Blue Mountain

Okay, I know what you’re going to say; Blue Mountain at this time of year? Yeah, yeah, I didn’t go up there to ski or snowboard or any sort of winter activity, since there’s a severe lack of the white stuff, along with the fact that me + skis = nono… (apparently). My parents decided to whisk me out of the GTA up to Blue Mountain to have some nice time out in nature. Those office lights will get to you after a while. The plan was to do some hiking and sightseeing of the colored leaves.

It was quite a nice time up there. We did a lot of walking through the trails and some caves. The place we stayed at was quite nice, at the bottom othe mountain. It was created as a little village with all sorts of activities and little shops. It really gave off that cozy ‘home’ feeling. Collingwood, the town near Blue Mountain reminded me a lot of Charlottetown, with the nice downtown area and waterfront. It was a little overcommercialized though.

The vacation also meant three days without the internet (I know, me without internet?!). Well, that’s not entirely true. There was internet available there, but based on principle, I couldn’t bring myself to pay $13 for internet per day. How ridiculous is that? I decided it wouldn’t do me too much harm to go a while without being on the computer all the time. After all, I went up there to enjoy the outdoors, not sit around and surf the internet right? 🙂

I’ve got a bunch of pictures sitting around somewhere on the camera, but I’m a little too lazy/tired right now to transfer them to the computer and upload them to the server. I’ll do that a little later and post up a few pictures.

Now it’s PDEng time. 😡

WIC

Today was the 8th Annual Bell Wireless Innovation Conference in Toronto. I, lucky as I am, had the chance to attend the conference. At least in recent memory, this was the first tech conference I’ve ever attended, complete with keynote speakers, breakout sessions and partner booths. It also took me over an hour to get there and another hour to return. All in all, I got a bunch of free food and got to feel all important, speaking with customers and potential customers. I initially attended as a visitor, but I ended up helping out with the Bell Mobility booth, which was quite fancy. I also surprised myself in how much I know in some areas and how little I know in others. We may complain about the unknowledgeable service reps in some stores, but it is tough to know the answer to every question out there. Then again, knowing that stuff would be their jobs and is hardly mine so I think I did a pretty good job. Don’t worry, I didn’t scare any customers away; I made sure that anything I couldn’t answer myself, I got someone who could.

Talking shop with (at least decently) knowledgeable people in the field is great. I’m really getting interested in the wireless technology industry. As well, I was able to get a small sense of what customers are looking for in our products and services. And alas, that’s quite useful to me as a Strategy and Planning Analyst. (pulling job title’s always fun ain’t it?) Plus, looking around the vendor floor, I could tell there was a big focus on connectivity and location based services. This conference is aimed at business and enterprise users after all, so that makes sense. In addition, I’d suggest anyone who hasn’t tried using EV-DO to do so. I was absolutely amazed at the speeds it offers. For web browsing, it feels very near to DSL or cable speeds, although it is definitely slower for sustained downloads (for the most part). But for what most people do with cell phones, it is very impressive.

I also saw a girl attending the conference who looked like Jessica Alba with a little bit of Asian sprinkled in. That was… well… you know.

And speaking of tech conventions, I’m reminded of an article I read yesterday. An editor from a tech site I read lost a bet and had to dress up in a bunny suit for the Intel Developer Forum. Here are the results:

Inq editor in bunny suit

Credits: The Inquirer (tech site, not tabloid, although, almost a tech tabloid)

Royal Woodbine

So the main feature of today was a round of golf at the Royal Woodbine golf club today with some fellow Bell Mobility colleagues. The first thing I noticed was a Countryview green pass still hanging on my golf bag, from 2002. So it had been quite a long time and in a totally different province that I had last golfed. Additionally, I had only golfed 9 hole courses before. This would be my first 18 hole course.

The day started off with breakfast and an introduction to some of the department members who I hadn’t already met in my initial walk-about with my supervisor when I first started. I had a pretty damn heavy breakfast. Well, it was a buffet breakfast so naturally, I had to pig out a bit. Even though we were at a golf course, work never really left us. One of the main topics of discussion was various wireless technology subjects. As well, there was some yammering about PEI, which I may or may not have started. That was interesting. Seems like people’s views here don’t really change of PEI as they grow older. It’s still potatoes, Anne of Green Gables and the Confederation Bridge.

After breakfast was finished, we proceeded out to the golf course, where our rows and rows of golf carts were waiting. I had never driven a golf cart before. I think when I last played golf on PEI, we were still too young to rent golf carts. In any case, I was pretty excited to drive one. Tee off, first hole. Completely awful drive, which would stick with me the rest of the course. This course was pretty damn tough. There was water EVERYWHERE. I don’t think I’ve seen so much water since standing on a PEI beach. There were creeks running all over the place. Holes would have not just have one creek passing through it. The hole would be built on the bend of a creek so you had to hit the ball between two water obstacles (or whatever they’re called in golf). Luckily we were playing best ball, so once someone else drove the ball out a decent distance, I could get a chance to wack at it with an iron. Luckily, I was much better with the irons.

