01 December 2005

Making up for the Lost Time...


After hiding under a rock for the most of the past month, I decided to finally crawl out and enjoy the sunshine, I thought I could type a blog at the same time :)...

Oh well, after 24th person complaining about the lack of my blogging commitment, I've came to this realization that I do have a life now :)... Remember in my last post when I said that things were getting busy for me and it was going to get even busier... boy, I wasn't kidding myself. In the first 2 and half months, I basically did not do much other than doing my school work and bumming around in Stockholm with Elisabet and some others... ever since I got this job at Omnitor and the expectation level of my studies has been ridiculously escalated. I am having a hard time finding a day where I can just do absolutely nothing and just fiddle around with my remote control on a couch.

My another excuse for not posting lately would be it is possible that I've became more integrated with the life here ever than before, I don't have anything tourist-like to tell... but I'll try my best... here I go; (of course, here is another warning, - this is the mother of all blog posts, and I kid you not - of course, I got to make up for the lost time)

School - November 7th, my last post, I said I had three projects in a single week... man, I feel like that I finished those projects just last week but when in actuality it has been almost a full month. Anyway, yeah, my group and I finished all of these projects and we all got a passing grade on every one of them. Now, I've got two more projects to go... both from the Knowledge Management course... one small one focusing on an article about what "Tacit Knowledge" is... from my research, it seems like the best answer for what tacit knowledge is that "the kind of knowledge that you possess but you do not realize that you possess it but once you realize that you possess that knowledge, it becomes even more tacit to your tacit knowledge"... eh I know, I probably twisted some of your brains out there...here's a simplified definition -- "tacit knowledge is the knowledge that we do not know about". Nope, I'm not going to get all excited and start a lecture about it like I did for Sweden's economy history :)... (is that some cheering that I see on your side? :p)

My second project, its a research/analysis paper based on a big grocery store company's knowledge management techniques (a store simliar to Loblaws or Sobeys)... we have not really begun it but one of my partners has interviewed with the owner of the store... I couldn't participate in the interview because that owner is a old, fat, lazy, stubborn and rich son of a ----- and he refuses discuss knowledge management in english because he doesn't have time for that kind of thing. Who does he think he is anyway eh? Bill Gates? (in a unrelated story, if Bill Gates was walking down a street on way to a business meeting and he sees 50 dollar bill lying on the street, should he pick up the money? -- answer is on the bottom of the blog)

In my application integration class...one morning I went into our course's first lab class... and found out that I am supposed to have some knowledge of SQL before taking this course, I thought I was in deep trouble. (note: I am taking this course out of order in accordance with Ryerson's curriculm, if I didn't go on the exchange program, I would have been taking introduction to SQL or something like that in this semester at Ryerson then more advanced course on the next semester which is the course I am taking in Jönköping now) But after my second lab class, I found out that only minimal knowledge of SQL was required but there is heavy emphasis on Visual Basic programming (no problem for me)... just gotta refresh my VB memory then I'll be all good... I borrowed a book from the library, "learn SQL in 10 minutes" yeah right... but hopefully I will learn something before the teacher notices something strange :)

Tomorrow, I will have another lab class, focusing on Web Services... I think it's fun... to create an application on a client computer with all of the processes and subroutines stored somewhere on the web. It's a new concept for me and an interesting one, I can see many new applications that will be ver benefitable using web services.

So, the only things left for me to do in this semester is, 2 Knowledge Management group projects, 1 Web Services programming project, 1 teensy bitsy paper reviewing a guest lecture and a final exam.. (yup I said 'a'... I only have one final exam for this term, woohoo!)

Oh yeah, I have this nice teacher who told me that his school had a secret partnership with Microsoft where Jönköping University has access to all Microsoft products for free.,.. heh... nah it's not secret :p but yeah, they have some kind of academic program partnership... any students (i.e., Me) can have most of Microsoft programs for free... Once he told me about it, I was thinking "yay! early christmas for me!" heh, now I've got Visual Studio .NET, windows XP Pro, SQL server 2003, Access and more... (all licensed versions!!) Sorry, I cannot make copies for you all otherwise Microsoft will find out and contact the school then I'll get into trouble... in other words "ha ha to you" :)...

