Tag Archives: busnotes

Low Morale

A guy got on the bus awfully pissed off about something. Currently, every second word he’s saying is sh*t or f*ck or some other profanity. I wonder if it makes him feel good when he disses his cell phone over and over…

Yes, I’m on the bus for the first time in quite a long while, hence the absence of these ‘bus notes’. I’ve been going home every other week or so with a friend who also lives in Niagara Falls. He has a car and as a result, I haven’t had to put up with these overly lengthy trips. But this time I’m actually only going to Hamilton where I’m meeting my parents with an eventual destination of Mississauga.  While at university, my parents went and checked out a place for me for when I’m on my co-op at Bell Mobility. I’m just going to have a final look at the place and we’ll probably sign the contract there. My parents already told me the place looks pretty good. I trust their judgment enough so I’m expecting a decent place.

This past week has been quite frustrating. This was the last full week of lectures; we’ve got only 2 days next week and it’s exam time (uh oh). It seems like to top off an already difficult semester, they laid on the hurt with some of the most difficult assignments/quizzes I’ve seen so far this semester. For example,  I spent 3 hours on a CDT yesterday (it’s supposed to be only a ‘quiz’) and before that, we had a long-ass calculus assignment on double and triple integrals. How enjoyable. I’ve still got two assignments to hand in before the end of lectures. One is physics, which I heard is very simple and the other is accounting. I read through the assignment and it’s definitely going to take a while to set up properly in excel. It sure gets confusing as hell when you start combining interest, inflation, taxes, uncertainty and all that into a financial analysis. I can just see how simple it would have been for companies to make one little error and have to restate earnings. Sometimes I sit there reading earnings reports from various companies. I’ve stared in awe at the disgusting amount of profit or appalling losses, but never have I wondered how long it would have taken to prepare the earnings report itself. Definitely not child’s play. No wonder those CA’s get paid the big bucks.

Oh right, this was a frustrating week. Well, it’s getting very close to exam time and these difficult assignments and quizzes have definitely done nothing good for the confidence levels. It’s really difficult to feel too good going into your exams after getting violated by an inanimate object. And they wonder why we have such low morale in the Electrical and Computer Engineering department. Fortunately I do have time to prepare for these exams. It’s great that our exams are at least spaced out rather nicely. While I only have 5 exams, they’re spread out over just about two weeks.

After the 3 hour ‘quiz’ yesterday, I decided to take it easy since my brain was absolutely fried in every way. I had been planning on working on that accounting assignment, but I haven’t counted on that CDT to be so difficult or lengthy. As a result, I spend the night watching some TV and surfing the internet. Around 10:30pm I decided to have a look at what services the wireless providers in this country offer. (This reminds me, I’m supposed to have a look at the wireless data services available from  the various telecoms in Canada before my work term…) I ended up making an excel sheet with all of the features I need and the monthly contract I’d need to get from the four providers in Canada. (Rogers Wireless, Telus Mobility, Bell Mobility and Fido) I priced up something along the lines of 150-200 anytime minutes, at least 1000 evening and weekend minutes, 100 long distance minutes, unlimited (essentially, or like 1000) text messages, Caller ID, and a voice mailbox. It’s looking like somewhere around $60/month for any of the above mentioned service providers, which is a little steep, but this would be my only phone since I move around too much to get a land line. I’m just waiting for these consumer-ised BlackBerries to drop on the Bell Mobility network. That way I can pick up an awesome device while retaining my current number. I can hardly wait for something like the current 7130s but with an MP3 player and a camera.

Anyways, that’s all for now. I think I’m going to start those posts on “Theatre of the Mind”. I’ve really been putting it off since I always think it’ll take too big of a chunk of time. I’m going to at least jot down some point form subjects I want to talk about.

Summer Arrives

It’s the end of another weekend and I’m heading back to the University of Waterloo on a very crowded bus. In the winter, this bus was always so empty and I wondered how the company made any money. Well, it’s the summer now (I’ll explain why in a bit) and Niagara Falls is the tourist place to be in the summer so the bus is pretty jam packed. I’ve got my arms scrunched up here trying to write this. Picture me with a 15.4” laptop on my lap trying to type with about a foot and a half’s space in front of my chest. It’s not pretty and feels pretty damn awkward to boot. Who knows if the people around me are looking at what I’m writing… Hey you there, stop peeking. Yeah, you.

