I Think I Can… I Think I Can…

Search Amazon

Gas Prices Went DOWN??

Published June 25, 2009 - 1 Comment

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to play “How Much Did Gas Go Up Now?”. Since the government brought in gas regulation more than a year ago, it’s become a bit of a game trying to figure out which way the price/litre is moving on any given Thursday.  Tis the season for sunshine, camping trips and long scenic drives, so it’s really only a given that the price of gas goes up, way up.  And that’s precisely what many people thought last night as they swarmed the pumps before the weekly price adjustment took effect at midnight.

One of the guys at work went down to wait in line for his gas.  I couldn’t be bothered.  I’ve never been much of a person to wait in line, and my sanity is worth more to me than saving a couple of dollars.  Yes, I’m well aware that a prudent consumer would not hesitate to sit in that line, but I figure that I’ve blown money on all sorts of useless purchases over the years, and I’m not about to wait to fill up my tank.

So at 4am I went out for my break and filled up.  Obviously I wasn’t too worried about a line at that hour.

As I was standing there, pumping my gas, I looked at the price.  $1.007/litre.  Hmm… that’s odd.  It was $1.039/litre before midnight. So it actually went DOWN by over 3 cents? This can not be!  What about all those people (including my co-worker) who had braved the crowds and sat there with their engines idling away because they didn’t want to pay more?

Hmm.. I guess they were wrong.

I could have gone back to work and simply told my co-worker that the price had decreased. He probably would have grumbled a little, and pointed out that his “plan” works most times.  I’m sure that it does.  But that wouldn’t have been much fun.  No, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to get a rare dig in.

When I got back to the office he asked me how much I had paid for gas.

“A buck-ten” I told him.

Wow.  The gloating came on instantly!  “I told ya! Should have listened to me!  You should have gone down before midnight”.

I just sat back and enjoyed the anticipation of the moment where I would dash his spirits.  Finally I could not wait any longer.

“Oh, did I say a buck-ten? I’m sorry.  I was never very good at math.  Actually it was just over a dollar… oops.. sorry”

The look on his face.  I wish I had a camera.

That’s ok though.  I have no doubt that next Thursday the pricing anomaly will have corrected itself, and it’ll probably be up 6 cents.

And if you’re curious where the cheapest gas in the province is, try this site.  (It’s incredibly hard to see that there’s a link there, with this theme, and I don’t plan on keeping this one long, but I thought that it was interesting and wanted to showcase it for a period of time)

When They Come A Tappin’ …

Published June 25, 2009 - 1 Comment

My boss tapped me on the shoulder this week and asked me to come talk to him.  Hmm… OK…  Turns out that with all the retirements scheduled, they are juggling people within different groups, trying to fix some operational holes.  The boss of one group is losing people, and he’d like to steal me over to his group as a replacement.  When I asked the obvious question “Why me?” the answer was “You’re the most technically savy of our group”. 

I suppose that I should be flattered.

At face value, I can see why some people might be interested in moving to the new group.  The technology is up and coming VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) and one day all our telephone calls will travel seamlessly over the internet backbone.  But for me, the decision was easy. 

I sat down and tried to weight the pros and cons.  I had quite a list of cons, and I realistically could not come up with a single pro… at least for ME.  Some young whipper-snapper looking to stay in the technical field would probably jump at the opportunity, but I’m a long way from that now.  I couldn’t justify taking a pay cut (the position does not work weekends or holidays, which normally adds a significant chunk of change to my paltry pay cheque over the course of the year), to work sporadic shift work (as opposed to my well-defined shift work), in a technical field which really doesn’t interest me any more.  Sure, I have an IP background, and I’m sure that I would catch on to this new stuff easily enough, but my heart wouldn’t be in it.  I didn’t bust my ass this year to complete my BBA (business degree) only to take a lateral move that quite literally is only 10 feet from where I’m currently sitting.  No, my next move is off this floor, and quite possibly out of this building.  I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but I’m not going to deviate from the plan unless something amazing happens.

I met with the boss who wanted to steal me away, and stopped him as soon as he started his pitch.  I thanked him for considering me, but told him that I was not interested in moving, and laid out some of the reasons why.  There are a couple of others, but no one else needs to know those. He seemed to appreciate where I was coming from, and thanked me for being honest with him.  He doesn’t want someone who isn’t going to be happy there. 

Now to see if I shot myself in the foot or not.

