Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Customer communication done right

I was pleased as pie to receive the following email from Better World Books:

from: Better World Books
date: Tue, Jul 19, 2011 at 4:30 PM
subject: Your order has been shipped!

Hello Patricia,
(Your book(s) asked to write you a personal note - it seemed unusual, but who are we to say no?)

Holy canasta! It's me... it's me! I can't believe it is actually me! You could have picked any of over 2 million books but you picked me! I've got to get packed! How is the weather where you live? Will I need a dust jacket? I can't believe I'm leaving Mishawaka, Indiana already - the friendly people, the Hummer plant, the Linebacker Lounge - so many memories. I don't have much time to say goodbye to everyone, but it's time to see the world!

I can't wait to meet you! You sound like such a well read person. Although, I have to say, it sure has taken you a while! I don't mean to sound ungrateful, but how would you like to spend five months sandwiched between Jane Eyre (drama queen) and Fundamentals of Thermodynamics (pyromaniac)? At least Jane was an upgrade from that stupid book on brewing beer. How many times did the ol' brewmaster have one too many and topple off our shelf at 2am?

I know the trip to meet you will be long and fraught with peril, but after the close calls I've had, I'm ready for anything (besides, some of my best friends are suspense novels). Just five months ago, I thought I was a goner. My owner was moving and couldn't take me with her. I was sure I was landfill bait until I ended up in a Better World Books book drive bin. Thanks to your socially conscious book shopping, I've found a new home. Even better, your book buying dollars are helping kids read from Brazil to Botswana.

But hey, enough about me, I've been asked to brief you on a few things:
We sent your order to the following address:

Patricia Murphy
(The street I live on)
Lexington, KY 40502

We provide quick shipping service to all our customers. You chose Standard shipping. It should arrive in 6 to 9 business days. Tracking is not available on these shipments. If you have any questions or concerns, please email my friends in Customer Care at If you could please include your order number, that would be very helpful.

Eagerly awaiting our meeting,

Swahili: A complete working course
Swahili for Beginners: A Young Adult Novel
Oxford Picture Dictionary Instructor Desk Copy, Second Edition (Monolingual English)
English, Yes: Beginning
The American Heritage English As a Second Language Dictionary

Looking forward to meeting you too, books. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Time to start running

I was a runner once. People who know this always expect me to be good at running. It isn't the same as learning to whistle or tie your shoes, you can't just go back to 6:45 mile splits after years of laziness. I hadn't even bought new running shoes in the three years prior to last month.

Blah, blah, blah. I want this shirt ($25), but only after I've started running again. I've already promised to start running, because that's how I justified buying the shoes.

This time I will also do my best not to injure myself in the first month. Once I get back into the routine of running, I usually try to add on miles too quickly and end up with shin splints or Morton's Neuroma. Then I stop running for six months or so.

Not this time. I am going to Brave the Run, and hopefully be wearing this shirt at a 5K by September.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

USWNT 2011 Kit

This will only hurt a little...
Don't know if you noticed, but the FIFA Women's World Cup Finals began over the weekend. The US team has a great chance of advancing pretty far, which is a welcome reason to celebrate after the disappointing loss of the USMNT at the Gold Cup.

An unfortunate thing I realized as I dressed to go to the Gold Cup game-watch: I don't own any USA gear. No flag shirts, scarves, or hats of any kind. None of my clothing even combines the right colors of red, white and blue with the exception of a Guinness sweatshirt, which seemed to defeat the point. I have gear for Ireland, Brazil, the Red Wings, Tigers, Notre Dame, Kentucky and even Manchester City, but nothing for the US of A.  I had a settle on a blue *gasp* dress. It obviously brought no luck to our boys, so I've decided it's high time I gave our country its own spot in my closet.

I'm a big fan of the current USMNT third kit (red! $70), but today the Dirty Tackle blog pointed out the unusual design of the 2011 Women's kit. They suggest it looks like a nurse's uniform, but I think it looks comfortable. I'd probably get the Away Jersey ($80), if for no other reason than I'd spill on the white with my first beer.

Sources: Dirty Tackle Blog,
              The Beautiful Gear blog

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thursday Fun Post: Cheers!

Things to say while raising a glass: Cheers!

I knew a few of them, but am always happy to learn more.

Monday, May 16, 2011

We Flashy: Kickstarter project I want to fund

I enjoy biking, but am sometimes afraid to bike at night, even with my sweet KNOG Frog Lights. Fortunately folks like We Flashy are making it easier to be seen on the road. Using industrial-grade reflective material, they are designing clothing that keeps you safe on the road, while still looking hip out on the town.

