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Archives for: November 2008

Future NOT Very Friendly

November 21st, 2008  · stk

We've experienced over a week's worth of poor customer service and technical support, courtesy of our phone and high-speed internet provider - Telus. In the past 7 days, we'e been "off-line" for over 96 hours and had so much static on our basic phone service, that we were worried about contacting 911 should the need arise.

Telus Customer Service: Not helpful, not prompt, not reliable, not honest ... and well, not a lot of very good things.

thumbs up Telus: The Future Ain't Friendly

Two separate phone problems last week left us without an Internet connection for more than 96 hours and with a static-filled (essentially unusable for voice or Internet) line for 48 hours. Calls to Customer Service and Technical Support resulted in a run-around where we were put on "hold" for extended periods of time, disconnected, told placating lies, asked to perform silly "tests", or given wrong information ... all of which left us frustrated and without timely resolutions. Aaargh!

A week ago last Thursday, there was an Internet service outage in our rural neighborhood. It started about dinner time. As it turned out, a "Stinger Card" had to be replaced. It was no big deal, as these things happen from time to time. What was unusual, however, was when the "Stinger Card" was replaced - around noon the next day - Internet service was restored to everyone - except us.

Were we unlucky or was there some other problem? It took another day and a half of frustrating telephone calls to Telus customer support and technical support to answer that question ... and to get our broadband Internet connection functioning again.

Then, on the following Tuesday - after only two full, trouble-free days - our phone line suddenly became static-filled. The Internet was up & down more times than Paris Hilton on a Friday night and the voice quality so horrid, we couldn't communicate on the phone. We worried what might happen if we had an emergency! (FYI - We live rurally, so going "next door" takes a great deal of time and there's also no cell-phone service here ... we rely on our phone.)

Mpre xb0#t "wiy Telus s8cks" ...

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Updated: 21-Feb-2011
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Kayaking to DeCourcy Island

November 18th, 2008  · stk

On an unseasonably warm & sunny November day, Rachel & Scott paddled their new sea kayaks to DeCourcy Island, 6-kilometer offshore Vancouver Island. DeCourcy Island is home to Pirates Cove Marine Park and has a rich history, including buried treasure! (DeCourcy Island maps, photos and tales "Brother Twelve", Canada's notorious cult leader)

Blue Heron Park to Pirate's Cove Marine Park, on DeCourcy Island

After two years of living in Yellow Point, we finally bit the bullet and bought two ocean-touring kayaks. They are both used kayaks, obtained from a 2008 rental fleet sale at local outfitter (Alberni Outpost). They're both bomb-proof, made of tough, durable roto-molded plastic. We haven't acquired all the accompanying gear (we still need spray-skirts, for example), but were eager to plunk them in the water for a test paddle.

A week ago, the stars and planets aligned, so we took a 12-kilometer round-trip paddle from Yellow Point (putting in at Blue Heron Park), paddling 6 kilometers across the Stuart Channel, to explore Pirate's Cove Marine Park, on DeCourcy Island. Alex was in day-care and kindergarten for the day. Rachel was scheduled to attend a B.C. Nurses Union meeting, but it was canceled at the last minute. Even the weather cooperated; after four days of rain, the skies cleared and it was a sunny, unseasonably warm November day. Wow! We just had to get out of the house before the November rain and drizzle returned.

It took us a while to get organized, tossing Rachel's blue Necky "Elaho HV" Necky "Elaho HV" Kayak Profile Picture of Rachel's Necky Elaho HV kayak Rachel's Necky "Elaho HV" kayak. The "HV" means "High Volume". Necky added 3 inches to the length and width of the cockpit of a regular "Elaho", making entering and exiting easier. This roto-molded plastic touring kayak is made by Necky (in Washington State). It offers outstanding turn response, good leaning & solid edging. It's narrower than most touring boats, which lowers its initial stability, but increases handling and performance. (Necky no longer manufactures the Elaho line). The Elaho HV is 17-feet long, 22.5-inches wide, weighs 63 pounds and can carry 325 pounds. The metal rudder is standard.  kayak and Scott's mango Current Designs "Storm" Current Designs "Storm" Kayak Profile Picture of Scotts's Current Designs Storm kayak Scott's Current Designs "Storm" kayak. The "Storm" is a lively, rugged & affordable touring kayak. It's designed to handle tremendous abuse. Built by Current Designs, the Storm is a roto-molded polyethylene kayak. The model underwent a major design fine-tuning in 2004 and sports a new hatch system & rudder controls. The deck fittings are recessed and have full perimeter deck lines. It's a very stable and rugged performing touring kayak. The Storm is 17-feet long, 24-inches wide, weighs 63 pounds and can carry up to 400 pounds. Click the link for the Current Designs website & more about the Storm kayak.  kayak onto the roof rack of the Honda Accord. We packed a lunch and drove three or four kilometers, from our house, along Yellow Point Road, to Blue Heron Park, where we dunked the boats in the water and began our paddle over to DeCourcy Island and Pirates Cove Marine Park.

