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October 30, 2003


Lion Thumbnail Keeping with the animal theme, here's a frog from The Vancouver Aquarium. Seattle may have an impressive zoo, but Vancouver has the best aquarium I've ever seen.

08:43 | Banners

Dog Days

One of the things I'm looking forward to the most about going home, is seeing the family member that misses me the most. I know as soon as I walk in the door, she'll run up to see me, wait impatiently as I greet my parents, then finally jump up and lick my face. No, it's not my sister, it's my dog Zoë!

I always marvelled at how well-behaved dogs seem to be on TV. When it's time for a walk, they pick up a nicely-coiled leash and sit patiently until their owners get the hint.

Zoë, on the other hand does not know how to wait patiently. At the very mention of the word "walk", she cocks her head and perks her ears. She's ready to strike. You're now committed. The next move you make will result in her exploding in a series of excitement and whimpering. If you can manage to get her leash on, you're good to go.

It sounds easier than it is.

07:22 | Family

October 28, 2003

You're Welcome

From friend and former fellow intern Bryant Choung:

Thank you chris. I downloaded movable type a few days ago and it has changed my life. I'm a blogger now.

If this website improves the life of just one person, then it's been worth it.

21:56 | Blog | Comments (1)

Love And Marriage

To answer a few emails I got, the wedding I'll be attending on Saturday is that of friends Rick and Vanessa. I've known them throughout my stint at the University of Waterloo, and last fall subletted their apartment while they went on vacation in Australia.

Congratulations again you guys!

Hm, it just occurred to me that I'll be having a reunion of my own. Hope the food will be better.

21:45 | Stuff

October 27, 2003

A Hard Day's Night

We've all heard the rumours that Microsoft works its employees 12 hours a day, forces them to neglect their families, and has showers installed in every building to encourage people to stay later. I'm here to say this isn't true. I only worked 11 hours today.

No, I don't usually put in such long hours, but this week I have to cram 5 days of work into 3. Why? Thursday is the Company Meeting. Since I missed last year's, I want to make sure I have all my work done so I can sit in Safeco stadium and watch Steve Ballmer jump and sweat.

Thursday night I'm hopping on a plane and flying to Toronto for a friend's wedding. It will be nice to go home and see friends and family, if only for a short time.

Wow, Canada two weekends in a row. Good times.

21:16 | Work

Clouds And Coffee

The one thing that annoys me about the otherwise beautiful and all-Canadian city of Vancouver, is their West coast coffee mindset. Like Seattle, every other downtown street corner has a trendy espresso shop, like Starbucks, Seattle's Best Coffee or Blenz. All I wanted was a cup of Tim Hortons coffee! Why was it so hard to find a Tim Hortons that wasn't attached to a gas station?

Other than that, I had a great time in Vancouver. Sunday morning a fog had started to form off the Lion's Gate bridge. By the afternoon, the fog had enveloped most of the city in a damp cold cloud. Somehow we managed to find our way home through the mist (and stopped at a gas station Tim's on the way).

07:18 | Canada

October 23, 2003

By Tom Papa

We're Americans. Our motto should be "No more than fifty feet from any snack food."

23:09 | Quotes | Comments (2)

Class Reunion!

I got an email the other day from the Faculty of Mathematics Alumni Officer, requesting my presence at "the first ever Math class of 2003 reunion". I guess this would be the first reunion of a class that graduated four months ago.

...meet with old friends and find out what they are doing. Bring photos and memorabilia from your days at UW.

I can imagine that most of these catching-up conversations would be former students asking each other for job leads. And what kind of memorabilia? Study notes?

They are also offering a $10 lunch at the Math building Right Angle Café and guided campus tours.

Nice try Waterloo, but it will take more than that for me to shell out money to you. Here's a suggestion: wait at least a year before hosting donation campaigns class reunions.

23:05 | School

October 22, 2003

Who's Who

Ever wonder about the diet of the majestic moose, or the mating habits of the red-breasted nuthatch? Me neither, but you can learn these fun facts about Canadian wildlife now that Hinterland's Who's Who is back on the air.

In case you can't wait for your favorite segment to appear on the airwaves (or, if you're like me, you don't get many Canadian channels) you can view them online.

Now if they just bring back some of those children's TVOntario shows from my childhood, my trip down Canadian TV nostalgia-lane would be complete.

07:14 | Canada | Comments (3)

October 20, 2003

Wet Wet Wet

I knew I would regret angrily throwing my umbrella in the trash can last week. Sure it was broken in two pieces; a thin metal stem and a blossoming black flower. But it wasn't raining very hard, and besides, it's just not cool to carry an umbrella in Seattle.

Today it caught up with me. The skies opened up, drenching everything in town. As I splashed through puddles, my hair plastered to my face, I couldn't help notice how umbrellas seemed to be back in fashion.

20:50 | Seattle

October 18, 2003

Double Your Pleasure

Yesterday the hardware fairies came by. Due to the "inconvenience" of having to be paired up in an office, my officemate and I were each awarded with a 17" LCD monitor. I had been working with two CRT monitors since I got to Microsoft for the productivity gains. I could never go back to just one.

The issue now is that I have one LCD and one CRT monitor side-by-side sharing the same desktop. My eyes have to keep adjusting to the difference is brightness and refresh rates, not to mention the subtle difference in their colour interpretation.

If only my officemate weren't here today. Then I could have two sweet sweet LCDs all to myself. It's only been one day... how attached to it can he really be? tents fingers diabolically

10:03 | Work

October 15, 2003

Blood Work

My deferral time has expired, so I was finally able to give blood today. I had been rejected twice before due to the week I had spent in South Korea. The Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas is apparently rampant with malaria, so the FDA decreed that I had to wait until after August before I was eligible to give in the US.

