December 31, 2002

Sometimes I start wondering whether I'm truly a Software Engineer, because of the line of work I am currently in. SEs were 'designed' to produce system critical software, life-critical software. Military, nuclear, or medical stuff. I mean, did I go through 4 years of he(ck), to do a job I where I could've gotten with a CS degree (i'm not dissing CS, i have many CS friends.. and there's just no comparison).

Then at work today, my boss asks me to work on a file that's being shared on a computer back at Metro Hall, and he mentioned he wanted to work on it too, and then all these thoughts popped into my head about mutexes and priority inversions, thoughts about the Mars Lander resurfaced, semaphores, priority inversion, . Haha.. I still got it..

December 30, 2002

Well, the NFL playoffs are all set. I have to admit I didn’t think the Jets had it in them to make such a huge turnaround this season plus eke their way into the playoffs. I remember when Herman Edwards went nuts on TV about winning and losing. Since then, his team has never really looked back, and has clawed their way to a respectable record and a shot at the Superbowl. I think the Packers have a real good shot this season. The only tough match-up will be playing the Bucs in Tampa. Other than that I see no reason why they can’t win it all. Hopefully it’ll be Rob Johnson, not Brad, under the helm for the Bucs.

Next week is Wild Card weekend. For the AFC, I’m picking the Jets over the Colts 31-14 and Steelers over the Browns 17-9. The Jets are making a strong run, they’ve tightened their defense in the past few games, and Pennington has played quite well. As much as I love Peyton Manning, Indy has no defense at all, and I just don’t see them as a threat at all in this game. The Browns got lucky by making the playoffs and I expect their luck to run out. It looks like Kelly Holcomb may start, which gives them a boost in offense, but I think the Steelers are too good. Look at what they did to the Bucs last week. I say 17-9, but it could easily be 27-9, just depending on how soon Cleveland’s D gives up.

For the NFC, I see the Favre leading the Pack over Vick’s Falcons in a shootout, ending at 31-27. Vick is going to be a great QB, and is already one of the league’s best, but I just don’t see anyone beating the Packers at home, in the playoffs, where they are unbeaten in the history of the franchise. Plus it’ll be cold at Lambeau, another deterrent for the Falcons, who normally play indoors in Atlanta. This is definitely the game of the week, especially for myself as a Packers fan. I think the Giants will bring the momentum they’ve built the last few games to pull an upset over the Niners in SF. I think it’ll be 17-10 in the end.

For the next round, I see no reason that the Raiders won’t completely annihilate the Jets. They are just a far superior team in every aspect. The interesting game will be the Titans against the Steelers. I will be cheering for the Steelers for the very reason that my brother likes the Titans, and it’ll make it more interesting to watch if we’re cheering for opposite teams. However, it won’t matter because the Raiders will beat either team regardless, in the following round. For the NFC, the big game will be my Packers against the Bucs in Tampa Bay. I am really hoping that Brad Johnson is PUP for this one, because no team led by Rob Johnson can win a game, no matter how good their defense is. Chances are it will be Brad though, since Jon Gruden is no Wade Phillips. In this case I think Favre’ll really have to dig deep to win this. I am so cheering for Favre in this game, but it’ll be a very close game. I think the Giants will beat the Eagles, ruining McNabb’s return to action. It’ll be Raiders vs. Packers/Bucs in the San Diego for the Super Bowl.
My mom never called me to confirm that she and my bro made it to Vegas safely. But my dad never called either, so I assume they are there now, safe, and just forgot to call me. Unless something happened to all 3 of them.

I had another terrorist dream. Well first it was some natural disaster. I was watching a space shuttle take-off. Some old guy was sitting near the bottom and was looking up at the big rockets. Everyone was yelling at him to move away, because when the rockets ignite, there's crazy fire. So he started running, but as he tried to leave the scene, the ground all around him started to blow up, like something was under the ground. Then hot gas came searing out from the ground, forcing the old guy back towards the base of the rockets. Then, the rockets fired, and all I heard was a blood-curdling scream, and then I woke up. Pretty scary..

The next dream was I was at a hospital. Then I saw all these army guys, only they were terrorists dressed up as army guys. They had these fire-proof barrels, and told each muslim person in the hospital to climb inside one. After each muslim person was safe, they ran outside, and they blew up the hospital to smithereens. Then I found out they had done this to all the hospitals in all of North America. I woke up after that.

December 28, 2002

I'm looking for a song.. it's called Holy Fire. It's not the one by Paul Wilbur though.. Anyone have the chords or lyrics to it would be most helpful. Thanks
Just a note to the readers on my opinion of talent. Being able to sing, that is talent, but for a musical artist, being able to sing to me is just a prerequisite of being able to do for a living. If you can't sing, you can't do what you do for a living, unless you sell yourself through means of sex. In that case you aren't a talent, just a pretty face (or muscular man, whatever). So what then is talent in the 'music' industry?

