Financial problems

I invest through Nesbitt-Burns. But my advisors keep retiring and I keep getting new ones. And they always wand to talk to me face to face. So I was meeting with a new one today at 6:00 in the evening. Downtown.
My god! Parking was hell. He said that they would validate my parking. I assumed that it would only be the parking for Manulife place. But I couldn’t find it. I had the address, but I got confused with Scotia Place. They have the address on the front of their building, for a different street.
Manulife place is supposed to be at 10180, on 101st street. So driving up 101st street, I see Scotia Place on the right. They have the number 10160, so I look for Manulife on the right. But if you look closer at the address, you can see that it is 10160 Jasper Avenue. A different street. So that completely threw me, because Manulife was on the left.
I give up trying to find Manulife parking, and take Scotia Place parking. I then find Manulife across the street. When I finally talk to the advisor, he tells me that the parking access is on 102nd street. A little tidbit of information it would have been nice to know!
Parking ends up being $3.50. That’s all the change I have. I have been running on banking fumes right now. A previous investment earlier this summer drained my account to below $1,000. When it is below $1,000, I have to pay service charges. Since it was below that for part of August, I don’t want to withdraw more money.
I was hoping that in September I would be above, but the credit card bill, and a few other surprise charges have put me a bit below. I get paid Friday, but that doesn’t help. If I’m under for only a day in the month, it’s enough. This is the first time this has happened to me. I have always had the minimum balance before, and I’m cranky about paying service charges. And now I have another month of trying to use my bank account as little as possible.
I’ll be surprised if I get sympathy from anyone.

University classes are starting up now. I was seriously thinking of signing up for a course. I was interested in learning Danish. It’s part of my heritage, and would be useful to know a bit of if I’m going to Europe next year. But when I checked the schedule, the it is only being taught at one time. 9:00 in the morning on every weekday.
I was hoping for an evening class. If I took that one, I would be missing two hours of every work day, and that would be near impossible to make up. So my dreams of being multi-cultural have been dashed.

Moving Day

Today was moving day. I now no longer have a ten minute commute to work. Now I have to go clear across to the west end to the new location. Approx. 25 minutes. I’m hoping it will improve as I learn the secret shortcuts. It would also help if I don’t stop for gas.
I took the scooter to be special, which might have been a mistake. It wasn’t raining, but it had been, so the streets were a little slippery. But I got there safely, and parked in the underground parking. In winter, if all goes according to plan, I’ll never be outside again.
And now I have an office of my own.
Smaller than advertised.
I swear that on paper it looked much better. (The office manager is not a draftsman, but that didn’t stop her from trying.) But in real life, the desk is too big. I have to squeeze through some parts. Maybe I need to trade parts with some other people. (Collect the whole set!)
The big goal was to not have my back to the door, and to be able to enjoy the window. The way it is right now, I have to walk around the whole desk to get to or from the door. But, I do get to go past the window on this commute. And the view is nice.
Well it overlooks a highway, and a revolving sign that advertises the building. I can watch it when I’m bored and learn that the “Alberta Academy of Aesthetics” is located in this building. i.e. Somewhere in this building is a place full of beautiful women, trying to be more beautiful. This is what makes the view so nice. I watched some guy dropping off his gorgeous girlfriend below my window. I even got to watch as she leaned over to collect her stuff from the car. With current fashion trends working in my favor, it is easy to tell that she is wearing a thong.
Conveniently, the windows are one way, so I can ogle whomever I want, without them knowing.
Stalking is such an ugly word.
The unfortunate part of this move is that I am now missing half my stuff. I packed two boxes for the move (not counting computers and furniture) and only one was delivered. The other box isn’t critical, yet, but it has all the books from my bookcase. So now if I want to look up Perl, HTML, phone numbers, or even how to use our product, I’m out of luck. Calendar’s gone too. I searched throughout the office looking for it, but I can’t find it. I’m hoping it will turn up, because it isn’t at the old place.
Having an office, after being in an open space for six years, is taking some getting used to. It feels lonely. I can’t talk to someone as easily as before. It’s also a lot easier to hear bothersome sounds. Where once the sound of ventilation was hidden behind the general drone of people, it’s now harder to ignore.
The commute home is better. And I did get to bump into the aforementioned gorgeous girlfriend while heading to the parking garage. (Unfortunately some not-gorgeous-nerd from another business was talking to me at the time. As if that matters.) I stopped off at the Apple store across the street (because I can), but they didn’t have an Airport Express, so my paycheck stays intact.


I’ve been dead on my feet today. I got to bed at a reasonable hour, and got up at one too. But I’ve been tired all day. My guess is that although the caffeine made me feel awake, yesterday, I still needed sleep. In other words, the late nights have caught up with me.
By this afternoon I started waking up, but that was after I had popped a few Smarties. (Which usually puts me to sleep, but that’s another story.)
I need to got to bed early today.

