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:
>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
>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.