Sunday, August 26, 2007

Recent Giveaways

In an ongoing (painfully slow) process of trying to de-clutter my life and thereby get my apartment a little cleaner, I advertised on recently to give away a hair dryer.

My ad was very honest: I gave the model number for the dryer, and described it as being from my college days (though I didn't mention specifically just how many years I've been out of college). Also, immediately afterward I posted an ad giving away law books, which also could conceivably tip my hand as to my age and, thus, the age of the hair dryer.

I got a response very quickly and handed it off that night. Very handy.

One woman who responded asked: "Does this hair dryer have hair comb attachments?"

Lady, do you really think a 19-year-old male really cared about comb attachments?


It's wonderful the kind of things you can give away on the internet nowadays. I had to get rid of my old desktop computer (same ongoing painfully slow effort) and, again, was incredibly blunt about it. I described it as:

- old
- running a slow processor
- possessing an old memory card

I also mentioned that it's slow. As a final straw, I told my audience that because I don't have shredding software, I was simply going to remove the hard drive too, so really the machine was going to come without a hard drive or operating system either. Who wants it?

I managed to give it away the next day to a woman whose son's PC had recently blew up. She intended to use the shell and transfer necessary components to my machine. It was quite a fortuitous matchup.


Somehow I have failed to give small random assortment of shot glasses that I have on one of my shelves. I just don't want them anymore. Not that no one showed any interest; at least seven people emailed to say they wanted to pick them up. But none of them followed through, and now I still have the damn glasses. Grrrr. I'll report that ad soon.


I'm looking around my apartment, trying desperately to decide what else I could give away or sell. At some point I'll also need to place a bunch of old clothes in a bag and give those away too. I have far too many.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Spamity Spam

My spam filter at work sucks.

My gmail filter is remarkably good. It captures spam wonderfully, and lets through all kinds of non-spam. On this account in particular, I get tons of spam. And I know I don't expect much mail here. Even on my other gmail account, I rarely get spam, and when I do, it's in the Spam filter.

At work, however, my spam filter sucks.

At the beginning of each day, I open Outlook, which then downloads all the mail that's accumulated through the night. Not usually a big event, except that usually there are at least 50 items of junk email in there along with the legitimate stuff. Heck, I'm even being generous by defining email from vendors who legitimately have my address as "not spam."

Then my spam filter kicks in, and tells me it's "working." It tells me it's scanning new mail for spam. And at the end, it brags to me that it's quarantined 5 spam messages!

Except that there are like 45 more spam messages still in my inbox.

How many unnamed persons have to send me e-postcards before this damn filter system will recognize that to be spam? I've had friends, and family members, and neighbours [sic], and school mates, and acquaintances, and business associates, and even worshippers send me e-postcards. Poor dears will never get in touch with me at this rate.

The stupidest thing is, when I click on those emails and then hit "Is Spam," the software is supposed to, somehow, learn what spam looks like and start blocking these things on their own for a while. Indeed, the damn software will hold up my computer for a while with a damn window that says "Learning... Please wait." as if it could figure out cues about what is spam. As these postcards show, though, clearly it isn't working. The word "postcard", by the way, has never shown up in a legitimate email of mine yet. At least not in my work email.

Technology. Gotta love it.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Crap. (No, Literally.)

I am notorious among my friends for overpopulating the "Missed Connections" section of Craigslist. My friends all know this, and one, in particular, now takes delight in trying to spot which ones are mine.

Recently, he sent me this one, which I am reproducing here because CL posts can expire:

mens bathroom kramers - m4m
Reply to:
Date: 2007-08-21, 10:51AM EDT

I saw you popping a squat. You stole my heart with the sounds you were making, I know that you could never clog a toilet. Lets meet for some lunch!!!

I have no idea what it means, really.

Here's the IM conversation we had about it:

Him: OMG is this you?!? [link]
Me: Uh, yes.
Him: Shut up.
Me: What?!? He was hot.
Me: Don't judge.
Him: OMG, I was just kidding. Please tell me that's not really you.
Me: Uh, checking, checking... nope, you're still judging.

I wonder how long I can string him along like this.

Friday, August 10, 2007

A Million Little Pieces, Only Without the Illegal Drugs

So I bought a new shredder the other day. Just for my personal home use. Cute little model, comes with a basket, does a diamond shred of up to eight pages at a time. Good enough for what I need it for.

I brought it home and plugged it in, anxious to start using it. I had managed to accumulate a huge stack of bills and other documents that needed to be shredded before discard so I wanted to go ahead and get started.

Okay, so before I go on, here's a snapshot of the top of the shredder:

You see there's a slot for the paper. Under it is a special slot for credit cards. Look closely and you can see where you can feed CDs too, in the event you should want to shred a CD.

I call special attention to the part of the shredder beneath the feed slots. Here's a closer view:

That little red button is marked "Emergency Stop." Notice the light next to it; you can tell it's green, but it's not lit up.

And there are indicators above the red button.

I plugged my machine in, ready to get started with my shredding, when I noticed the little green light was not on. So I thought perhaps it's one of those machines that starts working automatically upon the introduction of paper, but putting paper into the slot didn't start it either.

Repeatedly pushing the red button -- the only thing I could think of to do -- didn't get the machine to start either.

Great, I thought, I bought a defective machine.

There's a toll free number on the machine you can call for tech support, so I did. After holding for a bit, I finally got an operator on the phone.

"Hi, I bought this shredder, model number XXXXX, and, well, it just doesn't seem to work."

Her response made me feel like the biggest idiot of all time: "See that red button? Okay, yeah, why don't you push it all the way over to the right and see what happens...."

The freaking red button is the power switch. The green light turned on once I pushed it over and my paper then came out in a gazillion little diamond-shaped pieces.

I burst out laughing with the tech support lady. "Oh my goodness, I feel so completely retarded now!"

"Well," she very politely reassured me, "from what I can tell the instructions aren't that well written."

"I'll say," I told her, "the damn instructions don't even tell me how to turn the damn machine on!" (Really. They don't. They talk about shredder maintenance and shredder safety, but not how to operate your shredder.)

We laughed together for a while -- I really was laughing so hysterically at how stupid I felt that I suppose it was a little contagious -- and I thanked her and hung up.

Then I filled up two large kitchen bags with shredded paper and discarded a large part of my past.