Ok, this is the rant page. Why? Because I am not 100% thrilled with being in Ottawa again, so I'm going to rant like Quincy on a Jim-"the Optimizer"-Covey-inspired A&E special (no sass to Mr. Covey).
Ok, first of all, it took me like 10 tries to even type in the
right month. It's this strange condition that I've been
suffering from ever since I wrote that GUI at Nortel, starting
in September, 1996. I put the date at the beginning of every
source file, and ever since, whenever I go to type in a date,
the first thing that comes off of the keyboard is
Sept^H^H^H^H. So then I not only get upset about
the date, but I have to spend 2 minutes fixing the terminal
Before you go nuts and think that everything that pisses me off is computer-related, let me tell you about the University of Ottawa. No offense to anyone who went to U of O, but this place sucks. It seems to be little more than a French-language arts school, so you can probably guess how much respect I give it. It's mainly the little things that annoy me, but I guess if they annoy me then they're not really little things, but big things. So I guess it's really the big things that annoy me. For example, they put the French before the English on all of the signs. I'm not trying to make any political or language statement here, but it's annoying because everything else from cereal boxes to shoe boxes come with things the other way around. It's just a matter of protocol. I guess they're cool since they are proud of their language. Yeah, sure.
Now you think I hate the French and all they stand for. Well, then you're one of these idiots who thinks they know everything about a person by reading a paragraph they wrote about something that pisses them off (by definition, even). For the record, I don't. I just hate this University. Why am I here? Good question. It's close to work, and it's somewhere relatively cheap to stay while I'm in Ottawa for the summer. If you ever have to work in Ottawa, don't stay at the University of Ottawa.
Take parking, for one. There's a huge underground parking lot under the apartments here, and there's like 3 cars in it after 4:30 pm. I live in the apartments but I still have to pay like $350 for parking. That's crap. They even gave me a ticket once because I forgot to put my rear-view mirror thing on the rear-view mirror. I don't drive around town with the thing because
So anyway, I come back to the car after being home for 10 minutes, and I have a ticket. The offense? "Entering after 4:30 pm". They thought I was just some guy who wanted to park there for the day (they allow that), but I came in after the lot was closed. You can't get in after 4:30 pm without a special access card, and guess what? You don't get the access card unless you've payed for the parking. So I commited an impossible offsense.
Ok, so what's the fine? Six dollars. I'm suprised it wasn't $7.33, just to make me make change. Anyway, I didn't have to pay the fine 'cause I found the parking attendant right away and showed him my card and rear-view mirror thing. Strange, he only needed to see my rear-view mirror thing to not give me a ticket, but he needs both to retract one. I suppose it makes sense to somebody. Naturally, he writes all this down in his little book like he's some kind of soccer referee. They love that here. This leads me to "Protection" services.
I guess they're called Protection because it's the same in English and French. I guess we English are too simple-minded to see that Securite means Security and vice versa (sp?). It's more like Job Security, anyway. All they do is drive around in their car and van (which are painted all up like some fake police car). Jesus, when there is someone who thinks they're pimp-ass cool by overloading their speakers in their CRX at 2:00 am, they're nowhere to be seen. Here's the story of me getting my parking pass.
The parking office is open from 8:00 am to 4:30 pm. Guess when I work. So, ok, I'll be late for work one day and get all that organized. (They're not open on weekends.) Naturally, the staff is sitting in the damn office playing solitaire or something (so that'll show you how lame they are; they play cards on a computer). They'll be damned if they open that door before the clock strikes eight. So I go in, get ripped off, and I'm happy because now I can park.
All goes well until I'm on my way to the parking garage the next day and the door is locked. It's one of those stupid 5-button code locks that are pointless because they make the code so easy, you can usually guess it in a few tries. Anyway, this one was locked, and the only reason I got in was because someone was coming out when I got there. Nobody at the parking office even mentioned these code boxes on the doors, let along tell me the password! Morons! I figure I'll have to be late for work again just so I can get the code. I'll do it sometime that week.
The next day, at the same time, the door is unlocked. I'm
telling you, these guys are brilliant. So I'm okay for the
rest of the week. On Saturday, I go down to the access door
at like 11:30 am, figuring it must be open by this time of
day. Nope. Locked tight. So, and this is the beauty of
it all, I walk to the parking office in the other end of
the apartment complex. The office is closed, but the
building's main doors are open. So I just get in the goddamn
elevator and hit
SS to get to the basement
(i.e. parking garage) and voila. No code, no nothing. Any
idiot can get in the parking garage, so why the fuck do they
bother to lock all of those doors?!
So I live like this for another week. The next weeked is different though. My parents came up for a visit and to see Ottawa. That Monday was Victoria Day, so the weekend was three days long. Of course, now not only were the various access doors locked (and I still didn't have the code), but the main doors leading to the elevators were also locked. "Oh yeah, this is fucking cool," I'm thinking. Right at that moment, the winners from Protection are driving by in their cool-mobile. I explain that the invalids at the parking office can't remember to tell me that the code boxes exist, even though their entire boring lives revolve around managing that single parking garage. The Protection guy is friendly and all, but he still has to write me down in his little notebook. I wouldn't be surprised if the only training these guys got was from the soccer referee class. Anyway, he lets me in (my parents have walked up from the hotel and are standing there too), and I ask him, "So I can't go anywhere for the rest of the weekend?" implying that the Protection guys are gonna get pissed off if I call them everytime I want to get to my car. "No, no," he says, "Just call us." Just call us. That's how useful these mongoloids are! They drive around four city blocks all day, and the most important thing they have to do is let people into the parking garage. If you go to the University of Ottawa, and they're trying to raise your tuition, tell them to save money be getting rid of the useless security "force".
I decide that I'm not going put up with this nonsense any longer. I ask the security guy if he can just tell me the goddamn code instead of rushing over and opening the door for me every time I want in. He shakes his head. "You don't have it, or what?" I ask.
"You'll just have to see the parking office on Tuesday."
"So there's no way that I can get the code before Tuesday?"
He shakes his head again. Great.
Ok, so finally, it's Tuesday, and I decide to be late for work again in order to get this code and save me a lot of hassle. I'm the first one there, at like 7:49, and I stand outside the door watching the parking officials play Windows games. By about five to eight, quite a few people are waiting outside the office with me. Some fat motorcycle woman dressed up in stupid-looking leather gear comes in the front door, walks right by everyone, and tries to open the (locked) parking office door. She almost walked right into the door, and when she finally realizes they're not open, she gives the crowd a frustrated look and swears. What a cretin. Yeah, we were just standing around admiring the artwork on the door of the day-care centre down the hall.
The office opens right on eight o'clock, and I go right up the counter. This is an accurate recount of the next twenty seconds.
"Yeah, I signed up for the underground parking here, but nobody told me anything about the codes on the doors."
"Oh," she says as she reaches for a piece of yellow sticky paper. Before I even realize what's going on, she's written the code on this piece of paper and given it to me.
"Uh, thanks." I leave. No ID, no parking pass, no access card, nothing. I could have been anybody. Why do they bother to lock the doors?
So that's my University of Ottawa parking story. I feel better already now that everyone can see how stupid these people are.
More to follow.