Life

Merry Xmas & No Network

A couple weeks ago, I received a notification from Bell, who is my provider. It thanked me for my recent upgrade and the adjusted balance owing for the device.

The issue here is that I never upgraded or, for that matter, entered any store or contacted Bell, for any reason.  I have a Samsung Note 3 so I use the Shaw wireless network for connecting to the Internet. 

I started my day by trying to answer a text SMS message which is transmitted over the cell network. No luck. The texts would not send. I then tried to call my number. No Network.

I rebooted my device and there was still “No Network”. Now what? This is my only phone.  All I could dial us 911. The wifi was working fine so I tried to contact Bell to find out a reason for being without any network. 

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The Bell chat is a big aggravating experience. They start by transferring you to technical support even if you select it. I spoke with 4 different experts and each one gave me a different story. No solutions. One person told me to go and visit the store. One gave me the accounts phone number. I even got a number to the Fraud line. Still, I had no phone. Still, I had no solutions. Heaven only knows where the chat center was but it was not Bell.

The next day, Black Friday, I went to Visions and was told that I had to call the Fraud people at Bell. Next stop was the phone.

The Bell fraud department was extremely helpful. I explained that my SIM had been changed during the so called “upgrade.”  Now, I live in Winnipeg and the upgrade was done at a store in Calgary. Hmmmm?

The Fraud guy could see all the transactions and he asked me to hold while he called the Calgary store. After about 10 minutes, he returned and said it was a mistake in Calgary.  He immediately re-entered my correct SIM and asked me to reboot. Then he called me on my device and voilà….. It worked!

This is a lesson on how a careless clerk, in a busy season, can cause one heck of a lot of aggravating hours, with one entry on a keyboard. Wonder how it worked out for the person in Calgary? Season’s greetings to all!

Long Phone Call

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Once Upon A Rock Festival

Many years ago, almost 45 to be exact, I was barely 15 years old and the summers were chalk full of Rock Festivals.  In 1970, to celebrate the 100th Birthday of the province of Manitoba, a huge rock festival was planned. I WAS GOING TO BE THERE. ThIs festival would be called MANPOP.

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With a government grant we were assured to have the biggest and best Rock Bands of the day at the Winnipeg Stadium. 

These day’s, you can fill a stadium with one or two acts, but back then it was 16 hours of Rock, for today’s cost of a beer.  The tickets were well worth the money.  The local bands would start the day and as time flew by, the entertainment got better and better. 

The local bands included: The Fifth, Chopping Block, Mongrels, Justin Tyme, and Dianne Heatherington (she was our Canadian answer to Janis Joplin).

The 20,000 or so party animals were rocking up a storm and suddenly the sky turned black and the winds picked up and the torrential rains began. The festival would have been over, but arrangements were made to open the Arena next door and continue the festival.  It almost never happened, but some last minute negotiations kept the party going until about 4am.

The rest of this blog was taken from the Winnipeg Free Press archives and Wikipedia.  My memory was missing some details that I needed to validate:

The Man-Pop Festival was a music festival held in Winnipeg, Manitoba, on August 29, 1970. Led Zeppelin was the headlining act at the event. Other artists performing at the festival included The Youngbloods, The Ides of March, Iron Butterfly, Chilliwack, plus local bands, including Dianne Heatherington and The Merry Go Round.

The Man-Pop Festival was originally scheduled to take place at the outdoor Winnipeg Stadium. However, a summer rain storm tore down the awning protecting the stage soaking the PA system and amps, which forced the organizers to belatedly move the festival into the nearby Winnipeg Arena. This venue had lower capacity than that of the stadium, and when this capacity was reached, some 800 valid ticket holders were refused admission. This caused a near riot at the entrances of the arena, with many of its glass doors being kicked in by angry patrons.

Tickets for the festival cost $5.50 to $12.50. Led Zeppelin’s fee was $50,000. Because of the delays caused by the change of venues, Led Zeppelin did not actually take the stage until the early hours of the morning, and did so voluntarily, since they had already been paid pursuant to a rain clause in their original contract. It was through the exhortations of local singer Dianne Heatherington, whose national reputation came later, that Led Zeppelin was finally persuaded to perform.

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As a 15 year old teen this was one of the highlights of my youth.  And so goes another chapter in Leonard vs Life.

I Am a Father

When I heard that the Clinton family had added a baby girl as a new addition to their family, I remembered when I first became a father.

Those were the days of anticipation and what the future would bring when starting a new family. Our first child brought pleasure and excitement to our families. I was the first of three to deliver a grandchild to our parents. Those were the days. The sleepless nights, diaper changes, and the most fun initially was the daily bath. My wife was not fond of water so playtime with my infant was bath time. After the bath it was bedtime and I would sing a few repetitive songs as my little sweetheart faded into sleep.

