Thursday, December 27, 2012

Winter Storm of December 27th, 2012

Pointe-Claire Village

Marche de l"Ouest

Petro-Canada on the corner of des Sources and Anselme Lavigne

View up des Sources from Petro-Canada

Driveway snow removal on Fredmir blvd.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Seasons Greetings.

I also feel like saying "Bah Humbug". I don't like Christmas, haven't' since being a small child. I still have memories of stalking the Christmas tree at age 3 and telling my mom the next morning there was no Santa, and no Christmas miracles. It was her, that I'd seen her. 

My mom would put the presents under the tree in the wee hours of the morning while I slept and she'd also add the baby Jesus in the crib.  She'd say the angels brought him in the middle of the night. Well not after I was 3. Then he was added Christmas day in the Manger scene!

Today won't be much different then any other day, but I won't leave the house. 

I can't remember when I started hating this time of the year, was it as a teen or was it when my kids were little and the whole pressure to go to in-laws and have gifts ready for a certain time. But I certainly hate it. 

I like the idea of celebrating yule this way I don't look like I don't like to party :)  I don't like to party much but.... well I do like it from time to time. 

My best gifts this year are that those people close to me are well. Those who have had surgery are still here and healing. :) 

My wish for the new year, may all the little Syrian children get to see a life without Civil War. Let Assad leave already before he kills half the country. The longer he stays the worst off the Syrian people will be.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I'm all in awe.....

I generally feel like crap. I always feel like I could have done better or tried harder. I often feel I was not enough of a good daughter, good mother, good child, good parent,  good friend, good spouse, good employee, good boss/team leader, good resource for interns,  good whatever. In general.  Instead of seeing that I do try hard to be a good person and to be good to others, I just see my failures. Even if I get 99% right, I just see the 1% that's wrong.

And the past couple of  days, past my blow up/meltdown day, Wednesday, it's an odd feeling [and sometimes I even feel like an imposter], that I'm actually appreciated.  Some people do actually like me. Moodiness and all.

There's this young woman at work that I mentored, like I do to any new girl because working in the almost all male environment takes getting used to. And it helps to have someone to escape to from time to time. My Sailor daughter appreciates the company of other women with whom she might have little in common with,  since being in the Navy sometimes as the one of the few women.  So this girl baked me a birthday cake, it was gluten free, casein free and refined sugar free.   And the note she gave me moved me. Something about when she has a bad day, what helps her cheer up is to come to hang out with me. 

My girlfriend has been staying with me after her surgery and well it was nice to have her around on my birthday and she got me  neat balls to help me with my number fingers and a beautiful Poinsettia. I hope we don't kill this one too. The one I got myself is mostly dead and it didn't make it to Christmas.

One daughter got me a Dragonfly windchime, with a really high pitched chime. Very unique. The other got me a glass coaster/decoration that says "The beauty of a mother's love never fades". and well it's very touching.

It stunned me too that over 65 people wished me a happy birthday on my facebook timeline alone, never mind those who sent me private messages and my buddy in the ADHD group who wished me happy birthday in the group so another dozen or two people there.  Not random strangers, but people I've chatted with.

Something else, in this Private Adult ADHD group on facebook, I've found incredible amounts of love and support.  Where I feel appreciated at least some of the time. Other times I still feel like foot in mouth syndrome. But then that's part of having ADHD.   I've made friends in that group, friends who struggles I can relate to. 

It's rare but at the moment I feel incredibly loved and appreciated and it's from my daughters, and my friends.  It's funny I'm struggling with the emotions. I just feel very special. and I should just go with it.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

I had elves in my studio on my Birthday!

Hanging out with my homie!

Spock the jester elf!
Pixie the mischievous elf.     

Jethro, trying to be festive.

Friday, December 14, 2012


I haven't been pissed off enough that my asshole Mohawk ex had to call me at work today. Like I needed to hear his fucking voice .

I have fucking nothing to say to him except FUCK YOU.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Emergency rooms suck

Yesterday we spent 5 hours in the Heart Institute emergency room, waiting for my friend to be seen by a doctor. The site in her right arm where they had put the catheter for the ablation was sore, and had woken her up several times in her sleep the night before. The arm was swollen and bruised. She was worried she might have a blood clot. We figured the best place she could go to be seen was at the emergency room of the Heart Institute in Montreal since this is where she had the procedure last Tuesday. The staff would be familiar with possible complications post-surgery. 

