Thursday, November 14, 2013

50,000 views... soon

My blog is 20 views shy of 50,000. :)

Thanks to everyone who has taken the time to visit, and comment on my mindless (and sometimes useful) posts!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Biking withdrawal, health, and music

I'm going through biking withdrawal. I think it's been over a month.

I can't even bring my bike inside and put it on the trainer because our basement is a disaster, packed with boxes, while we await the foundation repair guys to fix the leak in our basement.

My "good" shoulder is doing bad. I'm still convinced it's bursitis, but haven't had it checked by my doctor yet. Changing my pillow and doing some of the physio exercises that I used to do for my injured shoulder seems to help a little. I guess if there's a good time for it to be bad, now is the time and I can hope that it improves before next spring.

About two years ago, I got Rocksmith to try and help me learn to play guitar. While it was fun, the cumbersome game interface became too much of a hassle to keep it fun. I played it on and off since, but probably didn't touch it in the last year.

Recently, Rocksmith 2014 was released. I picked it up and have been playing it pretty much on a daily basis since. The interface and usability has greatly improved.

Ubisoft has something they call a 60-day challenge. Play the game 1 hour per day for 60 days. In typical Ubisoft fashion, their tracking web site still isn't ready to actually track your progress properly. It's "coming soon".

We'll see how long I stick with this one. :)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Conjunctivitis hell

When I was a kid, I don't think I ever went a week without some kind of cut or scrape from falling down, or falling off my bike, or out of a tree. I was an active kid.

Not once did I ever have a bad infection that required antibiotics, and I had some pretty nasty wounds. We'd clean them up, slap a little iodine on them, and a few band-aids.

Nowadays, it seems that slightest infections seem to require immediate antibiotics. About a year ago I had an infected hang nail that required antibiotics. My finger was nasty looking. A from a hang nail!

A friend of mine got scratched by a cat, it got infected, and he had to wear a portable IV pump to give him antibiotics. Another friend scratched his elbow while camping and required the same treatment.

Seemingly minor wounds that turned into major health risks. How the hell did I survive my childhood?

Day after starting antibiotics
This past Wednesday, I woke up with an itchy eye. I thought it might be pink eye, so I started using PolySporin eye drops. As the day progressed, my eye got worse. Really bad. I decided to go to the emergency at the Montfort Hospital that night.

They diagnosed it as a bacterial infection and put me on IV antibiotics. They also arranged for me to get one of those portable IV pumps to give me a dose every 12 hours, for a week, as well as ointment that I had to put in my eye four times a day.

Due to some scheduling confusion for getting the IV pump, I ended up back at the Montfort Hospital on Thursday morning. The doctor I saw that morning didn't think I'd need to be on the IV for 7 days. She figured 2 days would suffice, and then they would switch me to oral antibiotics for another 7 days.

Ball & Chain
I got hooked up on Thursday evening. I had to go back every day to get the bag changed. The pump and IV bag were carried around in one of those fanny packs. It was like dragging around a ball and chain. Trying to shower and keep one arm (and the fanny pack) dry was no easy task.

Yesterday, while getting the bag changed, they decided to change the IV line that was stuck in my arm. The nurse had difficulty finding a good vein. I felt like a pin cushion. Another nurse took over. They even contemplated putting it in my hand. Or the top of my wrist. On my right hand too. Thankfully the second nurse found a spot on the same vein on my left arm, above the old spot. And once they did get a good vein, the old hole bled quite a bit before stopping. Stressful.

Day 3
I had an appointment at the Montfort this morning for reevaluation. I was so glad that the doctor said the best course of action now would be to stop with the IV and switch me to oral antibiotics, as the last doctor had recommended.

My eye has improved greatly in 3 days. All that's left is a small haematoma at the bottom that should clear up on its own in a few days.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

90km goal achieved

Around the time I started cycling this year, I set two goals:

  1. at least 2000kms for the summer
  2. 90kms in one day
I was fairly confident that I'd achieve the first goal. I did it two summers ago, and then failed last summer's 3000km goal when my shoulder acted up. (I'm at 90% of the 2000kms already)

The second goal was more of a challenge. I've never biked more than around 80kms (I think) in a day.

This past Monday had perfect cycling weather. Sunny, not too hot, and not too windy. I headed out with no intention of going for my goal. I decided to ride up to Pink Lake in Gatineau Park. I've done it a few times in the past. It's just over 25kms one-way and almost all uphill. The ride down is a blast.

