F 1 D 0 -- 2001 11 23 at 00 05

Things sometimes don't work out.

I'm glad when that fact doesn't cause
me stress.  Today I needed to pick up
a computer from my favourite computer
store, and deliver it to a good customer.

You dear reader could well be asking
why these people need me for the job.

I'm glad you asked.

These people are lawyers.  Good ones.
They specialize in the laws of entertainment.
Their clientele are singers, actors, bands.

I suppose I should buy Paul Sanderson's
book, Entertainment Law in Canada.  If I
got the title wrong, I'll amend this page.
And if the title is correct, I'll remove
the sentence of insecurity you are now reading.

They don't really understand the equipment
they rely on.  But that gives me a job to 
do for them.

Sometimes it is hard to explain what I do
for the buying of a computer.  

If you purchase the best, fastest, most
up to date technology, it loses value
almost instantly. Moreover, it doesn't
really get used nor exploited.  In an
office such as this, it will be used exclusively
for email and word processing. 

So you think they don't need anything
recent at all. Not so.

Microsoft has forced the world to 
use current things. Oh, not the most
most current, but still, it has to be
relatively fresh for it to count.

These people prepare documents for their
clients. Proposals, agreements, court
papers.  For this, they can use any old
word processor, correct?  Yes, that's right.

They send the file to the customer. It won't
matter if the document is officially "Word6-1995" 
formatted.  All versions of MSword and WordPerfect
will handle it fine.

But their customers will use their own programs
for editting and making minor changes.

When they save, it will be in the most up-to-date
format supported by their program. That is how
applications do things.  So for most people, this
will be "Word8-2000".

The document will arrive, and the sender can
no longer actually read the file in.  I will
get a phone call saying there is a problem with
the reading of attachments.

I will advise them to write their client, and
tell them to send it in a more universal way.
To send it in RTF, or Word6 or almost anything
old.  But they will not do that.

Instead, they'll forward the email to one girl's
desk who is running the most up to date Office
application, and she will read it and save it
in a convenient format. 

So like it or not, these people want to upgrade
their hardware to handle the current operating
systems (for them, windows 98 will suffice), and
the new office (office 2000 is what they want).

I've been coaxing them to get CD writers, so they
can back up, and DVDs so they handle that media
as it becomes available.

Today's computer wasn't broken. It was complete!
Uh, except for the DVD and for a network card.

I really like Sam at Alpha Plus.  He's been a
good vendor to me.  He also owns NATA computers
across the street.  I wish I could say nice things
about that store too.

You see, Sam has a policy. He is the only vendor
on the College Spadina computer strip who cheerfully
refunds when something is awry. 

That one thing makes him a joy for me to 
recommend. My customers can shop in confidence.

I've made a few mistakes. I've sent people over
to him.  I get treated well, but if he doesn't
recognize the customer, he sends them across the

Sam at Alpha Plus runs the store with his wife
Lisa, and his dog Jumbo.  The other place has
hired help, and they often have tempers.  It does
not take much in the way of pressure for me as a
customer to feel the stress.

Today the young apprentice accidentally said
aloud, "I think your computer is ready," to 
a customer.  The manager reamed him!  He said
he didn't know the customer, and didn't know
who may or may not be listening, and that such
errors can cost the company 30,000.00 or more,
and and and.

Apprentice said it was a mistake, and badly
wanted a place to hide.  I don't know if the
kid is smart as a fixer or not.  But I really
want my computer professionals to be calm as
cucumbers.  I want them to have the relaxed 
composure of a teacher of Yoga.

When I see Sam, he tells me to pick what I want.
I find the system special Du Jour, and add things
to that.  I like two drawers so that hard drives
become removeable media.  I want one or two kinds 
of CD, usually DVD and CDRW.  

Oh, I'm thinking you may not know the acronyms yet.
While CD means Compact Disk, I'm thinking that the
short form is best: CD.  In a computer, it is the
silvery disk with stuff on it.

DVD is Digital Video Disk.  And it looks just like
a CD.  Except it holds ten times as much.  When you
play a movie, it requires a special connection between
the video card and the player.  But to you the gentle
reader, they are the same, DVD and CDs.

CDRW is CD Reader Writer.  Also called a burner, 
these things also look the same!  But they can
take a blank CD, and copy things on to it.  In these
days of huge files, being able to save your hard
drive to 10 or 15 of these is a good idea.

When I finished, I went directly to the gym.

Too bad, they didn't have any classes I was
going to take.

I was planning a trip to Starbucks, but realized
that if I was on my own, I'd be made to feel very
welcome at Selam again.  So I went there.

I should have gotten out at Ossington Station,
but left at Christie Station and walked about
six blocks west.  I like the small stores
along the way.

One such small store was a Butcher.  I'd seen
him frequently, but after hours.  His eyes, and
those of his assistant, were begging me to buy
something.  So were his words.

"Don't you eat meat?" he asks.  "Sure I do, but
I'm not going straight home from here."  He would
have been happy if I bought some of his boneless
chicken for 3.99 lb.

I've found that the major supermarkets are putting
a lot of pressure on the smaller sellers of fruit,
vegetables and meat.  Too bad, really.

Have you noticed that store meat is always wet looking,
but the stuff behind the glass window (at the store,
or at the butcher) looks drier?

We used to have a big economy supermarket called
Knob Hill Farms.  There is still a building left
from this chain close to where I live.  It used to
have all kinds of meat sales.  It would change each
week, but there was always something to make it 
worth my time.  At Christmas, they'd have all of
the usual for less: turkey, ham, big roasts.  For
me, the magic number was 99c lb.  