To top it all off, as a pleasant surprise, one of my co-workers gave me a rare compliment and told me that I did a really good job with the fire alarm that we had the other day.  I tried to downplay it, of course, but he insisted, and I grudgingly shut up.  I hate when that fire alarm goes off, and this particular time it was not a false alarm.  There was no fire, but we did have a piece of equipment spark up, which caused the evacuation of the building.  It was my job to locate the problem and make the announcements, which apparently were well received.

All in a day’s work…

Jon and Kate… Who Cares???

Published June 24, 2009 - 0 Comments

Jon cheated on Kate.  Kate cheated on Jon.  The Children’s Protection people are worried about the cameras in the kids’ faces all the time.  Who’s getting paid?  Who’s not? Now Jon and Kate are getting divorced…

WHO CARES?

Apparently this “reality” show has been on the air for a few seasons, and I’ve somehow managed to remain blissfully ignorant until rumours of an affair were plastered upon every supermarket tabloid in existence.  And yet I asked myself… “Who are these people?  And why do I care?”

When your big claim to fame is that you have 8 kids, I think that a reality show is pretty much at the bottom of the list of things you should be concerned about.  But hey, that’s just me.  It’s bad enough that we’re concerned with the inner-workings of the lives of celebrities.  Now there’s an entire nation of Jon and Kate followers wailing at the idea of their favourite happily married couple falling apart… and what this means to their show.

The show???

Does anybody really care?

Bye-Bye Mon TV Fund…

Published June 24, 2009 - 2 Comments

I was doing so well!  Really, I was!  I don’t treat myself to anything big anymore.  Not since I decided to get my finances straightened out, and get my debt paid off as quickly as possible.  So this was going to be a huge accomplishment for me.  The sort of thing that is virtually unheard of. Yes, that’s right…  I’ve been quietly putting money aside for the better part of a year now to upgrade my current hand-me-down TV to something beautiful.  Something shiny.  Something flat.  A true work of art.  And I’d carefully nurtured that TV fund to the point where I’d been able to walk into FutureShop and stand confidently in front of the display models and proclaim that I would soon be back!  When the time was right.  When I could no longer hold off.  When the funds were screaming to be released.  32″… 37″… 42″… 46″… LCD… Plasma… the possibilities were endless… well, within the limited confines of my cash-only policy, that is!  It would be a glorious day indeed.

And then the battery light appeared on my dashboard.

Again.

Cursed the gods of ill chance!  I swear that I want to push this car off the nearest cliff some days. 

The odd thing is that I had been praising the car recently.  After the money that I had dumped into it at Christmas, it appeared to be working quite well.  Oh sure, this month the MVI was due, and that was going to cost me a little.  After 7 years the car was beginning to show its age.  It was expected that things would start to wear out. 

But that damn light meant something else.  Something not good.

“It’s your alternator”, she told me cheerily. 

Of course it was.

“It’s $400+ and we don’t have any in stock at the moment”   I’ve forgotten the exact price.  I think that I went into some form of arrest as soon as I heard the amount.  I actually swore over the phone. 

“But we can also get one from somewhere else, at a better price”

I started to calm down a little.  It was still going to cost me.  And then they needed to install it, of course.  That would take some time.  And time is money.  But what choice did I have?

“Go ahead and fix it”

After hanging up, I looked at my account balance for my TV fund.  I wrote the number on a pad of paper that I was using for other things.  A few hours later, she called back with the total.  I wrote that number directly underneath the first number.  They were nearly identical.  The top one was larger by about $20.  It was uncanny, actually.

*POOF*

Bye-Bye Mon TV Fund.

My gas tank was on empty, so I threw the remaining $20 in there.

Current balance:  $0.00. 

Yeah, I know.. it’s just a TV…

Widgets, Smidgets, Plugins, Yuggins…

Published June 24, 2009 - 0 Comments

I’ve kinda gone a little crazy with the plugins for the site.  A lot of it happens behind the scenes, so you might not notice all the changes.  Certainly things like the truncated postings, and top statistics are noticeable as soon as you look at the blog.  I’m not sure what the end result is going to look like, but I’m having fun (and learning a lot) by going through each of these.  Some of it isn’t working as well as I had hoped.  You’re supposed to be able to email interesting posts to people.  Well.. IF I had interesting posts, that is  🙂  But that doesn’t seem to be working.  Yet.

