Wednesday, December 19, 2001

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it" - George Santayana
It's Wednesday afternoon and I'm bored out of my tree at work. Thought I'd write a few notes down about the weekend, and prep for the wonderful trip across Saskatchewan back to Manitoba next week.

I got back into Calgary on Friday night. Doug was there to pick me up at the airport, and we proceeded directly to Jeff's Christmas party. It was a lot of fun, not nearly as many people as last year, but that was probably a blessing in disguise. I ended up drinking too much and making a fool out of myself. Poor Kim...I was giving her the old "why don't you like me?" sob story. I really have to apologize to her next time I see her. That's the state I was in....and yes, I ashamedly admit it. I can't believe I packed away a case of beer....well, actually I can. I haven't drank that much in one sitting in at least five years (okay, maybe it hasn't been that long, but it has been a long time).

I got a phone call from Robert in Lethbridge at about 8 in the morning. After I talked to him, I went back to bed and ended up missing running. However, unbeknownst to me, the Christmas brunch was taking place at Tim and Doug's, and since I didn't get back in time to organize a ride up there, I wouldn't have made it anyways. I did head down to Eau Claire around 10:30, and not surprisingly, didn't find anyone there.

I went back home and went back to bed for awhile longer. Joe and I got up around 2pm. I spent the rest of the day slithering around the apartment, and then got ready to go to Jeff and Susan's with Sean and Nancy. Philbert showed up, and we had a lot of laughs during the evening. I so enjoy getting together with that gang.

Anyways, Sunday, Sean, Nancy and myself headed to the Westhills Chapters. Jeff told us that all CDs were 50% off, and he was right! Nancy and I went temporarily insane, and bought a lot more CDs than we probably needed to, but it was so worth it. I even got the rest of my Xmas shopping done there (except for Joe, of course). Did some grocery shopping with them, then headed home and spent the rest of the evening lazing around.

This week I've started at Fountain Park finally. I'm still using the guest passes, so I'm only going to the noonhour classes. Step Aerobics was on Monday - lots of work, as was Move It! on Tuesday. I did Fusion today, which was essentially Yoga. Very relaxing. I think I could add on top of Wednesday a swim workout at LP. The run last night was pretty good although I didn't properly stretch afterwards. Tomorrow is my first ICE (Spinning) workout, and I'm looking forward to it. Actually I may keep the swim workouts on Thursdays and Sundays as I had originally planned since I will start the weight workouts in the gym on Monday and Wednesday (and possibly Friday) mornings. That leaves Tuesday evening and Saturday morning for the runs. What day to I get off? Well, after Pilates after running on Sat. mornings, I still have well over 24 hours off until the Sunday night swim. I hope the schedule works out.

I'm meeting up with Reid, Louis, and possibly Tony tomorrow night for a night on the town. We've been planning on getting together before Christmas, so it should be a lot of fun. Friday night is the last Christmas party at Greg and Marion Tompkins, and Joe's coming too. It should be a lot of fun.

Vonnie and Louis are planning on leaving for Grandview at around 7am on Saturday morning. I hope I'm not too hung over - although I figure, what the hell? There'll be four of us to drive anyways.

I also sent out my birthday party invitations on Monday. The plans are to do this on Sunday, December 30th. 8pm at Ming (I'm reserving the "Red Room"), and then heading to the Night Gallery for Sunday Skool around 11pm - midnight. I'm looking forward to it. Should be a lot of fun.

Ken isn't planning on getting back to Calgary from Winnipeg until the afternoon of the 30th. He's staying over in Regina on the 29th. I'm thinking I'd like to be back in Calgary before the 30th at least, so I may have to cancel the trip to Winnipeg after all. Probably just as well....I'm sure Grandview will be more than enough to handle.

Anyways, this will be the last blog until the new year. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to anyone who may be reading this in the future.

Friday, December 14, 2001

I am stuck in Denver International Airport for six freakin' hours. Luckily they have these 15-minute internet kiosks. I've been doing some emailing, checking the weather in Calgary, etc. I wanted to go into Denver and check out the city, but the shuttle bus downtown is $32 dollars retrun, for god's sake. This country is such a big ripoff.

It makes me happy that I'm Canadian - "the land of the good deal" - where everyone's not trying to screw you and providing a service for what it's actually worth.

Anyhoo..if I'm still bored in an hour or two I may be back. My time is running out.

Joe wanted me to call him this morning. I tried him in New Orleans and here as well, and he's not answering the phone. I'll keep trying until I get him the hell out of bed.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

Last day in New Orleans....extremely humid, spotty rain all day. People say it's cool, but I'm still sweating buckets and getting the clammy, greasy feeling on my skin.

Today I did a bit of packing, and headed back downtown. My mission today was to check out the New Orleans Museum of Art. I got down to Canal Street, and through talking to several extremely rude people decided to take the 46 City Park bus. Big mistake! Actually it wasn't too bad....definitely went through some questionable neighborhoods along Basin Street and Orleans Street. Seemed like I was in the Projects. Unemployment must be running pretty high in those neighborhoods, coz everyone was out on their front stoops, not really doing much of anything. We ended up on the west (er...uptown) side of City Park, so I had to walk across to the other side to get in on the Esplanade Ave. entrance. I finally made it to the Museum, and spent all afternoon there as well.

Fascinating variety of art there, for sure. The first floor was devoted to special exhibits, right now that being the Martele Silver Collection. These were handcrafted silverware pieces created by craftsmen of the Gorham Mfg. Company of Rhode Island from 1897-1912. Apparently they were the first response to Art Nouveau design in North America, and were progenitors to the modernist movement. They were figured very prominently at the 1900 Paris World's Fair and were extremely sought after over the next two decades. These pieces displayed incredible craftsmanship. I kept thinking about the first class table settings on the Titanic when I saw all of this stuff.

Disappointingly, the 17th century Dutch artist exhibits on the first floor were closed for some reason. I followed a tour group around for awhile, but the guide was really dumbing stuff down for the fat American tourists that were there, so I ventured off on my own again. There were also lots of 15th to 18th cent. Italian Renaissance paintings on the main and 2nd floor galleries. The second floor also housed French 17-19th century art, and European, American, and Louisianian 19th and 20th century pieces, including an impressive collection of Picassos, Renoirs, Rodins, and Degas. Edgar Degas' family lived in New Orleans, and he visited here often. He was the only French impressionist to paint in the U.S.

Of special note on the 2nd floor were the Decorative Arts section, including a huge ceramics collection, esp. Belleek and Meissen porcelain. There was some glassware pieces there from well over 2,000 years ago. The Faberge section was very cool. The detail that was involved in the pieces was incredible, and what's even more incredible is that most of the detail was made from precious jewels, metals, etc. There were three Imperial Easter eggs from 1893, 1895, and 1912. There were many flowers, clocks, and such other things as cigarette boxes, opera glasses, and photo frames. What I thought was really interesting was the Imperial Basket of Lilies of the Valley. It was a tiny arrangement of these flowers, but all made out of gold, diamonds, and other precious stones.

The third floor contained all of the global art collections. There was a huge variety of aboriginal pieces from Oceania, Africa, and North and South America in the pre-colonial periods. There was also a large collection of Japanese, Chinese and Indian Art, such as Chinese porcelain jars, Dynasty ceramics, Japanese silk screens, and Indian paper art using tempera and gold.