The good points of having been at that emergency is that it's only for heart patients. So that also means that the majority of the patients there have non-contagious problems.  The downside is that patients were taken in order of severity. Her arm wasn't considered that severe, so it took about 5 hours to be seen. Thankfully the doctor spoke perfect English so she could speak to my friend directly.  

The other good point, is that I got to spend 6 hours with my friend. And although the circumstances were not the best, we had some great laughs, we talked, we giggled, it was like old times. And you have to cherish those little moments in life. Sure it's not a fun place to be, and she would have preferred not to be bra-less in a hospital gown for 5 hours in a waiting room with a really sore arm, that reminded her of this fact each time she moved it a hair, but I had a good time in her company. 

She's going back to the hospital on Monday where they will do an ultra-sound of her arm and hand to see if there is a blot clot. Thankfully since this is in an artery, it is less dangerous, and even if there was a blood clot, they would not need to do surgery to remove it. They just need to give medications and monitor it's progress.  

Personally I'm more comfortable the later she goes back home. I'm concerned about her driving back home if she's not recovered enough or if there are post-surgery complications. She's best followed at the Heart Institute. After all they developed the procedure she had and have only been using for a year on patients.

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Heart institute of Montreal

My friend had her ablation at the Montreal Heart Institute. It's located in the eastern part of the Montreal Island, at Viau and Belanger, which is not an area fraught with homeless people or the like.  And yet the first time we used the bathroom on the main floor next to the Emergency, we found 2 empty bottles of Black bull hiding being a toilet.

Two days later when I came to pick up my friend, I made a pit stop at the same bathroom on my way to pick up a wheelchair to take her home. Well that time, this bathroom smelled like 20 people had just had cigarettes in there.  That really got my goat. It's a HOSPITAL for HEART PATIENTS. Must you fucking smoke?  Especially when you are 10 feet from outside and you can go smoke outside?  I don't care if it was a patient. You might be fucking with your heart but what about other people?

And the last bitch I have is, yes you're in Quebec, but do you have to be rude and unwelcoming to someone who doesn't speak French?  If you have a patient refereed to your hospital from another province a little courtesy goes a long way. Saying "Speak French, we're in Quebec" is rather insensitive.   It's a fucking hospital, how about treating the patient properly. If the patient has no French, then how are you providing good care if you don't even try to help them in their language.

Other then that the procedure went well. She's all black and blue from the various catheters and tubes that were put inside her, and disoriented due to the sedation, it's giving her LSD like dreams. Other then that my friend is in good spirits and we're all keeping our fingers and toes crossed that this intervention will permit her to have a more normal life, without heart medications.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Good deal on a HDHC card

Went shopping with my friend before her surgery. One place she wanted to go was Best Buy.  I was looking for a new mouse, since the 2 cordless mice I have downstairs on one of my old PC's didn't work anymore.  I also looked around for other deals. I was looking at the camera equipment and I noticed they were selling a Sandisk Class 10 32Gb SDHC for $29.99. This sale ends on December 6th.

 I remembered them being more expensive then that. I checked on my Android and elsewhere it's around $75. So I picked that up. When I bought the new Sony A65, I had only found a 16Gb Class 10 card for a good price, in that case it was $15 at Staples.

As for the mouse, I found a $10 Logitech cordless mouse at a discount store on Begin street in Ville St Laurent.  I could care less that it's a model from 2 or 3 years ago. So long as it works and it worked.  I'd rather buy a brand name mouse from several years ago, then a new no-name. Call me fussy.

More surgery

From her wall post on Facebook, it seems my daughter's surgery went well and she is home, recovering with pain killers. Apparently they put screws in her knee and I made a stupid comment on her wall because I couldn't help myself.  [That and laughter is the best medicine]

Last night I drove my friend all the way to the Montreal Heart Institute where she is having her ablation done this morning.  She was happy I accompanied her into the Hospital for the check-in process as the person at the information desk didn't speak anything but French. The woman who checked her in didn't seem to speak much English either. She was friendly and pleasant enough despite feeling a little under pressure, because it was the first time she was filling out admission papers for an "out of province" patient. However they knew she was coming because when we arrived at the admissions desk, she asked if she was the patient from New Brunswick. I found that highly re-assuring. It meant in my mind they were expecting her and ready for her.

We stayed with my friends during the first 2 hours while they poked and prodded her. There were pre-surgery blood tests. They also put a heart monitor on, one that permits the patient to walk around on her own. We left at 8:30 because I was exhausted and I still had to drive home. I felt bad leaving her there alone, I'm sure she would have liked if her husband, son and I stayed until  they kicked us out, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to drive home, I felt I was crashing.

