Unknown Challenge

I’m tired.
I didn’t sleep well last night because I was nervous about the Corporate Challenge event today. Unknown Challenge. I had to be at West Edmonton Mall by 8:15. I would have taken my scooter, but it was raining. It has actually been raining all day. If you have to be stuck in a mall all day, this was the day.
On a personal note: I hate West Edmonton Mall. None of the natives go there, it’s just the tourists. I only seem to go when relatives are visiting, or something forces me to go. Like a movie. I think they don’t pump enough oxygen in that place because it always sucks the life out of me. The only store I really like there is the Garden Bakery, conveniently close to the movie theatre. They have really good deserts at cheap prices. Anyway, back to the Corporate Challenge.
The first event was at Galaxyland. It was one of the rides where you sit in chairs on a revolving platform and use laser guns to hit as many small green lights as possible. I don’t know how well we did, but it was fun. Afterwards, we had to wait around 45 minutes for the next event.
The second event was a scavenger hunt (their term, not mine). We were given a list of twenty questions that we had to get the answers to. We split into two teams, connected by cell phones. We were doing fairly well, but we got tripped up by trying to find the Kang Hsi vase. We found several vases all over the mall, but couldn’t find the Kang Hsi one. We eventually got it, but we wasted a lot of time doing so. It was a fun event though.
The third event was the food challenge. Lloyd was to try and finish a tub of foreign ice cream in two and a half minutes. Tania had to shovel it into his mouth. This was in front of the Asian megafood store, so the ice cream flavors were weird. He nearly finished his tub in the time allotted. After that we went to Moxies for lunch. Lloyd didn’t have much to eat.
The fourth event was at the shooting range. I thought that we could get the people who had experience shooting to do it. But since Tania and Lloyd had done the food challenge, Patti and I had to do the shooting range. Five bullets and a target. I didn’t like it. Guns make me nervous. I tried to be calm when a was squeezing the trigger, but with loud bangs happening all around me, that was difficult. I was able to hit my paper all five times, but only three were in the target area. Patti only hit her paper twice, and none were in the target.
By the time the last challenge came around we were pretty lethargic. Mall air. It was a short and simple one. Two people (Lloyd and Patti) were blindfolded and the other two (Patti and me) had their hands tied. The blindfolded people had to put a jigsaw puzzle together while the others directed them. We didn’t do that well. The big problem wasn’t getting the pieces into the correct spots, but getting the pieces to fit together. It is apparently very hard to do when you are blindfolded.
We’ve now been given a list of some other challenges we have to do during the week, but anyone from our companies can do them. We did find that one was at the Argyll Plaza Hotel where my parents stayed last week. I’ll probably be doing that one. I don’t have a lot of time for this though because I have a busy schedule during the week.
Overall, the challenge was fun except for the long wait times between events. I think they had those so the challengers would spend time shopping.
I’m taking it easy for the rest of the week. I’m not going to New City tonight, and I’ll probably sleep in tomorrow. I need to do some treadmill still.

Power Pull

So I just completed the Power Pull event for Corporate Challenge. Last year we ended up in fourth place. This year it was raining whenever we pulled.
In our first match, we lost. However we made them pull long and hard to beat us. We could have beaten them if we had used the correct technique, but we were off. So although it looked like we would win at the start, we eventually caved in. That didn’t mean we were out though. There is a round-robin pool between us and four other teams. The next three matches, we beat everyone. Usually quite easily. In fact, the people who beat us, Associated Engineering, were beaten by The City of Spruce Grove, whom we beat. In the end, it came down to time taken to win, and so we came out of our pool in first place.
So we were in the finals. Unexpected since we lost one match, but hey! Now we were competing against seven other teams. We won the first match. So that put us in the top four. Unfortunately we lost the next match to Dynatech (or something like that). But then we got to compete for the third place.
And we won!
I now have a bronze medal for the Corporate Challenge Power Pull. I feel great. I’ve got a nice little high of some self-esteem going that feels good. Dynatech went on to win the whole thing, so I wonder if we could have beaten Grant-Thorton who came in second. We never lost to anyone who lost to them, so we might have.
I have to get up early tomorrow to take part in the Unknown Challenge. I think it is like Fear Factor.

