June 4, 2007

If Nature Calls, Take A Message

My coworker M moved to the US from Egypt six months ago, and although his English is very good, he occasionally has a few Balki Bartokomous moments, like the other day when I was supposed to meet him to discuss some work item I needed his help on.

M: "Chris, can we postpone the meeting for a few minutes, I need to make a call."
Me: "Sure, go for it."
M: "It is a... natural call..."
Me: "Um... a natural call?."
M: "I need to use the restroom."

Needless to say, it was an urgent call.

21:05 | Stuff | Comments (1)

May 14, 2007

No Blood For Oil - Agree or Disagree?

I've been a Flexcar member for a few years now, and support the idea of shared cars, and have been relatively happy with the service. I was digging through some old emails the other day, and came upon a survey they had sent me when I first joined. I expected questions along the lines of "How many miles do you commute?" or "How often do you take public transportation?". Instead I got a very... pessimistic set of questions to answer. Here's a selection of the most out-there:

  1. Concern for the public good has nothing to do with signing up for a car-sharing service like Flexcar.
  2. People in the US are too greedy and materialistic.
  3. This country is going down the tubes.
  4. Sometimes the only way to fix a severe problem is to let government come in and solve it.
  5. It's important to get your piece of the action before the next guy does.
  6. There are too many gas-guzzling cars on the road.
  7. When big things have to be done, you have to turn to important and powerful figures to get them done.
  8. I'm not a very active person.
  9. The US is hogging the world's natural resources.
  10. There are absolute rights and wrongs, and nobody can tell me different.

I wonder what you would have to answer to get your application denied...

22:48 | Stuff | Comments (3)

May 13, 2007

You Know The Cops Just Smoke It Themselves

A former cop in Michigan was caught using marijuana he had confiscated. How was he caught, you ask? After he and his wife baked the pot into brownies and ate them, he called 911, panicked that he had overdosed and was dying. Also, he tried to blame the whole incident on his wife.

I don't know what's worse, the fact that the police department does not properly educate their officers on the effects of the drug they're tasked to confiscate, or the fact the police department is not pressing charges for this breach of public trust.

22:31 | Stuff | Comments (0)

May 3, 2007

Debearded, Part 3

Debearding, step 7
Debearding, step 8
Debearding, step 9

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Debearded, Part 3

Debearding, step 7
Debearding, step 8
Debearding, step 9

16:18 | Stuff , Stuff | Comments (2)

April 29, 2007

Debearded, Part 2

Debeaded step 6

In case you're wondering, yes, I went to work like this.

11:31 | Stuff | Comments (2)

April 17, 2007

Debearded, Part 1

Step 1 of Beard Removal
Step 2 of Beard Removal
Step 3 of Beard Removal
Step 4 of Beard Removal
Step 5 of Beard Removal

19:51 | Stuff | Comments (5)

March 24, 2007

Hop Scotch

Where I will be today: Hop Scotch Spring Beer and Scotch Festival.

Update: The beer selection was mediocre, the food was passable and the woman giving us scotch tasting tips compared scotch to hot wings. Overall, a C+.

11:03 | Stuff | Comments (0)

March 17, 2007

Now With 20% More Placenta!

I don't pretend to understand women's hair products. I'm astounded every time I walk though my drugstore's hair product aisle. There are creams to straighten hair, sprays to lighten, conditioners to add "volume", and rows upon rows of small boxes of dye featuring disembodied heads with hair blowing in some unnatural photo studio breeze. But yesterday I saw what was perhaps the weirdest product of all: Henna 'n' Placenta.

Yes folks, it contains real animal placenta , for that right-from-the-salon look. On the one hand, props to them for putting the word Placenta in big bold letters, and not giving it some fruity name like "Nature's Goodness (may contain placenta)". On the other hand, why the cute 'n'? Is it an attempt to soften the blow that you're dousing your head in real animal placenta?

14:27 | Stuff , Stuff | Comments (1)

Now With 20% More Placenta!

I don't pretend to understand women's hair products. I'm astounded every time I walk though my drugstore's hair product aisle. There are creams to straighten hair, sprays to lighten, conditioners to add "volume", and rows upon rows of small boxes of dye featuring disembodied heads with hair blowing in some unnatural photo studio breeze. But yesterday I saw what was perhaps the weirdest product of all: Henna 'n' Placenta.

Yes folks, it contains real animal placenta , for that right-from-the-salon look. On the one hand, props to them for putting the word Placenta in big bold letters, and not giving it some fruity name like "Nature's Goodness (may contain placenta)". On the other hand, why the cute 'n'? Is it an attempt to soften the blow that you're dousing your head in real animal placenta?

14:27 | Stuff , Stuff | Comments (1)

February 25, 2007


One of my favourite activities when I lived in Japan was visiting the 100 Yen Store (Japanese dollar store), and buying loads of cute Japanese junk with plastered with nearly unintelligeable English. The other day, Bonnie and I found such a store here in Seattle. For a mere $1.50, I was able to purchase pure Engrish hilarity.


My favourite is the flag offering fashion tips.

11:47 | Stuff | Comments (2)

February 18, 2007

Spring Seasonals

I'm used to February being a cold winter month, but since I moved here, I'm associating February with spring. While folks on the East Coast of the US and Ontario and Québec are being pummeled by snow, here in Seattle we're experiencing warm sunny days. To reinforce this, the spring seasonal beers are out. This is a bittersweet time for me, since I love the winter brews so much, but am excited for a new crop of seasonal beers. Here's my 2007 Spring Seasonal list.

16:17 | Stuff | Comments (0)

February 12, 2007


Congrats to Ian on his new job.

May you too know and love the rat race that is salaried employment.

07:48 | Stuff | Comments (1)

December 13, 2006

The Gayest Bean

Think homosexuality is a choice? What about homosexuality from birth? Well, you're both wrong according to Jim Rutz at the World Net Daily:

Soy is feminizing, and commonly leads to a decrease in the size of the penis, sexual confusion and homosexuality. That's why most of the medical (not socio-spiritual) blame for today's rise in homosexuality must fall upon the rise in soy formula and other soy products.

That's right folks, tofu makes you gay. That probably explains how China's population is dropping dangerously low, since they're all homos who don't procreate.

03:12 | Stuff | Comments (3)

December 2, 2006

Nog Blog

Did you really think I would let this holiday season pass without professing my love for Egg Nog?

I briefly toyed with the idea of creating a blog entry where I post the various brands of Nog I've tried this year (like what I'm doing for the Winter Beers). But then I decided, for the sake of my heart, that drinking copious amount of Egg Nog was probably a bad idea. So instead of risking cardiac arrest, I gaze longingly at the yellow cartons in dairy counter, then grudgingly pick up a litre of Soy Nog.

Incidentally, Silk Soy Nog isn't half bad. They've got the Nog taste almost perfect (slightly too sweet), but the thin consistency is all wrong. When I drink Nog, I want to feel my insides get coated with nutmeggy goodness, dammit!

09:44 | Stuff | Comments (2)

November 22, 2006


It was (American) Thanksgiving last year that I became bored of my physical appearance and decided on a change. I took the bold step of not shaving for three weeks. After a few brushes with security at work, and explaining to them I was not, in fact, a vagrant, I bought a pair of hair clippers.

It's been a year since my cheeks and chin have seen direct sunlight, and what do I have to show for it? That's right, more artists' renditions!

Another beard pic

In other news, Happy Birthday Bonnie!

Bonnie's Beard

10:30 | Stuff | Comments (1)

November 17, 2006

Over 30 Seasonals On Tap

You'd better believe I'm going to this: Winter Beer Fest 2006.

08:48 | Stuff | Comments (3)

August 23, 2006

Skydiving Photo

In case any of you were wondering what I looked like hurtling towards the earth at over 120 miles per hour, here's an artist's rendition (thanks Bonnie).

Artist's rendition of Chris skydiving

19:29 | Stuff | Comments (3)

August 10, 2006

That's Just Great

I woke up this morning, made some coffee and checked the news like I do every morning, and saw the headline Airline bombing plot foiled. Apparently would-be terrorists tried smuggling explosives onto commercial airplanes traveling from the UK to the US. Luckily they were caught before they could deploy their terrible plot.

According to the article, the US Department of Homeland Security has raised their colour-coded threat meter to "Red - High" for the first time. Then I remembered that I will be flying to New York City tonight to attend Shawn and Kat's wedding. Well that's just great. Of all cities to fly to during the Red Terror Alert...

Hopefully my airline won't consider my iPod and a bottle of water as carry-on contraband like the British have done.

Update: I just got a call from a friend taking an earlier flight, who informed me the lines at security at SeaTac Airport are several hours long, and recommended I get there six hours early, so that's what I plan to do. Good thing I charged up my iPod. I'll be back on Tuesday.

07:39 | Stuff | Comments (4)

August 6, 2006

Still Alive

Just a quick note to say I actually jumped out of a plane, and lived to tell the tale (actual telling of tale will be coming later this week). I will say that it was an incredible experience, and I'm really enjoying being on the ground again. More to come later.

00:33 | Stuff | Comments (1)

August 1, 2006

Maintaining Intensity

Flipping through my usual news, I came across a headline that caught my eye: "5 p.m.update: Chris strengthens...slightly?" Well, I thought to myself, I have been working out. No, wait a minute, I haven't been working out at all. In fact, I was just eating ice cream right out of the container. Clearly their sources aren't reliable.

Clicking the link brought me to South Florida's Hurricane Blog. Apparently the tropical storm du jour shares a name with yours truly. I think I might subscribe to their feed, if for no other reason than to get headlines like "11 p.m. update: Chris maintains intensity" delivered to my desktop.

22:34 | Stuff | Comments (1)

July 30, 2006

Cheated Death For Another Week

I'm still alive, and sadly haven't yet popped by skydiving cherry. Bonnie and I drove two hours just to hang around a hangar for two hours waiting for the cloudy skies to clear up. The clouds were not cooperating and the jump was cancelled. What annoyed me was that the instructors didn't tell us that the weather was a factor until after we paid. According to the contract we had to sign, there were no refunds, only reschedules, for bad weather. So we're signed up for next Saturday, weather permitting. This time, we're calling ahead to see if the weather in Toledo is more conducive to jumping out of an airplane.

21:10 | Stuff | Comments (1)

July 28, 2006

12,000 Feet And Dropping

Tomorrow Bonnie and I are traveling to Toledo, Washington. Well, more accurately, 12,000 feet above Toledo. For her birthday last year she was given a gift certificate to go skydiving, and guess who get to come along.

I'm not afraid of heights, but I do have a totally irrational fear of falling out of an airplane to my death, so I'm a little nervous about it. Almost everyone I talked to who had done it thought it was the most incredible, exhilarating experience in their lives, and 100% of those people are currently alive, so I like those odds.

I assume we'll be doing a "tandem" jump, where an instructor is strapped to your back and they actually pull the chute open. A coworker asked me if I would be uncomfortable with a man strapped so snugly to my backside. I told him that if I was going to fall to my death, I would want someone strong to hold me.

I'll be sure to blog about my experience when I get back. If you don't hear from me by Monday, it was great having you as a reader.

08:17 | Stuff | Comments (0)

July 9, 2006

Happy Toes

Happy Toes

(No, these aren't my toes.)

20:47 | Stuff | Comments (1)

June 12, 2006

RIP Paul Ohashi

This weekend I received some bad news. A high school classmate and friend, Paul Ohashi, fell to his death during a mountain climbing expedition in Indonesia over the weekend.

I was in a lot of classes with Paul in grades 9 and 10, and enjoyed hanging out with him. He was smart, funny and very musically talented (he was a drummer, but had the uncanny ability to pick up and play just about any instrument he was handed). He introduced me to some interesting music that I know I would have never stumbled on myself (from King Crimson to taiko drumming).

After high school, Paul and I lost touch, last seeing each other at graduation. I looked him up a few times online to find out what he was up to and found out he had become a world traveler, so I wasn't surprised by the news that he was in south-east Asia.

Next year will be my ten-year anniversary of graduating from high school, and although the idea of a reunion wasn't very appealing (I still talk with just about everyone I still want to keep in touch with), I was looking forward to meeting up with a few people I hadn't seen, and Paul topped the list. I'm sure he would have had fascinating stories of his travels, and I always appreciated his opinions on current Canadian events. I'm sorry I didn't get to know the person he became.

My condolences go out to his family and loved ones.

20:00 | Stuff | Comments (1)

April 11, 2006

Another Canadian In Japan

I got an email last week from another Canadian intern living in Japan, and he has a blog: Adam's Life In Japan. About once a year I'm honoured with an email from a new Waterloo Gaijin who stumbled on my Japan blog. Adam is actually planning a trip to the Japan Alps, and will be stopping in the beautiful city of Matsumoto. I'm glad to know that painstakingly describing every Japanese adventure continues to amuse, confuse and waste the valuable office time of other travelers.

Someone asked me recently if I'd be willing to drop everything and ship myself off to a foreign country for a year again. Whenever I get asked this question, I like remind people that I'm already living in a foreign country, and usually get rolled eyes as a response. But seriously, if I were offered a one-year contract in, say, Turkey (for randomness sake), and had my current job to come back to, I would probably take it.

Luckily for me, this part of North America has a large Japanese population, so I can get my Hello Kitty products at Uwajimaya, sushi in Seattle's International District, and, if I'm feeling brave enough to try one of my favourites from Japan, basashi in Vancouver!

22:10 | Stuff | Comments (1)

March 27, 2006

Laundry Etiquette

My apartment building has a shared laundry room with three washers and three dryers. That means at any given time, up to 42 different people with dirty clothes could be vying for a machine. On more than one occasion I was forced to unload other people's unattended clothes. All of this is pretty typical of apartment life. On Saturday I brought two loads of laundry downstairs, only to find my downstairs neighbour loading her clothes into two of the three machines. This is one of those uncomfortable confrontations neighbours would rather avoid.

Neighbour: "Oh... how many loads do you have to do?"
Me: "Two."
Neighbour: "I have two as well..."
Me: "Well, since you were here first, I'll just take the free machine."
Neighbour: "Well... too bad. I was here first, so you're going to have to wait."
Me: "Um... that's what I said."

Luckily for me, not all my neighbours are this pleasant.

22:17 | Stuff | Comments (0)

March 21, 2006

Mirror, Mirror

In the spirit of my facial hair blog post, I bought a new mirror for my apartment. Sure, I could have gotten a boring old shaving mirror, but I wanted something a little classier. It's a beard guide mirror.

Now the big decision: for my next look, The Sidewinder, or The Hulihee?

07:51 | Stuff | Comments (0)

March 10, 2006

And You Thought Those Ballpark Dogs Were Bad For You

As if normal stadium fare wasn't unhealthy enough, The Gateway Grizzlies, an Illinois minor league baseball team, just unveiled their latest culinary abomination: The Doughnut Burger.

The ballpark sandwich will include a hamburger topped with sharp cheddar cheese and two slices of bacon -- all between a "bun" made of a sliced Krispy Kreme Original Glazed doughnut.

...calorie counters predict the monster will set you back about 1,000 calories and 45 grams of fat.

The team hopes to sell at least 100 of these burgers per game. I sure hope paramedics will be standing by.

Thanks to Shawn for the link.

16:38 | Stuff | Comments (2)

February 13, 2006

It's So Wonderful Candy

My friends Rick and Vanessa got me a very thoughtful gift for my birthday this year. They spared no expense and picked me up some quality imported candy. No, not Swiss chocolates or English toffee. It wasn't even Canadian maple candy. They stopped at the local Uwajimaya and got me Japanese SuperCola candy.

These candies taste just like cola, only they are covered with a super-sour coating that makes you feel like there's a veritable explosion of flavour in the general vicinity of your mouth.

In case anyone is confused about how to enjoy this so wonderful gift, the back of the bag gives handy illustrative directions. Oh! Super Candy!

22:08 | Stuff | Comments (0)

February 9, 2006

Boyz N My Crib

Recently I did some interior redecorating, and rearranged the books in my bookcase. It was over a year ago when I last reorganized my books, and I was lucky enough to find a real literary treasure: a biography of Prince Charles that I had never in my life seen before.

Well, thirteen months later, it happened again. This time, instead of a biography of a modern-day prince, it's the tale of three friends growing up in a South-central LA neighbourhood. Yes, someone secretly slipped me a copy of the novelization of Boyz N The Hood.

Boyz N The Hood: the Novel

All I have to say to my mysterious benefacator is: keep them coming.

21:20 | Stuff | Comments (4)

January 27, 2006

The Beard Stays, YOU Go!

For those of you who haven't seen me since before November, I've changed my appearance slightly: I decided to grow a beard. I didn't have any real reason to do so, other than a general feeling of ennui every time I looked in the mirror. What I find strange is different people's reactions to me since the addition of the facial hair:

For some reason I've always been amused by beards. Some of my favourite comedy sketches involved characters with beards (The Kids in the Hall sketch from which I stole the title of this blog post comes to mind). Some people get a kick out of fart jokes, some people crack up at monkey jokes. Me, I think beards are hilarious.

So how does my beard look? Here's an artist's rendition:

My beard may look a little something like this

And here's the real thing:

How my beard really looks

I probably won't keep it forever. In fact, I'm getting kind of excited about shaving it off. I've decided to do it in phases. The first day maybe I'll just shave the chin, connecting the sideburns via a "North-West Passage" over my mouth. Or maybe just the moustache, going for the Abe Lincoln look. Maybe I'll bring back the goatee I had in university. As a female friend of mine pointed out, a man's facial hair is the closest thing he has to expressing himself the way a woman does with her head hair. Except that a woman's hair generally gets less food stuck in it.

21:28 | Stuff | Comments (4)

January 16, 2006

Here I Am!

Thank you for indulging me in my blogging hiatus, and thank you to everyone who called or emailed. Two weeks ago, Teresa and I broke up. I won't bother getting into details here, but suffice it to say, we're doing our best to make it as amicable as possible, and there are no ill feelings toward each other. We were together almost two and a half years, and they were my happiest days in Seattle.