After I left the cold, air conditioned museum, the humidity and warmth outside felt like getting hit with water. I took another bus down Esplanade Avenue, took one last walk through the French Quarter, and had a last meal at a Creole restaurant named Gumbolaya consisting of Crawfish cakes, Gumbo, Red beans and rice, and Jambalaya. It was fantastic. I walked down Bourbon Street to Canal and caught the Magazine bus back to Bill and Ed's.

I'm going to relax for the rest of the evening. My flight for Denver leaves tomorrow morning at 9:30. I took out some more money today - hopefully enough for a cab to the airport and an airporter bus out of Denver International to downtown Denver and back while I try to kill seven hours tomorrow afternoon. Then it's off to Calgary tomorrow evening, and to Jeff's Christmas party as soon as I get home. *Sigh* ...another trip coming to an end, but I'll be glad to get back to my arctic desert home.

I spent WAY more money here than I thought I would. The conversion simply destroys you. A Canadian pays on par here what they would back home, plus having to add 60%. This will be my last trip to the United States for a long time. It seems ironic that Canadians can pretty much go anywhere else in the world and get great rates on the Canadian dollar, except for here. And where did I decide to go vacationing? You guessed it.....

At least I got to send my dance gear order from Action Dancewear to Bill and Ed's place with the 2 pairs of M.Stevens tights and 3 BalTogs bodysuits. That'll save me some hefty duty charges when I cross the border with it packed away in my suitcase. I also got the "Hard Heroes" movie sent here -- the customs office wouldn't allow it across the border because of it's content. I mean, please, it's a wrestling/bondage/hero-villain fantasy. What a bunch of prudes. That's coming across the border with me as well!

Next trip? Well, I had been thinking about going somewhere in the spring, but that may be a little to premature. I'm definitely going to Montreal-Ottawa this summer for a week again, but Joe and I are thinking about Mexico for two weeks in the fall. Cancun for one week, Cozumel for the other. Now that sounds like an awesome time!

I love New Orleans...I'll be back again someday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

Update to Dec. 12 -

Just got home from another long day of walking around. Today's big event was checking out the National D-Day Museum. If anyone is in New Orleans, I highly recommend that you go and check it out. I spent five hours there this afternoon. It is very well set up, very interactive, and very moving. They play a movie co-produced by Steven Spielberg in the main theater as well occasionally throughout the day. I'm not sure if they run another one, but this one began with the bombing of Pearl Harbour and went on to discuss the rest of the War in the Pacific. It was very moving. I was tearing up through the entire thing, and I know I wasn't the only one who was. The exhibits are set up chronologically, beginning with the world events that set up the stage for WW2. Next were the beginnings of the fights in the Pacific and European Theaters, the entry of America in the war in 1942, and a detailed look at both fronts for the American Armed Forces. A look at life for American civilians during the war years brought the immensity of the war and the effect it had on everyone around the world to light. Of course, the most powerful exhibits were the D-Days in Normandy and the numerous attacks across the Pacific. There was a lot of mention of the British and Canadian forces in Europe, and the British and Australian forces in the Pacific that I really wasn't expecting, so I got a chance to learn a lot more about what our own national armed forces achieved in 1944-45 when pushing back the Nazis (all of that brought on some nationalist tears of my own).

Even though I was expecting the exhibits to be overwhelmingly from an American slant (and I'm not saying they shouldn't be), I was pleasantly surprised to see a lot of explanation of how the citizens, resistance forces and armed force personnel from Japan, Germany, Britain, Canada, France, Russia, the Phillipines, etc. were coping with the situation. There were displays of how the war propoganda from each side (Allies and Axis) was scewed to portray the enemy as being even more horrible than they were (the Nazis were just horrible). It's amazing how a suppression of the truth is seems necessary sometimes to keep moral and alliances strong. I don't suppose the war's outcome would have been the same had the people from each side really known what the other side was like. It makes you realize that we're all people and that we all aspire to achieve the same things in our lives. It's also amazing how one or two people can make that all go horribly wrong (and that has even more relevance in the events that are unfolding today on the world stage).

All in all, a very amazing museum. By seeing how the American effort changed the face of the war and the face of the nation itself (the economic implications of the war effort on the US were mindboggling), it's certain that the world would be a much different place if the US hadn't gotten involved in the war when they did. December 7, 1941 certainly did change the course of world history (those two words, coincidentally, were scratched out by Roosevelt and replaced by "infamy" in the Declaration of War he made the following day - "A day that will live in infamy"). Pretty powerful stuff.

Things of note that I learned, or learned more about:
-By the end, the entire world was involved - the logistics would have been unbelievable.
-Eisenhower was the commander of the allied forces in Europe. He had to make a decision to send the D-Day forces to Normandy through a storm in the English Channel, or risk delaying the attack for weeks. It was a decision he had to make over the course of a few hours, with half of the allied leaders saying "yes", the other half saying "no". If you've ever thought you were in a stressful situation, you don't know what stress is...
-the Canadian 3rd infantry were one of the first six "teams" on Normandy, were responsible for landing on Juno Beach and meeting the British outside of Caen and occupying the city. Is this how the Junos got named? Seems like a strange relationship if true.
-Nimitz was the commander of the allied forces in the Pacific (MacArthur was leader of the American forces (I think)). I had never known much about the Pacific theater before since Canada was not involved in it, but it is fascinating. It makes me want to learn more about the involvement of such countries as Australia and the Phillipines. It makes me want to visit the places of the fiercest battles, such as Truk and Leyte Gulf (scuba dive down to the plane and shipwrecks) even more. Even though the battle was fought so much more on the water, hundreds of thousands of people were killed.
-mainland Japan was destroyed by air raids to an extent I had no idea. The pictures were horrible - some of the cities were completely (ie. 100%) razed.
-there were 2 million soldiers, etc involved in the European D-Day + followups. The initial sail across the Channel involved 5,000 ships. Amazing...
-before the go ahead was given to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the Allied tactical plans to move onto Japanese soil (to start on Kyushu) were to be the biggest, and undoubtedly bloodiest battles ever witnessed by humankind. We are talking millions of casualties on both sides. The a-bombs killed around 250,000. I know I had always been one of those that didn't know what to think about the decision to drop the bombs, but now I think the best decision had been made, despite the horror that resulted. Harry Truman weighed on his decision VERY heavily as stated in his diary (he was sworn in after FDR died of a brain hemorrhage in early 1945 - something else I didn't know).

War is absolute hell. I just hope people don't forget that.

That does reflect back on my fundamental belief that people are essentially lazy and ignorant. I would think we would NEVER want a repeat of the years 1939-45, but given the wrong conditions with the wrong people in power, I can completely see a scenario like this, and most likely a LOT worse to play itself again.

"Those who cannot remember history are bound to repeat it", or so the saying goes. Sometime I wonder if it should be "do not want to" instead of "cannot". At any rate, in order to not forget, we must all go and see such things at the National D-Day Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana. 'Nuff said.....

On much lighter news, I have officially finished my souvenir shopping. Tomorrow is a completely free day of touring. I'm going to head up to the Museum of Art tomorrow in City Park.

I fell asleep watching my movie last night. I'm going to go and watch the rest of it now. Nite nite.
Just thought I'd drop off another quick note before I head out for the day. The last few days have been overcast and cooler (but still in the mid- to high teens), but today is supposed to be back up to 24^C, so I don't want to miss out.