Eventually, we moved into solid baby food and feeding was a messy challenge that continued until she could feed herself. 

Since we both worked, we were able to hire a nanny to take responsibility for the child while we were away. Those were the days. When our first daughter was almost four, we had our second daughter. By this time my wife got used to bathing the new baby and we were sharing the tasks of raising two lovely daughters.

As they grew older we put them into daycare. When they were of school age they started at daycare and were delivered and picked up from school by the daycare. When we finished work, we picked up the girls from the daycare.  Both girls developed good social and communication skills at an early age. I commend the daycare and elementary school for this development.

In 1992 with a 7 year old and a 4 year old my marriage collapsed. As a divorced father, I now only saw my girls weekly.

If you read my earlier blogs you would see that I became a terrible father.  I would miss my day with the girls regularly. The tears in their eyes would leave a lasting impression of the lousy father they had.

I regret those days, but fortunately they had a strong mother and the girls made it through middle school, and then completed high school at the University of Winnipeg. My oldest girl graduated from the U of W’s Public Relations and Management program. She has since moved to British Columbia.  My youngest just completed her Masters in Social Work at U of T and calls Toronto home.

I’ve tried to patch my wrongs with the girls and maybe I have…..or maybe I haven’t. I’m still there for them after all these years, and the communication is positive. They do know who their father is.

If I would have to do it all over again, divorce would be out of the question. After all, I am a father.

I don’t know who wrote the IF CHILDREN (written below) however, I wish I had the chance to read it 30 years ago. In closing, I will share it with you:

If children live with criticism, they learn to condemn.
If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.
If children live with ridicule, they learn to be shy.
If children live with shame, they learn to feel guilty.
If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence.
If children live with praise, they learn to appreciate.
If children live with fairness, they learn justice.
If children live with security, they learn to have faith.
If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves.
If children live with acceptance, they learn to find love in the world.

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Me playing with my oldest daughter at my parent’s house. Those were the days!

Up, Up and Away

Finally, after a vacation that took me on a 10 day ride throughout the paradise province of Canada,  British Columbia. I am in awe, from the mountains and valley’s of Pemberton and Whistler,  to Vancouver and the hustle of Granville Island market. From the suburb of Coquitlam to the quiet coastal playground of the wealthy at Deep Cove, suddenly I’m at the amazing Vancouver airport, climbing aboard the Westjet, for the flight back home to Winnipeg.

Now I’m in a position that I’ve never been in. After 17 years of living in hotels or communal rooming houses, I’m coming home without a home.

I’m not homeless. During my holiday I had no fixed address. I moved out of my hotel room of 8.5 years which was across from a former employer and began my vacation.  During that time, I took possession of an 8th floor apartment in a quiet Winnipeg suburb. 

When I arrived back in Winnipeg, I had no keys, no furniture and no food. That was on September 3rd. Since I lived in communal homes of sorts since 1996, I had to start with nothing.  I owned the clothes on my back plus and a few possessions that I had stored in my father’s garage.

I had previously purchased all my new furniture and made arrangements to get set up and delivery for September 5th. For the first time in 40 years I was back at my childhood home with my parents who are in their 80’s, and still fully active seniors.  I spent 2 nights with them just a few blocks from my new digs until my delivery.

On the morning of September 5th,  I was dropped by the apartment block that contained the 8th floor studio suite that was to be home. The cable guy hooked me up with the  HD and Wifi.  The furniture delivery soon followed. 

Once again my life had changed for the better. Being disabled with limited mobility, I am unable to crawl on the floor to assemble the furniture kits. My 85 year old father was a godsend.  He worked with me for a few hours and without him I would still be trying to assemble that TV Stand.  Amazing man, amazing father.  We got it done.

Since I’m not driving, my father volunteered to take me to shop for all the accessories and groceries needed to call my new place a home.

It’s done. I have all the extras  and I just have one more shopping trip to tie up the loose ends. The cost was almost $4000.  Seems like a lot of loot but being disabled and on a pension at 58 years old, I have a benefit of subsidized housing that keeps my 8th floor rent at only $302 per month.  I should be able to recover my investment in 6 months just in rent savings alone.

It’s exciting to finally after all these year’s close another chapter of Leonard vs Life, and start a new chapter.  Up, Up, and Away from the transient society that I was part of since 1996.

Finally, I’m home.

