Friday, June 29, 2007

Back to the city

A nice couple of days at the cottage. The weather was a bit lousy (at least until we had to leave) but we played some Trivial Pursuit and retrieved my dad's sailboat from winter storage. Unfortunately the weather was not conducive to sailing- too rough and dangerous, then dead calm on the last day. We did go for a canoe ride though.

Yesterday Mr F and I went to a Goldeyes game. Final score was 3-2 Calgary (unchanged since the end of the third inning). Mr Katz may be a questionable mayor, but he definitely knows how to run a minor league baseball team (notwithstanding their loss). And a seat right behind home plate for $15 is hard to beat.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Cottage bound (finally)

The weather has improved, so we're leaving in around two hours. It should be a nice time.

Last night I met up with a friend who I hadn't seen in some ten years. She's doing well, has a two year old daughter, and is working for the regional health authority here. It was nice to just have a couple of beers and talk about old times. Neither of us has heard from most of the people we knew from those days; I'm rather curious to hear what's become of the Trashcan Man in particular, specifically whether or not he's in jail (he probably should be).

Monday, June 25, 2007


I arrived in Winnipeg yesterday evening after an uneventful flight, to find out that CL had called my mum to check up on me. It seems that after dropping me off at the airport, she'd gone home and turned on the TV to see this. Fortunately it didn't hit the city, nor did the several others that touched down yesterday in various parts of the province. I called to reassure her, but there was no answer, so I left a message.

Our cottage plans are on hold till tomorrow, owing to continued thunderstorm warnings for the Kenora area. Since the cottage is only accessible by boat, we figured it might be a bad idea to cross the lake in an aluminum boat in a thunderstorm, so we're going to wait till tomorrow.

My effing laptop is acting awfully sluggish right now, so that's it for this post.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

T minus 4 hours 20 minutes

Well, I'm packed and more or less ready to leave. I'm really looking forward to this. My parents and I (and perhaps one of my brothers) will be going out to the cottage from Monday to Wednesday, something I haven't done in four years. I'll get to hang out with friends that I haven't seen in years.

Needless to say, I won't be posting from the cottage, and my posts may be pretty sparse in general while I'm away.

Friday, June 22, 2007

My holiday begins...

I spent most of today hacking through the extra changes they want on that report, but I also had my review. It went well; I got another raise. They were generally very complimentary; the only criticisms they had were connected to my tendency to get flustered easily (perfectly fair). Now I feel a bit guilty for having dissed them so often in this blog.

Tomorrow I help set up the NDP table at the Multicultural Festival, and help run it for a few hours. On Sunday CL will drive me to the airport, and as usual will get to use my car for the week.

Preston Manning flays Cons' environmental policies

You know it's a weird and scary time when Preston Manning sounds far better than the present government:

There's an irresistible parallel between this and Manning's earlier life, which he spent hectoring an un-conservative Conservative government about its budget deficit, which was this gigantic problem that grew and grew and grew because nobody in office, least of all Tory prime minister Brian Mulroney, had the guts to take it on.

Manning had the guts. The party's got to end, Manning said. He was shrill, he was a scold, he was right, and he smashed the Progressive Conservatives in the West.

Now he's talking about the environment, with the same message: party's over, and somebody's got to pay the bill, even on the sacred oilpatch. A lot of Albertans are very worried indeed about the environmental degradation they can see -- the open-pit oilsands-extraction operations; the gas flares that light the night within minutes of the legislature in Edmonton; the diminishing Athabasca River, which gave its name to the biggest oilsands deposit.

Specifically, Manning is talking about water, and how wrong it is that oil companies can take four barrels of water from finite rivers to steam one barrel of oil and sand apart without paying for it. He proposes "full-cost accounting," the idea that an industry that uses up a public resource should pay for it.
From here, via bugsybrown.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

And it continues...

This week at work has been slow, not that that's a bad thing. I've been compiling a list of municipalities (i.e. potential clients), which means going to a lot of provincial government websites and getting the contact info for every municipality in the province. One interesting fact that has come up- Ontario currently has 445 municipalities, including upper tiers. Manitoba, with less than 10% of Ontario's population, has 200, all single tiers. Saskatchewan has even more, many of which are villages with fewer than 100 residents. I tend to be leery of municipal amalgamations, but when you're a village of 25 people, three of who are on the village council (one reeve and two councillors) it seems kind of silly.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Ever seen one of these?