Yesterday, I got up and ran from the house here in the Garden District to Tulane University campus and Audobon Park. St. Charles Ave. is the main drag through MidTown, and it is simply gorgeous. There are huge magnolias and oaks lining the street, and the old-fashioned streetcars run up and down it from the French Quarter to the Universities (Tulane and Loyola). Most of the nicest examples of southern colonial style homes line the avenue as well, and they are all decked out for the holidays. The area where I'm located is between Downtown (the Central Business District and the French Quarter), and Uptown (at the universities and further west). It is south of St. Charles and an area along Magazine St. which is quite similar to Inglewood.

The directions north, south, east, west are meaningless here since the city is build on the curve of the Mississippi River and the streets turn in a fan pattern with it accordingly. The directions are Downtown, Uptown, Riverside (obvious), and Lakeside (towards Lake Ponchartrain). It's getting a lot easier to travel around once you get used to the lay of the land.

But I digress. After my run, I got home, changed and ate and headed back down to the Quarter to do some more souvenir shopping. I ended up in the Cabildo, which is a historic building now housing the Louisiana State Museum that dates back to the late 1700's. It's where the Louisiana Purchase was completed between Spain and France in 1803, and then between France and the U.S. 21 days later. Lots of War of 1812 ("The Battle of New Orleans" in 1814) and the Civil War information. The region has a fascinating history. I ended up spending about 3-4 hours there. I got back and ended up being a loser and renting a movie for the evening.

Today I either want to head Lakeside to the City Park where the New Orleans Museum of Art is, or head back downtown to the Confederate Museum and the D-Day Museum. I'm pretty much tourist trapped out, and have most of my souvenirs bought. I was considering going out for one last time tonight on Bourbon Street, but I might pass on that.

December 7th was the 50th anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor, so the D-Day Museum hosted a huge event with parades, etc. There were jet fighters and bombers flying over the city all afternoon. I'm sure the Americans found it all very wonderful, but I found it sort of unnerving. There is also a huge aircraft carrier docked at one of the piers downtown that I've taken about a thousand pictures of. Very impressive piece of engineering.

I guess I'll take a bunch more pictures today, and that will pretty much finish up the trip from a image perspective. I'm trying to write down everything I do so I don't forget anything.

I don't think I'm going to have time or money to go on the Riverboat ($$$) or on a swamp tour. Apparently it's pretty off season to see any critters in the bayou, so I may have to go back to the Audobon Zoo at the Park to see some local flora and fauna. The amount of squirrels around here is ridiculous though. There as plentiful at gophers back home. And everyone owns at least one dog down here, while all the cats you see are strays. Weird....

Anyways, gotta go. I see the temperature is supposed to be -15^C when I get home...great.

Monday, December 10, 2001

I also see that the weather in Calgary has improved immensely. I also see that it is supposed to go back to shit the day I get back too. I was beautiful here on the weekend, but it has also cooled down here quite a bit in the last few days. I think it's 17^C here or something today. Here's hoping that it warms up again later this week.

It's Monday afternoon and I managed to get completely wrecked again last night....good for me! ;-)

I'm done that nonesense for the rest of the week. I'm going to get a good sleep tonight and get back on track tomorrow doing some sightseeing, etc.

I think I might take the swamp tour tomorrow - or do the riverboat thing. It all costs a bunch of money, but oh well. I've been spending way to much so far on all the wrong things. I still have to go to the parks, check out the museums (the Cabildo, D-Day museum, Confederate museum).

I did manage to get to the pool yesterday at Tulane University. Ed wanted to work out when him and Bill got back from Houston, so I caught a ride. Considering how I felt, I still managed to get 2000m done in the pool.

Last night there was a tea dance at the Bourbon Pub Parade, which cost $5 to get in and was all you can drink draft can imagine how happy I was about that! I went out with Bill and Ed for dinner last night to a really wonderful restaurant in the French Quarter called Irene's, and then they let me go free on my own. I managed to blow $100 (that would be $160 Canadian) yesterday, and that was the sign that I should stop spending like a freak. I still have to buy a lot of souvenirs, even though I have bought a few things.

Well, I'm going to relax for the rest of the day. Bill is going to cook a roast on the BBQ tonight, so that is what I'm looking forward to for the rest of my day.

Saturday, December 08, 2001

Hello from N'awlins!

How are things? It's Saturday (December 8th) morning here, and I'm killing from a hangover (imagine that!).

It is so beautiful here. Everything is so lush and humid. It was like 25^C here yesterday, plus the humidity made it feel even hotter. I think I got a bit of a sunburn. I spent all of yesterday walking around to get my bearings. I spent most of the day in the French Quarter, but I also walked up to the Superdome and along the river to a huge shopping complex called Riverwalk (imagine that...) where I got to buy some souvenirs, etc. It's very touristy here, but luckily Bill showed me around a bit yesterday to some areas of town that are less frequented.

We went out last night to a bunch of the gay bars in the Quarter which was pretty fun, but everything's so damn expensive here. I ran out of money and came home with Bill, then proceeded to go back to the Quarter for a while longer by myself. It is crazy down there at night. The entire stretch of Bourbon Street is a mass of people moving around, socializing, and going from bar to bar. You can drink booze here 24/7. They even sell it in kiosks in the mall. Bill told me there are drive-thrus that sell daquiris here too. I find that a little bizarre. The traffic is insane, I don't think you need drunk drivers added to the mix as well.

I think today I'm going to do a bit more walking around and maybe take the ferry across the Mississippi to Algiers and Gretna and do some more exploring over there. The architecture and urban layout are so fascinating. Bill and Ed's house is at the east end of the Garden District, and it is typical of the homes here. Huge and stately....the main floor ceilings are 13 1/2 feet...and all the windows are SINGLE pane, if you can imagine that. I still plan on taking an evening cruise on the Natchez paddlewheel sometime next week (hopefully...if there's any money left). The dinner cruise costs (yipe!) $50US.

Audobon Park and Tulane University are very close by, so I'm going to start running tomorrow and get in for a few swimming/gym sessions at the Uni with Ed (he teaches law there).

Anyways, that's about it from here. I'm spending a lot of cash. I thought SOMETHING would be a deal here, but no chance. Even the booze is expensive. I'm having a hard time controlling my spending urges, since everything is there for the grabbing, however, I keep in mind that everything sells for a price on par with Canadian prices (again: THERE ARE NO DEALS HERE), and realize that I can end up buying stuff for cheaper in the long run when I get home, and that keeps me in far! LOL

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Don't forget the DJ Tiesto show is on Dec. 15 as well at Max Bell....Joe has to work, and tix will be a minimum of $40 now, so the adventure looks doubtful....
We did our last 30 min time trial in the pool on Thursday (Nov. 29). I'm happy to announce that I managed to swim 1600m in 30 min, a 100m improvement over the last one. That means I'm doing a 1500m in just over 28 minutes, which is a great improvement over the 35:00 clockings I was doing this summer....still about 5 more minutes to knock off before spring....

The last swim practice with UCTC is tonight. There is one more running session tomorrow night. Depending on how much packing, laundry, etc. I get done tonight will determine whether I go or not. It would be nice to go and say goodbye to everyone.

