Wednesday, May 18, 2011

I'm gonna run like I mean it

I've never solicited for something like this, but I will now because it involves two things dear to my heart.

I recently decided to take part in a 5K this weekend.  The Gift of Breath and Life is a community run/walk started in 2008 by an LDS Denver family to raise money for lung cancer research after the father passed away from the disease in 2007.  It will take place on the UC Anschutz Medical Campus Saturday morning.  The run is technically free, but they ask for donations to support an endowment that funds research looking for a reliable test to detect lung cancer in its early stages and improve mortality.

First, I want to do this race because I like to run.  I ran public school cross country from first grade through high school graduation.  I haven't run much since high school.  I took the opportunity in college to discover new activities, but recently I've returned to the comfort of running like an old friend.  My friend Shelly is my running partner and motivation.  She's running this weekend as well.

Second and more significantly, I want to do this race because I support its cause.  My Grandma Lee passed away from a combination of lung cancer and congestive heart failure when I was in high school.  She was first diagnosed with lung cancer when I was elementary school.  Surgery appeared to cut out all infected tissue and gave her 10 more years of life.  The second time around, the cancer stayed for keeps.  I miss Grandma a lot.  If early detection back then could have kept her around a little longer, I would have been grateful for those who made it happen.

Each participant this weekend can submit a fundraising goal, and I set mine to the amount I plan to donate myself.  But if you find it in your heart to contribute as well, GO HERE to make a difference.  I like to think whatever I can give will help keep someone else's grandma/pa around a little longer, or keep someone around so they can become a grandparent.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Customer Satisfaction

I have a happy story.

One of our parking locations is full to capacity, so I only add new parkers from a waiting list when others cancel.  One woman had the foresight to call and get on the waiting list 2 months in advance of when she'd actually need to park.  She'd call peridically to see where she was on the list.  I told her she had a good chance of getting a parking pass by the time it was needed, but I guess she was still super stressed out about it.

Earlier this month when she called I told her she could park by the end of the month.  She was immediately ecstatic and gushed about how awesome I am.  I was surprised at her outpouring of emotion -- after all, I didn't do anything in particular to make it happen except my job-- but she was so relieved that I couldn't help but feel good that I made somebody's day a little easier.  Sometimes I get an excited person who is relieved she can stop paying for daily parking, but I've never had anyone like this woman.  She told me how grateful she was, and that I sound so nice and friendly and professional on the phone, and that she was excited-- excited, mind you-- to finally meet me in person.  Talk about flattery!  I almost suspected sarcasm but her tone was all sincerity. 

She came in today to deliver her application and finish the set-up process.  To my surprise, she also delivered these:

Nothing says customer satisfaction quite like a pelargonium x hortorum and puppies.

No, Rhonda, it's people like YOU that make this world a better place.  Thanks for saying thanks.

Monday, May 9, 2011


If you are a semi-frequent reader you should have noticed things look different again.  I decided the dark theme felt too much like cold weather and cave dwelling.  In honor of 80 degrees Fahrenheit yesterday, I made some changes.

I think typography is fascinating.  Color, font, arrangement, justification (as in right, left, centered), and text size can completely change what you think about written word.  Just changing the colors and fonts on this blog make the voice in my head sound differently when I re-read posts.  The attitude of the site is different, but hopefully not unfamiliar.  How does it feel to you?  Does it still sound like me talking? 

Blogger has pre-designed blog templates one can apply by default, but I don't love any of them so I always take the one that has the layout I like the most then changed everything.  I compose every element of this page to properly reflect how I want my writing to feel to the reader.  Because audible non-verbal communication is zilch and I mostly despise emoticons, I convey expression through color, font, arrangement, size, layout to control how my writing will "sound" to the reader.  After changing the colors, I realized I also needed to change the font.  After changing the font, I had to change some page elements.   All to preserve semblance of my personal identity in the design.
I'm not practicing some kind of Zen writing philosophy.  Typography is a big deal and has been since Gutenberg.  Every professionally generated form of print takes into consideration not just the content of the writing, but what it looks like.  What the letters and words and lines look like on the page, independent of the meaning, can and will affect readers' response to the content. 

Do you ever read cute-sy blogs that have bold, curly font and loud colors and frilly pictures?  I do... sometimes.  Only when I really really want to see pictures of the blogger's new baby.  Truthfully, those blogs get significantly less time devoted (I end up quickly skimming dutifully as my eyes are dazzled with annoying typeface) than blogs with clean lines and clarity of look.  It's literally easier for me to read the latter kind than the former, even if I am initially more interested in the content of the first blog.  Moral of the story: if you produce written word that you want people to read, make it easy on the eyes.  Make it fun to look at and not just read.

Let me know how you feel about the changes and if you have any recommendations to improve upon my current design.
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