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    February 17th, 2010 she Posted in Art, Vittles & Beer, Friends & Family, Frothing At The Bit 3 Comments »

    I have a funky eyeball. There’s no better way to explain it without getting into complicated ophthalmological terms that I barely understand. However, what it boils down to is that I’m pretty blind without my glasses, suffer spells of optical induced vertigo and can’t “see” 3D.

    So of course last night I went to Avatar in 3D with the hubs and a friend.

    I don’t know what I was expecting. In past trips to 3D movies, only small-ish elements were done in 3D so I could watch 90% of movies while missing out on very little. Drew really wanted to see the movie in 3D at the IMAX and we’d been asked to go with a friend.

    That certainly wasn’t the case in Avatar. With the 3D glasses on, everything was one giant blur. My eyes never managed to focus on anything. Not too much of a surprise there. I took the 3D glasses off at about the 15 minute mark. My regular glasses followed minutes later. Seeing nothing but fuzz was giving me a headache.

    So, there I was. Sitting in a seat a few rows before the IMAX screen completely unable to view the visual spectacle that is Avatar. I could have made due with that if it had had an engaging story that caught my attention. But it didn’t. The story is unoriginal and extremely dull in large stretches. Thus, I spent the next 2+ hours fidgeting in my seat. Watching all those around me sit enthralled. Listening to the Ooh-ing and Aah-ing while I counted ceiling tiles. Sleep eluded me because the theatre sound was too loud.

    It was a miserable way to spend an evening. I didn’t want to leave the theatre because I’d have to disturb other’s view and everyone around me seemed amazed. Granted, when we left none of the talk about the movie was about the storyline. I think it’s well and truly acknowledged that the storyline sucks donkey’s balls is awful.

    The entire visit to the IMAX left a bad taste in my mouth. I bought our tickets online. The system only provided an option to choose number of tickets. I thought they were quite expensive compared to what I’d normally pay for a movie ticket – $16.95 – but figured IMAX is probably a more expensive experience overall. Boy was I wrong. When the tickets were placed on screen to print, I discovered the ticket price was only $11.75 and change and the remaining $5.20 was for a pop and popcorn. Let me repeat the really annoying part here:

    I was FORCED to buy snacks from the venue. NO option to decline. NO option to get a refund on your ticket once purchased and NO advance notice that the ticket price listed included non-optional snacks.

    Even more unbelievable is that the food vouchers were date stamped so we couldn’t give them to friends who might be going to the movies on a different day unless they could attend within 10 days.

    Drew hates popcorn and I’m dieting so I didn’t want it. Even if I wasn’t dieting, I certainly wouldn’t have eaten 2 bags of the stuff. The venue refused to allow Drew to exchange the popcorn vouchers for a bag of candy instead. We were handed two bags of unwanted popcorn and left to rot. While we ended up giving it to our friend T at the end of the night (she’s bring it to work today) the whole forced snacking really left a bad taste in my mouth both before and after the movie.

    What I’ve learned is that I’ll never buy tickets online to this venue again. In fact, it’s damn unlikely I’ll ever spend a cent of my money at the Scotiabank Theatre in the West Edmonton Mall again.  I would have happily sucked up not enjoying the movie. That happens all the time. People’s tastes are different. No big deal. But the forced purchase of snacks, that just roils my stomach and gets my ire up.

    Yeah, I’ve already submitted a written complaint about the online ticket purchase process. Not much else I can do other than boycott the theatre. And warn poor gimpy people like me; if you’re visually impaired you may be bored out of your ever lovin’ gourd if you bother to watch Avatar.

    Like I was.

    UPPERDATE: It’s been a week and the theatre company hasn’t bothered to even acknowledge my complaint. Fabulous business practices you have going there…

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    Well that sucked

    July 13th, 2009 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit No Comments »

    Guess who’s in a crappy mood this evening?

