I Don’t Understand People

I had a strange and aggravating email exchange this morning and I’ve come out of it annoyed and confused. I entered a road race a few weeks ago for this upcoming Sunday so I went to the race website to make sure my name was listed under the “registered runners” list. I did find my name along with an image that I did not upload. The image was of a painting of a traditional Indian woman complete with tikka (aka, red dot). Some of the other registered runners had images next to their names and some didn’t. None of the other images were race specific so I was a little confused as to who put up the image for me and why.

So I emailed the event info email in a nutshell:

I noticed that we both have pictures next to our names. I just wanted to know who put those up and why?

This is the response I got back:

Anita this is a fun event..I have pictures similar to yours for many-there is no why other than fun..perhaps this event is not for you..I will refund your money today. thanks

I was a bit taken aback by such a harsh repsonse. I definitely did not intend to drop out of the event, I simply just wanted to know the reasoning for that specific image. So I responded with:

I wasn’t trying to be rude at all, and I apologize if you feel that I was. I understand that this is a fun event which is why I signed up for it. I was just wondering, since the image above my name was so specific to my race it caught my attention, I didn’t notice other pictures like that.

If you feel that a simple inquiry indicates that this race is not for me, please do refund my money.

I was hoping this would be the end of the conversation. But I received this:

Bob Vines – a vine crawling up a house? Eve Seigal -a picture of Eve and the snake on a apple tree…Herbert Boge – pic of Humphrey Bogart..should I go on??

same on volunteer page….again Anita …..fun and nothing more.

Now for the record, none of these pictures refer to the specific race of the person they are representing. And I must state, that I was not offended by the image at all, just curious as to why the “fun” image for me was a traditional Indian woman. This question, the organizer never answered. Or as to how he assumed what my race was in the first place. At this point, I just wanted to end this since somehow I let this person get to me and make me feel like the unreasonable one.

I really didn’t mean to make this into the big deal it has become, nor take the apparent fun out of it. It was just a question, and I’m sorry that I offended you. Please refund my money.

His final response was uncalled for and so aggravating that I just couldn’t respond.

I will do this Anita….you asked a question and made a statement also..I answered the question and pointed out that you were wrong in your statement..I will put a check in the mail today

So in the end I am wrong for questioning something that appears near my name on a public facing website that I did not put there. The saddest part of this whole story is that I was really looking forward to running the race, and I never asked to drop out of it. But I guess for some people the easiest way to avoid confrontation is to play the blame game.

What does ‘Going Green’ really mean?

This made my day…

Me: I got a coupon via email, but I couldn’t print it out, can I just show you the code on my phone?

Aldo shoe lady: I’m sorry, you need to print out the coupon to use it.

Me: But it doesn’t have a bar code, you would just enter the coupon code in anyway so there is nothing to scan. (I show her the email on my phone)

Aldo shoe lady: I don’t think we can, but let me look. (Takes my phone and scrolls up and down for about 45 seconds. Then goes to her terminal and starts typing.)

Aldo shoe lady: Ok, I can do it this time, but next time please bring in the printed coupon.

Me: Ok, thank you. (She prints out my receipt and puts it in the shoe box.)

Aldo shoe lady: Aldo is going green, so I’m turning your box into a bag! (She slides a shoe string into two holes in the side of the box to make a handle and tapes the box shut.)

Me: (Now, I’m thinking to myself, do I want to be an a**hole and state the obvious? I decided to go for it… with a smile) I don’t want to be a jerk, but wouldn’t it be green if you could take my coupon code from my phone and you wouldn’t have to use a whole sheet of paper for it?

Aldo shoe lady: Uhh… well that wouldn’t work because then people could use the same coupon over and over again.

Me: And they can’t print out the same coupon several times?

Aldo shoe lady: … well, we have to send the paper coupons to the main office.

Me: (I decided to end the conversation there, mostly because I didn’t have the time to explain technology and the 21st century to her.) Ok, I understand. Have a great day!

Do companies like Aldo just say they are ‘going green’ so they can look like they are doing something for the environment? I would think it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how to go paperless, I mean Apple gives you the option to email your receipt instead of printing it out. Express has a code for every coupon they give out, so if you don’t have the physical coupon, they can enter the code in instead. I know it’s possible for Aldo to do a better job of ‘going green’.

And that’s what grinds my gears… back to you, Tom.

Vegas – What I learned, Part II

I learn a little more each time… when going with a large group of people, limos are the way to go. People told me this but I didn’t believe it until I experienced it for myself. Depending on the amount of people you have, it does come out to the same if not cheaper than taking cabs. It’s best to inform the concierge or doorman of the hotel you are staying at of your plans for the current and following evening. They will be able to get you a limo when you need to be picked up as well as be able to get you on guest lists for various nightclubs you may want to visit. Sadly I learned this too late, but know it for next time. Also, make sure to ask and remember the name of the doorman or person that is helping you, and be sure to tip them, they will be more likely to bend the rules or give you preference over other guests. A little kindness (and money) goes a long way.