My back hurts.

Doctor Day

So I saw both doctors today.
Foot Doctor: I can try running a bit on the treadmill. 1km run, then 0.5km walk. Do that for six km, or stop if I feel any pain. I’m going off to try that now. He also gave approval to the new runners I bought awhile ago, and I can use them instead of sandals.
Family Doctor: I am alive.
It was really a get-to-know-you meeting. I made an appointment for a checkup in a month. It will be right before my trip to Winnipeg.
At work I found out where my office is when we move to the west end of Edmonton. We will now have offices instead of cubicles. No more collaborating over the walls. (Although collaboration was often about non-work related topics.) I also get to have a window. Unfortunately it doesn’t open so I can’t throw waterbombs at passersby. I also don’t have enough room for a decent putting green.
In my current cubicle I have an executive golf putter that I’ve set up. I’m also running a pool. Pay a quarter and then take a shot from a really far distance away. If you sink it in the wooden hole, you get half the pot. It’s been a good game because the floor is uneven and you have to do some weird things to get it in. A difficult lie.
But with summer here the floor must have shifted. Old tactics don’t work anymore. So the pot has grown. Before, it never got above $13 before someone won. Today it was up to $29 before Keith finally sunk it and walked away with $14.50. A week ago I watched Kevan pay $5 for twenty shots and he didn’t make one.
I’m making my co-workers gambling addicts.

Aftermath of parental visitation

Okay. I have a long day tomorrow, so I’ll make this quick. (Ha ha. When has that ever happened.)
The parents have come and gone. I’ve taken them out to dinners. I’ve taken them to theatre. I let them ride on my scooter. We got me a new table from Ikea. I’ve been busy. Right now I’m exhausted.
I abandoned them yesterday evening to get weighed for the Corporate Challenge Power Pull. We have to be under 3,000 lbs. We weighed 2360 lbs. The rules this year favor the fat a lot more, and apparently we don’t have fat people with company spirit.
After the weighing I went to Improv class. The class is too big, and I don’t care for the subject that they taught. We were doing a lot of games that seemed to just make Improv harder with very little return.
Work isn’t that exciting. I’m trying to rework the open file dialog in our product on the Mac, and the Navigation Services API is fighting me. Apple has not documented this area sufficiently, so there is a lot of guesswork. And pondering.
Tomorrow I have not one, but two doctor appointments. The first one is for my foot. I’m hoping it is getting better, but ever since I went dancing on Saturday evening/Sunday morning it has been hurting again. I took a short run on the treadmill for seven minutes, and it hurt a bit, so I stopped.
The second appointment is with a general practitioner. I’m trying to get myself a family doctor again.
On Friday the Corporate Challenge Power Pull is taking place. We’re going to get slaughtered.
I need to design the next D&D game. I have to create my own mutant creature. I would tell you more, but I have a fear that one of my player’s will eventually figure out that I have a journal. I think this game would be more fun if I had some other DM to discuss things with. A sounding board if you will.
Anyway, I’ll try and post tomorrow. But no promises.


My parents are visiting from Winnipeg. They came in today at around 4:00. My place is mostly clean, but not perfect. They aren’t staying with me because I don’t have any extra beds and they are getting up there in age. My father seemed impressed with my place which is nice.
We went out to dinner at Osaka. It’s a nearby Japanese restaurant that has an all-you-can-eat sushi option. So we gorged ourselves. Afterwards they went back to their hotel. We’re going to have breakfast tomorrow at a Barb and Ernie’s (a local restaurant).
They toured all over Alberta on their way to Edmonton. They were looking for a good place to retire to. They had some excitement when crossing Roger’s Pass.
Their brakes failed going down a mountain.
The emergency brake didn’t work either. But eventually the brakes started working again and they were able to stop. They got towed to Revelstoke where they got it repaired. Apparently the emergency brake had gotten locked on somehow and overheated. When the brakes overheat they stop working.
The irony is that before the trip they had the car checked out thoroughly. The mechanic, when he heard that they would be going over Roger’s Pass, determined that he would look extra hard at the brakes. Apparently not hard enough.
I love my parents and all, but it is a bit of a hassle to have them visit. I have stuff I need to do, or would like to do, but I can’t when I should be entertaining them. This past month I’ve been stressed and not getting enough sleep. With the year end of my condo ownership coming up, D&D games to prepare, and other worries, I need a vacation, like a long weekend. Technically I should be in one right now, but when you have relatives visiting, it’s not relaxing.
Anyway, if I’m having breakfast with them tomorrow, I need to go to bed. See you tomorrow… (maybe.)

