Thursday, August 26, 2010

Red Robin wins on service

For my birthday supper we planned to dine at Red Robin out in Langly, with our friends Bill and Colleen (and baby.) As usual when it came time to order our drinks, I happily ordered a Guinness. Our server came back shortly to inform me that they didn't have any, so I was to choose a different beer for the night.

Soon after taking delivery of a Rickard's Red beer, we had a change in servers. Our new guy, Ryan, quickly took our food orders and basically did his job.

Part way through our meal Ryan came back, asking if we wanted another drink. I had declined, as I wasn't drinking the beer I had in mind, and that it was okay. Ryan then asked me if he could find a Guinness, would I want it, to which I let him know that I would, but that others had searched before him and they didn't have any in stock. He left and I thought nothing more of it.

Ryan eventually returned, with a freshly poured Guinness in hand and the rest of the server crew in tow, to sing me a happy birthday song. It turns out that he left the restaurant to go get some Guinness just to be able to serve me the beer of my choice on my birthday. This then became the most appreciated Guinness I have ever had.

All in all, it was a pretty fantastic birthday with an unexpected touch of kindness from a complete stranger. Yes, he was only doing his job, but he did it far better than most. When I look back on yesterday I won't really remember that Red Robin was out of Guinness on my birthday so much as I will recall Ryan stepping out to fill my drink order.

Now if you will excuse me, I have a customer satisfaction survey to fill out.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I am the new 40

Lordy Lordy, look who's... yes well it isn't a surprise. I look the part, feel the part and my wife hopes that one day soon I'll even start acting the part. While some might not consider me to be old (your numbers are dwindling daily, I might add) I also can no longer be considered to be young.

I'm in the purgatory of age brackets.

Oh and apparently I'm now old enough to be called a 'mamil' which oddly, I'm okay with. Speaking of biking, I was up this morning for a leisurely ride around Stanley Park this morning and I have to say it was fantastic. There was another truck coming through the infamous intersection I had my accident at today, but I was already braking properly and there was no drama involved. I even wore my favorite cycling jersey, a green and black one from a shop I used to frequent when I lived in Aldergrove. The shop is long gone but the jersey still fits (barely).

My old bike is still holding up, mostly thanks to the work I had done on it two years ago in preparation for the Ride to Conquer Cancer. It is developing some new mystery creaks and the shifting is getting sloppy but somehow it continues to carry me over each hill, or at least down to the pizza shop and back on those evenings when ordering a pizza is just easier. I continue to lust after new rides but after a solid year I haven't managed to do much about that. They say we procrastinate against not only the things we don't want to do but also against the things we really want to do too. I'm a classic example of that I guess.

One of the things I hoped to do last year was to learn how to ride a fixed gear bike. The closest I came to that was to sit on one once at a bike store, so that goal will have to roll over into this year instead. Part of the problem is that I don't have a bike that is easily converted to ride fixed gear. The other part of the problem is that I don't want two bikes, so whatever I end up with should be convertable. I don't care if it is because it is a road frame that has horizontal dropouts or a track frame with cable stops for internally geared hubs. Boy, am I ever getting off track with this post.

For years I have asked Holly for a leather jacket, be it for my birthday, or other gift giving holiday. The problem has always been in finding something that actually looks good on me. Two days before my birthday Holly and I are out shopping and while I'm waiting in line to pay for some things she stumbles across something she thought might work. It turns out the one she picked was too tight for me (see the link above) but we were able to find a size larger that fit me correctly.

Today is only partly done, but already it has been better than good. Just about everyone at work has wished me well and I've heard from lots of friends and family. That's pretty much what it is all about, right?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ad-supported dreaming

So last night I had a weird dream. I was in some futuristic setting and was using one of those fancy new computer interfaces like what made the film Minority Report so famous when all of a sudden it happened: my user experience was interrupted with a commercial. I don't recall the commercial being brand-specific in my dream, it was more just the notion that it's increasingly more of a norm for us to be interrupted by advertising. At least, that is how I interpreted the dream that I had.

But it's interesting too - aside from a few movies like Robocop, not too many future depictions include the adverse side effects of all this marketing and advertising. I mean, how many 'free' services do we currently have that are ad-supported? This is a fact of life for the modern computer user and I don't see it going away anytime soon, except maybe for those willing to pay for the privilege.

Anyway, it was a weird dream that I hope doesn't repeat itself. For my sleep at least, I'd like it not to be ad-supported.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

BBQ Salmon

The other day we decided to cook up a nice salmon fillet on the BBQ. It wasn't going to be for dinner that night, but it was already thawed out so it needed to be cooked up. I fired up the grill and Holly wrapped it in foil, along with whatever other cooking magic she normally does. We put it on the grill and promptly forgot about it.

I went out for a quick errand and when I got back I asked Holly about the salmon. Her face went from surprise to resignation pretty quickly as she responded "Well it's gotta be pretty burnt by now! Let's go check it." She was surprised that she hadn't been smelling burnt salmon though.

Once out on the patio it became clear: luck was on our side that day because the grill ran out of propane shortly after cooking the fish to perfection. Sure it was cold by now, but it was going in the refrigerator anyhow. To make matters even better, Holly confirmed that it was actually slightly under cooked, which meant that it would be just right when she heated it up later.

Of course, filing this blog post serves to remind me: I need to refill the propane tank for the BBQ now.