Miss Woodhouse's Musings

…about life, the universe, and everything. Don't panic!

GGGG

Gentle Readers,

I’m excited. A few weeks ago I noticed that my phone showed a 4G connection at school. Then at a local mall. Sunday I saw it at church. And tonight, tonight I found it in my neighbourhood.

For those of you not tech savvy, 4G refers to how your phone or other mobile device connects to the internet, phone services, messaging, pretty much everything. I usually explain 4G as the equivalent of broadband versus dial-up. It isn’t a perfect or complete metaphor, but it works.

So, why does this matter to me? Mostly because I live on my phone. Blog posts? Written on my phone. Tweets? Phone. Netflix? Phone. Games? Phone. Note taking? Phone. Emails? I think you get the picture. I’m very excited to have excellent, fast service no matter where I go.

For those of you wondering, I have an HTC EVO 4G LTE. I loooove it to death. HTC puts out some quality phones, and the EVO line is my favourite so far. The Samsung Galaxy SIII is a lovely phone too, in case you’re in the market to buy a new phone.

It should also go without saying that I’m Team Andriod. Apple is pretty, but Droids have my heart.

Until tomorrow,

Miss W

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For The Birds

It has been a long few weeks, and next week is going to be long as well. Really, I should be working on a paper right now, writing some documents, memorising Hebrew vocabulary.

Instead, I’m on my Nook, listening to an Inspector Morse, blogging, and playing Angry Birds. And really, that’s okay. Sometimes you just need to launch birds into pigs and try to win 3 gold stars on every level.

If you haven’t yet joined the Angry Birds movement, you should check it out. They are on the iTunes app store, Android Market, and as an add-on to your Google Chrome browser. It’s addictive…but oh-so-fun.

Have fun!

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Starbucks and iTunes: Genius!

So, this is something that I thought everyone knew about, but since I still answer questions about it every shift and they are expanding the program of late, let’s talk technology and coffee.

A few years ago, Starbucks and Apple formed an entertainment partnership. Honestly, it was a match made in heaven. Coffee and free music! What could go wrong? The answer: nothing. As time has gone on, they’ve done weekly picks, daily picks, special collections (this summer we were handing out cards for a free Frappuccino mix with 10 songs on it! And nine of them were awesome), and so on.

Every Tuesday your local Starbucks will put out a stack of small, grey, business-card looking things. Those are your key to musical happiness; on the front it tells you what you are getting, and on the back is your redemption key and download instructions. It is super simple, super easy, and totally wonderful.

Recently, Starbucks and iTunes expanded this from just music to apps as well! If you’re anything like me, ,you love a good free app. And that is what your Starbucks put out today: a game app. So run in, have fun, enjoy your coffee, grab a card, and happy downloading!

This week's pick!

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Fill In The _____

I use Google Chrome as a web browser, and I just love it! One of the things that makes Chrome awesome (besides how lightly it runs on the computer, the awesome add-ins, and fact that the search bar is integrated into the address bar so that you don’t have to remember if you are searching or going directly to a URL) is that it remembers your favourite sites. Whenever I start to type in an address, it culls through not only my recent history, but also suggests the sites I go to the most.

So, I thought it might be fun to share my “most visited” site from every letter in the alphabet:

A- My friend Allison’s blog.

B- The blog I run for my British Literature students.

C- Starbucks community site…sorry, partners only!

D- Daily Squee!!!! Such cute little animals.

E- The official (and dying) website of my University’s English Club. We are just so tired….

F- Formspring. I like to read the random and crazy answers people give to random and crazy questions.

G- GetGlue; like Foursquare, but for topics, books, movies, shows, music, people, etc. Fun!

H- Hulu. Awesome site for streaming TV shows. It’s how I keep up with Psych!

I- I Can Has Cheezeburger?

J- Blog that no longer is active. Sad….

K- Klout. Supposedly it measures the efficacy of your social networking, but most of us think it’s a joke.

L- LibraryThing!!!! Best. Site. Ever.

M- This blog. <3

N- Not Always Right. Funny site, not fully acceptable so I won’t link, but oh-so-funny-and-true!

O- The Owl at Purdue. THE site for MLA and APA help. Brilliant!

P- Sarah’s blog!!!

Q- Quora, a site I tried for a few months then deactivated. Not very user friendly, and a little pointless at this juncture.

R- My University’s website.

S- A friend’s private blog. Wish she updated more!!! (No pressure, just observation.)

