Sunday, July 25, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Week One 

I've said it before, I'll say it again. There is so much to dealing Blackjack that I couldn't, in my wildest dreams imagine.

This is the best time I've ever had "on the job". I simply cannot believe that we are being paid to be there. Our fortune is something that our instructors never let us forget. They all had to pay for their own courses, no one was paying them to be there, and of course, they were not assured of jobs after graduation. The skills that we have to acquire over the next five weeks look easy but they certainly are not. We devote most of our eight hour day to practicing things like counting to 21, although the instructors say as the class average time improves we will spend less and less time on that. Since the second day I already hit the required time for counting. I was prepared to sit back and laugh for the rest of the week, but the second day was also when they started to teach us "chipping".

"Chipping" is the term people in the industry use to refer to the handling of chips. Again I feel like a complete gorblock telling people what I've been doing "at work". Most conversations go something like this: "So what do you do at dealer school?" "Well, this first week we've learnt to count to 21, handle chips, shuffle and deal cards." "Riiiiiight. And you're paid to do this?" I digress. Chipping is much harder than it seems, which is the point. It's supposed to look easy when one does it. Despite the fact that I play a number of instruments (albeit badly) my fingers just don't move like they are supposed to. While I'm currenly the fastest at initial dealout and among the top five on our counting excercises, there are times I barely finishing chipping before the instructor yells time.

I guess we all have to fall short somewhere or our heads will swell to the point where we could only wear button-down shirts. Plus if everything came easily within the first week of school, what would I do the rest of the time there?

The one thing that makes dealer school absolutely amazing (aside from the skills that I will take away from it) is the people. Every couple of days the instructors change our seating plan. This is done to accomplish several things. Firstly, each table at the school is in different conditions. Some are harder, softer, more threadbare, very plush. The set of chips at each table all have varying degrees of wear. All these differing conditions make certain actions harder/easier. The lesson to be learnt here is that at the casino, one cannot expect to get exactly the same table and exactly the same chips so we have to get so good at everything that the exact conditions that we are working with do not matter. I digress again. It's 3:15am, the latest (or earliest) I've been up in a long, long time. Secondly (if you still remember what I'm talking about at this point) we get to meet and work with new people. The importance of this is immediately apparent when we do meet more of the people that are in class.

Due to the intense nature of the course I find that I really end up becoming close to the people with whom I share a table. Lisa and a few well suggested Harry Potter links (primarily this one) has resulted in my taking over three hours to complete this post. There's so much more to say but it's almost four in the morning and I have a fantabulous meal to prepare tomorrow.

posted by Joie! at 1:33 a.m.


Tuesday, July 20, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Cramped Hands, Numb Fingers 

Day two of Dealer School with the Canadian Gaming Institute. On the first day we were given a brief overview of the school. Apparently this is the only internationally recognized gaming school in all of Canada. Graduates have gone on to work for cruise ships and casinos all over the world. This is quality training that I'm getting, and I'm really excited about it.

Day one all we did were counting excercises and learning how to shuffle. Today all we did were counting excercises and learning how to hold and handle chips. These are full eight hour days with few breaks. With all the abuse that my hands have undergone in the last two days, it's a miracle that I can type at all. (Just goes to show you that I am part of the Instant Messaging Generation) There is a specific way to do everything with no room at all for individual style. By making sure that every single dealer does everything exactly the same way they can ensure several things.

1. The Customer must be able to see everything
The way we shuffle ensures that the side of the deck facing the customer is never obscured at any time. At the same time, the customer must not be able to see the value of any cards within the deck. The whole deal where you take the two halves of a deck, put your index fingers in the middle and use your thumbs to noisily alternate the cards with one another is (contrary to popular belief) not the way to shuffle. For one thing, it wears out the cards too quickly, which is a security hazard because then the cards lend themselves to marking. For another, that method raises the cards to a height above the table at which the customer can see card values. If you have a savvy customer, they could use that information to count cards. The reason that the side facing the customer is never obscured at any time is that it allows the people sitting at the table to see that the cards are indeed being mixed and that there is no possible way that I can removed/add/alter any of the cards.