I joined the Fountain Park Fitness Club yesterday. $530! Yikes! At least I get $250 back from CPR. I'm SO looking forward to taking classes when I get back from NOLA. I'm still not sure what the itinerary looks like over Christmas. We still haven't decided what day to have the birthday party. I imagine a lot of people will be taking the 31st off, since it will be the only day that week some people will work, however, having it on Saturdya would guarantee more people coming out. Which means I'd have to be leaving Manitoba the morning of the 29th at the ABSOLUTE latest. I'm not sure if Ken will be up for that. If that's the case, I probably won't be heading into Winnipeg after all... :-(

Christmas party season started last weekend in high style. My manager John and his wife had a party on Sat. night for our implementation team and spouses (Joe was working again...). It was a good meal, lots of wine and laughs. I caught a ride back downtown with Boris and Hanna and went to the other party, which was an Apollo party at Don's place that moved to BT's around 11:30. The condo was packed full of people. Doug, Darren, Rodney and myself made a stopover at the apartment before heading to the bar - had to make sure we were nice and pleasantly pickled before we headed to the bar. Fun, fun, fun.

The night I get back from NOLA is Jeff's annual Christmas blowout. He typically has it on a Friday night for some reason, but this year his company Christmas party is on the 15th, so he has to have it on the 14th. Joe has the night off, so it should be a lot of fun. I'll have to jump in a cab and head home, drop off the bags, and head up to Jeff's.

Saturday the 15th is the Frontrunner's Christmas brunch after running. I hope I'm not in too bad of shape for that. The following Friday is Greg and Marion's Christmas party (21st), the evening before everyone is taking off for the holidays. Joe also has that night off, so we will be able to have a last fun evening together before I take off to Grandview with Vonnie and Louis.

Well, that's about it for now. I'll try to do some updates in New Orleans, although if not, I'll keep a journal and update this when I get back.

Until then, have a happy mid-December, especially you chumps who are here in the gross, frigid Prairies. I'll be thinking of you while I'm hanging out in shorts and t-shirts on Bourbon Street and getting sunburn while feeding the crocodiles in the bayou.

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

It's almost December. What the hell?...Why are the years going by faster and faster? I don't understand it.

Anyways, I'm heading to New Orleans next week. I'm so excited! It's going to be a lot of fun. I've gotten my tour books and maps, learning as much as I can before I go. I get into NOLA on the evening of Dec. 6. I'm staying at Bill and Ed's, but they have to head to Houston on Saturday night for Ed's Christmas party. So I'm alone in the Big Easy (is there a confluence of spirit here? -- I'm not implying anything). Anyways, I have posted a few messages around on Yahoo!, etc. to see if anyone wants to play tour guide with me on the weekend. I've heard back from one guy; I'll be trying to get a hold of him possibly tonight or later in the week. I have feelings the culture down there is much different than here in Canuckland, however it can't be called "The Big Easy" for nothing. I'm expecting the people to be really laid back like Montrealers...really out for a good time. They certainly have a lot of institutions and events that would indicate such truth (Mardi Gras, Halloween, Cajun cuisine, etc.).

With the bars being open 24 hours a day, and a lot of deep fried food (which can fortunately be avoided), I'll have to maintain some semblance of a workout routine there. I'm joining Fountain Park Fitness Center here as soon as I get back. I plan on hitting the gym in the mornings before work 3x a week, doing fitness classes at noon (spinning and pilates), and core strength in the evenings before hitting the pool at Lindsay Park 2x a week. I'm looking forward to getting back into a hard-core schedule ASAP. My membership with UCTC ends next week. I really got to enjoy swimming and running with the people in this group, however, getting up the University four nights a week will prove to be torturous now that the snow is flying and the temperatures are in the minus double digits.

I get back on the 14th from NOLA, work a week and then head to Manitoba for Christmas. I'm hoping on getting into Winnipeg for a few days after Christmas to visit with Ryan and Lynn, Mike, Heather, and hopefully get in touch with Byron and Anita.

Then it's back here for the big 3-0 and New Year's. I'd like to have a party much the same as last year, with early evening cocktails and eats at Ming, and then dancing at Detour afterwards. I hope some people can come out for it.

The focus right now is getting the work stuff out of the way and getting ready to head south. I have quite a few things to get ready, and quite a few things to bring back from NOLA. I have a video at Bill and Ed's that I couldn't get across the border, so I'll have to sneak it across, and I also ordered some dance and exercisewear from a retailer in New York that I have to avoid duty on. I'll be coming back with bags quite a bit heavier than what I had taken with me. Good for me!

Update to come soon. Hopefully I'll be able to run a log about the adventures in the south as I did in Montreal.

Monday, October 22, 2001

Just a note....last weekend was the Ekiden run in Banff. We had three Frontrunner teams from Calgary and one from Edmonton in attendance. Everyone did very well. The team I was on ended up 30th out of 190 teams. Our best place team beat us by seconds, in 29th place. I came over the rise at the finish line and saw Doug about 100m ahead of me. I poured on the speed and came in right behind him. I did the 12.4 km leg#5 in 49:50, good enough for 10th best time on leg#5. I was really happy with my time.

Swimming with UCTC is going good. We had our first timed swim last weekend, and it was the first time I've ever swam 1500m in under 30 minutes. I hope to lose another 5 minutes off the swim by next spring. My membership with UCTC is done in December. I think I'm going to join the club at Lindsay Park after that, not because I don't like the UCTC, but for convenience's sake, if I could do a gym workout in the morning before work, swim at lunch hour and run/bike in the evenings, it will make my days more organized, and won't require me riding my bike to the university and back in January (perish the thought....).

I'm heading to New Orleans on December 6. I'm really excited about the trip, and I've rationalized the fact that I'm going there in a non-tourist season time will be a good thing. Bill informs me that N.O. is insane during Mardi Gras in February and Halloween in October, and it's preferable that the locals vacate the city while all the drunken tourists flock into the French Quarter. Much like the Stampede in July here in Calgary. It's just too much redneckism and country music for most sane individuals' likings.

I will still have a few days of vacation left, so I'll take the rest at Christmas, including my banked time, and hopefully also have Dec. 22 to January 2 free. I'll head back to Manitoba, and also hopefully get into Winnipeg for a visit as well.

Next year, the plan is to go back to Montreal for Diverscite in August, and take a week before or after that to check out Ottawa and possibly Toronto. Joe is planning on going back home to PEI in the summer, so the current plan is to meet in Montreal and travel back together.

Work is going okay. I could go on about the good and bad at work, but I'm sure most of you aren't interested. Frankly, neither am I.

Wednesday, August 15, 2001

I signed up for four months with the University of Calgary Triathlon Club. The training starts in September and ends in December. I was considering going for the full eight month plan, but I didn't want to commit to something that was going to cost me so much money when I may be looking for something different. Needless to say, that cost me almost $200, and that doesn't even include gym/weight room priveleges. I may end up getting a membership at Fountain Park afterall. I hate thinking that I'm going to have to pay another $3-400 for a gym membership, but it has to be done. I'm already figuring on scheduling weight room workouts for the mornings before work and heading to the Uni for the evening swims, bikes and runs. It should be a pretty intense autumn.

Vancouver was an absolute blast. We didn't do anything too spectacular. We were staying at the residence at UBC (only $60/night on the long weekend), so we would cab downtown (transit was still on strike), and walk around downtown all day. We met up with Cheryl-lee and met a few of her friends on Friday evening, then we went downtown to the Odyssey on Friday night, the Pride Ball ($40 ticket) on Saturday night, checked out a T-dance at the West End Community Center and another gay bar (Numbers) on Sunday. The parade was on Sunday and started nicely, however it started to rain, and by the end of the parade at 2pm, the rain was coming down pretty hard. There were over 100,000 people out watching it. It ended up raining for the rest of the day, which was too bad since the festival on Sunset Beach would've been a lot of fun had the weather cooperated. We also got to see the Celebration of Fire fireworks on Saturday night from the main beach downtown. Spain was presenting on Saturday night, and it was incredible. The fireworks were so beautiful. There were SO many people there. I think the media said around 250,000 people turned up around English Bay to watch them.

