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Calgary-Edmonton-Banff-Calgary

well, just got back this week from a 5 day day trip to Calgary. Flew in there on thursday, from where we drove to Edmonton the next day and hit up the mall. Then drove to Edson, Jasper, and Banff through the mountains. It was an awesome trip. Stayed in 5 different places each night. The mountains are amazing. The view was spectacular. Banff was crazy busy and neat little tourist town. The gondola ride, the spa, the hot springs... Then Calgary tower, and the food everywhere!! I am too lazy to upload the pics and talk about it now.. maybe at a later date.
Let's just say - the mountains, and Calgary, you will be my home in the future.

zhang zi yi

zomg!%$@ I met Zhang Zi Yi last night!

She's in town shooting a movie with Dennis Quaid, "The Horsemen" .

She came by Tim's store after dinner at 529 Wellington.

Shucks that they only let two of us meet her.. (sorry Jeff and friends)

But we met her in her car because they didn't come in because there's customers in the store and her escort said only 2 people in store or come say hi to her in the car. Turned out she had a bad experience earlier the day in Chinatown with crowds. She's small, cute, pretty, nice skin and has a nice smile.

Zomg!!

Salads

I've been on a salad crave lately. I luurve leafy green salads that are sweet, tasty and fresh.
Besides the obvious health benefits of eating a variety of fresh vegetables, I am finding eating meat more and more difficult. Is this the start of vegan-ism for me??! Ahh.. not very likely.. I love seafood and chicken.. not very big on red meat and pork.. but I still like meat too much to cut it out entirely. It's just that I find we eat far too much meat, and not enough vegetables nowadays. Meat is harder for the digestive system to digest and can thus lead to problems like colon cancer as we age.

So without much adieu, I present to you my favorite salads I have had to date:

1. Honey raspberry field greens with mandarin segments, cranberry, and (non-roasted.. the good kind!) almonds - MAXIME's - :P this is the absolutely most leafy green with spinach, and those pointy dandelion type greens salad, with a light raspberry vinaigrette, and sprinkled with semi-dried cranberries, almonds, and mandarin oranges. It was THE best salad I had ever had. No joke.

also , the special Lunch salad. I forgot what is was called but it was very unique. It was a mixture of feta cheese, leafy greens (not the usual romaine but LEAFY greens), tomatoes, nuts, mandarin oranges (? I can't remember, it's been a while), and the tastiest artichokes ever! it was so good I couldn't finish it.

2. Salads from the Fyxx. I love their atmosphere, and I love the sandwich and salads they have. The salads are really leafy greens again, and come with your choice of tasty dressing. I myself prefer the Thai peanut dressing :) The Fyxx sure beats the run of the mill Starbucks.

3. Olive Garden all u can eat salad. Although not the best type of greens .. very cheap ice berg lettuce tomatoes, red onions and such. It still does its job. I especially like the olives :) and the dressing .. it's quite good.

4. Wendy's Mandarin Chicken Salad. Despite the dressing being really high in calories.. it is oooh so good. A mix of ice berg lettuce and red leaf lettuce.

5. Meiji's green salad. The veggies aren't anything special again... but the house dressing... :P oooh to die for. It made in store and it tastes like.. orangey, citrusy, peanut sauce, sweet and tangy .. verry good. Probably not really high on the health scale, but really tasty and makes the bland vegetables (iceberg lettuce, tomatoes , the usual..) easy to swallow.

So next time you want to go out for coffee or a snack, (or chicken wing nite) think about say "let's go out for a salad".. I think it'll be worthwhile to try something different and at the same time healthy.
:)

Dell Computers.

Well I am updating mostly as a public service announcement for all my friends and anyone who happens to read my journal.

For those who are planning to buy any computer or anything from DELL I urge you strongly to not do so!

I really wished I had researched more into the company before I made my purchase with them. Dell was a really good company back in the late 90s when they first started. Great customer service, great computers, and that made for happy customers who happily recommended them to other potential customers.

