Monday, December 31, 2001

Happy New Year!!!

This blog has been a little quiet due to the holidays and I thought it could use an entry on this last day of 2001. I think that we could all agree on one thing, it has been an interesting and a memorable year. I don't think that there is one member of this blog for whom something good didn't happen...(I think we all had at least one good thing happen this year even if you can't remember what that was.)

Anybody got any resolutions they want to share? You realize that if you own a dog you are more likely to make New Year's resolutions than if you own a cat? (There was an article about that in the National Post last week.) I own both so I guess I'll be spending the next few days in a state of complete confusion trying to decide whether or not to make a resolution. So for the cat owners out there, I guess you're "purrfect" anyway. For those who are catless and dogless are you in a no man's land or do you not care?

So on that note I wish everybody on this blog a very Happy New Year and all the best in 2002!

P.S. I saw the Harry Potter movie over the weekend and really enjoyed it. Anybody seen Lord of the Rings yet?

Friday, December 21, 2001

Merry Christmas!!
It's Friday and I'm sure no one is really getting very much work done today. I'm heading downtown to meet the old CDS crew for lunch, I'm looking forward to it!! I thought that I finished my shopping yesterday, but I just found out that there's a gift that will be doubled, so I'm heading back to the store to find something else-drat, I wrapped it too!! Better to find out now than later. Jim has agreed to feed the cats in our absence. It's slightly more of a big deal because now he has to leave the building and walk down the street to do us this favour-thanks Jim, you rock! We ordered some food last night, and the delivery guy commented on the great paint job we've done so far, he noticed! It's certainly a shot in the confidence arm-way to go us!
I still haven't received a firm confirmation from the company about my job, but if everything goes right, I should be starting January 7, cross your fingers everyone. Still have some stuff to do this morning, so I better get to it.

Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Headhunter is insane
I blogged this, but it seems to have disappeared with my slow connection! The hh sent me an email yesterday that seemed to imply some sort of plot by the interviewing company to steal people from him and this morning he wrote to tell me that he had sent a letter to Toronto STC informing them of this company's low hourly rates. Irene came over last night and we were talking about this crazy guy. When I told her his name she started laughing. He was an employee at Nortel who was fired because he was nuts, Irene said that he's creepy too. After he was fired, he called all his coworkers for weeks asking if they knew why this had happened. I sent off an email to him telling him that I found a job and requesting that I be removed from his files. This should avoid all that nasty calling and emailing that may have occurred if I told him to get lost because he's insane.
I got a call yesterday from the other company that I interviewed with, looks like I may be working there come January......:-)
Steve was on the radio! Steve and Bill were on Homerun yesterday afternoon talking about Lord of the Rings. They both sounded very good, I'm so proud!

Tuesday, December 18, 2001

Christmas delicacies
Tired of cholesterol-clogging turkey and gravy for Christmas? Slate magazine has a highly amusing article on alternative meat products. In it, the writer describes a dinner party held for friends in which only meat substitutes were served, culminating in the pièce de resistance, Tofurkey. Judging by the guests' reactions, it was not an overwhelming success. I'll stick to dark meat and bread stuffing, thanks.
Maybe Your Headhunter Would do Better Hunting Shrunken Heads..
This headhunter really sounds like a complete idiot. The way he operates I doubt even if he has a legitimate contract with the company who hired him to do the searching. Since when is it up to the applicant to ask for a second intereview. Doesn't the interviewing company usually decide that in concert with the head hunter? Are you sure this guy is a real headhunter and not some basement psycho who is playing office--he has a computer, a fax and a telephone. Sheesh!

I think Dina you could show him a thing or two, but I wouldn't bother. Why help him when he clearly isn't helping you (or anyone else for that matter)?

But, then you know what I think of headhunters...a pretty yucky species all round. Did I ever tell you my sister-in-law was in this dubious trade? I certainly never got a sense that she knew what she was talking about, except for her commissions.

