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PostHeaderIcon Am I too snarky?

A while back I bought a new gas BBQ, early May 2011,.
I was excited to get it because the old one was well old, it didn’t work quite right, and one side was too hot the other side was too cool.
So looked around and found one that the wife and I liked (read I liked),
We found it at our local Independent Grocer, it was a bit more expensive that I originality thought, but what the hell, why not.
Mr. Brown and his staff were great when my wife went to buy it; I was worried of how to get this huge box home, no problem they delivered it for free! Great customer service!
The next morning the the fun began! I was excited; I got up early put the coffee on so I would be ready to tackle the mammoth task of assembly!
I started by un packing and getting myself organized with all the parts set up so there would be a little confusion as necessary, it took me a while to get it assembled including a trip to a local fastener store to replace a couple of screws that I lost when the fell beneath the decl.
(Note to self next time put down a tarp to catch stray screws.)
While I was putting my new “Q” together I discovered that some parts were missing, namely two drawers that were AWOL.
No problem I can finish the rest and call the 1-800 help line and the friendly people will be more than willing to help, because hey these things happen, someone is having a bad day and missies putting two 5 x 8x 14 inch drawers in to the box!
Well I called the 1-800 number, busy, called again, busy, it took several tries over two days to finally get a voice mail that said “some one will get back to you in 24 hours”.
Nope it took them 3 days, in the mean time I called Mr Brown the owner of the Independent Grocer who was horrified by the lack of service that I was receiving, and attempted to contact the supplier at Shinerich Industries. Mr. Brown was able to give me an email address wich I did sed my concerns to on May 10 2011.
Dear Marshall, we just bought a Present Choice 750000 btu bbq from our local Independent Grocer.
And when I was unpacking it I found that I and short 2 of the 3 drawers that are paert of the BBQ.
I tryed calling the 1800 help number but all I get is voice mail.
How do I get the missing parts?
Thanks for you help


Well Yesterday I got a response back from Shinerich Industries, yesterday August 10 2011.
Hello Dwight,

I was just clearing up some emails and found yours. I’d like to touch base to make sure that your issues were resolved?

Please let me know, if you still need the drawers let me know and supply your address for shipping.

Thank you

Marshall

So I wrote Marshall back.
3 Months?
Your kidding right?
Yes I got the missing parts for my BBQ , but only after several call to your so called 1800 service number that was busy.
When I was finally able to leave 3 voice mails. and got a call back 3 days later.
I seem to remember the voice mail saying someone would get back to me in 24 hours, ya right, just like it takes 3 months to respond to a customer service email.
I did get the missing parts, the girl who called kindly shipped them next day express.
I do have height praise for the staff and owner of Browns Independent Grocer . Mr Brown was mortified by the “service” I had received.
They tried to help but were as frustrated by the lack of communication as I was.
I was glad I had to call in a licensed gas fitter, (these people are not cheep) to hook up my new BBQ, as we found several gas leaks that were found on the “factory installed” parts, good thing I didn’t try to light it! (do you have quality control?)
The only reason that I didn’t return the BBQ was I was too tired and had put too much money and energy in to it.
I have to say after all of that it works good.
Next time I’ll take the extra $400 I ended up spending and get a Napoleon grill.
I hope that answers you questions.
Have a great day
Cudos to Me Brown and his staff for trying to help, but Shinerich, well you kinda suck
Think I was too snarky?
Love to hear what you think!

PostHeaderIcon Life is unfair

“The fairness of unfairness is in everything’s demise” Phil Plait Death From the Skies

I have to say that just about sums it up.  Life is unfair and unjust.

As I write this my mother is in the hospital recovering from a fall brought on by the cancer treatment that cured her.

Makes a lot of sense doesn’t it.

Cancer is nasty, especially small cell lung cancer, so you need to be a equally nasty to treat it. Hit it hard and hit it fast.

Chemo  and radiation and lots of it,  but there is a trade off;  some times the cure can do damage, so do you let the cancer take you slowly or do you take the hit and  let the poisons do there thing.

Don’t kid yourself chemo and radiation are not nice, these treatments are ment to kill cells, kill and destroy cancer.

