Tuesday, November 29, 2005 at 4:33 p.m. | 0 comments
Just when you get comfortable...

The reign of terror that is work strikes again as a co-worker and friend unjustly gets the axe. TPTB set their sights on Bill who was well-liked, hard working, and funny.

What makes it worse is that another co-worker and Bill's partner was proven to be lazy and does not do any work, making Bill's firing all the more cruel.

That aside, Bill is a really good guy. He never has an unkind word, always has a smile, and is always hungry. I've never seen a man eat so much so often. Hopefully he gets started at a new job he was promised soon so that he can make a ton more money and give the finger to this place from afar.

Just the other day he emailed his potential employer to get an update, but decided (poorly) to disguise his message (also done poorly). Not once, not twice, but at least three or four times over the course of the email, he included the phrase "Happy Holidays." This in an email, instant delivery communication, around mid-November.

Of course, Nathan and I couldn't let that slide. All day, we joked about "Happy November" or "Happy Thursday" and even "Happy 3:30pm." Bill, being as gracious as he is, just laughed and took it in stride.

Bill loves working on houses and was talkinga bout moving to a tropical location with his wife and setting up his own company. Bill fixes things, makes things better, and is a good friend. It's a shame I didn't get to know him better before he left this place.

I'll miss the rides home he gave me so many times, and Sandy as well. Yes, I know he's not dead, just removed from this place, and yes, I'm annoyed because he'll be having a lot more fun than I will.
Posted by Parallel
Monday, November 28, 2005 at 9:42 a.m. | 0 comments
Role Model: Wilfredo T. Laboy, superintendent of the Lawrence, Massachusetts, school system, who put 24 teachers on unpaid leave for failing a basic English proficiency test

Setting an Example: Laboy—who had recently received a 3 percent pay increase that raised his salary to $156,560—flunked that same test. Three times.

So, it's done. Catherine and I took off Friday to hand-deliver my profiles to U of T and York with the hope that I would soon be entering teacher's college. It's by no means guaranteed, but I think I've got a pretty good shot.

God help me if I don't get in.

At U of T, the man behind the counter didn't once break up his phone call to look over at me, silently mouth 'teacher's college?', then mouth another 'good luck' as he took my profile and dropped it into a bin. I'm not sure what I expected to happen, but after hours and months of working on that thing I expected something more involved. Maybe a conversation. A hand shake. A secret decoder ring.


Oh well. The rest of the day I spent text messaging Aaron, Nathan, and Catherine's parents. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend, got some Christmas shopping done and played Ultimate Spider-Man with Jer.

By the way, never rent a game from Blockbuster again. Normally $8 for a rental (including tax), the batards are now charing $10 including tax to rent a game. I know you can keep it a week, but jeez, guys, that's just stealing.
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, November 23, 2005 at 11:19 p.m. | 0 comments
Today is the day of my birth. Not literally, as the actually birthing came some 28 years earlier.

God, I can't believe I'm already this old. I wasn't supposed to make it, you know. I had serious illnesses when I was growing up, two of which should have killed me outright. So here I am, 28, and looking to make my next big move in life by going to teacher's college next year.

Assuming I get in.

I'm so funny!

Nothing is ever guaranteed in life, but sometimes it can surprise you. Though I've hated my job since I started, I could never have anticipated that I would meet someone who would become one of my best friends. Today, Nathan helped me to celebrate my birthday (along with Bill, Li, Sandy, Jen, Jim, Dan, Gargi, Patricia, and others) but I know it was Nate who really pulled it all together.

First thing in the morning my computer was covered in a birthday banner. Crude, but Nate's style. Then I discovered a Hulk Figure Factory toy in my drawer. Again, Nate's style. We ordered in food, I discovered a Venom Figure Factory that had been stowed away in Li's file boxes, and then found a Marvel Legends Bullseye figure on my chair. I was overjoyed. I was touched.

19 pieces and worth every effort

I was unprepared to find two more Figure Factory toys, Iron Man and Thing, in my desk drawer after lunch. I couldn't believe Nate had gone to that much effort. You could see that he was as pleased with the results as I had been with his birthday earlier that same month.

It just goes to show you that no matter the original packaging of something, if you dig deep there's almost always something better underneath.

Getting home was the best, though. Nothing compares to seeing Catherine after a day, good or bad, and getting a hug. I got my present right away and was shocked to see that she had bought a cellphone for me that I had been talking about quite a bit in the past. I spent a good part of the night programming it though I should have been working on my application (I swear, it's almost done).

The irony of her gift became apparent as I ran out to buy a frozen pizza for dinner as I was still stuffed from lunch. There was none at the crap Dominion, or the 24 hour store down the block. I went another couple of blocks to ANOTHER grocery store, and they only had vegetables. So I bit the bullet and got Pizza Pizza.

My new phone
Here's where the irony fits in. I was supposed to be gone for 10 minutes, but it's been more than half an hour. So I had to call Catherine to tell her where I was but since my phone was new, uncharged, and unactivated I used a payphone. It took a little while to find one, too.

Still, afterwards we had a great pizza dinner, spent time with Truffle and my gadgets (and the application, I swear), then watched Lost and now Catherine is in bed hoping I'll turn off the lights and go to bed myself.

