Now for something completely different. Since I have a four year old daughter, I have an excuse to watch Disney Channel. One of Zoe’s favorite shows is the cartoon Phineas and Ferb, a show about two brothers who are creative geniuses that take every seven year old boy’s craziest ideas and make them into realities, i.e. building a roller coaster through a major city, going to Mars, traveling through time, making it snow in the summer, etc. In true Saturday morning cartoon style, their sister plays the role of the “villain” that is always trying to “bust them” by showing their mother what they have done. They don’t seem to mind though, and they have even assisted her in the busting on one occasion. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, their pet platypus, is a secret agent that is constantly disappearing to thwart the evil plots of his nemesis, a clueless, evil scientist. In true deus ex machina style, these two plots usually come together with the evil scientist’s new invention inexplicably causing the boys creations to conveniently disappear or otherwise go away. OK, yeah, now that I wrote that all down, it does seem kinda crazy, but it is a fun show to watch. It’s also a heck of a lot more cerebral than Thundercats was!
Anyways, now that you have a general idea of what the show is about, in an episode that Zoe and I just watched, the boys pretend to be detectives on a manhunt for their sister’s lost doll. During the search, they do a montage of detective show parodies. The funniest one is when they parody the opening scene of CSI: Miami. They managed to squeeze in a total of 6 well used gags from both shows in only 21 seconds.
My friend, Grace Gilbert, was diagnosed with liver and colon cancer back in 2004 when she was in high school. It was a long struggle, but she began doing well and the cancer went into remission. However, in 2007, when she was a sophomore in college, her cancer came back out of remission. She also started losing her hair because of a change in her medicine. So, she decided that she was going to shave her head.
To show Grace how much we loved her, ACCESS218, the Christian college group that I belonged to, decided to have a head shaving, hair cutting party to support her. A bunch of guys shaved their heads with her, and a couple of girls cut their pony tails and donated them to Locks of Love. I was planning on shaving my head, also. This which was a fairly normal routine for me; I used to get a buzz cut about every 3-4 months. However, Grace told me how beautiful she thought my hair was, and she said that I should grow it out. So, I told her that I would. Now, almost three years later, I have a 7 inch long pony tail, which isn’t too bad considering I have very curly hair, and I started out almost bald.
Unfortunately, Grace passed away later that same year. I often think about her when I am spending the extra 15 minutes every morning that this heap of hair takes to make it look professional! I really don’t mind it too much because thinking of her, reminds me to live every moment to the fullest and make sure that the people I love know that I love them, because that is how she lived.
I was planning on cutting my pony tail and donating it, but after reading a lot of negative criticism about Locks of Love, I decided to sell my hair once it is long enough and give the money to Grace’s favorite charity, Dreams Come True.
This is a video project I did a voice over for a few years ago for CrossRoad Church. Unfortunately, the audio quality isn’t amazing, but I still love this project. I should probably rerecord it and remaster it. The amazing art work is by Ambler Hutchinson, the music is Svefn g Englar by Sigur Ros, the words are from “Waking the Dead” by John Eldredge. The video was created by Joshua Holdman.
Seriously? Windows Phone Series 7 will not have cut, copy and paste? You idiots!
OK, it was bad enough that every time I saw the user interface on Microsoft’s new operating system for phones it literally made me want to throw up. (I don’t know why. It had something to do with how the virtual screen was larger than the monitor.) Now, the latest news from Redmond is that Windows Phone Series 7 phones will not have the absolutely BASIC function of copy and paste! Do the engineers at Microsoft just totally block all Apple news from passing through their firewalls? Where were they three years ago when everyone, techies and noobs, were screaming about the lack of copy and paste in the iPhone? Eh, stupid.
I admit that I’m not much of a shoe aficionado. I normally buy whatever dress shoe style that Target is carrying these days, and years ago, before we had a Target in our neighborhood, I would just grab whatever Wal-Mart had in stock. Just before Christmas, my wife and I decided to buy a couple new dress shoes for me and a couple of dressy casual shoes for her. We checked out Target first, but decided to visit Payless Shoesource since they were right next door and there were HUGE BOGO signs out front. I was surprised when I found two pairs of shoes that were very similar to the ones that I had picked out at Target, but they looked nicer, and they were cheaper! I decided to get a black pair of traditional oxford style dress shoes and a black pair of square toed oxford dress shoes. My wife decided to get a pair of sequined black loafers and a pair of black ballet flats. For the first few weeks, they were great. The shoes were comfortable and solid.
