Thursday, May 29, 2008

Arnel Pineda -- who is he?

Arnel PinedaImage via WikipediaThis is Journey with their new lead singer, Arnel Pineda, whom they discovered on YouTube on the Ellen Degeneres Show.

I had read about him a little while ago, but this is the first time I've seen and heard him.

After watching the video, and being quite impressed, I then discovered that Journey has had quite a few lead singers after Steve Perry's departure, all of whom have been pretty impressive.

Here's a comparison:

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Dribble Cups

Why is it that 9 times out of 10, Tim Hortons employees seem to line up the tear off part of the lid with the cup seam. Coincidence? It can make for a dribbly sip of coffee.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Weekends and Paint Chips

Once again, a weekend is over before ya know it. I’ll be taking two weeks off work in about 3 weeks. I’m soooo looking forward to it.

After washing our truck yesterday afternoon, I discovered two chips in the paint on the plastic bumper near the rear wheel well. There also appears to be a small bubble that hasn’t yet chipped off.

Our truck is less than a year old, so I’m assuming that something like this would be covered by the warranty. My wife called the dealership this morning asking what we can get done about it and they told her that the service manager would have to see it. Hopefully we’ll be able to bring it in this week.

It certainly doesn’t seem like something that can be “touched up”, since it’ll more than likely continue to get worse over time, which leaves repainting the entire bumper. Or could they replace the bumper with an already-painted bumper? I’d be happy with either of those options. I just won’t settled for a “touch up”.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hello? Is anybody home?

Over the last few months a representative from MTS Allstream has been leaving us messages on our answering machine regarding our "account". According to the message, there is an outstanding balance on our account that we must rectify to avoid a disruption to our service.

Up until a day or two ago, we have been ignoring these messages. Not because we don't want to rectify the outstanding balance, but because we don't have an "account" with MTS Allstream. In fact, up until today we didn't even know what they did or what kind of service they provide.

My wife decided to call the rep back to let them know that they have the wrong number. The rep who has been calling us was busy, so she spoke with another rep.

MTS Allstream apparently provides communications (phone service?) They have our number on file as the business number for Sophistication. This doesn't come as a complete surprise to us. Sophistication was a bridal clothing store. For the last four years, we've been receiving phone calls every spring from women looking for bridal gowns and/or prom dresses. You used to be able to find our number using Google. It took a few emails to various business listing web sites to get it removed. Now it seems that I can only find it using Yahoo.

Anyway, my wife told the rep that our number is residential, we've had it for four years, it does not belong to Sophistication, we have nothing to do with that business, nor have we ever had anything to do with that business, and that they can remove our number from their system.

The reply she received was "We'll see what we can do."

My wife then clarified that she wasn't asking them to remove it, she was telling them to remove it. It's our home number and they have no business calling it. They will never get in touch with Sophistication by calling it.

I don't know what else was said, but my wife said that the rep didn't seem as pleasant after that.

It wouldn't surprise me if the calls don't stop because they think that we're bullshitting them to avoid paying whatever the oustanding balance Sophistication owes them.

I hope I'm there to answer the phone the next time they call. I'll be polite. I'm really curious what they they're hoping to gain by continuing to call. I'll tell them that they're more than welcome to send someone to our home to verify that they are indeed calling a residential number. I'll also going to ask them if they have a contact name and address on file for Sophistication.

$10 says they're not mine.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Great Mileage

A recent study found the average Canadian walks about 900 miles a year. Another study found Canadians drink, on average, 22 gallons of beer a year.

That means, on average, Canadians get about 41 miles to the gallon.

Makes you proud to be a Canadian, eh?

(I have no idea if those stats are real... it's just funny)

Friday, May 16, 2008

Drive-thru follies

A smaller Tim Horton's location, with a focus on drive-thruImage via WikipediaWe pulled into Tim Horton's this morning, the same as we do every morning, to get our coffees before I drop my wife off at work.

This particular Timmy's is a small one, with two drive-thrus (driver and passenger sides) and no seating inside the building. There is, however, a counter to place and receive your order.

We always use the passenger side drive-thru. I place the order, pull up to the window, and my wife pays and gets our coffee. That is how a passenger side drive-thru is supposed to work.