The course took us a solid 5 hours or so to finish. In our group of 4, two of us had played almost no golf (myself included) and the other two weren’t exactly regular golfers either. So we were a bit slow, and the marshal definitely made it clear we were going too slow. I also lost 6 golf balls over the course of the 18 holes. So overall, a pretty bad round of golf and definitely somewhat embarrassing, although in my defense, I haven’t hit a golf ball in what, 4 years and it was my first 18 hole, and a pretty difficult one at that. I will definitely have to put golf on my to do list in the future though. As my supervisor was giving me a drive back home, we were talking about golf and its position in the business world; how it’s viewed stereotypically as the business thing to do.

After the painful course, we all gathered again to eat a late lunch/early dinner. Again we chatted about different things wireless. It’s actually really interesting for me to talk about these kinds of things with people who know so much more about it than me. You can ask questions and get answers that are much better and easier to find that if you were to search it up in Google for example. And it’s always fun to argue about different handsets and why the ones the other guy likes sucks. 😛

That’s about it for today. I’m currently impatiently waiting for the season 3 premiere of House to download, but it’s going at a painfully slow speed right now. I can’t wait to see what happens. 😀

Airshow

Actually, this post is probably going to be a huge letdown since the pictures are on the other digital camera which my parents are currently in possession of. Hence, you’ll be seeing no photos probably until this coming weekend. It started with us leaving Niagara Falls around 11am, got to my place in Mississauga to drop some things off around 12:30pm. Then after driving aimlessly (it seemed like it…) we finally found ourselves on the Gardiner Expressway, headed towards Lakeshore. That was one hell of a drive. The roads were jam packed with cars. It seriously looked more like a parking lot than an expressway. After driving for a little over an hour, we finally got down to where the parks and the airshow was going on. Unfortunately, the parking lots were more than filled. People were parked behind other cars and it was basically a huge mess. We managed to find a spot in the median of Lakeshore Boulevard (yeah, it was that bad) and walked over to where we could actually see something.

We had missed a solid portion of the airshow already but I did get to see a CF-18 fighter jet, some random propeller planes and, of course, la piece the resistance, the Snowbirds. They are quite impressive. The synchronization is just phenomenal. I guess you don’t become famous for mediocrity. I took quite a few pictures, some of which turned out pretty decently. It’s pretty tough to get pictures of planes that are zooming by at low altitudes. The only thing I regret is not seeing that B1B Lancer bomber. That would definitely have been quite a sight. There’s always next year I guess.

There was also a festival thing going on. Tom Cochrane and Five for Fighting were performing along with some other bands; those are the two probably more well known ones. I didn’t really watch too much of it, but it’s sort of nice to be able to walk around and bump into a festival like that.

Well, that’s about it. I’ve got (essentially) a 3 day week this week since I’m going golfing on Thursday. I got my clubs from home and a few golf balls. It’s going to be one messy round I’m thinking. I’ve never played a 18 hole course before… Time to play some UT2003 before bed. 🙂

To all you people starting school again: Have fun. (yeah right) 😉

Wrap Up

I’m currently sitting in the Halifax Airport waiting for my connection flight back to Toronto, where I first began this journey. The past 9 days have flown by and after what seems like an extremely short visit, I’m already heading back to Ontario and very soon, my co-op job.

I have to say, the biggest thing I noticed was, well, nothing. Nothing really seemed to have changed. Sure some people grew and some people didn’t (moi peut-etre?) but generally, the people I knew are still the people I knew. Sure, there were a few surprises here and there, like oh you know, a marriage and a pregnancy, but other than that… No, seriously, the close friends were all pretty much the same. Some traveled around the world, but aside from some new experiences, I don’t think there was anything drastically different. Old habits were still there.

It felt as though I hadn’t really been gone for a year. I definitely have a greater appreciation for Island courtesy however. It’s still a unique feeling to be able to walk down the street and say hello to everyone and anyone without getting a weird glance or two. It’s also pretty cool to be able to walk through downtown Charlottetown and bump into people I know left right and center. It really is a small and connected place. With that said, I’m not exactly looking forward to the Ontarian ‘hospitality’. We’ll see though; I’m sure I’ll adjust quickly to avoided greeting random people lest I get dirty look…

The past week and a bit was filled with lots of laughs and good memories. I also did a few things that I’ve never done through the whole of my life on PEI. It’s amazing what peer pressure can do to you eh? I sort of learned how to swim during my visit and got this messed up looking tan, which I’ll definitely have to even out by lying outside when I get back to Niagara Falls. It look quite atrocious right now.

Well, I definitely need to go use the bathroom before I board this plane to Toronto. Ahhh, I’ll be ‘home’ soon, although I have to say, PEI still feels much more like the real home to me.