Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Catch Up

It's only been five days, but it seems like five weeks since I've written. I have a whole list of things I want to address. Well, I can't find the list just yet, but I will, so you'd better put up your feet and pour another cup.

The photo shown here is from the Friday Night Shuffle down at the shuffleboard club in St. Petersburg. It really seems like a great thing. Every Friday, it's open and free to the public. Free. Mike wore the kurta his brother brought back from India. I was using the pashmina, also courtesy of Robert, but it was really hot and I ended up wearing it around my waist. I know. I don't see how it could have been hot, either. It's been so cold. Well, I suppose the Indian food and the intense competition on the courts are to blame.

A photo of the kurta that doesn't show its full length is just stupid, but as you can see, Mike and his Authentic Indian Friend were yucking it up so much that the detail got lost. Mike had too many chins for his taste, so I blocked them out. And I didn't even ask the AIF for his permission, so I blocked him out, too. All in all, it's a pretty great photo.

I was thinking the other day about the appellation of Indian. I think it didn't matter so much when I was a kid, when the world was much bigger. Few of us even mentioned Indians other than Native Americans. The Simpsons hadn't even been drawn yet -- no one knew about Abu. Now, though, most of us have at least chatted on the Help Lines with Indians or had the pleasure of hearing their gorgeous accents at convenience stores and hotels (and yes, really, at universities and board rooms, et more). The point is, I finally see the need for a distinction between Indians from India and Native Americans. Drat. Now I'll have to change my ways.

I had many live chats with Indians when I used MovieLinks. Up on my screen would come "Jason," whose word choices verified that he in no way had ever been in the United States, but I guess using his real name of Jalal would make us all feel awkward -- probably because we couldn't pronounce it, which is weird, since it was just the two of us typing back and forth anyway. Or maybe they were afraid I'd jump up, screaming that foreigners are stealing our jobs.

Well, yesterday I ordered some new business cards for myself. I had to be on the phone three times, with three different young women. One sounded black, one southern, one generic. (If I'd grown up in the South, would that be generic?) I think it would be so cool if they got to choose Indian names for themselves when dealing with The Public. Instead of Sarah and Beth and Mary, they could be Salima and Barum and Madhur. They could use any accents they want.

Now, here's a picture from the Ybor City Saturday Market sidewalk. I don't even know what to say about it, but I think it's ... abstract and autumnal. Also slightly unsettling.

Being able to google things -- and I long ago blew off the capitalization of Mister Google's name when it's used as a verb. I think if his spellcheck were worthy of the name, I'd change my mind. -- is all very fine. I wouldn't have been able to find Indian names without it, for instance. On the other hand, being able to google things can put a crimp in the pleasure of wondering about things. I only have to wonder for about three seconds. And no one gets to be the expert anymore. We just google it. Let the computer be the expert.

Well, Mike and I were dining with Bob Evans the other day when it came out that I had had a Rock Hudson paper doll when I was a girl. I can't imagine why I got such a thing. Did I ask for it? Really? Or did someone just give it to me? My sister's only a year older, and we often got the same thing, only hers was blue and mine was green. Maybe someone gave her a Doris Day paper doll, so I got the Rock Hudson one. I know she got a Raggedy Ann doll and I got Raggedy Andy. I loved him.

Anyway, so Tab Hunter came up, which somehow led to Dobie Gillis and that's where the trouble began. Who played Dobie Gillis?

I know. You think Gilligan did. But no: Bob (not John) Denver/Gilligan was destined always to be a sidekick, and he was Dobie Gillis's's'es.

We asked our waitress Wanda, who's too young, but who enlisted the aid of the staff. We engaged with two other tables full of people. We pondered. We wondered. We wandered down the lane of black-and-white television. It was entertaining and human. We interacted with people we never would have chatted with before.

Then Mike broke the spell with, "I'll bet Ruth would know!" Aha! Our expert! I reintroduced technology. I whipped out my cell phone and pressed his mother's number. Indeed, she knew the answer: Duane Hickman.

If we'd been a younger crowd or a more executive crowd, we'd have pulled out our Blackberries and had the answer before Wanda came around with more coffee. Or, come to think of it, Mike would've been finding the answer before I even finished wording the question.

Here is an absolutely brilliant bit of copywriting.

I have a friend who talked to me about alli, the new over-the-counter fat-blocker, the only one approved by the FDA, which, near as I can tell, just means that alli's parents have enough money to bribe that agency. I don't see the FDA as having any integrity at all.

