Topping off my coffee

The following is a stale idea for a post I jotted down in a few moments of silent rage a few years ago. It sounds like nitpicking, but I’m curious to see if anyone feels the same way. I attempt to shoehorn a customer service takeaway at the end.

When I have coffee that isn’t from an AeroPress1, I might add cream and sugar (usually two each). The ratio of coffee/cream/sugar is balanced to my liking. That means I’d only request more coffee at a restaurant if my mug is empty.

If the server tops it off when my mug is three quarters full, the ratio is skewed!

Instead of offering more coffee (my preference), some places begin pouring proactively.2 I find those interactions “rough”, mentally. I don’t interrupt when they’re already in the motion (they’re almost done anyway), so I bite my tongue and smile politely.

As they walk away, I’m thinking, “The ratio got skewed!”

Anyway. Here are my options if I’m not sitting in the middle of a room (the first is direct, the rest are passive):

  • Interrupt the server before the ratio-skewing liquid exits the larger vessel.
  • Keep the mug far from reach of the server, then relocate near the edge of the table when I’d like a refill.
  • Leave a napkin (or something) over my coffee mug to indicate I don’t want a refill.
  • Flip a coin to decide if I should add more cream and sugar, then hope for the best.

What would you do?

It’s “strange” (read: embarrassing) to read this post because this entire circumstance involves my personal preference. But, it might be a good takeaway for customer service: when in doubt, ask before taking action. I’ll appreciate that you’re attentive!

P.S. I promise I appreciate servers, even if they don’t ask before pouring. That’s still preferred over avoidance.🙂

  1. e.g. Drip coffee at a restaurant or catered event. 
  2. If I’m mid-conversation with someone else, it’s likely that the server doesn’t want to be rude. I totally understand. 

Marvel’s Daredevil

Binge watched seasons 1 and 2 of Marvel’s Daredevil on Netflix over nine days. Loved the first season, and thought the second season was better. Character development was mature, so storylines and action sequences felt more intense. Definitely worth watching.

Next to watch: Marvel’s Jessica Jones.

Stoned Kids

I watched the first episode of WEEDIQUETTE on VICELAND last night. Fascinating.

In our season premiere, our host Krishna travels to Oregon and California to meet families who—as a last resort—have turned to hyper-potent weed oil to treat their children’s life-threatening cancers with seemingly positive results.

I…think we need to deschedule marijuana.

Here are a few related articles (and one video):

The horse head

I recorded the following 28-second video on February 29, 2012 — it’s funny. Heads up: there’s some profanity. Thanks to Hanni for being a good sport!

Here’s the context1:

Core Happiness greets Hanni. Heh. Shenanigans during my first Automattic meetup in Tybee Island, GA (2012-02-29) Hey Hanni, or greetings from Core Happy - February 29, 2012 (Tybee Island, GA) — Hanni was arriving that day, and someone on Core Happy brought a horse head. We decided to place it in her bed for fun. I think she freaked out.😉 These were the two photos I snapped.

  1. Confession: I also wanted to try the Display Posts Shortcode. ;) 

DuckDuckGo and phonetic spelling

Thank you to contributor Robert May for helping add Phoneic to Instant Answers at DuckDuckGo. This handy new query allows you to “spell a string phonetically with the NATO alphabet”.

As an example, consider someone asking you to spell your name over the phone. Assuming I’m in front of a computer, with an Alfred web search, I can type “duck phonetic villarin“, and see the Instant Answer at the top of DuckDuckGo search results:

Phonetic: Victor-India-Lima-Lima-Alfa-Romeo-India-November

Slick. Happy Thursday!


Four Years as a Happiness Engineer

Thank you, Automattic, for helping me improve and mature. Four years and counting, and loving it!

I like shifting my work schedule. I started with Tuesday–Saturday, switched to Monday–Friday during my Happiness Hiring rotation, and I’m currently on Sunday–Thursday. Dig it for helping reduce average response times. I’m happy to take advantage of the flexible schedule.

Happiness Hiring invited me for a rotation from mid July to early October 2015. I helped improve their process a bit by adding checklists and updating their internal documentation. Best of all, three of the trials are now my colleagues, and the fourth will start soon. So rad!⭐

For the Grand Meetup, many Automattic musicians organized, rehearsed, and performed a set of several songs during the party on the last night. It was epic. I played bass guitar for the first time in years for a song during the party on the last night.1

Late last year, Matt suggested we get a USB headset with noise-canceling microphone2 if we participate in video or audio chats. It was great timing because I was able to record some solid training screencasts with fantastic audio quality.


  • 15 “weekly” reviews.
  • Coworked five times with other SoCal Automatticians.
  • Four training sessions for other Happiness Engineers (one trial, three full timers).
  • Published 88 posts in 2015.
  • Comfort processing DMCA notices and trademark complaints have improved.

Travel & Events

  • May 2015: Justitia team meetup in Barcelona, Spain
  • October 2015: Grand Meetup in Park City, Utah (second consecutive year)
  • January 2016: NAMM 2016 in Anaheim, CA — two days in the WordPress booth by

Boo this man

  • I was 56 short of my goal of 144 posts in 2015. Don’t worry, 366 in 2016!
  • I didn’t publish any posts for the Transparency Report.
  • I was short by 37 weekly reviews.

Previously: Two Years as a Happiness Engineer, Three Years as a Happiness Engineer

  1. “The Distance” by Cake. No video at the moment. 
  2. I went with the previous Wirecutter pick (before it was updated), the Microsoft’s LifeChat LX-6000. ( affiliate link.)