Better living through chemicals

This is weird. I was up until 3:00 AM yesterday (or this morning technically). But I woke up at 9:30 feeling fairly alert. Normally I’m sloth-like at this stage. Heck, I was fairly alert at 3:00 AM. I can only assume that this is because I took an aspirin yesterday evening. The caffeine kicked in, and I’m still enjoying the bounty of unnatural chemicals.
I suppose this is what it is like if one drinks coffee. Alertness.
Still can’t stand the taste of it though. And am I right now someone I’m not? Bah, stupid philosophers.

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

So, I got a Windows computer by scavenging parts from my dying workplace. Old as the hills, so I know it won’t get uppity. Sound is practically non-existent. I’m not even going to trust the network card in my LAN.
At 8:30 this evening I took a pill for my headache and decided that I wouldn’t go out tonight. (Come to think of it, I haven’t been out all day. I think I’m lazy.) Instead I turned on the “new” (HA!) computer and started playing Ultima 1 for the first time in fifteen to twenty years. For the past week I’ve only been testing it out, but now I sat down and started playing it.
Apparently they have updated the game slightly. Now you can actually see your enemies coming at you, instead of them just appearing on the map. No longer can I just hold down the “[A]ttack” key and have things come up to me and die. Now I have to hunt them down and aim. And the towns and castles have some variation to their layout. With the variation though, you can’t buy everything at every town. I remember fifteen years ago that I set up shop around the town of Linda. For no good reason. It wasn’t centrally located and had nothing nearby except for one dungeon. As a more sophisticated gamer I can see it for the backwater slum that it is. Back then, I purchased one of every transport while I was there and used the surroundings as my garage.
Now I can’t even buy a decent horse there, much less a working space shuttle.
Anyway I started playing at 8:30. I just finished fifteen minutes ago at 2:30 in the morning. Mondain is dead. I have his gem. The people love me. And I’m up way to late.
This has been a nice catharsis for me. I have a much better feeling about this than I ever did for “Splinter Cell”. After all this time, I have finally beaten the game. Back then I was too young to focus on the goals, and just enjoyed wandering around killing things. This time, I knew what to do, and I went out and did it.
Strangely I kept the mapping to a minimum. Previously I spent an entire summer vacation mapping Ultima 4. This time, I just mapped one dungeon. It’s the only one I went in the entire game. I read somewhere that the maps are generated fresh for every game, so the map is effectively useless now.
Now I suppose I should try Ultima 2.
Uh oh. I think I can see where this is heading…

My randomly selected music seems oddly appropriate. Because, technically it is.

The past two days have been somewhat unproductive at work.
With the move happening this weekend, not much computer work got done. We instead spent time packing. On the plus side, we got nice lunches yesterday and today. On Thursday we had Olive Garden pasta brought in. Today we had pizza. We also had the afternoon off.
I spent this afternoon sunning on my balcony. I think I’m trying to get a better tan. Actually I’m trying to get any tan. The glow of the computer screen isn’t really doing anything for me.
This evening I had some friends over to play games. We played “The Works” (Cameron won) and then a long game of “Empire Builder” (I won.) I’m especially proud of my win in “Empire Builder”. I was well ahead of everyone, even though I spent some rounds doing nothing because I had to wait for other things to happen. Close games are exciting, but you always know that luck had a lot to do with the win.
After they were gone, I returned the movies from last week and picked up two more: Formula 51 and Novocaine.
I hope they are good.
I don’t really have any plans for the weekend. But I have a number of chores I need to finish up. I’m not sure if I’ll be running on Sunday. My ankle is still feeling a bit off.

So today, after making breakfast, I noticed what looked like ice in my dishwasher. That made no sense. Investigation followed. It was actually a dish that had decided to shatter within. And it did it right over a grill that I’m assuming removes the soiled water. So any little pieces that have fallen in there are going to be impossible to remove. Well I did my best to clean it up, but I know at least one shard fell into the grill. I’m running it right now and it is making a sound as if a small shard of glass is bouncing around the inside. I’m going to use the hope-it-goes-away strategy to deal with this.
My work is moving this week to the west end. Productivity is down and it is easy to get distracted as we’re going through the motions of packing.
At 6:00 today, we had a tour of the new place. (Instead of the Wednesday run. For the best, since my ankle still feels sore.) It isn’t quite done yet, but most of it is. I got to see what my office will look like. My window office! It’s nice. I have the thermostat for the offices around me, so I’m feeling a small power rush right now.
My biggest problem is that I will now have an actual commute to work. Instead of the ten minute drive down one street, I’ll have to plow through morning traffic and deal with rush hour. It took me half an hour to get to the place from home. But I blame that on taking ten minutes to wait through a traffic jam. It only took me twenty minutes to get back, traffic jam free. I do know that the route back is a lot more efficient. I’ll do some experimentation to find out what is best.
I got in touch with my sister in Florida. It looks like she is getting a job. She just has to pass some security and drug checks. She has top secret clearance with the Canadian military, so I’m not worried.