This time around we got to go to Mix Lounge at the top of THEhotel at Mandalay Bay. This lounge has 360 degree views of Vegas and one side where you can see down the entire strip. I’m not sure if this lounge is not as popular as the others or if it was an off night, but we were able to find tables to sit at and getting drinks at the bar didn’t take too long. For THEhotel guests the cover is $10 but we got in for free somehow. If you’re staying at THEhotel or Mandalay Bay, it’s definitely worth checking out.

We also hit up O’Sheas again and it was way more fun than last time. We turned a beer pong table into flip cup madness, and 20 games later we won 16-4. I’d like to point out that this was my very first time playing flip cup, and I think I did a pretty good job, nevermind that I spilled half my beer all over myself. Most of the fun was having a great team, and fun opponents.


I broke the law…

Back in January I was caught in a speed trap in the Williams tunnel in Boston. Although, I was riding alongside another car, I was picked out and pulled over. The officer said I was going 69 in a 45, which could quite possibly be true, I wasn’t looking at my speedometer and he had a LIDAR gun. So I took my $240 ticket and went home (going the speed limit of course).  This was my second speeding ticket ever (the first one being in 2002) and my first ticket in Massachusetts. So as I did with my first ticket, I was ready to pay it right away. I went online the next day to the Mass RMV site, entered in all of my information including my credit card number only to hit Submit and have them tell me my ticket wasn’t in the system yet and I had to wait 10 days to pay it. Very technologically advanced.

So in the meantime, I called my insurance company to see how much of a hit I was going to take since in Mass every moving violation increases the premium on your auto insurance. I still don’t understand how a speeding ticket affects my insurance policy, but that’s an argument for another time. The woman at my insurance company informed me that I would be paying about $200 more a year for the next 6 years… SIX YEARS. So my $240 moving violation fine was going to cost me $1,440. Super. But then the woman on the phone asked me to recall the events leading up to my ticket. I explained how I was on Mass Pike coming from Newton driving in the middle of 3 lanes. Once I reached Boston just before the Williams tunnel the left lane turned into an exit only, so I was paying more attention to the road signs rather than the speed limit sign. So I went into the tunnel going highway speed in the left lane, perfect target. Apparently, a cop is always standing around this corner in the tunnel so I probably should have known. The insurance lady told me to fight the ticket. She said based on what I had told her I would get off. I mentioned it to a few other people at work and they all told me the same thing. So I sent in my request for a hearing and waited for the date.

I few weeks later, I get a letter with the date which is 2 months from when I originally got the ticket. So I spent that time researching traffic laws in Mass and what to say and how to act and what to wear. In all my research, I find out the night prior that I go before a magistrate first, then I can appeal the magistrates decision before a judge. So the next day I dress up in business casual attire and head to South Boston. When I get there, there’s a long line of people waiting to see the magistrate, apparently fighting tickets is just as routine as buying bread. I was also the best dressed person there. One lady was actually in sweatpants and a dirty t-shirt. One guy brought a little baby along with him, I don’t think the magistrate fell for it. Then it was my turn, I walk in, sit down, moleskine in hand with all of notes and talking points only to have the officer tell the magistrate that this was my first ticket and she let me go. All that build up for nothing. She said that she typically lets first timers go. But in the end at least I got to go through the experience of (at least half way) fighting a ticket. And, my insurance doesn’t go up, which is the best part.

So if its your first time getting a speeding ticket, definitely request a hearing… worst case, you have to pay the original fine, but at least you have a chance of getting rid of it altogether. Also, if you are in Mass here are a few good tips I came across in my research:

How to Beat a Speeding Ticket
Unoffical Guide to the DMV

Mr. Clean Magic Eraser

Who really reads the warning labels anyway?

I have recently been sporting a brilliant shade of purple in my hair (thanks to Shannon!), and I absolutely love it. Except that I need to touch it up now and again until I get the permanent version in there. Good thing is that the touch-up can be done myself at home, bad thing is that I end up making a mess doing it. So as I finished gooping up my head in what looked like blackberry jello pudding and I noticed I had gotten some color on my neck. I went to wipe it off and the color had already set, I knew it would have come off eventually after a few days, but I had big blotches of purple on my neck in the meantime. I tried using soap and a washcloth scrubbing hard and it didn’t even fade. Then I noticed the box of Mr. Clean Magic Erasers that we had just bought; clever me figured that if it can work on soapscum it could work on hair dye. If you’ve ever used a magic eraser you know that it feels pretty soft but seems to literally erase any kind of stain. Well it does work on hair dye, rather nicely I may add. The purple blotches came right off, except immediately afterwards my neck started to burn, and it was very sensitive when I touched it. That is when I decided to read the warnings on the box: “Do not use on skin.” They might as well have added “We’re talking to you, Anita.” I put some neosporin on it and the next day it had turned into a nice obvious red rash. So I basically just rubbed off a few layers of skin, I would have been better off with a purple blotch. Eventually the rash went away, but lesson learned: magic eraser is deceptively magical.

