Saturday, April 30, 2011

Climbing Aboard a Different Dream Weaver Train

And driving myself nuts learning web programming!

Meanwhile, I keep humming this Dream Weaver.

Friday, April 29, 2011

I Like My Sleep Way Too Much

To get up and watch William and Catherine marry, but I did look at the various media outlets on the Internet to see the dress (loved it), the ceremony highlights (including William saying to his bride and her dad "This was supposed to be a small family affair!" when they arrived at the altar and look at the weird hats that other members of the family wore.

Thirty years ago, I was in summer school and had to be up by 8am, but woke at 6am instead to watch the pomp and pageantry that was Charles and Diana's wedding. We didn't own a VCR, so if I wanted to see anything at all, it was get up or only see a few highlights on the 6 o'clock news. I remember thinking how wrinkled her dress was. It sure was not an indication of the style maven Diana would later become.

The passing of 30 years just highlights the differences between the time when William's parents married. Charles was urged to marry to produce an heir to the throne. It seems that William and Harry were raised with instructions to marry for love from both their parents.

While it doesn't impact me directly, it's good to see a happy occasion for William Wales.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

If You Don't Want to Watch the Wedding

Watch the Shiba Inu puppies instead.

Be warned, it's a time sucker!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

365 Things to Do in Lakeland

I've been saving these for months, hoping to do a spread of all of them, but I think there's enough for a blog post already.

On Facebook, those ads on the right can bring some interesting and amusing things to the table. For instance, Living Social and Groupon have either "100 Things to do in (Your City Here)" or the more ambitious "365 Things to do in (that same city)."

I live in Lakeland, Florida. The town covers a large geographic area, but folks, it's a small town. Downtown businesses, save for the restaurants, are closed by 6pm. If you want to see a movie, you're going to the outdoor mall on the south side of town or the drive in (which I prefer). So, imagine my surprise at the first '365 things..." picture-it was Niagara Falls. I assure you, Lakeland is quite flat and while there's a ton of water to be found, there are no falls.

The next one featured a picture of a nice wooden roller coaster. The nearest amusement parks are Busch Gardens, soon to be Legoland, and the Disney World resort. This coaster was from none of them, so where was this coaster hiding? It almost looked like they were masking the coaster in the local power plant and you had to be an employee of the utility to enjoy it.

Some of the other interesting things that have popped up are below. Have you had some interesting ones in your ads?

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Triple Threat

In theatre, the term 'Triple Threat' refers to an actor who can also sing and dance. It goes back to the very early days of Broadway, when budgets allowed for a corps de dance, singers who just sang and actors who just acted.

I think if you look at any Buzby Berkeley musical, you can see how the casts could number over a hundred, sometimes two! So, to have an actor who did all three, and well, was a hot commodity.

Nowadays, to succeed on the boards of Broadway, and get roles in the musicals, you need to be able to do all three very well. There are plenty of people after those limited jobs, and if you can't do it all, there's someone right behind you that can.

Meanwhile, if you're a big name actor with major marquee value, this can be forgiven. So, when this actor was announced as taking the lead in a revival in a Broadway musical, I figured he'd either dance or sing well. Dancing can be taught to the point that someone can pass muster for eight performances a week (or one movie, like for Natalie Portman).

A friend posted this link yesterday and I was transfixed, because he truly is a Triple Threat:

Now I've got another Broadway show I'd love to see!

Monday, April 25, 2011

I'll Give Wordpress This...

I really, really like the fact that I don't have to verify which gmail account I'm signed into before writing a blog post! Lately, I have to log out of the school email and into my main gmail account to do this.

Oh, and the Wordpress blog? It's a final project for one of my classes. Link will come when I'm done.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Yet Again, eBay Makes Me Happy

This summer, I decided to take three classes. The graduate program recommends taking two, and even suggests the two I should take, neither of which were being offered. This set the future semester studies in a bit of flux, because obtaining permits for classes was based on 'did you take this class or do you have this experience?' Each time, the answer was no and no.