A standard piano has 7 octaves. Mariah can sing 5 of them. That is talent.
Being able to produce, co-produce, read/write music. That is talent.
If you can't WRITE music, then because you are just a plain ol' singer. Lyrics don't count, though if you had great lyrics it helps.
If you can play an instrument well, while singing well. That is talent.

If you can dance and sing, then that is half-talent. You can learn to dance, so it's not so much talent but a skill, but being able to sing well while dancing is not easy, so that is talent. Of course dancing has nothing to do with music, in my opinion. Dancing is just an MTV thing, if there were no music video's, no one would care if you could dance or not. In fact, the only reason I think these teeny boppers dance is because they'd look stupid just standing there singing, especially when they can't even sing that well. At least if they're dancing, they can use that as an excuse to not being able to sing well. Obviously singing is the most important thing.

Keeping in mind talent is all relative. We're talking about artists in the music industry so there's a certain level of expectation there:

Let's say there is a scoring system for talent level. Note this is just based on Talent. Obviously some people like artist who look better, or just simply don't like a particular style of music.

0-15 : Ability to sing
7.5 pts : Ability to write/produce/co-produce* own music
7.5 pts : Ability to play an instrument

So, someone like Eric Clapton would score 30/35. Not the greatest voice, but he is unbelievable on the 6-string, and writes his own stuff.
Mariah Carey would score 21/30. Alicia Keys, 30/30.. Alicia is really talented.. Songs in A minor was an awesome, awesome album, though not really 'pop'-ey, so probably didn't sell as well as it should have. Christina Aguilera gets 18/30. Britney Spears gets 10/30. Most bands (not groups) score perfect, because they've got singers, guitarist, and a drummer. They cover it all -- What they play is what you hear.

In a nutshell, that last sentence covers what I define as musical talent - What they play is what you hear. If they produced everything that you are hearing, not just the vocals, but the instrumentals, or the backup vocals, then THAT is talent.

*I'm not totally positive on this, but I think producing music is listening to and mixing samples, kinda like what Jermaine Dupri, or Sean Combs does. Well, sampling is probably more related to their genre of music, whereas someone like Jimmy Iovine just listens to the music he's given and then just picks what he likes. It sounds like a pretty cool job, but probably takes a tremendous amount of pressure, since they are hired to compile the best album possible, and are hired by the artists themselves.. so if the artist is able to produce their own stuff, that must also take a lot of work, because when you're sifting through your own stuff, it must be pretty hard to decide what is crap and what is good..
When I came home today from Pac.mall, I fully expected to run into issues with my new video card. I bought a Leadtek Winfast GeForce4 Ti4200. 128mb DDR ram, with video in and video out. It came out it just over 300 smackers. How weird was it then, when I plugged it in that nothing went wrong? I rebooted, a loaded up Warcraft 3 and boosted up all the settings -- smooth! It ran smooth. Exited, loaded up NBA Live 2003. Full, 100% max settings.. er, choppy.. 95% settings.. still choppy (argh).. 80% whoo! Smooth as silk! Wow, you can see the wrinkles around Lenny Wilken's eyes! You can see defined muscles.. biceps, triceps.. impressive!

So there you have it, there's a first for everything, and this was the first time I've installed hardware on my baby and not have anything go wrong. Loaded up the new detonator drivers and.... CRASH!!! Yes!! Life makes sense again!!
Does it take a long time to say, write a blog, or, write an email? I find it easier and much quicker than talking in person. It's just like ICQ, you can talk for hours and hours, but if you met the person face to face, it'd just be like "hey.." "hey.. whuts up" "not much" "me neither".

In the "olden" days, when you received a letter you would either call the person up to thank them for writing (well i did anyway), or write them a letter back. Now in the electronic age even moreso, of you get a letter in the mail from someone, you write them back, or call them to thank them. Why isn't it the same with email? Nowadays, with ICQ and all the other IMs, even getting emails is rare. So why is it I always get people coming up to me saying "hey, I got your email.. sorry I haven't replied I just haven't had the time". How long does it take? I mean in the first place, they won't call you because of a hectic schedule, or just they live too far away.. but an email does not take long. I'm sick and tired of this excuse. If you can't even so much as type up a quick reply, then obviously you had no intention of writing back.
Last night I met up with a few ottawa people down at Jack Astor's to celebrate of the girls' birthdays. It was good times.. I was really full by the end of it. I shared a lobster and crab dip with bassman, then had half of those delicious garlic breads (somehow it didn't taste as good as it use to.. maybe it was just my arteries screaming at my brain to tell me to stop!), a caesar salad, and terriyaki chicken. Why do I always make the mistake of ordering terriyaki at caucasian restaurants ? Well, it wasn't *that* bad this time. I was too full to finish.

