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May 27, 2004


Driving home from our friends Amy and Bill's place where Teresa and I selflessly volunteered to help Amy study for her massage school by subjecting ourselves to back and arm massages, we passed by I-5 ramp in Wallingford. We heard loud clanging, and turned to see a dozen men all dressed in suits of armor swordfighting in the park and ride.

08:46 | Bizarre Sighting of the Day

May 24, 2004

Work From Home

I have a Smartcard reader and high-speed Internet connection which allow me to connect to the office so I can work from home. I haven't decided if it's a curse or a blessing yet. Case in point:

Bad thing: 11:00pm on a Monday night and I'm "at work".
Good thing: I got to leave work early to go see another Seattle Film Festival movie.

22:58 | Work

May 23, 2004

Housewarming Partay

I finally got a couch (although it's not the one I ordered, and have to wait until next weekend for Ikea to redeliver (yes, I broke down and bought it from Ikea. Now every piece of furniture I own is Swedish for common sense (and yes, I also realize I have way too many nested parentheses))). Since my apartment can now seat more people than myself, I'm having a housewarming party.

If you'll be in the Seattle area on Saturday June 5 and want to pay me a visit, shoot me an email.

19:09 | Stuff

May 21, 2004

Tolerance And The Left

The neighbourhood I live in here in Seattle in called Capitol Hill. It's the more festive part of town, which means it is also probably one of the more politically left parts of Seattle. Usually when you hear people speak of social liberalism, they tend to lump it with peace (anti-war), tolerance (pro-alternative lifestyles) and upholding constitutional rights (separation of church and state). After living here a month, I've come to realize that left-wing people do believe in upholding these things, so long as they're in line with leftist ideas. What do I mean?

Walking home from the bus stop one day, I saw a poster someone had tacked on to a telephone pole. It bore an American flag as the backdrop and stated how Capitol Hill Republican-supporters were in favour of the war in Iraq, against gay marriage, and generally pleased with George W.

The very next day, I saw that same poster half ripped off the pole, the other half crumpled on the ground.

One of the things left-wings complain about is the infringement of the separation of church and state, which is codified (more or less) in the first amendment of the US Constitution. By tearing down this poster, they've showed a lack of respect for Freedom of Speech, also codified in that same amendment.

I realize not all politically left people approve of this kind of behaviour. I also realize not all politically right people are in favour of church-state intermingling. I guess my point is that just because someone is Left, it doesn't mean they're tolerant, or are above selectively upholding the Constitution.

13:11 | Seattle

May 17, 2004

Weekend O' Birthdays

Let me start by wishing happy birthdays to Ryan "Weasel Words" Burkett, to my sister Alexis, and to Teresa.

Friday Teresa and I went to see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, another fine meta-cognitive film by Charlie Kaufman. Highly recommended.

Saturday I discovered the place to go for dinner with a party of fourteen: Buca Di Beppo. The food may not be as good as my Nonna makes, but the portions are about the same (enormous).

Sunday night was a romantic dinner at Teatro Zinzanni, a dinner theatre that's more like an interactive circus. The food was prepared by Seattle's own celebrity chef Tom Douglas. It was a fantastic show and a fabulous five-course meal.

I hope everyone had as much FUN on their birthday as I did on my girlfriend's.

19:43 | Stuff

May 13, 2004

iTuning In

I've been trying to fill it my new 250 GB hard drive up by ripping all my CDs and turning my PC into a 21st-century jukebox. I've been using iTunes to rip and organize my music, and so far have been very happy (before you ask, I'm not using Windows Media Player because I can't rip music as MP3, burn CDs or organize my music as well as iTunes can).

iTunes is great for scaling to handle this amount of music (so far, 9 GB of music, over 1830 songs. I could listen to music for 6 days straight). But there are a couple of issues that aren't making my music digitizing experience all it can be:

Duplicate songs on multiple albums. For example, soundtracks or compilations that contain one or more songs I already have on full albums. Do I need to have two copies of the same song in order to be able to play both the compilation and the artist's album in full? (not that I'll be filling up that hard drive any time soon...) I can't find a way to properly file music by multiple artists, for example "Bug Powder Dust" performed by Bomb The Bass and Justin Warfield.

I realize these may be issues with the underlying MP3 ID3 tag technology more than iTunes, but they're issues that people with large CD collections will run into. Maybe if Longhorn's WinFS lives up to its promise, applications like iTunes will be able to leverage much more than just ID3...

