August 2001

Cup of Soup

Wed, Aug 1, 2001

I got around to seeing Final Fantasy last night. All my friends were right: the visuals were absolutely incredible, but the screenplay was written with the intention of including every possible Hollywood cliche. I also thought that most of their actions and intentions weren't sufficiently explained; in fact, lots of things weren't sufficiently explained. I have one nagging question for people that have seen it: At the end of the movie....did the humans win? Some colours changed and the Sun came up, but I have no idea what happened.

Quote of the day: "I like to be as utterly confusing as possible. A simple life is a life not lived fully." - J.S.

Thurs, Aug 2, 2001

I am Jack's bowel movement; aching to dispense of this shit, let loose, wipe the slate clean, and leave it all behind me with a fresh new start.

Tues, Aug 7, 2001

OK, well, that took care of that problem.

It seems a number of people have become distressed by my last post. The root of that complaint was that I was feeling quite bored, and somewhat upset that I hadn't done anything super-ultra-exciting this summer; I've had a great time, but nothing falls under the super-ultra-exciting category. Plus, I watched "Fight Club" that night; hence, the "I am Jack's somethingorother" line.

Well, the solution to that problem was simple: skydiving.

I was going back home for the weekend, and I was trying to plan what to do. As if on cue, one of my friends mentioned that some of them were going skydiving on Saturday, and asked if I would like to come along.

Skydiving, eh? Jumping out of a plane 2500 feet in the air with nothing to save me but a pair of parachutes. Yeah, I'd say that classifies as super-ultra-exciting.

So, that's what I did. Four of us made the drive out to Arthur, Ontario and took the Parachute School of Toronto's First-Jump Course. We learned how to jump, land, and use the reserve chute to make sure we wouldn't die a 120mph death. Then, before nightfall, under the guidance of our lack-of-tact instructor Earl, I made the plunge to my death. The main chute failed to open, the reserve fell off of my waist and floated away, and I plummetted for 19 seconds until I splattered on the ground below, leaving a gooey mess for my friends to clean up afterwards. At least, that was the image running through my head as the plane took off.

What really happened was that I jumped out of the plane and maintained a decent arch formation, but I slowly turned forward. I was nearly directly upside down when the chute expanded and snapped me right-side up again, a little dizzy and disoriented, and I gently hit the ground about two minutes later. But, despite the nervousness of slowly turning the wrong way, those three seconds of freefall kicked ass. Plus, when you fall with the chute, the descent is so slow and you're so high up that it almost looks like you aren't falling at all; you're just hanging there in midair, as if you had every right to be there, soaring among the birds and enjoying the view.

Wed, Aug 8, 2001

Looks like UW is trying to screw me over yet again. When I returned to Montreal Monday night and got back to the apartment, there was a letter from the school waiting for me. I opened it up to find my student study list (the new term for "schedule") inside. I see the list as follows:

  • Rec bird course - Enrolled
  • Psych bird course - Enrolled
  • Required SoftEng course - Enrolled
  • Short-listed SoftEng course - Not enrolled; Class full
  • Required SoftEng course - Not enrolled; Class full

You can imagine the tantrum I threw when I read that. I preregistered. These are required courses. How can they not make enough room? I'm a 4th-year CS student and they don't even make the 4th-year CS courses large enough! Especially the last one - I NEED that course or I will NOT get the degree I want.

I wrote to our ever-cool CS advisor, JP Pretti, and inquired about the situation. Now, before I sent the message, I checked the online schedule to see the class sizes. According to that resource, both sections of that required SoftEng course have 15 spots free. Yet, the class is full. Something isn't right here, and I'll be damned if I don't get to the bottom of it...

Fri, Aug 10, 2001

I have an exam tomorrow. I hate exams. I will have to spend three hours writing about what caused some guy with a big moustache and a nice suit to get mad at some skinny guy with a nicer suit, start a war, and get everybody else involved as well. It's the sort of stuff I like to read about, but don't particularly want to think about.

I'm still waiting for a response on the problem with my study schedule. Oddly enough, though, the very next day I received my tuition statement so I can pay for the courses I couldn't get into. Bloody hell.