After Astor's we went to DnB's, where I blew another $30 to play some casino games. The outcome: I traded in the tickets I won, plus the tickets I won from a year ago, the last time I was at DnB's, and I got one of those mini-rc cars! Pretty sweet!!! I was just playing with it, driving it around in my pool table, dodging balls, and avoiding pockets. It's a fantastic toy!!
Boxing day really sucked. I got up early to shovel the snow and the snowblower broke down. So I had to shovel most of the driveway myself, and it was packing snow, so that really sucked.. Eventually my lazy bro got up and came out to help me. We went to BestBuy so I could spend my gift certificate. Unfortunately though, Yorkdale mall is on the way to BestBuy, and so we were stuck in traffic for about 2 hours. And then when we finally got to BestBuy, there was a long long lineup just to get into the store, and there were no free parking spots. So we went home. On the way home, mom wanted to buy some milk, but all the grocery stores were closed. Sigh.

December 25, 2002

Having seen it happen before to Mariah Carey, I was pretty disappointed when I heard about Christina Aguilera's new Dirrty video. Seeing great talent being put to shame and wasted because of peer pressure and hip-hop culture really sucks, especially when nowadays there is so little real singing talent left. To say the least, I was not only disappointed in Aguilera's new video, but on top of that reading about her 'turnaround' in various magazines disappointed me even further.

I was a very big fan of Mariah and felt betrayed when she turned the hip-hop culture, turning her string of albums that produced hit after hit into pure trash. Mariah's latest album has a bit more of her older style which gives me a glimmer of hope that she might finally be 'growing up'. All that said, aside from the song Dirrty, Christina's album is actually quite good. All you CA fans out there, don't be discouraged by her one 'bad' song. Although she's made a drastic change in her public image, the talent is still in there somewhere! This album shows a total transformation in Aguilera, who was just considered one of the few actually talented singers in the teeny-bopper market. Now she mixes in rock, jazz, hip-hop.. these tracks are pretty good and contain a much more 'grown-up' style of music. There's everything here.. inspirational ballads, female power, failed relationships, anger, personal battles.

I must say I was totally throw off by all the hooplah surrounding the Dirrty video, but this album has definitely been a great surprise for me and I am glad to say I'm still a fan of her talents!

December 24, 2002

I was plannin' on trying to time this perfectly.. but quite frankly, i'm tired and I want to go to bed!

Merry Christmas everyone!
[Setting: H&H Bagel Shop]
FRANK: Kramer, I got your message. I haven't celebrated Festivus in years! What is your interest?
KRAMER: Well, just tell me everything, huh?
FRANK: Many Christmases ago, I went to buy a doll for my son. I reach for the last one they had - but so did another man. As I rained blows opon him, I realized there had to be another way!
KRAMER: What happened to the doll?
FRANK: It was destroyed. But out of that, a new holiday was born. "A Festivus for the rest of us!"
KRAMER: That musta been some kind of doll.
FRANK: She was.

Today is Festivus. Happy Festivus everyone!

December 23, 2002

The topic of "best coding music" came up a couple years ago among my classmates. We had a posting and a rankings listing on the old ecircles site we had. Well, the last couple of weeks I've been listening to Dookie - Green Day. An old, old album, but a great album. I remember when I was a teenager, when everyone either hated Green Day or loved them. I was one of those who loved them. Billie Joe, and Tre Cool.. and that other guy. They were great!

Anyway, as I was saying, the last few days this is all I've been listening to, while coding in VB. It's good stuff.. I highly recommend it!
This brings me to my latest quandry, being, does my phone count as a gadget/toy, or more of a necessity? Does it count as this months' gadgetry purchase, or not?

I needed the phone, in order to call CAA, so that we could start the car. In other times, I've needed to use other peoples' phones to make important phone calls. Well, now I won't need that. However the argument is I could have just gone down the street to a payphone.

Or, perhaps because I didn't buy the cheapest phone out there, then it might be considered a 'gadget', as a result? But I picked my phone using various online reviews, and I targetted phones with the best RF reception and sound quality. I didn't get a tiny phone, or a super slim phone either. Well sure it glows a cool blue tint, but most phones nowadays do that anyway.