Last Tuesday she moved out, and into her own apartment at the other end of the neighbourhood. I will be staying here for a while, trying to enjoy the joys and freedoms of single life like cooking for one, watching my Simpsons DVDs, and writing a computer game (don't get your hopes up for anything playable soon, but I promise you'll be the first to know when it's done).

Overall, I'm staying positive and optimistic. As much as I hate the arbitrary and unrealistic nature of New Year's resolutions, I feel like taking advantage of these beginning-of-year life changes, and spending 2006 trying to better my attitude, my outlook and myself. Or I'll put on 20 pounds by eating chips and salsa every night and never leaving the apartment. Either way, a whole new me!

20:46 | Stuff | Comments (3)

December 27, 2005

Putting The T In Toronto

I'll be heading out to pick T up from Pearson Airport in a few hours. This will be her first experience with winter in Toronto, and she's a little nervous. Last year we had record cold, and I think she's expecting sub-arctic temperatures, blizzards, polar bears, etc. I'm sorry to disappoint her, but the forecast looks like snow and temperatures just below freezing. If you have any suggestions for good Toronto activities, feel free to leave a comment.

If I don't get to blog before I get back to Seattle, Happy New Year gentle reader. See you in 2006.

08:38 | Stuff | Comments (0)

December 24, 2005

Vacation Halfway Point

Happy/Merry <insert holiday here>!

I'll have more to blog about later this week. So far all I've been doing is enjoying the unseasonably warm weather, spending time with the family, wrapping gifts and getting myself a whole lotta couch time.

And in twelve hours I'll be playing with my new toys.

18:22 | Stuff | Comments (0)

December 8, 2005

Down With HPC? Yeah You Know Me

I've noticed an odd ad sitting atop the roofs of cab lately. Usually taxis don Bacardi or Starbucks ads, you know, things that party-goers or caffeine addicts may consider impulse buys. The ads that have baffled me of late are Microsoft ads promoting HPC (High Performance Computing) Cluster Servers. Don't get me wrong, I think it's a cool product, but I just don't see much return on investment from advertising on cabs in Capitol Hill. Sure, there's the off-chance a System Admin who partied a little too hard on a Friday night will need a ride home and have HPC subliminally implanted into his Red-Bull-and-Vodka-soaked mind, but for the most part, I'm guessing most fares won't know what HPC stands for, let alone whether their company need it.

07:29 | Stuff | Comments (8)

December 1, 2005

Snow Job

At about 11:00 this morning I heard some commotion outside my office. People were pointing out the window and either gasping with excitement, or with frustration. I peeked my head out to see what the dilly-o. It was snowing big fat flakes outside. I felt irrationally happy all of the sudden. Grinning like a moron, I sought out some of the other Canadians on the team and made sure they saw the white nostalgia falling from the sky. Seattle rarely gets snow, so it's always a treat for me to see even a modest two centimetres of accumulation. Then I thought about how terrible the ride home would be.

For some reason, despite the fact it rains in Seattle for nine months out of the year, Seattleites can't drive when the roads are wet. After a few days of bad traffic and accidents, they eventually clue in. But as soon as there's a sunny dry day, driver's amnesia hits again, and there are traffic jams galore.

I was fearful that my ride home would take hours (especially considering how the whole city shut down the last time it snowed), so I waited until after rush hour to grab the bus. Well, the ride home was fine. The little snow there was had melted by the time we were on the road, so there was relatively no traffic or accidents, and I got home on time.

I didn't say it was an interesting story.

22:10 | Stuff | Comments (1)

November 29, 2005

Have Passport, Will Travel

Friday morning I was woken up by the front door buzzer. It was FedEx with y new passport. Finally, I thought, the saga is now complete. From bureaucractic nightmare to washing machine to taxi cab, I was free to cross the border, just in time for Christmas.

Looking at my non-smiling photo, and the gold Mountie watermarks, I noticed something distressing. This passport expires one year from now. That means in a year, I need to go through all this again, with the overpriced photos, and the guarantor, and the signing and the hey hey hey. No one ever said freedom was cheap.

07:34 | Stuff | Comments (0)

November 26, 2005

The Holiday Season Has Officially Begun

Yesterday was the day after Thanksgiving. T and I went grocery shopping, stopped at a used bookstore and grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant. All three places of business were blaring Christmas carols. Yesterday, the Space Needle was crowned with its annual Christmas tree-like cone of lights. Unlike that past few weeks where carols and the occasional wreath could be spotted sporadically, Christmas season is here in full force. And I haven't started my shopping yet...

Speaking of holidays, I will be returning to frigid Southern Ontario Dec 17 and flying back Jan 1. T will be joining me on Dec 27, so this is advance warning to everyone who wants to see me, invite me to New Year's revelry, shower me with gifts, etc.

13:04 | Stuff | Comments (1)

November 20, 2005

Sexual Aid Or Child's Toy?

The other day T was out with some friends, so I invited my friend Mike over to watch a movie. As I stated earlier, I don’t have a TV, so I popped the DVD into my computer’s CD-ROM drive and pushed the sofa closer to my 19-inch monitor. As soon as I moved the couch, something caught my eye. It was about 20 centimetres (8 inches) long, made of plastic, was textured with little knobs, had a rounded top and had a handle. Mike and I looked at it, then looked at each other. I told him I had never seen it before in my life. He started laughing and guessed it was Teresa’s.

Now, beside the fact that Mike and I have filthy, childish imaginations, this thing really did look like a sex toy. Then I remembered the weekend before T had a girl’s night at our place (naturally, I was expected to make myself scarce). Maybe guys’ fantasies about what goes on at girl’s nights are actually true, and in the throes of passion, this thing ended up behind the couch.

Then I remembered how the day before, T had a friend over who brought her 8-month-old daughter. Could this be a toddler’s toy? Suddenly I felt dirty. I picked up the "toy" and examined it. The rounded top had a smiley face printed on it. Honestly, I could imagine it being used both ways. But don’t take my word for it:

Sex toy or child's toy?

Child’s toy or sex toy? Read T’s blog for the answer!

(I challenge any of my readers to find a cooler way to introduce my girlfriend’s new blog.)

23:10 | Stuff | Comments (3)

November 17, 2005

One Big DISH

The tiny town of Clark, TX (population 125) has changed its name to DISH, for free satellite TV for every citizen from the EchoStar Communications Corp.

Not everybody is happy with the name change, in particular first mayor Landis Clark (who named the town after himself), who is also a DirectTV subscriber.

08:47 | Stuff | Comments (0)

November 15, 2005

Prognosis: Delicious

Three years ago during my annual physical that I first learned I had high cholesterol. About a year ago I got another physical with similar results, so I decided to change my diet.

This was no fad diet I had embarked upon. It wasn't a low-carb or high-fat or all-watermelon diet, it was a diet low in saturated fats (red meat, dairy, eggs) and trans fats (hydrogenated oils), high in whole grains, vegetables, unsaturated oils and omega-3 fatty acids (fish, flax seeds). After a year of this new eating lifestyle, I went for my 2005 physical. The doctor was impressed by how seriously I had changed my eating lifestyle, and took some blood for analysis. Today I got a voice mail with the results. Cholesterol levels: excellent. The only downside was that I didn't lose a single pound since my last visit.

Spirits high, T and I went out for dinner to celebrate. I ordered a big greasy hamburger, and it was delicious.

22:31 | Stuff | Comments (1)

November 11, 2005

US Dollar Slips Against Canadian Acorn

Just when I'm getting ready to fly back to Canada for Christmas, Greenspan has to retire, essentially driving down the value of the US dollar with respect to the Canadian Acorn (source: The Onion)

The more I think about it, that headline isn't much dumber than "US Dollar Slips Against Canadian Loonie".

08:06 | Stuff | Comments (0)

November 8, 2005

To Gluten Or Not To Gluten

Every week some people at work buy donuts and bagels for the entire team. One week a vegetarian manager bought us vegan donuts from a local bakery. Being no stranger to vegetarian food, and never one to turn down free donuts, I eagerly ate one. It tasted fine. A little dry, but a tasty snack none the less. On my way back to my office I had the following conversation with a co-worker:

Me: "Hey, did you try any of these vegan donuts? They're pretty good."
J: "No way, I'm not eating any of that vegan stuff!"
Me: "Um, why not?"
J: "They've got gluten in them!"
Me: stares blankly
J: "Er, or maybe they don't have any gluten. Something about gluten!"
Me: "Do you know what gluten is?"
J: "It doesn't matter. I'm not eating no vegan donut."

19:50 | Stuff | Comments (0)

October 24, 2005

Back Up And Running

Surprisingly there were few mishaps in reinstalling Windows over the weekend, the biggest one was when I unsuccessfully tore the apartment apart looking for my Windows product key. Eventually T found it inexplicably hidden in a box of memorabilia from my trip to Japan.

Expect blogging to be light this week as I've got the week off work while my brother is in town visiting. What zany adventures will the Lyon Brothers get into? Find out next week.

07:43 | Stuff | Comments (0)

October 8, 2005

The Entrepreneurial Busker

When T and I were in Vancouver, we were taking a walk back to our downtown hotel after grabbing lunch in Chinatown when we spotted a man on rollerblades playing a guitar. He spotted us and started skating towards us, singing and playing louder as he got closer.

We tried to walk faster, pretending not to notice him (which would mean we were both blind and deaf). We were only one block away from W, Hasting St., not the nicest part of Vancouver, so we really didn’t know what to expect.

He was a black man of medium-build with long dreadlocks and a good voice. He skated along side us singing “Dust in the Wind”. After a few verses, we realized not making eye-contact with him was silly, so we let him serenade us as we continued walking down the street.

When he finished singing the chorus for the second time, T tried to push a twonie into his hand, but the man refused.

"I’m not done yet," he said, and sang another verse.

Eventually he finished his song, took the money and skated away, looking for other pedestrians to entertain. It left me thinking how this guy was the most entrepreneurial busker I had ever seen.

09:40 | Stuff | Comments (0)

October 3, 2005

A Disaster Waiting To Happen

If you were in charge of the marketing department at a company that made food products, and had to decide on the packaging for two entirely different products, whose only shared characteristic is that they both need to be refrigerated, would you make the packaging the same colour and scheme? (no, it's not just the poor lighting, the cartons are the same colour).

Milk and Eggs

To make matters worse, milk and eggs are two products I use in the mornings, usually before having my morning caffeine, so I'm not at my brightest. I'm terrified that one of these mornings I'm going to end up with eggs in my coffee and a pan full of scrambled milk.

20:48 | Stuff | Comments (1)

September 27, 2005

iPod, Take 3

I got my replacement iPod yesterday, the 60GB with colour screen version. It's thicker than my old 40 GB iPods, so it doesn't quite fit into the dock (and as a way to make more money, Apple has stopped shipping docks with iPods and are selling them seperately). Hopefully this one is more resilient than the iPod Nano.

So now everything but my passport has been replaced from The Great Backpack Theft of 2005. I will be sending off my birth certificate today, and according to Passport Canada, they hope to have my new passport in 20 work days. So by November I should have my new passport, and be able to go back to Toronto for Christmas.

Of course, until then I'll be a nervous wreck, paranoid that my birth certificate will have gotten lost in the great bureaucratic machine in Gatineau that is Passport Canada.

07:49 | Stuff | Comments (8)

September 19, 2005

International Talk Like A Pirate Day

Avast! Today be International Talk Like A Pirate Day. I be excited for today's team status meeting... Yarr!

08:07 | Stuff | Comments (0)

September 15, 2005

New Camera

I got my new digital camera today. I replaced my stolen Powershot S30 with the Powershot S70 (what can I say, I'm sold on the Powershots). Thanks to Dav for his camera advice. And what does that mean for you, my good readers? It means more empty promises to post photos of trips. Aren't you lucky?

00:49 | Stuff | Comments (0)

September 9, 2005

I've Got Two Legs

Yesterday my sister emailed me with the news that she had met a celebrity, of whom I am a big fan (huh, that was an awkward sentence): Mr Terry Gilliam. She is a Citizenship and Immigration Officer at Pearson Airport in Toronto, and Gilliam was on his way to the Toronto Film Festival to present his latest film Tideland.

She didn't recognize his name at first (Terence Gilliam), and so didn't get me an autograph (bad sister!). I've been a huge fan of Gilliam's ever since I was a kid and watched Time Bandits and Monty Python, and I even saw The Brothers Grimm on opening night.

I have a feeling she'll be meeting a lot more celebrities as time goes on, although I'm willing to bet none of them will have a rat tail quite as long as Terry Gilliam's (no, I'm not kidding).

07:53 | Stuff | Comments (0)

September 6, 2005

Delicious and Deadly

Thanks to Britain's Freedom of Information Act, previously classified records documenting innovative ways the Nazis planned to disguise bombs. These disguises include chocolate-covered grenades, bombs in cans of oil, explosive pastilles, and my personal favorite "the exploding Smedley's English Red Plums in Heavy Syrup".

I don't know about you, but English Red Plums in Heavy Syrup sounds deadly enough without the explosives.

20:13 | Stuff | Comments (2)

September 1, 2005

And The Universe Did Not Explode

Well it finally happened. After years of stalking me across the globe, I got to meet Para-Chris in person.

Rob seemed like a cool guy. We talked about Japan, living in the US, and future plans. Then we shook hands, and the universe did not explode.

I feel, even though it was not apocalyptic, the handshake was significant. With that instant of physical contact, the link between us was finally broken. All those adventures followed in my footsteps, from Waterloo, to Corel, to Japan, to Redmond, albeit a few years behind me, are done. I no longer have an international stalker, and Rob can stop living in the shadow of Chris Lyon.

Good luck on your own life Rob! And remember: you never know who's reading your blog.

06:57 | Stuff | Comments (1)

August 20, 2005

Insurance Update

Well, colour me pleasantly surprised. I talked to my insurance company, and not only is my loss covered, but they valued my stuff as higher than my estimate. So minus the deductible and depreciation (about 25%), I'm getting a cheque for more than half the value of my stuff (not including the passport, which will be reimbursed in full). So sorry everybody, no insurance company rant.

Now I'll need some recommendations on what camera model I should replace my Powershot S30 with (I'm looking in your direction Dav).

11:49 | Stuff | Comments (2)

August 19, 2005

Backpack Update

It's been five days, and no sign off the backpack. I've filed a police report, and a claim with my insurance. As if losing my digital camera and iPod being wasn't enough, my passport was in the backpack as well. Considering all the trouble it was to get this passport (and the one it replaced)

I'll keep you posted on the status of my insurance claim. Somehow I think it just may be rant material.

07:15 | Stuff | Comments (0)

August 14, 2005

And Boy Are My Arms Tired

I just got back today from a week-long vacation in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. We left the Outer Banks to come home at 1:00 pm Saturday (EST) and arrived back in Seattle at 3:30 pm (PST) Sunday (yes, that's about 30 hours of traveling. The flight from Norfolk, Virginia to Cincinnati (our connection) was delayed and we had to spend the night in a hotel outside Cincinnati airport (which is actually located in Kentucky), so I'm a little worn out).

I'd love to share photos of my trip with you all, but I left my backpack in the taxi we took from downtown Seattle (where the airport shuttle dropped us off) to our apartment. Also, my iPod was in my backpack and the cab company says no drivers have reported finding it. Needless to say, I'm not as relaxed as I should be, and am not in much of a mood to blog about it right now.

18:43 | Stuff | Comments (2)

August 2, 2005

German 2.0

The German Spelling Council has set this week as the deadline to transition over to a new, simpler, written German language. As usual with these sorts of transitions from complex, but traditional, ways to newer, more efficient, ways, the young have adopted it easily, while the older generation is resisting furiously (I'm looking in your direction, US Imperial Measurement System). It's particularly annoying when "Tradition" is used as justification for holding onto inefficient constructs ("Dang nammit! The ß was good enough for the Kaiser, so it's good enough for me!").

Despite my aversion to dropping the u in colour, I'm fascinated with the idea of language reform. The Japanese began reforming certain kanji after the Second World War, and the Chinese have been fighting illiteracy by simplifying their 50,000+ character set. Even the overprotective French occasionally update their language through their Academie Française.

I really wish English had some sort of regulatory body so we could make our language a little easier to read and write (and I'm not the kind of guy who usually advocates more bureaucracy). My greatest fear is that in the next 10 years English will be co-opted by text messaging teens, so future textbooks will be totally illegible to me. Then I can make a big fuss to keep English's noble, traditional orthography.

08:03 | Stuff

July 25, 2005

They're Not Made Of Real Meat Anyway...

Overheard at a restaurant this weekend:

"She's a vegetarian except for Corn Dogs."

07:44 | Stuff | Comments (2)

July 21, 2005

There's A World Going On Underground

American officials have just announced the closing of a metre-wide tunnel dug between a shed in Langley, BC to a house in Lynden, WA, built presumably to smuggle drugs.

And all this time I was waiting in line at the border crossing like a sucker.

08:09 | Stuff

June 22, 2005

You Are What You Eat

In Shooting-The-Messenger News, British potato farmers are protesting the Oxford English Dictionary to have the term "Couch Potato" removed from the dictionary, claiming it's harmful to the vegetable's image.

As if people are going to stop eating French fries and potato chips (chips and crisps, if you're British) just because potatoes are used to describe a sedimentary lifestyle. In fact, I would argue that the people who most fit the term "Couch Potato", eat the most potatoes.

Also, I don't think the farmers' recommendation, "Couch Slouch", is going to catch on any time soon.

20:24 | Stuff

May 26, 2005

Nice Melons

I don't have anything to blog about today, so here's a picture of a Chinese farmer and his square watermelons.

06:59 | Stuff

May 19, 2005

Who Was The Ad Wizard Who Came Up With This One?

I don't know who thought it was a good idea to feature the World's Ugliest Fat Baby in this digital photo services ad. It's got jowels fer crissakes! It looks like Alfred Hitchcock in toddler form. The way its chin is jutted forward, the narrowed eyes looking down its pudgy nose at us. I can almost hear it ordering me to fetch its bottle in an upperclass English accent.

Fat Baby Mug Shot

"And none of that 2% rubbish. I want full fat milk. And I do believe my nappies need changing..."

