Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Supperworks, Granny and the sick truck.

My cousin is a Auto Mechanic in Winchester. We use him when our car or truck gets sick. Speaking of sick, my Granny is in the hospital in Winchester with some unusual symptoms, but they've ruled a lot of the more dangerous causes out so I hope she'll be fine soon. Her being in the hospital coincides with our truck being sick so we sent it up to Winchester to get some work done on it. We have an ingenious method of getting it up there without actually making the trip. We switch cars with my other cousin who works in Ottawa, but lives up there. So today my wife met my cousin, took him for pizza lunch at Louie's Pizza, switched cars and he drove ours up to Winchester, borrowing some other car to get the rest of the way home ( they're always borrowing each other's cars in the country, that's why they never lock them and leave the keys up in the sun-visor).

So that afternoon I got a call from my wife. She had forgot to put the summer tires in the back of the truck ( more like forgot to ask me to put them in) and my cousin needs them so he can actually put them on. So she is going to drive up to Winchester, visit Granny in the hospital, and drop off the tires.

So she leaves our place with kid #2 as I'm feeding kid #1. We are going to stay home and do fun things like doing homework and taking out the garbage! I suddenly get a phone call from a Friend of my wife's. My wife has a Supperworks appointment with her and everyone completely forgot! Her Friend was calling from home at the other end of the city and she wasn't going to come out here in Orleans where Supper works is because it's too far. Can my wife make up her order?

"She's not here." I told her.

If you don't go make up your order there is some penalty charge, because they prepare it all ready to combine into meals. Plus it could go to waste. Plus you don't have it to eat! I made a few phone calls. I can fix this! I thought. How hard can this Supperworks thing be for a guy who makes bullwhips and guitars and Bigfoot movies?

I herded my kid out to my cousin's car in our driveway. I looked in the sun visor. WHAT! No keys! Oh yeah, my wife was driving.. Crap. I phone her. As I'm doing this my kid finds $15 in my cousin's car and asks me if I want it. I decline and tell her to stop that and put it back.

A few minutes later, after confirmation that keys to my cousin's car are indeed my wife's purse and currently on the way to Winchester I call my parental units and get my Mother on the phone. Dad is out and Mom is sick (she must have been sick, the phone call only lasted about 45 seconds). She ain't going nowhere, but if I can get myself there I can use their truck.

I Open the garage, out comes the bike (thank crap the tires have air) , with the come-along rider for kid #2. This is a mini bike that attaches onto a full sized bike so you can pull your kid. I like it because I can bike at Warp factor 10 and not have to wait for my kid because she is attached to the back(she likes it too!). I sling a pack with her Nintendo DS in it to my back and off we go! It takes me a few minutes to try and close the garage door to the new place without going back into the house because it has sensor beams that open it back up if you walk in front of them while trying to duck under the closing door. You have to press the wall button and do a "Raiders of the Lost Ark" boulder dash before the door closes performing a jump and duck at the same time to clear the ground beam and the closing door. It must have looked pretty weird.

We got to my parent's place in about 20 minutes, passing one "professional biker" on the road on our way over. You know the kind, Oakley sun glasses, all decked out in space-age bike clothing with water bottles attached every where on a racer you can pick up with your little finger. I think the post and bike seat were even attached to the butt of her pants, I didn't get a good look, I had places to be. I stashed the bike, got the keys and drove to Supperworks!

I installed my kid in the front café of the place with her electronic babysitter Nintendo DS and headed to the front where they immediately asked me if I wanted any wine to drink (did I look that stressed out?). Turns out this is a perk of the place. Sweet! I got a diet Coke instead. I got a list of meals and a demo of what to do at each station by some young girl who wasn't old enough to serve me wine if I had ordered it (grin) and it was off to the races. You hit each named station as it corresponds to the meals you've ordered on your sheet and follow the instructions - A teaspoon of this, a tablespoon of that, bla bla.. Then you pop it all in ziplock bags and slap a recipe sticker on it that tells you how to cook it when you get home.

My daughter helped me out after 30 minutes and got a kick out of it as well. It wasn't too hard. I felt like that Rat in the Computer Animated film Ratatouille, except I wasn't pulling anyone's hair. I was the only guy there in a sea of married women, except for one other guy who was preparing the meals with his wife.

