Month: February 2012

Feeling positive in February: a poem

Each month I try to find an inspirational poem or quote to post on my wall here at work. February is the most difficult; as so many depressing poems were written about this month. Even finding a positive quote is near impossible, so I will attempt to write my own. This won’t be easy!

Snowstorms and chilly winds and cars stuck in the driveway

Homemade pies and family time, and who could forget, Valentines Day

The shortest month, but yet I am so busy

time flies by so quick, I feel a little dizzy

But alas, March will bring

the sounds of spring

and everyone will be happy

but we make the best of this miserable month

and try not to feel so crappy.

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my first rant: Ink Jet Printers

I am not one to complain, even if it is to myself. I don’t even have a category for a rant, but today I feel the need to rant about…Printers, specifically ink jet printers.

A few weeks back, we decided to purchase a new printer. The old one was out of ink, and as slow as hell. I did a bit of research (not enough obviously) and found one that seemed to fit our needs. The ad said the the printer was wireless, which would be great for our home, printed relatively fast, and the colors were vibrant. The ad went on to say that the cartridges are less than $15 each, and the cost would be even better seeing how each color is seperate. The printer was on sale at Walmart for $75, so I went out and bought one.

The ad was right, it was fast, the print quality was as good as any photo developing shop, and the wireless was super easy to set up. The one draw back? The ink ran out in just a week.  We don’t do that much printing, we printed off a few old photos that my lady used for a scrapbook, and maybe a few documents, but that is it.

When I checked online, it stated that the printer came with a ‘Moderately filled ink cartridge’. ‘Moderately filled’? That means ‘half full’, which isn’t much when the cartridge is tiny to start with.

I went to my electronics store to buy a new cartridge, and I was disappointed to find that the cartridges for this particular printer, the 124 series, were not readily available. The store tried to sell me the 125 series, but upon first checking the internet, I found that this cartridge would not fit the printer. The cartridges are only available through Epson.ca.

I went on the site, and found that, as the ad stated, cartridges are less than $15 each, they retail for $14.99 each, if you want the ‘moderately filled’ cartridge. If you want the high capacity (full) cartridge, the cost goes up to $20 a piece, or $53 for all three. You still need to buy the black separate, and the black is $20. That means that my $75 printer cost $73 to replace the cartridges. I bought a two dollar printer. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it.

I looked for a printer refill kit, but apparently the cartridge has some security feature that prevents refilling. This feature is supposed to protect the customer against damaging their printer, but I think the feature protects the manufacturer from losing ink cartridge sales.

When you really think about it, we are living in a disposable electronic age. Gone are the little TV repair shops that could easily fix your TV set or stereo. Televisions are virtually unfixable, unless you send them back to the manufacturer, and the shipping for such an endeavor would be costly for sure. I spoke to a friend of mine who works at the waste disposal site (the dump) and he said that printers take up a huge area at the site, particularly due to their unfixability (his word, not mine).

I had a difficult enough time trying to convince my lady that we really needed this Epson printer, now I have to buy another one. This time I plan to buy a color laser printer, but first I am checking the availability of the toner cartridges, the capacity of the toner, and the cost. I will definitely do my homework on this one.

Now what to do with this hulk of a paperweight I am left with. Maybe I should send it back to Epson, with a long letter of complaints. Maybe they will take pity and refill the cartridge. Naw, I just called a courier, and it will cost me $75 to send it back, the same price I paid for the thing. Damn!

Check out the ‘Aboriginal Writer’s’ blog

I have been called lots of things, but never an Aboriginal writer. I chose not to use that angle, and to write simply because I love writing. The other day, I donated one of my stories to a local group working to help teens deal with bullying and suicide issues. In the introduction to their presentation, the described the author as a young aboriginal writer who writes from the heart, with the passion of his forefathers.

I had to ask who they were talking about. I wanted to meet this guy, he sounded very intelligent. When I found out they were talking about me, I almost cracked.

Sure I am aboriginal, but so is everyone else on the West Coast of the Island. I never wanted to use my family history, which is as much French as it is Mi’Kmaq, to gain popularity. The fact of the matter is, only recently did I discover I was aboriginal at all.

