Originally intended to document my experience of DeLorean ownership, focus is often radical and strange, boring and obtuse.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Chuck Norris Works For Sony

What's this? One last gift under the tree? And it's broken?

Two weeks before Christmas I ran into some trouble with my new 7.1 Sony receiver. I brought it back to the store, which sent it to a Sony repair facility, or possibly Chuck Norris's house.

"So, when do you think I'll see it again? A month? Six weeks?" I asked. The employee replied, "At this time of year, there's no way to tell. Chuck Norris is really busy."

I prepared for the worst, and thought I'd hear from them in the spring. But to my surprise, I received a phone call on December 22, only 9 days after I dropped off the unit.

Christmas is the busiest time of year for any business, including delivery and courier services. Am I supposed to believe they sent my receiver to Sony's Toronto repair facility where Sony tech dudes, high on the spirit of the season, opened it up, found the problem, had parts in stock, repaired it, then repacked it, and sent it back to the store where I bought it?

Well, yes, that's precisely what you would expect. But IN NINE DAYS?

My instincts are telling me something is wrong here. Everyone knows this is the worst time of year to ship something, right? Everyone knows it takes extra long for packages to be delivered, right? Everyone knows Sony has THE worst customer service, right?

Here's what I would expect in 9 days: for the package to have arrived at the repair facility. That's it.

Due to past experiences with Sony customer service, I don't expect much. In fact, when I opened the box last night, I was certain it would have a plethora of headbutt and roundhouse kick-related dents.

Anyway, tonight I'll hook it up and see if Chuck fixed it. Everybody knows a roundhouse kick fixes everything, right?

Happy New Year! See you in 2006!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

How To Replace Your Battery...

Napa = crappa.

...In The Dark, in 20 easy steps!
WARNING: This should only be attempted in the middle of winter.

Step 1. Make sure you have your replacement battery with you, along with all your tools.

Step 2. Ensure that your car is parked in the darkest possible place, and aimed away from any light source. When you open your hood, it should cast a slight shadow over your already dark engine bay.

Step 3. Disconnect your old battery starting with the Negative side. It will be pretty difficult, so make sure you use a long screwdriver to pry the connectors off the terminals, and create lots of sparks. The sparks will help you see what you're doing.

Step 4. Remove the battery tie-down (circled in purple) with your socket wrench. Mine was 10mm. Yours could be 10mm as well. It could also be any other size.

Step 5. Remove your Trust aluminum strut tower brace (green arrows) which is blocking the exit route of your battery. Note that your strut brace may be made by other companies, such as WonderBread, Tommy Hilfiger or Johnson & Johnson.

Step 6. Lift your old battery out.

Step 7. Carefully drop your new battery in, with the positive terminal on the wrong side.

Step 8. Remove your new battery, turn it around, and drop it in place a second time, ensuring that you trap the negative wire beneath it.

Step 9. Pull on the negative wire as hard as you can, until you realize the flesh on your hands will rip off before the wire is going to budge.

Step 10. Remove your new battery again, and free up the negative wire.

Step 11. Drop your new battery back in, this time trapping the battery tie-down.

Step 12. Remove your new battery once more, and move the battery tie-down.

Step 13. Angrily force your new battery back in for the final time.

Step 14. Connect the negative wire to the negative terminal, and tighten with your socket wrench.

Step 15. Attempt to connect the positive wires to the positive terminal. Burn your finger with lots of big sparks as you pull the wires over the terminal.

Step 16. Tighten with your socket wrench.

Step 17. Tighten your battery tie-down using your socket wrench.

Step 18. Reconnect your strut tower brace, otherwise your steering will be spongy and ugly, and people in minvans and UPS trucks will taunt your poor cornering abilities.

Step 19. Close your hood.

Step 20. Start your car.

Congratulations! You have successfully replaced your car battery in the dark. Give yourself a pat on the back*.

*If you've done the job properly, as described above, your back should be aching.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

15 Minutes

Headline Correction: 3 Lunatics on the Loose.

