Archive for October 2004

Public Service Announcement

Ahem. The word is dep-re-ca-ted, people, NOT de-pre-ci-a-ted. Legacy code and features do not lose value over time that you can write off on your tax return!

OK, I’m done.

A conversation between Bob Dole and Bill Clinton

Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.

Kang & Kodos

Kang: The rumours are true, Kodos. Earthling females will allow placement of our genitalia in their various orifices. This fact will permit us to smugly display them like trophies in front of our Rigellian buddies, all of whom will no doubt be monstrously jealous.

And unlike those damned wenches back on Rigel IV, the Earthling females will require nothing substantial in return to maintain this clearly symbiotic relationship. If they do, we can just display our genitalia again! Gee, I sure hope that doesn’t lead to the ominous “heartbreak” thing he talks about. No matter, let us head to the Earth Capital, post-haste!

Kodos: I’m your sister, you freak.

At the Zoo

Bonnie’s little cousin from Hong Kong is here for school, so a couple weekends ago we took her to the Toronto Zoo. Funny things overheard while sitting outside the Africa Restaurant enjoying some ice cream:

  • A toddler girl slowly chasing after some seagulls, seagulls scurrying away as quickly as they can. Mother of the girl follows a few steps behind and says, “Don’t do that sweetie. How would you like it if a giant bird chased you around?” I’d pay to see that.
  • A boy maybe around 10 years old tries to feed cheese Doritos to a peacock. The peacock has had most of its tail feathers plucked, probably by boys just like this one, so it’s understandably cautious. The boy is successful feeding a couple of nachos and the peacock scurries away. There’s another peacock maybe 50 metres away, and a family is staring at it. The boy spots them then starts running with his bag of Doritos and yelling, “Yo, yo! Hey! I’m coming, don’t scare it away!
  • A large group of orthodox Jews[1] is walking by on the main road beside the food area. One of the fathers is pushing a stroller with his child in it. He looks over and sees the Harvey’s, which excites him enough to leave the stroller on a downward incline and scurry away as fast as he can into the building. Meanwhile, the stroller is slowly rolling down the hill toward some other family walking in the opposite direction. The mother of the child in the stroller is busy talking to another woman, but sees what’s happening just in time to run forward and stop the runaway stroller. The father walks out of the Harvey’s maybe 5 minutes later carrying two cups of coffee and looking all smug with himself. The mother doesn’t say anything to him, so I assume this wasn’t the first time. I swear, Darwin should have killed this guy and his child long ago.

[1] I assume they were orthodox Jews, all the males were wearing the black dress pants, white dress shirt, and black “Jew Beanie” uniform.

TD Waterhouse

I don’t usually complain about stuff like this because I realize that there are very few people who are truly on the ball when it comes to their jobs, and the chances of finding them in a front-line support/retail position are slim to none. So when I phone up a company and ask for something, I’m not surprised if it isn’t done right, and I don’t complain if I have to phone again to get it fixed.

But damn, this one really takes the cake.

Around mid-August, on prompting from my dad I started the conversion of my TD Waterhouse cash accounts to margin accounts. Sounded simple enough, they’d probably just have to twiddle a bit or two on their side and I’d be good to go. Haha, right.

First an explanation of TDW’s account numbering. Account numbers are six digits long, the letter after them denotes the account type: A=Canadian Cash, B=US Cash, E=Canadian Margin, F=US Margin.

  1. I began this adventure with two accounts: 123123A, 123123B
  2. Phoned them up asking to change the accounts from A/B to E/F. The guy says I have to go into a TD branch to fill out and sign some forms.
  3. I do that the next day, but the forms are actually electronic and on TD’s intranet. They’re identical to the new account application here, save for a single question at the beginning asking for my current account number. Being suspicious, I explicitly confirm with the rep that these forms are for an account change, not a new account. She assures me this is the case, and photocopies my driver’s license to go in with the application (more on this later).
  4. The following week I get a package in the mail. “Thank you for opening a margin account with TD Waterhouse. Your new account numbers are 456456E/F.
  5. I phone them up and exclaim “WTF?” The guy tells me it isn’t possible to change the status of an existing account, they can only create new ones. Fine, so I ask them to transfer all assets from 123123A/B to 456456E/F, and close 123123A/B.
  6. A couple days later I log into the website and see six accounts: 123123A/B/E/F and 456456E/F. Again I exclaim, “WTF? Lying bastard, they can change existing accounts just fine!” They’ve transferred my assets by this point, but all accounts are still open. So I take the opportunity to phone them up and ask that they transfer from 456456E/F to 123123E/F, then close 123123A/B and 456456E/F.
  7. The next day I receive a letter saying that I must send in a photocopy of my driver’s license for account 456456E/F or risk paying higher commissions. Gee, what went in with the application in step 3?
  8. Within a couple days everything looks good and I’m happy.
  9. The following week, all of a sudden everything is transferred back to 456456E/F, and all accounts are closed except for 123123E. Yes, you read that right, it completely blew my mind too.
  10. Everything is fixed within a week and I’m happy again.
  11. Later, I try to place an online trade and it says, We cannot accept an order for account 123123F at this time. The person on the phone tells me, “Oh, it’s because 123123F is about to be closed, so it doesn’t allow trades. At this point it’s been about 6 weeks since step one, so I give up and switch brokerage houses. Kidding, but it’s been a real test of patience.

There’s an old adage that says you should never attribute something to malice if it can be more easily explained by ignorance, incompetence, or just plain stupidity. Sounds applicable, but in this case I really have to wonder.