March 01, 2004

Training in Mississauga

The Novotel hotel where I stayed was very nice, but not as shiny-new as the Novotel in North Toronto. You could tell that the building was much older.

The best feature of the room was the shiny spotless bath tub. I must've been taking 3 showers a day! On Thursday, I picked up New Spring, by Robert Jordan and assorted junk food at the Bulk Barn in the Square One Mall and had a little reading/junk food orgy instead of dinner. It was fun!

Posted by JAY at 12:24 AM

Hotel Pool

Trying desperately to acheive my resolution, I went to the hotel pool to swim on Wednesday. Unfotunately, the pool was so small that I felt a bit like a goldfish in a plastic cup. I swam lengths, then in circles and finally diagonally. But I couldn't make myself go back.

The best thing was the unlimited towels upon exiting the pool - I used a ton of them!

Posted by JAY at 12:29 AM

Movie: The Barbarian Invasions

Southlake Cinemania showed The Barbarian Invasions (Les Invasions Barbares), a French-Canadian film. Having gotten used to the somewhat muted "Canadian" films that I've seen up till this point, The Barbarian Invasions was refreshing in its chaotic erudition.

It's too difficult to sum up this movie in any way that would do it justice. Suffice it to say that the movie was intelligent, funny and emotional. It certainly deserved it's Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of the Year.

Support Canadian film making and go see this movie!

Posted by JAY at 10:04 PM

March 04, 2004

Office Refit Complete!


Our office underwent a refit and now looks quite snazzy. What was an ugly mish-mash of unmatched cubicles has been replaced with a dramatically lit canopy to receive the public.

My top-secret LAN room was also redone. This is how it used to look. It was full of file shelving bays storing old computer equipment. Since I also work in this room, I got to submit a floor plan for what I wanted, which was replacement shelving on the walls and a work bench.

20040304OfficeRefit2.jpg

Unfortunately, the refit was a pretty painful process, mostly due to the space not being finished before moving day. All of the wiring and computers were replaced by the local tech team, but none of the wiring was done yet! And construction material was all over the place. This picture was taken on moving day (Saturday)! As you can see, none of the cabling was done. It didn't get punched down by the contractor until Sunday afternoon!

Construction material was all over the place and although the wires were pulled, there were no jacks on the ends of them yet. The furniture movers couldn't start until the builders hastilly cleared their stuff.

It was worth it in the end, though. Here's my new LAN room, still with all the worthless old computer equipment but it's been organized and lines the walls, giving me space for another workstation (my testing station) and a work bench (bottom right). Yay!

Posted by JAY at 10:23 PM

March 14, 2004

Eternal Egypt at the ROM

Today I went to see the Eternal Egypt (time sensitive) exhibit at the Royal Ontario Museum with a couple of friends.

It was pretty awe inspiring. The Egyptian empires lasted over 3000 years - longer than our modern civilisations. At the same time, though, the drawings were strangely stagnant. While the sculpture showed development and variation, the drawings hardly changed at all for more than 2000 years.

Posted by JAY at 10:49 PM

March 15, 2004

Movie: Elling

Southlake Cinemania showed Elling tonight, a subtitled Scandinavian comedy. Light-hearted and unsubtle, this movie chronicles a pair of mental invalids who have been transfered from an institution to inpendant housing. They find that after some initial difficulties, they can cope with the rigors of the outside world.

The movie was very enjoyable, after a somewhat slow start with some audio problems (from the projection booth, not the film). The two leads give fine performancesthat don't immediately endear them to the viewers, but gradually become sympathetic.

As a feel-good, non-gross-out comedy that's entertaining and not too heavy, Elling succeeds marvelously.

After the movie, we went to Kelsey's where I tried the Seafood Platter ($14). Greasy and heavy, I probably won't order it again.

Posted by JAY at 10:59 PM

March 17, 2004

Sabotaging Myself

So I'm not supposed to be buying lunch (except for Friday) so I've been packing my lunches.

I've been doing pretty well, too - Steak on Monday, Curried Pork today... but there were no leftovers for tomorrow, so I figured I'd fry up some Italian sausages for lunch, along with some onions and steamed veg that was in the fridge.

It smelled sooo good that I had a helping now, right before bedtime. Ooops.

Posted by JAY at 11:01 PM

March 18, 2004

Sabotage at Vince's!

Went to Vince's after work to help him set up his own Moveable Type page. It's finally up, though there's not any content yet. I think he's more ambitious that I - he has plans to modify the CSS and templates to a greater degree.

