Local carpet company covers up error

Apartment PhotoThis is another customer service observation, though hopefully not one that isn't already completely obvious. I recently had some new carpet installed in an apartment that I rent out (which, by the way, is available again at the beginning of August, if you're interested), and it was the first time I'd ever hired anyone to install carpet. I felt fortunate to have been recommended to a local carpet sales company by a person I trust, but the end result was pretty disappointing. They did a great job with sales, pricing was awesome, the work seemed high quality, and the folks doing the work were nice. When they were done, they left a nice and tidy collection of the spare carpet pieces gathered in the corner of one room. I thanked them as they left, and felt good.

Later, when I moved the nice and tidy collection of spare carpet pieces, I found the not-so-tidy hole in the wall that they had created during the installation. The spare pieces had been strategically placed to cover up their glaring destruction. I couldn't imagine any scenario other than that they had blatantly created a distraction to give themselves enough time to make an exit.

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An exchange on the street about biking Uptown

You may know about the ongoing conversation about safe bike riding in Uptown Richmond (the business district). At the end of last year, there was a nice improvement when signs that appeared to prohibit biking on that stretch of Main Street came down. I had an interesting related exchange today while walking on the sidewalk. A young man on a bike was riding on the sidewalk, headphones on, coming toward me quickly, and I saw him at the last minute with barely enough time to jump out of the way:
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One Day, Many Costumes

IMG_2282.JPGIt was a day where I've worn so many different costumes and had such a wide range of experiences, I know I'll never have another like it, and it just feels good to be alive.

Early Morning: black pants with dark blue dress shirt. Activities included helping track down someone selling stolen dogs and cats in New York, doing tech support for web hosting, setting up meetings for next week.

Late Morning: black pants with crazy silk vacation shirt, to perform a magic/juggling show with friends at Girls, Inc. Activities included talking to a ghost, making things vanish into thin air and then reappear elsewhere, feeling really good as an awesome group of kids and adults laugh and ooh and ahh.

Afternoon: black pants with black t-shirt. Activities included launching a new website, testing and delivering two other websites under development, laughing hysterically at some of the images on lolcats, cleaning up my inboxes (virtual and real).

Early Evening: black suit, white shirt, silver tie. Activities included eating from a buffet at a fancy dinner, hearing about some inspiring forms of servant leadership in my community, shaking hands and talking about the future.

Later Evening: tan shorts and a beat up t-shirt. Activities include tending the garden, sighing at the piles around the house, admiring the dusk, blogging.

On being outraged and paying attention

IMG_2215.JPGThese numbers came into my inbox today:

  • Number of US citizens (non-military) killed by terrorists in 2005: 56
  • Amount spent by US government on War on Terror in 2005: $136 billion
  • Number of people worldwide who died of hunger in 2005: 8,000,000
  • Amount spent by US government on aid to world's poor in 2005: $4.9 billion

(Sources: US Dept. of State; The End of Poverty; Congressional Research

When I was in College, where I learned that world-views which can be expressed on hip bumper stickers are the ones you really want to internalize and live by, I saw one that said "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention." I really liked it at the time, because it highlighted the curious and nearly universal practice of going about our daily lives while really awful, horrible, disgusting things are happening all around us.
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Why this weblog sucks

I've been reflecting recently on the different ways that my weblog sucks. And by "sucks," I mean "doesn't live up to the standards of what a popular, regularly-read weblog looks like." Popularity isn't necessarily my primary goal or even a goal at all, but it is nice to be recognized for the time and energy I put into some of the posts I write here. And therein lies the rub, I think:
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Derrick Jensen's Thought to Exist in the Wild

5F2FD5EE1A8911DA.jpgI have a lot of memories of visiting zoos as a younger person. There was the time my Boy Scout troop had an overnight stay at the Cincinnati Zoo, where we had behind-the-scenes tours of the habitats and infrastructure that made up the place; I was amazed at the intricate facades created for zoo visitors. Another summer at the same zoo and I'm about to start drinking my red cream soda during a field trip lunch break, when a bird poops directly into it from a tree overhead. I remember feeling frustration and resentment that this creature had invaded my personal space so - now I laugh at the irony of that resentment, felt so strongly against one who was just answering the call of this artificial shrine to come observe animal life, poop and all. And most recently, standing with my nose and right hand pressed up against the glass at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago, apologizing to the once-grand and beautiful Gorillas on display there for the noisy people, the cheesy layout of the captivity, the life stolen from them. "I'm so sorry," I mouthed. "Please forgive us."

I've had plenty of conversations about why most zoos maybe aren't such a good thing, about what they symbolize, what they mean about who we are as a people and a culture. But until I read Thought to Exist in the Wild: Awakening from the Nightmare of Zoos by Derrick Jensen and with photography by Karen Tweedy-Holmes, I hadn't really explored that symbolism and sense of concern in any depth. And to that end, the book is a thought-provoking and eye-opening treatment of the subject.
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