But I digress.

alli for fat people is something like Antabus for alcoholics. If you've got Antabus up and running in your system and you ingest alcohol, you've got about two hours to live. Yeah. Whoa. Just Say No. Well, with alli, if you eat something with too much fat in it, you, um ... [WEAK STOMACH WARNING] ... may experience, uh, "oily spotting." You may also have diarrhea that "may" be difficult to "control." It's suggested that you bring an extra set of clothing to work. Seriously. But don't worry. These are merely Treatment Effects. Yes! alli, you see, doesn't have any nasty SIDE EFFECTS like other, lesser weight-loss substances. No. alli only has TREATMENT EFFECTS.

I hope whoever wrote that gets a big fat (heh) bonus.

I know I've been totally lax in the Reading Room. I read Next by Michael Crichton, about (sort of) genetics. I liked it okay.

I finally gave up on this Double Exposure three-books-in-one thing by Piers Anthony. It was too repetitive. It was the same story over and over. It was too repetitive. In the end, I quit reading a hundred pages short of the full seven hundred and ninety. I just looked at the last page and garnered all the information I needed. Whew. I share Samuel Goldwyn's notion: I read part of it all the way through.

Sonny Fenwick (http://www.bubblebus.com/) introduced me to the Hoosier concept of a "pitch-in dinner." Huh. I think of people "pitching in" for big things, like barn-raisings and snow-shovelings, not small things like lunch.

I was at the Chinese store on 34th Street the other day, picking up beautiful blue-and-white sauce dishes for Mittens' Meow Mix (ahem). I got one in the shape of a fish, which is appropriate. When it's time for wet food, I ask her if she wants fish and she responds either by coming inside after all or, if she's already inside, going to her scratching pole and scratching. Oh, what a smart and beautiful cat is she!

While I was there, I got this Lady Buddha for my friend Leone who's rehabbing from her fifth stroke (and good luck with that). It's a lousy photo, my specialty, but you can see that the jade-like mystery material is in the shape of whatever the female Buddha is called. Next to her was the same red-cord setup, but with Mary, Mother of God, in the green. Wow. Talk about Ragu on yellow rice! I mean, that's like nailing Ganesh to the cross, which is, actually, an icon I'd also buy.

Well, I hope it helps Leone.

Back to copywriting ... I was at Sports Authority yesterday and saw a rather low-key, small sign that said: CLEARANCE BLOWOUT EVENT. I don't even know what that means. Well, I got twelve dollars off the canopy weights I was there to buy, so I apparently benefited from this, this event, but still ...

Okay. I found the natter list and here's my last comment.

I think I'll try to put together good photos (!) of my tee shirts, cards, and mailboxes, and sell them on www.etsy.com. As I strolled through that site, I saw a book for sale for only nine bucks. It's a guide to using the Etsy market to your best advantage. Ah. Research first. Fancy that! So I bought it. I did notice that it said ONE IN STOCK, which I thought was odd since it seemed to have been put on sale that very day. Well, good for the author! I'm sure it's a self-published book and look -- she's already ready for a second printing!

I also noticed that it said it would be "mailed within 24 hours." Great.

I got it the next day -- in my inbox. Yes. That fraudulent bit of publishing turned out to be an ebook, something I don't EVER want to buy! Gak. Plus, the graphics suck so it's hard to read. I got two "gifts," one of which was actually impossible to read. I'll have to waste my ink if I want to read it which, in this mood, I assure you I don't.

There was a cover letter -- "Here's your stupid ebook." -- and the seller said, "Give me positive feedback and I'll do the same for you!" which seems unethical right there.

Well, I wrote to her, all incensed about the ebook thang. It took her two days to respond, but she did. She said that it clearly states it will be "emailed within 24 hours." I went back to check and she's right. Drat.

How then to explain the ONE IN STOCK? Can you run out of electrons?

I told the author I felt duped and that I'd be happy to send her the book back (!) if she'd refund my money. She said the ONE IN STOCK is an automatic Etsy thing. She finally agreed to refunding half my money, and I said I'd give her honest feedback when I've read the book.

So I'm satisfied ... enough.

I wonder if a twenty-year-old would have been upset at receiving an ebook? Or would she think it's just fine? I do most of my reading at the table or in bed. I don't want to sit here and read, especially when the graphics are so horrible.

Anyway, I've heard nothing but good things about Etsy and I intend to follow through on it. I'll also read the ebook and try to benefit from it.

I don't think contrition suits me, do you?

3 comments:

Don Dewsnap said...

You deserve way more followers.

olga kruse said...

Again, love your timing. "it's too repetitive" - thank you for that.

Jason said...

I'm no 20-something, so take what I say with a grain of salt... I'd probably just accept the ebook as-is and print it out at work.
But would I have gotten the misconception that it was a book? Probably not. I've bought stuff online for far too long and been burn too many times to not check things out real well. Amy says I should get a job that uses my internet searching skills. I say that I'd hate that job since I'd be doing something I get enjoyment (usually) from and making it my job...