How many more shopping days?
The holiday shopping is almost complete. The gifts that we are giving are not half as fun as Elizabeth's tacky gift exchange, but I think that everyone will like them anyway. I'm planning on heading to Club Price to price a gift for my folks, gotta get the best deal! My favorite tacky gift is a ceramic piece given to my Dad one Christmas. It's a native american and horse, the faces blended together and painted in browns and blacks. It has to be the ugliest thing that I have ever seen. The year after my Dad received it (it normally stays hidden under a bed), he wrapped it up and gave it to me. Since then, it's become a tradition in my family to give the indian head back and forth. The trick is that when you receive it, you must look as surprised and happy as possible. I wonder who's going to get it this year?
More stupidity from the headhunter: I received an email from this twit asking if I had been called for a second interview (in fact, I received two identical emails). Apparently, the other writer may have been asked for a second interview and since the headhunter wasn't informed he's ready to contact lawyers, etc, etc. What a tangled web.......

Monday, December 17, 2001

Yet another gift exchange...

What do you get an 8-year-old for her class gift exchange? Why, a whoopee cushion, of course! Simple minds, simple pleasures... : )
Naughty and nice
We had our office Christmas on Friday and it was great fun as well. We went to a place called Le St-Augustin (on rue St-Augustin, in the town of St-Augustin!). The food was wonderful. I had marinated salmon, then rabbit, and the others mostly went for the bavette. We were thoroughly spoiled with plenty of good wine and port and incredible cheese plates and desserts.

The best part of the evening, though, was the tacky gift exchange. Among the presents were:

- A bottle of Aqua Velva and silky boxer shorts for one of our Italian studs
- A ceramic Spanish cow for our Spanish translator (hee! hee!)
- Gummy boobs and a rock-climbing rappel line made out of paper clips (very crafty, Rosy!)
- Aspirin and ear plugs for our veep of Marketing who suffers through the President's rants
- Flavoured body lotion (my gift, very nice)
- Sexy dice (shake, shake, roll.... Kiss + Lips)
- A chocolate phallus.

But it was all in good fun and everybody seemed to really enjoy it.

So now you know what's on everybody's mind at Paradox. Sooner or later, the conversation always turns to sex.
We had some lovely snow for the weekend, our first true snow this winter. It seems a bit odd to have it now that it's here, I think that everyone had kind of gotten used to bare roads and not wearing boots in December. First snows are magical, everything covered all white and pretty. I was reminded that I never did dump the dirt out of the tomato pots, oh well.
It has also managed to turn seasonably cool, but hardly arctic. I imagine that people will be out in force this week doing the x-mas shopping that they've been putting off. We went on a brief trip to the mall this weekend and it was horrible. I vowed to get the shopping in during the days this week to avoid all the crowds and nonsense. Steve's office party was Saturday night at a restaurant called Profusion. I had a great filet mignon and as usual his company was very generous. Every employee received their choice of wine, port, or chocolate (pre-arranged) and then they had a raffle where every employee received a gift. Steve won movie money. One of the guys who won a DVD player last year won another this year much to everyone's dismay. Kathy came over Sunday afternoon for a cappuccino and some cookies. We sat in the livingroom with a fire on and had a nice blab. Today, I have much baking and errands. Better get to it!

Friday, December 14, 2001

Bizarre but fortunate
I went to the interview yesterday and discovered that the company isn't looking for a tech writer! It's a small company of maybe 15 people run by an older Swiss man. Very nice guy, he showed me around the back, let me play with the lasers and answered my questions. The headhunter said that the owner's name was Theodor, his name is Walter. He told the owner that my name was Diane. Walter apologized for having me come to an interview for a position that he doesn't need. He interviewed a woman earlier in the day who wanted 70k/year! That must have taken an extreme amount of stupidity because anyone who walked in could easily see that the owner doesn't make that much. He told me that he's looking for someone to redo the Web site and create some brochures. I have decided to try to help him because I like him. I'm going to try to get some people together who can do the work for modest amounts of money and make it possible for Walter and his employees to alter the material as things change. This may mean working in PageMaker (that's what they seem to use), but I think that I know enough talented people to make this happen.
Sometimes fate just brings you to certain people and I think this is one of those times when I should listen and follow the path.

