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When the “A” in “AGM” stands for “Agonizing”

Posted by Office-Bob on 27 Feb 2020 | Tagged as: General Craziness, Rants

Last night was the annual general meeting (AGM) for my townhouse complex. This year promised to be more interesting than previous meetings because of concerns about the massive increase in strata insurance rates. It was my turn to attend the AGM this year (my wife and I alternate years) so I was already expecting it to be somewhat unpleasant. What follows are the highlights.

Much to my surprise, the first order of business – discussing insurance – was one of the more pleasant parts of the entire evening.

Among the things we learned:

1) Large complexes such as ours can’t get full coverage from a single insurance provider; they have to establish a “syndicate” of multiple companies which each take a part of the load.
2) This is a bubble adjustment which, in the opinion of our broker, should have happened 4 to 5 years ago and is related to the large numbers of natural and unnatural disasters which have happened in the recent past – the Fort MacMurray fire, various flooding across Canada, all that fun stuff.
3) We can consider ourselves lucky that our strata property insurance rates only increased by 91% as some complexes saw increases of just over 300% (yikes!)

Once the Q&A session ended, it was on to regular AGM business.

First came approval of the annual operating budget, where we first encountered she who shall be henceforth known as “Angela, the Queen of RTFM.” Angela would repeatedly ask questions about specific line items but they were things she could have figured out for herself if she actually bothered to look at what she was asking about – it got so bad that at one point, when she raised her hand to ask yet another stupid question, the council president responded with, “Yes, Angela?” in that tired voice that parents and teachers use with small children who Just. Won’t. Shut. Up.

I’m sure Angela didn’t catch on…I doubt she’s so good an actor as to keep from showing any reaction to the verbal dig.

The next major order of business was discussing how to pay for a couple of major water main breaks we’d experienced last year; the total amount was just over $95K and the options were:

1) Take the money out of our Contingency Reserve Fund (CRF)
2) Establish a special levy where each unit pays a one-time surcharge.

There resolutions were set up in such a way that if #1 didn’t pass with ¾ vote, then we’d vote on #2…and if #2 didn’t pass with a ¾ majority then we’d still be stuck paying for the repairs out of our own pockets, but it was never really explained how that was going to work.

For a while it appeared that neither option was going to get the required votes until someone pointed out what was fairly obvious to anyone with a brain:

1) Our CRF balance is well above the minimum amount required by law;
2) If a CRF isn’t to be used for emergencies like this, then why are we allocating $50K each year to go into the fund as part of the operating budget?
3) Since the $50K fund top-up was still in the new budget, in effect we would only be taking one year’s worth out to pay for the repairs, not two years’ worth.

Once people managed to wrap their heads around these points, the resolution passed…although before the vote was called there was discussion as to whether we could set up the special levy to be paid over a few months as opposed to a single extra payment (yes, but that can’t be done until we see if we actually have to vote on the special levy or not).

Next up were a number of requests for work to be done on various units – anything from relocating a washer/dryer and thus needing to install a new dryer vent into the exterior wall, to landscaping, to enclosing a balcony to make it an extra bedroom, to people wanting additional gas lines installed for outdoor grills or upgrading to gas stoves, to a couple of people who wanted to install EV chargers in their carports. Some requests were dealt with quickly because they were for things which the strata didn’t need to approve, but some required more detail then what the owners necessarily had available (obligatory old fart moment – I’ve lived here for over 25 years and I can remember when, if you wanted to do something as simple as put down patio stones, you were expected to at least provide drawings as to where things would go and the dimensions of the area being affected).

Two of the alteration amendments were tossed because the person who had proposed them wasn’t at the meeting (this will be important later), and after some discussion everything else was approved.

And now, it was time for the drama portion of the evening…RESOLUTION “G.”

This resolution would result in the banning of smoking or vaping in almost any public or private space – including your own townhouse – and was written in such a way that if you wanted to partake of anything other than medical cannabis, you’d either have to leave the complex or stand in the middle of the road (and let’s see how fast the reaction time is for those partaking of cannabis when they have to dodge vehicles).

The resolution was proposed by a young couple who were having problems with secondhand smoke entering their unit; they said they’d already spent $15K on new windows and insulation and had even talked to their neighbours about it, but they were still worried about the dangers of second hand smoke to their 8 month old son (but hey, it wasn’t personal) and they didn’t like the idea of allowing people to smoke with their own homes as there were so many instances of house fires starting from indoor smoking (despite the fact that we have not had a fire here that I can recall, smoking-related or otherwise).

