Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Hole in the Wall Restaurant Review

So last weekend (Aug. 29, 2008) we were in the mood to celebrate so we decided to venture out and try The Hole in the Wall restaurant. We had heard from a couple of people that the food was great and worth the drive. Now to get to this restaurant you have to drive out to Blackstrap as the restaurant was situated in the townsite of Shields.

Upon arriving you are greeted by the original gas station sign in front of the Mexican style restaurant. After being greeted by a middle aged waiter with a ponytail, we were seated in a secluded 2 seater table. He went through his spiel of how the restaurant was converted from the gas station that it originally was and to expect a 3-4 hour meal as everything is prepared from scratch. We were told from others of the long meal time so that came as no shock to us. However looking at the menu prices you would think they would have spent a bit more money fixing up the place as the walls were missing paint in a few areas, our table was squeaky and the lighting kept on flickering (this was a bit of an annoyance). Oh well, here's to a first in trying out this restaurant.

After reviewing their scrumptious sounding menu, we decided to go for the combo meal that was priced at $60/person. It included 3 appetizers, soup, salad, 3 entrees, coffee/tea, and dessert. We ended up choosing scallops, mussels and oysters for our appetizers and lamb, duck and ribs for the entrees. To drink we ordered sangrias which was very tasty due to the tiny morsels of apples, pears, lime and oranges they place in it.

The service started out quite well, having spent 20ish minutes pouring over the menu and placing our order shortly after. Our reservations were for 6:30 and we received our sangrias and appetizers shortly after 7. The appetizers were fairly tasty - the raw scallops were definitely the highlight, complimented by a tomato sauce (which surprisingly tasted like a hot sauce that I've made in the past). After finishing off the appetizers we had an hour wait until we received their house salad. It consisted of fresh greens and an orange vinaigrette dressing - definitely a nice, light salad that I loved and will try to reproduce. Shortly after came a chilled Buttermilk Apple puree soup that had tomatoes, corn and cucumbers in it. I am not one for chilled soup but this one was definitely tasty.

After a short wait our entrees came. The duck was slightly under cooked but still tasty, the lamb was slightly over cooked and the ribs were good. I was a tad disappointed in the lamb as I love lamb and was looking forward to this dish and it definitely did not meet up to my standards. All in all, it was a lot of food topped off with a pudding type dessert and coffee.

Overall I would have to say the explanation of the 3-4 hour waiting time for the entire dining experience due to everything prepared fresh was over exaggerated as it seemed like it was just an excuse to only have one server for the entire place with one cook (or so it seemed). Usually I like to give the restaurant the benefit of the doubt but when there is an hour wait between appetizers and chilled soup and salad, I cannot justify that by saying everything is prepared fresh so it'll be a longer wait. Also the decor was under par for the prices of the meals they served. However the food was pretty tasty and I am always up for trying new things. The restaurant is the type you should try at least once even if you don't go back.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What music represents...

As I was sitting in rush hour today a song came on the radio that brought back memories (I was too lazy to change the cds that have been in the cd player for ages). Listening to the song, my mind wandered away from the memory it represented and made me think of other songs and its related memories. It's amazing how certain songs can evoke memories, good and bad and how they seem so fresh in your mind. I know no matter how many times I hear certain songs it will always be tied to certain memories, memories as simple as tied to a movie or a tv show. Other memories are of course more significant which I cherish. What amazes me are the genres of the songs, they range from metal to even country (which I normally do not listen to). Are there songs out there that just pull at your heart strings or evoke memories you cherish?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Saskatoon becoming more violent?

Is it me or is Saskatoon becoming more prone to random acts of violence. Just today in the news there are numerous reports and updates of random shootings, and people being stabbed. Is Saskatoon becoming a more dangerous place to live or am I just becoming more aware of local news? I suppose it is also due to the fact that Saskatoon is growing at an extremely fast rate and it could all be relative. For those living in Saskatoon, do you still feel this is a safe place?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Hummers - To drive or not to drive

The other weekend I was out driving and couldn't believe the number of Hummers I saw driving around. As one was pulling out of the gas station I could only wonder how much it costs to fill up a Hummer with gas prices ranging around $1.34 and threatening to rise. I mean no disrespect to any owners driving a Hummer but can anyone tell me what is so great about a Hummer, especially in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan? If it is a status thing would it not be better to import a fuel efficient car where everyone will look at you and say, boy that car must have cost a lot as it is brand new to the car industry but is great on the environment. People would surely admire you for your thoughtfulness and intelligence to say with the times and think of the environment. Again if it is a status thing, is there really no other means of showing your status but drive a gas guzzling vehicle? I wonder if people who drive Hummers realize the adverse conversations people have instead of one of admiration. Or maybe that is their goal.

I shouldn't be so hard on people who own Hummers. Each to their own I say. It's not like gas prices were skyrocketing when they first bought their Hummers and what are they supposed to do when gas prices do rise, stop driving Hummers and not enjoy the Hummer for whatever reason they chose to buy it in the first place?? However I will say that I remain puzzled over the reasons why anyone would purchase a Hummer. Hummer lovers out there, please feel free to enlighten me and tell me why you love your Hummer.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Funny Video

For anyone who is in the technology/IT field this video is simply priceless, I can't stop laughing over it:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Are signs really that hard to follow?

Another pet peeve of mine involving other people's driving are people who do not understand how 2 lanes turning in the same direction works. I tried to find the traffic sign designating 2 lanes turning in the same direction but unfortunately I couldn't find one (oddly enough). What bothers me is how people understand that 2 lanes are turning in the same direction but for some reason, feels that the 2 lanes turn into one and end up cutting into the other person's lane. Can people not understand that if there are 2 lanes turning in the same direction that there are 2 lanes all the way through the turn?? It puzzles me how people engage in this turn only to feel they can drive where ever they want, even if it means other people's lanes. People, learn your signs and please follow them, they aren't there just for show.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Bad Drivers? Inexperienced drivers??

So what is it about merging that people do not seem to know how to do? It's really simple if you think about it, traffic merges from the right and traffic takes turns letting the cars merge in. It's just that SIMPLE. However this is not the case as viewed today and really any other day. You either have people in such a hurry to get to their destination that they speed up not allowing a car to merge, as if one car makes a big difference at rush hour, or you have people unaware of how a merge works and follows the lead car at a steady pace, not slowing down to let a car merge.