My dad says that if someone called you an Indian back in the day, you beat his head in, but today, everyone wants to be aboriginal. It is the new ‘in thing’ here on the island. This is probably due to the new Indian agreement where, upon proving status, all Mi’kmaq people are given free health care, dental, and education. A great deal for sure.

I guess I should thank a family member for researching my roots so that I could obtain my ‘status’ as a member of a ‘landless band’. Now that’s quite the term, ‘landless band’. Can you imagine a tribe of Indians without land? Doesn’t make much sense when you really think about it, but what the hell? Free health care? I am in. Now where did I park my horse, and I want a new Tepee.

Josh

Life is funny. Sometimes life is just unfair. Life sometimes teaches us valuable lessons, and sometimes it teaches us things that we cannot understand. Such was the life lesson for Josh.

A few years back, I worked at a call center that handled AT&T and Vonage customer service calls. One of the supervisors at the time was a guy named Josh. He seemed nice, but he was also very young and stupid. He made lots of dumb choices.

On one occasion, while supervising a group of his peers, a few of them got caught with drugs while on store hours. The guys were all fired, all except for Josh. He had the kind of personality that he could have used to get places, but he chose not to. He was allowed to keep his job, but he would be demoted so low that he sat next to me.

I could go on for hours and explain how call centers crush your confidence, and how the wrong people get promoted for the wrong reasons, but that is for another day. While sitting next to me, Josh became my friend. We handled mostly the same type of calls, and we laughed our asses off at the impossible customers who were directed to the little Newfoundland call center, all the time believing that they were speaking to customer service reps from New Jersey. We even had a list of Jersey street names, in case a customer asked us questions about where we lived.

Josh was not the smoothest when it came to women. Whenever a new female employee came  into the center, he would ooh and aww at them, and virtually send them running. Sometimes he would talk about his experiences with women, mostly made up, and again, they would laugh and run. I had to have a long talk with the boy.

Being one of the older workers in the center, the younger guys often asked me for advice. Josh was  no different. (I  am not sure why they thought I knew everything, but I sometimes went along for a laugh) “Why don’t women like me?” he would ask. “What am I doing wrong” was another question  he asked. My reply? “You tell em too much! Let them get to know you for you, not who you pretend  to be” (Geez, I should be making my own fortune cookies or working for Hallmark!)

One day this woman walked in to the call center, and Josh fell right off his chair. “My God Ted, you gotta talk to her for me and get me a date” he asked. I know I must have been a good friend, because I did just that. I sat next to her and had a chat, all the time telling her that a guy working here is head over heals for her, and he wants a date. She takes out a piece of paper and hands it to me with her phone number on it. “Thats the first time that line was ever used on me, but I like it. Pick me up at eight” she says. “I am not the one who wants a date, its my buddy over there” I tells her.

She laughs, and says that now she cannot wait for our date. “But I already have a girlfriend, I am no cheater” I plead. “Stop it, you are making me want you right now” she says. I go back to sit down at my cubicle. Josh comes over, anxious to find out details. ‘Did you talk to her? Did you tell her about me? Did you tell her I wanted a date” he said. “Oh, she wants a date, but not with you, with me” I say. He was devastated. “What? you after my girl already? What kind  of friend are you anyway?” he asked. “The type of friend who is not going with that woman” I tell him. “What kind of woman? What you saying about  my woman? I am going over to talk to her right now!” he says. Finally I think. Maybe now he will ask her out himself.

Josh comes back in the next day with a big smile on his face. “She has a boyfriend, but he is out of town, so we did it anyway!” he said. “Did what” I ask, naively. “It, we made out!’ he said. “doesn’t she have a boyfriend?” I asked. “More than that, they are engaged, but she said that she found me pitiful so she had sex to help me out.” My advice? RUN JOSH RUN!

Josh always seemed to think with the wrong head. When he managed to get a date, his only goal was to bed them quick, before they left. This often got him in trouble. Once, he was at a party for staff members, and his good friend introduced him to her 16 yr old daughter. “This is my daughter Josh, stay away,  she is only a kid, and you are thirty years old” she warned. The next day, in he came, bragging of the night they had together. “She may be sixteen, but she isn’t shy” he bragged. Obviously no fear of statutory rape or her mother finding out.

