lance_sibley: (screaming)
It's been a busy and long week... so long that I'm almost too exhausted to think about what I want to post. I've had six straight days of four or fewer hours of sleep - I'm looking forward to going to bed shortly and not getting up until noon or so.

For those who asked in my last post (to which I haven't had a chance to respond), if it wasn't obvious, yes, I took the job that I was offered. I had a few concerns, but in the current job market I didn't feel comfortable turning down a job that I was so well qualified for after my last two years.

(Plus, I still haven't received the Record Of Employment that I was supposed to get within five days of being laid off from my old job, and without it I wouldn't have been able to collect unemployment... that's another good reason for jumping at the offer. I expect that I'll have to spend several weeks nagging them for it, along with the severance they owe me.)

Anyway, the new job is going reasonably well - apparently my work has been impressive. On one of my projects, after the first week I was already ahead of the person who had been working on it for three months (who is no longer there). And I'm enjoying what I'm doing, which is important.

The other project I was assigned to, however, was a bit of a pain. I won't go into details, but the changes I had to make added up to a grand total of roughly ten lines of code. However, the state in which the project had been left by the previous developer (who is also no longer with the company) was such that I couldn't figure out how to deploy my changes. It took a full week, and the input of five or six other people, to figure out what was going on and to get my changes into the demo system. But now that the problem has been solved, hopefully it won't happen again.

The one drawback is that the commute is roughly the same length as my previous commute (about an hour and a half each way), but they're being stricter about hours - I have to get to the office for 8:30 in the morning, which means I have to be up by about 6:30. I am sooooo not a morning person.

I spent most of evenings this week working on Polaris stuff, in preparation for today's scheduling meeting. We held it a few weeks earlier this year, in the hope of giving ourselves more time to respond to the inevitable requests from panelists for changes. As a result, there are a lot of panels in the schedule which currently don't have anyone signed up for them yet - so if you're coming to the con, please consider being a panelist. If you're not yet pre-registered, by signing up as a panelist you become eligible for a discount of $10 per panel. The panel list is here - it still contains some panels that didn't make the schedule today, but they will be removed from the list shortly.

Actually, preparing the grids was an interesting experience this year. I had ordered some paper from a company out in Brampton. Because they deliver, I had the shipment sent to my office address. I knew it would be heavy and awkward - it was a 50-pound roll, after all, four feet wide and 720 feet long. (It cost about the same as last year's roll, which was only just enough for what we needed - this, OTOH, will probably last ten years.) When it arrived, I needed help getting it to my cubicle, so I called Declan and asked if he would help me get it home. He agreed, and picked me up after work on Wednesday.

Then [livejournal.com profile] travellingone came over Thursday night. We put the roll on my dining room table in order to unroll it, measuring pieces as we went. We needed four pieces, each about seven or eight feet long. So each of us put our arms into the centre spindle in order to lift and rotate the roll so that the paper would unroll, then we cut off what we needed. I now have a bruise the size of a large egg on the inside of my left forearm from where I was putting pressure when lifting the roll... ouch.

Once the pieces were cut, we laid them out on my living room floor and knelt down to draw the gridlines on. Of course, neither of us owned a long ruler, so we ended up using the edge of the box the roll came in so that the lines would be straight. However, we didn't anticipate killing a Sharpie and two highlighters in the process of drawing the lines. We managed to get through it by about 12:45 or so, though.

We've added some new guests and events in the last little while:


  • Claudia Black, of Stargate SG-1 and Farscape, will be appearing Friday and Saturday.

  • Authors Ursula Pflug, Rob St. Martin, Kate Story and Erik Buchanan have been added (in Erik's case, we actually announced him a while ago but didn't get him on the website until this week).

  • The Shadow Cats, Toronto's Repo! The Genetic Opera shadow cast, will be performing Friday evening, after Opening Ceremonies.

  • The Writers' Workshop, which is being conducted this year by Eddie Schneider of JABberwocky Literary Agency (representatives for Violette Malan, Charlaine Harris, Brandon Sanderson, Tanya Huff, Simon R. Green, and Elizabeth Moon), will take place Sunday.