What could the reason for this be? Do people actually not know how a merge works? Do they think the sign is posted just to let them know there is a "hidden" street approaching from the right even though the entrance is in plain view? Or are people so inconsiderate of one another that they don't give a crap and prevent others from merging? Whatever the case is, I think people should go back to drivers ed 101 and learn the basics because if you don't know how to do something as simple as merging you should not be on the road. Just my 2 cents.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Father beats toddler to death

Is it me or are crimes becoming more senseless and violent?

Monday, June 16, 2008

Great Canadian Oil Change Pulls Through

Last month my husband and I went on holidays to Lund, BC. As we like to drive to our destination we decided to get an oil change prior to our holidays and unfortunately VW was all booked up. We ended up going to the Great Canadian Oil Change on 8th St in Saskatoon only to have it improperly done to the point where we leaked oil . It was a bit scary as we were in the mountains and there really wasn't a lot of room to pull over. Needless to say, we were mad.

So back in Saskatoon I followed up with the Great Canadian Oil Change on 8th to be told that he, Emril, was printing off the oil change we had done and was going to fax it to the head office to contact me for further investigation. A week goes by and I do not receive a call. I ended up calling Emril for an update and he goes to print off our work again and tells me to call their 21st street location to talk to Josh, the manager. Sigh.

I contact Josh and he tells me to bring the relevant papers and states that he'll talk to us to find out what happened and then his company goes through the usual process of investigating the sitaution. We go down there and provide Josh the necessary information. I ended up telling him I was supposed to recieve a follow up call and never got one. Surprised Josh states this was the first time he heard about this situation and that he would look into the situation with their 8th street location as any issue goes through him first. He apologizes and we leave with Josh telling us he will contact us once they find out the results of their investigation. So far so good.

As luck would have it another week rolls around and no word. I try phoning for an update but no one answered. Later on that day, John notices that he missed a call and it was the Great Canadian Oil Change. He tries to return the call but the manager had gone home for the day. I phoned the next day only to have Josh apologize profusely for the wait and that we would indeed get reimbursed for our mechanic and hotel bill. YAY! We decide on a convenient time for us to come down and he would cut a check for us.

I am happy to say when we went down to the Great Canadian Oil Change on 21st Street Josh was waiting and had a check already made out to us. He apologize profusely for the delay in getting back to us as he was super busy and understood how if the table was turned, he would expect 100% service. He also offered us a free oil change saying if we ever needed anything or wanted anything checked out he would take care of us. He was super nice and definitely made up for all the troubles.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Baywest Appliance Service Update

A while back I posted about the poor service I received from Baywest Appliance Service over a ticking fridge. I ended up snail mailing a letter of complaint, being sure to explain exactly what occurred. Shortly after Baywest Appliance received my letter I received a phone call from Dan, the original service technician that had made the original house call. He called on a Tuesday while was at work saying that he couldn't believe I was that mad and that my letter had bothered him all weekend. He apologized, accepted responsibility for the situation and said he had no idea I felt that way and why the situation had not been resolved even though I was billed. I said they also had the worst receptionist ever and he said I probably caught her having a bad day as she is usually friendly. We ended the call with Dan saying he would like to come back and take another look at the fridge and I said I would call him back with a day that would be suitable for my husband and I.

After talking with my husband and picking a day, I called Dan a day later only to recieve his voice message. I left a message including my phone number. A couple days goes by and I still didn't hear back from Dan so I called his number again. He answers, less polite and states he recieved my voice message. We make plans for him to come over between 12-1 on Wednesday. Little does he know, my husband would be meeting him instead of me. Wednesday rolls around and get a phone call at 12:36 saying he was tied up and couldn't make it, he would come Thursday. So much for my husband going home to meet him. That was a bit annoying.

Thursday rolls around and I call Dan's cell at 11:45 to ensure that he would be showing up. After being told the number I called isn't Dan's cell I get directed to another number. I call it and Dan tells me he would not be coming by but Ron would. He tells me to call Ron to make sure he is coming by. Sigh. I call and confirm it with Ron.

Again my husband goes home and sure enough Ron comes by. Ron replicates my original complaint of the fridge making a ticking noise and makes a few adjustment (nothing like the massive work Dan implied would be required - he stated I should learn to live with the noise). The result?? The fridge no longer makes the noise! I can't tell you how satisfied and happy I am. I only wonder if I will recieve yet again another bill. We shall see.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Vespas on the bike path??

A while ago I noticed 2 people, each riding their own Vespas (at least it looks like a Vespa) on Preston Ave, the stretch that goes by Innovation place. I noticed that they must have gotten the Vespas fairly recently as they were very cautious as they rode and weren't the greatest of drivers. That I can give some leeway to as you have to learn somehow and the only way to get comfortable driving one is to be in traffic. I myself would probably practice in my neighborhood though prior to driving on a busy street. Anyways I thought nothing of it UNTIL what I have been seeing lately.

As I am going to pick up John from work at Innovation Place, I see the exact same woman and man driving their respective Vespas on the bike path. Before I go into a tirade over how wrong I think this is, can anyone tell me if this is indeed legal or not? I would assume those riding it know if it is or not and I will give them the benefit of the doubt that it is. However all the research I've read state that Vespas themselves are not legal on bike paths but electronic scooters that go no faster than 32 km/hr can. This also differs by province I believe. I have to say though, the bikes these people drive have stayed up with traffic and that street they were on, the speed limit is 60 km/hr. Anyway, I will reserve judgment (and when it gets down to it, who am I to judge).

If you know what the laws are regarding Vespas/electronic scooters in the province of Saskatchewan, I would love to hear from you.

Trip to Lund, BC: Part 6 The End

All in all the trip to Lund was a successful and highly enjoyable. We managed to do everything we had set out to do and will most likely replicate this trip again in the future.