Yesterday marked the third time in recent years that my weird self has graced the pages of a local newspaper. And this time, it was all thanks to Jodster.

I joined the Useless Advice From Useless Men blog in late September after a fourth member dropped out. A short time later, our Useless Advice blog was featured on MSN, as Site of the Day. That was a proud day. Especially for Jodster, since the site was his baby.

Now, this half-page article, including a great photo of myself, 'pondering' Jodster, and 'confused' RainyPete in the local paper, has really got our friends, family, and even strangers talking.

Not that these people are usually mute, but their talking has now focused on us. My mother the optimist truly believes she'll see me as a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman. Hey, don't laugh. You'll hurt her feelings.

My mom had the same illusions of fame about 3 years ago. That's when the same newspaper ran a story about the gravestone that my dad and I found in my backyard. Over the past 3 years, that gravestone has turned out to be a totally sweet Halloween decoration.

And, back in April 2000, my Eagle Talon was featured in the Wheels section of the Toronto Star, with a colour picture. The focus of the article was on the additional power created by the turbo by overriding the factory computer with a GReddy boost controller, therefore none of the other heavy duty modifications were mentioned.

But my creative juices are feeling kinda low these days, and with only 8.5 fans, I think my 15 minutes is almost up.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Blogging Just Got Better

I'm dreaming of a Sony Christmas.

Thanks to Suzy Q, I can now take pictures 25% faster, 50% bigger and 100% more radical! Christmas morning greeted me with the Sony DSC-H1, a digital SLR type camera of totally kickass, professional nature. I can't actually call it a true single lens relex camera though, because the eyepiece is actually a tiny LCD screen.

It features a whopping 12x optical zoom, with a pressure sensitive zoom button allowing for slow, accurate zooming, or a very fast full extension of the lens.

The Macro mode is so serious it makes Mr. Spock look like Adam Sandler. Using the macro mode, I could zoom in so close to Spock's ears that I could count his DNA strands. For anybody who really wants to know, the macro mode will focus as close as 2 cm! And I thought my Sony P-52 would take close pictures at 3 inches! And it does, considering some camera's macro modes only work as close as 6 or 7 inches. (And just in case you were wondering, 2 cm is 0.8 of an inch!)

Sony DSC H1.My favourite feature though, is the video mode. Although it's becoming more and more standard, I really appreciate the 30 frames per second filming, which is the only reason I ever wanted to upgrade from my DSC P-52, which only films at 16 fps, but continues to take pictures at a reasonable 3.2 megapixels.

The H1 has full manual controls as well as the standard automatic ones, and everything in between, including one of the most extreme features: a live Histogram display! It also features the ability to accept conversion lenses, like wide angle. The only thing this bad boy doesn't have is a unibrow.

It's a 5.1 megapixel camera, which is more than I need. But I'm not complaining since most people think of this as an average. For those who were wondering, 5.1 million pixels will allow me to print up to a 13" x 19" image, just in case I want a life-sized picture of Gary Coleman.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Merry Christmas Jimmy Dillnuts!

The bicycle lane on the 401 turned out to be a bad idea.

Jimmy Dillnuts doesn't deserve a Merry Christmas, but something tells me he's gonna have one anyway. Jimmy has caused lots of trouble before, but he always seems to escape the jail time and license-suspension he so rightfully deserves.

Although it's not possible to see the damage in this picture, be assured that it is there. Something large, approximately human-sized, crashed through the windshield of this Toyota or non-Toyota car in Toronto.

The accident happened about 60 seconds before Suz & I arrived at the scene. The emergency vehicles were still passing us on the shoulder as we approached. Worker McDude was just starting to drop the orange pylons on the road when I took this picture.

We slowly merged with the three other lanes of traffic, and squeezed past this scene. A quick glace back at the car verified my suspicion that something large, belonging to one Jimmy Dillnuts, elegantly entered the car via the centre of the windshield, and injured the driver.

But maybe I've got Jimmy all wrong.