  • In place of our usual Martial Arts workshops, we are offering a Tai Chi workshop on Saturday and a Yoga workshop on Sunday.



And we're still working on more. It's going to be a great con this year. (Well, I think it's a great con every year, but I may be biased. ;) )

Today's scheduling meeting was supposed to start at 9, but because of some changes in the way we decided to run the meeting this year, we didn't actually get to work until about 10. It didn't help that it started pouring out while I was on my way. The grids got a little damp despite my umbrella - I was walking along and thinking, "There's no way this can get any worse." And then the rain's intensity doubled. I arrived just in time to avoid the hailstorm that followed, fortunately.

I was obviously sleep-deprived because at one point [livejournal.com profile] whitesangria was putting Post-Its on the wall for the actor guests and I thought I heard something about David Nickle's signing. Since David is an author and is not [livejournal.com profile] whitesangria's responsibility ([livejournal.com profile] travellingone and I look after the author guests), I was confused and asked, "Why are you putting David Nickle's signing up?" Of course, she was putting up David Nykl, not David Nickle... I knew that was going to cause confusion, but I didn't think I would be the one getting confused. Once we realized my mistake, we all had a good laugh about it.

While we didn't set a speed record this year in terms of being finished early, the actual amount of time spent working on the schedule probably was less than ever before as we were working at a rather leisurely pace and even took a lunch break. And then, after we were done, [livejournal.com profile] whitesangria barbecued for those of us who didn't have to leave early. Overall, it was a relatively pleasant way to spend a day even if I did have to get up at 8 this morning after not getting to bed until 5:30. (My Inbox had exploded in the previous 48 hours or so, from 160 emails to well over 300, and I hadn't had time to deal with it.)

I'd like to acknowledge everyone who came today and has worked so hard on putting the schedule together: [livejournal.com profile] travellingone for being a voice of calm, [livejournal.com profile] whitesangria for hosting and cooking in addition to her scheduling duties, [livejournal.com profile] dx4 and his brother Nik for being our IT and data entry department, [livejournal.com profile] nexstarman and [livejournal.com profile] indefatigable42 (who took on responsibility for [livejournal.com profile] assetic's panels in addition to their own and who gave me a ride home afterwards), Declan, [livejournal.com profile] plaidlibrarian, [livejournal.com profile] cuteteenboy, Trevor, [livejournal.com profile] yellow_freshia, Monique M., [livejournal.com profile] kaelsu2, [livejournal.com profile] rockgoddes, [livejournal.com profile] ladygiggles and [livejournal.com profile] protegeboy, who dropped [livejournal.com profile] kaelsu2 off, then returned later and contributed to the group dinner after we were done. If I missed anyone, I apologize...

In other news from the past week, I spent a couple of very pleasant evenings online with Eric. We watched the final Dead Like Me episode last night, so that just leaves the movie. Only ten more days until he's here!

Oh, and I finally managed to get my hands on the deluxe edition of the new Pet Shop Boys album, Yes, this week. I haven't had a chance to listen to the whole thing yet, but I already have had a couple of the songs stick in my head for several hours each. (Love Etc. is particularly insidious that way. Beautiful People is pretty good, too, as is All Over The World, which incorporates music from The Nutcracker, of all things.)

I was so deliriously happy about finally getting the PSB album that I also picked up Depeche Mode's new album, Boston Legal S5 and Caprica. I haven't done anything with them yet, though - I'm saving Caprica for Eric's visit, since we watched BSG together. He's already told me that he wants our next shared viewing experience to be Lost, though, which should be interesting - I haven't gone back and rewatched the earlier episodes since the writers started peeling back some of the layers and providing explanations for some of the earlier events. I think it will be interesting to rewatch some of those earlier episodes, knowing more about what's going on.

I think it's time to go to bed now... I'm starting to have trouble keeping my eyes open, and if I have to get up around noon, that's only 11 hours away. ;)
lance_sibley: (Absolutely Cuckoo - by crazybutgraphic)
CNN reports that People For The Ethical Treatment Of Animals have asked the Pet Shop Boys to change their name.

