Saturday, February 28, 2015

Good guys, bad guys

I don't get sick very often (well, colds, flu...). Flu every few years, colds probably once per year. But I get cranky when I do! As I write this, I'm on day 5 of my cold and we all know that if you take care of yourself, the cold will last 7 days. If you ignore it, it takes a week...

I wrote that I was really grumpy and sneezy, the meds that Doc gave me made me dopey and sleepy, I've never been bashful and in a little while I'll be happy again. Mr. Disney got it right...

...from the sporadic musings department...
Live Long and Prosper, Mr. Spock
Leonard Nimoy passed away yesterday. A character if there ever was one and if you look up "typecasting" in the dictionary, you'll find his picture there. He wrote a book entitled "I am NOT Spock" but well, yes he was.
Turns out he was a passionate photographer too. Something you didn't know unless you were connected... and he had an Orthodox Yiddish upbringing in his native Boston. Google where that Vulcan greeting gesture came from!
Coincidentally, being under the weather, I finally got around to watching "Star Trek: Into Darkness" a few days ago. Nimoy had a cameo role in this and, unless I'm mistaken, in ALL the Star Trek movies.  
It occurred to me that of all the people I could think of, it would be most appropriate were his remains lifted into space. Well him, and Steven Hawking when his time comes. Hope someone thinks of that. 

While shooting smoke in the light tent at the camera club meeting this week, I got this shot. If you look at it for a while, you might be able to pick out Nimoy's face. He's looking down, the nose is quite prominent. I'm displaying it here small, click to blow it up: sometimes things appear differently at different sizes. Eerie, don't you think?

Good Guys, Bad Guys

I seldom talk about merchants and customer service (OK, I do from time to time. Humour me). I had two notable dealings that I thought deserved comment, one good, one bad.

2150 Steeles Ave W
Thornhill, ON
905 669 6355
I normally clean my own sensor. But I had some persistent spots on my D800 and really didn't want to do a heavy liquid cleaning so I phoned Sun Camera from the car on the way into Toronto last Tuesday. I was prepared to explain that I was from out of town, only in for part of a day, was getting ready to whine and cry... I started by asking if they still cleaned sensors and whether they could do it while I waited.
"Well, sort of: if you drop it off and go get a cup of coffee, it'll be ready when you get back". A far cry from Nikon service's, "send it in, give us two weeks and we'll send it back when it's done".
Perfect job, only $60 (vs. Nikon's $80), personal service with a smile. By the way, Sun is an authorized Canon service depot, but apparently Nikon Canada has been sending work their way recently. 

Canadian Tire
8081 Dufferin at Highway 407
Vaughan, ON
This is the email that I sent to Canadian Tire this morning. Let's see how they respond. 
This is a HUGE customer service complaint relating to the store at 8081 Dufferin in Thornhill, ON. I hope this is not a CT-wide thing, just a local store problem.
Let me start by going on record that I generally like dealing with Canadian Tire. Especially the one up here in Minden where you get personal service and they go out of their way to help people out. I've had lots of good experiences with them and I can't believe they would treat a customer like I was treated at the one on Dufferin at Highway 407 yesterday. I even use your credit card services. Let me set the scene.
I'm a senior citizen, not officially disabled but at my age... I live up in Minden but was visiting in Thornhill. It was Sunday morning. I had bought some stuff at Walmart, went out to the car (Subaru Forester), put the stuff in the back and started to close the tailgate. The hydraulic closer arm on the right side broke off at the bottom but it was extended out and I couldn't force it back in so it kept the tailgate from closing all the way (it was sticking out). All I had to do was unscrew the top two bolts holding it on but I had NO TOOLS in the car. All I needed was a pair of pliers or a Philips screwdriver and 30 seconds to remove it so I could drive home. Imagine driving 200 km in sub-zero temperatures with the tailgate open.
I went to the Canadian Tire. I went inside to the service department and politely asked if I could borrow a tool for a second and was told in nasty terms, "the mechanics do not lend out their tools". "Then could someone come out for a second and unscrew the thing so I could drive home? I'm from out of town". "You'll have to make a service appointment and complete a workorder (they had no customers in the shop and the mechanics were standing around), and there will be a charge".
I decided to go in the store and buy a pair of pliers, figuring I'd use it then bring it right back. The cheapest one I could find was $20. At the cash I explained I'd be bringing it back. They said if I opened the package, I owned it. I left it there.
I went to the garage bay and approached a mechanic. I was told in no uncertain terms to perform an anatomically impossible act.
This story ended when I drove into the PetroCan station at Dufferin and Centre street and asked if I could borrow a pair of pliers for a minute. "Sure. Want me to help?" "No", I said, "I can do it myself" and proceeded, arthritis and all, to remove the offending part in less than a minute (while holding up the tailgate with my head!).
I get why you have that policy. I get why the mechanic’s time has to be paid for. What I don’t get is why nobody had the common courtesy to help out someone in obvious distress with literally 30 seconds of their time. I want Canadian Tire to explain to me why I should continue doing business with your company.

For the record, I didn't get upset, I didn't get angry. I generally don't do that: my style is more to "get even" after the fact. I was especially perturbed by the attitude of the mechanic who was intimidating and aggressive, when all I did was to ask him if he could do me a favour for a second.

Followup: I got a generic response from Canadian Tire: the classic "bug letter". As I said, I don't get mad, I get even. My first step is to stop using Canadian Tire as my go-to place to shop. My second is right here, to encourage my Canadian readers to do the same. {shrug}.
I'm also waiting for my ATV to come home. It's been out of service for weeks! It suffered an electrical failure (both the stator and the CDI module, apparently). I saved $700 by finding an aftermarket stator: Polaris wanted almost $800 just for the factory part (eBay. California. $50). Hope they bring it back today, although I won't give in to the temptation to take it out until this cold is gone!

Some Photos

It's been a busy week: sick, teaching, meeting, Toronto trip... so I haven't shot much. I did do a little Photoshop work, though.

I shot this on Tuesday enroute home from Toronto, stopping for a quick look for more Snowy Owls (I did find and photograph one, but nothing really different). This array of trees caught my eye, just as it did the previous week. I made a sketch out of it and painted in a couple of birds for mood and balance. Hope you like it! 

Stuck in the house with my cold, and preparing for the HHCC meeting where we were doing a tabletop workshop, I broke out the light tent, set the camera up tethered to the laptop in Lightroom, and shot a series of images of my old carry gun, my Colt .45 (I was a combat pistol competitor and instructor in another life, long ago). Topaz Glow helped me bring out the well-worn character of this piece. I can't tell you how many times it's been in and out of a holster but you can see it. 

At the club meeting, I threw my watch in the light tent as something to focus on, then I experimented with some lighting options, just demo-ing how to do it 

Then with some time on my hands (still stuck in the house), it occurred to me that I didn't have an image for the Richmond Hill Camera Club Creative/Altered Reality competition, so...

A little warp, some liquify, some digital painting and Impression/Chiaoscuro and voilĂ ! 

Dog Sled races next weekend! Stay tuned!

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