As I understood it, she's not the first patient they are operating on this morning, but the second patient. So they will take her sometime between 9 and 10 this morning. Thankfully I was so tired I actually slept last night, for the first time in close to a week.

Monday, December 03, 2012

My baby is having surgery.

So my youngest daughter went into the Hospital at 7am this morning. They will be fixing her ACL. She's hoping that she gets an epidural so she can be awake during the procedure. It's going to take 1 and a half hours, personally for a surgery that long, I'd want to be asleep. But I get it. When my kids were born, I had told their dad, that if they needed to do a C-section on me I did not want to be asleep and miss my babies being born.

Here's hoping that everything goes the best possible for her today. And her leg is the best it can be after this surgery heals!

Saturday, December 01, 2012

I wish I could sleep!!!

To say that I spent 3 months of my pregnancy with my eldest sleeping 16 hours a day.  And now if I sleep 4 hours a night I'm lucky.  I'm feeling sick, and I'm feeling like I need rest, but I have not been able to catch a wink of sleep since I got home around 1pm Friday. I've tried. I've been lying on my couch and in bed on and off and no joy.

Sleep, I want sleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Luna is a bitch!

At least that's what one of my buddies in the ADHD group says. Many of us believe he's probably right. I always have problem sleeping on nights where the moon is full. But I have problems sleeping. Gee, like a lot of other people with ADHD. 

And on nights like tonight I HATE myself. I was so tired around 8:30 last night that I lay down on my couch while watching "Corner Gas". Well I was out like a light till about midnight. You think I've been able to sleep since?  I cannot allow myself to sleep before 1 or 2 AM because otherwise I don't sleep till morning. The fact that I slept almost 4 hours means my brain isnt tired anymore. It wants to paaaaaaaartay the rest of the night. 

What's keeping me up, well.. Next Monday, my youngest daughter is having knee surgery to repair a broken ACL. That's some important ligament in the knee.  While they are fixing the ACL, they will also look to see if they can do something for her meniscus. She was supposed to have the surgery a month ago but it was delayed.  

Next Monday night I drop off my friend at the Heart Institute in Montreal. She's having an ablation done Tuesday, in hopes that it resolves the problem where her hearts beats incredibly fast. This is a problem she's was born with, and hopefully this time they will be able to fix her heart so it no longer does this. It's not healthy for your heart to be at 115 bps when at complete rest and go up to 150 bps when getting up just to use the facilities.  Which is where her heart was at for 5 days 2 weeks ago, before it was reset.  Also not something one wants to have done to their person too often. Have heart stopped and have it paddled back to function.

I'm crossing my fingers and toes, and praying that everything will go the best for both.  Thankfully, my 5 releases that were supposed to happen next week have been pushed off a week, so I can at least manage my stress a little better.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Those poor Syrian children

Those poor Syrians in general. Things have not improved, in fact the civil war is spreading. Now there's a blackout in Damascus as the fight for Syria continues and Assad fails to see how much he's screwing his people over.  I keep praying at Assad leaves or that he happens to be a casualty of war. After all he's been saying he's going to die in Syria.

The Syrian conflict has inspired a whole series of cartoons, that expresses the feelings of the various sides.

The situation in the middle east is still deteriorating, with the situation in Gaza and the situation in Egypt not improving either. These are interesting times we live in.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Different types of ADHD

Dr Amen talks about 6 different types of ADHD and according to his subtypes I'm most likely the "Basal Ganglia" or "Ring of Fire" type. It fits my problems and my description. It also fits that stimulants aren't that helpful with this type of ADHD and that diet makes all the difference in the world.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Consider who you donate money to this season

When I hear Salvation Army I think of a place where the poor can find help, like with clothes or small items of furniture.  Generally the fact it's a Christian sect doesn't phase me as it took people that others weren't willing to take in their churches, but apparently they take everyone but gays. 

So if you're considering donating to them, consider this.

Vietnamese hot sauce.

Lately I've taken to making myself eggs with 2 heaping teaspoons of the Sambal Oelek featured on the left.  I find it adds a bit of kick and the most interesting thing is that it seems to settle my stomach.  

What I like about the two jars of  hot sauce on the right is that neither has added sugar in that ingredients list, but if you get the ones in the bottles, they have sugar. so I stick to the ones in the jars.

