29 May 2010

Your interest in the chase is admirable...

Now that the weather has turned decent, we've been opening windows a lot more. One of the front windows upstairs is right behind a bush/tree that seems to have a birds nest in it. Either that or the birds just like to hang out there looking for bugs (fine by me). So our cat has noticed this.

Watching her sit there, twitching her tail and shifting her weight back and forth like she's about to pounce right through the steel screen and window is entertaining. But it also reminds me of something even funnier.

In university I lived in an 'off campus dorm' building. Basically a privately run dorm. There was a mix there of kids fresh out of high school that treated this like the 13th grade, all the way up to post grads. I transfered in half way through being a jr, so I wasn't exactly around for long. A couple of the post grads were "dorm friends" of mine, I'd hang out with them in the kitchen while we all worked on cooking whatever we were having that night, sometimes we shared half my soup for half your lasagna kinds of things. On miserable stormy nights we'd sit around in the common room and play cards or dominoes or scrabble.

The two that come to mind for this story were both young ladies, well by the standards of campus, they weren't "young", they were post doctoral students for crying out loud... they had 6 or more years of college and university under their belts already. y senior year, they were the only two greater than seniors left in the dorm (at least that were social.) Remember those 13th grade students I mentioned. Some of them were boys. They provided endless hours of entertainment as they tried to hang out with us, for the reason of trying to hit on these ladies I mentioned. (They were both pretty well built if you get my meaning.) One particular case comes to mind where I was sitting at the table in the kitchen reading while my dinner baked, one of these ladies was tending to a stew she was making... chopping veg, browning meat, etc while one of these boys was trying his best to impress her with his witty banter. I was laughing. Not very subtly after a while. She'd look over and roll her eyes. After a while she said "Chris that text book can't be that funny, would you share with Jr, here what's so funny please." I protested with something like "but he's soo funny it's cute." I think she waved a knife in the air as she mentioned how irritating it was. So I told him "Son, your interest in the chase is admirable, but you're so far out of your league here that even if you caught your quarry (she snorted at this point) you wouldn't know what to do with her. ("to say the least" or similar punctuation was added.) Perhaps you should go practice on some girls closer to your own maturity." (She suggested a part of campus to go look for them at this point... I'm not certain, but I think it was the pre-school that the education department ran.) He did one of those klassy frat-boy/jock/d-bag sniff/shrug-adjust- shirt/adjust-crotch/say-"whatever" moves and left the kitchen. The next time I saw him was in the hallway a couple weeks later and he asked "where's your old lady girlfriend, dickhead?" I had to laugh as I asked him if that was the best he could come up with in 2 weeks? He never even made eyecontact with me the rest of the year.

So watching smokey eye the birds... so totally reminds me of that incident. I told her so the other day, "your interest in the chase is admirable, but you're so far outside your league that you wouldn't know what to do with them if you caught them." Her response was faster and better than his. She thumped down onto my lap and meowed to say "why aren't you petting me yet?"

Crowd Gifting

ya know what would be really cool? a consolidated gift giving system... crowd gifting.

What's that you ask? Let me explain what I mean, by way of an example.

I have a birthday coming up. I have been told repeatedly I'm hard to shop for. Several folks therefore have asked what I want for my birthday. I know what I want. But it costs far more than I would ask any of these folks to give me for my birthday. For the sake of argument, let's say it costs $829 + $99, or $928.

So instead of saying, "oh, I dunno." or "whatever, surprise me." or any other lame answer like that, it would be nice to give folks a url and say "that".

So when they go to this url, they would see a page that says "Chris wants a _____ for his birthday, you can offer to chip into the cost along with all his friends and family, and if we all together get to the actual cost by the week before his birthday... then we'll all get it for him together. Otherwise you'll keep your money and can wing it." And ideally it would tell them "so far, X people have contributed Y amount, with Z remaining." They could then decide if they want to contribute as well, and fill in their CC details and how much they want to give. The system would then place a hold on that amount, and if by the cutoff date enough folks contributed, it would capture all the cards and hand me the funds to buy the device. Or better yet, it would buy it automatically and ship it to me.

The folks running the service would probably have to mark up the amount some to cover fees and expenses. But wouldn't that be awesome?

In v2 we could even get fancy and allow folks to contribute a range. Say At least $50, but willing to go up to $75 if it means enough to buy it. Then if everyone else contributed enough to come within $5, that person would do $55. Or if there were two of those folks, and it was within $5, they'd each do $52.50. If enough folks chipped in enough money you wouldn't even have to hit use all their minimum amounts... say 10 people all chipped in minimum $10... but it's only a $65 gift... then you'd only capture $6.50 from each of the 10 people.

You'd have to cut off the funds ahead of time, because you'd need to allow folks time to find alternate plans if the crowd didn't make the minimum. And the recipient would probably want to be able to say, if it's within X amount, I'll chip in the last bit. But I suppose they could just do that with the above by saying minimum of $0, up to X amount.

This doesn't seem ridiculously hard does it? At least the code seems straight forward. The banking integration would be a PITA.

I'm surprised I can't find any such system already. Or am I just not looking for the right keywords?