Science has failed me

Darn, it didn’t work.
Well the script worked, but my computer didn’t run it until I came to it. I’m guessing that the problem was that I had set it to turn on at 7:00 AM, and it was already on, just asleep. Sleeping computers don’t run scripts.
As soon as I woke it up, it realized there was a scheduled event and ran it. I’ll need to do more research to see if there is a way around it. It’s still a good script because it downloads everything at once, instead when I show interest in something.

Every morning, while I’m brushing my teeth, I fire up the computer and check a number of websites for online comics. (Sluggy freelance should be 7 years old tomorrow. Feels like I just started reading that comic three weeks ago. Oh wait.) I get to soak my teeth in toothpaste in the time it takes me to read all of the ones I like to keep up with. But it takes awhile to download them all.
I’ve done some experimenting with Applescript today. I wrote a script that I can run that will automatically go to all the websites of all the comics I want to read. It even checks the day of the week to only grab the ones that should be new. Then I added in another step so that it also opens my mail program and checks my mail for me.
To top it all off, my computer should now wake up at 7:00 in the morning, even if it is off, and run this script. So now, when I get to the brushing the teeth portion of my morning routine, I won’t have to wait for everything to download.
These days I’m feeling more like programming my own stuff. It’s nice. I’ve taken to looking at my fractal planet generator program again. I’m playing around with it every so often.
I think this is because my D&D game keeps getting delayed, so I have time to play around with my other interests. I still have a lot I need to do in other areas, but I’m keeping busy.

So, my old nemesis, we meet again

So, with the move I’ve been able to salvage an ancient Windows computer. It’s a Citrix 586 100mhz. Old as the hills in computer terms. But I’ve been able to bring it to life, and install an OS. Windows 98, because I don’t trust anything newer to run on it.
And it passed the litmus test to see if I want to keep up with this. It runs Ultima 1. I installed it and wandered around a bit in the game. Everything works fine. I have found a new monkey to put on my back. After 20 years I’ll finally finish this game.
The only problem I have is that there is no sound. I found a sound card to salvage, but I don’t have any speakers. I thought I would invest some actual money (everything so far has been free) and get some nice ones. I can use them on my Mac laptop, so it’s not wasted money.
At the Future Shop they had a nice set on sale for $40. Of course, it’s sold out. Seeing that deal soured me on the idea of getting the poorer set, next to it, that was $50. So no sound for now, but I’ll keep my eyes open.

Splinter Cell

Yesterday I took charge of the monkey. The one on my back. I had only one of the bonus levels of “Splinter Cell” left and I decided it was going down. So I play it, and everything is going great. I’m sneaking past the bad guys. I’m forcing subs to surface. I’m breaking into secure installations. And I see the end in sight. There is the sub that I have to get to. When I get there, the level is over, and I’m free.
Except for the invisible wall blocking the way.
I checked on the web. There is a glitch on the level that sometimes causes the wall. The workaround, I read, was to restart the level. This is an online level, you think they could have fixed that easily enough. Now I don’t have the catharsis of finishing this time-suck.
That was the last level I had left. Good enough. Stick a fork in it, I’m done.

I’m writing this out and about in the world. I love laptops. I’ve gone to Star-Schmucks coffee to have a hot chocolate. Specifically a medium hot chocolate. “Which one is the medium? We have tall, grande, and venti.”
“The one that is not small and not large.”
I don’t think the barista liked my answer.


I’m a bad person.
I phoned the police. A half hour after I phoned, they hadn’t arrived and I watched the tent disgorge two men. (I’m not making any judgments. That’s for the audience to decide.) I phoned the police again to inform them of the update.
At around 7:00, I watched the police talking to the two vagrants. Then, while the police waited in the warm police car, the two vagrants cleaned up the area, took the tent down and left. Did I mention it was raining. Miserable weather.
So was I a mean and nasty person? Readers Poll.

Vacant Lot Watching

A week ago, I noticed a tent in the vacant lot across the street. I assumed (hoped) that it was a fringe performer. Traveling across Canada, putting on theatrical work and trying to save money any which way he can.
No such luck. It seems a vagrant has decided to set himself up there. He has the requisite shopping cart even. I’ve seen him wander off into the trees for “personal time”. Today I saw him urinate without leaving the tent. He’s leaving a mess of trash all around it.
This is not what I really want to see when I look out my window. I’m going to complain to the police. I don’t think you can see the tent from the street, but it is obscenely obvious from the fourth floor.