Feel free to tell me sometime what you like or dislike.  I’m also trying to add a top commenter option, but it doesn’t seem to be working either.  That’s fine.  I’ll get it all sorted out here, so I can roll it out in other (more targeted) blogs.

333 Is The Magic Number

Published June 22, 2009 - 0 Comments

333 is a great number.  Three threes.  Read it forward.  Read it backward.  Jumble the numbers around.  It doesn’t change anything.  It is as constant now as it was before.  Three Hundred and Thirthy Three.

Today is a Monday.  Mondays are never fun days.  Mondays are days when I wish that I could just go back to bed and forget about Everything else.  Unfortunately, that’s not really possible today.  So I’ll trudge through another day and see what happens on the flip side.

And it’s raining.

Go figure…

The Angel of my Nightmare

Published June 21, 2009 - 0 Comments

I’ve borrowed that line from Blink 182.  It’s one of those great lines that I’ve listened to for years, and always tucked away in the back of my mind, knowing that one day I would use it for something.

That time is now.

Exactly one month ago, to the minute, I received a message that changed Everything. Since then, I’ve been trying to figure out exactly what happened.  Where did I go wrong?  Could I have done anything better?  Certainly I could have probably handled things better, but would it have made any difference in the end? That’s the million dollar question.  Was the outcome inevitable?  I’ll never know.

It’s been a long month.

Failure is Feedback

Published June 20, 2009 - 0 Comments

There’s a podcast that I’ve been listening to for a couple of years called Internet Business Mastery. It’s one of the few podcasts that I actually listen to faithfully, and go back and re-listen to periodically to reinforce something that I may have forgotten.

The current episode deals with failure, and quite simply states “Failure is Feedback”.  That’s nothing new.  It’s certainly not something that these guys came up with, but I enjoy the way that they present it for their audience.  The podcast deals with creating an internet business, but the topic of failure is certianly not confined to business.  Whether it’s personal, business, relationships, or whatever else… failure is simply a feedback indicator.  We can choose to accept that.  Or not.  We can choose to learn from it.  Or not.  It’s rarely an easy lesson, but it’s an inevitable one. No one goes through life without stumbling.

Some of us are more adept than others.

Steve’s Panini Palace

Published June 19, 2009 - 1 Comment

Well it had to happen eventually.  I couldn’t put it off any longer.  I broke down and attempted my first panini sandwich… with mixed results.

I gave up on trying to find the perfect bread (for now) and settled for something a little less exotic. Then I threw some chopped steak, onion, mushroom, and green pepper in a frying pan and warmed everything up.  While this was going on, I grated some cheese, spread some Miracle Whip on the bread, and warmed up the panini grill.  Good times!

Now here is where the lesson starts…  there is a tightening knob on the grill which increases (or decreases) the tension on the lever.  I didn’t realize this.  I wondered why on earth it was so difficult to actually open the grill, but I figured that it must simply be stiff from not being used before.  So when it came time to put the sandwich together and on the grill, I basically had to slide it in, rather than place it squarely in the middle of the grill.

The little booklet that comes with the panini grill states that you do not need to add and butter, grease, or whatever else because it is a non-stick surface.  So that’s how I tried it.  I agree with the non-stick part, but if you want your bread to brown like a real panini, I think you’d better put something on it to help that along.

Because I couldn’t open the grill very much, and it didn’t have anything added to help the bread brown, all I essentially created was a very flat, slightly dry sandwich, which reminded me more of a quesadilla than a panini.  It tasted ok, but the presentation was less than stellar.

But that`s ok.  I`m not prepared to give up on it yet.  Now that I know how to open it up properly, and to toast the bread, I`m looking forward to trying my next one!  I think that this one will be with chicken, not steak.

Happy Birthday

Published June 18, 2009 - 0 Comments

Am I the only person with a panini grill? I recently received a very nice panini grill, but I have yet to use it. It’s not like I haven’t wanted to try it. I’ve had panini before, and really liked it, so I’ve been dying to try out my new grill. I’m having a hard time finding the proper bread to use for the sandwich.

Now, I’m sure that you can use any kind of bread that you want, but the panini that I had previously was on focaccia bread, so I’ve been trying to use the same. I’ve even gone into a bakery and tried to find it there (although it doesn’t help that I can’t seem to properly pronounce “focaccia”, and I don’t think that the baker had any idea what a panini was). Nothing.

I might have to bite the bullet, use the Key, and find a recipe that works with another bread.

Seriously.