The weekend wasn’t too bad I guess. I did quite a bit of preparation for studying (that means getting myself and my notes organized) and started reading the course notes. I really haven’t gotten through much of anything yet and I’ve got my three hardest midterms starting next Friday. It should be okay. I plan on existing in the library for most of the time this coming week. As well, I’ve got a few interviews which I’ve had to prepare a little bit for coming up early next week. Hopefully they’ll go well. If I can get a job in this first set of interviews, a big weight will be lifted from my shoulders. It would especially suck to have to worry about getting a job later in the year, especially around final exam time. They’ve removed the early match process that I used for last semester’s job so I’ll be able to go through all my interviews and hopefully make a more informed choice. I basically went for whatever job I could get in the first semester (it’s probably the hardest semester to get a job, and for good reason) but maybe, just maybe I can afford to be a little pickier this time around.

Oh, I mentioned it was summer earlier. Although the beginning of the summer season is officially June 21st, I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say summer is upon you in just about every sense of the word when you have three days in a row of 32°C weather (if you could read this Reese, I’m sure you’d be jealous). Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday next week is when the awesome weather will start. That’s not to mention that the weekend has also been extremely nice. This is only the start and I’m sure I’ll hate studying when there’s so much to do outside. I’ll get my fair share of Ultimate Frisbee in hopefully.

On The Bus

What a week. I’m sitting on the bus on the way back to the university, probably for the last time in quite a long while. School’s getting busier (after one week, I know) and there’s a friend who also lives in Niagara Falls with a car, so I can probably just mooch rides back with him from now on.

I finished my work report a full day earlier than the deadline. I went out and got my report bound at Staples earlier today. But that was only after I ran out of printer paper and had to do a quick run out for that. I also realized later around dinnertime that I had named my introduction section not introduction but technology background. As a result, to be on the safe side, I changed that little discrepancy the only way I knew how; I glued on a little piece of cut out paper. I wasn’t going to get the rebound again for one wrong word. I better not get too many marks taken off for aesthetics… Maybe I’ll post the report up here someday to see just how much better my BS has gotten since high school. J Okay, let’s be honest now; I did a lot of research on my topic while writing the report. It wasn’t all a big load. Hopefully they’ll accept my topic since it wasn’t exactly something I did on the job. Whatever, the report’s done and I’m happy.

The past week at university was quite a lot of fun. We didn’t have any (okay, we had one) tutorials and no assignments so I had quite a bit of free time. It’s not often that one gets that much free time while at university (and in engineering). I played a bunch of ultimate Frisbee, even when I felt pretty sick during the middle of the week. I’m not sure what that was exactly, stomach flu or something. I felt like throwing up constantly for those couple of days. I’m doing much better now, thank you very much.

While home, I also had to switch the 120GB external hard drive for the 200GB. The 120GB was overflowing with stuff and there’s so much more to download! I’m not even sure when I’m going to watch all the TV shows and movies, but I’m sure they’ll come in handy someday. It’s just nice to have right? That’s not to mention the 11.5GBs of techno… That effectively doubled my music library to over 20GBs. Yum.

Since it’s the summer semester, this bus doesn’t even go to the University of Waterloo campus anymore. Instead, I’ll have to find my way from the Charles Terminal in Kitchener all the way up to the university. Normally, I’d just take the iXpress, but that stops running around 6 or 7 pm. I’ve never actually taken the route without the iXpress so I’m sure it’ll be interesting tonight.

Well, time for me to watch some House. That show is just amazingly good. I’ll definitely have to write a post about that later on. But my suggestion for now is to watch it if you don’t already. You’ll thank me. 😛

Update: I just remembered that House is all on my external drive so I can’t watch it right now. Bummer. Starsky and Hutch it is then…

Home Once More

Well, this feels different. It’s now been three weeks since I’ve been on this bus with my laptop, writing away. So what’s on the docket for today?

Today was just about the same as yesterday. I started getting tired around 9:30 am and the attention span went downhill from there. The co-ops went out for lunch again today, but I decided to stick around the office instead, since I left early for catch the bus. I somewhat regret that since it was an extremely nice day and we had made reservations for a patio spot. It felt like summer with the sun blazing down, 20C temperature and a nice warm breeze. Couldn’t ask for anything more.

To keep some sort of attentiveness at work, I decided to crank out the old Seussical MP3s that I ripped from the CD about a year ago. That was quite a trip down memory lane. It kept me awake, but I wasn’t really doing any work. I was transported back to those days when I ate, breathed and lived Seussical in some shape or form. I was quite surprised just how many lines I still remember from all those songs. And I can still picture those notes on the page that I played over and over so many times. It also got me thinking about theatre and acting in general.

