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An open letter to Flixster.

Posted on : 02-20-2007 | By : Andy | In : pop culture, random, tech


Dear Flixster.com,

I didn’t know who you were a week ago, and I suppose that’s what you were trying to overcome. I know you’re just lonely for friends, and I know that you just wanted to build a multi-million dollar domain so you can sell yourself and make your creators very, very rich.

But you didn’t have to resort to the level of a common, sleazy, spammer to do it.

You see, I write email marketing messages for a certain manufacturer, and we use a return address that all our mail comes from. We request that (genuine, opted-in) recipients add us to their address books so that they can continue to receive news about new products and special offers that we send without our messages being accidentally filtered.

Last week, this non-personal email address got an email, and the subject was:

Cindy T has sent you a personal message

Lo and behold, it wasn’t a personal message at all. Because this non-personal email address doesn’t know Cindy T, and Cindy T certainly didn’t send a personal note to this certain manufacturer. The “personal message”? (Yes, I clicked through for research’s sake) The message was this: ” Hey, this quiz was fun – do it so we can compare.” When a week later we got another “Personal Message” from another person, I did some research on the web. It seems that you’ve been a bad .com.

From what I understand, when people sign up with free web-based email addresses, you ask for their login information, and then you go and send emails to the people in their online address books. Please stop your scummy practices. If you want more people to visit your site, make a service worth using, ask people to tell their friends about it (or give them some incentive to), and quit sending junk mail to every email address you can get your hands on.

Rest assured, I will never use your site, nor trust you with any personal information of mine. I wil also never recommend you to my friends, and if the topic comes up, I will do quite the opposite: I will tell them to stay away.

Now, you may be in some legal gray area where you can’t technically get fined or sued for anything. I don’t know. I do know that you’re treading on thin ice here, and you’d be much more likely to gain a more loyal customer base if you treated them with a little respect.

Thanks for never sending another “Personal note” again,


Switchfoot makes me blog. (again)

Posted on : 02-09-2007 | By : Andy | In : pop culture, religion


So Switchfoot came out with another CD, and my reaction is similar to their last one (which incidentally started me blogging): they may be musically talented, but I’m really sorry to see what they’ve become. Yes, you can make music that lots of people love, and yes, you can even get it distributed to Christians (who have this horrible habit of usually only consuming stuff that has the label “Christian” on it), but what do they say on judgement day?

“Gee, God, I know you gifted us really well, and so we made music that made a lot of people think. In fact, we purposely didn’t talk about Jesus because we knew it might offend some, and others might stop listening to our music. Bottom line is, offering hope just wouldn’t cut it with our target market, so we skipped that part. Talking about our faith kind of detracted from the music.”

Last I checked, Jesus Christ made lots of people think back in his day. Oh, yeah, he was pretty unpopular with some people, but that’s because he boldly offered truth, and challenged people’s thoughts, words, and actions, especially when they just wanted to be marginal.

God is love, and Jesus loved these people so much that he cared for them, spent time with them, and ultimately held out that oh-so-unpopular ultimatum: your sin requires payment by death. Accept me, or pay that penalty yourself.

I’m kind of glad that Jesus didn’t spend his time on earth sitting around moping about the doubts he had, the pain he was suffering as a result of leaving heaven to come and die, or any such mumbo-jumbo that seems to be quite popular in Switchfoot lyrics.

They call it “being honest with their thoughts/doubts/hurts”. I call it “being too wrapped up in your own problems to care about what God wants from you.”

David wrote a lot of Psalms about pain, hurt, doubt, sin, etc. He always ended praising God, or at the very least calling upon his name. Switchfoot: life isn’t always peachy, but you’ve forgotten the hope that Christ provides. Quit singing lyrics that provoke introspection and purposely avoid the only true answer.

Feeling like crap today.

Posted on : 02-01-2007 | By : Andy | In : fun, pop culture, random, tech


Ah, CrapNo, I did not get a bag of crap today. Would I be feeling like crap if I had? Of the 5 times it popped up there, I was front and center at the time of the changeover for three of them.

Twice I got put “in line” and cancelled out. Then, hours later, more people bought all the craps that could have been mine. Grrr….

Don’t waste your life wooting. You’ll likely end up disappointed.