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Monthly Archives: December 2012

2012… Out With the Old…

Published December 31, 2012 - 5 Comments

What a year it has been!  Certainly when 2012 began, I had no idea of the surprises that it would bring me.  “More of the same” has been my motto for the last couple of years.  Not 2012!  Here are just a few of the highlights over the past 365 days…

  • Found myself in a wonderful new relationship
  • Finally put to rest some lingering old feelings
  • Finalized my divorce
  • Moved into the city
  • Finally bought the new furniture I’ve been saving up for (no more sleeping on the floor!)
  • New car!
  • New job where I actually have to learn again, and feel much more satisfied
  • Regular 8-5 hours means better sleep, and I get to see my children on a real schedule now!

Whenever I make one of these lists I always feel as though I’m forgetting something… usually because I am forgetting something!

I want to thank my friends and family… especially Jess… for an awesome 2012.  And thank you to all my readers, regular and casual… This blog wouldn’t be here without you.

Happy New Year, and all the best for 2013!

Stephen

 

Great Customer Service Story: Greco Pizza

Published December 24, 2012 - 1 Comment

I don’t want anyone to think that I only post the bad customer service stories.  I’m an equal opportunity customer service blogger!  🙂

So here’s the back story… Greco Pizza has a points system by which every item you purchase gives you a certain number of points that you can then exchange for free food… starting at a donair, and working up to a party pizza, depending on the amount of points.  They’ve had this system in place for as long as I can remember, and over the years I’ve probably cashed in my points 2 or 3 times.

A month ago Jess and I stopped in for donairs, and when I asked the lady how many points I now had, she informed me that I had none.  Not only did I not have any points, there was no account listed under my name or phone number.  What?

No sense in freaking out over it.  I decided to send an email to the customer contact address on Greco.ca.  Within an hour I had a response asking me for more information, which I provided.  It took about a week, when I received another email… this time from the manager of the local Greco store, asking me to call.  Cindy was wonderful.. when she asked me how many points I had, I honestly couldn’t tell her.  All I knew is that I had more than the oven sub, but fewer than the party pizza.  She offered me a 15″ pizza and put it in her book for the next time I ordered.  Simple as that.  They were unable to determine what happened to my original account, but found a resolution to my problem.

And here’s the important part…

It’s more than just a free pizza.  Actually you could argue that I’d already paid for that pizza anyway because I had accumulated almost enough points on my own… the manager was simply giving me what was already due to me.  And that’s great, because I wasn’t looking for anything other than to recover my lost points.  But more than the pizza.. it was the entire customer experience…  No one ever questioned me, or made me feel like I might be trying to scam them.  Must be that trusting face again!  (Except that this was all through email / telephone.)  They dealt with my problem professionally… and in doing so secured my loyalty.  There are a lot of pizza places out there… but I already know where I’m ordering from.

Great job, Greco Pizza!

All I Want For Christmas is… Kate Upton

Published December 20, 2012 - 2 Comments

Kate Upton GQ

OK Santa… with less than a week to go, we’re getting into crunch time now.  I know that it might be a little late to try to slip something like this onto my Christmas list, but hey… you can’t blame a guy for trying!  Besides, I’m still waiting for Scarlett Johansson from my 2010 wish list

This time last year, I don’t think that any of us really knew who Kate Upton even was.  Then a little something called “Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition” was published with a buxom blonde on the cover.  And suddenly the entire world took notice of Kate.  (Oh, if you’re wondering why I didn’t include the S.I. cover picture… I like it… but I love the GQ cover more… naughty Kate)

Now here’s the ridiculous thing Santa… some people have criticized Miss Upton for being “fat”.  WHAT?!  Apparently in the super model world, if you don’t… what’s the word…  emaciate yourself… then you’re not considered a worthy member of the club.

Thankfully Kate has stated very publicly that she loves her curves, and has no plans to starve herself to fit into some preconceived notion of beauty.  And I, for one, support her decision!

So… Dear Santa… let’s face it… I haven’t exactly been good all year… I may not have been good for even most of it…  but surely there must be SOMETHING that I’ve done that can take me off the naughty list.. even if only for a day!  I helped that nice old man find the animal section in the store moments ago… I pushed that nice Chinese student’s car out of the snow last night… I’ve changed, Santa… PEOPLE CAN CHANGE, SANTA!

So there it is… Santa… you.. me.. Kate… c’mon.. help a brother out…  ‘Tis the Season!

All I Want For Christmas is… iTunes Gift Cards!

Published December 17, 2012 - 2 Comments

Music, videos, movies, tv shows, apps… even e-books!  What’s not to love about Apple’s iTunes Store?!  Maybe ringtones… but even those I’ve bought before.  I’d buy my groceries through the iTunes Store if I could… mmmm… iBurgers…

I’ve started using the iTunes Store more to download movies and tv shows.  Since switching from Boxee to Apple TV for my media centre it’s incredibly easy to add media to my library, whether I want to purchase a movie to have forever, or simply rent it for viewing.  It’s all integrated perfectly into my iWorld.

