Month: February 2012

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.

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?

 

Teens and Birthdays

I was an uncool kid, or at least I thought I was. I didn’t fit in to what I was supposed to fit in to.  I was not in the ‘In’ c rowd, and as a kid growing up in the 70’s, this was so difficult for me. I got over it when I realized that the ‘In’ crowd were not cool, and to this day, many of those ‘cool’ kids are still acting like kids.

This ‘cool’ and ‘In’ crowd still exist. This morning, one of my favorite students, a future arts major, came into the office. Today is her seventeenth birthday, and she wanted someone to know. She isn’t the type of girl to hang out with the ‘cool’ girls, or any girl for that matter; her best friend is a boy who is also ‘uncool’ to the guys and girls in the school.

These kids are by far, the nicest kids in the school. They don’t spend their time judging others, nor do they do nasty things to those who they consider ‘uncool’.

Today this girl broke my heart. It is customary in the school that when a student has a birthday, the other girls in their class place a homemade birthday card on her locker, with signatures from everyone in her classroom.  Today, the girl came into my office to borrow some tape. She said that she really wanted the other girls to do the poster thingy for her, but they didn’t, so she made her own poster. I almost cried. I am a soft hearted person, especially when it comes to kids. I guess that is what led me to this job.

I spoke about this to my boss, and together, we made a poster. At lunch, we got all the kids who frequent the room to sign it, and before she had a chance to see what we were doing, I went and placed the card on her locker. She didn’t say anything, but I seen her standing next to her locker, with a tear in her eye.  Hopefully this made her feel better about herself today.

The Story and why the lyrics are important to me

On Saturday, I posted a link to a video of Brandi Carlile’s song “The Story”, saying that the song was stuck in my head. After listening to the song, and looking at the lyrics, it is no wonder. The lyrics tell my story so well.

“All of these lines across my face
Tell you the story of who I am
So many stories of where I’ve been
And how I got to where I am
But these stories don’t mean anything
When you’ve got no one to tell them to”

I think the reason why I am here, on this blog is that I have been writing stories all my life, not so much to have them read, but just to write them. But it IS important to have someone read my stories. It is important to have someone to tell them to.

Where would we be without autobiographies and other true stories? Fiction is one thing, but reality is so much more interesting. Most of my blog is filled with true stories, stories of how I became who I am; as a kid, I wrote stories, and basically drove them down people’s throats, trying to get them to read them. Now, I notice that every day more and more people are tuning in to see what I have posted.  In essence, the readers are making my stories important, and meaningful. Where would any of us be if nobody read what we wrote?

The song has recently been covered by teen singing sensation Vince Mira, but I think the original packs the biggest wallop.  Give it a listen, and tell me, that as a writer, the lyrics don’t touch you as well.