I'm a consumer. I like to buy stuff. Sometimes, I consume more than I need (okay, I do that a lot). As a consumer, I'm more excited about getting treated well as a customer, than I am on getting that "killer deal".

I ordered three items today from two different merchants, neither of which I had done business with previously. My dad's 79th birthday is Saturday, and a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he has been searching for a while for a long-sleeved guayabera shirt. My dad has been a fan of the guayabera since he first visited the Philippines, and saw them worn at formal events. I gotta say, I'm a big fan of being able to dress comfortably and formally; that's seldom possible in Western culture. So when he mentioned this, I pulled out my laptop, did a google search for "long sleeve guayabera" and immediately found a long-sleeved, linen, guayabera at CubanFoodMarket.com. He was of course very upset that it took me so little time to find it, but then conceded that I do, in fact, have mad google-fu skillz (my words, not his). I placed an order this morning around 0700 EDT for that, and a sweet "leisure" shirt for myself.

You're thinking... slacker! This isn't interesting! When are you going to tell us about the good customer service?! Don't worry, I'm getting to that.

I then realized that I was going to need a good hat for the summer. I have plenty of hats, as my wife will attest to. I may possibly have too many hats, but I don't really think such a thing is possible.

I've always liked flatcaps but there is always the problem of how to search for them, since they go by 30 different names. This took my google-fu to the limit, but I finally found the Cavanaugh/Stetson Plaid Linen Ivy Cap that both my wife and I agreed was a good one. So I placed an order for that.

When I checked my email after lunch, I had received one from Falkoffs.com, from the VP of Internet Sales, no less (I know, it sounds lame, but an actual human wrote to inform me that my order was on it's way, and gave me the tracking number)

Hi Lehi,
Thank you for your order. Your Cavanaugh Cap will ship today via FedEx. Your tracking number is xxxxxxxxxxxx. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me via email or phone 800-xxx-xxxx. We appreciate your business and hope to serve you in the future.
Thank you,
Xxxx Xxxx V.P. Internet Sales

How often do you get an email like that when you order online? So that brightened me up a bit. Then, since I'm a slacker, and waited too long to order my Dad's birthday present (his birthday is Saturday), I had the guayabera and leisure shirt shipped overnight. I sent an email to cubanfoodmarket.com asking if it would ship today, and within 30 minutes got a phone call from Maria letting me know that my shirt out of the order was out of stock in my size. She cheerfully offered another shirt to me (which I think will be a great party shirt) and said the Dad's shirt will ship today and be here tomorrow, my shirt will ship tomorrow (I opted for ground shipping on that, and she threw that in for free) and I'm apparently getting a little something else with my shirt that she assures me I'll like.

THAT is what I'm talking about. The first thing I did after talking to Maria was to tell a co-worker what happened. He's the VP of Sales for my company, and his first comment was, "That's what will make you come back. They treated you right, and the first thing you did was tell someone about it." And now I'm telling the Internet.

Bravo to CubanFoodMarket.com and Falkoffs.com for reinforcing my faith in online retailers!

I think I tried to hard on that subject line.

Anyone who uses twitter knows that they've had technical difficulties lately. This is fine with me, since I don't pay for the service, and I can't even begin to fathom how large their database infrastructure must be to handle the traffic they handle. Anyway, the XMPP/IM service into twitter has been down for a few days, and that was my primary way of using twitter, since I can't keep up on my phone, and don't have the patience for reloading the webpage constantly.

@zen_jewitch recommended that I try twhirl. Officially, Adobe AIR, doesn't have Linux support, but they DO have an alpha release, and it seems to work just fine.

The AIR installation went smoothly on both Fedora 5 and Fedora 8. The thwirl installation was even easier, since AIR handled it, and it also put everything neatly into /opt, which pleases me.

So, what do I think of twhirl? I like it. It's not taking up too many cycles on my old hardware (2x 800Mhz Coppermines on my Fedora 5 workstation), and it's pretty handy as far as organizing twitter information goes. The only g-glitch that I've noticed, is that it picks up my keyboard shortcuts I use to switch from desktop-to-desktop in Gnome. I use C-M-left and C-M-right a lot to get around, and C-left and C-right affect which pane is active in thwirl. If there's a way to disable or configure this, I'd love to know it. ;-)

I have nothing really bad to say about it. I do miss my XMPP connectivity, though.

M Doughty on the iPod, über coffee, Lucky Strike, and the office.

Ned Devine/Ned Kelly's

I really need to try harder on my post titles, but right now, I'm not too concerned with it. My capitalization may also be fscked today.

I woke up this morning and was more tired than usual, and then halfway through my commute into work when the headache started. It started off without any pain, which is usually the case, and sometimes I can roll through without it really "hurting" just with the blurred vision. Once I got to work, though... Now I consider it to be MUCH too bright at my desk, and the thought of doing anything with a database today is not helping.

I've got some nice, mellow, ambient music on the headphones. I'm going to plug it. Right now I'm listening to Jesse Stern's "Nine Lives of a Healer" and while googling for the album, I found that there's a Meditation Podcast as well, which I'm going to add to my podcatcher momentarily.

Next in the queue is "Audio Stereo Grams" by Jeff Goins, another very mellow ambient disc. I originally bought them for gaming music, to play in the background, which they work wonderfully for, but they are also working out well as migraine music.

As for the needs company bit, I'm having lunch with my niece today. I'm not skipping it, since I need to get out of the office, I think.

Normally, my inherently slack nature allows me to ignore a lot of my problems. I can usually let just about anything roll right off. Lately, however, I've been unable to find the silver linings.

I have totaled cars before and been able to find the bright side of it. When my Corolla got wrecked (the nicest and newest vehicle I have ever owned) I was able to say, "Well, at least I don't have to worry about those paint chips that were starting to rust on the hood!"

Now, I just spent $1,000 dollars to make my dog better. That's $1K I don't have. Don't get me wrong. I love the dog, and I want him to be well, to play with and protect the kids, but that's a drain on the finances that's really giving me grief. Even though I'm glad to spend it, it's hard to NOT have my ulcer act up as a result.

It's a beautiful day out. A perfect one to mow the lawn. I'm more than likely not going to mow. I really don't care what my lawn looks like. I don't feel the need to impress anyone with it. If I could, I would have a yard completely covered in crushed stone, or ivy, or trees.

It is a beautiful day, and I want to spend it inside watching baseball. If I won the lottery, I would probably get a 50" TV outside, eradicate all of the bugs, and watch baseball in my gravel paved backyard from a hammock. That prospect gets more unlikely all the time.

It is a beautiful day, and my parents have the kids, and will return them this afternoon. I expect the only thing of use I will get done today is taking the trash to the dump, and grocery shopping. That's really not accomplishing much, or enjoyable.

It is a beautiful day, at 70 degrees out, the sun is shining, the pollen count seems to have dipped, and the bugs aren't as bad as usual. I feel incapable of enjoying it, with the weight of adult responsibility on my shoulders.

It is a beautiful day. I want to enjoy it, but I also want to waste it. Where did the silver linings go? Can I just not see them any more? Have they ceased to exist?

(Note: I really am not this emo, at least not openly. Maybe writing for the theorhetical world to see will help. This was punched out on my phone, on my back porch, on a beautiful day.)

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