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