Check it out in the IRL (In Real Life) section.

Had dinner with Vince's family - the sabotage of my diet - a double hamburger from Harveys. I was really hungry - I swam today and ate my lunch around 9:30am! So the burgers tasted really, really good! Thanks Vince!

Also looked at J & N's computer - whoa spyware. Cleared some of it off with AdAware, but it obviously didn't get it all.

Posted by JAY at 11:44 PM | Comments (1)

March 21, 2004

EatWorkEatWorkEat...

Ugh. Well, worked a bunch of overtime Friday night and Saturday morning installing a new server at the mother office with some other friends. Unfortunately (and mostly through my own stupidity) it didn't go as smoothly as it should have.

Because of all this, I've been eating out at restaurants constantly (bad Jay!). Some of it was really really fattening, like the Swiss Chalet fries (though I did split the fries with Cathy, who gave me half her salad). Cathy later bought us a yummy pizza from Abruzzo's (pepperoni, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes) for dinner while we worked. And Saturday I had a chicken shawarma pita for lunch across the street from the office.

In other news, my car's not working. The bee-yotch looks like it needs a new fuel pump, if my father and various internet sources are to be believed. I don't really want to buy a new car, but this one may not be worth repairing.

I'm willing to spend about $1000 a year to keep it on the road, but no more... It's already had $300 of work done on it this year.

Stupid spam comments are turning up in my logs. Going to be posting without comments enabled from now on.

Posted by JAY at 10:56 PM

March 22, 2004

Computer Help

Went to a former manager's house to help him out with his new computer. Some spyware was preventing his browser from loading. It was a relatively quick fix for the browser, though getting rid of all the spyware and configuring it took a bit of time.

Had a nice dinner with him and his partner. They also had 2 big dogs: Tawny was friendly and Adagio was almost painfully shy. You could tell he wanted the same scratches that Tawny was getting, and he would edge forward to sniff my hand. But he was too edgy to let me touch him, though he would wuffle at my hand.

I forgot how badly I react to cigarette smoke, though. By the time I got back home I had a killer headache. Took a long hot shower and some acetominophin - hopefully that clears it up.

Posted by JAY at 10:44 PM

March 23, 2004

Music: 12 Memories

Y'know, it's odd when you listen to an album and can't get past the first few songs? Well, Travis' 12 Memories is one such album. I really enjoy their first album (The Man Who), but this one...

But when I got past the first few songs, they eventually returned to their strengths - lilting melodies with simple but distinctive rhythms. Favorite songs: Re-offender, Happy to Hang Around and Love Will Come Through.

Unfortunately, while I agree with the general sentiment, the album's politically motivated songs seem to be bereft of any feeling - and the lyrics tend to get trite. "You don't need an invitation/To drop in upon a nation" (Beautiful Occupation)? Please. Just... no.

Posted by JAY at 09:44 PM

March 25, 2004

Missing 'pod

I can't find my iPod... so I am sadly music-less for today.

I'm strangely dependant on it - while I can do without it for a couple of days, I feel bereft before too long. The ability to carry my entire music library with me is invaluable because I don't often know what I want to listen to. I'm not really an Apple elitist - I wear a low profile black set of headphones with it. If I can't find it, expect me to buy a new one before too long...

Posted by JAY at 12:51 PM

March 26, 2004

Found My Music

Found my iPod in the basement.

And all is right with the universe.

Got my newly acquired Maroon5, Radiohead and Five for Fighting on it.

Posted by JAY at 09:47 AM

Music: Songs About Jane

Listening to the Maroon 5 [warning: crappy flash site that I didn't bother going to] album Songs About Jane. Heh, yes, I have no shame when it comes to pop culture. And I'm not particularly musically informed, either.

I'm enjoying the album immensely.

Read on...

Though the lead singer (sorry, I've no idea what his name) has a slight burr on his voice that reminds me of Shania Twain (whose voice I loathe), it's easy to look past it to the funky arrangements that form the varied but cohesive album. In his defense, he has an effortless falsetto and you can feel his enthusiasm. Still, it's the weakest part of the mix.

At it's best (This Love, She Will Be Loved, The Sun) the album ranges freely from pop to jazz to Rat Pack blues. At its worst (Shiver), Maroon 5 sounds like what Michael Jackson could have been had he grown up instead of turning into a freaky monster. You can easily picture what many of the songs would sound like with him doing the vocals.