Fortunately, two of the professors I contacted were willing to work with me, and based on the tech skills I already have, suggested the same book. Both asked me to obtain the book (Karel the Robot), complete the exercises within, then send the completed items in a zip file for review. Professor S because I've never performed web programming before, and Professor H because I hadn't taken Professor S's class (even though I've worked with the Adobe product she teaches.)

So, I searched Amazon, found a gently used copy for 2 bucks (and another 3 shipping) and I'm ready to dive into the book next Tuesday or Wednesday and have a go at Web Programming before the ten week journey in my class. HTML coding, here I come!

Okay, so that leaves the other class and I'm at a precarious crossroad. Future classes hinge on what I've taken and could even delay my graduation a semester. This is not a huge problem, as the doctoral program recommends starting in the Fall and doesn't even admit new candidates to summer classes.

Still, I didn't want to spin my wheels, and the idea of taking two programming based classes as a newbie wasn't a good idea. One of the fall recommendations opened up, I looked at taking the suggested summer class and it worked. I enrolled in the Fundamentals course, which closed the next day. That was a relief.

As I hadn't enrolled in all three of my fall classes, opting to see exactly how Web Programming progressed before deciding on the next course (maybe Web Programming 2, maybe another language), I looked to see what offerings were around and miraculously, the class I'd wanted for the summer session was now listed as a permit class for students not in the Educational Leadership program. An hour later, I had a permit and spot in the class. Hey, jump on it when you can, right?

I think this may scare Ed a bit, considering that last summer's 4 classes were like boot camp. However, the two Foundations classes pair very well together and the programming class, while new to me, is not completely foreign like last summers Biology class!

Okay, so yesterday I realized that Foundations classes require textbooks. First, a look at the campus bookstore site to find out the ISDN's of those I need, then off to Amazon and eBay. I find and bid on both titles, listed at 99 cents each with 25 hours to go.

One quickly shot up and ultimately sold for 45 bucks. Once it went above my maximum bid, I looked at the other listings and found a buy it now for two dollars. Yes, two. The reason for this is that apparently, there are a lot of lightly penciled notes in the first chapter of the book. Big whoop. Writing in a book that saves me $150 and can be erased is tolerable.

So, the other book. I bid my maximum of 15 bucks. It started at 99 cents, then my bid brought it to 1.25, then another bidder kept bidding to bring it up to 10.50. I thought for sure that it'd get sniped this evening while I was out, but it didn't.

For 25 bucks, I succeeded in getting all the print materials for this summer's classes. I'll take it. As for the extra class this summer? It gives me the chance to take an extra class in the spring...

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Second Life as an Educational Resource

Yes, I know I have really bashed on the game, thanks to the image of the game presented by Jane. It still doesn't appeal to me, but I have to create a lesson plan for Monday's class, based upon elements of the game.

As my semester-long theme doesn't translate well into this virtual world, I came up with an idea based on work I did in last semester's Spanish class. Basically, I wanted to have students walk the Camino de Santiago de Compestela in the Galician region of Spain.

I'd thought I'd found enough content to make this work and use both English and Spanish from my PowerPoint presentation in a lesson plan geared towards third year Spanish students. Alas, what I thought I'd found was really a group, not a location. Back to square one.

Then I was thinking I'd bring students on an architectural tour of a Spanish architect (also part of a presentation I'd done), but that also was a bust. Next, the lightbulb went off that I should have students look at the works of Salvador Dalí in their museum settings.

I can find most of the works I'd wanted to include, but none are in el Museo Dalí in St. Petersburg or Teatro y Museo Dalí in Figueres, Spain. Well, they could be there, but I'm not finding either location in Second Life and have no clue how to go about finding them.

Then, there's the matter of how the heck to bookmark the ones that I *did* find.

