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The Banff

The Oval

I've done a quick sketch of what it must have been like when the oval was open to let light down from the dome and animated it. Some of it speculation, such as the detail in between the floors and whether the main balustrade posts decended through the floor like they clearly did in the stairwell.


I took these pictures with the intent of lamenting the spiral staircase that was long, long ago removed - but in looking at this I no longer believe there was a spiral staircase in this building, ever. The stairs from the lobby to the second floor had some beautiful woodwork (which was painted over who knows how long ago and then in part irreparably water-damaged in the fire and subsequently replaced with drywall). Because of the woodwork on that first flight of stairs and the lack of evidence of a landing for a staircase in the lobby I had figured the spiral staircase must have ended on the second floor. But now that they have removed all the old carpet on the second floor and the ancient discolouration from the original runners is visible I'm convinced there never was a spiral staircase at all. Certainly there was an oval hole to let light down into the lobby from

Hallowe'en Lights

Weee! Fun! Elaine and I put up our Hallowe'en lights today:

The balcony

Well, the balcony has a surface again. It still needs paint, but at least there isn't a big hole. I watched them work yesterday on my cam.

A small joy at the end of a crappy day

Well, apparently Telus managed to foul up ADSL service to big chunks of greater Vancouver again. At least this time when the service finally came back on I got the right IP address back and didn't have to deal with some minimum wage "I know computer real good. I took MCAD course in homeland before I move to Canada in 1998" call-centre/sweat-shop cubicle-monkey that doesn't even know what DHCP, unlike the last time they fucked over half the city. Good thing, too, because after the other FUBAR's I dealt with today I would have chewed his head off.

As I mentioned, after checking on what I thought was a tripped breaker at lunch I discovered that absolutely nothing had been done with the balcony and let the cats out of the bedroom and returned to work.

When I got back to the office I decided to check my online banking to see if the credit card that I had to get replaced twice after losing my wallet had been connected to my ATM card yet. This is the same account where they failed to change my address not once, but twice. So, per the instructions on the online banking ("If your account has not been added in 24 hours please call ...") I called the support line. They told me that I could not add the account because the middle name on the card did not match the middle name on my primary account (one has René and the other is just the initial R) and "the system" sees that as a difference and rejects the add request. Fine. I can see an automated system failing on something like that. I asked the guy (who, I might add had an FOB accent furthering the call-centre/sweat-shop analogy - our century's crap job for new immigrants) if he could then do it for me. "No," he said. The system would kick out his entry just the same as mine, I would have to get someone at the credit card call centre to change my middle name to match before the system would accept the card.

So I called the credit card call centre and explained my problem. "We can't do that" I was told. I would have to send in proof of my identity to do this. I protested the absurdity of it all, pointing out that I have another credit card, from the same bank attached to the same ATM card with the same middle name on it. I asked when the system was put in place. "Nine months ago," I was told. "Absurd," I responded, since this other card has the same middle name as the one I am trying to add and was added without a problem not more than two weeks ago. "I can't help you," I was told, "You'll have to call the customer service call centre." Exasperated I reiterated that they were the ones who told me to call you. "I can't help you," she maintained. "Fine. Put me through to customer service."

Again, back where I started, but now wholly annoyed and frustrated I explained the problem again to a new customer (dis)service rep. She began to tell me that she couldn't help me. I told her she was wrong, that this must be possible because it was done for the other card. I was then transferred to the magical and all-powerful "supervisor" who heard my exasperated story and, effectively, told me the three people I spoke to earlier must be on glue and proceeded to attach the credit card account in question to my ATM card.

I hate banks. I really, really hate banks.

My work day wraps up uneventfully and I return home. When I open the door I find it odd that the cats aren't there to greet me as they usually are. That's because they are in the middle bedroom - sometime in the afternoon the workmen did finally show up to do the balcony, only they didn't finish it. All they have done is cut away more of the balcony. Behold:


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