I didn't realize just how thoughtful Jimmy is, giving his fellow humans some relaxing Hospital time during this very hectic Christmas season. What a wonderful gesture. A comfy, adjustable bed, free food, being waited on by a courteous staff of servants. Talk about generosity!

I'm so sorry I misjudged! Merry Christmas Jimmy Dillnuts! Merry freakin' Christmas.


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Christmas Kisses

It's really only the foil wrapping that's 'Christmassy'. The chocolate is quite standard.I hate math. Wait, that's not true. I used to hate math, but in recent years have discovered a new-found love for it.

Except this week.

At work we had a Christmas contest. Guess the number of Hershey's Kisses in the festive containers, and win them, plus a $20 gift certificate for somewhere. I don't know where. I didn't win.

But, using mathematics, I thought I was a shoe-in. Guessing is so full of guess-work, and is usually incorrect, mostly due to the guessing. I figured I'd put a little effort into my attempt by doing some pretty serious math.

The two containers were cylinders, so I figured out the volume of each cylinder. Pi x r2 x h.
3.1415 x 1.75" squared x height (8.5")
The volume of each cylinder was approximately 81" cubed, not including the slightly convex lids.

Then I took one Hershey Kiss, and accounting for the air space around them inside the container, I pretended they were cylinders as well. One cylindrical Hershey Kiss occupies approximately 0.78 inches cubed.

So, how many Kisses fit inside the cylinder? According to the math, about 104. I multiplied that by two, for the two cylinders, for a total of 208 Hershey Kisses.

However, our manager was sneaky, and threw in some tiny red Christmas balls. I then had to figure out the approximate volume of one of the Christmas balls, and subtract them from the total. I tried to measure the width of one Christmas ball through the clear section of the container. It was a pretty rough guess, but I came up with 1-1/4". Using that number, and again pretending that each ball was a cylinder to account for the empty space around it, I determined the volume of a Christmas ball.

I decided to assume that 3/4 of the containers were Hershey Kisses. I came to the conclusion that there would be 78 Kisses in each container, multiplied that by 2 for a total of 156.

What a freakin' waste of time.

The draw was held. The answer was given. A winner declared.
Total Kisses was 212. The winner plucked a random number out of the air: 206. My original guess was 208.

I remember my math teachers always telling me to never second-guess myself, and go with my first answer. Had I followed their advice, I would have won the kisses. But I didn't learn my lesson in High School, so I probably won't learn my lesson this time either.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Home For The Holidays

Witness Relocation Program usually doesn't include the house.

After all the gifts were opened, all the drinks were drank, all the chocolate consumed, and the turkey feasted upon, Suz and I said goodbye and took to the road once more.

The weather was blowy and white for many hours. But traffic was thin, and we made good time. The snowplowed "ditch-cars" that decorated the sides of the highway were all rescued. We scanned the boring landscape for something that would catch our attention and keep us from falling asleep during this dull, snowy section of highway.

Our wish was granted! Out of the blasting white stuff came a monstrous blur with blinking lights. It loomed before us, a section of a house bigger than the lane it occupied.

Half an hour down the road we passed the next section of the house, just as large and just as rectangular. When we passed a service station an hour later, we whizzed by the final 3 sections of the house, each on their own flatbed truck.

Nobody wants to move at Christmas, or in the winter, but imagine moving your entire house. Instead of worrying about losing your silverware, you worry about losing your dining room. Instead of worrying about your coffee table getting broken, you worry about your living room windows breaking.

What is the advantage of paying a construction crew to dismantle your existing house, and renting five flatbed trucks to move it? And what's the insurance coverage for something like that? Wouldn't it be cheaper to build a new house? The land is typically the most expensive thing. I can't see any logic to this.

So, maybe this house isn't being moved at all. Maybe, while the unlucky family was vacationing in Hawaii, their home was house-napped. Or maybe it was a messy divorce, and the judge awarded part of the house to the wife. And maybe she just took her rightfully deserved three quarters.

Whatever the reason for this travelling abode, I hope the family forwarded their new address to Santa. Otherwise, he's going to be a little confused when he attempts to land on the roof, and ends up in the basement.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Storm Chasers

'Give 'er!'

