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ReportsMonday, 16 June 2003
Cambridge --> Georgetown, Ontario, Canada This Monday morning Jora had already left for work. Laura had a day off today, so she had invited her mum and me along to have breakfast at Fifty's, a totally 50s-styled restaurant in town. Laura's mum is Scottish so it was interesting to catch up with my Scottish accents from her.
During our bacon and eggs breakfast Laura's mum told me that she once actually met Elvis Presley when she was a little lady.
"It was one of the fascinating moments of my life," she said. "In these times people had a seat when they went to a concert. So with this Elvis concert, every row was offered a chance to walk closely by the stage and take some quick photos of their idol up close." While she told this her eyes were dreaming in distance. "And then he blinked at me."
As I had to go to my next destination today, Laura and her mum offered to bring me there. Just as it seemed to be totally nothing to already pick me up in Stratford last weekend, it was no problem to go up highways and get all the way to a small town called Georgetown.
Just like many modern towns in Ontario, Georgetown has no interesting history I could tell you about. It started with one street one century ago, but as nearby Toronto expanded and expanded, Georgetown became another town with malls, fast food restaurants, superstores and a suburban way of living (don't ever think of walking in places like this).
I am staying here with David Cairns, who lives in the basement apartment of a house. Laura and her mum dropped me all the way off at the front door, so it all became very easy for me.
I thanked Laura and her mum for the company and Laura for letting me stay those few days and taking me on that blazing canoe trip.
So my next host David lives in a basement apartment of a house. He shares it with his good friend and roommate Brian. As soon as I entered the place I noticed that somebody tried to clean up the place a bit. "Don't mind those garbage bags," Dave laughed as I entered his place. "They have been there for a while."
I could easily guess what field of profession Dave was in: I saw a computer monitor on the table, in a closet, on the floor, computer parts spread around everywhere, wires on the floor and full ash trays at every convenient spot.
"So you work in the garbage industry?" I joked. "Haha, not exactly, but my landlord upstairs own a garbage trucking company by coincidence!"
My host lives in a dump. "I know!" he laughs, "isn't it terrible?" But I liked it. "I rent this place from the people upstairs, they are good old friends of mine and they have always been very helpful."
David is 23 and runs his own business named Imagination Networks. "I create computer networks for companies, manage and repair them when necessary." And it sounded like he was doing really well. "Oh yeah. It all goes by word of mouth here. I never had time to set up a website for the company or something like that."
He tells me he often attends early morning meetings with CEO's of big companies. During a breakfast meal David lectures them about systems and networks and some of them become big clients of him.
David wants to cash in within a year. "I am just living in my dump hole for another year and then I want to head into the big wide world. On my bike. Brian and I have our own motor bikes and are next to computers, totally bike-crazy."
He connected my laptop to one of the many wires that run through the house and within a second I was online with a high-speed connection. David had a quick look at my laptop and together we were discussing why it is why my laptop takes about five minutes to start-up and have Windows XP completely loaded. "You might need more RAM memory," he said. "Or you have a memory leak, because it all looks alright to me."
The problems with my laptop already got that far that I could not even see the movies myself while I was editing them. Then things get really difficult… "Let's take it along to my friend at the local computer store, maybe he can help you," and before I knew we were driving through Georgetown to the local computer shop.
That friend there did not know exactly what to do either and also concluded I might have to expand my memory blocks in my laptop. "I can order it right now. It costs some $500." No thanks. I don't have any money.
Back home in the basement dump ("Hey David, is that a mouse walking there?" – "Could be, they walk in through the open window there." – "Ok.") David helped me with a free program from the web called MemTurbo, it checks out a computer's memory and tries to boost it up a bit. It helps, but only temporary.
"Let me make a few phone calls," Dave said. That didn't surprise me, because he made and received many phone calls. I only did not suspect him to get in touch with the President of Toshiba Canada. On the phone. Right here. David told him about me and my website and Mr President on the other side of the line told him to let me contact him on his email address to explain my problem.
I was amazed. "How the heck do you get in contact with the President of Toshiba? Do you know him?"
"I have learned that if you have a serious problem, you have to contact the highest person at a company about it too get direct attention," he said. I totally understood that, but the number of Mr Toshiba-President isn't exactly listed in a phonebook, is it?
"No. The secret is to find out the CEO's name in press releases and then just try to contact him through the main phone number. It's just that I meet so many CEO's of big and small companies and I know that there is a serious problem to be solved if an end user of their product managed to get in contact with them, all at the top."
I guess I just learned some things about CEO's, hehe…
I immediately sent out my email to the man, explaining how I love to continue producing short movies for this website, but how my slow laptop is limiting this all lately. Within a few hours I got a person answer from him saying that he would see what he could do. Wow!
"That's the thing," David said. "Now he might contact the technical help desk and tell them about your problem. Would they continue to help problem file #734253 or process a request from the highest person in the company?"
Ooh! I learned another lesson there. This was all too cool!
The rest of the afternoon that followed I enjoyed hanging around at his place and as David continued with his business I kept myself busy with my eternal things to do.
So how are my sun-burns doing? So far, everybody has noticed my red legs and my back had started to itch utterly! I told David about it and told him not to look too strange at me when I made strange movements. I will do anything to prevent me from scratching my back, knowing that that will only make things even more painful. It felt like somebody was pinching me with a single needle every few minutes... Ouch!!!
Aloe Vera balm works well, but what is burned will behave as it was burned, anyhow.
Near dinner time we got some spicy fried potatoes at the store and with some left-over beef from Dave's mum's church party of yesterday we surprised his landlord and family upstairs and had dinner there.
I also met up with Dave's roommate Brian. Brian is a bit devastated. Last Friday, the 13th, he not only lost his bike because some technical blunders, but also ended up with his car at the garage because something went bang-bang all the time. "And you know what's even worse?" he said. "To be without my bike and my car and then to receive a $300 speeding ticket. Aarggh!"
Later this evening Dave took me along to the one and only hot spot in town, the place where he bar tenders in the weekend: Boston Pizza. I think it's pretty bad with a towns night life if a big chain as Boston Pizza ends up as the highlight of any town, but that's just my opinion. "Nothing much happens in Georgetown," Dave said. "We have a strip club in town! But you don't want to see those strippers, believe me."
Dave ended up working behind the bar here on Fridays and Saturdays, "to help out a friend who was in need for some competent staff," he explained. "I am totally not doing for the money; it just gets me out of the house and that's fine."
We ended the day with having a few beers and meet up with some friends of Dave. It was funny when I met up with one man and his wife and when he met me and heard that I am from the Netherlands and he said: "Do you know that guy that is travelling around Canada for free? He's from the Netherlands too!"
I said I could not remember him and asked him for more details about him. After a few minutes I confessed to him that that person was me and I am travelling the world that way.
He did not believe me at all. Dave was supporting me here and telling everything about it. The man did not believe me. He had read about the project in last week's National Post and asked me to mention the details that were written in that article. So I told him what the article was about and what I had said to certain questions. Then he shook my hand and acknowledged that it was indeed ME. "Steve, get this guy a beer, he deserves it!" Thanks!
Good night Georgetown!