Contradictory Spam

I get a fair amount of spam despite having a few safeguards in place. I never, ever read it beyond the subject line and make a point to not purchase the products and services offered (I’m looking at you Dish Network). I might make a “wall of shame” at some point, but that’s not what this post is about.

Normally the spam has a consistent message, trying to fulfill some need in my life, generally one of which I had no prior awareness. Consistency is the key here. The message subjects consistently point out a specific area of my life that would vastly improve by getting the product described by the messages I never read.

Lately, however, I’ve been getting conflicting messages. Here are two subject lines:

Kinks and tangles no more with the awesome Pocket Hose.

This is a Really Cool Compact Hose

OK, so small hoses are a good thing.

Your small Hose is limiting your lovemaking

Hose help on the way

Oh wait. My small hose needs help.

hose_pills

So which is it? Do I need ointments and pills to help? Or should I get and extra one to carry around that expands to 25′ almost instantly, retracting when I’m done? It’s all so technical and confusing. There are entire legions of people out on the internet far more worried about my hose than I am!

Personally, I’m happy with all of my lawn equipment and will ignore it all. Makes life much easier. Not to mention, I might miss out on amazing deals on 2012 model cars (in the middle of 2013) and I need to check into my diving / skyrocketing credit score.

Thanks email. You’re never boring.

Salmon, non-sequiturs and meatballs

We were in Ikea late this morning during what’s turning into a blizzard, looking for a new office chair for me. Long story short: the search for a chair was a bust.

However, one of our Ikea “to do’s” is to eat at the cafe. We had a good view of I-25 and the cars driving in the blowing snow, not to mention a “bobcat” with a plow constantly clearing the driveway while munching on smoked salmon and sauce-covered meatballs, drinking strong black coffee (me) and sparkling pear drink (Sheri).

It was a pleasant, quiet moment in our lives. I usually don’t notice the background music at Ikea, but moth full of meatballs, I recognized the Beastie Boys (You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (to Party!). That song does not conjure up the image of inexpensive self-assembled furniture. Nor meatballs. Nor smoked salmon.

I couldn’t hear it well enough to determine if it was the original Beastie Boys version or a later, possibly neutered cover by someone else. But I recognized the tune. It didn’t sit well. It was completely out of place among the sterile yet whimsical Scandinavian lamps:

maskros-pendant-lamp__0114725_PE267328_S4

I’m not sure how Ikea picks their music, but I’m pretty sure this lamp doesn’t want to fight for its right to party. It knows that right is inherent to its existence.

I am parking lots

I live roughly three-quarters of a mile from one of RTD’s (Denver area’s Rapid Transit providers) light rail stations. I take the train into work and get dropped off at Union Station in LoDo Denver. It takes a little bit longer than driving, but I don’t have to worry about traffic. It’s a terrific convenience and saves money, not to mention wear and tear on my car and its main driver. When the roads are clear, I ride my bike to the station, since it’s rather senseless to drive my car that short distance. This has been my routine for roughly the last six months.

My routine has changed a little bit the past couple of weeks and for various reasons, I have been driving into work.

I have done this before. Initially I was using a parking lot close to the office. Denver is a fairly large city, so parking isn’t free. In the case of the lot I was using the price was $8 (and I don’t want to hear from people in Boston and New York about “only $8 — must be nice”, it’s still a lot of money to let my car sit, especially when my car payment is less than $12 a day).

Anyway, I said “was” because one day the automated machine started charging $10 despite the fact that the sign still reported an $8 fee to park. I wasn’t about to call and complain over $2, but I did inwardly grumble each time I parked there. Again, this is the past tense. I used to park there.

The dentist I go to is in the same building as my office (convenient!) and several of the employees there mentioned that they park at The Pepsi Center and it’s only $5 a day. The only catch is that you sometimes have to be out of the lot by 5:30pm when “there’s an event”, presumably a concert or sporting event. No worries here. I’m usually our of work by 4:30pm or 5:00pm at the latest. A nice bonus is that this parking lot is an easier walk to the office than the old one, and much easier to get out of when it’s time to go home.

The first day I parked there I saw the “cash or checks only” sign. Checks! I don’t carry those or much use them any more, but I did have cash. Unfortunately, the only cash I had was a $100 bill. It’s weird how I only seem to have a single $100 bill or three $1 and nothing in between. The cashier was very friendly and didn’t put up the usual grumble that cashiers tend to do when taking a large bill for a small purchase. She simply made change and gave me the dashboard ticket.

The next time I went, the cashier was a very happy and enthusiastic young man named Walterriley. Yep! He had two names in one. And he was absolutely head over heels in love with The Lord and wanted Everyone to Know about it. We had a nice conversation about religion and how he didn’t want to change mine, but if I was interested, here’s the card of his church and he’d love to have me as his guest. Sometimes those of Very Strong Faith can lean toward obnoxious, but Walterriley was not. He had discovered something so wonderful that he wanted everyone to know about it.

I am never offended by this. Anyone who believes strongly enough in his faith to share it that kindly and genuinely is entitled to a moment of my time. I was getting somewhat alarmed by the number of cars piling up behind me, but that was more in Walterriley’s hands than mine. And nobody was honking. I eventually was able to get on my way, all that much happier for the experience. I won’t be going to Walterriley’s church any time soon, but it’s great to see a young person involved in something positive, willing to share it.

After meeting Walterriley, it was about two weeks before I drove in again. This time a nice lady greeted me and proclaimed, “I’ve never seen this car before!”. I asked, “You mean a Ford Flex, or this particular silver one?” She laughed and said, “Just this one.” I guess that was her way of saying, “Welcome to the parking lot. Haven’t seen you before, but we’re glad you’re here.”

Fantastic!

Most of the time parking is just something you do. Interaction with the cashier is minimal: not necessarily unpleasant, but also not necessarily pleasant. At the Pepsi Center parking, it’s different. It’s been pleasant every time I’ve gone there.

It’s one of those small things that makes your day a little bit better and I’m glad for it.

Sirius radio: you guys should anti-alias

My car has a satellite radio. I haven’t paid much attention to that feature since I got it because frankly I don’t want to pay for radio. I have enough music to carry around on a hard drive that plugs directly into my sound system, and I don’t have to worry about commercials, tunnels, weather, or other things disrupting it.

Someone at Sirius marketing had a good idea: give a free preview. It’s going on right now through November 27.

Too bad they didn’t tell the technical guys to ratchet down the compression a few notches so the music actually, you know, sounded good. Man it’s awful. So much aliasing in the higher frequencies, and I’m no audiophile. I was listening to the “Escape to Margaritaville” channel and during one song, a saxophone was turned into something buzzier and more annoying than Fran Drescher playing a kazoo. Even the voice overs sounded like they were being Auto-Tuned. That’s no good.

So thanks, Sirius, for the the free trial. I genuinely appreciate you giving me the opportunity to see how truly bad it sounds. I’m relieved that I am not missing out on anything and $12.95 a month can stay safely in my pocket. I’ll stick to my MP3s for now.

And if you do change things for the better, let me know. I’ll give it another (free) whirl.