This weekend, Suz and I travelled up to her parents' again for Christmas, as is the usual tradition. Unlike previous years though, we were hot on the tail of a pretty decent snow storm.

We were worried that we'd encounter the remnants of many accidents, travelling through the storm's wake. We figured we'd be a few hours late, especially when, on the opposite side of the highway, an army of snowplows cleared the way for anxious travellers headed south.

We saw cars in ditches, covered by the snowplow's well-done job, and even a transport truck stuck in the right-hand lane, which required the skills of a tow-truck operator to get him moving again.

However, we were surprised to see that both sides of the highway were relatively clear, and there were very few accidents involving cars. The worst pile up was just off to the right of the 401, where 6 dozen beavers slid down an icy hill and crashed into the highway guard-rail. Two passersby stopped to help but the beavers gnawed at them, scaring them away. Clean up was expected to take anywhere from 2 to 417 hours. A local trucker delayed by the pile up was quoted as saying, "Dam them beavers!"

Nobody seemed to get the joke.

So, despite the bad weather and horrible beaver accidents, we had a pretty good drive up, unlike many others we passed along the way. We were glad to arrive safely, and ungnawed.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Food Drive

I love you Frankenberry.Our workplace holds a Food Drive every year during the Christmas season and enjoys the feeling of being able to help the needy families in our community. Each department competes against each other for the grand prize, a pizza lunch, which the Business Office has never lost. We don't actually need this encouragement, but it is a tiny added bonus to being generous.

This year I held the honour of donating the single most expensive item: A box of my cherished Frankenberry cereal. In fact, I am not the only one who cherishes this rare breakfast food. As everyone gathered around to see what Jodster was taking a photo of, a panicked co-worker yelled, "YOU'RE GIVING AWAY A BOX OF FRANKENBERRY?!?"

Consider this: I travelled over 1750 kms round trip, and into another country in order to find this General Mill's treat which is only available once a year - Halloween. I sincerely hope that it makes someone happy. Based on the number of desperate Canadians trying in vain to buy this cereal, I know I could have sold it for a mint.

A few seconds later, Jodster proceeded to trump my offering by rolling in a stolen shopping car overloaded with non-stolen pasta. In Jodster's world, he was a Hunger Hero, but in reality it was the combined efforts of our entire dept. which resulted in that last-minute shopping cart of pasta.

We posed for pictures with our VP's encouragement, counted the items and boxed them. In total this year, we raised $5,200 in food vouchers and hundreds, if nothing thousands of items of non-perishable food, including one $700* box of Frankenberry.

*price is only an estimate based on travel time, gas prices, wear & tear on vehicle and CDN/U.S. conversion.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

So Long, Sony

They just don't make 'em like they used to - back in 1999.Back in October I purchased the Sony STR-DE997 7.1 surround receiver when, it seemed, every one of my stereo components failed on the same day.

I equipped the new receiver with a tesla coil, hoping to obliterate the never-ending army of centipedes which assaulted us on a daily basis. As the fried bodies piled up around the receiver, it must have overheated. Or perhaps it was never meant to multitask as a home theatre and front-line arthropod defense system.

Either way, we started having problems with our TV. Well, that's not entirely true. We had problems, but now they were worse. On top of a poor cable signal, the receiver was sending a dirty video signal to the TV, which caused ghosting and 'pulling' images. These two things combined made TV-watching almost unbearable.

I did some troubleshooting, and found that the receiver (and not the TV) was most definitely at fault. I removed the tesla coil, as I knew this would void the warranty.

I drove half-way across the city and returned the receiver to EHR. Unfortunately, they were not willing to exchange it, and instead, had it sent to Sony to be repaired. That scares me.

The last time I sent something to Sony for warranty-repair, my 5-disc CD changer was returned to me with a watermelon-sized dent in the case, and the tray would not open. Although this was likely Purolator's fault, I can't help but imagine a bunch of angry teenaged midgets head-butting the CD player in Sony's loading docks just before it was shipped out..

