How Telus Stole My Money
As usual, being in the city helped me realise just how good we've got it in the North. The hotel charged $0.75 for a local call, which, to me, is unacceptable, so I went downstairs to the payphones. I popped in my quarter and dialed.
"Please add an additional ten cents to complete this call," sang the voice over the phone.
"Hunh?" I asked, "Oh, yeah! Telus charges thirty cents for a local payphone call!"
I searched my change-filled pockets for a dime or two nickels.
"Please add an additional ten cents to complete this call," reminded the voice over the phone.
After pulling everything out of my pockets I took an inventory of my change. Though I had a couple toonies, several loonies, and some quarters, I had only one nickel and no dimes at all. Alas! What was I to do?
"Please add an additional ten cents to complete this call," scolded the voice over the phone. This time, I detected something in the voice that wasn't there before. Even though it was never spoken, it sounded like the electronic voice was implying the word "butthead" at the end of the message.
Desperately, not wanting to upset the voice any more, I added another quarter.
"Thank you for calling Telus," sneered the voice.
The phone wouldn't give me back any change (clearly marked on the phone), but I had made my call, satisfied that I had saved at least a quarter on the call, even if the phone took fifteen cents that it really shouldn't have.
The next day, I was phoning around for rollerblade wheels. It's difficult to find them in the size I need (82mm), and since I was without transportation in Edmonton, it made more sense for me to scout things out in advance.
I was out of quarters, but had a loonie and popped that into the phone.
"With my nickel," I reasoned, '"It's good for three calls, at least." I called the first shop that someone had suggested to me, but was told that I was out of luck. I asked for other places I could try and was given one.
I pressed the "Next Call" button and the same voice asked me to "Please enter the number you wish to call." I didn't have the number, and started flipping madly through the phone book.
Milliseconds later, the automated operator remined me to, "Please enter the number you wish to call."
And again, "Please enter the number you wish to call."
And again, "Please enter the number you wish to call."
And then, "Thank you for using Telus. Click."
And the phone ate my $0.65. It may not be much, but it was my $0.65 - not theirs.
Telus, if you're reading this, you owe me $0.80 for services that I paid for, but did not receive. You have been warned. I will get my $0.80 out of you somehow! I don't know how and I don't know when, but someday... someday...
And to add insult to injury, the hotel never charged me for my local calls.
Seeing Old Faces and Meeting Some New Ones
It was awesome seeing so many old friends at the conference. The name of the conference is "Meet the North". The north is small, really, so if you've been there for even a little while, it's likely you're going to run into someone you know. It's fun catching up.
I got the chance to meet some new people also, including the Premier of the Yukon. All the territorial Premiers were there.
Perhaps best of all was getting to know the people from the Yukon "contingent" a little better. They're a good gang.
Things are Rolling in Edmonton
Gerry and Andrea, co-workers, were going for a run and though I've been getting back into running, I'm not yet up for 20km runs. I did join them on in-line skates, however.
We zig-zagged some 60 blocks through residential areas and some nice old houses before reaching the Royal Alberta Museum. From there, Gerry and Andrea jogged down to the path along the North Saskatchewan River. I followed, but walked sideways down the dirt and grass, not wanting to roll down the steep slope.
We went up and down the river before heading uphill near the legislature and back through downtown. They ran for over two hours and though I didn't get the same amount of exercise they did, I was glad I was able to get out and explore a little. After three days of living inside a conference centre, it felt good to get out.
And rollerblades are a great way to get around a city. After the walk, I rollerbladed to a music/instrument shop to get some trumpet mutes. They were kind enough to let me in without having to take off my rolling footwear - as long as I promised to stay away from the pianos.
They did let me play the flugelhorns, however. While I was there, I figured I would check out tubas which, like most music shops, they didn't have in stock. There were able to give me a price for a beautiful silver tuba, however.
I now have a goal. After the house is paid off (Ok, so that may take a while), I only need to save $10,000 (plus applicable shipping and taxes).
Effective Alarm Clock
There are some noises that wake me fairly quickly, but I don't think I have ever heard any noise that could wake me as effectively as the alarm clock in my hotel room. Every morning I was at the hotel, I was standing up, out of bed, before I even woke up. That's a weird feeling.
Dinner With Nicole
Conference food is fine, but sometimes, meat and potatoes and salad from a buffet line gets a little old. Last night I met up with Nicole, a friend that Fawn and I met through a friend from Fort Liard. We went for dinner at Huang Long (I'm not sure how it's pronounced, exactly. Hwang Long? Wayng Long? Hung Long?)
The dinner was good. I hope Whitehorse gets a decent Vietnamese restaurant one of these days. I know I'll having a lot of meals at the Vietnamese Noodle House in Yellowknife when I'm there next week.
After dinner, we were stuffed and decided to burn some of it off with a rollerblade around one of Edmonton's parks. The temperature was perfect and we circled the park a couple of times.
Today I got to take a tour of some of the facilities and businesses in the Leduc-Nisku area. We checked out the Alberta Food Development Centre, a hydraulic and transmission remanufacturing business, a petroleum industry training centre and a petroleum industry museum.
The rest of the Yukon contingent caught their charter earlier today and I've spent the rest of the afternoon in the airport.
A year ago, I would have spent the afternoon reading a book. Today, I've spent the afternoon catching up on e-mail, reading blogs, and catching up on my own blog. The network at the hotel was down for a few days, but the free connection at the airport is great. I even had a webcam conversation with a friend in Ottawa and gave her a brief tour of the airport. Wireless is very cool.
Missing My Family
Fawn has been great about updating her blog, and in some ways it makes me feel closer to home. And in some ways, it makes me feel that much further away. I sure do miss them.
Thanks, It's Been Nice But...
It wasn't even a day before I was ready to get some place with a few more wild spaces, but I was here in Edmonton for work - not forever. Now, its off to Yellowknife for a week. I won't likely get a chance to do any hiking, but hopefully I'll get a chance to do some exploring around the city. Maybe I'll find something neat.
Wish me luck!