Melissa watch

I’m giving up. She wasn’t there and probably will never be at New City again. I lost my one chance with a really good looking girl because I wasn’t forward enough to ask for (or give) a phone number. Have I been ignoring other women that were interested in me while looking for the mythical Melissa.
I met Steve at the bar though. He’s a friend of Jake who just got back from a vacation where he visited all his relatives in Denmark. When the subject of all the beautiful girls in the place came up, he asked why I didn’t talk to them. Lack of social skills. He said I should just go up and talk to them. It’s easy. At least he makes it sound easy. He was commenting on sitting alone, but that he was going to be sleeping with someone tonight. He didn’t sound like he was bragging.
I need more self esteem to talk to girls. I don’t feel comfortable approaching them unless I get an indication that they are interested in my existence. I usually try and make eye contact with one and smile at them. Only one girl in memory has ever smiled back: Melissa. (Do I have a creepy smile?) If I don’t get the smile, I don’t get the confidence that I need.
A theory that I’ve got in my head is that I’ll get social self-esteem if I had a girlfriend. (Hell, a one night stand would be ideal too.) But to get the girlfriend, I’m going to need the social self-esteem first. I see myself in a vicious circle. I really should have learned these skills while I was in school. Back then it would be okay if you didn’t have them because everyone was learning. But at my age, everyone assumes you have them already. And if you don’t, well that’s just creepy.
When I left the bar at around 1:00, I lingered in the front for a few minutes. I did talk to a girl who said that she wanted to hurt someone. She was upset because security wouldn’t allow her back in the bar. I suspect it’s because she was having trouble with standing upright without swaying. I didn’t mention that as the reason, because I don’t feel comfortable arguing with drunk people.
Well, I’ve got to stop whining. So far this journal seems to have been just a medium for me to whine about how pathetic my life is. No one is interested in reading about that. So I’m going to try and be more positive now.

I had improv class today.
I think the class is too big. It’s hard to get actual stage time with so many people. In addition, I screwed something up at the start that seemed to affect the rest of the class. The first game had us mingling at an office party and just talking in gibberish. I wasn’t involved in any exciting activities at this party, unlike the other students, and the rest of the class was spent analyzing the party and seeing what the effects would be the next day.
The only other scene that I was involved in I don’t think went well. I want to blame the person who was supposed to be my inner monologue, but I’m not good at assigning blame like that. My hands are probably equally dirty.
The class was supposed to end at 9:30, but I didn’t get out of there until 10:30. I really need to get to sleep now, but I felt I had to write some things into the journal before.
Mostly I felt I needed to respond to Canticle post about his day of success and failure. From what I’m hearing he did the right thing, and I hope he realizes that too.
Now I really need to go to bed. I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep in awhile, and I’ve got a lot of stress coming down the pipe.

Scooter Barbecue

So a bunch of us took our scooters tooling around town. I had the fun of going up Groat road and enjoying all its twists and turns. The high point for me was when we were on Whyte Avenue waiting at a light. A pretty girl walking by smiled at me when I smiled at her. It’s small things like that that mean a lot to me. We were to far to talk, but it was a nice boost to my self-confidence. I guess the stories are true: Scooters are good for picking up chicks. 🙂
Unfortunately, I’ll need to buy another helmet if I want to actually pick one up. Legally anyway.
After riding around we went to Hawrelak park and had a barbecue. It was fun. We had hotdogs and some trout. Mostly guys though, or girlfriends of guys.
A bunch of them were playing dominos for money. They started out at quarters, and the goal seemed to be to win enough to buy a tank of gas. Which would be about $5.
By about 9:00 it was over and I went home.