Their suggestion? "Rescue Shelter Boys".

That's almost as stupid as the whole "sea kitten" debacle from a few months ago.

Someone over at TrekBBS made the comment, "I didn't even know they were still around." Their new album is #3 on the Billboard charts... the first single, "Love etc.", is #8.
lance_sibley: (Polaris - by redeem147)
We've just announced a new guest: Michael Hogan, who played Colonel Tigh on Battlestar Galactica!



I have to admit, a year ago I wouldn't have been all that excited, but now that I've watched the show... woohoo!

He joins David Nykl (Dr. Zelenka on Stargate: Atlantis) and authors:

R.J. Anderson
Stephanie Bedwell-Grime
Erik Buchanan
Julie E. Czerneda
Gemma Files
Matthew LeDrew
Lesley Livingston
Karin Lowachee
Derwin Mak
Violette Malan
David Nickle
Michelle Rowen
Douglas Smith

There should be another guest announcement soon - keep your eyes on the website!



In other news, the job hunt continues. So far I've applied to 30 jobs and been in touch with 10 recruiters, plus I've updated my resume on a number of job hunting websites. I got an email today from one of the recruiters asking me if I'm available for a phone call Thursday morning.

I also got a call from my doctor's office today - I have an appointment over at Sunnybrook on April 20. Presumably this relates to the genetic tests that were being done.

And I'm having another bit of fun with Future Shop and HMV - this time I'm trying to get my hands on the 2-disc edition of the new Pet Shop Boys album. It was supposed to come out on March 23, but nobody around here seemed to get it on time. The 2-disc version was pushed back to April 3, but again nobody was getting it then. HMV was supposed to get it today, but all I could find was one copy of the 1-disc version. The woman helping me said, "It should be in by the end of the week." Oy. Here we go again...
lance_sibley: (boring)
I managed to sleep until 2:15 today. I guess I needed the rest, though I'd actually wanted to get up a bit earlier (like around noon, which would have given me about 9.5 hours of sleep) because I haven't had a chance to do laundry in about a month, and it's piled up. I have four loads in right now (technically we're not supposed to use more than two machines at once, but there's nobody else doing laundry this afternoon and, well, I don't want to still be doing laundry at midnight), and I've got two more ready to be taken downstairs and about three more still in piles on my bedroom floor.

I have too many clothes... but I think I've said that before.

When I went out for coffee today, I decided that rather than bringing it straight home and getting started on the laundry (because it's rather difficult to carry a cup of coffee, two bags full of laundry and a cup of detergent down 13 floors, even with an elevator), I went up to Future Shop on the off-chance that they'd put the new Pet Shop Boys album out a couple of days early. No such luck. In fact, they've reduced their music section to nearly nothing, presumably to make room for Blu-Ray DVDs and games, of which they seem to have quite a few. So I walked down to HMV, where I don't normally go because they're nearly always more expensive than Future Shop. They didn't have it out either, so I asked someone when it would be available (because I thought, even though it's due out this week, they might not actually be getting it right away).

So here's the dilemma... they're getting it Tuesday. (Yay!) But a week after that, they're getting the Deluxe edition. Should I wait the extra week? Assuming it's the 2-CD version that's listed on their official website, even though it's not referred to there as a "deluxe edition," the second disc has three more songs plus four remixes of songs that are on the regular version of the album. So it looks like it's worth waiting... I just don't want to wait. :P

Oh, and they've posted a video (completely animated!) for the first single, "Love etc.", on their website, here. I'd already heard the song, but hadn't seen the video. And the song has entered the UK top 40 at #14 - excellent! :)

On another topic... I'm currently watching "Battlestar Galactica: The Last Frakkin' Special" on Space while I'm waiting for my first loads of laundry to finish. Bonnie Hammer just said that the only aspect of the production on which she got overruled was that she wanted them to have a dog on board. That goes a long way to explaining why she's held in such low esteem by SF fans... well, that and the whole "SyFy" debacle that's currently going on (though I don't think she's had a lot to do with the renaming of the channel - I think that was mostly the new president of the channel).