Ok I making this very simple but the fact the treatments do take a toll on the body.

In my mom’s case her balance and strength have suffered to the point she fell and is now in the hospital.

Yep unfair, also unfair is the perfect storm that hit the hospitals in Ottawa this past week that has hospitals filled to over capacity , in one case 110%.

So mom had to spend over 48 hours in the emergency room.

Bed shortages are a bane of any hospital, and throw in the fact the population is aging yep it’s a mess.

Now Im not pointing fingers and shoving the blame at any one, but maybe I should.

We all pay taxes and we all want good healthcare for ourselves and our families.

Are we willing to pay for it? Would you be willing to pay an extra $50, $100 or $1000 more a year in taxes if it ment no one had to wait.

Or would you rather have a private system where you can pay in cash and jump to the front of the line. Oh but if you can’t pay, well to bad so sad, “don’t you have health insurance?”

Im am proud that our Canadian health care system is open to all and no one has to go without, well that’s how it should be.

We need to fix the system, I don’t have the answers, but I do believe its time that we as the public stepped up and start to demand answers from the politicians and the managers that run our hospitals.

We need to support the doctors, nurses and all the front line workers. And make sure they have what is needed to do the job.

But are we willing to pay the price?

What would you do for your mother?

Not very fair at all

PostHeaderIcon Not a patient man

Ahhhhh crap!

I could use more choice words but I think you get the point.

I’ve got a job but it’s not what I wanted or went to school for.

I know I know, I have to have patience and I may have to wait a while but come on already!

I want it all and I want it now!!!

(Sigh) After school and after the exams this is probably one of he hardest this I have to do , looking for a job is almost full time work , not just looking and seeing what’s out there, but writing resumes and cover letters and hoping for interviews and going to interviews and surviving the interviews, but the  hardest part is waiting.

Waiting to hear if there is a call back, if they want another interview, or to hear that you’ve got the job.

Now there is one phone call that you don’t want to hear, “We’re sorry, but you not what we are looking for”. I have gotten a couple of those, but I have to say that I appreciate someone letting me know that I didn’t get the job.

At least Im not waiting around hoping to hear back from them, in a strange way its nice to know I didn’t get the gig, then at least I can move on.

So for now I’ll keep making my widgets and having my fun, because it pays some bills and the people there are nice.

PostHeaderIcon Back to reality, now get to work!

Well I’m done; I’m finished, that’s it, that’s all, well, just about it.

School is over; actually it was over at the end of February.

Then I had a month of fun at CHEO, and now I’m looking for work.

I finished all of my class room work and exams at the end of February; that was fun.

I haven’t done exams like that, ever. I wasn’t the best student in high school, perhaps it was the fact that I NEVER did home work and I think I may have studies for one or two tests. Yep I was one lazy boy.

Well that sure changed!

So I passed my writhen exam no problem the practical that was a different matter.

Well lets just say that Murphy’s Law was in full force that day, trust me it was a bit of a cluster frack, but we got through it, my lab partner and I were quite relived to have finished and even more relived to have passed.

So then it was out in to the real world! 150 hours of practicum to get or feet wet in the real world and to see if we actually learned any thing.

So I had the honor of going to CHEO, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

That was an amazing experience, I did have a few eye popping moments, like when I was in the blood lab and a kid fainted on me. Yep poor kid passed out cold after getting a blood sample taken, I thought I had done something horribly wrong, but my instructor laughed at me a said “this sort of thing happens all the time! You’ll get used to it!”

Five minuets later another kid fainted, and I had nothing to do with it, felt better after that.

I also got to see the sad part of the hospital, I saw an autopsy on a young child. I won’t go into any details, there not needed.

But even in death something can be learned.

In histology we would prepare tissue samples and slides for the pathologist to exam so that they may learn something about what went wrong.

I got to see and experience a lot in the month I was there, including getting a “supper bug” that knocked me on my ass for three days, haven’t been that sick in a while.

One thing about working in a hospital is if you are sick, they want you to stay home!

Gee go figure if you’re sick, stay at home and get better so you don’t spread it around! What a novel idea!  A few places I used to work could learn from that.