So I didn’t sleep in too badly today and I was on the exer-cycle by 10:00. I did two hours of that, then relaxed for awhile. I then hopped on my scooter and went to a park, stopping at a McDonalds on the way. At the park there was a Corporate Challenge practice for the tug of war. There wasn’t many groups there, and none in our division. So we were pulling against very stacked teams. Needless to say, we didn’t do that well in the practice. Often, we were in perfect form, but our feet skidded across the grass because the other team didn’t have much weight to pull against. We know a bit what to look for in our technique. We also need more weight.
I’m about to go on a scooter club event where we’re going to scoot to Hawrelak park and have a barbecue there. It’s been a beautiful day so far, but the clouds are starting to roll in. Environment Canada says there is a 30% chance of rain this evening.
Hope it doesn’t.

I’m getting worried about my foot. It isn’t healing as fast as I want. I know that on June 2nd I have to run 5.3 miles, and on June 20th I want to do the Manitoba Marathon (42.2 km). I took it out for a test spin yesterday, and only ran 7.5 minutes. I think I felt some pain, so I stopped. When I woke up this morning it felt a little painful. I’ve been slopping on an anti-inflammatory. After I did the exercycle today, I used some cold compress on it. I hope this thing heals faster.
I think I should see the foot doctor again, but I don’t think I have any new information for him. I should probably just continue to keep off of it.

Cancelled Newspaper

So today I decided to cancel my subscription to the Edmonton Journal. I had no problem with the paper, but to renew they wanted $18.99 which I think is too much. At that rate it would almost be cheaper to pick it up from newspaper boxes.
So I called them up and asked to cancel. They asked why I was canceling, and when I answered, they offered me a rate of $27.99 for two months. That was good enough for me, so I didn’t cancel.
Why am I bringing this up? Because I’ve been trying to cancel my newspaper for about three years. Every time they give me a cheaper rate and I take it.
You would think they would have noticed what I’ve been doing by now.

Today, I felt depressed. I don’t know why, but I just did.
My guess is that I’m feeling stressed. When I was on the West Coast Trail I would also get depressed. Eating would help then. But I think it was all the pressure of the trip, so maybe that is what is happening now.
Most of it is self-induced. Did I really need to sign up for improv classes?
Speaking of which, a new session started yesterday. Jacob Banigan is teaching. I’m guessing he is a popular teacher, because the class of normally six people has ballooned to twelve. Frankly, I don’t like him as a teacher. He is telling us good information, but he has a horrid fixation on the game “What are you doing” which I despise with a searing flame of hate that will boil the earth.
Anyway, back to the stress.
I also have a D&D game that could be considered the “TimeSuck 2000”. I put more work in it than I should.
My parents are going to be visiting on Victoria day, so I need to get the condo cleaned up. Canticle has threatened to visit on the second weekend in June. Convenient timing because I’m planning on going to Winnipeg on the third weekend in June. I want to run a Marathon on June 20th. It doesn’t help that I’ve hurt my foot. I have to try and get it to heal while still staying fit.
I need to take a motorcycle safety course so I can get a class 6 license so there is no legal grey area around my scooter. But that is going to take an entire weekend, and my weekends seem to be sucked up preparing for the rest of the week.
I want to get back to programming for my own amusement. I want to learn Javascript better so I can make a cool player’s guide for my D&D campaign. I want to start trying to draw again, because it would be really cool to be able to draw well.
And it would be nice to have a girlfriend.

Report Card

So I got my report card for my Improv class for April. I thought I would share it with you all. I cut off the personal information, but the rest is exactly what was written about me. In my opinion, everything he says is true.