T- Twitter. No one is surprised there….

U- Another friend’s blog that has moved elsewhere. Seeing a trend here.

V- Verizon. We have our interwebs with them.

W- Catherine’s blog!!!

X- xkcd Best webcomic in the world! Geeky and humourous!

Y- YouTube, of course.

Z- The only letter to take me…nowhere. Suggestions?

Now, I throw out the challenge to you, my fellow bloggers! Why not do a post of your own like this, and share the sites that you visit all the time? Happy linking!

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Droid Wars- 1.2

Ah, the live blogging returns! Remember this? Well, Mum had to get a new Hero, so we’ve got to set stuff up. Here we go again….

11:39– Starting up!

11:40-

Me- “What’s your password?”

Mum- “I don’t remember. The usual.”

Me: “Well, that’s not working.”

Mum- “Don’t you remember when we set it up?”

Me- “No, because you wouldn’t tell me.”

Mum- “No way!”

Me- “Yes, you said you would remember, I asked you to tell me for backup, you said you wouldn’t because you would remember, I said you should tell me anyway, you said you’d remember, I said you wouldn’t, you said you would, I said I would blog it, you said ‘Don’t!'”

Mum- *laughs* “Oh, that’s funny. You should blog that!”

11:49

Mum- “Wait, you mean that all those people with gmail accounts have a Google account? I didn’t know that’s what the G stood for!”

11:54

Me- “You…spelled out all the numbers in your email address?”

Mum- “I did?”

Me- *facepalm*

11:59

Me- “Here, you can search for Ringdroid.”

Mum- “Is this going to wake my brain up? It is almost midnight!”

 

To be continued on the morrow….

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Merry Christmas!

So, I’ve struggled with this for a few months now. What do you get the blog readership that has everything?

I thought about putting up a cool new theme for you all to look at, but my only complaint with WordPress is that they have a spectacular gathering of boring, white, stuffy themes. So, no go there.

I though about a deep, meaningful explanation of what Christmas is, and what it means to me. But, the school semester is on break and my brain is fried. I got as far as “Christmas is….”, and fell asleep at the keyboard. Did you know that MS Word will autofill 87 pages with a single letter per 20 minute nap? That’s providing, though, that you fall asleep with your hand on the “K” key. Not that I’ve done that or anything.

Coffee? Logistically, that was a nightmare.

You see? It is a puzzle.

So, how about some Christmas video that I shot for you all instead? There is a house locally (and yes, I know it’s not that uncommon of a phenomenon anymore) that set up the house lights to react to the rhythms of Christmas songs. They’ve done a really, really good job, and so I’d like to share some of them! I actually would like to meet these people- between the music selection and the geekiness of it all, I think we’d get along great. Enjoy, and a very merry Christmas to you all….

Disclaimer: there are a few glitches here and there due to outside noise. So sorry…. <3

Wizards In Winter: Trans-Siberian Orchestra

Jingle Bells

Charlie Brown Christmas

Deck the Halls: Mannheim Steamroller

Angels We Have Heard On High

Carol of the Bells

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Starbucks Nightmares And A Dream Come True

Every barista will tell you: there’s little worse than the inevitable Starbucks nightmares. Mine started two weeks into my training. Not to be boastful, but I picked up the training very quickly in comparison to the usual course of Barista 101. I attribute this fact to my amazingly dedicated learning coach, and the fact that the whole store jumped whole-heartedly into my training. As a result, I struggled very little with the process.

Except for those Caramel Macchiatos. I just couldn’t get them made correctly. This was ironic, because they have always been my favourite “go-to” drink. Lattes? Perfect. Cappuccinos? Foamy. Mochas? Well stirred. Americanos? Mellow. Caramel Macchiatos? Too heavy or too light. Arg!

As my certification loomed, the nightmares started: night after night I dreamt that I was making a tall Caramel Macchiato, and that it wouldn’t turn out correctly. I’d make them over and over and over and over in my dreams. Even when I mastered the drink in real life, my early struggles would still haunt my dreams. Time and time again the customer would send their Caramel Macchiato back over the bar- too foamy, not sweet enough, too much milk, too much espresso…these nightmare customers were impossible to please.

Finally, they stopped. For two years I’ve not dreamt about Starbucks at all.

That is, until last night.