This morning, like many other mornings, some nimrod drivers alone in their vehicle used the passenger side drive-thru and held everyone up with their stupidity.

Now, if you can pull up real close to the window and reach across with your payment and get your order without the Timmy's employee having to lean out the window, it's not that big of a deal.

What drives me crazy is the two examples we saw this morning.
  1. Moron pulls up to the window, stopping 2 feet short, and leaving 2 feet distance betweeen his car and the window. He then GETS OUT of his car and walks up to the window to complete the transaction. My wife summed it up perfectly. If you're going to get out of your car anyway, park it in a spot and walk inside to get your damn order.
  2. This guy was immediately after moron #1. He pulled up beside the window, but left at least 2 feet between his car and the window. He then reached over the passenger seat, and out the passenger window to pay the girl. She practically had to hang out the window to reach for his payment and to hand him the tray of two coffees.
Why is Tim Horton's condoning this practice by serving these people? I'm sure there used to be a sign that said they wouldn't serve people at the drive-thru window if they weren't in a car. I'll have to look for it again, because if they'd enforce that, it would take care of morons like #1. As for #2, they need a new sign that says:

It's not perfect, but it's better than nothing.

Sometimes there's an old lady who walks her dog to this Tim Hortons, and instead of tying her dog outside and walking inside, she walks up to the drive-thru window and places her order there, which usually involves butting in line.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

PCmover download link -- found it!

I finally found the download link for PCmover. Their site is so slow that the main page never finished loading. Try here for the download.

Free software = good. Making it difficult to find = bad

Laplink is giving away its PCmover software for free today only. If you can make it to their site (which is painfully slow) and find where to download it for free, that is.
PCmover is the only migration utility that moves programs, files, and settings from your old PC to your new PC. Simply install PCmover on both your old and new computers and go! PCmover will determine which programs, files, and settings need to be moved, and when the transfer is complete, your new computer will have the personality and functionality of your old PC plus all of its own pre-installed software. Works with almost any Windows operating system, from Windows 95 to Vista.
You can read all about it here.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Vent Cleaning

As a side note to our vent squirrel adventure, I must say that our bathroom vent looks amazingly clean now, assuming that the critter didn't take a crap in the vent. I think everyone should run a squirrel down their vent to clean it out. Try and find a fat one.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Vent Critter - The Final Chapter

Red squirrelImage via WikipediaMy wife woke me up early this morning to tell me that she didn't hear anything all night, and didn't hear anything come from the bathroom this morning.

I went downstairs to listen at the bathroom door.

Our visitor was rummaging around in the bathroom. I could hear him.. or her. It sounded like it was on the counter.

We set up our plywood barricade, left the front door open, and I carefully opened the bathroom door and waited. We opened it more. And waited. We opened it all the way. And waited. I turned on the bathroom light. More waiting.

More noise. A plastic wrap rustling sound. Flipping magazine pages sound. We thought that perhaps it got into the cupboard underneath the sink. Reading magazines? Although we had it blocked off with a case of coke, there was still a space between the doors and the cabinet where it could have squeezed in.

I stepped over our barricade and carefully pulled the case of coke away from the cupboard door. Back over the barricade and used a grabber thing to reach in and open one of the doors.

No squirrel. More sound. I tried for a few minutes to open the other door but it was stuck.

All of a sudden, it scurried out from the corner on the right. It must have been sitting in the corner the whole time, watching me move the case of coke.

It ran behind the toilet.

We waited, yet again.

Enough. Sandra handed me a long strip of wood and I poked behind the toilet to spook it out. Nothing.

After few more minutes of waiting, he or she came out from behind the garbage can, out into the open.

It was a red squirrel. I forgot they had grey bellies. Cute little thing.

It stood there wondering what to do. We stood watching it, wondering what to do. We called our son over to come see it. After a few "awwwwwws", it stood on its hind legs looking up at the counter.

Could it contemplating a return to its ceiling vent hideaway?

It jumped up onto the counter and again looked up at the ceiling, where the open vent was.

Hell no... you little bastard, it's time to go!

