One week left to make a child's dream come true

Mustaches for Kids - Week 4I’m one week away from the end of my moustache growing for Mustaches for Kids. Through Mustaches for Kids, men across North America to help raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation, which grants the wish of a child with a terminal illness.

That’s me on the right. Looking like an old, decrepit, suspicious character. But it will all be worthwhile if you and others like you contribute to help a child’s wish come true.

Please help. Click on the donate button on the Mustaches for Kids home page to make a child’s wish come true. And remember, I’ll match every dollar up to $1,000 contributed by readers of my blog. So, when you make your contribution, please email me at joseph.thornley [at] gmail [dot] com to let me know that you’ve contributed.

Moustaches for Kids Week 1 – Make a child's wish come true

Mustaches for Kids Week 1

Mustaches for Kids Week 1

I’m one week into this year’s Mustaches for Kids campaign to raise money for the Make a Wish Foundation. And as you can see from the head shot on this post, the people who live and work with me are having to put up with the dirty lip phase of moustache growing. As my daughter said, “Eeeewwww.”

So, there has to be a reason to subject myself to the laughter that people emit when they look at my stubbly lip. And there is. Helping to make an ill child’s wish come true.

Read about what a wish come true meant to Rachel or what it meant to Jesse, and I’m sure that you too will understand why I am doing this.

So, help me out. Please click on the donate button on the Mustaches for Kids home page to make a child’s wish come true. And remember, I’ll match every dollar up to $1,000 contributed by readers of my blog. So, when you make your contribution, please email me at joseph.thornley [at] gmail [dot] com to let me know that you’ve contributed.

John Wiseman, Dave Fleet, Parker Mason and Francis Wooby all made donations following last week’s post. Thank you John, Dave, Parker and Francis for helping to make a child’s wish come true.

If you’ve read this far in this post and you want to make a terminally ill child’s wish come true, please contribute.

Double your money for a good cause – and watch me grow a 'stash

Make a child’s wish come true

Over the next five weeks, you’ll have a chance to see me grow (or attempt to) a radiant, bushy, geeky moustache. Yep, I’m going hirsute.

I’m growing my ‘stash as part of the Ottawa Mustaches for Kids campaign that some of the fine fellows in my community have organized.

Clean Shave Day

Clean shaven - one last time

Between now and December 5, my fellow mustache-growers will go razorless (at least on our upper lips). And as we do this, we’ll raise money from family, friends and even strangers on the street for a most worthshile cause – the Make-a-Wish Foundation.

Make-a-Wish grants wishes to create hope and happiness for children with life-threatening illnesses around the world. It has granted more than 210,000 wishes since it was founded.

Mustaches for Kids was first organized in 1999 in Los Angeles. Since then, it has spread to cities throughout North America. Participants have raised over $150,000 for worthwhile causes like Make-a-Wish through the annual mustache-growing campaign.

Last year, our local Mustaches for Kids campaign granted wishes for Victoria, Jakob and Michael. I don’t think I need to say more. This is worth doing.

Every dollar you contribute will turn into 2 dollars

This year, I will match every contribution that is pledged through me up to $1,000.

If you’d like to pledge a contribution of $25 or more, simply contribute directly on the Mustaches for Kids site and email me at joseph.thornley[a-t]gmail[d.o.t.]com. I’ll match your contribution.

So, please consider making a contribution to help a child’s wish come true. I know you’ll feel good that you did.

I just want to celebrate

Today is an important anniversary for me.

Eight years ago today I had surgery for prostate cancer. And eight years later I’m still here to write about it. That’s something to celebrate.

My cancer was detected early through a blood test for PSA – prostate specific antigens. A simple test that my doctor included as part of my annual physical routine. And because he did that, he saved my life. My cancer was detected early enough that surgery could remove it before it spread.

So, I’ve had eight more years. Eight summers. Eight winters – lots of snow (I’m Canadian, so I see lots of snow.) Time with my wife and family. Time with friends. Time to discover and become fascinated by social media. Time. Lots of time.

Today is an important anniversary for me. A day to celebrate.

One man in six will get prostate cancer during his life time.

If you’re a man who’s made it this far in this post, make sure that your Doctor includes the PSA test in your annual physical routine. Early detection could save your life. And then you too will just want to celebrate.

Dell and Me

100 computers later

I’ve just received my 100th Dell computer. That’s 100 Dell computers that I’ve ordered for Thornley Fallis and 76design since 1997.

And what a difference there is between the first computer I ordered and the most recent one.

Dell's Website in 1996The first Dell that I ordered on April 1, 1997 was a Dimension XPS Pro 200n. It had a 200 MHz Pentium Pro processor, a 4.3GB hard drive, a 15″ CRT monitor and cost $5,525.

I thought it was blazing fast.

The most recent Dell I received is a Precision T5400 workstation. It’s powered by two 3GHz Xeon processors, has twin 750GB hard drives configured in RAID 0, a 30″ LCD monitor and cost $5,249.

A lot more machine for the same money.

Why Dell?

100 computers ordered from the same supplier over 11 years. Why have I been so loyal to Dell?

Dell wasn’t the first computer I purchased when I set up Thornley Fallis. In fact, I bought another brand name notebook computer from my local CompuSmart computer superstore. And it was a nice machine – until it stopped working. That was the point at which I found myself lined up at the door of CompuSmart at opening time on a Friday morning in the hope that the repair department could fix my machine in time for me to deliver on an end of day commitment to a client. I sat in the service department for virtually the entire day until the tech told me that he was going off shift and I would have to return on Saturday.