2. The Cameras must be able to see everything
Every inch of the gaming floor is montiored via closed circuit television. Not to mention that surveilance is maintained also on the areas surrounding the gaming floor. The cameras used for this purpose are so powerful that the ones mounted on the outside of the building (for to secure the carpark) can read a license plate number off a car 2 km away. Obviously security is paramount when you think about the large, large volumes of money that are being exchanged, untraced in the casino. Not only does the casino want to maintain safety within, they are also concerned with the safe passage of their customers in and out of the casino. More importantly, the cameras are a good way of proving to the Gaming Commission that we are not running a scam operation. The way that I deal cards and chips are such that the camera can see exactly how many chips I have, who I'm giving the chips to and how many. They can see that I am shuffling according to regulation, and they can see that the cards are being properly mixed. If a customer suspects a dealer of shortchanging them, the casino wants to be able to pull the video of that table and that specific game and prove that nothing shady was going on.

3. The Table must be SECURE
The chips used for gambling purposes are as good as cash. The chips typically laid out in front of me are in excess of $30 000. It is my responsibility to ensure that the chips are secure. If someone was to wave a gun in my face and demand the chips, well, then of course I hand over everything I have. It wouldn't matter anyway, security is never more than a shout away and you can bet that those powerful cameras have recorded the perp's DNA. I never have to endanger myself to protect the chips. No one would be able to get away with anything like that. What I am guarding against is the more subtle sneaking away of a few chips here, correcting a bet after a hand is revealed, stealing from my tray when I'm dealing with a customer on the other end of the table, etc. Things that are harder to catch. This translates into a myriad of rules that govern my posture, my hand movements and how my fingers move.

All-in-all there is more to this than I would have imagined in my wildest dreams. In fact, this is a five-week Blackjack course. That's all I'm learning from July 19th-August19th. Blackjack. Initially I thought that a ridiculous amount of time to learn a game that primary school children play on the sly in the courtyard. I retract that statement as of now.

posted by Joie! at 9:06 p.m.


Wednesday, July 14, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________


As per my last post, I was to attend Orientation for my new job as a Dealer today. It was just a general overview of the company (Great Canadian Casino) and company policies, the mandatory filling out of forms etc. The only thing that I took away from today's experience is a sense of reverent wonder at how socially responsible Canadians are as compared to their neighbours.

For one thing large percentages of the Casino games are donated to charity. In fact gaming in this province was illegal up until about 20 some odd years ago and at that point in time games were only allowed for to raise money for charity. I'm pretty sure that running games for pure profit is allowed now but since this company started as a company that organized charity fundraising events, as an homage to their roots as well as a sense of responsibility to the community they continue to make significant contributions to local charities. I guess there's no better place for you to lose your money, although you cannot ask for a tax receipt to cover your losses.

Another thing that really stood out throughout today's orientation are the policies in place for the protection of guests and employees at the Casino. There are so many services in place for an employee's personal protection (and I have a feeling that there are more of these that she wasn't able to cover today) as well as measures that are taken to ensure that guests at the Casino are protected both from anything that might occur on the premises as well as themselves. From movies about gambling, casinos look like huge faceless corporations that are really eager to have you spend all your money there, no matter the cost to you. In fact, in Vegas, they serve you free alcoholic drinks. Now, if you would confiscate car keys from someone who looks like they have had too much to drink, how do you justify continuing to allow that same person to gamble (something that requires judgement skills) inebriated? Service of alcohol on the gaming floor is just another topic that we covered quite thoroughly today. It's nothing like Vegas, I assure you. Quite the opposite really.

So opposite that ALL employees of GCC have to take the Serving it Right course that is administered by the provincial government. Frankly, I think this course is bunk. You can read the manual online (I only need the "Server" not the "Licensee"), take the test online, and receive your certification online. Who's to know that it's not you taking the test? I think it's just the government's way of taking more money from you ($28 CAN). I digress. I will have to have this certification (I suppose this is the best benchmark that they currently have) despite the fact that my position has nothing to do with the service of alcohol. The resoning behind this is that the "course" covers topics (full list of topics can be found here) that are pertinent to the responsible service of alcohol as well as the laws governing the service of alcohol in the province. Due to the fact that alcoholic beverages will be served on the gaming floor these are things that I need to know. What impresses me is that a person in my position is not required by law to have this ceritification (it's more for bartenders and waitpeople) but as a responsible company GCC requires all of its staff to have received the certification.