The discussion got a but heated (pardon) at times but fortunately it didn’t erupt into total chaos except at the very end when people were wanting to just call the vote (bear in mind, we are now TWO HOURS into the meeting and we still had the council election on the agenda to deal with) – the vote was finally called and as expected, the resolution failed – even non-smokers felt this was going too far.

Personally, if this had passed and gone into effect I was going to set up a crowdfunding page to accept donations to buy a metric fuckton of cannabis vaping fluid and use my smoke machine to disperse it within the complex – the way the resolution was written, theatrical smoke machines didn’t fit the definition of a vaping device. Take that, Bembridge Scholars!

You’d think that after this, establishing a new council for the coming year would be a piece of cake – well, you’d be wrong.

Two council members weren’t standing for reelection so we needed at get at least 2 more candidates (7 was the minimum though there was no upper limit) and before anyone could suggest possible candidates, a woman stood up to say that she’d managed to get hold of an email from the council president to the property manager but that she didn’t want to discuss it in public (oh, really? Then why mention it in the first place? Gimme a break!).

Our council president, a woman who gives no fucks, told the woman to go ahead and discuss the email, which turned out to be messages between her (the president) and the property manager regarding a woman who wanted to know if it was too late to add a couple of resolutions to the AGM agenda (remember when I mentioned there were a couple of resolutions which were dropped because the person proposing them wasn’t there to discuss them (This is the woman I was referring to earlier, who hadn’t shown up to advocate for her resolutions), and the response was that if the woman could “get her shit together” and submit them by end of day, they could be on the agenda.

Blunt? Yes. Rude? Sure. Scandalous? Not really, in my opinion.

Nonetheless, the woman who brought the whole thing up went on about how this is you’re your president thinks or the owners, yadda yadda yadda. The president basically replied that if the owners didn’t like how she ran the council, they could vote her out.

I’ll bet y’all can guess how the vote went.

Incidentally, email leaking woman nominated herself for a spot on the council - which I was okay with because of the potential for entertainment - but apparently her name was not yet on her unit title so she wasn’t able to be on the council. I was surprised, and a bit disappointed, that she didn’t suffer a meltdown when the property manager gave her the news. I do wonder, though, how she was allowed to attend and vote at the AGM if she wasn’t listed as an owner? I might have asked but it was late, I was tired, and I might have started a fresh riot if I’d created another delay.

Oh, I forgot to mention the asshole who thought he was being cute by interrupting discussions to whine that he had a beer at home that was getting warm because the meeting was running so long; after the third interruption I finally snapped and called out that perhaps he should get his fridge fixed if his beer was getting warm.

Finally, business was completed and the meeting wrapped somewhere between 9:30 and 10…I sort of lost track at the end. I went home and fixed myself a stiff vodka and cranberry - which was nice and cold because, unlike some whiny little asshole, I have a working fridge.

Popularity: 20% [?]

Adventures in Family Tech Support, Easter Edition:

Posted by Office-Bob on 23 Apr 2019 | Tagged as: Rants, Tech Follies

When I make a trip to visit my parents there’s usually some sort of technical glitch which they want me to look into; I knew ahead of time that the WiFi extender was not working properly but I didn’t expect to be spending so much time on other things.

Here’s the breakdown of How I Spent My Easter Vacation:

1) Got the WiFi extender working again by literally turning it off and on again. Ah, if only the rest of the weekend were so easy…

2) Mom had been having “problems” with the downstairs TV (I didn’t bother asking for details because I knew I wasn’t going to be told anything better than, “I don’t know, it just stopped working!”) and in order to get the main Dish programming back up she disconnected the DVD player and VCR; while she had paired each disconnected device with their respective cables, apparently the model of Joey now connected to the TV was a newer version with different aux inputs than the previous model, plus they were using an external sound bar instead of the built in TV speakers, so I only had enough cables to get either the DVD or VCR connected again. Since Mom couldn’t tell me which one she preferred I decided to go with the DVD player.

3) Dad was unable to print PDFs but I managed to resolve that after everyone else had gone to bed; I spent some uninterrupted time with his computer and got things working though a combination of upgrading Acrobat Reader and removing the extra paper from the printer (he overloaded it in anticipation of being able to print the entire freaking Mueller Report). Fortunately, the excess paper hadn’t gotten stuck inside the printer but instead had just gotten pushed against the feed area so paper couldn’t feed. I printed the first page to verify it was printing properly but waited until the next morning to show him how to print, how to select 2-sided printing (he didn’t know the printer could do that, so I managed to at least save a couple hundred pieces of paper) and explained about the paper overload. I then left him to print the damned Report and told him it was his responsibility to monitor the progress and put more paper in the printer as needed.