After hearing them on SNL, I'm glad I picked up the album.

Posted by JAY at 10:01 AM

March 27, 2004

Pirogies and Cinnamon Buns

I woke up late today, so I didn't get to eat until abou 2pm. I made some pirogies, though not from scratch. They were just the frozen no-name brand ones. One day, I'll have to try making them myself. To spruce them up a bit after boiling them, they were pan fried with onions and sausages. I didn't have any sour cream.

I just finished making a 1/2 batch of Cinnamon Buns. They turned out well - except that I ended up eating 4 or 5 of them (I lost count). No dinner for me!

Posted by JAY at 08:22 PM

March 28, 2004

Dinner

Had a very saucy dinner tonight. I roasted a top sirloin which turned out quite well, nice and tender. To go with it, I made a gravy and 2 cheese sauces for the rice and a ton of brocolli and cauliflower. It wasn't too much extra work, because I used the same roux (butter/flour mixture) seasoned for all the sauces. I loaded up on veggies rather than rice, since I love them with cheese sauce.

I ended up eating too much and now I feel slightly sick...

Posted by JAY at 07:03 PM

Pulling the Van

So yeah, remember the van that needs a new fuel pump? It caused an Emily-esque session today.

Well, my father decided that we could "tow" it to the mechanic's garage ourselves using our SUV. I argued that for $40 or so we could have it towed there instead, but he insisted. So as he was busy linking the 2 cars with some chain I was having visions of bumpers being yanked off of one or both vehicles.

He wanted me to drive the SUV towing the van while he was in the van. The problem is that the van is heavier and rolls faster than the SUV. Going up slight inclines was fine, but the first downhill slope, and the van started to gain on the SUV.

Meanwhile, he's yelling across the cell phone with useful instructions like "Okay!", "Wait!", "Go go go!" and then the inevitable "Why aren't you doing what I tell you?!" Sigh.

About 1/2 way there, going downhill, he managed to drive over the chain that was towing him. A frantic yank and yell later, we were stuck there because he hadn't thought to bring the tools that he attached the cars together with. He ended up running back on foot to get them.

Meanwhile, I was trying to explain the whole uphill/downhill thing, but he's frustrated and not in a listening mood. Thankfully, he finally realized what I was trying to tell him and let me tow him uphill, then disconnect and coast down hills. Of course, I ended up pushing the van from behind to get the van coasting uphill after a downward incline.

He did admit later that it would've been easier to just call a tow truck.

I'm exhausted now...

Posted by JAY at 07:13 PM

March 29, 2004

Obituary...

The van, she is dead. Her carcass will be given to science.
(It was sold to the mechanic for a couple hundred.)

Apparently, the gas tank had rust holes in it, so the entire tank would have needed replacing. Hmm, it's at the mechanic's yard - I should get at least one picture of it before it's gone. I'm going to need a replacement, I think.

Sigh.

Posted by JAY at 03:07 PM

March 30, 2004

Dwelling

I am dwelling on my belly fat.

If you're squeamish, you'd probably better stop reading.

It seems that my belly fat is, like, 80% of my body fat. It was getting smaller, sort of disappearing from the upper abdomen down. But now it's concentrated in a donut around my lower stomach.

I know, ew.

My belly fat, along with my non-shrinking weight, has got to mean I'm doing something wrong. I'm toying with the idea of eating a bit less. Cutting out all snacks, for instance. I've been eating a fair amount of popcorn and onion rings, for instance. Nothing deep fried. Maybe no rice?

I dunno, something's gotta work.

Posted by JAY at 12:14 AM

March 31, 2004

Training, Soft and Fuzzy

TOday I went with the office on "Client Service Training", where they were trying to teach me how not to be a grumpy LAN administrator. Well, not just me - more the people serving the public.

The food wasn't bad, but the training was boring. Stuff about the 'meaning of life' and finding your 'colors'. A lot of slow reading from slides and playing of pointless games.

I'm glad there was a lot of food, because I swam this morning and was famished. So I had a croissant and coffee for breakfast. The lunch was huge. It started with a rather bland fettucini Alfredo, continued with some juicy roast chicken breast (mmm!), roasted potatoes and unremarkable veggies (which were at least fresh). It ended with a nice berry tart with rather uninspiring (premade) pastry/filling - it wasn't even warm. Still, it tasted pretty good.

Finally, for break, there were some fresh cookies that were very nice and buttery.

Posted by JAY at 05:05 PM