Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Political Map

Well I stumbled across this over at Bated Breath and I fell about where I thought I would. I've always known I was a bit of a socialist but its interesting how close I am to totalitarinism. By far the most interesting part of this test was the distribution of Kerry vs. Bush voters on the map. They actually fell where they voted, democrate and republican. Anyways its made for americans but give it a shot.

You are a

Social Moderate
(41% permissive)

and an...

Economic Liberal
(36% permissive)

You are best described as a:


Link: The Politics Test on Ok Cupid
Also: The OkCupid Dating Persona Test

Humble Pie

Well I'm going to have to eat a big humble pie sometime in the near future. The anti Christ, aka Sony, fixed the laptop for free. Now before all you Sony fanboys start cheering I think that Sony actually had little to do with this. I would give the praise to Westpeak Electronic Service in Calgary. I'm sure they somehow managed to trick sony into paying for the new screen. Don't ask me how they did it but I was amazed that they did.

Two posts in one day, that's odd. But what's even more strange is this. I wish I could figure out how they did it.

Best Man Toast

Well as many of you know James and Jacqui are getting married on the May long weekend and I have the daunting task of being James' best man. They say being the best man is like kissing the Queen mum, it's a great honour but no one wants to do it. I think this is mainly because of the speech/toast that the best man has to make. So here I am, completely honoured and amazed that someone would ask me to be thier best man but also completely freaked out at having to write a speech. Now don't start to doubt me just yet, I said I'm freaked out but I am glad I have the chance to do this. I am a little concerned because I don't know anything about how weddings work, I haven't been to many, and I'm not sure how the toast is supposed to work either. I was looking online and the best man speech is supposed to thank the bridesmaids on behalf of the groom and tell some fun stories about the groom. About.com has a pretty good page about how to write the speech and what should be in it. There are lots of examples of speeches but I don't want to use someone else's ideas, I want it to be original.

Now on that note I was trying to think about all the stuff I know about James and Jacqui and I was kind of surprised by myself. I've know James for 20 years, since kindergarten, and I really don't know that much about him. How weird is that? We've lived 5 blocks from each other the whole time but he seems to keep his personal life to himself.

Scratch that, I do know James. As I was writing this I got thinking and I know a fair amount about the kid its just been buried under 15 years of school and other stuff. Its hard to just think about a person, you have to put it in context. As soon as I started thinking about stuff we've done or experiences I started to remember all sorts of stuff. I feel much better about this speech now.

I'm sorry to have subjected all of you to my raw thoughts but thats how the creative process works.

Anyways if anyone has any interesting stories about James and/or Jacqui that they'd like to share for my speech email me. If you have any suggestions or pointers for writing a best man speech send those my way too.

A little update on the apartment hunting. We dropped off our applications to get into the wimbledon terrace on reindeer and pinehouse. Hopefully we'll be able to get in and I'll be able to ride my bike to work. Ah the gas savings. It would be grand. I'm going to have to make some time to go garage shopping for stuff. We're getting pretty close to having most everything we need and the best part is most of it has been donated. Its amazing how gernous people can be when they are trying to get rid of 70's furniture that is just taking up space. Now if only I could find a queen sized bed for cheap. Ah well I'll work on that one.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I don't wanna move out

So its begun, Lindsay and I are going to go look at an apartment tomorrow. I can't say that I share her excitement about moving out. She can't wait to get out because her family pisses her off. I think she's being a little hard on them but then I don't have to live with them. I on the other hand don't see the things that I am gaining by moving out, all I see are the things that I am losing. I won't have a back yard to have a fire in, I won't have my dog to play with and I won't have my garden to go putter in. I am not excited I am sad. I won't have a drive way to park in, I'll have a parking space with morons on either side of me. I won't be able to sit in the back yard and read, I'll have a noisy balcony at best. I'm not looking forward to this, I'm looking down on it.

Perhaps I am being too negative about this, but I am having problems finding the positives. I'm going from coasting through to having to make an active effort to live. No more free cable and meals made for me. I'll have to pay for everything now and Lindsay doesn't cook. I'm going to have to learn to share a living space with someone instead of merely existing in the same house with another person.

I think my biggest problem is that I am scared. Scared of change, scared of the new and uncharted. Maybe these are just excuses because I am scared. Maybe they aren't.

Well we'll see how it goes tomorrow when I push off in search of India.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Long Way Round

Lately I've become disenchanted with regular primetime television. It used to be that you would have season premiers in the fall and then you would have new shows all winter until the season wrapped up in the spring. Summer was a time of re-runs and we accepted this. Now it seems like they are producing fewer and fewer new episodes of shows to air durring the winter and we end up with a bunch of re-runs mid season. I like certain shows but it is hard to remain faithful to them when they go on hiatus for a month. Grey's Anatomy did just that and we don't get a new episode until April 30th. Now I know I will go running back to it when the new ones start but I'm on the look out for new shows in the mean time. My search for things that don't suck has lead me away from the regular television that I normally watch and I've found things like Top Gear and Survivorman.