I got out of there an hour later with the meals and a new appreciation of the place (I highly recommend it) and trucked it to Dairy Queen to fulfil a promise to my daughter that she could get a Blizzard if she behaved in there and let me get this over with. There's a Dairy Queen right across the street from the Orleans Supperworks but that one doesn't believe in Interac and make you use their RIP OFF EXPRESS bank machine( which they probably also own) It's the kind that charges you $2 to take money out and charges your bank $1.50 which of course they pass back right on to you for a $3.50 hit on $20. No thanks! Out to 10th line where they have no fee Interac! At this point my daughter said "You should have taken the $15 in uncle Mathew's car!"..
"That's not our money, we can't take that." I told her, to which she replied
"He's not doing anything with it!"

Can't argue with that logic. We mentioned this to my cousin in the exchange of vehicles the next day and he didn't even know he had money in there "Oh yeah! Where?!".


So Supperworks = Good!
Going there on your bike = Bad
Letting your wife leave you with no mode of transportation for emergencies = Also Bad
Dairy Queens who try to bilk money out of "never carry cash" people like me = Very bad!
Kids who don't yet understand that it's not ok to take other people's money= Not a problem at the moment but could be troubling in the future if it turns out to be my money

And Granny's doing well!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Why do gay men have sex in the woods near my geocache?

Have they all read this book? The reason I ask is I have this geocache which I planted here back in 2003 , and it being a nice sunny day and all, someone went to find it this week - and got something else they didn't bargain for. Now this isn't the first time this has happened, and some people have actually emailed me to close this one down, but I'm not there yet. I think it's a case of a few bad apples ruining a nice location in the city by following male hikers/geocachers and otherwise having sex in public. Opposite-sex sex in public places where you might take your kids for a hike or a picnic is just as bad as same-sex sex in said places.

And it's a double shame because it's the closest parking lot to the Ottawa River bike paths, which is what I use it for all the time!

Is it the high price of hotel rooms? Isn't it cold?

So what sometimes happens in the area my geocache is in is this. You show up with your GPS to do a little geocaching, you head down the path to where my container is and you sometimes get followed by curious gay men. According to posted logs by geocachers, they range in size and shape from fit 20 somethings to "old fat guys wearing sunglasses with no shirt and a ZZ-top beard". They don't make physical contact with you, as there is some complicated ritual that takes place beforehand and straight geocachers don't pass it, and the hint is quickly taken and they back off. Still. It's not the dark ages and gay men do not have to hide out in the woods to do that sort of stuff. Get a room!

I'd like to throw in my "I'm not a homophobic" disclaimer here. Gay people do not freak me out. It's a genetic difference that 10% of our population has. Overt sexual stuff that takes place in "pride" marches and the like bother me a bit in that I don't particularly like the sight of middle aged guys in assless chaps dancing on a downtown sidewalk when I'm taking my kids to the Museum of Nature.

"Is that a policeman Daddy?"
"Nope... he ripped his pants or something. Look over there at the Woolly Mammoth!"

There have been a few times where I have been approached by strange men looking for something all along the Ottawa River parkway. The first time it happened to me was in my 20's when I pulled into one of the parking areas because I missed a turn off into Rockcliffe and wanted to look at my map. As I was sitting there in my car some guy came over, opened up the passenger side and got in.

Uhh, WTF? I looked at him. He was older than me. I didn't know him. What was he suddenly doing in my car? So I asked him. Loudly. "WTF are you doing?" and he said (in an effeminate voice) "Sorry!" and got out and disappeared back into his own car. It dawned on me what was going on. When did that become ok? Should I do that to the next woman who pulls into the parking lot? Is that how one makes Friends around here?

Often in early 2002-2005 Tripper and I would geocache at night around there and when you parked in the lot and left your car there was always a lot of interest on the part of the other people parked there. Until we started strapping on gear and tech and harnesses and backpacks and unpacked these cop flashlights, headlamps and big 1 million candlepower beams, plus a ton of camera equipment. Then they would clear out, sometimes driving away quickly in case we were some type of law enforcement. That was kinda funny.

Throughout the early 90's I used to get propositioned in bathrooms, especially the McDonald's rest-rooms in the Market where strange men like to watch you pee (hey I even blogged that one), the Corel center of all places, and also elevators. There was a lull 1998 to 2003 when I weighed 250 pounds (50 to 55 pounds overweight for me), which is funny but it started back up after Project Ketosis brought me back to my proper weight. I guess some of these guys are superficial - "But I have a great personality!!!! Really!!!" (grin)

What really creeped me out about this geocache thing is the following website someone directed me too. It advertises this location as a pickup site. It has other places too, including the bathroom I used to get hassled at. Check it out. It's very freaky. I didn't think most gay men were like this but I guess if you think about it, testosterone on testosterone, the aggressive casual promiscuity makes sense.