No computer. Disappointed client. Big lesson about the importance of service.

So, I ordered my next computer from Dell. Not only was I able to configure the computer to meet my exact needs, but it also came with 24 hours 7 days a week telephone support. Support from trained support people who would stay on the phone with me until I fixed the problem. And if new hardware was required, next day onsite replacement.

At 2AM in the morning, it really matters that someone will answer the phone and fix your problem.

I was hooked. You might say that Dell had me the second the service tech said, “Hello.”

Dell be true to me. I’ll be true to Dell.

Now, I won’t pretend that the relationship has been without bumps. There are times when I really wish that Dell would ensure that all the device drivers on its machines would work well with Vista. (Darn you, Embassy Security Suite.) And over the years, telephone support has not always been a perfect experience. (In fact, I’ve noticed some backsliding in the Dell’s push to improve its telephone support since it cut some of its North American operations.) (Disclosure: Thornley Fallis provided PR support to Dell’s Ottawa call centre until it was closed.) And sometimes, hardware breaks. (nVidia video chips anyone?)

But overall, the bumps have been exceptions in our relationship. Dell has delivered a good experience with machines that met my needs and support that keeps us running. And as long as Dell continues to deliver this, I’ll stick with Dell.

So, thanks Dell.

Now, I wonder what the 200th machine will look like…

Heading home to Canada

Gargoyles and detail of north side of Notre DameParis has been unbelievably beautiful. Five days of glorious weather. Didn’t get hit by any cars. (How do they manage to drive that way?!?) Tired, tired feet. Many happy memories.

But, vacation’s over. I’m starting the trek home to Canada. Should be there sometime tonight.

See you on the other side.

19 years later…

Near the Louvre, before the arch commemorating AusterlitzI’m writing this in Paris, France.

19 years ago, my wife and I looked at one another as we sat in a cafe in London and said, “Well, with us starting a family, we may skip a year in our annual European vacations.”

That was 1989. Nineteen years later, we’re taking our next trip. And in the meantime, we’ve had three great children, who are growing up to be wonderful people.

Would I change a single decision we made in the past 19 years? None that I can think of.

Kids. They’re the gift that just keeps taking – and giving.

No answer at the Canadian Do Not Call Registry

Today is the first day of the new Canadian Do Not Call list. Our chance to get back at the obnoxious, persistent, call-at-any-time telemarketers by signalling that they do NOT have our permission to call us ever again.

Obviously, I’m not the only person trying to register on the Do Not Call list. On several successive attempts, I was greeted with this message.

No answer at the Do Not call registry

Clearly, the registry’s operators underestimated just how many of us really, really want to stop being interrupted by telemarketers.

But, if like me, you want to reduce the number of unwanted interruptions on your residential or cellular telephone line, you can try your luck to register online with the national Do Not Call list. Hopefully, by the time you try, you’ll be able to get through.

Oh. Of course, the registry does offer the old fashioned way to register by calling 1-866-580-DNCL (1-866-580-3625) or 1-888-DNCL-TTY (1-888-362-5889). But when I called, I received only a busy signal.

Oh well. I guess the Do Not Call registry doesn’t really want us to call after all.


Hurrah. Success. Finally, on day 2 of the registry, I was able to register my home and cell numbers on the Do Not Call list. Now, telemarketers have until November 1 to remove me from the list. I’m looking forward to the sound of silence.

Terry Fallis' "Best Laid Plans" ships to bookstores

Terry Fallis tells us that the McClelland and Stewart edition of his Leacock Award-winning novel, The Best Laid Plans, has now shipped to bookstores.

The Best Laid PlansI read Best Laid Plans in the original self-published edition. Here’s what I had to say about it on the Chapters site:

I read Terry Fallis’ Best Laid Plans in the original self-published edition. And it left me with a smile at every sitting, from beginning to end.

Terry’s protagonist is the noble idealist that we all wish actually would populate the halls of power. Come to think of it, as a long time friend of Terry, there was a lot of Terry in his hero. Terry for PM?

Terry has written about something he knows well. As a one time political aide, he writes about the political machinations with an insiders eye. And he brings out the humour and fun for us all to share.

The only problem with the book? It ended. So, time for Terry to write a sequel. Maybe our hero should find himself in the Canadian Embassy in Washington as a representtive of the newly elected government?

The Best Laid Plans. A great, entertaining read.

The Best Laid Plans was a thoroughly entertaining, laugh out loud read. And thanks to McClelland and Stewart publishing it, you can share in that fun. Order your copy from Chapters or Amazon.

Other posts about Terry Fallis’ journey into Canadian publishing fame

Terry Fallis won the Leacock Medal!

Terry Fallis talks about what it meant to be shortlisted for the Leacock Medal

The Best Laid Plans joins some impressive company

Google Chrome Day Officially Declared

Google ChromeNetwork television may have to counter program against blockbusters like the Olympics, the election of a U.S. President or the Super Bowl.

But blogs are not like network television. There’s no need to fill a complete schedule. So I’m not even going to try to compete with the wave of coverage of Google Chrome that’s coming across the blogs I read.

I’ll be back tomorrow with some more posts about the first round of Third Tuesday social media meetups for this autumn plus my views on other lower profile, but equally deserving social apps like BackType.  But in the face of all the attention that’s being focused on Chrome, why waste good topics by posting today?

I concede. It’s officially Google Chrome Day.