And here's another thing. My brother and I plan on trading in all our N64 games and N64 system, and my Playstation and most of my Playstation games, in order to get some store credit at EB (Electronic Boutique), so that we can get either an X-Box or a PS2. (If we get an X-box, i'll trade ALL my playstation games). If say all those trade-ins come in to about 75% of the cost of a new system, then does getting the new system count as a gadget, even when I'm only paying 25% of it?

I got my cell phone finally, on Saturday. Yep.. I'm the last chinese guy you know who got a cell phone. Hehe. It took extremely long for them to activate my phone and set up my account. I must've stood there at the Telus booth for close to 2 hours. Right from the get-go I had problems. Like, when I picked which phone and told the lady I wanted to sign up, she asked me if I was even 18 yet, and if not I would need an adult to sign up for me. 18? EIGHTEEN ?!?!? Do I really look that young??

What's funny is after I finally got the phone, my mom and brother and I headed back to the car, whereupon we found that the key wouldn't turn in the ignition, so right away I had to use my new phone, to call CAA!
Genesis Christmas banquet was loads of fun. It was an airplane/flight theme, with us starting out lining up with our boarding passes, signing in, and getting assigned seats. I was starving though, and by the time it started, we were given really small salads to start with, so I went to some of the vacant tables and grabbed other peoples' salads (for the people who never showed). I ended up eating 3 salads before the main course finally arrived. During the salads, we sang Christmas carols.

The main course consisted of chicken, mashed potatoes, and vegetables (from frozen - carrots, corn, peas, beans). It was pretty good, except for the chicken which was hard as rock. Some of the other people at my table had really good chicken though. I guess I was just unlucky.

After the main course, or, around the middle of it as I was trying to chew through my chicken as quick as I could, the captain asked us to check under our seats for the barf bag. Inside each bag was instructions, for a murder-mystery game.

The game was pretty fun. They got everyone involved, which is like 40-50 people, so it was pretty well organized. Certain people were given longer lines than others. It was set up, I mean, you were assigned seats, so they knew who would get longer lines and who wouldn't have to do anything. I'm glad. Because I got nothing, so that was great. All I had to do was wear a flowery scarf, and act like a rich woman who didn't know what was going on. There was one person per table that would approximately the same roles, just with different lines. It was pretty entertaining, especially with some of the lines. Like for instance, the murder victim was a girl, but in the scripts, the victim kept being referred to as "he" or "him". So the actors kept having to change it, which was pretty funny.

In the end of it all, the story moved towards the mother of the victim being willing to forgive the murderer, just as God forgave us for our sins.

December 20, 2002

and what happened to my counter under sponsors??
who from St.Louis and Quebec are checking this site? do i know you? please respond! thanks.
one pint
One pint of beer is not a lot. I mean, it's basically one big cup, or mug. Back in the day I could take 2 pints, and then start getting a bit groggy. Yesterday we had a staff meeting with all 4 districts, and after work we headed out to Milwaukee's for some drinks. I ordered 1 pint of Moosehead's. Of course now that I think back, I was drinking on an empty stomach, and, my body hadn't been exposed to alcohol for months. Unless you count the ice wine last week.

Well it seems that 1 pint was enough for me. With my mind swimming I managed to grasp some bit of sense that I had enough, said goodbye to a bunch of 'colleagues' that I had just met, and left. Luckily it wasn't very cold as I wandered around downtown looking for the Telus store that I swore I saw close by before. But I couldn't find it, and I ended wandering all over and around Metro Hall, until I found my way back to the St.Andrew subway station.

There in the train, I fell asleep, waking up at Eglinton with a serious urge to relieve my bladder. With just a few more stops, maybe I could hold it until North York Centre? So I held on fast, struggling and moaning as the subway train stopped at York Mills and seemed to pause for an eternity before the door bells went off again. I closed my eyes, and finally, finally..

I stumbled up the steps and into Empress Walk, glancing wildly at the signs for where the heck those restrooms are?? Finally found them on the second floor, and ahhhhhh...

Needless to say, it was only one drink. By the time I got home I was completely sober, and shared my adventure with my mom. Ha, one pint. Sheesh.
The costumes and scenery for the Lion King were, in a word, amazing. Since I'd already seen the movie, the story was kind of boring, but they added in a lot of songs that weren't in the movie to keep it from being a total copy. Still, the costumes alone made the musical unbelievable!

December 19, 2002

What a blessing.. Yesterday I left work at 11:30am, got picked up from the library and went with my mom and dad, to see my dad off at the aiport. With much reluctance I said my goodbyes, and I almost wept, but I held it in 8). Yeah, dad said Men don't cry as a joke to me earlier in the morning, and even then I almost started up. Haha.