19:53 | Stuff

May 18, 2005

Adieu, Montréal

Looks like Ryan will be joining the ranks of the Brain Drainers, and moving to the US. Although he'll be living on the opposite corner of the country as I am (both geographically and politically), I feel closer to him already.

Since I only lived in Montréal during my first year of life, I can't offer him anything about the city he doesn't already know, so I hope this lovely tribute to Rue Ste-Catherine that Nick Taylor wrote does the trick.

Bonne chance Ryan!

21:26 | Stuff | Comments (1)

May 12, 2005

You Can Tell My Evil Twin By The Goatee

I'm either a very influential blogger, or I'm completely unoriginal. First, Rob (aka Para-Chris) has been mirroring my life, albeit 3 years after the fact. In fact, Rob is here in Seattle. When we actually meet in person, I'll take great care not to actually come into physical contact with him, lest we cancel each other out, and possibly take the universe with us.

Next, Jeff realized that he and I share a love for both criticizing Intelligent Design, and quoting the Simpsons. For correctly identifying the "self-indulgent tripe" tagline this blog has been sporting since its inception, he wins the grand prize: a single plum floating in perfume, served in a man's hat. Congratulations!

22:07 | Stuff | Comments (5)

May 3, 2005

Quid Pro Quo

A conversation between T and me at Pike Place Market:

T: "We should pick up some fava beans."
Me: "We can serve them with a nice Chianti." (licking lips) thpthpthpthp
T: "What?
Me: "You know, 'I ate his liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti.'" thpthpthpthp
T: (rolling eyes) "Oh, right. Silence of the Lambs."
Some Guy Walking By: "Hey look, fava beans!" thpthpthpthp

07:51 | Stuff | Comments (2)

April 23, 2005

My Faith In The Wendy's Franchise Has Been Restored

The woman who claimed to have found a human finger in her bowl of Wendy's chili has been arrested for attempted grand larceny. Apparently the finger "was not consistent with an object that had been cooked in chili at 170 degrees for three hours".

This woman has a history of trying bilk money out of fast food chains, and once tried to sell a mobile home she didn't own.

The police declined to comment whose finger it was.

12:42 | Stuff | Comments (1)

April 10, 2005

Unlocking Mysteries

Today T and I finally got around to watching the video Unlocking the Mystery of Life, a video about Intelligent Design (yes, this is the one I made mention to back in January.

What I found, was that this video tried very hard to come off a scientific. They had interviews with various scientists and university faculty members, had detailed scientific explanations of cellular interactions, and lots of computer generated illustrations. It also had a straw-man argument against evolution: Darwinian theory on natural selection can't account for the complexities of sub-cellular interactions or the origin of life, therefore life is a result of ID.

It disappointed me that the only opposing arguments presented were quotes taken directly from Darwin's Origin of Species (1859) (read in an exaggerated old-British-man's accent), and not from modern-day evolutionary scientists. It also disappointed me that the cornerstone of their argument seemed to be, anything too complex to understand must be designed.

I felt the video purposely misused the term "natural selection" (implying it applies to non-living phenomena), overused used terms like "machines" (when describing cell functions), and made abundant references to computers (even using a Bill Gates quote to imply DNA, like a computer program, requires design).

This video didn't change my mind about ID, but after talking to T, I did change my mind about ID and public schools. Topics like this, since they have such support in the US, could be introduced in a social studies class. However, just because it is an opposing view to scientific theory, does not make it science, and thus does not belong in science class.

15:11 | Stuff | Comments (1)

March 28, 2005

No More Cat Allergies?

According to this article, scientists have developed a molecule that blocks cat allergies. This is great news for someone like me, who avoids touching any surface, including furniture, when I visit cat owners.

The real reason I linked to the article is because of the accompanying photo:


07:02 | Stuff | Comments (4)

March 27, 2005

Soupe Du Jour

I'm making the side dish to bring to Jeff and Cathy's Easter dinner. May God have mercy on us all.

11:52 | Stuff | Comments (1)

March 22, 2005

Put The Lime In The Coconut

We're diving head-first into the spice-rich world of Indian cuisine tonight with Veggie Masala. Neither T nor I have very much experience making Indian food, so this should be interesting.

Last night we prepped the ingredients, which included chopping vegetables, mixing spices and staring thoughtfully at a fresh coconut. I seem to remember Ian and I buying a coconut about seven years ago, but I can't remember how we got the darn thing open. Suddenly T had an idea: Google it.

We found this page full of instructions, including draining the coconut milk, testing to see if it's rancid (which it wasn't), then my favourite part, breaking the coconut open:

After draining the coconut put it inside one of the plastic bags which are now used by practically all supermarkets. Then wrap this bag around the nut. Place the wrapped nut inside another plastic grocery bag (I normally double bag the nut for added strength.) Holding the handles, swing the bag down onto a concrete step, sidewalk, garage floor, etc.

It was good fun "curbing" a coconut outside my apartment. Luckily, no one stopped to ask what I was doing.

07:51 | Stuff | Comments (2)

March 17, 2005

Luck O' The Irish

Happy St Patrick's Day to all my readers of Irish heritage. For anyone interested in a timeline of Irish history, look no further than The Onion's Irish-Heritage Timeline*.

*Not factually acurate.

08:10 | Stuff

March 4, 2005

Take The Edge Off

I'm off to Portland Oregon this weekend. Hopefully I'll have some fun stories to share when I get back.

In the meantime, enjoy this Boondocks comic, and remember how much bouhaha there was over Clinton not inhaling.

07:55 | Stuff | Comments (2)

February 14, 2005

Valentine's Day Surprise

Teresa surprised me this year by planning our Valentine's Day activities. She picked me up from work today and took me out for an ethnic, yet inexpensive dinner. Where? Why, Tacos el Asadero, aka, the Taco Bus. Eschewing haute-cuisine and black-tie affairs, T and I sat in the 30-year-old bus/restaurant and ate $5 burritos and tacos. And DAMN, that was some good Mexican food.

Afterwards we headed to a favourite Japanese restaurant for some sushi (The Taco Bus having not filled us up). After that, we came home and played video games together.

(In case you're wondering, I got her flowers and a Valentine's Day card I made in grade 4 that I found the last time I was visiting my parents. I know, we're a pair of hopeless romantics).

This was one of my favourite Valentine's Days ever. I love you baby!

22:37 | Stuff | Comments (4)

February 8, 2005

And I Thought Football Fans Were Crazy

A Welsh man bet he would cut off his own testicles if England lost to Wales in the next rugby match. When Wales won its first home game against England in twelve years, he made good on his promise. Not only that, but he walked back to the pub to prove it, much to the horror of his drinking buddies.

A man's word is his bond after all. Even if he's now less than a whole man.

22:29 | Stuff

February 6, 2005

Birthday Party

Last night T and I hosted a party to celebrate my birthday. We had invited about 13 people, which we knew would be a challenge considering the size of our one-bedroom apartment. We decided to do some furniture rearranging, to accommodate the party. We moved the dining room table into the bedroom and set up the drinks there. The meant people wouldn't have to crowd our small kitchen, and opened up another room for socializing, with the bed as a big couch.

T made some delicious appetizers (including a baked brie with maple syrup). With Vanessa's help, they set up streamers and a collage of nice and embarrassing photos from my youth (what was I thinking with the hair I had in high school?)

People drank (I got quite drunk), ate, belly danced, and at one point a neighbour came up to complain. The party was a success. Thanks to everyone for showing up and helping me celebrate, and I'll be posting (tasteful) photos soon.

UPDATE: photos are here.

15:22 | Stuff | Comments (4)

February 2, 2005

Parallel Universe

Just as I was turning off my computer for the night last night, I checked my email one last time (not that I was expecting anything at 11:30pm, but I like my email with a touch of OCD. Not only was I surprised that I had mail, but who it was from.

It was a cold-call email from a Robert Shanks who reads my blog (well, the Japanese journal part, at least). He's a Waterloo Co-op student working at Epson in Japan. He previously held a co-op job at Corel, and has landed an SDET job at Microsoft when he gets back home. As if that isn't weird enough, he found on my blog a reference to the song Bug Powder Dust, a mutual favourite.

And he's keeping an online journal of his adventures in Japan. Uncanny, isn't it?

07:22 | Stuff | Comments (4)

January 29, 2005

Good Photo Blog

Kendall Anderson is a good photographer with some really interesting subject matter (including abandoned factories and psychiatric facilities around Toronto). Definitely worth a peek.

13:42 | Stuff

January 28, 2005

Skinny Grande Canadiano

Once again it's crunch time at work, which means long(er) hours, putting time in on weekends and waking up in cold sweats in the middle of the night. But there is a bright side: the espresso cart is back. Every Tuesday and Thursday the cart dispenses the black ambrosia just down the hall from my office. My drink of choice for that mid-afternoon jolt: double tall Americano.

Every once and a while, while getting coffee with my American friends, I get some static for ordering an Americano, even thought I'm not in fact American. Thinking themselves very clever for making such a lame joke, I usually retort with a lame comeback. I tell them I would gladly give up my Americano, if Starbucks would make a decent Canadiano: one shot of espresso, milk, and maple syrup.

That usually shuts them up, but there's always the one guy who asks if I'm serious.

08:08 | Stuff

January 20, 2005

A Kinder, Safer Devil Stoning

Today thousands of Muslims took part in the stoning of the Devil ceremony as part of the holy pilgrimage known as the Hajj. Last year 250 were trampled to death during this ceremony, so this year, the Saudi government deployed security forces and radical safety measures, including fenced-off walkways and a "larger stoning target".

21:06 | Stuff

January 18, 2005

Don't Give To Mercy Corps

There should be a special place in Hell for people like this guy:

A Pennsylvanian man has admitted sending more than 800,000 e-mails purporting to be from a charity appealing for funds for victims of the Asian tsunami—funds that would instead have ended up in his PayPal account.

22:21 | Stuff

Snow Squalls

Me: "They're calling for flurries this afternoon."
T: "Did you say flurries?"
Me: "Yeah. Is that another Canadian word? Do you know what flurries are?"
T: "I think so... are they those people who dress up as plush snowflakes and have sex?"
Me (applauding): "Bravo."

07:35 | Stuff

January 12, 2005

A New Food Pyramid

The US government has revised their food pyramid to include more whole grains, less sugar and encourage exercise in an attempt to stem the growing rate of obesity.

I think the new plan is great (although I wonder how effective it will be). For about six months now, I've been trying to eat more whole grains, less saturated fat and less sugar to help lower my cholesterol. Despite the strange looks I get from my coworkers in the cafeteria when I bust out my turkey taco salad, wheat berries and chicken, or some of Teresa's home-made hummus, I'm loving my new eating lifestyle. I haven't lost any significant weight, but that's most likely because I don't exercise much.

If you're interested in learning the benefits of a diet rich in vegetables, grains and exotic-sounding soy products (like tempeh), I recommend reading Eat, Drink and Be Healthy from the Harvard School of Medicine. I may never want another burger again.

19:48 | Stuff

January 3, 2005

2004 In A Blogshell

Apparently the thing to do when you have a blog is to recap the year in pithy self-centered bullet points. Always one to join the bandwagon, here's Chris' 2004 in no particular order (unless you consider chronological to be an order):

I'll add to this list if I think of anything else.

20:28 | Stuff

December 24, 2004

Chris Lyon: Sanitation Engineer

I got an interesting email to my work account on Tuesday. It had come through the feedback form on my MSDN Blog, which is all about .NET and the technologies I work with, in particular a technology called Automatic Memory Management, or Garbage Collection for short.

In a nutshell, Garbage Collection relieves the programmer from the responsibility of allocating and cleaning up precious memory, which can be error-prone.

So back to the email. It was from a producer on CBC Radio One inquiring about interviewing me. Wow, I thought. What do Toronto morning radio listeners want to know about the exciting world of garbage collection, mark-and-sweep algorithms, and compacting heaps? The answer, as I suspected, is "nothing".

Here is the email I was sent:

do you want to do an interview with CBC radio - about sorting garbage & what goes where? it would be for Wednesday or Thursday's show - metro morning, with andy barrie. Please get back to me as soon as you can,
name withheld
Producer, Metro Morning
CBC Radio One 99.1

So she wanted to interview me about municipal trash pick-up? I called her back, only to get her answering machine. I never heard from her again, so I guess she clued in that I wasn't what she had hoped. I wish she had called back though. That would have been one fun interview.

08:25 | Stuff | Comments (1)

December 13, 2004

Good Booze, Bad Food

On Saturday, T and I hosted a small BYOB party/potluck. The booze had to be a higher-end liquor (sorry, no 40 oz Schlitz), and the food had the be some 1950s-era abomination (not unlike those featured in the Gallery of Regrettable Food).

T and I provided Mercury Gin, and no less than three dishes: Swedish meatballs & cocktail wienies, chicken/tuna Jell-o mousse and butterscotch chow mein noodles (the latter being better than it sounds). We had some good contributions, including Spam-Velveeta canapés and chocolate marshmallow cake.

Surprisingly, no one was sick from overdrinking nor from eating the mousse.

07:26 | Stuff | Comments (1)

November 28, 2004

I'll Do It This Afternoon...

I haven't had time to blog about my Mexican adventure, so I'll just point you to Rafi's account until I get off my butt and blog about it. Pics are coming too!

22:21 | Stuff

November 23, 2004

Perhaps An Explanation Is Required

Apparently I'm not as funny as I think I am. In fact, I appear to be just plain crass and confusing sometimes. Take my last blog entry where I implied my friend Mark abandoned his would-be bride at the altar, then in an apparent act of total insensitivity, portrayed her as a monkey.

You see, ever since I met Mark, he loved monkeys. He would laugh at their simian hijinks, and ponder the possibility of actually owning one. It soon became a running joke that he would one day marry a bonobo monkey, and in honour of his wedding, I included said blog entry.

Hm, it seems a lot less funny now that I've explained it to death. I guess I sometimes forget how unfunny inside jokes are to 99% of my readers...

22:16 | Stuff | Comments (1)

November 7, 2004

An Everyday Conversation With My Girlfriend

T: I used you in class today.
Me: Used me how?
T: Oh YOU know. The move toward socialism would necessitate a change in mindset away from American individualism into community mindedness.
Me: Oh yeah, that.

21:44 | Stuff | Comments (1)

November 6, 2004

Flood Update

It turns out the flood my apartment suffered on Tuesday was not serious at all. Teresa and my quick acting minimized the damage the water caused, and in a few hours, had managed to soak up all the water with towels (mop and bucket are now on the To Buy list).

The laptop is back, and in perfect shape. The repair cost less than the insurance deductible (not that insurance was planning to pay for it anyway...)

Our ceiling is spotted with brown stains and crisscrossed with long plaster bubbles and cracks. The building owner will be repairing it in a few weeks.

If nothing else, this episode has taught us an important lesson: wrap your valuables in water-tight plastic every night before bed.

10:36 | Stuff

November 4, 2004

God Bless Jesusland

United States of Canada and Jesusland

Thanks Americablog

21:37 | Stuff | Comments (2)

Here Comes The Flood

Tuesday morning, we awoke to find a steady stream of yellow-brown water streaming from the ceiling and centimetre of water on the living room floor. There had been an uncharacteristically heavy storm the night before, and water had pooled onto the roof, and leaked though the ceiling. After half and hour we had the leaks contained in bowls and the kitchen trash can, and had soaked up most of the water with towels. T and I both called work to say we weren't coming in, and began bailing out the apartment.

The only thing that was damaged was a laptop, which the night before had been placed exactly under where a stream of water would appear. It's in the shop and expected to make a full recovery.

After talking to the building manager and a roofer, we found the culprit: the building's flat roof has drains that funnel water off the roof and onto the ground. The drains above my apartment had been clogged up. Clogged with what, you ask? Not leaves, or debris, or dead squirrels, or anything you'd expect to find in eaves. No, these drains were clogged up with... Wiffle balls!

I wonder if the building's insurance's All Peril clause covers wiffle ball damage.

07:40 | Stuff | Comments (2)

October 29, 2004

Instant Death!

Check out this warning sign. No comment necessary.

Via Boingboing.

20:21 | Stuff

October 22, 2004

Moving In

I've been pretty busy here lately between work, concerts and helping Teresa pack. As of this Saturday, I will no longer be living the bachelor life; T is moving in. We're pretty excited about it, and although it will be a bit tight (this is a one-bedroom apartment), I think we're going to be happy (it also means an excuse for a housewarming party).

In an attempt to minimize the amount of stuff to move, we've so far culled four garbage bags of stuff to give to Good Will (ok, three of the four bags are Teresa's... I'm still working through my massive storage closet). If anyone wants to stop by and pick up some old VHS tapes, random antiquated computer parts, or clothes we no longer wear, be sure to let me know.

08:05 | Stuff | Comments (4)

October 3, 2004

There Really is a Prince Charming!

Reorganizing my bookcase yesterday, I noticed an unfamiliar paperback nestled in between two books. I thought it might have been one of Teresa's, since her books are making an increasing number of cameos on my bookcase. Upon closer inspection, I came to realize if this book was put here by Teresa, it was clearly as a joke. The book: a 1981 pocket paperback of The Man Who Will Be King, a biography of Prince Charles.

The next time Teresa came over, I questioned her about the book. She laughed when I showed it to her, but denied ever seeing it before. So that leaves me in the interesting position of being the proud owner of a book I've never seen before (and have very little interest in reading) that mysteriously appeared on my bookshelf with no clues as to how it got there. Too bad I can't even sell it, since you can get it used on Amazon for a penny.

17:34 | Stuff | Comments (1)

October 2, 2004

Yeah, Jackhammers Are To Fear

It's people like this who make me lose all faith in humanity.

11:59 | Stuff | Comments (2)

September 26, 2004

Soft As A Baby's...

I was standing in the bathroom supplies aisle at the grocery store the other day, contemplating the extensive variety of toilet paper. I couldn't help wonder what prompted companies to feature photos of puppies or babies in blankets in their logos. And then there's Charmin, which inexplicably features an obese grinning bear, clutching a roll in his claw. Why do these companies want us to associate toilet paper with those who don't use their products? Are they trying to use cute animals and babies to distract us from the unappetizing thought of wiping our behinds with their products?