When I got to the top and checked RunKeeper, I realized that I could hit 50kms by the time I got home, I decided that if there was a day that I could reach goal #2, this would be the day. (Yeh, ~20kms downhill is kinda cheating... but the effort going up makes up for it, I think) :) When I got back down to the Ottawa River, I rode along the Gatineau side, stopping periodically to check my distance. I rode pretty much every route I've ever done downtown, trying to add to my total. The Rideau Canal. The Rideau River. I even back-tracked through the Byward Market to scraped up a few extra kms. On my way home I checked one more time and realized that I might just fall short of the 90kms, so decided to continue along the entire eastward stretch of the Rockliffe Parkway. I was positive that it would push me past the 90kms.

My legs were beginning to hurt a little. In fact, they were bothering me at least 15kms earlier. When I got to the end of the parkway, I checked my total. 92.5kms. I did it. With still a few kms to go before getting home, I thought that it would really suck if I got close to 100kms and didn't try for it. :)

I detoured back down toward the parkway and rode along until I got to my usual exit up towards home. I wasn't sure if it would be enough, but since I was so tired I decided that if it wasn't, then so be it. At least I tried.

Upon arriving home, I checked Runkeeper.

99.12kms.

My wife and son told me to ride around the neighbourhood to break 100kms. I didn't want to. I was done. Besides, RunKeeper isn't always pinpoint accurate in tracking my route. I could already be over 100kms. Or if I rode around the block, who's to say I wasn't still under?

As far as I'm concerned, that was close enough.

Yay me. :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Oops...

The results of my annual blood work came in for my annual physical.

It looks like I screwed up over the last year and my cholesterol is a little higher than it should be.

Apparently the LDL is supposed to be 2.0 or less. Mine was 2.09.

I've been given a few months to get it back down through exercise and diet changes before my doctor is ready to up my med dosage.

I've already got the exercise covered, but I've put on about 10-15lbs since last year, and I haven't been too careful about what I eat. So I'm going back to calorie counting.

I'm pretty confident I can get it back under control before November when I got back for more blood work. This little wake-up is the incentive kick I needed. :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Passed the half way mark

At some point in the last week, I passed the 50% mark of my 2000km summer goal. If the weather cooperates I may be able to beat it before the end of the month. If it's anything like June's weather I'd have to say that the odds are against me.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

June update

It's been a while and I thought I'd post an update.

The good: My "bad" (left) shoulder is doing fantastic. Much better than I expected. Weather permitting, I bike to work on a regular basis. Unfortunately, due to the weather, that hasn't been as often as I would like. I have a goal of riding 90kms in one outing before the end of the summer. I managed to do 68.8kms once without even trying so I think I should be fine. I've already reached 40% of my 2000km overall summer goal.

The bad: My good (right) shoulder is bothering me. I think I have a pinched nerve in there somewhere. I didn't do anything to injure it, as I did with my left shoulder, but it really hurts if I move it in certain ways. Thankfully, cycling isn't affecting it. Sleeping on it seems to have the most adverse affect on it. It's been like this for a couple of months, but I've decided to give it more time before becoming too concerned with it. Besides, I'm almost due for my annual physical so I'll bring it up then, but I suspect my doctor won't be too concerned about it and may just refer me to physio or something.

The weather for the rest of the summer is supposed to be much better than it has been for June, so I'm hoping to get in a lot more cycling. Despite my goal for 2000kms, I think I might push for 3000kms. :)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

An so it begins...

I've gone cycling four days now. Once last weekend (40kms), once this past weekend (33kms), yesterday to and from work (42kms), and now today (21kms so far, until I ride home).

My shoulder and neck feel pretty good (knock on wood). There have been a few times that I felt my bicep tingle, as a result of my neck, but pulling my shoulders back seems to alleviate that.

The morning rides to work are still a little on the chilly side at 10c.

I'm finding it a little difficult to motivate myself to ride. In past years, I wouldn't hesitate to go, but now I have to guilt myself into doing it. :) I haven't done any Nike+ workouts in weeks, so this is my one and only major physical activity.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pebble: E-Paper Watch

After almost a year of waiting, my Pebble E-Paper Watch finally arrived yesterday!

I invested in this Kickstarter project at the $115 level a few weeks before it had ended. Because I'm in Canada, I paid an extra $10 for S&H.

What this got me was a black Pebble watch.

The box it arrived in was pretty cool. The unboxing was really uneventful  Pull the cardboard "zipper", flip open the top and voila.

A watch and a USB charging cable, with instructions on the inside telling me to go to go.getpebble.com to configure it.

I already had the iOS app installed, so the phone was paired via Bluetooth and running in no time, after it received a firmware update during this process. (I read messages after on the Pebble Facebook that some people's watches were bricked during firmware updates..)