To find out more about DeCourcy Island, our kayak trip and Pirates Cove Park (with maps) .... carry on ...

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Updated: 8-Apr-2011
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Boundary Changes

November 5th, 2008  · stk

OKAY ... It's not as important as voting for the President of the United States, but there's a local election that will expand the Fire Protection Boundaries in our area. Even though I can't vote, I'm urging residents to vote "YES". Find out why

North Cedar Improvement District Voting on Nov 15th

Cedar and Yellow Point residents will be voting to elect an RDN Area "A" Director on November 15th. Some property owners will also be voting on a referendum to expand the NCID/NCFD fire protection and emergency response boundaries.

Voting will be held at the North Cedar Intermediate School (2215 Gould Road, in Cedar) on Saturday, November 15th, from 8 AM till 8 PM.

I can't vote because I'm a permanent resident (not a Canadian citizen), but I can urge you to vote for your choice of Directors and "YES" to the referendum question:

Are you in favour of the North Cedar Improvement District extending its fire protection boundaries in order to provide fire and emergency response services to properties in the Yellow Point - South Cedar area at an estimated cost of $70 per year plus $66 per $100k of assessed property value?

There's not much information on the Internet about this fire protection expansion, so I thought I'd put some out there.

Residents who vote "YES will be closer to their fire hall (receive faster fire and emergency service), they'll actually have ownership of both their fire hall and the equipment, they'll also gain voting rights and they may save money through lower homeowner insurance premiums. It just makes sense to vote "YES".

For more about the referendum, a comparison chart that clearly shows why a "YES" vote is the right vote and a map of the affected areas ... carry on ...

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Updated: 6-Nov-2008
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Filed in:Alexandra

Sugar-coated Saturday

November 1st, 2008  · stk

Our five-year-old daughter, Alex (whom we call "the Oop"), had a great Halloween this year. Her Halloween costume was a princess gown, tiara and a shimmery golden cape. She thought she was pretty cute. She was! Hope you had a great Halloween too!

Halloween Tales of Princess Oop

Alex has been enamored with Princesses for some time. It all started when she received a Disney "My Princess Collection" Alex's Princess Books Disney's My Princess Collection of hardback books "My Princess Collection" is a boxed set of 12 hardcover books containing illustrated stories about heroines from Disney and Pixar films, including: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Mulan, Beauty and the Beast (Belle), Toy Story 2 (Jessie), Alice in Wonderland, Atlantis (Kida), Aladdin (Jasmine), Sleeping Beauty (Aurora), A Bug's Life (Dot), Pocahontas, and The Little Mermaid (Ariel). They're all told from a first-person perspective - that of each Princess - each being a story of true love, adventure and "living happily ever after". The Oop loves them and both Mom & Dad can tell each story, from rote memory. :p  of bedtime stories, as a gift from her "Uncle" Bruce and "Aunt" Michelle. For a while, they were her favorite bedtime reading choice and it started a near-obsession with Princesses, which resulted in a myriad of drawings, discussions and has - hopefully culminated with - this year's Halloween costume.

Trust me, as a responsible father, no-one wants their little girl believing that they are "a princess" ... with all the self-important, royal behavior that might follow! (Pity the poor guy marrying into THAT, some day, eh? I'm not sure where he'd sit on that royal court, but I doubt it'd be as "prince" ... more likely knave, slave or court jester!)

Alex's "princess" costume consisted of a $5 princess dress at the thrift store, a $1 jewel-studded tiara and the golden cape she was given for 'dress-up' on her birthday, a few weeks ago. Best $6 Rachel ever spent! The Oop loved it and played her part royally, wearing it to the local pumpkin patch, then to kindergarten, a party at day-care and (of course) trick-or-treating on Halloween night!

For a slide-show of the Princess Alex's Halloween festivities (and a celebration of the joy, innocence and excitement of a 5-year-old girl) ... read on ...

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Updated: 21-Aug-2012
Web View Count: 53697 viewsLast Web Update: 21-Aug-2012