I didn’t realize just how stressed I’ve been at work lately. Quasa is prowling around my district (for those of you unfamiliar with the company, imagine the harshest, meanest, most stringent health inspection you’ve ever heard of. Then quadruple it. That’s a general idea- it’s really terrifying.), we just totally rearranged our frappuccino station for the millionth time, the new wifi standards have resulted in a full cafe almost all of our open hours, our 1,000 piece weekly roasting plant order is now coming on Friday afternoon instead of Wednesday morning, one of our espresso machines keeps breaking down, our fire exit light is out and they don’t consider fixing that a “priority”, our Siren Sign won’t turn off (which makes it look like we are open all night), we have two new partners in the store, our food and milk delivery comes while we are still open for business, and Simphony continues to kick us in the rear ends. Little things, but taken all together they are super stressful.

The nightmares are weird.

I don’t remember much, but I do remember making frappuccinos on the hood of my car (please don’t ask). Much of the dream centered around unhappy customers, and my attempts to make them “enthusiastically satisfied.” The only thing worse than ornery customers in real life are those dream customers- you just can’t make them happy. In my dream, I was trapped at the bar for hour after hour making drinks, and not getting anything accomplished. Even my drinks were horrible. Silly non-real customers; not that my brain will accept that fact that they are figments of my own imagination….

I woke up as exhausted as if I had worked a six hour shift instead of sleeping safely in my bed for the past six hours. It’s just ridiculous!  My first thought was to have some chamomile tea before bed to calm my brain…but wait! That reminds me of Starbucks. Warm milk? Nope, that brings work to mind as well. Listen to music? No, I’m always haunted by the incessant repetition of our HearNow music selections. So, I’m open to ideas! Send them my way!

Okay, deep seriousity aside…I’ve got AWESOME news!

It’s a dream come true- you can now pay with your Starbucks iPod/iPhone/Blackberry app in corporate stores! Yay! I’ve been waiting over a year and a half for it, and now it’s here! (Still waiting for an Android App, if there happen to be any Starbucks Corporate people reading this. Pretty, pretty please?)

Wait, what?

You don’t know what I’m talking about?

Oh dear, dear….

I’ve only *just* started downloading the Blackberry App, so let’s talk iPod/iPhone. The App is free from the store, and looks like this on your homescreen:

Isn’t it cute? So, you download the app, and then sync it with your Starbucks.com account by signing in. You remember your username and password, right? Good!

Once you sign in, it will sync all the cards and reward information from your account. For example, here’s what my cute little designer minicard looks like on the app:

First off, it looks just like my card!!! *Squee* moment! Okay, coming back down. See my total? If you touch that you can refresh the card’s balance, reload the card, or see transaction history. The other buttons do cool things too, but let’s just focus on the the round button with the blue button that says “Touch to Pay.”

As you might have assumed, you touch this button. The card flips around, and shows you a barcode:

Sorry for the blurring, but I’ve got to protect my card! But you all get the idea. So, here’s how it works. You walk into Starbucks, place your order, and tell the barista you will be paying with a Starbucks card. You can then hold your iPod/iPhone under the scanner. It will beep once, and you’ve paid! Hit the “Touch When Done” button, and it will ditch the barcode, give you your pretty card picture again, and automatically refresh your balance.

You can also see how many stars away you are from your next free drink!

Is that cool or what?!?!?!?!?

Oh, and partners, register your partner card. You can scan it for your discount!

It’s genius!

There you have it: nightmares and dreams come true all in the same week. Here’s hoping for a quiet week- both at work and in my dreams!

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Just Add Fire

I’ve a confession to make: I am a pyromaniac. I simply love fire. Waaaayyy too much. Now, I don’t go to the point of stupidity with this obsession, but I do find myself drawn to fire like a moth to a…flame. Ahem.

See?

This 4th of July, my family and friends were very surprised to find a nice fireworks display occurring outside the house, just a little down the street. Surprised, because these fireworks were pretty impressive given the amateur nature of the production; over an hour of explosions from at least 4 different sources. Oh yeah, and fireworks are illegal in my state.

Technicalities, right?

I couldn’t resist taping some of the night for you all. Here’s my explanation of what’s going on:

The blast at the beginning totally took me by surprise. BOOM!

At this point, we were starting to get a little punchy. (Okay, punchier than normal.) What you can’t see is that there are 7 of us on an old wooden dock- 3 teen boys determined to see the fireworks up close and personal, the father of 2 of those boys, me, my best friend (who was telling me a fireworks story), and her brother (who is on crutches following surgery).

