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Journal Entries for December 2003
December 2, 2003 - 10:57 pm


First Egg Nog of 2003

Luke and I celebrate the return of the 'Nog!

December 10, 2003 - 11:30 pm
Wow, December is here. Talk about neglecting the poor site too, it's been ages since I've really done a real update to it. I've been developing two web sites at work though, one for internal use in the company and another one that should be opening very soon -- which will be advertised all over many trucks and on the radio and whatnot. It's a lot of pressure and a huge challenge but also a lot of fun and I am enjoying it. As such however, I really have no life these days. Several nights this past week I've worked from 9 am until 10 pm and one night I even stayed at work till 1:30 in the morning! One of the many nice things about my new job though is not having any real 'set' hours -- And nobody cared that I went to work the next day at 11:30. I love my new job. Finally I do for a living something I really enjoy, something that is challenging my mind and causing me to learn about many new things, apply my skills and talents and produce work that is a benefit to others in the company, all in an environment that is friendly, pleasant and pretty laid back! (And I get paid for it too!)

The other day I recieved a phone call from Ib, my old boss at Sylvania, inviting me to their Christmas party. I must admit I was a little surprised at this, for one: I was no longer employed by Sylvania, and two: When I had quit, due to the circumstances of the new job I had to start immediately and so was not able to give any notice at all! (Literally, I went to Sylvania one morning, dropped off my work clothes and tools, said goodbye to everyone, and went to work at my new job!) It was such a rock and a hard place for me because the new job proposition came so quickly to me, and if I was to take it I had to spend a week with the guy who was leaving so he could show me what he had been doing. I had four days to get trained by him before he was out of there. Anyway, it's all said and done now and I love my new job but I have nothing bad to say about Sylvania... I enjoyed my four years there and learned a lot. I don't regret the experience at all and really miss the guys I used to work with there. In fact, some of them still call me and ask questions about this job or that job and I really enjoy it when they do. One of these days I'm going to retrofit my office. Those F40's are driving me nuts! And it's pretty funny because it still really bugs me when I see lights burnt out anywhere. I have these urges to go and fix them! But I'm learning restraint and gradually accepting the fact that it's not my job to fix burnt lightbulbs anymore. Actually it's kind of funny, one of the things I really enjoyed doing at Sylvania was driving Sky Jacks. I know I wrote about it in at least one journal entry a few months ago... (The lifty things as Kim calls them.) Well interestingly enough, taking charge of the security cameras at the plant has been given to me since I've got all the monitors in my office, but quite a few of them do not work. So one night after 'normal' work hours I decided to try and find out why certain cameras were down. Well what did I find in the plant to facilitat this procedure? A LIFTY! So there I was, happily driving the lifty around, zipping up to the roof to check this wire and that wire... It was very enjoyable. And I think someone disabled the limit switch on that lifty that's supposed to make it drive slower when the cage is up because it would still bolt around at mach 4 when I was 20 feet in the air! They're a lot more fun like that, let me tell you! It's a very good lesson on perception. The very same speeds at 6 feet off the ground seem a LOT faster at 20 feet... Anyway, it turns out that the Sylvania Christmas party is on the day I get back from my Custom Linen Christmas party. Talk about a busy weekend. They're keeping the planned activities of that weekend pretty hush hush at the office but I've heard rumours of a hay ride... I am quite excited, as is my date. I know it will be a lot of fun.

Well midnight has rolled around again and I should get to bed. I can't even say that morning comes awful early anymore because I don't even set my alarm most days anymore... I'm sorry if it sounds like I'm gloating but I am. Goodnight

December 11, 2003 - 12:07 am
The Red Dragon has been hit!

... And in other news:

Buyers of Pirated Windows XP Get What They Pay For

Many purchasers of illicit software are becoming disappointed when they realize that the pirated copies of Windows XP they are buying are priced at what the software is worth. "I paid my buddy $1.50 for a Windows XP CD he picked up in Russia," said one annoyed buyer. "Little did I know that the thing was only worth $1.50." "I usually pick up pirated stuff to save money, but in this case I was stung," said another disgruntled buyer.

Microsoft officials were alarmed at the fact that pirated copies of the company's software were selling at fair market value. "This is definitely a problem for Microsoft," said a spokesperson. "How can we justifying charging $300 for a piece of software when its real value is only $1.50?"

Some analysts claim that people should be happy that they are getting what they paid for. "Those hologram thingies add at least $2.00 to the total value of a Windows XP CD," said computer pundit Robert Downswey. "People should be happy that they can get Windows XP for $1.50. It's a great deal."

Others aren't so sure.

"I'd say this piece of crap is worth maybe $1.00," said Chad Woolsley, a student.

"No way this is worth $1.50, hologram or no hologram," concurred Mark Aimsley of the Institute of Computer Education.