We'll see what happens in 10 to 12 weeks.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Christmas Craziness

Who needs a pickup? Not us. Would be nice though.

You've been driving around lately haven't you? You've been shopping, right? Then you probably noticed the same discrepancies I've noticed. If you haven't, I'll explain why shopping for a Christmas tree was an adventure on Saturday. An adventure full of the highs and lows of human behaviour.

Home Depot changed their entire tree area and set-up this year, making it far more difficult to buy a tree. And, instead of different height options ranging from 5 to 10 feet as in previous years, they offered only one: the 6-7 foot tree.

Disappointed, but not willing to fight traffic to look for another tree-selling facility, we looked for the tallest tree we could find. We really hit the jackpot when we found an eight-and-a-half foot tree in the deepest, darkest corner of Home Depot's tree lot.

We dragged our tree, caveman-style, to the front where there were two lines, side-by-side. We entered the lengthy tree-bundling line first. We waited patiently for our turn, and once the mesh was installed on our tree, we began dragging it to the back of the long cashier's line.

What a surprise it was when the man next in line to pay nodded to me, and said "jump in."
"Really? But you've been waiting a long time,"
I said.
"But so have you. Jump in," was his reply.

I graciously thanked him, a man whose Christmas spirit was obviously running high. We paid for our tree, and loaded it into our Cavalier. With the gooey, sappy trunk half an inch from the rearview, and both front seats pulled far forward, I still had to bend the top of the tree to close the trunk.

This pine-scented air-freshener was too big for the mirror.It was a crazy drive home, as I couldn't see a thing behind us, while Suz called out vehicle proximities on my right.

Here's where the craziness comes into play. Red lights, although a pretty, glowing Christmas colour, are not holiday decorations put up by the city. Neither are the bright red stop signs. These are, in fact, traffic signs designed to control the flow of vehicles. Red still means stop, no matter what the season. Just because it's Christmas, it doesn't mean you are allowed to turn left on reds and disobey stop signs.

Irate motorists honked at each other, drove around each other and I suspect many a bird was flipped. How can some people be so courteous and friendly while shopping, simply to have that joy turn to anger and frustration on the road?

Fifteen minutes later we arrived home safely. I can only hope everybody else did too.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Christmas Partay

I couldn't get this ho off me.

Tis the season for Christmas parties!

December is a busy month for most people. Trying to squeeze in Christmas-shopping between all the various family events and work parties is tough. Work parties are important as they allow us to socialize with our co-workers, and hopefully, form a closer bond with them, thus, enabling everyone to work together even better.

But one should take precautions not to overindulge during the work party. Many embarrassing and even life-altering moments have taken place during work parties. Have you ever kissed someone you shouldn't have? Ever had one or two, or nine too many drinks? Yeah. It happens.

We had our usual Christmas party last night, and as usual, the usual things happened. First I had a Smirnoff Ice. Then a gin & tonic, followed by a Smirnoff Triple Black. Then, the most radical drink of all, Amaretto & Coke. It was so radical, I couldn't help but chug it, awesome-style. Once it was gone I had an Absolut Cut, which was absolutely kickass. I finished the night with a classic screwdriver because Vodka is from Russia.

At some point during the evening I realized that my friend Marky-Mark was giving me a big ol' smooch. It was captured forever by V, another co-worker who was quick with my camera. Upon my examination of all the pictures on my camera, I noticed something that shouldn't be there. A picture taken in secret. A nipple. Isn't Christmas the most wonderful time of the year?

Advice has been offered throughout the ages, and I know you're tired of hearing it. So I won't remind anyone about the hazards of Christmas bashes with drunken co-workers. I won't tell you to be careful around your manager's mistletoe. I won't tell you to take a cab when you've had too much to drink. And I won't tell you how I got home. Because I don't remember.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Pinnacle is The Top

Mmm. Letter.

A few days ago I told you about my Swanson dinner. It was Salisbury Steak. Click here to read about it.