As one can imagine, security at a casino is paramount. One "cage" employee (that's the people who change your cash for chips) handles up to a quarter of a million dollars in an eight hour shift. That number was taken from the Coquitlam location. The location that I am assigned to is the newest one. Not only is it bigger, it's also in a much more central location than the Coquitlam one. With that much money moving about the gaming floor and through the casino via untrackable transactions all measures must be taken to ensure accountability and transparency. Every inch of the casino is in constant surveilance. Security is never more than a yell away. Emergency services are on speed dial. Employees are not allowed to be on the premises when they are off duty except for half an hour before their shift begins. Should an employee wish to vist the facility with friends and family, they are not allowed to game and must report to front desk prior to their entry. Want to know how they keep to keep track of employees?

Most companies use punch cards to make sure that their employees arrive on time, don't leave early and refrain from taking overly long breaks. Payroll relies on this information. It is also a way for you to prove that you were on the premises. GCC doesn't use punch cards. They don't even use those high-tech scan cards that you get when you work in one of those new high-security office buildings. No, it's much more Ocean's 11 than that. In order to punch in for my shift as well as access staff-only areas I have to do a palm scan. The scanner reads 38 different points on my hand to make sure that it's me and only me. I am to scan in no more than half an hour before my shift and immediately after. Cue the Chinese guy that can fit into one of those safety-deposit box carts, this is no joke.

Training officially begins on Monday. No doubt there I would learn all sorts of practices that will teach my how to guard my chips, methods of dealing that will ensure that the cameras can see everything and countless "appropriate responses" to every situation known to man. I'm so psyched!

posted by Joie! at 5:50 p.m.


Monday, July 12, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

All Before Lunch 

Today is a great day. I awoke to the chime of my MSN messenger telling me that there was someone who wanted a word. I climbed out of bed and it was Jonathan telling me that we would not be able to meet tomorrow but that he would like to see me today. It was a little abrupt seeing as how I had just rolled out of bed and he had a scant 1hr window in which he wanted to meet me in. Still, I hadn't seen him in ages and I wasn't going to pass this opportunity up. I had just gotten myself into a funk last night because I was thinking about how much I missed my brothers. This seemed the perfect solution.

The apartment as usual is devastated. I wasn't going to let the mess get in the way though, so I had Jonathan come over. He was going to watch Farenheit 9/11 at Silvercity at 1:10pm, which means that he had to catch the bus from 70th and Granville, which was just 10 minutes from my place. He hiked over. This kid is huge. He's at least a head taller than me, although I didn't really get a good look before he sat down and he's built. Man, it had been a long time since I had last seen him. He has a really low voice too. So we just hung out for about half an hour in my living room shooting the breeze. Felt good to be talking to him, he's a good kid. Got a cool skateboard too.

Halfway between Jonathan telling me that he was coming over and my frenzy to make this place at least look somewhat decent (i.e. provide floor that isn't covered in trash/dirty laundry/groceries that have to be put away/cat toys/stuff that the cats are treating as toys etc.) MSN chimed again. This time it was an email chime. The people who interviewed me on Thursday for the position of Card Dealer at Great Canadian Casinos did say that they would be contacting a large number of the candidates via email. So I dropped whatever I was doing (I think I was trying to pick up all the cotton buds that the cats were playing with on the ground. This was made more difficult by the fact that the cats are more attracted to cotton buds than they are to the fanciest cat toy so they thought that I was playing with them) and checked my email. It was from Gabrielle Smith and it was not asking whether I would like to increase the size of anything.

