Beauty Like This Could Not Exist Without Wretchedness

While normally I would just hit the ‘share’ button when things like this pop up in my RSS feed, I was simply too delighted not to give it some additional aplomb and present it here as well.

Is This The World’s Best Airline Complaint Letter?

Having never had the experience of a Virgin flight (cue school-girl giggling), either good or bad, I can’t comment on the content itself.

But my, MY, what a lovely piece of writing! Reading this I felt a warming amidst the cockles of my heart, so rarely do I find such a lovingly composed and heartfelt expression of sarcastic disdain.

Update: From The Consumerist

The man who wrote the long, funny complaint letter to Richard Branson about the level of suck on his recent Virgin Atlantic flight has been asked to “come to the airline’s catering house next month, to help select the food on future Virgin flights.”

Beautiful.

Things that bother me: Quotes in Email Signatures

Just one of our many ways to utilize the 1st amendment, adding quotes to the default signature of emails is a habit adapted by many, from boppy tweenagers to corporate secretaries. These range from Einstein to Churchill to the seemingly, and unfortunately, immortal Larry the Cable Guy, and they bother the hell  out of me. I’m not entirely able to explain why, but here I will walk through it as much as my mind is able.

Perhaps it is that they intrude into my otherwise peaceful email-reading, distracting me from my productivity just like Jehovah’s Witnesses who knock during dinner. But it is of course my choice to read it, so perhaps here it is not the quote itself but the common methods of decorating them – borders of stars, italics, fru-fru font – that really pull my eye.

Another related possibility is not the intrusion, but the waste of my time or the disappointment of my mind. By the time I  get to an end of an email I am in full reading mode, scanning every word in line until there are no more. Sure it’s technically my choice to not read it, but it’s my automatic response anyways. It is not at first obvious that the text beyond the name is a quote – it could be a PS, it could contain something vitally important or impressively witty. Maybe I get my hopes up as I start reading beyond the end of the writer’s name, and all those hopes are dashed to the ground when I see a line pulled from a Bond movie.

The obvious argument can be made that these quotes are a form of self-expression, much like bumper stickers or tattoos. Oddly enough I am very much in favor of the later 2, which relates up to my first point – intrusion. Stickers and body ink are passive forms of expression, entities separate from any others which it might be my business to deal with. That sounds confusing even to me, so let me say it like this – if it was my business to inspect car bumpers, the stickers would be intruding into my business. As I am not inspecting auto parts but rather reading emails, the quotes are what is intruding.

My last and most persuasive argument – for the most part, these quotes are completely meaningless. First of all, they are *always* completely out of context, unless you happen to be writing an email about quotes in an email. Sure, some of them are cute and make me think/chuckle/tear up when I read them – when I read them for the *first* time. It is awfully rare that I will receive a single email from a person, and after that preliminary contact I have no desire to repeat my quote-reading experience.

I respect your decision to express yourself, people – I really do. I just wish you did it some other way.

Pandora Voting – it’s all in the details.

Some days Pandora is the only thing that gets me through work, which is why I get extremely upset when my stations go haywire on me. Some days they play all day without a hitch, but then some days, like today, my Daft Punk station starts playing hardcore rap, and then when I try to correct it with a simple down-thumb, it shifts into mellow jazz music. I lost a half hour of productivity trying to wrestle my station back into some semblance of quality-techno order, but it will never really be the same.

I’ve heard many acquaintances mutter similar complaints about this otherwise-excellent streaming music player, and I have what I think is an interesting idea for helping with this. I think part of the problem is those up/down selections are very imprecise. So I “like” this song. What does that really mean? Well I know what it means to me, but what does it mean to Pandora? Imagine if users could not only say whether or not they liked the song, but exactly what about it they liked or disliked. I obviously don’t know how Pandora’s classification scheme works, but it seems things like “artist’s voice,” “tempo,” or even something simpler, like “genre,” would allow much more precise station definitions. And, more importantly, stop P.Diddy from showing up in my Daft Punk stream.

Against all advice, I’m starting a blog.

After I have repeatedly heard how blogging is a dying form of communication, and even microblogging is being oversaturated, here I am starting a blog. I certainly have my reasons, though they’re of no business of yours. Being a super dork I’m rather excited about fiddling with this thing and will likely skin it no end. Most importantly though, I find it impossible to express any of my thoughts in 140 characters or less.