To My Automobile Dealer, Huffines Hyundai: I am pleased that you disclosed to me in a thorough and timely way the charges attached with the 60,000 mile check-up for my car. I like that you let me know and authorize a needed additional slight charge, and that you kept me in the loop on your realistic timing for completion. I have never regretted buying a Hyundai, and your service departament confirms me in this feeling. I don't really mind that the total invoice was quite expensive, because I am still under warranty, and like to do my maintenance at your place once in a while to ensure you'll be comfortable with the maintenance if I need the warranty for something really major in the future. Thank you for a win-win experience.
To the folks at Circuit City in Plano: When you advertise a car stereo with an mp3 jack for 99 dollars and 99 cents, with free installation, I hear that internally as "we intend to install a stereo into your car for 99 dollars and 99 cents" and not as "we intend to install a stereo into your car for 99 dollars and 99 cents plus 75 more dollars for parts and wiring". It's not a matter of the money, exactly, but if you market that way, then I will do as I did today and drive from your store in a moment's notice. It's not so much that I mind, say, if you want to charge 200 dollars for a car stereo, fully installed. It's not an outrageous price. Your advertisement, though, needs to state what you intend to charge, and not open our negotation with a low figure. My life is short, and I am not a natural-born shopper. If you can't figure out how to write your advertisements and signage, why would I reward you with my business?
To the fellow at the Plano Fry's computer hardware section: I appreciate that when I asked you for advice on a home printer, you listened to me. I communicated how few things I really do print, and how basic print/scan/copy services would suffice for me. You did seek to get me to upgrade, a bit, but your choice was sensitive to my needs and did not seek to sell me an upmarket product for a downmarket use. I appreciate it, and you made the slightly upgraded sale, because your choice made sense for my needs, rather than trying to get me to a high-profit item for the sake of making the "big sale".
To the fellow at the Plano Fry's car stereo section: Thank you for reasonable advice on how to make my car stereo work with my mp3 player without the trouble of buying a new stereo. Although we had a miscommunication about the cost of installation of the work-around you recommended, I recognize that this was in the realm of communication and not dissatisfying customer service. I had no qualms about going with a cheap solution you found less optimum (i.e., localized wireless FM to "broadcast" the mp3 player), but I appreciated you were there to help.
To the fellow at Fry's software section in Plano: You gave me a really reasonable and prompt alternative to DreamWeaver without sales hassle or jargon. I am grateful for your kindness.
To the folks at the Pho Que Huong in Plano: Thank you for another delightful chicken pho, and for stocking the freebie Urban Animal in your store. This is my favorite throwaway alternative paper, devoted entirely to getting animals adopted.
To the publishers of Urban Animal: Thank you for letting me know about the non-profit "Companions for Life", which, rather than keeping an animal shelter, does owner education about animal care and animal adoption. I will be in touch with that non-profit soon--it is just what I was looking to find.
To the folks at www.ccmixter.org: thank you for not flaming my a capella song this morning. I someday will be able to write a pop song and sing it with sufficient fidelity. That time has not yet arisen, and I unpublished the track before any harm was done.
To the folks at http//www.splicemusic.com: Your on-line song remixing system gets better and better. I enjoyed putting together "Heart Fading like a Hubble" on your system, and look forward to creating more remixes there in the future. Also, thaumata, who is the front person for the site, seems really cool--it's good that your site has a good representative out front there--not to mention a "real person" with a Livejournal and a Vox and everything. I wonder why people have vox accounts, but I see lots of folks do now, so there must be a reason.
To the folks at the Freesound Project: it was fun to figure out, at last, how to use your upload device to upload my mountain dulcimer and hanging bell samples. I hope they clear the moderator soon, and that people enjoy using these samples.