Maybe as a society we're so unwilling to acknowledge the dirty biological aspects of life, that images of kittens chasing unraveling rolls of tissue have become a euphemism for wiping one's ass.

13:49 | Stuff | Comments (1)

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 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 2, 2004

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

April 8, 2004

New Phone Number

My new apartment requires my phone number to have a 206 area code so I can hook up the front door buzzer to my phone. As of today, my 425 number is no longer in service, please email me if you want the new number.

12:03 | Stuff | Comments (2)

April 6, 2004

Dance Dance Revolution

Yesterday was Teresa and my first ballroom dance lesson. I'll wait for the snickering to subside before continuing.

Ok then. It appears I'm not as terribly clumsy as I thought I was, and was even able to stay in step for entire minutes at a time. I had a good time, and am looking forward to next week's lesson on dipping, since Teresa told me if I drop her one more time, I'm finishing the course on my own.

07:28 | Stuff | Comments (6)

April 5, 2004

Weekend Grab Bag


Made a mad dash from work to meet Teresa for a quick dinner and rushed to Seattle Center to see a play. Upon arrival, we were turned away because our tickets were for next week's play. Spent the rest of the evening sipping cocktails and chilling.


Went shopping for new apartment stuff (dishes, bathroom stuff, etc). Furniture shopping will have to wait until I get the keys and can measure the place. Spent the rest of the day outside enjoying the nicest day 2004 has offered so far.

Saturday night I had a few friends over for a high-end hard liquor tasting party. I ordered an aged gin from Internet Wines that went over well. Others brought gin, cider, some fantastic rum and some homemade blue stuff. After daylight savings, I didn't get to bed until after 4 am.


Woke up late, as to be expected, and walked to the International District for some dim sum. Spent the rest of the day moving pretty slowly, also as to be expected. I had a coupon for 20% off an item at Borders, but was annoyed to find all the DVDs prices so cheap to not make it worth using the coupon. Picked up a CD (Mule Variations - Tom Waits) and book (Against All Enemies - Richard Clarke) anyway.

07:18 | Stuff

February 27, 2004

The Passion Of The Chris

Ok, having my name truncated isn't always annoying. It can also be blasphemous!

Image deleted

Christopher shortened to "Christ..."

20:33 | Stuff

February 24, 2004

Of Pints And Wine Gallons

Apparently my last quote of the moment caused some confusion, so let me clear it up.

Mark brought up a good point that British pints use 20 oz to their pints. I'll admit I did not know that. But what Mark didn't say is that British ounces and US ounces are different.

When the United States became independent from Britain, they kept the same measurement system (among other things). Until 1824, the British and American systems were the same. Then Britain changed their system, to be defined in terms of their metric equivalents, in this case they redefined volume in terms of the gallon, and corrected every measurement smaller. The Americans did not follow suit.

So back to the ad. Since the newspaper is American, the ad is for a pub in Seattle, I would think it safe to assume the phrase "20 oz to our pints", to mean 20 American ounces to our American pints. Because 20 American ounces is less than 1 British pint.

Source: Bartleby.com

By the way, it was an ad for Kell's an Irish pub, not a British one, and Ireland is on the metric system.

08:59 | Stuff | Comments (6)

February 17, 2004

Targeted Advertising

I got two pieces of unsolicited mail this week (both real mail and email). Ok, I actually got a lot more than that, but I want to contrast these two particular pieces.

The junk mail I received was a credit card offer for a Democratic Party of America Visa. The card features a flowing American flag and a stylized donkey (the symbol of the Democrats). On the back of the envelope are emblazoned the words "Join your fellow Americans". I guess Visa is playing the odds that a 20-something male living in downtown Seattle would identify more with the Democrats than with the Republicans. Too bad for them I can't vote.

The spam I received was one of those discount software offers. But here's the kicker: the subject line offered Corel Ventura, a product I worked on during my first co-op term in university!

It's interesting that the spam from a random source managed to come closer to correctly targeting me than Visa and the Democratic Party.

23:25 | Stuff | Comments (6)

February 4, 2004

Good Birthday

As of yesterday, I am 26 years old. I expect you are all hanging your collective heads in shame for forgetting (all except for Ian, who chose an inexplicably bizarre picture to commemorate it). I celebrated by sneaking out of work at an ungodly early hour (5:30 pm) and went to Teresa's for a wonderful home cooked meal (chicken with cranberries and capers, green beans and mashed sweet potatoes and peach cake for dessert). I hope she doesn't have too high hopes for her birthday meal...

We're going to Washington's Olympic Peninsula this weekend to visit North America's only temperate rainforest.

22:06 | Stuff | Comments (2)

February 1, 2004

BON Homme

On the bus the other day, I happened to look over at a man reading a newspaper. There was a large ad on the back for a home sale at the local department store, BON-Macy's. The sale was called "BON Home Sale". I had to do a double take because I thought I had read Bonhomme Sale.

Here's a treat for all you Carnaval fans, Bonhomme: Cocaine Smuggler.

18:11 | Stuff

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 24, 2004

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 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)

December 19, 2003

Happy Non-Denominational Holidays

I'm flying home to Toronto tomorrow morning. I'll be spending ten days in the fabulous Hotel Lyon, visiting friends and family, before flying off to Virginia to spend New Year's with Teresa.

Blogging will be sporatic, as I still have four people I need to buy gifts for.

09:08 | Stuff | Comments (7)

December 12, 2003

Only In Texas

Where was the proofreader when this went to print?

That's it. Party City won't be getting any more of my business for novelty plastic menorahs.

07:36 | Stuff

December 10, 2003

Funk In The News

On Monday, P-Funk leader George Clinton was arrested for alleged possession of cocaine. A funk star that does drugs?! I was shocked too.

In happier funky news, James Brown was appointed Secretary of Soul and Foreign Minister of Funk by US Secretary of State Colin Powell. Maybe I've misjudged the Republicans after all.

21:04 | Stuff | Comments (1)

December 4, 2003

Probably Just A Typo

I came across a confusing headline as I perused Canadian news sites (Google Canada News is great for that). From the National Post: Harper carries Day's baggage yead [sic].

Having never seen the word yead before, I looked it up online. Every dictionary and thesaurus site I found gave the same definition:

Properly, a variant of the defective imperfect yode, but sometimes mistaken for a present.

For some reason, I wasn't satisfied with that definition. But luckily, the definition came with an example using yead in a sentence:

Years yead away and faces fair deflower. --Drant.

Yup, that's it. That was the only example any dictionary gave. I guess Drant was the only person to ever use this word. After searching some more, I found another use of yead, but this one was even more confusing.

An English majors out there?

19:29 | Stuff | Comments (1)

December 2, 2003

Political Wonders, Or Blunders?

Ever wonder what happens when politicians fire their speech writers?

Comedy gold.

20:39 | Stuff | Comments (2)

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)

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 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)

October 28, 2003

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 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)

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

September 30, 2003

Swedish For Common Sense

I finally broke down and ordered some furniture for the apartment today. Apparently the vacuous emptiness caused by the lack of kitchen table doesn't bother my roommate, but it started getting to me. That and the absence of ceiling fixtures causing the living room to be shrouded in darkness also started bugging me, so some lamps were ordered as well.

Being the trendy, price-conscious consumer that I am, I ordered some Swedish-efficiency-inspired furniture from Ikea. They should be arriving on Sunday, and considering my track record with them, I don't expect any problems.

19:13 | Stuff | Comments (2)

September 25, 2003

Belay On!

After a year of inactivity, I've started up indoor rock climbing again. There's a Vertical World in Redmond and one in Seattle, so I can vary my program. I started last week, and will try to go at least once a week from now on.

After a year of not climbing, my skill on the bouldering wall has deteriorated considerably (not that it was ever that great to begin with). I finished a few V0 courses, but being unaccustomed to the height and forearm strength required, I freaked out at the top of one wall. I had finished the course, but felt too tired to attempt the downward climb. I eventually managed to get down safely, but a tad embarrassed.

If there's anyone in the Seattle area interested in starting (or who's good enough to give me some tips), send me an email.

19:57 | Stuff | Comments (4)

September 19, 2003


Every Thursday evening there's a discussion group I try to meet with. I usually have enough time to get home from work, grab a quick bite to eat, then walk to Capitol Hill, which takes about half an hour. The weather hasn't been too rainy of late, so the walks have been quite enjoyable. Capitol Hill is a very colourful part of town with plenty to see. Yesterday I got an eyeful.

For the duration of my walk I was behind a couple, presumably boyfriend-girlfriend. They held hands when they walked, and sometimes put their hands into each others' back pockets. They didn't attract too much of my attention until we stopped walking at red lights. That's when the couple started making out. With each progressive red light, the wilder they got. By the time we arrived in Capitol Hill (were they heading to the same pub I was?) they were groping each other, sometimes leaning against walls or even parked cars for support. I was afraid to walk past them, lest I get unwittingly sucked into their necking session.

Eventually our paths diverged and the couple disappeared down a residential street, and I walked on alone, shaking my head. Some people have no shame when it comes to public displays of affection

18:27 | Stuff

September 10, 2003

C'est Chouette!

A few weeks ago, I went to the Ballard Locks and surrounding park. There was some sort of bird show there, with trained professionals handling eagles, owls, and other birds of prey. I could identify the hawk, the horned owl, but then they brought out this ghostly white bird with dark sunken eyes. I suddenly experienced something I hadn't for at least a decade. Here was an animal whose name I knew only in French - une chouette!

Having the majority of my elementary education taught in French (I attended two Francophone - not just French emersion - schools), knowing the French and not the English name for some words wasn't uncommon in my pre-teens. For this to happen in my mid-twenties blew me away, especially considering my French has officially slipped from "sub-par" to "rusty".

This phenomenon left me a little shaken up. It was like a little forgotten piece of my past that had crept up grabbed hold of me. It made me very proud that I had been brought up bilingual, and at the same time ashamed that I had let it slide.

I found out a minute later that the English name for the bird is "The Screeching Barn Owl". Somehow I prefer the French name.

18:30 | Stuff

September 1, 2003

Goyer? I Hardly Know Her!

Ang and I spent the day walking around Seattle. We spent a good deal of time at Pike Place Market. Since I'm seldom home in the evenings, I don't have much time to cook for myself, so I forget that I live around the corner from fresh fish and produce. We bought some fresh fruit and vegetables, and I made a mental note to learn how to cook seafood once Ang leaves.

In the afternoon we met up with blogging superstar Matt Goyer, his girlfriend Natalie, Ming and a few of their friends and set off to White River to see Radiohead in concert.

Funny story about getting the tickets. A few weeks ago, my friend Graham emailed my roommate and me asking if we were interested in going to see Radiohead when they came to town. I told him in no uncertain terms that I was interested. A few weeks later, I asked about the status of the tickets. He told he hadn't bought any tickets, but was merely asking if this was the sort of thing I would go for. Andy thankfully then took it upon himself to buy three general admission tickets, and I thought the matter was settled. Then I remembered that Sunday was the day after Ang arrived. Now I couldn't very well abandon my girlfriend for an evening, so I sold my ticket to another friend. I came home that evening to an email from Matt, telling me he had two extra tickets to Radiohead, and asking if I and a guest wanted to go with them.

So that's the story of how I ditched my Seattle friends to go to a concert with people I had never before met (in the flesh, that is).

Oh, and in case you're wondering, the concert was fantastic and I highly recommend attending a Radiohead show be made mandatory for a high school diploma.

11:17 | Stuff | Comments (1)

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 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 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

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 12, 2003


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 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 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

July 30, 2003


I played squash today for the first time since I moved out here. Before that I had been playing regularly with my younger sister, and occasionally with my girlfriend Angela and friend Jen. After planning a game for 5 weeks (I cancelled, my partner cancelled, my partner didn't show up, my partner hurt his wrist), I was finally able to play.

I learned today that playing squash against guys my own age is a lot different than what I was used to. I got destroyed. But I'm not letting it get me down. With weekly squash games along with my new workout regiment, I'll be in shape and back down to my ideal weight in no time.

Ok, you can stop laughing now.

00:00 | Stuff

July 29, 2003

White Men Can't Shoot

Today we all went to a stuffy, hot arena to watch the Exiles' last game. The Exiles are a roller hockey team, whose members include my roommate Andy and two friends Justin and Derek. Despite our cheers and encouragement, the Exiles lost 14 to 3 (congrats to Andy for scoring one of the 3). At least they didn't break their 0 - 20 streak.

00:00 | Stuff

July 23, 2003

Out Of Doors

It's such a crime to spend these few beautiful summer days indoors. I wonder if they put WiFi access in the dining patio outside my building, would anyone bring their laptops and work outside? If so, would they actually get any work done? I think we all know the answer to that.

Saturday is the Microsoft Company picnic, an all weekend family fun affair, with rides, parades and free food. I went last year and it was a lot of fun. I guess I should remember to bring my sunscreen this year.

00:00 | Stuff

July 19, 2003


Happy birthday Angela! I'm sorry I can't be there for your birthday (again). I hope you have a good time with your friends and family without me, and I promise I'll be there next year!

00:00 | Stuff

July 17, 2003

Free Beer

I helped a friend-of-a-friend move today. Usually I would say no, but when there's free beer to be had, you'd be surprised at what I'd be willing to do.

00:00 | Stuff

July 15, 2003

Even Steven

This morning I got a rebate cheque for the CD burner I bought last month. The rebate amount: $20. Today I also had to put a stop pay on my last rent cheque because my landlord somehow lost it. The fee for the stop pay: $20.

If only I had this kind of luck in Vegas.

00:00 | Stuff

July 14, 2003

Fear And Loathing

Yes, I made it back from Vegas with my life savings. I'm going to take time this week to write up a full account, but in the mean time, I'll give a brief synopsis:

00:00 | Stuff

July 10, 2003

Vegas Baby!

I'll be taking Friday off work, and the weekend off blogging because I'm going to fabulous Las Vegas for the weekend. A bunch of friends here decided it would be fun to go to the desert in the dead of summer, and who was I to disagree?

We had a to make a decision as to what show to see while in Vegas, and in the spirit of America and democracy, we voted on it. My vote was for O by Cirque Du Soleil. Unfortunately I was outvoted. We are instead going to see the magical antics of Siegfried and Roy.

I should have some interesting stories when I get back. Until then, have a good weekend!

00:00 | Stuff

July 4, 2003

Andy's Day

Wednesday night we went out to dinner and karaoke to celebrate Andy's birthday. It was the first time I had done karaoke since I got back from Japan almost two years ago. Surprisingly, it wasn't much different that what I remember. You book a small room with ten of your friends and sit and sing for a few hours. The biggest difference was that this place wasn't licensed to sell alcohol, so I had to consciously suppress my dignity. I busted it old school with Young MC's Bust A Move (at one point in my life I wouldn't have had to look at the screen).

00:00 | Stuff

July 2, 2003


Congrats to Vancouver, for winning the bid to host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. I just hope I'll be out here long enough to enjoy it. This will be the closest I've ever lived to the Olympic Games since I was negative two years old in Montréal.

Congrats to my roommate Andy for surviving another birthday. For a gift, I let him sleep in an extra 20 minutes before nagging him for a ride to work.

Congrats to Travis, who brought me the one perfect gift from Canada: a tin of Tim Hortons coffee. I'm enjoying a home-brewed cup as I type this.

00:00 | Stuff

June 30, 2003


Happy birthday to Ian. Keep looking for that final fix.

00:00 | Stuff

June 29, 2003


Travis came down from Vancouver to visit me this weekend. We did some touristy things like eat fish in Pike's Place Market and had coffee at the first Starbucks. He got a real kick out of spending American money, so I let him treat me to lunch.

I also got my diploma in the mail. It was a little creased, but otherwise in good shape. Also inside the envelope was a convocation program booklet, an official alumnus card, an ad for Bachelors hoods, and my co-op transcript. Whoever printed up the transcript thoughtfully let the last entry get cut off. I guess the administration couldn't bear to let me go without screwing me one last time.

00:00 | Stuff

June 23, 2003

Principia Numismatica

One of the things I can't get used to here in the United States is their money. Sure, it's one of the most powerful currencies in the world, universally recognized and, uh, green, but there are things about that annoy me. All too often I've glanced into my wallet, seen a wad of bills, thought to myself Well, I certainly have enough cash to pay for dinner, then realized I had 9 ones and had to wash dishes to pay off the rest of the bill.

(That's a lie, I haven't ever had to do that. Plus American's don't call it "The Bill", but inexplicably prefer to call it "The Check", complete with a hand gesture of writing a giant check mark onto one's palm. Do you think anyone here would find it funny to pay the check by cheque? But I digress...)

But there is hope. The US Mint recently announced that they will be colourising their bills, starting with the twenty. Although the new design won't make the bills as easily identifiable as Canada's "Monopoly Money", the mint hopes it will curb counterfeiting.

In 2000 the US Mint started issuing Sacagawea, or Golden Dollars, which are the same size and colour as Canada's Loonie. Being a big fan of the Loonie, I thought this was great, except that after living here for 6 months, I have only seen one such coin. I guess Americans are too attached to the Greenback, or maybe prefer lighter pockets.

I want to go to a bank, get about a hundred of these coins and try using them everywhere. I wonder how many places will refuse to take them. I guess if I really wanted to freak people out, I could use the even rarer American two dollar bill (accepted in almost as many places as the 200 dollar George W. Bush bill).

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June 21, 2003

How Chris Got His Groove Back

I saw something last night that both confused and amazed me. A few of us went out for dinner and drinks and ended up at Belltown Billiards for some pool. After an excruciatingly long game of 5-person cutthroat (pool in Seattle just isn't the same without Wan Li) we hit the dance floor.

Anyone who knows me knows how bad I am at dancing. I would much prefer to sit in a pub and down pints of dark beers than to have my eardrums pierced by thumping beats. Regardless, dancing was what everyone else seemed to want to do, so I went along.