I still had the grabber in my hand. I stuck it in the bathroom door and whacked it (the grabber, not the squirrel) on the door frame a few times to scare it off the counter.

It scurried around on the counter for a brief moment trying to get a grip and fell off onto the floor. After a brief pause, it ran out into the hall in front of us... paused... then scooted out the door.

It barely made it out before Sandra slammed the door on its furry little ass.

Mission accomplished.

I would have had pictures, but getting the squirrel out was a priority, so taking photos was the last thing on my mind.

Sandra still wants the exterminator to come and screen off the access on the roof. I suggested calling the management office to let them know the squirrel was gone, to give them the option of doing it themselves.

Regardless, something has to be done today so we don't end up with a repeat of our adventure.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Vent Critter - Part III

My family and I were sitting in the living room watching TV early this evening. Our little visitor decided to start making some noise in the vent. Quite a bit of noise, actually.

I went to check on it. I opened the bathroom door and looked up at the vent. There he/she was. Sitting on the ceiling vent cover -- still in the ceiling -- looking down at me.

It's a small grey squirrel. Judging by its size, I'd say it's a young one.

I moved closer to get a better look and it moved back up into the vent pipe.

Now I figured we had a bigger problem. Seeing as how it can get past the fan, there's no way the exterminator will be able to haul it up the pipe and out through the roof where it got in. It now has a place to take cover.

I decided that now would be a good time to try and get it out.

My brother inlaw, Serge, came over and I explained my plan. Block off access to the rest of the house, open the front door, remove the vent cover and leave the bathroom door open.

Sandra didn't like that idea and went over to her sister's place.

We went back to Serge's house to borrow some plywood to block off access to the kitchen and the living room.

Then we played the waiting game. And waited. And waited. Once in a while we checked the vent and could see the squirrel peeking out from the vent pipe.

More waiting.

Serge suggested we bait it with peanut butter on a cracker, left on top of the cabinet beneath the vent. We did that.

More waiting.

Serge went home.

And more waiting.

Not a peep from the squirrel.

I guess it was just too tired and decided that sleep might be the best idea.

Sandra came home and we tried to figure out what to do. Do we put the vent cover back on or leave it off and close the bathroom door, with the hope that it'll come down? Or seal it up there again and be back at square one in the morning?

We chose option #1. There's nowhere for it to go once it comes down.

I closed the door and we blocked off the bottom with some plywood, and leaned a flat of water and coke cans against it.

With a little luck, the squirrel will remain quiet during the night. Regardless, I'm sure Sandra won't have a very good night's sleep. It'll no doubt be up early to continue its adventures. Hopefully it'll come down. If we can hear it moving around the floor in the bathroom, we'll block off access to the kitchen and living room again, open the front door and then open the bathroom door... and hope that it can see the way to freedom and take advantage of it.

God help us if it decides to hop over the plywood barriers. ;)

Sandra said if we can't get it out in the morning, she may stay home for when the exterminator arrives.

Vent Critter - Part II

We came home from work, hoping that our little vent visitor had managed to leave. Unfortunately, it's still there.

I opened the bathroom door to find at least twice the amount of vent dust sitting on the toilet seat.

As I stood staring up at the vent, I heard some movement. Not as much as this morning, but it's definitely still in the vent. I figure there's a bend in the vent pipe that runs horizontal to the corner of the wall and then goes straight up inside the wall to the roof. It's probably sitting in the horizontal section wondering "WTF?"

The exterminator comes tomorrow. Apparently, he doesn't need access to the inside of the house. He said to turn on the vent fan before we leave, and he's going to get at it from the vent exit on the roof. That's a long way up. Or down, depending on your point of view. How the hell is he going to get whatever it is out? Some kind of long grabber thingy?

I hope our little visitor stays quiet tonight. Sandra isn't happy at all, and I'm sure she's not going to sleep very well, even if it does remain quiet. Our cat, Sam, is going to go berzerk if she hears anything at night. She already walks around the house at night meowing at nothing in particular.

What's up... vent?

