This is a picture I did not take of an approaching-elderly Chinese man exiting the elevator at my apartment building in a cloud of cloying aftershave, wearing skinny jeans, an oversized white t-shirt, and sporting a Justin Bieber haircut.

A Tale of Two Pizzas

Last evening Andrew and I decided to get pizza for dinner to accompany our evening’s TV viewing, and to be wild and crazy, we decided to try Papa John’s. (We’d tried it once before, but could only remember that the BBQ chicken one had been pretty good, and the other kind hadn’t really been that great.)

So I ordered a large BBQ chicken pizza online. Ordering user experience wasn’t fantastic (if you put your order together and then logged in, you basically had to start over on the order), but it went through and the pizza arrived on time. Andrew even happened to be outside when it did, so he brought it in with minimal freak-out from Gordie.

He dished out a couple of slices onto plates, and I took one look at mine and said, “Mushrooms. This isn’t our pizza.” And it wasn’t. It appeared to have fresh tomatoes and mushrooms on it, which… why bother? The name on the box sticker was right, the type of pizza on the box sticker was right. The pizza in the box was not.

So I called Papa John’s and talked to a girl who sounded barely conscious (or more likely bored and didn’t give a shit). She didn’t seem terribly inclined to believe me that the wrong pizza had been delivered, or to fix the problem, but then once she’d looked up my order was more interested in making sure I still had the first pizza. (Because God forbid I’d wolfed down the damned thing in the five minutes since it had arrived and would now demand another.)

Turned out it would take 45 minutes to have another pizza delivered, but only 15 minutes if we picked it up. Since Papa John’s isn’t that far from Andrew’s, I said we’d pick it up.

We arrived on time, but the pizza wasn’t ready — and wasn’t for another ten minutes (I don’t know if it was actually even in the oven when we arrived…) The only apology we got was from the kid working the front counter when the second pizza took longer.

That kid also told me that they had it in the system that I wanted the pizza re-delivered (I reiterated that I did not), and tried to blame the screw-up on the driver. Yeah… nice try, seeing as, as aforementioned, the box had the right name and type of pizza. Whoever put it in the box screwed up, and I’m pretty sure the driver’s name wasn’t Kayleigh, which was the name on the sticker of who had handled our order (presumably coma girl).

Needless to say I opened our pizza box before we left to confirm that we had the right pizza this time. We did. By this point I was getting very hungry and increasingly annoyed.

We headed home with no apology, no refund, no comped food, nothing. And, unsurprisingly, no intentions of ever getting pizza from there again.

We’d just dished out the second pizza and taken a few bites when… a knock at the door. Andrew was basically like, “No way…” and went to see what was up. You guessed it — pizza delivery driver! So Andrew went out on the porch and explained to him what had gone down, that we had our pizza, and had twice told them we didn’t want it re-delivered. He also made sure to explain that the screw-ups were not either driver’s fault (though the in-store kid would surely say otherwise).

This driver, being an astute man, just told Andrew to keep this pizza, which we did. We already had more than enough to eat, but it’d make for good leftovers. I’d also re-discovered that Papa John’s “garlic” sauce was basically vaguely garlic-flavoured melted margarine and completely disgusting. We threw that out.

So after dinner we watched some TV, and later on Andrew decided he wanted another piece of pizza. I said I’d take one, too, so he headed down to the kitchen to get them. A few minutes later he came back up, giggling like a schoolgirl, and said, “So the punchline to this whole thing is… It’s the same pizza!”


Yes, the first pizza they’d delivered, which we’d personally returned to them, they had sent back out for delivery. And how grossed out would someone else have been if they’d received a pizza that had clearly had several pieces removed from and returned to the box.

Needless to say, I didn’t get my late evening slice of snack pizza, but Andrew’s got plenty, and I remain ever more convinced NEVER to get pizza from Papa John’s again, and continue to boggle how they remain in business with that systemic degree of utter incompetence.


This is a picture I did not take of two elderly ladies, dressed in jaunty spring floral outfits, presumably heading to the library, arms full of books, with the outward-facing cover of the book held by the lady closest to me reading: Voodoo History.


This is a picture I did not take of three pregnant women power walking in the park, accompanied by two tiny Chinese Crested dogs, who appeared to be wearing pink and blue pajamas.


This is a picture I did not take of a kid with a red plastic shovel, taking advantage of the day’s snowfall to fill a green plastic grocery bag with snow, assisting his buddy in constructing a formidable apple tree-backed snow fort.


This is a picture I did not take of a man standing patiently on the sidewalk beside a small park, fully bundled for winter walking and holding a slack leash, on the end of which is a boxer puppy, joyfully rolling around on his back in the snow and snorting.

