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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Training Day!

Published June 27, 2012 - 2 Comments

Today was the first official day of my new job.  As luck would have it, there was a training class being put on to which I was immediately slated.  Sounds too good to be true, eh?  Yeah.. I thought so too…

The problem is that the training was really designed for people in the group who already had some exposure to what was being discussed… not some guy on his first day.  So 4 of them attempted to work their way through the topics, while I just sat there and tried my best to look pretty.

BGP, OSPF, VLAN, Juniper, Access Lists, Interfaces, CPE, Legacy AE…  These are all terms that I used to be somewhat familiar with once upon a time… but I haven’t logged into a router since early 2004!  I felt like I was listening to a bunch of people speaking another language and picking out the occasional word here and there.  It was almost comical.  I told the instructor that he could find me curled up under my desk in the fetal position tomorrow…  yes… Day 2 is tomorrow.

Oh boy!

Txt conversation with a friend/mentor/pain in the ass who pushed me toward this new role…

 

Latest CPAP Update! (Should maybe be titled Last CPAP Update!)

Published June 25, 2012 - 6 Comments

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted any progress regarding my CPAP trial… that’s because I took it back about 3 weeks ago.  It just wasn’t for me.  Despite the fact that it was working when I was using it, I got tired of waking up in the morning and having it laying on the floor.  At some point through the night I was taking it off in my sleep… and I just couldn’t picture myself spending $2000 (Blue Cross would cover all but $400) on something that wasn’t getting proper use.  So I took it back and told the girl “If you see my name in the news that I died in my sleep, print it out and put it on your wall here with the caption ‘I told ya!'”.

So the month-long trial cost was $185, and Blue Cross gave me $140, so that wasn’t too bad.

How McDonald’s Makes Their Burgers Look So Good in Ads

Published June 22, 2012 - 0 Comments

Anyone who’s ever eaten anything from a fast food menu knows that what they see in the advertisement and what they are served are almost never comparable.  It’s no secret that the food used in promotional material is carefully crafted by experts to ensure that it is the most visually appealing possible.  They want us to purchase their food, and we’re more likely to do that if it looks good… yet most of us are willing to accept that what is passed across the fast food counter is not going to closely resemble what companies have spent millions of dollars to market to us.

This video was released by McDonald’s Canada to show why there is such a difference between the quarter pounder hamburger that you see in media advertising, and what you’re likely to get when you go into one of their restaurants.  As a bit of a marketing geek I found it quite interesting!  As a lover of the quarter pounder… well… I wish that I could be a food stylist too!

Love how they use a blow torch to make the cheese melt perfectly, and syringes to apply ketchup and mustard.. and then Photoshop to remove any blemishes!  It’s not much different than seeing a model on the cover of the latest fashion magazine!

Working 9 to 5

Published June 17, 2012 - 2 Comments

I’ve never had a 9-5 job before.  I’ve worked days of 9-5 here and there, but it wasn’t the norm.  So now at the tender age of 40, I am set to embark on what most people probably think of as “a regular ife”.

I suppose that much of the fault lies with my choice of careers.  Had I chosen to be an accountant or lawyer I am sure that I would probably be enjoying a regular 9-5 lifestyle at this very moment, instead of writing a blog post at 1:30 in the morning.  Yes, I’m halfway through my last night shift.  It’s been a very quiet night so far.  I’m hoping that I didn’t just jinx myself.  It can get very busy, very fast here… so we try to enjoy the peaceful moments while they last.

It’s going to be quite an adjustment for me.

Starting work at 8 in the morning is going to be a welcome change!  Sure beats 6:30!  Of course, it also means that I’m now going to be part of the commuting crowd.  I walk to work now, but that’s only a short-term plan.  On the other side, leaving at 5:00 is going to seem like a very short day. I’m so used to working 12 hours, that anything less than that is going to automatically seem short.

Unfortunately I’m also used to having 4 days off in a single stretch, so a regular 2 day weekend is hardly going to feel luck much of a break.  I’m going to have to learn how to get things done in the evening, and not rely on my weekends as much.  I’ve always taken for granted that I can pretty much schedule anything around my work shifts.  In every 8 day period I had essentially 6 days which were available to me to schedule appointments, errands, etc… it might cut into my sleep if I was working a night shift, but it was still a possibility.  Now if I want to see the dentist it’s going to cost me vacation or banked time.