Weekend Update

On Friday my ankle was a lot better. I could closely approximate walking and most people were none the wiser. I don’t have any more fringe plays I want to see, so I went out and rented two movies. I rarely rent movies, but I should. The more I rent, the less I should feel the need to buy. I have a bunch of coupons for DVDs that came in cereal boxes, so I have even less excuses. The problem is trying to figure out which movies are widescreeen vs. standard. Eventually I figured it out and got “I Spy” and “Kiss of the Dragon”. One comedy and one action.
Before I got to the watching a movie, my sister phoned. She had a bad day and wanted to vent. I’m a little upset at her though. I thought she was using a phone card where you might as well talk for twenty minutes, as that is the minimum length. But I found out later that she was paying for the long distance charges herself. Now I feel bad that she had to spend so much to talk to me, when I would have happily paid for the call.
I saw the “I Spy” movie first. I wasn’t expecting much. A pleasant surprise was that Owen Wilson’s character was actually quite competent. I was expecting the standard comedy stereotype of bumbling character who gets through in the end a la Inspector Clouseau. Overall I enjoyed it. I stayed up too late doing other things.
Yesterday, Saturday, it was raining. There was no point to going out. I didn’t need anything. So I decided to tackle the game “Splinter Cell”. That game has been a monkey on my back for too long. It has become work instead of play as I struggle to finish the darn thing. I only had one level to go, so it seemed like a good project. And I finished it. Yah!
Then I found out that there are three more levels available for download.
Bloody Hell!
In the evening I went out to New City. I could stay up late because I’m not running on Sunday. (1. I hurt my ankle. 2. There is a marathon going on, so none of the running groups are going to be doing training runs.) There weren’t many people there this time at the start. Jake and Leanne, and Sarah. Sarah is apparently trying to quit smoking, but as soon as Wolfgang arrived she was puffing away on cigarettes borrowed off of him. I think I saw her suck back four.
I got to talk to the beautiful goth girl, Christina. She has a boyfriend, so nothing is ever going to happen between us, but still, she’s beautiful goth girl. I haven’t talked to her since the Cybernaughtica event long ago. She still hasn’t gotten the tattoo that she won then.
And around 2:00, I was going on to the dance floor when someone dancing stepped on my ankle. I’m not even sure how that is even possible. And of course it is the wounded ankle. More excuses not to run tomorrow.
I stayed out until nearly 3:00 in the morning. In the end I didn’t get to bed until 4:00.
So today I slept in. I really didn’t get out of bed until noon. Most people will have finished the marathon by that time. The weather is rainy. So if that is good or bad is debatable. I tackled one of the bonus levels in “Splinter Cell”. Man was that frustrating. But I finished it. Two more to go. Now I’m trying to do all the tasks that I need to do to upkeep my place.

Interesting article

So, the other day I was doing some research on the web. Job related. So I use google and put in some words related to the problem I’m having. And I find a somewhat unrelated site, but man was this a fascinating article.
It talks a lot about what Windows has done wrong, and why you never hear anything about Internet Explorer being updated. They don’t update it because they want to kill it.

Bloody Hell!

Bloody hell!
Yesterday I went out running. It didn’t go well. I seemed to have lost control of my feet. I kept landing improperly. I usually got out of it with a jump, a “For Fehn!” (Danish swear, probably misspelled) and no injury. But my luck ran out (no pun intended) going into Millcreek Ravine. I twisted my ankle and it didn’t get better.
Being a man I sucked it up and kept running through the pain. When the run was over I went home and started icing my ankle. It has now swollen up nicely, forcing me to hobble everywhere. I’m putting ice and anti-inflammatory on it every so often. My overall plan is to hope it goes away.
But after the run I had dinner, then hobbled out into the Fringe. I had a ticket to T.J. Dawe’s play “Curse of the Trickster”. As usual, auto-biographical, but not of any one event in his life. It was just one big rant. He focused on the worst days in his life, starting with diarrhea in the middle of Mexico, to when he got Mono during a fringe tour. But the theme seemed to be how we spend money to save time, but then we never do anything with the time we’ve saved. We buy movies so we don’t have to return them to the video store, but the fifteen minutes we’ve saved are never put to anything great, like writing a new opera. He especially focused on buying DVDs that are never watched. Which, I might say, describes me. But, at the end, he admitted he had 54 DVDs, of which he had seen 16. And 28 of the DVDs had been purchased since he started performing the play.
Line that will stick with me: When he thought he was fine to drink Mexican water, “Montezuma, I thumb my nose at you.”
After the play, he was selling books of his plays. I could have gotten all five for $50, but I settled for just “The Slipknot” at $15. I really shouldn’t have. I loved the play, but money is tight right now. Still, no regrets.
After that, I went to see “Gordon’s Big Bald Head: Sweet Zombie Jesus”. Previous incarnations of “Gordon’s Big Bald Head” have been improv shows. I’ve avoided those since I can see cheaper improv, with the exact same cast, at any other time. But this time they had sketch comedy. So just the best stuff.
The first skit was the winning entry for the contest to write the Alberta Anthem. Unedited and posthumously. So the song had thoughts of what he should put in this part, what he was going to much on, chocking on some food, and the final “Thud!”
The next skit had the President holding a press conference and forgetting why he called it. “It’s on the tip of my tongue.” Eventually he just yelled “F**k!”, at which point all the reporters started writing furiously. “That’s off the record!”. Then there was commentary by some pundits.
There was also one about the other courses at the Last Supper. We all known the bread was body, wine was blood, but there were other courses. The only one I remember was the liver, which Jesus said should be self-explanatory.
Anyway, after all this, it was 12:30. A little late for me. So today I slept in a bit, got to work late, but stayed late.
When I got home today, I was lazy. But strangely, my internet access was down. I took the same tact on this problem as with my ankle: Hope it goes away. At around 9:00 I decided I needed access. I phoned up Shaw, and basically was told to unplug various things and then plug them in again. This was probably due to a power outage that had happened while I was at work. At least I assume there was, it would explain why all the clocks have reset.
will probably chew me out, because he has done Internet help desk, and will tell me I could have figured it out on my own. But I’m lazy and wanted someone else to do my thinking. In my defense, I was very polite and cheerful to the tech support girl.

