Waiter

I was being a sales last week and I became a waiter this week. Tonight is another fund raising event for the World Youth Day. It was an auction dinner. I don’t really like this idea when it first proposed because it takes too much work. Indeed there are lots of preparation work to get the sponsors and tonight is really tough. I had never been a waiter before in my life, and I’m sure I don’t want to be one ever. I am originally assigned to take care of the drinks counter, which is probably the most easy job, all I have to do is sit there and hand out pops. Some girls are assigned to serve coffee and tea, they have to walk around and refill the guests. It turn out that is much more demanding than expected as the pot are quite heavy and people drinks alot. In order to give a good service, I end up helping out the girls to bring water, coffee and tea to the tables. The guest even thought I am actually the one who is responsible for their cups. Walking back and forth on the floor, remembering who wants what kind of drink is not fun, and worse I have to wear a smile all the time even though I hate pouring drinks. Comparing to the clean up after the dinner to restock the dishes, stack the table, this brainless manual labor seems much easier, at least I can keep my brain activity to the minimum. The Bible said thou shalt serve others, I seriously doubt the practicality of that teaching. Serving others and pretend to be graceful is one thing, but serving others with a true heart is quite different. I can understand the professionalism in the exchange of service and rewards. But who would truly serve others and why would they want to do that? Other than having intangible rewards return spiritually, there really make no sense to serve others. Helping your friends or be kind to a stranger once a while with no commitment are honorable charities that give you a good feeling. However serving others full time are beyond all reasons. Even thought those are mostly harmless nice people, their actions don’t follow logic and are unpredictable. Thus they have the potential to become very dangerous lunatics.

Walk the dog

I found taking care of Charlie, the golden retriever of Pat, is quite time consuming. I have to remember feed him every morning before I go to work and go home early to feed him dinner. Since he is very bored staying home all day, I try to walk him every night. Walk the dog is more time consuming that I had expected. Just want to the park close to Pat’s place and back takes over 15 minutes, and it would take more time if I let him run around in the park. For time when I’m around, Charlie is very lazy. He usually lays in front of the window or TV doing nothing, and very slow in responding to my commands. It is very easy to recognize dog’s facial expression to tell whether he is happy or sad. After this experience of living with a dog, I’ll definitely think twice before getting my own dog in the future.

Layoff

There is another round of layoff today in the company. We had already lost track of the number of layoff, it maybe the fifth or the sixth round. It is not affecting the Headquarter in Burnaby at all. Over 60 engineers are let go in the Santa Clara design center, which is over 2/3 of the design team down there. It’s mainly due to the company decided to exit the custom MIPS core business, therefore we no longer need their expertise. We can foresee the closure of that division when we use the licensed core from MIPS instead the custom core in our own product. Upon hearing the news around lunch time, our usual group have a concern on the fate about Suzanne. Lucky that later in the day, she sent an email to all of us saying she is safe. From my experience and what I heard from other companies, it’s always more secure to work in the corporate headquarter or at least the regional main office. Tiny remote sites often become the first victim of downsizing.

Reinstall

Today continues the painful process of installing software. I get most of the software installed, and I realized I forgot to copy two very important pieces of information from my old hard drive, they are my firefox bookmark and palm desktop contact list. I wonder why can’t all the software save their data in one centralized location, so I only have drag one directory every time I update my system.

Computer Crash

Fortunately, I am able to recover the data from my harddisk after running fixboot, fixmbr, chkdsk /p and fdisk /mbr on the recovery console from the Windows XP CD. However, unfortunately, the OS is beyond repair, I can’t even start file explorer or even go online. To reinstall my computer, I have to find some disk space to host my data while I reformat the harddisk. So I end up buying a 200GB harddisk for backup, and since I am going to open up the case, I got myself extra 1GB of RAM. Now my system has 1.5GB RAM and 440GB harddisk space in total. I’m planning to use the new harddrive and the 512MB RAM in the MS cheap computer though. I still haven’t decide whether should I take advantage of that deal, but will see how it goes.
To save time, I’m going to install the essential software. I found I had installed way too many software that I had not even used once. It’s a painful and unproductive process that I want to go through as soon as possible.

On a side node, when I was messing inside the case, I accidentally pressed the stand-by button of the cable modem and I’m not aware of it. I called the support line to make myself look like a fool for asking why the internet doesn’t work when the cable modem in stand-by mode. While I was waiting for the tech support, the system always play meaningless messages. I find a very stupid one telling the customer who has problem with their internet access to visit their support website. Duh! If I can visit the support website, I won’t be calling this number, go figure.

