Friday, January 28, 2011

Work Anecdote of the Day

Last night I came up with the best idea for a blog post. It was clever and funny, and I even came up with a few pithy turns of phrase before I fell asleep. And of course, I wrote none of it down, certain I would remember in the morning. Nope. It's gone. Oh well.

So instead you get an anecdote that isn't really an anecdote. It's more of a question. Today I was contemplating the keyboard at my computer, and I was wondering, can anyone tell me what this button is for?

In what possible way could this button make my keyboard become "turbo"? I'm a bit afraid to push it. Are flames going to come out? Or does it just make my typing super fast?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Facts about Expedia

Back in December I was trying to work out my post-Christmas travel plans, which involved flying from Florida to Baltimore to Denver and then back to Florida. There were a lot of moving parts, and I had already booked a roundtrip flight from Florida to Baltimore and back, so I decided to actually call Expedia to see about flight cancellations and the like.

Well, I made the mistake of putting this call off until I simply couldn't postpone it anymore, so I ended up being forced to call just after the blizzard that cancelled so many flights and disrupted so many travel plans. As a result, I was on hold with Expedia for an hour and twenty-seven minutes. And I faithfully waited because I needed to talk to those people.

When the waiting began, I paid little attention to the pop songs playing in the background, though I was grateful for their choice not to play generic Muzak. After a while, however, I began to notice a few things about the song selection. Here is what I learned:

First, Expedia is under the false impression that are you only going to wait on hold for about 30 minutes. I came to this conclusion because they only chose eight songs to comprise their Hold music. After those eight songs played, they started over again. I heard each song at least three times.

Second, and more importantly, Expedia thinks it's really clever to play songs that have to do with travel. Check out this sampling of titles: "I'm Coming Home," "Sail Away" (by Enya), "Leaving on a Jet Plane," "Fly Like an Eagle", and "Sail Away" (by David Gray). It took a little while for me to see the pattern, mostly, as I said, because I wasn't really listening to the first few songs.

Now, don't get me wrong, that's not a bad gimmick to amuse annoyed customers on hold. But I will tell you, the second time in forty minutes that you are required to listen to "Sail Away" by Enya, it becomes A LOT less cute. Maybe if they had more than eight songs I could laud their efforts at having a theme, but I had a radio show back in college, and if I had tried to get away with playing the same eight songs for over an hour, I would not have had a show for long. And if you're thinking, "But Kimber, the travel theme is hard!", then I counter with the following:

"Goodnight, Travel Well" - The Killers
"Bruised" - Jack's Mannequin
"Information Travels" - Death Cab for Cutie
"Leaving" - Josh Ritter
"Say Goodbye to Hollywood" - Billy Joel
"I'm Safer On an Airplane" - Copeland
"Ohio (Come Back to Texas)" - Bowling for Soup
"Godspeed" - Jenny Lewis
"If You Leave Me Now" - The Bee Gees
"Leaving for Paris No. 2" - Rufus Wainwright
"She's Leaving Home" - The Beatles
"You're Never Gone" - Sara Routh
"Snakes On a Plane" - Cobra Starship et. al.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Step it up, Expedia.

Oh, and the result of my hour and a half on hold? A very pleasant woman with a foreign accent told me that the only thing I could do was to book new flights from Baltimore to Denver to Florida and just not show up to my return flight from Baltimore to Florida. Thanks. I could have done that without waiting on hold for half the morning. But then this post would have no content.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Good Daughter

For you to truly understand the excitement surrounding this post, I must first provide a little background.

In the 2008-2009 school year, my university decided to hire a new English professor, and a few select English majors were asked to participate in this process. Each of the three candidates gave a sample class, where we the students acted as, well, the students, and the department faculty observed the candidates' teaching style. Since the candidates were being hired to teach creative writing, they each also did a reading of their own writing while on campus.

I attended all three sample classes. The class given by the final candidate clearly stood out, which motivated me to attend her reading later that afternoon, an honor I did not see fit to bestow on the other two candidates (because my time is just so very important). At that reading, I got my first taste of Jasmin Darznik's The Good Daughter. The small bit she read was absolutely captivating, and since that afternoon, I have waiting on pins and needles for the release of the whole book.

Jasmin ended up being hired by the department (of course), and I had the pleasure of taking her creative writing course (she is a great teacher) and hearing a bit more of the book from her lips. And now, finally, after two years of waiting, IT HAS ARRIVED. It sits on the table next to me as I type, and as soon as I publish this post and then link it Facebook, I will be cracking it open.

You too can have a copy of this tome. I urge you to check it out. If the parts I've heard are any indication (as I'm sure they are), this book is going to be phenomenal.

Happy New Year!

Hello again, gentle readers! Happy 2011! I realize I am a bit late with my new year wishes, but I have been off having adventures.

I rang in the New Year with some of my college buddies at a bay house in Prince Frederick, MD overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. It was a great time, but I won't go too much into the shenanigans so as not to embarrass anyone, mainly myself. We also spent the days surrounding New Year's kicking around Vienna, VA. It's a nice place, Vienna.

That trip to my old stomping grounds (sort of) took up December 29 - January 4 and then on the 4th, I flew out to Denver to meet up with three of my high school friends for several awesome days of skiing in the Rockies. We spent the first two days and nights at Winter Park and then the rest of the time in Steamboat Springs. Overall I think I liked the vibe at Winter Park better. It was a little more low-key, and I had the distinct feeling I had been there before. I still can't confirm, but I think when I went skiing for three days in high school we were at Winter Park. Hmm... Anyway, Steamboat had better runs, but there were sooooo many people. It got overwhelming.

As for the skiing itself, I'm not bad. I took a few falls. Although, most of them were while standing still. Embarrassing? Extremely. I blame all the exertion. My legs were just tired, man. And then they stopped working. It happens. Despite the exhaustion and falling and whatnot, I had a fantastic time, both with the actual skiing and just hanging out with my dear friends.

I'm glad to be back in Florida, however, and I'm looking forward to making the most of this year. Hope the first two weeks of 2011 have treated you well!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Best Work Email of the Day

Subject: Order VICODIN Online - Best Cheap Price!

Message: Buy Vicodin Online Without Prescription - Cheap VICODIN

Yes, that sounds like a really good deal for fine, upstanding citizens who are looking for safe, affordable pain management. Sign me up!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

What is passion Gang?

Friends, welcome back. Sorry it's been so long. I've been off having adventures. A longer post will follow today or tomorrow, but I thought I'd bring you a little Wednesday amusement in the form of an email I received at my work address.

I have changed nothing. Here is the email in its entirety:

Subject: Hello, detective plentiful. Here is Elton

Message: Charge yourself for passion Gang. Murmured the proceedings of laughter ovodpkxg.

A what? Ponder that one as you make your way through the day.