Some of the watch faces I loaded,
displayed with the backlight on.
Even when off, it's still very readable.
Using the phone app, I can send a "ping" to the watch to verify that it is paired (it makes the watch vibrate), or I can choose from 11 additional watch faces to add to the 3 or 4 that came with the watch. You can't load them all at the same time. I tried and it told me I had to remove some before I could add more. I narrowed my choices down to 7 for now. I assume if I ever add an other functionality to the watch in the future, I may have to remove more to make room.

I don't think the app does much else that I can see. During the initial fundraising they talked about a cycling app to track stats in conjunction with your phone. I hope that's still coming because that's the main reason I invested.

The watch itself is plastic and seems quite durable and lightweight. The strap is some kind of rubber and I think it'll last as well. It supposedly a standard size strap so can be replaced by any watch strap if I wish.

One thing that I'm not particularly fond of is its size. Maybe my wrists are a little narrow for a 6'3" 230lb man, but as you can see in the photo, it's fairly large.

You can also see how readable it is without the backlight
in this photo.
On top of that, I haven't worn a watch in a long time so this will take some getting used to.

There's a grand total of four buttons on the watch. One on the left, beside the magnetic charging... err... nubs? This is basically the "home/back" button. On the right, there's an "up", "select/menu", and "down" button.

The watch can be turned on by holding down any of the buttons for 2 seconds. Pressing the middle (select/menu) button opens the menu where you can choose the music feature (to control your phone's default music player), set an alarm, choose from the installed watch faces, or go into settings where there are some very basic configuration settings, and an option to shutdown the watch.

What exactly does the watch DO?

Well, I can only speak for the iPhone pairing, but when your SMS/iMessages are configured to display notifications on the home screen, they will also appear on the watch. The watch will also vibrate to let you know. That's pretty handy if your phone in your pocket or bag. Not that you can only read the message while it's displayed. If you press the home/back button, it's gone and you'll need to read it from your phone. I know that's by design, and probably not such a big deal to most people. I just think it would have been cool if it cached a few messages to read later. It also does the same thing for emails. If the message is long, the up/down buttons will let you scroll to read it all.

It can also control the iPhone's default music player. Play/pause and skip fwd/rev. It seems to play your music list in shuffle mode.

That's about it. For now?

The battery life is supposed to be 2-7 days. That seems like quite a varied range. The last firmware update supposedly improved it after some were complaining it was less. We'll see how this goes.

The charger cable is kinda cool. It connects via two small magnets and plugs into any 5v USB port/charger. This also makes the watch waterproof up to 5ATM.

Because it is waterproof, there is no way to replace the battery when the watch finally dies. That's it, that's all, it's dead.

The watch now sells for $150 USD from the Pebble web site. They're still fulfilling Kickstarter backers and then the pre-orders, so expect a very long wait if you decide to order one. Many backers are becoming irate.

Is this watch worth $150 USD? I'm somewhat undecided, at least with its existing functionality. If apps start coming out for it, then may I'd lean more toward yes. I'm still hoping for the cycling stats app.

But then again, if you're the extremely geeky "must have" type, you might want one anyway.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Almost time

Today I was thinking that it's almost time to start cycling again. I checked my saved GPS logs to see what day I started last year and it's actually 1 year ago tomorrow.

There's still a little bit of snow on the ground due to a surprise snow storm over the last two days, but I think next weekend will be the first time out for this year. I hope so anyway.

My shoulder has been feeling pretty good, overall. I've had a few days where it didn't feel quite right, but I can associate those days with not doing any workouts in the days prior.

Whenever I go for a couple of days without any workouts, I can feel my arm and my shoulder begin to stiffen up, and then I also feel it in my neck.

Ever since I pull my calf muscle, my workouts have been very sporadic. I'm sure there's some laziness thrown in there, but mostly it's because of a fear that it's going to happen again. A few times last week, I felt the calf muscle tighten up just from walking up stairs. It's been ok for the last week though.

I have to make more of an effort to do something. Anything, to keep them loosened up, or I'm going to be in the same situation as last year.

For such a lazy bastard that I can be, I sure love cycling. Without it... I don't know what I'd do. I don't think of it as exercise as some people might. A motorcyclist could probably relate to the same feeling that it gives me. Except this is under my own power.

A 360 degree sight and sound freedom experience.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Do you really "Like" it?

Complaints about advertising on Facebook aren't new. Neither are the complaints about the type of advertising being shown. Some are outraged and what appears on their timeline because it's so unrelated to the type of things they like.