Oh well, the instructor has made it clear she doesn't expect us to turn in top notch work in a virtual world that takes a long time to learn to navigate. I just wish the virtual world we're working in had these resources so that I could create that first lesson plan. I think it'd be really cool to have students make the same pilgrimage and learn from the experience-without the blisters.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Surprises, Ice Packs and Plantar Faciitis

The plantar faciitis is back with a vengeance. I did it to myself by wearing the same shoes, day in and day out, which is really discouraged with PF. Several of the treatment options are not feasible for me, due to allergies and history.

So I've been icing the foot several times a day.

The way I've been doing this is by bringing a large bowl out onto the lanai and icing five on, five off for about an hour. This helps a little, but makes the other problems worse. I've been meaning to get some more of those blue ice packs to chuck in the freezer, because I can help the other leg problems with elevation and the PF with cold all at the same time.

Here's where the surprise (more like OOPS) comes in. I ordered a box of goodies from See's Candies for the menfolk for Easter. Floridians who want See's in warmer months can get it by paying an extra $13 bucks for 'warm weather shipping.' I wasn't exactly sure what it entailed, but I knew that this is the latest Easter has been when I've ordered their goodies and I didn't want them to melt.

In the styrofoam lined box were a half dozen ice packs, all emblazoned with the See's Candies logos. Even better, they were still quite chilly, which is not bad for packs that left their factory two days ago. As I hadn't iced my foot down yet when this discovery was made, I brought one outside, where I promptly planted my foot on it while working on an assignment.

First GameTeen came out to ask me a question and while usually unobservant in the medical woes of anyone else, immediately asked me why I was stepping on a package of See's Candies. Somehow, he was convinced that I'd always had these packs, just needed to use it today for my aching foot.

Then, this evening, after running errands, I was once again on the lanai, where Chef comes out and spying this thing on the floor, grabs it-thinking it's a bag of chocolate. Once again, I was able to keep the surprise of the Easter candy by telling him I'd found the pack in the back of the freezer from the last time we'd ordered the candies.

Phew, I got away with it this time. I wonder how mad they'll be on Sunday when they realize I'd lied to them in order to keep the bunnies, scotchmallows, truffles and California brittle a secret a little while longer!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Day at Vero Beach

I'd always heard that Disney's Vero Beach Resort, a DVC resort, was Disney without the parks. After visiting the resort yesterday, I have to agree. The buildings are like many other Disney Vacation Club properties and the amenities are clearly Disney.

It was just icing on the cake of spending time with Joyce, Tim and their kids.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

They'll Revoke our State Residency

...if they realize that we rarely, I mean rarely, go to the beach!

In the past seven years, we headed over the Gulf coast about two dozen times, the Atlantic coast none. I came close in my trip to Port Canaveral, Ed with the Space Center. Maybe if we were closer to either coast, it'd cross our minds more often.

As it is, there's plenty to do without dipping the toes in water, so we don't feel like we're missing anything.

Though, tomorrow, the Atlantic coast calls. We'll be meeting up with Joyce, Tim and their brood for the day. A two hour drive, then a day full of whatever trouble we can get into.

Maybe even dipping toes in the water.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Pep Talk

Tonight was the last regular session of my Interactive Media class. She promised a stressful semester, because the amount of learning packed into one class will stress out anyone. That was the absolute truth, but I have to agree that along with the heaping helping of stress (some of it having nothing to do with the instructor or assignments), I'm coming out of this class with some very useful skills.

Let's backtrack a bit. Back in 2007 or so, my friend Liz suggested that I look into going back to school for Instructional Design. It sounded interesting enough that when I was unemployed and realizing that it was a good time to see about finishing the bachelor's, some research was done.

The original plan with it was to find a corporate trainer job, get out there in HR and create training materials to be used online or in a classroom. Kind of bridging the technology skills, the love of training and the real world experience.

Then, the return to academia changed my plans somewhat. Yes, I still wanted the Master's, but I shifted to the Technology side because I wanted to know HOW to do it, not just design it. A few months of being in a school setting and I realized I wanted to WORK for a school, preferably higher education.