From : Gabrielle Smith
Sent : July 12, 2004 5:15:37 PM
To :
Subject : Dealer -- Offer of Employment

Congratulations Johanna! We are pleased to offer you employment in the position of Card Dealer (In Training), at Great Canadian Casinos, Inc. Your rate of pay is $8.00 per hour, to be effective on your first day of employment, which begins with your orientation.

Please note that you are scheduled for the Canadian Gaming Institute’s DAY training course scheduled July 19 to August 19, Monday to Friday, 8:45 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Written terms and conditions of employment will be provided to you at orientation.

The orientation will be on Wednesday, July 14, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm our Head Office at 13775 Commerce Parkway, Suite 280, Richmond. (lunch provided)

Please email Jenny Kim, HR Administrator, at to confirm your acceptance with “Dealer – Offer of Employment” in the Subject line. Also provide us with the following information to set-up your payroll file

- Your full legal name

- Date of Birth

- Social Insurance Number

- Marital Status

Please bring the following items with you to orientation on your first day:

- Medical Services Plan of BC Personal Health Care Card

- Social Insurance Card

- Picture Identification (e.g. Driver's licence)

- Proof of Citizenship if not born in Canada

- Voided Personal Cheque for direct deposit payroll purposes

If you have any questions please direct them to me, ideally via email.

Gabrielle Smith, CHRP
Human Resources Manager
Great Canadian Casinos Inc.
#350-13775 Commerce Parkway
Richmond, B.C. V6V 2V4

Tel: 604.303.8421
Cell: 604.374.6383
Fax: 604.279.8505

Oh yeah. I have a job just a week after I quit my last one. In this job market, I think I'm doing a-okay. Especially because the training for this job involves a five-week intensive course with the Canadian Gaming Institute which I will be paid to attend. The Casino will also pay for my tuition fee while I'm there. This course usually costs $2000. Prior to the opening of their Richmond Casino anyone who wanted a job at the Casino would have to pay for their own tuition and then go out and apply to various places. Not only are they giving this to me for free, they're paying me to park my butt in the seat. I'm really excited. What an opportunity! Not to mention that the Casino is open 24/7 which means shifts flexible enough for me to return to school in the fall and continue at this position. The wages are not great, minimum wage, really. Once I'm on the casino floor though, I do have the opportunity to earn tips and gratuities from the customers. I'm really, really psyched.

All this before lunchtime. I get to see Jonathan and I have a new job with an industry that cannot go bankrupt. Shaping up to be an awesome awesome day!

On a completely different note, thanks to Lisa I have gotten into the habit of listening to one song over and over again. There are a finite number of songs that I can do this with and I have actually found a new song. Well, to call it a song is a bit of a stretch, but it's catchy and it's naturally on a loop so I don't have to fiddle with any players. Big shout out to William for tuning me into this site, but I really don't think he intended for it to be used like I do. There are several variations on this ditty that are linked on his blog in this post but the one I'm addicted to is here. Really go and have a gander and then let me know what you think.

posted by Joie! at 1:56 p.m.


Thursday, July 08, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Joie is Supreme 

posted by Joie! at 9:49 p.m.


Wednesday, July 07, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Exultate Deo 

Ever since I've installed Kazaa Lite I've been engaged in an ongoing battle with spyware on my computer. An earlier post notes my supposed triumph over these computer vandals although it didn't tell the full story. The next day, these bugs were back in full force, perhaps worse than ever.

I'm of the opinion that spyware is really unacceptable. It slows down my computer, attacks me with unsolicited solicitations (most of which I am completely uninterested in: transvestite porn anyone?) and in the worst of cases prevents me from using the internet altogether. It's full blown property vandalism, it renders my computer less-effective, even completely useless at times, reducing this top-of-the-line machine to nothing more than a very expensive paperweight. Considering my current situation, things would be alot easier had I kept the money instead of buying this computer. I don't regret my decision but if this thing doesn't work, then I've given up financial security for something that's only contributing to the excess of clutter in my apartment. With this in mind, I decided to devote all of Monday to completely removing every single living bit of spyware and adware on my computer.

