Thursday, August 19, 2010

Oh Bell

Bell = Big giant phone/Internet/TV company here in Canada.

Me = Customer who has phone/cell/Internet through them.

I've been coming home to "1 missed call" on my land line for weeks now. Some 1-866 number. No messages, just the caller ID letting me know I've been missing a call. I look it up, it's one of Bell's 3rd party call centres.

They finally called when I was home, and I decided to pick up to tell them to go away.

Turns out, they want to upgrade my Internet service (quel surprise!). I'm currently paying $x/month for the ol' busted service that they really don't want me on (so much so, they up my price by $5 every 6 months). But hey! I can get their NEW service for $(x-5)/month and have double the speed! Hell, it'll be $(x-10)/month if I have other services and bundle! (It won't, because my cell is corporate plan). So I'll just sign you up then?


Wha? HUH? Why not! Faster! Cheaper! Awesomer!

Because I said no.

But? But? B-b-b-ut?

I don't want to be on a new contract.

No contract!

Also, you don't want me on my current plan because I'm one of the last blips on your "no download cap" map since I've had this plan for 5 years.

Yah, but this new one has a cap of 50 GB! No WAY you'd beat that! I'll check!

[insert silence]

So you're average is... umm.. 39.6 GB. Err... and your highest is... umm... 60GB. Oh. Well for $5 more you can add 40 GB!

So right now, when no new TV is on, and I'm not grabbing torrents or streaming shows, I've got an average of 40GB per month. Netflix is coming to Canada as a streaming service. More shows are going online every moment. Steam is my main means of buying games that are many GB in size. Games, even not online ones, send data back and forth. Every piece of software I own gets updates. My blu-ray player connects to the Internet. My Wii does. You don't think I'd eat up that extra cap space in no time? And that $5 extra means I'd be paying exactly the same amount as I am now. For what? A fake maximum speed that will never be achieved because you throttle traffic during peak hours and your fiber optic network is to-the-node and not to-the-door so I'm still bottlenecked by copper wire?

Umm... er... Yes?

I'm not interested. If I find myself interested, I'll call Bell.

I'll make a note... thank you for your time.

No problem, bye.

I can't wait to see if that number is on my phone when I get home.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Poached Pears

It's been a while since I've done a food post here. No time like the present!

I hit the market on Saturday and perhaps overbought.

Eat BEFORE Shopping

I live alone.

So I have all these sugar pears to do something with. Dinner was mostly raw veggies in salad-form (also getting rid of some of the pile). So I decided on poached pears for dessert.

Using these:


That would be the pears (I ended up using 4), a vanilla bean, candied ginger, cloves, allspice, a dried lemon, and cinnamon. All of this would go into the syrup of water (1L), sugar (1/2 cup), maple syrup (1/2 cup), and blueberry honey (2 tbsp).

I warmed the syrup up to dissolve all the sugar. While this was happening, I quickly peeled the pears and halved/quartered and cored them. Then I put the pears and other ingredients seen above in the syrup, over medium heat.

I cut out a circle of parchment paper, with a hole in the middle, and put it on top of the pears to keep them submerged.

I kept the syrup at a low boil and about 20 minutes later, the pears were cooked.


Then I dropped some dried cranberries into the still hot syrup and let them plump up as the pears and syrup cooled.

After cooling, the pears were removed and the syrup strained to remove all the other stuff.

I put the syrup back on the stove on medium-high and boiled it down to about half the starting amount.

Then I got impatient and put the syrup in an ice bath to cool it quickly.

I scooped out some homemade caramel ice cream I have, put a few pears and cranberries on it, and drizzled the syrup on top.

Poached Pears on Caramel Ice Cream

Yah, that ice cream melts fast, and I wanted to eat it.

It was delicious.

And I have leftovers.