On Monday, I had the chance to catch up with Grant and Alana. It's been so long since I last saw them. We had a really great visit, but unfortunately, it was too short. I plan on returning to Vancouver soon enough, so hopefully I'll be able to visit them longer, as well as all the friends I missed visiting. Cheryl-lee drove us to the airport, and after a short hour flight we were back in reality.

Last weekend I was pretty cool. I had the Lake Chaparral Tri on Sunday so I didn't go out Saturday night. There was a farewell party for Perry on Friday. He's heading to Toronto to do his MBA at York. We'll sure miss him.

This weekend, I don't have much planned either. This is my first completely unplanned weekend since early June, so I figure I'll take it easy and catch up with some friends I haven't seen in awhile. Team Calgary's having the Zodiac Challenge at Moneypennies on Sat. afternoon, and I have to organize the Corporate Challenge running team this weekend as well. We have a run on Thursday, Saturday, and Monday next week, just to get everyone out and meeting each other. A few of us are also planning on having a big bike ride on Sunday as well.

I'm supposed to be working with one of the CP programmers on the weekends over the next little while. I have to get that organized also. Too much to do.........
Okay, I wrote a note to Scott Rhodes, and here's the meat of it, since I'm pretty much summing up what I've been doing over the summer (since school finished in May).

Losing my computer at home really messed things up for me. I lost all of my email addresses, Office documents, webpages, and pirated software I've collected over the past four or five years. Much of it I'll never be able to recover, but I did manage to find a company that was able to recover and burn off 7GB of MP3s for me. The biggest problem (I learned after it was too late, of course) was that the version of Windows 95 I had on my PC was a customized version (apparently a lot of the big PC manufacturers get certain aspects of the O/S customized for their hardware - go figure). The guy that burned off my MP3s had to go on a big hunt to find an add-in that would communicate with my O/S. Even when he found that, all of the MP3s were burned off without titles, so I've been spending the last few months trying to figure out who sings what. For those songs that I have three or four remixes for, it's been particularly cryptic. However, the fact I was able to recover almost a thousand songs makes the whole venture worthwhile.

My other great loss was all of my personal webpages. My Cadvision DSL account expired about a week after the computer crashed, and at the time I didn't even think to save the webpages from the server before the account was closed. All that work - two years of creativity - gone. What a shame.

Anyhoo, on a lighter note, I've been pretty busy with triathlons and training this summer. I competed in two triathlons, one duathlon, a 10K road race, and a team relay so far this year, and I still have two team relays yet in the fall. I've done fairly well, but there's still a lot of room for improvement, especially my swimming. I have room to lose 10-15 minutes off my swim time which would very easily throw me into top 20 rankings in any of these events I enter. My goal is to be in peak form next fall. I'm planning on going with Team Calgary to Sydney, Australia for the Gay Games next November to compete in the triathlon. It's going to be the trip of a lifetime, but I don't think I'll be able to get more than two or three weeks off work, which is unfortunate because I'd really like to tour the country while I'm over there. I'm definitely going to scuba dive on the Great Barrier Reef though...that's been a dream of mine since I was a kid.

The new job is going okay. It's a lot of the "hurry up and wait" mentality here as well, but not due to the fact that something fucked up in the field, but due more to something being held up in the bowels of bureaucracy somewhere in the company. There are a lot of factors screwing up processes in the company right now, the biggest one being the breakup of CP Ltd. happening in October. There have been a lot of IT projects that have been put on hold until the CP Rail IPO is completed on October 1. I think what happened was that they hired a bunch of us last December with good intentions to throw us on project teams once we started working in May. However, when the breakup was announced in February, a lot of those projects got put on hold, and when we started in May, they were scrambling to find places to put us. I got moved from one project team to another and moved to three different floors in the first couple of months that I was here. There have been 500 layoffs including 250 in the office which have also screwed things up. My manager had a web server ordered before I even started working here. It was discovered a month and a half later that the person that was in charge of ordering was one of the people that was laid off, and the server request was still sitting on their desk. Needless to say, they finally got the server a month or so ago, but then it got lost again in Receiving for a few weeks, and just got installed and initialized about a week or so ago. How's that for efficiency???

I'm designated as an API/Customization programmer for the Electronic Document Management/ Product Database Mgmt/ Workflow Mgmt System (EDM/PDM) that the company is phasing in. The software is called Centra 2000 and it's a hierarchy-based document storage and management application that runs on an Oracle DB. Right now, we're bringing an Intranet version into production company-wide, and eventually we're planning on moving it onto the Internet. This is where I'll be working mostly - building custom code to facilitate the communication between the web server and the Oracle database. This wasn't really what I expected to be doing here (programming....BOOO!), but it will be a great experience, and I'll be able to learn a lot about the company and IT that I probably wouldn't be able to see had I been put onto a team that was doing a more local or specialized projects. Since there are so many departments in the company that are planning on implementing the EDM/PDM, I'll get to see the work processes involved in a wide variety of departments here. Eventually I'll be able to analyze the processes and design the customization requirements needed, but for now I'm the lifeform at the bottom of the food chain, so I get to do the coding.

Tuesday, August 14, 2001

Okay. I just wrote a another big blurb, but it got lost somewhere. I wish it wouldn't keep doing this to me. My first draft is always the most interesting....anyways, I'll write another one when I get home after work.
Test--I'm still alive

Monday, April 30, 2001

Montreal is very old, and it is interesting to see the mix of old with new all together. Montrealers love lifestyle, fashion, and the good things in life like good cuisine, festivals, partying with friends, and showing guests a good time. However with the age of the city and the state of the economy, taxes are out of control, and the infrastructure is in dire need of massive improvement.

Calgary, like all the Western cities, is very new. There is no mixture of old and new because there is nothing old. Calgarians are the epitome of people that love money, affluence, status, and the good life that money can bring. This is definitely the entepreneur's paradise, with tax levels nothing compared to Quebec, but we also lose something in the lack of culture and activity that also helps to define what a community is. Maybe in a hundred years, Calgary will have some of the class that Montreal has. I wouldn't give up the opportunities and lifestyle afforded by living in Calgary, but I loved Montreal's charm and cosmopolitanism and is something I would really like to return to soon too. With the distinct culture that has developed in Montreal, with big Canadian city affability and European influences in style, art, an fashion, I would also safely say that Montreal has got to be the "gayest" city in North America as well!

Anyways, it's back to my normal practical life yet again. I start the new job tomorrow. I did nothing all weekend other than work, and today Joe is moving his stuff in. Cheryl is not planning on moving until tomorrow or Wednesday, so the place is looking a little chaotic right now. I'm going out biking tonight, and getting prepped for the big day tomorrow. I'll write on my thoughts about my entire situation later in the week when the ust settles....Ciao
On Friday, I got packed and headed downtown with my luggage to the bus depot. I put it in a locker and wandered around the Village and Ste-Catherine one more time. I jumped on the airport shuttle around 4pm. We left Dorval at 6:50pm EDT and I was coming into my apartment at about 11pm MDT. It was the end to a great trip, and I hope to return to Montreal very soon. Everyone there was tying to convince me to come back for Divers/cite in August, but Joe and I have already committed to going to Vancouver Pride, which is the same weekend. Next year will definitely be a consideration.