After a few minutes on the dance floor (and hearing that Indian-style song with the Knight Rider beat), this guy showed up. He was wearing a white Elvis-style jumpsuit with gold sequin, complete with half-length cape. Then the amazing thing happened. After dancing alone for about ten seconds, no less than three girls grabbed him and pulled him into their circle. They then proceeded to grind with him and strip his top off.

Had this guy stumbled on the ultimate secret to get girls? Is sequin what women look for in a man when they go dancing? As far as I know this guy left with all three girls and was "Kung-fu Fighting" all night long.

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Happy Birthday Dave, wherever you are.

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June 14, 2003

Hello Newman

It was Newman's (one of the people I met out here) birthday yesterday, so a bunch of us got together and planned a night of sushi and bowling. Since the plans were made at the last possible minute (5pm), a lot of people couldn't make it, including Newman. But we had a good time anyway. I introduced a few people to unagi and Asahi Super Dry. They were not disappointed.

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Everything In Its Right Place

This morning Ikea delivered the rest of my bedroom furniture. I can finally move out of the boxes I had stacked in the corner of my room. Now that I have a desk, I can move my computer out of my closet where it had been perched on a shelf for the past month. I'll probably spend the rest of the day setting up my room and generally making a mess.

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June 4, 2003

I'll Have The Usual

I walked up to the Starbuck's counter in my building's cafeteria and before I could order, the woman behind the counter smiled. "Grande non?" she said and rang up my usual order. I nodded and chuckled to myself. She knows my order. I've been coming here every morning for the past few weeks, always ordering the same thing, a grande non-fat milk latte (I figured non-fat is the way to go if I'm sucking back one of these every morning).

It's cool. I always wanted to go to a restaurant or some place and just day "I'll have the usual" and have the server know exactly what I want. I guess that comes part and parcel with a caffeine addiction. Then again, I frequented Tim Hortons much more than Starbuck's and they still had problems getting my order right when I order it, let alone recognizing my face.

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June 3, 2003

The Tourist

Dave left my apartment and set off for San Francisco this morning. It was cool having him here for a few days. We stay in touch over email and IM so little time was spent catching up and more time spent enjoying the city's food (Mexican on Sunday, sushi on Monday) and music (jazz at Tula's on both nights).

After jazz yesterday we came back home and I let Dave update his blog with the first of a series of cross-American travel posts with witty titles.

I'm eager to read about the rest of his adventures in this great country they call America.

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May 26, 2003

Social Butterfly

One of the big changes to my lifestyle since I moved downtown is a new social life. Andy introduced me to a bunch of his friends at the Puzzle Hunt, so we've been hanging out, playing sports and Halo. It was the first time I had played basketball since my little accident, so I was a bit rusty. I found out that I'm only slightly better at basketball than I am at Halo. Yes, that means I suck.

Last night we stayed up late playing a stupid board game. After five hours we gave up because there was no end in sight.

Today is Memorial Day, a national American holiday. I made up for missing Victoria Day (May Two-Four) in Canada, by sleeping in a lot. Andy and I went to buy the rest of the furniture we needed, but Ikea was out of the one bookshelf I wanted, so I'll be living out of boxes for at least another week.

I'll be spending the rest of the day trying to set up Andy's new stereo and finally tackling the huge pile of boxes left over from my move.

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May 14, 2003

The Great North American Tour

I'm looking forward to Dav's somewhat inaccurately-named Great North American Tour (there are more than three countries in North America, you know). His second stop is Seattle where he will spend three luxurious nights on the couch in my apartment. Hopefully I'll be better acquainted with the city by then and will have places to take him. We've already decided on hitting up the Seattle jazz club scene, and perhaps a ride on the monorail (you're singing the Simpson's Monorail song, aren't you?).

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May 13, 2003

Birthday Greetz

Happy Birthday to my second-favorite software developer and good friend Ryan.

Ryan wearing turban

Let's hope this birthday is a little more dignified.

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May 12, 2003

Sock It To Me

When I was packing my one suitcase to last me the month before the movers would bring me rest of my belongings, I felt like I had some tough choices to make. Should I pack my gym clothes? What about my suit? Swim trunks?

Eventually I narrowed it down to one week's worth of clothes: seven shirts, three pairs of pants, seven pairs of underwear and seven pairs of socks. That would mean I would have to do laundry once a week, or risk not keeping any friends for more than a week.

After my first week in Redmond, I was shocked to find that three of the seven pairs of socks I had packed had holes in them. So I went and bought three new pairs, and threw the holey ones out (don't worry, this story gets more interesting).

A month later my stuff arrived, including the clothes I left had behind. I found all my old clothes, plus some clothes that once belonged to my late grandfather that my grandmother gave to me before I left. I started unpacking, putting socks and underwear in the top drawer, shirts and sweaters in the bottom ones. To my surprise, the top drawer filled up quicker than the rest, so I moved underwear down a drawer, and kept unpacking. A few minutes later, the top drawer was full again, and I still had socks to unpack. Annoyed, I threw all the socks into one box and counted them.

Just the day before, I was lamenting my lack of footwear, but now I was cursed with 47 pairs of socks. I could now go a month and a half without ever washing socks! Where did all these socks come from? I know I didn't have 20 pairs of my own, and surely my grandfather didn't own 30 himself. I think the movers might have packed my entire family's sock drawers with the rest of my stuff.

I've since spoken to the landlord about paying for extra storage space to house my enormous sock collection.

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May 11, 2003

Baseball Game

I got free mariners tickets from my manager, so Saturday night Andy and I went to see the Mariners lose to the White Sox. Every time I've been to a Major League ball game, the home team always loses. Remember the 1995 Blue Jays? That was my fault.

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May 6, 2003

SARS or Squash

Last night I got to spend the evening with a friend and former intern who just interviewed for a full-time position. I told him what had changed at Microsoft since the summer, and he told me what has changed in Toronto since SARS. Hopefully he gets the job so I'll have a squash partner at my skill level (in other words, one that won't annihilate me on the court).

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May 2, 2003

Bowling For Microsoft

I got myself a mobile phone today. It only took AT&T 10 business days to approve my foreign applicant application. I guess they've been getting a lot of foreign Microsoft employees defaulting on their phone bills.

The first time I turned on the phone, I noticed a number in the Missed Calls. Strange. I set up my voice mail, and was even more surprised to find a message, left a mere half hour before I arrived at the store to pick up the phone. The message was left by an annoyed-sounding man who was erroneously given my number to call. He didn't leave a very detailed message, so I don't know what he wanted, only that he called at "precisely 12:33" and needed someone to return the message within the hour. He then left his name and number. The man's name: Michael Moore.

Could this be the infamous Michael Moore of Bowling For Columbine fame? Probably not. Although the prospect of a famous person calling my phone certainly excited me.

I called back, 3 hours too late. I left a message with Michael's brother (does the real Michael Moore have a brother in Washington state?), telling him that Michael had been given the wrong number, and that was that.

Maybe the message was actually for me. Maybe Moore was looking for people to interview for his new documentary about Microsoft.

Heh, not bloody likely.

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April 30, 2003

Moving Conflicts

I'm taking the day off work tomorrow to supervise both the movers and the Ikea delivery. Unfortunately, I have no control over what time they're arriving, and it looks like they've both set their respective minds on 8:30am. This means I have to get to Seattle and be in the apartment waiting by 8:00, then hope there's no problem with them both trying to use the same elevator (and driveway). Luckily I don't have that much stuff or this could get ugly (which it still may).

Moving to into the new place is good news for you, my loyal readers. It means I'll have my own computer (assuming it arrives in one piece) and a high-speed Internet connection, which means more quality time for blogging (no more blogging at work and minimizing everything when my boss walks by. Just kidding, I stay late at work to blog. Now that's dedication!) I'll let you know how the move went (expect a rant sometime next week).

I just hope the total damage will be under $1000.

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April 25, 2003

Bedless in Seattle

It's the first beautiful sunny day since I moved out here, so I think I'll go enjoy it. The movers should be showing up with my stuff sometime next week, and this weekend my roommate-to-be Andy and I are going furniture shopping (we both agreed that sharing a bed was in neither of our best interest).

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April 24, 2003

SARS Stars

Two Canadian bloggers describe the way people react to the SARS outbreak: one in Toronto and one in Beijing. It's interesting how differently the danger is perceived in each country.

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April 17, 2003

ETA: Unknown

The movers came by and picked up the last of my things from my parents' place this morning. My mom told me they had all my worldly possessions packed up and out the door in about an hour. It's kind of depressing knowing that everything I own is in a truck somewhere, vulnerable to theft, accidents and acts of God. It's also depressing knowing that my stuff didn't come close to filling the truck, and so the movers will have to wait until they can fill it with other people's stuff before they can move it here.

So I'm stuck with only the week's worth of clothing I packed for myself. I guess that means I can start spending my first paycheque on a clothing shopping spree. Either that, or do laundry.

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April 10, 2003

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

My time here is just about up. I've said goodbye to my closest friends and family, I've packed and I'm ready to go. I wonder how this blog will change once I get settled in. Will it become a chronicle of a lonely Canadian living in America? Will it become a more tech-oriented site, due to my work at Microsoft? Will it be the next Talking To Americans? Meh, it'll probably be more of the same crap I usually write.

I don't know when I'll have the opportunity to blog again, so until I return check out some of the fine webloggers I have in my links section.

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April 9, 2003

Now Showing

Now showing in downtown Brampton, Ontario, Canada: illusionist David Copperfield reads the mind of The Sopranos' Edie Falco!

Mural of hair stylist and customer

This is actually a mural on the side of a hair salon in Brampton. Why these characters resemble these two particlar celebrities is a mystery only a TV-magician can solve.

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April 8, 2003

Last Days

Well it finally happened. The ungodly tangle of logic and red tape finally became unwound. I am booked to fly one-way to Seattle on Friday April 11, 2003. From there I will be staying in Microsoft temporary housing until the current tenant of my new downtown Seattle apartment moves out. I start work Monday at 9:00 am.

I plan to spend my last few days in Canada packing and last-minute visiting.

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April 6, 2003

Quelle Surprise!

Today I was treated to a surprise going-away party by my parents. It was at Bassano's, an expensive Italian restaurant here in Brampton. With the help of my sister Alexis , my parents invited Angela, Ryan, Ian, my Uncle Brian and Aunt Diane, my sister's boyfriend Derek, my brother Matt and his roommate Christian. I didn't suspect a thing.

The meal was excellent, and I even got some going-away gifts (the majority of which were gags). There was even a mille-feuille going-away cake, that had to have been the tastiest cake I've had in recent memory.

I should be leaving sometime this week (date to be announced), and it was really nice to see everyone one last time. Personally, I wouldn't mind my trip being delayed a few more weeks in the hopes that there will be yet another going-away party for me.

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April 4, 2003

Roll Up The Rim To Lose

According to the Tim Hortons rules and regulations, the odds of winning their Roll Up The Rim To Win contest are one in nine. The contest opened one month ago yesterday, and I've only won twice: a muffin and a cookie. Now I know I've had more than 18 cups of Tim's coffee in the last month. Hell, I've had at least 18 this week! It think this means I'm due to win the big-screen TV any day now.

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March 31, 2003

Ansel Adams He Ain't

My sister and I went out for Chinese at the Mandarin, the largest Chinese restaurant I've ever seen. As we were being seated we noticed a man setting up a tripod and camera. On our way back from our first trip to the buffet tables, we were forced to stop and wait for him to shoot a couple shots of diners stuffing their faces. Since our table was against the wall, we couldn't walk around him without blocking his shot. Completely oblivious to our presence, he took photo after photo of the dining room. After several minutes he walked away, unaware that he had left us standing like morons clutching our salad plates.

Being the petty man that I am, I vowed revenge.

On our second trip to the steam trays, I saw the photographer setting up his camera to get a few shots of the buffet. I placed myself at the closest buffet table to him, then proceeded to heap tons of food onto my plate, all the while licking my lips, or pointing excitedly at the chow mein. I didn't see the flash go off until after I turned away to go back to my table.

I guess I won't be on any Mandarin promotional material anytime soon. That's probably best for everyone involved.

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March 30, 2003

You Can Dance If You Want To

I spent the weekend in Waterloo to celebrate long-time friend and ex-roommate Jen's birthday. Since Jen likes to dance, we went to a local club. Since I don't like to dance, I managed to avoid the dance floor by nursing a vodka and club soda. When it was done, I nursed another. And another. And another. Sure my wallet was empty, but I managed to avoid dancing all night.

We left in high spirits. Jen and Ang had a good time dancing, and I got properly trashed.

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March 27, 2003

Boycott France!

Thanks to Guillaume for posting the Boycott France email. I only can imagine what millions of Americans are doing without their Dom Perignon and Airbuses right now. If this keeps up, the French economy will be in ruins in no time.

Speaking of which, my sister is a waitress, and she actually had a customer order a "Freedom Onion Soup" last night. I really hope this guy was kidding around.

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March 24, 2003

Freedom Fries

Congratulations to Guillaume, who recently joined the world of blogging. It's in French, so all you Americans who are boycotting all things French had better stay away.

Speaking of which, I got an email forward yesterday entitled Say No To France. It advocated boycotting all French products and services and even included a handy list of French companies to avoid. I sent this email to Guillaume as a joke, and he wrote back telling me that some of the companies on that list aren't really applicable, like French airlines and engineering companies. Some of the companies listed aren't even French, but Swiss. And who could possibly hate the Swiss?

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March 22, 2003

Public Transportation and Cats

Recently I've had the good fortune of using Southern Ontario's public transportation system. Although it lacks the frequency and efficiency of its Japanese counterpart, I found it convenient and cost effective.

Thursday night I took the bus, subway and train to get from my house to Rick and Vanessa's house in Etobicoke. We (Rick, Vanessa, Brad and Rafi) went to St Hubert for a disappointingly mediocre meal. After dinner, Brad and Rafi went home and I decided to crash there.

I took an allergy pill so their cats wouldn't bother me, but my clothes had somehow attracted cat hair in my sleep, making my runny nose linger all day.

The next day I took the train to downtown Toronto. I was to meet friends Dav and Liza after they got off work, so I wandered about the mall at Union station. I saw a sign for the blood donor clinic, so I decided to drop in. I used to give regularly, but couldn't find the time with my busy schedule. Since I had time to kill anyway, I walked towards the clinic, only to be accosted by two girls with a laptop.

The girls were demonstrating some new wireless technology from Intel, so I stopped to take a look. The demo crashed while I was watching it (yes, I'm that good a tester), so they gave me a pen and a free bus ticket for my time.

After giving blood and a bit of shopping, I met up with Dav and Liza, went for Thai, had a few beers, and I once again decided to spend the night in Toronto. Of course both Liza and Dav have cats, and of course their cats' hair became fused to my sweater, so I suffered form post-cat contact until I got home (via my free ticket).

Who says you need a car to have a good time?

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March 18, 2003

Busta Move!

Congratulations are in order for my good friends Mark and Amy who just got engaged. To quote Young MC: "There's one more girl you won't be getting."

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March 17, 2003

Luck O' The Irish

Happy St Patrick's Day to everyone who will be getting drunk on green beer and seeing leprechauns in their sleep tonight. Keep reaching for that rainbow.

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March 8, 2003


The party last night was great. There were over 20 people there, all friends from high school, Japan, and Waterloo. I tried to partition my time equally between the three groups, but everyone wanted a piece of Chris that night.

Thanks to everyone who showed up, despite the bad weather. I had a great time, and as most of you could tell, I was moderately intoxicated. I'll just be taking it easy tonight, drinking water and taking Tylenol.

A special thanks to my brother and his roommates for letting a bunch of strangers party in their house. I can only hope to return the favour by having a house-warming party for myself in Seattle, but I somehow doubt everyone will make it.

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March 7, 2003


Despite what I said about mixing coffee and nog, I tried the egg nog flavoured coffee Timothy's offers. It's like a little bit of Christmas in every mug. That and caffeine.

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The latest word from Microsoft is that I should be starting work hopefully by the first week of April. Much like before my trip to Japan, I'm having a going-away party tomorrow. I'm extending the invitation to all my loyal readers who live in Southern Ontario. Drop me a line if you're interested.

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March 2, 2003

Big Builder

Happy birthday to Angela's second cousin Kevin who celebrated his 6th birthday today. We took a trip down to visit them, and to deliver birthday presents. They recently got a new computer, so we bought Kevin a construction computer game. He took one look at the box, and cast it aside, hinting that he was too old for Fisher-Price games.

"Fine," I said. "I'll play it then."

Five minutes after I started swinging a virtual wrecking ball at a virtual barn, all the kids had crowded around me, begging for a turn. Finally Kevin put a stop to the pleas by announcing to everyone that he was the birthday boy and it was his turn to play. He almost missed his cake, he was so engrossed with tearing down farmhouses and factories.

And Angela thought he would be too old for it.

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Red Red Kroovy

I cut myself shaving today. I took a chunk right out of the top-right of my upper lip with all three blades of my Mach3 razor. It only bled for oh, I don't know, an hour, and left my face marred with an obvious sore that rendered me more hideous than usual.

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February 27, 2003

Retail Sucks

Today I went to Staples to fax some documents to Redmond for my visa application. They wanted a copy of my passport and immigration papers, and since these papers wouldn't fit very easily into a fax machine, I went to use the self-service photocopiers. There was a sign on one of the copiers with a list of documents that Staples does not allow one to photocopy. This list included passports and immigration documents.

I looked around, saw no one was watching me, then photocopied them anyway. I'm reckless, I know.

I gave the copies to the girl at the copy centre, and asked her to fax them for me. I gave her the phone number, and she asked if it was long distance. I pointed out the 425 area code and said that I thought so. After successfully faxing, I gave her the copies to be shredded and was about to walk away, when she asked me if I needed a bag. "A bag for what?" I wondered and declined. I guess it was force of habit to always ask customers that question. It looked that this part-time job in retail had sucked the will to live out of this poor girl.

I made a promise to myself in my first year of university, that when I quit my job at Burger King, it would be my last part-time job ever. So far, I've made good on that promise.