CHEO was fun and a fantastic experience, I hope some day to work there, I can’t say enough about the staff and every thing that they did for me, they are a great group of people.

If you want to read my thank you note that was published in the Ottawa Citizen you can see it here.

I have to get a job, and right now , there’s not a lot of hireling going on, got figure, 8 months ago there were lots of job in my field out there, now not too much and there are a whole whack of us students looking for the same  jobs, lots of competition .

So that’s were I stand right now, looking for work, sending out lots and lots or resumes and waiting, I hate waiting.

I have to; hopefully I won’t have to wait too much longer and I’ll land that big job!

Or any job, need to pay bills at least that will make the bill collector happy!

Oh well back at it  time to see what out there for me!

PostHeaderIcon I’m a skeptic, so what?

I’m a skeptic

So I created a bit of a shit storm the other night on Facebook when I made the statement about A&Es TV show Psychic Kids for not being real and the fact that psychics are not real.

This got few people upset and I was told I didn’t understand, things aren’t always black and white and I just have to believe, and was also call a “non believer”

But the thing is I want to believe, I just want some proof, what’s wrong with  wanting evidence?

Like I said on Facebook, I would love to talk to friends and family that have passed on; it would be wonderful to talk to my father.

To be able to tell him all the things I wish I had said before he died, I would love to have him talk to me and know how proud he would be of me and perhaps solve a few problems we had.

Funny thing is if he could my father would be a surprised as I!

You see my father taught me to be skeptical.

People think that if you are a skeptic you are out to dismiss things, to debunk, to turn a blind eye to the evidence.

To quote Dr. Micheal Shermer: “Skepticism is not a position; it’s a process.”

Brian Dunning  of skeptoid.com hits the nail on the head when he says;

“Skepticism is, or should be, an extraordinarily powerful and positive influence on the world. Skepticism is not simply about “debunking” as is commonly charged. Skepticism is about redirecting attention, influence, and funding away from worthless superstitions and toward projects and ideas that are evidenced to be beneficial to humanity and to the world.

The scientific method is central to skepticism. The scientific method requires evidence, preferably derived from validated testing. Anecdotal evidence and personal testimonies generally don’t meet the qualifications for scientific evidence, and thus won’t often be accepted by a responsible skeptic; which often explains why skeptics get such a bad rap for being negative or disbelieving people. They’re simply following the scientific method.”

Skepticism also comes down to one simple fact, If you are making extraordinary claims, you better have extraordinary evidence to back it up.

And if you have that evidence let’s put it to the test, let’s see that it really works, because if  we have proof, I’ll be the first one shouting “Its true its true!”

That’s the great thing about science; you test it and take it apart and you find out how it works and what you can do , and if someone else comes along with a different idea we can test that too to see if Im wrong or right!

Being skeptical is not the same as being cynical, I will change my mind, given the right evidence I’ll say that black is white!

The other important thing you need to know if you call you self a skeptic, is to have your evidence, you hae to make sure you facts are right and you can back them up.

It’s easy for me to say I have a tiny invisible pink unicorn that sits on my shoulder, but I have to prove it to convince you. I have to show evidence that can be tested and proven true or false, it is really that simple. Show me the evidence.

That’s all Im asking for.

PostHeaderIcon School Daze Part 2

Still hanging on!

So a while back I was “talking” (does one talk in a blog?) about my experiences  in going back to school, well I’m still here and still kicking, and trust me  it’s not getting any easer, but then again I never thought it would. Like all  things in life it seams the things that are best for us are the ones that we have to work for, its just dumb luck when we get the things we need and don’t have to work for them, not that  this out look will stop me from buying my  lottery tickets from time to time, hey some one has to win , why not me?

For me the strangest thing  it that I’m doing as well  I am ,not to say I thought that I wouldn’t be doing badly , but I really had no idea how well I would be doing, and at times being pissed off at myself  for not doing better!

Let me explain, way back when, (20 years or so ago!) when I was in high school, I just really didn’t give a dam, I just floated though my classes just doing enough to get by and make due, that fact that I never, and I mean never did any kind of home work speaks volumes here, at times I am amazed that I have done as well as I have, well it did take me 7 years to get my grade 12 diploma, and trust me I glad I did.