Mon, Aug 13, 2001

Exam written. I now will only have 8 or 9 more exams to write in university. It will be a big relief when those are done.

We went to a Celtic festival last night. There was a lot of good music, and a giant man made of hay. We waited all night to see if it would come to life and rampage through the audience, or do a jig, or something, but there were ropes tying it down, so it couldn't budge.

My free internet here runs out this week, so as of tomorrow I'll be netless until I return home to high-speed goodness. At least I can finally rid myself of AOL for good.

Tues, Aug 14, 2001

Speaking of the Celtic Festival, we witnessed what must have been the Celtic mating ritual. It was quite the educational experience to witness the practices of another culture.

The ritual involves the male wearing a kilt and impressing the wide-eyed females with his jigging. It then progresses to mutual jigging lessons, at which point the male shows the impressed females his sword, and he lets them touch it and stroke it as they wish. This must be some sort of signal for recognition of attraction.

The final phase of the ritual involves the announcement of their claims to those in the vicinity (presumably to deter other would-be suitors), which involves jigging in circles around their neighbours. It apparently worked in this instance, since the occupants soon left the area, leaving the newly matched trio with a wider open space to expand their jigging harem.

I'm certain it will be featured on Crocodile Hunter very soon.

Wed, Aug 15, 2001

So here I am, sitting at work; it's almost 10:00 in the morning. I have spent the past two hours trying to sign on to UW's Quest system so I can enrol in my necessary courses.

So far, out of my numerous attempts, I've been able to log in four times, but cannot get to the "Add Classes" page to do the necessary work before it blows up and boots me, at which point I have to start all over again.

An online registering system is a good idea, but only if it works. Our education is too important to be ruined by technical difficulties. If the system works, then great, it will make eveyrone's lives easier. But, if it can't handle the load, then don't even think about trying to use it.

I've spent my life savings on my education, and I don't want it f***ed up.

Update: 13h30.
After five and a half hours of constantly clicking that link, typing in my password occasionally, and cursing every 30 seconds, I finally got myself enrolled in my two required courses.

The pain of that ordeal is still lingering. Just think, when I have to enrol for the winter term, I get a 4-hour appointment. Note the problem: 5 1/2 hours of clicking, stuck in a 4-hour appointment. I have visions of a square peg and a round hole. Dear God, when will the hurting stop?

Fri, Aug 17, 2001

I have a story to tell you. It's a story of mystery and intrigue, of chance and fate, and of mindbogging coincidence. It's a story of an extraordinary correspondance.

Quote of the day:
"God Ted, it's like a big wave of jam comin' at us, only jam made out of little old ladies." - Father Dougal

Mon, Aug 20, 2001

It was my last weekend in Montreal. I'd tell you about it, if I could remember most of it. No, I don't have any bruises, though there's one spot on my left leg that feels a little tender. What I do remember, though, is that Club 737 has some scary, skanky people.

Spudles' Cup of Noodles is celebrating its 1st anniversary in two days. Stay tuned for the "State of the Noodles" address.

Wed, Aug 22, 2001

Hello out there! Happy anniversary to my wee little website! Read the State of the Noodles address in honour of this celebratory occasion!

Forewarning: I am rather drunk as I write this, so please excuse any grammatical errors.

I just spent an evening with Saba and Elena of CWD fame. Wow, that was a good night.

No matter what plans you make, or what adventurous intentions you have, sometimes the most fun lies in a simple night of sitting on a patio under the stars having a bloody intelligent conversation. Nothing beats that, especially when you split more than four pitchers among yourselves. I'll never look at girls, drugs, or politics the same way again. And, I got anniversary presents out of it, too. God bless 'em!

(Oh yeah, and I definitely will never look at art history the same way again!)

Fri, Aug 24, 2001

'Tis my last day in Montreal, and there are mixed feelings about leaving. On one hand, I'm going to miss all the fun I had here, like barbecue on the balcony, watching the scenery on Boul St Laurent, going out to see the sights and festivities, and enjoying meals at the many fine restaurant terraces. Essentially, I'll miss being free and on my own in the big city. On the other hand, I won't miss Montreal drivers, the pollution, being embarrassed by my lack of French language skills, or the ever-present cloud of cigarette smoke. As well, I'm anxious to see my hometown people again, and being away has given me a better appreciation for the things back home, so it'll be nice to revisit the sights and attractions of Toronto before I head back to the wasteland of Waterloo for my last year of school.

