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In the building that I work in now, there are a series of super confusing elevators. There are three different pairs of elevators and they all terminate at different floors or sections of the building; depending if you want to go outside, to the second floor or the mall.

If you can figure out which elevator to go on, you might be presented with this problem:

Usually parking is below the pedestrian floors but in this case they are above. So P3 and P4 make sense as they are the third and fourth floors, until you see P2 which is actually below the first floor. Unsurprisingly many people get confused and go up from P3/4.

If that is not confusing enough, the P2 button actually only works on one of the two elevators (because only one elevator extends down to that floor). If you didn’t know any better, you would just think its broken.

One billion page faults, thanks Firefox 9.0.1!

Yesterday was trade deadline day, and usually that is a day of excitement and keyboard-busting F5s. This year was gearing up to be an even more exciting one than usual thanks to all the weird moves prior to the Olympics and the trade embargo during the Olympics. In fact trade deadline day is one of the three most exciting days in the NHL (the other being draft day and July 1 when unrestricted free agent signings begin).

Because of the excitement, there is an intense amount of media coverage. I don’t know if there is more obsession over a Steve Jobs keynotes or NHL trade deadline day; Steve Jobs never has a 9-5 TV show to cover his keynote!

I never get to watch the coverage because I’m at work, but I can imagine that Wednesday on TSN started with a lot of speculating on the big names that would be moving. In the end, the entire day was a huge bust! A bunch of AHLers were swapped so that clubs could shore up their farm teams, and a bunch of 4th liners and low round draft picks got moved around. I wonder what their panel talked about for 8 hours?

Since there was all that hype and commercials about NHL trade deadline day (did you catch the commercials on CTV’s Olympics coverage), they had to talk about something. There was a lot of non-news reported, such as Kaberle saying that Burke would forward any offers he received to him. And the pièce de résistance of useless information:

It’s an article about trading Stempniak but they bluntly acknowledge that “[w]here Stempniak is going is still unknown“! The article was updated with details some time later, but why was there such a rush to publish an incomplete article? I can only surmise that they feel they need to contribute to the excitement and rush of nothing happening.

It’s the gift-giving season so Malcolm Gladwell and Bill Simmons have a discussion about all things sports in order to get their names and their new books on your minds. It’s not as skeevy as it seems because they specifically say they’re doing that at the very beginning!

It is interesting throughout and touches all the major leagues in the US. They left the NHL to the end, and basically re-iterated the same thoughts that were in the minds of all Canadian hockey fans.

Speaking of crazy theories, what about the idea that Stern planted Bettman in the NHL knowing he would screw the league up? Follow this timeline.

Fall 1992: Stern sees the NHL coming on strong: Gretzky in Los Angeles; a potential Lemieux/Jagr dynasty in Pittsburgh; Lindros looming in Philly, Messier leading the Rangers back to prominence; three other potential superstars (Alex Mogilny, Pavel Bure and Steve Yzerman); and four major markets (Detroit, Boston, Montreal and Chicago) contending for the Cup. Well, he has to sabotage this immediately. When the NHL owners come to him for a recommendation, he pushes his assistant Bettman on them. It’s like Michael Corleone convincing Moe Greene to let Fredo run his casinos. No, really, he’ll be great!

Feb 1, 1993: Bettman takes over. At this point, he is saying all the right things and not hinting at his desire to overexpand, lower the number of Canadian teams and effectively destroy the soul of the league.

June 1994: The league finishes its greatest 18-month run ever — Montreal beating Gretzky’s Kings in the ’93 finals, then the Rangers ending a 54-year drought by winning the ’94 Cup — and if that’s not enough, Jordan “retires” (sorry, I have to use quotes) and baseball has its damaging strike. Sports Illustrated cements hockey’s coming-on-strong status with its memorable “WHY THE NHL’S HOT AND THE NBA’S NOT” cover. Even in video games, the NHL was crushing it: That year, “NHL ’94” became the single biggest time-waster other than the O.J. trial. There was no cooler/hipper/hotter sport.

Looking back, how can you screw that up? Bettman did it. Forget about all the other reasons the NHL fell off a cliff for 12 years (only recently have there been signs of life) and concentrate on this one: The league had 24 teams when Bettman took over, including eight in Canada. Now they have a whopping 30 teams, including more warm-weather American teams (L.A., Phoenix, Nashville, Carolina, Tampa, Florida, Atlanta, Anaheim) than Canadian teams (only six). Here’s Canada, the country that loves hockey more than anyone loves anything … and it only represents 20 percent of the National Hockey League. This is the single dumbest true fact in sports right now. And it happened on Bettman’s watch.

