Monday, January 31, 2011

The Oven

Since we are so close to the Super Bowl, I felt it would be fitting to tell you about the family trip to Leon's (furniture and appliance store). No, a new TV was not purchased.

Did you know there are no sports figures named after an oven, a fridge yes, oven no. What preciptated a trip to the appliance store was a rapidly deteriorating stove/oven. It is to a point that we need a thermometer in the oven to verify the temperature. Currently, in order to get it to 300F you have to dial it up to 450F. Chicken fingers literally take days to cook, although it is more of a dessicating than a cooking.

So here we are, in the showroom, it had the same feeling one might expect when swimming in the amazon. We were almost instantly surrounded by the piranhas (err sales people). Unlike the movie we actually told them to go away (and it worked - I didn't have to resort to putting on my Speedo), until we had some questions or in the off chance we had made our decision.

We looked at a few models, looking for the one with the biggest oven space. We are currently the centre of the universe now for family events. So we need to cram a pretty big turkey in there on occassion. Eventually we realized that we had to talk to a piranha (err sales person). We give them the story, ask which model can hold the biggest turkey, and there it is - the attempted upscale to a convection oven (I am pretty sure the hole will be the same size).

"Nice try", I say. "If getting the food cooked faster, means getting the in-laws to go home sooner, it's a sale. However; their visits are always a specified number of days. Convection won't help."

He figures it out, explains which oven would be the best in our price range (imagine my disbelief when he selected one that wasn't the most expensive in our range) and we tell him to hook us up. We determine the delivery date. Now the payment options. We want to use our Leon's credit, he asks to see our card, we have never had a card, he responds is your credit with Citibank. "Yes", I say. He retorts, "We have broken off all business relations with them, you will need to reapply."

My head is pounding - this is bad. Applying for more credit, I am starting to feel my national debt ballooning to United States proportions.

The App (not to be confused with an iPhone app)

Name, address, social insurance number, home worth, amount owing on home, where do you work (I figured I was doomed and the sirens would have went off as soon as that was entered), monthly gross.

The sales guy was listening so intently that he entered my yearly salary as my monthly gross. For those of you that just read the last line and didn't even chuckle - that was sarcasm. Our sales guy was so pissed that this sale was taking longer than it should. Damn customers.

Now we are told to wait for 10 minutes until we get the answer. Time passes... "Need a co-signer", we are told. I knew that. The salesman didn't listen to us when we suggested that my wife also include her information. A "credit specialist" takes us back to the counter. She is going to add my wife's information.

Name, social insurance number, address (hmm, its my wife, how is she going to use the oven if she doesn't live at the same address - you figure that would be a no brainer - I am also so dead for an obvious male chauvinist comment), where does she work, monthly gross.

This is the best. The girl then depresses the "enter" key. Before she is even able to release the key (really I was watching), there is a "bing" sound and she says we are approved for $2000. Have a nice day.

THE GIRL DIDN'T RELEASE THE KEY. That, I think was the fastest credit check I have ever withnessed. I think that their Credit App is directly attached to their Dart Board App.

We get the oven on Wednesday - I will let you know how the chicken fingers turn out. Oh, for those of you south of the border (the US if you are still pondering the globe), I think you call them "boneless chicken wings".

WOW Stuff

I have nothing. This weekend has been a blurr.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Apps = Applications

I had several opening lines for this article. Your mind tends to wander when you have a 6 hour drive ahead of you. Yes, I was on the road, heading towards beautiful, balmy Sudbury, Ontario. If you have ever travelled that direction from Southern Ontario the drive is pretty barren once you pass Barrie. That is when I started to think of my next article.

Then the tummy rumbled, the mental panic. I need a washroom and the side of the road was not an option. Not at -10C that's for sure. Then it dawned on me. The company I work for gave me an iPhone a while back. The first app I put on it was the WOW Armory app. Then the Tim Hortons and Starbucks Finder, the mandatory "what drinks can I make from the contents of my liquor cabinet?" app and as soon as my daughter got a hold of it - the dozen or so games. I even put a couple of work related apps on the phone as well. Later on I diversified and added a restaurant finder (Open Table) some recipe apps, some music and a couple of movies (in case my daughter needed something to do if we were on a road trip).

I was in need of a washroom, but where? I am in the middle of no where. The iPhone! I open the TimmyMe app and prayed that there was a Tim Hortons close. 19KM, I can make it, and that I did. The APP WAS A LIFE SAVER (or at least a pant saver - sort of like the winter car mats but better).

As I headed further north I was thinking, by the time I get to Sudbury the town may be closed up. I was not looking forward to eating dinner out of the hotel vending machine. I figured - another app! I will use Open Table to find a restaurant. I start the app, and look for Sudbury. Hmm - not in the list. I try searching "Near Current Location" - 30 seconds later I got the error, "You are not in a civilized area - try again". Thats awesome. (to be honest once I got into Sudbury proper, one restaurant did pop up, however; I really didn't feel like kangeroo burgers and sea bugs. Really, their specialty was kangeroo burgers, in Sudbury, I think I'll pass.)