Here's a couple of pics of a car that I've seen parked in the lot at William and Regina. Anyone know the make?

Monday, June 18, 2007

The countdown begins

This time next week I expect to be in Winnipeg; my vacation is next week. I'm to fly out Sunday night.

The weekend went well, though it was busy. On Friday I went with CL and DL to a performance by Amanda Martinez; the performance was good but the venue left a lot to be desired (it was a big tent in Victoria Park, with terrible acoustics and way too much talking. On Saturday I hung out with Ms McD, and on Sunday I worked with Ms P on some stuff for the NDP's table at the Multicultural Festival next weekend.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

the week continues

Notwithstanding my last post, this week is actually going fairly well, work-wise. I'm in the office, and most of the last few days have been spent with a report, plus a bunch of generic tasks (inventory, cleaning equipment, etc). I also met up with the Ps on Monday and Ms McD on Tuesday; other than that I haven't been doing much with my spare time other than surfing the net and reading Kip Thorne's Black Holes and Time Warps (a much easier read than The Road to Reality, which is now lingering on my shelf again till I get a bit smarter).

Saturday, June 9, 2007

More unwanted expenses

While I was away, I left my car with Cat Lady, and she noticed that it seemed to have occasional handling issues at high speeds; she'd noticed it the previous week too. It was significant enough that she thought that it might pose a safety problem. After it was pointed out to me, it did seem that its ride was a bit odd. I'd previously checked the tire pressures, and topped them up, but there was no noticeable change. So I brought it in (it needed its tires rotated anyway) and found out that the rear shocks were shot. The way shocks generally fail, though, is gradual, so I didn't notice the change the way she did. I suspect that it would also have been much more noticeable if the front shocks were bad; as it was, the oscillations that result from bad shocks were relatively mild from the perspective of someone sitting in the front (and I haven't ridden in the rear of the car in a long time). So I forked over around $350 for the repair. Oh well, the car is much nicer to drive now. Not to mention safer; all that would have to happen is to hit a pothole while rounding a curve at high speed, and I could have been sent hurtling into the path of a Mack truck. While this would likely have solved the problem of what to do with my future, it seems like an awfully drastic solution.

Incidentally, the recently purchased work van is showing itself worthy of being owned by our company. As mentioned previously, the instrument panel has been working erratically almost since we got it, and more recently we found that the air conditioning, which worked when we received the vehicle, no longer worked. It was taken in last weekend. The A/C was fixed (for the time being at least; Norfolk Dude suspects that they system has a slow leak and was simply charged up before selling the van to us); the instrument panel problem was attributed to (and I'm not making this up) a supposed tendency for the dashboards to warp in this model of van. My boss lapped this explanation up with his usual credulity (much like he raved about how this particular guy was so good at restoring insurance writeoffs, he could take two cars of the same make with damage at opposite ends and weld together the good halves of each to make a perfectly sound car). How a warped dashboard is supposed to cause all the erratic behaviour of this instrument panel was not made clear; I suppose a warp could conceivably cause some electrical component to contact metal when it shouldn't and cause a short, but in such a case I'd expect it not to work at all, rather than to behave as it does.

In a little while I'm going to track down flyingbuttress of Agile Like This; she's got a booth at a craft sale today, and I want to buy some additional copies of their CD for people. Let me say it again- they rock.

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Yet another week comes to an end

Yes, it's Thursday, but we actually get tomorrow off! I suspect it has something to do with the fact that the bosses have agreed to give us "banked time and a half" for overtime (i.e. the time and a half would be used to book vacation time and the like). So, they have to give us some time off, especially given how long our hours were in Pembroke.

Today's load was small; we were done by around 2 PM despite the fact that we stopped to allow the Human Sawmill to read to us from some letters we found in the garbage. It was a collection of love letters between a teenage girl and some guys (the letters they sent along with some of her rough drafts). It was amusing at times, but got uncomfortable when she started mention stuff like cutting herself. At that point I started to feel rather guilty for listening, especially given how unsympathetic my colleagues sounded. Unfortunately, being the meek sort that I am, all I was able to do was to point out that the guys she was corresponding with seemed pretty messed up themselves. My colleagues seemed to acknowledge the point but quickly forgot it and went back to going on about how crazy women are.