Tale of a lost iPhone…

Last Tuesday evening I went to a Web Innovators conference at the Royal Sonesta hotel in Cambridge, MA.  Some time between Tuesday evening and Wednesday morning my phone disappeared. Since I checked every possible place it could be, I’ve deduced that it got stolen at the hotel. So to the person who picked up a white iPhone that wasn’t yours, could you kindly return it please?

Yah, I know that’s very unlikely, but it was worth a shot. In the meantime, I’ve learned a very important lesson. And like most lessons for me I tend to be the last horse that crosses the finish line. My phone didn’t have the passcode enabled on it. In my defense I had it at one point but it became so tedious to type it in each time I wanted to use my phone (and I used it A LOT) that I just figured I didn’t need it. Boy was I wrong. When I realized I had lost it the first thing I did was try to call it and it went directly to voicemail. Since I knew the phone couldn’t have drained its battery overnight, I assumed someone found it and turned it off or it was in pieces. I immediately changed my email passwords and was able to confirm that whoever had it had not checked my email or made any phone calls. After changing my passwords and logging my account out of all sessions, I cancelled the phone and data service to the device. But that still doesn’t help with the fact that whoever has it can see all of my contacts, text messages, notes, pictures and other information I had on it. So it was a pretty steep price to pay to learn a valuable lesson on security. Now I am on the hunt for a better way to protect my phone than just the standard passcode (which I am most certainly using now). Ultimately, I want to be able to remotely wipe my phone clean whenever I need to as well as use the built-in GPS to track it. Please comment on what you’ve got or what you know of.

Vegas Nightclubs – What I Learned

So I went on a ladies’ trip to Vegas this past weekend and I quickly found out the perks of going with a group of women. We knew we wanted to check out a couple nightclubs but didn’t want to pay the ridiculous cover charges and wait in long lines to get in. The very first day, Saturday, as the five of us were walking through the casino on our way to dinner we were stopped by a nicely dressed man with a business card. He asked us what we had planned for the evening. We told him that since we were staying at the hotel, we were going to check out LAX nightclub that evening. He told us that he could put our names on the “guest list” and provide us with wristbands that would get us in no line, no cover, and free champagne till midnight. He said the only catch was that we had to arrive close to when the club opened, at 10:30, to ensure we get in before the club reaches capacity. Since most nightlife in Vegas doesn’t really start until after midnight it seemed like a reasonable deal. The wristband had his initials on it so the club would know who we were brought in by.

So we arrive at the club at 10:30 and there are the beginnings of a crowd. Almost everyone wearing the same wristbands. That was the catch. You may be on the “guest list” but so was pretty much every other girl that walked past that promoter that night. So as we stood there, the promoter came up to us, greeted us, smiled and made us feel special. He “had a word” with the bouncer that was letting people in and came back to tell us we’d be in shortly. Well shortly ended up being an hour. I’m sure you ladies can agree with me, standing in one spot for an hour in five-and-a-half inch heels can make you a bit cranky. Of course the people (almost all guys) that bought VIP booths got in first. Once we were inside, I quickly realized that we had gotten a pretty good deal since the club was fairly empty. We were easily able to get drinks (yes the champagne was free, it was no Dom, but it was free), and were able to get space on the one area of seating that was free, yes near the bathrooms. After about a half hour of making it up to our feet for standing for an hour we decided to hit the dance floor. By this time it was getting a bit more crowded but there was still room to move. About 45 minutes later, around midnight, I suddenly realized I couldn’t move, my personal space had officially been invaded. The club was so packed, dancing was pretty much out of the question as well. Then I was tapped on the shoulder. I turn around and it was once of the bouncers, telling me that a VIP table was requesting that my two friends and I join them for some drinks and dancing. After looking at my friend, and getting a “no way” glare back, I said “no thank you” to the bouncer, who promptly turned to his co-worker and said, “need three escorts”. And it all made sense to me. Let the girls in for free and the guys will quickly pay (a lot) to follow.

Vegas nightclub promoters love groups of good looking women, especially when they can get them to come to their club. Not only do they get the women to come, make their commission but they entice men to buy expensive bottles of vodka and “VIP” booths in hopes that some of these women will join them in these expensive booths.

Sunday night, we were approached again by a different promoter urging us to come to the new club Christian Audigier at Treasure Island. Same deal as LAX except we got free Skyy vodka drinks until 1pm. Turns out the slower the night the better the deal. This time there was no waiting to get in and the club was not even close to being packed. Which also meant that the women weren’t being harassed nearly as much.

So next time I go to Vegas and decide I want to go to a nightclub, I will definitely find a promoter to put me on “the list”. I’ll also choose an off-peak night, if off-peak is not an option, I’ll be sure to get there early and leave before I can no longer breathe. But I’ve pretty much learned that unless the theme is completely different, once you’ve been to one nightclub it’s pretty much the same thing all around.