Still, it is comforting to see these words written in public by influential writers!

In a odd move, I actually listened to the radio today. It was like I was prescient or something because I got to hear Michael Jackson’s new, posthumous single This Is It. On first listen, it seemed like another MJ dud – sure his target audience may have grown older and become more mellow but the King of Pop still needs some pop in his singles.

I was going to write this blog to complain, but while I was researching I found out that MJ’s “new” single isn’t even new. It was originally written with Canadian Paul Anka and first recorded in 1991 – and guess what, it wasn’t Michael Jackson. I wonder if Sony really did screw up, because they couldn’t have thought that a single with this wide a release would get past the collective hearing of the internet generation…

Every week in the mail, we get the Zellers flyer. They are very aggressive in advertising their deals in the neighborhood, since they are a stone’s throw away from me (well, maybe a paper airplane throw). They have a couple loss leaders which are decent deals, but the rest of the flyer seems to be price discriminated against stupid or lazy people.

A couple of weeks, I was flipping through and they advertised NHL09 for the 360 for $69.99. It was being sold everywhere else for $59.99, and that’s without any special coupons or deals. Last week, I was flipping through again and they were selling an Xbox for $299 with a free (platinum hits) game. Future Shop and Best Buy usually have Xbox deals where they bundle 2 free games, of which one of the game is a current hit. So even in a straight comparison, Zellers is a rip off. Looking at the fine print, I noticed that it was an Arcade system. You can get an Arcade system and 2 free games from Walmart for $177. That’s a 69%+1 game price differential!

Dear MBNA,

I haven’t heard any news from you in a long time, although I haven’t written to you myself either. I hope you’re not mad. I’ve actually been avoiding your mail (because it is always useless) by moving to a new address and not letting you know. I hope you take it personally and stop sending me useless cheques. I’d appreciate that!



We registered for our wedding at The Bay, not really because we wanted to, but because there really wasn’t a better option. The Bay, for all its faults, has a wide variety of stuff which is better than if we registered at 10 different stores. But it was a horrible experience having to go through The Bay’s gift registry. Here are a couple of my peeves:

  • You can’t add/remove items online, you had to actually go into the store to scan items (and you “remove” by saying you want 0 of an item).
  • The in-store scanning is kind of neat, you’re given what looks like a wifi-enabled PDA barcode scanner running Windows Mobile. Except it crashed often and you would have to go back to the registry office and get a new one configured to your registry number etc. Oh yeah, you couldn’t remove items that you scanned in on the device either.
  • The selections is crap, there’s a lot of stuff I realized we needed, but they don’t sell.
  • The prices are crap. It’s better to just ask for gift cards and then hunt for you own deals
  • I couldn’t find a link on the online view of the registry, to link directly to the registry. This seems like a very basic thing that a customer would want to do – maybe they want to email it to their friends. But there’s no link and the only way to access the registry is if you typed in the registry owner’s name. Eventually I did find a direct link, but through googling and finding someone else’s Wedding page.
  • Why does the online list not have a full text description of each item and/or a picture? I don’t even remember what each of the entries refer to now

Basically I want a registry site that works online. You would think that The Bay would want to reach out to clientele like us considering they are not doing a lot of business with our demographic. I did look for an online option for a registry, one which you can integrate multiple stores, but they don’t work that well (and keep spamming you with other garbage). So really, in Canada, there is no good option – just ask for red pockets!

Dear MBNA,

Again with the two mailings this month? I thought it was just a momentary blunder, but two is a trend! Fortunately for you, I had a balance I wanted to pay off, to the tune of almost $5k, that your cheques would have been perfect for (had I not ripped them up immediatly), but unfortunately I received a “payment holiday” so I won’t need to use your cheques — sorry!

On a holiday,


P.S. I noticed your new color scheme for your cheques – red and white is very Canadian, although Canaday Day was earlier this month. By the way, where did you come up with the idea of red and white? I don’t see color in any of our other mailings, or brand?

Dear MBNA,

I am quizzically looking at your last mailing which states my credit limit of $8800 when I know for a fact that you’ve not-that-recently, and against my wishes, raised it to 5 figures. In fact, I have just about $8k on my bill now and still have room for a tv or two, so I would very much like a clarification of what exactly is the truth. In the meantime, I will promptly rip up your inaccurate marketing mail.