Well, yesterday I signed up for PC banking. I got an account, and debit card. The cheques are in the mail. The guy said I might still get rejected for the credit card. If that happens, I'll cave in and go to Scotia during a lunch, get a Visa there, buy one item, pay it off, and close my account with Scotia (those bastards).

Anyway, when I got home I saw my dad's shoes, and his jacket! I ran upstairs to find him sitting in the front of the computer, cancelling all his reservations. As it turns out, he was rejected at immigration because he was missing a few papers. He's still leaving, today though. I thought it was such a blessing because this morning before I left for work my dad and I sat down and talked things over, a great man-to-man, father-to-son talk. It was much needed, and when we were done, I gave him a great big hug and that was that. Praise God!!

December 17, 2002

I'm in the North York office now. My boss was asked to take over the duties for another manager here in north york because the normal guy is sick, or on vacation (i'm not sure yet, still trying to find out.. not that it matters). Anyway, it's sorta neat, because I can wake up a full hour later than normal, since it's only a hop, skip and a jump away from my house.

The trouble with this place is there's no partitions, no cubicles. It's just an open space. Computers and drafting tables scattered all over the place, and not all facing the same direction. Well actually they are all facing the front (the reception area), except me, I'm facing the opposite direction. So if not for my HUGE 21" dual monitors, I would be looking right into the face of everyone, especially the guy who sits across from me.

The worst thing about this open-concept office is the phones. Doggone it, not a minute goes by that a phone doesn't go off, and it's very distracting. And what's worse is the work mentality in this office is nothing like at Metro Hall. Over there, people work all the time, socialize only during lunch breaks. Here, since it's open, people socialize all day long. People are rarely at their tables/desks to answer their phones, so it goes on, and on, and on. Ring-ring.. Ring-ring.. Ring-ring.. Ring-ring..

And so much for the 2x15 minute breaks and 1 hour lunch breaks. Over here it's the 2x30 minute breaks, or even 45 mins, and then 1 hour, but you'll see people cheat that too. They'll go 1.5 hours, or, goof around while their boss is on lunch, then when he gets back, they'll go for their lunch. So in essence, it's a 2+ hour lunch.

One thing I did notice though, was at around 2pm every day people finally settle down and get down to business. So from 2pm-4pm, people here are actually working. Not to point any fingers though, there are certainly some people here who put in a decent 5 hours of work.

Well, my break time is over.
On Sunday, we exchanged gifts in the morning before church. This years' gifts were all about thoughtfulness and practicalness. I got my mom a small herb growing kit and tickets this Thursday for the Lion King musical. She had tried and failed in growing herbs seedlings that she had bought from a nursery, so I knew she would like it. And everytime we saw the LK commercial on TV, she'd always said she wanted to see it some day. She got me a really cool cookbook for when I move out. It's totally illustrated from step to step and organized by the amount of time it takes to make. It's got all kinds of foods, salads, dishes, desserts. Inside the cookbook was also a gift certificate for BestBuy! Haha.. so I guess I will be going there at least a few more times..

My brother got me 2 playstation games, Gran Turismo 2, and Final Fantasy VII. I guess he got them from Electronic Boutique, cuz they were used.. But that doesn't matter.. most of the games we have are used. GT2 has multiplayer mode so he and I should be able to play together on (the real) Christmas Day. I got my brother a giant box of Jelly Belly's. 12-15 beans per flavor, with a total of 40 different flavors. We spent almost an hour after church sampling all the different flavors, and combo's. Jalepeno is really *really* spicy. I will never understand how they do it.. like the popcorn one, or the cherry champagne, how when you bite down to actually taste the bubbles like it's real champagne!

I bought my dad some relaxation CDs, to go with a cd/alarm clock he got from his co-workers as a farewell gift. I also got him a pair of slippers for home use in his new home in NV.

My mom gave my dad a Mont Blanc pen, one of those really nice ones. My brother got a new Seiko watch from my mom. My brother got my dad the mastercraft ScrewOut drill bits, the kind you use if the screw head has been stripped. And he got my mom a coffee/herb grinder. And my mom also got my dad some planes (wood planing, not an aircraft!) special for making violins.

It was kinda sad we had to do it all 10 days before Christmas day, but that's how it had to be. I think it marks an important stage in our family. Soon we'll part and go our separate ways..

December 13, 2002

Have I always been this stupid? I just spent the last half hour trying to figure out why my cd player wouldn't work. I thought maybe the AC adaptor was too old and was broken, or maybe it was my cd player, which I haven't touched in 2 years. Anyway, it turns out that I'd forgotten to plug in the adaptor to the electrical outlet! SMACK!

