Monday, April 29, 2013

Sunday, April 07, 2013

A shout out for my new blog

As I've mentioned before, I've started a new blog about traveling with children. I'm super excited about putting this together and jotting down all of my experiences! You can find the blog over here. In a major change from this blog, the other one is supported by sales through my store. If you like what you read over there (or heck, even over here!), please click through my Amazon ad when you purchase something (or anything!). Primarily, I will be recommending products there were helpful for travel but even if that's not your cup of tea, using my referral link for any purchases you plan to make at Amazon will definitely help support this blogger. Thank you!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Buyer beware

So just had a miserable online shopping experience with World Market. I guess I'm spoiled because I primarily order online from Amazon and also to a lesser extent, Overstock (usually furniture from the latter). I haven't ordered from many brick & mortar stores because why pay shipping if the store is *right there*? But on Sunday, I saw what I thought were super cute chairs on clearance at World Market, but available only online. The first design was already out of stock so I put an order in for the second design and was thrilled when I was able to order four chairs. Summer BBQs, here we come!

Fast forward two hours and I realize that I had only ordered the chair covers, NOT the chairs. I check on the chairs quickly and realize they are way too spendy. $100 for two chairs for our back patio when I live in a neighborhood where things just magically sprout legs and walk away? No thanks. Plus, we had already picked up patio furniture at IKEA for a little bit more than the cost of just the two chairs. So feeling sheepish over having misread the description of what was actually being sold and a bit terrified at the actual cost of the super cute chairs (which mind you, I would totally buy on sale/clearance -- just, you know, they are spendy!), I decided to cancel the order.

Since there was no way to cancel online,. I called World Market, spent 15 minutes on hold, only to be told those speed demons over there told me that on a Sunday -- SUNDAY! -- they had already processed my order and it was ready to ship and there was nothing they could do to cancel it. Okay, fine, I said, but can I return these to the store? After all, isn't that the common practice for online orders from brick & mortar stores? Oops, not at World Market. I'd have to send it BACK to the warehouse with pre-paid shipping AND insurance. ::headdesk:: The rep told me helpfully if I was home when UPS came by, I could just decline the package and send it back. Um, yes. Has anyone actually waited for the UPS man successfully (sans appointment for pick-up??). She then told me that when I got the package, I could call them back and we could discuss how I could ship the package back.

Dollar signs flashed in my head and I was like, man, I'm going to pay more in shipping both ways than the actual cost of goods. Maybe that's World Market's scam. So at this point, we're planning to hold on to the (useless) chair covers and hope to score the cute chairs on sale at some point (they were marked down to $25 for 2 chairs at some point recently) or find some less expensive facsimile. If none of that works, will sell on eBay for about what I paid for them.

All in all, I would say World Market is possibly the worst online buying experience EVER. I love their stuff but I would never buy online from them again, no matter how good the deal (the only exception would be the super cute chairs as, natch, I already have the covers!).

Sunday, February 24, 2013


So I finally got to hear Anne Hathaway's version of "I Dreamed a Dream" and it's truly stunning. I'm a huge fan of "Les Mis" and there is a vulnerability to this version I haven't quite heard before. Somehow she makes this tried and true song her own (Man, I sound like I'm a judge on "American Idol", stop me, SOMEONE!). Anyway, the full scene from the movie is available at Vimeo, but I can't link to that video, so instead here's an abbreviated version from the trailer for your enjoyment:

And just for fun, here's her "For Your Consideration" video; clearly it worked!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Things that make me go hmmm

I never understand why when businesses decide to redo their websites, they take the old website down entirely and put up a placeholder with the cheery "We're re-doing our site! Check back later!" Sometimes, those animated gifs (remember those from the mid-90s?) of a construction vehicle is displayed prominently. And the kicker is, "later" is always well after you need the information or you've already called to get it from them. I've seen some sites keep the messages up for months and months and it makes me wonder. Did they make the decision to design a new site and think they needed to take the old one down first before they could even start a new one? Did the person they hire to design the new site take longer than needed? Why not design the new one in the background and then upload it over the old one when it's finished? No matter how bad the old website looks, it looks a lot worse when customers can't easily get the information they want for months and months.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

New blog

I've been traveling a lot lately with baby which is another explanation for my lack of bloggity here. I've decided to makes more sense to separate that topic from this blog as over the 19 flights and multiple car trips and boat trips and train trips with baby, I've accumulated a lot of tips. And those of you who know me in real life know I can be awfully preachy when I want to be. So if you're interested in my tips for traveling with a toddler, you can read all about it at my new blog: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Circling the Globe with Baby. Note: this blog will remain active, just everything concerning travel and baby will be over at the other blog.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

New year, new look

After years and years after the previous template -- which was inherently buggy due to any number of customizations I made and trust you me, I did NOT know what I was doing when I made those customizations -- I have upgraded to a new template. The archive is now by year instead of the really, really long list of postings by month (wow, I had a lot to say in 2002!), and a lot of the extraneous 'free' code that I was using to add functionality is now gone as well. Hope you like the new look!

Happy new year!

Wishing you and yours a very happy New Year! I'm sorry I've been out of bloggy-world lately, but we've been traveling a lot and as a result, blogging had to take a backseat. It's next to impossible to blog on a tablet!

I'm planning on starting a new blog sometime in the near future to detail all of our travels. We've gone to some really cool places like Singapore, Indonesia, and Japan and it's been fun to experience new sights and cultures.

In the meantime, you'll see some slight changes on this blog. I realize it's gotten harder to blog as I've tried to move away from the personal stuff and also from fanfiction. I also felt politics is a zero-sum game, given how divided everyone is on every single issue. I didn't feel like engaging in virtual food-fights; who has time for that? Plus, I worked for a very staunch Republican for a while who has connections to various Republican presidents and I just wanted to keep my head low for the duration of my employment.

All of those concerns are now on the backburner, so I've decided to put a bit more personality back into the blog and also point out and blog about issues that I care about again. Hopefully that will give me more things to actually write about and motivate me to continue blogging. This blog has been around since 2001 and I'm not ready to retire it yet!