Last Work Day of the Decade

Today is the last work day of the decade for me. I’m still working in the office in Lab 9, as I have some work to complete before I leave on vacation. I end the decade only feet from the exact point where I started the decade.

Jan 1, 2000, at 12:00:01, I was here at work, in Lab 6, as part of Nortel’s Y2K task force. We were all carrying pagers, waiting by the phone and basically doing nothing. For me, it was a non-event, as our software had been updated in the months before, and patches sent out to all of our customers. At the exact moment of the new millennia, I was in the cafeteria, where Nortel had brought in some light snacks and (secretly) handed out glasses of champagne to anyone working to celebrate. I did wish I was downtown though – I’m sure it would have been quite a party.

At the start of the decade, the US elections were in full swing. I told anyone who would listen that Bush would set the US back by decades. Never did I expect that his performance after becoming president without winning the election would have been worse than I anticipated. Of course, no one could have expected 9/11, except for the US agents who specifically told Bush 4 weeks before that an attack against the US was being prepared. And who would have guessed that the US would have invaded a country who had nothing to do with the 9/11 tragedy, other than Donald Rumsfeld who said on 9/12 that the US should attack Iraq because “there aren’t any good targets in Afghanistan“.

The year 2000 was also the start of the layoffs at Nortel. The earliest reference I can find is that they started in October 2000. This was my life for the next 9.5 years. I made it through the first year of layoffs before my entire team was cut 2 months after 9/11. I returned and worked for CDMA, dodging more than a dozen layoff rounds before being picked up in the Ericsson purchase a few months ago.

The time at Nortel was good in one respect. I was introduced to the love of my life at Nortel: a blind date over lunch in the Lab 6 cafeteria. Rosa and I talked for 2 hours that day, and we knew immediately that we had found who we were both looking for. Seven months later we got engaged in Paris, and on Jan 3, 2007, we married in Rome.

I’ve traveled more in the last 5 years than I had in my entire life. Rosa and I have visited Halifax, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin, Frankfurt, Munich, Naples, Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, Istanbul, Ankara, Athens, Warsaw, Krakow, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Jerusalem, Amman and London. In 2 days, we leave for our next trip: Berlin, Prague, Budapest and Vienna. Before Rosa and I met, I had also visited New YorkToronto, Montreal, Dallas. 2 years ago I had a business trip to Bangalore.

I seems like I have been racing for so long, but it was only in 2001 that I became a licensed marshal and 2003 before I received my race licence. I have raced in a 1971 Datsun 510 (“The Pumpkin”), 1991 Nissan NX2000, Nissan Sentra, Honda Civic, Formula-1600 and this year multiple Acura Integra Type-R’s. I also became a Secretary of the meet for 5 MCO Race Schools and 5 Ted Powell Memorial Race Weekends, including the first full race weekend at the new Calabogie Motorsports Park.

I’ve starting learning French, so I may become a bi-lingual Canadian. And I started to kayak.

I wonder what December 2019 will bring?

Olympic Flame

Yesterday, I traveled downtown twice to see the Olympic Flame for Vancouver 2010. I expect that I won’t see the flame again for another Canadian Olympics for another decade or two.

The first trip was around noon hour, when the Flame entered Ottawa from Gatineau over the Alexandra Bridge. As I was walking towards the bridge, I saw that there were organizers on the path up to Nepean Point, so I walked up there instead.

There were a number of other photographers there, some ameteurs like myself and some pro. I overheard one photog talking with another and the voice sounded so familiar. I turned to him and asked “Are you Steve Simon?”

“Why, yes, I am,” he said.

I had recognized his voice from the This Week In Photography (TWIP) podcast that I listen to every week. We talked briefly. He asked me what I was interested in, and I told him about my background and how I would like to start assisting local photographers.

He asked for a business card, but I don’t have one. I guess I should get a set of business card for just these sorts of occasions.

Once the flame arrived, I moved around to get some shots, but the pros had the best seats. My photos were not too bad, but I could have tried a few different things (flash) if I had more time.

In the evening, I went down to Parliament Hill for the official flame ceremonies. This was even harder to get a good shot, as I only had about 10 seconds as the running went by, and it was pitch black. I dialed up the ISO and set the highest aperture (f/2.8), but that was not enough so I also used flash. I had to use the flash, but the light hit all the high-reflectivity clothing on the police and the runner himself.

Suzy Shier

The Red Dress
The Red Dress

I saw the perfect Christmas gift for Rosa tonight at Bayshore Shopping Centre. A beautiful red dress in the display window of Suzy Sher. I saw it while on the escalator and I knew instantly that it was what I wanted to give.