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February 26, 2003

So Very Cold

Usually Zoë loves to go for walks. You can't put on your coat without her running to your side begging to come with you. You'd think we never let the dog out of the house the way she gets so wound up.

Last night I decided to take her out for a quick walk, and on the way back, stop and pick up the mail (we have one of those central mailboxes for the whole street). I put on my coat, toque, gloves and boots, and immediately Zoë was at the front door, whining and nudging the leash with her nose. I put the leash on her and took her out.

Anyone who was in Southern Ontario last night knows that it was cold. Very cold. -25°C without the wind-chill. At first, Zoë was happy to be outside, but after a few minutes, it became obvious she wanted to go home. She kept nuzzling against me, and trying to walk on three legs, always alternating one paw in the air, presumably because it was frozen.

This was the first time I have ever seen her try to pull me back home before getting to the park where I usually let her run around. She didn't even want to stop and deposit a canine release pellet (good thing for me, because I forgot to bring a plastic bag).

15 minutes later, we were back home. Although it would have kept her warm, I didn't humiliate us both by making her wear one of those dog sweaters.

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February 25, 2003


My alarm went off at the ungodly hour of 7:00 this morning. I snoozed until 7:30 then got up to go pick up my passport. I left the house at 7:45, and immediately got stuck behind a schoolbus with its lights flashing. It seems the kids in my neighbourhood are really reluctant to go to school because the bus sat there for 5 minutes as kids slowly walked to it. Eventually the traffic on the street became so backed up that the bus turned its lights off so traffic could move out.

I got out of the neighbourhood and onto the main street, only to be stuck in traffic again. On a normal day it takes 20 minutes to get to the passport office from my parents' house. Today it took me an hour. But it was all worth it. I finally have my new passport, which I will encase in glass to keep it safe.

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February 23, 2003

Cheers And Jeers

Cheers to my brother and his friends who let me crash at his place Friday night.
Jeers to the weather that snowed me in another night.

Cheers to the stranger who came out of his house to help shovel me out when I got stuck in the snow.
Jeers to the guy two doors down who was outside shovelling his driveway and didn't offer to help.

Cheers to the gas station on my way home that was right next door to a Tim Hortons.
Jeers to the first gas station I stopped at that decided that 11:00am on a Sunday was a good time to be closed.

Cheers to the snowplows that cleared off the three main streets I used to come home.
Jeers to the guy in front of me for most of the trip who drove at half the speed limit.

Cheers to my sister for giving me her car for this weekend while she curls in Sudbury with her boyfriend.
Jeers to my sister for not getting decent tires on her car.

Cheers to my parents for shovelling the 20 cm-deep snow from the driveway today.
Jeers to my parents for leaving me the sidewalk to do.

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February 20, 2003

Under Pressure

It's been an interesting couple of days. Wednesday I hopped on the Via train from Brampton to Kitchener, and spent the day in Waterloo. I am all about the public transportation, especially trains. The trains here are a little nicer and comfier than the ones I rode in Japan, but more expensive.

Anyway, I had to go to the university registrar's office to get an official transcript and proof of degree completion for my work visa. Originally they wanted my diploma, but the university doesn't give them out until convocation in June, so we compromised and I got a letter from the registrar explaining how I did in fact earn my diploma, even if I don't have it yet. To my utter amazement, the registrar's office had my documents ready in less than three (3) hours! I don't know if it was because this is reading week, and they have a lighter workload, or if it was because they saw the desperation in my eyes, but the administration finally did me right. And I'm not even a student anymore!

That night Ang and I went to a nice Italian restaurant and went to see Adaptation. If you want a movie that will keep you thinking about it for days after seeing it, then see Adaptation. Maybe the screenwriters were being a tad self-indulgent, but it was definitely worth seeing.

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February 18, 2003

Fire Water Burn

Today Alexis and I went to the YMCA for squash. We've gotten in the habit of playing twice a week, and since neither of us are very good, we have lots of fun. As we pulled into the Y parking lot, we noticed a lot more smoke in the air than usual. The church behind the parking lot was on fire. Firefighters were already on the scene dousing the flames, and a large crowd of people had gathered to watch the church burn. It reminded me of highway rubberneckers slowing to see a car accident.

This was the first time I had ever seen a building burn. I've seen charred remains of houses gutted by fire, and I've seen smoke in the distance, but this was the first time I actually saw flames licking the roof tiles (yes, the roof, the roof, the roof was on fire).

We pushed though the crowd an into the Y, but to our dismay the court was under construction, so no squash today. Instead I got my exercise by shovelling the driveway. Somehow it didn't feel as rewarding as beating my little sister at sports.

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February 16, 2003

I'm A Lover Not A Fighter

Last night I went out to a local pub with my brother, his friends, my sister and her boyfriend. Yes, it was a big group. They were celebrating one of my brother's friends' birthday, and had gotten really drunk in the process. By the end of the night, they all went off to a local strip club. My sister, her boyfriend and I declined. Instead we stuck around the pub until last call, when a fight broke out.

Two guys were going at it and took a tumble down a few stairs. The girlfriends were screaming at each other. I didn't ever find out what the fight was about, but according to what I heard, one girl was a "slut", and the other a "dumb cunt". If that's not reason to risk an assault charge, then I don't know what is.

The bouncers eventually took the guys outside, and we decided it was time to leave. The funniest part of the whole fight was when one of the brawlers was being held back by a bouncer, and tried to punch the other guy over the bouncer's shoulder. The bouncer responded by banging the guy's head into a wall.

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February 14, 2003

I Choo-Choo-Choose You

Happy Valentines Day to all the lovers out there.

I'm off to spend a romantic evening with Angela. I must really love her if I keep putting up with being in Waterloo just for her...

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February 12, 2003

You Are 2

I got a birthday card from my friend John the other day. He sent it while on his trip to Africa last month. The card had two giraffes on the front and the caption "Happy Birthday! You are 2". I'm not quite sure what that means, but I liked the card all the same. John was one of the Waterloo students who went to Japan with me in 2000. Here is a photo of him enjoying a crab-leg dinner.

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February 11, 2003

Quotient Rule

Today I went up to Caledon, where I grew up, in order to get my passport application signed by my old dentist. The Canadian passport application is rigorous, but I can't really complain. It's better than counterfeits everywhere, soiling our good name. On our way back we stopped for breakfast at Flapjacks, a highway-side grease pit which has burned down not once, but twice in my 15 years living in Caledon.

I took the now completed application and destroyed passport to the passport office near my parent's house, and waited in line for two and a half hours. Luckily my sister came with me, and I helped her with her first-year calculus assignment. I saw her face fall when she realized a problem required the Quotient Rule to be solved (does anyone still remember the quotient rule?) I gave her one of those "You're on your own" pats on the back, and handed in my application.

My sister should get her assignment mark back about the same time I get my passport. We'll see in 10 business days if everything went smoothly.

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February 7, 2003


I really wish I had more to blog about, but things are kind of slow here at the Lyon house. I really took homework for granted while I was in school. Don't get me wrong - I have no interest in being recruited to do anyone's homework, but with the responsibility of doing homework and studying comes the instant gratification of procrastination. During school, when I didn't want to do work, I would watch anything on TV, but now I get bored with a Simpsons rerun. I used to clean my room to avoid studying for an exam. I won't describe to you the condition my room is in now.

Maybe I should spend my time bettering myself: going to the gym more, reading more books, writing more, improving my computer skills...

Then again, maybe that Simpsons episode wasn't that bad after all.

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February 5, 2003

Notorious Funk

Yesterday I went to the passport office to present them with my Downy-fresh passport. The receptionist told me it was in unacceptable condition, and that I had to go through the whole process again. Oh, and I also had to get the form signed by a notary public swearing that the passport was destroyed. Why the passport office can't just take the old passport and void it themselves is completely beyond me. My friend Ryan came down to Waterloo and together we looked for a notary public. I checked the phone book and called four places. The first one told me the lawyer was in a meeting and advised me to wait an indefinitely for him to come out. The second place put me in voicemail hell right away, so I hung up. The third place's number was disconnected. I was about to throw my arms up in frustration when Ryan pointed out the answer to my prayers: Geisbrecht, Griffin and Funk. Anybody whose last name is Funk can only be good.

I half expected Flashlight to be playing when we stepped in, but the place was quite professional. Not a Bop Gun to be seen anywhere. I got the document signed (for a mere $25), and am now ready to track down a guaranteur to help me fill out the rest of my passport application.

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What A Lovely Singing Voice You Must Have

The night of my birthday, Ang and I stayed in at her place in Waterloo to made sushi and watch season 3 of the Sopranos (yes, I know I'm hopelessly addicted). There was freezing rain outside and we didn't feel the need to go out and brave the ice-slicked roads.

I ate entirely too much sushi and wasn't able to eat much of the birthday cake that Ang made (although I did make an effort). We watched until 10 minutes before the season finale, when suddenly the power went out. I looked at my watch: 11:30pm - my birthtime. I contemplated the timing of this blackout while lighting candles. The power came back on about 40 minutes later, we finished watching the season (wow, Uncle Junior has a great singing voice!) and went to bed.

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February 3, 2003


I apologize for not blogging the past few days... I've been too drunk.

Friday night I went out with some old high school friends and reminisced over a few pitchers of beer. We all came to the conclusion that we're very interested in finding out what our high school peers are doing right now, but we have very little interest in actually talking to most of them. If only everyone had a weblog...

Saturday night I went to a martini party. I found out I make a pretty good gin martini while everyone else was drinking their girly chocolate and lychee martinis.

So today I turned 25. I'm halfway to middle age.

Ang got me a Groove Armada CD and The Simpsons Season 2 on DVD. Maybe someday I'll buy myself a DVD player so I can actually watch it.

Dav got me a Boards of Canada CD (I love the name of that group), as well as the long-awaited new Massive Attack album.

So far it's been a good birthday. Here's to another three quarters.

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January 29, 2003

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Now that I've graduated, and am "in between jobs", I've been watching a lot of television lately, far more than I have in years. As a result, I had a dream that combined aspects from several different TV shows I watched recently.

The Sopranos:
I was the newest member of Tony's crew.
Law and Order:
Yesterday I saw an episode involving a sniper. In my dream, Tony gave me a job as a sniper.
Serta Commercial with Claymation Sheep:
My target as a sniper was a field full of sheep.
Will and Grace:
Let's just say Tony was not amused.

In the end it all worked out. I completed the job for Tony by killing my target (which he later sold in his meat shop), but Tony never looked at me the same way again.

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January 28, 2003

Damn Damn Damn

I just found out my passport went in to the washing machine with a load of darks. After all the bullshit I had to go through to get it, I am not amused.

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January 27, 2003


My brother moved out on the weekend and I inherited his room. The room feels so much bigger now that this furniture is gone. He left the bed, but took his drawing table and bookshelf. In a desperate attempt to refurnish the room, I brought in all my old boxes from the garage and made a make-shift desk. Going though these old boxes I found a ton of semi-useless stuff:

Now I have to decide how much of this stuff to keep, what to throw out, and what to banish to the depths of Hell before my enemies get their hands on them.

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January 20, 2003


My sister is coming to pick me up and bring me back to my parents' house tonight. I still refer to it as my parents' house, not "home". Oh sure, it's my permanent address for legal reasons, but it doesn't feel like my home. Maybe it's because my family moved from our 15-year home in Caledon to this new place while I was away in Japan. Maybe it's because I've only spent a total of 1 month there. Maybe it's because I have no bedroom there and have to bunk with my brother.

Being in Co-op for four years, I'm used to moving around every 4 months, but I always felt that the house in Caledon was home. Now that I'm out of school, and the Caledon house inhabited by strangers, I feel like I'm freeloading; staying here and there, seemingly at random, living out of my suitcase. To quote Bella Legosi: "Home? I have no home!"

Don't get me wrong, I always feel welcome there, and I know I can stay as long as I like. Maybe now that my brother is moving out, I can take over his room. No more top-bunk for me!

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January 17, 2003

Chug-A-Lug House

My brother is finally moving out of our parents' place and into a house with some of his friends. I promised him my old futon, which has been in my friend's barn for the past year. Hopefully it hasn't become a home for a family of barn owls by now.

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Norwalk Free

I talked to my mom today, and it appears that the Lyon household is now Norwalk Virus-free. I'll be hanging around here until Monday, just to be sure. Tuesday I fly out to Seattle, then back home on Thursday night, hopefully with a job offer in my pocket, or at the very least, a handful of Microsoft pens I swiped when the receptionist wasn't looking.

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January 12, 2003


I was all set to go home today. I packed up all the stuff I had brought with me to Ang's and loaded them into Ryan's car. He would bring me as far as Orangeville on his way home, and my parents would pick me up there. I managed to get half my stuff into the car when my cellphone rang.

It was my mom calling me to tell me my dad has the Norwalk virus. It seems the rest of my family had caught it during the week I was gone, and now my dad has it. I faced a decision: go home now and possibly catch Norwalk, giving up study time and hopefully be well by next week; or not go home. I chose to lam it, and go home with Ryan. I'm writing this entry from his lovely home in Kincardine.

Ang is doing well enough now to survive without me (plus she'll be going back to work and school this week), so I figured I could get more studying done for my upcoming interview with fellow former CS student and roommate Ryan. Also, being in Kincardine keeps me away from most distractions city-living offers, such as social activities and plowed roads.

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January 11, 2003

Broke Into The Old Apartment

I did two things today I never thought I'd do again: be inside the old apartment, and clean the apartment. It wasn't that dirty, although there were still several large cat-hair deposits (despite the fact that the apartment had been cat-free for 4 months). The place is now in better condition than it was when I moved in, which isn't saying very much.

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January 10, 2003


I got an email yesterday from Rick, a friend of mine from whom I subletted my apartment. He emailed Ryan and me about how unhappy the landlord was with the condition of the place after we moved out. apparently after I had moved out, Rick and his girlfriend Vanessa moved back in. When they finally left, they left their second-hand furniture behind. The landlord wasn't too pleased and insisted the place be cleaned and emptied this weekend.

Even though I am completely blameless (as I usually am), I'll still go help out tomorrow. Yes, I'm that desperate for social interaction.

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January 9, 2003


Ang hasn't been feeling too well lately. The codeine has been making her sick, so she has to fight the pain using only Tylenol and Advil. We rented Goodfellas (since Ang likes The Sopranos so much, and The Godfather was out) and PlayStation games, so hopefully they will distract her from the pain.

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January 7, 2003

Referral Pain

Ang is doing ok today. She is suffering from what the medical community calls "referral pain" in her ears. apparently when the neck and throat suffer discomfort of any sort, they channel the pain into the only logical place: the ear. I can attest to this personally. A few summers ago I had back and neck pain that required me to undergo massage therapy (I love the university health plan). The pain got so bad, my neck just couldn't deal with it anymore and dumped it all on my right ear. The earaches would wake me up at night. I can only imagine what Ang is going through. She's now supplementing her codeine with ibuprofen, so I think she'll be just fine.

Thanks to all of you who have been asking about her. She appreciates it.

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January 6, 2003


Ang is doing better today. She's decided to cut back on her liquid codeine from 12 ml a dose to 10. She's also going to try venturing into the land of semi-solid foods today. We have a variety of ice cream, puddings and apple sauces for her to dine on. That's a step up from the popsicle and meal replacement drink diet she's been on for the last few days.

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January 3, 2003

Uvulopalatoplasty & Adenoidectomy

Spent six hours in St Mary's Hospital while Angela recovered from her operation. You should all be glad to hear that all went well, and Ang is now enjoying a codeine-induced sleep. Without the codeine, swallowing water feels like razorblades. I hate to see her in so much pain. I remember what it was like to rely on codeine to sleep. Every four hours I would be awake from the dull ache in my jaw where they stole my wisdom teeth. Let me tell you, it works better than any alarm clock.

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January 1, 2003

...Hello 2003!

The jungle-themed New Year's party Ang brought me to went a lot better than I made it out to be. Ang went as a zebra and I went as some sort of hunter. I used my sister's fake tiger-skin rug as my kill, and wore her leopard print cowboy hat, so I ended up looking like a pimp with a fur fetish. Ang polished off nearly 2 bottles of wine, and I had about 7 beers before we called it a night (no, I'm not hung-over as I write this; I know how to hold my liquor, thank you very much).

I'll be spending the next week in Waterloo at Ang's place. On Friday she's going for some minor surgery to remove her freakishly large tonsils and adenoids, so I'll be here playing the role of nursemaid. I'll also be spending the time studying nerdy CS stuff, in the hopes that I'll get a job interview soon.

If anything exciting is going on in Waterloo sometime this week, drop me a line and let me know. Just because I've graduated, doesn't mean I'm too good to hang out with students. Or the employed. Or anyone else for that matter.

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December 31, 2002

Goodbye 2002...

Well 2002, we've had some good times: completing my Operating Systems course, my short-lived career as a newspaper writer, graduating from the University of Waterloo, having dinner with Bill Gates. Good times.

Turns out I took Operating Systems in Sept 2001. I guess 2002 wasn't that special after all.

Tonight I'll celebrate at a Jungle-themed costume party Angela is dragging bringing me to. If I have to wear a loin cloth, I can guarantee I'll be drinking something a little stronger than Nog.

Speaking of Nog, I like Dav's Lord of the Nog pic. By taking the picture from below, it gives the Nog the appearance of authority is so richly deserves. Too bad it looks like the picture on the carton was taken circa 1962.

I can't help wonder what 2003 will hold... Clones? Another interview with Microsoft? Chrétien finally getting voted out? Me getting a job? Flying cars? We'll have to wait and see. Happy New Year everybody!

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December 26, 2002

Un Peu Rouillé

Tomorrow I'm going back to the city where I was born: Montréal, Québec. I'll be gone until December 30th. Hopefully my French hasn't gotten so rusty that the locals throw me out of their beautiful province. You'll have to get your blog fix somewhere else until I get back.