More changes came after seeing Tony Attwood speak and following up with professors. It's hard to believe that seven months ago, I wasn't even considering doctoral studies, now I've got a clear vision of what I want to do and what research I want to conduct. Even better, with that framework, the Master's studies are flowing from that concept.

Tonight's class contained a pep talk from the professor, a "look at how much you've accomplished in fourteen weeks" speech that was given after we'd spent two hours discussing the various technologies presented in the 2011 Horizon Report. This also was after talking about how much technology has come (though I had to chuckle about the comment that "15 years ago, we didn't have home computers" because I did! and Internet, too!) and how rapidly it is still changing.

She spoke of how we are poised for many jobs, that if we look at the want ads today, they want the skills we possess (though some would chuck Dreamweaver for HTML 5), that there's plenty of opportunities in all sorts of disciplines.

Then she launched into the doctoral studies, why it's a good idea, what you can do with it and that a PhD. in Instructional Design doesn't necessarily mean you'll be working as a teacher.

The words just served to reaffirm what I know, that I'm on the right path, that having passion for what you're studying is just as important as the studies themselves and when you figure out what you want to do with the degree, it makes it easier to work on it.

It (almost) makes all the stress go away. Almost.

Sunday, April 17, 2011



I want to know where fifteen years went, because it wasn't all that long ago when I had this little guy:

and now I have this guy:

Happy Birthday, GameTeen!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

First Time is the Toughest

It took hours to make that first Flash presentation. Then I think I overwrote it in making my digital video presentation. We have to label projects for submission IMA-1, IMA-2, etc and I think my first save of the video, rather than being IMA-4, was IMA-3. Oops.

One of the things I did to keep track of the three minute project was to mark intros and outtro frame numbers. It's something we'd do in radio when editing commercials, back in the days when editing was done with a razor blade and a splicing (V) block. Screw that up, and you might have to rerecord a whole show.

I still have to redo a whole presentation, but my intro and outtro numbers? They're calculations of how long my scenes are supposed to last. The first time around, it may have been the MOST time consuming part of the project. With them, it's taking a fraction of the time.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Uh Oh

Somehow, when I wasn't paying attention, I must have deleted my Flash project.

Yep, the one I put about 30 hours of work into. The one I *thought* I'd uploaded to a development site, but instead, uploaded two .swa files. This means I have a movie, but not the frame by frame details.

Guess what I'll be doing this weekend?

Guess who's going to bed now, because tomorrow will be a VERY long day!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cautiously Optimistic

There have been a few changes for GameTeen lately, and they may be the right ones.

He'd been having a LOT of problems in school and they (and we) were at the end of their rope. Acting out in class, sleeping, refusing to do work, and the straw that broke the camel's back, he'd begun to throw stuff or spit at people when he was not happy.

Just prior to Spring break, we were offered an alternative setting: he'd come to school for half days, and he'd complete his work in the principal's office where it'd just be him and her. A quiet setting with few distractions was the only thing we could come up with.

It has worked marvelously. The amazing success of it makes me wonder if the Sensory Processing issues are far worse than we'd realized, that even five other students on the spectrum being just as loud as GameTeen tends to be was just too much for him. It also made me contemplate all the times we try to take him into a store, with GameTeen insisting that he doesn't want to go. Pleading, in fact, to stay in the car instead of going to get an item he wants from a big box or market.


At the same time, three weeks ago he saw a new psychiatrist at the practice we visit. I brought GameTeen and summaries of his issue at home and one from school, too. The doctor contemplated the information and prescribed a new OCD medication. Tomorrow we go back to report on his progress.

There have been changes. Positive changes. For one, he's had such a dramatic improvement at school that he's been returned to a regular classroom and appears to be doing well. He's articulating his obsessions, something he's never done before. We know some, but not all of them. For instance, he has a hard time with eating proteins and I'll give him five pieces of whatever meat we're eating, figuring it's not too much. I never noticed that if he wasn't ravenously hungry, he left two pieces behind. Now, he says "I shall eat three pieces," no matter what food it is.