So I'm leaving the geocache there. I'll put a disclaimer. And when I start my next movie, I'm going in there with a full camera crew and see what goes on there. Might make for some funny bloopers!

Thursday, April 09, 2009

How big is float?

The other day at work someone asked me how many bytes the float variable type was in VB.NET. I couldn't remember exactly so I did a Google search.

"how big is float"

I didn't get my answer right away, but the 4rd article found caught my eye.

  1. Do Big Boobs Float?

    Ever wonder just how well those big jugs handle water? - 180k -

So. I had to investigate. According to the data, It's not a question of "big-ness", it's a question of "realness" or "non siliconess". REAL boobs float. Fake boobs sink. So pay attention next time you're in the swimming pool if that is your thing.

Yeah for real boobs! I'm not a fan of over-sized fake boobs for the most part. If you unfortunately end up losing one to disease, yes definitely, that I totally understand, but to increase the size of one's breasts to bovine proportions just for us men or self confidence reasons is quite unnecessary. (do they even work after?) .

Oh yeah..

float Data Type

The float type is stored as a four-byte, single-precision, floating-point number. It represents a single-precision 32-bit IEEE 754 value.

The float type can represent numbers as large as 1038 (positive or negative) with an accuracy of about seven digits, and as small as 10-44. The float type can also represent NaN (Not a Number), positive and negative infinity, and positive and negative zero.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Cineplex part Duex - Frozen Flies, Free gum and drunken fights.

Cineplex is where I discovered the joy of gum remover. That you could use this "insta-freeze" stuff to freeze a fly in mid air, and keep it still enough to tie a thread on it, so you could have a fly on a leash (unless you pulled to hard and cut it in half). It's real use of course was to freeze the flat glob of gum someone had decided to squish into the carpet during intermission so that you could kick it out with your shoe. We used to freeze each other's ties with it as well. Very fun stuff. We probably made a major contribution to the big hole in the ozone layer back then playing with that stuff.

At one point in time, the Dentyne company thought it would be good advertising to give out gum as people left the cinemas. Dentyne would ship us CRATES of gum. And I'd say each of us probably made a box of 500 disappear on our own. It went over well at parties you hadn't been invited too. A common thing as an usher in cineplex was to just listen to patrons talking to each other as they came out of a movie, you can't help it.
PATRON 1: "Hey man, we're heading over to Angie's for a party"
PATRON 2: "Is that the place on Riverside and Montreal Road?"
PATRON1: "Yeah, with the white door, just look for the house with all the cars parked on the lawn, you can't miss it!"

Sounds like a fun party. We had one guy who made a point of crashing them. I'd often give him a ride home and he often talked me into dropping him off at these parties that he was not invited too, and he'd bring a crate of Dentyne in case something went wrong (which it always did).

Door opens "Hey, is Angie here?"
DRUNK GUEST1: "Yeah, somewhere in here, come on in! - What's in the box?"

By the time Angie found out he'd already given out 200 packs of gum and everyone was chewing and saying "He's the Dentyne guy! let him stay!!".

The strangest thing they ever made us hand out after a film was Tampax. I shit you not! That did not last very long, but it was surreal while it lasted.

There's people who have had sex in the cinemas, people who fight in the cinemas, people who die, in the cinemas. Just about everything. No one was ever murdered during my time there but a few people really gave it a good try. I've ejected people and had Num Chucks and ice picks fall out of their jackets (they always want them back too). Vanier was a tough little berg back then. As long as they fought in the outer lobby, or outside the Cinema, that was ok, if they were on carpet and they started, then that was our problem. Luckily there was a Tim Horton's on the corner and we'd just call there for them to send over cops when things got really bad.

One night I ripped the ticket of this really big guy and who immediately went over to a rack of free movie magazines and tossed a pile of them in the air. Turns out he was drunk. I remember telling someone to keep an eye on him in #6. Later in the evening one of the ushers came out of #6 with a popcorn bag full of puke. A 16 year old kid staggered out soon after and started to heave his guts out in the bathroom. I went over to check on him but he couldn't talk while he was puking so I laid some paper towels out for him on the floor and went to get him some water. When I got back he was finished but he wasn't talking. I wanted to know who he was with so they could come and get him and take him home. In about an hour all the movies would be out and the bathroom would be crawling with people and he'd get stepped on.

