01 February 2010


My 13 jobs

This month, February 2010, marks three fricking years since I first went on disability leave for cancer treatment. (And, incidentally, since we got our Nintendo Wii.) This got me thinking about all the jobs I've had in my life, starting back when I was still in high school.

It turns out that I've worked for 13 organizations, if you include my own company when I was freelancing. I did not enjoy every job, but each taught me something:

Year(s) Job Lesson
1985? Graveyard-shift self-serve gas station attendant Don't be a graveyard-shift self-serve gas station attendant. Also, burnt coffee smells really bad.
1988 Park naturalist Science is fun, five-year-olds aren't patient, but summer jobs are a great place to meet your future wife. Also, avoid flipping your canoe.
1989 Science centre floor staff Science is fun, but you'll spend most of your time telling people where the bathrooms are.
1990 Student handbook editor Choose your fonts carefully, and people never get things in on deadline.
1991 Student society admin assistant It's a long way to pick up your printouts across campus when you type them on a mainframe computer.
1991 English conversation coach Japanese girls definitely interested in learning English; Japanese boys (who smoke like chimneys), not so much.
1992–1994 Student issues researcher Creating your own job is great, but it sure would be nice to have an office with a window.
1994–1995 Full-time rock 'n' roll drummer Playing live music onstage is often awesome. Everything offstage, however, usually sucks.
1995–1996 Magazine advertising assistant No matter how nice your co-workers, a bad boss can ruin the whole experience.
1996–2001 Various software company jobs, from developers' assistant to webmaster Even if you know almost nothing about how to do it, when someone asks you if you want to run a website, it's still worthwhile to say "sure!"
2001–2003 Freelance technical writer and editor The paperwork to run your own business is immensely boring.
2001–2003 Semi–full-time rock 'n' roll drummer Rock is more fun when you mostly stay in town and get paid better.
2003–2007 Communications Manager, Navarik Working with friends can be a good thing, especially when they have good ideas. Oh, and a decent extended-health plan is really, really important.

In the late '80s, I also helped my friend Chris install alarm systems in people's homes and businesses, but while I got some money from it, it wasn't quite a job in the same way. It was more like when I helped him repair cars and resell them around the same time. Though in those cases, I did learn that I dislike crawling around in fibreglass-filled attics running wires, and that I'm not too fond of all the grease, gunk, and rust involved in auto work either.

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28 April 2008


Vroom vroom!

When it's raining like this outside...

Rainstorm 04

...there's only one thing to do:

Mario Kart Wii 3

Oh yeah, baby!

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11 April 2008


Thank you, Mario Party

My hope that I wouldn't see a repeat of my chemotherapy vomiting from a couple of weeks ago didn't come to pass: last night I had one of those face-squeezing barfs that feels like it would come out my eyes if I could even keep them open. But it only happened once, then I felt a bit better, slept for hours and hours, and this morning was awake and feeling semi-decent by 8 a.m.

UPDATE: After a pretty good day overall, I puked again Friday night around 7, but it wasn't as bad as yesterday. I feel much better after that.

I also find that playing Mario Party 8 is a great distraction, even by myself. It's easy and random enough that I can't get too worked up about it, but it's fun and takes my mind off the various poisons coursing through my body until tomorrow afternoon. My wife and I might even try playing it again, without our daughters for a change. The kids take it a little more seriously than we do.

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07 November 2007


Nintendo Wii remote jacket unboxing

I received my four free wiimote jackets today. (I guess there was a whole lot more unintentional TV- and head-bonking than I've experienced.) Here's how the unpacking went:

Wiimote jacket unbox - 01 - bag Wiimote jacket unbox - 02 - contents Wiimote jacket unbox - 03 - side by side Wiimote jacket unbox - 04 - front Wiimote jacket unbox - 05 - side
Wiimote jacket unbox - 06 - back Wiimote jacket unbox - 07 - top IR transceiver Wiimote jacket unbox - 08 - bottom connector Wiimote jacket unbox - 09 - four jackets Wiimote jacket unbox - 10 - leaning towers

I like Nintendo's "puffy parka" silicone design better than the third-party skins I've seen up till now. The only problem? The wiimotes no longer sit upright in Nintendo's own organizer tray that we have.

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11 October 2007


Awkward but workable

Wii System at Flickr.comYesterday, Nintendo released some software updates for the Wii that permit you to make reasonably full use of a USB keyboard to type stuff like URLs and text in the Opera-based Internet Channel browser and other places.

In fact, I'm using my old Apple Pro Keyboard on the Wii to type this right now, and it works pretty well. I needed an extension cable to reach the Wii (a wireless USB keyboard would be good), and I still need to use the Wiimote to click buttons. Plus there is no way to select or copy and paste text, as far as I can tell, which is annoying. But it works, and it's a lot better than pecking the onscreen keyboard with the Wiimote as I had to do before.

Ideally, Nintendo or someone else would come out with a wireless keyboard that includes some of the Wiimote features to make the process work better, but for now it's an acceptable experience.

It would be even better with an LCD HDTV instead of our old CRT unit, but if I want to browse the Web for real, I really should use one of our computers anyway. At the moment, browsing Flickr and Facebook works well enough that it is no longer painful. Good job, Nintendo.

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10 October 2007


Wacka wacka!

Pacman at Flickr.comYour friend and mine, Pac-Man turns 28 years old today.

I never had a full-fledged case of Pac-Man Fever, but I did spend a good amount of time playing clones like Gobbler, Snack Attack, and Taxman on my Apple II. Plus I had the September 1982 Mad magazine with Pac-Man on the cover.

The Nintendo version is now available as a cheap download or disc for our Wii, or even for my iPod—maybe I should give it a spin for nostalgia's sake.

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