Three helpings a day!

The built in email program in Mac OS X 10.2 Jaguar, “Mail” (not everything on the Mac is creative!) automagically guesses at which messages are junk and flags them as such (colouring them yellow, too). It’s been excellent at picking out spam so far — but if it’s wrong, you can let it know. So it “learns” what’s spam and what isn’t, and becomes more accurate over time. Pretty cool stuff!
So tonight I decided to sort my inbox by flag. All of a sudden, all of my junk mail is clumped together! That’s handy, makes it easy to delete them in one fell swoop:

Anyway, I did a quick calculation, and spam made up 12% of my inbox this month. That’s 94 messages. I don’t think that’s half-bad, considering I’ve been going hog-wild in recent months and using “asterizk@uvic.ca” everywhere online, since it expires in one month. (If you’re still using that address, by the way, time to update your addressbooks! Fire me an email and I’ll send you my supercool new addy.)
How do you deal with spam?

Dumb ATMs

Wow, so it looks like at least some of the ATMs at the Bank of America are dumb. You know, those kind that give you your money before your card. Talked to the bank on Friday at lunch, it turns out that’s exactly what happened to me. I took out money on Tuesday night, and walked away from the machine without my card. It was sucked back in, and automatically devalidated it.
They’ll be mailing me a new card within 5-7 business days. Bank of America’s bank cards have the owner’s picture on them. They still have my picture on file, so that was nice. They gave me a temp ATM card for the time being. One thing that took me by surprise is that the Bank of America rep who gave me the temp card said he thinks they’re one of the only banks that have the ability to give out temp cards.
On one hand, American banks are way ahead of Canadian banks (customer service). On the other hand, Canadian banks are way ahead of American ones (technology). The rep who was gave me the temp ATM card asked me if I’d tried the new “free online banking” yet. Free?! I told him, quite plainly, it was the only way to go.

On waking too early, kicking ass, and losing important bits of plastic

I must get this down on er, paper, before it zips away. It’ll be short though, I should have been in bed 30 mins ago:
(1) God damn, it seems early for my alarm to be going off. Where’s that’s snooze button? Ah, that’s it. Wait a second, I could have sworn I just hit the snooze button. I did hit the snooze button. How come I still hear the alarm? Damn buttons. This isn’t working. Cord traced to wall, unplugged. The alarm is there still. And damn, it’s loud. It’s coming from the living room. Uh oh, it’s the fire detector. Did I leave something on? A stove element? None that I can see. Fanned the alarm madly. That’s not helping. Press the button. Nothing. Cover up the hole where the sound comes out — that helps my ears a lot. But wait a sec — I can hear other alarms? What the…? Shirt, jeans, sandals, door. And lots of people on the open-air walkways between apartments. Me: you too? Them: yeah. Me: what time is it? Them: 3:00 A.M.
I dub this the Town & Country Apartment “Get the fuck out of your apartment and socialize” event. The alarm went on for a full TWENTY MINUTES before the fire dept. arrived to shut off the alarm. I introduced myself to Benny, one floor up and one apartment over, while I was waiting. I would have thought a building with a strobe light on it and an alarm going off in 50 apartments at once would have at least been cause for an automatic dial to the fire department, but apparently not. Nope. Someone on the floor below me had to call it in on their cell phone.
(2) Work: I had my first presentation at work today, and it was a total success! only 1/2 an hour long, plus q&a. I was debriefing key individuals about the release of a new version of our software, version 6.0.3. Grace and Jane were there from Marketing and User Education, respectively, and Joanie and Chip were there from Customer Technical Support. I gave them a demonstration of the installation of the product, a walkthrough of the new features for the product, and a listing of the caveats. I made a little documentation package and burned CDs for everyone who showed up, too. And I offered them coffee when they sat down. I think they liked that part. 🙂
(3) And finally — I’ve misplaced my bank of america bank card! I sure hope it turns up soon, i can only go so long on this $500 Target “Guest” card.

And don’t say double-chocolate fudge cake

So earlier this evening I was looking in the fridge, and what did I see? Pickles, cheese, milk, bread, margarine, apples, bananas, pre-chopped garlic, cheddar, grated parmesan, a loaf of 100% whole-wheat bread, stir-fry sauce, a couple slices of deli-ham and provalone, ten tortillas, sour cream, all-purpose marinade, miracle whip, baby carrots, romaine lettuce and Patak’s hot curry paste. In the freezer — instant pancake mix, 2 veggie patties, frozen peppers, half a bag of some frostbitten mixed veggies, oven-cook french fries and an almost-unopened 1-litre tub of Ben & Jerry’s “Smores” flavoured ice-cream. In the pantry — several jars of pasta sauce, ovaltine, rotini and macaroni, several cans of soup, vinegar, rice, maple syrup, one (count it) one box of KD, condensed milk, green cardamom, fennel, 10 black-pepper pappadums, sugar, flour, certain unspecified junk food and a tin of smoked oysters. By the stove — extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, two types of hot sauce, mango chutney, worchestershire sauce and three whole cloves of garlic. On the counter — four kaiser rolls and a bag of table potatoes.
And I was thinking — “man, do I ever need more variety”. I ended up eating two boiled potatoes.
Now that I’ve written out all the stuff I could have chosen from, I don’t think it’s variety that’s the problem. Think this is more of a case of needing inspiration. There must be *something* interesting I could make with all this stuff. Have any ideas?
What’s your favorite recipe?

What’s a UV-index again?

