Doug Rutherford

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Catching up

I haven’t been very prolific here for a while. Seems that, when camping season ended, my spare time followed.

That being said, I started my last teaching year in September. I was going to retire last May, but the program is probably being either temporarily suspended or phased out in total and I said I’d stay and teach out the last students in the program. This semester is rapidly coming to an end, and my last work day is May 18th. It’s timed perfectly. It will be camping season, so I get to take the May long weekend and make it quite long. Also, it’s graduation, so my last official act at work is to go to convocation.

I did make plans based on retiring last May. I auditioned for a part in a new touring musical called Stonecliff, based on the life of Michael Heaney, who was one of the builders of the White Pass and Yukon Route Railway. This was named one of the engineering wonders of the world. Suffice to say, doing this while still working took some flexibility… and lack of sleep.

I’ve been busy dealing with the last play I started, based on Paul Joseph Chartier, the man who tried to throw a bomb onto the floor of the House of Commons in May 1966. As you may guess, his attempt was unsuccessful. All he really accomplished was blowing up the third floor men’s room in Centre Block of the House. And, himself.

I’m waffling between having two separate blog pages. There is a second one started, although I may just keep the one. I have moved the material I place there on this page as well. This has some information on the plays I’ve been working on and some excerpts from them. This is, of course, a work in progress. I’ll decide shortly if I intend to keep the second.

And, that’s the Cole’s Notes version of what’s happened since September…


We have a new addition

I realise it’s been a while since I posted, but numerous things were going on and numerous irons are in the fire. I am in a touring company for a play in Alaska this fall, a multitude of around the house projects finished, and I have finally set a retirement date at the college. There has certainly been enough going on to justify posting; however, getting around to it has been an issue.

However, there is a good reason to put up a new blog post. We had a new addition to the family. A bit over a week ago, we got a new kitten.


We named her Belle, short for Sprinkle Belle. The previous owners named her Sprinkle, so we kept the first name and shortened it to Belle at their request. The name needs changing since, after her first visit to the vet today for the traditional shots and de-worming, two vets have declared that Belle is actually a Bill. We still haven’t confirmed a new name.

For what it’s worth, we were told he was a she and I never bothered to look. It does seem a bit personal, after all.

He is adjusting to the house, although he seemed to accept things much more easily than the other cats. Eventually, Furball has succumbed to his charms and thinks the kitten is pretty great.

furball kitten

Darcy, however, is a bit more reticent, although she is showing occasional signs of warming to the little fluff ball.

He is rather active, chases his siblings constantly, and other than being another sex than we were expecting, is otherwise perfectly normal and healthy. And, he possesses the amazing talent that most kittens have: the ability to go from pure terrorism to angelic in under 30 seconds flat…



Cat speak

Animal behaviourists has determined that, while a cat meow is a quite common thing, it’s not used by cats to communicate among themselves. Meowing is used by adult cats for communicating with people.

After a year and a half, I’ve found that Darcy and Furball both use distinctive meows for certain situations.

For example, Darcy goes “meow-wow” when she wants something not food-related. Usually, it means turn on the tap so I can drink from it or play with the drips. Another common one is a “mrrrrow?” with a very obvious question mark on the end. You often hear this one at about 3 AM and it seems to mean “Are you awake because I need a cuddle and if you aren’t, I’ll head butt you until you are.”

Furball has his own unique meows, too. A short meow apparently means “I want treats.” A longer, drawn out one that follows ignoring the former is, I suspect, “I’m dying of treat deprivation.” He also has a short meow with a question mark on the end that also means, “I want to play with the water from the sink.” And, if I go to bed before he does and the downstairs lights are off, you’ll hear this long drawn out mournful wail. “You left me all alone!!” Calling him is instantly followed by the sound of feet running up the stairs and the thump of him jumping on the bed.

There are few non-verbal ones, too. Darcy will lay on her back and using her claws, pull herself on the floor around the bed. I’ve come to learn that this means, “I want you to play fight with me.” (She’s a scrapper, to say the least, as her long suffering brother has learned. Being about 3 pounds heavier and about 10 inches longer hasn’t helped him in the least.)