I mean, does anyone really like "Spamlamdex Quick'n'Easy Hair Removal"?  So I made that one up, but it isn't too far fetched if what this article describes is true: Facing Up To Facebook Scams

It's apparently called "Like farming". I'll paraphrase what the article says:
  1. Your friend "likes" a photo, for whatever reason (we'll get into the reasons in a moment)
  2. You see that they liked it and you decide to like it too.
  3. The photo goes viral and receives tens of thousands of "Likes".
  4. The person who posted the photo sells the group the photo was posted in to some shady product/brand.
  5. That product/brand now has a group with thousands of likes on one of their photos, and in return — because you "Liked" their photo — they can share their advertising with you on your timeline.
Shady, low, sneaky, evil... but genius.

What kinds of images are we talking about?

The linked article mentions images with "Name a city without an 'R' in it. It's harder than it looks!", "'Like' if you hate cancer.", "'Like' if you hate bullying.", "If I get enough 'likes,' my dad will quit drugs."

Others that come to mind are "How many squares in this picture?", "Type (some word) in the comments to see what happens next!", and any mathematical equation images like "4+1x0+2=?".

There are hundreds of groups that consist of nothing but funny pictures. Humourous greeting cards. Cute kitten pics. Inspirational sayings. Funny quotes.

It wouldn't surprise me if many of those exist for this very reason.

If you Google "Like farming" you 'll find other similar articles about it.

The way I see it, unless your friend actually uploaded that image you Liked, expect the unexpected to appear on your timeline.

You can probably minimize the like-related ads by going into your Likes on Facebook and cleaning them up, "Unlike" anything that looks suspicious or that you don't remember liking.

Friday, March 29, 2013

They say that all good things must come to an end



A long, long time ago
I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
And I knew if I had my chance
That I could make those people dance
And maybe they'd be happy for a while


On April 2nd, Don McLean's "American Pie" will be the very last Rock Band song.

Ever.

Supposedly.

But from what I read on Twitter, it may not be the last ever, but it is the end of the weekly download content that has been flowing for years.


We bough so many songs. We probably have more invested in Rock Band songs than we do in the Xbox and all the other games we own.

I have some good memories of playing Rock Band, Rock Band 2, and Rock Band 3 over the years. It's the only video game that my wife played often on our Xbox. She refused to play any instrument other than guitar. Bass was boring. Guitar was a challenge. And she was pretty damn good at it too.

I remember struggling to move from Medium difficulty to Hard, and having to deal with more than 3 buttons. I thought for sure that I would never learn to play without looking at the neck of the guitar and be able to transition my fingers up and down the neck of the guitar without forgetting where I was.

I remember the first time my wife and I gold starred a song and how awesome it felt. Sounds silly, I know, but it was a cool moment.

I remember the day my wife and I decided to go for the "Never-ending Setlist" achievement, and how it took much longer than we expected, and how patient our kids were waiting to be fed, late, that evening. :)

I remember the first time playing drums. And how "real" it felt to nail a tricky beat on expert as if it had never been a problem.

It still amazes me how my fingers seem to magically press all the right buttons in sequence to a seemingly impossible stream of notes cruising down the TV screen.


I remember the first time I got 100% on a song, on expert, and how it made want to thrust my fist in the air and yell "FUCK YEH!"

And sometimes I did just that.

There has always been criticism from the naysayers about how "real" Rock Band is — or not real, as the case may be. "Play a real instrument!" they'd say.

It's a game. A fun game. And for some people, it inspired them to learn real instrument. How can that be so bad?

Good times. Lots of them. With family and friends. And as long as I can make our remaining guitars and drum kit last, the good times will last.


Sunday, March 17, 2013

Calf Update

That almost sounds like I'm a farming blog entry...

Anyway, my left calf seems to be healing well. I still don't know exactly what was wrong with it, but I'm limping less and the discomfort isn't happening as often.

At one point last night, while I was walking up to my front door, I realized that I wasn't limping at all and there was absolutely no tightness for about 10 steps. That's promising.

I'm anxious to resume my workouts, but I think when I do I'll be skipping anything that involves jumping or hopping or jogging for a while. Doing half the routines will be better than none at all.

I had a dream last night that I was cycling. I'm hoping that's a good omen of what's to come this spring. :)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Otter Box arrived

It took a little longer than the last time, but the new warranty replacement Otter Box for my iPhone arrived today.

Again, I love the no hassle warranty on these. Clearly the original investment was worth it since it has spared my phone from damage after (more than) a few accidental drops. While it's a bulkier case than most, it does the job and it does it well. I don't think I could use any other case.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Pop

I was nearing the end of a "fitness evaluation" in the Nike+ Kinect game yesterday afternoon when my left calf went pop.