Ed opined that it's been a little easier to diffuse the meltdowns. This is true. While he still melts down and freaks out at bedtime so loud that you can hear him up the block, he calms down a lot quicker.

The game plan was to start at a small dose and if it went well, to increase it at tomorrow's appointment. I'm hoping that it helps him quell those obsessions more, but the fact that he's articulating them and snapping out of perseverating that much quicker? It's nothing short of amazing to me.

When asked three weeks ago, I told the psychiatrist that if we had to attack anything, the OCD had to be treated first, because everything else would fall into place. She checked with the attending psychiatrist, who agreed. I never thought that he'd prove this theory right so soon.

This is one of those times that I'm really happy to be right about my kid.


The other day, I asked GameTeen where he'd like to enjoy his birthday dinner, if he'd like to go out. Without hesitation, he said "Cody's," a restaurant we used to enjoy over in Brandon. What GameTeen did not realize is that we'd dined there for the last time three days before the company closed most of their locations.

It's a shame, the place was a family favorite for good food at a reasonable price. Every Monday and Tuesday, they had kids eat free nights and so it was a frequent haunt for us when we lived over that way. Their other special that we dove on was buy one get one free fajitas every Wednesday. "Fajita Wednesdays!" was a rallying cry in our old house, guaranteed to get everyone in the car in 30 seconds flat.

I felt bad when I had to explain that Cody's was no more. He's now rethinking where he'd like to dine, and said he might even prefer Mom's home cooking. On the cake front, I think we'll have an easier time of things-he said he wanted either a Carvel cake or a Rita's cake. We can pick up either one of those locally.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

So, I Have One A Sewn Up

I got back my Psych term paper tonight, along with a bonus essay that could wipe out a lower grade on any previous essay. What this means is that I now have an overall average of 95 with all but two assignments turned in. One is a recap of the semester and what I gained from the class, the other is a case study that is very straightforward.

So, yay, I definitely have one A. As soon as I turn in the last two assignments for my online class, that's pretty much a lock, too.

The third class, well, I'm still not sure. At this point, I think it will be a B, but I could pull it out with these last few projects and get an A.

For my first semester of grad school.

I'm pretty happy right now.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gmail, Whyfore You Torture Me?

I like gmail. The beta began in late 2003 and in mid 2004, I was able to snag an invite from a friend from a yahoo group. Back then, you only got five invites to spread around and people were not handing them out to just anyone. But I got one, and shared around my invites.

A couple of years later, when my small employer was switching hosts for their website, I opened up two more accounts, and spread out those invites to coworkers wishing to archive their emails. Eventually, I had several emails for various needs, including two that are the blog name and the blog url. For the most part, that initial account I created in 2004 is the catch all, the one that gets the most emails from commercial entities. Then there's the professional email that I use most for correspondence.

When I was admitted at USF, I got another gmail account, but this one was set up differently, receiving and sending mail from the USF servers. So, it was possible to be logged into one of my non-USF based gmail accounts and the USF assigned one at the same time.

Today, that changed. USF email addresses ported over to full gmail functionality. I'm not happy with it. Why? Because now, it'll sign me out of the USF servers completely if I want to access any of my other accounts.

I thought the simple fix would be to merge the two most used gmail accounts with the USF based account, but that's been quite interesting. There is no breakdown of which account the emails contained in my USF inbox originated from. Strangely, at one point this evening, it told me I had 4500 NEW emails. Combined, these three accounts might have 40 new pieces of mail.

Then, it decided to mix emails from 2004 with brand new ones. So account A's first emails would be listed right next to ones received from USF an hour before. There was no way to sort the mess out, so I decided I'll probably be checking my email from my phone until it does.

