Just a quick note to anyone in the DC area. My buddy Chris is a producer on the documentary 9500 Liberty. They’ll be doing a screening at 7:30PM on Thursday, October 1 at E Street Cinema. Get tix here.
I’ve always been a huge fan of LL Bean. My family has bought clothes, shoes, jackets, and bags from them for many years. In particular, I’ve always been a huge fan of the backpacks. My sister bought one in the 80′s, and I think it’s still floating around with my dad. The last backpack that I bought was probably 10 years ago, and LL Bean’s stuff comes with a lifetime guarantee.
I suppose in what can be considered a moment of not really wanting to have to pay for more stuff right now a.k.a. greed, I wanted to get a new one for free that didn’t have a crumbly liner. And I wanted to take advantage of the lifetime guarantee. So I hit up the store in Columbia. Well, when I asked the cashier she asked me how long I’d had the bag. Then she laughed at me, and said that she’d never heard of the guarantee and the store would go out of business if that were the case. Of course it was a little shaming, and I do own the Beaners some money. But I think her dismissive behavior and clear lack of knowledge of one of the central tenets of the store was pretty bad, and made me fairly indignant.
And well like anyone who has something to complain about, I decided to head to the internets. So I posted a comment on Twitter about how I was a little displeased. Apparently, LL Bean is one of the companies that chooses to monitor Twitter for comments about their company. So I received a message from their chief marketing officer telling me that the guarantee does still apply if I’m not satisfied.
Well, as Groundswell puts it, the company/CMO took advantage of the opportunity of using Twitter “to be human,” and now I feel less disgruntled and more pleased with my experience. It is a reminder that if you’re a retailer just how important it is to instill the company’s core customer service tenets. An example of that would be Nordstrom, where customer service is key. When my friend worked there, she drove to someone’s house to deliver something someone had ordered. And even though Nordstrom is not as pricey as Bloomingdale’s or Neiman Marcus, their customer service is what has me returning, rather than dealing with the snooty cows at either of those department stores. And perhaps that should be applied across every company, not just retailers.
I took a break from blogging here for a while. Part of it was distraction. Twitter is a nice and easy outlet for jotting quick thoughts that doesn’t demand much time. Part of it was life getting in the way. Part of it was trying to even find the time/energy to write/edit weekly for DCist. And then there are the times in most bloggers’ lives when the passion leaves. Sometimes it comes back, but I’ve seen a lot more for whom it never returns.
My friend encouraged me to update my blog for professional reasons a few months ago, but even so I struggled. I spent a lot of time half-heartedly composing posts in my head. I haven’t been eating out as much, and most of the information from my missions end up on DCist. There were many times when I started thinking I would write a new post, and got mentally sidetracked. The material just dried up. Even now I’m not sure what I will write about. It may be stuff relating to online community development, which is something I work on for my job. I may try and discuss food a little bit, but I see it as less useful right now. I might also discuss the interesting bits of my running pursuits.
Usually posts come quite naturally, but even as I write this I struggle with what to say. To write even vaguely well about something, you need to have a passion for it. And lack of passion is self-evident.
Anyone here’s a list of what’s been getting heavy hitting on my playlist.
The Avett Brothers – Kick Drum Heart
Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings – How Long Do I Have to Wait for You?
The Pixies – Here Comes Your Man
Punjabi MC feat. Jay-Z – Beware of the Boys
Lauryn Hill – Can’t Take My Eyes Off You
Mat Kearney – Closer to Love
The Avett Brothers – The Perfect Space
The Avett Brothers – I And Love And You
Keri Hilson feat. Kanye West and Ne-Yo – Knock You Down
The Crystal Method feat. Meiko – Falling Hard
Rachael Yamagata - Elephants
I’ve really been loving the most recent Rachael Yamagata double album, Elephants… Sinking Teeth into Heart. I was a huge fan of Happenstance, and her voices conveys heartache so beautifully. When I first listened to parts of Elephants, I wasn’t too ecstatic, because I yearned for her piano-accompanied songs from Happenstance. But I still decided to go see her in the Hotel Cafe Tour.
She started off her set with the most amazing un-cued acapella rendition of Elephants. It was so strikingly beautiful that I wish I could relive that moment repeatedly. (This also happened to be the first night of the tour, and the second time she came out she was really drunk, and did a rather piece-y “Reasons Why.” It was very cute.) I got over my preferences for her piano playing and have learned to like the more guitar-based Elephants.
I love what she has written on her website, “My mother said recently that Happenstance is the beauty of your ’20s, this one is the richness of your ’30s – of someone who’s been through the mill and is trying to make the choice between optimism and defeatism.”
Be sure to listen to her song Duet with Ray LeMontagne. He is the perfect contrast – a male version of her voice.
My DCist interview with Tony Bourdain posted today! He was a pretty nice guy when I spoke to him over the phone. I think that even though his comments can be acerbic, there’s a reason behind and he seemed to be just a decent guy with a certain set of ideals. It was cute when I was on the phone with him and he said goodbye to his daughter who was on her way to her first ballet class in a pink tutu.
From the Brit Superstore
Also… found cartons of Five Alive at the Klein’s Supermarket back home. I LOVE this stuff. How can you go wrong with a delicious blend of five citrus fruits – orange, mandarin orange, lemon, lime, and grapefruit. It could be a teensy bit more tart, but it is still DELICIOUS. I used to buy 1-liter tetrapaks of these in England all the time, as well as the other Five Alive flavor variations. They were cheaper than the other juices for some reason, but tasted much better. I guess given the lack of proximity to citrus, apple juice was a lot more popular. (I also drank a lot of apple-elderflower juice when I was there.)
Image from NY Mag, Patrick McMullen
After watching last week’s Top Chef, I gotta say I have a big nerdy crush on Dan Barber. Yes, his voice sounds a lot like a woman’s and he’s not all that attractive, but the man can really pen a good op-ed on farming subsidies. Amber Fields of Bland
He was an English major at Tufts. Nothing like an articulate chef.
The cashew raisin granola bars from New Morning Farms are awesome – granola, peanut butter, coconut, honey, etc. As is their bagged granola – so tender.
“Taking a few classes at L’Academie de Cuisine” doesn’t seem so far off from, “I watch a LOT of Food Network.” Watching a lot of Food Network (depending on the show) may be far more effective.
I am not a robot, but a ghost.
There’s nothing like a bartender who wants to get you so drunk you go over to your ex’s and pee all over his stuff.
I hate platitudes.
Inauguration-related press releases — DO NOT WANT!
I’m not sure how I feel about coconut milk-cultured yogurt.
If you hand me a bottle of Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale it is only appropriate that I be handed a cup or glass. Just saying.
It is also to your benefit to run out and get a sixer of Bell’s Third Coast Ale, drink one and put the rest at 40 degrees to age for a few years. Trust me.
In a moment of pure snobbery, I HATE watching someone give their maki a soy sauce bath. Those people don’t like sushi, just sodium and sugar.
“Maybe I’m too young to keep good love from going wrong.” “Kiss me, please kiss me, baby, out of desire, and not consolation.” “She’s a tear that hang inside my soul forever.” Oh Jeff Buckley, why did you have to wade out into that river?