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August 30, 2003

Angela Is Coming To Town

Today my girlfriend Angela will be arriving for a two week visit. I'm going to pick her up from the airport this afternoon in the car I reserved.

I'm trying to make sure the weekends and evenings are packed full o' fun, since during the week, she'll be on her own for ten hours a day. I'll be sure to show her my grassy knoll and give her unrestricted access to my enormous bookcase. And you know what they say about the size of a man's bookcase...

If anyone has any recommendations for good vegetarian restaurants in Seattle, feel free to leave a comment.

10:38 | Stuff | Comments (1)

August 29, 2003


Yesterday a man I had never met walked into my office.

Man: "I'm looking for Chris Lyon."
Me: "That's me."
Man: (confused) "Um, I heard Chris Lyon was... uh... Japanese?"
Me: "Sorry to disappoint you."
Man: "I mean, uh, can read Japanese..."

I told him that I could read a little, so he brought me back to his office and showed me his computer, which was apparently running a Japanese version of Windows. In the middle of the screen was a big bad error dialog, and he asked me to translate it. I stared at it for a few minutes, trying to glean some meaning from the few katakana words I could find. My kanji reading abilities had become so rusty that about all I could tell him was that this was in fact an error dialog.

I went back to my desk annoyed at myself. I had used Japanese Windows for almost a year when I worked in Japan, and now I couldn't even translate a simple error dialog.

The next time someone comes to me with a Japanese question, I think I'll just refer them to the Japanese employee who sits down the hall.

18:42 | Work

August 26, 2003

Southern Man

It's been 140 years, you would think that Americans would have gotten over this whole Civil War thing. I found out this weekend, quite by accident, that to imply that someone who grew up in a northern state was "from the south" is quite the insult.

Case in point, a friend of ours from Nebraska was proclaiming her love of Country & Western music. My American geography not being what it perhaps should be, I made a witty remark about Southerners and their music. Let's just say I learned quite a bit about the American Mid-West and the role of border states (although I did once have to correct my roommate who thought the Underground Railroad was a subway). I have another friend from Virginia (technically a southern state) who also takes offence to being called a Southerner.

I find it amazing that people are still uptight about this. I don't think anyone from Upper Canada gets upset if someone implies they're from Lower Canada, and the term "newfie" is more endearing than insulting. And I for one am first to the defence of the Québécois when the Canada bashing starts (which it does quite often around here).

Just for fun, I started asking Americans if they had the choice of any of the 50 states to expell from the Union, which would it be. So far all but one of the states mentioned are from the South.

22:57 | America

August 25, 2003

Grassy Knoll

It was a beautiful sunny day in Seattle today, and I couldn't justify staying indoors. So I grabbed the book I'm currently reading and walked down towards Pike Place market.

Just north of the market is a small grassy area overlooking Elliot Bay, as well as Seattle's two sports stadia and Mount Rainier. There are benches, a dried up fountain and two totem poles around the unexpected downtown green space. It's a great place to sit down and relax when the weather permits.

One of the more interesting aspects of this park-ette is the social atmosphere. You have almost equal parts tourists, locals and homeless people sharing the space, but there's an unspoken rule everyone understands that this area is for hanging out only. No one panhandles, no stray market merchants hawk their wares, and no one gets uptight about the present company.

Whether I'm there to read, write or simply people-watch, it's one of my favorite inner-city getaway spots.

00:29 | Seattle

August 23, 2003

Slow Riot

Today long-time friend and fellow CS student Ryan will be visiting me from Waterloo. I never know what to show people when I play the host, being fairly new to Seattle myself. He expressed a nerdy interest in seeing Microsoft, so we'll probably go to the East side today. Too bad we're a day late to see George W and the protestors, but I'm sure we can find some excuse to riot.

12:45 | Stuff

August 22, 2003

Going To The Zoo

Today was an all-day morale event for my division at the Woodland Park Zoo. It was nice to get the day off and spend it outside before the stereotypical Seattle weather sets in. Plus, a morale event wouldn't be a morale event without monkeys.

17:47 | Work

August 19, 2003

Hint Hint

Matt Goyer is in Seattle. I wonder if he'll invite me over to blog with him...

20:09 | Blog

August 18, 2003

Three 50000 Mail 50 In The Mail

One of the mailing lists I'm on at work recently got spammed with the strangest piece of unsolicited email I have ever seen. It's not porn, it's not herbal Viagra... I actually have no idea what this email is supposed to be about. It looks like it was written by a Chinese-speaking person with a very loose grasp of English. As far as I can tell, it's a cross between an offer to sell an email list, and an offer to launder money. You be the judge. (The only thing I changed about the email is the removal of the bank account numbers.)