I updated Windows (and with it Internet Explorer), got the latest version of Norton, made sure that my AdAware was as current as it could be and ran everything. After I ran everything, I ran everything again. Five times more. Restarted the computer so that Adaware could remove programs that it couldn't the first time. Restarted the computer in safe mode so that I could follow the removal instructions provided to me by Norton. Read lengthy technical articles written by geek-geniuses on the topic of spyware, researched specific sticky browser hijackers that just wouldn't leave (Drusearch anyone?) and eight hours later I was done. No more pop ups, the home page was set to whatever I wanted it to be set to. Eight hours. That's a good day's work. I did it unpaid to protect my property.

When I woke up yesterday I opened my email and went to perform my daily morning ritual in the bathroom. Upon return I decided to test my homepage. My browser had been hijacked in the short time that it took me to wash my face, brush my teeth and rinse with Listerine with Fluoride. When I tried to change the webpage to something else, the familiar pop ups asking if I wanted to remove spyware started to spring up before the new page even loaded. Eight hours of work. All for nought. Eight hours, unpaid, wasted. An AdAware scan even confirmed the presence of new bad things. There were no bad things in the scan that I did before I went to bed the night before.

I wasn't about to chronicle this defeat on my blog. Bad enough that I had completely wasted eight hours of my life that I was never going to see again, I didn't think I should broadcast it to the rest of the world either. I settled instead for complaining to David about it. As is customary with such discussions I asked him if he experienced any problems with spyware. I'll admit I was really looking for someone to share my misery, considering how universal a problem spyware is. David, as it seems doesn't have any problems with spyware at all. Nada, nil, zilch, zero. Before he revealed his secret, he directed me to this article. I strongly suggest that you read it because it presents the issue more succintly than I could possibly explain it here. The bottom line is that Internet Explorer lets in all these insidious programs either deliberately or otherwise.

Considering that IE6 is just about the only browser that is readily available, and indeed viable, I was getting ready to mail a bomb to Bill Gate's residence and pick regular days on which I would invest into protecting my computer and keep it running smoothly. But the article also mentioned another browser: FireFox by Mozilla. Admittedly most of the internet is written for IE6 so certain things will look odd (for example this blog looks like someone cracked open an egg) but the idea is that whenever you encounter a website that you are unable to view, only then do you open IE6. Otherwise, you use FireFox. It's free to download and I find that it's infinitely more user-friendly than my old browser. I set it to my default browser immediately. I haven't even begun to learn about all of its features, but by far I really appreciate CRTL+T. It's hard to explain how awesome it is and indeed I didn't understand what was so great about it until I've started using it. Now I'm hooked and I will never go back.

I just did an AdAware scan. I've had this browser open all night and have been active on the internet for almost three hours now. Nothing. Nada. Nil. Zip. Exultate Deo

And for absolutely no reason at all, this.

posted by Joie! at 11:34 a.m.


Tuesday, July 06, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Jai Guru Deva Om 

Day two of the massive unemployment obligation clean-up. It still absolutely boggles me that such a small apartment with only two people and two cats in it can get so devastated within a week of neglect. I managed to assemble three Extra Strong Glad Garbage Bags full of stuff that had to be thrown out, three sinkfuls of dishes with random stuff growing on various surfaces and I still haven't dealt with the laundry (clean, but not yet put away). That was yesterday.

Before I start today's clean up (probably one more trash bag, one more sinkful and laundry) I would like to take this time to ponder some karmic questions. Some of you might consider this a way for me to procrastinate (because I didn't mention earlier that I also am responsible for cleaning out the coat closet) but I would like to initiate some discussion of the issues that were plaguing me while I was going about making this place habitable yesterday.

Consider the rule: Harm none. It's the basis of Wicca and if you think about it, the principle of Karma as well. So, while I'm washing off inch thick layers of mould with Dawn Apple Blossom Dishwashing Detergent Anti-Bacterial Hand Soap with Lift Action (more on this later) and spraying Neutra Air Citrus Breeze by Lysol into the air to kill odour causing bacteria, well then I would think that I am in violation of that rule. On the flip side, however. If I were not to harm these organisms (and this is a very pertinent issue because in a few moments I plan to evict the fruit flies that have taken up residence in my kitchen with a considerable amount of force) then this environment would be harmful to the inhabitants of this one-bedroom. Of course the answer to this is to not cultivate organisms that I would have to later eliminate, but that means good housekeeping: a skill that it still in development, as far as I'm concerned.