Pinnacle Foods, parent company of Swanson, as well as many other companies including a heck of a lot of Maple Syrup industries, sent me a fancy apology letter. But that is not all the envelope contained. True to their word, the envelope was full of coupony goodness.

What I found most interesting was just how many other food-type businesses Pinnacle Foods has control over. Their letterhead contains the logos of all those companies: Duncan Hines, Swanson and Hungry-Man, Aunt Jemima, Mrs. Butterworths, Log Cabin, Mama Celeste, Vlasic, Open Pit, as well as some I've never heard of: Great Starts (I assume this is some sort of breakfast product? Or possibly baby food?), Mrs. Paul's (I assume this is some sort of married product?), Lender's (I assume this is some sort of borrowing product?), Chef's Choice (I assume this is some sort of Chef-approved product?), and Van de Kamp's (Dutch camping equipment?).

No wonder Swanson advertises, "With Duncan Hines Brownie!" and "With Open Pit Barbecue Sauce!" That's some pretty kickass cross-marketing. And it doesn't cost them a dime extra. In fact, it's the same lateral strategy that General Motors uses, especially with their Pontiac and Chevrolet divisions.

GM is the biggest automotive company in the world, which means they are doing something right. For a food company to copy GM's age-old strategy, they gotta be doing something really right.

Perhaps through this kind of excellent customer service, which goes above and beyond what most would expect, Pinnacle Foods will soon be the biggest food company in the world.

Chew on that.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

DeLorean Hibernation

Fuel stabilizer looks a lot like fruit punch, but doesn't taste as good.

The weekend was all about cars. The Talon got its snowshoes put on, and the DeLorean was tucked in for its long winter nap.

I haven't driven the DeLorean in about 3 weeks, so the battery was not strong enough to start the engine. The older the battery gets, the more I have to charge it. It's a tough job, since the battery is located behind the passenger seat, in its own special compartment.

I lifted the carpet, unscrewed the panel, and slid the battery out. I connected my Motomaster battery charger, and let it simmer, stirring occasionally. About 6 hours later, I started the car, and pulled it out of the garage so that the exhaust wouldn't set off my carbon monoxide detector.

I lifted the fuel door in the hood and added the STP fuel stabilizer. I continued running the engine for another 5 minutes, then pulled the D back into the garage.

Whenever I pull into a gas station I am thankful that I've got an early 1981 model DeLorean. As if the car itself doesn't attract enough attention, lifting the entire hood to put gas in sure would. Once production of the fuel-door hoods ceased, the driver would have to pop the entire hood in order to put in gas.

Some Facts

Because stainless steel is so hard, stamping the hoods with gas doors and the grooved lines proved to be costly. Many hoods cracked when they were stamped. In late 1981, they stopped production of the fuel-door, but continued with the two aesthetic lines down the hood. But even those grooved lines proved to be troublesome and part-way through the 1982 model year, the hood lost all its detail.

When the company went bankrupt just before 1983, the last of the DeLorean's were built as 1983 models with metric speedometers. Exactly 100 were built specifically for, and exported to, Canada. But it isn't known just how many U.S. models were imported here by excited car collectors. The total number of Canadian DeLorean's is unknown, but I have read estimates of around 200.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Men Don't Like Cold Nuts

I've got nothing to say about this.

I'm Canadian. I should be used to the cold. But I'm not. It always surprises me. On the other hand, I don't complain about the cold. But I just had to complain this weekend.

It's true, I waited too long to put on my winter wheels and tires, and that is almost entirely my fault. But, despite the bloody cold, I still got the job done with my friend Baseball Player Zombie. You may remember BPZ from the Zombie Walk.

BPZ brought over his Mastercraft Impact gun to speed the job along. I jacked up the Talon, and we took turns unbolting the wheels. We kneeled on icy concrete, spending about 15 minutes per wheel. Slowly but surely the cold nuts came off.

20 nuts off, 20 nuts on. Nuts on, nuts off. The late Mr. Miyagi's teachings translate even to wheel-swapping.

