Monday, June 21, 2010

Dear ____________ [insert your name here],

Edit your fucking photos!

Look, I love my digital camera just as much as the next person.  It's so nice to instantly see whether or not I got the picture I wanted.

However, that doesn't mean I need to keep five attempts of the same shot.  It also means I don't want to see your five attempts at the same shot.

Just because it's a picture--and it's a picture you took--doesn't always mean it's worth saving or sharing.  Whether or not it's a flower, your precious child, or a lousy shot, doesn't mean you need to hold onto it.  Nor do you need to share them all with everyone.

I like looking at people's pictures, but I really loathe it when people waste my time by sharing 50 photos when 10 would have sufficed.  I don't really care if your child moved an inch on the play mat but otherwise still looks exactly the same as the first shot.  I don't care to see your out-of-focus pet.  I don't care to see a plant from three angles, when one would suffice.

It's nothing against you personally, but I'm starting to loathe looking at picture sets and albums.  Maybe I'm grumpy because I've been pulled into too many unnecessary timesucks.  Maybe I'm grumpy because I need to edit my own photos.  But this is a problem that we all need to work together to fix.  Are you in?

Your pal,

Monday, June 14, 2010

Forward This!

Dear USPS,

Where the fuck is my forwarded mail?  Or at least the mail that I notice I'm not getting?

Look, I know you do the best you can--well, in Chicago they don't necessarily do that good a job--so I'm trying to be understanding.  However, I did put a mail forward on my address....supposedly with enough time to spare before I moved.  We have gotten some of our mail--but not all of it.  Not the mail I'm expecting.  Not the mail with some paychecks in it.  PAYCHECKS!

My magazines made it.  Where's the rest?

Pissed, but still your pal,


Friday, June 11, 2010

The Family Forest

Dear Readers,

Sometimes I come across news so stunning, I'm not quite sure where I should send the letter.  So, let this be more of a regular blog post.

Since I have an unusual name (and probably a bit of narcissism), I have a Google Alert set up for "Jaracz." I started it after another Jaracz got in touch with me and thought we might be related (probably not--my little part of the family is quite small and we're not that good about staying in touch.  Cousin Jill?  Oh, she's in the part of the family that keeps themselves under a rock). Anyway, I got a little curious about some of the other Jaraczs out there in the world, so now I like to keep dibs on them. It reminds me of a time when I got a postcard in the mail soliciting me to buy one of those geneological books based on your last name--because you'd want to know about "all the good people named Jaracz."  I kept that postcard for a while and would pull it out whenever I needed a good laugh.  Those people obviously hadn't met my grandparents.

Anyway, the Jaraczs in my Google Alert are fun. There's the feminist student at Northwestern University. The former NCAA star in Kentucky. The fire inspector in Northwest Indiana.  A gas station owner somewhere in the Chicago area.  A family who posts a lot of pictures and videos of their newborn.  Oh, and the Jaracz engaged to Drew Carey. And then there's the Jehovah's Witness.

Yep, Theodore Jaracz, the JW.  He's apparently a hardliner big wig in the organization, and there's a little controversy about him protecting child molesters.  Yesterday he passed away after having a stroke, and that jarred me a little.  One of my people!  Passed away!  But the fun part is that although some people were sad,  a lot more of them popped online to say good riddance. Not a popular man, I guess.

Since I don't really know the man, I don't quite know what to say, but I sure will miss him popping up in my Google Alert on a regular basis.

RIP, Cousin (we may not be related, but since people don't seem to like you that much, I have a sneaking suspicion we just might have some of the same blood).

Your pal,

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Don't Show Your Hand

Dear History Channel,

The Boy and I happened to catch your show "Top Shot" last night. Congratulations on your first reality competition show!  You got quite a host in Colby Donaldson--dude's like Jeff Probst, Jr. (though 3 seasons on "Survivor" would make anyone sound like Probst).

The show's pretty interesting--well, the Boy and I are just getting into rifle shooting, so we enjoyed the technical aspects of the show, and we'll most likely tune into more episodes.

However, there's one big turnoff:  Right before the elimination competition in the first episode, there was a promo for the second episode--that featured one of the two people who were in the first elimination competition.  Way to let the cat out of the bag there!  Why bother finishing the episode when you just found out who lost?

Maybe next week you'll remember that elimination competitions are all about keeping the audience curious about who will get eliminated, not letting the cat out of the bag 10 minutes early.

Catch you next week.
Your pal,

Friday, June 4, 2010

This Trial's Not a Trial!

Dear Prospective Jurors in the Rod Blagojevich Trial,

Last year, I got a jury summons notice.  After my initial euphoria at finally being called for jury duty, I instantly realized that this also meant I wouldn't be called to serve on the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich.

Oh, how I wish I were you!  Yeah, I no longer live in Illinois, but to be able to serve on the Blago trial would be an amazing experience.  Who will take the stand?  Will Blago step up and speak?  If he did, wouldn't it be great to have a ringside seat?

I don't really understand why people grumble about jury duty and try to do everything in their power to get out of it.  I realize it's an inconvenience--most people who get called still have to try to do their regular work in their off-hours.  It doesn't pay well either.  But the experience of seeing our system of government at work is priceless.  Thanks to the Sixth Amendment of the US Constitution, our citizens have the right to a trial by an impartial jury.  What an honor it is to be chosen to help decide a trial outcome!

So, even though this trial is sure to be long--and maybe a little boring at times--just remember that you've been called to serve your country and help preserve democracy.  Besides, other people want to be you--isn't that bonus enough?

Your pal,

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wanna see a cool picture? Psych!

Dear Chicago Tribune,

Even though I no longer live in Chicago, I'm curious about the Blago trial, so I thought I'd check out the news on your website.  It's been a while since I visited, and I have to admit that the site looks a bit cleaner and has the news prominently displayed.

However, could you work on linking teasers to what they actually tease?

Case in point:  I scroll down the front page, and I pause at the "Photos & video" section because there's a picture of a giant hole in a street.  It looks amazing.  I want to see where it is.  So I click on the link above the photo that says, "In the news: Hole eats street," and where do I go?  To the "Photos in the news" section, which is 101 pictures (that's ONE HUNDRED ONE) of stuff in the news.

Look, I don't know what you're hoping for, but I'm not going to click through that many pictures to find the one that you teased on the front page.  I don't have that kind of time.  I still don't know about the big hole--did it swallow all the brainpower in the Tribune Tower?

Now I'm just frustrated enough that I think I'll take my eyeballs over to the Sun-Times and see if they do a better job.

Your pal,