I finished another errand and came back to Suzy Shier and walked right in, went straight to the rack, pulled out the only XS/XP and brought it to the clerk. I knew what I wanted.
The clerk said, “All sales are final on dresses.”
“All sales are final on dresses. There are no returns and no exchanges.”
“I can’t return it?” I asked.
“No. All dress sales are final.”
“But I want to give it as a gift for my wife.”
“Oh, why don’t you tell her you want to get her something and then bring her in for a fitting.”
“But that’s not much of a gift. How would you propose I wrap that?”
“Sorry, it’s the store policy.”
“So, let me get this straight. I want to purchase this, and give you my money. But your store policy prevents me from giving a gift during Christmas time in a recession?”
“Sorry, it’s the store policy. It’s to prevent someone from buying a dress, keep the tags on, wear it for one night and return it the next day.”
“But that’s not my intention. I can’t buy something that might not fit and I cannot return.”
“It’s the store policy.”
“Ok, then you are loosing a customer. Have a nice day.”
And I walked out.
I contacted the corporation to find out if this the policy for only a single store or if it is a corporate policy. The Customer Service Coordinator at Suzy Shier told me it was a corporate policy. I asked this to be excalated, and it was sent to the Vice President of Sales and Operations, but I have not heard back from her yet.
This policy makes sense only if the amount and value of the business being lost from people ‘renting’ their clothes from Suzy Shier is more than the amount and value of the business that is being lost because no one can buy a dress as a gift from Suzy Shier. My gut feeling is that the policy is incorrect.

Mon Présentation

Le dernier mercredi, j’ai donné une présentation pour ma classe Intermediate-I. Le sujet a été ‘La Ville de Jérusalem’. Ce soir, j’ai eu mon examen orale; je pense que j’ai fait bien.

Ici est mon présentation…

Jérusalem est la capitale d’Israël, et une ville ayant une longue histoire. C’est aussi une ville très importante pour les 3 religions du monde, et la clé pour la paix dans le Moyen-Orient. Elle a été détruite deux fois, assiégée 22 fois, a attaquée 52 fois, et a capturée 44 fois.

Elle est l’une des plus anciennes villes du monde.

Elle a été à peu près il y a 5 mille années, pendant Le Chalcolithique.

IMG_1161Au 10e siècle av. J.-C., Jérusalem a été conquise par le roi David; c’est devenu “la ville de David”. Le Roi Salomon, fils de David, a fait construire le premier Temple de Jérusalem, sur le Mont Moriah. Le Temple de Jérusalem a contenu l’Arche d’alliance, ou on y gardait les tables de la Loi.

En 597 av. J.-C., Les Babyloniens a conquis Jérusalem et ils ont détruit la ville et le premier Temple. L’Arche d’alliance était perdue pour toujours.

Pendant le règne de Cyrus le Grand (l’Empire perse), le deuxième Temple de Jérusalem a été construit, aussi sur Mont Moriah. C’est la que les religions de juives, islamiques et chrétiennes se croisent.

C’est le plus saint lieu des juifs. Les Temples étaient situé dans la Vieille Ville, sur le Mont Moriah. Ils nomment le lieu ‘le Mont du Temple’. N’oubliez pas, le premier Temple a tenu l’Ache d’alliance. Aussi, les juifs croient que Dieu a créé le premier homme, Adam, avec terre du Mont.

Pour Les Chrétiens, Jésus est né un Juif. Il irait au deuxième Temple. Et il est crucifié à l’extérieur de la Vieille ville.

Pour Les Musulmans, dans le Coran, le Prophète Mahomet a commencé le voyage nocturne à le rocher surs le Mont Moriah. Les musulmans nomment le lieu ‘(al-haram al-qudsī ash-sharīf) ‘Le sanctuaire noble’.

IMG_1059C’est pendant la période romaine que Jésus est né. Quand il a eu 30-33 ans, il irait à la ville pendant la fête de la Pâque. Voici la salle qui, peut-être, était la salle de La Cène / dernier repas. Jésus est arrêté au jardin de Gethsémani. Finalement, Jésus est condamné par Ponce Pilate, et il est crucifié au lieu nommé Golgotha, à côté de la Vieille ville. Deux lieux ont été proposés pour le site de Golgotha – l’Église du Saint-Sépulcre ou le jardin de la Tombe.

En 70 ÉC, des juifs ce sont révolté contre des Romains. L’empereur romain Titus a détruit la ville, y compris le Temple. Seul le Mur des Lamentations est resté.

IMG_1237Jérusalem est conquise par les Arabes en 638. Les Musulmans ont construit la Mosquée Al-Aqsa, et le Dôme du Rocher. Le Dôme du Rocher est sur le même site que Les Temples. Dans le Coran, le Prophète Mahomet a commencé le voyage nocturne au rocher (sous le dôme), quand il a parlé avec Allah.

Pendant Les Croisades, les Croisés et les armées de Musulmans se sont battus pour la ville durant plus de 200 années. Finalement, Salah ad Din, a regagné la ville en 1187.

À partir du 16e siècle, la ville a été reconquise sous contrôle ottoman jusqu’en 1917 quand elle est devenue sous mandat britannique. Après la Deuxième Guerre mondiale, la Grande-Bretagne a donné l’indépendance à de nombreux pays. Par exemple l’Inde.

Et, en 1948, David Ben Gourion a proclamé l’indépendance de l’État d’Israël. Mais, Jérusalem a été divisée.

Israël a eu de nombreuses guerres avec ses voisins. En 1967, à la suite de la guerre des Six Jours, Israël contrôle l’ensemble de Jérusalem.

Depuis 2003, les Israéliens ont construit un mur (ou barrière de sécurité) autour de la ville. C’est très controversé.

En résumé, l’historie de la ville de Jérusalem n’est pas terminée.