Josh always complained that he could not form a  relationship with a woman. “That’s because your only goal is to sleep with them” was my advice. “Try getting to at least know their name before having sex with them”  I joked.

I left the center for a better job (any job would have been better than the call center job) and never heard from Josh for a few years.

Last summer, while playing  music for a wedding (I work as a mobile Disk Jockey in the summer months), I seen Josh. He was the best man for his sister’s wedding, and just like old times, he was hitting on every woman in the bar. He found one girl who seemed to like him. She didn’t run away like the rest, and when he came on to her in the intense manner that often got him his way or the door, she set him straight…as loudly as she could yell. He seemed to get the point, and for the rest of the night, they seemed  to hit it off greatly.

I seen Josh and her around  town, holding hands while walking together. Josh finally met someone who made him smarten up. They were so good together. He came and introduced her to me one day, and said that they had their entire  future planned. He was so happy. I always knew that deep inside, when he wasn’t stoned or drunk, or showing off, he was a good person.

Last week the town held a fundraiser to raise money for a local girl to go to the capital city for chemotherapy. She had a cancerous tumor in her brain,  and she wasn’t supposed to make it. All the town gathered and donated money. Last Friday was Josh’s birthday. He had a posting on his Facebook. “Today is my birthday. I am spending it in the Health Sciences Hospital while my true love undergoes Chemotherapy. We pray she goes into remission” He went on “She is my whole world. She taught me how to love, and how to act, and I will always love her”

My prayers are with the two of them.

Thought for the day:The Man from Atlantis

I used to wonder why Patrick Duffy never tried out for the Olympic Swim Team. Man, that guy could swim! In television’s Male version of Splash, Patrick Duffy , together with his super human strength and web feet and hands, fought gallantly against evil in thirteen television episodes and four TV movies. It is a wonder that they never made a remake of this series, hopefully they don’t.

 

The beauty of summertime in Western Newfoundland

View from The Gravels Walking Trail. The Gravels Walking Trail is located on the Port Au Port Peninsula, and it features unique rock formations, glorious scenery, and clean beaches….and it is free to visit and enjoy.

We also took a trip to The Sheaves Cove Walking Trail. Hidden Falls, a beautiful natural waterfall was the highlight of this trip. Sheaves Cove is a small community on the Port Au Port Peninsula of Newfoundland.

A small river that feeds into the many ponds beneath the scenic Lewis Hills. The Lewis Hills feature the highest mountain peaks on the island. The hiking trails up the side of the mountain hold a beautiful view of the entire area.

We stopped by this river to have a few tries at the fishing pole, and we were lucky enough to catch enough trout for supper.

This little squirrel watched us as we sat on the river bank and enjoyed our catch.

Below is a shot of the Lewis Hills. Note the snow in the hills, despite it being August, the snow usually stays in the hills all year.

Might as well face it, I am addicted to…Tea?

After my horrible ordeal with kidney stones on Wednesday, I researched possible causes. One I found was caffeine. Why should that worry me, I only have three cups of tea each day, hardly enough caffeine to bother, right? Wrong, according to the website I found. So a quick fix, I stop drinking tea and no stones. Well maybe no stones, but I am ready to try anything, so I give up tea.

I have no caffeine addiction, I have only been drinking tea since I was a wee child, sipping on dad’s tea when he wasn’t looking, or enjoying a piece of toast soaked in mom’s sweetened tea from time to time, and then on to five to six cups when I reached the teen years, and more when I began working. How could this be called an addiction? I could easily do without my daily cup(s) of tea and still function perfectly. Wrong again.

Yesterday, I thought I was coming down with something. One day without tea and I was as active as an eighty year old. No energy, headache, nauseous…must be the flu or something. I was at the point where I had no appetite for dinner, and by two o’clock, I was ready to head home, straight for the bed with some Tylenol.

When I got home, I took one look at the kettle on the cabinet, and the tea bags next to it, and in minutes (it seemed like hours), the kettle was jumping on the stove, steam filling the kitchen, and I was headed for my favorite mug, the one with the Montreal Canadiens logo on the front. As I poured the scalding hot water over the Red Rose Orange Pekoe teabag, I could feel the pain lifting from my throbbing head. It was almost magical how I began feeling better, and I was only smelling the stuff.