The drive back was uneventful and I was thankful for that. Well I guess we were once again locked out of the place in Vancouver that we were planning on staying at but I won't get into the details of that. We managed to find a room that was reasonably priced right downtown Vancouver and met up with our friends Michelle and Brian who we stayed at their place on the way down. We met up with them at Rodney's Oyster House and it COMPLETELY filled my craving for shucked oysters. I always crave shucked oysters when we go to BC and I will have to make a point to always go there. The restaurant is not that big in size compared to other places we've been to so it was a good thing our friends made reservations prior to going there. The place is jam packed with people and played lots of 80s music. It was a happening place with the waiters seen having shooters every now and then (this may not have been a good thing as I think our waiter was drunk by the time we were nearing the end of our meal and made a few minor mistakes which he made up for). We tried a variety of different oysters (I think 7-8 different kinds in total) where there was only 1 type from the west coast. I probably had over 20 shucked oysters that night (none of which contained red tide) with the option of 7 different kinds of sauces. :) It was so good I am craving oysters as I type this.

So the trip to Lund has come to an end and I hope you enjoyed reading about our journey. We've done this trip twice now and I am sure we'll do it again.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Trip to Lund, BC: Part 5 - Day 2

I have to say, I love waking up in the morning with the view of the ocean in front of us and the sun shining. It was such a gorgeous view that we never once pulled the shades down (and being on the second floor we didn't worry about peeping toms). We took our time in the morning having continental breakfast and heading into Powell River to find a backpack to take with us on our exploration of Savory Island (can you believe when I asked a Walmart worker where their bookbags were located he asked me what a bookbag was!?!). I ended up getting a knapsack and we were set. We drove back to Lund and made it to our 1:00 water taxi reservation (the only way you can get to Savory Island is by boat and you have to make reservations with the water taxi ahead of time). We arrive at Savory Island with a few other people and started exploring. For anyone that has not been there, it is positively beautiful. The side that we got dropped off at was literally covered in clams and starfish.

As I have never tried digging for clams we had a fun time trying to dig one up with empty shells. We were unsuccessful as those suckers moved a lot faster than I was expecting. I took a video of how fast they move as it amused me greatly (note you will have to watch it sideways as I do not know how to rotate a video in Blogger)

Exploring the rest of the island was awesome, we got to see an eagle at a fairly close distance and even stumbled across a deer standing approx. 10 feet away from us. The island was peaceful as there was only one restaurant on it (that was closed when we were there) and a place to rent bikes (also closed). We made it to the other side of the island where there was dead shellfish due to the low tide that stretched as far as the eye could see.

After arriving back at our hotel room we showered and changed for supper. We decided to check out the Shingle Mill Pub & Bistro in Powell River. The food here was alright, nothing too fancy but yet again the view was magnificent.

This night we rented Juno which was absolutely hilarious and I would highly recommend it.

All in all Lund treated us right and it was exactly what we needed. It was the perfect getaway to just relax. For my last post on Lund, BC I will leave you with a video of the scenery we experienced in Lund from our hotel room. Enjoy.

Trip to Lund, BC: Part 4 - Day 1

On our first full day in Lund, we woke up to the sun shining and the view of the ocean from our hotel room (did I ever mention our hotel room was spectacular?). After having a continental breakfast in the Lund Hotel restaurant we made our way to rent kayaks. We rented a 2-man kayak and after nervously getting in the kayak we were off. The weather was gorgeous yet a tad windy making the water slightly choppy which made me nervous sitting in the front. However after a while I got over my nervousness and enjoyed the scenery. It was a blast, having seen a couple eagles and 2 seals. Below are a few pics I took while kayaking and yes I was scared of not only dropping my camera in the ocean but falling out while using it.

After kayaking for 3 hours we headed back to our hotel room to shower and relax before supper. We spent considerable time sitting on our patio enjoying the view. As it was Wednesday we planned to go to the Laughing Oyster Restaurant which was one of our destinations for our trip. Having eaten there on a prior trip we knew their Wednesday supper buffet was going to be good. It did not disappoint. Sitting at a table where we could view out of the massive windows onto the bay, we dined on huge oysters, lamb, steak, calamari, salmon, numerous salads complimented by red wine. We finished our meal off with taramisu. Below is a pic of my plate which I surprising ate all minus the garlic bread. It was DELICIOUS and I would recommend it to anyone going to Lund.

That night we rented 3:10 to Yuma which was an awesome movie and I would recommend it to anyone that wants a western movie different from the shoot 'em up story line between cowboys and Indian style movies.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Trip to Lund, BC: Part 3

While waiting for a ferry at Earl's Cove we decided to book a room in the Historic Lund Hotel and it was a good thing we did as there were only 2 rooms left. Initially we were thinking about staying in Desolation Sound Resort which is simply awesome looking but super expensive for the short amount of time we would be staying in Lund. When we booked the room they promised that it was the best room in the hotel and well worth the slightly higher price. Having stayed there before I have to admit we were a bit skeptic. However the moment we walked in we knew we made theright choice in staying at Lund Hotel. The room felt like home. Below are a few pics of the room.

As it turned out, this year was the first annual shellfish festival where the Lund Hotel Restaurant and the Boardwalk Restaurant features appetizers of different shellfish. I can't remember what the schedule was but we decided to eat at the Boardwalk Restaurant. We ended up ordering mussels with bacon, a bucket of prawns and of course, kokanee beer. Let me tell you, the mussels were delicious but it was the bucket of prawns with lemon butter, garlic butter and the usual seafood sauce that impressed us the most. Not only were they fresh but they were huge and very, very tasty. For the weak of heart that don't like seeing the entire prawn, you may not want to view the pics below.

Looking at the pics definitely makes me miss the food but it is better to have tasted it than not at all :P So far Lund has met our expectations. Later on in the evening we rented a free movie that came with the room and watched "Cloverfield" which I found highly disappointing. Next up kayaking in the ocean.

Trip to Lund, BC: Part Deux

In continuation to our trip to Lund, BC over the May long weekend, we finally had our car looked at by the mechanic in Golden, BC who was nice enough to fit us in the morning. As it turned out, a seal was incorrectly installed and 2 screws were missing as a result of the oil change we had 2 days prior (see Trip to Lund: Part 1). So after shampooing the under carriage of the car and refilling the car with oil we left Golden, BC. For what it was worth, the people in Golden was friendly and most helpful. After deciding that the car was in good condition to drive we continued on to our destination of Lund, BC.