My favorite line is "I may be living very quickly, and the bank checks and verify on the net, and confirms the queen, and swiftly issues the datum". Maybe I should consider a bank with queen confirmation...

23:10 | Nerd | Comments (2)

August 17, 2003

The Lyon's Den

NBC has a new drama series coming out this fall starring Rob Lowe as a lawyer in the prestigious law firm Lyon, LaCrosse & Levine. The name of the show: The Lyon's Den.

I knew it would just be a matter of time before I saw my name in lights.

23:05 | Stuff

August 16, 2003

Bow Chicka Bow-Wow

Since pointing out the other day that I'm the #1 Chris Lyon according to Google, I got to wondering which of my namesakes was the least popular. After 67 pages of search results, I found my answer:

Chris Lyon, adult film director. I can't help but wonder what my life would have been like had I followed that path...

12:30 | Nerd | Comments (3)

The Curse

When I was about 10 years old, my dad took me to my first baseball game. It was a Blue Jays game in Exhibition stadium (this was years before the Skydome was built). I don't remember who the visiting team was, but they beat the Jays. I went home disappointed that my first baseball experience ended in a loss. The next time I saw the Blue Jays was at Skydome. Again, I don't remember the opposing team, but again, the Jays lost. This is when I began to suspect I was cursed.

Flash forward to 2002.

I was interning at Microsoft and was treated (along with the other interns) to a ball game. Seattle was playing Tampa Bay, and we all expected the Mariners to destroy this expansion team. Somehow the Devil Rays not only beat the Mariners, but beat them by a lot. The same thing happened this past May when I saw the Mariners play the White Sox.

Now I'm no huge baseball fan, but just once in my life it would be nice to see the home team win. On Thursday I put the curse to the test and let Microsoft treat me to a ball game. The Blue Jays were in Seattle.

The game was good, and the baseball experience is always interesting. There was a very intoxicated man sitting behind me who kept shouting to the Seattle batters to hit one into left field so he could catch it. I didn't have the heart to tell him we were sitting in right field. After a few innings, he tapped me on the shoulder.

Drunk: "Do you have a problem with worms?"
Me: "Excuse me!?"
Drunk: "Did you get that Blaster worm in your computers at work?"
Me: "Oh, the computer virus. Um, no we weren't affected."
Drunk: "Were you the guys who found it?"
Me: "Um, no I think it was another..."
Drunk: (shouting at the Blue Jays) "Go back to Canada!"

Despite all that, the curse worked flawlessly. 15 years after my first ball game, I finally got to see the Blue Jays win. Maybe I should use this curse to my advantage... anyone know any bookies in Seattle?

01:34 | Stuff

August 14, 2003

No Power For You!

It looks like power has been restored to most of Ontario, New York and surrounding area. This site is hosted in Ottawa, so it (along with my email) was out of commision for a few hours today. I hope none of you were trapped in an elevator or subway car during all this.

22:54 | Stuff

August 13, 2003

Still #1

One year ago today, Google ranked me as the #1 Chris Lyon on the Internet.

Looks like I still got it.

08:23 | Nerd

August 12, 2003


Please, take a moment and update your antivirus definitions and (if you're running any version of Microsoft Windows) please visit Windows Update. The MSBlast virus has been hitting people all day, and I'd hate for my loyal readers to get burned.

19:16 | Nerd


Every few months there's a blood drive at Microsoft. I was a semi-regular blood donor in Canada, so I was more than willing to donate here as well. I tried about two months ago, but since I had spent time in a malaria zone in August 2001 (the DMZ in South Korea, I was banned from giving blood until my two year anniversary, which is now (mid-August 2003).

I walked out into the parking lot and towards the large trailer which was unmistakably the Bloodmobile. It had giant hemogloben-rich red blood cells painted all over it. One of the cells appeared to be riding a skateboard. I climbed in anyway.

Inside, a large bearded man cheerfully sat me down and typed in my name, date of birth, and whoops! I was already in the system. I explained what happened last time, and that I should be ok to donate. But there was a problem. There was a red box by my name. The large man even showed it to me. Apparently I was deferred until the August 15. Why that date? Because it was an arbitrary day in the middle of August, approximately two years since my return from malaria-ridden rural South Korea. The man told me to come back in four days. I asked if the Bloodmobile would still be there. Smiling, he said no and slapped a blue I Tried Giving Blood sticker onto my left breast.

So I got to leave with all my blood, but without that warm feeling that comes with trying to help your fellow man. I also didn't get any cookies or orange drink.