December 12, 2002

With Christmas only 3 days away, I've been wracking my brain to find gifts for my parents and brother. I think I've got everything I need for both parents, but for my brother it's been a lot harder. Previously I've never given gifts at all, whether it was due to lack of funds, or that I had just finished exams (and being home for a whole week, was my gift). Just now I went down to the lobby of my building where they're having a charity gift sale and picked up a couple items. I expect to finish all my gift shopping by Saturday afternoon.

I don't know what to give my brother, so far I've gotten him a box of candy. I could get him video games, but my parents won't like that. Actually come to think of it they probably won't be very happy about the candy either. Hehe.

We're celebrating early since my dad'll be gone before the real Christmas date. I guess in a way I'm lucky we are celebrating early, otherwise I'd have to worry about lineups along with everyone else doing their last minute shopping.

December 11, 2002

I do my banking, not by choice, with Scotiabank. The reason being, I had been with National Trust, but they were swallowed up by Scotia several years ago. NT was really good, they were pretty small, so they had very friendly people working there, and they had very competitive rates. I guess out of laziness I have stuck with Scotia.

One time I wanted to check with my branch to see my history because I think Mitel may have given me an extra paycheque by accident. So I went to the branch to get my transaction history.

Scotia: Can I help you?
Me: Yes, I'd like to check my transaction history from 7 months ago.
Scotia: Is it in your bankbook?
Me: No, if it was in my bankbook, I wouldn't be here asking for it now would I. I'd like to look at my account 7 months ago, because I think I might have been paid more than I should have.
Scotia: That's not so bad is it?
Me: No, but I need to check it so that I can report it in my income tax.
Scotia: Okay, I'll check it.
(1 minute passes)
Scotia: I'm sorry, I can't find it. I don't think it's in our computers.
Me: Don't banks keep years of history in their databases?
Scotia: I'm not sure, but it's on the computers, I don't think we keep anything that far back.
Me: It's only 7 months. I thought you guys kept transaction histories for 5-6 years.
Scotia: Well it's not on the computer so I guess not.

Right. A bank that doesn't keep data past 6 months? Another time, I was just depositing some money.

Scotia: You should think about transferring your money to another account, for better interest.
Me: Really?
Scotia: Yeah, right now your account is very low interest rates.
Me: Oh..
Scotia: Yeah, we have higher interest account that gives up to 2.5% interest, you should think about putting some money there.
Me: Really, why, that's almost as much as what ING is giving me!
Scotia: Sorry?
Me: Nothing.
Scotia: Well here's a pamphlet on our different accounts. You should really consider them, because you're getting close to nothing with your current account.
Me: Okay thanks.

I want to apply for a Visa so that I can start building a credit rating. In Ottawa, I argued back and forth to a Scotia representative about the merits of declining someone with no credit for a credit card. How do you build credit without credit, right? At the time I was especially frustrated because I went through TD's website and they approved my application immediately.

How can a bank that has none of my banking history accept my application, and then a bank that has 8 years of my banking history not accept me? (Keeping in mind i have never had less than $3k in my account at Scotia/NT). Does that make any sense at all??

Well, I never did keep the TD card, because I want to have my credit card the same as my banking, I think it's more convenient right?

This Monday I called Scotia again. I figured, now that I'm a full-time (not just an intern), since I own property (a condo), and have other investments*, that has to lend some kind of credibility to my application. Again, they tell me with no credit rating I cannot be approved.

*Sidenote: Nortel rocks! GOoooo.. nortel!

Scotia: Sorry, with no credit history we cannot grant you a credit card.
Me: How can gain some credit history if I don't first get a credit card?
Scotia: Sorry it's Scotia policy, we base our approvals solely on your credit history.
Me: Well, TD bank approved me, and they don't even have any history on me.
Scotia: So do you have credit then?
Me: No, I figured if TD could give me one, then surely you would be able to give me one. I have been banking with you for 8 years, shouldn't it be enough to just check my banking history?
Scotia: Well it's policy.
Me: Okay so what are my options then?
Scotia: You could go to the branch and talk to a representative there.
Me: No I can't do that, because I work from 9-5, and it closes at 5pm, and it is CLOSED on weekends too. How can I go talk to them if they're closed whenever I have time to see them? Can I call them?
Scotia: No for security reasons you can't apply for credit over the phone.
Me: What options do I have then?
Scotia: You can apply online..
Me: Will I be approved then, or will it still check my credit history?
Scotia: No, you will still be declined.
Me: So then that's not a very good option for me now, is it?!
Scotia: Well maybe you can call your branch.
Me: But I still can't go in anyway since they are closed by the time I get off work.
Me: My best option then is to transfer my money to better bank that has normal hours and will approve me without having credit history right?
Scotia: Well maybe you can arrange a meeting with your branch. Maybe you can arrange with them over the phone and meet with them later.