4) Helped my sister install batteries and a memory card in her new camera…this sounds like a simple task, but the battery compartment door must have been designed by Lemarchand after he decided that creating the Lament Configuration just wasn’t evil enough. RTFMing was useless because the user guide just tells you to open the compartment, and shows it open, but doesn’t tell you which combination of lever movement and door sliding will release the Kraken. I did a search on YouTube for a tutorial video and found one, then had to scrub through 6:30 minutes of the 8:30 minute long video to get past the yammering of the woman who, I was hoping, would tell me how to open the thrice-damned battery compartment door, so I could then watch the < 10 seconds of actual instructions. Mission finally fucking accomplished.

I have no idea what was on the rest of the video; I wasn't about to stick around to find out.

5) Assisted my sister with setting up the laptop she got a year or two ago; this involved getting up email accounts (Gmail and Comcast) and uninstalling the McAfee crapware which came with the laptop and was whining that it wanted to be fed (Pay to update the AV files or I will harass you until the end of time oh shit she found someone who knows how to ununstall me NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…).

6) Mom comes in, almost in tears, saying that Dad did something to the downstairs TV and now it doesn’t work any more. This was the point where I lost it and blurted something on the order of Goddammit, this is why you can’t have nice things…went downstairs, Mom turned the TV back on, it was working just fine.

(Yes, I did apologize to Mom for my outburst)

7) Typed up my notes on how to use the DVD player for Mom and Dad because anything more complex then single button operation requires detailed instructions - I jot down what I’m doing as I set things up, run through the notes after I’m finished to ensure they’re valid, then edit and clean them up. Rather than print them out myself I email the instructions to my parents so I have a copy on file should they become lost.

8) When I got up on Monday morning and began to pack for departure I found a set of RCA cables which would have allowed me to get the VCR connected but ain’t nobody got time for that when we are trying to head home; that can wait until the next visit - and I’m sure that by Christmas there’l be more stuff to deal with.


I love my parents, but sometimes I wish they were complete Luddites and not just tech-impaired.

Popularity: 23% [?]

Everything I Need To Know About Driving, I Learned By Watching “Russian” Dashcam Videos

Posted by Office-Bob on 14 Jun 2018 | Tagged as: General Craziness, Rants

Before we begin, I’ll just mention the reason “Russian” is in quotation marks is because some of the accidents occur in Asian countries and also happen in the USA…but the majority of them appear to be from Russia. An excellent source is the “Idiots on Wheels” YouTube channel, although there are many other videos out there waiting to be run across (run into?).

That being said, watching a lot of the dashcam compilation videos has not only convinced me that I never want to drive in Russia (or be a passenger in a car, or even cross a busy street), but it’s also made it very clear that a lot of drivers (and a few pedestrians) don’t understand some basic rules of the road so, for the sake of my reading audience, I want to pass along what I’ve learned in random order:

1) PAY ATTENTION TO THE ROAD: So many crashes are caused by the driver simply failing to pay attention to what is going on around them. Note the distance between you and the car ahead of you; if the distance shrinks, it means you’re getting closer and perhaps you should consider easing off on the gas – and perhaps hitting the brakes – instead of continuing at speed and rear-ending the poor bastard.

2) PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT OTHER DRIVERS ARE DOING: If you’re driving along a multi-lane road and the cars in the other lane have stopped, you might want to consider that perhaps the reason they’ve stopped is because something is blocking their progress – maybe a car is turning left across their bow, or maybe a pedestrian is crossing the street? No matter the reason, if you keep driving along without taking into account that you might hit (or be hit by) something, you’re likely to have an accident.

3) BLIND INTERSECTIONS ARE NOT YOUR FRIEND: If you can’t see that you have a clear field of action to make your turn, pulling out with reckless disregard for reality probably isn’t going to end well.
a. If you’re on the side of the road and are trying to merge back into traffic? Yeah, you may want to bear in mind that checking to make sure the coast is clear is a really good idea.

4) A PEDESTRIAN CROSSING MAY, TO YOUR SURPRISE, HAVE PEDESTRIANS IN IT WHEN YOU TRY TO BLAST THROUGH: This is related to rule #2 when a multi-lane road is involved, and rule #1 comes into play as well. There’s a sub-rule as well…
a. Pedestrians, take note – just because you’re in a pedestrian crossing, it’s no guarantee that you’ll make it safely across: Look both ways and never assume that an oncoming car sees you and will stop for you.