What's awesome is that there is at least half a dozen places that sell this product in my shopping area. So no problems finding it. I think we'll also be carrying some when we go on camping trips. Also good to keep animals away from your food :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Berbere stew

I made Ethiopian Lentil stew, or Berbere stew, following this recipe. Its not the first time I make this recipe, but it had been a while since the last time I did it.  It is delicious on a bed of brown rice and is a gluten free vegan meal. I was reading comments at the recipe where some folks suggest that 2 tablespoons of the spice might be too much, I think I put closer to 3 tablespoons. Then again I've been liking my food spicy of late.
I also love the Berbere spice mix, to give some kick to my seven-bean salad. The way the flavour of the Berbere spice mix marries with the red wine vinegar and olive oil makes my seven bean salad incredibly unique.

Android apps

I've had an Android for over a year and I'm just slowly finding applications for it that I'm finding useful. When I first got my Android, most of the applications I installed, I thought might be useful and then I never used them. So I uninstalled many of them. 

Recently I've been looking for an application that helps me find stores when I'm somewhere I'm not familiar with. The Google "Local" is good for restaurants, and bars but not so good for finding a shoe store for instance.  Sure I can find an application that tells me where all walmart stores or all Canadian tire stores are, but I don't want 2000 apps, one per store,  I want just one that will help me find stores that are withing walking distance when I'm somewhere. 

I installed "Point Inside". It's an application that will help you navigate inside most large Malls and Airports. I used it the first time at Carrefour laval yesterday and it worked well. I came in by a door I don't usually use, and wanted to find American Eagle Outfitters.  I opened the application, it showed me a map of Carrefour Laval and and pointed where the American eagle was and I was able to find the location of the American Eagle and use it to navigate. Didn't have to find a map and figure out where I was.  Sadly it only works for large Malls.  But I'm happy to say it finds malls in Halifax, Moncton, Saint-Johns, and Fredericton.

I also love my Canadian Tire application. Especially since you can use it to scan items at the store and find it it's regular price.  I took off the IKEA application. It was like having a catalog on my phone it wasn't that helpful. Besides I rarely go to Ikea more then twice a year. I go to Canadian Tire far more often and when I go camping, I can find the nearest Canadian Tire on my route. 

GasBuddy is a great application as well. It points to you all the closest gas stations to you and how much their gas is. When in Montreal, most of the time I don't want to drive to find cheap gas, but when I'm on the road, it's helpful to know I don't have to stop at the first one I see, that there is another one down the road with better prices.

The Google maps on my phone are great too. I've not needed to buy a GPS unit because between the google maps and the GPS on the phone it really helps you navigate.  Even when I get no cell reception, so map cannot update close up but  I can still get my location. When we canoed around Lac Sorcier, I hadn't realized we'd crossed the entire lake. The GPS showed me we had. I have the google Star map, though I've yet to use it. Will have to remember to use it next time I'm stargazing :)

And for when I'm bored in a train station, there's the Savage Love app.  I can read his advice all day and all night. Nothing more entertaining then a gay columnist with an open mind, and no nonsense  sex advice. 

I won't talk about the Facebook application except that it's probably the app I use the most.  Especially since I like checking in.  As for ease of use, and stability well I won't say much. I find it unstable at best. But it's free and I don't have to use it. 

The other application I've been using is called "Shopping lists". This is the 2nd or third app I try using for making lists to not forget items when shopping. I'm not sure how much I like it or how much I've used it. I think last time I needed a list I wrote it on the back of an envelope. 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Best giggle all day....

For the record I'm both for Gay marriage and marijuana being legalized. But this interpretation had me floored.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Highway 40 at sunset

Highway 40 at St Regis blvd just before the Sources Exit taken with my cell phone

Update on "Ah the help you get"

About a month ago I had an entry about the incompetence of the live chat tech on the Dell site. I had told one of my co-workers that the machine he wanted came with the features he wanted. 

Well the machine arrived last week, it was UEFI, had Wind8ws 64 bits installed and secure boot enabled. That means that if you do not use a card with UEFI graphics BIOS it will NOT BOOT. Of course to make it boot you can change settings in the systems UEFI BIOS and disable secure boot.

In the end I was right and the dell live chat tech didn't know her ass from her elbow. The machine came with the exact features my co-worker wanted.

Great article on the perils of Alcohol

Considering that I tend to pick up men with drinking issues, this article is very apropos.  It's well written and discusses how to protect from the  dangers of alcohol and alcoholism.  I'd send this to my drunken Mohawk ex but he probably wouldn't read it because he doesn't have a problem.  Just because it's legal doesn't make it any less dangerous.   Apparently it's people with bi-polar disorder that are more likely to abuse alcohol in hopes to help them with their mood  dysrhythmia. It doesn't help and with time it turns them in creeps. 