Some computer industry observers are concerned about the impact the poor software will have on the software piracy industry.

"With Windows selling for what it's worth, software vendors that rely on pirated copies of Windows will be hit hard," claimed software piracy expert John Sallow. "Profit margins are razor thin and sales depend on people thinking they're getting a deal. With this product, people are not satisfied with the price they're paying. This will ultimately lead to lower prices and thinner profit margins."

Software pirates agree. "I can't say that this is anything more than Windows NT with nicer icons," said a street vendor selling the product in Tel Aviv. "Heck, I can barely move these things at $3.00. I'm going to have to drop the price pretty soon just to get the damn things out the door. They're taking up valuable floor space, as you can see." Some cooler heads took a more reasoned approach.

"Microsoft should be happy that it's closing in on Linux's price," said Jennifer Glass of Integrated Data Systems. "Competition is fierce in the OS market now and will only get fiercer."

Computer expert Dr. Corey McNeil disagreed, citing that the 'priced right Windows' was still too expensive for what people were receiving.

"Look at it this way," said Dr. McNeil. "The price of Linux is $0. The price of Windows XP is $1.50. Given a choice, it makes more sense to get a great operating system, with far fewer system failures and great support through the Linux community by spending nothing. Even if you buy a bag of chips or a chocolate bar, you're still ahead of the game with Linux."

"Let me make this as easy as possible. Great operating system and a chocolate bar versus crummy operating system and no money left over for a chocolate bar." "The choice is clear."

[ Stephen Van Esch, ]

December 19, 2003 - 8:33 am
Just a quick update, the skate park competition went well last night, and I appologize for certain *songs* that got played, Mike handed me a box of CD's and said "Play these". I had no idea what was on any of them so it was literally a matter of popping a CD in, picking a track at random and hitting Play. Today is kind of a half-day, everyone is taking off from work early to get things done before the Christmas party tonight. I've got to do a few things myself, and I'm also helping Luke buy a laptop before I leave. Then at 4:30 I pick Becka up from her work and we're off to Canmore! Then tomorrow when we get back, I think I've got a bit of time, probably sleep for a few hours or something, and then I'm off to the Sylvania Christmas party at The Keg. I am looking forward to both. So I hope you have a great weekend in whatever you are doing and if I don't see you again before the big day, have a Merry Christmas!

PS: I will have some pictures up from the skate competition, and I think Kristin took some too so if she ever gives me my A60 back I'll put those pictures up too!

December 21, 2003 - 6:45 pm
Christmas Dinner at the Bear and Bison

Wow, what a weekend! I should probably start with Friday, since that's where most weekends start off. Friday started off at work, (Well, actually it started when I got out of bed, but that's another story...) I went to work as usual, but left around 1:30 to run some last-minute errands. First off I went home and packed. I had some laundry that wasn't quite dry that morning so I couldn't finish packing until the laundry was all dried. Then I drove over to my parent's house to put my winter tires back on the van. Since the Custom Linen Christmas party was in Canmore and I'd heard there may be some snow, the last thing I wanted was to get stuck somewhere along the way. I've had too many experiences with icy roads along Highway 22! Unfortunately there was no-one home but puppy so I left from there and went to get a haircut. After that, since I was almost right next door I drove into a car wash and gave the van a good wash. I was also supposed to help Luke find a laptop to buy that day, so I went over to the Whitehorn LRT station to see pick him up. It turned out he was 45 minutes late because some car attempted to beat the train at 7th Ave and was "unsuccessful" to put it nicely. So Luke was late and by this time all I had time to do was drop him off at home because I had to pick up Becky from work who was my date for the Christmas party. And you know, I really have to commend Becky for coming this weekend. She had just found out three days earlier that her ex had pulled a Shauntelle, and was quite understandably upset. I asked her if she'd rather not go with all this on her mind but she insisted that she could not stand to be alone all weekend so we headed off for Canmore. The hotel we were staying at was incredible, I think it was more of a "Bed and Breakfast" than a hotel, because we had rented the whole thing and there were only 8 or 9 rooms. It was like a REALLY BIG house. In fact, the only time there was even staff there was while they were preparing meals and catering to us, the rest of the time they left and we had the whole place to ourselves. But anyways, when we first got there we brought our stuff to our room and got all settled in, and then went on a tour of the building. It was very cozy, warm and inviting, with a lot of elaborate wood-work and paintings, carvings, and other natural decor. And the rooms were amazing too! Our room had a fireplace, jaccuzzi, walk-out deck with a view of the mountains (Although really, where can you go in Canmore without a view of the mountains???) GiGANTIC King-sized, four poster bed, and all sorts of other nicknacks. It was incredible. If you look on the web site, you can take a look at the place for yourself. Becky and I stayed in Room #7, which has a few pictures on the "Rooms and Rates" page. I really didn't take a whole lot of pictures this weekend, surprisingly enough, especially considering there were a lot of things I could have taken pictures of! (Ed coming to breakfast in his towel, Becky for one...) Now before you go thinking things I should point out that breakfast was a "Pajama Breakfast", where everyone wears their pajamas to the meal. Actually, John Birkbeck, Edel's husband, was the only person who did not wear bedwear that morning, and recieved much booing for it... The food was very tasty, and although it was a lot of stuff I've never eaten before, I did try almost everything that was set before me and must say that I enjoyed a good 90% of it. We had a turkey dinner the one night and then poached eggs with mini-bagels and bacon in a mushroom sort of sauce for breakfast -- two meals in all. Of course, all the drinks were free (or included, probably included) so those who wished to enhance their evening with some alcohol were at complete liberty to do so without refrain. The evening was pretty casual, and while I did eat meals with everyone there, most of my weekend was spent with Becka who was not feeling quite as light-hearted as she normally would have at such an occasion. But she was a very good sport, and I was very proud to introduce her to everyone there. She was worried she might ruin my evening but if only she knew, just having her there actually made my whole weekend.

