Wednesday went something like this…

8:00 a.m.

I got up, hit the shower, shaved, made breakfast and watched some time-shifted TV. This is how most of my TV watching — perhaps a grand total of three to five hours a week — get done: watching some previous night’s show on videotape over low-carb breakfast. This morning’s TV fare was last week’s Enterprise, in which Captain Archer and company find a mysterious ship that the Suliban and the Tholians want to get their grubby paws on.

9:00 a.m.

Email, then some work on a database application for the funniest clients currently on my roster.

10:25 a.m.

Need for Diet Coke sends me to the store. It’s a bright and sunny day, so I opt to not go to the closest convenience store, but the one at Queen an John. It gives me a chance to walk down Queen Street, which look beautiful in the morning. My good mood becomes even better.

I rap out a few lines of Run-DMC to myself: “I’m the King of Rock.”

11:30 a.m.

I’m coding away on that database application when I’m interrupted by a call by a telemarketer:

Telemarketer: Hello, is this Mr…. Mr…. dah-vee-lah?

Me: Speaking. [I realize it’s a telemarketer as I say this and I’m already trying to find a polite way out.]

Telemarketer: Are you the owner of the house?

Me: [A quick way out!] No, I’m renting it.

Telemarketer: Could you perhaps give me the number of your landlord?

Me: Are you kidding? Give my landlord’s number to a telemarketer? What do you think, I want to get evicted?!

Telemarketer: I never thought of it that way.

Me: That’s why they pay me the big bucks. Hey, can I sell you something? A joke perhaps. The first one’s free…

Telemarketer: Ummm….

Me: What has four legs and digs chicks? Me and my housemate! Thank you very much. I’m here all week. Try the veal, and remember to tip your server. You have a good day.

Telemarketer: Uh, yeah, goodbye…


I’ve always wanted to do that.

I’m the King of Rock.

12:00 noon

I get a call from my friend Kevin. Kevin left Canada back in 1992 to study at Cambridge, where he subsequently got a job, then got married and lived in the UK until recently. He;s since moved back to Toronto and is now looking for a job. We try to meet up at least once a week. He’s got a job interview downtown and wants to know if I can meet him for coffee somewhere, to which I gladly say yes. We agree to meet at the cafe inside the Indigo bookstore at the Eaton Centre at 2:00 p.m..

12:20 p.m.

I get a call from a contracting firm who says that there’s a nice 6-ish-week programming contract — Visual Basic 6 and ADO — for the government that could be mine. They don’t have VB expertise, they’re a ColdFusion kind of shop. They found my resume online and really liked the application design case studies.

I’m the King of Rock.

How soon can I show up at their office? (Thankfully, it’s not far: I live here and their office is here).

12:25 p.m.

Putting on a royal blue dress shirt, black dress pants, navy blue Steve Jobs-esque vest, black blazer, Rockports. Employers go crazy ’bout a sharp-dressed man.

I’m the King of Rock.

1:00 p.m.

I arrive at the contracting firm’s office. They tell me that the branch of government who needs a programmer is Immigration Canada and that they were burned by the last programmer they hired. He’d used the tactic of a desperate programmer and lied about his Visual Basic programming experience. Even in a down economy, honesty about your skills and experience is the best policy.

The contractor said the client was a bit worried about how much Visual Basic experience I had. “You seemed to downplay it in your resume,” he said, and I explained that it’s not always in one’s best interest to associate yourself with the Rodney Dangerfield of programming languages.

“However, in the end,” I said, “it’s good for a lot of business applications where you want to worry more about the workflow and user-friendliness and less about squeezing the last iota of performance out of the machine or impressing the Slashdot crowd. It’s the programming language that lets you have a life.”

“‘The programming language that lets you have a life.’ I like that. Look, as soon as you’re done with this contract, we might have an even nicer-paying one for you.”

I’m the King of Rock.

They explain to me that they’ve booked a 3:30 p.m. appointment for me with the project manager at Immigration Canada. If they like me, I get the job. I think I can make a good impression, even on such short notice.

2:00 p.m.

Kevin meets me at Indigo and offers to buy me lunch. Since Mom didn’t rasie no fools, I accept.

3:00 p.m.