I recenty found a mini-series called Long Way Round and I've been transfixed by it. I can't stop watching it. I was enjoying it so much that I downloaded the whole series just so I wouldn't have to wait for more. I'm seriously considering buying the DVD and I've already downloaded and watched it. The story is Ewen McGregor and Charley Boorman take two motorcycles and ride the "long way round" from London to New York. They go east through Europe, asia, Canada and finally into the US. There was actually three bikes, them plus a camera man and they had two 4x4 support vehicles following behind them to help at border crossings and with other difficulties. They did get to ride the sweetest dual sport bikes though, the BMW R1150GS Adventure. At one point the camera man had to ride a Russian made bike because they broke his and oddly enough it performed better than the BMW's in places. I think the RS1150GS's were a little too big and heavy for the trip. They may have done better with lighter bikes especially when the roads got bad. They said that Mongolia only has 80 miles of paved roads and now I would believe them. I was amazed at how friendly everyone was. Before they left they were warned about the mafia in Russia and all the bad things that could happen in Kazakhstan or Mongolia but everyone was helpful and friendly the whole way. The only bad thing to happen was one bag got stolen near the end of the trip. It is a really amazing story that makes you feel good about humanity. If you want to check it out it is on mininova.org or go buy it at amazon and send a bit of money their way for the next trip.

Well that's it for now. I'll leave you with some advice, try to get a hummer in West Virginia.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Worst. Customer service. Ever.

So I have this Sony laptop on my desk that needs a new LCD screen. Someone, who shall remain nameless, picked it up by the LCD screen and cracked the screen. Now obviously this is not covered under warranty but since the laptop is only a month old I need to send it to Sony, aka the anti-Christ, for repair. Now I know from experience that the fastest way, usually, is to phone the manufacturer's 1-800 number and send it to them for repair. Usually what happens is you phone, they warn you that it is not covered under warranty and they send you a pre-paid return box, you put the laptop in the box, return it and 3-10 days later your laptop comes back all fixed up. Sony seems to have a different approach to this system. They think that if they jerk me around enough I'll get fed up and just buy a new laptop. Here is how the last hour of my day went yesterday.

I phone 1-888-4SONYPC and talk to some guy. This guy takes my info and puts me on hold to talk to a tier 2 for 10 minutes. OK I can be patient after all I'm getting paid to sit here on the phone. He comes back on and gives me a story about how since I'm Canadian I have to phone the Sony number for Canada. Well ok but it took 10 minutes to find this out?

So I call 1-877-899-7669 and get an automated system. I tell it I have a problem with a VAIO computer and it automatically forwards me back to the first number. Now this is getting stupid.

Ronald helps me this time and I'm pretty sure Ronald took the short bus to school. Anyways we do the song and dance again and Ronald tells me the same thing, I'm Canadian and I have to phone a Canada[sic] service center. George is getting mad!

I dial the number Ronald gave me, 403-219-5336 and it is not in service. Fucking hell.

I phone the Canadian number and fool it into giving me a real person. This guy, Sean, doesn't have a clue. Not a sniff of what to do. He gives me 2 numbers to call. 403-291-1672 and 1-877-779-9929. The second one is for a place in Ontario that fixes spas. This is where I quit. I take it back to London Drugs and let them deal with it. I'm sure it will take a month but atleast I don't have to phone Sony.

Some how Sony took an easy idea like prepaid return boxes and turned it into this steaming pile of crap. I shouldn't have to call this many numbers or take the computer to calgary. Yes Ronald wanted to know if Calgary or some place in Quebec was closer. I told him Calgary was and he said I should just drop it off there. Yeah I'll just drop it off on my way home but Calgary is SIX hours away. I guess that is closer than driving for 26 hours to Quebec but its still not that close.

In conclusion I will never purchase a Sony product again and I can't wait until they go out of business. Which should be soon considering they are bleeding money like someone hit an artery.

Fuck you very much Sony.


Here is the letter that I wrote to Sony support. Hopefully they can pull their collective heads out of their asses and do something to help their customers.

