Sunday, December 21, 2014

Its a Small World ...

Since I have been down here:

... Matt P. has moved into the same building as me

... Saw Ahmed at the Sharks-Canucks game, he was seated IN THE SAME ROW as Dave and I

... Got a message from an old BestBuy co-worker, Roberto.  He mentioned he is starting a new job the following Monday.  Where was he staying temporarily? Same building, one floor down

... Was in the cafe looking for seats and who do I see?  Xin! Who had left RIM 3 years ago to go to California with her husband

... Went to the company Christmas party and upon entering the party, I turned around and low and behold, its Kyle! Yet another ex-BestBuy co-worker!

Its nice to see familiar faces.

Saturday, November 08, 2014

Baseball, Hockey and a Freeway!

I've been pretty busy! So many visitors. Lauren, Rob, Chris and Dave. And so many exciting things have happened! The San Francisco Giants won the World Series! I went into to "The City" for Game 5. No no, I didn't go to the game, but I did go by the stadium and picked up a World Series program. So, Rob and I went somewhere for the next best thing ... Go watch the game under the freeway! 

Check out the setup! Such fancy furniture

That's the freeway

They were streaming the game over the Internet and setup the TV.  The best part of the night?  Around the 8th inning, the streaming signal started to break up and go bad. So they brought out a digital antenna! For the inning they were trying to get a good enough signal to the game would come in.  They had a guy standing there with the antenna adjusting it. Eventually he gave up and they went back to streaming it online ... only missed about an inning.

Last Thursday, Dave and I went to San Jose Sharks - Vancouver Canucks game.

Apparently San Jose Sharks play in the SAP "Center"

Waiting for the game to start

And ME with the Sedins!!!

Needless to say, this was pretty epic.  The seats were literally RIGHT behind the bench! Although, I couldn't see half the game (damn players standing up). And the Canucks won the game! I guess you can say I now have been settled. I have found a bar with trivia, the Britannica Arms Pub!  The trivia is done by Triviolity. Its pretty good (better then the PubStumpers).  I have been a one-man team (and not scoring the greatest, but I'm having a good time). Now all I need is my family to be here with me.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Home ...

... Yes, I found a place.  Its in the same building as my temporary housing, so it was really easy to move - not that I had a lot of stuff to actually move. I would post a bunch of other pictures ... but that seems like a lot of work.  So instead, I made a slideshow ... check it out. Click here to download/watch. The video is about 150 MB but its in HD!

I'm finally feeling like I'm getting settled in. I have pretty much finished all of my administration stuff with the exception of getting my driver's license. I really have not done anything super awesome, because of all of the stuff I've been needing to do.  Also, there is that work thing!

Its like I'm a student again because all of my furniture is still in Waterloo and won't be showing up until April-ish.  So, I had to buy a bunch of the necessities.  Pot, pan, plates, bowls, cutlery, can opener, sharp knives and towels and what not. I figure I'll have to buy some more miscellaneous stuff.

Hopefully next post, I will have some interesting stories to tell.  But we'll see ...

Friday, September 05, 2014

Jeans and a t-shirt ...

... and that's all I've been wearing! No need for anything else! The weather is pretty much the same every day. Sunny ... warm ... sunny ... warm ... every day. Oh, the hard California life.

So, I've been getting settled in. I got a social security number! I found an apartment too.  Just need to sign the lease.  I'm staying where my temporary housing is, just a different apartment. Its a new build (hotel/apartment style) and its within walking distance to work. Plus the best part is that, Matt P. is living in the same building!! He moved in last week. Matt L. helped him move, so I got to see him too!

What else have I done? Well, I finished the South Park: Stick of Truth game (100% of the trophies) ... If you are a South Park fan, you absolutely need to play this game.  It is AWESOME. Also, I've started watching Smallville, "Bajar style" (one episode a day).  Aside from a couple of missed days, so I had to watch a few episodes a couple of nights (sorry Bajar), but I've kept up with it. But its only been 2 weeks ... 14 episodes ... I have another 235-ish to go!

Really, I have not done anything super duper 'fun and exciting' yet ... patience. Haven't even made it to SF!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

California ...

… yes!  I'm in California! I'm not officially a Californian, I still eat meat ... HAHA.

The flight and everything was uneventful. There was quite the wait at customs. At least it was interesting.  Apparently someone was caught for fraud at the border. Subsequently, he was arrested. It helped pass the time. I sort of wish I had brought a book, since you are not allowed to use any electronic devices.

