Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Huckleberry Children's Books Opens Soon In Vancouver!

There's a new bookstore opening in Vancouver! 

In this day and age where bookstores are closing due to "American" book-pricing (anyone else notice that as book prices come down for Canadians, that production is moving to China and Korea? That's the true cost of American prices in Canada - bye bye Canadian jobs), big box store sales and the general cost of running a business, it's refreshing to see someone taking the chance.

The official opening is September 13th, and Huckleberry Books, unofficially open now, is located at Main @ 28th. While you're there, I strongly suggest trying the cuisine over at the Cottage Bistro. (What the Cottage lacks in service, they make up for in flavour. Bring your patience.)

So, save the date, keep it free, and come down to check out Vancouver's newest children's bookstore.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Sheena Grobb

Today I was introduced to an indie artist, Sheena Grobb. She's giving away a free download of one of her songs - get it here - in hopes that it will expand her fan base.

One of the benefits I've found with the Internet is an introduction to indie artists who I never would have found otherwise. Others that I've become fans of would include:

Katelynn Dawn

Cori Yarkin  (Personal fav. Reminds me of Lee Aaron.)

Jen Miller (OKay, I met her through Church. But she's on the "Net! You can hear her voice on my Rancour video.)

Ashley Pitre (Yeah, also through Church, but again...)

If you're looking for some great new music, purchase these CDs and/or MP3s. You won't be disappointed!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

8 More Days

Almost time to move. Of course, in trying to get all my utilities switched there was bound to be a snag or two. One of my snags, however, turned out to be a blessing.

I discovered that my newly renovated suite has no telephone jacks. As well, there isn't any wire left for a telephone - as it's all been ripped out. So I phoned Telus to see what that would mean. As it turned out, they were already planning on charging me a $100 move fee that I wasn't aware of - and now they wanted to charge me $20/hour for installation (approx. one hour).

Yeah, right. So I looked into Shaw phone and Internet and discovered that the monthly price would be the same, but there would be a $25 install fee and, as a new customer, I would get an intro price for the first six months. Sounded like a no brainer.

I phoned Telus to tell them goodbye, and they suggested I speak to a "loyalty rep" first. So I did. First, he tried to convince me that having an Internet phone was just plain bad. 

Rep: If your power goes out, so does your phone!

Me: Dude, it's the 21st century. I have a cell phone.

When that didn't work, he tried to explain to me about regulations.

Rep: Shaw isn't regulated like we are by the CRTC. That means they can raise their prices on any whim.

Me: I doubt that would happen.

Rep: Why?

Me: Because of competition. And, just like today, when the prices are too high I can just take my business elsewhere.

We had a moment of pause, where I told him that it was time to transfer me to whoever I needed to speak to about discontinuing service. He lead me about half-way through the process, and then started throwing deals at me. 

Rep: What if I give you phone and Internet for $60/month?

Me: That would still be $20 a month more than Shaw, plus there's the $100 move fee and installation.

Rep: It isn't $20 a month more...

Me: I'm on Shaw's website right now. Basic phone and Internet Lite is $42 a month. Do you want the link?

Rep: Oh. Uh, no, that's okay. Well ... we'd give you high speed....

Me: I've had lite before, and now I have high speed. For my purposes, lite is fine. I'd feel silly paying for something that I don't really need, wouldn't you agree?

Rep: Yeah, I guess...

It went on like that for a while longer. Still, they threw deals at me. Then they threw one that stuck. I did ask for it in writing, as I don't want to suddenly get my bill and have them claim they'd *never* do a deal such as the one I claim I got.

My advice: if you are with Telus and not under contract, it's time to phone and negotiate what you are paying. The deal they gave me is less than their "intro" deals on the web, and that'll be my permanent price for the next two years.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

SiWF - Caught on Tape!

At the Summer Dream Literary Arts Festival, Dale, SiWF webmaster extraordinaire, caught me on tape. Except for a minor wardrobe malfunction (a hat, not my shirt), and an oblivious person who walks back and forth in front of the camera (actually looking directly into the lens without a clue), the video turned out excellently!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Conan is Okay

After a long, extensive discussion with another vet, I have decided not to go ahead with surgery on Conan.