But, I know I'll look back on this summer and realise I saw one last university opportunity and took it by the reigns. I didn't get to do all the things I had hoped, but I had a damn good time. Mark this term off as one of the "good" periods of my life.

Wed, Aug 29, 2001

A little slow on the updates. I've moved back home and I am getting settled in. I'll be living mostly out of boxes for the next two weeks as I sort out what needs to stay here and what needs to come with me to Waterloo.

It's good to be back, though I miss Montreal already. I saw my friends again the night I came back and we had fun with a drunken game of Risk. I'm enjoying breathing clean air again, and being able to skate on smooth roads. Today I should be starting my touristy Toronto mode to revisit my native big city.

It's certainly nice to relax again, though. Some long night's rests, some sessions of sitting on the patio by the fire, and gathering with my friends for an evening of jolly good fun.

Sssstrrrretchhhh....... Ahhhhh....

Thurs, Aug 30, 2001

Yesterday, I started my Toronto-touristy mode. So, I went around town acting like a tourist, except without the cheesey t-shirts, funny accent, and the whole bit about getting lost in the big city.

I got off to a bad start, as I slept in, then poked around the house getting things together, and missed a few trains downtown. But, when I got there, I started with the classic and ultimate Toronto tourist trap: The CN Tower. Wow, that's an incredible view. It's a great view of the financial core, with all the skyscrapers lumped together, and the islands look so small and almost tropical from up there. Oh, and standing on the glass floor is just freaky; talk about vertigo.

For the next stop, I took a nice stroll down Queen's Quay to a very unique little park: The Toronto Music Garden. Absolutely gorgeous. Anyone that appreciates classical music will love it. It's a garden designed as an interpretation of Bach's first Suite for Unaccompanied Cello. The park itself is free, but you can get an audio tour for $5 where you can hear the pieces of the suite, and hear descriptions of the imagery in the garden, from the placements of the trees, right down to the swirls of the concrete. If I was incredibly rich, I'd buy a condo there just so I could curl up with a book on the grassy steps of the garden on Sunday afternoons.

The last stop of the day was at The Annex to meet my sisters for dinner on a restaurant patio. Mmm... steak.

Today I'm going to get up earlier to fit more sights into my trip. It was a good day out; I love this city.

Fri, Aug 31, 2001

Day two of touristy mode got off to a bad start. I got caught in traffic on the way to the station and missed my train, so I had to go back and return an hour later. I took a different route and caught the train in time, but then I noticed that I had forgotten my camera and was forced to buy a crappy disposable one at Union Station.

The rest of the day, however, was quite good. I started out with the Hockey Hall of Fame and soaked in all the cool hockey history and stories. I also played their cool goalie simulator game (Mark Messier and Wayne Gretzky skate around on screen and shoot pucks at you, and foam pucks come flying out of holes in the screen). I stopped 7 of 8 shots at the All-Star skill level.

My next stop was to the Air Canada Centre, where I took the nifty little tour. It's a really nice building with lots of cool stuff, but far too expensive for your average joe. I do, however, have much more respect for Tie Domi and Curtis Joseph. Domi pays almost $250,000 annually for a luxury box at the venue and gives the seats out to various charities for every event. Joseph, as part of his marvellous "Cujo's Kids" program, has a large luxury box where, at every game, he invites a group of terminally-ill children to stay and watch the game. Afterwards, he goes up and pays them a visit. Tremendous humanitarian gestures like that make paying them millions well worth it.

Afterwards, I returned to the Hall of Fame to drool over the trophies for a while.

My last stop was a return to the Toronto Music Garden to attend the season's last free concert. Christine Duncan performed a good little show despite working around a power failure and a broken guitar string. The last piece was an improv mostly consisting of yelps and bug sounds. Very odd.

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