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Holiday Time

This week I’ll be vacationing in the Coastal Mountains of British Columbia, on the west coast of Canada. After five days in the shadow of Mount Currie, in Pemberton with my daughter Blair and her main man Shayne, I’ll be back in Coquitlam, BC. visiting my brother and his family. Coquitlam is just south of Vancouver. I’ll be back to blog next week.

At that time, I will be reviewing my experiences with Facebook and Twitter and asking questions about types and volumes of posts. Please return next Monday.

My daughter took these pictures (the first is me on the bus to Pemberton going over the Lionsgate Bridge and the second is me on the airplane from Winnipeg to Vancouver):

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The Moving Vacation

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This week I’m stumped. I have so much on my mind that I’m having a writers block. Being in the process of moving, with the pleasant interruption of a 10 day vacation in the middle of the move, has caused me minimal stress.

Can you imagine packing up before August 25th because you are moving on September 1st but that you’ll be on a vacation until the 4th of September? Now that the plot is revealed, add a twist of 17 years of living in furnished rentals, and now we need to purchase a whole studio suite of furniture, for delivery when returning from vacation.

AND to add to that, the need for short term storage which is enough on one’s mind to interrupt your thought process on blogging.

Oh, there is MORE:  My arrival back home is at Midnight. I have no furniture, so it’s a sleep on the floor until delivery the next day.

I live in Winnipeg and I’ll be on vacation in Vancouver and the Whistler/Pemberton area with family. British Columbia is the paradise of Canada and I’m looking forward to the 10 days there with family.

Well, that’s this week’s episode and I’m sticking to it. 

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The Iron Dome

 

A couple months ago I was posting on Facebook and Twitter about the Genocide (ethnic cleansing) that was occurring in Syria. I would post about ISIS or ISIL. The response was excellent from the Arab world. Here in America and Canada, nobody even stopped to read the writing on the wall.

A month ago, when Hamas started up with the rocket fire into Israel, the whole world media, social and otherwise, jumped on the bandwagon and vilified the Israelis for killing women and children. All Israel was doing was returning fire or defending itself.

Israel would warn the civilian population of Gaza by roof knocking, pamphlets and phone calls of an attack and advise evacuation.

Meanwhile back in Syria and Iraq ISIS was slaughtering 100’s of civilians all day and a very day. The media still didn’t get it. Total deaths in the 500,000 range and not a peep from the media.

Meanwhile back in Israel, the IDF had purchased a Patriot missile system from the USA years before but It’s accuracy was only about 75%. Not good enough. So Israel developed a highly improved system of rocket defense and called this system the Iron Dome.

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The accuracy of the Iron Dome is set at 93%. It was developed in conjunction with the USA who may need to USE IT IN THE NEAR FUTURE.

After thousands of rockets had been fired into Israel with little effect and just a few deaths and injuries, Hamas was ready to ceasefire and regroup.

The Iron Dome is being developed to eliminate ICBM long range missiles, and a laser system to knock mortars out of the air is in Beta test mode. If the free world ever needs defense. Israel best be your Friend.

Meanwhile, the truth about Gaza and the UN is finally hitting the media. The wasted money on tunnels, the UN schools as missile storage depots, etc…

Now, why all of the sudden the interest in Iraq? Christians and Shea being slaughtered by the 1000s. Killed and overrun by ISIS with American weapons taken from the American trained Iraqi forces.

Remember that ISIS is a Sunni group dedicated to creating a Sunni Muslim nation under Sharia law.

ISIS IS THE ISLAMIC STATE SOMETIMES CALLED ISIL which means Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Levant includes Israel. It also includes Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and North Africa. The focus now is on the Kurdish and other minorities. The future does not look good and the American people have offered too little too late.

Israel can take care of itself. It has the Iron Dome and other surprises. It remains the only true democracy in the middle east. Common sense and the vision of Muslims killing Muslims should define the real enemy of the free world.

 

My Twitter Life

In 2009 I opened a Twitter account. I never started using it until 2013. Until then my social networking experience was strictly Facebook, with friends and family. After posting pictures or posts and liking or sharing the posts of others, I found that FB was not enough to satisfy my thirst to communicate with a wide variety of people with similar tastes (I have a lot to say).

After a while I took the plunge and began to watch Twitter and began reviewing the bios of it’s users. Since I loved the news, especially: political issues, social issues, and current world issues that would have an effect on all of global society, I found Twitter a perfect global fit.

I could also mix in some humor, wisdom, and retweet the the news from others. Because of the multi-generation nature of Twitter, I was able to balance my content for demographic, time of day, and topics of interest to my followers.

I tried that follow back trick. That was a bust. Good for the kids. Not for me. I am satisfied with earning my follower. I have a balance of retweeters, debaters, and acknowledged tweets via favorites.