It's been a good day. Tomorrow it continues with lunch with my mom.
Posted by Parallel
Monday, November 21, 2005 at 2:48 p.m. | 0 comments
Every so often one is lucky enough to bear witness to an event that, as good as it is in the telling, pales in comparrison to the actual event itself. In this case, it is an act of awkwardness, publicly done no less, that not only warrants telling but demands that a new term be invented to explain it... I give you... the browner.

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Last Friday, my office had their annual Christmas gift exchange (yes, I'm aware it's November... Happy November, everyone) and we did a Secret Santa gift swap. The terms of the swap are simple: find something nice for the person you drew out of a hat within a $15-$20 range.

Most of the gifts were harmless. Bowls, beers, food, and books. Typically holiday fare. One man dared to be different...

Background: Mr. Brown and Ms. Gift Receiver worked together for some time at another company which we recently acquired. Through my own frank talks with the Miss, she's not a fan of Mr. Brown though has not openly said anything against him but they never speak to each other. Mr. Brown makes attempts to get her attention and Nate speculated for some time (as did I) at some potential trist existing between them, but given Ms. Receiver's statements, I didn't think it likely.

Mr. Brown goes for broke. His gift is a Blind Date DVD jewel case that he has created himself. It includes logo, head shot of the host, and is made to seem like a real product, though it's obvious it's been printed out. Some of the special features and chapter selections include "dinner, taking in the game, the hot tub scene, and the limo ride home." Deleted scenes included Ms. Receiver and her roommate (graphic lesbian photo attached the the cover, one of whom looks like Ms. Receiver) having some fun.

Inside the case was a single ticket to see the Maple Leafs. After processing his info for a minute or more, Ms. Receiver looks at Mr. Brown and asks if he has the other one. He smiles, nods, and says "yep."

His gift is essentially a date night for the two of them to see the Maple Leafs, but given the content on the jewel case and the slightly enforced nature of the gift, no one knew what to say. You see, Ms. Receiver, trying to look as gracious as possible, has been in a relationship for more than 6 years. Mr. Brown is himself a newlywed.

The awkwardness was palpable. Everyone is trying to laugh at how clever Mr. Brown was, and how creative his gift was. The case is PASSED AROUND to everyone who looks at it and tries not to seem horrified. Whispered conversations afterwards reveals that I was not the only one feeling uncomfortable. Patrick, our foreign boss, dryly states that he wonders what Ms. Receiver's boyfriend is going to make of this gift.

What indeed? If she so wished, she could sue Mr. Brown and the company for all it's worth. Hell, it's not a bad idea. It certainly was one of the most brutal sights I've seen in quite some time. The only other highlight was my gift to Nathan. He had to open five boxes, one inside the next, only to find nothing. Then I handed him his present from where it was on the desk behind him. I laughed. That's what's important.

So, in the interim, I've decided that public awkwardness on this scale should be called a 'browner' but I open it up to the rest of you to determine how fitting a name this is.

What a dumb thing to do. But it's GREAT conversation fodder.
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, November 15, 2005 at 7:20 p.m. | 0 comments
Here it is. Feast your eyes. Proof positive that I am now, officially, a paid Marvel writer. Yes, the sum you see is in fact for a whole $20 (US).

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It's a step in a direction that I've been trying to go in for a long time. More money would have been good as will more work in the future, but it's the first payment from Marvel.

The book in question is X-Men: The 198 Files and deals with the aftermath of a Brian Michael Bendis storyline called House of M that decimated the mutant population at Marvel, leaving very few mutants behind and de-powering some like my personal favorite, Chamber.

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Should the storyline prove worthy, I'll comment on it more later on. For now, here is the cover for the issue which I am credited with writing (along with two others). It goes on sale in January.
Posted by Parallel
Wednesday, November 09, 2005 at 9:18 a.m. | 1 comments
We employ odd people and odd practices here at FMG, the least of which is making really bizarre photos up of the special boy or girl. Nathan was no exception, but seeing as how The Others hate the web team, I had to make up all the photos.

So I got to work. The results of which are as follows. The first is the favorite by consensus, and I'm particularly pleased about the headband. Pink looks good on Nate.

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The next one makes excellent use of Golden Girl Bea Arthur, here outstretched hands, and puckered lips. I can't see why any mortal man wouldn't fall prey to her temptations.

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Here we have Nate enjoying a hose. This was an actual ad (minus his head) that we used for one of our new publications.

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Nate likes pork chops, so it's no surprise he's also a big fan of piggybacks. Look at 'em go!

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Why just make fun of Nathan when I can throw another co-worker, Li, into the mix as well? Nathan's skills at work include eating all of Li's food. She's stopped bringing so much in.

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Now the real reason all of these images have made their debut on this blog is because I'm sure Nathan doesn't really want them to get out. But since I am a jerk and need to entertain all of you, I figured no harm could come of this.

If you don't hear from me in three days, Nate is a likely suspect. Though I got him some pretty good presents, so hopefully he's happy. Just don't poke the bear.
Posted by Parallel
Tuesday, November 01, 2005 at 11:20 a.m. | 1 comments
Meaning: Real, not fake

Origin: “Originally meant ‘placed on the knees.’ In Ancient Rome, a father legally claimed his new child by sitting in front of his family and placing his child on his knee.”
Posted by Parallel
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