5) NEVER TRUST THAT A TOWING VEHICLE, OR A TRUCK CARRYING CARGO, HAS THEIR LOAD PROPERLY SECURED: Leave a good distance between you and said vehicle so if that aluminum dinghy comes flying at you, there’s a possibility – however remote – that you can swerve to avoid it hitting you.

6) DRIVE AT A SAFE SPEED FOR THE CONDITIONS: Rain, snow, ice, whatever…almost all of the drivers are driving too fast for the road conditions and when shit hits the fan they can’t react properly…there are some clips which show someone avoiding an accident in front of them but because they lose control of their vehicle while swerving, they go off the road or end up hitting someone else.

7) CHECK YOUR MIRRORS AND YOUR BLIND SPOTS: Dammit, people, stop changing lanes because you “have to” without making sure the space you’re trying to get into isn’t already occupied by another vehicle.

8) RIGHT OF WAY MEANS NOTHING UNLESS THEY GIVE IT TO YOU: So what if the guy one lane over is trying to cram into your lane when there’s not enough room unless you brake? Is not letting someone in more important than having to deal with the aftermath of an accident? Is your ego really that fragile?

9) ASSUME THE WORST: You’re in the left lane, approaching an intersection, and a car in the right lane decides to make a left turn in front of you without warning? If you’d been suitably paranoid you’d have been ready for the possibility and perhaps you could have avoided getting crunched.

10) TRAFFIC LIGHTS ARE THERE FOR A REASON: Sure, there will always be drivers who blow through yellow and red lights…but do you need to be one of them?
a. Even if you have the green light, keep your eyes open when going through an intersection as you might be able to see and avoid the asshole that is running the red.

11) DON’T DRIVE ALONGSIDE TRUCKS IN ROUNDABOUTS: I’m not sure how common roundabouts are in the US, but I’ve driven on enough of them in Canada to know that being alongside a big truck when they’re going around a curve is a risky proposition. In fact, most of the roundabouts I’ve seen have signs which specifically warn drivers not to drive alongside trucks in roundabouts.

12) IF THE ROAD IS VERY NARROW WITH LOTS OF CURVES, SLOW THE HELL DOWN: While it’s possible that someone coming around a blind curve may still hit you, at least your dashcam video will show that you were trying to drive safely. What’s that – you don’t have a dashcam? Well, perhaps you should think about getting one.

While there are more lessons to be learned after watching these videos I’d say that a baker’s dozen is enough for now, so I’ll leave you with this final thought:

13) IF YOU SEE AN ACCIDENT HAPPEN, PULL OVER EVEN IF YOU’RE NOT INVOLVED AND SEE IF THERE’S ANYTHING YOU CAN DO TO HELP: Of course bear in mind that once you’re out of your car you’re even more vulnerable to the idiots on the road, so exercise caution when rendering aid.

Happy Driving!

Popularity: 28% [?]

Sometimes the easiest way to get something out of your head is to write it down

Posted by Office-Bob on 22 Aug 2017 | Tagged as: General Craziness, Rants

I try to avoid being overtly political when it comes to social media, but lately it’s been getting more and more difficult to do so - gee, I wonder why?

Anyway, I had a few bits of a song parody floating through (what passes for) my mind and decided that I should knuckle down and finish the damned thing or it would never vacate the premises - what follows is the result.

FYI, the Guam reference was more timely when I started writing this down.

A Day In The Life

(with apologies to The Beatles)
Continue Reading »

Popularity: 33% [?]

I’ll take “How To Miss Your JEOPARDY Audition” for $500, Alex…

Posted by Office-Bob on 08 Apr 2017 | Tagged as: General Craziness, Rants

Last year (July 2016) I received news that I’d been selected to audition for JEOPARDY; I was given a list of available dates and cities and I decided on July 15 in Las Vegas because:

1) It was one of the few dates which fit my current work schedule;
2) It was close to my wedding anniversary and while I’ve been to Vegas before, my wife has never been so I thought it would be a great way to spend the weekend considering that our actual anniversary day was going to be spent working on the 2016 Celebration of Light fireworks competition. We’d have been going out to dinner that weekend anyway, so why not make it more memorable by doing it in Vegas?

I called my wife and asked her if she was cool with flying to Vegas for the weekend and with her enthusiastic approval in hand, I arranged the flight and hotel. Because we were wrapping production on the TV series I was currently working on the day before the audition, I booked an early morning flight which gave us lots of time to check into our hotel and then for me to get to the afternoon audition…unless things went south in a big way.

You can probably guess where this is going but for now, as the late Stuart MacLean used to say, “Let’s stay in the moment.”

