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 street. 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.