30 May 2009

End of the holiday

I really hate holidays sometimes. About four days before they end, you know they're coming to an end, and it's long flights, jetlag and back to work awaiting for you. This really kinda marrs the end of the holiday for me.

I really enjoy the run up, as you're counting down the days and doing less and less at work, as you hand over your workload to colleagues. You also get the "going anywhere nice?" questions, followed by the inevitable "oh, nice!"

I guess my holidays are generally sullied some, as we're visiting friends and family and it's harder to leave them than it is to leave some faceless hotel you've called home for a few days.

It still doesn't make it any easier to leave Canada or Australia and return to a pokey two-bed flat and to work.

26 May 2009

Off to the cottage

So far, we've had a wonderful time in Seattle, a nice trip to Vancouver (marred by the worst hotel ever), and a wonderful wedding. Now we're off to the wilds of Ontario for a few days at a cottage, to relax, unwind and watch the rain fall.

The forecast is not terribly friendly, but as with most things - this holiday will be what we make of it.

20 May 2009

Seattle trip comes to an end

As I write this, we are readying for our return to Vancouver, to await our flight to Toronto tomorrow.

Having never been to Seattle before, I have nothing but fond memories and Sue's friends Peter and Caroline were lovely hosts, ensuring we saw all the sights there are to see. We tried local beer, and seafood, saw various tourist sights, hooked up with an ex-colleague of mine and just had a nice relaxed time.

I'm looking forward to getting to Toronto and having the wedding portion of our holiday, but Seattle was a very nice surprise indeed.

18 May 2009

Another day in Seattle

Today we actually headed into deepest, darkest Seattle.

I was on a mission to find the first ever Starbucks, for no other reason than historical curiosity. I really wanted to know why, in America's city of coffee, one shop rose above all others to become the international McDonald's of hot brown lovin'. The shop really provided no answers, but I did enjoy probably the best cup of Starbucks I've had in a while.

We also hit a place called Lowell's, which is a Seattle institution. I had one of "Lowell's rolls", an arctic cod roll with chips, all washed down by unsweetened ice tea. Sue found a local brew from the Pike Brewery and washed down some fish and chips with that. I think I could live here - unsweetened ice tea EVERYWHERE, decent local microbrew and the city of coffee. Only negative being the rainfall.

This arvo we're hitting a local mall to see what US prices compare to Canada and the UK.

Sunday in the hills

Today we took a trip into the Cascade Mountains to a town called Leavenworth. In 1972, the townsfolk decided that in order to bring tourists in, they'd need to theme the town. From 1972 on, the town was Bavarian themed. The place looks like a Disney version of a German town, albeit with the Cascade mountains in the background.

We ate a a themed restaurant and had a so-so meal. We also tucked into some local made salt water taffy, and found a place called the Australia "Store" that sold random things, as well as Aussie imports. Just the thing for Sue.

It was a crazy day of driving, punctuated by some German grub.
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17 May 2009

Sleepy in Seattle

Home of the Twin Peaks Cherry PieImage by apete via Flickr

Had a really lovely first full day in Seattle.

Started off with breakfast in North Bend, at the diner that was used in Twin Peaks. Being a Peakie fan for years, this was a real kick. I had a couple of cups of "damn fine coffee" and took a bunch of photos to commemorate.

Later today we went to the space needle. Originally built for the 1962 World's Fair, it's like a shorter version of the CN Tower. The observation deck was about 520 feet up, which made it bearable for a non-lover of heights like myself.

While in the gift shop, I spyed a Seattle Sounders MLS jersey. It's their inaugral season and their shirt is sponsored by Xbox Live. $70 is a bit steep for a shirt with Xbox Live on it, but it would be a neat shirt to have nonetheless.

The other fun hunt we partook today was trying to find a Hertz to add a driver to our rental. We had a few wild goose chases, before eventually finding a branch downtown. That and the lack of being able to turn left almost anywhere in Seattle will be my lasting memories of the place.

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05 May 2009

Tuvalu is sinking and I don't want to swim

Godaddy's warning about .tv domainsParaphrased Tragically Hip lyrics aside, the imminent global warming-induced eradication of Tuvalu is likely to have one overwhelming devasting effect felt the world over - the loss of the .tv top level domain, as TechDigest.tv (a website under threat) reports.

It may seem silly that all those .tv websites would actually go dark, but as Tuvalu is the country associated with the TLD, it's demise would also signal the .tv demise.

Apart from large chunks of TV based internet web sites going dark, we should also shed a tear for the people of Tuvalu, of whom I know nothing apart from their ownership of the .tv TLD.

Update: Thanks to the BBC, I now know that Tuvalu is made up of about six islands, roughly 4m above sea level and has 11,000 inhabitants.

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My phoneline nightmare continues with BT

I thought my nightmares with a phone company would cease when I left the horrible Talk Talk. I was wrong.

The switch over to BT which was heralded with much personal fan fare hit the snag of the landline not actually working. This was sorted out by a lengthy engineer visit on Saturday morning.

After that I had to call up the BT billing department and request they actually give me the services I'd ordered. You see I'd set up direct debit payment and the added service of free international calls. The initial bill had an extra £4.50 due to no direct debit set up and no hint of an international call pack. Talking to the rep on the phone, I had my BT order confirmation email in front of me, asking why I didn't get what I'd ordered and they'd confirmed.

Is it so hard for a company to actually do the one thing they're supposed to be good at? BT are a phone company, as much as they want to do the internet (don't even get me started on how horrible their packages for that are), they are the provider of landlines to the majority.

So far they've screwed up at every turn.