It’s going to be an adjustment!  Only another 6 hours to go…

Let the Countdown Begin

Published June 15, 2012 - 1 Comment

Two more nights!  That’s it.  I finish off these two nights, then I go on vacation for a week, and start back at my new job on June 25th.  I’ve already cleaned out my overhead storage bin.  Tomorrow I will clean out my locker.  It sounds like I’m retiring… I wish!  No, I’m only going down stairs by 1 floor.  From one frying pan into another.

I think most people have at least some level of anxiety when going to a new job.  It’s no different for me.  I’m leaving a position where I’ve been bored for the last 8 years… a place where I really didn’t figure I’d be more than 3 or 4 years.  A nice place to finish my business degree, but not somewhere I wanted to be forever.  It’s hard to argue that 8 years is “forever”, but since embarking on a career in the telepony company, it’s the longest that I’ve spent in any one location.  And while I may be bored, I think that I do a damn good job.

A lot has changed since I started here and I’m well over-due for a change.  I’m still not sure that this next move is the best way to go about finding that change, but it is what it is.  Time to close this chapter.

8am June 25, 2012.

Customer Satisfaction Survey: Sobeys

Published June 13, 2012 - 3 Comments

I’ve always heard that it’s good to fill out those online surveys at the bottom of your sales receipts because your chances of winning something are relatively good.  In the case of Sobeys, who can’t use $500 in free groceries?  I know I can!

So I sat down to fill it out a few minutes again.  After the 10th page of rating from 1 (Very Dissatisfied) to 10 (Very Satisfied) my latest experience in their deli/meat/produce/fish/ethnic food department I began to realize why so few people fill these things out… or if they do, they probably don’t read the questions anymore, and simply click buttons in a hope of finishing the survey before they fall asleep at their computer.

Then I hit the page that asked my opinion of Sobeys as a company, whether their goals were in line with my own, whether I felt they valued me as a customer…  really?  Sobeys is a corporation… as much as I would like to pretend that they value me as a customer, I know they couldn’t give a rat’s ass whether I shop there or not.  But then came the question that really set me off.

I can not imagine my world without Sobeys.

What?!?

Until then my answers had been pretty good..  7-9…  But as soon as I read that statement, I didn’t even hesitate.  I immediately clicked 1.  STRONGLY DISAGREE.  They should have stopped there, but the next page was one where you got to express yourself.  There goes my chance at a $500 gift card…

“I can’t imagine my world without Sobeys”    What kind of question is that?  I like Sobeys stores.  I’ve always shopped at Sobeys… but “I can’t imagine my world without Sobeys” seems a little pompous and insulting… I’m sure that this question comes from the company in charge of the survey and NOT Sobeys… it’s embarrassing.

I’m still annoyed by that one.

Scared Money Don’t Make No Money!

Published June 13, 2012 - 4 Comments

Morning.  Afternoon.  Evening.

Scared money don’t make no money!

Scared money don’t make no money!

Over.. and over.. and over.. and over.. and..

It’s not even the full song.  I might be able to handle it better if it was!  It’s just the chorus… on repeat… no other song… just that one…

ALL.  THE.  TIME.

Maybe it’s a motivational thing?  I can’t be the only neighbour to hear it.  Doesn’t anyone else notice?

Scared money don’t make no money!

Explosions in the Sky – Postcard From 1952

Published June 9, 2012 - 5 Comments

Something a little different for you this morning.  A million thanks to Saucypelt (don’t ask) for introducing me to this group, and this song in particular.  The music is superb… but the music AND the video is amazing… I was hooked as soon as I saw the reflection in the bubble…

I think that you have to be a certain kind of person, in a certain kind of mood to full appreciate something like this.  And right now…  it’s perfect…  I hope someone out there enjoys it as much as I am.

Empire Theatres Introduces “Reserved Seating”

Published June 8, 2012 - 11 Comments

I’d heard the advertisements on the radio.  “Empire Theatres introduces Reserved Seating!”  Sure… makes sense… maybe… if you’re home and want to purchase your ticket online, maybe you’d like to make sure that you get your favourite seat too.  Maybe it’s premiere night for the latest summer blockbuster, and you absolutely must sit in the front row.  I can see that.  Maybe.

