usually let her run around. She didn't even want to stop and deposit a canine release pellet (good thing for me, because I forgot to bring a plastic bag).

15 minutes later, we were back home. Although it would have kept her warm, I didn't humiliate us both by making her wear one of those dog sweaters.

00:00 | Stuff

February 25, 2003


Here's a shout out to all the moms that read my site (my mom included)! I guess I should be more careful with my use of swears...

00:00 | Blog

Messenger Feature

Pete pointed out to me that Messenger shows when the other contact is typing, which my version of ICQ doesn't. I do find that feature handy, but I'd give it up for my 5 ICQ features.

00:00 | Nerd


My alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 7:00 this morning. I snoozed until 7:30 then got up to go pick up my passport. I left the house at 7:45, and immediately got stuck behind a schoolbus with its lights flashing. It seems the kids in my neighbourhood are really reluctant to go to school because the bus sat there for 5 minutes as kids slowly walked to it. Eventually the traffic on the street became so backed up that the bus turned its lights off so traffic could move out.

I got out of the neighbourhood and onto the main street, only to be stuck in traffic again. On a normal day it takes 20 minutes to get to the passport office from my parents' house. Today it took me an hour. But it was all worth it. I finally have my new passport, which I will encase in glass to keep it safe.

00:00 | Stuff

February 24, 2003

Instant Message Woes

The top five reasons I prefer ICQ to MSN Messenger:

  1. ICQ lets you rename your contacts.
  2. ICQ keeps your online status between sessions.
  3. ICQ has an invisible mode where you can still chat with people.
  4. ICQ lets you send messages, not emails, to offline users.
  5. ICQ can automatically log conversations.

The one reason I use MSN Messenger and not ICQ:

  1. All my friends who once used ICQ have switched over to Messenger.

It really makes me wonder what it is about Messenger that is so appealing...

00:00 | Nerd

February 23, 2003

Cheers And Jeers

Cheers to my brother and his friends who let me crash at his place Friday night.
Jeers to the weather that snowed me in another night.

Cheers to the stranger who came out of his house to help shovel me out when I got stuck in the snow.
Jeers to the guy two doors down who was outside shovelling his driveway and didn't offer to help.

Cheers to the gas station on my way home that was right next door to a Tim Hortons.
Jeers to the first gas station I stopped at that decided that 11:00am on a Sunday was a good time to be closed.

Cheers to the snowplows that cleared off the three main streets I used to come home.
Jeers to the guy in front of me for most of the trip who drove at half the speed limit.

Cheers to my sister for giving me her car for this weekend while she curls in Sudbury with her boyfriend.
Jeers to my sister for not getting decent tires on her car.

Cheers to my parents for shovelling the 20 cm-deep snow from the driveway today.
Jeers to my parents for leaving me the sidewalk to do.

00:00 | Stuff

February 20, 2003

Under Pressure

It's been an interesting couple of days. Wednesday I hopped on the Via train from Brampton to Kitchener, and spent the day in Waterloo. I am all about the public transportation, especially trains. The trains here are a little nicer and comfier than the ones I rode in Japan, but more expensive.

Anyway, I had to go to the university registrar's office to get an official transcript and proof of degree completion for my work visa. Originally they wanted my diploma, but the university doesn't give them out until convocation in June, so we compromised and I got a letter from the registrar explaining how I did in fact earn my diploma, even if I don't have it yet. To my utter amazement, the registrar's office had my documents ready in less than three (3) hours! I don't know if it was because this is reading week, and they have a lighter workload, or if it was because they saw the desperation in my eyes, but the administration finally did me right. And I'm not even a student anymore!

That night Ang and I went to a nice Italian restaurant and went to see Adaptation. If you want a movie that will keep you thinking about it for days after seeing it, then see Adaptation. Maybe the screenwriters were being a tad self-indulgent, but it was definitely worth seeing.

00:00 | Stuff

February 18, 2003

Fire Water Burn

Today Alexis and I went to the YMCA for squash. We've gotten in the habit of playing twice a week, and since neither of us are very good, we have lots of fun. As we pulled into the Y parking lot, we noticed a lot more smoke in the air than usual. The church behind the parking lot was on fire. Firefighters were already on the scene dousing the flames, and a large crowd of people had gathered to watch the church burn. It reminded me of highway rubberneckers slowing to see a car accident.

This was the first time I had ever seen a building burn. I've seen charred remains of houses gutted by fire, and I've seen smoke in the distance, but this was the first time I actually saw flames licking the roof tiles (yes, the roof, the roof, the roof was on fire).

We pushed though the crowd an into the Y, but to our dismay the court was under construction, so no squash today. Instead I got my exercise by shovelling the driveway. Somehow it didn't feel as rewarding as beating my little sister at sports.

00:00 | Stuff


Finally, some acknowledgement for my 2 years of volunteering with Mozilla. Too bad for them I'll be working for their competitor soon.

00:00 | Nerd

February 17, 2003

File Under Alternative

Last week I had the good fortune to be hanging around downtown Toronto for a few hours by myself. I took a walk down Yonge Street and stopped in at the big HMV. It's a three-storey music store that takes great care in properly categorizing music (even to the point of inventing genres).