Lunch ends, and I hop on the subway to go to Immigration Canada’s office at Yonge and St. Clair.

3:30 p.m.

Interview time! First, they show me the program that they want me to work on, after which I show them a couple of applications I’d written using Visual Basic: the database of every mall in America, and the athletic training program used by the Toronto Maple Leafs and Canadian Olympic Ski Team.

The project lead is impressed. The lead programmer is not so easily impressed and throws me some trick questions, which I deflect as a Jedi Master would deflect rubberized weasels hurled at him.

I’m the King of Rock.

“When are you available?” they ask, to which I reply “Tomorrow.”

They say they’ll get back to me.

4:15 p.m.

Back on the subway and now going to Jay Goldman’s house to show him the current state of the control panel application that we’re both working on for an ISP.

5:00 p.m.

At Jay’s place, where I show him the app on my laptop, and he shows me his new pair of Technics 1200 turntables — accept no substitute if you’re a DJ — and spins the Sesame Street album The Count Counts. It’s a classic.

5:10 p.m.

We both get phone calls simultaneously. Jay’s sorting out some kind of Pantone colour problem with a printing company. I’m getting a call from one of the production assistants from the movie Squeezebox, for which I am their accordion consultant.

“Hi, Joey,” Andrea says “We’re doing the bathroom scene and can use your help. Can you be here soon?”

In the scene, the father of a family of accordion superstars has locked himself in the bathroom and isn’t coming out. He’s distraught that his son Brad, who’s tired of polka, has quit the family band (Brad’s the best player, the Jimi Hendrix of the group). Mother (played by Mary-Margaret O’Hara) tries to talk him into coming out of the bathroom and calls her daughter Lolly to cheer him up with an accordion tune. Son is nowhere to ne found; he’s actually in the bedroom next to the bathroom masturbating to fantasies about his sister’s best friend.

It’s a charmingly twisted movie, and the dog gets the best lines.

I’m going to show Jessica, who plays Lolly, enough accordion technique to look convincing on film.

6:00 p.m.

From Church and Dundas to College West and Palmerston by cab. I arrive at an old house, which turns out to have been used for many television, movie and commercial shoots.

One of the behind-the-scenes people — he’s wearing a souvenir t-shirt that says he was on the film crew for Undercover Brother — sees me, still in my interview clothing and says “there goes one sharp-dressed accordion man.”

I’m the King of Rock.

I wait until they need me, during which time I talk to Jim the location manager about his work on Mutant X and on how much work it would take to translate a VB.NET program into REALBasic. I’m called upstairs, where I walk Jessica through some basic techniques (“You want one squeeze per bar, and you want the motion to be smooth”). I watch the shoot, which they do a number of times, from different angles.

The makeup guy asks me why I’m so dressed up and I tell him that it was for a job interview. He asks me what my line of work is, and when I tell him, he informs me that he’s a programmer too. Got his degree from Waterloo. He did programming straight out of school, but then discovered that being a makeup artist is more fun.

7:00 p.m.

Homeward bound. In the cab home, I get a call from the contracting company. The people at Immigration Canada liked me and want to hire me. Can I show up for 10 a.m. tomorrow?

Sure. I’m the King of Rock.

8:00 p.m.

Dinner and Enterprise.

9:00 p.m.

Paul and I do a little guitar-and-accordion practice.

9:15 p.m.

Phone call on my cell, which interrupts practice. Caller ID says it’s the cute girl who’s just come back after being out of town for the past couple of months.

“Gotta take this one, Paul. It’s extremely urgent.”

Well, it is…

10:00 p.m.

A lovely phone call with a lovely person.

I’m the King of Rock.

Practice resumes. Learn a Tom Petty song and Eminem’s Cleaning Out My Closet.

11:00 p.m.

Out to Tortilla Flats for a drink at the Thirsty People of Toronto meeting. Have a lime margarita.

12:10 p.m.

Back home to answer some email and do a little technical reading.

1:00 p.m.

Another chapter of Fast Food Nation, which Jillzilla sent me as a gift! Thanks, Jill! You’re the Queen of Rock!

1:20 p.m.

Contact lenses out, teeth brushed, slip into skin-tight leopardskin-print rubber luge outfit for bed. One of these is not true.

But you know what is true? I’m the King of Rock!

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