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Boxing Day Blowout

I'm not crazy enough to brave the malls on Boxing Day this year, so I'm staying in to play with my new toys. It was a good Christmas here at the Lyon home. Unfortunately, this year my girlfriend and my mom didn't coordinate on gifts for me, so I ended up with 2 tripods and 2 camera cases. Oops. Looks like I'll be standing in the return line at Best Buy. The only thing I hate worse than lining up to buy something, is lining up to return something.

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December 24, 2002

Twas The Night Before Christmas

I have a sinus cold thanks to my brother (I'm sleeping on the top bunk in his room) and headache from hell. Oh well, off to midnight mass.

The only thing that I hate more than Christmas music, is when rock bands do Christmas music. If I hear Aerosmith doing another Christmas carol, I'm going to scream.

Merry Christmas everybody! Try not to overdo it with the Nog!

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December 23, 2002

Nog 24-7

I finally found time to blog in between visiting friends and family. Aren't you lucky? Saturday I went with my brother and sister to visit my grandmother in Angus, Ontario (near Barrie). We played two games of Scrabble (I beat the odds and did not come in last), then exchanged gifts. Grandma gave us each a box full of candy, tea, popcorn (and popcorn flavourings), and whatnot. At the bottom of my box was the best gift I could ever hope for: Homemade Egg Nog Mix. Now I can make my very own any day of the year, Health Canada regulations be damned.

I think I'll make up a batch of warm homemade Nog on the hottest, most humid day of the summer and treat myself a glass. Then throw I'll up all over the lawn.

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December 19, 2002

Last Minute

I should probably start my Christmas shopping soon.

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December 18, 2002

Blue Suede Schnitzel

Last night I went out to Ang's work Christmas party, at the Black Forest Inn in Conestogo. It's a German-style restaurant, not unlike many of the more traditional Oktoberfest hauses. I had the schnitzel, Ang had the vegetarian meal that was helpfully left off the menu.

For entertainment there was a comedian Sonny Nite (it's a pun, read it out loud), and a group of musical impersonators. Nite wasn't bad (although I had heard some of his jokes elsewhere), and the impersonators certainly had their high points. The chronicled rock n' roll from the 1950s to this year. It started with a mediocre Chantilly Lace, then covered Buddy Holly and Patsy Klein before impersonator-staple Elvis. The 1960s consisted entirely of Cher and Roy Orbison. The 1970s had Donna Summer, the Village People and a great Tina Turner. The 1980s saw Michael Jackson and Madonna.

According to the impersonators, the only artist that ever recorded any music during the 1990s was Britney Spears.

There was a old gay couple sitting next to me who were singing and dancing along to Madonna and the Village People. They even did the YMCA letters with their arms. I'm glad to see some people got their $40 worth.

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December 14, 2002

Return To B-Town

My first night back in Brampton, Ian brought me to hang out with some of his friends, one of whom is going to Japan for a year to teach English. He thought it would be a good idea if I came with him to answer some questions for her over coffee. That was the plan, at least. Turns out her, and three of her friends decide to go to a lovely Brampton bar called the Puck n' Ball. As we were walking in, a group of big Irish men were walking out. With them was a blonde woman in her late 20s. It was 11:30 and she was already loaded. For some reason she insisted on high-fiving each of us as we walked in. When my turn came, she drunkenly tried to connect with my palm, missing my mere inches. She then grabbed my chin with one hand and remarked how I was a "cutie". Not wanting to insult her (and as a result, be turned to hamburger by her big friends), I thanked her and hurried into the bar.

It turned out that all Ian's friends are smokers, so we went into the separately-ventilated smoking area. Something I notice about being the only non-smoker in a group of smokers: no matter where I sit, that's where the cigarette smoke decides to waft. After a few minutes my eyes were burning and I stank of smoke.

We hung around for an hour or so. We decided to leave when I found out Ian's friend wasn't really interested in getting advice about moving to a completely foreign country by someone who's already done it.

All in all, it was a crappy night in a crappy bar full of strangers. At least I got my face fondled by a drunken woman, so I guess it wasn't all that bad.

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December 13, 2002


My friend Ian of 19Day fame is coming to bring me home today. I'll be moving out of the beautiful city of Kitchener-Waterloo for the last time. For the first time in 20 years, I'm not a student. It's such a weird feeling to not have any assignments hanging over my head. And any reading I do now is strictly for entertainment purposes. Unfortunately, since I'm such a nerd, that means I'll be reading that Design Patterns book I bought last Christmas.

I'll try to keep updating over the holidays, but my parents don't have high speed Internet so I'll try to manage somehow. I'm working on another rant for you, all about my 5+ years at good ole UW. Expect much bitterness and sarcasm.

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December 11, 2002

And Now...

Exams are done. University is done. Now what?

I've postponed the drunken revelry until tonight when my roommate Ryan is done his last exam. Then we're all going over to Ang's place (who is now done for the term. She's going for her second degree now. I guess she doesn't share the loathing of academia I now have) for wine and beer and movies.

Now I've got some serious guilt-free free time on my hands. I started it off by moving this site to a new server (please let me know of any problems). You can now contact me at chris@cplyon.ca.

I'm thinking of moving the site over to Movable Type, so I can use comments, and stuff. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know.

I think my free-time priority should be to clean this place up. Chores have been neglected due to exams, and I think a raccoon has built its home in our overflowing recycling bin. Ang has threatened to call Health Canada on us, so I think I should get a-cleanin'.

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December 9, 2002

Spit Or Swallow?

Today Lileks described his adventure in the hospital after he suspected his daughter of swallowing a toothpick. That reminds me of a funny story.

I have a friend who used to work part-time at Health Services on campus. She told me about some crazy things students would come in for. There was one guy in 4th year who came to see a doctor about a stomach ache. Once in the doctor's office, the guy explained how he had been watching a movie at home when he accidentally ate a guitar pick. I guess it was in a bowl of popcorn or something. The doctor told him that of all the patients he had ever treated for swallowing foreign objects, he was the oldest by about 20 years. The doctor told him to wait a few days for it to pass, then laughed him out of the office.

The guy didn't come back, and presumably passed the pick. How would you like that to be the way you leave your mark on university?

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December 5, 2002

Show Me, Show You

People often ask me if I encountered culture shock when I lived in Japan. Now I finally have a way to Show You.

By the way, Shou yu is Japanese for soya sauce. It's a pun. Get it?

Thanks to my brother Matt for the link.

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December 2, 2002

Thirty Sweet Noggy Days

You know it's Christmastime when stores start stocking the Nog. I love the Nog. I drink it every day in December. I would use it to cream my coffee if the thought of coffee and eggs together didn't make me violently ill.

It seems wherever I live, I'm the only one in the house who drinks the Nog. Ang won't touch the stuff, and my family only buys it for my benefit. I was impressed last year when my roommate Jen also proclaimed her love for the Nog, and the two of us partook in this lactic holiday tradition.

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November 17, 2002

The Juice Is Loose

My roommate Ryan went grocery shopping yesterday, and brought home no less than 10 litres of orange juice. The entire top shelf of the fridge is now taken up with Tropicana jugs. I guess he figures with the cold weather and the snow we got, that all the orange trees were going to freeze, driving up the price of OJ. I don't have the heart to tell him oranges are grown in Florida, not Waterloo.

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October 31, 2002

This Is Halloween

It will be a late night for me tonight folks, as I churn out my English flash fiction (5 pages due at 9:30 tomorrow morning). I have a box of 130 mini chocolate bars (which miraculously my roommate Ryan hasn't eaten. It's sweet that he puts the children first.) It's 5:40pm and the trick-or-treaters haven't come out yet. I can't image them having a great time tonight. It's a "spooky" 4°C outside and drizzling.

Angela will be over soon to handle the candy distribution, as I will be in front of the computer all night in a "scary" mood.

Rick and Vanessa (our subletters) have left us a box full of old costumes they said we could wear. Inside the box I found:

Spooky, isn't it?! And like all the furniture they left us, everything in the box is encrusted with cat hair. I guess I could dress up as the "Sneezing Cross-cultural Ninja" and Ryan can be the "Roman God of Hats".

On second thought, why don't I just get this story written already...

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October 29, 2002


A little bit of bad news: Health Services, the on-campus clinic phoned me today. They've analyzed my blood work, and told me my cholesterol is too high. They want me to make an appointment with a nutritionist. Now I'm no huge meat eater; I'll choose chicken or fish over a burger any day. Maybe I should go veggie like Angela... No, I love food too much to do that.

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October 28, 2002

The Man Room

Since moving into our new place, my roommate Ryan and I have been spending most of our time in the half-finished basement where our computers are set up. It was called The Man Room by our subletter, and the name stuck. The walls are wood-panelled, and inside there's a cat hair-infested pull-out couch, our desks and computers, a web server, computer books, and a TV. It's like a nerdy version of Wayne Campbell's basement.

Our subletters (Rick and Vanessa) came to pay us a visit yesterday. I think Vanessa was a little frightened when she saw that I had found a photograph of her, framed it, and placed it on a box at the foot of the stairs. She thought it was a shrine to her, but I told her she was flattering herself. I tell visitors that framing her photo was a stipulation of our lease agreement.

Ok, back to studying. I have two midterms on Wednesday, and writing this entry was my break.

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October 26, 2002


And welcome back to my good friend Ian, who flirted with Quixtar (aka Amway) for two days before realizing it's a marketing cult. For once I'm thankful for his tendency to not follow through with something he starts. He now wants to spread the word to everyone about how MLM is bad. Good luck on the crusade.

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October 20, 2002

Ziggy Zaggy Ziggy Zaggy Oi Oi What?!

So Ang, Jason, Fran and I went to Oktoberfest last night. The girls went off to dance while Jason and I hung around drinking beer and talking. After a while, Jason went to the washroom, and I stood around by the sausage stand to wait for him. That's when this large, dirty man approached me. He was wearing a ball cap with a helium balloon attached to it, and was holding a beer in each hand. When he opened his mouth the sweet smell of pot and booze wafted out. I knew this was going to be a memorable conversation.

Drunk Guy: "You're on the sidelines and I'm behind you!"
Me: "Excuse me?"
Drunk Guy: "If you're on the sidelines and I'm behind you, then what does that make me?"
Me: "I'm sure I don't know."
Drunk Guy: "Do you know what Asimov has to say about people on the sidelines?"
Me: desperately looking for my friends "No."
Drunk Guy: "He says one day they'll come out of the sidelines and into the action."
Me: "Uh-huh."
Drunk Guy: "When will you get into the action?"
Me: "Real soon."
Drunk Guy: "Do you want a beer?"
Me: "No thanks. Good bye."

That's when I spotted Jason and left. I mean, what's Oktoberfest without a crazy drunk reflecting on Asimov and human nature?

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October 19, 2002

Ein Prosit!

Happy Oktoberfest!

I'm off to get drunk.

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October 11, 2002


Don't expect another update from me this weekend, since I'm going home to see the family. It's Canadian Thanksgiving this weekend and I plan to stuff myself full of some good home-cooked food. Have a good weekend.

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October 10, 2002


As I arrived at school yesterday afternoon, a curious thing happened: my right bicycle pedal fell off. Mildly annoyed, I tried to screw it back on, then noticed the threading in the part the pedal screws into was completely gone. There was nothing for the pedal to screw into. Frustrated, I put the pedal in my backpack and went to class.

Classes ended at 10:00 pm and I awkwardly biked home on one pedal. It wasn't easy, but I somehow managed. All this trouble because I want to be environmentally, and health conscious. Who am I kidding, I ride a bike because I got it for free and I can't afford a car.

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October 8, 2002

Squash Ball

Off to play squash tonight. Although I'd much rather curl up into a ball and sleep on the cat hair-infested couch next to my desk.

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October 7, 2002


Tomorrow I have to go back to the dentist for more X-rays. When I was there a few weeks ago, they took X-rays, cleaned my teeth, then decided that the X-rays they took weren't good, so they took them again. A week later I got a phone call saying they want more X-rays. At first I was concerned about the mounting cost, but then someone pointed out I should be more worried about the extra doses of radiation aimed directly at my head.

At least in this country (Canada) they give you lead shields to cover your sensitive parts. When I was living in Japan, I had the misfortune of breaking my left pinky finger. When they took the X-rays, they had me sit on a little stool and place my hand on a table. They then aimed the giant X-ray machine at my hand, then went and hid behind a protective wall before flooding the room with radiation. I immediately noticed how under the table, directly in the X-ray machine's line-of-sight was my unprotected crotch. I didn't know how to say "radiation-induced sterility" in Japanese, and they didn't seem to understand my frantic hand-gestures, so the X-rays went on as planned.

I wonder how many X-ray induced sterile men there are in Japan. Or, worse yet, sterile foreigners who were just passing through.

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October 4, 2002


Today I encountered more than my share of insects. This morning in our bathroom I killed seven mosquitoes. Seven! And our bathroom is not that big. In fact, it's smaller than my office was at Microsoft.

Then, on the 20 minute walk home, I was swarmed by tiny insects (I don't know what they were. Gnats? Mosquitoes? Small birds?). I felt like Pig Pen from the Peanuts comics, surrounded by a perpetual cloud of bugs. Passing motorists must have thought I was either waving to them, or swatting at invisible attackers.

Motorist: "Do I know that guy? I think he's waving to me..."
Me: "Bugs! Bugs! Get them off me! They're in my hair!!"

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October 3, 2002

Furry Fetish

You'll all be pleased to know Ang didn't dump me for my last revealing entry. It wasn't true anyway. She doesn't get me to dress up like a frog (or any other kind of animal, for that matter). Although it may spice up our lives, I choose to leave that to the Furries (if you don't know what a Furry is, I'm sure the bastion of knowledge that is the Internet can help you out there. No, I'm not going to provide a link).

So I can blog about anything I want to, as long as I don't mention Ang's elbow fetish.

Oh shit...

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September 16, 2002

Thunder And Lightning

Ever since I got back from Redmond, Southern Ontario has been smothered with heat and humidity, the likes of which I haven't seen since being in Tokyo. Then, Saturday night the skies opened up and boy did it rain. It rained all evening, took a short break until midnight, then rained all night. Then it rained Sunday. Thunder crashing and lightning flashing. It was then I realized that I haven't seen a storm like that in a long time. Living in the American North-West you see rain (do you ever!), but rarely do you have thunderstorms. Ditto for the interior of Japan (Nagano-ken). And I lived there during the rainy season, when ponds swelled to lakes, and department store umbrella sheathes were plentiful.

Now I'm no meteorologist, but my guess is that the lack of thunderstorms has something to do with the mountains. Storm clouds sit lower in the sky than the tops of the mountains, thus they discharge their stormy contents before reaching the other side. Now here in Waterloo, the closest thing to a mountain is the Math and Computers building (more like a fortified prison, actually), so there's nothing to stop the storms. I guess that's why they call it Waterloo.

I can't believe I just wrote that.

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September 13, 2002

Let's Get Physical

The beginning of the new academic year always brings interesting adventures: spending hundreds of dollars on textbooks (this was a cheap term, only $350); seeing the wide-eyed Frosh (first-year students) wander lost through the Math and Computers building; and of course my favorite, my annual physical at the Health Services building.

I'll spare you the boring, penetrating details, but there were a couple of priceless moments:

Doctor: "You have textbook blood pressure."

Doctor: "Any recent surgery?"
Me: "Yes, I just had my wisdom teeth out last week."
Doctor: "Have you been eating well?"
Me: "Yes, now that I'm back on solid foods."
Doctor: "Why weren't you eating solid foods!?"
Me: "Because I just had my wisdom teeth out."
Doctor: "Right..." (scribbles furiously)

Doctor: "And this... is your prostate's glandular lumina."
Me: (wincing) "Uh-huh"

You should all be happy to know that I'm doing fine. I'm healthy, feeling good, and already overwhelmed with homework. Hooray!

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September 11, 2002


I guess this is the spot where I should be writing something solemn and introspective on the one-year anniversary of the World Trade Center attack. There's nothing I can write here that will make any of it any better. I'm not American, nor do I live in the United States (anymore), so my feelings are more sympathetic than angry. I'm no political pundit, so any opinion I offer about Bush's plan to retaliate by bombing Iraq would be grossly misinformed.

I do find it interesting how people treat today with such reverence, while November 11th (Remembrance Day) goes by with little notice taken (except for all the plastic poppies). Or December 7 (the Pearl Harbour bombing). I seriously doubt many people will colour their blogs black either of those days, despite the fact those two days commemorate some of the most important (and tragic) events in the 20th century. But that's the hypocrisy in which we live, and I'm as guilty of it as anyone.

So I guess the most appropriate thing I can do is have a private moment of silence, and remember.

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August 30, 2002

The Days To Come

This will be my last entry for a while, so let me explain what I'll be doing:

Sept 1
Fly from Seattle to Toronto. I'll keep a log, since flight stories are always interesting.
Sept 2
Mom's birthday.
Sept 3
Grudgingly pick up shipped packages from Customs.
Sept 4-5
Move in to new apartment in Waterloo.
Sept 6
Have 4 impacted wisdom teeth removed.
Sept 7-8
Enjoy a state of drug-induced delirium from the painkillers.
Sept 9
Lectures start.

So expect my next entry sometime next week. Until then, have fun and play safe!

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August 21, 2002

New Material

I found a dearth of new material I can blog about, however it goes against one of my personal principles of not ranting about someone who may actually read this site. Oh well. I'm writing a new rant about my roommates. To give you a taste and at the same time not spoil the piece, here's an amusing anecdote about Bryant's roommate.

On Saturday, Bryant and my mutual friend Janet had a pot luck dinner to celebrate her 22nd birthday. I decided to make salad and green beans, while Bryant decided to be more adventurous and make salmon. He said it was easy since it only involved 5 ingredients: salmon, lemon, dill, salt and pepper. We bought salmon and lemon at the grocery store, and purposely omitted buying the dill since Bryant assured me he had plenty at his apartment.

On our way back to my apartment to cook the fish, we stopped off at Bryant's place to pick up said dill. His place was in disarray since he was packing to leave the next day. For 10 minutes Bryant searched for the dill, to no avail. Then he noticed he couldn't find any of his other spices save one: onion flakes. Then it dawned on him. His roommate had moved out that morning and had taken the spices back to Boston with him.