On Saturday, there was the an earthquake in nearby Napa County. Which is about a 90-minute drive from where I am. I didn't feel a thing, but I was sleeping. It was the biggest earthquake since 1989 (During the World Series between the Oakland A's and SF Giants).

I haven't really done much anything else right now. I'm still getting settled in. Currently, the best thing is that the cable box down here doesn't suck like the Rogers' cable boxes (since it doesn't actually reset while you want to watch things ...).

Thursday, August 14, 2014

What do you mean ...

... there are no Mac OS X (Intel Version) drivers for this thing!?

How am I supposed to update my playlist now!?!

So, this is what is currently on the player:
  1. Black Eyed Peas: Where the Love?
  2. Fountains of Wayne: Stacy's Mom
  3. Avril Lavigne: Things I'll Never Say
  4. Hilary Duff: So Yesterday
  5. Linkin Park: Numb
  6. Nelly Furtado: I'm Like a Bird
  7. Avril Lavigne: Ska8r Boi
  8. Evanescence: Bring Me Back to Life
  9. Michelle Branch: All You Wanted
  10. Nena: 99 Red Balloons (Remix)
  11. Scott Bakula: Somewhere in the Night
  12. Andrew W.K.: Party 'til you Puke

Wow ... those are some fine-fine tracks.  I'm especially proud of the Andrew W.K. song - its a CLASSIC!

The Scott Bakula track was probably during my Quantum Leap obsession ... really ... its not currently on my iPod ... I swear ... really ... *wink*

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

All Good Things Must Come to an End ...

...  so more good things can possibly happen!

Yes, my time as an unemployed bum is coming to a close. About a week ago I accepted an offer from another fruit company (or in Waterloo, the "other" fruit company).  Apple offered me a position to work as a Software Development Engineer on their SIM technologies team!! Yes, Apple ... Woooooot!!  The rumours are true.  I'm going to California ...

First off, I would like to say this is all Bajar's fault.  I had originally planned on staying local and only applying to local companies (Desire2Learn, Motorola, Aeryon, etc ...).  But he convinced me that I cannot and should not limit my options to the area.  Silicon Valley is the 'mecca' of technology and software development. He said, "Don't you want to see what else is out there?"

So, why am I doing this?  There are several reasons why:

1. Fruit companies
When Research In Motion (RIM) decided to change their name to BlackBerry, I too decided that I will only work for fruit companies! There are only a limited number of fruit companies.  So, my options became very limited:

  • Tangerine: Canadian low-cost/no fee bank
  • Orange: European cellular carrier
  • BlackBerry: Trust me, I tried to get re-hired, they would have none of me
  • Strawberry, Peach, Pear ... These are potential names for my startup if I fail at Apple

2. Fairness
Since I had a lot of time off, Crystal and I decided its only fair for her to take some time off. Unfortunately, she cannot work in the U.S. so she will be taking some time off. It is only fair.

3. Matt L.
For more then a decade (with the exception of that 18 month experiment in Ottawa), I have lived no farther then a 1-hour car drive to Matt.  He just moved to SF a few weeks ago, and it would just be weird being like a 5-hour plane ride away.

4. Hippies
The biggest reason why I hate hippies so much is because I'm so jealous of them. There, I admitted it. Now I can turn into one! Must only eat organic certified foods! Vegetarianism! Maybe even veganism! Biking and public transit! Hippies like Apple right?

5. Cost Savings!
What? This doesn't make any sense ... but really it does!  Although rent is like three times more then around here, but consider these things:

  • I want to the 'Disney Coast-to-Coast' Marathon medal - moving to California just makes it slightly cheaper for one half of the trip
  • Beer is so much cheaper down there - although it will have to be organic certified beer!
  • 40 Chicken McNuggets for $29.99! I think it was $29.99, maybe its $19.99 I can't remember
  • Summers in Cupertino are between 15 - 25 degrees.  Winters are between 5 - 15.  Who needs winter clothes!?  Who needs heating or air conditioning? The hydro/gas bill has to be a fraction of what it is here
  • Considering that a lot of "organic certified" foods come from California, I can only assume the cost of that food is so much more cheap!
  • Target has actually good prices ... instead of the fake Target here
Yup, add all those cost savings up and they should really balance out that massive rent increase ... right? I have a degree in Mathematics, I can make the numbers work ... sure.

6. Whatchamacallit
I can't find this chocolate bar in Canada ... its so tasty with its rice crisps and caramel goodness. Plus with a name like that, how can you go wrong!