HOWEVER, go a few years down the road closer to 2003 to now ... with the increase in customers, change in executives who don't know the roots of the company, and a shift to cut costs to accomodate the larger volumes of customers that have surged because of the content ones back in the late 90s and you've got a huge problem ... How to fix it?

Outsource calls to cheaper labor in India. This cut costs, and was a solution to the surge in calls. But what happens? A HUGE decrease in customer service. Reps who can't understand you and you definately cannot understand what they are saying. Reps who can't speak english well. Reps who follow scripted lines and cannot think outside the script. All customer reps all over the country (and other countries) on many different pages and uninformed about many company products, policies, and just in general... EVERYTHING.

How confident can you be in a company that is looking to be a MESS with their customer service and making no point to hide it, how confident can you be in them to spend a grand on one of their systems?

To make a long story short, if you are reading all the negative reviews online of peoples' experiences with Dell's phone reps and customer service .. because I have yet to find anything positive... I have to say: IT IS ALL TRUE. The customer service experience is horrible. Google "Dell Hell" and "Dell consumer affairs", you will get over 2 million hits. No joke. It is all true.

For my purchase I believed to have talked to over 15 reps, and got transferred numerous times. Sometimes to get back to the very beginning only to repeat my story over to another clueless non-english speaking Indian rep with the same heavy accent as the previous. When I ask to speak to a supervisor they transfer me to another guy with a heavy accent who sounded exactly like the previous guy I talked to! OR even worse they will put you on hold for over 30 minutes if you sound at all huffy with them ... just to peeve you even more. And in some cases disconnected.

I ask ONE question and get more than 1 different answer. Each one more confident about their answer than the other.

I wanted to pull my hair out and strangle those East India CSReps!!

I now have an aversion to even calling their toll free number because I don't know what kind of phone hell I'll get into again.

This is my FIRST and Definately LAST purchase with Dell. So sad, that for a first purchase they cannot even make a good impression.

I can only hope after I pay my payment and it's all out of my hair.

I read stories about how even their products are not to par .. with new computers being made with old parts, even though the hardware listing on their purchase is of the newer part.

Cross my fingers.

Therefore please pass this along:

IF YOU ARE PLANNING TO PURCHASE FROM DELL PLEASE RECONSIDER. IT IS NOTHING BUT A NIGHTMARE AND HEADACHE TO EVEN ORDER FROM THEM. THINK OF WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR COMPUTER...

We have to send a message out to Dell execs to listen. So far they are ignoring the online forums that discuss customer service problems with their company. GOOD CUSTOMER SERVICE = HAPPY CUSTOMERS = MORE RETURNING CUSTOMERS = MORE PROFIT. Don't forget this equation. Without the customers, they are nothing. With the influx of customers in the late 90s and early 2000 Dell seemed to forget this important part of marketing. Stop referring customers to DELL, if you purchased your system prior to 2003. They are NOT what they used to be. DO NOT purchase from them. Only with a huge loss of profit can DELL learn to improve their existing system. Namely the outsourcing of calls to cheaper labour in India. It has not helped them and us as customer, and it will only ruin them in the future.

SO PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT BUY A DELL ... this company needs to learn a lesson.
hello

well birthday came and went for another year.. thanks to all those who came out for my birthday lunch/dinner, and those who wished me happy bday online... and for those who didn't,.. bah i forgive you too :) I can seriously say I am sick of eating out after yesterday..erghh.....within 48 hours, I have been to: Meiji, Boston Pizza, Dim Sum Garden, and Tony aRoma's :)

now back to reality
For those who actually read up on what's going on in my life: Thank you. I realize the importance of friends who care. Love you all.

I have been busy. But not productive. Activity ≠ Productivity. Busy with the house for the month of August.