At this point I was thinking that this guy was just doing his job, so I let it go. You know the funny thing is I'm still stuck with Scotia, because I can't even find the time to go and close my account, unless I take an afternoon off. What a dumb institution. Mark my words.. stay away from Scotia bank.
Work has been pretty good lately. I'm re-learning UML again, doing flowcharts with Visio, stuff like that. There is nothing like learning new things while getting paid to do so. You don't even have to rush to read, you just read, and you get paid. You can read slow or fast, there's no rush.. not like there's an exam coming up in 2 hours =)

Today is my dad's last day at work. He'll be moving to Nevada in exactly a week now. It's kinda weird to think that in a weeks' time, I will be the man of the house. So much responsibility for a such an irresponsible person. It's like the blind leading the blind.. haha

December 06, 2002

I went to Best Buy on Saturday, last week. We kept getting so many BestBuy flyers in the mail, and watched so many BestBuy commercials, that finally my dad decided we should go to a BestBuy as a family trip! So Saturday night, we went. Haha.. imagine that, the Yao family on a family excursion, all the way to..... BestBuy.

Well, BestBuy turned out to be all hype. No one in the store was buying anything, just browsing and leaving. Who could blame them, the prices were terrible. Sure they have variety.. it's like a Costco of electronics. One might say a dream store for me and most guys (and some girls), but only for browsing. They should rename the place to BestBrowse. BestBuy is really a super-size electronics store. It's a one-stop browsing shop.

Well anyway, we must've spent 2 hours there just playing with everything they had. I played gamecube, xbox, ps2. I really am thinking about getting a ps2, but that'll have to be at earliest in February, since the cellphone is for this month, and probably a video card for January. Or, do i deserve two this month because it's Christmas? Or even 3, since the cell phone is sort of a necessity? Haha. I spent a good half hour on their drum set, it's an electronic one, much like the one in the arcades, only smaller and not as fun. But still, it had a game where you had to match what the computer played. It was pretty neat. It's missing the foot pedal. If they had one of those, I would've made it my December toy.

Olympus' new digital camera is cool except for one thing. When you look through the normal viewfinder (not the screen) you don't get clean air.. i mean, it's not wysiwyg through a lens, it's another mini-screen inside! Isn't that stupid??

December 05, 2002

Last night I had this crazy dream. I can't remember where I was standing, but anyway I was somewhere downtown, and I saw a huge airplane fly over top of me, it flew around a bit, then it sharply turned towards the SkyDome and exploded as it collided with it. There was fire everywhere, it was pretty realistic. Actually it was very realistic, because I was terrified and I didn't even wake up from the fear.

I think it was summer time because the explosion caused a lot of flooding and what not, and maybe the plane was atomic somehow because it was like city had suffered through an earthquake. And somehow no one died from it, no one had been in or near the SkyDome at the time of the attack. Also, the CN Tower went unscathed as well.

After that I remember looking out the window from my boss' office and seeing the CN Tower standing all by itself and the rubble around it where the Dome used to be. And everyone was wondering what was going to get hit next.

Well, that was my dream.. pretty weird.

December 03, 2002

So.. I gotta change my posts then. You know, I once met a guy named Brian Yao. Yeah you heard me, Brian Yao. Brian Yao.. what a name that is. I just love the sound of it. Brian Yao. Brian Yao. Brian Yao. Brian Yao. Brian Yao.
On a more serious note..
This blog, is like a diary of sorts. I don't think much about what I say, and I almost never hit the backspace key unless I've made a typo, and with typo I am referring to spelling errors or grammatical errors. Someone mentioned in my small group this past week that they keep a diary and that helps them to remember their prayer items, not to mention helping them to keep their thought clear at what needs to be prayed for. One of the things I remember most that was said during our bible study on prayer was how whenever we pray, our minds begin to wander, and in a lot of cases we start thinking about other things and forget we are even in prayer. I get angry and frustrated whenever this happens, I feel like slapping myself around, to force me to concentrate. For this reason, I sometimes like to pray aloud. It keeps me awake and keeps my mind focused on what I am saying to Him.

