Sometimes You Just Want To Help… NSFW

I’m sitting at Tim Horton’s enjoying an XL double-double thanks to Roll up the Rim to win, and the, ahem, gentleman beside me has literally blown a gasket.

He’s said;



“For Fuck sakes”

“Jesus Fucking Christ”


Bigger Sigh

“Jesus Christ”



Toss in a couple more “Fucks”, no “shits” but lots of “fucks”…

and SO much more colourful language, quietly, mostly under his breath, but considering that I’m sitting next to him, it’s all I can hear.

All the while he’s on his cell phone, pounding away on the keys (they click).

I just want to ask him what’s wrong…

It’s not that I think I can help him, that is unless his question is about parenting or taxes, but I just feel like he needs a friend right now to vent to.

If I were a bartender, he’s be talking up a storm, but he’s just pounding away on his device, either frustrated or upset at something he has either read, saw, or because he doesn’t know how to stop his phone from clicking.

What would you do?


Note: I actually thought he was cussing up a storm because he was trying to set his ringtone.  I kept hearing all these beeps, whirls and whistles.  One would think that R2D2 was beside me, but then the sounds stopped and the cursing didn’t.

Note2: He grumbled his way to the bathroom, then left.  He’s known here.  From this day forth I shall refer to him (silently) as the inept-smartphone-twit, or FIST, for short.

Fucking Inept Smartphone Twit, to more accurate.


Coffeeshop Etiquette 101

I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to camp out in a coffeeshop to get some work done, either before or after meetings, due to travel, or because I just want a change of scenery.

I have pretty much seen and heard it all, over the years and this morning’s adventures have prompted me to post a quick, albeit not exclusive, list of coffee shop etiquette – the do’s and don’t do’s when you’re working from a public space.

Feel free to add to this list, or debate items on this list.

  1. Learn the difference between your phone’s speaker and it’s regular headset.  The gentleman beside me is unaware that he is using his speaker, and has the phone right up to his ear, has the volume very high, and is telling the person he is speaking to that he cannot hear him.  We all hear everything about the conversation and it’s REALLY loud.
  2. If you’re going to watch videos on your cell phone or laptop, invest in a pair of headphones.  Nobody wants to hear whatever you are listening to – music, news, videogame sounds, etc.
  3. If you’re holding a meeting with the rest of your office in, say, the Starbucks I am currently sitting in, trashing your competition and berating a staff member might not be the most professional approach.
  4. If you’re working in a coffee shop and it’s really packed and you’ve been nursing the cheapest drink for 5 hours, it might be time to move on…  I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve finished my drink, then packed up earlier than I had planned because paying customers need space.  If I’m going to stay longer, I go back and buy food and another drink (although at Starbucks the additional drink is free, so I can buy better food… yum).
  5. Like being on an airplane, there are certain seats which have responsibilities attached, so if you’re sitting near one of the few outlets, be prepared to politely engage people who really need that free jack in order to meet a deadline or get through their morning.  Don’t be a grumpy outlet ogre!
  6. Be super respectful to the staff if you’ve been to a particular location more than once.  They know you, they recognize you, so don’t abuse your comfort level there.  Shake things up, try foods or drinks they recommend every now and then.  Remember, they control the on/off switch to the WiFi.
  7. If you’re not sure, ask.  I’ve come to many coffee shops and asked if it’s okay if I crash for a few hours, and I’ve asked them how long I can stay, and I have even told them upfront that if it gets busy, I’ll leave, or they can come tell me it’s busy and I’ll go.
  8. Make sure your sound is off on your laptop if you have a headset on your phone.  There is nothing worse than someone listening to music or having a conversation on their phone while their laptop is chirping away without their knowledge.
  9. Smile.  A smile goes a LONG way these days…
  10. Don’t make a mess, and be helpful, and you’ll be a welcomed customer for a very long time.
  11. It might go without saying, but for some people this is a real problem, but I cannot tell you the number of times I have gone to the washroom only to find the person / people before me had not flushed the toilet… UGH.  I can only assume these people also do not wipe themselves or wash their hands, because I teach my children to ALWAYS flush the toilet and wash their hands.  If they don’t want to touch the handle they can use paper towel or their foot to flush, then always wash and watch the door handle on the way out.
  12. If there are few seating options, taking a table for 4, or the handicapped seating is fine, unless there are people in need of those spaces.  Then you absolutely need to move or pack up and leave.  There is no reason to stay unless you are willing to share your space, which is absolutely a nice thing to do.  Sharing is, after all, caring.
  13.  Remember that as loud as it may seem in a coffee shop, with the music and coffee machine noises, it’s equally as loud for the person on the other end of the phone.  Before you change your voicemail, or make that critical business call, or job interview call, to step outside where it is quiet.  (To the kid who had a hard time on his phone interview last week, you really did lose out on that opportunity because you took your call in the washroom for 20 minutes, then flushed the toilet mid-conversation.  They totally heard and that lack of judgement blew it for you.  It was not because they didn’t like the answers to your questions… Trust me on that!


Happy to hear your thoughts and stories, as I move through my morning here in my local Starbucks where I keep my headphones on but am listening to everyone and everything…

Is Wifi, Cordless Phones, Cellular Phones and other Technologies Microwaving us to Death? Ask my Neighbours and they’ll say YES!

