Archive for July, 2011


Yeehaw, after the performance of on Wednesday night and a quick relaxed practice at Rory’s on Thursday we are ready to rock our last gig of the summer.

The thriving metropolis of butternut won’t know what to do with us,… Errr more likely vice versa.

It’s been a pretty hectic season, and I can’t wait to have it at my back. Just means I’ll start planning the fall. There’s potentially a band online competition, plans for the beer sampling, the calendar prep, etc….

It just never ends. But, that’s what I love and hate about the band… Oh, there’ll be new voting going on, and the ever present questions of if I should write a new book of music. Probably not.

Otherwise my world has been pretty quiet, or none of your business… Heh.

I still can’t believe it’s going to be August on Monday… Crazy… Summer’s had I er and it feels like it hasn’t even started yet.

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Got my tablet in hand [55/69]

So, got my tablet… Again
it’s sitting I am my lap as I type this out

I love it, just not the best to type in (will probably be full of errors). I’m using SwiftKey… Which is good, but the size is a little awkward to do a full keyboard style typing, so this split thumb typing idea is sorta working… Having to relearn a bit… Thankfully SwiftKey is really good at predicting the words.

So, I’ve got it, and I wanted to wait a few days before I started to talk about it, just in case of the same issues I had last time. So far none… Except for a bum microsd card and some extension usb cables that won’t allow it to charge.

I bought the asus again as it just seemed the best buy. The xoom was expensive and was seemingly never to be updated (asus has already said 3.2 is around the corner), and not being able to charge over usb seemed archaic, especially so, on the sleek tab.

Plus you know me I’m afraid gadget guy, so the more jacks and peripherals availble to the asus was the way to go (the keyboard doesn’t draw power away from the tablet, it doubles the battery!!!)

When I picked it up, the associate wouldn’t let me open the unit to check for defects… Which concerned me. So I made an unboxing video as my proof in case I needed it. Luckily, unnecessary.

So far, so good. I love this unit. Loving honeycomb as well. There are some drawbacks, like no official skype sign video set or official facebook all (so I’m using with different paps to get all the features). All this however is livable.

What would be neat is to allow the gmail “call” feature enabled in here, but you can’t have everything (and netflix incoming shortly).

My biggest concern of it not being able to play native divx files seems to be unnecessary as its worked with everything thus far.

I’m debating a screen protector as this thing is an oil magnet… But if hate to sacrifice the sensitivity. On my phone there was no change, but on Mandy’s it’s really noticeable.

Well, all this typing on here is taking way too long, but it’s getting easier as I do it, so I’ll end this entry here.

Fyi – 79.7%

Rory & Rain’s wedding [50/63]

Took ’em long enough, but finally Rory & Rain are married.

It was a great time, and I was proud to be able to play my part in it.  Rory has been instrumental (pun intended) for a lot of what the pipe band is today.

Too bad I screwed up the intro.  We set it all out, the only thing was timing – I couldn’t play in sync with the band all the way over on the other side.  As soon as I had the tempo going I started to march and then I realized “I can’t hear a thing” so I fumbled it a fair bit.  By the time I got to the bottom of the stairs I knew I was out… I looked to Rory and he just shook his head to say ‘no’… so I fumbled a bit more and eventually got in time.  Hopefully not many other people noticed… to me it sounded horrendous.

Other than that – it was hot… very hot.  You would think in those cases it was best to dress coolly… not so for Rory or the priest.  And then the priest didn’t let anything back in terms of the ceremony. That was one long ceremony, but full of cool appropriate rites and whatnot.

After the ceremony I piped them back up and and we all rushed into the hall for some A/C.  We mingled and talked etc… for some time, as in typical Bain fashion, it was delayed.  But we enjoyed it nonetheless.  Dean, who we thought was over-cooked from the heat, really enjoyed it as he danced and ran around.

Then at some point in the evening, the A/C stopped working.  And man was it hot.  Sticky hot.  You could either stick outside and get eaten by the bugs, or stay inside and sweat.  Oddly enough, nobody complained, we just trudged along and enjoyed the company and the speeches and the food.  Did I mention haggis?  Rory never said what ‘haggis lite’ was  tho’, but it was good.