I'm sure my manic-depressive biological dad was just self-medicating with the volumes of alcohol he took daily. My mom used to say it was either one or two 40 ounces of hard liquor a day for him.  Under that type of intoxication he found it a good idea to try strangling me in my sleep at 2 1/2. Yeah sound judgment there. 

He would probably argue that it never happened, that he has no recollection. He certainly couldn't think of any reason why his daughter wouldn't want to have anything to do with him when he started calling me in my late teens. He had the nerve to say my mom had turned me against him. GEE. YOU DON"T THINK TRYING TO KILL YOUR DAUGHTER WOULD TURN HER AGAINST YOU?  Of course not. It's like my Mohawk ex - the one in denial.  I'm the bitch who won't talk with him ,and he doesn't get why. Because he never remembers how much of a douche he is when he drinks. 

I stopped drinking myself 31 years ago because I cannot control my inhibitions when I drink. I came to that mature realization at 19 years of age. I knew then that if I wanted to have a chance at a normal life I COULD NOT DRINK.  I'm not sure how normal my life has been till now, but far more so then if I had been drinking all this time. 

I really hope that the men that were in my life with drinking problems will find the will power to stop drinking. It's all I can hope for. It sucks that alcohol despite taking it out of my life, still haunts me in ways it should not. And before anyone thinks that being a dry alcoholic is easy, I still wonder if just trying one drink might not be fun one day. It's been so long.... alcohol still talks to me. So long as its out of sight, it's out of mind thankfully.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Painted Sky

More photos from Sunday at Parc Rive BoiseƩ

Syria goes to the back burner of the news

Since Israel has started pounding Gaza, all eyes are focused on that scenario. The never ending Syrian conflict is now relegated to the back burner of the news. 

Despite choosing a new man, Sheikh Ahmad Mouaz al-Khatib, to represent the Syrian opposition, not much appears to have changed. Some days I read that the rebels have made advances other days it's Assad's regime tearing an area a new one.  I really wish Khatib can get most of Syria behind him and   end this civil war. 

Things are slowly deteriorating. Not only has Syria shelled in Turkey, Lebanon, the Golan Heights, but all it's neighbours are suffering from the civil war in Syria. Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq are all filling with Syrian refugees, an estimated 400,000 refugees. Though I think in Iraq, it's Iraqis that had left their country because of the war there, slowly returning due to the instabilities in Syria. 

With temperatures cooling those in refugee camps are in dire need of warmer clothes and blankets as winter approaches. 

The whole region is going to hell in a hand basket. It sucks that the average person has no control over this catastrophe mostly caused by greed, selfishness and the need to control others.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Excessive advertisement

I had signed up for American Eagle/Aerie emails to get information on sales and the like. Until recently I'd get emails about once a month. 

I don't know if American's know that there is NO black Friday in Canada, and there is NO Thanksgiving in November in Canada. Well American Eagle/Aerie have been sending me each an email daily now for the past week to tell me about sales. 

Today for some obscure reason, they started also to come in French. Just because I'm in Quebec DOES NOT MEAN I WANT STUFF IN FRENCH, especially since I was receiving them in English happily before. 

So today I unsubscribed from both American Eagle and Aerie and I am never giving them again my email. If you are going to send me SPAM twice a day every day for a week, you will get axed. 

Not only that but in their infinite wisdom they  had also started sending me emails for their 77kids as well. My "kids" don't wear kids clothes. More spam. Thankfully I unsubscribed from them 2 weeks ago. Otherwise this week would have been in triplicate daily for AE outfitters. 

Here's a tip, when you FLOOD clients with advertising, they TUNE OUT.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Flaming river

Taken from the park on  Chemin de la rive BoiseĆ© in Pierrefonds.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012


Desperately seeking first and/or second year Engineering university students living in Montreal for internship starting in January 2013. It is a four months internship and replaces the January 2013 semester at school.  I still have two positions to fill and am receiving no resumes!

If interested leave me your contact e-mail address in the comments and I will email you the detailed job description including the company name.  If you're still interested, you will respond with your resume which I will forward to my HR department and they will schedule an interview.

Friday, November 09, 2012

Larger then life?

Yeah I've messed with the font sizes tried to make the reactions come out. I wish I could find how to fix it. I miss the old simple interface, I could resolve just about any problem. sigh.  I might mess with the fonts again in the near future.

What's up with Firefox?