Weather- It's been a nice "wintery" weather in the past few weeks... with plenty of snow and temperatures hovering about -3c. I already have slipped on snow/ice twice so far :) ... yeah yeah yeah.. I know... its your turn now, "ha ha to me"... happy now?... anyway... yeah the temperature and snow has been nice but the daylight hours have been miserable. Did I explain to you guys that since Sweden is much more north, we get much less daylight hours during the winter months... the sun rises maybe 7.30am here but it already gets dark by 3pm... and the worst is yet to come... some has told me that in mid-december there is only 4-5 hours of daylight or worst if you live in more northern region of sweden where you might not see sun for several days.

Of course, during the summer months, it is the opposite. I remember when I was here in June 2004, after partying at the deaf house, I got home at like 3am and guess what? the sun was already rising!!... I was actually racing the sun, trying to get into bed before it feels like I have to stay awake for another day :)... yup only 4-5 hours of darkness during the Summer.

Working - Yup, on November 16th, I officially began my tenure at Omnitor AB. I would think the hardest thing to do there is trying to communicate clearly. With about 10 staff, half of them deaf or hard of hearing, and 9 in total can sign pretty well but all of them rely on their mouths too much while signing. And for me, you know how if you talk with a hearing person who can sign but you still adjust your signing to be more clear and easier for them to undertand you... I do not think that I have reached that level of proficency in teckenspråk where I can modify my signing style to match the individuals' comprehension requirements :)

I am not saying that we all do not understand eachother, but it just requires more effort on my part to ensure that everybody understand me... oh well... practice makes perfect. I know I said that I wanted to be an expert on teckenspråk by the end of January but everyday it's becoming very unlikely but at the same time I think I am still getting better everyday. Anyway, at Omnitor, what I have done so far is... preparing a presentation for a new project... set up systems, soldering, testing and testing and testing (you can never get enough of testing with tech stuff), debugging a new software version, working with a France company in solving bugs in the software, some simple powerpoint stuff, designing diagrams to show the connections for some of the new projects. I wish I could write more details but I signed a confidentiality agreement that I intend to uphold. In all, its been one big and interesting experience so far, I've learn so much in the Networking aspects of IT (not my speciality which is Database management but it is still related)... I've been working just two times a week but it already has taken a huge chunk in my schedule making me even busier (if you want to place blame on someone for my lack of blogging, you can take your anger out on Omnitor :p). For the lack of free time, Omnitor makes it up by giving me a nice hourly wage... I'm not inclined to go into the specifications but let's say that it's my highest paying job ever :D

Stockholm - Before I started working at Omnitor, I usually stayed in Jönköping for a full week if I had classes on just Monday and Friday but now that I'm working, my pay will make up for the more frequent bus/train trips so which means for almost every day that I do not have school, you can almost guarnatee that I will be in Stockholm. Elisabet and I have been doing a lot of "window shopping" for boots that she needed... and I am telling you guys, you are underestimating what "a lot" is... it must have took Elisabet weeks before she finally decided on a pair of boots heh but its a nice pair though :)... Stockholm (and every other town in Sweden that I have seen recently) have had more Christmasy feeling than anywhere in North America. They have this light decoration that swedes places on almost every window in their homes, its called Adventsstake, it's a really nice sight to see at nights... feels like that everybody is working together to make the winter nights more spiritually upheaving rather than the corporate-filled full of colours christmas lights that we splatter on all over our houses when compared to the appearance at night here, it feels like the christmas lights in North America are just more of a competition of who has the better and most lights but in the end they all just lose by paying more hydro bills... oh well...