I can definitely see how theatre or acting would be an extremely enjoyable career. Now I’m not really talking about the bigshot movies or anything. I’m talking about the musicals and plays presented on a stage. It’s the sort of thing where you get one crack at it and only one crack. That rush of adrenaline is quite a feeling. And when the show’s over, that feeling of elation and satisfaction is so very addictive. The way that people grow together through all the hard work and fun is remarkable. I got such a little taste and yet I crave it so. I know a few people who are still at it. You can’t even begin to understand the envy I have for you sometimes. Engineering’s pretty much the opposite of what you’re doing. Don’t see too many musicals put on in engineering firms. 😉

In other news, I’ve become a big fan of Michael Buble’s It’s Time album. I remember listening to it quite some time ago and hating it. Well, for one reason or another, I’d probably have to say it I like it more than his self-titled album. I think it’s because there’s a great mix of big band tunes along with some more mellow ones. Okay, so I’m not a big fan of Home as it’s one of his more ‘poppy’ sounding songs, but the other song of his that seems to get played quite a bit is Save The Last Dance, but I absolutely love that one.

I almost forgot to say I did something awfully flukey today. I had looked up the bust times on the Coach Canada site. I decided I’d take the 4:30pm bus from Kitchener. So I backtracked to see what buses I would need to take to get there in time. After some searching I found I needed to take the 14 down to Conestoga Mall then I’d have 15 minutes until I needed to leave on the iXpress for the Kitchener terminal. I decided I’d spend those 15 minutes at the Bell Mobility store checking out some phones. Well, when I got to the Conestoga on the 14, I saw the iXpress just pull into the terminal. So I thought, ugh, I’ve got this big, heavy bag. I’ll just take this iXpress.

Well, when I actually got down to the Kitchener terminal, I waited only 10 minutes or so before the Coach Canada bus came and left. I made it. But if I had of done what I had intended to at the mall, I would have missed this bus. I’m not exactly sure which bus this is, since I really don’t think they’d just leave 15 minutes early for no reason… I told my parents I’d be in St. Catharines at 7:30pm or so, but I don’t think it’s going to take that long. I still need to ask the drive when we’re actually supposed to arrive in St. Catharines.

Well, that was an awfully long and rambling post, but it’s because I’m bored on this bus. I can hardly wait to eat some home-cooked food and sleep in my own bed. Oh, I’m so tired right now. I’m also hungry. This is probably a good time to break out those two-bite brownies I got just for this occasion. Toodles.

Think Outside The [_]

Ran into two slow as hell bus drivers today which made me almost miss the bus back home today.

Today was St. Patrick’s Day which meant early exits from work to hit up the bars by quite a few of the people at the job. As the bus was going downtown, I could see huge lines at some of the more popular pubs. (keep in mind this was at around 6PM) Seems like you really do need to go early.

I’ve made it a point in recent weeks to keep on top of all things business, tech and politics. This small conscious effort has allowed me to converse with so many new people o a wide variety of topics. It’s quite nice. I think the full timers are starting to see that I know more than the things I touch and directly surround me.

Additionally, I think I can safely say that blogging has been an actual benefit to me in an academic sense. I recent months, I’ve noticed tangible improvements in my creativity. I think I’m finally starting to do what they call ‘think outside the box’. If what I’ve been experiencing has indeed been that, it’s not as special as they say. You still have to put a lot of thought into things. It’s not like you’re sitting there and all of a sudden a great idea pops into your mind. You still have to set your mind to the task at hand. It’s a great feeling when people are shocked at what you come up with. I used to be strictly the implementer as PDEng would put it. Give me the idea and I’ll run with it. But perhaps, I’m starting to actual create good ideas of my own. For example, I helped a friend come up with a web domain name just yesterday that he instantly loved and registered.

It’s a different feeling when people come to you for ideas when you’ve been so used to going to others for ideas. I think I like it. 🙂

[tags]blogging, creativity[/tags]

Where’d The Time Go?

I’m sitting on the bus again, probably for the last time in a while since I don’t really have much reason to keep going home all the time anymore since moving. I sniped the seat with the most leg room so that I can write this in comfort.

I’ve really done a lot of nothing recently to tell you the truth. Ok, so the biggest thing this past week was probably me moving to the new residence, but even that isn’t all that interesting. And looking forward, there’s isn’t much that’s really exciting. I’m reading all these blogs of friends who are in far off lands and experiencing new things just about every day. Oh how my life pales in comparison. There’s just nothing here. I’ve always thought that boredom is probably one of the worst things in life. And it’s weird because I still don’t seem to get to bed any earlier. It’s like there’s this thing snatching time from my day, but I can never figure out what that thing is. Sure I’ve got some stupid PDEng to do or something, but recently, it’s felt like I can’t get to bed before midnight. Yet, when I think back on the evening, I can’t come up with where I’ve spent my time. All wasted I bet.