The big downside of this is “cost”.  Torrents are free.  The iTunes Store is not.  But as a fledgling content publisher, I’ve decided to try to adopt a more legitimate approach.  We’ll see how that goes.

So remember… you can’t go wrong with iTunes gift cards… I’m even tucking them into a few gifts of my own!

Senseless…

Published December 15, 2012 - 2 Comments

I normally don’t have a problem getting a blog post started.  Once I have my topic, I’m usually good to go.  I’ve tried to start this one at least a half dozen times, and then delete it and start over.  What can I possibly say that hasn’t already been said 1000 times by people far more eloquent than me?

Yesterday was a day of horror for a great many people in the small community of Newtown, Connecticut… the ripple effect of that senseless tragedy is being felt around the globe.  So many unanswered questions.  So many needless deaths.  Children.  Teachers.  Why?

Like millions of parents last night I gave my kids an extra long hug when I saw them.  I debated whether to say anything.  How do you explain evil to innocent young minds in a way that will help them understand without instilling fear?

You find a way.

Movie Time! The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Published December 14, 2012 - 0 Comments

New-The-Hobbit-Poster1I got a chance to go to a special early screening of The Hobbit last night, thanks to Saint John Hyundai. I was surprised that more people did not take advantage of the pre-opening night.  Our theatre was probably not even half-filled.  Nothing wrong with that though!  I had room to move, and NO RESERVED SEATING to have to deal with.

Let’s jump into the movie, shall we?

This showing was in 3D.  I’m generally not a fan of that format, and this latest experience has done nothing to change my mind.  There were some neat effects… flying sequences looked spectacular… I flinched once when a knife was thrown at me…  but overall I really could have done without the 3D.

If you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings trilogy you know that they spend a lot of time walking.  A lot.  This film is no different.  An Unexpected Journey should be called An Unending Journey.  They walk.  They walk some more.  And then when you’re pretty sure that they must be getting close, guess what?  More walking.  This begs the question.. is there no faster way to get around Middle Earth?  Giant birds can whisk them to safety when needed.  Why not just hitch a ride the rest of the way?  Because that would cut out the walking.  Did you know that The Hobbit is broken into three movies?  I was unaware of that until a couple of days ago.  A single book is broken into three movies.. that’s an epic amount of walking!

If you’re watching The Hobbit and feel as though you’ve already seen it, you’re not alone.  Obviously it’s going to have the same look and feel as The Lord of the Rings.  That’s to be expected.  But there were points last night where I just felt like I could close my eyes for 20 mins, and I wouldn’t miss a thing because I’d seen this all before.

For all its similarities, it’s important to remember that The Hobbit is not The Lord of the Rings.  The former was written for a slightly different (younger?) audience.  There is dialogue in this movie that would never take place in The Lord of the Rings.  Just silly things that some of the bad guys say… A Jabba the Hut-like character who speaks like Shakespeare .. Certain spots are less “dark and gritty” than The Lord of the Rings.

Something that I noticed immediately… I don’t know who Martin Freeman is (according to IMDB, he was in Love Actually.. which I pretty much slept through and refuse to believe is as popular as it seems to be) but he is such a convincing Bilbo Baggins, I don’t think that they could have cast anyone better.  Soooo much better than Elijah Wood as Frodo.

Once again New Zealand shows off its beautiful scenery.  I don’t know how much was computer generated, and how much was real… but wow… even if only part of it is real.. it’s absolutely breath-taking!

In short (har har… Dwarfs and Hobbits are vertically challenged.. get it?) … if you’ve seen The Lord of the Rings, then you’re going to want to see The Hobbit.  Just make sure to use the bathroom beforehand… At 2 hrs 49 mins you’re going to be there for awhile.

My precciiioooouusss…

All I Want for Christmas is… For Glee Not to Suck Again

Published December 12, 2012 - 3 Comments

glee-season-4-poster-kate-hudson-lea-michele

Yup, I’m a Gleek.  Get over it.

Now that that’s out of the way…

We are now in season 4 of the show that everybody hates to love… or loves to hate… depending on your point of view.  While the initial sparkle of Glee has long since faded, the current season has taken the direction-less drifting to new heights… or lows… again, depending on your point of view.

Several of the highschool seniors have now graduated, and a new crop of social outcasts have joined the ill-fated Glee club.  The writers have the impossible task of developing new characters that the viewers will care about, as well as maintain a connection with the ones who have gone off in different directions after graduating.  And don’t forget the new seniors who have been part of Glee club for 3 years, and are finally getting their turn in the spotlight.