In the past few weeks we've had few birthday parties... one for Dave, Elisabet's younger brother turned 17... then another for Jenny, Elisabet's close friend who turned 25... you know when the birthdays come, what does it mean?... yup, more shopping with Elisabet!! :D no no, dont get me wrong, I enjoy the time walking through Götsgatan, Gamla Stan, Åhlens City in the Centralen, where its practically full of holiday spirit. I'm telling you guys, if you want to see real traditional Christmas, come to Sweden... Of course, I might change my mind on the last night of shopping where I'll be all miserable and grumpy and thinking that I should have bought more stuff while shopping with Elisabet hehe...

There was a deaf film festival last weekend in Stockholm, Elisabet and I didn't go on friday night, we felt that we needed to take a break from being outside all the time (or was it more of me saying that?... i dont remember :p). Then on saturday, Elisabet and I went to see a film, "Audism", its a renknowned film/play/story in USA and/or Gallaudet... For those who are reading now and do not know what Audism is... basically... when you discriminate against skin colour - Racism, when you discriminate against gender - Sexism, when you discriminate against deaf people - Audism. Point taken?...

The film had its funny moments especially with that short, stubby geek with red beard and one inch thick glasses enunciating "nevermind" again and again and again and again and again for like 15 times... ah not in the mood to explain the story behind that, just see the film for yourself... but overall, I think the film needs some work with the quality and techniques. But in the end, I wasn't disappointed. Later that night at some pub where everybody went to after the film festival, I met up with the director of the Audism movie, he's a teacher at Gallaudet, I dont remember his name... Dickens or something?... but he looked more like Matt LeBlanc u know the actor from "Friends" :)... he could not sign swedish at all but he was happy to see how many swedes could use ASL... then of course, later that night, the "must-have" discussion about USA and Canada cultures came into focus after when one of the Swedes said USA was the most conceited and narrowminded culture ever, just thinking about themselves and not educated at all culturally or geographically for anywhere else in the world. The director disagreed, then I stepped in, gave him a simple test, name 10 provinces and 3 territories... before he even attempted to answer, he confessed "you caught me.. okay okay..." hehe... (by the way his wife is from Buffalo, NY...) But I have to admit i was impressed to see that he said Paul Martin was the prime minister... an anomalously ;)

I came back to Jönköping yesterday, on the train back home, I sat down with 3 other guys on a table in the train. I was eating a bag of chips as I sat down, this guy sitting across from me in the front just grabbed the bag out of my hands, I certainly didnt expect that then he made this joking gesture that he was gonna eat it. I was like, no, you aint eating it!... then he spoke something, I signaled my deafness, then he got a piece of pen and paper and wrote "we all dont speak swedish, sorry"... I responded "great!, neither do I!"... we found out that I am a canadian and the three guys sitting with me were from Australia, they are part of a pop musicial group and had been touring europe giving performances for more than a month. They were a funny bunch of people, they tried to talk with me using gestures, when it failed, they wrote something on the paper. At one point out of no where, this guy in front of me said that he and the guy beside me were Lactose Intolerant, I responded back "great! so am I!"... heh pointless conversation but it sure passed the time on the train instead of -- like marcia says -- pretending to sleep and ignoring others.