20:17 | Nerd

May 11, 2004

You Snooze, You Lose

Since I moved to the US, I've noticed certain small differences with Canada that have forced me to modify my behaviour. Like using Imperial Measurements instead of Metric, saying "restroom" instead of "washroom", not making eye-contact with strangers, etc. But there was one thing I was wholly unprepared for, something, after over a year after moving here, I still have not adjusted to: The American Snooze.

Unlike the nine-minute snooze I grew up with and loved for the last twenty years, the American Snooze is seven minutes long. That means four snoozes in a half hour, as opposed to three. This has both good and bad sides. The good side is that more snoozes make me feel like I'm getting more sleep, and more chances to actually get my sleepy ass out of bed. On the bad side, when I'm that groggy, I can't keep track of how many times I've snoozed. One morning I ended up snoozing seven times, because I lost count and had to start over. In Canadian Snoozes, that's over an hour! Luckily for me, I was only forty-nine minutes behind schedule.

Thank you American Snooze!

22:00 | America

May 9, 2004

Deaf, Dumb and Blind

I was walking to the bus stop behind a man with a white cane and wearing a button that read "I am deaf and blind". The man stopped at an intersection, fished in his pockets for some change, then turned to the newspaper box next to him and bought a paper. He then turned around and walked past me (without using the cane), stuffing the newspaper into his jacket.

10:48 | Bizarre Sighting of the Day

May 5, 2004


This morning I attended a four-hour security refresher seminar at work. This seminar is mandatory for all technical employees. Yes, mandatory. It was presented by Michael Howard, co-author of Writing Secure Code, who is a fantastic speaker.

I think it's great that a company like Microsoft (with the poor reputation we have for security), makes material like this mandatory. Especially in times like this. If you haven't already, please make sure your Windows machine is up to date, and update your virus definitions.

Hopefully because of the awareness courses like these raise, such problems will be a thing of the past.

21:04 | Work

May 4, 2004

Anyone But Bush

Living on the Left Coast as I do, I've met a number of people who aren't very impressed with the current US Administration, and would not like to see them re-elected in November.

A large percentage of these people favour the "Anyone But Bush" philosophy. In other words, these people will vote for whoever of Bush's opponents is considered the most electable. That's fine for people who were going to vote Democrat regardless, but it also means people who would otherwise have voted for the Green Party, or an independent would instead vote for the nominated Democrat.

That's fine. I'm not trying to belittle anyone's political strategies. If you hate Bush more than you like Kerry, and are comfortable with that, cool (I'm currently pondering that strategy for the upcoming Canadian election...)

What I do find funny, are the people who were die-hard supporters of Howard Dean who have now switched to the Kerry camp. There's an apartment I pass everyday on my way to and from work that until a few weeks ago had a Dean campaign poster in the window. Now's it's a Kerry poster. I wonder why they didn't just save themselves some money and put up a "Vote Democrat" poster, since they're going to be in favour of whoever is nominated anyway?

20:20 | America , Politics

May 3, 2004

For The Dogs

The building I live in has a strict No Pets policy. Why then am I getting junk mail for a pet food store sent to Resident at my address? Don't you think this store could save themselves a bunch of money by not mailing flyers to people contractually prohibited from using their products as intended?

19:45 | Rant

May 2, 2004

They Probably Deserved It

On Friday I was talking to a few coworkers about the 60 Minutes special on the Iraqi prisoners who were abused by US Army personel. One of the guys I was talking to commented on how the prisoners "probably deserved it", and that the torture didn't seem all that bad.

I really wish the guy who said that was the first American I met with this kind of attitude. Unfortunately, he's not.

13:23 | Iraq War

Still Alive

Yes, I'm still alive and now all moved in to my new apartment. I just got Internet access yesterday, hence my lack of posting. Also my computer didn't fare so well after the move, so I had to go buy a replacement power supply. While I was exploring the cavernous Fry's Electronics, I also picked up a new hard drive (250 GB!), sound card, headphones and some DVDs (I was overdue for an electronics store shopping-spree).

One of the DVDs I bought was Martin Scorcese's The Last Temptation of Christ. It's an extremely well-done file (with an excellent soundtrack). As the cashier was ringing up my purchases, she got all excited when she saw this DVD.

Cashier: "Oh! This movie is very popular!"
Me: "It is?!"
Cashier: "Yes, I didn't know it was on DVD already!"
Me: "I think you're confusing this movie with..."
Cashier: "I should go buy myself a copy!"
Me: "Are you thinking of The Passion of the Christ? Because this is a very different movie."
Cashier: "Oh yeah."

I'd really hate for her to buy this film thinking it was Mel Gibson's tribute to his faith, and instead buy a movie based on a book that was banned by the Vatican.

11:48 | Stuff