Archive for November, 2004

Southwest Airlines

19 November 2004 at 12:40 am
by Berck

I’ve always regarded Southwest Airlines as being something of a joke when it comes to airlines. This is without ever having actually flown with them. The flight crews look like they’re all going to go golfing rather than operate an airplane, and fighting for your seat just doesn’t seem right.

But they’ve been right up there with Jet Blue in airline ratings lately. Highest on-time percentage, highest customer satisfaction, etc, etc. (I’ll take a moment to point out that my old friends at ASA ranked absolute bottom of the list in 2003 in every category, except number of customer complaints.)

So Dad’s flying to Delaware to see Kelsey in a play up there, and he offered to buy me a plane ticket to go along with him. He was flying from Nashville, through Midway to Philadelphia on Southwest. We decided I’d get a Southwest ticket through Midway as well, and we’d be on the same flight to PHL.

I went to the Southwest website, selected the two $99 fares (which don’t come to a total of $198 as advertised, but rather to a total of $240 once taxes are added) and entered my credit card information. A few seconds later I got a confirmation email which listed me as being Berck Nachzeng. I clearly entered my name incorrectly, and only quickly glanced over the “Is this right?” page. So now I was going to have to call them.

I knew I was in for some unpleasantness because Joanna recently went through a similar ordeal. When her Dad got us plane tickets to go to Virginia, he’d gotten a ticket for “Joanna Nachzen”. This would have been fine, except that Joanna had not (and still has not) legally changed her name. (Maybe she’s waiting to see if it sticks?) Knowing that it would be nearly impossible for her travel without a photo-ID that matched her ticket, she set about trying to change it. Everyone she talked to at Delta insisted that would cost $75. Eventually Robert, who can apparently convince anyone of anything just by being nice, called and convinced them to change it without charging the $75.

So, I clicked on the “Contact Southwest Airlines” button on their webpage and dialed the number for reservations, which indicated it was available 24 hours a day.

The line rang, and then the strangest thing happened: someone answered. In all my dealings with airlines, I’ve never managed to speak to anyone without first going through much wait and hassle. Shocked and stunned, I explained the situation to the guy at the other end.

“Oh boy.. You’re out of luck. I don’t think you’ll be able to fly anywhere!”

Surprised, but knowing that Southwest encourages humor on the part of its employees, I played along.

“Oh, dear…”

“Just kidding, give me your confirmation number and I’ll fix it.”

With less than a 90 second telephone call, the problem was solved, and I got a new confirmation email within the next 90 seconds, displaying my correct name.

So far I’m impressed with Southwest.

E-bay and Cameras (from this side)

19 November 2004 at 12:18 am
by Berck

I’m amazed at how well the E-bay stuff is doing. Looks like we’ve already cleared $320 and there’s still stuff left to go. I got to thinking that it was a sizeable amount of money, and maybe I should buy a used laptop with it. But after thinking about it, I decided that I really didn’t want another old laptop, as I really need something modern enough to handle the GPS and display maps without being horribly sluggish. $300 won’t buy a nice laptop, and I’d just as soon wait until I could afford one. Besides, we’re not traveling much these days.

But Nathan got me thinking about how if I had a digital camera how nice that would be to take pictures while flying. I never really wanted a digital camera because, to take even halfway decent pictures, they tend to be bulky, annoying, and temperamental. I’d really rather have my 35mm.

But I’ve always wanted a camera that I could take with me and not notice it, yet still took decent pictures. Minox is always an option, but it’s nearly impossible to print Minox film yourself, and the film costs a fortune to buy and print.

Which brings us to the latest Canon Digital Elph. It’s small enough to fit in a pocket without really noticing it, yet still takes fairly decent pictures. Now that there’s a 5 megapixel version out, lots of folks are selling their 4-megapixel S400 Elphs on E-bay. For about $250.

So, it just seemed to me that I could convert old broken stuff into new toys. But Joanna pointed out that we’re still going farther into debt every month, and we don’t in any way need a digital camera. I agreed. I’m really not sure what this is about exhausting her with requests…


18 November 2004 at 5:58 pm
by Jonah

We’re selling a bunch of stuff on E-Bay. Most of the auctions end tomorrow, so now is your last chance to bid. You’ll notice our beautiful breakfast area table acts as the background.

We sold some wedding presents in the first batch. Berck took pictures of everything with his Nikon, sent the film off to be developed, and then scanned the photos. That took a while. For the this batch we borrowed one of his flight instructor’s digital camera.

The current auctions are going far better than we expected. Most of the stuff is parts from our laptops that died. Berck thinks we should buy a camera with the proceeds. Of course, we wouldn’t need a digital camera anymore once we sell everything.

Saying no to Berck’s requests for money is exhausting. Reminding him we have negative money doesn’t help.

What do you mean, J?

17 November 2004 at 7:26 pm
by Jonah

I took the Keirsey Temperament Sorter online just now, and it scored me as a J!!! I couldn’t believe it. It also said I’m an S, which is understandable…I always score borderline between S and N.

At least good ol’ I and T stayed solid.

It probably has something to do with my job. I count things for the first half of the day, then I pile things in neat stacks until it’s time to go home. If that doesn’t make a J out of a P, I don’t know what will.

Also I’m in a time in my life where I know where I am and what I need. Can’t wait around anymore to see what life will bring along.

Here’s a page for those of you who are wondering what the heck I’m talking about.

New Keyboard

16 November 2004 at 7:03 pm
by Jonah

Berck got me a present today. It’s a cool, black keyboard. It’s also very quiet. I always feel self conscious typing on a loud keyboard…all my backspaces are clearly audible. But this new keyboard is completely silent. I love it!

Berck, on the other hand, prefers really loud keyboards. I’ve never really understood why.