Once the tea bag was thoroughly soaked in the boiling water, I removed the bag and took a long sip of the hot tea. Like a taster of fine wine, I savored the taste of the tea, which was steeped just right. As the hot tea eased down my throat, I began to feel uplifted, I felt like a new man, or at least a whole lot younger than the eighty year that crawled out of bed this morning. I was me again, all 48 years of me; and all it took was a few sips of this wonderful elixir, this wonderful wonderful wonderful hot steaming caffeine filled water soaked teabag created tea that I was enjoying.

I have to say, I know now how smokers must feel when they draw in a cigarette, I felt it when my nose filled with the hot steam from my teacup. I got it bad, I am addicted to caffeine.

If they ever outlaw tea, I will be one of those guys buying tea from those shady characters that hang out in alleys of crowed cities. I will be one of those guys growing his own tea, and hiding from law enforcement officials while I boil water in a abandoned building, over hot coals. I will be the guy begging for a fix, or an old teabag you may discard senselessly, I will be the guy who would do anything for that little bit of liquid heaven. Maybe I am getting overboard here, but just saying.

Um…where is my toaster?

I was just at the gas station, filling up again.  In case you don’t realize it, we Canadians pay more for gas than most. In fact, the price for a litre of gas today is 1.35 per litre, which translates to around $5 per gallon.  I was in a line up for gas, as prices are predicted to increase by 2 cents or more by the end of the week.

While in the lineup, I noticed that the gas station directly across the road from me was selling their gas for 1.34 per litre. There were no cars lined up at that gas station. It wasn’t long before I was out of the line up, and over to the neighboring station.

The guys who worked at this station looked surprised to see me. I was served immediately, and the service was second to none. I had to ask why their station was not as busy as the others, despite having cheaper gas prices. The reply of the employees was that they didn’t have an incentive policy.

Ah, but they did. They advertised gas a penny cheaper than anyone else, wasn’t this enough of an incentive? A penny is not much, but rather than give some oil company that penny, I would gladly save it and drop it into my piggy bank at the end of the day.

The employee explained that the station across the street, Canadian Tire Gas Bar, offered Canadian Tire Money, and people go nuts for the stuff. The other station just down the road offers a points card (you all know how I feel about points cards). I was flabbergasted. The opportunity to have your gas before anyone else, the great service, and a penny per litre saved was not enough incentive? People!

The Canadian Tire Money scheme is an amazingly successful one indeed. A customer is given 0.4% of his purchase in a fake currency (which is now accepted by many other business in the area), and is popular with charities and animal shelters as a means of raising money. The promotion is so popular that Canadian Tire can charge more for gasoline, have insufficient service, longer line ups, and still beat the competition? Genius! What suckers we are!

I remember going into the bank when I was a kid, signing up for an account, and my parents receiving a shiny new toaster. I used to wonder how they could afford to give away all those toasters. Now I realize that this was a great way to beat the competition and retain customers, even if I only managed to save $5 before drawing the money out to buy my years’ supply of marbles. They did not gain on that transaction, but then again, the toaster was junk.

As consumers, we are constantly being bribed, and we don’t realize it. “Come here and I give you a free coupon for a product you will never use”… We are like lab mice in a maze.

choose your email address a little more careful please

The school recently held an ad looking for a part time community member to assist in school activities. I was lucky (or unlucky) enough to help out in the process. My duty was to read the emails and suggest possible volunteers based on their registration forms that they emailed us. This would be a person who is to be trusted with the kids here at the school.

I was appalled when I noticed some of the email address that were sent to us.  Here is a list of some of the worst.

  1. Newfiehottie_56@****.com
  2. chicken_shit70@****.ca
  3. likes_it_rough@****.com
  4. f_off_now@***.com
  5. Mfkr89@***.com
  6. sexy_mama@***.com
  7. roll_in_the-hay@***.com
  8. makin_bacon66@***.com
  9. LazyMF@***.com
  10. Bootymamma@**.com

I don’t care if you are Mother Theresa or the Pope, if you have a email address like those above, you are not getting work at a school. Use some sensitivity when choosing your email addy, as this is the first thing people see when you send them something. Who wants emails like this on their contact list?