Monday, July 28, 2014

What can you do in 900 days!? ...

You can finished an 18,000+ puzzle!!

Yes!  At 12:45 pm today, Crystal placed the LAST piece!

Placement of the last piece - Yay Crystal!

The traditional hugging of the puzzle!

A few thoughts:

  • This puzzle was actually easier then the last large puzzle I did (9000 piece - Wedding of Cano) - this puzzle was very colourful!
  • The puzzle was started on February 9th, 2012 - 11:00 pm*
  • The puzzle was completed July 28, 2014 - 12:45 pm.
  • Total elapsed time: 899 days, 13 hours, 45 minutes
  • There was a puzzle sabbatical from June 2012 to January 2014 - wow ... long time.
The puzzle is complete!  There are no missing pieces ... there was a scary moment where I couldn't find one of the pieces but it was sitting on the Risk box!

Now, what do to?  Maybe I'll go and have an Apple or something ...

* After the New England Patriots lost the Super Bowl.  I feel I have been a curse to the Patriots since I have yet to finish the task.  Now its up to you Tom Brady. I'm no longer holding you back!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Long overdue puzzle update ...

Wow ... its been since May since I updated!  Oops!

Well, there is some fantastic news ... I'm actually almost done.  SERIOUSLY! All of the pieces can fit on the dining room table!  There are ~2000 pieces left ... maybe less?  I'm not really sure.  So, here are a BUNCH of pictures of the progress since the last update.  I really should have been updating throughout May/June/July ... sorry.  My bad.

The big elephant still is not complete; however, over the past week, I have been working on finishing the 'big gaps'.  Ie. the little elephant - complete, rhino - complete, alligator/crocodile - complete.  When I say complete, I mean there are few pieces missing.  So pretty much all that is left is the big elephant.

Here is the state of the entire puzzle on May 30th, 2014

July 9, 2014 - Started the big elephant ... its leg.

July 11, 2014 - Full puzzle picture

So now I realize that I've done a really poor job updating ... because even now the puzzle looks WAY more complete!

July 24, 2014 - Full puzzle picture

Sunday, May 25, 2014

3 Days ...

After my vacation to Jenn & Lee's Wedding!  I came home to work on my puzzle. I was going to get grey done!  Yes, I was committed ... until I actually started it.

It sucks.  I lasted a whole 3 days!  But look at what I accomplished (which wasn't much) ...

Just a little bit of the elephant

So, I have changed gears ... I'm going green!!  Leafy green, not grassy green. I have been making a lot of really good headway!  I forgot to do an update during the week (Wednesday or Thursday-ish?)  So here are the pictures from there

Around the big giraffe's head

Beside the lions

So, now here is the update to the update.  Since, I'm only missing a handful of the pieces, I'm pretty much done with the areas I have been working on.

Left side of the puzzle, I got lazy and didn't bother looking for the last 2 pieces in the middle

Part I of II

Part II of II
For the most part the trees and the greenery are now complete!

Right side of the puzzle

Just a note: I did end up working on some of the elephants, when I was working on the grey, I started to separate out some of the pieces (turns out it was the elephants on the right side).

Up next? The top corners!  Hopefully, those will be completed in a few days ... after that, I'll tackle the grassy green (bottom right hand corner) and then the 'box of miscellaneous dark pieces'.  I believe once those 3 items are completed ... then the large elephant will be worked on.  I hope it does not take 8-weeks like the blue did for the 9000 piece puzzle I did.

Friday, May 09, 2014

Giraffes ... completed!

Another puzzle update!  I had taken a break from the puzzle a couple of weeks ago because my sister-in-law visited from Vancouver and then just got lazy.  But this week I got back at it!  I have completed the giraffes as promised.

There are various pieces missing in various areas. Sorting through all of the pieces are starting to get tiring - I think I am about half done the puzzle ... so, there are still about 9000 other pieces to go.  I have not decided what to do next.  I may start with the 'trees' and other greenery. Stay tuned.

Oh! Zebras are more complete too!

Finished off the other zebra

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Puzzle Update 2014!

Yes! The long awaited puzzle update!  How is it going? Well, I can tell you that I'm avoiding the very large elephant.  I'm going to probably try to do the entire rest of the puzzle before tackling that crazy thing! Since I've been unemployed, I've had plenty of time to work on it.  I got the lion's family pretty much completed ... as well as the *most* of the crocodile/alligator. I did some work on the 'smaller' elephant earlier before I was "Arnolded". There are just random pieces I find that I can place. I'm currently finding that this one is not as bad as the 9000 piece puzzle I did - less of the same colour. Its a very colourful puzzle and there are a lot of distinct looking 'areas'.  I say this now before I even attempt to tackle the large (similarly coloured) elephant.  By my estimates right now - I think I'm just over 50% completed. I'm not really sure though.