Near the end of the video, a mis-directed rocket landed less than 10 feet behind us, thus the gasping and hasty retreat!

I will say, it was hard to be that close to the launch pad and not run over and light a fuse myself. I tend to be very eager to work with fire: I’m good at building fires in the fireplace, I love having candles around, and the smell of matches makes me happy!

I can also be a bit ditzy with fire, like the time I inadvertently let 300 “Pop-Its” sit by a lit candle for hours. Erm, not my brightest life-moment.

But man, the explosion would have been pretty cool!

Anyway, that’s just a peek into our night. It’s also a little different for me to video blog so if you like the change of pace, drop me a comment.

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The Day(s) the WiFi Died

I work at a small, but strategically placed Starbucks. At first, the strategy might not be apparent. It’s hard to get into our shopping center, and we are in an awkward corner. Too, it’s hard to get out. We are on a minor highway, but once you get off, it’s not easy to get back on. We are far from the main interstate. There are 6 other Starbucks within a 1.5 mile radius of us. Eh, make that 8 in a 2 mile radius.

Geography isn’t my strong suit.

However, we have some distinctions that keep us popular. For one, we are super, super, super friendly. Another thing is that we are near a Wal-Mart. Guess how often people come in to brace up for or recover from a trip to Wally World? We really should write them a thank you note.

We also have 3 college campuses and 4 high schools within 5 miles. Can you say “study zone?”

Thus, WiFi is important in our little store. That’s one of the main reasons people come in; many of our now-Gold Card customers would never have started visiting our store if not for the WiFi. Now it’s free! Yay? We will see.

This post is not another rant about the stupidity of free WiFi. Even though it is stupid.

No, this post deals with a much more tragic issue: the day the WiFi died.

Correction, how about the three days that the WiFi died?

Oh yes, it was tragedy in its finest form. Apparently, I was one of the few WiFi-using people to think through the fact that if the system was going to be free, then the system had to go down at some point for adjustments. I’m also apparently the only person who thought that the upgrades could occur during the night while we are, you know, closed.

There I go, thinking again.

No, instead they started messing around with the internet 3 days before the big switcheroo. Here’s how things were going down for three nights running: WiFi customer walks in, sits down. They open their laptop, try to connect. They come up and ask for our network name. They try again. No success at connecting. With nothing left to do, they pick up their laptop and leave.

Well, had I but known! This could work in our favour….

Unfortunately, the outages messed up our register systems too. I’ll be honest, it does make an evening more amusing to watch the slightly panicked look on the customer’s faces as they wait for me to hand back their credit cards. And they wait. And wait. And wait.

I’ve got one simple rule- I don’t hand back a card until it runs through completely. Thing is, when the internet is sketchy, the card authorization is sketchy too. Thus, it took a while for cards to run.

A long while.

Now, before you think I’m completely cruel, when I handed back their cards I explained what took so long, and apologised on our behalf. It was just interesting to watch the look of relief and “Oh good, I paid the bill” wash over their faces.

All this over the holiday weekend too! What fun!

So, now the internet is back, and I’m waiting to see how the free status affects us. We probably won’t see too much of a difference until school starts back again. When it does, I’ll keep you all posted on the drama.

Until then, make sure you bring a book and cash to Starbucks, just in case we have issues again….

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The Answer

I know, I know, I’m late posting today! So sorry; life, doncha know.

So, there I was this morning trying to think about what the theme for today’s Friday Frame-Up should be. Then, I remembered that it’s my coworker’s birthday. Now, all my coworkers are special in their own way, but this one has one extremely notable distinction: she speaks “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” Yes, it’s pretty awesome.

Now, I’m a huge Hitchhiker fan. If you haven’t noticed, then you should read my blog header…and then you should read the books or see the movie. Seriously. I’ll wait here while you educate yourself; otherwise the rest of this post won’t make much sense.

Back to the birthday barista.

We ask each other on shift if we know where our towels are. She understands what “I never could get the hang of Thursdays” means. She even answers my questions with “42”!

May 25th (wow, seems forever ago!)  was “Towel Day”, and we brought our towels into work (I even wrapped mine around my anthology of Hitchhikers). Interestingly enough, the fridges seemed to be celebrating Towel Day as well. Every time I looked at the readouts, this was what they said:

Yeah, it was pretty cool!

Anyway, that’s enough Hitchhiker talk and randomness from me tonight. So long and thanks for all the fish!

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