Monday, April 30, 2007

Why I have a love-hate relationship with Vonage, part 7

Warning: pointless ranting ensues below. If you're here for a feel-good anecdote about my sweet son's 4th birthday, umm.... read my next post. For those of you who like a good sarcasm-laden tongue-lashing, read on.

For those of you keeping track, no, I've never actually written parts 1 through 6 here on our blog, but be assured they do exist. Part 6 deals primarily with the 3-hour ordeal I had last Friday night with the numbskulls who work overseas for Vonage.

The short version of Reason Number 6, for those of you who happen to be Vonage customers, is that if you ever need to return your linksys(TM) router/phone adapter to Vonage because the base of the antenna is loose, and they send you a D-Link VWR instead of a new linksys, and you are attempting to establish your wireless security, and you call the help line because no matter what you do, for some reason the router won't accept your encryption keys, even though technician after technician keeps telling you to do the exact same thing and it still won't work, you should know that you can save yourself 3 hours by not listening to the first girl when she tells you that Firefox is a fine browser in which to do all of this, but by rather ignoring her advice and opening up Internet Explorer. Because guess what? It works in Explorer. And not in Firefox.

I could have used that information to get back my 3 hours, but instead I listened to the dork and now I'm 3 hours closer to my death with 3 hours of accomplishments less to show for it.

Oh yeah - sorry. Back to the task on hand. Reason Number 7:


When the person at Vonage who is organizing the shipment of a new router to replace your faulty one replies, when asked whether or not you'll be responsible for sending back the old, defective router, that no, Vonage will cover the cost for the return shipment and will send all the necessary information to you with the new router, he is very misinformed, as Vonage apparently has a policy not to do that. Thus, when you call Vonage to ask why you were told that you wouldn't have to pay for the return shipment earlier, and now you're being told that you do, the very nice credit supervisor will tell you that she's very sorry, but that they have a policy.

Well, very nice credit supervisor, as I said to you on the phone, I'm also sorry, but I'm going to have to tell all my friends how frustrating it is to work with Vonage, and how I could never recommend Vonage to any of my friends without telling them of all the troubles I have had with them, even though I would get two free months of service if they signed up.

Why do I stick it out? I don't know. Right now it's just so cheap. Is it worth the headache? Well, ask me again in a 11 months when my prepaid year runs out.

But at least I feel better now that I've talked about my feelings!

Sunday, April 29, 2007

the funniest person you will ever meet

my dear uncle paul recently started a blog and the stories about his life are fascinating. his writing is second to none. all i can say is that his writing is comedic genius.

paulie as he is affectionately known as by our family was a kid himself when i was born, a mere nine years old. he has told me many times (and i love to hear it every time) that he loved me like a puppy. we spent a fair bit of time together when we were kids. i owe him a big thank you for getting me hooked on the beatles at the ripe old age of five. when i started to live with my dad i didn't see much of him over the next few years but we started to reconnect when i was about eighteen. in 1994 i moved to toronto to go to school and paulie was the only person i knew in that great big monster. i still remember the day i moved into the dorm. he came to the school to take me out for ice cream. i always had a place to go if i was feeling lonely. his door was always open, literally sometimes, even when he wasn't home. i could always count on paulie to get me tickets to see a second city show, usually to opening night so we (christian and i) could go to the after party. in a small way he helped becky and i get together - a second city show was our first date. he was always around for breakfast at the grapefruit moon or for a beer at paupers. and of course he would always make me laugh.

i talk to paulie about once a month since we moved away and i miss him. and now i can read some of the funniest stuff ever written. he is more than an uncle, in a very real sense he has become a big brother to me. thanks paulie.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Noticing the light

This morning I went back to the gym. It had been almost two weeks. These things happen occasionally: a few days go by, anti-getting-up-early atrophy sets in, a few more days go by. Suddenly it has been two weeks. It's not like I've been sedentary - I have been biking to work. That counts, doesn't it? Nevertheless, it had been a couple weeks since I've gone to the gym and possibly even a little longer since I went in the morning. I bring this up (albeit in a very roundabout way) because holy cow, it's bright outside at 6 AM! And not only that, it's bright at 6 PM!

I find this very novel.

So much so, that sitting on the floor with my dog and my kid this afternoon, I felt compelled to take a photo of the novelty of it all. You see, I haven't been taking many pictures over the last 6 months during the week because I am averse to the flash. I hate the flash.

