Category Archives: Uncategorized

My blog has moved…

Hello!

My blog has moved to its new home: Sorry, that user name is taken.

For fresh, up-to-date content, you will need to visit the new site.

Please update your bookmarks, RSS feeds, Favorites, etc. You can also link to the new web site from my Twitter profile.

See you over at http://www.sorrythatusernameistaken.com!

We’re going to have a good time. 🙂

Hi, I’m working on a new blog

Greetings, dear readers. I hope you are doing well and enjoying summer 2010. 🙂

I have been working on a new (and hopefully improved) blog. For some reason, I thought it would be easy to set up the new site. Unfortunately, I’m not quite as technically savvy as I thought I was.

I developed my tech skills via the trial and error method. For the most part, of late, it feels like I’m knee-deep in the error zone.

I am frustrated. And I’m jealous of Jelena Jenson, the Porn star by day; badass nerdy programmer by night. She was written about last week in Gizmodo. Thanks for making us ordinary gals look bad, Gizmodo. 😉

Some of her skills would really come in handy now.

So, this is a heads up to my loyal readers that my blogging frequency will slow down a bit while I’m dealing with HTML, Cascade Style Sheets, Javascript, MySQL databases, Themes, Widgets, and so on.

But hopefully, in the end, the hard work will pay off and the new blog will be awesome!

Stay tuned…!

It’s too hot to blog, but I’d like to share a poem…

The Summer Day

by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

The accidental charm of used bookstores

I love used bookstores. I always have. It’s actually difficult for me to fork over money for a brand new (unused) book. I think this has to do with my childhood. Growing up, we were very poor and had to shop at thrift stores and second hand stores.

I remember using the money I made from baby sitting jobs to buy a stack of used books at the local D.A.V. Thrift Store (Disabled American Veterans). Reading was how me and my sisters spent our summers.

Even though I’m an adult who makes a decent living, I still enjoy shopping in used bookshops. One of my favorites is located in Denver, near my sister’s home. When I visited her in May, I made a couple trips to this store and bought about half a dozen books. What a thrill!

On my book-buying spree in Denver, something funny happened. Not only did I find some great books, but I found a few things hidden or left in the books. The donors must have been in a hurry when they made their donations. Clearly, they didn’t take the time to leaf through the pages to ensure the books were clean and artifact-free.

Here’s what I found in the books I bought:

In The Book of Ruth, I found a photograph of a woman dressed as Albert Einstein. When I stumbled upon the photo, it startled me. I wasn’t expecting to see Albert’s face.

I’ll bet the woman who owned The Book of Ruth dressed as Albert Einstein for Halloween. She looks quite convincing, but her eyes and lips give her away.

In Under the Tuscan Sun, I found a receipt. It was probably used as a bookmark. Now I know that the original owner purchased the book at Borders Books in Littleton, Colorado on May 29, 2003. S/he paid $15.70. Seven years later, I paid $1.99 for it! Talk about a bargain! 😉

Finding the original receipt felt a bit like finding an important historical document that no one knew existed. I found a record of a transaction made by a stranger who read this exact book. It’s kind of intriguing.

In On Mexican Time: a New Life in San Miguel, someone left behind a postcard featuring a painting by Mark Rothko. I love his work. I have a framed print by Rothko in my home. Upon finding the postcard, I felt an instant connection with whoever owned this book. I removed the postcard and it’s now pinned to my bulletin board.

In Men, Women, and Relationships, I found a dollar bill. On the dollar bill there was a message written in ink. It said: “Don, read this or else.”

I wonder what happened to this couple? Do you suppose Don read the book and learned some tips on how to communicate better with the woman who defaces U.S. currency? Part of me thinks that since the dollar was still in the book, Don never bothered with it.

This could make a great story. I wish I had some killer scriptwriting skills. 😉

Email is great, except for when it isn’t

Email is a nice and useful way to communicate. But a part of me would like there to be a universal email template that everyone is required to use. I long for an email template the way I longed to wear a uniform in grade school.