With my 17" CSA wheels sitting in the garage, my all-wheel-drive Talon longed for summer days. We reminisced for a minute or two; frolicking on litter-strewn on-ramps, getting synthetic oil changes, and long breezy evenings under the stars... *ahem*

Uh, anyway, the impact gun definitely helped. However, in the end, instead of aching arms and backs, we had aching ears. Next time I'll wear winter hearing protection: earmuffs.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ironing Logic

Irons can also be used to make grilled cheese sandwiches

If men have problems, it's not our fault.

Take this morning for example. I woke up, late as usual, and didn't know what to wear. I grabbed a shirt that I don't wear very often, and discovered it was wrinkled and curly. Weird.

Being a responsible, grown-up boy, I decided to iron it. Ironing. Don't get Jodster started on that.

I plugged in the iron and made sure the kitties weren't sleeping on the ironing board. (Who wants to clean cat hair off their clean and newly ironed shirt?) I spent a good 5 minutes ironing away my curls and wrinkles and I felt pretty darn good about it. Yay me!

Once complete, I put my shirt on only to discover, to my horror, that the ironing did jack. Jack shit. Some of you may be familiar with Jack. He's a pretty lazy dude famous for doing nothing.

I was now running late, (for no good reason I might add). But I couldn't go to work with a bent, cracked shirt. I would be ridiculed! I know I'm useless, but I don't like to flaunt it. So I did what any man would do: I re-ironed my shirt while I was wearing it.

This makes perfect sense to me. And quite possibly to every man on the planet. Consider my logic: I was fully dressed, and ready to go, so why would I waste even more time unbuttoning my shirt, then taking it off, then carefully placing it flat on the ironing board in order to iron it again? It didn't work the first time, so I had no guarantee it was going to work this time either. So, I just pulled it across the ironing board with one hand, and ironed it with the other.

It's not my fault that 'normal' ironing didn't work. So whose fault is it? I don't know, but I'm going to blame the iron.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Sweet Swanson Service

'Putting cafeterias out of business since 1954'

The cafeteria at my workplace is a bit of a joke. You'd get a bigger, better meal at Swiss Chalet for the same price. There are no world-class gourmet chefs working in our cafeteria, and I am not a millionaire. This is not a fantasy world.

That is why I buy frozen dinners and bring them to work. Surprisingly, even 300g Swanson Dinners provide twice as much food for a fraction of the price. Instead of the café robbing me of about $35 a week, the Swanson Dinners and juice boxes cost me less than $15 each week. That saves me about a thousand dollars a year. Seriously.

But I had a concern about my lunch the other day. The mushrooms on my Salisbury Steak were replaced by a hideous pile of onions. So I contacted Swanson and asked them about this.

I've been bringing Swanson Frozen Meals to eat at work for years now and I was sad to see the sudden change in the Salisbury Steak. Gone were the mushrooms, only to be replaced by onions. I hope that this is not a permanent recipe change, and you go back to using mushrooms. The artwork on the box still depicts mushrooms, so I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Also, I would like to say that the saddest of all was the demise of the Mexican Fiesta dinner, at least in Canada. I bought that particular dinner by the cart-load, and truly miss it. Are there any plans to offer it in Canada again?
Thanks for your time,


Before the workday was over, I had a reply!

Dear Martini:

We are sorry that you were disappointed with your purchase of Swanson® Salisbury Steak Dinner. All ingredients and containers are inspected before use. Each step of the product's preparation is also carefully monitored. Despite all of our precautions, it appears that the container for your product was not properly filled. We are sending you a coupon via Postal mail, which you can expect to receive within ten to fourteen business days.

Unfortunately, we do not have any plans at the present time to market the Mexican dinner again. Contact us again if we can be of assistance in the future.

Darlene Peters
Consumer Response Representative


I wasn't expecting anything for free. What a surprise! It would seem that the folks at Pinnacle Foods (Swanson's Parent Company) are very devoted to pleasing their customers. Two thumbs up for Pinnacle Foods and Ms. Peters for her super-quick response.


This many people accidentally stumbled upon my site
...while searching for porn.