Some things I learned about les Quebecois and les Montrealais in particular:
1. If you're a pedestrian in Montreal, you can forget any inclinations you had in believing you had any right-of-way over vehicles, bikes and other pedestrians.
2. If you're an alcoholic and find yourself here, you are in BIG trouble. You can buy beer at the gas stations for chrissakes!
3. If you like rich fatty foods and you smoke, then you should be here
4. If you like lots of culture, history, art, or nightlife, then you should be here.
5. If you would like to visit a very cosmopolitan city with non-stop things to do and see, people that are friendly, accommodating, diverse and tolerant of everyone else, then Montreal is the place for you.
6. If you like paying insane amount of sales and personal income tax, then this is the place for you.

I guess it goes with all things, for the things you gain in some places, there are always things you have to give up.
After a nice sleep in on Thursday, I called Rejean up to see if he wanted to go for a few more cool ones on the patio at Cafe Europeen that afternoon. He agreed, so I picked him up on the way and we sat on the patio in the hot sun all afternoon people watching and telling each other crude stories about our friends. I had to race back to Jerome's to meet him, and then we got ready to go out. Tom came by and picked us up around 8:30. We went back to the Village. Tom and I checked out BPM, the DJ supply/dance music store. Can you say "vinyl"? We ate at Bato Thai, a really great restaurant with really good service. Afterwards, we stopped by Tom's so I could see Jerome's art pieces I hadn't seen yet, and I got to wow over Tom's impressive CD and video collection.

We didn't stay long since Jerome is allergic to Tom's dog, so we walked up to Mont-Royal Park to meet up with Wendy and crew. They were sitting in the big gazebo. We moved down to the Jacques Cartier statue. We weren't there long when the cops came along poured out the beers of the people in the group who were drinking, and told us to leave. We all went back to Jerome's, then the group went to a bar across the street. I was pretty tired so I stayed at Jerome's and crashed.

Sunday, April 29, 2001

Well, I'm back in Calgary and my computer's acting up. I had a blig blog to post last night with details of the rest of the trip, but for some reason, my IE disconnects and I can't communicate with the Cadvision server....weird. anyways, here goes attempt two. I'll try and keep the entries shorter so I have less of a chance of losing them.

Wednesday(25) after I got home from my run, I got ready and headed to Olympic Park. I got to see the stadium close up. It really is an architectural marvel...the Biodome next door is a continuation of the same sweeping lines. It used to house the Velodrome, but is now home to the botanical gardens. I didn't do much touring around figuring if you've seen the interior of one stadium and botanical gardens, you've seen them all. I didn't know there was an observation deck at the top of the support tower for the stadium which would give you an awesome view of the city, however it was also $10-15 to ride up to the top too.

I hopped on the subway again and headed back downtown. I wandered around, checking out Simon's again and the men's clothing shops in the Peel district, and from there I walked up to McGill University and wandered around the campus for awhile. Can you believe that the students center is named after William Shatner? There is also another FineArts building named after Captain Kirk. The business school is nowhere near as nice as Scurfield Hall, and it is named after Samuel Bronfman. There was no massive student's center, I'm assuming that since the campus is right downtown, there is no reason to locate all the services on campus.

Anyways, I headed up to Jerome's again, and when he got home, we got ready to go out for supper. Jerome's coworker, Fernand organized the meal at le Bistro P'tit Bonheur in the west end. It is part of a massive remodelling job of one of Montreal's oldest theaters, being opened sort of as a dinner theater. Very nice. 25% of the bill amounts from the evening were being donated to the Montreal AIDS foundation, and 80 restaurants were participating, so it was for a good cause. The meal was exquisite as well. Fernand got 14 people together for supper. The conversation flip-flopped between French and English all evening, so I only picked up on parts of the conversation, however I did get to meet some new people.

Afterwards, Jerome went home to sleep, and I went out with Sergio, Rejean and Barry to La Track. Beers were cheap and plentiful. We had a fantastic time, and at the end of the night, Rejean and I were the only survivors. I ended up getting home at 5 am.

Wednesday, April 25, 2001

It's Wednesday morning and I thought I would type down a few lines before I head out for another run this morning. Monday I ended up doing some more shopping. I didn't get up too early since I've been totally abusing Jerome's movie collection all week, and staying up until the wee hours of the morning watching movies I haven't seen before. After my run I headed back home, quickly got ready and went out to check out some of Montreal's bike shops. I became a transit guru, essentially taking the metro from one end of the city and back again, since one of the shops I wanted to check out was on Boulevard Decarie off the Cote Vertu station. On my way back I took the Blue Line back instead of the Green Line which goes on the north side of Mont-Royal to the Jean-Talon station, instead of heading back through downtown. I got home in time to let Jerome in when he got home from work, athough he did get home before me. He had been a little worried. I guess the last time Bob Flynn was in town, he had Jerome's apartment keys left for the day, and locked Jerome out of his own house for twelve hours or so.

I finally got to meet Tom, and the three of us went for a late dinner in the Village. Tom's an accountant and has been crazy busy with income tax season, so hasn't had any opportunity to get out for awhile. He's really nice, and him and Jerome seem to get along extremely well.

That was the end of Monday. Tuesday I went back downtown and toured Vieux Montreal et le Vieux Port. There is some amazing architecture down along the river, and some well-preserved buildings from the late 1600s and early 1700s. many period pieces of architecture standing side-by-side to each other. I got lots of pictures of such landmarks as le Basilique Notre-Dame, Rue de la Commune, Rue de St-Paul, and l'Hotel de Ville. I then went back downtown to do some more shopping. I went back to Simon's, checked out all the men's clothing stores at Ste-Catherine and Peel, and headed back to the Plateau to get home before Jerome. Last night we stayed in and Jerome made some fanastic pizza.

Today I'm going to Parc du Maisonneuve, where the Olympic Stadium, the Botanical Gardens and the Biodome are located. I officially finished shopping yesterday, being WAY overbudget, so this is a nice quiet sightseeing day. Jerome and I are invited to an AIDS fundraiser where 80 different restaurants are holding some type of dining event. I don't know any details yet, but it sounds like something interesting to do on a Wednesday night. Tomorrow I have absolutely no plans, but Tom is supposed to be taking me shopping at BPM, a huge dance music store (something Jerome avoids like the plague), and tomorrow night is supposed to be a farewell party for Wendy (and I guess me as well.....:-)....). So there's still a lot to do before I leave.

That's all for now. I gotta get running...literally.


Monday, April 23, 2001

Bonjour de nouveau! It's Monday morning now. Jerome's gone to work and I just got out of bed, so I've got the run of the apartment for the rest fo the day. It's supposed to get up to 21^C today, so I'm about to get my running gear on, grab the camera, and head up to the top of Mont-Royal. The panorama is supposed to be awesome! I made up my list of bike shops and such to check out today, so that's my agenda until Jerome gets home.

Saturday was a pretty crazy day. Jerome and I went downtown and checked out Rue Ste-Catherine, the main shopping district. The sidewalks were clogged with people, and the streets were clogged with cars. This mayhem went on for miles. It was quite an experience to see that many people in such a small area.

We went to lots of stores, most noteably Simon's and Urban Outfitters. They had fantastic clothes (and cheap too). I bought a new jacket and a shoulder bag at Simon's. Jerome bought his new "flame" belt at U.O. - and yet another pair of pants. We walked down to the other end of Ste-Catherines into the gay village and checked out some of the stores there as well. We stopped for a beer at Cafe Meteor and ate at Club Sandwich. We had to make a stop at the legendary Priape on the way back to Berri Station to catch the metro back to the Plateau.