We arrived at YVR in lots of time to get through security (I have NEXUS, my wife doesn’t, so our timetable took that into account) and after clearing the lines we sat down and waited…then we received the first notice that things might not go as smoothly as hoped when Air Canada announced there’d be a 30 minute delay due to a mechanical issue. No problem, we literally have hours between arrival in Vegas and the audition so there’s nothing to worry about.

Then another delay was announced.

Then yet another delay was announced.

Then my travel-planning app sent me a text to warn me that the flight had been cancelled.

Since the status board at the gate hadn’t been updated to reflect any cancellation I walked up and asked the gate agent what was going on; she informed me that while the flight had technically been cancelled because the original plane wasn’t going to be fixed in a reasonable amount of time, they were bringing in another plane and would transfer everyone’s reservations over to the “new flight.”

By this time the announcements were coming over the PA system and everyone was finding out the good news; the gate agents handed out meal vouchers so people could go get breakfast while we waited to find out exactly when we’d be taking to the air.

The delay dragged on and on, and my travel plans went from “We’ll have plenty of time” to “Okay, the wife will stay at the airport and grab our luggage while I take a cab straight to the audition” to “Better get used to the fact that you’re just not going to make the audition.” We ended up arriving in Vegas about 30 minutes after the audition started (and we were warned that it would start on time and not to be late, so when you factor in the time it would take to get to the host hotel from the airport it wasn’t even worth trying to get there) so the next step was to check in to our hotel and make the best of a bad situation.

When I’d booked the hotel I’d paid extra for early check-in – something that wasn’t needed by this point because of the delays – so when we got to the hotel I figured there was no harm in asking to be credited back the early check-in fee. Not only did they refund the fee but when I told them why we had come to Vegas and what had happened, they gave us an extra food and drink credit which we used to celebrate our anniversary in a more elaborate way than we’d originally planned.

The weekend went well enough and we had a good time despite my disappointment at missing my “big chance,” but there was one more thing I need to do upon my return home – request a refund from Air Canada for my outbound seat assignments because I had paid for exit row seats for our trip and when the metal was replaced on the flight to Vegas, the same seat number assignments on a different model of aircraft meant that what we had weren’t exit row seats. Upon our return home I went onto seatguru.com and printed off floor plans for both the original plane and the plane we ended up on, noted the difference in seating and requested a refund for the seat fees as what we received were not what we paid for…Air Canada agreed and refunded the fees for the outbound leg of the trip.

By now, some of you might be wondering why I didn’t ask for some sort of compensation for the flight delay itself? Well, despite the long delay in getting me to Las Vegas, Air Canada did in fact get me there so they held up their end of the bargain…it’s not their fault that I didn’t build an extra day’s buffer into my schedule, so as far as I’m concerned I can’t justify asking for more than a refund on that part of the flight which they failed to deliver, namely specific seat assignments.

As for the audition, while waiting at YVR I did email the JEOPARDY producers at the only email address I had to inform them I’d be missing the audition, and a few weeks later they got in touch to say that they’d let me audition again in the near future. I don’t know what then might happen but you can be sure that if/when it does, I’m going to be flying in at least one day early.

Popularity: 27% [?]

Tomato Catch-Up

Posted by Office-Bob on 03 Feb 2015 | Tagged as: Rants, The Church of Pyro, FX

It has been a while since I’ve posted anything, for which I apologize. Life has been in a state of flux and thinking of witty things to say hasn’t exactly been high on my to-do list, but from now on I am going to try and be more regular than a well-fibered colon.

I’m still not working on a full-time basis and while that’s allowed me to take on more pyro and FX work, this whole “not having a steady paycheque” thing is getting old and I’d be happy to get back to the daily grind of sitting at a desk slaving away for a regular wage….oh my dog, did I just write that?

I don’t know what’s worse - dealing with job applications where you don’t ever hear back or dealing with recruiters who tell you they’ve got the perfect position for you but they never call you back after you start dealing with them; of the two I’d say the recruiters are the worst but of course that’s just my opinion.

Okay, that’s enough of a pity party for now.

As I mentioned earlier I’ve been able to engage in more pyro and FX work these days, including three TV shows and a TV movie, as well as a number of fireworks displays which not only included the usual suspects of Canada Day and Celebration of Light, but the Port Moody Centennial and last year’s Port Moody Days…though that had the downside of having to set up my firing control panel next to the stage where an ABBA tribute band was playing. The group was great, it’s just that I’ve never really been an ABBA fan.

