Back In Black

Brian, Angus, & the boys are back in black.   “Black Ice,” that is.   AC/DC’s first new album in eight years is due (exclusively!) at Wal-Mart & Sam’s Club stores on October 20th.   But the first hard-hitting single "Rock ’N’ Roll Train" hit the band’s official website today.

Austin Scaggs at Rolling Stone magazine got a sneak preview listen and proclaims the album to be nothing less than earthshaking.

Just click the banner below to go to the official AC/DC website and give the new "Rock ’N’ Roll Train" single a listen.   While you’re there, you can even pre-order the new album or pick up some other cool new swag.

AC/DC banner

Credit Where It Is Due

thumbs up graphicComplaining about consumer experiences comes easy and it seems like there’s plenty of poor customer service to go around these days.   What’s less easy is to remember to sing praises when someone has gone above & beyond for you.   So I’d like to take a moment to do just that…

Watch Out

Several years ago, Dede bought me an awesome Skagen titanium watch while we were at Macy’s in San Diego’s Horton Plaza.   This is the only watch I’ve ever owned that doesn’t interact badly with the oils in my skin and corrode.   I took it to a local jeweler to have the battery replaced recently, only to discover that I had unknowingly sheared off the stem & crown — y’know, the little knob on the side.   The jeweler tried to find a replacement part but finally gave up after several weeks of hunting.   In desperation, I called the Skagen customer service number.   A mere $8 (for shipping) later, and not only did the manufacturer repair the broken stem, but also replaced the battery and polished the crystal.

For $8 bucks!   Gotta give those Danes some props for an excellent product and outstanding service behind it.

Looking Up

A couple of weeks ago, I noticed that Liam had done some real carnage on the temple tips (y’know, the rubbery plastic coatings that cover the ends of the temples over the ears) of his fairly-new glasses.   So Dede sent some email to the customer service folks at Zenni Optical to see if they offered replacement tips.   We were thrilled to hear back from them quickly and that they could send us free replacements.   What we didn’t expect is that they’d send a whole new pair of glasses — with lenses!

Next time you’re shopping for glasses, you’ve gotta give these folks a shot!   We were impressed with them even before this because of their prices, selection, and speedy shipping.   But now…   They’re incredible!

What about you?   Any great customer service stories to share?

Do Schools Kill Creativity?

I’ll admit it — I’m a TED junky!   TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design.) is an annual interdisciplinary conference that brings together the world’s most fascinating thinkers & doers and challenges them to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).   TED talks are presented in video format on and are almost always eye-opening — and very often downright mind-blowing!

My latest favorite TED talk features creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenging the way we’re educating our children and championing a radical rethink of our school systems.   He contends that students with restless minds & bodies are stigmatized & needlessly medicated — rather than cultivating individuals for their energy & unique types of intelligence, our schools straightjacket kids into educational paths that squash & squander their creativity & distinctive gifts.

Grab a cup of coffee, settle in for an entertaining few minutes, and open your mind:

August Blogtipping

Blogtipping iconI like words with dual-personalities and so it’s all the more fun that I can say that the sites I’ve selected for the August Blogtipping are indeed an august (meaning noble, honored, impressive, or eminent) group.   This month’s picks are all part of the ever-growing and diverse ranks of Permian Basin bloggers:

Double Danger is James Cross’ foray into gardening, barbeque, & all sorts of other interesting stuff and it’s worth a look because:

  1. Loads of practical tips for making the most of your time in the backyard.
  2. James isn’t afraid to share his gardening dissappointments right along with the successes.
  3. Simple & clean site layout makes it easy to navigate around.
  • Tip: Hey James, maybe you could post some photos of your outdoor cooking gear?

Your Photo Tips from Damien Franco provides useful digital photography tips, techniques, & tutorials:

  1. The content is clear enough for even rank novices can understand & apply.
  2. The impressive photos featured on the blog!
  3. Keep up to date with either email or RSS feed subscription.
  • Tip: I’d like to see more regional photos to showcase some of the West Texas that’s not as well-known.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Sticky Doorknobs by Jimmy Patterson, veteran blogger, seasoned writer, and a man whose charitability clearly outweighs his fear of heights.   This blog is always at the top of my Google Reader list because:

  1. Jimmy’s wit & wisdom shine through in his writing.
  2. I admire the sense of community that "Sticky Doorknobs" inspires.
  3. Jimmy’s musical tastes & trivia contests keep me on my toes!
  • Tip: Hey Jimmy, when ya gonna beef up that "About" page a bit?

Bonus:   Not only is this site a part of the thriving virtual neighborhood of the Permian Basin, but Clems’ house is barely half a block down the street, so how could I not mention Clems & Soph’s   While it’s not a blog per se, their website has some great photo galleries, including lots of pictures of their daughter Sienna as well as Clems’ latest home improvement project that’s really amping up his house’s "curb appeal."

networked neighborhood

Be sure to check out the list of Midland-Odessa area bloggers over on the 2Dolphins Favorite Sites page.   And if you know of any regional bloggers whom I’ve omitted, please leave a comment and I’ll add ’em right away!

A Dozen Years

champagne cork
Today, Dede & I celebrated our 12th wedding anniversary!

As we reflect back on all that’s happened in those years, it’s surprising how dramatically our lives have changed just in the past six months or so.   And it’s also a bit surprising how we’re thinking of the future in radically different terms now…   With the addition of Liam this year, our family finally feels complete.   We’re looking forward to the coming years and watching our little boy grow into a young man.