I think it was like a pop.

Whatever it was or whatever it felt like, it put a quick end to the evaluation/workout. Worst feeling ever.

The best way I can describe it was like it was a really bad muscle cramp. I tried to massage it out and it seemed ok until I stood up, leg straight, and tried to put weight on the ball of my left foot.

Not gonna happen. Instant cramp-like feeling.

The rest of the day was spent on my ass, leg up, alternating hot and cold compresses.

My left calf doesn't look any different. Pretty much the same as my right. No obvious swelling. No bruising. I can move my foot in all directions without any difficulty. I can stand, knees slightly bent and squat without discomfort. No pain or discomfort while resting. No burning sensation. So I don't think it's torn or anything like that.

It's only when I try to walk and put weight on the ball of my foot that I get that tight cramping sensation in my calf.

I guess I'm now out of commission for a while.

Fuck.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Otter Box update

I received an email from Otter Box on the weekend, informing me that I didn't send correct photos. Apparently, my name and address had to be HAND written on the piece of paper. I'm not entirely sure why that makes a difference. My best guess is so that I'm not using someone else's photos, where it would be easier to put a digital name and date on them?

I dunno.

I sent off new photos and within the day got another email informing me that it's no being processed.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Beergasm.ca

After much "encouragement" from a friend at work, I started a beer blog for fun:

Beergasm - http://www.beergasm.ca

Bay 5 Brewing - http://www.bay5brewing.com

Questions or comments... read the "FAQ" page there. :)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Otterbox, take 2

Back in July, I received a warranty replacement Otterbox case for my iPhone after the one I purchased about 8 months earlier cracked.

Today, I noticed that the replacement case is now cracked. :(

They claim it can withstand bumps and drops. I've dropped my phone a few times on carpet at work, or the laminate floor at home. I guess that's how it happened.

I'm not sure if they'll replace this one, so I went to their web site and filled out the form, also asking if the replacement comes with the same warranty (which I believe is 1 year)

I received the familiar automated reply asking for a photo. This time it asked for 3 photos: one of the front, the back, and one indicating the damage.


For all of the photos, they ask that you take the photo with a piece of paper showing your name and date.

I really like their cases, so I hope they'll send another replacement.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Beer fueled ramblings

More of an all-encompassing update kinda post.

WinterBrewed

My wife and I (and daughter and niece) took a trip down to WinterBrewed last Saturday to sample some fine craft brews. Just to clarify, my our daughter and niece didn't do any sampling, they were there for the food. :) Our timing must have been good because we didn't have to wait long for anything, unlike those who arrived later in the afternoon and had to endure 30 minute lineups just to purchase tokens to sample the brews. This was the first time they held one in the winter, and the first time on Sparks Street. Hopefully they work out the glitches for next year.

Since my wife was DD, I did most of the sampling. :)  My favourite was the St. Ambroise maple. I would have liked to sample more, but we ran out of tokens and it was rather chilly. I'm sure the next National Capital Craft Brew week this spring will be much more comfortable.

Shoulder, fitness, etc.

My shoulder felt pretty damn good since the last physio appointment. I had another appointment this past Friday as well. I mentioned to my physiotherapist that I had been doing a lot of workouts, focusing more on upper body. She said the increased blood flow to my shoulder is likely why it's been feeling good. I'm really looking forward to spring when I can try cycling again.

My weight loss isn't going so well, but at the same time it's not bad either. Although I really haven't lost much, I haven't gained either. (I blame the beer and weekly pizza, but I'm not about to give up either)  When I can, on the weekends, I've increased my workouts. I've combined the Nike+ workouts with the 'ol Your Shape Fitness Evolved workouts, and a little Kinect Sports Season 2 thrown in at the end for fun. That ended up being 2 hours worth of exercise today. :)

Music

My wife and I went to the Bon Jovi concert this past Wednesday. We sat in the 300 level, and they only cost me about $40 per ticket (after surcharges and tax)  I have to say that they were the best cheap seats I've ever had for a concert.


They still sound as good as they did about 25 years ago when I first saw them. Clearly, they're still just as popular too — the arena was packed.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Health, weight, shoulder, etc

The weight loss goal is going slow, with ups and downs.. and unfortunately, more ups than downs. I'm hovering at just below 230lbs. It's not bad, and it's been worse, but it's far from 199.

I know why.

I like beer.

My beer sampling weekends are definitely not helping me reach my goal. I don't think I want to stop beer sampling, so the only other options are to either stop eating altogether, or ramp up the work outs.

I think the answer is obvious.

