Sunday, July 29, 2007

Friends moving away

So technically speaking this is the last weekend living in Toronto for one of my close friends. Sean and I met in university. We sat beside each other in ITEC 101. Seven years later he is one of the only people from university that I still keep in contact with. He started off in university in the same program as me. However, after a few semesters he decided that the computer field was not the right career path for him and decided it would be best to transfer out. Long story short he is a teacher now. And after applying at numerous schools in the area he found it to be near impossible to get a job here. Even with his Masters he still couldn't find a position. As such he is moving to Florida for a position he accepted there. I can't really blame him. He is 26 so he has a strong desire to get his career started. However, I am very sad to see him go. The only other two guys from college that I was close to (Lincoln, and Khalid) both moved to Atlanta years ago. I think it does say something really terrible about the job market here in Toronto. At least for people just starting up. When I was looking for my last job I found one quickly (4 weeks). And was actually still getting called for interviews after I had accepted my position at Wunderman. But when I just got out of college it took me a full year to find my first job.

Now all of the friends I have that have moved away have all said that they plan to come back at some point. But there is really no guarantee of that. I know for a fact that my two Atlanta friends have both bought homes there. Generally speaking you don't do that unless you plan on staying. Additionally, all it really takes would be for one of them to meet a girl they want to marry and that would end any chance of them coming back altogether.

I guess its kind of sad. Anyways, Good Luck Sean and all the Best...

Next Week ....Reading Books

Sunday, July 22, 2007

You can't go home again. Or can you?

On Friday I took the day off. Wunderman provides us with three float days. Which are essentially vacation days. They have to be taken in between May and October. I had to go to the dentist so I figured I might as well take the whole day off. I also figured that since I had the day off that this would be a good time to swing by my old work place for a visit and a chance to catch up. I am not really sure if this is a common practice. Flagship was my first professional job. Do ex-employees normally pass by old workplaces to say hello? I have been to the bay at least a dozen times in the year and a half since I quit but I think that is kind of different. I mean that is a mall, and most of the times I stopped by the bay I was already in the mall for some other reason. However, going to flagship is different. As I mentioned in my very first blog post my old workplace is not close to where I live. I have no reason to be in that area other than to go to my old workplace. I was very much looking forward to stopping by though.

Thanks to the miracle of MSN, Facebook, and blogging I have managed to maintain some contact with my ex-coworkers. I know that they do view and occasionally comment on this blog. And generally speaking I talk to at least one of them, at least once per week on MSN. Whether it is about some piece of code that I wrote when I was there or maybe just to say hello. However, as I originally predicted I have not actually seen them in person since my departure 8 months ago.

So, after a trip to the dentist in the morning I jumped in my car and made my way to my old/first place of employment. I enjoyed the drive there. The office is very far north of where I live and the drive was very calming. Also, there has been a lot of development and the area has been built up quite a bit since my last day there.

I decided to play a little joke and a made a prank call into the tech support line first. I disguised my voice and Todd (he handles the majority of tech support since my departure) did not recognize that it was me. When the conversation was ending I said something that would immediately let him know that it was me. At this point I walked in and we all had a good laugh. It was fun. We sat around and we talked for a while. The office has changed a little, they have some new machines. I am glad to say that they (Dom and Todd) are the same and both seem to be doing well. The showed me the product and while some things are the same they have made a few new features that I must say I found to be very impressive.

We went for lunch in a near by diner (decent food but incredibly slow service). I talked about my job and the things I do, plus my plans for the future. Then we walked back to the office. As soon as we got in the phone started to ring like crazy so I knew it was time for me to leave or else these guys would not get any work done at all.

All in all it was a very good visit. They only thing that would have made it better was if it could have been a complete reunion. Unfortunately, my old bosses were out of town so I didn't get a chance to see or talk to them. Also, another of my ex-coworkers (Chris) had a meeting and thus was unable to make it. Chris if you are reading this you missed a good time but I am sure we can arrange to go again in the future. I told the guys I have some time off in the fall, Oct or Nov, I haven't decided yet. I am going to see if I can stop by a day during that time.

To Todd and Domenico, it was good seeing you guys and I look forward to our next encounter.

That's it...

Next Week... Friends moving away

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Black folks/Caribbean time

Generally speaking I keep the topics of my blog post fairly light hearted. However, this week's topic is a little more on the dark side if you will. Now, i am not Bill Cosby so I am not going to go off on a rant criticising rap music and whats going on in the hood. But there have been a few things that have happened in the past few weeks that i need to address.

The first is the concept of Caribbean time. Caribbean time is the nasty habit that a lot of black people have of showing up late as hell for everything we do. Thankfully this is a habit i have mangaged to avoid. But let me give a few examples.