Thursday, December 13, 2001

I have a job interview today at 1pm. The headhunter sent me the email address and I can honestly say that I've never seen a worse site. It's not just that the site is ugly and gives nearly no information about the company, it is also littered with spelling mistakes and inconsistencies. Ick! I'm going anyways, perhaps they're willing to pay me a small fortune to create their documentation. I can certainly think of a couple of graphic designers who could redesign their site. Had a great lunch yesterday and had a visit with some of my old coworkers, many of whom seemed pleased to see me. I heard about the Silanis x-mas party, apparently all the food was covered in mustard sauce and there were sparse door prizes mostly consisting of chocolate. Sounds like a reat time. You'd think that if a company decided to hold their x-mas party at there office to save a few bucks that they could at least give something extra to the employees. Still no word yet about the contract, let's hope that I hear something soon!

Wednesday, December 12, 2001

O Brother!
I've just spent all day listening to the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou? It's a wonderful trip back in time to Depression-era music, with bluegrass, folk, spirituals and even a little chain-gang music. The harmonies are beautiful and the lyrics are simple and from the heart. Now I know just what to give my Dad.
Free time is a rare element
There's nothing like a mid-week day off to remind you how rare and unstable free time is. You think you have a lot ahead of you and then it steadily fritters away into meaningless errands. Part One: I spent part of the morning yesterday at a nearby sex shop looking for a gift for the office gift exchange (theme: Un P'tit Cadeau Quétaine). After staring at dildos, crotchless panties, and all manner of tasteless, tacky items, I settled on a large chocolate penis for my gift mate who is a certified chocoholic. Not very subtle, but sure to be appreciated among the low-brow crowd at work. Part Two: Went to the dermatologist, which was mercifully short. Part Three: Sat in the waiting room at the Mazda dealer while they verified the Check Engine light on my car for the umpteenth time. Grrrrrrrr. At least I got out in the morning to enjoy the beautiful sunshine while throwing the frisbee around for Chili at a nearby park. So enjoy your free time while you have it, Dina. And good luck with your prospects!
Wow Wednesday
The headhunter from Toronto emailed me yesterday, apparently a client in Dorval wants me to interview Thursday. I explained that I was waiting to hear back about another offer, but that I'd go out of interest. The company makes lasers or something and doesn't have a tech writer. I'm meeting with them Thursday at 1pm. I'm still a bit amazed that they are looking for a tech writer in Montreal through a headhunter in Toronto, I'll have to ask them about that. I went back to my secret place of gifts yesterday and they didn't have half the interesting things as last week, I guess that you have to get there early during the sale. It's definitely something to keep in mind for next year. So, how's everyone else doing with there Christmas preparations? I seem to be the only one posting (I'm so lonely!). Steve's work Christmas party is this Saturday night at some restaurant downtown. Last year, it was at this fantastic French place on the plateau, the food was amazing and every employee got one gift, they had a few big things and then smaller gifts (certificates, booze, etc.). Steve got a great bottle of champagne. I'm hoping that they are as generous this year. I have to email some people at my old work and find out how their party went, I'll be really upset if everyone got a 1000 bonus :-(
Today I'm having lunch with Tamu and running a few errands. After that it's back home to do some more cleaning and organizing, always lots to do!

Tuesday, December 11, 2001

I forgot to disconnect the internet connection last night, Steve discovered that the phone was still connected this morning as he was leaving for work. Doh! I missed a call from the folks. I went to check my account at my ISP's Web site and found out that I only have 278 hours left this month, horrors!
We watched Wonder Boys last night, Michael Douglas, who I don't normally like, was very good. Great movie, I recommend it. We had a nice fire, it's so cozy. I went out and had my car treated with the anti-rust mineral oil yesterday. The fun part about it is braking after it's done. A bit of oil tends to get on the brakes pads, so sometimes you don't stop as quickly as you should. It's also fun to watch them spray the car, you watch them through a big window. Some of the cars that are being treated are not the best advertisements of the treatment. I saw this old station wagon that was severely rust-eaten, perhaps the guy was attempting to keep the car from falling apart until the end of the winter.
Today I am getting a few things organized and then going out with Irene to a new Christmas shopping sale that someone told me about. Top secret! That's the problem with new shopping haunts, you want to tell your friends about them, but if you do then they know how cheap their gifts were :-)

