Protect your ID while shopping

‘Tis the season for holiday-shopper predators to use any and all opportunities to steal your personal and financial information.

In a recent post, I commented on how one Wisconsin State Senator provided good information on using a budget, and I also noted the importance of protecting your identity. I recently visited the Wisconsin Office of Privacy Protection’s Web site (OPP), which has a number of fact sheets available to the public.

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Pursuing a Parker pen

Vector XL ball point in Tranquil Indigo and Sonnet fountain in Laque Black with silver trim.

Vector XL ball point in Tranquil Indigo and Sonnet fountain in Laque Black with silver trim.

It all started when I tried to buy a new Parker ball point pen…

I consider Parker pens to be one of the best pens available. I have a number of reasons why I prefer Parker to other brands. First, Parker started in Janesville, Wisconsin and still runs its US customer and warranty services there. Second, I received my first Jotter as a gift from a family friend when I was still in high school, and I really admired the click-style at the time. Third, every Parker pen I’ve owned has always worked extremely and reliably well. Fourth, I’ve always had outstanding customer service with Parker’s warranty department when I have had a problem (I’ve only had to send a pen to them once and request a replacement ball point cartridge twice). Finally, Parker has always designed reliable, excellent pens. I have plenty of reasons to admire Parker.

I’ve used the Parker Jotter for as long as I can probably remember. My dad had a couple years ago that he rarely used, so I used them and really admired them. I received my first “very own” Jotter pen and pencil set when I was in high school. I especially liked the distinctive Parker Arrow and the solid click of the ball point pen. Although I couldn’t really afford (or justify purchasing) higher-end Parker ball point pens during my youth, I found the Jotter to be the most versatile pen. I even had a Parker Jotter fountain pen for a while. After graduating from college and starting off in my career, I continued to use Parker Jotter ball point pens. I would eventually discover something new from Parker…

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Into the Woods

I have two Metallica posters that I wanted framed. I took them to a little store in West Towne Mall called Into the Woods. I had three options: black metal, medium oak, or black leather. I chose the leather because it looked very cool with my prints. I couldn’t beat the price either: $80 each. My guitar photo framing cost over $120, which was the lowest price among a dozen places in and around town. I’ve also had prints framed in a poster store at $60 each for a basic plastic frame and acrylic pane. But Into the Woods uses glass.

The owner told me that he’d ship the prints out to someone who does framing for him with some other orders, and they would return in about three to four weeks. I told the owner that I was in no hurry, so I was willing to wait. It actually took two months, but it was no big deal; this weekend is the first chance I have at getting anything done at home, so it worked out perfectly for me. It took so long because his framer filed for bankruptcy. It was operating with only two guys who were finishing up the last of their orders.

Anyway, I received my posters today. When he brought them out, I looked at them and realized that the wait was absolutely worth it. These posters look awesome in leather. Although they don’t have any matting, the black leather provides a great border.

The owner told me that he will start framing in-house, so the wait shouldn’t be as long (depending on the orders he has). Into the Woods also sells many great framed prints, including outdoors and wildlife scenes, sports-related motifs, and motivational prints. He currently has one store at West Towne Mall, but he is opening another at East Towne Mall. I’ve added his web site below and to my list of links, where you can find a catalog of his products. And it’s owned locally, a concept that I support. I will continue to shop there.

Into the Woods web site