For anyone who has not driven in the mountains before, the drive to Vancouver is positively spectacular. Every time we've gone out west, we've driven and it is well worth it. We arrived in Vancouver early evening and located the place we were going to crash at. As it turns out the key was not placed where it was supposed to be and we were locked out. Our good friends, Brian and Michelle bailed us out last minute with only 5 minutes notice. We are completely grateful for them. We settled in for the night and went to Las Margaritas for some awesome Mexican food and naturally margaritas. The next day we woke up early and stopped for breakfast at Cafe Zen which has been known for its consistent breakfasts. Then we were off!

To get to Lund, BC you need to take 2 ferries, (one from Horseshoe Bay to Sunshine Coast, and the other from Earl's Cove to Powell River) and I know some people find ferries boring but I love them (it may have something to do with the fact that we don't have any ferries in the prairies). The drive along Sunshine Coast onwards is fun, filled with windy roads and small towns. At last, around 5:00 we rolled into our destination Lund. Read on to find out more about Lund, BC.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Trip to Lund, BC: Part I

For the May long weekend, John and I set out for Lund, BC, otherwise known as the end start of the highway on the west coast.

We got off to a rocky start as we had an oil change the day from Great Canadian Oil Change on 8th St near the Centre on Circle & 8th before we left and the seal was put on incorrectly. Needless to say we leaked oil to the point where we ran out (and were extremely pissed) and we had to call our emergency road side assistance for a tow to Golden that was 8km away (thanks VW for the 4 year road side assistance). After a 30 min. wait, we got towed into Golden to the nearest mechanic shop near the Kicking Horse River Lodge. By then the shop was closed so we booked a room at the lodge. I'm pretty sure I don't have to describe the mood we were in at this point. I will keep you posted on whether or not we get reimbursed for the mechanic bill (which we should) and our hotel bill. We tried to make the most of the situation and went for supper at Eleven22 where we shared a hot pot of steamed mussels, and John ordered the Roasted Duck Breast and I had the Tomato and Pesto Pasta. I had a taste of John's duck and I have to admit, it was the best duck I've had in a long time.

So next day rolls around and we contemplate about what our next plan of action is, continue on to Lund or turn around and go home as we wasted 2 days and we had no idea what condition the car was in. Luckily I see the mechanic outside his garage cleaning up the yard. I end up talking to him and discover that he is open on Monday (which is a holiday) and he would try to squeeze us in. We cross our fingers that he is able to squeeze us in and there is no major damage to the engine. We ended up sharing a huge Grande Burrito from the Bugaloo Cafe in the lodge. It was huge and I was glad we shared it.

We spent the day wandering around town and walked across the longest timber framed pedestrian bridge in Canada (you can view pics of its construction here). Here I am on the bridge:

Being that it was Sunday hardly anything was open. We did stop in a pub for a Mt. Bigbie beer and played a game of pool. We spent the rest of the day reading and lounging. Finally supper rolled around and we decided to eat at the Kicking Horse Grill restaurant where we shared a trio of meat and the best steak I've had in a long time. Wonder if we ever made it to Lund :) Stay tuned.

Friday, May 9, 2008

My new hair style

After all these years I have finally found a hairdresser that I like. Her name is Joanne Chu who works out of Chel Salonspa. She did a fantastic job of cutting my hair short and adding bangs when I finally needed a change from my long hair. That was a while ago and she is now expecting a little one and is getting ready to go on maternity leave. I decided I better book an apointment with her before she left. Below are pics of the finished product and I couldn't be happier.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

2008 Ducati Monster 695

So I've been trying to resist posting about this but I just can't hold back any longer. We are the proud owners of a red 2008 Ducati Monster 695 as of last Saturday! Known as the Ferrari of motorcycles, the Monster is a beauty to behold. It's naked look is unique to Ducati's and its engine purrs like a newborn kitten.

Some specs:
  • motor 695 cc L-twin engine
  • power 53.7 kW/73 HP @8500 rpm
  • torque 45 lb-ft - 6.2 kgm @6750 rpm
  • front suspension Marzocchi 43 mm upside down fork
  • dry weight of 370 lbs
A bit of background info, I have always wanted to drive a motorcycle for as long as I can remember and it's finally coming true! I've had the opportunity to drive the bike around the block (mind you I didn't leave first gear as I have never driven a bike before and wanted to get used to the controls) as well as Prairieland parking lot (where I did drive in second gear) before I got kicked out. Just to calm everyone down, I do have my learner's and am also enrolled in the Saskatoon Motorcycle Safety Course which starts next week. Thanks to all those that have helped me thus far, you know who you are :-) I was hoping to refrain from posting as I wanted to post pics of me actually driving the bike but I don't have the patience for it. So without further ado, here are some pics:

Disclaimer: The bottom RIGHT picture will never happen as I would rather drive the bike than be a passenger :P

It's harvest time!

Started late April 2, our AeroGarden grower has reached harvest time! Today is the first day we get to enjoy the fruits of our labor (which is 0 work really). We harvested some basil for some good ole fashioned spaghetti (disclaimer, my husband makes AWESOME homemade spaghetti). Pictured to the left is the current herb grower after we harvested some basil. MMM I can't wait to eat other herbs.

Queens of the Stone Age

On Monday, May 5, I got to see Queens of the Stone Age live at the Odeon Events Center in Saskatoon. This was my first concert at the Odeon and I have to say it was an awesome experience. Doors opened at 6:30 so my husband and I grabbed a burger at O'Sheas at 5:30 which happened to be right across the street. There were people already lined up outside the doors and the line just grew as time went by.

We waited until the doors opened and the line died down before going. The show opened up on a high note by a band from Iceland called Mugison. As opening bands go, these guys rocked the show by pumping up the crowd with their entertaining stage presence.

The opening band gets off stage and not long after 9:30 rolls around. Out comes QOTSA and the crowd goes wild. They open with "“Feel Good Hit of the Summer” and from that point on, they ruled the stage. The show was up close and intimate and the band sounded just ike their cds. It wasn't long before the heat rose in the venue and everyone in attendance was sweating including the band but no one really gave a shit. The band barely took a break never mind stopping to wipe the sweat from their face. The show finally ended with them coming back to do a couple encores, ending with "Song for the Dead".

