Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Look what happens when you donate to public radio...

Anyone out there ever listen to Public Radio?

I do. It's a Big Thing out where I live, in the frozen (hot and muggy) north. It's really usually pretty cool - good news, all that stuff that I would have paid good money to avoid before I was thirty. Anyway, because it's "public" radio you have pledge campaigns about 4x a year, and the line is usually something like this: "If you are listening to NPR, you owe it to yourself to become a member (i.e., give us money bastard)." I used to listen to that, think about it carefully, and then solemnly agree. So I'd have to switch the station. Problem solved. But the past few years I've been willing to "become a member" and give money, and it actually feels ok. I do value the service, want to support it, yadda yadda yadda (how many d's in yadda anyway?). So I renewed my membership last week on my cell phone while stuck in traffic (see what happens when you're stuck in traffic??). And today I got this email:

Dear Shifter (well, not Shifter, but place YourName Here),

We needed you and you are there. We are so grateful that you are a member of NPR. At this time of the year, when we're focused on getting just a few more listeners to become contributors, we find ourselves reflecting on you. By being a member, you tell us that you are fully invested in making the world a better place in which to live. Your voluntary choice to do this is inspiring. And I want you to know that we are grateful. Enjoy the news and music. You have made it possible.

Thank you for your generosity and your confidence in the work we do.


What an email, huh!?! I mean wow! I work in a hospital, where presumably we help change people's lives, and I never ever get this kind of thanks. I must have accidentally sent my kidney in along with the check, because I think they got more than my membership dues for that kind of thank you. Or I put a few too many zeros on the donation amount - am I broke now??

I shouldn't deride it because it's a really nice email. And it did give me that warm fuzzy feeling. Until I realized that I never get that kind of thanks from anyone else for anything I do (well, almost never) and that made me bitter and depressed. Thanks a lot NPR. Sheesh.

But it is a very nice email.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Only the Government can do this

Ok, short story long here.

I got a speeding ticket. It's a doozy. It's $277 if you can believe that. That's like a record. It was a lot over the speed limit, it was in a work zone, and I wasn't paying attention to my speed or the cop sitting there. I'm a dufus, I deserve it. I will Pay The Price. Yup. Not happy but I agree it should be done.


There are a number of options you have to Pay The Price. You can Go To Court. Which involves taking a day off of work to go and sit in a room waiting to be called on to get chewed out for driving like an idiot, and then pay. You can Phone It In, with your claim number and credit card number, or you can Pay Online. How convenient. Now here is the weird part.

The most convenient by far is paying online, right? Except that to do so requires navigating this byzantine labyrinth (yes, I know the labyrinth was Greek, and byzantine was byzantine, but it sounds good together) of websites in order to go to look up your citation, agree to the terms, and then pay the money. The first website you're directed to does not exist. If you're persistent you find the second one, that one exists. But it's written in Hungarian. Or something. Decipher that, then you find out about the Numerous Websites of Fire that you have to jump through. All so you can then pay your $277. Now if you manage to succeed in your quest, you may just be told that your ticket number is not on file. The website will not tell you why. Don't ask, it's none of your business. The little piece of paper that the cop may or may not give you does tell you, when you read the fine print, after you've gone through the Websites of Fire, that it can take 14 days for your ticket to show up on their system. So wait for another 14 days, then come back and do it all again. And then you can pay them. $277.

Now I know, truly, that this is a situation in which I am the Bad Man who needs to Pay my Fine to Society and I will do so. But it's just weird that here I am, wanting to give a substantial amount of money to someone for speeding, and I can't do it. Not only can't I do it, I have to ##$% around on the internet for half an hour to find out I can't do it. And that's what only the Government can do - make you dick around for half an hour to find that you don't have the privilege of paying your fine to them just yet - please come back in 2 weeks and do it all again. Nobody else who wants my money does that. I think I could give $277 to almost anyone else on or off the internet with a minimum of hassle. Just not my local traffic court.

I don't even want to know what would have happened if I had tried the Phone It In option.

I'd probably still be on hold.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Ok, another funny video

Ok, well this is a lame post, but if you happen to look here, you deserve to see something funny. Check out this Youtube video - quite funny! Also this one is safe for work, your parents, or any other occasion. You do see a nipple, but it's a guy's nipple, so we're all going to be ok.

On a side note, the scale is up to its old tricks again. I weigh, 203, no wait, 199, nope, 198, yup, pretty sure it's 198. For the moment. I swear there must be cosmic fat that just adheres to my body at random times, then vanishes, causing instant weight fluctuations. The cosmic fat molecules (CFM) seem to be able to detect camera lenses though. They glom on to me en masse (or is it just in mass in this case) right before any photo is taken. Usually on my chin. But that's neither here nor there. Well it's there, on my chin, but it's not here, as in, in this blog. You see.

Ok, enough prevarication, enough agony of waiting - here it is! The One Semester of Spanish Spanish Love Song!!!!