This is a hard decision to make, as it puts faith into the diagnosis of the opinion that I would rather hear. My reasons were simple: this vet took the time to hear my concerns, and he explained them in a way that I could fully understand what is happening to my dog. Unfortunately, the reason for the lumps are from a cause that is incurable: old age.

My question to this vet was simple: "Do I get my dog surgery every time I feel a little lump? Is this something that my dog, as he gets even older, is going to survive?" He shook his head and said no. Putting a dog through surgery is a final resort, and these lumps are not in a position that should send off any alarm bells. While they have grown larger since the last vet visit, they have not done so in a way that is indicative of cancer. They have reacted as fat cells.

I considered getting him a needle biopsy, but this vet said the same as the last. That the needle biopsies are only 50% accurate, and a negative result doesn't necessarily mean anything. It would just be a lot of discomfort for Conan, for something that can be diagnosed without it.

So, I have opted out of the surgery. Hopefully, I have made the right choice that is best for the boy.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Summer As A Writer

I figure I should post a little on the art of living as a writer - and what my goals are for the next couple of months.

First, I'm getting ready to move. My current address is getting to be too much of a party place, and it's making it hard to do things such as sleep and write. There's no such thing as peace and quiet in a building where one neighbour blasts his subwoofers and the other bangs away on a drum set. Yeesh.



This is a photo of what my new place looks like right now. It is currently under renovations, and will be in fantastic shape when I move in. My landlord will be author/editor Tiffany Stone.

As I'm cleaning up, I'm trying to decide what I want to keep and what I want to get rid of. I wouldn't exactly call myself a pack rat, but I definitely have hoarding tendencies. (Though I will also state that after packing up my books and writing supplies there was very little left to pack - further proof that I need another hobby!) I've been coming across some old photos and odds and ends that I'd packed away when I'd moved into my current place seven years ago.



One thing I keep getting asked for is a photo of me from high school. During most of my high school career I had a buzz cut, but there was that final year when I grew my hair long into a mullet. This is one of those rare photos of me and my mullet. To be honest, I have no idea when or where this photo was taken. I don't know what was on my mind, though I don't look all that happy. (No doubt I was going through some angsty-type of stuff.) But here it is, for all of you who have been asking for a photo from my teen years. When I find more, I'll post the less embarrassing ones.

I'm also working on filling up a journal full of writings. I plan to have at least one book written by the end of the summer (my summer ends in October - not September), and to do so I found (actually, it was a gift to me) an awesome journal that makes me want to write in it.



Inside of these pages are the scribblings of my mind to my pen to the paper. This is how I work. I don't create on the computer - I find it distracting and impersonal. I write on paper, with the scent of the ink and the crispness of the journal making me feel as though I am in another place and another time. I'll keep you posted how my writing progresses.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Postponed

This is an update to the lumps that have appeared in Conan. Thanks to everyone who emailed to their good thoughts to my little pal. He and I both appreciate it!

I phoned another vet to make an appointment to get a second opinion. To be honest, I'm treating this the same way I would if it were me diagnosed with possible cancer - and that's actual experience, not just imaginary. The vet asked me one question: Did they take any tests? Nope. They did not.

This is what was bugging me. No doctor would open me up in an operation without taking some sort of noninvasive test first. Blood, X-ray, something ... the operation would be a last resort. My dog is at an age where fat deposits will be common, a neighbour informed me that his dog now has sixteen. Do I stay with a vet that will want to open up my dog every time he gets a fat deposit? Can Conan survive such a vet?

The problem with vets is the same problem that one has with mechanics. While there are a few honest ones, many are out for the biggest buck at any cost to the consumer. I'm not saying it's that way with my current vet - but it wasn't my current vet that Conan saw last week. It was a temporary vet who could have come from anywhere - maybe even one of the many clinics that I've personally banned from touching my dog. (I've walked out of vet clinics for their "upsale.")

There were many questions I should have asked, had I not been stunned with worry for my buddy. Now, after a few days, I'm a little more clear-headed and ready for a second opinion. Once again, I'll keep you informed.