Jönköping - I got back in town last night because I had school today and tomorrow night here. And one of the more stranger things happened here, after talking with dad on the webcam I went to bed...watching tv on the bed... just as my eyes was about to close for the night, there was several quick and hard bangs against the wall of my bedroom... on the other side was the hallway of my apartment. It awoken me immediately then I assumed it was just one of my roommates' drunken friends behaving raucously but then 30 seconds later, I felt the same loud banging against my wall. At the moment I felt that there was something wrong, some fight outside or emergency?... I decided to get up and check it out... and exactly when I stood up, I smelled smoke!!... I immeidately opened my room door, which was locked, and my roommate told me that there was a fire on some floor above me and they were evacuating everybody out of the building. My reaction? "oh okay, gimme a sec to get dressed" heh... yeah, I was just about to fall asleep, my brain was half-turned on... I went around my room looking for warm clothes, coat, hat, gloves... then I noticed flashing lights through my balcony windows, I went outside... several firefighters rushed by me on the stairwells (note: I live on the second floor). As I got outside, I nearly got ran over by this huge firetruck... there was 30 people already evacuated, with other 10 more behind me... then I saw that there was like other 10 people stuck on the 7th floor balcony waving for assistance. My first reaction "where's the fire?"... I was kinda disappointed to see a such show... at least 8 police cars, 4 fire trucks, 2 full hoses prepped to spout water and I'm assuming they weren't gonna be used to water the flowers on the adjunct garden. They had just taped the area with u know the yellow "keep out" or " crime scene" type tape... so I moved even further back hoping that I would at least see some show with flames to make up for me getting out of the bed. Nothing yet... But I saw a nice show of firemen rescuing people with this huge automated ladder from the firetruck, never saw a ladder go that high :) then I decided to walk around back of the building, sure enough, directly above my room, 3 floors above... there was heavy smoke coming out and orangish light through the windows which I assumed was flames burning away their room or something. After a long orderal with the cops talking to everybody living in the building, we all finally got back in about 530am, I couldnt go to bed, so I decided to stay up for other few hours before my class at 9am... but .... I dozed off :(... and missed my 9am class... oh well. Life sucks sometimes.

Later in the afternoon today, I found out that 6 people had been hopsitalized with smoke inhalation, floors 5,6,7 were currently closed, lucky for me to live in second floor. And the fire was started by a candle burning against a curtain and the person in the room was sleeping... stupid loser...

Upcoming week- Tomorrow, I will be heading back to Stockholm for a julbord (christmas dinner) with Elisabet and some other deafies involved in the stockholm youth deaf club or something... then on Saturday I will be going with Elisabet and some friends to Örebro (2 hours west of Stockholm) for another deaf film festival, this one is supposedly to be a better one... let's see :)... then back on Sunday,... work on monday at Omnitor, then tuesday I'm heading off to Belgium!! :)... Will meet Megan and Tara and I have no idea what I will do there but I'm sure we all will find something to do :D. Then after that, it will be a cramming session for me to finish all of my projects before the christmas break.

You know, in my blog last october, I set out some goals for myself... I am happy to say that I have achieved some of them so far, I got a job, I am going to visit a different country, gotten better with sign language, my swedish is slowly getting better, I am proud to announce that I wrote my first postcard to Elisabet in only swedish! :D (postcard from Jönköping). For my studying, I dont feel that I have studied more as I promised myself but my schoolwork is doing pretty good so far, yet still, I have this yearning to learn more and get most out of my courses, after Belgium when things settles down I think I will have more time to hit the books! :)

One funny thing I wanted to mention, when I webcam with my dad and andrew, I usually have nothing to say eh?... and in blogs, It's different eh?... I guess in some cases, I express myself better using English rather than ASL when it gets into details. Laing, no, it dos not make me a hypocrite, phony or whatever :)

Yeah, I wanted to post some pictures here, but I don't have any on hand right now... so until next time! :)


Bill Gates Answer - No, he should not pick up the 50 dollar bill because the amount of time it takes for him to stop walking, bend down, pick up the money, bend back up and start walking he would be losing money because Bill Gates is actually worth more than 50 dollars per second :)


oneninefive said...

Ha, me calling you a hypocrite? I do not think so. I have to agree with you in some ways when comparing written English and ASL.

However, I think if you did this blog in an ASL clip format, you would have saved time and had more time to play around with your remote controller. :)

I checked out Omnitor AB's website (http://www.omnitor.se) to find out exactly what that company focused on. It appears to be something similar to CSD. Am I correct?

Brandon said...

I am not calling you a hypocrite but assumed you would for me :)...

I cannot answer your question about Omnitor AB since I am not exactly sure what CSD does :)... basically what Omnitor does is provide facilities for videophone and mulititude of projects that includes communication for deaf and blind people via internet etc... If you have any more specific questions, maybe i can help you out :)