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November 30, 2003

That Time Of The Year

I went grocery shopping today, having cleaned out my fridge and cupboards while I was holed away in the apartment this long weekend. As I was perusing the daily case, I saw it: NOG!

It was a beautiful sight. A whole shelf lined with red and green 1-litre cartons of creamy eggy goodness. I realized right then that had to buy some. I decided to eschew the light version, and go for the full 9 grams of fat per serving.

If you don't see any new blog posts from me in the next week, it's probably because of a massive coronary. But I will have died a happy man.

14:25 | Stuff | Comments (2)

Retroactive Billing

Just because I don't have a car, that doesn't absolve me of the responsibility pleasure of picking up my girlfriend Teresa from the airport. So last week I called up my friendly neighbourhood Flexcar.

Flexcar has a touchtone based (and now a new web-based) interface. After struggling with my phone for a few minutes, I was informed that instead of reserving the car for Nov 30, as I had intended, I had in fact made a reservation for the day I called. At least it got the time right: 6:30pm to 9:00pm. I looked at my watch: 8:50pm.

I called customer service and got it all straightened out, and they promised to fix the bug of being able to reserve cars in the past.

I'm a software tester. The first thing I would try to do would be reserve a car in the past. After that, maybe try to reserve a car for the year 10000.

I guess it would have been ok if the car I had reserved was a Delorian, but it was taken.

10:55 | Rant

November 28, 2003

Naked War Driving

According to this article, you could be charged as an accomplice if you run an unsecured home Wi-Fi network that gets compromised.

Anyone who runs a wireless network or likes driving without pants should read this article.

18:01 | Nerd

Prove Me Wrong, Children

It appears I've been viciously spreading lies and half-truths about American Thanksgiving. Contrary to what I said yesterday, Thanksgiving is not the busiest shopping day in the US.

Boy is my face red.

15:12 | America

November 27, 2003

Long Way To Go

It's nice to sit back and think about how progressive and liberal Canada is, only to be proven wrong by bigot politicians. The Canadian Alliance has a long way to go if they want to shed their image of homophobic right-wing conservatives.

It's also interesting to see how gays and lesbians have been treated in Canada, since homosexuality became no longer illegal (gotta love CBC and their timelines).

13:30 | Canada , Politics | Comments (2)

Giving Thanks, American Style

Today is American Thanksgiving. It's quite different than Canadian Thanksgiving in the sense that Americans take it much more seriously. First of all, it's always on a Thursday, and many companies (including Microsoft) give the Friday off as well. Most people take this four-day weekend to go home and spend it with their families, eating turkey and wearing those tall black pilgrim hats. Ok, maybe not the hats, but here, Thanksgiving is much more of a family event than in Canada.

And let's not forget the shopping! Thanksgiving is the busiest shopping day all year in the US. It's like one big pre-Christmas Boxing Day sale. And, much like Boxing Day, I am not braving the mobs. I'll be perfectly content feeling thankful for my job, my friends and family while sleeping in and spending all day in my pyjamas.

11:22 | America | Comments (2)

November 26, 2003

4th And Virginia

Thumbnail Some of the random art in downtown Seattle. This building at 4th Ave. and Virginia St. is on the route to my bus stop. I particularly like the lovesick robot.

19:43 | Banners

November 25, 2003

Potassium Benzoate

This weekend is a 4-day weekend. That's good!

All my friends will be gone to visit their families. That's bad!

I'll be able to get a lot of stuff done. That's good!

It will probably mean going in to work this weekend. That's bad!

There will be a parade on Friday. That's good!

The parade celebrates the rape of the Native American culture. ...Um can I go now?

22:40 | Stuff | Comments (5)

November 22, 2003

Down With Everything!

Today I was lucky enough to see a procession of protesters march through Seattle's Pike Place Market. There were people dressed all in pink, huge Bush puppets and police escorts. There was even a man dressed as a dolphin riding a bicycle. So what were they protesting? I'm not exactly sure.