Except that no one is really in the spotlight.  There are simply too many storylines to do any of them justice.  It’s almost comical (in a sad way) how Glee tries to hold onto the original characters… Kurt and Rachel have the  most screen time  (and really should have been spun off onto their own show, as was originally rumoured) but the others?  A 30 second webcam chat, or coming back to choreograph, or worse.. lead the current students in their quest for another championship.  It’s such a stretch… and it’s sad.

Too many things going on… too many storylines… not enough time…

Christmas 2012: Getting Shit Done

Published December 8, 2012 - 12 Comments

I decided to take yesterday off, and dedicate it to getting the bulk of my Christmas shopping done.  I knew that I’d never get ALL of it.. there will still be a few little odds and ends to pick up between now and then… but I wanted to get the majority of it done, so I could avoid the malls until the middle of next year.

And guess what?  It worked!

I didn’t sleep in until noon.  I was actually standing in Indigo at 9:07am with a few other dedicated shoppers, going through some book ideas that I had in mind.  I left there with over $200 worth of books and games.  It sure doesn’t take long to add up!

I won’t bore you with all the details of my day, but I will hit upon a few of the highlights.

  • Walmart in east Saint John wasn’t quite the zoo that I know it can be.  In years past I have walked in, only to immediately turn around and walk out.  I can’t be bothered to push my way through crowds of shoppers.  That wasn’t the case yesterday.  It was busy, but it wasn’t insane.  But give it time!
  • The new Walmart on the west side is a breath of fresh air compared to its east side counterpart.  This is one of Walmart’s acquisitions from the Zeller’s selloff.  It’s nice in there, but as people had already told me… it’s not laid out like a Walmart at all.  It’s laid out like a Zeller’s, except with blue paint, and yellow smiley faces announcing rollback prices.  I didn’t see a single Walmart greeter… what’s up with that?  Still, it was quiet.
  • No Frills grocery store (formerly Real Atlantic Super Store) on the west side doesn’t have plastic bags to carry out your groceries.  Wish I had known that before standing there like a tool wondering how to get my stuff out of there.  They do have boxes though… yup.
  • I surprised my doctor and her office staff by showing up with a beautiful poinsettia and card thanking them for everything that they’ve done.  Dr Lisa is an amazing person and I’ve been in there way too often lately to see her.  Her staff has been excellent in trying to get me booked in when something comes up last minute, and I wanted them to know how much I appreciated it.  The smiles on their faces were more than enough for me.  Love seeing that.

That’s pretty much it… except for the pointy elf slippers that I picked up at Walmart.  Imagine Mrs Claus’ surprise when she came home and found me in the kitchen dressed like that.  Ladies, never laugh at your man when he’s wearing silk boxer shorts with Homer Simpson Santas… That’s just rude!  😉

Santa Claus is Coming to Town… and He’s Hanging With Friends!

Published December 7, 2012 - 0 Comments

I’ve waited a long time for this… last year we got a female elf character for Christmas…  Sure she was cute, but she was still a FEMALE ELF… I had hoped Zynga would introduce a Snowman, or Reindeer, or even Santa… but nope.. a female elf.  Oh, I think they gave us the Nutcracker guy then too.  Still nothing spectacular.

Well…   For the last week I’ve been watching the Hanging With Friends coin store daily to see whether they introduced something new.  I wanted to be the first person in my games to have a new character if there was one.  And guess what?!

SANTA CLAUS!

CANDY CANE BALLOONS!

A WINTER THEME!

All I Want For Christmas is… a Swiffer WetJet

Published December 6, 2012 - 0 Comments

Believe it or not, there was a time when I didn’t enjoy cleaning my floors!  I know!  Crazy, eh?  Then along came Swiffer, and it’s like my whole entire world was changed forever!  I can push that Swiffer broom up and down the hardwood floors all day long and never get tired of it.  Yesterday’s dirty dishes piled in the sink?  Yeah, so what?  Bed hasn’t been made in a week?  True dat.  Dust and hair collecting on the floors?  Not in my house!  Not as long as I have a clean Swiffer pad!  No siree.

Now I’m thinking that it’s time to up my game and add a little Swiffer WetJet action into the mix!  Mops are for sissies.  A bucket of dirty water?  Not my style.  Sure, it’s the financially responsible choice, but really… This is a guy who gets giddy from the latest Apple release… Do I really seem like someone with financially responsible decision making?  Don’t answer that.

So Santa, it’s like this… how many times have you ever seen a cleaning product on my wish list?  (We don’t include the French maid)  How many times have you ever seen a cleaning product on ANY wish list?  (Again… leave the French maid out of it)  Obviously this is a unique request, and one that I think you should take very seriously.  Give the gift of clean floors, Santa.  Give the gift of Swiffer…