Checkout time was 11:00 am on Saturday so we packed up our things and said goodbye to our room. I dropped her off at home and was *THIS* close to taking a nap when I got home, but I knew if I had done so I would have never been able to wake up for the Sylvania Christmas party later on that night which I had also been invited to. So I did some work on my big web site project. They've already got one of the trucks painted, so if you SPOT a big truck, (And you'll know what I mean if you see it...) -- That's part of this whole big new web site we are launching that I am doing ALL of the programming and development for! It's going to be good. hehehe So anyways, at 6:00 I went to the Keg on 36th Street very near the intersection I got hit by a car on my old motorcycle at, (In fact, if I'm not mistaken it IS the intersection I got hit at -- 4th Ave & 36th Street NE.) And met up with all the guys from Sylvania. I have to say, that as fancy as all the food at the Bear and Bison was, that meal at the Keg was just as good and perhaps even better because there was a lot more of it. I left that night so full I couldn't even finish my Pepsi because it just sat in my throat -- there was NO more room in my tummy for even the pop to slip into. We stayed there for about two and a half hours, and I have to say that I miss working with those guys. Nearly four years of my life was spent with them in some way or another and there are a lot of good memories there. I really enjoyed my job there, I found it very satisfying changing lights and brightening peoples' lives (huh huh). The variety kept things interesting and I learned a lot about electricity and lights working there. As I had mentioned in an earlier entry somewhere, I was a little surprised Ib invited me to the Christmas party since my resignation had consisted of me walking into the shop one morning with all my work clothes and tools in a box. I am glad there are no hard feelings there and hope to stay in touch with all of the guys from there as often as possible. Luckily there is a Safeway and a Petrocan very close to where I work, as well as a handful of other stores in Marlborough mall so if anyone is ever working in the area around lunch time there's a good chance I could meet them for lunch somewhere.

After the Keg, I phoned Becka up to see how things had gone with her ex that afternoon, since she was going to talk to him after she got back home. I ended up going over to her house, and we played Mario 2 and 3 on her Super Nintendo until 3:30 in the morning. I am really going to miss her when she goes on her trip.

This morning I got up and went over to my parent's house, this time actually succeeding in getting the winter tires put on... I also did some minor maintenance to it as well, oiled the squeaky doors, for one. She's running pretty good still, much to the amazement of many. It's no surprise to me though, the RED DRAGON is a terrific vehicle. Best dollar I ever spent. It's pushed a Dodge and towed a Chevy. I love my van, in case you can't tell. So then today after all that was done I picked up Luke and we went and bought him a laptop. I got myself a present, a new mouse tracking knob for my laptop. My old one was getting a little bit worn out and was quite dirty. After that we headed to Sunridge mall where we did a bit more shopping, found Kristin working at Sport Chek and had supper with her on her break,then picked up a few more Christmas presents to be distributed to other peoples' trees. I am trying to spend ALL my money on Christmas presents this year. It might be a little late, but it's definately better late than never.

So here I am on Sunday evening, writing all of this down. I am so tired I could seriously go to bed right now, but that will have to wait for a few more hours because I simply cannot go to bed this early. It just wouldn't be right, me going to bed before midnight on a Sunday evening!

December 25, 2003 - M E R R Y  C H R I S T M A S
Peek a Boo!

Silent Night

I bought my brother a new power amp for Christmas, but the first bass note we played at a decent volume literally melted the coil in the speaker and caused it to bulge and catch on the magnet housing, effectively wrecking the sub. I've had that sub for many years and put it through it's paces, but I never expected it to die so suddenly. I think it was a relief to my parents though...

I hope everyone had a great Christmas, and I guess I'll see you all next year!
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