Working with geeks

A couple of weeks ago, VeloCity (the residence/program for entrepreneurially-minded, media and mobile-lovin’ students at University of Waterloo), capped off a startup week with the VeloCity 101 mini-conference.

The students had started over a week before, brainstorming ideas, forming groups, and getting going on Startup Weekend-like projects of basically building a company and product from scratch (although in a slightly longer time frame).

The following weekend they gathered for presentations from local folks in the tech industry, and to do their pitches for the projects they’d been working on. Jesse Rodgers, their intrepid co-director, was kind enough to invite Carol (our CEO at PostRank) and myself to speak. Basically, I was the only non-CEO on the docket that day.

Jesse suggested a few potential topic areas, including an overview of community management, and “working with geeks”. The second one amused me, and Lord knows I have plenty of experience, so I wrote up a bunch of notes, gathered up the remains of my cold-addled intellect, memory, and voice, and headed over to the university on the morning of Saturday, the 16th. (I am fairly certain this will be the only time in my life that I lecture in one of University of Waterloo’s Engineering lecture halls.) 🙂

Aaaaanyway, lack of of a slide deck and a brief fear that Daniel Debow, the day’s first speaker, was stealing my thoughts aside, I think things went well. There were some laughs, a few students stopped to chat afterward (since when do students have business cards?) and my voice remained functional until the following morning, when my four-day adventure in laryngitis began.

I’ve finally finished cleaning up the notes for the presentation, which can be found at my new professional site: VeloCity 101: Working with Geeks. (It’s a bit hefty, so you might want to go get a coffee first.)

If anyone’s inclined to become my sugarperson…

Sherry and I took a spin through the new Paula White Diamond Gallery location at the Bauer complex yesterday. Typically my taste in art, especially modern/non-representational stuff, is fairly picky. But I honestly really liked just about everything they had displayed.

David Bartholomew‘s photos are gorgeous, and I could hang them everywhere, but it was Tim Packer‘s paintings that really got me. How sun looks shining through branches and leaves is always a favourite visual of mine, but create different pieces reflecting different seasons and I am totally sold. If I had a spare $2000 the autumn one would be filling that big space on my bedroom wall across from my bed right now. 🙂 Ahh, one day…

The hashtag isn’t #apathy

No Prorogue Rally, Waterloo, Jan. 23rd, 2010

I am one of those apathetic Canadians that Rick Mercer recently referenced. I don’t talk politics much, I don’t read political blogs or books as a matter of course, and while I faithfully vote at the federal and provincial levels, I’ve never voted municipally.

Today, with Sherry and Melissa, I attended my first political rally. Along with several hundred Kitchener-Waterloo residents and thousands of others across Canada, I spent part of my Saturday protesting the Harper government’s prorogation of parliament. Kinda disappointed that, unlike Toronto and Vancouver, we didn’t go a’marching. 🙂

However, the weather was lovely and there were lattes to keep the hands warm, and the audience, ever so Canadianly, shushed the rude man who kept intermittently hollering at the speakers. Mostly to tell the truth…

I dislike Harper a great deal, and have never voted for him, so it’s fair to say I’m more likely to get inboard with protesting his actions than other parties’.

And I hope we make something happen. It’s our responsibility, after all, since we, as Canadian voters, put Harper in power. Twice. Or, perhaps more accurately for folks like me, failed to keep him out of power with shamefully low voter turnout. (<60% in the last federal election, I believe.)

Democracy, like any system, requires maintenance, else there will always be someone more than happy to step up and set to work using it to fulfill their own agenda.

It also occurred to me that this morning’s rally was a celebration, too. Being able to organize largely online, with unfettered access to social media, and peacefully gather in large groups in public, across the country, to protest our democratically elected government’s actions, without fear of injury, arrest, or death. There’s a lot there to be impressed about.

I am in full agreement with the idea that those who don’t vote don’t get to complain. And it also makes me smile to consider that where, when, and how we complain, particularly at an in-the-crowd level, certainly appears to distinguish us as Canadians.

(Can you see the heavenly light of righteous indignation streaming down upon us in the photo at the top of the post?) 🙂

Our corvid neighbours

At work, thanks to all the windows and being on the fifth floor, we have a fairly panoramic view of the area. And every afternoon, usually soon after 3pm, though sometimes as late as 5pm, a murder of crows comes to roost in the trees around the building. Sometimes there is just a few, other times it looks more like 100 (can’t say that doesn’t make us a bit nervous…).

They stick around for a few minutes, then just fly off en masse. When they’re there around sunset, the effect is quite striking.

Our office neighbours

Our office neighbours