I had a quick snooze while Jerome finished his newest painting (yet unnamed - a mosquito/nurse hybrid), and then we got ready to go out. We got down to the Unity Lounge around 10:30, and headed upstairs to the club around 11. It is a huge bar with the main dance floor on the second floor, and then two other bars on the third floor. There is another bar that goes out to the rooftop patio on the fourth floor but it doesn't open until later in the season. Anyways, one of the third floor bars was full when we got there (apparently a lot of the all-night clubbers pre-party here until they head to Stereo or FOAM) while the rest of the bar was empty. About an hour later, the place was packed. We moved between the main bar and the other third floor bar all night. The main bar was playing a lot of the cheesy gay standards later on, while the other one was playing some really soothing house and ambient stuff all night, and was my environment of choice. The main bar became a little more trance-y as the night went on and the shirt started coming off. I swear there wasn't a chest hair to be found among the several hundred men (and women--thankfully) on the dance floor. We ended up the evening in the other upstairs bar, which was packed as well and had a lot less pretentious attitude. We grabbed a cab home after closing the bar down, and immediately crashed.

Sunday morning should have been more sleepy than it was, but Wendy called at 9:30 to ask why we were still in bed. Jerome had done the same thing to her on Saturday morning, so I guess it was sweet revenge. We got up, went for breakfast with Wendy and went over to her place to install a light and get her bike dismantled for her move to Toronto on Friday. We helped her move her apartment-size washing machine down the stairs. She traded it with some neighbors that were holding a crappy item sidewalk sale out on the street for a set of shelves. As we were bringing it down, Wendy let her end slide down the stairs instead of lifting it up, and the top broke off. We made a good attempt to hide the broken top, and got away with it to start with. Wendy had to run across the street to borrow some tools from her DJ friend Tony, and as we were coming back, the husband who was running the sale was running toward us. Wendy was screaming "Run!" since she thought it was about the broken lid while I was laughing so hard at the idea that neighbors were trying to screw each other! The guy came up to us, and in his Greek/French accent claimed that the machine wasn't working. We went over there again, and showed them that once you plug it in, yes, the pump runs, and that, no, the wash cycle doesn't start until the tub is full of water.....too hard to figure out I guess. Anyways, I guess you had to be there to find the situation funny.

Afterwards, Jerome and I walked towards downtown again, and checkout out some of the retro furniture stores along Amherst via Av. Papineau and Parc la Fontaine. We ended up in the Village again on Ste-Catherine, and did a bit more looking around but didn't do any buying since a lot of stores were closed. I bought a CD in Archambault's (the big record store). Jerome was complaining about his sore legs, so we took the metro back home and I spent the rest of the evening lying in bed and watching movies while he did some emailing and went to sleep.

Saturday, April 21, 2001

Greetings from Montreal! I got here safe and sound yesterday afternoon. Jerome met me at the Berri/UQAM station and we dropped my stuff off at his apartment before we went out shopping (didn't waste any time there, did I?). I bought some cool shirts at a retro store (Retro Rage) on Ave. Mont-Royal, and as we went down Rue St-Denis (fantastic shopping - apparently there's a LOT more on the Plateau Mon-Royal where Jerome lives) we found some excellent buys at a few shops. I got a nice sweater on sale at Senso Mio and some new shoes at Pegabo. We went looking for a jacket for me, but to no avail. I have an idea of what I want in my head, and we weren't able to find it anywhere yesterday. We brought our wares back to the apartment, and got ready to go out. Jerome and I took the Metro back downtown to the Village and went bar hopping. I was floored by the sheer size of the Village. It's HUGE! and all gay, which is amazing. Certainly some liberties going on down there that you will NEVER see in Calgary. We checked out Sky (just newly reopened and remodelled. - very nice inside, lots of eye-candy too), Stud, Le Drugstore (HUGE bar, with a great rooftop patio wherre I"ve already eyed a spot for people watching this afternoon), and Campus (where do these grow these specimens? - especially Darren, the geographically-challenged stripper..."Calgary, Ontario?"). It was a pretty casual evening. Got back to Jerome's around 3 and crashed. We want to save our energies for shopping tomorrow afternoon, and dancing at Unity (THE Montreal bar) and Stereo (afterhours - if we're still alive) tonight. It's gonna be crazy! I'll sign in tomorrow again and let you know how things went......

Friday, April 13, 2001's me again. It's 2:30am after Bermuda Shorts Day, and I just woke up from a long-deserved sleep. I've been sleeping very little the last week trying to get everything done. I can't believe it's all over! Yesterday was pretty fun....the beer gardens at school took a lot out of me. I came home about 8pm, went to bed "for a couple of hours" and ended up waking six hours later! I bought a ticket for the BSD party at Desperado's' which I've ended up missing. What a waste of money that was! Oh well...I have a few more hours of e-commerce to do today, and that's it. Weather permitting, I should go for a bike ride today. Bob's birthday is tonight and I'm supposed to be heading up to Signal Hill for that. Joe has to work tonight, but I may go over to visit him later today.
I'll write more later....

Saturday, March 31, 2001

Well, things have been crazy busy. I've been working on E-commerce since noon. I'm happy to say that I think I'm well on the way to getting the assignment done, which is good news considering I HAVE to get two more projects done this week - no excuses. Our practice presentations for 455 are next Monday, and the company presentations are on Thursday the 12th. I totally want to get everything done before my exams on the 18th. I finally got my ticket booked to Montreal on the 20th, so I am officially severing my cord with the university on the 19th. I'll have to go and clear out my lockers on the 18th sometime during the Bermuda Shorts Day mayhem.

Montreal will be a complete blast. Jerome's taking Friday off early so he can meet me at Dorval. I wonder what he has planned? All I know is I want to go to Unity on Saturday night, and get some awesome shopping done during the week. I can't wait to hang out with Jerome again.....

I filed my income tax this morning. It's amazing how easy the whole process has gotten. I built my return at, and then submitted it using CCRA's Netfile. The whole process took about 15 minutes. Ufile is VERY easy to use. I would recommend it to anyone. And considering how poor I am, I got to use the service for free.

The Management Year End Dinner and Dance (YEDD) takes place tomorrow night at the Westin. It will be a good time, I hope. It will probably be the last time I see some of the people I've stressed with over the past few years. I want to get some pictures, so I'd better not forget my camera.

Joe and I celebrated our 6 month anniversary last week. Pretty mind-blowing isn't it? Most people laughed at me when I told them that, but I think it's cute. It's the longest serious relationship I've ever had, at any rate.....I'm extremely happy with the way things are going, and I'm excited to have Joe move in with me. I think we're both laid back enough that we won't have any big problems. I will miss Cheryl though. She's been an awesome roommate for the past three years. We went out for a fewe brews the other night, and joked that we'd probably end up going out more together after we move apart!

What else, what else? The transit strike's incredibly still going on. The whole saga has become an embarrassing mess of mediocre leadership on both sides. I know of people that have lost jobs and had to drop courses because of this whole thing. Of course, the poorest people in the community are the ones who are the hardest hit because of this, but that always seems to be the way it is. Biking everyday has been getting me in condition for the triathlon season again, which is good. My skills (eg. still balance at red lights) is getting better all the time, but the drivers seem to be getting worse and worse. There are so many drivers that don't look around them, and others that just don't give a shit about all the cyclists on the road. They get angry when they have to follow you for a block and then blast by you, passing as close as they can while there engines are screaming. I get so pissed of at some of these people that don't realize legally I could ride down the middle of the lane and not let anyone pass by me. Then there are the other ones that try so hard to blast by you, and then cut you off while they have to move back in to make a right hand turn right in front of you. I've had that happen quite a few times. I don't think these people even see me when they're passing right beside me.