I’ve also worked a few BC Lions home games and was part of the Grey Cup 2014 FX crew, and I got to be the “local license” for Motley Crue when they came to Vancouver. Other pyro gigs included a wedding, a city hall opening, a casino opening, a couple of “private” displays (so called because they’re not advertised, but as you can guess once the first shell goes off it’s difficult to keep them a secret) and a New Year’s Eve show for a client who was so secretive, the only person who knew who was paying for it was the guy in charge - and he had to sign an NDA and couldn’t even tell the rest of us. I also did some consulting work on a few plays and made some breakaway vases for another play.

Next week I head to Lake Havasu City, AZ for Western Winter Blast. there are a few seminars that look interesting this year, especially one on gas mines, and I’m hoping to come away with some new knowledge that I can put to use soon.

2015 should be interesting because I am now officially certified by the Explosives Regulatory Division as a pyrotechnics instructor and I will be teaching my first course in March. It’s being held in a town that’s about 4 hours away from here but I guess you have to start somewhere, and I’m hoping to have more courses set up soon in the Metro Vancouver area as there seems to me a lot of interest in becoming licensed. If by some chance you, Dear Reader(s), are in the Vancouver area and are interested in taking either the Display Supervisor or Special Effects Pyrotechnic courses - or both - leave your contact info in the comments and I’ll let you know who you need to contact to express interest.

That’s all for now…Stay Green!

Popularity: 39% [?]

Dear Ryobi - your recall process needs to be recalled

Posted by Office-Bob on 10 Nov 2010 | Tagged as: Rants

I was recently made aware of a product recall for a specific model of Ryobi cordless drill due to problems with overheating; according to the CPSC notice Ryobi was replacing all drills at no charge - all you had to do was call a toll-free number to arrange a pickup of your affected drill.

I like my Ryobi drill; it was recommended to me by a friend who builds sets for a living and it’s never given me a spot of trouble but since I prefer to err on the side of caution, I called the number and arranged for a pickup on November 3rd. All I had to do was box up the drill and leave it out for FedEx to pick up – once Ryobi got the drill, they’d ship me a replacement.

I carefully packed the drill up, left it outside my front door in my carport on the 3rd…

…and it wasn’t picked up.

I called Ryobi on the 4th to ask what had happened and CustServRep #2 told me the following:

  • There’s a 3-day window for pickup;
  • FedEx was only picking up on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, which meant that the drill could be picked up on the 4th (Thursday) or the 9th (the following Tuesday).
  • It would have been nice if this had been explained to me the first time I called, but whatever.

    So, I dutifully put the box out on Thursday – nothing.

    I left the box out on the following Tuesday – still no pickup.

    I called Ryobi on the 10th to let them know that the window had passed without the drill being picked up…and was told by CSR #3 that the number I called didn’t handle the recalls within Canada and that I’d need to call a different toll-free number.

    I called the new number and, after navigating the voicemail tree, was told by the recording that in future I should be calling yet another number, but they’d transfer me to said number.

    I spent about 10 minutes on hold, spending that time looking up the serial number for my drill because, despite CSR Number 3 (aka “Larry”) telling me that I wouldn’t need the s/n to arrange the pickup, I correctly suspected it would be needed.

    Finally I connected with CSR #4, aka “Jane,” who expressed confusion at why I was told I needed to call a different number but took down my information yet again. My new pickup is scheduled for the 18th, which means that I’ll need to wait until the 23rd to call again if the pickup doesn’t happen…but if that happens, it may be Executive E-mail Carpet Bomb time.

    Further bulletins as events warrant.

    Popularity: 63% [?]

    Of course, it all makes sense now!

    Posted by Office-Bob on 23 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: General Craziness, Rants

    My Dear Friends:

    It is with a heavy heart that I write the words you are reading now, and yet I must write them because you have a right to know the Truth.

    A Truth so heinous, so insidious that it strikes at the very fabric of our society.

    And to think that I am able to give you this Truth because of a television commercial.

    Last night I saw an ad for Verizon, in which a mother was going to let her daughter go off with her friends at the mall; she was comfortable doing this because her smartphone had a program which allowed her to track her daughter’s location through the daughter’s cellphone.

    Think about this…the ability to track someone by using one of the modern devices that we have come to rely so heavily upon.

    I considered the seriousness of this and felt reassured that, should I desire to avoid being followed as I went about my business, I could simply turn off my phone and remove the battery.

    But hold on a minute…there are phones that have the battery installed in such a way that they cannot be removed. That’s right, my friends, I’m talking about Apple’s iPhone.

    Now please bear with me here, as this might get a bit confusing, but I promise that when I’m finished, you’ll know the Truth.