On Sunday I bought an MP3 player, but found that it didn't work. I took it back to the store, intending to exchange it, but they didn't have any more of that model, and the next model up was around $20 more, so I asked for a refund. Fortunately they didn't make me fight for it, because I don't think I would have done a very good job. I'd probably have forked over the extra $20 and slunk out of the store. Both this story and the previous one suggest that I ought to be more assertive than I am. Actually a lot of aspects of my life suggest that, though I don't know what to do about it exactly.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

The end of the week approaches

As expected, this was a short day sorting, though I had several more hours of data entry afterwards. But that's over, and tomorrow might not be too bad either. Better still, we get Friday off. I think I'll have yet another crack at making sense of Penrose's The Road To Reality, though the stuff covered in that book is pretty damn difficult.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

And so it continues...

I have a great idea for an online game. I'm not tech-savvy enough to actually create it, but someone should take this idea and run with it. It would work like this: You would upload a photo of your boss, enter with some general details (age, sex, height, weight, etc) and some fancy-schmancy software would generate a 3-D model based on the photo and data you provide. Then you would be able to inflict whatever torment your fantasies can provide (bamboo shoots under the fingernails, a jalapeƱo and LSD enema, cutting off bodily parts, etc) without the annoying legal repercussions that would result from actually fulfilling your fantasy.

As you might guess, I'm again feeling rather sick of my job. The actual sorts haven't been too bad, but the last couple of evenings have been spent working on other projects (mostly data entry, but there's been some additional shite from that project that was plaguing me up in Pembroke). The whole career change idea keeps coming back into my head, though I kind of think I should try to find another job in my current field first. But I'm coming to believe that fieldwork is a young person's game, and so I'm currently looking at office jobs that are related to the field I'm in now. Unfortunately, most of the ones on the job boards are either jobs like my current one, or else call centre jobs that happen to be specialized in this field (hooray, I could be the person who answers the phone when you call to whine about your garbage collection being late). Even that, though, seems like it would be an improvement. It wouldn't offer much room for advancement, but I have to wonder how much room I have for advancement where I am now.

I've gone as far as checking the library science programs at universities that offer them, but they seem to want someone with a 4-year degree, not two 3-year degrees and an incomplete masters' degree. They might be willing to make an exception, though, so I intend to look into it further. The thing is, that would require going further into hock with OSAP, as well as relocating (the nearest schools that offer such a degree are in Toronto and London; and neither of Winnipeg's universities offer it either). And I'd like to think I'd be employable in the field afterwards- after all, there are so many schools, universities, and municipalities in this country that surely one of them would hire me. Sure, it might mean living in a place like Dauphin or Meaford, but I think I could live with that... at least for a while.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Preparing to leave town again...

Yeah, it never ends. I'm to leave for Bracebridge tonight at 6 PM. However, at the end of the month I'm going to get a week's vacation, which I'm going to spend in Winnipeg. I'll be there from the 24th of June through the 1st of July, and I'm really looking forward to it.

The Agile Like This show was great. I bought their CD Take Our Load (a 5 track EP) and have been playing it quite a bit this weekend. They're apparently going to have a bunch of shows this summer, so anyone in the Tri-Cities should check them out. (Don't bring your kids, though, unless you want to have to explain some pretty perverse shit to them).

Yesterday I helped the Perfects move. They're now in a nice highrise, and they seem pretty happy with it. It was a very hot day, but the move itself went very smoothly (they had a fair amount of help). Or rather, it went smoothly except for one little thing- they clipped a parked car with the U-Haul. No serious damage, but embarrassing for them.

Friday, June 1, 2007

My choice for the Perfect Post of the month

So there's this thing called the Perfect Post award, run by Suburban Turmoil and MommaK, and it occurred to me that this post from fruchick is at least as worthy of the honour as any other post I've seen this month. Much of her blog is locked, but the post in question was deliberately left unlocked, and we must thank her for it, since it's a well placed "fuck you" to folks who sound like they sorely need it. As you might gather from the open post, most of her blog is devoted to comedy (particularly Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert); I have to admit that as a cable-free person I have only a passing familiarity with those guys, but I always enjoy reading what she has to say.

And, in other news, my site meter has finally reached three digits!