This is kind of how I was woken up this morning by my wife. (Hey... get your mind out of the gutter)
Sandra (loud whisper): Scott, wake up. I hear something in the wall. It's freaking Sam out. (our cat)
Me: Huh?
Sandra: There's a scratching sound coming from the wall in the corner of our bedroom. Sounds like... scratching Styrofoam.
Me: Huh?
I sat up in bed to listen. Nothing. Sandra is staring at the corner of our room. Sam is sitting in the hall at the top of the stairs, outside our bedroom, staring at me.
Me: I don't hear it.
Sandra: It's not doing it anymore. But it was loud. Like something is in the wall scratching. Sam was in here poking around the corner looking for it.
Me: Did you look behind the picture? (we have a large picture leaning against the wall in that corner.. it's been there for months, waiting for a spot on the wall to be hung up)
Sandra: No, not yet. Why are you chicken to look?
Me: No. (I was just asking so I didn't waste my time looking. Really.)
Sandra walked over to the picture and carefully pulled it away from the wall. Nothing was there. Not that we really expected anything to be there since the noise was supposedly inside the wall.

Sandra left the room and went downstairs to the main floor. I laid back in bed, listening for the mysterious noise. Seconds later...
Sandra: Scott! Come here.
Me: What?
Sandra: Come here. Quick.
Me: What is it?
Sandra: Just come here.
I dragged myself out of bed, threw on some track pants and slippers and walked down stairs. Sandra was standing outside the main floor bathroom
Sandra: Look in the bathroom.
I looked in. The toilet seat cover had dust clumps that had fallen from the vent above the toilet. (Hmm... yes... gotta get around to cleaning that vent -- again)

Ok... so we have something up in the vent. That would explain the noise from our wall, since the vent pipe appears to run up the corner of the stairs, inside the wall, in the same corner of our room where the sound supposedly came from earlier.

But what could it be? Bird? Squirrel?

Sandra closed the bathroom door, wrote a note -- DO NOT OPEN -- and taped it to the door.

We contemplated what to do. Do we call the condo corp? Do they deal with this? It's inside the house... stuff inside is supposed to be our responsibility. Stuff outside is their's. But clearly this came from the outside. The vent on the roof. That's outside stuff.

We decided to look in the bathroom again. I don't know why.

As soon as we opened the door, there was a loud scurrying, scraping, kind of sound coming from the vent. Dusty clumps fell again, joining their dust buddies on the toilet seat cover.

We looked up at the vent.

The sound stopped.

We turned on the bathroom light.

More scurrying sounds from the vent. More dust on the toilet seat. Sounds stopped.

Whatever it is, it sounded like it was just above the vent fan. Perhaps trying to (unsuccessfully) climb back up the vent pipe. I thought about turning on the vent fan. I decided that maybe that wouldn't be such a good idea.

Light off. Close door. Step outside for a smoke. Discuss options again.

Definitely call condo corp. Even if it's not their responsibility, surely this can't be the first time a critter has gotten into someone's bathroom vent.

We came back inside. I opened the bathroom door again. No sound. Turned on the light. No sound.

I turned on the vent fan. More dust fell, but there were no critter sounds. Where'd it go? Could it possibly climb back up the smooth inside of a sheet metal vent pipe and out the roof where it likely got in?

I turned off the vent, the light, and closed the door.

I checked the bathroom a few more times before we left for work. Not a sound. I even showed the kids what they were missing behind the DO NOT OPEN sign.

The critter has either:
  1. Had a heart attack and died.
  2. Fallen asleep.
  3. Left the way it got in.
  4. Or maybe it's trying to fool us into thinking it's gone.
Sandra called me at work later this morning. She said she called the condo corp and they're going to send an exterminator to deal with the critter. She was told that it's not easy for them to get squirrels out of vents, but they'll do their best as well as screen off the vent on the roof if it's determined that's where it got in.

But, it may not be today. O_o The lady said that they don't often go the same day that the work order is submitted.

So, now we wait. The exterminator will be calling Sandra at work to arrange the appointment.

Sandra said she won't sleep tonight, if they don't come today. I don't think we have anything to worry about. It doesn't look like there's any way that the critter can get out of the vent and into the bathroom. It would have to squeeze past the vent fan and chew through the vent cover.

I supposed we could leave the vent fan on all night. :)