Queens of the Stone Age definitely rocked the joint and alleviated my fears of seeing a show in such a small venue. Looking back, if I had a choice between seeing a show at Credit Union Place versus the Odeon Event Center I would pick the Odeon any day. Thanks QOTSA as you definitely put on an awesome show.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Baywest Appliance Service Inc. has very poor Customer Service

Everyone knows how important it is to have good customer service; great customer service is even better. All it takes is one disgruntled customer to tell all their friends and family and there goes potential business. People have a tendency to talk about negative experiences over positive ones as negative experiences leaves a bad taste in consumers' mouths. I am one of those disgruntled customers.

Our Frigidaire fridge has been making an annoying ticking noise every so often throughout the day even though it is a brand new fridge. In the past we've been able to tune it out but during the days where I was home during the entire day the noise started aggravating me. I ended up calling Baywest Appliance Services Inc located on 1st Ave N in Saskatoon. I called and was told that they would send out a service person at a time convenient for both of us. So far so good.

The service person came at the arranged time with what I assume was an apprentice as he really didn't do anything. As you would expect, when something is wrong it never occurs when a service person is present. I have to admit he did do everything in his power to make the ticking noise occur, from opening the fridge doors and changing the temperature in the fridge to make the motor run. Naturally nothing happened and 5 minutes later he left telling me to pinpoint where the noise is coming from. So that was that.

The next day he phones to ask if everything is running okay. I completely appreciated the call but in my head I am thinking, what the hell, you didn't do anything to fix my original issue while you were here so why would it be okay? I never knew things fixed themselves on their own. I was taken aback by this question as obviously he never did anything to fix it (and I had said it was a re-occuring noise from the start) so I said it wasn't okay at all. He tells me again to try and pinpoint the noise and states that fridges makes noises all the time. That made me irritated as he had no clue what kind of noise the Frigidaire fridge was making so don't try to brush my problem off like it's a normal sound and I was making a big deal out of nothing. I replied by saying that this was not a normal ticking noise and I never had a fridge, a brand new Frigidaire fridge nonetheless, make a ticking noise. What next I wonder as that was the extent of our conversation.

So at this point I have no idea if I am going to hear from them or not but a couple days later he does phone. He states that he has heard of problems like this (still this irritated me as he has not heard the noise still) but it originates inside of the fridge and it is not worth fixing as it is a lot of work. Again thinking to myself I came to the conclusion that he still has no idea what he is talking about because when we first spoke after his visit he told me that its normal that fridges makes these noises and now he states he has heard of my problem?!?! This frustrates me even more as he tried to pass off my "problem" as being a normal occurrence only to come back later saying that other people have complained about similar problems and it was too big to fix. I ended up saying that the noise is really irritating and it can't be normal and he said it was better to live with it than fix it. WTF? Obviously I can't live with the noise if I called you over to fix it.

Whatever. I no longer am at home during the day and have gone back to tuning out the noise. Then at the end of the month, maybe 3 weeks later I get a bill in the mail for $65.95 where it states in the description that the problem was "checked okay". Again wtf as I stated it was still making an annoying ticking sound and just because we couldn't replicate the noise when you were here does not mean that everything is ok. Not only that but I was never told there was going to be a charge for a house visit (although realistically most businesses charge for house calls but tells the customer upfront). With all due respect I understand and am okay with getting a service bill but that usually comes at the end of the service when the issue is FIXED. Completely annoyed I phoned the company to inquire what the bill was all about and that everything was NOT ok. The receptionist picks up and as I tell her that I don't agree with the bill she tells me I have to take it up with the service person that came to my house. Fine. She gives me his cell number and I call it. He picks up and is completely friendly and pleasant only to become irritated and abrupt as he brushes me off when he hears that I am questioning the bill. He tells me to call the office and leave a message for him and he'll get back to me. Presently I don't think he ever did call me back so fine, you don't return my call I am not going to pay the bill. Bottom line the fridge is still making a ticking noise and is not fixed.

So this all started back in the end of January and I didn't hear back from the company until April 28 when I am at work. I answer and the most bitchiest/rudest sounding person I have ever heard is on the other end of the line. She states her name and the company she works for which for the life of me I could barely understand as she spoke like she didn't want to be working. I greet her back and then in a snotty voice she states that there is an outstanding bill owing. I replied back saying I know about the bill but my problem wasn't fixed and you (the company) never did anything while you were at my house. She replies back even snottier that the charge is just for sending a service person to my house. I asked even if my problem was not fixed I still get charged and she replies back that it is a service charge and doesn't even offer a solution to my problem. Irritated I said I would send it in the mail when I feel like it and hung up.

I still have not paid the bill but I will probably at some point. However I will tell anyone and everyone that the service at Baywest Appliance Service Inc., 738 - 1st Ave N in Saskatoon has the worst possible service I have ever had and will recommend everyone avoid them. Does anyone have a similar service with them or for that matter, a company to avoid?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

There are some extremely sick and disturbed people in the world

I read a disturbing article the other day regarding a father, Mr. Fritzl, that imprisoned his daughter Elisabeth for 24 years in a cellar. The horrific story was revealed when one of her 3 children (ages 19, 18, 5) that lived with her in the tiny cell fell ill and doctors requested the mother come forward to provide more details. None of her children that lived with her saw daylight until they were freed as the cellar was windowless.

What's even more disturbing was that her father not only held her captive but raped her repeatedly and fathered 7 of her children. 3 of her children ended up living with her father and his wife who was under the assumption that Elisabeth had ran away and sent 3 of her children home. Now at the age of 47 Elisabeth is reunited with the rest of her children.

I can't even begin to imagine the ordeal that Elisabeth is going through, having missed a large portion of her life and the psychological damage her father has done to her and her children. And what is he facing? A possible 15 years in prison! In my opinion that is not even close to being justice. If you think about him 1) drugging his daughter and imprisoning her in a cell 2) imprisoning her for 24 years 3) raping and fathering 7 children 4) imprisoning 3 of her children so they miss their entire childhood and never see daylight 5) burning the body of a child that died during birth (who is to say he didn't kill the baby) 15 years is definitely not enough. I hope once more investigation is underway that he will be put away for life.