One of the problems I've heard about protests in Seattle is that there is seldom just one group protesting. People here seem to be against so many different things that they can't organize themselves into one cohesive unit. What do I mean? Well, I would have to say that the main theme of the protest was anti-FTAA. Also in the crowd were anti-Iraq war protesters, workers union representatives, the Seattle Education Association, and people fighting for the need to label genetically modified produce.

I can make an association between unions groups and anti-Free Trade (American jobs for Americans!), but I'm not sure why the teachers or the GMO people were there. And what protest wouldn't be complete without an anti-war slant and puppet of Bush with donkey ears?

A reporter and camera crew walked towards me with the intent on interviewing me. I hurried away into the crowd before they could ask me anything. I wonder what kinds of questions they would have asked?

"Do you support the giving of unlabelled genetically-modified apples to school teachers by students who will be drafted in the Iraq war, only to come home and have their jobs lost to underpaid sweatshop workers?"

Well, when you put it that way...

17:54 | Seattle | Comments (2)

November 21, 2003

Bon Nuit

One of Seattle's largest department stores, Bon-Macy's, which until recently was called The Bon Marché (pronounced like the bonn in bonnet), is currently having a sale on evening wear. They decided to stick with the French naming convention and call the sale "Bon Soireé" [sic].

You'd think there'd be at least one person in the whole marketing department who had taken a French course in high school.

07:17 | Rant | Comments (2)

November 19, 2003

Seattle Drivers Beware!

In the last few days, we here in the Puget Sound area have been experiencing all kinds of unseasonable weather. It's been raining a lot, even by Seattle standards. So much so, there has been flooding in many areas, including major roads and bridges. Poor Seattle motorists had to drive in between the lanes on SR-520 to avoid an accident on the left, and to avoid getting swept into Lake Washington on the right.

This morning commuters were in for another treat: Redmond was blanketed in a light dusting of snow. This of course meant people arrived to work later than usual, and some considered not coming in at all.

And people wonder why I take the bus to work.

20:16 | Seattle

November 16, 2003

Tragic Statistic

On Saturday, two Black Hawk helicopters crashed in Iraq, killing 17 American soldiers. Those fatalities mark a morbid milestone: more than twice the number of American soldiers have been killed since President Bush declared combat over, than died during the actual war.

Bring 'em on, indeed.

14:11 | Iraq War | Comments (2)

November 15, 2003

Online Polls Popular, Say Online Voters

From the Globe and Mail: Do you vote in on-line polls?

Well, really, what kind of results did they expect?

12:42 | Entertainment | Comments (3)

November 14, 2003


Today marked my eight-month anniversary as a full-time employee at Microsoft. Although I have gained extensive knowledge of the inner workings of the product, having less than a year's experience still makes me feel like a bit of a noob.

So what's so special about eight months? In itself, nothing. But if you include my four-month internship, then I've been living in the United States for a whole year! It's the longest I've ever lived in a foreign country, including Japan.

So how am I doing? I'm having a great time. I love my job. I love Seattle. There are some people here that care a lot about me, and a few that I care a lot about too. I'm looking forward to my next year as an expatriate Canadian.

23:30 | America

November 13, 2003

You Are What You Eat

All right Dr Freud... riddle me this:

I had a nightmare the other day that someone had cut off the top of my skull and forced me to eat my own brains with a fork, using my skull-cap as a bowl.

And no, I haven't watched Hannibal recently.

20:28 | Stuff | Comments (3)

November 12, 2003

Um, Hi Mom!

Mom Finds Out About Blog.

"Mom loves hearing every boring detail of her kids' lives," he said. "She'd want to know what I'm eating for dinner every night, if she could. This blog is like porn for her."

