The Return of 36 Chambers of Shaolin

A little over two months ago, Dave “36” Chambers left Calgary for Toronto, where we were opening another office. On Friday, he came back to visit, and it was up to us to remind him why it was (or wasn’t) a bad idea to leave.

This was a weekend for travelling — many CMassers were moving about the country. Some were coming to Calgary, some were going to Toronto, but most (of the travellers) were going to Vancouver for a wedding. Shawn was Toronto-bound, conveniently about 45 minutes after Dave’s plane was to land. Making my trip completely useful, I took Shawn to the airport, he tagged off with Dave, and I took Dave back to our place.

For a game night of near-epic proportions.

Actually, it ended up being more of a “Welcome Back” party than a game night. Although a large number of people showed up, only about half active engaged in video games for the entire night. The other half engaged in pockets of conversation. But don’t get me wrong — we all eventually got back to the Dreamcast and Virtua Tennis. Yes, tennis. Not much more than a very flashy version of Pong. But amazingly fun and VERY addictive.

The only thing missing was Mike, who was still in Toronto.

Dave was hung over the next morning. That wasn’t entirely surprising considering what he drank the night before. (Cory and Colin had brought a small stash of imported European beers, one of which was technically a barley wine. At 10% alcohol by volume, it’s a bit stronger than most North American beers.) However, I should point out that had Dave not told me he was hung over, I never would have known.

Chris had to disappear into the office. Not entirely sure what Dave wanted to do, I suggested we go down to Chinook Centre, wander around a bit, and maybe see a movie. Luckily (in a way) for us, this was the day of wacky weather — massive wind, snow, rain, hail, small children — basically anything you could imagine came whipping through the city. Dave and I didn’t notice, though — we were safely inside.

Along with half of Calgary. (Chinook gets pretty busy on weekends.)

The first order of business was food. I was a little hungry, but Dave was starving. We hit the food court and got our lunch sorted out. In the process of elimination, I make the fatal error of not having Japanese, as I had planned. Instead, I got a burrito from Taco Time. Shortly thereafter, I remembered why I don’t eat fast food Mexican anymore.

After a quick stop into Sport Chek (more on this in a paragraph or two), we headed down to the south end of the mall, where Famous Players has their Paramount theatre. It’s a MASSIVE complex with 16 screens (all of which will probably be playing Pearl Harbor this Friday night), mocked up in an Egyptian motif. Basically, it looks like the theatre was stolen from Vegas. And at $9.50 for a matinee, it ain’t cheap either.

The movie of the day was “Shrek”. This is a computer-animated fairy tale from DreamWorks. It stars the voices of Mike Myers (Austin Powers), Eddie Murphy (Trading Places), John Lithgow (3rd Rock From The Sun), and Cameron Diaz (Charlie’s Angels). It’s funny. I didn’t find it as funny (initially) as some of the sillier parts of Disney and Pixar movies, but the humour is a little more enduring, I think.

We returned to Sport Chek afterwards, so I could spend a small heap of someone else’s money. For some reason, I’ve been listed as the person who referred Chris. So when Chris crossed his six-month mark here, I received a wad of gift certificates for referring Chris. Needless to say, I was a little surprised … but I got enough to buy some new shoes. Unfortunately, they weren’t the gym shoes I wanted (they were out of my size), but I finally got some casual walking shoes.

Picking up Chris from the office, we stopped briefly at home before heading up to the northwest, where we were going to see “A Knight’s Tale” with Stuart and Therese. Dave, Chris, and I ate dinner first at Montana’s, partly because we hadn’t eaten yet, and partly because it was where Chris could get his Jack Daniel’s Maple Glazed Salmon. Or at least, we thought he could. He was denied by about a week — it (presumably) had been off the menu for the winter, and wasn’t due back for another 7-10 days.

The next morning was Dim Sum, our weekly ritual, and something Dave had been looking forward to since he left Calgary. Following our Chinese repast, we headed over to Dragon City Mall so Dave could get some Pocky (a chocolate-covered cookie stick treat), and then off to A&B Sound, and finally home again. We didn’t amount to much on Sunday, preferring to watch movies and TV. It was relaxing to say the least.

On Monday, Dave had to go into the office to meet with Cory, our department head, to try and establish some stronger lines of communication between Calgary and Toronto. This left Chris and I to our own devices … such as the 10-hour “Best of Deep Space Nine” marathon on the Space channel.

I love cable TV.

Originally, Chris and I were to go to Banff with Stuart and Therese. However, I had forgotten at the time that Dave was coming out to visit. That negated my ability to go to Banff, and Chris opted to stick around at visit with Dave, too. Hopefully we’ll be able to back out to Banff before too long.

Dave didn’t return until almost 3pm, after having lunch with friends. We sat around and talked, complaining a little bit about our jobs — specifically about some of our Project Managers, most notably one I’m having trouble with. I was in the middle of a rant when Chris said: “You know, there are probably people with not-so-great things to say about you.”

Although the comment didn’t slow me down at the time, it did give me something to think about. There were two cases: 1) Chris was being observant, or 2) Chris had heard something. In either case, the simple fact was that it made me look at my attitude, and how I’ve been acting. It didn’t take long for me to realize that since mid-January or so, my attitude has degraded quite a lot. I’ve become a cocky know-it-all (for all you jokers saying “hey, that’s no different!”, put a sock in it, okay?) with a dour outlook on the projects I work on. I’ve been bossing people around, overstepping my bounds, and making a lot of assumptions. Basically, I’ve been a Grade A Jerk.

Luckily for me, I have a friend like Chris, who isn’t afraid about telling me when I’m being a jerk. Becoming too complacent has become a detriment to me, and I’ve got to rectify the problem before I dig a hole I can’t get out of. This was something I was afraid might happen. I became a senior, put in a place of responsibility, and let it get to my head. Bad Geoff, bad! The strange part is, this is the first time this has happened — even though I’ve had this level of responsibility before.

Just goes to show you that no matter how old you get, or how much work experience you have, there is always something you can still learn about yourself.

We continued to watch the marathon until just before 5pm, at which time I took Dave up to the airport. It wasn’t so hard seeing him off this time, probably because I knew that this had been a short visit anyway. We’ll see him again (and hopefully other friends of ours who went to Toronto) this summer at the Getaway.

Dave again played tag on his way out. As we rounded the corner to the gate, we ran into Angie, one of our co-workers, waiting for Rich (another co-worker who had been in Vancouver for the wedding). Dave and Rich greeted each other, Rich went to get his bags, and Dave went through security to his flight.

Oh, you’re probably wondering about the “36” thing, eh? Well, although I can’t remember who exactly bestowed this nickname, it was one of the Designers. For some reason, it stuck.

Now if he could just learn a little kung fu…