Golden! …and banks are funny.

Things are calm here, the usual back and forth between cities due to my Parisienne.

Seeing as I’m officially a workin’ junior engineer, thought I’d call up the bank and see what plan I’m on now seeing as I’m no longer a student. Now, long story short, I went from the clever packed offer of $10.95/mo for unlimited debits to $4.00/mo for 15. Not earth shattering news, but listening to how withdrawing money from another bank’s ATM is still charged sent me into a confusing cycle in my head…

If you withdraw $20 from a competitor’s bank machine, they add $1.50. Plus, Interac themselves charge $1.50 on that ’cause, well, it’s not your bank. So, it costs you $3.00 to take out $20.00. That’s if it’s a legitimate Canadian bank. If it’s one of those no-name ATM machines, take those numbers and add another $3.00. So, at the bar, taking out $20.00 costs you $1.50 + $1.50 + $3.00 = $6.00. In terms of buying power and percentages, [$20/($20 + $6)] x $20 = $15.38.

…but wait, there’s more: consider the tax on what you’re buying. That brings your $15.38 down to $13.37. Keeping in mind that chances are what you’ve purchased came from, through or was designed in the U.S., factor in a current exchange rate of $0.797 CDN, you get $10.66. Notice I didn’t include ‘tip’ in there if you were planning on eating or drinking with that cash or the initial tax you got charge when you actually made that money initially. Then it would probably drop to about $7. Ouch.

The lesson? Best to not think too much about it. We should probably raise some taxes and bank fees to help starving CEOs that need a 3rd helping of bailouts. Yummy!

Bank Fees and ATM

21h44 : All is Normal

Allo,

What do you write when everything is fantabulous?

I have no complaints, only challenges. I feel, in spite of the occasional traffic jam and long train ride between here and my 2nd home, life is everything it should be. The best part? There’s that feeling in the back off my spine that it’s getting better and better.

…Is that weird?

A classic catchy pop song from my France inspiration. Contrary to the You Tube title, I think Zaho is Algerian and not Tunisian. In any event, a clip. In life, La Roue Tourne:

Back to Work Soon: Land Down Under

Last weekend before the vacation holiday comes to an end, and on random play I hear the tune “Land Down Under” by Men at Work. A classic 80’s song that I’ve heard way too many times already, but still always elicits the desire to travel.

Anywho, so the part about the Belgium comes up:

“(…)
Buying bread from a man in Brussels
He was six foot four and full of muscles
I said, “Do you speak-a my language?”
He just smiled and gave me a vegemite sandwich
And he said,

“I come from a land down under
Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover (…)”

Call me crazy, but for all theses years, I could’ve sworn that part 4 lines down was “He just smiled and gave me a bit of my sandwhich”. Only today, and after spending a year abroad with Australians, did I realize it’s “vegemite” ( link here ).

All this to say that life and events that you feel you know, inside and out and are staring you in the face are sometimes not what they seem. A different perspective on something you *knew* for years could be flipped upside down one afternoon. New adventures, all the time.

..Heh, vegemite sandwhich.

[ Song: “Land Down Under” by Men at Work ]

NYE

Busy and not much time to get on the old computer these days, but as an aside the New Year’s Eve plans are finally getting together. The who and when was figured out some time ago, just pin-pointing the ‘where’ in the big city isn’t always easy.

…Also to say this page, of course, isn’t dead. Just that with traveling and the holidays, the updating has been slow. Right-o, back to business.

A+

Organizing Life

Part of this vacation is to get organized in life. Get my goals in check and move forward like never before.

I feel I’ve accomplished a lot, and when I look at where I was 5 years ago, everything is flowing great. Now I can start to put it in overdrive, and break out of the norms. Real success, really move forward.

…To do that, I’ve always known that it’s my organization that stresses me. When I relax or spend too much time doing one thing, I can sense the other tasks being left by the wayside. Those tasks are often the life changing and lifelong plans – not the day to day ones.

Now, I’ve got a system set up and this quiet time out here is giving me what I need…

Super-Organizized

Cats: Stealth Ninjas

If you own a cat, or have lived with them for a bit, you get this clip…

…Seriously, how do they move like that?

The “Computer”

On vacation right now, and enjoying being away for a bit. It’s nice to wake up a Monday or Tuesday morning and not have an alarm clock telling me what to do.

…in the relaxing times out here, I came across a clever little screen-shot while surfing the web that best illustrates the newbie-computer user’s desktop. The site listed this as “Your Grandmother’s computer” 🙂

Click –>

Grandma's Computer

Music: Set the Mood

Just a quick heads up to those still in the dark (I was for a while):

If you want to listen to free quality music off your computer online, just head to www.deezer.com. Yes, most of you already know this, but for those who don’t, it’s a pretty sweet ride. All legal and legit too (as you can’t actually copy them onto your computer, just play them off it).

…and extra bonus? Site works directly through the PS3 browser, so I can have it on my big screen coming out of the fancy speakers. Golden!