Edited to add: I managed to find one of my lost Palm styli - not the original, but the one that I lost this past week. It somehow got tangled in my bedding. Chalk up another point in favour of my decision to get all my laundry done today. *grin* (Loads 1-4 are drying, 5-8 are in the washing machines, 9 and 10 are in the baskets by the door, and 11 is in a basket in my bedroom - though I may put off doing #11, since I have clean bedding in the closet. :)
lance_sibley: (The Sodom And Gomorrah Show)
At the risk of sounding stereotypically gay... I love these guys. And the dancers at the 7:20 point of the video aren't bad either. :)



(As I said to [livejournal.com profile] troystar, however... I think Brandon Flowers may have raided Neil Tennant's closet for that outfit.)

The award they referred to at the beginning of the video is for "Outstanding Contribution To Music". Well deserved, IMO.
lance_sibley: (Default)
I was searching on YouTube for a particular music video, and stumbed across this, which I found amusing. The song is "Integral," from the Pet Shop Boys album "Fundamental":



I think my bed is calling me now...
lance_sibley: (I'm With Stupid)
How is it I'm only finding out now, three days after the announcement was made, that the Pet Shop Boys have been nominated for two - count'em, two - Grammy Awards this year?

(Edit to add: my bad. Seems this was actually announced five weeks ago or so - last week's announcement was the list of who would be performing. Oh, well. I'm still only finding out about the PSB nominations, at least so far as I can recall.)

Best Dance Recording
(For solo, duo, group or collaborative performances. Vocal or Instrumental. Singles or tracks only.)


  • Suffer Well - Depeche Mode

  • Ooh La La - Goldfrapp

  • Get Together - Madonna

  • I'm With Stupid - Pet Shop Boys

  • Sexy Back - Justin Timberlake & Timbaland



Best Electronic/Dance Album
(For vocal or instrumental albums. Albums only.)


  • Supernature - Goldfrapp

  • Confessions On A Dance Floor - Madonna

  • A Lively Mind - Oakenfold

  • Fundamental - Pet Shop Boys

  • The Garden - Zero 7



These would appear to be their sixth and seventh nominations - they were previously nominated for:


  • 1994: Best Album Package (Very Relentless)

  • 1994: Best Video ("Go West")

  • 1995: Best Album Package (Alternative)

  • 1997: Best Dance Recording ("To Step Aside")

  • 2002: Best Recording Package (Release)



(Am I the only one who finds it weird that there's a Grammy for the album package?)

Edited to add: I'm surprised they didn't also get a nod for Best Music Video, for "I'm With Stupid":



In other news, the Toronto Blue Jays signed Lyle Overbay to a four-year, $24 million dollar contract today. Yes, I know non-sports fans' minds are boggling at this, but that's probably a pretty good price for an everyday first baseman, considering that he hit .312 last year with 22 home runs and 92 RBIs, and has the most doubles over the past three seasons of any major league player.
lance_sibley: (Different POV)
... can be found here.

Part of me is wondering if I was at the same concert as the reviewer:

"Some blame for the slow crescendo during last night's Pet Shop gig at the Hummingbird Centre must, of course, go to the venue itself. There's something about upholstered seating that makes a crowd look tentatively over its collective shoulder before bursting to its feet, although there were a few scattered souls and blocks of seats bouncing around giddily from the ominous, opening cords of new number "Psychological." Shirts on, mercifully."

I admit, yes, I did look over my shoulder before getting to my feet (I actually moved into the aisle so as not to block the view of the people behind me, but the usher made me move back in front of my seat), but there were plenty of us on our feet early.

And "shirts on, mercifully?" That was uncalled for. It was a Pet Shop Boys concert, not a science fiction convention. ;)

Though the review did serve to remind me that it was during "Always On My Mind" that they brought out the giant cut-outs of the tops of Neil's and Chris' heads, behind which the dancers were popping up and down while changing from one outrageous hat to another.
lance_sibley: (The Sodom And Gomorrah Show)
"I lived a quiet life, a stranger to champagne/I never dared to venture out to cities of the plain..."

