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January 31, 2004

Overhead Conversation At The Crêpe Stand

Girl 1: (pointing at menu) "What does that mean?"
Girl 2: "It's Crêpe du jour. It means crepe of lunch. Jour means lunch."
Girl 1: "I see"
Girl 2: "Yeah, I know what that says because I'm French. Well, I'm in French class."

16:12 | Stuff | Comments (5)

January 30, 2004

Artistic Intent

As a university student, I used to watch the hit NBC drama Law & Order regularly. Now I just can't seem to find the time (or the interest) to sit around in front of the boob tube for hours on end. But don't fear! Artist Brandon Bird can help me get that Lennie Briscoe fix: Artistic Intent.

Also, be sure to check out his Law & Order colouring book!

07:17 | Entertainment | Comments (1)

January 29, 2004

It Stinks!

Now you can enjoy Rosebud frozen peas in your own home: The Critic is on DVD. I wonder what kind of deal I can get if buy that, Family Guy Season 3, and The Simpsons Season 3...

Thanks to Dav for pointing that out to me.

On a completely unrelated note, my birthday is next week.

06:44 | Entertainment | Comments (2)

January 27, 2004

The Strep

It turns out my weekend sickness was not, in fact, the bird flu, but rather strep throat. It's like swallowing razor blades. As a result, I've missed the last two days of work, and have been taking plenty of antibiotics. Now I know most of you are intelligent people, but I feel the need to point out two very important things about antibiotic use:

  1. If the prescription tells you to keep taking all the antibiotics until the bottle is empty, take them all. I don't care if you feel better, keep eating those horse pills.
  2. This relates back to point #1: don't save antibiotics for the next time you or a loved one is sick.

So, what am I a doctor now or something? What do I care if you abuse your medication? Because antibiotic-resistant germs affect everybody. I don't want ten years from now to get the strep and not have any medicinal recourse because strep has become immune to antibiotics because of misuse.

Ok, I'm done ranting. Back to bed.

14:34 | Rant | Comments (3)

January 25, 2004

Hopefully It's Not The Bird Flu

Not feeling so well today, so I decided to stay in and fix up the blog a bit. What's New:

15:16 | Blog

January 24, 2004


Lately I've been fighting off the urge to rush out and buy myself an iPod, despite recommendations from various sources. I figured with my digital camera and my Smartphone, I had spent enough money on high-tech gadgetry. But I still wanted to be able to make my music collection portable, not to mention feed my technophilia. So as a compromise, I bought a 256 Mb Secure Digital card (which holds only about 3 hours worth of music, but was 1/8th the price of the iPod I was eyeing), copied a few albums on it, and stuck it into my phone, which conveniently has Pocket Windows Media Player. The whole bus ride home yesterday I managed to drown out the other passengers and ambient bus noises with Pink Floyd's greatest hits.

Although Pocket WMP is lacking most of the features of a full-fledged media player (equalizer, playlist editor, shuffle), and the earbuds that came with the phone are pretty uncomfortable, for a mobile phone I was pretty darn impressed. I think we've finally caught up to where Japanese cell phones were in 2001.

11:46 | Nerd | Comments (2)

The Purple Magician

On the bus on our way to Fremont (a lovely little Seattle borough with a small-town feel), Teresa and I saw a minor celebrity on the bus. We saw a man dressed up exactly like the Purple Magician.

Mental note: bring camera with me, all the time.

11:20 | Stuff | Comments (1)

January 23, 2004

Church, Meet State

France has been in the news a lot lately for their controversial ban on religious symbols in government establishments, including schools. France practices a very strict separation of church and state as a result of their history of religious monarchy, and religious persecution. In order to preserve this separation, they are taking radical measures.

The United States also practices separation of church and state. This is taken from the first amendment to the US Bill of Rights: " Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof...". The American point of view is to let the people practice, as long as the government stays out of it. For example, the removal of the Ten Commandments from the Alabama Supreme Court building. Note, that the fact that the monument was put there in the first place indicates a much softer stance than that of France. Even more to the point, in President Bush's State of the Union Address, he implied he would go as far as a constitutional amendment to "value the institution of marriage".