P.S.: Cooler posts coming soon, still in transition to this Toronto / Montreal lifestyle.

Courtyard & City

The ‘North Tower’ is complete and fully operational here and low and behold, the courtyard in between is finished. No more construction site in between, I’ve got a posh setup in front for a change. This, I like. That was a nice surprise on the way back in…

Being back in the city is somewhat like I never left, but at the same time, like I’m not here. It’s been almost a week and I still get the “what city am I in again?” feeling. While at work on Thursday, I saw the guy who helped me with the cylinder disaster a few months back and said hi. I stopped myself from continuing, as I was about to ask what he’s doing out here in Montreal – ’cause, well, we’re in Toronto and that would’ve been a weird comment.

It’s almost like I have 2 or more homes, which at the same time, feels like I don’t really have a home outside of revisiting the past. It might sound like a sad or depressing feeling, but in fact, it’s quite liberating. It seems like a giant blank canvas with only a few lines drawn so far. Moving overseas and living the adventure are becoming more and more real as it’s already kicking in.

As for today, relaxing times: clean up and put clothes away, do some more groceries, and *maybe* get and hang up another picture in this place. The walls seem bare.

Right-o. A+!

Yonge & Eglinton

Back in Toronto, and all is as it was…

The drive up was annoyingly long, with a 45min delay due to emergency work on the bridge leaving Montreal (always good to start a 5 hour road trip with a 45min delay just when you get started). Couple that with crazy a rain/snow combo, I had to stay 110% focused. Many incidents where you had no idea where the road was going, but you trusted that it continued somewhere.

Anywho, a lot going on everywhere – in addition to returns to Montreal in just a couple of weeks. My first ‘vacation’ starts pretty soon too. It’ll be nice to have time off and still get paid for it. Very different from the old ‘waitering’ days.

Bon, de retoure au boulot. A+

One More Week, One More Move

Montreal training is coming to an end. By Dec 1st, I’m back in TO…

The Not-So-Long Drive

New location in the city though, even somewhat closer to home – but still, another temporary change. I get the vibe that the training part is coming to an end sooner than expected, and by February it’ll be mostly on-the-job type experiences. In more ways than one, Montreal contacts have been formed though and I have a feeling I’ll be back and forth frequently over the next while.

More importantly: 3-weeks vacation kicks off mid-December and I’m ready to be elsewhere. Can I start packing now? 😉

A+

Quotes

Times are changing – and for the first time in as long as I can remember, everything that I worked for is coming together. Health, fitness, education, career, relationships, life…

Some quotes that I find add to the moments:

“If you want to feel rich, just count the things you have that money can’t buy” -Anonymous

“So do all who see such times, but that is not for them to decide – all we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” -Gandalf (Lord of the Rings, when Frodo is stating that he never asked for such a heavy responsibility)

“It is our choices…that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” -Albus Dumbledore

“The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.” -Mahatma Ghandi

Vous Ne Le Verrez Qu’en…

A little PowerPoint slide show I was sent from an MSN convo the other day. Not for everyone, but worth a look if you’re bored…

Vous Ne Le Verrez Qu-en (PowerPoint)

…On the travel side, tomorrow is the deadline as to when I’m to book my Christmas tickets.

Into the Wild

Inspirational stories, true stories. There are a few good movies out there that I find are hidden gems, that are often ‘gems’ simply because they were hidden…

Documentaries are better than any imagination can create. The true story of the climbers in “Touching The Void” was one of them; the coolest geeks you’ve ever cheered for in “The King of Kong” is another example. “Deep Water”, the forgotten story and uncanny adventures of a ’round the world race’, is another. After a recent screening, add “Into the Wild” to the list. A young adult fresh out of college that wants to find out who he is, and what it’s all about.

Into The Wild

All the tag lines seem corny, but each of these flics (and others) have something they can’t tell you about in the synopsis. A twist, a turn, and hidden ‘wow’ and drive that if they did tell you about, it would ruin the effect.

..Respect in my mind is always given to those who ‘try’. Not all succeed, and the one’s who never make it the finish line haven’t necessarily failed. You get one shot at life, here we get a glimpse of what it takes to really live.

P.S.: “Long Nights” by Eddie Vedder, from the Soundtrack. The right song just clicks in sometimes…

Yes We Can

The week has been a little non-stop, but yesterday I got to hang out with the team I’ll eventually be working with in Montreal. I spent the day at the West-island office and got a taste of what life, and my office, will look like for a bit in time…

More importantly: Obama actually won. I thought for sure some random upset was going to take place, or strange occurence – but no worries. History was made, and regardless of partisan politics and what policies are put into place, today is a good day. Congratulations! Renews the feeling of hope out there, as cheesy as it sounds.

…on a sidenote, I submitted my vacation time today. Once confirmed, I book some flights! Yes sir, everything is coming up Milhouse!

A+

Obama