00:30 | Stuff | Comments (2)

August 9, 2003

Nothing To Blog Here

I've been spending so much time importing my old blog entries to my new blog system, that I forgot I should actually blog new blog entries in my blog. So check out some other interesting bloggers whose blogs are actually getting updated:

Pete just got a fresh new design and a message tag board. Hours of fun if you're 14 years old.
Ian's entries have been descending into madness lately. Maybe it's the lack of nicotine?

14:37 | Blog

August 8, 2003

Probably Misses His Old Glasses

They say 2 years is about the time to get new glasses. I couldn't agree more. Well, my glasses couldn't agree more. This is the second pair of glasses of mine that have decided to give up the ghost near their second anniversary. Today, the left arm of my glasses just fell off my face, sending me scrambling to catch the lenses.

Andy and Josh brought me to a few 24-hour grocery stores to look for crazy glue. Since I was sans spectacles, I had to let them lead me around. At one point I almost walked up to a stranger, thinking he was Andy. Thank God Josh was there to prevent me making a fool of myself.

At least, I think it was Josh...

23:19 | Stuff

August 7, 2003


Having worked as a co-op student and intern on and off for the past five years, I sometimes forget that I'm now a full-time employee. It's the little things that make a difference. Today I got a small box of little things. Today I got my business cards:

Chris Lyon's Business Card

When I first started at Microsoft I didn't feel the need to order any. Last week my manager came into my office and complained about the empty business card holder on my desk. He said he was sick of looking at it and told me to order myself some cards. Not being one to disagree with my manager, I complied.

Of course, since I don't deal with customers directly, I guess I'll be mailing these out to friends and family. I already tried giving one to my officemate, but he wasn't interested.

In Japan, business cards are taken much more seriously. You give out business cards the same way you receive them, with both hands while bowing. One should be honoured to receive the contact information of a potential business partner and fellow salaryman. Somehow though, I don't think anyone be all that honoured to receive mine.

19:41 | Work | Comments (2)

August 6, 2003

Somebody Noticed

I'm glad someone's paying attention. Chad Brandos, a blogchild of mine, approves of One Big Rant's redesign. Thanks Chad! Hope you get those permalinks working so I can actually link to your posts!

00:58 | Blog | Comments (3)

August 4, 2003

Stair Master

I went to the gym today as part of my regular routine (and you thought I wouldn't last a week!). Josh and I did the usual cardio, stretching and weights, doing slightly better than the time before.

But for once the story isn't about me.

We saw this guy on the stepper. For those of you who don't know, the stepper is like a mini escalator, except you're facing the wrong way, perpetually climbing the same four steps, and in the process, burning calories. Or at least, that's the idea.

Josh pointed out to me this guy who appeared to be riding the stepper down, only facing the wrong way. He would ride the step down the bottom, then take a giant stride to the top step, then ride down again. He did this for the whole time we were lifting weights. I think someone forgot to explain to him what the point of the machine was.

I saw him walk to the change room when he was done. Not a drop of sweat on him. And I thought I was lazy!

23:06 | Stuff

August 3, 2003

The 51st State

One of the most popular comments I've heard about Canada is that it's the 51st state. I find people who make the comment have either never been to Canada, or are ignorant of current world events. Let's review a few differences, shall we?

And that was just in the last six months!

So considering those points, along with bilingualism, socialized health care and being part of the British Commonwealth (just to name a few), you've really got to wonder what the American education system teaches about world affairs when people still refer to Canada as the 51st state.

17:03 | America , Politics | Comments (3)

August 2, 2003

Vegas Photos

The Vegas photos are now up! Thanks to Andy and Josh for letting me share their photos with the world.

16:59 | Gallery

By Sideshow Bob

Air show? Buzz-cut Alabamians spewing colored smoke from their whiz jets to the strains of Rock You Like A Hurricane? What kind of countrified rube is still impressed by that?

10:46 | Quotes

Mount Si

Little Si Thumbnail This mountain is known as Little Si Mount Si (thanks Dave!). At the foot of this mountain was Microsoft's annual Company picnic. It's a beautiful looking mountain, and I vow one day to climb it.

09:44 | Banners | Comments (2)

Welcome To The New Rant

Well I've finally done it. I've finally gotten off my ass and moved this site to Movable Type. Here's some of the benefits you, my loyal readers, will enjoy:

Of course there will be some glitches, and I would appreciate you either emailing me or leaving a comment to tell me about any bugs you find, or any suggestions you might have.

00:41 | Blog | Comments (2)