Ech. Flash.

This makes it difficult to get really nice photographs at home during the week when it's so gosh-darned dark whenever I'm home.

But not any more...

And I love that. I love it almost as much as I love that I've noticed buds forming on trees this year, and blossoms erupting overnight, on this tree one day, and then that tree the next. And flowers, and fragrances, and laundry drying outside, and birds chirping, and little cottontails darting frantically across the bike path only a few feet in front of me, desperate to reach the other side no matter what the cost (twice in as many days.)

Thank goodness I don't bike to work across an elk migratory path. That could be awkward.

But I only go on and on about this because, well, look! These photos were taken this evening, well after I got home from work, and look at all that glorious sunshine!

Friday, April 13, 2007

No words

I have been listening to one of my favourite Sarah Harmer songs this afternoon, thinking of my dear friends, and praying they find solace in our Creator.

How Deep In The Valley
(Sarah Harmer, 2005, I'm a Mountain)

How deep in the valley must you go
To find what your footsteps already know
The way on is the way out
There are signs to follow
There is deep in the valley
And I’m bound to go

How deep in the valley must you stay
To know why your footsteps led you that way
The way on may be truly to stand in one place
And let the deep of the valley
Fill you will grace

And treat yourself lightly
Treat yourself kind
You’ve got nothing to worry on
You will be fine
You will leave this place laughing
And somebody will cry
There is deep in the valley
Wonder not why

Wonder not why go
Wonder not to stay
If it takes me and I follow

Or if I lead the way
It can come when it wants to
But it might have to wait
There is deep in the valley
I don’t hesitate

I don’t take it too lightly
But it don’t weigh down too low
There is high on the cliff top
And there are deep creeks below
There’s a green shade you can’t miss
Where the spring water flows
There is deep in the valley
And I’m bound to go

How deep in the valley must you go
To find what your footsteps already know
The way on is the way out
There are signs to follow
There is deep in the valley
And I’m bound to go

- In memory of Anna Pearl Dredge.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Happy unbirthday, everyone!

Today is the Unbirthday. I know some of you probably didn't get the memo, but there is a long-standing tradition in my world of celebrating unbirthdays on April 10th. Why you ask? Or rather, your WHAT? you ask?

Why, my unbirthday, Silly.

Oh. You mean what is it? Well, for those of you who aren't well-versed in all things Alice in Wonderland, an unbirthday is any day that is not one's birthday. See? It's even in an online dictionary.

Well sure, there are on average 364 1/4 of those every year.

Oh... why pick today? April 10th?

excellent question.

You see, my dear dear friend of going on 20 years now...

excuse me. TWENTY? gasp. where's my walker?

sorry... caught off guard a little there.

as I was saying: my dear friend Kath and I established April 10th as the official Unbirthday years ago as it is the day directly between our birthdays, respectively April 15 and April 5. That's Tax Day for those of us in the U.S. (ack!) and the day Kurt Cobain died, also respectively.

So Happy Unbirthday, Kath. And Happy Unbirthday to the rest of you, too. Odds are that it's your unbirthday, too. Happy unbirthday! Unless today is your birthday. If so, I'm afraid you don't get to celebrate with us. (Oh, stop pouting - just go have some of your birthday cake.)

I miss ya, buddy. Here's to 20 years of friendship...

Gotta love those glasses... Man I was cool.

By the way, I'm the sickly pale/rather overexposed one on the right in the first picture. Obviously, this is before I discovered tweezers.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Egg math





Have a very Happy Easter!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Beauty and the Beast

A very Happy Birthday to my darling wife. Just as beautiful as the day I met her nine years ago.

This day in history

I saw this meme a couple weeks ago, but it seemed appropriate to wait until today to post my version.

Here's what you do:

1. Go to Wikipedia and type in your Birthday Month and day only.

  • April 5

2. List 3 Events that occurred that day.

The earliest on the list of events, and the only one that makes reference to a holiday that is now all about green and beer-drinking:

For the science-geek in me:

I don’t know how I have never noted this one, but:

3. List 2 important Birthdays.

Because she was a legend:

Because he’s so the opposite of Bette Davis:

4. List 1 Death.

Because I have enjoyed the Group of Seven since I was less than 1/3 my current age:

5. List a Holiday or Observance. (if any)

In honor or trees:

6. Tag 5 other bloggers.

No thanks… I’ll just let you play along if you’d like.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

A gift, a watch, and a joke.