I've been using Mozilla browsers for years. I've always hated IE, and as a rule avoid using Microsoft products. I've rarely browsed with IE or received email from Outlook.   I suppose working day in and day out with Microsoft products, I just wanted something different. Also something that has more flexibility. 

Lately I've been finding Firefox absolutely unstable. I run it on my laptop in Windows 7 64 bits, on my home PC in XP, and at work also in XP.  I'm one of them people who never closes their browser, because I live either on Facebook or on my blog, or even on Al Jazeera, for news, Fark for unusual and funny news, and iGoogle, so I get headlines, and my gmail.  That's just my main browser window with all those tabs. Then I have my 2nd, 3rd and 4rth browser windows dedicated to shopping. At the moment I have one window, filled with patterns I want to buy from Jalie, one is filled with about 30 tabs from DealExtreme,  one with Kijiji searches and another with Sony camera lenses. When I launch it with all these tabs opened, it's fine. A few days later, and it's hogging the entire system. 

From my years of experience as a tester, I suspect a memory leak. It crashes about once a day now. I used to be able to run it for about 3 weeks before it became unstable or too large and I'd have to re-start it.  In the past couple of months it's been particularly unstable in XP but was fine in Windows 7. It's this latest version that is flaky as all heck in all Operating systems I've tried.   We've scripted testing of it at work, and on 2 of the 3 machines it was run, it had crashed as well. 

I don't understand why it's so unstable. In the past Mozilla was able to provide us with a quality product. One that was far superior then IE. One that was innovative. The tabs were brilliant and first seen on Firefox. I love the tabs. 

I've also noticed that when I started this blog the majority of the people who read it were using IE, now it's mostly Firefox, and then IE and Chrome usage is about the same, but the two together do not equal Firefox usage. 

So Mozilla, looking forward to a more stable browser in my near future.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

More Fall colours

Photos taken in Frederic Wilson Park on Fredmir in Dollard des Ormeaux

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Fall colours

Photo taken along Fredmir in Dollard des Ormeaux

Trees along the baseball diamond in Aragon Park, Pierrefonds.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Fall sucks!

I've never liked autumn much. Don't like the fact the days get shorter, don't like the fact it's much darker and rainier in fall. Just not a huge fan. I can't wait till it ends and winter begins. Nothing gets my blood percolating like a snow storm!!!

Usually I still manage to muster some enthusiasm over Halloween as it is the Pagan new year. This year I didn't even think about the fact October 31st is the day where the veils between the worlds is the  thinnest and I didn't think of those I'd lost this year or in the years before. 

This too shall pass as winter approaches and I'll get the thrill of the first snow storms. I can't wait to move where there will be enormous amounts of snow!!!

Today I have all the enthusiasm of a wet noodle. :(

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sandy brings wild winds

Other then a 10 minute power failure last night around 9pm and the sound of heavy wind outside,  hurricane Sandy has been pretty tame for me in Montreal.

But I know the HMCS Moncton is out in the Atlantic with the 8 metre swells. After what happened to the HMS Bounty yesterday I am worried for my daughter, but no news is good news.

It's not over yet, the wild winds and rain are still going to affect us for a day or two. 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Partying pussies!

It's not one of my photos but it could so be a photo of Pixie, Ziva and Jethro :)

Friday, October 26, 2012

The blame game!

A few days ago I blogged about interviews I was doing for internship positions.  I mentioned we contacted the school to ask why applicants registered for winter 2013 classes were applying for Winter 2013 internship. 

She suggested that perhaps we'd made an offer to a student who was waiting for a work permit and that immigration Canada has been really slow!!! Yeah she blamed the government!!! I'm not sure how that applied to the Jewish kid that grew up DDO who was the one who suggested to us a part-time work schedule. 

So tally, for the internship position in winter 2013, from this particular university, I got 4 applicants. Three of the 4 applicants were registered for Winter 2013 courses. The one we interviewed was registered for 3  courses one registered with 4 didn't meet GPA requirements, and the other registered for 6. Two of the 4 applicants mentioned on their CV they wanted a summer job.    The one good applicant I lost to another department. I can live with that better then with the quality of their candidates.

I dunno what it is about this university. It's an excellent school, but this pushy candidate lost his chance for an interview.  We had another student a few years ago from that school that we terminated 2 months into an 8 month internship, because he just wasn't doing much work at all. Besides that he was creepy, he was spending part of the day staring at his female supervisor. So we put a 30" LCD to use as a barrier. That didn't deter him, he's just roll his chair back and still stare. He spent way too much time surfing the net, in particular the situation in the Gaza strip, so the last month he didn't even have internet access and still that didn't make him more productive.

