5.23.2009

In the year 2000

I love this video from the 1930s speculating on fashion in the year 2000. They were close on many fronts, especially the man with a phone attached to him (Dr. H, I'm looking at you!). Too bad we never got the "headlamp to help find an honest man" and that men don't carry "candy for cuties."

5.20.2009

Sandwich Dinosaur

Kurt always tell me that sandwiches taste better when someone makes them for you. I've heard other women say they've heard the same thing. Must be a boy thing! How hard are sandwiches, anyway?

Dr. H's comment came to mind when I saw this shirt from Seibei. Too cute! I would get it for Dr. H., but I fear he'd be pointing at it all the time. Sigh ...

5.18.2009

The Big Picture in Spaaaaaaaace

Amazing photos of the Atlantis mission. "Watch a shuttle launch" just got added to the life list.

Check your phone bill!

I got a surprise when I opened my phone bill last night. A company I'd never heard of added a charge of $8.43 for unspecified services. I looked them up online and in sorting through the pages of complaints found that they had been sanctioned by the FCC for cramming back in 2001. For the unfamiliar (rather like me before last night), cramming is the practice of adding fraudulent charges to your monthly phone bill. Apparently, only your name and phone number are needed for a company to get a charge added to your account.

The idea that anyone can add a charge to my phone bill without my consent is disturbing. Even more disturbing was being told that I needed to contact the company in question to get the charges removed. Something is fundamentally wrong with a system that requires you to persuade the criminal who is trying to rip you off to please stop doing it. Unbelievable.

Thankfully, things worked out well. The company in question was willing to remove the charges when asked. My assumption is that they would rather I not pursue the matter further while they keep raking in $8.43/month from people who don't pay close attention to their bills. Bad call on their part. I'll be writing both the FCC and the Indiana Attorney General to voice my displeasure at a system that allows such easy access to my account and that requires me to negotiate with con artists to resolve the situation.

Check your phone bills carefully! The charges may be small, but they can add up if they go unnoticed. Plus, in the words of my father, it's the principle of the thing.

Photo by Holler.Ellgaard.

5.17.2009

On a lighter note ...

Garbage Island

The film Garbage Island explores the formation and contents of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, an area of debris in the ocean that is twice the size of Texas. 80% of the pollution comes from land and is brought together by ocean currents known as the North Pacific gyre. It's a sobering look at the consequences of our consumption.

5.16.2009

Fun with patterns

Repper allows you to turn photographs into kaleidoscopic patterns. The process is as simple as uploading a photo and adjusting the provided box until you achieve a result you like. You can post your pattern to a blog or download it directly to your computer. The most striking effects come when you tile the image for use as desktop wallpaper.

Bird pattern from my profile picture.
Spring tulips at Indiana University

5.14.2009

Dear Mr. Car Salesman

Dear Mr. Car Salesman,

After several afternoons of car shopping, I have some ideas that I believe would improve the car buying experience for everyone involved.

1) Please have a clue about the cars you sell. I understand that you may not know obscure engineering facts, but with a finite number of models available, there's no reason not to know the basic features, options, and prices of the cars you offer. It is your job, after all.

2) Don't ask opinion questions and then tell us we're wrong. If you ask how we think it drives, and we say it lacks pep, please don't lecture us about the "racing heritage" of the manufacturer or the opinion of your other customers. None of that makes the car accelerate when we press the pedal.

3) Don't lie. We have an internet connection, and we know how to use it. We will find out, and you will lose a sale.

4) When asked for specific information, please provide it. If we ask about ABS, tell us about ABS. Do not take it as a cue to launch into a 5 minute spiel about the features you want to promote.

5) Listen. This seems obvious. If you want us to buy a car, you will need to give us what we want. The best way to find that out is to stop talking and listen to what we say. The color is not optional. The features are not optional. Save everyone time and put your effort into tracking down a car that actually meets our needs.

6) Don't ignore the ladies. Newsflash: women drive cars. They also have opinions and influence over the decision making in their family. Condescending to us or speaking past us to the man won't help you make a sale. There are lots of dealers and lots of salespeople. We'll find one who treats us with respect.

7) Any effort at pressure will backfire. Cars are a major purchase that we will have for years to come. We will buy one when we're ready and not a moment sooner. Anything that feels like pressure only works to drive us to another dealer.

8) Don't be weird. Seriously, keep it professional. We are not your new best friend and we know it, so stop pretending. Save your other quirks for after work.

In the end, it's simple. Act professional, be knowledgeable, and treat us with the same courtesy you would desire for yourself and your family. Even if we don't buy a car, we'll be sure to tell others what a good experience we had, and that can only be good for business.

Regards,
Miss Rebecca


5.12.2009

And she said, "Let there be bagels!"

And there were bagels. And they were good.

McCormick's Creek State Park

Both Kurt and I enjoyed our visit to McCormick's Creek State Park. While it lacks the interesting limestone features and "very rugged" trails of Turkey Run, the canyon and creek area is fun to explore (except for the snakes!), and the forest was lovely. Our favorite part was wading in the creek and climbing behind the waterfall. If you need a break, there's a lodge in the center of the park with a hotel, restaurant, and lounge. Between trails, we stopped in for a soda and a game of checkers by the fireplace. The park receives fewer visitors than Turkey Run which is nice if you enjoy a more peaceful experience. We went on a weekday and had the trails to ourselves for the most part. Well, other than the snakes.

Waterfall in the canyon
Start of Trail #2
Scrambling up rocks near the abandoned quarry
Raccoon watching us from his perch

5.10.2009

Not a copperhead

Kurt came within inches of stepping on this snake at McCormick's Creek State Park in southern Indiana. We were concerned it was a copperhead, but while the pattern is the same, the colors are reversed. We mailed the picture to the Department of Natural Resources who confirmed that it was a watersnake and then added this concerning statement:

Though the watersnakes are non-venomous and usually look to avoid conflict, they are very feisty and have no use for being bothered by humans and will strike if they feel threatened, often biting and holding on while grinding their jaws (experience speaking here).

Needless to say, we will be more careful next time we're near a creek. Venomous or not, I want no part of a snake bite, let alone one that involves grinding jaws.

5.09.2009

Dear Me ...

FutureMe lets you write an email to your future self. You can provide encouragement, congratulations, a reminder of your dreams, or even a warning. You can allow others to read your email by choosing the "public" or "public but anonymous" option. The ones I read ranged from touching to funny to perplexing. I think I'll keep my conversations with myself private for now.

Photo by RBerteig

5.07.2009

Poor Ralph Tucker

Click image to enlarge

5.04.2009

Disturbing!

SugarStacks.com shows the amount of sugar in common foods. Their use of stacks of sugar cubes makes it easy to visualize what the number of grams on the label means. I consider this a wake up call.

Photo by Marlith

Monday in Paris: Centre Pompidou fountain

5.03.2009

Farther Than the Eye Can See

Farther Than the Eye Can See documents Erik Weihenmayer's attempt to become the first blind person to reach the summit of Mt. Everest. An inspiring story with beautiful photography!

Photo by Uwe Gille