B4 The Edmonton Journal, Thursday, September 9, 1999

9-9-99 a good day -- if the lights go on

Numerologists in a tizzy over rare occurrence


A tip for Mayor Bill Smith and city council on this ninth day of the ninth month of 1999: meditate today and your thoughts will become reality.

After all, it’s only once every century where the date lines up to read 9-9-99. And while a Y2K-like computer glitch dubbed ‘9999’ is barely raising an eyebrow from city officials, the date means a lot for numerologists who use numbers for much more than just adding up the grocery list.

In the world of numerology, nine is peace, nine is a new beginning.

"Just in the same way winter is a resting time for nature when a new seed is being generated under the snow, nine is the end of the cycle. That’s the time to generate a new plan and purpose of life," says Colin Maxwell, a self-proclaimed "numberologist." He adds the ‘b’ to his title because he says it improves the energy of the word.

But nines also have a dark side, and when people wake up today there’s an extremely slim chance the lights won’t go on.

"We’ll wake up and if there’s power, we’ll have passed this test," said Jayne Galanka, emergency planning officer for the City of Edmonton.

The test she’s referring to is a result of the way ‘9999’ was once used in software on old mainframe computers to signal the end of a program. The issue is over programs reading the 9-9-99 date and shutting down.


Those programs are long gone from the city’s computers so she isn’t worried any problems will arise.

Edmonton passed a similar test on April 9, which was the 99th day of the 99th year. It’s also a good sign things will go smoothly Jan. 1,2000, when software using just two digits to represent the year may mistake the ‘00’ for 1900.

Maxwell still has advice for the mayor, even if the lights do come on. After doing some calculations based on Edmonton’s birthday it turns out today isn’t such a good day to start any big projects.

The city is in its second year of a nine-year cycle which Maxwell says is a good year for Edmonton to make peace with other levels of government. But there are also nine-day cycles and come noon today things will go downhill.

That’s because Friday is the fourth day in the cycle and as such will be a "test day" for the city.

"If they’re having a council meeting, hold it in the morning and take it easy in the afternoon," Maxwell said.

As it turns out, the idea of city hail decisions being made based on what the numbers say isn’t that fare fetched.

"One of the city councillors uses my day tracker," said Maxwell, referring to a chart showing how numbers influence a person’s life. ‘And no, I’m not going to tell you who."