She’ll also climb up on your chest with her front paws on your shoulder. This definitely means, “I’m standing here so you can rub my belly.”

Furball’s most distinctive non-verbal clue is what my sister-in-law, Dianne, refers to as the “drive by.” If you head to the kitchen, he’ll run in front of the cupboard where the aforementioned treats are stored and just fall over on his back.  Treat deprivation is a terrible thing to live with.

The other thing to understand about meowing, by the way, is that different cats have different meows with different meanings. There’s really no cat-human language. Nope. No cat speak.

The main takeaway from this is that it is true that cats really do have servants.. And, in the case of my cats, one that seems to have been easy to train…

A win for me

While it took a lot of frustration, and probably cost more in terms of what I’m paid per hour than the cost of the computer, Dell has accepted the laptop for refund. I sent it back yesterday.

It was perfect timing to get the email on their decision, since I got it when I got home and my first after dinner plan was to put together a charge complaint to the Competition Bureau for failure to live up to a promised warranty. This probably would have resulted in more time, but sometimes I might see principle as being more important than other things.

So, that’s over with a happy ending…

The end addendum

I just received a phone call from Dell that, since I live in a “remote area,” they cannot provide the next day warranty service that came with my new computer. They tell me that they are willing to repair my computer. I refused, brusquely, but not impolitely.

I posted the following in the Dell community forum this morning:

After more than a month of trying to get warranty service, I surrender. This morning, I purchased a new laptop computer. I can no longer wait for service. I teach for three colleges online and functioning without one has been a nightmare.

And, no, it was certainly not a Dell.

Your warranty and service support is non-existent. Your “techs” and social media are useless. How you can function as a business, selling products for which you can’t even provide the warranty you sold me, is unconscionable.

I suspect that you will not refund my purchase, and that is just a further indication of what a fly-by-night organization you run.

I doubt that I will get anything more out of this. But, I also doubt I will ever buy one of their products again…

The end

I suspect I have decided to do what Dell has been trying to get me to do all along. Give up. And, I have.

I need a computer to function, and it’s been more than a month of waiting to have my new one fixed. I can’t wait any longer. Last week I ordered a new computer and picked it up this morning.


Therefore, I surrender. Sort of. Now comes the unmitigated pleasure of trying to get a refund, but, that’s bound to be a completely different, and equally frustrating, story in itself…

Full circle

So, yesterday I received the following email from Dell:

Hi Doug,

From the Tag information I see the system has an In Home service warranty. We will go ahead and send out an engineer with the parts.
The service call is booked under the reference number : 321808235.
Kindly note that the Onsite technician will contact you to schedule the appointment once he receives the parts. Please go ahead and have the appointment scheduled accordingly.
Note : The Service is subject to parts availability and the working hours of Onsite technician are from 9am-6pm Mon-Friday.

Farooq Ahmed
Social Media and Community Professional

This is rather easy to say, since the person saying this is in another country and probably has no idea of where Whitehorse is, to say the least of knowing whether or not they actually have someone here to service the computer. This is the third or fourth time I’ve been told I get onsite service.I responded with:

Interesting, since I don’t think you have an authorized technician here and haven’t for about 10 years.

This morning, I get this:

Hi Farooq,

As our customer, Doug Rutherford, stated previously (please review his original Dell Community Forum post below), there has not been a Dell technician in his area for the last 10 years. Unless you have a definitive contact that can service Doug’s system, please arrange for his system to be returned for the Repair Depot and please schedule a box to be sent for his convenience.


Lorna McNamara
Customer Support Specialist
Dell | Social Media Support
USA Customer Care Board<>

I get two things from this email. First, they obviously can call for onsite service without actually knowing whether or not there is someone onsite. How do you do that without having a specific contractor to choose from? Two, someone else is “sending me a box.”

We’re now in a loop, and this is the fourth or fifth person to say “we’re sending a box.” Just like they did the first time, on the morning of September 9th…