    I’m pretty sure I failed my Stats exam which means I’ve failed the course. It really sucks that cummulative grades don’t matter and survival boils down to passing the exam. Running out of time and leaving 30 marks unattempted pretty much sank my chances of passing. Have I mentioned lately how little I understood of the math & formulas? *bah humbug*

    Sucks more when you have a really decent grade (A-) going into the exam.

    The Experimental Psych exam didn’t leave me as disheartened but I’m annoyed that 30% of the exam revolved around Stats when the topic wasn’t even touched upon in any of the course content. What few marks I manage to pick up there are solely reliant on what little of Stats I did mange to grasp from the other course.

    So much for my 3.8 GPA I worked so hard for. Now I have to worry about qualifying for grad school (ouch!)

    The exam proctoring was a gong show as well. For RMC courses my exams are proctored at the base. They’re very strict about the number of people who can be in the room and once an exam begins no one can enter or exit. It’s quiet; easy to concentrate.

    Too bad these courses were’t my standard RMC fare.

    I enrolled in these two courses as a visiting student and they were delivered by a different university. They required that I write the exam at one of two locations in the city. Location A didn’t have a proctor available so I wrote at location B. Very bad choice.

    The testing room was in the main office – a very busy & loud main office I might add – and wasn’t sound proofed. The door was constantly opening & closing as people writing 30 minute entrance basic skills tests were entering & leaving. People talked amongst themselves. Some called friends on cell phones. Apparently I was the only one in the room actually attempting to write my exam without cheating and the only one who cared that the room was too loud to concentrate in. Based on my experience there I will NEVER write another exam at this location.

    Did I mention I had to pay for the privledge of writing my exam at this location? I wasn’t authorized to write at the base because the delivering University had agreements with these other locations in town. Colour me un-amused.

    Based on the Exp. Psych exam questions not matching the course content I’m not likely to enrol in another class through this university anyway. I prefer my assessment match the stated outcomes and objectives of the course thank you very much!

    Remind me again why I went back to university at this late stage in life?

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    Ticketmaster blues

    April 18th, 2009 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit No Comments »

    I awakened to a ringing phone this morning. Neighbours calling before I was ready to face the world. They wanted to know if I could go online and get tickets to an upcoming concert.

    No problemo I said. Stay on the line I said. Shouldn’t take anytime at all. At 10:00:15 am I get the prompt to complete the captcha and prove I’m human. We’re sailing along. Plopped in the number of tickets desired – 4 – and clicked the Floor seating option. I thought things were looking good.

    Apparently Ticketmaster’s ordering system had other ideas.

    After “waiting in line” for 9 minutes, the system returns a “no seats available” error message. So now I have to start all over again. This time I choose “best available/any price” for the 4 seats. My neighbour really wants good seats but at this point I’m thinking ANY seats would be good. Then I wait. About 20 minutes this time. 30 minutes since the tickets went on sale.

    Only to get the same message. No seats available. Hello? This is a 30,000+ seat stadium. How the hell did they manage to sell out all 4 people groupings in 30 minutes?

    So I tried again. For 2 seats this time. Another 8 minute wait on deck. Same message, which is actually “sorry, no exact matches were found, but other tickets may still be available”. I am not amused.

    Sure, tickets are available. Just not on Ticketmadter. You can get lots of seats on ticket broker sites. 68-99$ tickets are being offered for between 200-2500$ USD. The neighbours budget doesn’t stretch that far!

    Ticketmaster continues to disappoint. And the neighbour’s birthday gift plans are up in smoke…

    I think I’ll go back to bed.

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    Ignorant Frakking Parking Weenies

    March 31st, 2009 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit 6 Comments »

    There’s a lot of things I love about my neighbourhood. My house. My awesome neighbours. Our summer gatherings. The closeness to the LRT, Collesium and Northlands.

