Monday, July 30, 2007

On my trip, I wrote in a journal

because the time I spent online was pretty heavily dedicated to work. Heck, the time I was awake was pretty heavily dedicated to work.

Book #15: Emotional Design: Why we love (or hate) everyday things by Donald A. Norman - Interesting book but not one I could plow through on a plane. Had to take breaks. A lot of it rings true and speaks to struggles I face in some issues at work. Liked this:
"For once you have learned how to look at, listen to, & analyze what is before you, you realize that the experience is every changing. The pleasure is forever."

This entire trip has been so fast, busy, and exhausting that I haven't had a chance to write anything until now, as I sit on the plane headed home. So most of this will be highlights.

San Francisco overall:
A very cool, pretty city. Condensed into a small amount of space. Old structures and character abound. Unfortunate, though, that the sanitation system is not that great. Even locals complain about the lack of trash cans on the streets, which means there's a lot of litter. In the core of downtown, it's noisy at all hours, with the cable car (you know the Rice-a-Roni kind) system clacking and humming and jackhammers buzzing at construction work late into the night.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

It's the thought that counts

I had to post this piece, originally from The Consumerist, which I found on Living Light Bulbs.

I was flying from Massachusetts to New Jersey on Continental Airlines on this past week. There was terrible weather over New Jersey and while the plane took off on time, a half-hour in to the 47 minute flight we ended up circling over southern Connecticut. After a number of "we'll only be holding here for a few minutes" updates, an hour had elapsed and the pilot told us that the storm that held us up was making it impossible to get to New Jersey and that they didn't have enough fuel to get back to Massachusetts. We were diverted to a remote airstrip and were told that we'd just refuel and then get to New Jersey.

Of course, the "30 minute refuel" turned into 2 hours stuck on the tarmac at this airstrip because the storm came right through our location.

At this point we'd been on the plane for 4+ hours and despite some individual heavy sighs, most people were still pretty pleasant. We were all blown away when the flight attendant came on the PA and told all of us that they had a surprise: the crew had called in an order for pizza and had 10 pizzas delivered to the plane. They also told us not to write into Continental about this because "they'd get in trouble".

It turns out that the pilot paid for the pizza out of his/her pocket! It was a remarkable gesture, and what I found really terrible was that the crew felt that they'd get in trouble with the airline for being so thoughtful, generous, and kind to the passengers.

As I think about the experience trying to get home from San Francisco - sleeping in the airport, eating at the place closest to the gate so as not to miss anything - I wish United would take note of this story. Yes, they gave us food vouchers. But think about how we would have felt - as we stood in endless customer service lines waiting for flights to be fixed, if someone had come out with pizza, or even coffee. If just one of the people busy giving us excuses had stopped to give us a little something to show they recognized we were people and could use a break. I'd be much happier about flying with United in the future, that's for sure.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy Fourth

J and I were recently inspired to more actively use our sunroom. Prior to this decision, the room was closed off most of the time, to keep cats out of orchids, and it was mainly a plant growing space and housed the tree at Christmas.

Now, we've moved our small dining table in, to prepare the dining room for the one we plan to build, and we've made the sunroom into a cozy space, almost a garden annex of sorts. Great for breakfast, for the cats to watch the birds, bunnies, and squirrels, and for us to be creative together.

The cats love the sunroom windows

Book #14: Deryni Magic by Katherine Kurtz. As a kid in high school, and partly into college, I loved the Deryni novels. They were one of my favorite fantasy series. I haven't read one that I remember in quite a while, however, and it was with a somewhat different perspective that I approached this book. That said, this book does not intend to be a fantasy novel, but rather a depth analysis of the magic of the Deryni race. I'm afraid it takes itself way too seriously, approaching the subject like it's a scientific thesis. Saying things like "we do not know why" so-and-so did something or "we don't have any records of what happened in his past". Sorry, but the lady wrote the stuff and created the characters - if it's not already written - make it up! The attitude of this book actually makes me question how much I really want to keep the series in a favored spot. I think these books may head to the Camel Library soon.