Oh my God, that was fan-freaking-tastic. The music, the lights, the atmosphere... wow.

Unlike the 2002 Release tour, put together to promote an album made up primarily of low-key songs featuring mostly guitar work, the concert tonight was full of energy almost right from the beginning. The people two rows in front of me got up to dance for the second song, "Left To My Own Devices," and didn't sit down until intermission. So, naturally, I was on my feet all night as well. (Otherwise I wouldn't have been able to see. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.)

I saw a few people I know from the bowling league; I was in line to buy a t-shirt beforehand ($40 - yikes) when I spotted Don Pfeil and Steve Wilson, so I chatted with them until it was time to go in. And a few minutes after I took my seat, in came Troy Ritchie and his boyfriend Clint. I saw another guy who looked familiar as well, but I don't know his name. (As Troy said to me: "It's like being at Woody's. I know everybody.") I didn't see [livejournal.com profile] hoskie until afterwards, when I spotted him in the lobby entering a text message into his cell phone to tell me where he was. :) We ended up going to The Hot House at Front and Church for cake (he had the carrot cake, and I had a chocolate chip-and-banana cake) and bevvies afterwards. I was good, though, and just had coffee - not that I needed the caffeine on top of the chocolate, but I'm going to be bouncing all night anyway.

I didn't take down the set list, but it seemed to be pretty much the same as last night's concert in Montreal, as reported by [livejournal.com profile] montrealais:

Psychological
Left To My Own Devices
I'm With Stupid
Suburbia
Can You Forgive her?
Rent
Minimal
Shopping
Dreaming Of The Queen
Heart
Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)
Integral

Intermission

Numb
Se a vida é
Domino Dancing
Flamboyant
Home And Dry
You Were Always On My Mind
Where The Streets Have No Name/Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You
West End Girls
The Sodom And Gomorrah Show

Encore:

So Hard
It's A Sin
Go West

(Edit to add: something which [livejournal.com profile] montrealais neglected to mention is that technically, there was another song on the set list which came before "Psychological": the Boys entered to "God Willing," an instrumental from their latest album. Perhaps they didn't do that in Montreal.)

"Se a vida é" kind of surprised me - while I think it's a great song (it's the one I used when I went to the "Rent" audition with [livejournal.com profile] andromakie about five years ago), I didn't expect to hear it at a concert. I didn't think it was that popular a song.

Many of the songs had video footage used as a backdrop ("Dreaming Of The Queen" used footage of Princess Diana's funeral, and "Numb" used footage from what appeared to be a silent movie; it could quite possibly have been "Battleship Potemkin," as I've never seen it, but the Boys did a soundtrack for the movie last year, so it wouldn't surprise me), but the backdrops were actually some kind of gauzy material stretched over a frame, and the dancers would often climb up into them. Very reminiscent of go-go boys. :) Neil actually sang "Rent" from inside one of the backdrops while one of the dancers reclined in another section above and to his left.

Oh, and the dancers? Hotttttt. How do I get that job? (That's a joke. I can carry a beat, but I dance spastically at best. :) ) I found it interesting that the choreography seemed to be designed in such a way that they weren't always completely in sync with each other - at least, I can only assume that it was intentional. I also found it somewhat amusing that they were at times costumed similarly to Neil and Chris; Neil wore two different black suits (though for "The Sodom And Gomorrah Show" he also donned a row of military medals), and switched from a top hat to a bowler to a black cowboy hat (except for "The Sodom And Gomorrah Show," when he was wearing a military officer's hat - army, I think), while Chris wore jeans (I think - he was upstage left, partially hidden by his keyboard) and a neon yellow hoodie for the first half and the encore, and a blue hoodie for the second half, plus his trademark sunglasses. Pretty typical.

I took several photos and some video with my cellphone, but I don't think any of them turned out very well. I was pretty close look for the X in the section marked LCTR ) - though not as close as [livejournal.com profile] hoskie - but the camera in my cellphone isn't really meant for that distance. I know the sound on the video clips is pretty lousy (and I could only record 10 seconds at a time). We'll see when I upload them, however.