More Fringe plays

I just saw two more Fringe plays.
The first one was “Real Time”. I really liked it. It was about a computer nerd who hooked up with a girl very different from him. It was funny, it was had good pacing, and still had drama. I think it is the best Fringe play I’ve seen this year. Which isn’t saying much.
It ran a bit long so I had to rush to my next play. This one was “Make Me” It was about a computer nerd who hooked up with a girl after getting a make over (and some other stuff). It was not as good. It wasn’t bad, but I left the theatre feeling depressed.
I saw two plays that dealt with people like me getting girlfriends. The first one seemed plausible. The second one seemed like a fantasy where girls are forward and want to date a nerd. They make getting a girlfriend look so easy. I wish it was that easy. Hence the depression.
In “Make Me” there was a discussion over pills that could get rid of shyness, The nerd in question didn’t want to take them. He said being shy was who he was, and he didn’t want to change that. He just wanted to stop being shy long enough to ask a girl out. I think my thought process has been very similar.


So we were having a silent auction at work. Since we are moving, we are trying to get rid of all of the old junk we don’t need anymore. There were some old computers, monitors and stuff available.
A while back, I purchased the Ultima collection. I don’t have a Windows machine and I’ve wanted to play some of the old Ultima games for awhile now. So I thought I would bid on a cheap computer. I’ll need a monitor too.
So there was one computer I decided I would go for. It was A PII 300Mhz. Out of date, but good for playing old games. It was lot number 37, and the bidding became fierce. There were lots of computers, but several people wanted that one. Diane in particular was snapping up lots of computers. For group homes. The fact that she wanted them for a
charitable cause made me hate her even more.
I hate auctions where I need to compete against people I know. I end up hating them when they outbid me.
I bid on a monitor. A 17-inch one. It was lot number 8.
There was a clear conflict of interest in play as the person responsible for closing the bids was also bidding. So she could bid on something and then close it. She was quite honest and I never saw her do anything like that.
So she first closed lots 1 to 20. She took her sweet time doing it. She walked to each individual item and took off the sheet. She didn’t even do it close to in order. So while she was wandering all over the room, I have to feel my stress going through the roof as I watch her blissfully walk past my monitor. In the end, I do get it for $6.50.
Now I have to compete against Diane for the computer. She doesn’t believe in small incremental bids, and ups it by $5 when she needs to make a bid. I figure that I’ll wait as long as possible to bid on it.
This time though, when the time ran out on lots 21 to 40, the sheets were collected by Mike. He is far more efficient. He grabs the sheets quickly, and I lose the computer. Diane gets it for $20.
I have a monitor with no computer.
Now I have to try and calm down. I find myself hating Diane, ticked off at Mike, and I will die before I ever think nicely of a group home.

I hate auctions.