After perusing the Electronic music section (and picking up a St Germain album), I took a trip upstairs to the Rock & Pop floor. I noticed a Rock section, a Heavy Metal section, an Industrial/Gothic section, and an Alternative section.

I really started getting into music in high school, around 1992-1993, when "Alternative" music was getting big. Bands like Pearl Jam, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Nirvana helped make this new genre popular. I remember wondering at the time if the term "Alternative" would survive if these bands became part of popular culture or would they be eventually be considered pop music? Last week I found out. Pearl Jam et al is now under Pop/Rock, and truly alternative bands, like Mr Bungle and Sonic Youth now fill up the tiny Alternative section.

At least, that's the way it is in Toronto.

00:00 | Entertainment

February 16, 2003

I'm A Lover Not A Fighter

Last night I went out to a local pub with my brother, his friends, my sister and her boyfriend. Yes, it was a big group. They were celebrating one of my brother's friends' birthday, and had gotten really drunk in the process. By the end of the night, they all went off to a local strip club. My sister, her boyfriend and I declined. Instead we stuck around the pub until last call, when a fight broke out.

Two guys were going at it and took a tumble down a few stairs. The girlfriends were screaming at each other. I didn't ever find out what the fight was about, but according to what I heard, one girl was a "slut", and the other a "dumb cunt". If that's not reason to risk an assault charge, then I don't know what is.

The bouncers eventually took the guys outside, and we decided it was time to leave. The funniest part of the whole fight was when one of the brawlers was being held back by a bouncer, and tried to punch the other guy over the bouncer's shoulder. The bouncer responded by banging the guy's head into a wall.

00:00 | Stuff

February 14, 2003

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

Happy Valentines Day to all the lovers out there.

I'm off to spend a romantic evening with Angela. I must really love her if I keep putting up with being in Waterloo just for her...

00:00 | Stuff

February 13, 2003

The Big News

Today I accepted the offer from Microsoft. I am the newest Software Design Engineer in Test for the Microsoft .NET Common Language Runtime. My start date depends on how long my visa takes to complete (my guess is about a month). I apologise for not blogging about the offer, but I didn't think it was appropriate, considering I had pending interviews with other companies (you never know who's reading your website).

My plan for the next month: studying up on .NET, celebrating, spending the money I haven't earned yet, and doing the Dance of Joy every fifteen minutes.

I'm guessing now that I got the job, my interview advice will be the most popular page on this site.

00:00 | Work

February 12, 2003

Blasts From The Past

I got an email today from my old high school friend Ross. I haven't seen or heard from him in about 6 years, so this email came as quite the pleasant surprise. He stumbled on my website by accident and I think he's now hooked (I have that effect on people). He said he hesitated emailing me after reading my entry about avoiding contact with my high school classmates.

For the record, I wasn't referring to anyone I actually hung out with. I was mostly thinking of the bullies, ex-girlfriends and those even nerdier than myself.

Gee, I'd hate to think I'm actually losing readers (and maybe even friends) because of my rants.

00:00 | Blog

You Are 2

I got a birthday card from my friend John the other day. He sent it while on his trip to Africa last month. The card had two giraffes on the front and the caption "Happy Birthday! You are 2". I'm not quite sure what that means, but I liked the card all the same. John was one of the Waterloo students who went to Japan with me in 2000. Here is a photo of him enjoying a crab-leg dinner.

00:00 | Stuff

February 11, 2003

Quotient Rule

Today I went up to Caledon, where I grew up, in order to get my passport application signed by my old dentist. The Canadian passport application is rigorous, but I can't really complain. It's better than counterfeits everywhere, soiling our good name. On our way back we stopped for breakfast at Flapjacks, a highway-side grease pit which has burned down not once, but twice in my 15 years living in Caledon.

I took the now completed application and destroyed passport to the passport office near my parent's house, and waited in line for two and a half hours. Luckily my sister came with me, and I helped her with her first-year calculus assignment. I saw her face fall when she realized a problem required the Quotient Rule to be solved (does anyone still remember the quotient rule?) I gave her one of those "You're on your own" pats on the back, and handed in my application.

My sister should get her assignment mark back about the same time I get my passport. We'll see in 10 business days if everything went smoothly.

00:00 | Stuff

There's A Rainbow In Toronto

My job interview yesterday went well enough. The company wanted someone with strong .NET skills, which is hard to find in a new graduate. The interview didn't have any coding questions, so my advice didn't really apply. But I did get a chance to spend some quality time downtown on Yonge Street, the world's longest street.

00:00 | Job Hunting

February 10, 2003


Ever since my co-op job at Microsoft, I have been getting several emails a month asking for interview advice from would-be Microsoft interviewees. As much as I do appreciate getting email, I hate repeating myself. So before you email me asking for advice about an upcoming technical interview, check out Chris' Interview Advice.

I am so confident in my advice, that I will use it myself in a job interview I have this afternoon.