I’ve bottled up my distaste for dealing with Rogers and moved ahead with getting my services setup. It’s not like I had any other choice right? I scoured online for the “best” deal for Rogers High-Speed and there really was no choice. I could do a 1-year contract at $39.95+$3/mth or I could buy a modem for $99.95 and get a $99.95 credit. I chose the latter and attempted to set it up this weekend.

I called them on Sunday after noon, and after 30 minutes and talking to 5 people, got nothing done! Apparently their systems were down so they couldn’t do any sign-ups. Plus, they used some VoIP line (to India?) and between the static and the accent, I couldn’t really hear anything on my cellphone that was getting full reception.

I called back on Monday and finally setup my services. Instead of the $100 back, I got 3 months for free (which is a better deal), but I couldn’t get everything activated because I didn’t have the serial number of the modem on me (my fault I guess). So I still have to wait to call them back and setup my account (let’s hope they honor my 3-months-free deal). Plus, then I have to wait for someone to come to the building and “wire” my cable. I thought that’s what got me into this problem in the first place…

Dear MBNA,

It’s that time of the month again where I unhappily receive your letter in the mail. It’s always the same and rather tiresome now don’t you think? My credit limit is the same (well to your credit the word NEW got dropped off), the cheques are the same, the utility I receive (read: none) is the same. I think it is about time that we stopped writing each other don’t you think?



Dear MBNA,

I was really confused this month because I received two mails from you on the same day this month. One was your regularly schedule penpal mail, and the other was your regular scheduled collection mail. I opened your penpal mail first of course, and promptly ripped up your cheques. But when I went to deal with your collection mail, I noticed that I had received another four cheques. Did I miss that sheet when I ripped up your previous mail? No I didn’t think so, I couldn’t be so untidy. I reached the conclusion that it was you, yes you, who had repeatedly mailed me on the same day with multiple cheques! Gosh that’s so confusing, which set am I supposed to rip up first then?



P.S. I took notice that my “new” credit limit is the same as my previously lucky credit limit.

Dear MBNA,

I bet you are sorry to hear that I have new penpals! Yes, you are not the only financial institution that has harassed me with free cheques in the mail. Although I have to say, my bank is not as convenient as you since they force me to fill in 6 digits of my credit card number before I can use their cheques. With yours, I can just sign my name and spend spend spend. Spend spend spend!!

Ooh, but by the way, thanks for increasing my credit line yet again. I forgot how much it was before, but now I feel really lucky since it starts with 88. Maybe I’ll win the lottery and never need credit again.




Dear MBNA,

Only a $500 increase in credit and three cheques? Cry!



I backup my NDS saves every once in awhile so I don’t lose all my progress if my saves get corrupted or something worse happens. In the case of my (ninten)dogs, the added benefit is if they get hit by a truck for example, I can restore the backup and they can run around happily again.

I went to back things up early this week, but for some reason my card was unreadable. When I attached it to my desktop or laptop, it said it had to be formatted. But the weird thing was, when I put my card into my cameras, I was able to take and store pictures; and when I attached my camera to my desktop through a USB cable, I was able to copy the pictures off without problem. I figured that there might have been a corrupt entry on the FAT which prevented my computers from seeing earlier files, but I ran a variety of disk repair tools and it didn’t find any problem. Weird!

So I slept on it, and figured out another strategy. I would load a homebrew which would let me FTP the files over wifi. But in order to get this done, I would need a second card to verify that I copied everything off successfully, o I picked up a 2GB one on my way home from work (and it was only $12.99! These things are cheap now). Interestingly, when I used the new micro->normal adapter, my computer was able to read the card successfully! For some reason, my old Kingston Japanese-made adapter broke and was only able to read part of my card. I guess I’ll have to mail-order a USB adapter specifically for my card in order to prevent this hilarity from happening in the future.

I’ve noticed recently, that my spelling has been getting poorer. Not to a point that I rely on F7 to check my spelling, but all too frequently when I’m typing out my blogs, I come across words that I am no longer sure exactly how to spell. One recently example was “exemplify” which on this occasion I managed to sound out properly. But on my previous attempt, I mixed up the root word example with the expected sound, and when I punched it into Google for correction, it didn’t come out properly.

So this is just another old-person-rant against using (relying on?) technologies to replace the hard-earned skills of my youth. Or maybe I just need to read more and get my spelling back up.

Dear MBNA,

When I read about plans to purchase Bear Sterns for $2/share, losing 95+% of the worth, I immediately thought of you. No, I’m not aware of any extra-curricular activities of yours in the mortgage-backing business, but I suspect that you may have been suckered into the same black hole of greed that has siphoned away many financial companies’ cash. Of course, it would be to a lesser extent because I can only sign my name so many times before the remainder on the big credit limit number becomes a doughnut.