Have you ever wondered if all of these new technologies – cordless telephones, wireless networks, blackberries, iphones, ipads, laptops, cellular phones, cell towers, etc. would one day be found to cause illness in humans? I personally never gave much thought to this… Until yesterday.

Let me take this one back a few months before I explain…

This past summer we moved. We moved into a brand new, just finished being built, house which came fully equipped with wifi.

Our neighbours to the East are a new build of their own which is about 75% done right now, so no one is living there. Behind us, there is a smaller war-time house but we back on to their driveway, more or less. Our neighbours to the West, however, have been living in this neighbourhood for MANY years, they are an older couple, and they have this beautiful custom-built bungalow which they take great care of. We actually share a walkway with them up the side of the house.

During our time here, we have found some minor “issues” come to light which bug these neighbours, but occurred with the builder and not us – for example, the walkway between the houses cracked in one spot, plus the water pools in the middle in another spot. As well, we have a balcony in between the bedrooms on the 2nd floor which overlooks their house but the builder agreed to cut the roof back to allow natural light in, but did not.

Not our fault, but issues nonetheless.

Our backyard was fenced in by the builder in peculiar manner as there are some old, rather large trees on the West and North property lines and builder told us that our neighbours wanted the trees, hence the fence jots in, around, and back out of the trees. It looks nice, but if we ever opt to take the trees down, we lose the shade, but get more property – if we move the fence back (not THAT much, but some more).

My neighbour tells me he wanted the trees down but the builder didn’t want to pay to have them removed… $950.00.

See where this is going…

And once we had our deck made larger, the gate to our backyard was moved from opening inside to opening outside and that was a huge problem for our neighbours. They mentioned it many times how much they disliked this door, they even went as far as to tell me it was WRONG for doors to open out, and they feared this gate was going to swing open and hurt them in a strong wind.

I’d love to accomodate them for the sake of being neighbours for the next 10-15 years, but the deck on the inside would have to be moved and if I’m going to fork out the dollars to move that part, I’m taking down trees and claiming back my property around the trees by moving the fence out too… Something they obviously are not in favour of.

So I was not surprised when my wife called me to tell me that our neighbours had come knocking on the door with a third person to discuss something.

I figured it was the gate, or the balcony, or that my car parks too close to the walkway… The list is endless.

Instead, they explained to us that in the past few months since we’ve been there, the woman next door had been getting sicker and sicker each day. Heart palpultations, fainting, ringing in her ears, and in the past couple weeks she has been to the hospital 4 times, and after a barrage of tests, nothing had been found… Until that day.

As the story goes – and I was brought up to speed yesterday – one of thier clients (they’re in real estate) was looking for a detached house away from houses with wifi, or cordless phones because this woman had become alergic (for lack of a better term) to the microwaves that get emitted from these technologies.

The woman told me that she was living in a penthouse condo and the owner filled the top of the condo with cell towers and after a few months she experienced the same symptoms, so she went to doctors, who found nothing wrong with her. Through research and perserverance, she found a doctor just outside Toronto who told her that she was essentially being microwaved to death and that due to oversaturation of these waves she would have to find somewhere to live where the neighbours did not have wifi or cordless phones.

This woman bought a geiger counter and yesterday she had it at my neighbours home.

I was invited over for this demonstration as they ran this geiger counter the full length of their wall which faces our house and I heard how the counter was silent until it hit the mid-way point, when it started to go nuts. That point on their house coincided with our office and our cordless phone. I phone urban mummy and asked her to unplug the cordpess phone – while listening to the geiger counter going nuts – and when she did unplug the phone, the counter fell silent in my neighbours home.

This woman then proceeded to demonstrate the effects of cordless phones on this counter by using my neighbours old cordless phone, then contrasting it to the emissions coming from the new one they had just purchased.

The difference between emissions from both phones was nothing short of remarkable.

So as a kind gesture they gave me a new, low-emmission, cordless phone which they had bought for us, to use in place of the one that was “wrecking-havoc” on their house and making the wife sick.

I really thought the whole time that they were off their rocker – obviously, and even when I came home and spoke to urban mummy (a chemical engineer by education, science teacher by training and all around super-genius) and she explained that the counter would go off depending on the amounts of microwaves it was looking for.

I get that.
But if some cordless phones really do emit that amount of microwaves, do I really want that sitting by my bed? If there are some symptoms which are common with being microwaved, them I’m going to toss the one by my head and replace it with a land line, hard wired phone for the bedroom.

But now I want to know more… More for me to be sure that my neighbours are not pulling my very gullable leg – not thinking they bugged the phone or anything – but need facts to be able to make an informed decision as to whether this gets done now, or down the road.

So I googled this topic and found a couple articles. Feel free to read them and chime in with your thoughts…

Do you have microwave illness –

Health Canada denies that wireless networks makes kids sick…

So have a read of these articles and you will see people raising concerns, and so-called “experts” denying there is any link.

So, what do you think?  Is this going to change the way you buy technologies in your house?  Or am I (they) off my rocker?  It’s all a little weird, yet normal at the same time…