Next steps? Complete the giraffes. Zebras and then the rest of the 'green'.

Oh yah! You want pictures! So, I couldn't get the entire thing in with one picture (right now). So its in 2-parts.

Right, don't use those little foamy play mats.  They suck as puzzle place holders on the floor.
(I think I'm going to get some plywood to put the puzzle on soon)

Lion family - check!

Main body of the little elephant - legs not done (too much black)

Alligator/Crocodile - last 4 days of work!

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Stop the bad news!

2014 hasn't really turned out to be a good year for me so far. However, we have some awesome good news. Crystal and I have a new addition to our family. Meet Brodie Jacob Leopold Marui!  (Yes, we actually gave him two middle names).

We adopted him from the Stratford-Perth Humane Society. He was born on August 23rd, 2010. According to the humane society, he is a Basset Hound, Welch Corgi mix.  However, with his colouring, we suspect there may be some German Shepherd in him.  He has a massive head and neck! So we needed to get a harness for him for his walks. He is well trained (sit, lay down, stay, high five) and house trained - yay! He loves to play with his squeaky toys and to run around the house with them. He seems to dislike water (puddles and rain), so I'm not sure how he is going to react with the pool. He is very friendly and seems to only want bite when he is in a playful mood.

Since I'm unemployed, I've been hanging out with the little guy. Crystal is a little jealous ;)

Queue the pictures!

For all of you puzzle fans out there ... I promise I will have a puzzle update in the next few days. I Promise - "Its not like I have anything else to do."

Monday, April 07, 2014

Not a rockstar ... But a one-hit wonder ...

A few weeks ago, I went to a mandatory meeting. The meeting was quick and brutal. After 9 years and about 8 months, BlackBerry terminated my employment.  I use the word "terminated" because that's what it says in the form letter in my package.

Luckily for Crystal and I, we have been quietly preparing for this.  So, no one should really be worrying about us.  Even though that I had really thought it was impossible for BlackBerry to actually let me go. But the impossible had happened (Hmmm, I should have really bought a lottery ticket that day).

Now, I would like to say that while I am very disappointed I didn't actually get to 10 years.  I'm actually not bitter at BlackBerry.  I really do not think I could be.  I still have a lot of friends there and I still hang out with them. So, I cannot hate the company that it turned out to be a simply a cost-cutting move. I still have a BlackBerry (Q10) and I absolutely love it! I had been using a Z10 for the last couple of years ... but I hated the touchscreen keyboard. The Q10's keyboard is one of the best (it reminds me of the old Bold 9000 or the Torch).

One of the things that people first ask me is, "Is BlackBerry going to make it?"  I can't really say.  Most of the work I was involved with did not contribute to the future product roadmap - so I actually really do not know.  I hope they do "make it."  I don't think they will be a dominate player like they were a decade (or so) ago.  But I still believe that the company will exist in some fashion.

I've been unemployed for a few weeks now and thus have a lot of free time on my hands. So, I've been working on my puzzle, going to baseball games, and doing a lot of housework. I'm not sure when I will start looking for work, or what my new job will look like. I'm looking at this as an opportunity for me to figure what I actually want to do next ... but for now, there will probably be lots of puzzle updates. Stay tuned ... maybe I'll actually finish this monster of a puzzle!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Thanks for all of the thoughts ...

Crystal and I would like to thank everyone.
We appreciate all of the kind words and actions by everyone.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Charley ...

Charlotte (Charley) Ann Marui passed away peacefully this morning.

She was a big Toronto Blue Jays fan like her dad.

She loved to nap like her mom.

She put up with a couple of crazy parents who would dress her up for Halloween ...

... and take her for Santa pictures (and join in on the fun)

Charley was loved.  Her parents were so blessed she came into their lives. Even though she occasionally pooped in the house.  We will miss her 'horsey' impression at the door, her getting up and loud head shaking at 3 am to go outside, 'snoozing' her, her 'sneaking' up to the dinner table for some human food, but most of all, we will miss the kisses she would give. She touched everyone she encountered. The house feels so empty without her.

We will all miss you. Rest in Peace baby.