5) Students Reason For Taking Course (as they explained it to you)
Just wanting to get back involved in improv, get good at improv.
6) Instructors Overall Goal – What were you focusing on?
For Erik, I wanted to get him to an advanced level.
7) Students Attitude:
Was positive and enthusiastic. He wanted to try things, was a little scared to jump up but didn’t let that stop him, and he paid close attention. Had a bit of an intense nervous energy that was a little strange in class.
8) Ability to Accept Concepts Presented:
Was strong, though Erik would get far too bogged down in “the rules.” For someone who doesn’t have a lot of performance experience (not necessarily in front of an audience, but performance related things) it can be difficult to let go of rules, or to know when you have to stick to them and when it is safe to let them go. This comes with time and experience though, rather than by being told when to. That would just be another rule.
9) Strengths:
Was enthusiastic and adventurous.
Was the most willing to take risks in the entire class.
Would follow notes or lessons to the letter as soon as he got onstage and would be very focused on those things, though sometimes would misinterpret them or take them a little too far.

10) Weaknesses:
Lacks a confidence with the basic improv skills, they are there, but he has not internalized them, he is thinking of them too much.
Thinks WAY TOO MUCH, while off and onstage. Erik needs to relax onstage.
Lacks basic stagecraft: staging, character voice and characterization, projection, etc.
Erik has a nervous mannerism of giggling or making small guttural sounds after speaking. This prevents him and the audience from being able to lose themselves in a scene.

11) Recommended Future: Next level, more training, Show?
I would recommend further training at the advanced level. I think Tad, Jana or Jacob would be excellent instructors.
12) Instructors Notes To GM: Paid on time? Attendance? Anything else…..
I had a private meeting after the third class with Erik about his nervous tick. I wasn’t sure if he was aware of it, and regardless, whether it would make him uncomfortable for me to give notes on it actually during class. He said I could, though it did improve markedly by the last class and as a result I didn’t. It is something a future instructor would have to be very aware of, and also willing to call him on in class.
Always there on time, at all rehearsals.

I don’t think I’m that upset about the scooter accident. I’m more upset over that it happened while my co-workers were watching. The stupidity and embarrassment were churning through my head all through to Saturday.
On Friday evening I went to a movie premier “The Morrison Project”. It was a movie made by some local actors. It wasn’t great. I went to the premier party afterwards, but it was mostly wrapping up by the time I arrived. I didn’t stay long.
On Saturday I was on the exer-cycle for two hours so I wouldn’t have to do it on Sunday. In the afternoon I took the scooter out for an hour. I retraced the route my sister and I took when we rented a scooter last year. As you can tell, in the evening I went to New City.
On Sunday I joined a scooter gang. The scooter store organized a get together where a bunch of us scooted around town. We first went for gelati in the Italian part of town. (It wasn’t as good as Nucci’s.) Then we had a brief discussion as to what to call ourselves. The person who represented the scooter store is pushing for “The Arctic Cobras”. The other suggestion that I really like is “Capital City Cobras”. It has the right amount of geekiness in it. Anyway, afterwards we scooted around. My bike has a good acceleration behind it.
In the evening I spent time working on my D&D campaign. I seem to focus on the history of the world. Specifically the history my player’s will probably never encounter. I think I’m falling into the trap of putting more work into my world than I should.
Today, Monday, nothing exciting happened. I went to Chianti for dinner and Die-Nasty afterwards. The play was good tonight.

New City recap

Okay, today it was warmer so I wore the shirt that consists of netting and the black tank top to New City. I must say I think it’s better for me, because I seem to get more attention. I think… I’m easily delusional.
Anyway, Melissa wasn’t there. I guess I’ll have to try stalking her another day.
I did see a girl that I thought might have been Melissa, and I’m still not sure if it was her or not. Which shows how I’m beginning to forget what she looks like. I don’t think it was her because she never made eye contact with me once. And I was dressed the same as the first time I met her, so it wouldn’t be hard for her to recognize me. Also I saw her smoking, which I don’t believe I saw Melissa doing on the first night. The final nail was that she was necking a guy on the dance floor. So even if it was Melissa, I don’t have a chance with her.
Continuing with my delusions, I think I might be making inroads with Christina. I realize that she is completely out of my league, but I still get the chance to talk to her. And she has started touching me when we do talk, so I’m taking that as a good sign. Either that or she is totally plastered. I left the club at around the same time she did. I think I would have been better off if I had dawdled outside, then I could have talked to her… while she was with her large group of friends.
I must say, having an injury that prevents me from running really changes my New City experiences. I can now stay late and possibly meet more people.