Canada, on the other hand, has no explicit separation of church and state. In fact, the first line in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms recognizes "the supremacy of God and the rule of law". As a result, Catholic schools are given public funding in many provinces. But, Canada is also very socially progressive; it's of the only countries in the world to move to legalize gay marriage.

It's interesting that most people would consider Canada a very socially liberal country, even though its government is the least disentagled from religion (more specifically, Christianity) of the three.

07:53 | Canada , Politics | Comments (2)

January 21, 2004


I really hate how some companies (credit cards, insurance, etc) use a 10-character field for first names. I'm sick of receiving legal documents addressed to "Christophe Lyon".

And don't give me the argument about that being the maximum length word the computer system can hold. I write software for a living, I know it's not beyond a computer's abilities to save words longer than 10 characters.

08:10 | Rant | Comments (4)

January 20, 2004

Caution: May Contain Cola

Contents under pressure. Cap may blow off causing eye or other serious injury. Point away from face and people, especially while opening.

Warning label on a 1-litre bottle of 7up.

I get a real kick out of reading product labels.

07:27 | Stuff | Comments (3)

January 18, 2004

Hosting A Dinner Party

The nicest part about hosting a dinner party is when the last few lingering guests offer to help clean up. Being the host, one has to object and usher the guests to their seats, refilling their glasses with wine and making them feel at ease. But secretly, one is thankful and gives in when the guests insist. Such was the case last night.

Teresa prepared a delicious Asian-themed meal, and since my apartment is bigger than hers, we had it there. Of course I didn't put up a fight when two of her friends picked up dishcloths and started scrubbing, but I was helpful and showed them in which cupboard the clean dishes belonged.

14:16 | Stuff

January 16, 2004

Know Your Audience

Can anyone here see what's wrong with the default settings on this interactive ad?

Image deleted

Personally, I wouldn't mind dropping a dress size.

07:32 | Stuff | Comments (2)

January 14, 2004

Seattle Bar Quiz

Coming to Seattle? Like to drink? Here are a few multiple choice questions to help you survive the Seattle bar scene, based on my real-life experiences.

Question 1:
You're at a bar in Seattle. It doesn't matter which one. You look at the clock on the wall, which reads 2:00 (am). What time is it?

  1. 2:00 am
  2. 1:40 am
  3. 2:00 pm

The correct answer, of course, is b. When I first started going to bars in Seattle, I was totally confused by the concept of bar time. I guess bars don't want that extra 20 minutes worth of business before last call.

Question 2:
It's now 2:00am (bar time). The bartender announces last call. This means:

  1. The server will forcefully take the drink from your hand.
  2. Last chance to order drinks.
  3. Nothing. Keep drinking.

The correct answer is a. Assuming the bartender hasn't called last call early, the establishments here feel they are constantly under the watchful eye of the Alcohol Inspector, or some such government official, and must adhere to the "no alcohol in patrons' hands after last call". I had a server imply they would be shut down if I didn't hand over my beer to him, or finish it. I opted to chug it. He stood there and watched me, to make sure I got every last drop.

Question 3:
You're at a Tiki Bar. There is live music. The band playing which style of music?

  1. Traditional Polynesian music
  2. Grunge
  3. Country

If you guessed c, you're right! I have no idea why. Maybe they were friends with the owner.

Ok, that's it for now. I'll post more quizzes when I encounter more bizarre Seattle culture.

07:31 | Seattle | Comments (1)

January 13, 2004

Bumper Stumpers

You know those white oval country code bumper stickers? They were originally developed in Europe to display the country to which the car owner belongs. Since I don't live in Europe, I can only comment on the use of these stickers in Canada and the United States.

Canada (Toronto area):

I've seen a lot of different country codes, mostly European countries, which, presumably, pertain to the ethnic background of the car owner (I, D, F). There, of course, is also a Canadian sticker (CDN), and I've seen a good many novelty stickers (BNL, DMB, LNX), but I'd say the vast majority were of European countries.