Weekend update

Okay, I’ve seen several plays now.
After my last post, I went to see Pilk’s Madhouse. It was very weird. About 12 skits that were apparently written by a madman. One of the best parts though was just an interlude. One of the actors wanted to sing a song, but the “BoothGod” kept playing the wrong tape. The first wrong song was “You make my hips buck baby” from last year’s play, BoyGroove. Funny, because the actor trying to sing was one of the stars of BoyGroove.
On Saturday, I slept in a lot and was practically the last one in line for the play “Adorable”. It was the other David Belke play. It think I liked it better, but it was a very close race. It was (obviously) the more upbeat of the two. I thought the ending was contrived.
After that, I went home and relaxed a bit. An hour later I went and saw “Burlesque”. That was a good play, but I really can’t say anything about it. It wasn’t a waste to see, but it wasn’t incredibly memorable. I would still recommend it.
Then I went to a party. Monica had finally come back to running, so when I last saw her, she invited me to a party at her place. It was more of a get together by all the people in her apartment building. It was fun, but I really didn’t know anyone. I did find out that of the seven suites in the building, five of them are rented by gay men. A friendly bunch.
I did leave at 6:30 to go to the Trevor Schmidt play, Deplorable. I like his works with the “Unconscious Collective” group. They put on funny musicals that I enjoy. And I hate musicals. I got there a half an hour before the show.
Worst play ever.
I should have known. I like the Unconscious Collective, but I didn’t like his biography of Mabel Stark. So I should have clued in when the actress was the same one as Mabel. It was billed as a comedy, but it wasn’t funny. There wasn’t much of a plot. I suppose you might have enjoyed it if it you had read King Lear. I had not. I don’t even think the lighting was that good.
And to top off this travesty, the hour long play was over in half an hour. I spent more time waiting in line than seeing the play. Someone commented that it was like Trevor had gotten a block of time to do a play, and then just threw something together. This was unforgivable.
I went back to the party afterwards. I was up until midnight there. As time went by there were more and more gay people there. Somewhat uncomfortable, but I spent most of it with Monica. Like I said, she was the only one I knew there.
Today I went running. I had a hard time getting out of bed (up too late). And I didn’t really get a good chance to warm up and stretch. Nike was at the Running Room, loaning out free shoes for people to take for a test drive. If I had been there earlier, I might have been able to get a pair. But probably for the best. I don’t want to try funny shoes on a long run.
Mike wanted to run 16km, at marathon race pace. He started off very quick. One girl, Avery, decided within 100 meters that it was too fast and left. I was having trouble myself. For the first ten minutes, I was seriously considering that I wouldn’t be able to make it. Then, I guess, my body got into a higher gear, and I didn’t have any trouble. At about twenty minutes in I was next to Mike and heard him wheezing to keep up.
In the end, I was leaving him behind. Our small group split up at one point as Mike led some of us down the low road to be in the shade of the river valley. It’s a slightly longer route, but it is cooler and lacks a very large hill. I came in about two minutes ahead of Mike.
After the run, there was brunch. Not many people this time. They will be non-existent next week as the Centennial marathon is taking place. I’m going to sleep in.
I relaxed at home for awhile. I did some tanning on my balcony, but it was too hot. I went to see “The One Man Play”. I saw this group (note the plural) during the opening ceremonies. They were funny. But this play wasn’t. The skit that I had seen wasn’t any part of this play. It was dragged out, and everything seemed forced. There were some funny schticks, but not enough for a whole play. The hour long play was over in 45 minutes.
More relaxing at home followed. Then there was a scooter ride. Not many people showed up for that. Finally, I just saw the play “Swashbuckler”. It was very good. I might be biased because I know the actor/writer. She did many characters in the one person show. It was a little hard to follow for the first five minutes, but then the individual characters started defining themselves. It had a good plot and it was funny.
Well, that is it for now. I’m going to go to bed. I really should make myself a dinner, but I just don’t feel like it.

Start of Fringe

So yesterday I saw the Fringe opening ceremonies. The parade wasn’t that spectacular, but I saw Alice in it. (She was in my improv class.) She was on stilts promoting her play, “Swashbucklers”. I guess she learned stilt-walking while in clown school. Anyway she talked to me, and even gave me a password that would get me into her play for free. Nice of her, but I still feel I should pay. It’s her first play, so I want to be supportive.
I saw a few previews of other plays, but nothing too great. I’m interested in seeing “The One Man Show”, which stars four people.
Today seemed to drag on forever. Maybe I ate too much for lunch, but concentrating on work was hard. Anyway, when I got home I just went onto my deck and sunned a bit. The sun was low, but I’m hoping to get some tan beneath my chin. After that I got up and met Andrew and Kevin on the festival grounds. I wasn’t rushing off to a play. There don’t seem to be that many that I want to see playing tonight. So I get to take it easy. We went to Julio’s Barrio and munched a bit on Mexican food. I had to leave before the others to catch my first play.
Despicable was good. It was a David Belke play, so not necessarily pushing boundaries, but still giving you good entertainment. It was a film noir mystery, with several betrayals. I think the music was a little too loud, but that seemed to work itself out soon enough.
For the first time, David Belke has two plays at the Fringe. The other one is called Adorable, and I’ll see it tomorrow. It has the exact same cast.
My next play is “Pilk’s Madhouse” and it doesn’t start until 11:30. So I went home, and I’m relaxing a bit. And taking the opportunity to update the journal.