I can understand getting an 89 in drama class, but how the hell did I get a 98 in human physiology?!

I know that I found that course interesting and it caught my imagination, but really a 98? I still don’t get it.

Now I curse my self and feel guilty if I get lazy and don’t spend more time doing home work, while doing hematology, I didn’t get to study as much as I wanted to and fell behind, I ended up getting a 78 on the final exam and a 98 on the practical exam (I got to draw blood and play around with it), and I was upset that I didn’t get a better mark, and only because I didn’t study as much as I would have liked to!

Funny how things change in 20 years,  I still don’t know how some of my class mates do it , with jobs , kids and long commutes, like I have said before I am in awe of these people. I guess I should be in awe of my self as well, it just seams strange that I am doing as well as I am, my wife on the other hand is very proud of me and keeps telling me , just one of the reasons that I love her so much.

So this week we start  a new section and now I an armed with not only a venipuncture kit, I now have a blood pressure cuff as well as a stethoscope  , so be afraid, be very afraid I may be coming to a medical near you !

Well enough of this fun I need to get back to the books.

Scarry stuff!

Scary stuff!

PostHeaderIcon Every day inspiration

If you ever want to get inspired just look around you.
I did that today while I was in class and I realized there are people here that are doing something phenomenal, they are going back to school.
Ok I know that sounds simple, and to a degree it is, just go back to school show up and do the work, it’s not like we’re in high school; this is the real deal and dam hard. That’s what you get when you take a two year course and cram it in to 8 months!
Some days I wonder what the hell I’ve gotten myself into?!
These are people who have families to take care of, jobs to do and in some cases traveling two hours to get to school, one way!
And why are they doing this? To better themselves, to get a better job, to improve their lives.
None of these people have to be here, they chose to be here, and trust me this is no pick nick, and this is really requiring some very hard work, anyone who was around last few weeks and saw my remarks on Twitter about medical terminology and the digestive system knows what Im talking about
Now Im sure they could have just sat back and taken any old job, you know ,just make ends meet, go in and do your hours and take your pay , but for whatever reason they have taken the hard road, or perhaps I should say the high road.
Even out teacher who left a 20 year career to star a new career to teach us how to be good lab tecs, I‘m not sure if she’s crazy ,brave or both, talk about a leap of faith!
So I guess we’ll are going for the big win so to speak, ok I know that sounds corny but think about it, we do so many things the easy way these days, microwave your dinner, express checkout ,ATM banking, fast food, if there is a quick and easy to do things we as humans will find it , I do believe it is in our DNA, by the way I learned what DNA stands for but don’t ask me to pronouns it , I just get tongue tied.
But these folks are doing it the hard way, and dam that impresses the hell out of me!
Like I said they could have taken the easy way out, but didn’t, that really does say a lot.
Impressive and inspiring to boot!