I love to express informed opinions and debate, with respect, those subjects that are challenged. The biggest problem is to separate local tweets from the global ones. I follow the media, both local (Winnipeg/Canada) and international. I’ve noticed that very few media types follow the average guy. For example: Follow 600 Followers 60000. Some media do in fact leave their ego at the door and follow the average citizen as well as their peers and political hacks.

Recently, Twitter stopped offering the Bing translation features. I had to build my own app to translate those with whom I debate across the world. That is an inconvenience, but I’m sure there is good reason for this. I also can’t understand why Twitter allows this 1 page followback team Tweets. One page or even 2 inches of space is over 140 characters in real terms, and also annoying. That is my biggest beef about the Twitter App. (I only use Twitter on my phone).

The other types of users are during the kiddie hours, people who hardly tweet, tweets of pop stars without clothes and other pseudo porno. These features must be popular because of the 399,000 followers for this demographic.

I tweet a little for all ages during various hours. Each demographic has a prime time. I spend about 6 hours a day with Twitter and try to provide valid and valuable tweets to my followers. I look forward to the retweeters and the following that it come with.

Twitter, you’ve been good to me.

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Moving on Up!

In 2001 I stopped working as a Manager at Convergys, which was a contact center with 2000 employees in Winnipeg. After the tragedy on 9/11 in New York I decided to resign and started driving a taxi for a friend.

The owner of the company needed a Dispatcher so he suggested that I drive weekends and dispatch for him during the week. Done. After a couple years my friend left the taxi business to drive a truck (and moved to Quebec).

What happened next was that I was hired full time as the night Manager/Dispatcher. We started building this taxi company and by 2005 we nearly doubled the size of the fleet.

It was suggested that I move across the street from the taxi company into the Hotel. I was now on call from 5pm to 7am and had to be nearby in case of emergency.

So, on my 50th birthday I moved into this hotel, subsidized by the company. I started a new life experience. Now, living in a hotel has its pros and cons. This place had a wild bar, restaurant with good food and only 5 monthly tenants, mostly hotel staff.

Since I worked nights, I aways missed the drinking and drug parties. I also missed the fights and arguments that happened at bar closing time. I slept the day away, and for a single man, the space was adequate and fully equipped.

Over the last 8.5 years the hotel has been sold three times. Now on it’s 4th owner, more changes are coming. The bar is being converted to a Gentleman’s Club. The bar will feature non-stop strippers and a few rooms have been set aside to be rented by the hour

Although I can remain here, the cost has increased. I’m on a disability pension and no longer work. Why live in what will surely become a strip joint/brothel?

I got lucky. A friend of mine called me and suggested I apply at his apartment block because an opening was coming on September 1. That block is exactly in the suburb I grew up in and is located next door to everything. This 55 plus block is subsidized and because of my age and disability, I qualify. I raced to the block tò check out the suite at the top and went to fill the application. Thanks to connections to the blocks owners I was able to secure approval for September 1 possession!

My rent will drop to less than half of what it costs me in this hotel. Finally after 9 years of core city living. I’m moving on up to the 8th floor!

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MH17

Even though this blog is a collection of life stories, the madness in the Ukraine and in the Gaza Strip has me upset enough to deviate, slightly, this week.

The Gaza and Hamas are active missions that require no further comment at this time.

My focus today is Russia and the Ukraine. How in heavens name can either country allow an indignity of abuse to the dead as these countries have?

After 3 days in a field, they toss the recovered bodies into refrigerated cars but they don’t claim that the refrigeration is working.

The rebels continue to collect body parts including the odd body that has been laying in the sun for days. What kind of people are they?

I would call them animals. Finally, the recovered black boxes have been turned over to the Malaysia authorities. Meanwhile, the hunt for bodies continues not for dignity, but for credit cards, valuables, and whatever else those animals can grab. This has become a treasure hunt. The inspectors, meanwhile, wait for the all clear to begin the investigation and the train has left with the bodies.

No international country has rushed to the assistance of Malaysia. The world’s power has only rhetoric to offer. A LOT of talk. No action.

Now let me make it clear: Most international airlines do not fly that route. The Captain’s have the final say and will never fly a passenger jet over a war zone at any altitude. Malaysia followed the ICAO directives that do not include that war zone. ICAO has changed since then.

One had to wonder why Putin claims no responsibility even though his military supplied the rebels with a missile launcher. No matter who shot it down – Ukraine or Russia – it’s their responsibility to seal the crash scene and safely admit the inspectors and recovery staff. Both countries have acted like animals and irresponsible children. The world watches in horror turns of the TV and goes to a protest about Gaza and Israel. The world powers hold another news conference.

 

Pic: Mashable

Pic: Mashable