How I'm going to get to sleep tonight so that I can bowl off tomorrow afternoon and then get to class, I'm not sure. *bounce*bounce*bounce*
lance_sibley: (Part Geek All Man)
Tonight was the first class in the "Introduction To C#" course at George Brown College. I can now write a "Hello World" program in Visual C#. Oooh, aaah.

Though perhaps it should have been "Hello Small World" - as while I was trying to find out what room the class was in, I was standing in line at the Student Centre (or whatever it's called) when I heard the door from the stairwell open behind me. I turned to see, and lo and behold, there was [livejournal.com profile] carynb, whom I know from working on Torcon together. It turns out she's taking the same class.

I spent much of this afternoon running back and forth between home and the government office where they issue health cards. As I mentioned on the weekend, my health card had expired a couple of months ago and so I had to get it replaced. I got to the office around 2, took a number, and waited until my number was called around 2:45, whereupon I discovered that while a credit card is sufficient ID to match up my signature, my existing health card wasn't sufficient as photo ID, nor was it sufficient to prove my residency (despite the fact that my address is on the back). So they gave me a priority ticket, meaning that after coming back home and getting my passport (and my birth certificate, and a cable bill, and a bank statement, and an RRSP statement... I wasn't taking any chances), I was allowed to go to the front of the line. They took my picture (I turned a little to the left to hide the hideous bandage on my ear :) ), and I was out of there five minutes later. In the meantime, they gave me a receipt to prove that I had renewed my health card that I can use at the clinic until the new card actually arrives.

Now I have to run over to Dominion and get some bread so that I can make a sandwich, as I'm supposed to take my medication after eating. The label says "take after meals, four times per day." Who the hell eats four meals a day? I only eat one, plus a late-night snack, for God's sake.

Pet Shop Boys concert tomorrow!!!!! *bounce*bounce*bounce*
lance_sibley: (Ouchie - by Raelala)
I must have been really tired after yesterday - I slept nine and a half hours last night. Oy. When I did finally manage to wake up, I went down to the Hummingbird Centre, where I finally got around to picking up my ticket for next week's PSB concert. *bounce*

On the way home, I stopped off at the walk-in medical clinic at Mount Pleasant and Eglinton to have a doctor look at my ear, behind which I seem to have an infection. Actually, it's both ears, but the left one was much, much worse.

Some pretty gross stuff back here. )

Two and a half hours after I walked in, I finally got to see a doctor (though the nurse who called my name seemed to barely speak English, and she couldn't figure out how to pronounce "Lance" - or anyone else's name, for that matter - so it took a minute for me to realize that I was being called). Fortunately I'd stopped off at home on the way and grabbed the newspaper, so I hadn't been completely bored during that time. Anyhow, the doctor spent all of two minutes looking at me. I don't think he even touched me - he just took one look and asked if I kept my earrings in when I sleep (which I do). He figures that the backs of my earrings scratched the skin behind my ears - which is exactly what I said to [livejournal.com profile] twiddler, [livejournal.com profile] kosst_amojan and Declan yesterday just before I grossed them out completely. (Okay, I said other things too, but I tend to have a strong streak of hypochondria.)

He started to write a prescription for penicillin as he asked if I had any allergies - naturally, I'm allergic to penicillin. (What, that's not in my file? I only tell them every time I'm in there.) So he wrote two prescriptions, one for biaxin and one for clotrimazole, an anti-fungal cream.

I walked back over to the drug store at Yonge and Eglinton to have them filled, and they had to call the clinic to confirm what the prescriptions actually said. This particular doctor is the prototype upon whom all other doctors' bad handwriting was based, it appears. (Okay, he was writing with his right hand in a cast.) So it took 20 minutes to get that taken care of, because they didn't seem to be answering the phone at the clinic. And then I got the shock...

One hundred and thirty-eight fucking dollars for 28 pills and some cream.

What. The. Fuck.

Didn't they get the memo that we're supposed to have socialized health care in this country?

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