Keydet Piper I'm thinking bagpipes

Monthly Archives: April 2008

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Piper of the Day

If you check the results of my most recent competition, you’ll see I had a first place and a second place. This was good enough to earn Piper of the Day for grade 2, and I got a very nifty trophy. I’ll upload a picture of the trophy once I get it off my camera (didn’t bring the cable with me), but in the meantime check out the videos of my competition. Needless to say, I’m very pleased and the trip down was well worth it.

**Update 4/26/08** Photo added

March, Strathspey, Reel: Major Manson at Clachantrushal, Arniston Castle, Lexy McAskill

Piobaireachd: The MacFarlane’s Gathering

Competition Journal 2008 #2

The results from my solo piping competitions.

Loch Norman Highland Games, Huntersville, NC, April 19 2008

Event: MSR
Judge: Doug Ross
2/4 marches submitted: Major Manson at Clachantrushal, The Clan MacColl
Tunes played: Major Manson at Clachantrushal, Arniston Castle, Lexy MacAskill
Result: 2nd

Event: Piobaireachd
Judge: June Hanley
Tunes submitted: The Massacre of Glencoe, The MacFarlane’s Gathering
Tune played:
The MacFarlane’s Gathering
Result: 1st


A landmark day of the year. Today was the first day this spring I played outside! It was a gorgeous spring day, clear and sunny, no wind, and enough grass for me to walk around on. The pipes were sounding ok, not great but I hadn’t played them for a few days so I shouldn’t complain too much. It makes it feel like spring is really here!


Here’s a useless fact I learned on the History Channel. The ancient Romans were big fans of bathing and built huge and wonderful bath houses. They stole that from the Greeks, incidentally, just like their mythology. Anywho, after the fall of Rome bathing fell somewhat out of favor until the 18th century or so (talk about a smelly few centuries) when it experienced somewhat of a return in popularity. The main tool of this new fad, i.e., the bathtub, was brought to the U.S. by Benjamin Franklin upon his return from… **drumroll please**… France.

I feel so dumb

This is a companion post to the previous post about the cell phone. That post includes a picture of the apparently fried SIM card from my phone. I showed the SIM card to Chris at breakfast this morning and he said “It’s a picture of a person. The brown part is hair, the tan part below it is a forehead, the white part on the other side is the sleeve of someone next to that person.” I looked at it differently and said “Yeah, I guess it kinda does look like that.” Turn your head to the right while looking at the picture, it’s easier to see.

Went to Radio Shack to see what I could find out. They tried a new SIM card, which was attached to a card about the size of my driver’s license. Printed on that card, sure enough, was a picture of two people, one seated with brown hair. When punched out of the card, the SIM looked just like mine. So no char marks, no smudge, just hair.

And it sounds like the problem isn’t with the SIM card, it’s with the phone. Still under warranty (by about three weeks) so the manufacturer should fix it for free.

New faith in customer service

Customer service is one of those things that can really make or break my relationship with a company. Good customer service keeps me coming back, bad customer service keeps me from coming back. It’s all about the attitude of both the company and its employees: if the company has a good system and views the customer service section of its budget as an investment instead of a required expense, it’s likely to be a pleasant experience overall. If the employee views his or her job as being to serve the customer instead of a source of a paycheck, it’s going to be a good experience.

This is brought on by a customer service encounter I had today, related to the apparent death of my cell phone.

The first involves Radio Shack, which is where I bought the phone in the first place. I tried to stop over Friday afternoon and found a sign on the door that they were closed in order to move to a new location. Figures, the one time in my life where I really HAVE to go to Radio Shack (at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon, no less) is the one day of the store’s lifetime that it’s moving. The sign said they should be open Saturday in the new location (another strip in the same town), so I drive over on Saturday. There’s a sign on the new store saying they won’t be open until Monday; argh. There are people in the store unpacking boxes, so I knock on the door to ask if there’s another Unicel dealer in town. I wasn’t trying to get them to help me, just to send me somewhere that could help me.

Here’s the good customer service part: the response was “No, there’s not another store in town. What’s wrong with your phone?” When I explained the problem (I assume it was to the manager), he called one of his other employees (the one who knows cell phones) over and said “See what you can do for this gentleman.” Aside from the fact that I am hardly a gentleman, and even though the store was closed, they did the best they could, which included calling the old store to find out where the SIM cards were, digging through a box to find a different SIM card to try, and determining that the problem was with the phone and not the SIM card. They said “Unfortunately we can’t send it out now; our computers aren’t up yet so we can’t put in a service request and since we’re not open FedEx won’t be by until probably Tuesday.” With the store a mess and not even open, they did what they could. I was happy; I’ll go back to Radio Shack in the future because of it.

Still no working phone, but a renewed faith in the customer service of a national chain.


I’m dogsitting right now for a friend who went down to Boston to visit her daughter. Marg (the friend) asked if I’d watch Ruth (the dog) until she got back on Saturday, and since I like doggies I’m happy to do it.

I’m sitting in an armchair in the living room at the moment, and I found myself wondering why it is that I keep talking to the dog. I mean it’s obvious why most people talk to dogs, but Ruthie is entirely deaf. She didn’t hear me come in this afternoon and jumped when I walked past her sleeping on the floor. No matter much I say “Hi Ruthie” or “Good girl” or anything like that I know she won’t hear me, but I keep talking anyway. Might as well be talking to the wall.

Or not, since the dog has a great deal more personality than the wall, and even though she can’t hear me I still get more response than I would from the wall. Not that walls aren’t nice, but they’re usually rather wallish and not terribly friendly.

I feel so helpless

My cell phone apparently died tonight. I was in the middle of a conversation with a nice girl, and it just stopped working and said “Insert SIM card.” The SIM card is a little removable piece of plastic that holds information about the phone, including the phone number. If you switch phones, just pop the SIM card into the new phone and it takes you contacts and phone number with it; minimizes the amount of switching. If you travel internationally, buying a SIM card specific to the region will allow you to use your phone there without buying a new one.

I’m hardly a SIM card expert, but mine doesn’t look right. See the picture; seems like it should have that black smudge. Kind of bothers me that it was in the middle of a conversation, the card and phone are both less than a year old, and in 2008 who can survive more than a few hours without having the cell phone handy? I don’t know what I’ll do until I can stop by Radio Shack to see what they have to say.

Followup for this picture here.

The final answer

“Being able to lose weight without the hard work was great.”

This is from a commercial on right now for one of those weight loss supplements. The only ingredient of a diet that has ever proven effective is sweat.

Nuff said.

Is it just me…

…or is it kind of amusing that a side effect of several ED drugs is impaired vision? I mean they told us as kids that a related action would make us go blind (not to mention the hairy palms). No wonder it’s a side effect!