I can't even begin to comprehend how people who are in a parental/authoritative position can treat others in such an inhumane way. Is it because they lack mental capacity to know what is right from wrong? I have troubles believing this as people who commit such crimes go through their daily routine knowing what is right from wrong. I can only believe such a statement if they commit a crime every single minute of their life and are lacking the mental capacity to think straight. It then leads me to think they feel they are dominant and arogant enough to get away with whatever they want. That makes me sick and I hope people who commit crimes against others pay for it by time in jail (long jail time might I add) and get the help they so need.

What cyclists should never do

They should never listen to their music and ride in the middle of the road. I don't care if it is a residential street (which this case it was) or not. Not only was HE doing this but he was riding as slow as molasses. So the corner I turn at is coming up and I think I can drive around him. But no, he has to slowly cut me off, nearly running into me. Now I don't normally use my horn but in this instance I did. People, don't listen to your music while riding in traffic, how hard is that.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

I have the craziest dreams

Do you recall your dreams? I recall the majority of my dreams and they are crazy! Take for example the one I had the other day...

I dreamt I was about to go into a life threatening surgery so I was going to have a bath to prepare myself for it. I remember walking into a room that seems to be a conference room that represented my house. My parents were there as well as numerous people from my past. They all seemed to be talking in hushed voices, not really talking to me. It was like they were attending my funeral. I walk through the room and no one turns to look at me for fear that I would see the pained looks in their face. I open a door to what was supposed to be the bathroom only to open it to the outside world where a claw foot tub stood at the end of a dock. I walk to the tub that's already filled with water and bubbles and climb in. As I am laying there, there is a man standing in the water fishing (as the tub is at the end of the dock) and he casts his rod. Slowly he reels his line in only to catch a fish. Excited I lean over the tub to peer at his catch swimming by. The tub somewhow moves back on the dock so the man's fish leaps on the dock as he is fighting to get away. The fish turns out to be huge and resembles a pig's face. That was when I woke up.

Crazy eh? I wonder what it means and if it has anything to do with the ongoing fish debate I am in.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I can't wait

I've been wanting something for the majority of my life and I am about to get it! It's big (well it fits me), red and full of awesomeness. I am about to get a motorbike :) Originally I was all over the cruiser, specifically the Boulevard S50. We went around to numerous bike shops around town which by the way there aren't many. We went to Custom Cycle where it took us 3 trips there before a salesperon actually took the time to talk to us and find out we were serious. It was only afterwards we heard other people complain about their service. It almost was like pulling teeth as he basically answered your questions and didn't offer information that a new biker should know about (I think I may have learned more off of other people shopping there!)

So Cyclemania rolls around and we went to it thinking there would be tons of dealerships there but I was slighlty disappointed at the lack of dealers there. I think there may have been less than 10 dealers there. So be it. We ran into some friends there who highly recommended the service from SuperCycle out of North Battleford but they were not present at the show. Hmmm lovely ole North Battleford where I was born and raised was only an hour-ish away. So off we went and I have to agree, the service there was awesome. I actually sat on a Boulevard M50 which actually suited me better so the decision was made!

Back to Saskatoon we go only to put more thought into it and after talking with our friend Allan we changed our minds again about the type of bike to get. So we acted on his suggestion and I can't wait for it to get here.... I wonder what I got ;-)

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Happy Earth Day Everyone!

Did you wear green today? I did but I have to admit it was just a coincidence that I was wearing green today as I completely forgot about Earth Day. Why is it that I was more aware of Earth Hour than I was about Earth Day? Sure it was mentioned briefly in our staff meetings and Google changed their home page image to reflect it but outside of that I would have never known about it. I still don't even know the details of Earth Day besides the obvious that we should be doing our part in protecting the environment. I even went as far as searching for what events were taking place in Saskatoon and found relatively 0 events occurring (and yes I realize the site I referenced refers to the month of April being devoted to protecting the Earth).

I came to the conclusion that knowing the background of Earth Day didn't matter. I do my part to help save the environment, albeit small things but it's the small things that count no? If everyone adopted processes no matter how big or small of an impact they make, it can add up to a lot.

I do try to be environmentally conscious, seriously I do - I try to reduce the amount of paper bills I get (though I have to admit it may because I hate filing more than anything), turn off the water whenever its not required, turn off the lights when I don't need them, unplug appliances that are not in use, unplug chargers, recycle etc etc. I realize there is plenty more I can do and would be willing to adopt practices that other people follow. What are your practices and what do you think needs to be done so more people are aware of Earth Day?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Meet our babies

Meet our newest additions to our family. Their names are: (from top left to right) Mint, Basil, Dill, Thyme and (bottm left to right) Parsley, Italian Basil and Chives. Started on the evening of April 2, 2008 in their Areogarden incubator just a little over 2 weeks ago, both the parents and children are in good condition.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The one time I wished the weatherman was wrong

Yup, you guessed it. We got snow in the middle of April, again. I heard the horror story that it was going to snow, and snow hard and by golly when I woke up the next morning was it ever true.

Thanks Old Man Winter for delaying a delivery I have been wanting all my life.

Pet Peeve #2

People who clip their finger nails in a public restaurant. EWWW I don't care if you are done your meal and are just relaxing. You are not at home so don't make yourself that comfortable. Sure you may have that one nail that is just irritating you but go to the washroom and clip your nails there. I don't need to see your nail clippings flying in all directions, do you know how far they can fly?? Nothing grosses me out more in a restaurant than seeing people who clip their nails. Show some respect for those around you who are trying to enjoy their meals.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

They're back!

That's right, the pelicans are back. Spotted 2 pelicans by the Saskatoon wier.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

What is the point...

...of a unicycle? I was driving around one day when I saw this guy on a unicycle making his way up Spadina Cres. At the rate that he was going, I could have walked faster than him. Yes I know, I shouldn't be so hard on him as I am sure it is a great cardio/balance workout. I guess it just isn't for me and if I were to ever exercise I would find different means to do so. Note, I said, if I ever were to exercise so I guess this guy is doing more than I am. Cheers to him for sticking with it.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Does anyone have a solution for me?