"Who takes spices?!" Bryant cried, shaking a fist in the air. "Who does that?!"

I shrugged. "Apparently you roommate does. Maybe he's a starving student, and needs these spices. What school does he go to?"

"Harvard." There goes my starving student theory. "But he's too good for onion flakes!" v "Bryant, put the onion flakes down."

The conversation went on like that for another few minutes. I asked Bryant if his roommate had any reason to do something like this. I then found out that Bryant had been doing his laundry at 3am just to piss his roommate off. We finally concluded that this was his roommate's way of giving Bryant one final "Fuck You!" before leaving. Well played old boy. Well played.

Stay tuned for the crazy adventures of my roommates!

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August 20, 2002

Programmer's Hands

For those of you who have been following my rock climbing adventures, I climbed my first V1 route last night. Now those of you who know anything about climbing realize this is nothing to brag about (it's the equivalent of bragging about hitting the baseball past the pitcher's mound), but hey, I'm no athlete. I also completed several V0 and V0+ routes that I could never finish before. As a result of all that climbing my soft, delicate, programmer's hands are now sore and red.

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August 18, 2002


This was the last weekend for two of my team's interns, Bryant and Kati. To celebrate, we went to Belltown Billiards in Seattle for a little bit of pool, and a lot of drinks. We played countless games, which made Wan Li very happy, and when the rest of us had had enough pool, Wan Li played with strangers. That guy sure loves playing pool.

On our way home, we stopped by Microsoft to get Kati's car (she was sober enough to drive). While we were there Bryant bowed to the porcelain god in the lobby washroom. Kati drove Bryant and I back to his place where we drank some more. Despite having 4 pints of beer, 3 shots (including tequila) and a mixed drink, I wasn't at all sick. Bryant however passed out on the couch, so I made myself comfortable on his living room floor.

The next day I spoke to some of the people I went out with that night. Apparantly I didn't appear very drunk, but rather funny and charming, despite the fact there are definite gaps in my memory from that night (including pissing off some stranger with tatoos while waiting to use the ATM).

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August 7, 2002

Pool Shark

One of the many perks Microsoft offers its employees is a wide variety of recreational activities at the office, in case one needs to blow of some steam. On campus there are volleyball courts, soccer fields and baseball diamonds. In the office we have pool tables, foosball tables and even an arcade game. Over the term I've played my share of pool, improving my skills by 1000% (I was never that good to begin with). But my coworker and fellow intern Wan Li has taken the love of pool to a whole new level.

Everyday, at least twice a day, Wan Li pops his head into my office and asks, in his own particular enunciating manner-of-speech: "Dude! Can I interest you... in a quick game... of pool?" Since I've been really busy this past week, I've had to decline, but that didn't discourage Wan Li. He would play by himself if he had to (and has on numerous occasions).

As a result, Wan Li has gone from a piss-poor pool player (now that's alliteration) to a sure-shooting shark (ok, I'll stop). Since our product became Test-Complete as of last night, I had some free time to play. During the week I didn't play, Wan Li has was putting in 4-hour-a-day pool sessions, and it showed. He beat me 3 out of 3 games without breaking a sweat. I blame my failure on the lack of chalk.

Now I know what you're all thinking, "Does Microsoft pay Wan Li to play pool all day?" The answer seems to be yes. He's a Program Manager (PM), and apparently it's in the job description. I was this close to applying for that job. If only I had known.

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August 6, 2002

Flag Day Fiasco

I just heard back from my girlfriend. She spent the weekend at a friend's cottage with my best friend Ryan. I heard they went swimming together. And got drunk together. One can only imagine what transpired between the two that weekend under that full Muskoka moon...

My guess is that Ryan passed out after 2 beers.

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August 2, 2002

Restricted Items List

Anyway. Things seem to be winding down around here. I got an envelope in my mailbox today containing instructions on how to ship some of my larger possessions (bicycle) home, at Microsoft's expense. There's a Restricted Items List that outlines what objects and substances I'm not allowed to ship home. These things include (but not limited to):

I will be shipping by bike and possibly some boxes of discounted software. Yay employee discounts!

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July 30, 2002

Burn That Jacket

On Sunday night I went to my co-worker Shyam's housewarming party. It was fun. He has a nice condo in downtown Seattle and he served some good vegetarian food. He's a also a semi-professional photographer, so there was some serious picture-taking going on.

The next morning, Shyam came to work bringing me my jacket, which I had absentmindedly left at his place. I thanked him, hung my jacket up, then forgot about it until 7:00, when I went home (yes, I put in some long days here at Microsoft). My roommate picked me up and drove me home. Halfway there, I noticed something in my jacket pocket. I didn't remember putting anything in my pockets today, so I reached in and pulled something out.

If curiosity killed the cat, then this just made it sick. Inside my pocket was a photograph (apparently freshly printed from Shyam's digital camera) of another fellow employee kindly rubbing my jacket into his crotch.

Well. Let's just say I won't be wearing that jacket again anytime soon.

By the way, the lighting and composure of that photo were excellent.

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July 23, 2002

So Very Tired

On Tuesday I beat my arch-nemesis Tom Cruise. Of course, I fell twice trying to clamber up it's steep, rocky face, but I finally made it and hung from the elusive final hold before dropping down 12 feet onto my ass (I was too exhausted to climb down).

Today I played squash with another intern today who beat me 3 out of 3 games. Maybe it was the fact I forgot my socks at home (having worn sandals to work).

Last, but not least, it's 11:10pm here and I'm still at work because my stupid tests keep failing on stupid Chinese Windows. Then, like an angel, my fellow intern Bryant brought me good news: there's a kegger tonight.

And somehow, that makes it all worthwhile.

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July 19, 2002

Happy Birthday Angela

My girlfriend turns 25 today. Happy Birthday Angela!

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July 16, 2002

Fat Ass Part 2

Last night I went rock climbing at Vertical World with some coworkers. We decided to dedicate our time to bouldering, that is climbing without ropes (about 5 metres high max). I was trying a course called "Tom Cruise", undoubtedly named after the rock climbing secret agent from the movie Mission Impossible II.

Contrary to popular belief, I am not as well-built as Mr. Cruise. This became painfully clear last night as I was climbing his route. I made it far as the second-last hold. I was clinging to the wall, about 4 metres off the ground. I could see the last hold just out of my reach. I would have to leap for it. The wall was at a 80° angle from the floor, so it would be tricky. I leapt, and grabbed the hold with my right hand. As I brought my left up to join my right and hang in victory, my sweaty fingers slipped and I fell. I landed square on my ass, luckily for me it's well padded (my ass, not the floor). I was ok, except I had pulled something in my hip. I hobbled to the sidelines, and spent the rest of the night wincing and cursing my feeble fingers. Stupid fingers!

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July 12, 2002

Worst Can Ever

Now you just try and tell me this isn't a confusing label. I mean, who were the ad wizards who came up with this one?

orange juice can with apples on label

Apples on a can of orange juice... mpt would have a field day with this.

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July 10, 2002

Of Broken Bikes

"Don't worry Chris, I've done this a thousand times." Famous last words. In this case, they are in reference to my fellow intern Bryant's experience putting bicycles into car trunks. He took the front and rear wheels off (quick release) and somehow wedged my bike into the trunk of his rented Alero. When we got back to my place we took the bike pieces out and assembled them. I waved good bye to Bryant as he sped away, then noticed how more tangled the chain looked than normal. Removing the rear wheel revealed a knot in the bike chain. A freakin' knot in the freakin' chain! I wondered how Bryant could have managed this as I shook my fist at his vanishing tail lights.

I angrily phoned him up and forced him to come over so the two of us could spent half and hour up to our elbows in grease trying to untangle this thing. We gave up around 11:30 pm and agreed to take the bike into Redmond Cycle where I had purchased it. The guy at the bike store took one look and asked how we had managed that. Sheepishly, we looked at our shoes. Three minutes later he had fixed it and sent us on our merry way, free of charge.

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July 8, 2002

Alone And Thirsty

Ang left for home this morning. Last I heard she made it safe and sound to the airport in Detroit (the city of Brotherly Love) and was waiting for her connecting flight to Toronto. Hopefully she won't have a repeat of last time.

Now that she's gone I can go back to my usual schedule of working and biking home at 9pm. Oh yes, and blogging. Let me start with an apology. I unfairly judged Talking Rain, the additive-free carbonated water. I started off not being able to finish a can of the flavourless stuff, but now I'm a 3 can-a-day junky. I don't know how, or why it happened. TR lacks the sweet sticky-mouth regular pop leaves, and had no caffeine or calories. Apparently, it has also turned me into a walking commercial.

In other non-soda news, I've been invited to Bill Gates' house July 17! Ok, it wasn't a personal invitation, there'll be 100-or-so interns there, but I know he wanted me. Sorry guys, cameras are forbidden, so I won't be adding anything to my Photo Gallery. I still can't believe I'm going to be having dinner with the richest man in the world. Damn!

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June 28, 2002

Northwest Airlines: Making A 12-Hour Delay Feel Like An Eternity

It looks like Northwest Airlines has claimed another victim. He should have been reading this site.

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June 25, 2002

Yet Another Update

Ang will in fact be spending the night in beautiful Minneapolis and I'll be picking her up at 9:00 tomorrow morning. Yay!

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Another Update

Ang will be spending the night in Toronto, since NorthWest Airlines has managed to spill fuel all over the plane, forcing her to miss her connecting flight.

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Ang's connecting flight has been changed and she hasn't told me the new flight number (or the airline for that matter). It's going to fun roaming around Sea-Tac Airport looking for her.

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Angeloo, Where Are You?

Ang comes to visit me tonight. This is her first time flying by herself. She's a bit scared, but more excited than anything else. She'll be spending the next two weeks in the Redmond/Seattle/Vancouver area, trying to find stuff to do while I'm hard at work. I wish I could take the time off work, but I have to make money so I can keep living the lifestyle to which I've become accustomed (Faberge egg addiction).

I can't wait till she gets here.

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June 21, 2002

Dav's Birthday

Happy birthdaaaaaaaay Dav!

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May 28, 2002

Fat Ass

I bought some climbing gear last weekend. I got a pair of climbing shoes and a harness kit that were on sale. When I asked the store clerk about which harness would best fit me, he looked at my waist and decided a large would be most appropriate. Ok. He looked around, but couldn't find a large, so I tried on the medium. It fit ok, but the clerk looked unconvinced. He was standing with his hands about a foot apart palms facing each other. "You're not planning on gaining weight anytime soon, are you?" while he asked, he slowly moved his hands away from each other, implying my ass was about to double in size before his very eyes. I curtly thanked him for his help and bought the medium.

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May 3, 2002

First Week

My first week of work is over. I've had 4 meetings, 1 team change and lots of work done. The atmosphere here is really laid-back (there's a couch in my office. Yes, I said office, not cubicle). I'm going to venture out and try to get home via public transportation, so don't be surprised if I get lost and end up on the other side of town. Again.

Ok fine, I'll tell you the story. It was the fall of 1998. I was on a work term at Corel in Ottawa. I took the bus to the beautiful Rideau Centre to buy a new pair of glasses. One hour later, I picked them up and tried them on. I nearly fell over. This was the first time my prescription had changed in 6 years. I stumbled out of the store and dizzily made my way out of the mall. I jumped on the first bus I saw. It was the #16, which would drop me off in front of my apartment. I was the only one on the bus, which I found odd. As soon as the bus started driving, I heard a strange, mechanical sound. I thought it best to ignore it and concentrate on my new glasses. The bus eventually came to a stop. "End of the line!" the bus driver called out. I stumbled out, confused. Where the hell was I? A large sign informed me I was at Carleton Univeristy, the complete opposite side of town. I squinted up at the bus as it drove away. The number had changed from 16 to something else, something strange like pi/2 or something. That's what the mechanical noise must have been: the number changing! Putting on my old glasses, I looked at the bus schedule. I didn't recognize any of the buses that would be coming this way.

Crossing my fingers, I hopped on the next bus, and eventually found my way home... three hours later.

Well, wish me luck. At least I don't have any new glasses.

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April 15, 2002

It Begins

Today is the last day before I become reduced to a jibbering idiot as a result of the onslaught of exams, so I may not be blogging for a while. Friday I've got to pack everything up and move it either to Rick and Vanessa's place (my home in Sept) or back home to Brampton. At least I'm keeping busy.

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Bus Stop

A funny thing happened to me while waiting for the bus today (stop me if you've heard this one). I'm sitting at the bus stop on University Ave waiting for the ol' #8 to bring me home. A girl walks up to me and practically puts her head in my lap. Now usually I'm not one to object to this sort of thing, but I soon saw her intentions were... self-serving at best. She was trying to look at my watch, apparently without disturbing me. Without a word I generously held out my arm so she could see the time without possible back strain. She nodded and sat down, never a word passing between the two of us. We didn't need words. There was only one thought on both our minds: "It's 4:17pm."

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April 8, 2002

Studying N' Stuff

On a different note, I'll be picking up my Canadian passport tomorrow, to complete the saga. I'll fill you all in soon enough. In the meantime, back to studying. Studying sucks.

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April 7, 2002

The Danger Zone

Mark was shocked and appalled when I told him I had never seen Top Gun, so he made me sit through it at Rick and Vanessa's place. I swear that soundtrack must have only 3 songs on it. That movie was chock-full o' vaguely Soviet enemies and Tom Cruise close-ups. And homo-erotic overtones? You bet.

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March 10, 2002

Where's The Jug?

Yesterday Vanessa filmed her movie about the seven deadly sins, with yours truly as Gluttony. My character had to go to a bar, get really drunk, puke on someone and get thrown in bed by his angry girlfriend. To help me get into character, Vanessa supplied me with all the beer I could drink. And I did. By the end of the night I had polished off more than my share of the keg and I was feeling great.

Since the movie was based on a 14th century piece of literature, there were some strange lines we had to say. My first line was "Where's the jug?". In response to my character farting, one person says "That was one hell of a bum-bone blast!" You can't beat classical literature.

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March 5, 2002

Thanks Rick

Vanessa is filming a movie this weekend for one of her classes. The main characters are personifications of the seven deadly sins. I was chosen to be Gluttony. I asked Rick, Vanessa's boyfriend, why I got chosen and not, say, Ryan, who has been known to eat 2 litres of ice cream in one sitting. He told me that Ryan just didn't look enough like a glutton. I was about to agree before I realized I had just been insulted.

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February 26, 2002

Dinner And A Movie

What a strange day. It all started with my "America and the Vietnam War" class. We got our midterms back and I got an impressive B+. Swoosh.

After class Vanessa and I went to the Modern Language cafeteria for our usual coffee and chat. As with most everyday conversations, the topic turned to rotisserie chicken. I commented on how much I love St Hubert chicken, but alas, it is so far away (in Oakville). Vanessa asked if I wanted to go there right now, expecting the answer to be no. When I agreed, she was surprised, but refused to retract the invitation, so skipping three classes between the two of us, we set off in the pouring rain for Oakville.

I called my brother for directions to Dundas St, since he knows the Oakville area better than I. He assured me that he had never seen a St Hubert on Dundas in all his years at Sheridan College. I thanked him for the directions and disregarded his lack of rotisserie-radar. During our drive, we wondered what others would think if we were killed in an accident, alone together driving towards the big city. Maybe they would come to the conclusion that we had eloped. We both had a good laugh at that.

We finally found the restaurant and gorged ourselves on the sweet sweet chicken. After lifting a plate from the restaurant, we decided to see a movie (hey, if you're going to skip class, you might as well go all out). We got to the theatre just in time for the 1:10 showing of Queen of the Damned. Not a movie either of us had been dying to see, but what the hell. After 20 minutes of commercials and previews, the movie started. It was 1:30.



Oh shit! I had to meet my co-op coordinator to sign my letter of acceptance at Microsoft at 1:30. We bolted out of there and I phoned the school. The Co-op receptionist told it it was alright, and that I probably hadn't missed anything important. She was right. I said good-bye to Ness and arrived at my advisor's door at 2:30. She seemed indifferent to my "car touble" excuse (it really was car trouble--the car was in Oakville). She gave me some papers to sign and I came home.

Ok, so this story has a weak ending, and no real point. Shut up. Get your own damn website.

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February 17, 2002

Tanoshikatta desu

Last night Ang, Ryan, John and I made sushi and dumplings for dinner. Memories of Japan came rushing back as we ate salmon sashimi, vegetarian maki and mushroom gyouza. We even had a little Asahi Super Dry beer to wash it down. We topped it off with a little Iron Chef.

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February 5, 2002

Pop Tab Fiasco

HA! I've finally found it. For years I've been sceptical of the whole "Pop-tab Collection for Poor Cancer-Patient Children Who Need Wheelchairs" hoax. Why do they just need the tabs? I would ask. Why not donate the whole can? And people would shake their heads at my ignorance about the magical material the tabs are made from. A material that when melted down and reforged into wheelchair form would make life better for a small crippled child, and possibly foil Osama bin Laden's next nefarious scheme.

Well read all about the hoax here. And someone get rid of the collection jar in the Davis Center cafeteria.

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February 4, 2002

It Was A Super Birthday

Ang surprised me with a birthday lunch with all my friends on Sunday. It started off as a trip to a Thai restaurant, but when we arrived we found it closed. That's when Ang "out of the blue" suggested to go to Kelsey's. After Ang stalled for at least 10 minutes, we ordered. That's when my punctuality-challenged friends arrived. I was very surprised, and pleased to get a squash raquet. Now I can't use the PAC's rental raquets as my excuse anymore.

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February 3, 2002

Superbowl - Super Birthday

Today marks the 36th Superbowl, the annual pinnacle of American sporting events. Today is also my 24th birthday. I feel my birthday and the Superbowl have a lot in common:

Ok, maybe the two aren't all that similar.

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December 29, 2001

I'm Back

After a great Christmas at home with the family, I'm now back in Waterloo. This Christmas was very utilitarian: I mostly asked for stuff I really needed (like a winter coat and an umbrella), and the stuff I didn't really need isn't really fun (rice cooker, computer speakers). That's ok, I'm happy with my haul this year.

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