The most difficult thing about giving blood today was the paperwork. First of all, the computer program they use only allows for a ten-character first name. The name "Christopher" (my name) has eleven letters (I also had this problem with my first MasterCard, so they truncated it to Christophe). During the meeting with the nurse, I was asked if I had been outside the US or Canada within the last three years. I told him about my year in Japan and my stay in South Korea. The nurse made a note about how I had gone to Kora to visit the DMV. I wanted to tell him sarcastically that I don't think I could have gotten my driver's license renewed in Panmunjeom, but decided to be nicer to the man who would soon be sticking me with a big needle.

It turns out he wasn't the one doing the sticking, but the man who performed that honourable task ended up missing my vein and leaving my inner-elbow bruised and sore. It's such a small amount of pain for such a worthy cause, that I really didn't mind. Besides, it got me out of work for an hour.

21:51 | Stuff | Comments (3)

The Homeland

I'm planning a trip to Vancouver next weekend. It will be my first jaunt into the homeland since the summer. I suspect Vancouver will look and feel much like Seattle this time of year: overcast, damp, cool. But the money will be familiar (although the US has finally launched coloured bills. The rest of the world congratulates you, America).

Speaking of money, of course the Canadian economy anticipated my return and was sure to drive the Loonie up to a 10-year high. Here's a timeline that properly illustrates my frustration.

I learned recently that Cadbury products are not available in the US. I hadn't noticed before, but now that I know, I've been getting Dairy Milk cravings.

07:04 | Canada

October 13, 2003


My website seems to be up and running error-free now. It appears my host uninstalled a key piece of software (the Perl DB_File module) required for my blog's back-end (Movable Type) to run. It looks like they reinstalled it and everyone's happy...

Except for the fact my internet provider's service has been flakey all week. The intermittent Internet connection has made blogging even more slow and painful than it usually is, so forgive my terseness.

21:43 | Nerd | Comments (2)

October 10, 2003


Website in shambles. Errors everywhere. Will try to fix this weekend. Can only log in for seconds at a time. I'll let you know when it's fixed, don't expect much action here until then.

End communication.

15:19 | Blog | Comments (1)

October 9, 2003

The Wheels Of Democracy Part 2

Californians have spoken and have decided against electing an experienced politician to run their state, instead opting for action-film star Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of the sudden, Dalton McGuinty doesn't look so inexperienced.

The CBC has a feature on celebrity politicians, including a circus leader, a professional wrestler, and a Hungarian porn-star. Even Canada's "celebrity" Adrienne Clarkson is on the list.

07:10 | America , Politics

October 7, 2003

Grossly Inappropriate

Excerpt from a conversation a few of us were having the other day:

T: "At my junior high, they didn't tolerate inappropriate clothes. If a girl's skirt was too short, the principal himself would drive her home."
M: "Whoa, isn't that even more inappropriate?"
T: "I don't see why. Let her parents deal with her."
M: "Oh! He would drive her to her home!."

19:46 | Stuff

October 6, 2003

Sprinkler Madness

I find it odd that companies in Seattle aren't content with the amount of precipitation the city gets. Seattle is one of the rainiest cities in the United States, seeing the sun only during the summer months, and under a canopy of grey for the other eight. So what is it about certain Seattle companies (Microsoft included), that lead me to believe they want more rain?

Sprinkler systems.

It seems every office building or place of business with a patch of grass in front of it has a sprinkler system. I guess so they don't feel ripped off by only being able to use it during the drier summer months, they try to amortize the cost per use by turning the sprinklers on even while it's raining.

I remember seeing this several times on my walk to work last year as an intern, and I forgot all about it until tonight. Having come home and realizing that I had no clean clothes for tomorrow and there was no laundry detergent in the apartment for me to use, I decided to trek to the grocery store in the rain. On my way I walked past an apartment building with a tiny well-manicured lawn in front of it. Despite the light (and forecasted) drizzle, the sprinklers were on full force.

I wonder who would complain more if they put a tax on water in Seattle, small businesses or coffee drinkers?

22:56 | Seattle

October 3, 2003

By Jean Chrétien

I don't know what is marijuana. Perhaps I will try it when it will no longer be criminal. I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand.

19:32 | Quotes | Comments (1)

The Wheels Of Democracy

Last night was the provincial election in my home province of Ontario. It came as no surprise to me to hear that the Liberals won. This is one election I'm glad I missed. I had always been a PC supporter, but after Mike Harris left, the party just wasn't the same. I didn't like Eves, and I felt the decisions he made as premier hurt more than they helped.

Howard Hampton seemed like a decent leader, but I can't agree with anything the NDP does. I think Ontarians are still smarting from Bob Rae's reign.

That leaves the Liberals. I don't agree much with their policies, and I have very little confidence in Dalton McGuinty. To me he seems very inexperienced, so I hope he put the last four years to good use.

Since I couldn't vote in this election, most of these impressions were formed during the 1999 election campaign and debate, so my information may be a little out of date. Prove me wrong Ontario. Prove me wrong.

07:18 | Canada , Politics | Comments (3)

October 1, 2003

Ridiculously Anal

I decided that this site's Stuff category was too general and becoming bloated. So I just made up a new category: Seattle where I'll include such gems as how it's always raining, and how much Seattle residents like their coffee.

Wow, I'm really strapped for stuff to write about...

22:38 | Blog