The thing is, I love playing video games, or rather games in general. However I can’t play FPS games as it makes me sick. My husband loves playing Half Life 2 and I would too except I feel nauseous after watching 2 minutes of it. I have no problems playing any other types of games and have no clue why I get sick off of FPS games. Any solutions would be greatly appreciated.

Friday, April 11, 2008

What is wrong with people?

One of my biggest pet peeves on my list (and trust me when I say my list is not long) is people who do not pick up after their dogs. I happened to be driving when I noticed a man walking his dog and his dog "getting into position" on someone's lawn. Noticing that he did not seem to have a bag with him I kept an eye on him in my rear view mirror. Sure enough, the dog did his business (and there was no mistaking what the dog was doing) while his owner pretended to be interested in the house he was standing in front of. The dog finished his business and off they went, like NOTHING happened! Come on people, do you lack respect for other people's property that you can't pick up after your dog? What goes on in these people's minds? Do they think dogs taking a dump is just part of nature and it'll blend in with the surroundings? Sure the owner may have forgotten to bring a bag but really, you're taking the dog for a walk, how much simpler can it be? Also when you decide to own a dog, there are responsibilities that come with it like PICKING UP AFTER YOUR DOG. If you can't handle this or are a slob yourself, don't own a dog. Yes I know, I am ranting but I am tired of going for walks and having to pay attention to where I walk. I want to be able to go for walks and think about other things besides dog shit. It is (almost) to the point where I want to stalk people that do not clean up after their dogs and take a dump on their lawn so they know how it feels. To all the other dog owners that picks up after their dogs, thank you.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Speaking of Youtube

One of my favorite Youtube videos that makes me smile everytime I view it is the one of otters holding hands. I don't know what it is about it that makes me smile or even why I like it so much but it is number 1 on my list of favorites. Do you have a favorite video that makes you smile? If so, what is it?

It's amazing what elephants can do

I happened to be on my friend Todd's facebook profile where he had linked to a Youtube video of an elephant painting a self portrait of himself. Curious, I watched the video and was blown away over the elephant's talents. I highly recommend watching the video.

Naturally when it comes to wild animals forced to exhibit unnatural skills, you wonder what methods were used to train the elephants. I decided to investigate further and was directed to that sells the elephants' paintings. Digging further it explained how these domesticated elephants were used for hauling lumber but due to cutbacks on logging in Thailand the elephants were no longer needed. Thus the elephants were trained using positive reinforcements (like bananas and sugarcane) and non-toxic paints to help protect them from people using them for illegal logging or begging on the streets. Proceeds from their creations are used to protect their natural habitat as well as for veterinarian care, food, and caretaker education. All paintings listed on the site were sold out so I was unable to see what the paintings sold for. However I am glad to read the elephants are not being abused and are protected.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

I'm seeing double

While birth defects are not new, I have to admit I have never seen a baby with 2 faces. Born a month ago in an Indian village, she is being hailed as the reincarnation of a Hindu goddess. This rare condition is known as craniofacial duplication where her eyes, nose and mouth are duplicated. Doctors have examined her and deemed her to be in healthy condition. A CT scan was suggested to ensure that her internal organs are fine but the father declined it, saying his "daughter is behaving as a normal child". She drinks out of both mouths and blinks all 4 eyes at the same time. Here's hoping she lives a healthy life.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Enhancing the way you view your photos

I love technology and trying out new software, especially when it is 100% free. Hence, if you like viewing photos online, you should install to your computer. PicLens created by Cooliris Inc has revolutionized the way people view photos online and is compatible with a number of platforms: Safari, Firefox and IE(released back in February). PicLens organizes your photos on a 3D wall where you can effortlessly drag, zoom, and flip through your photos. PicLens also works with a number of sites such as Flickr, Facebook, Google Images, and Friendstar. Try it out for yourself, and I promise you won't look at another photo online the same again. Here is a screenshot of one of my photo albums in Facebook using PicLens.

Do you know of any software that is good to try out? If so let me know.

Monday, April 7, 2008

If you like gourmet pizzas do I have a place for you

If you live in Saskatoon or are visiting on a Wednesday, stop by Aroma Mediterranean Resto-Bar for half price gourmet pizzas and cheap pints if you haven’t already. I promise you won’t regret it.

I’m not as big of a pizza lover as my husband is but I like going here for their pizza every week. The pizzas are not only made with fresh ingredients on its thin pizza crust but you are also able to sit in front of the pizza making station and watch the pizzas go into their “wood stone fired” oven. I discovered this diamond when I attended an Occupational Health and Safety course approx. a year ago and the head chef also happened to be enrolled. Let me tell you, having gone through this course previously for a different employer, having him tell me about this deal was the best thing I learned. Since then my husband and I have been religiously eating here on Wednesdays, inviting friends whenever they can join us. Having eaten here shortly after they came out with this deal, the restaurant has increased immensely with diners to the point where you either have to go really early after work or later in the evening to get a seat. Pizzas like Da Em and Em, Big Island Drive By, Pollo Greco, and other great ones are just few of the items in their unique menu. Each week they also come out with a featured pizza that begs the question as to why they are not regulars on the menu.

The staff here is super friendly and helpful, from their servers to those that make the pizzas. After a hard days work, the ambience (and variety of music) is exactly what the doctor ordered. See you at Aromas!

Do you have a recommendation for a restaurant that you enjoy as I love trying new restaurants?

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Houston, we have sprouts!

Last Thursday I blogged about purchasing the AeroGarden Pro 200 and attempting to grow our own herbs. Well under 3 days later we have liftoff! Sprouts have been sighted for our Thyme: 5-10 days was the estimation for sprouts (albiet they are tiny signs), Chives (est. 5-10 days) and our Italian Basil (est. 3-7 days). We are well on our way. Wish us well and stay tuned for more updates.

Would you eat fish out of the Saskatchewan River (Saskatoon)

Recently I became involved in a debate regarding eating fish out of the Saskatchewan River after explaining how my parents used to take me fishing when I was younger in North Battleford, Sk. I have fond memories of fishing every so often with my parents and my mom cooking up the odd pickerel that we caught. Keep in mind that was approx. 20 years ago and times have changed, or more specifically the environment.