1) A few months ago a friend of mine was having a birthday dinner as the Mandarin and told us to be there at 6:30. So, my girlfriend and i got there at 6:30. However, the other invited guests were not there. My friend then told me not to worry because he had actually made the reservations for 7:15 to account for Caribbean time!!! However, 7:15 was not late enough because some of the other guest didn't end up showing up until around 8:00. When they walked in there was not even an apology or an explanation. Ridiculous!!!!

2) My girlfriend and I and some of her friends decided to go to this show at UofT downtown that was about a celebration of African culture. Sounded like a nice evening and it was supposed to be cheap also. However, it was supposed to start at around 7:00. We got there at 7:00 and they had not even begun to set the place up yet. We talked to someone and they said around 8. So we took a phone number from someone and said we would walk around and call back to check on their progress and see when they would eb ready. So we went for dinner and walked around a bit. We called back at 8:00 and they said they would be ready around 9:30. At which point we just said fuck it and left!

3) This is a common trend at shows hosted by black folks unfortunately. In fact as recently as yesterday my girlfriend and her friends went to a show. It was supposed to start at 6:30 but didn't actually start until 9:15. They tried to account for Caribbean time by showing up at 7:30. Unfortunately that was not late enough because they were still waiting for close to an hour and a half.

My next complaint is on how we run our businesses.I have a few stories to illiustrate that point also.

1) I went to get my car detailed a few weeks ago. I did not want a complete detail only an interior shampoo. I dropped my car off at 9:00 am and the guy said that it would be ready around 12:00pm. I called at 12 and he said another hour. I called at 1 and he said the same thing. I did not end up getting my car back until 4:00pm that day. I took my fathers car the next week and the same thing happened again. In fact when we past by the place at 3:00 it looked like they had just barely started.

2) My girlfriend went to get her hair done at this hairdresser. While waiting for her hair to be done (and it was a 3 hour wait), the woman in their asked my girlfriend to take some of the kids in the shop to the McDonald's near by to get food. My gf said no and the hair dresser started to act rude! I mean this is not a charity business. My girlfriend doesn't know this woman and is paying her for her services. Why should she be required to go and fattening food for the already fat kids in the office. When my girlfriend explained it to one of her friends who knows the hair dresser she just told my girlfriend that the woman is a Jamaican hair dresser and their all like that!!! INSANE Obviously my girlfriend has decided to never go to this place again. She knows of another black hair dresser where the prices are higher but the quality of service is much better. I thank god that i cut my own hair these days because I remember that the barbers were no better than the hairdressers.

I have other examples and honestly i could easily turn this blog post into a 10 page essay if i wanted to. But really i just needed to vent a little bit. I do my best to try to support black businesses when i can but when this is how they behave you just can't do it. Maybe the issue is really more of an issue of price. Because when we go to the black business that charge more the service improves drastically. But when you try to give someone a chance to prove themselves they seem to go out of their way to fuck it up.

In a future post (i don't know when) I will address the Bullshit that is going on at BET!

That's it....

Next week... You can't go home again. Or can you?

Sunday, July 8, 2007

Visiting relatives/Transformers

Visiting relatives

So this week I had some relatives come into town for a visit. Specifically my cousin Micheal (a reader and commenter on this blog) and his new wife Krystal. I use the term new somewhat loosely because technically speaking they have been married for over a year. I was actually in their wedding last may. It was really good to see them. Mike and his younger brother Jason and I have always been pretty close. I am the youngest of three but i always considered Mike and Jay as the younger brothers I didn't have so its always good to see either of them. This however was going to be his first trip to Canada as a married man, so i was interested to seeing if married life was treating him well. Also i was looking forward getting to know his wife. I obviously was at the wedding but before this weekend i don't remember having too many conversations with her. Well, i am glad to report that married life is treating him very well and that i am very pleased with who he married.

They came in on Wednesday evening but since i was working we didn't really get a chance to hang out until Friday. So, on Friday Mike, Krystal, Nadeene (my girlfriend) and I all went out to dinner at Spring Rolls. It's a very nice Thai restaurant on Eglington just a little less than a block east of Younge street. The plan was for us to eat dinner and then go catch a late showing of transformers after. However, more importantly than that i wanted my kid brother and his wife to meet my girlfriend. I am glad to say that everyone got along well and Nadeene received a glowing review (which I knew she would). Unfortunately after dinner by the time we got to the movies all the tickets were sold out. However, since we were already somewhat close to downtown we decided that we would just hit a club instead. We went to this place called "Union" first because there was some guy handing out free passes. When we got inside we realized why. The place was straight wack!!! So we walked down the street and went to Seven lounge where Flow 93.5 was broadcasting live. That place was much better and we all had a good time.