Monday, December 10, 2001

Monday, wheee!
Now just how often do you see that? Not many people are saying that this morning, but I'm quite happy with the day so far. Steve isn't. He was gaming last night until 2am and didn't sleep well. Poor guy! This weekend was good and busy. Saturday I slept in a bit and we sat down and did our thank you cards! Whew! If it wasn't for Steve, we'd never have gotten them done. If you were one of the people near the end, you may see something like this: "Thank you for the lovely gift, my hand is falling off, send a masseuse!" Many of them will be mailed off today. I'm still working on a few. Sunday we went for breakfast and then came home and I put up shelves while Steve addressed cards. I went over to Maggie's to visit with Andrew's sister Nicky because she's leaving to go back to England today. She and her husband-type guy Adam are working on a book. They were approached by a big publishing company and asked to write a book about there journey from city dwellers to their current idyllic life in the Cotswolds training horses. I'm looking forward to reading it, they're wonderful people.
Oh! I forgot all about Friday and my trip to the employment office, the lesson to be learned is always check where you're going if you haven't been there for 6 years. I went to where I thought the office was, well it was there the last time I needed to go, why would it move? Ha ha! It moved and I ended up going through the phone book and discovering that the new office was much closer to my house! Ugh!

Friday, December 07, 2001

I'm actually keeping track of the days! I did a bit of x-mas shopping after the interview, stopped by Silanis and picked up my ROE, and then went home and attempted to clean up a bit. I didn't get very far, but now you can almost walk into the dining room without tripping over a paint can or roller. Today I am going to the employment office to wait forever in line and fill out papers in the hope of getting some money from them some day. Should be fun!

Thursday, December 06, 2001

The interview went well and I'm pleased to say that no lunatic HR people or strange writers appear to be involved in this contract. I will probably find out next week. There's a lot of work, but overtime has never bothered me when I'm paid by the hour and the people seem very nice. You also can't beat the working environment. The only hitch is that they may want me to start this month and I kind of had my heart set on taking December off. Perhaps if it's only to get things organized for a couple of days, I know that they don't work during the holiday week.

Wednesday, December 05, 2001

If I were a work of art, I would be Vincent Van Gogh's The Starry Night.

I am a tiny village at peace while overhead rages the tumult of the heavens. Objects whirl and flash around me in a fevered haze only partially reflected in reality while I remain grounded and secure in my isolation.

Which work of art would you be? The Art Test

Where did everybody go?
I haven't seen a fellow blogger here for a few days.... I'm starting to get lonely.
The first coat of red paint in the entranceway looked like all first coats of red paint-absolute crap. The second coat I did yesterday looks much nicer, but I'll have to do a third today. At least I now know that I'll have to tint the primer when we do the livingroom. I decided to give the paint finishes a miss and leave the lower part of the hallway alone. I think that it will look good as soon as I get the mouldings up. All the colours tie in very nicely so far. The red is amazing and makes the ceilings look really high (ok, they are high, maybe higher?).
Good news!
I have an interview for a contract position Thursday. I am not at liberty to mention the name, but it is the place where I have twice been deemed unexceptable for rather bizarre reasons. Wish me luck!

Monday, December 03, 2001

What do I want to do today?
It's Monday and I am not at work! Yippee! I got up with Steve and had breakfast and am drinking some coffee to prepare for the big painting job I have ahead of me. This weekend we managed to prime the walls in the hallway, paint the ceiling and put on the first coat of paint. Today, I'm going to put on the second coat and put on the first coat of red on the entranceway. I am a little uncertain about the darker colour that I'm using in the hallway. It's nice, but seems a bit flat. I'm thinking about doing a paint finish with a darker colour, maybe ragging or something, to give it a bit of depth. We'll see what it looks like when the second coat dries. So far, this not working thing is pretty good.