Yesterday a package arrived in the mail from one of Kai's three sets of grandparents. Inside it were a few lovely things for Keith and I (thank so much!), as well as a few treats for the kiddo. One of these, a small wrapped box, was intended for his birthday (almost a month away), but Kai had already opened it before Keith had a chance to stop him. It was a watch! What a fun prezzie!

Kai is very cute about his new watch. It has cars on the band, "to" on the left side, "past" on the right side and a little car that ticks around the face. This morning, before he came into our room to wake us up, he'd already put it on all by himself.

Aside: a few months ago, we taught him that the first number on our alarm clocks (yes. two clocks. we each have one.) needs to be a 7 before he is allowed to wake us up. Many times I've groggily noticed the click of his door and glanced over to see 6:## on my clock, only to hear him pad into our room, pause, and then scamper back to his room. This morning, it was 7:03. He's got a good sense of timing.

So naturally, this morning we were discussing the time, because that's what you discuss when you have a new watch and there is a seven at the front of the numbers on the alarm clocks. At 7:10, he pointed to his watch and asked what time it was. Wanting to use the "past" terminology on his watch, I explained in my best polka-dot-door voice that:

"Well, the big hand is pointing to the 2, and the little hand is just past the 7, so it is 10 past 7 o'clock."

To which Kai replied with a smirk, "no, mama, it's 10 past 7 o'watch."

Monday, April 02, 2007

Anatomie of a bike ride

I developed this idea for a post (or at least for a collection of photos) a week ago today. It was a beautifully sunny morning, and as I was zooming along a bike path on my way to work, I caught sight of my elongated shadow on the grass beside the path, and I thought that it would be fun to document the stages of my bike ride. It's a ride I've been taking to work for almost a year, since my lab moved to a new building on the opposite side of town. I had a little hiatus over the winter, not so much unwilling to ride in the cold, but wary of the ice and snow. The hiatus was made easier by the willlingness of a co-worker who lives nearby to cart me to and from work. But I've been back on my bike for the last 3+ weeks, and it's certainly a pleasurable ride.

So although this idea occurred to me over a week ago, it has since then been rather gloomy (and even snowy). That is, until today, when I finally took the camera with me to capture the following:
The Road Near Home. This is one of two roads that I actually have to ride on. Otherwise, it's all bike paths.

Along that same road, a bright yellow sign announces that, indeed, this is a bike-friendly road. Not all roads are labeled as such: this one is essentially a connector street that cyclists can use to use to get from one bike path to another.

Bike path #1. This little connection gets me to the Foothills Parkway path. Do you see the overpass up ahead? I'll come back to that later.

The Foothills Parkway path. I'll be on this for a while, paralleling the parkway almost the entire rest of my trip. I'd really rather not be so close to the parkway, a multi-lane highway-ish road that cuts through the city from the south to the north, but it's the most direct way for me to get to work. Thankfully, I have the path. I've just passed the first of four prarie dog colonies. These little guys were all still in their homes as it was still too shady and cool for them to emerge out into the world.

Ugh. The construction. This is the busiest intersection in town, where the Foothills Parkway crosses the busiest of the east-west roads. When the signs went up last year, they predicted that the construction would take 10 months. 10 MONTHS! Thankfully, they've kept true to Boulder form, and have continually tried to make it possible for cyclists to pass through unscathed. It certainly keeps us on our toes, as this path often changes from the morning to the afternoon.

The overpass. Other than the intersections, this is the closest that the path comes to the parkway. It's also the highest point of my trip, just past prairie dog colony #3.

The wait. This light takes forever. It's the bane of all cyclists who use this section of the path. Pressing the button doesn't help speed it up. It's just a long wait.

The underpass. I don't actually use this underpass, or the overpass that I pointed out in the fourth photo. But underpasses like these are what make Boulder such a bike-friendly city. It's very easy to go from one end of the city to the other without waiting at a stoplight because these exist. And they're kind of fun!

The Home stretch. Up to the intersection, across one more street, up a hill and I'm at work.

But not until I've passed prairie dog colony #4.

So why do I bike to work? You can probably guess that there are a couple reasons, but I don't know that I can prioritize them: it's cheaper than driving, it's good exercise, and it's better for the environment. Personally, I think the more important question is why is it possible for me to bike to work? The non-philosophical answer is that we designed things this way when we chose where we were going to live. I'm just fortunate that it's working out the way we'd hoped.