Then my watch went off. BEEP BEEP. Hey it's 10:00pm ! My shift is over! Woohoo! I went to get another Usher to take charge of the drunk guy. I couldn't find one so I told the assistant manager Louie. Louie was a good guy. Louie went down to check the kid out and I went to get changed. Once in my street clothes I was sitting in the lobby waiting for my girlfriend and I told the only other Usher on duty about the drunk in the can. At this time, the door to cinema #6 pushed open and the BIG drunk magazine chucker from before stepped out and went into the guy's can.

We all heard some yelling and then a big WUMP that shook the wall! We ran into the can. Myself, Ross the Usher and someone else found the BIG drunk guy holding our Manager Louie by the neck against the bathroom mirror, basically sitting him in the sink(grin). Turns out the kid was his little brother and he didn't appreciate Louie telling him he had to get out of here and that the kid was drunk and underage. With the 3 of us (4 with Louie) we managed to move this guy into the lobby. Someone called Tim Horton's and asked them to send over any cops they might have there.

I'll always remember what the Big drunk guy said to us in the bathroom as we danced with him, trying to get his hand's off of Louie's neck. He was actually growling like a dog and saying over and over again "I got a lot of f@#kin' Family problems. I'm gonna kill all of you guys!". Not only did we get him out of the bathroom and out into the Cinema lobby, but there was an exit door right there that led to a utility hallway still inside the building but outside the theatre space. And it locked behind itself when it closed. I thought we could shove him out there and close it, locking him outside. We were experts at it, doing it to each other on countless shifts (I used to stick a pebble down in the frame so it wouldn't lock if I thought some ushers were going to toss me out that door. It was embarrassing, you had to circle the theatre to get back in again). So I pulled this door open, and we danced outside into the hallway, but it closed on us, leaving us locked outside with the big drunk guy with the family problems who wanted to kill us. Actually it was looking like he would actually be able to follow through on his intentions, he was having no problems throwing us around, we were just basically hanging on to his sweaty arms as he pinwheeled trying to clock one of us. This guy smelled bad.

By this time our head manager arrived on the scene (he was one of the biggest dickheads on the planet) and he opened the locked door from the other side and started to yell at this drunk guy and a strange thing happened. All of us let go of the big drunk guy. It was weird. He fixated on our manager, in his tux, standing there, yelling at him to "Get the F@ck out now!" and it was like in slow motion. Maybe this Big drunk guy will thump our manager! HAHAHAHAHAHA! Sure we'll jump in at the end so he won't get killed but just let him get one or two in there first! Was I really thinking this?

Just then some guy came in from the back and inserted himself between the drunk guy who was about to charge and yelled two inches from his face "Hey hey HEY!!". (it wasn't Fat Albert). It was a plainclothes cop, and behind him was the biggest, blackest, uniformed cop I'd ever seen. One of those 6 foot 8 guys who are a bit fat but still scary because they are so tall and the big drunk guy calmed right down.

We all had to file statements but I'm sure nothing came of it. Three weeks later the big drunk guy was back to see a movie. He was sober and well behaved and didn't remember any of it. The following week my manager hired cops to work there on Friday, Saturday and Tuesday nights, and nothing like that ever happened again (on those nights at least).

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Cineplex Odeon. Working for minimum wage in the 80's.

Ahh, the cinema. I worked there for 4 years in the late 80's and early 90's. I had a job at a Wendy's hamburger joint for 3 months (don't eat the chili) before I got a job at Cineplex . I quit to work at the theatre for a number of reasons. Less work for the same pay, less grease(not as hard on the complexion). I didn't have to cut my hair. No 14 year old crew chief's telling you (at 17 years old) how to do your job different from the way the other 14 year old crew chief told you to do it, and slightly less stupider clothing. Better fringe benefits! Although I had learned how to eat a stray fully prepared hamburger while on grill in 4 seconds flat at Wendys (you cut it in 4 with the spatula), the prospect of free movies and all you can drink carbonated beverages was all the more better. The good looking female co-worker quotient was the same (if you can believe it! Those were lucky times with superficial male manager hiring practices), so why not take the opportunity and change jobs!

At a food place, you're stuck slaving away in the back, wearing a stupid uniform (I had a Wendy's "jazz" cap at the time. It was a promo to make the employees look "kewl"), hoping no one from your high school saw you working there, apart from the people from your high school already working there. Some of the in-store managers are cool, the district or regional ones who pop by to make them nervous and turn them into pricks are frickin cyborgs impersonating humans who would have been more at home in Nazi Germany.

