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Sticker Shock

October 6, 2005

To say that I have been busy lately would be like saying the New York Jets are in dire straights with their quarterback situation. No, I'm not $12 million over next year's salary cap (as the Jets are), but my point is that both are painfully obvious situations to me. And with free time goes my time to write updates on here. So it goes, and I'm not complaining. When you love your work, it's not a problem.

Feedback from my 9/27/2005 commentary was strong, much moreso than for the typical e-mails that I receive for things that I write on here. Of particular interest seemed to be the controversy surrounding the "Keep Back 20 Ft." sticker that some large dump trucks in the Tampa area have displayed on the back (along with a notice that the vehicle is NOT responsible for damage to the windshields of other drivers).

As it was, I had been in a rush when I wrote that article, and I didn't get to fully explain my thoughts on it. What if I was to get a bumper sticker saying: "Distracted Driver, Expect Sudden Stops, Not Responsible For Front End Damage To Your Vehicle, Stay Back 20 Ft." and put it on my car? Granted, I detest the litigiousness of our society, but you can't be driving around with a truck that is spewing projectiles into traffic and exonerate yourself from any culpability by simply slapping a bumper sticker on the back.

There was actually an e-mail conversation that went on between two people about the issue. I won't put the whole thing on here, but here's a snippet:

"I actually think that that truck's bumper sticker COULD provide some protection from liability if drivers read the sticker and assume the risk, don't you think? That being said, if there's bumper to bumper traffic, I don't see how the "rule" could apply."

My thought is: what if the driver can't read (or only reads English poorly, i.e. someone from another country who can speak English fine but who isn't particularly adept at reading stickers while trying to do the primary job of driving) -- what then?

The solution seems simple enough to me... Keep your junk inside your truck and you should be alright.

I remember when I was young, real young, that one of my parents' cars had a crack in the windshield from where a gravel truck had a piece of gravel jump out and hit the windshield in just the wrong spot. *CRACK* My parents had only had the vehicle (either my Dad's blue LTD, or I think more likely the wood panel red station wagon that my Mom drove, complete with the 8-track player inside!) for a week or so when it happened, so perhaps out of spite, they never did get it fixed that I can remember. Then again, Lou Jr. (my car, which incidentally I want to point out was named by my friend Scott Massey; I don't believe in naming my cars myself) has a scratch mark on the front left side from where I nudged it against a concrete pillar in the parking garage at my apartment complex. I hadn't even made the first payment on it yet at the time... pissed me off like you wouldn't believe. I still need to get that fixed. For me it's not a matter of procrastination or laziness, but more of wanting to hold onto the money for the time being.

One last thing: a relative of mine, Isaac Gamble, told me about a similar experience with his windshield to what my parents experiences 20+ years ago. He wrote:

"It's odd that you mentioned the bumber sticker, as I had a stone off of a truck crack my windshield last Monday. I didn't bother trying to contact the trucking company, it figured to be useless. My insurance company (State Farm) got me hooked up with a glass replacement service that came by my office the next day and changed the windshield while I was at work."

Subway Sub Club card
This partially-filled Subway Sub Club card was never redeemed. I only had two more stamps to go!

Another topic of interest was the end of the Subway "Sub Club" promotion. It's been years since it was given any advertising time, but it still existed (though I had to ask for stamps almost EVERY time). My friend Ryan Priest sent me this link to a story that explains why the program came to an end. The reason? Fraud! Go figure. And to think, I had a fling with a girl who worked at a Subway when I lived in Huntington, and I never got any free stamps out of the deal. In hindsight I should've worked that angle. Or, err, I mean I would never stoop to such lows!

One addendum to the Sub Club situation comes from the aforementioned e-mail conversation regarding the earlier commentary: a Subway employee told one of the people involved in the exchange that the Sub Club program is going to be replaced by a "new incentive program", though no word was given on when that will take place or what it will entail.

Alex from DigiQuest let me borrow a demo disc that he received in one of his game magazines, and it had a demo of the game Flipnic. It's a pinball game made by a Japanese game company. Now unlike many games that are popular both in the U.S. and in Japan, pinball, from what I've been told, is not something that ever caught on in Japan. But amazingly, the company, with no pre-conceived notions about how a pinball game "should be", created what is an incredibly fun and addictive game, at least until the time runs out on the demo round and you have to stop. It only costs $20, which makes it look like an attractive potential purchase. Then again, I'm into obscure games like Katamari Damacy and Culdcept that most people would go "Huh?" if asked about, even most U.S. video game players.

(In hindsight, as I read online before posting this, it sounds like Flipnic did not score very highly with the IGNs and Gamespots of the world. Too bad, the demo was fun...)

On my MySpace page, my friend Brian "The Mich" posted an interesting thing that you can do with Google. It's more of an e-mail forward type thing, but here's the idea: you do a Google search with your name and the word needs, then find the five funniest results. For me, it was "Lou needs" (since my name is Lou). Here were the five best, in no particular order.

1. Lou needs to continue to refine his defense and keep working on his offense.
2. I think Lou needs to chill out and give these guys opportunities instead of criticizing them.
3. Lou needs to get his mind out of the red light district.
4. Lou needs people to "join" him on his walk.
5. Lou needs lots of love and attention and in return he will be the best friend and companion that you will ever know.

I like the way the word join is in quotation marks on number four (it was that way on the page). The more you think about it, the more it makes no sense for there to be any special emphasis on join in that sentence. Hmm...

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