I increased my Nike workouts to 4 times per week this week, and will continue with that plan. After I completed my work out today I felt pretty good so I threw in the old Your Shape Fitness Evolved disc and went through a couple of rounds of cardio boxing, that I used to do with this game.

I really enjoyed it. It's not super heavy on the full body cardio, which makes it fairly easy to keep up with. I decided that I'm going to continue to do it on the days that I'm not doing the Nike workout.

So my schedule is now as follows:

  • Sun - Nike Kinect
  • Mon - YSFE Cardio Boxing
  • Tue - Nike Kinect
  • Wed - YSFE Cardio Boxing
  • Thu - Nike Kinect
  • Fri - YSFE Cardio Boxing
  • Sat - Nike Kinect & optional YSFE Cardio Boxing
I used to do the cardio boxing with 3lb weights, but since I have shoulder issues I'll probably hold off on that for a while.

Today's Nike work out was actually a fitness evaluation since it has been 4 weeks since I started. I'm pleased with the results:


According to the Nike app, I'm ahead in every area of fitness than men 40-49. I'm pleased, and somewhat shocked. Are men my age really that out of shape? I'm hardly the model of fitness, and to be ahead in this age bracket makes me feel pretty good.

News on the shoulder... I went to see my doctor last week about my shoulder. He doesn't seem as keen as he did before to get me an MRI on my neck since it has been fairly good, for the most part. He said if it feels like it's consistently worse, then we'll take that next step. While I was there, I asked him for a written referral for massage therapy for my shoulder, as my physiotherapist recommended. Now I just need to find a registered massage therapist and begin that. I was originally thinking of getting it at Carleton University, where I go for my physio, but if I can find somewhere closer to home that may have weekend hours, I think it would be more convenient.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Door repair completed

My wife dropped off the Escape Jim Keay on Monday evening for the door repair. We got a 2013 Ford Focus as a loaner. Not a bad car, but not very roomy. I've driven some of the older ones and they had more room. It was fairly comfortable, once I was able to squeeze in though. The heated seats were nice too.

Originally, the work was supposed to be completed by Wednesday. On Wednesday afternoon I received a call at work from a Jim Keay employee updating me on the repair. The door had been fixed, repainted, and the they were reassembling it. He said they wanted to let the paint dry over night and would wash the entire truck in the morning so we could pick it up on Thursday.

We drove there after work and arrived at around 5:30pm or so. We pulled up the the garage and an employee came out as we got out of the car and asked us if we were the Patersons. I handed him the Focus keys and he gave my wife the key to our Escape. He checked the gas in the Focus (we were to make sure it had a 1/4 tank), did a quick walk around to check for any damage and said that there wouldn't be any paperwork today because it hadn't been printed for him. Seems a little odd, but he said we could pick up on our next visit. I think it's pretty unlikely that we'll be going back. 15+ years as a loyal customer down the drain.

As I walked away, he apologized for the inconvenience. My usual instinct response to that is "No problem", but I held back and didn't say anything, because... well, it was a problem, and an inconvenience.

I did a quick check before we left and it seems like a good repair job. You'd never know the difference. However, the light wasn't the best as the sun was going down. I'll have to wait until there's more light (and it's not as cold) to have a better look.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

The repair process has begun

A rep from Jim Keay drove to my wife's work in the west end of Ottawa on Thursday morning and picked up our Escape to drive back to the east end so they could examine our door and determine if there's any additional damage.

It wasn't long before they called her back to give her an update. Apparently, the work required to fix it isn't as much as they thought it might be, so they did a temp fix and told her that we can drop it off on Monday for the repair. They will provide us with a loaner car and we can pick it back up on Wednesday.

She asked about any future problems, like rust, but they assured her it would be fine and said they were going to repaint the entire door.

So far, we're pretty happy with the responsiveness.

The temp fix. Basically flattening it out so there aren't any sharp edges.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Door Damage - taking responsibility

It looks like we won't have to fight for this after all.

I got a pleasant surprise yesterday when my wife called to say that the service manager called her and said that one of the employees who worked on our vehicle showed up for work early, with a guilty conscience, and admitted to accidentally damaging our door.

My wife said that the manager was the most pleasant he's ever been when talking to her too.

He said that they are still backlogged with repairs for the hail storm months ago, but he'd do his best to make sure we didn't have to wait long. He said they wanted to get our Escape in as soon as possible to make sure there was no structural damage and to prevent the damage from getting worse until they can repair it.

They're willing to drive from the east end, to the west end where my wife works, pick up our Escape, drive it back to the east end to do whatever they need to do, gas it up, and drive it back to her work when they're done.