But when I’m standing at the counter trying to decide whether I want popcorn or nachos, and the kid shows me a seating plan and asks me to make my selection for my reserved seat… I start to get grumpy.  [Here is my public apology to my date that night for making a little scene… I was really tired…  I’m sorry.]

I don’t want to choose based on a little diagram of what seats are available.  This is a movie.  Not a play.  Not an opera.  Not a hockey game.  It’s a movie.  I want to walk into the theatre and look around and make that decision on the spot.  If I see an 8 foot tall man, I’m probably not going to sit behind him.  I’m also not likely to sit in front of the group of teenage boys with their feet kicked up on the seats in front of them and throwing popcorn at a group of girls 3 rows over.  It just doesn’t make sense for me to be forced to make that decision before getting in there.  But don’t even try to say that you don’t want reserved seating.  You have to take it.

In fairness to Empire Theatres one of the supervisors did tell me that I could switch my seat for any reason once I got in there… although I would have to notify the usher that I was doing so… presumably they carry handheld devices to update the seating plan on the fly.  [And if that’s the case, why not allow me to choose my seat when I get into the theatre and have an usher simply mark those seats as “occupied” in the computer?]

The big question I have is why bring in Reserved Seating in the first place?  It has been suggested that they are trying to enhance my movie experience, that perhaps they are losing revenue to pirated copies being traded on the internet.  There’s no doubt that does happen, although it’s never been proven that the movie industry is hurting because of online piracy.  Here’s a thought… maybe if they made better movies people would flock to the theatre to watch them?

But Empire Theatres has no control over what movies are being produced, so perhaps they could enhance my viewing experience in a different way.  The first thing that jumps to my mind is pricing!  Remember when you could take a date to a movie and buy popcorn and pop to share, all for less than $25?  I think that’s a pretty good price point.  It’s ridiculous that a night out is easily $40.  And don’t get me started on that $3 fee for those 3D glasses that I’m supposed to return after the movie is over.  If Empire Theatres is serious about trying to bring more people back into their premises then they want to give some thought as to why some people may have stopped going in the first place.

I doubt that it was because people couldn’t reserve their seat at the concession counter.

Today’s Over-Hyped Movie: The Avengers

Published June 5, 2012 - 12 Comments

Let’s just get this out of the way now… I am not a comic book guy.  I had a couple of comics when I was a kid, but it was never my thing.  So I don’t know all the ins and outs of every character.  I don’t know who their arch enemies are, or what they do for their day job.  That doesn’t mean that I can’t appreciate a well-crafted story with spectacular visual effects, though.  Before seeing the first Iron Man movie, I had no idea what the hero was like, but I was quickly sold on the franchise.  Captain America was a little different for me.  I find him a rather dull, but understand why he must be included, since he was the first super hero.  The Thor movie seemed to me like it was put together simply to allow Thor and Loki to be included in the inevitable Avengers flick.  I think the casting of both characters is perfect, and enjoy their interaction on screen.. even if the movie itself was somewhat lacking for me.  I never did see either of the recent Hulk movies.  Big green guy with an unpleasant disposition?  Been there.

But having said all of that… I thought The Avengers was a good movie.

GOOD?!?  NOT GREAT?!?  NOT FANTASTIC?!?!  NOT THE BEST MOVIE EVER MADE?

No.  Good.

For weeks all I’ve been seeing on Twitter has been how awesome The Avengers is, and how people couldn’t wait to see it again.  It smashed records left and right, becoming the first motion picture to reach revenues of $1B  in only 19 Days.  Not too shabby!  But why?  What is it about The Avengers that separates it from the rest of the pack?  Is the world full of closet comic book geeks?  Surely there are many, but $1B worth?  That seems unlikely.

I understand that my opinion will not be a popular one.  I’m aware of only one other person who has publicly defied the masses.  And neither of us tore the movie apart.  We simply stated that it was good.  Will I watch it again?  I’m sure that I will.  It won’t be any time soon, and it definitely won’t be in the theatre, but I’m sure that my kids will want to see it when it becomes available in a few months.  Maybe my opinion will evolve the second time around.

Until then, I still think that it was a good movie.

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