Dean really enjoyed himself.  He really wanted to dance and jump around.  He was dancing with Anna a bit, and then after a while she tired of it, but he still wanted to… it was like that annoying non-social guy who kept asking but kept getting shut down.  Kinda felt bad for Dean, and wondered when Anna was going to slap on the restraining order.  Aah, youth.  Eventually he just played with the other kids at the party – he had a blast.  [and slept in until 9 this morning]  Even better was he got so hot, we took off his shirt, and left him in his ‘wife beater’.  People found this most histerical, the kilted kid in a wife beater who was just hitting on all the girls … he even had a pretty good shot of taking Brandy’s date home with him [you the man, cool guy]

All joking and everything else aside – it was a majestic day for Rory and Rain – and I was glad to be a part of it!

[And congrats to Mark and Allison – nobody reads these anyways, so I’m telling their secret]

The Quest for a Tablet

*sigh*  So I know my issues are never the ‘worst out there’, and no matter how I say it, somebody will say “there are those with X disease having to go without Y necessity”.  But still, can’t a guy get some luck?

Anyway, I bit the bullet, and ordered myself a tablet.  I debated long and hard over which to get.  There’s literally thousands of blogs and videos to sort through and digest to understand the playing field out there.  It had boiled down to the Tab, the eeePad or the Xoom.

I eventually decided on the eeePad.  Chance for a keyboard dock, more battery, SD slot, etc.. etc.. etc..  This is not the point of my writing today.

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Starts out with me placing the order on Futureshop.  They had me, they kept saying “only X number left”, then it was “only (X-4) left”, etc… until I just had to order it.  So I do and it takes a while before it says ‘shipped’.

Now I knew going in, that it was over the July 1st weekend, so there would be some delays.  That wasn’t my issue.  On the receipt it says “Purolator” and gives a tracking code.  When you click on the button that says “track this shipment” it gives you an error.  Futureshop’s customer service agent was literally dumbfounded when I pointed it out.  He had no clue.  It was as if this was the first time he had ever seen an error message in his life.

What he suggested was call Purolator.  I call, wait forever on their automated system [these days there are no options to ‘talk to a representative’ as apparent as they use to be – you have to hunt for them], eventually somebody comes on and I give them the tracking number and I could literally hear their eyes roll as they say “that’s a UPS shipment number, call them”.  Thus ended that conversation.

So I check the number with UPS’s website, and lo’ and behold, it shows up.  Callooh Callay!

Eventually the day of shipment is upon me.  I was overjoyed as I saw that it was “out for shipment”.  I could taste the honeycomb now.  [for those of you that don’t know, Android OS uses a nickname of a dessert for their major release, each subsequent release uses the next alphabetical letter to pick a dessert:  cupcake, donut, eclair, froyo, gingerbread, honeycomb.  Next is ice cream sandwich].

I call UPS realizing that today nobody would be at the house for delivery.  I try UPS’s customer service line… an eternity passes.  It’s so disconcerting when there’s no hold music.  Eventually I get somebody who says they try all day and I may not even be delivered to until the end of the day anyways.

So I wait… then I call the local store.  Figuring, maybe they know the driver, maybe he could detour to my office to drop it off.  Never know.  She then tells me a unique thing … in Thunder Bay, apparently UPS has no trucks, so they use Purolator.

Follow this:

  • I order from future shop
  • they say purolator’s shipping, but give a UPS number
  • UPS doesn’t actually ship within town, but uses Purolator

I feel like a moebius strip here… of craziness.

The nice gal on the phone re-iterates the same thing that, maybe they will deliver after work, and if not, I could get the slip they left behind to go to the Puro depot to pick it up.

I feel better… somewhat.

I get home, there’s no slip… so I just have to wait right?  They haven’t delivered, so they’ll be around shortly.  Just to be on the safe side I call Puro… no local number, and a bazillion minutes on the phone waiting I get anxious and hang up – call the UPS store again.  A new girl now tells me that the Puro trucks finish all runs at like 2pm.  So they must have come by… but there’s no slip.

Only one way to find out – drive down.

At the depot, it’s like they never expect customers to walk in … ever.  I’m met with somewhat curious stares.  I had thought this would be easy.  Good lord no…

Eventually as they’re talking and mash some buttons on a computer they come up with “that truck is just coming in now” and find my package.

CALLOOH CALLAY!

I had a ball playing with it.  It was literally what I expected.  So much fun.