PostHeaderIcon 5 am

Friend and mentor

Friend and mentor

Its 5:30 am, I woke up at 4:30, and all I could think of is my friend Doug McNab, laughing.
Im going to his funeral today, Doug passed away last week.
To say it was a shock is an understatement, he was 74 but he wasn’t one to sit around in his retirement and watch life passing him by, no Doug was in the thick of it and enjoying every second of it.
I meet Doug when I became a volunteer with the Ottawa International Jazz Festival, Doug was the volunteer coordinator, he just retired from that job after 20 hears of giving up his free time in the summer to wrangle over 300 plus volunteers who make up the heard and soul of the festival.
I had the pleasure of working with him for 13 years at the festival, our days started early and ended late, working in the rain and the sun and the heat, Doug made sure his volunteers were where they needed to be, and made sure they were having fun, I consider myself very lucky to have worked as his assistant for a number of years.
Doug and his wonderful wife Jonnie were always opening their home to host great get-togethers and dinners and just any excuse for a party, being retired did not slow them down at all, ski trips in the winter and travel to Italy and around the country kept them feeling young.
Doug was a friend and mentor; I got to learn from a lot from him.
He had the uncanny ability to be able to recall phone numbers and address just of the top of his brain, and when you’re dealing with as many volunteers as he did, and not use a computer, very impressive.
Doug had a love for trivial facts, and when he would give you such a fact, and you knew he was right, why? Because Dougie said so. IF I ever wanted to find out about something, and Doug was around, I didn’t need Google, I just needed Dougie.
He introduced me to The West Coast sound, Chet Baker, Buddy Rich, Jonny Scott, and Ranee Lee, literally.
She was playing in the park one year and I say Doug chatting with this woman, as I cam closer I thought I recognized her, Dough turned to me and then introduced me to Renne , I was totally blown away, Doug knew this and just smiled, and Im sure laughed about it later.
I got back in to skiing because of Doug, spent a lot of beautiful days on the slope, and got to participate in the legendary Jazz Festival ski trips, Mt Blanc would never be the same, and the trip to the Rockies is one my high lights.
And why would Doug is laughing at me being up at 5:30 in the morning? He always said that was the best time to get up and get work done be for the day got too hot, Doug always gave me a hard time whenever I complained about early mornings and now I start my days around 7am, that’s late by Dougies standards.
Many good times, many laugh, many tears, we’ll keep a chair for you at the back stage BBQ my friend, and we won’t forget the mustard.

PostHeaderIcon Back To School

back to schoolWell week one has come and gone, as well as week two, now I’m on week three of school.

Got to say that I’m starting to get the hang of this school thing, but the first two weeks we’re kinda of easy, it was basically you’re back in school so this is how to study and how to do home work, (there will be lots!), the second week was how to be professional and how to give a good presentation, we did two one as a group and one by ourselves.

I totally messed mine up, I froze, I got so nervous beforehand that I messed it up totally, and I think most people thought I did ok but I screwed up royally! Man was I pissed off at myself.

Sigh.

But I have to say I was impressed by my fellow classmates, the youngest is 18 and the oldest is closer to 50, as well as people who are traveling far and wide to take this course, one girl travels two hours every day back and forth, she may be traveling the farthest but others have a trek to do as well,and  some who  take the buss are at the mercy of the bus drivers, glad I have a car.

I just hope that the winter driving isn’t too bad this year! That’s dedication for, you sitting in a car for 4 hours a day just to go back to school; you’ve got to admire that.

The other nice thing about my class mates is attitude, well most of them any way, there are always one or two that need a kick to get going, but the majority of the class is in it for the right reasons, they want to succeed and get better jobs for themselves and I’m right there along with them.

I’ve got a lot to learn in the next three weeks, lots of fun computer stuff, some I know and some I need to learn from scratch, should be an interesting three weeks!

I’ll keep you in the loop!

PostHeaderIcon Just a rock

There is this large rock in the field behind my house, I believe its call an erratic and if I remember my grade12 geology correctly, an erratic is a large rock or bolder that is left behind after a glacier has moved on by , I guess this one was left by the last ice age that came through here.
I see this rock every day ,any time I look out the window of my home office, and right now it is covered by a bunch of little kids.
The rock is only 4 feet hight , and maybe 12 feet long 6 wide, but to them its a great place to run and climb, and play around, I watch them and I wounder what is going on in their minds, is it a pirate ship, are they climbing the Himalayas, digging for treasure? Or is it just the simple joy of climbing a big rock?
There are a lot of people that walk the path by that rock , and soon or later every one climbs up on the rock, dogs and cats too.
The kids have it right , having fun with the simple things in life, you don’t need any fancy gear or even shoes to climb th rock, it’s just a fun thing to do.
I think at times we all start to loose our selves in the complexity of this very complex world we live in , don’t get me wrong , I love this life,the many layers and choices and options that we have , just go to my grocery store , there are at least 8 different apples and 6 kinds of tomatoes, its nice to have complexity at times, keeps things interesting.
But there are times I just need something simple, and I forget how much fun just climbing a rock can be, I guess thats what I learn looking out my window.
When life gets too complicated and there are too many choices to make , go climb a rock, I truly believe that the 5 and 6 year olds have the right idea.
Climb a rock, have cookies and milk then have a nap.
Sounds like a good day to me .
That could solve a lot of problems.Out my window

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