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nightlife

Ukranian Christmas Party

  • 12th Jan, 2004 at 10:27 PM

Organisation

Due to some interesting organisation on the part of the NITI Markham office, our office Christmas party was held on 9 January 2004. I heard rumours that this was because Toronto was fully booked up by the time they started planning it, so it was moved to January instead. It is with great luck that Avery is one-quarter Ukrainian, and as such, we had an excuse to celebrate the Eastern Orthodox Christmas too. Twice the party for twice the fun!

Greyhound

Jim, Julie and I caught the Greyhound from the University. Well, except we waiting over half-an-hour outside because the bus driver was waiting at the wrong bus stop. Another Greyhound driver came by, found us, and then located the other bus. After that, the trip was rather uneventful, although we met an alumnus named Albert. He works in the Eclipse group at IBM and chatted with Jim for a while.

After arriving in Toronto, we were unceremonously dropped off at the Royal York hotel. From there, we caught the subway up to New Generation Sushi where Julie filled up on handrolls and I had a California maki. We then made our way to the Strathcona hotel where everyone else was staying.

Upon arriving, the front desk tells us the entire party has left for dinner! Thankfully, Peter McCurdy shows up and tells us that they are in the pub, waiting for taxi chits. Julie goes up to his room to shower, since her feet are cold and aching.

Food and drink

The taxis begin to arrive at 19:00, and we begin climbing into them. We went with Andrew and Kristin. The taxi driver has little clue where the Academy of Spherical Arts is. Luckily, I printed off a map and we got there in good time. Drink tickets were issued, and we mingled amongst the salespeople from Markham.

Sales people are weird creatures. They seem to believe that we're crazy since we actually enjoy our jobs for what they are. One of them couldn't fathom having demotivational posters. There were some people who snapped photographs of the party.

Dinner was very good. Julie had a carrot soup; followed by an antipasto of olives, melon and proscuitto; then a medium-well sirloin steak; finished with a chocolate truffle mousse cake. I had a romaine cesear salad; then a deep-fried potato pancake; finished with the truffle cake. Julie was incredibly stuffed by the end of the meal.

After that, we wandered a while and chatted with people. Avery and Linda kindly offered us a room at the Strathcona to stay the night. We hadn't even expected to stay, but Markham had booked a queen-sized bed by accident. We took a cab back with Dave and Jess.

The night was spent with me on the couch and Julie in the bed. I think she got rather sick, although we don't think it was food poisoning. In any event, we were able to make it to Dim Sum at noon on Saturday. It was at King Garden, which seemed to cater to western tastes. The cups had handles on them, and my impression was that the food was unoffensive. The har gow stuck together, and most things weren't very flavourful. Sad to say, but it was much worse than Cameron's in Kitchener.

After lunch, we pick up Julie's lost ring (Peter found it in his bathroom) and then hopped on the bus to go back to Waterloo.

Insane!

The Greyhound was rather full, so Julie and I were separated on the bus. I sat beside this guy who introduced himself to me. He was returning to Kitchener, where he worked at a Staples. His hobby was philately and he had just returned from a stamp convention carrying a collapsible file full of his acquisitions.

He seemed normal at first, with the exception of being long winded. I think he spent half-an-hour describing his family's geneaology and how he wrote a Visual Basic programme to compute how various members of his family were related. Then he regaled me of the story of his family re-union.

This however, was not weird. What was weird was when he asked me if I followed science. I told him that I had a passing interest, and then he sprung the insanity on me. He started raving about some crack science book about crazy planets, aliens who created us, and how we're all going to live better lives when they return. Seriously. Not only that, he thinks the author is wrong since he used his own computer to do his own calculations. Somehow, he thinks that made-up translations of Sumerian clay tablets and strange numerology of dates happens to imply stuff. Are people normally this weird?

Oh yeah. And the strangest thing is how he claims to be a computer programmer. He was patiently explaining to me how computers worked; how 256-bit computers would be very powerful; how optical computers will be infinity-bits; and how Fortran compilers generate larger and slower code than C++ ones. I didn't have the heart to tell him that I write software.


Comments

( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
lambda_calculus
12th Jan, 2004 21:17 (UTC)
Neato!
I read that series when I was in high-school! I thought it was relatively well thought out as far as "out there" books go, although it was always the basic assumptions that hold up the rest of his framework that needed to really be proven, and of course they were skipped.
sfllaw
13th Jan, 2004 07:57 (UTC)
Re: Neato!

Were you under the impression that the author believed what he was writing? Or that it was a work of fiction?

From looking at the Amazon reviews, it looks like most of his highly-rated comments believe that this book is fact. (!?!)

lambda_calculus
13th Jan, 2004 09:07 (UTC)
Re: Neato!
I think he believed in what he wrote. I've heard anectodal stories of the author trying to convince another conspiracy guy (David Icke, who talks about the royal family being descended from a lizard-life alien race) from releasing his work, saying that getting into the field was not worth it, since it damages your credibility, even if some of your work would be considered legitimate otherwise (for example, I'm pretty sure that the author here, Sitchin, is actually a professor in Sumerian Language or something like that)

If you've ever read Daniken (Chariots of the Gods, I think) you'll see an author who puts absolutely no proof in his stuff whatsoever! It's all "This is going to happen!" and "That happened!" At least Sitchin does some research to sound convincing :)
ex_halfwitte432
13th Jan, 2004 04:20 (UTC)
I didn't have the heart to tell him that I write software.

Even before you wrote that I could tell that you would have withheld your vast knowledge from him for the purposes of tact. You have far more tact than I. I would have started in on him about 10 minutes before the bus ride ended with a line by line refutation of every single thing he'd said in the last hour.

btw, how was installfest?
sfllaw
13th Jan, 2004 08:07 (UTC)
InstallFest

I was actually not the one who organised the InstallFest. I believe that Paul Nijjar and Tomás Vinar did most of the legwork.

I just showed up, did my talk on "What's New in Debian", chatted with some people and then ran off. I needed to cook, since I invited my roommate to dinner.

ex_halfwitte432
13th Jan, 2004 08:30 (UTC)
Re: InstallFest
I never said you organized installfest but I did notice you were speaking, thus you would have been there, so you would have been able to garner a general impression of the event, no?

:P ahh, semantics.
sfllaw
13th Jan, 2004 08:38 (UTC)
Re: InstallFest

Ah. Well, not much happened during the time I was there. There were a fair number of people at my talk, but I didn't linger for more than half-an-hour.

(Deleted comment)
icedrake
13th Jan, 2004 04:42 (UTC)
You went to the Academy? Cool!
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )