Halloween is for Kids
Halloween. I have fond memories of it as a kid, going from
door to door in my costume. I also have fond memories making costumes for my
kids. Pouring hours into elaborate things that were worthy of a movie set or a
stage somewhere. I?ve been living in the same house for over 17 years now, and
over that span have seen many a great costume greet me with the traditional
?trick or treat?. So, when this year came around I went dutifully to the
grocery store & bought dozens of bags of potato chips to hand out to the
creatively dressed children that I anticipated knocking on my door. Camera at
the ready I awaited their arrival, thinking I would make a collage of all their
costumes to post on flickr, my favorite photo sharing site.
A witch and her baby first greeted us, cool enough, at least
they were both in costume & Mum was getting into the spirit by dressing herself as well as her
youngster up. We wait some more & another timid knock, it?s a bee, another
youngster whose parental unit waits at the curb.
Now it gets sad. Time goes by, I?ve got a mountain of chips
in individual sealed bags specially sold just for this occasion here. An hour
or so later, closing in on 8:45, a group of 4 teenagers, one of whom you can
barely even tell has a costume on (I think it was an inside out sweatshirt)
arrive & hold out their bags. I pop in the chips & the guy in the
sweatshirt turns to leave. Camera in hand I say woah, hold on there, the price
for the chips is a photo. He stays & I capture the group for eternity.
9:00 comes & goes and about 9:15 another knock on the
door. I?m blown away. It?s some woman easily in her 30s, and another probably
mid to late 20s, both are smoking, no costumes, with a baby stroller in which sits an
infant who?s only costume is a cap with ears on it. Some guy stands at the end
of the driveway, a cigarette glowing in his hand. Trick or treat they go. Well,
I pop a bag into the younger womans bag (for the infant I suppose, still he/she
looks far to young to even be awake at this hour). I ask them to hold on while
I take a snap of the baby. The guy at the end of the driveway starts to
approach, the women wave him off saying that I?m just taking a picture. (Like I?m
an axe murderer or something). Once done, the older woman asks me for another
bag of chips for her daughter. Well, huh? Where's your daughter? Why isn't she here, in costume? I hand one over anyway(I mean, I?ve got lots).
Now, this kind of bugs me. Two obviously un-costumed adults,
who make my entrance hall reek of cigarette smoke, out with an infant who is
barely costumed, demanding more swag. Gimme a break. What ever happened to
Halloween being for kids?
Filed under General, Nov 1, 2005
Visited countries. Indeed. I came across this great utility
today while surfing Flickr, my favorite photo-sharing site. Here?s a map of Countries I have been to in my lifetime.
your own visited countries map
Filed under General, Oct 26, 2005
So I?m shopping for a lens for my camera on e-bay. I find
one that looks good, the same mount that my camera has, and decide to make a bid on it. The seller says he has had
the lens for 6 months (I later find out this is a lie) and is selling it for
the cash. If you know anything about e-bay, you know that if you want
something, you may have to bid at the last second in order to win it. So, I
rush home from out of town on the day in question to make my bid. It was a big deal as I really wanted this lens. It goes a
bit higher than I wanted, but OK, I win the item. Yay.
This is where the story turns sordid.
I receive the lens in the mail after being charged $16 for
shipping (it only cost $5.75). Well, no problem, I?m happy, I have a new lens.
HOWEVER, it won?t work. It keeps on giving me an error message with my camera.
I contact the seller & he refuses a refund. The guy is an e-bay newbie,
very low feedback rating and although he?s bought some stuff, this is the first
thing he?s sold. Well, I contact the lens manufacturer & they confirm that
it will not work with digital cameras, a fact that the seller had conveniently
left out of his auction description. I go to a camera store & after
examination & trying it with different cameras they confirm the same thing.
Once again, I contact the seller & request a refund saying I?ll happily
return the lens to him because it is not compatible with my camera, even though
the auction said it would fit my camera body. NO WAY he says, read the auction
listing, I never said it would actually work with digital!
HUH? Any retail store or any other seller on e-bay will take
care of you here. This guy was out to rip me off. It turns out (remember he
lied in the listing?) that he bought the lens originally from some guy in the
U.K. about a month before and ran into the same problem. He decided to rip
someone else off by pawning it off on some unsuspecting sucker (in this case
me) on e-bay. That's not what e-bay is about. What a scumbag.
Well, after several e-mails back & forth this jerk is
still refusing to do the right thing. He even admitted to me in an e-mail that
he couldn?t get the lens to work either. Unbelievable! OK, I have options here;
I contact Pay Pal & file a claim. Trying to tweak the claim on line it gets
inadvertently cancelled. Bummer. I call Pay Pal long distance & they say
that once closed they can?t re-open it. They suggest that I go through my
credit card company. No problem, I call up the credit card company & they
are more than happy to help me out. I get all the necessary documentation, a
letter from the camera store saying that the lens won?t work with my camera,
paperwork & printouts from the auction, & fax all this stuff off to
them. They have no problem refunding my money. The next step is that they go
after Pay Pal to get their money back. Pay Pal disputes it, but only based on
the fact that they think I no longer wish to dispute the charge. Once they
realize the story, they also have no problem with the claim.
So, my credit card company thinks I?ve been ripped off, Pay
Pal thinks I?ve been ripped off, but this moron starts sending me nasty
e-mails, telling me to ?grow up? & ?shame on you? & stuff like that.
Strange seeing as he?s the only one in the world who thinks he did nothing
But wait, it gets better.
I receive my refund & before 90 days is up, while I still have a
chance, I leave appropriate feedback for this guy so he won?t rip others off too.
Pay Pal contacts me & requests that I return the lens to him. No problem, I
had tried before but he had refused to accept a return, remember? Pay Pal says I
should pay for the return, my credit
card company said in a letter that he should pay for the return, but I do anyway because I just want this to be over. The same day that
Pay Pal contacts me, I get another e-mail from this jerk admonishing me for the
Hmmm, lets see, my credit card company thinks I?m right &
he?s wrong, Pay Pal thinks I?m right & he?s wrong, yet he still thinks he?s
right & I?m wrong. What is wrong with this picture? This guy has a serious
problem understanding reality, not to mention right from wrong. He says he?s
going to sell the lens again on e-bay. YIKES!!
To top it off, this morning, he leaves me negative feedback, my first. He said that I am "ignorant" about cameras. Hmmm, it said that it had the correct camera mount...but he left out the part about digital compatability (remember he was burned by the same thing, yet he calls *ME* ignorant).
It won?t really affect me, I have over 600 positives in over 5 years of active trading, and he only has barely
20. Let?s see, 600 to 20?...now who do you think knows how e-bay is supposed to work?
Still, I had to rant, this guy is a liar and a cheat and deserves more than a slap on the wrist via
feedback. At least he?s out the $200+ I got refunded. There?s no way that lens
will fetch even close to that not being digital compatible.
I?ve had well over 600 transactions in over 5 years on e-bay & only a few
bummers. I still like e-bay, but there's no way this swindler or people like him should be allowed anywhere near it.
Filed under General, Oct 19, 2005
So my parents come for a visit & they want to take us
out to dinner. Fine, we make a reservation at a local restaurant, which I have
never been to dinner there before, but the lunch I had there once was tasty
& well prepared. It?s a sort of Bistro type of place; it would easily fit
in on Queen Street in Toronto. Anyway,
we get there & are seated. The menus arrive. I glance at the prices?YIKES!!
Are they serious? I guess usually just eating out at lunchtime has spoiled me.
The prices are astronomical. Well, we?re here so we may as well enjoy
We order & get some drinks. After a little while my
wife?s salad arrives, along with a tiny single slice of bread for each of us
& a sugar cube sized pat of butter to be shared between the four of us.
That didn?t last long. The drinks disappear, time goes on, the salad is long
finished, and it?s now ? of an hour since we ordered. There?s still no food.
We snag a server and inquire about the delay. It seems that
they were waiting for the salads to be finished BEFORE they started to prepare
the main courses! Well, that?s strange; you?d think that they would be
preparing them to be served immediately after the salad. We ask for more butter
& perhaps some more bread so we don?t die of starvation and are met with an
incredulous ?I?ll bring more when what you have is finished?.
What outstanding service!
We can?t believe it! We show the smear left on the inside of
the espresso cup sized butter container and another single small slice of bread per person and miniscule
Soon after that our overpriced meals finally arrive. It?s
now close to an hour after we ordered.
They were OK, I guess, but not exceptional. One of our
parties didn?t like it, another thought it was very good, and two distinct
mediocre. For the prices charged I expected much better.
What gets me about this is the unbelievable lack of service.
A restaurant is supposed to be run to please the customer, not to make it
easier for the staff. Granted they were probably short staffed, but that again
is not the customer?s problem, it?s a sign of poor management.
The bill is paid & we leave, probably never to return.
Filed under General, Oct 18, 2005
Interestingness. Sooooo, what exactly is interestingness
anyway?? Well, on Flickr, it?s based on
some algorithm or something that says whether your photo is interesting to
others or not, or interesting to the algorithm, or whatever. Some computer
thing I guess.
Something interesting about this?I have a popular picture,
over 400 hits, that is top of my hits list & top of my comments list (well,
until this week), and until yesterday, top of my interestingness list. Heh!
Well this particular shot was #1. Well, I posted it to this
group, 300 views, and it IMMEDIATELY dumped to #27 or 28 from #1 on my
interestingness list. Holy crap. OK, lets remove it from the group & see
what happens. Nothing. OK, lets put it back in. BAM, down to #180 on the list!!!
HOLY SHIT BATMAN!!! I tried this with another photo?same thing. Big dump. Next
day another photo?same thing, this one dropped 150 spots in my interesting list
just by putting it in this group. Now what?s up with that?
Go figure. Stupid computers anyway!
Filed under General, Oct 1, 2005
Internet Movie Database
Trickle and Thrum