I don’t live in fear though, because I live for tomorrow! I know you, my big greedy friend, will decide to make that number even bigger. It’s people with friends like you that can buy a fifth plasma TV for the upstairs bathroom, and a second snowblower to clear the lawn for an ice rink. But I feel bad for you my friend, it’s easy to be blinded by greed and oblivious to the unstable footing beneath you. Because of that, I solemnly pledge to rip each and ever check you send me (including the three I just received in the mail — thanks!) and not use your money for gratuitous means.

Capping my pens,


Dear MBNA,

It has been a month since our last communique, and I was wondering where your predictive mailings were this month. Perhaps, the shortened month caused your delivery to be delayed until the start of March.

But then I reviewed my mail, and realized that it was I who had missed your correspondence. I did not notice that you had enlarged your usual business sized envelopes to a more square-ular, larger footprint one. I applaud your move for your dismissive attitude to environmental preservation and allusion to bigger-is-better spam mailings. However I question whether this close link to irresponsible online advertisements would lead me to consider your monthly cheques as being spam?



Dear MBNA,

Your shotgun approach to palm reading is certainly paying you interest! How did you know that the winter monster known as Winterlicious has been gobbling up portions of my income? While I believe it enjoys the slightly bitter aftertaste of the Canadian greens, I’m afraid the Winterlicious’ stomach is not used to digesting on credit. Presumably it has a death wish as it certainly takes a long time before AMEX credit is finally absorbed into the blood stream. Perhaps you are also friends with Winterlicious and wish for me to feed it with my newly increased credit line?



Dear MBNA,

How thoughtful of you to deliver some cheques to my door just as the holiday season is ending and my holiday bills are arriving. I must say, of all our recent correspondences, this is perhaps the most timely one of all. Bravo. I am expecting a rather fat bill to arrive shortly, and would love to apply your convenience cheques to pay it off; although quizically I wonder whether paying my MBNA bill with my MBNA cheques will put off my lump sum interest payments indefinitely?



Dear MBNA,

After I switched from a “preferred” penpal to a “platinum” penpal, I was afraid that I would lose the mails that you send me every now and then. So it was with glee that I received not one, but two mailings from you within a week. The pack of 4 cheques you provided me with along with my cash advance PIN would not have lasted a long time, so I am glad I got another full envelope of cheques from you! Oh what would I (or my shredder) ever do without you??



This “term” I’m not taking Mandarin anymore. I had originally planned to continue my Saturday morning classes, but by the time I stopped procrastinating and tried to sign up, they had already counted the numbers and decided there wasn’t enough enrollment to start a class. So much for Chinese being the next English.

Instead, Pauline and I signed up for ballroom dancing classes put on by Toronto Parks & Rec (no tuition tax break this time boo). This was the first time I signed up for one of their programs since swimming classes when I was a kid, and it’s much easier now! I remember having to goto some school early on a weekend morning and lining up in order to sign up for swimming. Now you can call in and register via voice menus!

The catch is now you need a family ID and a client ID in order to sign up, regardless of the method you choose. The family ID is the same for all members of your household, while the client ID is unique to the person. Why you need to remember and give your family ID instead of the government keeping track of it internally is beyond me. Anyways, I had terrible difficulty trying to register Pauline in the course because I called in and spoke to an individual in order to register. Once you mention that you are trying to register someone else who doesn’t share the same family ID, they throw the book at you and quote you a practiced line saying they would have to call in themselves. So inconvenient.

It’s also a really dumb rule, because I easily circumvented it by going on their automated phone system and punching in all of Pauline’s info. To top it off, I was only charged $50 when I registered by automated means, compared to $75 the other way!

Dear MBNA,

MBNA why are you holding out on me? Your most recent letter said my credit limit was $900 less than what I saw on my online account! How can I keep signing away these cheques that you send me if you won’t let me use my full limit? Please have your story straight before you go and milk my cash.



Dear MBNA,

Hey we’re pretty good pen pals. Over the summer we’ve sent four letters back and forth but even though it’s fall now, it looks like you’re still dedicated to sending me mail. It’s a good thing you sent me another batch of cheques, seeing as how the credit on my MBNA card is almost used up from holds by 2 different car dealerships and a year’s payment for car insurance. Doesn’t that mean that my cash advance limit is not as much as it was before? I don’t think I can use up all the cheques you sent me then. I better rip them up.