    What phone carrier offers the iPhone? AT&T.

    Who has co-operated in the past with the National Security Agency, allowing the government to have information about their customers? AT&T.

    Who’s on Apple’s Board of Directors? Al Gore.

    Who do some people claim “invented” the Internet? Al Gore.

    What administration is rolling out a National Broadband Plan? The Obama administration.

    What political party do Gore and Obama both belong to? The Democratic Party.

    Health care reform, also known as “Obamacare,” has recently been signed into law.

    Excessive cellphone use has been targeted as a possible cause of brain tumors.

    The connection, my friends, is this:

    The Democrats can track everyone who uses a cellphone. Sure, we know AT&T is in bed with the Administration, but why should we believe the other telcos are innocent?

    If you use an iPhone you can’t remove the battery, which means you can still be tracked, which means that not only will the government know where you are at all times, but when you eventually enter the hospital for treatment of a brain tumor they’ll already have even more information on you because of the mandatory insurance requirements that are part of the health care “reform.”

    If you try to avoid being tracked by turning off your cellphone and removing the battery your chances of developing a brain tumor will be reduced, which means you’ll be less of a burden on the healthcare system. This reduction in medical claims could eventually drive the insurance companies out of business, and if that happens then nobody gets any medical care.

    Is this the kind of world you want your children to live in – a world where the choices are to use iPhones in order to be able to have access to a doctor, or else have the freedom to move about as you please but run the risk of not being able to get treatment should you fall ill?

    Why haven’t Beck, Limbaugh, Hannity and Coulter picked up on this? Am I the only sane voice out there?

    I think Dr. Miles Bennell said it best:

    “Listen to me! Please listen! If you don’t, if you won’t, if you fail to understand, then the same incredible terror that’s menacing me WILL STRIKE AT YOU! They’re here already! You’re next! You’re next, You’re next…!”

    Popularity: 57% [?]

    Miscellaneous ranting

    Posted by Office-Bob on 11 Nov 2008 | Tagged as: Rants

    Here are a few things on my mind right now:

  • If you’re paranoid enough about germs to use one of those disposable ass-gaskets in a public bathroom, why would you imagine I’d want to sit on the same piece of paper that your ass was perched on? Don’t leave it partially on the toilet seat, be considerate and flush the damned thing when you’re finished.
  • While I have nothing against idle chat with strangers in lineups (I’ve done it myself), pay attention to cues that indicate the person you’re trying to engage in conversation isn’t interested in talking…if you’re too stupid or reckless to do so, don’t be surprised if someone tells you to fuck off when, as they’re leaving the grocery store, you tell them to “Smile, bud!”
  • I don’t give a damn how expensive/new your car is, you’re still required to obey the rules of the road. Don’t think that you’re entitled to be a dick just because you’re overcompensating for the lack of one.
  • I don’t want to hear you complain about problems you’ve had with different relationships or different jobs - take a moment to ask yourself what all of those things have in common? Hint: YOU.
  • Your candidate lost, get over it.
  • If there’s a lineup at the ATM or checkout line, don’t slow things down further by letting your Precious Widdle Snookums punch in the numbers on the keypad - trust me, when it’s the end of a long day and we’re all trying to get home to relax, you’re the only one who thinks it’s cute.
  • Despite what Shepherd Book says, I say that the Special Place in Hell is actually for telemarketers.
  • Speaking of telemarketers - any call that starts with a recording and gives me the “opportunity” to speak to a real live asshole representative will be taken advantage of…and once that waste of genetic material “person” is on the line I’m setting the phone down and letting that poor excuse for metabolism parasite wait on the line until they get fed up and disconnect; you wasted my time with your call so I’m damned well going to do what I can to waste yours because, if it keeps you from calling others for even a little while, I’ll be happy to have helped in my own small way.
  • Attention spammers: Despite what you may think, I am one of the (apparently few) people who will not be tricked into opening emails that are sent “by me.” I am also not fooled by bank security notices, even on those extremely rare occasions that I get one allegedly from a bank that I actually deal with.
  • To my bank (TD Canada Trust): If you want people to report fraud/abuse, please do not make us have to copy and paste the email info into a web form, but rather set up a “abuse” email account where we can forward spam and phishing attempts.
  • Don’t ask me who I’m voting for; it’s none of your business.
  • Why do non-restricted TV stations even bother broadcasting movies like KILL BILL or DIE HARD? I realize that editing out the swearing and violence leaves more room for commercials, but I find it hard to believe the revenue justifies such bowdlerization (then again, I don’t understand the popularity of reality programming so I’m probably giving the TV viewing audience too much credit).
  • I hate having a substitute paper carrier because while the regular carrier puts my paper in my mailbox, the sub never leaves the paper in the same place twice and never in the mailbox.
  • I just realized that I’m channeling Andy Rooney…I guess 49 isn’t too young to be a curmudgeon.
  • Popularity: 53% [?]