I wonder how many people are waiting in line...

to purchase Wind8ws. I do know that I can't access the Dell site for drivers this morning and I can't help but wonder if it's related to the release of Wind8ws? I can access the HP and Lenovo sites for drivers no problems.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Ah the help you get.....

Today one of my colleagues came to ask me for my opinion on what system we should order that will ship to us with Wind8ws. This will help us testing some of the features of Wind8ws in a machine that fully supports it.  Originally he wanted to buy a machine in the Inspiron line but I suggested we go instead with a PC in the Optiplex line, like the 3100. That it would be in similar price range but more the type of PC our customers use.

He was unsure the PC had the features he wanted and chatted live with someone from Dell. She assured him this machine was not UEFI. So he came to see me rather defeated. Personally I thought the chat person just didn't know much about the machine she's selling. The previous generation Optiplex we have in the lab is actually UEFI. I doubt they would go backwards.

A rant about a nasty internship student coordinator.

I was ranting about Universities and student candidates for internship  yesterday and reading yesterday's entry might put you in context for this rant.

I seem to remember getting a larger selection of candidates and from many more universities in the past. Some of is is that the reputation of the company I work for in some circles leaves a lot to be desired so some students just won't apply with us.  Some universities burned their own bridges.

One stage coordinator decided at some point that she was going to teach me a lesson and decided that I was banned from hiring students from her university for 2 years until I resolved some 'issues' in my team. She figured that my colleagues would still hire. However from that point on, we stopped hiring candidates for that position from that school since  I was banned from hiring none of us were hiring.  It was probably the last straw as it was already a major inconvenience to hire their students because they were 2 hours outside Montreal and we had to interview them on the university campus.

My boss didn't feel I had done anything wrong, since a large percentage of the problems this university's stage coordinator  had with 'me' were really issues she had with the internship position itself.  I also suspect she was unclear on the concept of what engineers do.

She complained that it wasn't up to her students to do technicians work. Did she really expect students with 6 courses in engineering to be able to do development?  My boss, who was formerly an engineering student told this woman, that he would have gladly mopped the floors in an engineering firm just to see how the company worked when he was attending university!

She complained that students were coming in at 7am and that I wasn't in before 10am and they had no one around to help them out. That one was resolved easily. Students are no longer allowed flex time or to choose their own schedule. They get their immediate supervisors schedule imposed on them or my schedule imposed on them. Exceptions are made if the student has courses and must leave by 4pm. They are  allowed to come in at 8 on those days.  I found this complaint beyond stupid. Until that point students could choose their own work schedule like any other Matrox employee but because some were too immature to take advantage of the opportunity, it's not longer offered.  People who don't want to work generally choose the schedule that overlaps the least possible with the boss to do the least possible.  New employees can no longer ever chose their work schedule.

Another complaint she had was that I wasn't FRIENDLY ENOUGH. That unlike a colleague I had not taken my students out for a beer!! The said colleague at the time was only a few years older then the students and often went for a beer after work. Unlike me who went home to 2 children, and really did not socialize with co-workers ever. My boss said that he was just as quiet and introverted as me and he didn't socialize either with employees and that the role of a boss is to lead work, not to be friends! This stage coordinator was doing her students no favours by letting them think it was ok to expect their BOSS to be their friend.  It can happen but it's very rare.

Another complaint was that even when I was present I was too busy and could not give enough hand holding to the students, and  that they all answered to me. My boss told her that he had absolutely swamped me with work and it was amazing that I managed it that well. That unfortunately between layoffs and departures I was the only person with the knowledge to help the students with the tasks they were doing and that yes people at work are BUSY!!!

She tried to make it sound like I was a horrible boss and while she did a number on me, she attacked me and said things that no professional should ever say in a professional meeting.  I was so upset, that my boss and the HR person of the time also scheduled to have a meeting with her about my case.  Of course neither HR girl or my boss were attacked personally so they could defend me rationally.  After the person finished her attack the HR person said that I'd been at the company for 10 years and had had at least 200 students/permanent employees go through my department, and there was never a complaint made to HR by anyone who's worked for me.  

In fact my company did nothing to resolve 'my problems' because they didn't deem they were 'my problems'. I took out the one positive criticism, that I needed to share the knowledge with my team and made modifications. It's helpful if I don't have all the students answer directly to me. But as soon as I get someone up to speed on a project and it works well with the students, the person leaves and I'm back to square one again.