There's a reason why I keep separate email accounts, so I can weed stuff according to importance. This integrated approach is horrible, and I'm going back in to revoke permissions in a moment. That still doesn't fix the problem that if I want to leave my school email to check other gmail accounts, I have to go through the whole sign in process on the school servers regardless of whether it's Blackboard, Oasis or USF mail.

There has to be a better way, Google.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In Which I Wax Poetic About an Assignment I Don't Like

Earlier today I signed up for Second Life. For class, because I sure as heck wouldn't be doing it otherwise. There's a reason why I have an avid dislike for it, namely Jane's passion for it.

Basically, the title says it all, participants get to have a second, more interesting life in the virtual world than they do in the real world. While that could be lots of fun, Jane's descriptions of it turned me off. She hung out online with a lot of kids between the ages of 18 and 25, who would constantly tell her she did not act like a woman of her age. She took it as a compliment that she was still considered youthful.

Some of her stories about it made me wonder what exactly was going on, and I could read between the lines when she told me about the youngsters she hung out with having relationship issues in the game and how she gave relationship advice. I found it odd that a person who was most definitely a homebody and had one serious relationship to her credit was expert in the matters of the heart she described, but I kept my mouth shut. Other stories, and the Facebook relationship status of 'it's complicated' made us realize that there was some cyber hanky-panky going on.

In sorting through her affairs, there was quite a bit of it, especially with one gentleman who suckered her into sending him a decent chunk of money with stories of "I can't pay my rent!" The timeline bothers me, it was about the same time we'd asked for some assistance in order to save our old house and we were told she didn't have it. The guy ended up with, based on the Western Union receipts, much more than we'd asked her to lend us.

Then there are the emails back and forth, and I have a disdain for it that I briefly explained to the professor. I'll do the assignment, but what is it really like? Is it the cyber version of a singles bar? She and others answered that it can be, but you have to be savvy enough to ignore the come ons. Not my cup of tea.

Tomorrow, we will go over Second Life in class to know what we need to do to complete an assignment for class that counts for 10% of my grade. I signed up and participated in the tutorials on Welcome Island, as recommended. While there, strangely, the chat option is enabled and no joke, this is the FIRST question I got asked:

I'm not exactly sure where this type of question fits in with the educational purposes of the program that I am told exist. Hopefully, I'll find those benefits soon.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

First Swim of the Season

And he got some new, cooler than last years toys to enjoy, too.

Friday, April 08, 2011


Since watching Jamie's Food Escapes on the Cooking Channel the other night, I've had a hankering for his Souvlaki as presented on the show.

If there is one cuisine I can't get enough of, it's probably Greek food. I'll even eat fish if it's presented in a traditional Greek recipe. So it's not a surprise that this one was crying out for me to make it. The fact that it was really easy and Greek yogurt is getting easier to come by meant that a little bit of prep work netted this:

My only problem is I didn't get enough pita bread. We've got some leftovers for tomorrow and nothing to serve them on. I will say that Jamie's recipe called for pork, but I made chicken and it turned out fantastic. It'd probably be bold enough to use on beef, but if you marinate it for a few hours to let the flavors sink in.

The potatoes to the right were just cubed, tossed in olive oil and seasoned with sea salt, pepper, paprika, onion and garlic powder, then cooked on the grill for 45 minutes. It was lazy home fries and they were good.


Thursday, April 07, 2011


This time of year, Ed and I have always taken enjoyment out of sitting on the lanai in the evening, listening to the crickets chirping, relishing the cool breeze and capping the day with a glass of wine.

In our old house in Seffner, we had a pair of Adirondack chairs and a table out on our oddly shaped area. We even strung some tiki inspired party lights around the perimeter and Ed wired a rheostat so that we could have some minimal lighting. I can't tell you how many bottles of wine were consumed while we relaxed and listened to the night sounds.