Now you may be wondering - why the photo of the ABS. It was an attempt to get more female readership (not that I can actually track the gender of my readers). If you remember my New Years Resolution blog, I mentioned I was going to try and get into shape. I think this is what I am going to work towards. Right now I can only use the word AB (I can't pluralize it). Think of Homer Simpson in a bathing suit.

Oh, I ended up eating at Swiss Chalet, looking around at the clientele, I felt young and fit. Maybe I don't need to get into shape, I may already be there.

WOW Stuff

Mods = Modifications

Mods are 3rd party additions to a game that makes the experience better. I used to use a ton of mods. At one time I had to call the Blizzard technical support line and they suggested that I back up my interface folder before proceeding. The back up took 20 minutes. The technician suggested that, that could be part of the problem. I significantly reduced the number of mods I use. Other than recount, omen and deadly boss mods, the mods I tend to utilize are designed to make my professions easier to do. Check out WowInsider and read their mod articles.

Well, need to go put on my snowsuit pyjamas (I am in Sudbury remember) and get to bed. TGIF

Sunday, January 9, 2011

The Night To Remember

Dear Penthouse

You are not going to believe this. Last Wednesday my wife suggested we go out for a drive to see if we can pick something up. My senses peaked, was she letting the Liger out of his cage? We cruised the town we live in, searching for that one, that we thought would satisfy. There she was, brown hair, nice curves, with Northern European features. We pulled over, we watched for a while to see if maybe it was a sting operation. We couldn't pick anything out of the ordinary that would suggest there were police around. We pull up, my wife asks, "How much?" Our beauty replies, "$375." Wow, I think, my boss says his usually only costs 25 bucks.

I look at my wife - wondering if there is a way out. She smiles coyly at me - nope not this time. My wife asks her to get in. I ask her name. "My name is Sklar Peppler." she replies.

I am rocked by the small explosion in my lower back, the sound of my son asking me if I am ok. "I think I am dying", I cry out. A few more steps and we will have our new (used) dining room set in the truck. All five trillion pounds of Sklar Peppler classiness. Now all I am thinking about is what is going to happen when we get it home. We have to unload this.

After an hour of lugging Miss Peppler around town and a Harvey's hamburger (I am glad he didn't show up in my fantasy with his Angus hanging out.), we got the set in our house and set up.

It is now Sunday and I still am being rocked by excruciating back pain. Even the Robaxacets and liquor are not touching the pain. Thank goodness I am going to the chiropractor tomorrow.

Reminds me of the time, me and the wife spent the evening with the trapeeze, but that is another story.

WOW Stuff

Playing WOW this week saw me try and complete the Vashj'ir quests for all of my alts. It looks like nine down and 5 to go. I also spent the time getting each of my lower level alts a couple more levels each. What is it with the Guild Experience? Our guild has an active member base of like 5, number of members of like 8. Two of us have been pounding the Azerothian pavement the last week pretty hard and we are still a bubble from Level 2. Yes, I said it, level 2 guild status. The bar doesn't seem to want to move.

What are we doing wrong? We are running our alts that belong to the guild doing dailies, completing quests, but the blue line doesn't seem to want to move. The guild my main is in is like level 10 - I guess the power of 250 members has something to do with it. Blizzard really screwed over the small community guilds this time.

Oh well, I guess we will keep plugging away.

Have a good week, I hope my back pops back in tomorrow at the chiropractors.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

New Year's Resolutions

So here we are, into the 6th day of January and I have so far resisted to the urge to write an article about New Year's Resolutions. Guess what? I think I have to go there. I don't want to go there, but I feel I must.

You see I was going to the bathroom the other day and when I looked down I couldn't see my penis. I knew it was there, I was hanging on to it. Making sure the stream of bodily waste products landed in the toilet and not all over the bathroom. I think it is of adequate size, it managed to produce a couple of good kids. A little iffy on the boy, but all in all, they are all right. So what could possibly be eclipsing my manliness?

My belly.

All I could think of was the line spoken by Fat Bastard from the Austin Powers movies. "Get in my belly." I must have swallowed a small child I thought. No, it couldn't have happened. I am sure I would have remembered the struggle. Did I let my body go? I thought to myself, "When was the last time I exercised." "10 years ago - give or take a year or two."

Well its all going to change. I am going to get back in shape. Am I making a resolution? No, I won't go that far. Just in case I get side tracked by a bag of cookies. But I will try.

I will let you know how it goes.