To: John Wesley: Your sermon 126 about Psalm 62 intrigued me, when you said:
"Consider, First, what is here meant by riches. Indeed some may imagine that it is hardly possible to mistake the meaning of this common word. Yet, in truth, there are thousands in this mistake; and many of them quite innocently. A person of note, hearing a sermon preached upon this subject several years since, between surprise and indignation broke out aloud, "Why does he talk about riches here? There is no rich man at Whitehaven, but Sir James L----r." And it is true there was none but he that had forty thousand pounds a year, and some millions in ready money. But a man may be rich that has not a hundred a year, nor even one thousand pounds in cash. Whosoever has food to eat, and raiment to put on, with something over, is rich. Whoever has the necessaries and conveniences of life for himself and his family, and a little to spare for them that have not, is properly a rich man; unless he is a miser, a lover of money, one that hoards up what he can and ought to give to the poor. For it so, he is a poor man still, though he has millions in the bank; yea, he is the poorest of men; for The beggars but a common lot deplore;
The rich poor man's emphatically poor".
I have known a world of emphatically poor rich people, and a world of people who are rich in the sense you mean despite no great material riches. It's an interesting problem, though--is comfort always bad? I am not inclined to think so. Money is a puzzling thing.
To all my former LiveJournal friends who dropped me from their lists: You know, you probably were right to do so, as I think I'm a pretty wordy read. When I get a chance, I'll draft a long, repetitive, ruminative and meandering post about this.
To the makers of my Olympus VN-1000 voice recorder. Thank you for posting the pdf of the user guide on line. I was having trouble erasing messages, and you solved this problem for me.
To the website www.audiotreasures.com: Thank you for posting mp3s of an open source Bible translation on the web for all to use. That's a kindness, as I was able to get a reading of Psalm 62 I can use tomorrow, if I can get the technology on the CD burning right.
To my dog Beatrice: All my life I wanted a dog who would run and fetch a ball on command. Now we have one who does this endlessly, and I am grateful to you and yet mindful that when one has received the answer to a prayer, then one should rise up with joy, thanksgiving, and also aggressive ball play. I will throw your ball more and more, if you will fetch it.
To Max Lucado, writer of popular theology about the Psalms: The lesson I take from the Psalms is not to make us feel like "aliens on Earth", seeking only an afterlife. I take instead the lesson from life in general, including the Psalms, that each day is the Heaven or Hell we experience in that day, and that the eternal life is not so much temporal as experienced in each fleeting second we breathe. We have spent 2,000 years talking about how the world is ever-worsening, but perhaps we should spend a little more time talking about how to make our world a little less alien as we live in it. I feel like an alien on Earth sometimes, but in a completely different way than you mean. I suggest you read the book of Canadian short stories of whose fullness I am currently grokking. An ounce of anti-biotic, I sometimes think, is worth ten thousand pages of sermon.
To the new Hibachi Rock restaurant in Allen: What a great experience! Huge new space, great service, wonderful sushi. I am so pleased to see Allen add another great sushi place.
To the weatherpeople: When you said winds of 30 to 35 miles per hour, tihs was not an understatement. I do not recall ever feeling deeply chilled on a 70 degree afternoon before.
To a law firm I once knew which is having more than its share of misfortune: My first instinct is definitely to point out that what goes around comes around, and you've had your share of turns on this particular carousel. Yet I cannot help but feel sorry for anyone in a stressful situation,
even if there may be an element of just desserts. For good or bad, I tend not to dislike people merely because I do not admire them.
To my neighbors down the street: I am so sorry to see your back fence was blown down by the wind.
To my wonderful nephew: I hope you can go to the chess tournament with me next weekend. We'll have food at a great cafe or two, and try to figure out how to focus on chess on a March Saturday.
To our backyard birds: I am sorry I am slack on the job. I will post the feeder tomorrow!
To my wife: the dogs and I will hold down the fort during this coming week and weekend, when you must go on a business trip.
To my self: figure out how to continue to do these simple, useful tasks, and you will one day get caught up.
To my current LiveJournal friends: It always sounds a bit trite to say this sort of thing, but today is the fifth anniversary of my weblog, and I am grateful beyond words for the kindnesses you have shown me. If I have caused offense, or boredom, my humble apologies.