Sunday, January 16, 2011

Canada - Thou Foul Villain!! - Part Deux

I knew after halfway burning down part of Canada that there may be a day, or a time in my life I would have to return to the land sometimes referred to as North Wisconsin.

There came a call from my supervisor and one of the VP’s about 8 years ago and said that we purchased an office up in Ontario.  And the question was – who in IT has a passport?  I knew I had a passport.  In fact – I was one of 2 people in IT that had a passport, and the office integration was a 2 person job.  But, was it too soon?  Were the old wounds healed?

Canada and I never got a fair shake together.  The first time I went there it was to discover nature and bears and lightning and rain and stuff.  Canada instead showed me its dark side…which contained nature and bears and lighting and rain and stuff.  This time though, it had to be different, this time it was on my terms.  I was going into Canada to integrate an office for America.  Land of the Free and Home of the Not being Canada.  I would hoist Old Glory over their front door and declare them part of the USA corporate machine.

That didn’t happen.

I arrived in Canada with 4 days to accomplish a 7 day project.  You see in America, much like the Dollar vs. the Loon our time is 30% more efficient than their time. Their clocks have no 5-7PM on them, it’s true.  Instead, Canadians appear to use that time to visit restaurants not FROM America.

I should know.  One of the places we would dine at was called the Outback Steakhouse.  Now I know what you’re thinking, Craig we have those here, that is an American Establishment.  You are so right, but Canadians think this eatery is from Australia, making it more palpable to visit.

There are only a few things from this trip that I really remember.  Most of my time was spent in a room trying to upgrade the IOS on a Pix520 Firewall using a soldering gun and an rs232 cable.  I became familiar with the Microsoft ISA server.  I spent 2 nights putting antivirus on 15 workstations and removing all sorts of internet porn.  Yes, Canadians love their internet porn.

We (my coworker and I) visited several places while there; talking with staff at restaurants and even a church we visited.  Everyone we talked to had the same line of questions.  How long you in for, what are you guys doing, where you staying at?

It’s when we got to this question that people seemed to offer the most colorful reaction.  You see, we were staying at a Holiday Inn Express, and although the hotel we were staying in was very nice, clean and tidy with friendly service it appears everyone was aware that around the Holiday Inn Express there were several murders that week.  How exciting!

Another memorable moment included a trip to the local mall and radio shack store to try and find a specialized part I needed for a piece of Cisco equipment.  This inadvertently led to a “battle of wits” with the Shack employee Doug.  Michael Jackson had just released a new video that was playing on all the screens, and hiding my USA identity I asked Doug how that particular video was selling.  He said it was great everyone loved it.  I replied “Yeah, but he isn’t as popular in America anymore.”

Shack employee Doug replied “Yeah but they are stupid people, they’ll buy anything right?  They just elected the terminator as a Senator…”

Now…I can take a friendly jab or poke in jest.  I cannot however take a full on assault to my country’s intelligence from Doug at the Canadian Radio Shack.

I opened my mouth.  “Ya see Doug, its true Americans buy lots of Crap.  But what we don’t purchase we send to you ice chimps up here to buy. As far as the Terminator, he was elected as Governor not a Senator.  Our system of Government allows something like that to happen.  By the way, you can have Alan Thicke back”

I left the store…they didn’t have my part anyway.

In the end the office was integrated and no lives were lost around the Holiday Inn Express Hotel that week.

But just barely.