Well, this was an exciting weekend!
I spent pretty much all Saturday outside. That made me feel healthy. Mostly.
I spent pretty much all Sunday inside, and have, well, the peace-of-mind to show for it.
First Saturday: I’m going to watch Karen play on the women’s team at the Tampa-Bay Ultimate Sectional’s tournament! I arranged to carpool it up there with her, and she was coming by to pick me up at 8am. I brought my cleats just in case. We zoomed up the #75 highway in her 1999 Pontiac Grand Am (much like the car I drove while I worked for Microsoft). After a couple of stops at nearby gas stations for directions (don’t trust Mapquest any farther than you can throw it), we found ourselves at the University of South Florida, Tampa campus. And there were literally hundreds of people throwing discs around on six different fields. Beautiful! However, in all this beauty it was pretty difficult to locate the first person we needed to speak to. We needed to talk to the captain of Karen’s team, Emily Greenwell — and it took about 10 minutes to get pointed in the correct direction. But she found her team, and introductions were done. I introduced myself as a fan. That was returned with about a 50-50 mix of smiles and funny looks. I was the only guy there — I think that might have had something to do with it.
It was about 9:30am — games were set to start at 10 — so I took off from Karen’s team to see if I could find a team to play with. I went back to close to where we walked onto the fields — near the tables of water, cookies and bananas — and just started asking if I could speak to the captain of whoever I was talking to. Once I found the captain, I’d introduce myself and explain that I was looking “to pickup”. Being the hipster you are, you know that “picking up” is Ulti-lingo for “looking to be an extra player who’s not really on the roster and sometimes doesn’t have to pay fees or sign waivers”. Well, the first captain I spoke to referred me to another captain because he already had 20 people on his team; the second captain I spoke to had too many people as well and directed me to Rick’s team.
Rick’s team, Herniated Discs, is a “masters team”. Of course you know that a masters team is one where each player is least 30 years old, and that masters teams compete within a separate league usually hold separate tournaments. Perhaps what you didn’t know is that sometimes, as was the case at Saturday’s Sectionals tournament, tournament coordinators allow masters teams to play in non-masters tournaments. That was the case for Herniated Discs today.
So most of my teammates were quite a bit older than I was. I think the next youngest was about 32, with an average age around 40. As one of them put it, “with the young kids, they’ve got the speed but not the skills; with masters, we’ve got the skills but not the speed”. I like that — it’s an interesting tradeoff that I imagine you see in a lot of sports, but you can really see in Ultimate in particular.
Our first game was against a young college team named Vicious Circles. They had a lot of players — I imagine the average age was around 22 — and they were intense, doing pushups between points and at half time. Herniated Discs, on the other end, spent the time between points talking about how their knees hurt. We lost that game something like 13-5. It was pretty harsh.
Our second game went much better — we won, 13-11. One fellow on our team — Alex — that guy was superman-laying out for practically everything! He had no fear. He also ended up with a dirty shirt from bleeding elbows, but hey, he was feeling no pain — after all, running for a couple of hours puts you into a bit of strange state — and he, like many other Ultimate players, had prepped for the tournament by taking “vitamin I”, Ibuprofen.
During the 1/2 hr break between games I popped over to see how Karen’s team was doing. “Quite well,” when I checked up on her after my second game, which ended around 3pm. We arranged to meet by the entrance by 4:30pm, regardless of whether our teams had finished playing by then.
We won our third game too, this time 13-7. So I guess masters teams just take a little longer to warm up. 🙂 Around 4:15pm or so, Karen found me. “That was early,” I thought to myself. Turns out that it was indeed early — her team had gotten pummeled, so it was a short game. I was just wrapping up with my team, so I met her at the car, which she already had cooled with the A/C.
We made a pitstop for food and drink at a nearby Eckerds (think London Drugs). Orange Gatorade and Mesquite BBQ Pringles never tasted so good.
After I being dropped at home, I IM’ed Simon and asked if he’d like to watch Ghost World with me. I’d rented the DVD a couple of nights before but had not yet gotten a chance to watch it. We watched it at his place, and it was good — worth the rental — but nothing spectacular. Simon and I were both trying to place where we’d seen the lead actress — Thora Birch — before, without using IMDB. No such luck, our brains have atrophied on broadband. A trip to IMDB the next morning left me wondering how I didn’t remember — but I’ll leave that as an exercise to the reader).
Got up early on Sunday (8:15 am!) and futzed about on my computer for a couple of hours, really just enjoying the fact that I had an awesome night’s sleep. That’s one really great thing about playing ultimate — I always sleep well the night after, with no chance of insomnia. I did discover that he painful skin on the back of my neck and nose was a brutal sunburn! I now respect the Florida sun! Time to buy sunscreen!
We got to work around 11:45am, and Simon was prompty met with a chair that wouldn’t pull out from his desk. Turns out Hugo (a coworker of mine in the software group) and Van (our IT guy, totally pro-Mac) had been into work on Saturday and had used a few of those plastic fasteners to attach one of the legs of Simon’s chair to the powerbar underneath his computer table. Some of his food was missing from his cubicle, too. Simon got Hugo back by unplugging all his network cables just a tiny little bit. 🙂
I agreed to go into work on Sunday at the request of my boss — Carlos — to make sure the installer I was putting together was going to work properly. Late Friday night, I discovered that because of my lack of inclusion of two folders in the installer that were regularly included with the product, the installer deleted these folders from the destination machine — not my intention at all, which was simply to not touch them.
Anyway, Simon and I got that problem rectified at about 7:30pm on Friday, but it needed to be tested, so that’s what I did today. The software group at METI has never done a “system level” software test after an upgrade, so I was breaking new ground here. That felt good. It’s hard to believe, but until this point, all of METI’s system testing had been done in an ad-hoc, on-the-fly kind of way. I recorded all the tests I did on form I created using Word.
It was so nice being at work today — I was able to get so much work done! Simon found the same thing, so he wrote an email to Carlos asking if we could work Saturday and Sunday instead of Monday and Tuesday. We’ll see what happens. 🙂