Uniforms seemed like a way to streamline and reduce all the outfit and dressing problems. Everyone looked the same. Your clothing revealed you were part of something, and the “something” was organized and had rules.

You’re allowed to express your individuality via the small details, such as choice of hairstyle, jewelry, and other accessories. In the universal email template, there would be room to be creative and expressive. You could, for example, reveal a bit about yourself via your font choice, font size, and the way you greet the people you write to.

If there were a universal email template, it would take care of the majority of issues listed below. These are my email pet peeves.

Signatures:

I don’t see the point in using signatures. I can look at my inbox and find out who a message is from. Signatures are redundant. The only exception that comes to mind is when you’re emailing someone outside the company in which you work. If that’s the case, then signatures are a great way to get the 411 on an email acquaintance.

Signatures that are 4 inches long:

If you’re required to have an email signature, or if you simply can’t fathom sending email without including one, please keep it short and sweet.

I don’t understand why people feel it’s necessary to inform me of their:

  • name
  • username
  • email address
  • job title
  • company’s website
  • phone number
  • pager number
  • fax number
  • mailing address
  • country
  • obnoxious inspirational quote

Overkill. That’s all I have to say.

One or two word emails:

The effort it takes to open, read, and delete the message is not worth the sending.

Email exchanges that go on forever:

If  you need to exchange a lot of information, consider picking up the telephone. It’s irritating having to read and reply to 20 email messages in a 30 minute time frame.

Using email to deliver bad news:

If you have to deliver some bad or upsetting news  (especially in the work environment), don’t use email. It’s inappropriate to send an email telling your co-workers that a former colleague’s child died of a brain tumor.

Also, if you’re in a management position, it’s never a good option to use email as the vehicle to inform an employee that they are in trouble. Call the person into your office and have a face-to-face conversation. At a minimum, they deserve this. Don’t be a coward and send an email as a way to avoid an uncomfortable conversation.

Email messages comprised of text message short-hand:

I’m amazed at people who compose and send email messages in text message shorthand. When I receive this type of email, I immediately cringe. In the work environment, it’s completely unacceptable to write:

R U bzy now? Pls cll me. Thx.

Excessively long email messages:

Somewhere, there must be a rule that says it’s rude and extremely imposing to send a 4000 word email message. It’s unbearable to read such long thing.

When I receive a message that requires me to scroll and scroll and scroll, I hit delete.

Group editing in email:

When you have a team of 15 people writing and editing an email message that should actually be an official document, it’s time to consider SharePoint or another collaborative environment. Email is not the place for this activity.

I get an instant migraine when I open an email message and find 15 different fonts, in 15 different colors, with a legend at the top of the message that tells me:

Chain letters:

I appreciate that folks want to spread good cheer and fun, but receiving a chain mail message is annoying. And if the message says, “Send this on to 20 of your best friends to avoid a month of bad luck,” it’s curtains for the sender.

Animated gif in email signature:

Having a dancing leprechaun in your signature is cute if 1) you’re under the age of 12 or 2) it’s March 17th or 3) you’re 70 years old and  just learned that email exists.

Otherwise, please knock it off.

Senders who request a “Message Read” receipt 24/7:

I view “Message read” receipts as the equivalent of a certified letter. The only time they should be used is for extremely important matters.

So, when people  request a receipt for every single message they send, I tend to believe they are a) control freaks, b) totally clueless about email options, c) extremely paranoid individuals.

The entire message is in the subject line:

Example:

I can’t decide if this is rude, curt, silly, or aggravating. Maybe all of the above. It’s time to introduce these people to instant messaging.

Sending email with “High Importance” 24/7:

There are some people who actually believe that sending every message with high importance will yield a quick reply. The truth is, when people send each message marked as Highly Important, it loses its urgency. And if you use the red flag of high importance to send a message that says something like this, you will lose your email credibility:

Hi Everyone,
Don’t forget to bring your treats for tomorrow’s ice cream social.
Thanks and TTFN!