But in the bible study, we learned that usually these thoughts that are coming up probably are what we should be praying about. That, because our subconscious keeps bringing up these thoughts, they must be things we are deeply concerned about, and thus they should be addressed in our prayers. So really then, a diary isn't needed, because you don't have to organise your subconscious thoughts, in fact you probably can't. My advice is to sit there (or stand, whatever) close your eyes and try to clear your mind. I've found whenever someone tells me to try to clear my mind, I end up thinking of even more than if someone had told me just to close my eyes and do nothing. For every thought that comes up, pray about them. Don't even think about things that need to be prayed for, just think about anything. I believe that this activity will allow you to share with God everything that is on your mind. And what does it say in the bible, to open your hearts and give everything to Him?
Hmm.. I don't get this page anymore when i do a search on my name on google. :(

On a brighter note, I've really reduced my television time lately. As some may recall I had a pretty substantial daily listing of television shows that I just needed to watch. Well, it's definitely reduced drastically, although it might also be because of the Raptors and Leafs games..

5pm: 7th Heaven, CTV
8pm: Simpsons, Global
9pm: Malcolm in the Middle, Global
9.5pm: Andy Richter, Fox
10pm: The Practice, CH

8pm: Boston Public, Global

8pm: Smallville, CityTV
9pm: Frasier, Global
9.5pm: Hidden Hills, Global

8pm: Enterprise, CityTV
9pm: Fastlane, FOX

7.5pm: Friends, Global
8pm: Survivor, Global
9.5pm: Good Morning Miami, Global

9pm: John Doe, FOX (i tape it, because of fellowship)

11am: Justice League, YTV

See, that's all, not a lot, and I only really catch the ones that are underlined, the rest are only if I have nothing else to do at all. This includes computer games, going out with friends, practicing guitar.

I think it's a popular belief that too much television is not healthy. I'd have to disagree. Anything else can lead to physical or mental anguish.

Sure, being social can lead to great friendships and friends. But it can also lead to airborne virii, like catching someone's flu or cold. Or, you could be hurt by something someone says to you. With TV, it can also be emotional, but since it's all fake anyway, it doesn't last. It's important to keep in mind that one should never start believing that TV is real. It's entertainment, nothing else. TV is indoors, so unless you watch it with people who are sick, you will likely never get sick. Oh, going out with friends also costs money. Since TV is already paid for, it's a lot cheaper. Besides, you could easily spend the monthly $40 cable charge in less than 2 weeks if you go out enough times with your friends. Only one drawback I can think of, something that TV cannot provide that going out with friends, is the possibility of meeting your future spouse. So with that, TV wins, 3-1.

Practicing guitar also wins out, I believe in that one and same category. The guitar is most certainly a 'social' musical instrument. Pull out your 6-string and start playing, and I can guarantee you, unless you are in a completely secluded place, people will come to you and either listen to you, give you money, or sing along. Being able to play a guitar may (or may not) lead you to your future spouse. But a TV can absolutely not.* Guitar playing leads to callouses on your fingers, which are not only painful to acquire, but even after that, it takes a long time before your callouses actually blend in to the rest of your fingers. Until then, they're very grotesque, they look as if you chew your fingers.

Now I know some smart-arse will say "But Brian, what about reading the Bible, or prayer? Surely those things are better than TV." Well, I can't argue with that. There is nothing more noble or righteous than reading the Bible or praying. I can't argue because it would go against everything I stand for. So how can I respond? Well I say to you now, I can do those things during commercials.

*Unless you've subscribed to one of those video dating services..

December 02, 2002

Despite my failures on the road, I've actually been looking into buying a car. Which is really silly when you think about it. But I certainly will need a car when the time comes. I can't just rely on the Better Way. The Rocket can't get me everywhere I need to go. As for work, it gets me where I need to go, but it's a rather big pain taking the bus to church. Especially on the weekends, their services aren't too prompt during days..

I am looking to buy a mid-size to smaller-end car. I would prefer 4-door, and definitely automatic. As a very lazy person I cannot think of any reason to buy a standard car. I prefer to have my right hand free to change the radio stations, or just rest. After all, I need that hand to be fresh for game playing. Also, why would I want to move my left leg at all during driving? It just seems silly to me, all so that you can drive faster and save some money on gas? Really, how much do you really save on gas in a one-year span with a manual car as compared to an automatic?
I really liked Die Another Day, the more i think about the story and action and all the cool gadgets, the more I think I really liked it. Man, that was a really cool movie..

I like the Sony Ericsson T206 cell phone. I think it looks pretty nifty, while not being the most expensive phone out there. It doesn't have a cool joystick, but i've heard that ti68 phone has serious issues with it, even though it has a nifty color screen and a nifty joystick. I'm looking into the Telus service as well as possibly SimPRO. I dunno how long simpro will be in business though, it's pretty small. Telus is good too, they'll definitely last, but they're pretty expensive right now on their monthly rates.

I am thinking to limit myself on 1 cool electronic/gadget per month. Since the Telus rates are kinda sucky right now I am thinking to delay it for a month, and get me the video card i've been eyeing since 2 months before i graduated.