Panic Room

The Jodi Foster film Panic Room is a decent night out. You won’t learn anything new, but you will be entertained. Best seen on a big screen, I think.

Leading Edge Customer Service

1. What Aliant’s website says about the company’s approach:

We’re one of Canada’s top high-tech companies with subsidiaries around the world. We have 10,000 forward-thinking professionals, each focused on creating new and better ways for customers to communicate, work and live. By combining complete and leading-edge solutions with in-depth knowledge, strong customer relationships, extensive reach and a focus on innovation, Aliant is at the forefront of the communications revolution.

2. Date that I emailed a request to Island Tel’s customer service email address asking why calls to the new area code 778 weren’t going through half the time: March 23, 2002.

3. Date that I received a reply: April 5, 2002.

4. Approximate number of hours from question to reply: 312.

5. Estimate of time it would have taken to get the same answer (“call repair”) if I’d just picked up the phone and called Island Tel on March 23: 3 minutes.

6. Factor by which using the Internet decreased Island Tel’s response time: 6,240

They Say it's my Birthday

Brother Steve and friend Catherine have spilled the beans on me: today, April 5, 2002, I turn 36.

Thirty-six is one of those strange non-ages, far enough from 30 and 40 to be not closely associated with either. It is three times twelve, which places me 24 years past teenagehood. It’s also half way to 72, which, statistically, places me half way through life.

For as long as I can remember (and I realize that I will sound like an idiot here), I have liked the number 36. I remember in grade 4, learning the “times tables,” feeling a kinship with the number because it was 6x6, 3x12, and 4x9 and all at the same time. So that bodes well for the year ahead.

When my father was 36, it was 1973, and PEI was the “place to be in ‘73.” Not a bad sign either.

Upper Canada

New and different things about Upper Canada in 2002:

  • There is no more music on AM radio: the AM dial has been almost completely converted to talk-radio format. The most striking and unusual example of this is Mojo Radio, the station formerly known as 640 CHAM. It now bills itself “The World’s First and Only Talk Radio Station for Guys” and its hosts address serious global issues like “Man-bags and the Wussification of Society.” Advertisers tend towards strip clubs, hair-loss clinics and sporting events. In an apparent move to counter this, venerable 1010 CFRB is coujnter-programming “Wednesday Mensday.” Really.
  • Shopping malls that used to contain 100 little stores now contain 25 big stores. Yorkdale, for example, used to be a rather dowdy old shopping centre. It’s now host to William Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Eddie Bauer and Indigo, all of which are huge. There appears to be no difference between the stores you find in a mall in Peabody, MA and the stores you find in Toronto, ON.
  • On television, all the sportscasters are women. This is probably true on PEI too, as we get the same channels by and large — I just notice it here more because I’m around my sports-loving brothers. Brian Williams and ‘casters of his ilk are now the minority.
  • There is still strong competition in the wireless telephone market: Fido, Telus, Bell and Rogers all have kiosks or chichi stores in all the malls, and the emphasis is on small and sexy phones and gimicky rate plans (i.e. “free calling after school”)
Alas, just like PEI, winter continues here unabated.

Digital Phone Redux

Explain this: my Island Tel digital cell phone, which doesn’t work in digital mode in Hamilton and Toronto, does work in digital mode as you drive east up the 401 towards Kingston. Go figure.