Stationary:

I appreciate that you have a passion for clowns or horses or frogs or swans or butterflies or the Chicago Cubs.  But I don’t want to be reminded of this every time we communicate via email.

From paint to nail polish: welcome to the world of naming things

Do you wear makeup? Or have you recently painted your home? If the answer to either of these questions is “yes,” you are no doubt familiar with the names given to eyeshadow or lipstick, or to interior paint colors.

I am fascinated with the names paint makers and makeup companies give their products. Whose job is this? I’d like to know, because I would love to have this job!

I got a new lipstick the other day, and it was called “Rose Chocolate.” With this name, the maker of the product gave me a good idea of what to expect. In fact, I liked the product even more because of its name. Maybe that’s weird, but it’s true.

For the most part, I think the people in charge of naming colors get it wrong. They’re either not imaginative enough, unoriginal, or simply way off the mark. Or they take the easy road and look at a rival’s color, steal the name, and slightly modify it for their own product. I saw this the other day when I was browsing the makeup aisle. One company named their deep green eyeshadow, Evergreen Forest. Their competitor named this same green, Evergreen Trees.

Boring.

A couple years ago, I had some work done on my house. I hired two contractors to paint the interior of my home. Before the paint job, my house was your typical, snore-inducing white. But when the contractors were done, my house had 12  different shades of paint! And not only did the walls look stunning, but the names of the paint colors were quite pleasing. For example:

Living Room: July Thunderstorm, Drenched Rain, Peace River

Hallway and Laundry Room: Cornflower Blue

Kitchen: Mint Julep

Bedroom 1: Wasabi

Bedroom 2: Violet

Study: Arboretum

Simple yet evocative names.

I have some of the prettiest nail polishes, but their names are so boring. It feels as if the world of naming products has been stuck in a rut for decades. Companies need to get on board with the fact that the world is changing and new things exist that didn’t exist 20 years ago. Heck, new words exist that weren’t in the dictionary 20 years ago. The people who name things should take advantage of this. By doing so, they could communicate better with their customers and sell more products.

I’d like to see these companies go out on a limb and get a little creative when they assign a product its name. I would like the product names to reflect (or at least partially reflect — because some old fashioned things have charming names and they should be kept alive and in use) that we’re living in the year 2010, not 1970. I mean, I can’t believe my favorite pink nail polish is still called “Bubblegum Yum.” I started using it when I was 13 (that’s when my parents gave me the approval to wear cosmetics).

When I was in Library School (earning my Master’s in Library and Information Science) a friend of mine emailed me a job announcement. A company in NYC was looking for an employee to be the curator and inventor of their product names. I believe it was a paint company, but I’m not 100% sure. I read the job description enthusiastically and then I deleted the email message. If only I had saved it. If only I had known I would be one of those odd people who gets a thrill out of naming things!

If you encounter this type of job description, please forward it to me. Me and my fondness for naming things would greatly appreciate it! 🙂

Wedding rings that don’t make me want to barf

As I watch my sister plan her upcoming wedding, one thing that arouses my curiosity is the wedding ring.

For the most part, wedding rings bore me. They all seem to look alike. I honestly can’t recall the last time someone’s wedding ring took my breath away.

My sister and her finance decided to go the non-traditional route in selecting rings for one another. What does this mean? Nobody knows. They’re keeping it a secret; they want to surprise everyone. My sister is on the cutting edge of fashion (jewelry included), so I am psyched to see what kind of ring she’ll be wearing for the rest of her life. 🙂

Here’s a confession: Any time I try on a wedding ring (I was engaged to be married), it feels extremely unnatural and uncomfortable. I am anxious to remove the ring and take a deep breath.

It seems that women have one goal in mind where wedding rings are concerned: the bigger, the better. I am not a flashy person. I don’t buy things to impress people; I buy things because they please me. So, I’ve been doing some wedding ring research and I gathered a collection of rings that don’t make me want to barf. In other words, I could see myself being comfortable wearing one of these pieces of anti-bling.

Take a look at the rings.

What do you think? Would you wear one of these? Have you seen other wedding bands that caught your eye?