Kicking Back in Calgary

If it were possible to work like a dog, my name would be Rover.

Bow wow.

I’m working on the latest and greatest version of a website we’re doing for one of our Fortune 500 clients. There are nine people on the team: Three designers, two project managers, a production person, one and a half programmers, and one web developer — that is, me. Our project was due tomorrow. Despite the approximate 200 hours I’ve put in during the past two weeks (no, I’m not kidding), that’s just not happening. There’s still so much to do.

So yes, I’ve been busy. For quite a while. Been working my tail off. (Yeah, there’s that dog reference you’ve been waiting for me to spring on you.)

I’ve pulled a few near-all nighters. I usually end up pulling ’em with Dave, one of my colleagues, and the guy who hired me. We get really goofy around 2am or so. Usually we’re loaded up on Coke or Pepsi and adrenaline (from playing Unreal Tournament). You’d be amazed how much I can actually get done when it’s just Dave and I plugging away at our seemingly endless list of problems.

So Friday rolls around. I’m planning on being here during the weekend, to finish more work. (I’ve got lots of it — enough to last at least another week.) Nancy (my project manager) calls me to discuss a few things. I let her know I’ll tackle them during the weekend. The conversation goes like this:

Me: Yeah, I’ll fix it over the weekend.

Nancy: No, you won’t. Look, Geoff, take the weekend off.

Me: Can’t, too much work to be done by Tuesday. [Tuesday’s our deadline.]

Nancy: Geoff, go home for the weekend. Don’t make me make you…

She called back at about 5:30 that evening. Dave and I were engaged in a serious game of blowing each other up with high explosives. The phone call went like this:

Nancy: (Sternly) You’re still here.

Me: Uh, yeah? I usually am… (oooh, you little weasel, I’ll get you for that!!)

Nancy: Go home, Geoff. Now.

Me: I’m not doing work!! Honest! (HA! Take that, Dave!!)

Nancy: Then what are you doing?

Me: Playing video games with Dave. (You missed!! You missed!! CRAP! You didn’t miss!)

Nancy: Oh, well, that’s fine. Just don’t do anything productive, okay?

I got a cool project manager.

Not working this weekend wasn’t easy. I had the urge to come back and fix things. Yes, I’m dedicated to the project. I want to see it work well. Call me weird…

So Friday night, Chris and I met a friend (and co-worker), Sylvie, at Eau Claire Theatres to catch the Friday premiere of the most anticipated movie of the month. No, not “The Cell” — “Godzilla 2000”, of course! There’s nothing like watching some guy in a massive rubber suit trash models of Tokyo. Especially when it’s presented on the big screen! (We saw “The Cell” the following night with Dave.)

It was a weird night. As we left the theatre, I suggested to Chris that we pop into Pongo, a trendy little neo-Asian restaurant on 17th Ave. As we walked down 4th St. towards Pongo, we encountered two young ladies who were (assumedly) on their way to the Palace. They required some assistance.

The first question, which I missed, was “Hey, do you guys have sisters??”

Chris answered the question correctly. The answer is “yes”. They assumed (rather poorly, at least in my case) that our sisters would have asked our opinions as to their appearance before going out clubbing. Cathy has never asked me such a question (she’s smart enough to know I’m utterly clueless about most of these things). These two poor girls, however, were too drunk to notice that I’m clueless.

Okay, maybe not the blonde. She knew enough to ask only Chris.

Anyway, they literally wanted us to check them out. They invited us. Only in Calgary, I tell you … only in Calgary. I’ve never in my life been invited to purposely ogle, and then offer words of encouragement. It threw both Chris and I for a bit of a loop.

Our interrogators walked onto their destination (after momentarily chastising us for not going with them — I believe their exact words were “You’re going the wrong way!!”), and we headed towards ours. But the weirdness didn’t end there…

As we arrived at Pongo, three jock-types leaned over and asked if we would flip two women “the bird” as we walked in. We were told that “we know those chicks”, and that it would be in good fun. Chris and I don’t play those games, especially if we’re single, they’re single, and there’s a hope in hell of something happening. (Hey, we might be silly, but we ain’t stupid … most of the time, anyway.)

We were running out of excuses not to when one of the women piped up: “Hey, I’ve got a beer glass, and I ain’t afraid to use it!” Chris ended our conversation with the jocks: “No offence guys, but she frightens me more than you do.”

On Saturday, Chris and I wandered about Calgary, wandering mostly aimlessly. It was great. I hadn’t been out of the office for so long, I’d forgotten the sun was even out. We walked in and out of malls and shops, not looking for anything in particular (though I did buy another CD recommended by my “source” at A&B Sound). While we were there, we ran into our newest friend in Calgary, Shannon. She’s a long-term A&B employee looking to get out.

Chris and I have become career counsellors for Shannon. She’s been offered the chance to get a job at the Calgary Sun. But she’s been out of the loop for so long, she’s not sure how to get the job. So Chris and I are working to improve her portfolio and resume. Hopefully, we’ll be able to do something for her.

Only in Calgary would someone you really only got to know that day call you up for help in getting a better job. Only in Calgary…

Anyway, I’m late at the office again, having taken a chainsaw to some really nasty software bugs in the code. I had a few minutes to whip of a “hello, I’m alive” message. I hope y’all are doing well, and hopefully we’ll talk in the not-too-distant future…