I am writing to tell you that you have the worst phone support I have ever experienced. Lexmark's outsourced support in India is more helpful. I phoned yesterday (04/11/06) to try to get a laptop fixed that has a broken LCD. This should not be a problem as it is only 1 month old. I phoned 1-888-4SONYPC and was told, after a lengthy hold time, that I would have to phone 1-877-899-7669 because I was calling from Canada. I phoned that number and it automatically forwarded me back to the US number. They again told me that they couldn’t help me because I am in Canada. I was told to phone the service center directly and the number they gave me was out of service. I managed to trick the Canadian number into giving me a HUMAN to talk to and he didn’t have a clue how to help me. He gave me two more numbers to try. One of which was a place in Ontario that fixes spas. This is too much. I should not have to phone 5 different times to try to get service. I realize that the LCD is not covered under warranty and that we would have to pay for it to be repaired. Any competent company would have sent me a prepaid shipping box next day for me to return the laptop for repair. I should not have to waste an hour of my day being told that they don’t know what to do. I can not be the only one in Canada trying to get a Sony laptop fixed and I should not have to jump through this many hoops for a simple problem. I have dealt with the support lines for Apple computers, HP, Dell, Lexmark and many others out side of the computer industry and I have never come across such incompetence. I sincerely hope that you are able to fix your phone systems so that the people on the other end can actually help customers. I would hate to see what they actually do all day if they weren’t sending customers in circles and laughing loudly in the background of service calls. I gave up after an hour of not getting anywhere on the phone and took the laptop back to London Drugs where it was purchased in the hopes that they can manage to get it repaired. I do not wish to be contacted by anyone from Sony. If you want to help phone Craig at London Drugs #65 in Saskatoon at 306-975-3846 and help facilitate the timely repair of our laptop.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

So much church

I know its been a while since my last update, but I've been busy.

I was thinking the other day that this year will more than double my total visits to churches. I've already been to two in the same day and I've got two weddings to go to this summer. I was actually amazed that I survived. I attended the service at Meewasin Valley United Church a couple of weekends ago in order to get some pancakes. I was a little concerned that I had just joined a cult. It was Jesus this and jesus that, it all felt a little too preachy for my tastes. The pancakes weren't that great either but they went to a good cause. Melissa was in Costa Rica some time ago and this breakfast was to raise money for an organization that builds schools and houses. I felt good knowing that I didn't suffer in vain.

You may notice that my writing has a bit of a negative bias towards organized religion and that's because I just can't understand it. I don't get how people can put their blind faith in a book. A book that some person or people wrote hundreds of years ago and for all we know could have been just another story. Its been passed down through many people and re-written who knows how many times. How close could it even be to the original? What would have happened if someone decided to call a different book the bible, would we all be worshiping Santa Claus?

Now I do see a good purpose for the church, but it is not religion. Just look at how many people it brings together and money they raise for good causes. It is just too bad that religion causes so many people to do so many horrible things across the world.

I have long considered myself an athiest or atleast an agnostic but one day I tried to actually classify my beliefs and I almost got lost. There are so many options.

  • Agnosticism - belief that the existence of god is unknown (weak agnosticism) or unknowable (strong agnosticism)
  • Ignosticism - the view that the concept of God as a being is meaningless because it has no verifiable consequences, therefore it cannot be usefully discussed as having existence or nonexistence
  • Atheism - a lack of belief in god
  • Nontheism - is the absence of belief in both the existence and non-existence of a deity
  • Antitheism - a direct opposition to belief in any deity

These seem to be the major ones plus each has a few dozen sub catagories and it all gets quite confusing. Not nearly as confusing as religion itself but close.

After all this am I any closer to figuring out where I fall? Not really, but I would still call myself an atheist because I don't believe that any got exists. I have never seen any reason to belive that a higher power has played any part in my life. I have never seen any proof of existence of a god and I don't think I will ever see any.

This is a dangerous subject though, most people have a problem if you tell them you are an athiest. I could jump out and tell everyone that I'm gay (I'm not) or just about any other crazy news and people would say "Well aslong as you are happy" but tell them you don't think there is a god and there reaction will range from "Really? You don't think there is a god" to weird chanting with a cross and splashing holy water on me.

The worst thing about all of this is people trying to push their beliefs on you. I don't go around telling people that they shouldn't believe in god but for some reason religion gets pushed on me. If its not the JW's at the door its someone telling me that I'm doing something wrong in the eye's of god. Why would I care if god thinks I'm doing something wrong? I really don't but for some reason you think that I should. You have your beliefs and I have my lack of beliefs and thats that. Well I shouldn't say that I lack beliefs, I believe that we evolved from single celled life on earth and that when you die you become worm food. I think that some people need an easy answer for the hard questions so they fall back on religion.

Now before the hate mail starts flowing in remember that I'm not telling you not to be religious. I can respect the fact that people can believe whatever they want to, just respect my right to not believe in the same things you do.

Well that's my rant for today. I hope you enjoyed it and maybe learned something by following the links. Just remember that science and religion can live together.