Until I noticed the dead pixel.  I could have lived with it, but it woulda just stared at me like the tell tale heart everytime I used it.  But, then there were 2… then 3 and 4.

Now I was in a conundrum.  Futureshop no longer listed the item on their site, so I couldn’t order a replacement.  What to do?  The Galaxy Tabs were now backordered until mid-August… and the Xoom was $100 more.

Eventually I determined that Staples carried them in the store, so I returned it to Futureshop.  That was an ordeal.  I brought everything I had.  Apparently I missed something… the receipt.  I tried telling them that that was everything I got, but they didn’t believe me.  I even brought the bubble wrap!!  I tried bringing up the order on my phone, but it was giving me an error.  Eventually they let me use their demo mac computer [seems wrong that the only thing that has gone right in this story happened on a Mac… ptoo!] to bring up the receipt.  Eventually I’m able to get my refund.   Oi.

So I go to Staples [right next door] to get my new one.  Eventually they bring out my 32GB and I ask if I can open it first to check it for defects.  While he starts doing that he mentions the warranty and I sorta get cajoled into it, so I say “get the 16GB instead, so that way I’ll get the warranty”.  He gets it… it has already been opened.  There’s no packing material [you know, that film around it etc..], there’s greasy fingerprints on it… but it’s fine.  Hrmm…  While getting it, he finds that they have a dock too.  So he brings it out and we fiddle with it [it too has been previously opened].gallery_left

So, I’m leery, but good to go.  While he’s ringing it up, he starts talking about the warranty – where I find it’s not what I was expecting, nor how it was sold to me originally – so I have him remove the warranty option, and bring back the 32GB.  There’s some raised eyebrows [apparently reneging on purchasing the optional warranty is a faux pas], but I muscle through the stares and take my purchase and leave.

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It’s then I realized I DIDN’T CHECK THE 32GB MODEL… but they’re closing now, and besides – I’m sure it’s fine.  Upon getting to my parents’ for dinner I open it up… it’s not fine.  There’s 4 scuff marks on the glass panel inside.

AAACK.

No luck for me.

Tomorrow I will bring it back to Staples for a straight refund.  I’ll have had it for less than 24hrs, so hopefully it shouldn’t be an issue – however, I know Staples, there’ll be blood, but I’ll get my refund.

The question is… now what?  Get the 16GB that I know is fine, then get the warranty?  It’s the Tablet I wanted.   Do I return it and preorder the Galaxy?

So fraught with mixed emotions here..

Minocqua “weekend” [46/58]

So, what a “weekend”.  I say it with the rabbit ears as it wasn’t really a Saturday/Sunday ordeal, but a Monday/Tuesday one.

Anyways, nice little drive down.  What was really nice was that this year we decided to have all the cars meet up at one place first, and THEN drive down.  Caravan it for all of us.

So, we take off and about 7-8 hours later we arrive in Minocqua.  Such a nice little town. Fair number of places to choose from to eat for such a small town.  I enjoyed having played for a quick little wedding celebration the night before we left, so I ended up having some coin.

The trip also forced me to clean up the car and ensure I had room for a cooler so that I could grab some breakfast.  Apparently it’s becoming predictable at these trips that I’ll have yogurt and blueberries for breakfast.

Well, the first night was a good time with the gang.  Just enjoying the comraderie of a band.  We ended up using google’s talk/dialer to call Brandy and sing her the “towlie” song [gotta be careful how I word it, once Live refused to post the actual name of the song].  We also “pamela’d” Erin… tho’ she didn’t pick up the phone, so I’m sure she chuckled in the morning to her voicemail.  We even made it to a local shop to enjoy the last few minutes of the night downtown.  I played in the streets for a little bit before the police reminded me of the time, then gave me a reprieve of 30 seconds to play one last bit.

Then it was the day of the parades.

We did 4 that day.  It’s nice to get a lot in one day to make the most out of the trip… but man, by the last parade I was starting to feel a little funny.  Eric had to step out of one too.  Graham I think enjoyed it, as he had lent Peter his uniform (because as Pete tells it, Carole forgot to pack it for him). We’ve had guys forget pieces, even kilts before, but never a full uniform.

That night we played only a little bit as most had to return to work the next day so it was pretty subdued; however, we did have a great time (despite someone attempting to steal a set of pipes).

All in all… AWESOME weekend. Tiring, but awesome.