Today I thought I would have more activity in my place. Let me expain. Kevan, my coworker, has been getting free cable. Shaw doesn’t know about it, and he isn’t telling them. But it is preventing him from getting HDTV. If he asks to upgrade, Shaw will notice and start charging him. But there is a workaround that he has tried in the past. He previously got an HDTV decoder and hooked it up at my place, got Shaw to turn it on, then took the decoder home and used it there. He eventually returned it.
There is now a new decoder on the market that has fancy new features. Specifically a hard drive so you can record programs, and even watch them at the same time. With the Olympics coming up, Kevan wanted to do the same thing again. That was the plan yesterday. So, I tried to make sure the condo was clean. Unfortunately I’ve been distracted lately and didn’t do a good job.
My distraction has been a new webcomic called Sluggy Freelance. It’s not very well drawn, and not particularly funny, but it is still quite good. What attracts me to it is that it has nice nerdy plots, and is very good at continuity. Previous plot-lines are never forgotten, and the characters seem to evolve (especially in the case of the alien Alyee.) The comic has been around since 1997, so I’ve been going through all the archives reading them. It is so easy to read just one more comic, that I’ve been forgetting to be productive until far too late. Anyway, my condo isn’t as clean as it should be.
Fortunately, Kevan decided to bite the bullet and get HDTV the correct way. So he doesn’t need me. Unfortunate because he’s going camping this weekend and was going to let me try out HDTV. The brief time I had it, I wasn’t impressed, because nothing was being broadcast on HDTV. So if I had it for an entire weekend, I could probably get a good feel for it.
Anyway, I’ve got to prepare dinner right now, and then meet Andrew around the Fringe area. Then afterwards I’ll eat dinner.

Since Sunday evening I’ve been feeling depressed. I guess it was just one of those days. The scooter gang met and we went all over town. This time to Rundle Park. The last time I was there it was on a run, so I know it is 13km away from the Kinsmen center. My only problem was that I wasn’t dressed for the weather. So I was a little chilly.
I must say I’m learning more about Edmonton since I joined. Before, I never drove anywhere just for the heck of it. Now I’m seeing all over. However, I’m always with a group. I can’t imagine myself doing it alone. I’m not cut out for aimless wandering.
Yesterday I joined the Edmonton Hash House Harriers. They are like a running club. The point of a hash is like a fox hunt. One runner goes ahead and makes a path using flour. He makes a trail with several tricks, and goes through bad terrain. Then everyone else tries to follow the trail. Since there are points where you can’t tell where the trail has gone, you might run the wrong way for awhile before you have to turn around. So the faster runners have to run further. They find the dead ends and only figure out the correct route by the time the slower runners have caught up. When you find the trail you yell “On On!”
That all sounds good on paper, but the official slogan of the group is: “The drinking club with a running problem.” So part way through the run, we stop and have a beer. Then we run to the end and have another beer. Then everyone meets up at a bar to have another beer. Since I don’t drink, it’s not quite the same for me.
It was fun, but I think it could have been better. My legs were still a bit sore from the Sunday morning run. And the trail wasn’t laid out very well. The group I was with lost the trail so badly that we found the drinking spot instead. So we waited around for twenty minutes for the guy to come and unlock his truck and pass out beer. The others passed the time by abusing the truck.
Then it was a run back to the start. There they had some ceremonies that mostly involved forcing people to drink beer, either for bad things they had done, or for celebrating accomplishments. Is drinking a reward or deterrent? The ceremony took too long, in my opinion. We were standing out in mosquito infested park. Since I was a virgin runner, I had to entertain them all, somehow, at one point. They gave examples of bad jokes or an embarrassing story. I took the safe route and juggled some beers. They were slippery (when wet) so I couldn’t keep it up for long. But it seemed to satisfy the natives.
After all that, we went to a nearby bar. They had a pizza special on that night. But it took forever for them to come. Over an hour. I didn’t get to eat until after 10:00. I did get to watch everyone get steadily drunker and drunker. I left at about 10:30.
My opinion of the whole thing is similar to watching the monthly variety show/play “Oh Susanna.” That tries to get its laugh by plying the audience, and themselves with alcohol. Being the only sober person in a room full of drunks isn’t as hilarious as the drunk people think it is.