So in the organizational spirit, let’s see what I’ve got on the plate for this weekend:

  • Finish PDEng. I got an extension for one of the assignments with the excuse that I was moving this week. To be honest, I probably could have finished it in time if I actually had of planned my time a little better.
  • Write, write, write. This place has been pretty dead (well, the tech blog especially). I’ve got some ideas down, I just haven’t had time to actually fill them out with some solid content yet. I’ll get a few articles written this weekend hopefully.
  • Evaluate Drupal. I still haven’t had a chance to give Drupal a proper testing. I’m liking the Joomla thing less and less each time I visit it, so it’s definitely got to go.
  • Launch Amalgam. I’ve been working on and off on the new theme and I think it’s pretty much ready for its initial release. I just have to do a little more testing and I think it’ll be ready for public use.
  • Play UT2003? I need to unrustify.

I hope by getting these few tasks down on e-paper will help me organize myself a little better. I’ve been feeling so sluggish this past week. Perhaps it has something to do with the lack of sleep. I’ll definitely have to catch up on that this weekend.

In other news, a new building’s going up at UWaterloo. Actually, all they’ve done is dig up the ground in the field behind the SLC so far. I have absolutely no clue what’s going there, although rumors are indicating possibly: a CounterStrike building for the CS geeks, a beauty parlor so the guys and girls are a little more distinguishable, a giant calculator, or another pub to cut down the regular lines at the Bomber.

I’ll update you as soon as I find out which. 😉

Not All Bus Seats Are Created Equal

Well, this is turning out to be quite an eventful trip back to Waterloo. I knew something wasn’t right the instant the bus pulled into the terminal with like a 25 degree list to the left. After getting on the bus, we were told the (fairly) obvious: we weren’t going anywhere on that bus. So actually, I’m writing this not on the bus, but in the St. Catherines terminal. It’s also here where I noticed something pretty humorous.

As soon as we were told of the bus issue and that it’d be a while until a replacement bus could get here, there was a seemingly collective retrieval of cell phones from pockets to tell loved ones what was going on. It was so automatic.

Oh, just got up to go to the ‘new’ bus only to find out it wasn’t actually our bus and they made a mistake. On the plus side, a bunch of females came off the bus, so it wasn’t completely wasted time. It looked like a gymnastics team or something… Yeah…

Hmmm… where was I? Oh right, cell phones. So everyone hauled out their cell phone. Even I did. It’s actually kind of cool. We’re becoming more and more connected, no matter where we are these days.

I want our bus to get here already. I’ll write more once I’m on a bus. I’m not a big fan of writing in a notepad since I’ll have to type it up on the laptop later anyways.

Sweet, I’m finally leaving the St. Catherines terminal, at 9:10PM, a solid hour and 15 minutes late. That means I’ll roll into the UWaterloo campus around midnight. Superb. That’s exactly what I need to start off my week. The funniest part is some guy from the Niagara Region transit pushed a button in the bus’ back panel and realigned the hydraulics. In any case, we’re on a new bus right now; I’m not sure how safe I’d feel on that other bus even if were fixed. I’d definitely rather it went into the shop and got checked over. Hey, I talked to a guy to rode in on that tilted bus from Niagara Falls to St. Catherines so I didn’t even have it bad. That must’ve been freaky.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. In each of these buses, there are usually two seats with way more leg room than the rest. I’m not sure why it is, but it’s always around the same spot which leads me to believe it’s for some bus function. Anyways, I always try to get that seat since it gives me more room to spread out and type on my laptop. A 15.4” laptop isn’t exactly too comfortable to try and fit onto my lap between these seats. I didn’t get it today so I’m somewhat cramped right now.

So a pretty eventful night. I don’t think I’ve ever been delayed this long by anything short of a plane. I took some pictures of the bus so you’ll see what it looked like, but I’m too tired/lazy to post it up right now, so I’ll do that tomorrow when I get a chance.

[tags]bus[/tags]

Fighter Pilot

My bus driver thinks he’s a fighter pilot. “We’re direct into Hamilton; ETA 9:00.”

Well, the weekend was filled with its ups and downs. One of the downs was the fact that the Canadian men’s hockey team lost two games in a row. Now that’s not right. Watching those two games was generally not enjoyable. Another thing is the fact that I will not be creating a WordPress theme from scratch. In of itself, this is no big deal, but secretly, I’ve wanted to do something on my own so that I can write ‘By Charlie’, and not just ‘Based on’ someone else’s work. Who knows, right now it’s looking like it’ll just be another modification, but maybe I’ll get a shot of ambition and do it all on my own. We’ll see…

On the other hand, I got to speak with Nick over the weekend, making him exhaust of a good portion of his 15 Euro calling card. Anyways, that was just like old times with the random pauses of nothingness. We’d be each doing whatever on our end and just the fact that the other guy was still breathing into the phone was somehow comforting. I hadn’t spoken to someone on the phone for that long in quite a while.

Since it’s reading week at UWaterloo, I’m hoping that some of the guys at the res have gone back home. Hopefully I’ll be able to sleep in peace and quiet.

Oh, I love it when we drive up into the hill above Hamilton. The view is quite spectacular at night.