Can you see me now? Good.

Follow We Flashy on Twitter

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday fun link: the Sky

I can't remember if I posted a link, and can't check it due to's interruption this week. There should be another post or two here, which will hopefully be restored once all the king's horses and all the king's men put our poor Blogger together again.

Just in case I didn't post a fun link, have a go at this:

Interactive Night Sky by Nick Risinger

I was turned onto astronomy during a trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon with my mom. Our visit happend to be concurrent with the Tucson Amateur Astronomy Club meeting, which meant dozens of telescopes were set up for anyone and everyone to look through. I stood with my binoculars next to the fancy high-tech and homemade scopes and marveled at the sky. Websites like the Photopic Sky Survey remind me that the awe I felt at thirteen-years-old didn't fade away, it's just been a bit clouded by humidity.

via Now for the Science Bit blog

Film + USB = happy

I come from a family of photographers. When my grandfather was in the Navy during WWII, he was issued a camera instead of a gun and had darkroom duty instead of cleaning detail. My father put himself through Notre Dame behind the lens and both siblings were photo editors on our high school's newspaper. Why the Murphys have an affinity for the captured image, I have no idea. All I know is that I "come by it honest".

Unfortunately for me, the age of film is ending (perhaps already gone).  I have dozens of unexposed rolls of black and white 400 film in my fridge, just waiting for me to load them into my (slightly light-leaky) camera. Though I'm regularly seen behind the viewfinder, these days it's usually my dSLR. What I really want is to combine the old with the new.

Fortunately, companies like Photojojo know how to appeal to people in my predicament with products like the USB Film Roll ($20). This 4GB jumpdrive lets people know you remember what film is even though you live in a digital world. Use it to store all the photos you aren't taking with your old camera, or digital transfers of your negatives.

Buy the USB Film Roll at the Photojojo Store!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Shower Ideas: Waterproof Notes

This is really smart:

AquaNotes sells a waterproof notepad ($7), specifically for the great ideas you come up with while showering. No more forgetting that life-changing invention that hit you while shampooing!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thursday fun link: IN SPACE

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Ever want to know how many people are living in space? Well now you can at Genius name, no?

Today there are six people in space.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Wishing for an Axe.

This weekend I finally got around to the honey-dos that have been on my list since December.  The first task was to hang a screen door so that we can leave the kitchen door open once it warms up again. We purchased an 80" t-bar door ($20, Home Depot) for an 85" frame, which gives the cats enough space to come and go.  To keep the bugs out, I attached some extra screen to the foot of the door with a staple gun.

I was pretty please with myself until I realized that the door sticks in the upper corner, just enough to be annoying. We live in a fairly old home, so it's no surprise that the door frames aren't perfectly square. Hoping to trim enough wood off the door to fix the problem, I dug though the Trader Joe's tote that holds my tools and the best I came up with was fine sand paper and a box cutter. Twenty minutes later, I found myself calling for an axe.

Though I've mentioned the axes from at Best Made Company, what I really want is something smaller, such as the Swiss Camping Axe ($39). Though I'm sure the proper tool for this particular job is a plane, I think an axe would be handy around the house or, as the name implies, while camping.

Source: Garrett Wade

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Thursday fun post: Obama's progress

This site answers the question "What has Obama done so far?" though it uses slightly different wording. Caution: PG-13 language

I thought that was a nice answer to Dave Brockington's post over at the Lawyers, Guns & Money blog (where they are aware of all internet traditions).  He is commenting on Obama's plans to serve his own beer on St. Patrick's Day.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Pair of Books for Vday

Tired of the same old chocolate and flowers for Valentines Day? This year give your special someone something that will still be consumable come St. Patrick's Day. Don't be afraid to give something that could potentially outlast your relationship. To be specific, give her (or him) a book.

Here are a few on my wish list (hint, hint):

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda. This happens to be the duel language edition for murmuring sweet poetry to me in Spanish.

Snark Handbook by Lawrence Dorfman. Though I manage snark pretty well on my own, a little extra reference can't hurt anyone.

The Walking Dead by Robert Kirkman. Nothing says "I love you" like zombies.

and, why not,

a Kindle. I'll download the books myself...


I didn't receive any books for V-day, but he did hunt down a song I kept hearing and commenting on during beer commercials. He also gave me a Curtis Granderson baseball card. I guess he knows me pretty well.

For Easter I bought myself a Kindle. The first book I plan on buying? Hounded by Kevin Hearne. Check out the first few chapters here.