    Of course, that closeness can also be a major drawback. As if alley parking weren’t annoying enough, people are frequently parking in our driveway and blocking our garage doors whenever there’s a concert, hockey game, or major event (i.e. Capital Ex).

    We often offer our parking spots to friends attending events because parking can be hard to find and expensive. Our friends, however, all know the rules. They contact us before they park so we know when they’re coming and so we can move one of our vehicles out onto the street to park in case we want to go somewhere.

    To park on the street in my neighbourhood you need a parking pass from the city. It’s only available to residents and we have one for both our vehicles. Aside from when the new garage was being built and when the alley was torn up for water main/sewer repairs a few years back, we dont normally park on the street. Why would we when we have parking at the back of the house in a nice new garage?

    Tonight I opened the garage door to go to the grocery store and discovered two vehicles parked across the garage door blocking me in. Neither of the vehicles was familiar to me. None of our friends had contacted me about parking tonight. So, apparently I have two strangers parked in front of my garage making it impossible for me to drive out.

    Good thing for me nothing I wanted tonight can’t wait until tomorrow. Good thing for the ignorant morons parking at my house that I’m not Drew. He has no qualms about towing stranger’s vehicles as soon as he finds them parked in our spots – especially if they’ve blocked our garage!

    To sum up today’s ranting & raving:
    1) Friends always ensure we know what their vehicle looks like and let us know they’re planning on using our parking spots.

    2) I’m nicer than Drew when it comes to strangers parking in front of my garage. I won’t have you towed unless I NEED to leave the house.

    3) Drew isn’t as nice. He tows. And doesn’t care who or what you think you are. Or even if you can afford to get your vehicle out of impound after being towed. None of that is our problem. We’re not the ignoramus who chose to block off a resident’s garage to save a few $$ parking.

    Ignorant parking strangers: consider yourself on notice. I may not always be so nice.

    *Addendum: If you get drunk and don’t use Keys Please to get you and your vehicle home it will be towed in the morning so we can get to work. While we congradulate you or your decision not to drive after drinking, we won’t be late to work and Drew isn’t going AWOL just so you can come pick up your vehicle hours (or days) later. My suggestion? Always travel with a designated driver.

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    Unpopular opinions

    March 22nd, 2009 she Posted in Frothing At The Bit 2 Comments »

    Isn’t it supposed to be spring? Looking out the window – or trying to take the dogs for a walk – today makes one wonder.

    Hey, I’m Canadian. When we’re not talking about hockey ot Timmies Roll Up the Rim contest, we seem to fall back on complaining about the weather.

    Of course all those semesters of Enviro Science classes make me less willing to jump on the “man made climate change” bandwagon. Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that we humans haven’t had an impact on ozone levels and climate but I do think the level of human involvement in natual planetary cycles has been taken way out of proportion.

    What’s the point of being self-aware if we can’t think that everything is all about us? To a certain extent, that’s what I think has helped make “climate change” the new sexy trend to blindly follow this century. Whether true or not, I think this sense of self-import plays a part in the public popularity of purported “climate change”.

    Good thing most climate change fans haven’t had to suffer through semesters of Enviro Chem and Enviro Science classes and had to slogged their way through a number of dry textbooks before being authorized to spout off the opinions to the masses. If they had, they might find their response to the concept of “high impact man made actions” bearing the highest level of responsibility for weather patterns becoming more jaded with each class completed.

    Any checks of the historical record will turn up freezing winters and hot summers over a hundred years ago. Before mass immigration to Canada, before the baby boom, and before the excavation of the oil sands.

    Studies of ice cores and rock stratia show multi-year climate cycles going back thousands of years. What is now desert in Africa use to be lush and fertile valleys. Nature’s cycles have more influence than we’ve been giving them credit for of late.

    Perhaps we need to re-learn that we cannot control everything in nature. Nor should we be able to. I think it would help keep us humble.

    Maybe then we can focus our energies on things that we mere humans can control – like our treatment of those around us.

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