Friday, 28 September 2007

Friday Grab Bag

Just a few short bits and bobs today, as we slide into the weekend. First up:

Meet Rechie, the King of Kustomer Service
My Lovely Wife has been trying to extract some information from the online payment site PayPal--namely, whether we can set up an account in two different currencies, dollars and pounds. Here is the entire text of the e-mail she got back from PayPal in response to her question:

>Dear Ruth,
>Hello my name is Rechie, I am sorry to hear about the situation
>regarding (Briefly repeat the members situation), and understand your
>frustration and concern over this issue. I am happy to assist you with
>your questions.
>If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us again.
>PayPal Consumer Support
>PayPal, an eBay Company

I think I'm going to use that when dealing with any problem I may encounter. Rather than articulate the dilemma, I'll just say "Briefly repeat the members situation."

Not Their Piano Forte

A story in yesterday's Guardian caught my eye. The Bosendorfer piano factory in Austria has donated a $170,000 concert grand to a classical music festival taking place in the wilds of Exmoor and Dartmoor. This piano replaces a Bosendorfer that festival organizers had spent years raising funds for. What happened to that one? This is what happened.

I think this quote says it all: "Mr Adie, 61, said that the piano's workings would be examined but it was impossible to believe that the 10,000 working parts would have survived the impact."

My Lucky Number
I got my first Oxford hair cut this week. Because everything is so expensive around here, I'm determined to save money wherever possible. I pay $35 for a haircut in Washington. But that's because I go to a hairdresser, not a barber. Prices at hairdressers near my house in Oxford are comparable to that--18 pounds for a man's cut--but I can't bring myself to shell out that much. I hear there's a barber college somewhere--that's what I really want; maybe they'll pay me--but I haven't found it yet. So instead I went to Cowley Road.

Cowley Road is a diverse, if somewhat shabby, street in East Oxford. It's where we bought our bikes and where I bought some drumsticks. It's where the biggest music club in Oxford is. And supposedly where the junkies and prostitutes hang out. In other words, perfect for an economical haircut.

I found a place, Youssef's, that charges only 9 pounds. Youssef asked what I wanted. I described the haircut: short, but not too short; a little longer at the front; keep the pathetic, vestigial sideburns. "You want a Number 4," said Youssef.

"I guess," I said. I looked around to see if there was a chart on the wall showing various styles, each one carefully numbered. There was none. Youssef fired up his electric clippers.

It turns out British barbers use a uniform system to describe the setting on their clippers. Number 1 is basically bald. Number 2 is a teensy bit longer. And Number 4? Let's just say I have the shortest hair I've had since I was born. It should definitely save me money, though. I won't need to spend another 9 pounds for about six months.

Have a great weekend and good luck surviving any impacts you may encounter.


suburbancorrespondent said...

I don't want to meet Rechie, thank you - he scares me.

You're wasting money on haircuts in Washington - we have barbers here, too, you know. Personally, I'm a fan of number 1's and number 2's (haircuts, that is); my husband is a former military man.

Paul said...

John, when you move back to DC try Puglisi's Italian barbershop, 2100 Pennsylvania Ave, NW, 20037. It's very popular with men at GWU, and I'm charged $20 for a superb hair cut.

Anonymous said...

Hey John,

Just want to say that the Friday WaPo chats are not the same without you. Glad to find you here. Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Aren't you going to let us see a picture of you with your new haircut?

jt said...

Ah, that explains the very short haircut I got in Cambridge! In the US, I usually get a clipper cut on #3 setting but the #3 cut in the UK was a lot shorter!

Anonymous said...

Brian's in Silver Spring uses those numbers for haircuts. I just like to say "not too short," which was always fine at Westbard.