Don't worry Mom, I already know you read my blog. And no, I don't censor anything... (madly searches through archives to delete tales of debauchery)

07:58 | Blog | Comments (4)

Poppy Day

Yesterday, November 11 was Veteran's Day here in the US. In Canada, the UK, and most Commonwealth countries (including Ireland and India), it's called Remembrance Day (or colloquially "Poppy Day") and is observed by wearing a plastic poppy on one's lapel. It's a day to remember those who fought and died (and who continue to fight and die) in war for our respective countries.

The Canadian soldier-physician John McCrae's In Flanders Fields immortalized the poppy as the symbol of remembrance, but it was an American woman, Moina Michael who started the trend of wearing poppies.

Even though they don't wear poppies, I know there are Americans here that try hard to cut through the post-9/11 propaganda and teach today's youth about the real meaning behind Veteran's Day and Remembrance.

07:40 | America | Comments (1)

November 10, 2003

Lost In Revolutions

I tend to go to the cinema in spurts. Before this weekend, it had been summer when I last saw a movie on the big screen (SWAT - don't bother). This weekend I saw two movies: Matrix Revolutions (thanks to Microsoft), and Lost in Translation.

Matrix Revolutions met, but did not exceed my low expectations. Lots of special effects, lots of explosions, lots of Smith, but very little of the fight scenes that peppered the first and second movies. Speaking as someone who didn't enjoy the second one much either, I think I would have been much happier had this not been a trilogy.

Lost in Translation was interesting. The funny parts were great, and the story of a confused white guy in urban Japan was nostalgic, but I got bored with the "love" story. Murray pulled off some of his patented ad-libbing that made Ghostbusters great, and the film showcased some of the more bizarre aspects of modern Japanese culture (but didn't exaggerate them very much). I think I would have enjoyed it a lot less had I not been bubbling with excitement every time Murray made the same faux pas I did three years ago.

07:30 | Entertainment | Comments (2)

November 7, 2003

One Weasel's Words

Ryan, long-time friend, former roommate and connoisseur of all things deep-fried, has finally put up a blog: Weaselwords. It needs a bit of visual flare, but I guarantee it will be the funniest, most comprehensive blog you've ever read.

07:06 | Blog

It's About Time

And just in time for Christmas: Chrétien is (probably) stepping down early.

I wish Jean and Aline all the best in their post-political lives, enjoying family, friends, and of course marijuana.

06:45 | Canada , Politics

November 6, 2003

That's 3 Human Years

Last night Teresa and I went to see the one-man play: 21 Dog Years, the story of an Amazon.com employee in the midst of the .com bubble.

The play was funny and Daisey put on a great performance. I was a few years too late to really get swept up in the .bombs. This play basically let me know what I was missing, without the underwater stock options.

You can read more of Mike Daisey on his blog.

07:16 | Entertainment

November 5, 2003

New Phone!

I finally had it with my old cell phone (which the good people at AT&T gave me for free), and went out and bought a new one, the Motorola MPx200. It seems more advanced than my home PC. I wonder how to place a call...

Now to throw my old one into the sea.

07:04 | Nerd

November 4, 2003

Weekend At Home

Got back to my apartment about 10:30 Sunday night, where I proceeded to have my first full night of uninterrupted sleep all weekend. The flights were blissfully uneventful, including my 6am to 9am layover in Detroit airport.

Friday night I went to my brother's place for a Halloween party. He was dressed as Vincent Van Gogh, complete with bandaged head and a bloody plastic ear he kept in his pocket. My costume? Well, it wasn't politically correct, and potentially offensive, so you can email me if you really want to know. I would hate to have certain defamation leagues shutting down my site.

Saturday night was Rick and Vanessa's wedding. It was a beautiful ceremony held at The McMichael Art Collection. We danced and drank surrounded by native, Inuit, and Group of Seven masterpieces. Everyone had a great time.

Unfortunately I didn't get to do everything I wanted to, or see everyone I promised to (sorry Ian, Rew), but it was good to see those I did.

07:09 | Travel