The United States (Seattle area):

The only country sticker I have seen since I moved to the US in April has been, perhaps not surprisingly, USA. The rest were novelty stickers like in Canada (popular rock bands, operating systems), but there are also a large number of obscure abbreviations from small bands, political organizations, local shops, American vacation spots, etc. Since the number of stickers that actually represent country codes is so small here, I'm forced to wonder if most Americans know where these stickers originated, and what they're actually for.

Perhaps this demonstrates a more fundamental difference between Canada's multi-culturalism and the American Melting Pot, or maybe it just means Americans bumper sticker manufacturers know their audience.

07:27 | America | Comments (4)

January 12, 2004

The Future Of Books

I would love to see every book for sale come with a CD containing a text (or even HTML) version of the book. Think of the advantages:

Of course, are downsides...

I still think it will be a long while before we see eBooks gain popularity, but as mobile personal computers become more and more ubiquitous, I think it's inevitable.

07:44 | Entertainment | Comments (2)

January 7, 2004

World War II Propaganda Poster

When you ride alone, you ride with Hitler!

20:40 | Quotes | Comments (1)

Snow Pics

Select photos of yesterday's snow day are posted in the Photo Gallery. Enjoy.

(Sorry, no pics of stranded motorists.)

20:32 | Gallery | Comments (3)

January 6, 2004

Snowed In

I woke up this morning to a veritable winter wonderland. Seattle was under an inch-thick blanket of powdery snow. I checked the transit website and saw the buses were still running, so I trotted off to the bus stop.

Now keep in mind, Seattleites are not used to the snow. It seldom snows at all here, and when it does, pandemonium breaks out. At the bus stop I saw three buses stuck on the entrance ramp to the highway. Only one of the buses had chains on it, and it appeared to be having the most trouble getting moving. I then weighed my options: get on the bus and wait half and hour just to get onto the highway (and risk getting stranded at work) or staying here and working from home. It wasn't a tough decision.

Since Teresa also got the day off, she and I wandered about a snow-covered Seattle. There was now over two inches (about five cm) on the ground, and the roads were choked with stalled cars. We passed one intersection and counted no less than twenty buses, all stopped. Walking along First Ave, we saw a small crowd of people pointing and laughing. We approached and saw man in a Jeep Cherokee trying desperately to stop sliding down a hill sideways. It blows my mind that people insist on buying their trendy SUVs, but when they actually need four-wheel drive, they don't know how to use it.

A little later, we saw a line of cars stuck on a highway entrance ramp. You could smell the burning rubber as the car in front gunned the engine and spun his back tires. Then he started rolling backwards. Luckily there was no collision then, but I'm sure there have been accidents all over the city today.

I guess lots of people had made the same decision I had, because there were people all over the place. We stopped in at a mall and were shocked to find many of the shops closed. I'm amazed that store managers would pass up such a great business opportunity.

Walking home, we saw another, larger crowd of people gathered at the top of a hill. We thought it was another episode of SUV Follies, but were surprised to find otherwise. A large number of people, adults and children alike, were sliding down the hill on sleds, lunch trays, sheets of metal and plastic and anything they could find that would make a good toboggan. We joined the crowd and watched this familiar winter activity, in a very unfamiliar setting.

I didn't end up getting much work done after all, but today certainly made up for the lack of snow at Christmas.

17:06 | Seattle | Comments (4)

January 4, 2004

Lousy Snow

It figures. I went home to Southern Ontario to enjoy a white Christmas, and instead of white-dusted evergreens and icicles hanging off eavestroughs, we had Seattle weather. On Christmas Eve it rained and melted what was left of the sand-encrusted lumps of roadside snow. And while I was gone, the American Pacific Northwest got a record amount of snowfall.

Since snow is so uncommon 'round these parts, many districts have closed schools and cancelled buses. I wonder if my commuter bus (the only one that runs from downtown Seattle to Redmond) will be cancelled tomorrow, thus extending my two-week holiday.

This is yet another reason (traffic being the #1 reason) I think there should be a direct subway line from Seattle to Microsoft.

21:16 | Seattle