Before I continue, I have to talk about Dawn Dish-Soap with the patented Lift-Action. I had dishes with dried on food like you wouldn't imagine. Take, for example, the pyrex dish which used to have a roast in it. As the roast diminished, we left the dish, gravy and onions and all in the back of the fridge. It was probably there for about a month and it wasn't so much that there was gravy left than there was a hard crust that had formed on the glass. Another example could be the pot that was used to make a big batch of ground beef and Campbell's Tomato Soup and was sitting on the stove for a week. I used undiluted condensed soup for that, so the stuff was dried on like you wouldn't believe. A few squirts of Dawn (quantity-wise, you only need to use a fraction of what you would need with normal dish-soap) and a quick soak in warm-hot water later, I didn't even have to scrub the pyrex. I took it out of the sink, gave it a quick rinse and it was done. As for the pot? Well, I peeled off the stuck on tomato, quick rinse, done. I think that this new Dawn is going to put those pot scrubber manufacturers out of business. (Not to mention for REALLY tough stuck on stuff you can use the Dawn Power Brush so you don't really have to get your hands dirty at all) I don't often endorse a product, and I hate washing dishes. So you get a good idea of how great this stuff is.

I digress. So here I am eviscerating entire colonies of lifeforms. Today I'm going to (hopefully!) vacuum, put laundry away, wash all the glasses (most of which have a slice of decaying lime in them because we drink alot of G&Ts) and organize the coat closet (which if I'm not wrong has a two-month old tupperware with mayonaise in it). How many micro-organisms are going to be affected or even harmed by my actions? What would my resultant karma be? I recall thinking once that anything harmed by me was poised to be harmed because of actions that it had committed in past lives. In other words, my actions are helping enforce karma. I mean you have to have done something pretty awful to be reincarnated as bacteria that forms on old mayonaise. Or even the green mossy stuff that grows on old tomatoes. The problem with that line of thought is that it really leaves me no excuses and that I should hop to it to help fufil karmic destiny.

No excuses I guess. I just have to hop to it.

posted by Joie! at 11:36 a.m.


Saturday, July 03, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

Can't Buy Me Love 

This post is late in coming because I've just been so consumed with the Telemarketing job. It's stressful, the pressure is insane and the money is not bad at best. For those of you who know me well, I've started picking at the skin around my nails furiously again, started picking at those things on my arm and am scratching my scalp so bad that I draw blood and there's a neat little pile of hair on the desk in front of me after.

So I quit.

Not even one week into a potentially lucrative job with fabulously flexible hours I said, "I'll pick up my cheque and soul at the door please. If it's not ready for me then mail it to my address." I don't even have another job lined up for me and considering what the job market is like right now, I will probably have alot more time to spend blogging over the next little while. Actually, I -do- have an interview this coming Thursday (I set it up before I quit, the plan being to jump ships instead of just jumping off one) to be a dealer with Great Canadian Casinos. The interview is really a series of aptitude tests and finally a vis-a-vis with a supervisor. Sounds like I would be perfect for the job though, it's all about being fast with numbers and following procedure. Keep your fingers crossed everyone. I need this now more than ever.

After the interview, I will have to attend dealer school. That's a 40hr/wk 4 week course before I can even begin at an acutal location. Sounds like they take things seriously. The best part about this is that it's paid training and I don't have to foot the bill for training school myself. Apparently in the past people who wanted to work on the casino floor had to pay for their own training. Bartenders still have to pay for their own training before they can get hired at pubs and restaurants. It usually costs $200 for a three-day course, but while trying to find the linked site I came upon a $9.95, free S&H, learn at home course. I'm actually tempted to try that out. We'll see where the dealer opportunity goes. Bartenders make hundreds of dollars a night in tips alone. It's a great job for a student because of the flexible hours, the only thing is that you need to find a good place to work.

