Saturday, February 22, 2014

early Steynamite Christmas shopping

Readers here will know I'm a fan of Mark Steyn. For a long time at his site I somehow didn't realize Mark Steyn's Passing Parade is actually a book. I've read some of his obits from the book and they are really good.

I've already read America Alone and After America and they are great books. So I was going to get the Passing Parade anyway. Then I realized there's at least one other person I know who I think would enjoy the passing parade too. So I can also get another copy as a gift.

So far so good. This was looking to later this year. Then the Michael Mann lawsuit came along. what a nuisance. but I wanted to help out in my small way so I got my gift certificate which I'll use some of in a few months.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Olympic hockey semi finals

Like quite a few I watched the Olympic semi finals today. work from home can be useful at times. of course I'm glad Canada won over a very good USA team.

I overheard a guy at the fish and chips place said the game was boring. I wouldn't call it that, but the game was a bit different than in 2010. it didn't seem as fast or intense as the 2010 showdown. it had more the feel of a preseason game. except for Phil Kessel who was flying around. it might as well have been a women's game for how little checking there was. also as Don Cherry pointed out a defenceman let a USA forward blow past him on the outside in the first period, something that never happens in an NHL game.

I got thinking there may have been a couple of factors in the reduced intensity.

first the John Tavares injury is such a shame. but it's a reminder these guys are here as volunteers and they need to stay healthy for their real jobs in the NHL. so the players may have been motivated to take a bit off, avoid collisions and stay safe

after the 2010 gold medal game which was a generational event and incredible dramatic game it's pretty hard to follow that. so this was possibly a very good game which happened to be the match after the memorable 2010 tilt

there's a bit and switch element. in 2010 we were told this was the last time the NHL players would be in the Olympics. the final time it would be the best versus the best, nation versus nation, a place in history on the line. so that added a lot of intensity to the 2010 event. and yet here we are only four years later and the NHL players are already back. and they'll be back in four years. the players were scammed four years ago and now they see it for what it is. another tournament.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Gerald's Trucking Halifax

I'll use this space to put in a good word for Gerald's Trucking in Halifax. They cleared out my uncle's apartment this week. Very easy to work with. Cost was reasonable and what I had expected. They showed up right on time and finished quickly.

We'd had Gerald's in before when my parents moved and there was this gigantic couch to remove from the basement. They were top notch then too. That time they had to use a chainsaw to cut the couch in pieces to get it out!

I'm glad Gerald's is still around. I remember them from growing up back in Fairview.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

birthday cards tip

here's a quick tip if you find you sometimes need a birthday card for a kids activity or whatever and aren't real fussy about cards.

don't hassle yourself with having to make a trip to the dollar store each time. instead when you are at the dollar store stock up and by 3,5, however many generic good enough birthday cards. so just keep a supply at home and use them when needed. when they get low or run out refill your home supply with several.

this may be totally standard. for some reason it took me a long time to realize how much easier it is to stock up on dollar store birthday cards. a couple of months ago there were some awesome cards at the dollar store. one was really weird and offbeat and just brilliant. another birthday card had an embedded deathwish in the cover art! they've since been used, I wish I'd taken pics to post here

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Target Canada Royal Bank credit card has been hacked

Last December I did some shopping at Target. While I was there I noticed there was a 5% discount if you used their card. So I got a form and sent it in.

Around the time I sent there was the big US story about Target getting hacked. uh oh, but I wasn't too concerned I figured they would just suspend the application until the security issues were fixed. Also I hadn't heard of any problems in Canada.

So in early February the Royal Bank called to tell me to go to my local branch to pick up my card. I went down on Thursday February 6 and picked it up and went through a tedious process with the reception followed by a teller to register or whatever.

After finishing at the branch the next step was to call the 1-800 number to activate the card so it could be used. I hadn't gotten to it yet. Then on Friday February 7 I get a call from Royal Bank security asking me if I'd made some purchases on the Target MasterCard. There was something on Feb 2 at and some other place I'd never heard of. Of course security was just confirming the charges were bogus as I hadn't even received the card from the branch until the 6th, and the card hadn't even been activated yet.

So nice start I haven't even received the card and there are already unauthorized transactions. How did these even go through if the card wasn't activated? How was the card number even obtained? who knows, it's a pretty disappointing experience. I expected better of the Royal Bank and Target for that matter than to be involved in some matter like this. I'd never done anything with the Royal Bank before and it seems unlikely I will in the future.

The Royal Bank security said to destroy the card and they would send me a new one. I called them back and said to just cancel the whole thing. I want nothing to do with it at this point. I have all the credit limit space I need and I only got this for the discount. If it's going to be a hassle and something I have to worry about then who would want that.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

R I P uncle Claude

Bad news my uncle died last week. He was a good man, good to the kids. He had never married and only had his nieces and nephews and their kids.

The funeral went over well. Good turnout. Snow's did a great job. I'd been there with some other people and back on Windsor Street and they were always top notch. I ended up doing a reading Ecclesiastes 3. I used to have a blue bookmark of that chapter when I was young. A fine passage.

At the graveside Snow's hired some muscle to help pallbearers. The commissionaires actually do it, who knew? As most of those at graveside were old. I did manage to volunteer to carry the heavy coffin. Might be the 2nd or 3rd time now. Something I find satisfying for some reason.

Well the funeral is done so that's the time sensitive part. Less time sensitive is to get the apartment cleaned out. My dad is next of kin and executor so there are a lot of details. It's a bummer because he's really too old himself to be taking this on. We've been trying to help as we can. The apartment is going ok. We cousins did a sweep to box up anything for charity or sentimental items anyone wanted such as an old cookie jar. Salvation Army truck is coming on Thursday followed by find a junk remover for the last of it. He lived modestly so it hasn't been too bad with clutter. The timing is fortunate around the apartment he died early in the month so it's not too rushed to clear out of there.

Well he'll be missed, his absence will be noticed. I last saw him at Christmas we picked him up for the family dinner. He was pretty well then and right to the end really, never in the hospital. May he rest in peace.