Now that they've disappeared (the owner liquidated
the stores so he could get into owning a sports
team of some sort) the lowest price for most meats
are 1.99 lb, with the exception of chicken leg
quarters, at 79c lb.  

There are some true wholesale meat places
along Bloor Street, near Dufferin Street.

One is called Nahvo or something. They've
been there for ages.  Big Spanish store.
Each time I've gone in, they have some kind
of turkey for 39c lb, some kind of pork for
79c lb, and some kind of something else for
very little too.  The actual things reduced
vary. Also, I have to be prepared to take a
full box of it to get that price.  

But a 50 lb box of turkey wings, at 39c lb
is only 20.00 - an Awful Lot of meat, for 
very little money.

I was in a mood for beef today.  I took a
thick slice of blade from the freezer, and
did my usual thing with it.

I partially defrosted it in the microwave.
It was already packed in Soy Sauce, so it
had salt IN it, not just ON it.

I pre-heated a cast iron pan.

I found some fat on the meat, and chopped
some of that into the frypan. That was all
the fat I needed.

The meat had soft edges, but the middle
was still hard.  I reduced the heat from
highest to middle, and covered the steak.

Have you noticed that fried steak makes
the house smell very good?  Have you noticed
that if you cook that same steak in soup
or stock, while it will have less fat, and
probably be much healthier, it just won't
be as much fun to eat?

When the exterior was all barbecued from
the hot pan, I removed it, and cut thick
2 inch "fingers" of steak.  I basted
these in soy, and returned them to the 
hot pan, so they'd cook.  Sometimes I like
the meat blue, but for today, rare was what
the doctor ordered.

When I make stuff like this, it attracts
the other sharks in the house for a feeding
frenzy, and so everyone helped me eat the 
nice beef.

I'm all over the map today. Sorry about
that.  I'm not sure how to edit this, but
for today, I hope a stream of consciousness
works for you.

When I got to Selam, Elizabeth the server
girl was running the place by herself. I
was one of eight men in the restaurant.

Everyone was at the front, even me. Normally
I'm not a sit-at-the-bar guy, but to do any
different was to exclude myself.

Everyone at this bar interracted. I don't
speak Ethiopian nor Eritrean, so I missed
a lot.  But not everything.

One man, the one to my right, had been
sick for a long time, and lived across
the street. He begged and begged until
our server gave him a free drink.  He
insisted he'd pay tomorrow, and I think
he will.  He seemed most interested in
just holding it as he talked.  After half
an hour, he asked her to give him a glass
with water and ice so it would not be such
a strong drink for him.  He used to work
for the UN, and was sent to Beirut, Saudi
Arabia, Washington, Italy, Portugal and
other places.  He wished he would have 
been sent to Ethiopia, as he'd understand
the language. Also, the man to my left
was convinced he looked like someone from
there as well.

The man to my left was eating Gorem Gorem.
It is a beef sushi dish, if you like: the
steak is just warm, and tossed with a fragrant
spicy sauce.   As people came in, they'd
walk over, and talk to the guy.  Then they'd
rip off some of the bread, the indura, grab
some of his dinner, and finally sit down 
somewhere nearby.  Lots of people did this.
The server helped herself to his stuff too.

One of the men who came in this way sat
between us, and ordered a dish just like
his.  Now THIS guy was the sample place
for the bar.  But it seemed to be how things
happen here.  

At the window was a couple of people who
looked very Japanese. I'm not sure why
I am so certain.  They were just drinking
beers and talking together.

The server would visit with each of us,
ask us about something personal for a 
moment, and then move on.  

I was glad to spend an hour here.  

When I got back to the gym, I decided it
was time to write to complain about the
continuing lack of included classes.  

I recommended Amy, one of the leaders who
has done well.  But then I described how
the club had been treating me unfairly by
charging for a service that should be part
of my regular admission.

Brad is the new manager there.  He talked
with me, and said the other members hated
supporting classes they were not even attending.
I could not talk to that point. He also pointed
out that members on holidays were also paying
for my classes.  He felt that a la carte
aerobics were a fairer solution to everyone.

I wish I was sharper. I know there is something
wrong with the argument, but at the time, I was
not clear on how to defend my position.

Nevertheless, I left a copy of my letter with
him and with Carmela, the leader of aerobic classes
for this Bally's.

He insisted he'd escalate my letter so it 
was read by the right people in the corporation.

There is something so good feeling about working
up a major sweat, and then washing it off at the
club.  This happened today.  I did mostly upper
body work: arms, chest, upper back.

When I was warming up on the bicycle, I saw
the sit-com Friends for the first time ever.
I doubt I'll watch it again.

I arrived at home around 1100pm, and looked
into Talk City, to see if anyone was waiting
up for me.  I chatted a bit, but was eager
to commit this day's memories to words before
they faded.

The bus driver got my attention today. Years ago,
every bus driver had to know each and every stop
along his route, so he could call it out.  The guy
would almost sing each stop's name.  This happened
that way today.  When you consider that the driver
will only be on this route for six weeks, this is
a big deal.

It was *very* busy on my bus tonight.  Standing
room only.  At 1030pm, it should not be such a
busy trip.  Maybe more people work late, and
get home late than I figured.

I'm going upstairs soon. I made some
rice earlier, and didn't taste it yet.
I'd like something. I'm not starving, but
this is my time to get a bite before it
gets any later.

That's all I know.