I know it was one particularly bitchy student from that school, who complained about me.  The coordinator claimed the last 6 students that worked for me complained, but she just warped the data. Sure the students will all say that the stage is a technician level stage, because it is.  It's not a complaint for most it's just the honest truth.

She said the students didn't like their experience so they didn't' come back for a second stage. As far as I know out of the 6, 4 came back for a 2nd stage, including the one who complained, so yeah they were all really traumatized!!  Three of them hated me so much that when they were doing their 2nd stage, they all stopped in at my desk to say hello, some more then once!

The bitchy student was a diva. On the first day when I tried to explain to her what I expected her to do, she cut me mid instructions to tell me it wasn't how you did it.  So I asked her how many years experience she had in testing display drivers. She said none, so I continued and finished explaining what the job she was expected to do. After that day, she did the bare minimum of work. I'd never seen a girl who multitasked so poorly.  She did very little and I'm not sure she realized that she wasn't with us to teach us things but to learn from us.  

Out of the three students I had those 4 months, she was the least productive, spent too much time on the phone chastising her little sister and she was by far the most mouthy. So when I did her evaluation at the end of the stage I did them honestly and hers sucked. Something she didn't appreciate when she realized she had the worst evaluation of them all. 

Maybe she or their stage coordinator thought they would rid my company of the bad seed [me] but I think this student and her coordinator might have been hit with a rude awakening. Just because Ms Diva was a gifted student in imaging, didn't mean that she could tell me or my team what to do or decide how the job was going to be done, a job she knew nothing about and had no experience doing.  When you're a student intern, you aren't given the role of the company's president, unless maybe if your dad is the owner and hers was not!!!!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Some candidates don't deserve consideration

As usual every 4 months I interview a slew of candidates for internship. As per company policy I can only hire students who have a minimum of 2.6/4.0 or 2.9/4.3 GPA. I also put in the job description that we only consider students from first or second year into their Bachelors degree. The main reason is, often if they are 3rd or 4th year, they have had enough programming classes to be able to work on small development projects, but I have no such work to offer them.  I've often hired students, that after 2 weeks of doing testing, come to see us and want to do 'development'.  When you tell there there is none in their job, they stay pissed off and do the least possible the rest of the workterm.  First and second year students don't have enough experience to expect development jobs and overall tend to be a better fit in my team.

The worst internship to fill is the winter one, that goes from January to April.  The easiest to fill is the summer internship, From May to August where I get too many good candidates for the few jobs I have. To give you an example, currently I have 6 positions to fill and I got 15 applicants. I had to brush off 5 candidates because they did not meet GPA requirements, despite the fact that on our job description, it clearly states the minimum GPA we accept. For a summer internship I could get 100-150 resumes for the same 6 positions. [Then I screen via GPA and if they have finished more then 2 full years of University]

Since I had 10 candidates left after screening, I just chose to interview all of them. Generally I don't spend much time reading cover letters as the majority quote at least 1 paragraph from our corporate website which tells me very little about them. The resume itself I skim through to get a sense of prior jobs and experiences. Generally though I base my selection of candidates on candid responses in interviews and not much on their writings. 

The first candidate we interviewed apparently seemed surprised that we were interviewing for winter semester, and was looking more for a summer job.  I'm not sure why I would interview students for summer in OCTOBER!!!!  Then just to make things interesting he proposed a schedule of the hours he could work on 3 days a week!!!  I'm not sure how I can use a student that comes 3 hours here and 4 hours there. I can use a student like that AFTER they have been with us full time for 4 months and were exceptional in anticipating the jobs needing to be done.

I thought I had just run into a clueless postulant. I wasn't so lucky. Today I got 2 more resumes from this particular university, and when I was looking for the students GPA, I realized both students were registered for winter classes according to their transcript.  One clearly say they want a winter internship, but I'm not sure how this applicant would manage it if they are registered in no less then 6 classes in Winter 2013. The other had no cover letter, and in really small print on their resume said they were looking for Summer internship.

I was so disappointed that I asked my HR person to contact the schools internship coordinator and ask why students with a full course load are applying for internship positions.   These are not part-time jobs after school hours. This is a full-time position between 9-5pm, 5 days a week. I have no interest in wasting time to see a student who I cannot hire full time for Winter 2013.

I can hear someone argue with me that I'm being inflexible. Perhaps, but the internship I have to offer is in quality assurance.  It is of utmost importance that the candidate knows the difference between a failure and a success.  If a candidate cannot follow simple instructions, how can I trust them to put quality into a product in a timely fashion?