    DHS can GOES take a flying leap (update at end of entry)

    Posted by Office-Bob on 13 Oct 2008 | Tagged as: Rants

    My Canadian passport expires in January of 2009 (lets hear it for the Canadian passport’s 5-year lifespan compared to the US passport’s 10-year life), so I’m in the process of filling out and sending in a new passport application.

    After I receive my new passport, I will also have to update my NEXUS information – actually, when anything used as part of the NEXUS system changes (driver’s license, credit card, etc.) you have to update the information or risk losing your NEXUS status. No big deal, I thought, until I started looking up details on how I have to update the information and found that part of the process would entail using GOES, brought to you as part of that organization we all love to hate, known as the Department of Homeland Stupidity Security.

    As you may recall from this entry, I hadn’t used the Global Online Enrollment System after I registered there and gave up on the clusterfuck that was their version of the NEXUS application because they asked for my car’s VIN, which I didn’t have handy because they hadn’t warned me I’d need it. However, I usually do not fight the weather and while I was able to get around the original application snag, it looked as if GOES was the only way to go this time.

    I accessed the GOES site and, of course, realized that I didn’t remember my username (though I could make some educated guesses) or my password (which, because of their insane requirements, wasn’t going to be anything remotely like the passwords I generally create). No problem, I’ll just click the “Forgot Password” link…

    …only to wait 5 minutes while the website decided that their server wasn’t available.


    After trying a few more times I managed to make it to the page only to be confronted with a plethora of tasks including 3 security questions and a CAPTCHA. As someone who doesn’t tend to take many vacations, I was stumped on how to answer the query regarding my favourite vacation spot (I’m guessing that “anywhere I don’t have to deal with DHS fucktardedry” isn’t an option). I guessed wrong the first time (out of 3 tries before the account is locked) and when I tried it again, it took so long that I was told my session had timed out.

    I went for what I thought was Round Two…

    …and I guess the timeout counted as my second try because after another attempt I was informed that my account was locked.

    At least the password reset link appeared to be dead simple – oh, hell, I spoke too soon, as it became clear that GOES and Safari (my browser of choice) weren’t going to play nice since GOES asked me to enter the state/province I was born in, which I had already done. Okay, I’ll just try this in a different browser and see how it GOES (sorry). Next up…Opera!

    Nope, still had the same bug where it thinks I haven’t entered the state. What would happen if I use the RESET button and entered the information again? Success, it seems to have accepted it but hey wait a minute now I’m back at the GOES home page and I have no idea what just happened what the everloving fuck?

    Another sigh. By this point I’m beginning to think the reason this website is more fucked than a 2 dollar hooker is because any money that should have been spent on computer hardware was instead spent on the new TSA uniforms.

    Of course, it didn’t occur to me until after I’d gotten locked out of my account that I might have a copy of my GOES information archived somewhere. Sure enough, a quick search for the keyword “NEXUS” takes me to a folder with my GOES username (which was nothing like I expected) and my funky password.

    I was tired of sighing by then and was considering bashing my head against the keyboard; I decided against this course of action because, while I do have another keyboard, I don’t want to spend the rest of the evening picking broken keys out of my forehead. Besides, it’s not the keyboard’s fault (is it?).

    Just to see what would happen, I tried logging in with the correct name and password. GOES accepted it (the fuh? I thought my account was locked?)and told me that my password needed to be changed because it was too old (okay, I created the account last year so that makes sense) but when I entered a new password (twice) and clicked the button to make the change, I was told the password couldn’t be changed because my account was locked.

    I think the people who designed this furshlugginer website are the same people who write software for ATMs where it waits until after you’ve entered all your information, including the banking you want to do, before you’re told you entered your PIN wrong.

    Tomorrow morning I shall try calling the toll-free number for GOES “Customer Service” (I fully expect there’ll be a separate rant about that) and if it isn’t available from Canada, I’ll try contacting them through the provided email address.

    Pray for me.

    UPDATE 10/14/08: The toll-free numbers works in Canada, and after spending about 5 minutes on hold I was connected to a very helpful CSR who reset my account; I was able to log in and replace the temp password he gave me, and everything is working for now.

    Popularity: 42% [?]

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