While I'm really happy with the way this is going, the pessimist inside me is hesitant to heap praise on them. I'll give credit where credit is due once this is all over. But for now, this is a huge step in the right direction.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Body Damage Update 1

After I ranted a little on Twitter about the damage our Ford Escape received at Jim Keay Ford on Saturday, Ford Canada sent me a msg on Twitter apologizing and asked for our VIN, the dealer name, and our phone number.

Before I could send them the info, the service manager called my wife and asked her what he can do for her. She asked him if he was aware of what happened on Saturday and he asked her if she wanted to know what the message said that was left for him. She said sure. He read (going from my memory here):
Dear Mr. Carey, this customer wishes to speak with you regarding damage to her Ford Escape. She won't be calling you because she doesn't like you.
Now, my wife did mention to a couple of employees there that she didn't like him because of our past dealings with him. But to offer to read the message to her, instead of just confirming the details... that tells me he's trying to start a fire, rather than put one out.

She admitted to him that based on past dealings, she full expects that we'll have to go above him for satisfaction, but seeing as how they do have procedures to follow, we'll follow them.

He said the photos left for him were not that good and asked that we send him others. I sent him three via email this afternoon and included a link to more that are publicly available on Flickr. I also told him that Ford Canada had requested information, and that I sent it to them.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Free body work, courtesy of Jim Keay Ford Lincoln

We have a bit of a history with Ford and Jim Keay Ford Lincoln. Click here to read if you're interested.

We've been dealing with them for about 15 years now. We've leased 4 vehicles and purchased one in that time. There's been good times, and there's been bad times. After today, regardless of the outcome, I think we'll be severing our ties with them.

My wife brought our 2008 Ford Escape in for an oil change, check-up and tire rotation. After the service and paying the bill, they mentioned to her that they "noted" there was some door damage. She didn't think too much of it. We have the odd minor door ding here and there, received from not-so-careful people who park beside us in mall parking lots. Who doesn't?

When she got to our Escape she saw this.






She walked back into the dealership and told them that this was not there before she brought it in.

The guy at the counter went to speak with the people who worked on our vehicle and, not so surprisingly, came back to say that nobody knows what happened.

They told her that the customer service manager would call her on Monday. She tried to get the name of someone higher because we've dealt with him before and he lacks customer service skills. She didn't get very far. Apparently, his boss is Jim Keay himself, and nobody there seems to have any contact information for him.

She also had to tell them to take photos of the damage for their own record. She had two photos taken with her cell phone, but they would have had none.

I'd like to think that they'll immediately own up to this and make good on it, but based on our history with them I fear this isn't going to be easy. Someone there already had the chance to come clean and chose to lie.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Shoulder issues continue


I may have over-worked my left shoulder on Sunday. I think it was due to a combination of an unscheduled workout that I decided to do, and then installing shelves on our living room wall.

The burning sensation in my shoulder and bicep drove me crazy while I tried to sleep Sunday night, and most of the day on Monday. Monday was also my scheduled workout day. I was hesitant to do it, figuring I'd give my arm a rest, but in the end decided to go ahead and skip anything that seemed like it might be rough on my arm. Luckily for me that only meant skipping one set of knee push-ups. The rest of the workout went fairly well.

I slept a little better last night, but still not as good as I would have liked. I was sure that today I'd have a better day, but I think it was worse. On a few occasions today I had to get up and walk around. Sitting just seemed to make my arm worse. Strangely enough, this evening as I type this it's not too bad at all.

I may have figured out part of the cause at work. Although my chair is one of those ergonomic styles, I think the arm rests were a little too low, so my arm was doing more hanging than resting. The big test will be tomorrow. I can't put up with more discomfort.

On the plus side, it looks like the Nike Kinect Training game is syncing better with the Nike web site. My score is still a little off, but it's not giving a disconnect error anymore. Xbox support had also posted a msg in their forum that they were aware of issues and they took it down temporarily to fix it. That was before I tried it, so hopefully there's still some fixing to do so my scores are in sync properly.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

One week done

I have now completed one week of the Nike+ Kinect Training. I don't recall the YSFE (Your Shape Fitness Evolved) being this tough at the start. I guess my age could have something to do with it. :)

But, it is getting easier the more I do so I have to keep at it.

My shoulder is really bothering me more often than I thought it would. There are some floor routines, like Burpees, Mountain Climbers and The Plank or Plank to Push-up (or whatever the hell they're called) that are killers. I hope they get easier and aren't making my shoulder worse.

Today I decided to squeeze in an extra workout and discovered how to skip a set. It was plank to push-up and my left arm could not go beyond 8 reps to the required 10. I've always been weak with my left arm and push-ups, so having a weakened shoulder definitely didn't help the situation. Hopefully it improves over time.