Dual monitors

Finally I received my dual LCDs at work after waiting for almost two months since I had talked to Uncle Bob. Colleagues gathered around my cube today and check out the dual LCD setting. I am not sure how to measure the productivity increase using dual displays, but it definitely much more convenient to use. The moral of this story is that you will get what you want if you keep asking for it and ask it to the right person.

My windows machine is dead and it keep rebooting itself. I suspect some files of the OS is corrupted since it won’t even boot into safe mode. The only option I have is to re-install windows. I hope the windows recovery works so I won’t lost my data. Sigh.. I don’t have much time to re-install all the software.

Selling T-shirts

Today I spent almost the whole working on Worth Youth Day fund raising again. All those fund raising events taking too much of my time, and the amount we get back really won’t justify all the effort. Anyways, we are selling lots of stuffs in St. Mary after masses. I’m taking care of selling the T-shirts. Pat designed the T-shirt, the light color one looks pretty nice, but the dark color one don’t turn out too great. The T-shirt selling system is very confusing, so I end up have to run up and down stairs a lot to get the color people want to buy. I guess we sold almost 200 hundred T-shirts over the weekend. Since the T-shirt are donated by someone, all the money go to the WYD team. In a few weeks, we have to distribute the T-shirts, I can foresee it would be more chaos than today. From today’s experience, I know I would never want to be a sales, especially clothes sales.

faith formation

I went to the 2nd faith formation session held by the Vancouver archdiocese for everyone who is going the World Youth Day. The topic is on prayers, presented by the Youth Ministry director and the newly ordinate deacon Anthony. Claymoo make a funny presentation, he make analogy of prayer to cell phone plans. Staring with the most basic plan cannot place out-going calls, can only able to listen incoming calls occasionally. One level up can only call 911 in the case of emergency. A higher level gives you unlimited minute on a weekend morning, but cannot place call during the weekdays. A better plan includes some minutes over the week and the best plan gives you 24×7 unlimited access but could cost quite some sacrifice . He put it in a very funny way, sorta like a salesman getting people to upgrade their cell phone plan. This kind of trick always works in preaching by trapping the audiences’ mind into pre-defined categories. I wonder in this analogy, what if I say I want to switch the carrier? Bro. Anthony talked about penance, and use his boring talk as an example. As a result I didn’t sleep in his talk this time, and offered all the boredom to God as my penance. Still, I don’t understand that why God wants penance in the first place. What good can my boredom brings to God?

Piano

Pat will have her piano exam next Monday, so she is practicing piano very hard. To encourage her, I bought sushi for dinner tonight and deliver to her place. When I arrived, she was watching a documentary on the history of piano. The internal mechanism of a piano is an art of engineering, I can’t believe each piano has more than 2000 pieces. The history of piano is not very long, only a few hundred years old. I also known that Bach is the first piano composer. I wonder how do the musician back then learn to play piano when it was still a prototype not commonly known. After the dinner, Pat make me listen to her exams rehearsal, It is my pleasure to listen to Pat’s rehearsal (changed due to censorship), which last about 30 minutes. It is quite relaxing listening to classical music after a big meal, so I fell asleep. Pat grumble about both me and her piano teacher sleep when she plays. Oh well, maybe her music has some magic power putting people to sleep. I would like to start listening classical music to improve my taste. I had already downloaded over 100 classical CDs in mp3. The only problem is that I can’t recognize the name of the songs or the composers. It is not fun when you don’t even know what you are listening to.

Bubbling wine

In today’s German class, the teacher offered us some bubbling wine to celebrate her admission to UBC education program. It seems that we have alcohol in every one of the past few German classes. It’s nice to have beer or wine and learn at the same time. The environment is really friendly, much better than class room style of teaching. We held lots of conversation in German, but due to my lack of ability, I can barely follow the talks, never mind taking part in it. I read out allow my composition and had it corrected by the teacher. I made lots and lots mistakes, especially on word order and the use of preposition. My vocabulary is still very weak, really need to memorize more verbs, nouns and adjectives. I can understand all the grammar rules well, just often forgot to apply them in my sentences. My pronouncation is the worst of all, but I couldn’t really help on that part, I have no one to practice German with. Hope with my beginner level German, I can survival the two weeks World Youth Day trip in August.