Friday, August 28, 2009

Hello? Hello?


Today, for the first time in a year, I talked on a phone at the back of our house without worrying whether the call would be dropped...

Since we moved back to Vancouver, Catherine and I have been trying to use just our cell phones as our primary (and only) means of voice communication. Well, Catherine has a desk phone at her office, but that's beside the point.

We haven't had a "land line" in our house for over a year.

We thought, "Hey, our cell phones should be more than enough. We're in the midst of a large metropolis and what do we really need a land line for?"

Okay, well, here's the list:
  • Even though we're in a well-established neighborhood minutes from downtown Vancouver and UBC, unless we're on the front porch or up in the master bedroom, a call to or from our cell phones will undoubtedly get dropped. And, we're on two totally different plans with two differenct carriers (Telus and Rogers) - no difference.
  • How the heck do you actually send and receive FAXes easily? Sorry if that seems like the dark ages to you, but some businesses up here in Canada still insist on electronic document transfer via 1980's technology.
  • 911 and the kids - we pretty well have to make sure that anyone babysitting the kids has a cell phone or leave one of ours if we go out. Plus, if something were to happen to one of us, would the kids be able to 1. find our phones and then 2. be able to place a call reliably?
So, yeah, now we have an old-fashioned land line. Well, not so old-fashioned, it's with Vonage, so it's only "old fashioned" up until the little orange box that converts my silky voice into 1's and 0's.

I'm okay with that - at least I still have my cell, although, I don't have to hesitate calling people back in fear of appearing rude and having the call dropped...

Sunday, August 02, 2009

My Vacation in Southwestern Ontario... so far

Well, the fam and I are three days into our vacation in Ontario - back to visit friends and family in the midst of some tourist-type activities...

So far, so good. The weather has definitely been cooler - it was 104 degrees Fahrenheit in Seattle when we left and 38 degrees Celsius in Vancouver the day before - freakin' hot. We got here and were tempted to drive on the QEW to my parents' place with the windows down instead of using the air conditioner!

We've seen grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins - all the good stuff so far - Niagara Falls was yesterday and tomorrow, we're off to Toronto.

Some personal noteworthy observations about the trip so far:
  • I didn't have to turn on my iPod once on the plane trip - someone was good enough to program the "Watchmen" and 3 episodes of "Flight of the Conchords" on Air Canada!
  • It seems as though Ontario has some odd Metric conversion going on - 100 Km/h speed limit seems to translate into a minimum of 130 Km/h....
  • Pedestrians seem to be a lowly lifeform here (approaching how they're viewed in Montreal) - I found myself yelling at some dude in a Pontiac Sunfire while crossing the street with my family - I almost had the heels taken of my shoes after my son and I stepped out of his lane.
  • Speaking of pedestrians - walking anywhere tends to be snickered at. You can't get anywhere in the "Golden Horseshoe" (who thought of that name anyway?) without getting into a car.
  • "Service" has, so far, translated to mean to treat customers with disdain and contempt, taking their money and hoping that they never want to come back into your store / restaurant ever again...
  • An "Alternative Rock" station I hit seemed to be, at least to me, classic rock with a bit of Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden sprinkled in for "modern" taste...
Funny being a tourist again in the "yard" where I grew up. It's cool to see the familiar as a bit unfamiliar. Looking forward to seeing old friends and relatives again! I'll see what I can post down the way...