The biggest difference I've found with the Nike game compared to YSFE is the affect on my abs. I never felt it this much in my abs before. They hurt, but it's a good hurt. No doubt the floor exercises play a big part in that.

So far there hasn't been any real weight loss difference. It fluctuates 5lbs both ways all the time, and that's all I'm seeing right now. Once it goes down more often than it goes up, I'll know it's making a difference. At least I feel good that I'm doing something. I hate how being inactive makes me feel like shit.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I hurt

I have now completed two days of the Nike Kinect Training.

While it is broken out into many smaller routines in a workout, I have to say that I think I ache more after than I recall with YSFE (Your Shape Fitness Evolved).

One thing that I really like is that it gives you a break between some routines. It may only be 30 seconds or so, but it is much needed. :) YSFE didn't do that. You had maybe 5-10 seconds max during the intro for the next routine.

One thing I don't like is that you can't quit. Maybe that's a good thing? I've always sucked at doing push-ups my entire life. Now with my bad shoulder, I suck even more. My "trainer" had me do 15 knee push-ups. They're obviously easier than standard pushups, but I stopped at 10 and she wouldn't give up. I thought the game might recognize that I was laying flat on the floor after 10 seconds or so and move on but nooooo. So I had to do half-assed, pathetic pushups to get it to at least count them up to 15 so we could continue. O_o


This was my Fuel Print from after the fitness evaluation that I completed on Friday. I have some work to do.

One last thing... there seems to be a problem with connecting to the Nike servers from within the game. I checked the Xbox forums and everyone seems to be having this problem. The result is that the in-game stats are not syncing with those on their web site, or within the mobile app. Someone posted a tweet that Nike is aware of it and working on it. I hope that's true and is resolved soon. I don't want to see a repeat of the YSFE sync issue.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Done deal

I managed to get the domain redirected and have dropped posterous and returned, entirely, to Blogger.com. All links — scottpaterson.org and www.scottpaterson.org — should point to here now. From a reader's standpoint (all two or three of you) this should be transparent.

Over the next little while, I'll probably play around with the different templates to find a look that I like.

I have also linked this blog to my Google+ profile.

Photo test post

Testing a photo post direct to Blogger. They used to post in an odd way. Wanted to see if they work better.


Slackin' and updatin'

Yup, it's been a while. Way too long. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and all that crap. :)

So, to update... my iPhone was replaced and is fully functional. (knock on wood that it stays that way) Restoring the data from the backup was relatively painless, although I have to admit that I held my breath a few times as the phone updated.

Once I was back online, I got some strange error that seemed to be related to the Telus network, for which nobody had a solution for. It cleared itself up after a couple of days. I suspect it had to do with transferring the SIM card and auto-registering the replacement phone with Telus. I have no clue, but since it doesn't happen anymore I don't really care.

My shoulder and neck issues still exist. Some days are good, some not so good. I've been to physio twice since the last update. I always feels great when leaving there. I really have to get an appointment with my family doctor so he can give me a referral for massage therapy, which my physiotherapist recommended for my shoulder.

Again on the health front, I think I have Olecranon bursitis (aka water on the elbow) My elbow doesn't look different, but man does it hurt when I lean on it a certain way. It started off as a small area of pain that was difficult to find and increased to a larger area capable of causing a nasty burning pain when leaned on. And there's really nothing I can do for it, other than try to avoid leaning on it.

In other news, I have decided to get off my ass again and resume workouts. My weight hasn't been very stable lately as a result of too much holiday indulgances and my recent hobby of trying new beers. In fact, it's on the increase and since I don't want to stop enjoying my new hobby, I have to start paying the "beer tax".

I first went back to the Your Shape Fitness Evolved game. While it worked for me the last time, it's now way out of date. I considered getting their 2012 version but the bugginess and lack of support from Ubisoft for well-known issues left a bad taste in my mouth. After reading their forums, it would appear that some of those issues still exist with the new version. I also found out that they're not making a 2013 version for the Xbox, only for the Wii U.

So, I decided to give the Nike+ Kinect Training game a go. I've only completed the fitness evaluation and one workout session so far, but it's pretty intense and I'm still aching after yesterday. My workout days (for now) are Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday.

On a different note, I'm thinking about maybe ditching the blog on Posterous and only having it on Blogger.com. I currently write it out and publish it on Posterous, and then autopost it to Blogger, but I think most of the traffic is heading to the Blogger location. In fact, it's rare that I get any comments here, but I get them on Blogger. If I can figure out how to get the domain to redirect, any changes should be transparent to anyone who happens to read this.