Punk kids and other thoughts

So I did the run this morning and had brunch.
Now I’m looking out my window at the vacant lot across the street. Some neighborhood kids (let’s call them punks) are goofing off there. They’ve taken the sign for the condo development that blew down in the storm a few weeks ago. They are using it to build a ramp for their bike that they are trying to do tricks off of. Not entirely successfully though. They seem to know one trick, and not even very well. Half the time they fall off and make a good attempt to hurt themselves.
Sometimes they go sliding down the sign towards the big pit that has been filling up with water. The water never seems to get any deeper since the past few rainfalls, but I keep hoping to see it fill up. The lot is mostly sand, so I’m actually surprised the water has stayed there this long.
Whoa, that was a close one. One of the kids nearly went into the pit. He had that cartoon moment of teetering on the edge. But that’s it. His second attempt seems to have gone better. He’s more in control of his face plant.
I’m still hoping to find out how deep the water has gotten. A kid falling in would give an excellent depth gauge. But it looks like he has gotten enough practice of how not to fall in.
I’ve had better entertainment.
Oh wait, he fell in. Unfortunately he didn’t make it into the water. He stopped at a ledge just above. Hasn’t daunted him. He’s trying again. He had a nice flop around the sign, but no plunge.
Safeway, on Friday, had a great sale of salmon, with just the head cut off. I decided that I should learn to cook a fish, and at that price, it doesn’t matter much if I screw it up.
Looks like the kid did a successful trick. Maybe he’s cocky now? Nope. Still dry.
So on Saturday I tackled the fish. There was quite a lot of fish involved. I’m not entirely sure I cooked it all. It was all pink, but some parts were a little too shiny. The sauce I made was good though. I made too much of it. And the risotto too made that meal entirely too big. But I have some leftovers now that should make the rest of the week easier.
The kids have gotten another bike. Doesn’t look like they’ve gotten the guts to use it. I stand corrected. But no face plant.
So after the salmon dinner, I went out to New City. I decided this time to take the scooter. I’ve been hesitant to do that for awhile. At least in a car, I can get to the bar without the entire world seeing PVC pants. But it was cooler out, and I decided that I shouldn’t care what other people think. (Wasn’t that what Richard Feynman always said?)
Oh, that looked like it hurt. But he’s still standing.
Anyway, it was nice and cool, so I could at least wear my jacket. I also didn’t wear my net shirt. That would have been a bit too public. but the ride was uneventful. Disappointingly so.
Kid nearly fell into the pit again. He had enough control that he jumped to the safe spot. Now they did a successful trick, and he still went into the pit. I think that’s there finale move there. They do the trick, come down off the ramp, and jump into the safe part of the pit. Look’s like they’ve gotten enough now. They’re moving off. Maybe they’ll be back some other time.
I think I’m going to go out and sun myself now. The weather has been pretty sucky all weekend, but now it is only partly cloudy. I might get a bit of sun.
Well, they aren’t entirely kids. They’re putting their bikes into the back of a van they they have driven into the lot. So I guess that only makes them punks.
I’ve been invited to a BBQ this evening. Unfortunately it’s in Winnipeg, and I don’t think I can make the commute to be there in time. I should RSVP, but what’s the point.
I’m just going to do the scooter gang thing tonight. Assuming the weather is nice.

It was here a minute ago…

I decided at around 11:00 to go out to Timothy’s and have a hot chocolate. Imagine my surprise when I get there and find it boarded up and closed. Even the sign is gone. I still have a frequent user card that says I get a free hot chocolate! Oh, the humanity.
So I cross the street to the Starbucks that opened up there. It was built on the ashes (literally) of the Uncle Albert’s diner. For a week or so, the busiest corner in Edmonton had three different coffee places competing to see who could caffeinate the most people. I was waiting for the fourth corner to lose its bar and have a TIm Hortens open up. But now we’re back to two.
Anyway, now I’m sitting here, updating my live journal. There are three women nearby discussing boys. They’re ignoring me, so I’m ignoring them. I don’t think I have anything to add to the conversation anyway.
The hot chocolate is good. I’m not sure if it is as big as the Timothy’s one, but it has the qualities that I look for in a hot chocolate. (Hot and chocolate.)

Yesterday I had Brian from downstairs over and we played Halo. He recently broke up with his girlfriend/roommate, so I’ve been helping him nerd out. Since he’s already had a date with another woman, he is way ahead of me in social skills.
I accept that I am rusty when it comes to Halo. But I need to start working on my Halo muscles, because the sequel is supposed to come out this Fall.
Today I ran. My legs felt tired afterwards. This is a bad sign. I’m either not over my marathon, or it was too humid. It was raining when I started out, so it might be the latter.

Yesterday I went for a 26km run. It went well. My legs didn’t feel tired from it, so I think I’m getting over my marathon. I still don’t think I’ll be doing the Edmonton Marathon. If I was going to sign up, I should have done it yesterday. It is now $99 to sign up. The route is a lot hillier than the Winnipeg one.
I saw Monica after the run. Apparently she is doing exercises in the Kinsmen center. I think this was the first time I’ve ever seen her in shorts. Man, her leg muscles are developed.
In the afternoon I saw the Bourne Supremacy. Good movie, but the camera was never steady. I think it would have been better on a smaller screen if they are going to pull stuff like that.
In the evening I did the scooter gang thing. We scootered all the way to West Edmonton Mall and then raced around in the parking lot. I think my scooter is finally getting broken in. I’ve been getting it up to 80 without noticing it. It used to top out at 70km, but I could push it to 75 if conditions were right. I’ve got to take it in for a checkup soon.