Anyways, enough ranting. The vehicles are getting bigger and bigger (a horrendously disturbing trend), blowing more exhaust in my face, and there's really not much I can do about it. I have to be up early in the morning to start work at 9am since I want to get off at 5pm to get to YEDD in time. Have a good weekend!

Friday, March 23, 2001

Oh why oh why won't this !#$(&%#& winter end? I can't wait until I have the opportunity to work in the U.S. or somewhere warmer. I'm not sure how many more of these winters I can take.

Tuesday, March 13, 2001

Well, here it is Monday night, and I've hardly accomplished anything tonight. I was supposed to be doing my poart for the E-commerce group project, but inseatd I've found myself yakking on the phone and surfing the Net. The TV finally blew up on Tuesday, so it's been a test of sensory deprivation for the last week. Thank god for the Internet and music.

Quite a bit has happened in the last week. I had a really great visit with my folks last week. They were only here for a few days, and it kind of sucked that I had to work and go to school while they were here, but we did manage to get out for a few meals and a walk around downtown. They even liked one of the 17th Ave. haunts, Melrose, and we spent one evening there. I was sad to see them go, but next time they come out, I'll have more time to spend with them and more room in the apartment, and a WORKING TV!

Wednesday night a group of us went to the Night Gallery and danced our feet off. Thursday night was the fundraiser for Korleen at the downtown Keg. I got to see Tony, Jeff and Kevin--the crew that I haven't hung out with in a very long time. Friday night, Jen's sister Lorraine was in town, and we went to the Night Gallery again for Crystal's birthday. There were four punk bands playing--it was definitely a change from my normal environment, but it was a lot of fun. Saturday night was the Team Calgary promotion for the Mardi Gras at the ARGRA dance and Boyztown later. We sold tickets at the dance and the bar, and sold 50/50 tix at the bar as well. Sunday night was the last night Lorraine was in town, so we went to the drag show at Detour and danced till close. It was fun, but I was pretty tired, considering I worked two overtime days on the weekend.

This week is devoted to homework again. I'm getting really tired of the school thing. I did nine hours of the Systems Analysis project on Friday, and pretty much finished that off, and the weekend was pretty much a writeoff. I got my Project Manager's Report done for SA&D, and did some more NetMike stuff and reading for Strategy. The next Netmike rollover is tomorrow morning, so we had to have all of our numbers worked out. These two rollovers a week is getting a little crazy! I hardly have anytime on the weekends to look at the rollover results, and since I'm doing the marketing end of things, I can't make any expenditure decisions until we have made final decisions on production and development, which usually occurs on Monday afternoon.......yeesh. And don't get me started on E-commerce. Five more weeks, five more weeks....

Joe and I are going to go to a movie tomorrow night and hopefully have a quiet night. Neither of us has money right now, so that will decide what we do for us. We're going to Darude at the Palace on Friday night, and then Mardi Gras is on Saturday. I'm supposed to be working at the door at 11pm, so I'm planning on totally dressing up. I have to find a cool mask sometime this week....

What else? My cousin Scott and Jen had their baby last Sunday, a girl named Jordan. Reid is healing nicely from his surgery........ummmm.....I'm going to buy my ticket to Montreal next week.......I'm running out of things to write......Good night.

Saturday, March 03, 2001's finally working correctly. So, anyways, as I was saying, I can't wait until school's done. I'm finished exams on April 18, and I'm planning on heading to Montreal on the 19th for a week. I've already warned Jerome, and he's already told me to prep my liver. It will definitely be a well-deserved escape. I get back on the 26th in time to help Cheryl move out and Joe move in before I start work on the following Tuesday. It will definitely be a crazy few weeks.

I'm looking forward to my first jump into cohabitation. I was apprehensive at first, but now I'm looking forward to having someone at home all the time and being able to go out and do things with someone all the time rather than during our scheduled two nights per week. That's all I'll say about that issue at this time! :-)

I won't bother talking about the past two months. Not too much has happened. A few birthdays, a few raves, everyone trying to adjust to the wild fluctuations in climate. Cheryl lee moved to Vancouver a month ago. I've been missing her, and look forward to going out to see her this summer. Fergie and Tim Lyall were the headliner DJs at the Slinky show which was held on Liberation Night at Metro. It was a great show. The trance was tres hard (Joe was in heaven). Darude is playing the Palace on the 16th, and Ferry Corsten is playing the next Liberation Night. Too much dancing to do....

The Team Calgary Mardi Gras is on March 17. It will be a blast. I have to work the ticket table at 11pm. I hope a lot of people show up so we can make some money. I guess we're going to BTs and possibly Detour to sell tickets this Saturday and next Saturday.

Mom and Dad are coming into town on Sunday. They should be in Red Deer right now. They haven't been here in two years, so they haven't seen the downtown pad yet. I hope we get to have a good visit. I have to go to school on Monday, but hopefully we can do some shopping on Monday afternoon and Tuesday before they take off. I'm kinda stressed about the whole home thing because of a few incidents that have happened the past few months and I'm starting to think I'd rather not communicate with anyone from Grandview about my life at all. No one seems to be able to handle anything I tell them, and instead of opening communication with my family by coming out, it seems that now I have to justify every word that comes out of my mouth because everyone has this idea that everything I say has some disturbing subtext to it. Whatever....that's what you get for living in isolation from the rest of the world. I can't help it if that's the choice some people make, or that they prefer to follow stereotypes they've been brainwashed to believe without considering that it's me they're forming impressions about. I'm sick of it all. I don't care anymore. I've finally cut all ties with that place, and I don't have anymore regrets about it either. I haven't pushed my home away, I was pushed out of it.

Blah blah blah. I love Blogger! It's so easy to jot down a few notes that are floating around in my head. I'll follow up soon. Check out some of the new songs on the Top Ten list! TTYL
Well, I'm not quite sure what's going on with this thing, but everything's not quite working properly.

The transit strike's still going on. Although I know it's good for me and all, I'm getting really tired of riding my bike everywhere. The roads are in atrocious shape, they're covered with that gravel that passes for grease right now if you ride on it the wrong way (re:my crash on 24 Ave. yesterday and my rashed ass), the traffic congestion is crazy, and that's all on top of the fact Calgarians drive like a bunch of mental midgets. Grrr.....fuck you, Calgary Transit and the City of Calgary. Get this settled before someone snaps and kills someone.

School is crazy. The Netmike computer simulation for Strategic Management is consuming most groups' time that are taking it right now. It's kinda crazy, considering we're being plunked into these competitive worlds without any knowledge of market sizes or preferences. And we're supposed to have a 10-year business strategy developed? Good luck. E-commerce is driving me batty as well, quite frankly. I can't seem to retain any of the programming skills I've learned the past few years, so I feel like an idiot when I'm trying to get these interactive web pages running while trying to add extra functionality with Javascript and DHTML. Whatever. I'm so sick of school. I can't get motivated knowing I already have a job set up for May.

Friday, March 02, 2001

Well, I wrote a big blog and tried to post it, so here's a test first. You think I would learn by now to try things out first before jumping right in