However, shortly after Christmas, (only 5 weeks after buying them) I noticed that the square toed shoes had a bubble on the right toe. The material had started separating. I felt dumb because when I examined them closely I realized that they were not leather. They were made of artificial materials. I looked at the Oxfords and the same was true, more pleather. Admittedly, this was my own fault for buying fake leather, but I was still ticked off. They even smelled like real leather.
Next, I noticed that the Oxfords were feeling strange as I walked. They felt as if I was falling to the left and the ball of my feet felt like they were in a depression, kind of like when you step on a crack on the sidewalk. I examined the bottom of my shoes and found that the soles had worn out and were deeply cracked. I looked at the back of the left shoe and the sole was separated from the upper.
Again, I am not a shoe aficionado, but the cheap shoes that I picked up from the discount department stores usually lasted at least a year before I would start to have problems like this. These shoes basically falling apart in under 60 days is just completely unacceptable. In all fairness to Payless they do have a decent return policy, and if I could find my blasted receipt, I would be taking them back to the store. However, I am like most people, and I have no idea where it would be, if I even still have it.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, my wife’s shoes also fell apart.
So, will I be shopping at Payless again? Probably not. If I do, I will make sure to get the receipt and I will laminate it and frame it.
So, I normally don’t talk about customer service unless it stinks, but I just got off a web chat with Sprint and they rocked. Long story short, we accidentally had two phone plans on our account instead of one, and we didn’t realize it until this month. So, I got on the chat with a Bruce K. who got me straightened out in less than 45 minutes. I was ready to lay the smack down and fight to get a credit of the overcharge, but all I had to do was explain the situation. He was completely professional about it, and took care of it lickety-split. If you happen to be reading this Bruce K, Thanks again! – Ray Hollister
I belong to more social networks (i.e. Facebook, MySpace, Ning, etc.) than I could possibly name off the top of my head. I have so many social network profiles that I have to keep a database on my computer and phone that stores all of my usernames and passwords. Because of this, I receive dozens of invitations a week to all kinds of events: everything from wine tastings, political candidate fundraisers, and formal banquets to church small groups, birthday parties, and rock concerts in abandoned warehouses. However, I am somewhat of a homebody, so I usually just ignore them or delete them from my inbox. It feels so negative to click the “No, I will NOT be attending” box. It feels like I am saying to that person that they are not worth my time to attend “your little function”. It is much more comfortable to ignore it and be noncommittal.
I never really paid any attention to them until my wife was planning an event a while back. She sent out invitations in the old-fashioned postal mail, and found that no one was RSVPing whether they were coming or not. My response to her was, “Well, if they aren’t RSVPing, isn’t it safe to assume that they are not coming?” Duly ignoring my sage advice, she decided that she would try calling them. Of course, in our world where everyone has a cell phone in their pocket or purse and can be contacted in seconds, she talked to more voice mail boxes than she talked to humans. Then, she decided to email everyone. Her language in the email was a little firmer than in the invitation. She told them to please let her know if you are coming, or if you do not plan on coming so that we can plan accordingly. Within 12 hours, everyone (except one person, and you know who you are!) that had been sent an initiation had responded back with a yea or nay.
My wife’s dilemma made me think. I have had several events that I have planned where few people responded to an RSVP, but then many came. So, I decided to do a little research into how RSVPs are supposed to be handled. It turns out, you are supposed to respond regardless of whether you plan on attending or not. In circles where etiquette is still acknowledged, it is actually much ruder to not respond at all than it is to say that you will attend and then not show up! It is assumed that if you said you would come and then do not show up then you must have had a last minute change. If you do not respond at all, it leaves a big question mark on the event host’s plans because they don’t know if you are coming or not.
It seems to me like a lot of people in my generation do not realize what RSVP means. I think that we collectively thought that RSVP meant “Let me know if you are definitely coming.” Therefore, since we are all noncommittal and lazy, we avoid the question. RSVP actually stands for a French phrase “répondez s’il vous plaît” which loosely means, “Please respond.” We really should respond and let the host know if we plan on coming, or if we do not want to, or cannot attend.
So, now what do we do? Do we allow our generation to change the connotation of the term, or do we try to bring about cultural change and get everyone to comply with the true definition? I believe we may have to do both. What I’ve decided to do is be firmer with my invitations. I’m not sure how I’m going to implement that plan, but I might tell people that if they don’t RSVP they cannot come, (I’ll hire my step Dad to work as a bouncer) but also let them know that if they RSVP that they are coming and then end up not making it, I will forgive them.
What do you think? How do you handle RSVPs?