When we moved into the rental house, our landlord had 'deluxe' sized the builder's lanai, opting instead to have them pour a 20x20 concrete slab and a friend put a simple screen structure up for him. There was room for our old dining table and chairs, plus the chairs we'd had at the old place. While we didn't enjoy it as much as at the first place (probably because we couldn't buy nearly as much wine), there still were many a spring evening where we'd sit and relax.

Then we moved into this house. It was 'mostly ours,' but because the house belonged to Jane, we didn't make changes. No painting, for instance. We'd left the lanai with their table and chairs because Jane still wanted them, but didn't have room. She moved into a place with a much bigger patio and she then requested the table and chairs, but things fell apart far too quickly to accomodate the request.

It's an attractive Disney table paired with some extremely uncomfortable chairs. We stopped our routine of spring and fall evenings, because neither of us could endure sitting in the chairs for very long. On our list of eventual things to do for the house was to get a seating set for the lanai.

After Jane passed, we both realized we'd held back on doing anything to the house, lest Jane be upset by it. Heck, she'd tell us where stuff was-when she lived in the house, forgetting that all the belongings either moved with her or were sold. She never visited the house after moving out, despite being invited several times.

So, for us, the first order of business was transforming the lanai into the area to veg and decompress at day's end. Today, Ed and I worked on constructing the rest of the furniture and I type this from my chaise, enjoying the gentle breeze of a fan and a glass of Riesling. It's so...relaxing. Exactly what we'd hoped.

Maybe I'll even sleep out here.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Another Fail

I recently wrote how Target's 'gatekeeping' users from checking the status of their orders was mildly very annoying. Am I alone in thinking that if you spend a pile of money at a website, say considerably more than $500, you should have the ability to check on the order without having to jump through hoops for an access code each and every time?

Well, they did it again.

Yesterday, I coordinated a delivery of said items. The three boxes were too big for delivery via UPS, so a shipping company came to my house. When the guy arrived, I nicely asked him if he'd wheel the boxes to my back yard, because our garage is overflowing with the contents of Jane's apartment. No dice. He insisted he had no time to do so and was somewhat jerky about it. Thanks dude, I'll keep the $20 bucks I usually give delivery guys this time around, since all you did was wheel it the length of my driveway.

When we shopped their website for this furniture, we'd found it counter-intuitive. For instance, we knew that the cushions came in different colors than the greige in the store-because it was on the 8/10 cards with the display. That's why we shopped the website. BUT, you had to know what you were looking for-each item was displayed solo. If I entered "Ralston chaise," only one result would appear, but if I entered "Ralston" and clicked on the $100-$200 filter, up came three colors.

Weird and annoying, because Ed and I looked at the furniture at different times and he'd insist something existed, I couldn't find it and vice versa. Eventually, we found all the items we wanted (no greige, thanks, it's boring) and ordered them. We both commented that we'd have to find something to cover the furniture when rainy season starts, because we hadn't seen anything on the website.

Today, Ed was off from work, so we started cleaning off the lanai and assembling the furniture. In the first box was a lovely flyer that Ed handed me. Take a look:

I'm not sure if you can see the top picture and text, so I'll zoom in:

Hey, look, they've got covers! Awesome! And there's a discount, too!

Oh wait, we have to buy them with the furniture to get the discount. Um, then why is this flyer IN THE BOX with the purchased furniture, instead of available in the store or noted on the website?


Yes, I'm going to contact to ask about this oversight. Hopefully, we can get them at 50% off, considering that the items did not come up when we looked at the furniture in the first place-and today, I only found it by typing in that SKU number.

This fits right in with one of the assignments I had for Interactive Media, Usability. Target's site is not user friendly, and could benefit from linking all colors of a product when a person searches it. Additionally, add on items of relevance (such as covers or coordinating throw pillows, etc) should be there as "other people who bought this item also looked at these" options. Wouldn't you expect a retailer to do something to help their customer and help the bottom line?

All I know is that in the future, the choice between purchasing from or going without the item I want, I'd seriously debate how much I really, really wanted the item.