The next day my family had a small barbecue at my house and the four of us hung out some more. On Sunday they headed back to Michigan. I look forward to their next trip up north and also Nadeene and i promised to make a trip up there also.


First let me just say that i am a fairly big transformers fan. I am probably a bigger comic fan than transformers but, i will always have a special place in my heart for transformers. I haven't really followed any of the later TF series since the end of Transformers Beast Machines but i have fond memories of the original. (And yes i was in tears in 87 when Optimums Prime died because of hot rod (Rodimus Prime, don't get me started on that jack ASS!!!).

Because of all this I was equal parts thrilled and scared when I heard that a live action transformers movie was being made. I was thrilled because i feel that I have waited 20 years to see this movie. I was scared because I thought it would be far to difficult to translate to the silver screen.

Let me say now and let there be no doubt about this. Transformers is the MOST visually stunning movie I have ever had the pleasure of watching in my 27 years on earth. In my opinion this movie has better special effects than in movie i have ever seen in my entire life!!!! That's right, i am putting transformers special effects above all three Matrix movies, Terminator movies, Lord of the rings, Jurassic Park, and anything else you can think of. The fights at the end of the movie between the autobots/decepticons/humans is out of this world. I have a fairly robust vocabulary but i do not have the words to fully articulate this battle in a way that would do it justice. It has to be seen to be believed.

As for the plot of the movie... i liked it. However, i was a fan of the characters and the action movie/science fiction genre going in to the movie. As such i don't think that this is a type of move that someone would enjoy if they don't like big explosions and car chases and so on. So i can't say the movie has universal appeal. I will say i liked it better than anything else i have seen this summer (spider man 3, Fantastic four 2, Die hard 4). Even my girlfriend who can usually only stand a certain amount of gun play said to me that she thought the movie was amazing. I am officially counting the days until they make the inevitable sequel.

Well that's it for this week.

Next week... Black folks/Caribbean time

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Video Games/Whats old is new

Video Games...

Once upon a time I was quite the video game player. I mention this because i know that at least two readers of this blog (Chris and Todd) are avid players. It occurred to me the other day that I have not played any video games in close to a year. And really it has been about two years since I have really looked forward to playing video games. I wonder how this happened. I sure as hell have not grown out of them. I mean at 27 years old I still watch cartoons on an almost daily basis, so I still enjoy many of the things I did when I was younger. The last game I ws really into a video game was Grand theft Auto San Andreas. For those not familiar with the GTA franchise it is basically a story in which your character commits various crimes to accomplish various tasks. It was a great game but a little too long for my tastes. I was at 40 hours of playing over the course of about 4 months before i had enough and stopped playing. I was in my mid twenties and was using every cheat code I could get my hands on and still could not beat the game. To me no video game should require more than about 15-20 hours to beat it the first time through. Otherwise it turns into a part time job.

My next beef is with the next gen consoles (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii). Simply put, they are too dammed expensive. I just can not justify paying close to $600 for a video game console. I know the Wii is cheaper but the graphics aren't as good. I mean the money for some of these systems is as much as full blown desktop PC. When the price gets down into the $300 range i may reconsider but for now i am going to have to swear off video games. Which is unfortunate because i do miss them.

I will end this portion of the blog with a quote:

Most people won't understand that quote but i know at least 2 people that will. LOL

Whats old is new...

I mention this because i just saw "Live free, Die Hard" on Friday. The return of the role that made Bruce Willis an action star and helped to redefine action movies as a whole. With this movie i think the trifecta is now complete. By that i mean all the 80's stars have returned. Terminator 3 -> Rocky Balboa -> Die Hard. In 2000 the concept of another sequel to any of these movies seemed completely ridiculous. I mean for god's sake Sly Stallone is 60 years old. What the fuck is he doing in the ring. But 2 his credit Rocky Balboa is a good movie. Terminator 3 is also a great movie (I think i might actually like it more than the 2nd, which is crazy to some people). And Live free, Die Hard is also a fantastic action movie.

With out giving away too many spoilers Live free, Die Hard is about cyber terrorism. Now, i know enough about computers to know a good percent of the techno-babble that's spoken in this movie is complete bullshit!!! But, from beginning to end the action in this movie is amazing. If you are looking for a good action movie go see it.

I am left wondering who is the next 80s/90s action star who is going to make a comeback? I am thinking Jean-Claude Van Damme stars in Blood Sport 2 (This time its personal!!!!!) LOL.

Next week... Visiting relatives.