All-in-all I really have to thank Jim for bringing in the bacon. Seriously without his income I would still have to be banging away at that job that is terribly wrong for me just to be able to make the bills. Not to mention the fact that he's been really understanding about the lack of a second paycheque. Phew. You're a great guy Jimbo!

I guess I'm back on the job market again, if anyone out there wants to hire an excellent customer service representative with extensive experience in all customer service fields, give me a call.

posted by Joie! at 9:35 a.m.


Thursday, July 01, 2004 ______________________________________________________________________________

O Canada 

Today is Canada Day which means that it's a stat holiday. I haven't been working at this position long enough to qualify for stat holiday pay but it's a real relief not to have to be working. I wake up every morning with a sick sense of dread that starts from the area just above my groin and spreads just enough to make me nauseous. Go to bed every night wishing that when morning comes some giant catastrophe will prevent me from going to work. Spend my sleeping mired in weird dreams because my mind is too strung out to rest properly. I could go on but I won't.

Since today is a Thursday Jim's company decided to have them work today and have tomorrow off, which would result in a long weekend. If only all employers were that sensible. The rest of us, we're stuck with an oddly stunted week. I'm not complaining about the holiday though. It certainly is a welcome break from the tedium of telemarketing. Jim's Mom has today and not tomorrow off too so we went together to go listen to some free outdoor jazz (as part of the TD Canada Trust International Jazz Festival) at Granville Island. Considering the music was free it wasn't too bad. I've heard better jazz at The Cellar but Granville Island is a nicer place to be when the sun's shining but there's a breeze coming off the water. We ended that day with Jim meeting us at Burgoo.

Burgoo is the ultimatest restaurant I have ever been to. If anyone of you out there visits me here I gurantee you a dinner at Burgoo. For dinner we had a Brie and Roasted Garlic Fondue (served with various types of bread and pieces of apple), Ceviche (that I want to try and make sometime), I had the Magical Mushroom Bisque (divine!) and Jim had the Jambalaya. Jim's Mom filled up on the appetizers. Meals at Burgoo are always so special. Burgoo is owned by two cool guys who are very much hands-on management. They are open to suggestions (Jim was the one who got them to start serving G&Ts) and their level of service can't be beat. I mean they served me once with chopsticks that were stuck in the bowl (big taboo, you NEVER stick the chopsticks in the food, always balance it on the side of the bowl) and we got free dessert when I mentioned that it was taboo. It's hard to find people that will listen to you and take you seriously like that. Their desserts are really awesome too. The problem is that their serving sizes are so big that there's rarely any room for the sweets after.

On a completely different topic, I had to register yeaterday without having my grade for Linguistics 200 changed. Due to the fact that my prof had to submit it via a change of grade form, it takes so long that my final score was not submitted in time for my registration. While I was still allowed to declare my specialization as Speech Sciences then, I was not allowed to declare honours. I sent an email to my prof specifying this a while back but she hasn't gotten 'round to replying. While writing this I just received her email reply. Apologies for the time taken (apparently all change of grade forms take this long because it has to be approved by many different people before it even reaches arts advising and they're not the fastest snail in the race either) and she also told me that I got 92%. That's my final grade. 92%. Not only am I -so- not worried about getting into honours now, I'm not worried about anything! My GPA is off the charts! (consider that even while I had a 38% on my transcript, I still had a 76% average -- which is a B) I'm certainly excited about going back to school in the fall.

If anyone sees my grandma (read:Lisa) tell her that I scored 92% on my Linguistics 200 course. That's the one I was going to school on Monday and Wednesday nights for, if she asks. My grandma called me the other night to tell me that I better make sure that I graduate soon because my grandad is turning 70 in two years and that's when the travel insurance skyrockets and there would be no way that they could afford to come and attend my graduation ceremony. Before I entered university, I had no idea what the Hokkein term for "Graduation Certificate" was. Now I hear it every week. I guess the pressure is on to perform. 92%.....

posted by Joie! at 10:55 p.m.


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