00:00 | Job Hunting

Lazy Dog

Lazy Dog Thumbnail This lazy dog is Zoë. She's a black and gray German short-hair pointer, and is usually friskier than seen here. She spends an hour or two in the mid-afternoon lying here in a spot of sunlight, and the rest of her time tearing around the house and backyard.

00:00 | Banners

February 9, 2003

Other People's Blogs

Since I have had little of interest to write about as of late, I will direct your attention to other weblogs of interest. Dav has recently made the great leap to a content management system, something I have been meaning to do for a long time now. Since I'm currently at my parents' place, and they only have dialup, I would have to do most of my work in the wee hours of the morning, to avoid tying up the phone line.

Meanwhile in Redmond, Joe Bork blogs about the internal strife (or lack thereof), a weblogger must deal with. Of all 50,000+ employees at Microsoft, he's one of the few who have weblogs. As a result, he gets both negative and positive attention while trying to strike a balance between personal and work content.

I hope one day soon to be in his position...

00:00 | Blog

February 8, 2003

The Downside To Blogging

Today, while talking with my friend Ian I noticed a downside to blogging: being an avid reader of my site (Hi Ian!) he already knew all my stories before I told him. So, to keep what remaining social life I do have still alive, I will leave out some of the few interesting aspects of my life, so I can have a decent conversation with my friends.

00:00 | Blog

February 7, 2003


I really wish I had more to blog about, but things are kind of slow here at the Lyon house. I really took homework for granted while I was in school. Don't get me wrong - I have no interest in being recruited to do anyone's homework, but with the responsibility of doing homework and studying comes the instant gratification of procrastination. During school, when I didn't want to do work, I would watch anything on TV, but now I get bored with a Simpsons rerun. I used to clean my room to avoid studying for an exam. I won't describe to you the condition my room is in now.

Maybe I should spend my time bettering myself: going to the gym more, reading more books, writing more, improving my computer skills...

Then again, maybe that Simpsons episode wasn't that bad after all.

00:00 | Stuff

February 6, 2003


My sister and I took our dog Zoë to the groomers this morning. The dog was more agitated than normal (probably disappointed that we stuffed her in the car instead of the expected walk). We dropped her off and picked her up a few hours later. She smelled nice and her fur was silky soft. Her nails had also been cut, but they took too much off one nail and made her bleed. We stopped the bleeding with cornstarch and covered it with a sock. Now Zoë is wandering around the house with one paw in a rainbow coloured ankle-sock. The kind with the pom-pom at the back.

I don't know which was more demeaning: her wearing the sock, or me putting it on her.

00:00 | Family

February 5, 2003

Notorious Funk

Yesterday I went to the passport office to present them with my Downy-fresh passport. The receptionist told me it was in unacceptable condition, and that I had to go through the whole process again. Oh, and I also had to get the form signed by a notary public swearing that the passport was destroyed. Why the passport office can't just take the old passport and void it themselves is completely beyond me. My friend Ryan came down to Waterloo and together we looked for a notary public. I checked the phone book and called four places. The first one told me the lawyer was in a meeting and advised me to wait an indefinitely for him to come out. The second place put me in voicemail hell right away, so I hung up. The third place's number was disconnected. I was about to throw my arms up in frustration when Ryan pointed out the answer to my prayers: Geisbrecht, Griffin and Funk. Anybody whose last name is Funk can only be good.

I half expected Flashlight to be playing when we stepped in, but the place was quite professional. Not a Bop Gun to be seen anywhere. I got the document signed (for a mere $25), and am now ready to track down a guaranteur to help me fill out the rest of my passport application.

00:00 | Stuff

What A Lovely Singing Voice You Must Have

The night of my birthday, Ang and I stayed in at her place in Waterloo to made sushi and watch season 3 of the Sopranos (yes, I know I'm hopelessly addicted). There was freezing rain outside and we didn't feel the need to go out and brave the ice-slicked roads.

I ate entirely too much sushi and wasn't able to eat much of the birthday cake that Ang made (although I did make an effort). We watched until 10 minutes before the season finale, when suddenly the power went out. I looked at my watch: 11:30pm - my birthtime. I contemplated the timing of this blackout while lighting candles. The power came back on about 40 minutes later, we finished watching the season (wow, Uncle Junior has a great singing voice!) and went to bed.

00:00 | Stuff

February 3, 2003


I apologize for not blogging the past few days... I've been too drunk.

Friday night I went out with some old high school friends and reminisced over a few pitchers of beer. We all came to the conclusion that we're very interested in finding out what our high school peers are doing right now, but we have very little interest in actually talking to most of them. If only everyone had a weblog...

Saturday night I went to a martini party. I found out I make a pretty good gin martini while everyone else was drinking their girly chocolate and lychee martinis.

So today I turned 25. I'm halfway to middle age.

Ang got me a Groove Armada CD and The Simpsons Season 2 on DVD. Maybe someday I'll buy myself a DVD player so I can actually watch it.

Dav got me a Boards of Canada CD (I love the name of that group), as well as the long-awaited new Massive Attack album.

So far it's been a good birthday. Here's to another three quarters.

00:00 | Stuff