I've been reading, albeit very slowly, a nonfiction book, and came across these words that ring very true:

"Words can never adequately convey the incredible impact of our attitude toward life. The longer I live, the more convinced I become that life is 10 percent what happens to us and 90 percent how we respond to it." - Author and evangelist Charles R. Swindoll

I wish I can live by that mantra. I once had a saying, "life is how you make it, not how you take it", so that is why that saying above really appealed to me. Too bad I don't take my own advice sometimes.

Another good one from the book, they paraphase a line from Alice in Wonderland:

If you don't know where you want to go, any road will take you there.

... I so feel that I am taking the "any" road. Constantly changing the road and never hitting any destination because I don't know the destination.

sorry this not new news.

Jun. 10th, 2006

It has a been busy month and beginning of June... but finally things are slowing down. Not that I mind being busy much. It was really an enjoyable month of May. I learned a lot and learned a lot of things I need to learn... Well it's just the beginning I suppose. The real hard work begins now. But I am just relaxing after this past stressful week. It wasn't stressful by university days standards but more stressful than I have been for a while. And it was a good kind of stress, the kind that I feel accomplished after.

well, what's been happening? umm. everyone is leaving or about to leave for the summer. Some forever :( some for the summer.

anyways.. my brain is not working now.. it's on relax mode.
so i'll just leave this entry at this.

oh and my vasomotor rhinitis is killing. that's it. not allergies.

time for an update

welp, I am procrastinating again. Staring at this computer screen and sitting in this ergonomic preacher chair is killing me, on top of that my nasal passages/sinuses have been hell these past couple of days and it is giving me a headache and sleepless nights. So trying to finish up my ppt presentation at this time and have a hard time sticking to task. Maybe I'll eat... Maybe I will open the window... seems like I have been couped inside here too long (since yesterday afternoon?).

I haven't gone to the gym since Monday and I feel I should get my arse in there today but I don't like the fitness class today. For sure tomorrow I 'll be going then heading there. But I feel like I am addicted to it or something. I must do it 3x / week or more or else I feel ... I am falling back. So it's a good addiction I suppose. Better than some other addictions. Maybe if I get this damn thing done by 4 pm I can head to the gym. It's not hard but I am taking my fine ass time. I am too damn picky about things. Always been my problem... I want to 'perfect' it so I say maybe later when I am up to mental par, but then that always delays it even more... like now. ah Ok. I will get this thing done.. After i go to take a bathroom break first :)

May. 1st, 2006

Well, I started my 6-week course today, and I must say I really did enjoy my first day. It was good to see people in the same situation or after a similar goal as I. And the class is very varied. Lots of different cultures and backgrounds. Also I love the fact that we'll be learning stuff that we can USE if not now, in the future. Anyways, it is good info to know, and I like how they (the coordinators) & the program make it seem less overwhelming. Today we started off with intros, course outline, and some group activities. I actually liked the group activites. And because the class is so small (8), it makes a great learning environment.

Have homework to do.

But the internet is such a good procrastinating tool, in addition to learning tool. So when I am not using it for my homework I am procrastinating, like now.

friday night

I feel productive this week. I got a few things accomplished. Which is a big step for my lazy ass this past couple months. Sheet.

...

jia yiao
I have some inner motor churning me to work towards this. Something sparked in me this week. I need to fill this need. I want to accomplish this and be able to stay that I created it. That through hard work and dedication and never giving up I was able to create this.

...

I loove Canon by Pachelbel .. all versions.. especially George Winston's (in D)... aggh.. I can't seem to get enough of it and I reeally want to play it fluidly on the piano .. just being able to make music at the tip of my fingers fluidly.. it's inexplicable! So please if anyone can teach me I'd be so happy! I can get the first few notes but its frustrating to not get the next notes. I have the sheet music but I am still having difficulty. I am more of an audio learner. Although I guess I have to learn reading the notes eventually. *sigh*. Another thing on my list to do: LEARN TO PLAY CANON ON THE PIANO.

...

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