The debate focused on eating fish out of the Saskatchewan River in Saskatoon over concerns of the mercury level in fish. To be fair, mercury is found all around us, in the soil, air, plants and animals but the fact remains it has the highest concentration in fish. If mercury is found all around us, what is the big deal about eating fish that contain traces of mercury?

Before attempting to answer that question, an understanding of how fish are exposed to mercury in the first place needs to be addressed. Fish are subjected to mercury via the environment they swim in (naturally) but the majority is taken from the organisms they consume. Hence the older the fish are, the more mercury they may have in their system versus younger fish. Mercury levels in fish are reported in ‘ppm” (1 part in a million, mg/kg) while mercury in the water is measured in “ppb” (1 part in a billion, mg/kg). Methylmercury is the converted form of mercury that is absorbed by organisms. In addition, the higher up in the food chain the fish are, the higher the mercury level is in their flesh.

Where does that leave Saskatchewan? A provincial Contaminants-in Fish Committee has been analyzing Saskatchewan fish since 1969. They correlated the mercury levels of fish to their length. The Canadian Health and Welfare deemed .5 ppm as the acceptable tolerance level in fish. Fish with less than .5 ppm were considered acceptable to eat while those higher were definitely not acceptable for commercial sales. Then in 1984, Saskatchewan adopted the guideline that fish between .5 and 1 ppm could be eaten in limited amounts. In 1986, Saskatchewan adopted the following mercury ratings that corresponded with Manitoba and Ontario:

- 0 indicates fish contain less than .5 ppm
- 1 indicates fish contain .5 to 1 ppm
- 2 indicates fish contain 1 to 1.5 ppm
- 3 indicates fish contain more than 1.5 ppm

Thus the recommended guidelines for consumption are:

- 0 means the fish may be eaten in unlimited amounts
- 1 or 2 means that fish can be eaten in limited amounts
- 3 means that fish should not be eaten

What do these numbers mean? Well a 1 signifies that a fish should only be eaten for one meal every week and a 2 means that fish should only be eaten one meal every 2 weeks (emphais on eaten!). Keep in mind that there are benefits to eating fish such as the proteins, essential nutrients and low levels of saturated fats and presence of ‘healthy’ fatty acids they provide. Thus in 2004, Saskatchewan Environment concluded the level of mercury in Saskatchewan fish were as following:

Could the environment change that rapidly in 4 years? Of course it can but did it? Throughout my research of this topic (and keep in mind it was contained to the www), I found 0 up-to-date documents supporting the argument that eating fish out of the Saskatchewan River is harmful to your health. This is not to say that I do dispute the fact fish are contaminated with mercury but the level of mercury to the point where it is harmful is. If fish were REALLY that bad for you to eat out of the Saskatchewan River (in Saskatoon) don’t you think there would be more public awareness of it? What are your thoughts and if you have any factual documentation proving otherwise, let me know and I will be first to change my opinions and admit it.

PS. Since we are on the topic of fish I thought that I would throw in a picture of the 46lb sturgeon my parents graciously let me reel in off the shore in North Battleford (and boy was it a fight). Thanks mom and dad :-)

Friday, April 4, 2008

I made a point to watch a talk show

Normally I do not watch talk shows. I am not the type to watch talk shows. However I made an exception when I saw an upcoming episode advertised twice the morning of April 1. Being that it was April 1 and I only saw the commercial twice, I was skeptical that it was an April Fool's joke and I wasn't alone.

It wasn’t. The talk show: Oprah. The topic: an interview with the first pregnant man. That’s right, you read it correctly the first pregnant man. Intrigued I set out to watch the show that was set to air a few days later.

Meet Thomas, a happily married 34-year-old man who is 6 months pregnant. As you might have guessed, Thomas was once a woman, Tracy who at one time was named a finalist in the Miss Hawaii Teen USA pageant. Hearing his story was intriguing as he went through life feeling like she was a tomboy at a very young age and thinking something did not feel right. She stopped dating men and tried out her first lesbian relationship. Learning more about transgender, Tracy approached her then girlfriend about the idea who did not support it, which ultimately ended the relationship. Finally in her 20s Tracy started the physical transformation taking testosterone and testosterone injections that lowered her voice and grew facial hair. Thomas also explained how he had his breasts surgically removed and how the doctors pulled the skin to resemble a man’s chest. Tracy soon became Thomas but elected to keep her reproductive organs, as he knew he always wanted to have children. Oprah then asked the question that was on everyone’s minds with respect to the unmentionable regions. Thomas replied that the hormone treatments did alter her clitoris so that it grew into the size of a small penis to the point where he is able to have intercourse. During the show as he was explaining this he did make the joke that size is not supposed to matter.

Once his transformation was complete, Thomas was legally considered a man in the state of Oregon. Soon after, he and Nancy, who was completely aware of the situation, said I do. The decision to start a family came shortly after and they looked into their options. As Nancy was unable to bear children they looked into having Thomas artificially inseminated. A year ago, Thomas was successfully pregnant but complications arose as the embryos starting growing in his fallopian tube instead of his uterus. As his life was in danger, an operation was preformed to remove the embryos that resulted in losing his fallopian tube as well. They tried again and were successful last October.

Throughout his story it was interesting to learn about his views and how at one point, he would do anything to protect his family. Now he is not so eager to enter into confrontations for fear of harming his baby. You start to feel sorry for him when he describes his clothes and how there are no man-ternity clothes (keep in mind that at no point in the show does he complain or ask for anyone’s pity about anything, even over the situation of finding a doctor that will monitor his progress). I am sure that going on the Oprah show and doing a story in People Magazine will result in designers who will jump at the chance to design clothes for him, if they do not fear their reputation will be jeopardized.

What do I think about all this? Well it is definitely an unusual case; however Thomas was once a woman so it is not that far of a stretch. The advancements in technology and science over the years make anything possible. I am not religious nor am I in a position to judge others and I think people have the right to do whatever they want as long as it does not harm others around them. To put it in perspective, I would rather a child be born to loving parents versus parents who are unfit and unable to care for a (unwanted) child even if the method is unconventional. Thomas and his wife comes off as a normal family expecting a healthy and normal child, the only difference is Thomas is the one giving birth. What are your thoughts?