BELL Phone Services

Remember a few blogs back I ranted about Bell Mobility? We ended up cancelling our home service and getting a different carrier. Well they sent us a "final bill" in November of $204, on which they had not processed a payment I had made. Unwittingly I paid the $204. In December they sent a revised "final bill" of a $110 credit (I had paid too much). Awesome, Christmas present money. We contacted Bell to ask them for a cheque. They said that it was my problem I paid too much and that I would have to talk to my bank and have them claw the money back through my web banking. I went to my bank and they said they would put in the request, they cautioned that Bell could still decline to allow the reversal.

It's January, Happy New Year, we get a revised, revised "final bill". We now only had a credit of $108. We had a "late fee" of $2.00 taken from our credit. I had to phone them, I couldn't pass this up. The phone call went something like this.

Bell - Hello how can we screw, err help you?

Alts37 - Well, we closed our account in November and we paid our "final bill" of $204 not knowing that you had not processed a previous payment, giving us a credit of $110. Your revised "final bill" reflects this. We asked for a cheque and you declined.

Bell - Hmmm, that doesn't sound like something we would do.

Alts37 - That is not why I called. I find it funny that you sent us a revised, revised "final bill" in January for a $108 credit and the missing $2 was attributed to a late fee. How is it a late fee when I didn't have to pay anything. You sent me a "final bill" in November and I paid it. End of story, I paid too much and a cheque should have been sent.

Bell - Let me look... ah here it is. We took the opportunity to look back over your account and found that in August, your bill was due on the 24th and you didn't pay until the 26th. At that time we did not assess a late fee on your September bill because you were a valued customer. But since then our relationship has changed, so we took the opportunity to recoup the fee.

Alts37 - Outstanding, and you wonder why people are leaving Bell in droves. Thank you for your time, should I expect a revised, revised, revised "final bill" in February for this invoice consultation?

I hang up.

I am hoping that my bank manages to get me my money at the same time Bell sends me a cheque. When I get the request from Bell to return the over payment. When that comes I will tell them it's a "late fee".

WOW Stuff

Working on professions, the gathering part is easy, the making part seems to be a little harder than what I remember in Lich King. At least the alchemy profession. I remember it being a lot easier to get maxed out.

Pray for me as I endeavour to loose some weight. If you are not a religous person - send potato chips. I like Old Dutch BBQ.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Balls Have Dropped

It's New Year's Day, many of you are suffering with a hangover, cottonmouth, and my favourite - who the hell are you? (when you woke up). At our house it was pretty quiet. Midnight came and went with zero fanfare.

It started off in the afternoon - asking my son to join us for dinner. Please shower and be ready for 3:30pm. He states, "I may have to go help my buddy set up for his party."

I restate, "Regardless have a shower and be ready for 3:30pm. It won't kill you to have dinner with us, we will drop you off at your buddies afterwards." We start early because my wife never makes it to midnight. Every year she usually makes it to about 10:00 and then goes to bed. So although we are EST, we usually celebrate as if we are residents of the Canary Islands.

We go to dinner at the Chinese diner in the plaza near our house. Absolutely yummy, it is such a hole in the wall but the food is superb, service is fast and it is cheap. If you live in the Niagara Region, post a comment and I will get you the address and phone number. Time in restaurant - 45 minutes (4:15 - 5:00)

We then watched a couple of new movies. My daughter and I picked up The Sorcerer's Apprentice and SALT earlier in the afternoon putting us at the 10ish pm time frame. Both movies were very good IMO. I was actually pleasantly surprised with The Sorcerer's Apprentice. Very enjoyable. At this point my wife excuses herself. She has to go to bed, she can't stay awake. My daughter and I decide we are going to finish watching The Pirates of the Carribbean trilogy (number 2 and 3 - we watched the first one a day or so earlier).

After the second one I go to check the time - 12:15am hmm... I come back to my daughter, administer hug, exchange Happy New Year's pleasantries and watch the last movie. Bed time comes at 3:10am.

Now - how should have the night went? Well back in the day when we were wild and crazy, we used to watch the Mr. Bean marathon and watch a ball drop, all the while swilling a champagne knock off. This doesn't work anymore, couldn't find a Mr. Bean marathon. This is what I want to propose. Major TV Networks are you listening? Here it goes.

I think a good marathon substitute could be a Steve Carrell Marathon. They can work it so The 40 Year Old Virgin takes us to midnight and we can then watch someone's balls drop. I think that would be appropriate. During the whole time they could run Viagra and Trojan commercials. We could still swill the appropriate alcoholic knock off. It would be awesome.

WOW Stuff

Well as usual, watching my daughter play WOW with an ear piercing play list of Katy Perry et al playing in the background. I will give her the boot in a bit and probably get another couple of Alts a few levels.

Well the balls have dropped, it's a new year, new RL, as well as WOW adventures await. Good Luck and have fun.