At the Cinema working as an usher, you're out there in front, interacting with cute women and other members of the public. You're not too embarrassed to be there in your purple sports coat and bow tie, and it's pretty laid back, and you work for an hour getting people inside the movies and then you're on break sipping a free $4 overpriced coke. This impressed me greatly! Then when you went back to work it was your job to slip into each theater and watch the movie for awhile and make sure the temperature was set to slightly above freezing. When they let out you tried to herd the people like cattle outside and then you picked up between the aisles. Only the big stuff, cokes and popcorn bags so people could shuffle in or the next show. Many of my co-workers used to snack during this procedure, on the things they picked up off the floor, which I personally found a bit gross. "It's a bag of half-eaten M&M's, what's unsanitary about that!" was a refrain I'd heard more than once. The time my friend Darryl took a swig from a stranger's Coke in front of me was just for shock value I'm sure(grin).

Not much more to it than that. Moving stock around, kicking people out who tried to sneak in. Dealing with drunks and street people. Refunding angry people's tickets, sweeping the popcorn on the lobby floor. Not too much to worry about. There was always something interesting going on.

There were a lot of scams the staff were into to make extra money that I can honestly say I was never a part of, just because I'd feel too guilty. One of the more lucrative and slightly gross scams I found out about by accident was the re-selling of drink cups. All the inventory was kept track of negatively. That is to say, if they handed out 3 sleeves of large drinks, that was 300 cups. If you had 50 cups at the end of the night, then you must have sold 250 large drinks, so there should be $1000 in the till from that. So the vulnerability there is the re-addition of outside cups into the candy bar stock. Management made a big deal of locking up these big sleeves of cups so this would never ever happen. Where would enterprising staff get a handy supply of extra cups? Why they're lying on the floor of every cinema after the first showing. There was one guy who used to grab cups and stuff them into a separate garbage bag, and he'd rinse them out in the mop room (if he had time. ever wonder why your Sprite tastes a bit like Orange Crush?) and pass them back into the candy bar and they'd split the difference. If you chucked 25 cups back there, that was $100, $50 for your share. Not bad back then when you made like $25 a shift. The first time I stumbled onto this scam was the first week I was working there. I found a garbage bag of cups in the mop room and I started to hoof them in the garbage when the guy who was running the scam that night came running up to me hissing under his breath "WTF are you doing! GIVE me that!!" and he disappeared behind the candy bar without explanation. Ohhh. Gotcha.. That's not for me though. I never turned my co-workers in. It's like prison, no one likes a snitch. Someone in management might catch on one day, that's their job. Later I found out that management were running an even more lucrative scam, so WTF?

They'd let us take free drinks from the fountains for break which was cool. Some people abused it though. There was one guy who used to bring in empty 3 litre pop containers when management wasn't looking and re-fill them every few days with Orange and Coke and everything to drink back at his apartment.

Another scam was strip tickets. These were emergency tickets you handed out if the theatre had a power failure and you had to cancel the showing. If you had no power the cash registers and stuff didn't work so it was hard to do refunds, so these tickets could be used to get into any Cineplex theatre at any time free. Ushers would find rolls of these and distribute them to their Friends. Some guys would accept cash in the box office and hand out a strip ticket (bypassing the cash register) and just keep the money. You kinda knew when this was going on but it was hard to prove because you never knew if the patron had received the ticket long ago from a cancelled showing. Some guys used to refund tickets belonging to the Friends once they had already paid. They would let the buddies pay and seat them, grab the ticket, go to the box office and say "These guys bought these tickets for some Friends but it turns out they had arrived earlier and bought tickets already, can you do a refund?" Ok, no questions. They'd hand the money back to their buddies or keep it if they were especially dishonest. I got no problem letting the odd person in for free (we could do it legally if we went through the trouble of getting them a pass, it was just easier to let them in through the door) but option 2 is stealing from your Friends.

Ticket reselling was another scam some guys would run, similar to the cup thing. The patron comes in, hands you a ticket, you're supposed to rip it and point them on their way, telling them to keep it. Some ushers would just keep ticket, pointing the patron to their theatre and then they'd hand the unripped ticket back to the box office and the cashier would re-sell it again, bypassing the cash register, keeping the money.

I often wondered if all these people I worked with became criminals later on in life. Although it should be self-evident to anyone who has ever worked anywhere remotely like this, some people asked me, why didn't you ever tell your bosses about stuff like that? Did I mention some of the crooked managers? (that's another blog post). I guess that stuff starts at the top. Especially if you go all the way to the top.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bigfoot discovered in WIndows 7!

In the latest beta, in the default wallpaper, if you look down on the left at the treeline at the waters edge. You can find...


No wonder he's able to hide. No one would think to look there!